Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Return of the Native: Book Second


The Arrival

Eavesdropping can be highly profitable 
            The fuze-gatherers gossip about Clym Yeobright coming, and suggest that he and Eustacia Vye would make an ideal couple.  Eustacia overhears the whole report and wonders and daydreams of Clym.
            While Mrs. Yeobright and Thomasin prepare the house for Clym’s arrival, they discuss how Thomasin’s love for Damon has changed, although Thomasin is reluctant to admit it.  Mrs. Yeobright is more concerned about the family honor.

"...half in love with a vision."
            Meanwhile, Eustacia is passionately dreaming away of meeting Mr. Clym and is contriving in her sneaky mind a way to meet him.  She later learns that Mrs. Yeobright is holding a Christmas party at her home during Clym’s visit, and some of the young people are preparing a Mummer’s Play.  Eustacia convinces Charley to let her play his part of the Turkish knight in exchange for a little handholding.  If she can just get a good look at Mr. Clym Yeobright, she may be able to know if he 
“might possibly have the power to deliver her soul from a most deadly oppression.”
A Mummer's Play* with a twist
            The night of the party, Eustacia anxiously plays her part, but when it is over, it is time to search out her target.  The actors are invited to stay for dinner, and during that time she overhears Thomasin tell Clym that she is heartbroken; Eustacia recognizes that she is jealous of Thomasin being so close with Clym.  When Eustacia steps outside, Clym follows her and confirms his inquiry that she is a woman. 

To spite himself, more like it
            The next day, Eustacia gives Diggory her letter of rejection to give to Damon, causing him grief.  To salvage himself, he returns to Thomasin and claims her for himself.  They marry with Eustacia and Diggory present.  Damon thinks he is punishing Eustacia, but he is far from doing so.     

* Here is an example of a Christmas Mummer's Play performed by my son and his Latin classmates just like the one the young people and Eustacia performed at the Yeobright's. 

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