The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native


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    Across Egdon Heath on a November day, a reddleman is traveling with a young woman whose identity he conceals from a chance acquaintance of the road. The reddleman notices the figure of a woman atop Rainbarrow, the largest of the Celtic burial mounds in the area, and then, replacing her, other figures. These are heath folk come to start a Fifth of November bonfire.

    The reddleman, Diggory Venn, returns safely to Mrs. Yeobright her niece, Thomasin Yeobright, who was to have married Damon Wildeve that day. Mrs. Yeobright takes Thomasin with her to see Wildeve at the inn he operates in order to demand an explanation of his failure to marry her. The heath folk, after the bonfire, come to serenade the supposed newlyweds, and when Wildeve is able to get rid of them he starts off to see Eustacia Vye, the mysterious figure Venn saw earlier on the barrow.

    Eustacia watches for Wildeve on Rainbarrow, returning now and then to check on the signal fire she has had built before her grandfather’s house (Captain Vye is the chance acquaintance of Venn’s). Wildeve, who was once her lover but whom she has not seen since his interest in Thomasin, does finally arrive.

    Venn accidentally learns of the meeting between Eustacia and Wildeve. The reddleman, a longtime admirer and once rejected suitor of Thomasin, resolves to help her and purposely overhears the conversation the next time Eustacia and Wildeve meet on Rainbarrow. Venn then calls on Eustacia to get her to help Thomasin, finally telling her he knows about her meetings with Wildeve. Venn also informs Mrs. Yeobright he would like to marry her niece. Though he is rejected, the aunt uses him as a means to put pressure on Wildeve. Wildeve goes immediately to Eustacia to convince her to leave with him, but she will not answer right away. The news of the arrival for the Christmas holidays of Mrs. Yeobright’s son Clym...

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