Tantissimi classici della letteratura e della cultura politica,
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Abbe Prevost - MANON LESCAUT
Alcott, Louisa M. - AN OLDFASHIONED GIRL
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE MEN
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE WOMEN
Alcott, Louisa May - JACK AND JILL
Alcott, Louisa May - LIFE LETTERS AND JOURNALS
Andersen, Hans Christian - FAIRY TALES
Anonimo - BEOWULF
Ariosto, Ludovico - ORLANDO ENRAGED
Aurelius, Marcus - MEDITATIONS
Austen, Jane - EMMA
Austen, Jane - MANSFIELD PARK
Austen, Jane - NORTHANGER ABBEY
Austen, Jane - PERSUASION
Austen, Jane - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Austen, Jane - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Authors, Various - LETTERS OF ABELARD AND HELOISE
Authors, Various - SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
Autori Vari - THE WORLD ENGLISH BIBLE
Bacon, Francis - THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING
Balzac, Honore de - EUGENIE GRANDET
Balzac, Honore de - FATHER GORIOT
Baroness Orczy - THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
Barrie, J. M. - PETER AND WENDY
Barrie, James M. - PETER PAN
Bierce, Ambrose - THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY
Blake, William - SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE
Boccaccio, Giovanni - DECAMERONE
Brent, Linda - INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL
Bronte, Charlotte - JANE EYRE
Bronte, Charlotte - VILLETTE
Buchan, John - GREENMANTLE
Buchan, John - MR STANDFAST
Buchan, John - THE 39 STEPS
Bunyan, John - THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
Burckhardt, Jacob - THE CIVILIZATION OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
Burnett, Frances H. - A LITTLE PRINCESS
Burnett, Frances H. - LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY
Burnett, Frances H. - THE SECRET GARDEN
Butler, Samuel - EREWHON
Carlyle, Thomas - PAST AND PRESENT
Carlyle, Thomas - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Cellini, Benvenuto - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Cervantes - DON QUIXOTE
Chaucer, Geoffrey - THE CANTERBURY TALES
Chesterton, G. K. - A SHORT HISTORY OF ENGLAND
Chesterton, G. K. - THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE
Chesterton, G. K. - THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY
Chesterton, G. K. - THE WISDOM OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - TWELVE TYPES
Chesterton, G. K. - WHAT I SAW IN AMERICA
Chesterton, Gilbert K. - HERETICS
Chopin, Kate - AT FAULT
Chopin, Kate - BAYOU FOLK
Chopin, Kate - THE AWAKENING AND SELECTED SHORT STORIES
Clark Hall, John R. - A CONCISE ANGLOSAXON DICTIONARY
Clarkson, Thomas - AN ESSAY ON THE SLAVERY AND COMMERCE OF THE HUMAN SPECIES
Clausewitz, Carl von - ON WAR
Coleridge, Herbert - A DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST OR OLDEST WORDS IN THE ENGLISH
Coleridge, S. T. - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Coleridge, S. T. - HINTS TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE THEORY
Coleridge, S. T. - THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
Collins, Wilkie - THE MOONSTONE
Collodi - PINOCCHIO
Conan Doyle, Arthur - A STUDY IN SCARLET
Conan Doyle, Arthur - MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
Conrad, Joseph - HEART OF DARKNESS
Conrad, Joseph - LORD JIM
Conrad, Joseph - NOSTROMO
Conrad, Joseph - THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS
Conrad, Joseph - TYPHOON
Crane, Stephen - LAST WORDS
Crane, Stephen - MAGGIE
Crane, Stephen - THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
Crane, Stephen - WOUNDS IN THE RAIN
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: HELL
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PARADISE
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PURGATORY
Darwin, Charles - THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN
Darwin, Charles - THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
Defoe, Daniel - A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE PYRATES
Defoe, Daniel - A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR
Defoe, Daniel - CAPTAIN SINGLETON
Defoe, Daniel - MOLL FLANDERS
Defoe, Daniel - ROBINSON CRUSOE
Defoe, Daniel - THE COMPLETE ENGLISH TRADESMAN
Defoe, Daniel - THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE
Deledda, Grazia - AFTER THE DIVORCE
Dickens, Charles - A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Dickens, Charles - A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Dickens, Charles - BLEAK HOUSE
Dickens, Charles - DAVID COPPERFIELD
Dickens, Charles - DONBEY AND SON
Dickens, Charles - GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Dickens, Charles - HARD TIMES
Dickens, Charles - LETTERS VOLUME 1
Dickens, Charles - LITTLE DORRIT
Dickens, Charles - MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT
Dickens, Charles - NICHOLAS NICKLEBY
Dickens, Charles - OLIVER TWIST
Dickens, Charles - OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
Dickens, Charles - PICTURES FROM ITALY
Dickens, Charles - THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Dickens, Charles - THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
Dickens, Charles - THE PICKWICK PAPERS
Dickinson, Emily - POEMS
Dostoevsky, Fyodor - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
Du Maurier, George - TRILBY
Dumas, Alexandre - THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Dumas, Alexandre - THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
Dumas, Alexandre - THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Eliot, George - DANIEL DERONDA
Eliot, George - MIDDLEMARCH
Eliot, George - SILAS MARNER
Eliot, George - THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
Engels, Frederick - THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING-CLASS IN ENGLAND IN 1844
Equiano - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Esopo - FABLES
Fenimore Cooper, James - THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Fielding, Henry - TOM JONES
France, Anatole - THAIS
France, Anatole - THE GODS ARE ATHIRST
France, Anatole - THE LIFE OF JOAN OF ARC
France, Anatole - THE SEVEN WIVES OF BLUEBEARD
Frank Baum, L. - THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ
Frank Baum, L. - THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
Franklin, Benjamin - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Frazer, James George - THE GOLDEN BOUGH
Freud, Sigmund - DREAM PSYCHOLOGY
Galsworthy, John - COMPLETE PLAYS
Galsworthy, John - STRIFE
Galsworthy, John - STUDIES AND ESSAYS
Galsworthy, John - THE FIRST AND THE LAST
Galsworthy, John - THE FORSYTE SAGA
Galsworthy, John - THE LITTLE MAN
Galsworthy, John - THE SILVER BOX
Galsworthy, John - THE SKIN GAME
Gaskell, Elizabeth - CRANFORD
Gaskell, Elizabeth - MARY BARTON
Gaskell, Elizabeth - NORTH AND SOUTH
Gaskell, Elizabeth - THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE
Gay, John - THE BEGGAR'S OPERA
Gentile, Maria - THE ITALIAN COOK BOOK
Gilbert and Sullivan - PLAYS
Goethe - FAUST
Gogol - DEAD SOULS
Goldsmith, Oliver - SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
Goldsmith, Oliver - THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
Grahame, Kenneth - THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
Grimm, Brothers - FAIRY TALES
Harding, A. R. - GINSENG AND OTHER MEDICINAL PLANTS
Hardy, Thomas - A CHANGED MAN AND OTHER TALES
Hardy, Thomas - FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Hardy, Thomas - JUDE THE OBSCURE
Hardy, Thomas - TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
Hardy, Thomas - THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE
Hartley, Cecil B. - THE GENTLEMEN'S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - LITTLE MASTERPIECES
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - THE SCARLET LETTER
Henry VIII - LOVE LETTERS TO ANNE BOLEYN
Henry, O. - CABBAGES AND KINGS
Henry, O. - SIXES AND SEVENS
Henry, O. - THE FOUR MILLION
Henry, O. - THE TRIMMED LAMP
Henry, O. - WHIRLIGIGS
Hindman Miller, Gustavus - TEN THOUSAND DREAMS INTERPRETED
Hobbes, Thomas - LEVIATHAN
Homer - THE ILIAD
Homer - THE ODYSSEY
Hornaday, William T. - THE EXTERMINATION OF THE AMERICAN BISON
Hume, David - A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE
Hume, David - AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
Hume, David - DIALOGUES CONCERNING NATURAL RELIGION
Ibsen, Henrik - A DOLL'S HOUSE
Ibsen, Henrik - AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
Ibsen, Henrik - GHOSTS
Ibsen, Henrik - HEDDA GABLER
Ibsen, Henrik - JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN
Ibsen, Henrik - ROSMERHOLM
Ibsen, Henrik - THE LADY FROM THE SEA
Ibsen, Henrik - THE MASTER BUILDER
Ibsen, Henrik - WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN
Irving, Washington - THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
James, Henry - ITALIAN HOURS
James, Henry - THE ASPERN PAPERS
James, Henry - THE BOSTONIANS
James, Henry - THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
James, Henry - THE TURN OF THE SCREW
James, Henry - WASHINGTON SQUARE
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN IN A BOAT
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL
Jevons, Stanley - POLITICAL ECONOMY
Johnson, Samuel - A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE
Jonson, Ben - THE ALCHEMIST
Jonson, Ben - VOLPONE
Joyce, James - A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
Joyce, James - CHAMBER MUSIC
Joyce, James - DUBLINERS
Joyce, James - ULYSSES
Keats, John - ENDYMION
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1817
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1820
King James - THE BIBLE
Kipling, Rudyard - CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
Kipling, Rudyard - INDIAN TALES
Kipling, Rudyard - JUST SO STORIES
Kipling, Rudyard - KIM
Kipling, Rudyard - THE JUNGLE BOOK
Kipling, Rudyard - THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
Kipling, Rudyard - THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK
Lawrence, D. H - THE RAINBOW
Lawrence, D. H - THE WHITE PEACOCK
Lawrence, D. H - TWILIGHT IN ITALY
Lawrence, D. H. - AARON'S ROD
Lawrence, D. H. - SONS AND LOVERS
Lawrence, D. H. - THE LOST GIRL
Lawrence, D. H. - WOMEN IN LOVE
Lear, Edward - BOOK OF NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - LAUGHABLE LYRICS
Lear, Edward - MORE NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - NONSENSE SONG
Leblanc, Maurice - ARSENE LUPIN VS SHERLOCK HOLMES
Leblanc, Maurice - THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE CONFESSIONS OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE HOLLOW NEEDLE
Leblanc, Maurice - THE RETURN OF ARSENE LUPIN
Lehmann, Lilli - HOW TO SING
Leroux, Gaston - THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER
Leroux, Gaston - THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM
Leroux, Gaston - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
London, Jack - MARTIN EDEN
London, Jack - THE CALL OF THE WILD
London, Jack - WHITE FANG
Machiavelli, Nicolo' - THE PRINCE
Malthus, Thomas - PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION
Mansfield, Katherine - THE GARDEN PARTY AND OTHER STORIES
Marlowe, Christopher - THE JEW OF MALTA
Marryat, Captain - THE CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST
Maupassant, Guy De - BEL AMI
Melville, Hermann - MOBY DICK
Melville, Hermann - TYPEE
Mill, John Stuart - PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY
Milton, John - PARADISE LOST
Mitra, S. M. - HINDU TALES FROM THE SANSKRIT
Montaigne, Michel de - ESSAYS
Montgomery, Lucy Maud - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
More, Thomas - UTOPIA
Nesbit, E. - FIVE CHILDREN AND IT
Nesbit, E. - THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET
Nesbit, E. - THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
Nesbit, E. - THE STORY OF THE AMULET
Newton, Isaac - OPTICKS
Nietsche, Friedrich - BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
Nietsche, Friedrich - THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
Nightingale, Florence - NOTES ON NURSING
Owen, Wilfred - POEMS
Ozaki, Yei Theodora - JAPANESE FAIRY TALES
Pascal, Blaise - PENSEES
Pellico, Silvio - MY TEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT
Perrault, Charles - FAIRY TALES
Pirandello, Luigi - THREE PLAYS
Plato - THE REPUBLIC
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 1
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 2
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 3
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 4
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 5
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
Potter, Beatrix - THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
Proust, Marcel - SWANN'S WAY
Radcliffe, Ann - A SICILIAN ROMANCE
Ricardo, David - ON THE PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY AND TAXATION
Richardson, Samuel - PAMELA
Rider Haggard, H. - ALLAN QUATERMAIN
Rider Haggard, H. - KING SOLOMON'S MINES
Rousseau, J. J. - THE ORIGIN AND FOUNDATION OF INEQUALITY AMONG MANKIND
Ruskin, John - THE SEVEN LAMPS OF ARCHITECTURE
Schiller, Friedrich - THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
Schiller, Friedrich - THE PICCOLOMINI
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE ART OF CONTROVERSY
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE WISDOM OF LIFE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Scott, Walter - IVANHOE
Scott, Walter - QUENTIN DURWARD
Scott, Walter - ROB ROY
Scott, Walter - THE BRIDE OF LAMMERMOOR
Scott, Walter - WAVERLEY
Sedgwick, Anne Douglas - THE THIRD WINDOW
Sewell, Anna - BLACK BEAUTY
Shakespeare, William - COMPLETE WORKS
Shakespeare, William - HAMLET
Shakespeare, William - OTHELLO
Shakespeare, William - ROMEO AND JULIET
Shelley, Mary - FRANKENSTEIN
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - A DEFENCE OF POETRY AND OTHER ESSAYS
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Sheridan, Richard B. - THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL
Sienkiewicz, Henryk - QUO VADIS
Smith, Adam - THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
Smollett, Tobias - TRAVELS THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY
Spencer, Herbert - ESSAYS ON EDUCATION AND KINDRED SUBJECTS
Spyri, Johanna - HEIDI
Sterne, Laurence - A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
Sterne, Laurence - TRISTRAM SHANDY
Stevenson, Robert Louis - A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES
Stevenson, Robert Louis - ESSAYS IN THE ART OF WRITING
Stevenson, Robert Louis - KIDNAPPED
Stevenson, Robert Louis - NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE BLACK ARROW
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
Stevenson, Robert Louis - TREASURE ISLAND
Stoker, Bram - DRACULA
Strindberg, August - LUCKY PEHR
Strindberg, August - MASTER OLOF
Strindberg, August - THE RED ROOM
Strindberg, August - THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
Strindberg, August - THERE ARE CRIMES AND CRIMES
Swift, Jonathan - A MODEST PROPOSAL
Swift, Jonathan - A TALE OF A TUB
Swift, Jonathan - GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
Swift, Jonathan - THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS AND OTHER SHORT PIECES
Tagore, Rabindranath - FRUIT GATHERING
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE GARDENER
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE HUNGRY STONES AND OTHER STORIES
Thackeray, William - BARRY LYNDON
Thackeray, William - VANITY FAIR
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE BOOK OF SNOBS
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE ROSE AND THE RING
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE VIRGINIANS
Thoreau, Henry David - WALDEN
Tolstoi, Leo - A LETTER TO A HINDU
Tolstoy, Lev - ANNA KARENINA
Tolstoy, Lev - WAR AND PEACE
Trollope, Anthony - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Trollope, Anthony - BARCHESTER TOWERS
Trollope, Anthony - FRAMLEY PARSONAGE
Trollope, Anthony - THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS
Trollope, Anthony - THE MAN WHO KEPT HIS MONEY IN A BOX
Trollope, Anthony - THE WARDEN
Trollope, Anthony - THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
Twain, Mark - LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI
Twain, Mark - SPEECHES
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
Twain, Mark - THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
Vari, Autori - THE MAGNA CARTA
Verga, Giovanni - SICILIAN STORIES
Verne, Jules - 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
Verne, Jules - A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
Verne, Jules - ALL AROUND THE MOON
Verne, Jules - AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Verne, Jules - FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON
Verne, Jules - FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON
Verne, Jules - MICHAEL STROGOFF
Verne, Jules - THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
Voltaire - PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY
Vyasa - MAHABHARATA
Wallace, Edgar - SANDERS OF THE RIVER
Wallace, Edgar - THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
Wallace, Lew - BEN HUR
Webster, Jean - DADDY LONG LEGS
Wedekind, Franz - THE AWAKENING OF SPRING
Wells, H. G. - KIPPS
Wells, H. G. - THE INVISIBLE MAN
Wells, H. G. - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU
Wells, H. G. - THE STOLEN BACILLUS AND OTHER INCIDENTS
Wells, H. G. - THE TIME MACHINE
Wells, H. G. - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
Wells, H. G. - WHAT IS COMING
Wharton, Edith - THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
White, Andrew Dickson - FIAT MONEY INFLATION IN FRANCE
Wilde, Oscar - A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Wilde, Oscar - AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Wilde, Oscar - DE PROFUNDIS
Wilde, Oscar - LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Wilde, Oscar - SALOME
Wilde, Oscar - SELECTED POEMS
Wilde, Oscar - THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL
Wilde, Oscar - THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
Wilde, Oscar - THE HAPPY PRINCE AND OTHER TALES
Wilde, Oscar - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Wilde, Oscar - THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY
Wilde, Oscar - THE SOUL OF MAN
Wilson, Epiphanius - SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
Wollstonecraft, Mary - A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
Woolf, Virgina - NIGHT AND DAY
Woolf, Virgina - THE VOYAGE OUT
Woolf, Virginia - JACOB'S ROOM
Woolf, Virginia - MONDAY OR TUESDAY
Wordsworth, William - POEMS
Wordsworth, William - PROSE WORKS
Zola, Emile - THERESE RAQUIN
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ISTRUZIONI D'USO DETTAGLIATE
JUDE THE OBSCURE
by Thomas Hardy
PART FIRST - At Marygreen
PART SECOND - At Christminster
PART THIRD - At Melchester
PART FOURTH - At Shaston
PART FIFTH - At Aldbrickham and Elsewhere
PART SIXTH - At Christminster Again
Part First - AT MARYGREEN
"Yea, many there be that have run out of their wits for
women, and become servants for their sakes. Many also
have perished, have erred, and sinned, for women.... O
ye men, how can it be but women should be strong, seeing
they do thus?"--ESDRAS.
The schoolmaster was leaving the village, and everybody seemed sorry.
The miller at Cresscombe lent him the small white tilted cart and
horse to carry his goods to the city of his destination, about twenty
miles off, such a vehicle proving of quite sufficient size for the
departing teacher's effects. For the schoolhouse had been partly
furnished by the managers, and the only cumbersome article possessed
by the master, in addition to the packing-case of books, was a
cottage piano that he had bought at an auction during the year in
which he thought of learning instrumental music. But the enthusiasm
having waned he had never acquired any skill in playing, and the
purchased article had been a perpetual trouble to him ever since in
The rector had gone away for the day, being a man who disliked the
sight of changes. He did not mean to return till the evening, when
the new school-teacher would have arrived and settled in, and
everything would be smooth again.
The blacksmith, the farm bailiff, and the schoolmaster himself were
standing in perplexed attitudes in the parlour before the instrument.
The master had remarked that even if he got it into the cart he
should not know what to do with it on his arrival at Christminster,
the city he was bound for, since he was only going into temporary
lodgings just at first.
A little boy of eleven, who had been thoughtfully assisting in the
packing, joined the group of men, and as they rubbed their chins he
spoke up, blushing at the sound of his own voice: "Aunt have got a
great fuel-house, and it could be put there, perhaps, till you've
found a place to settle in, sir."
"A proper good notion," said the blacksmith.
It was decided that a deputation should wait on the boy's aunt--an
old maiden resident--and ask her if she would house the piano till
Mr. Phillotson should send for it. The smith and the bailiff started
to see about the practicability of the suggested shelter, and the boy
and the schoolmaster were left standing alone.
"Sorry I am going, Jude?" asked the latter kindly.
Tears rose into the boy's eyes, for he was not among the regular day
scholars, who came unromantically close to the schoolmaster's life,
but one who had attended the night school only during the present
teacher's term of office. The regular scholars, if the truth must
be told, stood at the present moment afar off, like certain historic
disciples, indisposed to any enthusiastic volunteering of aid.
The boy awkwardly opened the book he held in his hand, which Mr.
Phillotson had bestowed on him as a parting gift, and admitted that
he was sorry.
"So am I," said Mr. Phillotson.
"Why do you go, sir?" asked the boy.
"Ah--that would be a long story. You wouldn't understand my reasons,
Jude. You will, perhaps, when you are older."
"I think I should now, sir."
"Well--don't speak of this everywhere. You know what a university
is, and a university degree? It is the necessary hallmark of a man
who wants to do anything in teaching. My scheme, or dream, is to be
a university graduate, and then to be ordained. By going to live at
Christminster, or near it, I shall be at headquarters, so to speak,
and if my scheme is practicable at all, I consider that being on the
spot will afford me a better chance of carrying it out than I should
The smith and his companion returned. Old Miss Fawley's fuel-house
was dry, and eminently practicable; and she seemed willing to give
the instrument standing-room there. It was accordingly left in
the school till the evening, when more hands would be available for
removing it; and the schoolmaster gave a final glance round.
The boy Jude assisted in loading some small articles, and at nine
o'clock Mr. Phillotson mounted beside his box of books and other
"impedimenta", and bade his friends good-bye.
"I shan't forget you, Jude," he said, smiling, as the cart moved off.
"Be a good boy, remember; and be kind to animals and birds, and read
all you can. And if ever you come to Christminster remember you hunt
me out for old acquaintance' sake."
The cart creaked across the green, and disappeared round the corner
by the rectory-house. The boy returned to the draw-well at the edge
of the greensward, where he had left his buckets when he went to help
his patron and teacher in the loading. There was a quiver in his lip
now and after opening the well-cover to begin lowering the bucket he
paused and leant with his forehead and arms against the framework,
his face wearing the fixity of a thoughtful child's who has felt the
pricks of life somewhat before his time. The well into which he was
looking was as ancient as the village itself, and from his present
position appeared as a long circular perspective ending in a shining
disk of quivering water at a distance of a hundred feet down.
There was a lining of green moss near the top, and nearer still the
He said to himself, in the melodramatic tones of a whimsical boy,
that the schoolmaster had drawn at that well scores of times on a
morning like this, and would never draw there any more. "I've seen
him look down into it, when he was tired with his drawing, just as I
do now, and when he rested a bit before carrying the buckets home!
But he was too clever to bide here any longer--a small sleepy place
A tear rolled from his eye into the depths of the well. The morning
was a little foggy, and the boy's breathing unfurled itself as
a thicker fog upon the still and heavy air. His thoughts were
interrupted by a sudden outcry:
"Bring on that water, will ye, you idle young harlican!"
It came from an old woman who had emerged from her door towards the
garden gate of a green-thatched cottage not far off. The boy quickly
waved a signal of assent, drew the water with what was a great effort
for one of his stature, landed and emptied the big bucket into his
own pair of smaller ones, and pausing a moment for breath, started
with them across the patch of clammy greensward whereon the well
stood--nearly in the centre of the little village, or rather hamlet
It was as old-fashioned as it was small, and it rested in the lap of
an undulating upland adjoining the North Wessex downs. Old as it
was, however, the well-shaft was probably the only relic of the local
history that remained absolutely unchanged. Many of the thatched
and dormered dwelling-houses had been pulled down of late years, and
many trees felled on the green. Above all, the original church,
hump-backed, wood-turreted, and quaintly hipped, had been taken
down, and either cracked up into heaps of road-metal in the lane, or
utilized as pig-sty walls, garden seats, guard-stones to fences, and
rockeries in the flower-beds of the neighbourhood. In place of it
a tall new building of modern Gothic design, unfamiliar to English
eyes, had been erected on a new piece of ground by a certain
obliterator of historic records who had run down from London and back
in a day. The site whereon so long had stood the ancient temple to
the Christian divinities was not even recorded on the green and level
grass-plot that had immemorially been the churchyard, the obliterated
graves being commemorated by eighteen-penny cast-iron crosses
warranted to last five years.
Slender as was Jude Fawley's frame he bore the two brimming
house-buckets of water to the cottage without resting. Over the door
was a little rectangular piece of blue board, on which was painted
in yellow letters, "Drusilla Fawley, Baker." Within the little lead
panes of the window--this being one of the few old houses left--were
five bottles of sweets, and three buns on a plate of the willow
While emptying the buckets at the back of the house he could hear an
animated conversation in progress within-doors between his great-aunt,
the Drusilla of the sign-board, and some other villagers. Having
seen the school-master depart, they were summing up particulars of
the event, and indulging in predictions of his future.
"And who's he?" asked one, comparatively a stranger, when the boy
"Well ye med ask it, Mrs. Williams. He's my great-nephew--come since
you was last this way." The old inhabitant who answered was a tall,
gaunt woman, who spoke tragically on the most trivial subject, and
gave a phrase of her conversation to each auditor in turn. "He come
from Mellstock, down in South Wessex, about a year ago--worse luck
for 'n, Belinda" (turning to the right) "where his father was living,
and was took wi' the shakings for death, and died in two days, as you
know, Caroline" (turning to the left). "It would ha' been a blessing
if Goddy-mighty had took thee too, wi' thy mother and father, poor
useless boy! But I've got him here to stay with me till I can see
what's to be done with un, though I am obliged to let him earn any
penny he can. Just now he's a-scaring of birds for Farmer Troutham.
It keeps him out of mischty. Why do ye turn away, Jude?" she
continued, as the boy, feeling the impact of their glances like slaps
upon his face, moved aside.
The local washerwoman replied that it was perhaps a very good plan of
Miss or Mrs. Fawley's (as they called her indifferently) to have him
with her--"to kip 'ee company in your loneliness, fetch water, shet
the winder-shetters o' nights, and help in the bit o' baking."
Miss Fawley doubted it.... "Why didn't ye get the schoolmaster to
take 'ee to Christminster wi' un, and make a scholar of 'ee," she
continued, in frowning pleasantry. "I'm sure he couldn't ha' took a
better one. The boy is crazy for books, that he is. It runs in our
family rather. His cousin Sue is just the same--so I've heard; but
I have not seen the child for years, though she was born in this
place, within these four walls, as it happened. My niece and her
husband, after they were married, didn' get a house of their own for
some year or more; and then they only had one till--Well, I won't go
into that. Jude, my child, don't you ever marry. 'Tisn't for the
Fawleys to take that step any more. She, their only one, was like
a child o' my own, Belinda, till the split come! Ah, that a little
maid should know such changes!"
Jude, finding the general attention again centering on himself, went
out to the bakehouse, where he ate the cake provided for his
breakfast. The end of his spare time had now arrived, and emerging
from the garden by getting over the hedge at the back he pursued a
path northward, till he came to a wide and lonely depression in the
general level of the upland, which was sown as a corn-field. This
vast concave was the scene of his labours for Mr Troutham the farmer,
and he descended into the midst of it.
The brown surface of the field went right up towards the sky all
round, where it was lost by degrees in the mist that shut out the
actual verge and accentuated the solitude. The only marks on the
uniformity of the scene were a rick of last year's produce standing
in the midst of the arable, the rooks that rose at his approach, and
the path athwart the fallow by which he had come, trodden now by he
hardly knew whom, though once by many of his own dead family.
"How ugly it is here!" he murmured.
The fresh harrow-lines seemed to stretch like the channellings in
a piece of new corduroy, lending a meanly utilitarian air to the
expanse, taking away its gradations, and depriving it of all history
beyond that of the few recent months, though to every clod and stone
there really attached associations enough and to spare--echoes of
songs from ancient harvest-days, of spoken words, and of sturdy
deeds. Every inch of ground had been the site, first or last,
of energy, gaiety, horse-play, bickerings, weariness. Groups of
gleaners had squatted in the sun on every square yard. Love-matches
that had populated the adjoining hamlet had been made up there
between reaping and carrying. Under the hedge which divided the
field from a distant plantation girls had given themselves to lovers
who would not turn their heads to look at them by the next harvest;
and in that ancient cornfield many a man had made love-promises to
a woman at whose voice he had trembled by the next seed-time after
fulfilling them in the church adjoining. But this neither Jude nor
the rooks around him considered. For them it was a lonely place,
possessing, in the one view, only the quality of a work-ground, and
in the other that of a granary good to feed in.
The boy stood under the rick before mentioned, and every few seconds
used his clacker or rattle briskly. At each clack the rooks left off
pecking, and rose and went away on their leisurely wings, burnished
like tassets of mail, afterwards wheeling back and regarding him
warily, and descending to feed at a more respectful distance.
He sounded the clacker till his arm ached, and at length his heart
grew sympathetic with the birds' thwarted desires. They seemed, like
himself, to be living in a world which did not want them. Why should
he frighten them away? They took upon more and more the aspect of
gentle friends and pensioners--the only friends he could claim as
being in the least degree interested in him, for his aunt had often
told him that she was not. He ceased his rattling, and they alighted
"Poor little dears!" said Jude, aloud. "You SHALL have some dinner--
you shall. There is enough for us all. Farmer Troutham can afford
to let you have some. Eat, then my dear little birdies, and make a
They stayed and ate, inky spots on the nut-brown soil, and Jude
enjoyed their appetite. A magic thread of fellow-feeling united his
own life with theirs. Puny and sorry as those lives were, they much
resembled his own.
His clacker he had by this time thrown away from him, as being a mean
and sordid instrument, offensive both to the birds and to himself
as their friend. All at once he became conscious of a smart blow
upon his buttocks, followed by a loud clack, which announced to his
surprised senses that the clacker had been the instrument of offence
used. The birds and Jude started up simultaneously, and the dazed
eyes of the latter beheld the farmer in person, the great Troutham
himself, his red face glaring down upon Jude's cowering frame, the
clacker swinging in his hand.
"So it's 'Eat my dear birdies,' is it, young man? 'Eat, dear
birdies,' indeed! I'll tickle your breeches, and see if you say,
'Eat, dear birdies,' again in a hurry! And you've been idling at the
schoolmaster's too, instead of coming here, ha'n't ye, hey? That's
how you earn your sixpence a day for keeping the rooks off my corn!"
Whilst saluting Jude's ears with this impassioned rhetoric, Troutham
had seized his left hand with his own left, and swinging his slim
frame round him at arm's-length, again struck Jude on the hind parts
with the flat side of Jude's own rattle, till the field echoed with
the blows, which were delivered once or twice at each revolution.
"Don't 'ee, sir--please don't 'ee!" cried the whirling child, as
helpless under the centrifugal tendency of his person as a hooked
fish swinging to land, and beholding the hill, the rick, the
plantation, the path, and the rooks going round and round him in an
amazing circular race. "I--I sir--only meant that--there was a good
crop in the ground--I saw 'em sow it--and the rooks could have a
little bit for dinner--and you wouldn't miss it, sir--and Mr.
Phillotson said I was to be kind to 'em--oh, oh, oh!"
This truthful explanation seemed to exasperate the farmer even more
than if Jude had stoutly denied saying anything at all, and he still
smacked the whirling urchin, the clacks of the instrument continuing
to resound all across the field and as far as the ears of distant
workers--who gathered thereupon that Jude was pursuing his business
of clacking with great assiduity--and echoing from the brand-new
church tower just behind the mist, towards the building of which
structure the farmer had largely subscribed, to testify his love for
God and man.
Presently Troutham grew tired of his punitive task, and depositing
the quivering boy on his legs, took a sixpence from his pocket and
gave it him in payment for his day's work, telling him to go home and
never let him see him in one of those fields again.
Jude leaped out of arm's reach, and walked along the trackway
weeping--not from the pain, though that was keen enough; not from the
perception of the flaw in the terrestrial scheme, by which what was
good for God's birds was bad for God's gardener; but with the awful
sense that he had wholly disgraced himself before he had been a year
in the parish, and hence might be a burden to his great-aunt for
With this shadow on his mind he did not care to show himself in the
village, and went homeward by a roundabout track behind a high hedge
and across a pasture. Here he beheld scores of coupled earthworms
lying half their length on the surface of the damp ground, as
they always did in such weather at that time of the year. It was
impossible to advance in regular steps without crushing some of them
at each tread.
Though Farmer Troutham had just hurt him, he was a boy who could not
himself bear to hurt anything. He had never brought home a nest of
young birds without lying awake in misery half the night after, and
often reinstating them and the nest in their original place the next
morning. He could scarcely bear to see trees cut down or lopped,
from a fancy that it hurt them; and late pruning, when the sap was up
and the tree bled profusely, had been a positive grief to him in his
infancy. This weakness of character, as it may be called, suggested
that he was the sort of man who was born to ache a good deal before
the fall of the curtain upon his unnecessary life should signify that
all was well with him again. He carefully picked his way on tiptoe
among the earthworms, without killing a single one.
On entering the cottage he found his aunt selling a penny loaf to a
little girl, and when the customer was gone she said, "Well, how do
you come to be back here in the middle of the morning like this?"
"I'm turned away."
"Mr. Troutham have turned me away because I let the rooks have a few
peckings of corn. And there's my wages--the last I shall ever hae!"
He threw the sixpence tragically on the table.
"Ah!" said his aunt, suspending her breath. And she opened upon him
a lecture on how she would now have him all the spring upon her hands
doing nothing. "If you can't skeer birds, what can ye do? There!
don't ye look so deedy! Farmer Troutham is not so much better than
myself, come to that. But 'tis as Job said, 'Now they that are
younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have
disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.' His father was my
father's journeyman, anyhow, and I must have been a fool to let 'ee
go to work for 'n, which I shouldn't ha' done but to keep 'ee out of
More angry with Jude for demeaning her by coming there than for
dereliction of duty, she rated him primarily from that point of view,
and only secondarily from a moral one.
"Not that you should have let the birds eat what Farmer Troutham
planted. Of course you was wrong in that. Jude, Jude, why didstn't
go off with that schoolmaster of thine to Christminster or somewhere?
But, oh no--poor or'nary child--there never was any sprawl on thy
side of the family, and never will be!"
"Where is this beautiful city, Aunt--this place where Mr. Phillotson
is gone to?" asked the boy, after meditating in silence.
"Lord! you ought to know where the city of Christminster is. Near a
score of miles from here. It is a place much too good for you ever
to have much to do with, poor boy, I'm a-thinking."
"And will Mr. Phillotson always be there?"
"How can I tell?"
"Could I go to see him?"
"Lord, no! You didn't grow up hereabout, or you wouldn't ask such as
that. We've never had anything to do with folk in Christminster, nor
folk in Christminster with we."
Jude went out, and, feeling more than ever his existence to be an
undemanded one, he lay down upon his back on a heap of litter near
the pig-sty. The fog had by this time become more translucent, and
the position of the sun could be seen through it. He pulled his
straw hat over his face, and peered through the interstices of the
plaiting at the white brightness, vaguely reflecting. Growing up
brought responsibilities, he found. Events did not rhyme quite as
he had thought. Nature's logic was too horrid for him to care for.
That mercy towards one set of creatures was cruelty towards another
sickened his sense of harmony. As you got older, and felt yourself
to be at the centre of your time, and not at a point in its
circumference, as you had felt when you were little, you were seized
with a sort of shuddering, he perceived. All around you there seemed
to be something glaring, garish, rattling, and the noises and glares
hit upon the little cell called your life, and shook it, and warped
If he could only prevent himself growing up! He did not want to be a
Then, like the natural boy, he forgot his despondency, and sprang up.
During the remainder of the morning he helped his aunt, and in the
afternoon, when there was nothing more to be done, he went into the
village. Here he asked a man whereabouts Christminster lay.
"Christminster? Oh, well, out by there yonder; though I've never bin
there--not I. I've never had any business at such a place."
The man pointed north-eastward, in the very direction where lay that
field in which Jude had so disgraced himself. There was something
unpleasant about the coincidence for the moment, but the fearsomeness
of this fact rather increased his curiosity about the city. The
farmer had said he was never to be seen in that field again; yet
Christminster lay across it, and the path was a public one. So,
stealing out of the hamlet, he descended into the same hollow which
had witnessed his punishment in the morning, never swerving an inch
from the path, and climbing up the long and tedious ascent on the
other side till the track joined the highway by a little clump of
trees. Here the ploughed land ended, and all before him was bleak
Not a soul was visible on the hedgeless highway, or on either side of
it, and the white road seemed to ascend and diminish till it joined
the sky. At the very top it was crossed at right angles by a green
"ridgeway"--the Ickneild Street and original Roman road through the
district. This ancient track ran east and west for many miles, and
down almost to within living memory had been used for driving flocks
and herds to fairs and markets. But it was now neglected and
The boy had never before strayed so far north as this from the
nestling hamlet in which he had been deposited by the carrier from a
railway station southward, one dark evening some few months earlier,
and till now he had had no suspicion that such a wide, flat,
low-lying country lay so near at hand, under the very verge of his
upland world. The whole northern semicircle between east and west,
to a distance of forty or fifty miles, spread itself before him; a
bluer, moister atmosphere, evidently, than that he breathed up here.
Not far from the road stood a weather-beaten old barn of reddish-grey
brick and tile. It was known as the Brown House by the people of the
locality. He was about to pass it when he perceived a ladder against
the eaves; and the reflection that the higher he got, the further he
could see, led Jude to stand and regard it. On the slope of the roof
two men were repairing the tiling. He turned into the ridgeway and
drew towards the barn.
When he had wistfully watched the workmen for some time he took
courage, and ascended the ladder till he stood beside them.
"Well, my lad, and what may you want up here?"
"I wanted to know where the city of Christminster is, if you please."
"Christminster is out across there, by that clump. You can see
it--at least you can on a clear day. Ah, no, you can't now."
The other tiler, glad of any kind of diversion from the monotony of
his labour, had also turned to look towards the quarter designated.
"You can't often see it in weather like this," he said. "The time
I've noticed it is when the sun is going down in a blaze of flame,
and it looks like--I don't know what."
"The heavenly Jerusalem," suggested the serious urchin.
"Ay--though I should never ha' thought of it myself.... But I can't
see no Christminster to-day."
The boy strained his eyes also; yet neither could he see the far-off
city. He descended from the barn, and abandoning Christminster with
the versatility of his age he walked along the ridge-track, looking
for any natural objects of interest that might lie in the banks
thereabout. When he repassed the barn to go back to Marygreen he
observed that the ladder was still in its place, but that the men had
finished their day's work and gone away.
It was waning towards evening; there was still a faint mist, but it
had cleared a little except in the damper tracts of subjacent country
and along the river-courses. He thought again of Christminster, and
wished, since he had come two or three miles from his aunt's house
on purpose, that he could have seen for once this attractive city of
which he had been told. But even if he waited here it was hardly
likely that the air would clear before night. Yet he was loth to
leave the spot, for the northern expanse became lost to view on
retreating towards the village only a few hundred yards.
He ascended the ladder to have one more look at the point the men
had designated, and perched himself on the highest rung, overlying
the tiles. He might not be able to come so far as this for many
days. Perhaps if he prayed, the wish to see Christminster might be
forwarded. People said that, if you prayed, things sometimes came to
you, even though they sometimes did not. He had read in a tract that
a man who had begun to build a church, and had no money to finish
it, knelt down and prayed, and the money came in by the next post.
Another man tried the same experiment, and the money did not come;
but he found afterwards that the breeches he knelt in were made by
a wicked Jew. This was not discouraging, and turning on the ladder
Jude knelt on the third rung, where, resting against those above it,
he prayed that the mist might rise.
He then seated himself again, and waited. In the course of ten or
fifteen minutes the thinning mist dissolved altogether from the
northern horizon, as it had already done elsewhere, and about a
quarter of an hour before the time of sunset the westward clouds
parted, the sun's position being partially uncovered, and the beams
streaming out in visible lines between two bars of slaty cloud. The
boy immediately looked back in the old direction.
Some way within the limits of the stretch of landscape, points of
light like the topaz gleamed. The air increased in transparency with
the lapse of minutes, till the topaz points showed themselves to be
the vanes, windows, wet roof slates, and other shining spots upon the
spires, domes, freestone-work, and varied outlines that were faintly
revealed. It was Christminster, unquestionably; either directly
seen, or miraged in the peculiar atmosphere.
The spectator gazed on and on till the windows and vanes lost their
shine, going out almost suddenly like extinguished candles. The
vague city became veiled in mist. Turning to the west, he saw that
the sun had disappeared. The foreground of the scene had grown
funereally dark, and near objects put on the hues and shapes of
He anxiously descended the ladder, and started homewards at a run,
trying not to think of giants, Herne the Hunter, Apollyon lying in
wait for Christian, or of the captain with the bleeding hole in his
forehead and the corpses round him that remutinied every night on
board the bewitched ship. He knew that he had grown out of belief in
these horrors, yet he was glad when he saw the church tower and the
lights in the cottage windows, even though this was not the home of
his birth, and his great-aunt did not care much about him.
Inside and round about that old woman's "shop" window, with its
twenty-four little panes set in lead-work, the glass of some of
them oxidized with age, so that you could hardly see the poor penny
articles exhibited within, and forming part of a stock which a strong
man could have carried, Jude had his outer being for some long
tideless time. But his dreams were as gigantic as his surroundings
Through the solid barrier of cold cretaceous upland to the northward
he was always beholding a gorgeous city--the fancied place he had
likened to the new Jerusalem, though there was perhaps more of the
painter's imagination and less of the diamond merchant's in his
dreams thereof than in those of the Apocalyptic writer. And the city
acquired a tangibility, a permanence, a hold on his life, mainly from
the one nucleus of fact that the man for whose knowledge and purposes
he had so much reverence was actually living there; not only so, but
living among the more thoughtful and mentally shining ones therein.
In sad wet seasons, though he knew it must rain at Christminster too,
he could hardly believe that it rained so drearily there. Whenever
he could get away from the confines of the hamlet for an hour or two,
which was not often, he would steal off to the Brown House on the
hill and strain his eyes persistently; sometimes to be rewarded by
the sight of a dome or spire, at other times by a little smoke, which
in his estimate had some of the mysticism of incense.
Then the day came when it suddenly occurred to him that if he
ascended to the point of view after dark, or possibly went a mile or
two further, he would see the night lights of the city. It would be
necessary to come back alone, but even that consideration did not
deter him, for he could throw a little manliness into his mood, no
The project was duly executed. It was not late when he arrived at
the place of outlook, only just after dusk, but a black north-east
sky, accompanied by a wind from the same quarter, made the occasion
dark enough. He was rewarded; but what he saw was not the lamps in
rows, as he had half expected. No individual light was visible, only
a halo or glow-fog over-arching the place against the black heavens
behind it, making the light and the city seem distant but a mile or
He set himself to wonder on the exact point in the glow where the
schoolmaster might be--he who never communicated with anybody at
Marygreen now; who was as if dead to them here. In the glow he
seemed to see Phillotson promenading at ease, like one of the forms
in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace.
He had heard that breezes travelled at the rate of ten miles an hour,
and the fact now came into his mind. He parted his lips as he faced
the north-east, and drew in the wind as if it were a sweet liquor.
"You," he said, addressing the breeze caressingly "were in
Christminster city between one and two hours ago, floating along the
streets, pulling round the weather-cocks, touching Mr. Phillotson's
face, being breathed by him; and now you are here, breathed by
me--you, the very same."
Suddenly there came along this wind something towards him--a message
from the place--from some soul residing there, it seemed. Surely it
was the sound of bells, the voice of the city, faint and musical,
calling to him, "We are happy here!"
He had become entirely lost to his bodily situation during this
mental leap, and only got back to it by a rough recalling. A few
yards below the brow of the hill on which he paused a team of horses
made its appearance, having reached the place by dint of half an
hour's serpentine progress from the bottom of the immense declivity.
They had a load of coals behind them--a fuel that could only be got
into the upland by this particular route. They were accompanied by a
carter, a second man, and a boy, who now kicked a large stone behind
one of the wheels, and allowed the panting animals to have a long
rest, while those in charge took a flagon off the load and indulged
in a drink round.
They were elderly men, and had genial voices. Jude addressed them,
inquiring if they had come from Christminster.
"Heaven forbid, with this load!" said they.
"The place I mean is that one yonder." He was getting so
romantically attached to Christminster that, like a young lover
alluding to his mistress, he felt bashful at mentioning its name
again. He pointed to the light in the sky--hardly perceptible to
their older eyes.
"Yes. There do seem a spot a bit brighter in the nor'-east than
elsewhere, though I shouldn't ha' noticed it myself, and no doubt it
med be Christminster."
Here a little book of tales which Jude had tucked up under his arm,
having brought them to read on his way hither before it grew dark,
slipped and fell into the road. The carter eyed him while he picked
it up and straightened the leaves.
"Ah, young man," he observed, "you'd have to get your head screwed on
t'other way before you could read what they read there."
"Why?" asked the boy.
"Oh, they never look at anything that folks like we can understand,"
the carter continued, by way of passing the time. "On'y foreign
tongues used in the days of the Tower of Babel, when no two families
spoke alike. They read that sort of thing as fast as a night-hawk
will whir. 'Tis all learning there--nothing but learning, except
religion. And that's learning too, for I never could understand it.
Yes, 'tis a serious-minded place. Not but there's wenches in the
streets o' nights... You know, I suppose, that they raise pa'sons
there like radishes in a bed? And though it do take--how many years,
Bob?--five years to turn a lirruping hobble-de-hoy chap into a solemn
preaching man with no corrupt passions, they'll do it, if it can be
done, and polish un off like the workmen they be, and turn un out wi'
a long face, and a long black coat and waistcoat, and a religious
collar and hat, same as they used to wear in the Scriptures, so that
his own mother wouldn't know un sometimes.... There, 'tis their
business, like anybody else's."
"But how should you know"
"Now don't you interrupt, my boy. Never interrupt your senyers.
Move the fore hoss aside, Bobby; here's som'at coming... You must
mind that I be a-talking of the college life. 'Em lives on a lofty
level; there's no gainsaying it, though I myself med not think much
of 'em. As we be here in our bodies on this high ground, so be they
in their minds--noble-minded men enough, no doubt--some on 'em--able
to earn hundreds by thinking out loud. And some on 'em be strong
young fellows that can earn a'most as much in silver cups. As for
music, there's beautiful music everywhere in Christminster. You med
be religious, or you med not, but you can't help striking in your
homely note with the rest. And there's a street in the place--the
main street--that ha'n't another like it in the world. I should
think I did know a little about Christminster!"
By this time the horses had recovered breath and bent to their
collars again. Jude, throwing a last adoring look at the distant
halo, turned and walked beside his remarkably well-informed friend,
who had no objection to telling him as they moved on more yet of
the city--its towers and halls and churches. The waggon turned
into a cross-road, whereupon Jude thanked the carter warmly for his
information, and said he only wished he could talk half as well about
Christminster as he.
"Well, 'tis oonly what has come in my way," said the carter
unboastfully. "I've never been there, no more than you; but I've
picked up the knowledge here and there, and you be welcome to it.
A-getting about the world as I do, and mixing with all classes of
society, one can't help hearing of things. A friend o' mine, that
used to clane the boots at the Crozier Hotel in Christminster when he
was in his prime, why, I knowed un as well as my own brother in his
Jude continued his walk homeward alone, pondering so deeply that
he forgot to feel timid. He suddenly grew older. It had been the
yearning of his heart to find something to anchor on, to cling
to--for some place which he could call admirable. Should he find
that place in this city if he could get there? Would it be a spot in
which, without fear of farmers, or hindrance, or ridicule, he could
watch and wait, and set himself to some mighty undertaking like the
men of old of whom he had heard? As the halo had been to his eyes
when gazing at it a quarter of an hour earlier, so was the spot
mentally to him as he pursued his dark way.
"It is a city of light," he said to himself.
"The tree of knowledge grows there," he added a few steps further on.
"It is a place that teachers of men spring from and go to."
"It is what you may call a castle, manned by scholarship and
After this figure he was silent a long while, till he added:
"It would just suit me."
Walking somewhat slowly by reason of his concentration, the boy--an
ancient man in some phases of thought, much younger than his years
in others--was overtaken by a light-footed pedestrian, whom,
notwithstanding the gloom, he could perceive to be wearing an
extraordinarily tall hat, a swallow-tailed coat, and a watch-chain
that danced madly and threw around scintillations of sky-light as
its owner swung along upon a pair of thin legs and noiseless boots.
Jude, beginning to feel lonely, endeavoured to keep up with him.
"Well, my man! I'm in a hurry, so you'll have to walk pretty fast
if you keep alongside of me. Do you know who I am?"
"Yes, I think. Physician Vilbert?"
"Ah--I'm known everywhere, I see! That comes of being a public
Vilbert was an itinerant quack-doctor, well known to the rustic
population, and absolutely unknown to anybody else, as he, indeed,
took care to be, to avoid inconvenient investigations. Cottagers
formed his only patients, and his Wessex-wide repute was among them
alone. His position was humbler and his field more obscure than
those of the quacks with capital and an organized system of
advertising. He was, in fact, a survival. The distances he
traversed on foot were enormous, and extended nearly the whole length
and breadth of Wessex. Jude had one day seen him selling a pot of
coloured lard to an old woman as a certain cure for a bad leg, the
woman arranging to pay a guinea, in instalments of a shilling a
fortnight, for the precious salve, which, according to the physician,
could only be obtained from a particular animal which grazed on
Mount Sinai, and was to be captured only at great risk to life and
limb. Jude, though he already had his doubts about this gentleman's
medicines, felt him to be unquestionably a travelled personage, and
one who might be a trustworthy source of information on matters not
"I s'pose you've been to Christminster, Physician?"
"I have--many times," replied the long thin man. "That's one of my
"It's a wonderful city for scholarship and religion?"
"You'd say so, my boy, if you'd seen it. Why, the very sons of the
old women who do the washing of the colleges can talk in Latin--not
good Latin, that I admit, as a critic: dog-Latin--cat-Latin, as we
used to call it in my undergraduate days."
"Well--that's more for the men who are in training for bishops, that
they may be able to read the New Testament in the original."
"I want to learn Latin and Greek myself."
"A lofty desire. You must get a grammar of each tongue."
"I mean to go to Christminster some day."
"Whenever you do, you say that Physician Vilbert is the only
proprietor of those celebrated pills that infallibly cure all
disorders of the alimentary system, as well as asthma and shortness
of breath. Two and threepence a box--specially licensed by the
"Can you get me the grammars if I promise to say it hereabout?"
"I'll sell you mine with pleasure--those I used as a student."
"Oh, thank you, sir!" said Jude gratefully, but in gasps, for the
amazing speed of the physician's walk kept him in a dog-trot which
was giving him a stitch in the side.
"I think you'd better drop behind, my young man. Now I'll tell you
what I'll do. I'll get you the grammars, and give you a first
lesson, if you'll remember, at every house in the village, to
recommend Physician Vilbert's golden ointment, life-drops, and female
"Where will you be with the grammars?"
"I shall be passing here this day fortnight at precisely this hour of
five-and-twenty minutes past seven. My movements are as truly timed
as those of the planets in their courses."
"Here I'll be to meet you," said Jude.
"With orders for my medicines?"
Jude then dropped behind, waited a few minutes to recover breath,
and went home with a consciousness of having struck a blow for
Through the intervening fortnight he ran about and smiled outwardly
at his inward thoughts, as if they were people meeting and nodding to
him--smiled with that singularly beautiful irradiation which is seen
to spread on young faces at the inception of some glorious idea, as
if a supernatural lamp were held inside their transparent natures,
giving rise to the flattering fancy that heaven lies about them then.
He honestly performed his promise to the man of many cures, in whom
he now sincerely believed, walking miles hither and thither among
the surrounding hamlets as the Physician's agent in advance. On the
evening appointed he stood motionless on the plateau, at the place
where he had parted from Vilbert, and there awaited his approach.
The road-physician was fairly up to time; but, to the surprise of
Jude on striking into his pace, which the pedestrian did not diminish
by a single unit of force, the latter seemed hardly to recognize his
young companion, though with the lapse of the fortnight the evenings
had grown light. Jude thought it might perhaps be owing to his
wearing another hat, and he saluted the physician with dignity.
"Well, my boy?" said the latter abstractedly.
"I've come," said Jude.
"You? who are you? Oh yes--to be sure! Got any orders, lad?"
"Yes." And Jude told him the names and addresses of the cottagers
who were willing to test the virtues of the world-renowned pills and
salve. The quack mentally registered these with great care.
"And the Latin and Greek grammars?" Jude's voice trembled with
"What about them?"
"You were to bring me yours, that you used before you took your
"Ah, yes, yes! Forgot all about it--all! So many lives depending on
my attention, you see, my man, that I can't give so much thought as I
would like to other things."
Jude controlled himself sufficiently long to make sure of the truth;
and he repeated, in a voice of dry misery, "You haven't brought 'em!"
"No. But you must get me some more orders from sick people, and I'll
bring the grammars next time."
Jude dropped behind. He was an unsophisticated boy, but the gift of
sudden insight which is sometimes vouchsafed to children showed him
all at once what shoddy humanity the quack was made of. There was to
be no intellectual light from this source. The leaves dropped from
his imaginary crown of laurel; he turned to a gate, leant against it,
and cried bitterly.
The disappointment was followed by an interval of blankness. He
might, perhaps, have obtained grammars from Alfredston, but to do
that required money, and a knowledge of what books to order; and
though physically comfortable, he was in such absolute dependence as
to be without a farthing of his own.
At this date Mr. Phillotson sent for his pianoforte, and it gave Jude
a lead. Why should he not write to the schoolmaster, and ask him to
be so kind as to get him the grammars in Christminster? He might
slip a letter inside the case of the instrument, and it would be
sure to reach the desired eyes. Why not ask him to send any old
second-hand copies, which would have the charm of being mellowed by
the university atmosphere?
To tell his aunt of his intention would be to defeat it. It was
necessary to act alone.
After a further consideration of a few days he did act, and on the
day of the piano's departure, which happened to be his next birthday,
clandestinely placed the letter inside the packing-case, directed to
his much-admired friend, being afraid to reveal the operation to his
aunt Drusilla, lest she should discover his motive, and compel him to
abandon his scheme.
The piano was despatched, and Jude waited days and weeks, calling
every morning at the cottage post office before his great-aunt was
stirring. At last a packet did indeed arrive at the village, and he
saw from the ends of it that it contained two thin books. He took it
away into a lonely place, and sat down on a felled elm to open it.
Ever since his first ecstasy or vision of Christminster and its
possibilities, Jude had meditated much and curiously on the probable
sort of process that was involved in turning the expressions of one
language into those of another. He concluded that a grammar of the
required tongue would contain, primarily, a rule, prescription, or
clue of the nature of a secret cipher, which, once known, would
enable him, by merely applying it, to change at will all words of his
own speech into those of the foreign one. His childish idea was, in
fact, a pushing to the extremity of mathematical precision what is
everywhere known as Grimm's Law--an aggrandizement of rough rules to
ideal completeness. Thus he assumed that the words of the required
language were always to be found somewhere latent in the words of the
given language by those who had the art to uncover them, such art
being furnished by the books aforesaid.
When, therefore, having noted that the packet bore the postmark of
Christminster, he cut the string, opened the volumes, and turned to
the Latin grammar, which chanced to come uppermost, he could scarcely
believe his eyes.
The book was an old one--thirty years old, soiled, scribbled
wantonly over with a strange name in every variety of enmity to the
letterpress, and marked at random with dates twenty years earlier
than his own day. But this was not the cause of Jude's amazement.
He learnt for the first time that there was no law of transmutation,
as in his innocence he had supposed (there was, in some degree, but
the grammarian did not recognize it), but that every word in both
Latin and Greek was to be individually committed to memory at the
cost of years of plodding.
Jude flung down the books, lay backward along the broad trunk of the
elm, and was an utterly miserable boy for the space of a quarter of
an hour. As he had often done before, he pulled his hat over his
face and watched the sun peering insidiously at him through the
interstices of the straw. This was Latin and Greek, then, was it
this grand delusion! The charm he had supposed in store for him was
really a labour like that of Israel in Egypt.
What brains they must have in Christminster and the great schools, he
presently thought, to learn words one by one up to tens of thousands!
There were no brains in his head equal to this business; and as the
little sun-rays continued to stream in through his hat at him, he
wished he had never seen a book, that he might never see another,
that he had never been born.
Somebody might have come along that way who would have asked him his
trouble, and might have cheered him by saying that his notions were
further advanced than those of his grammarian. But nobody did come,
because nobody does; and under the crushing recognition of his
gigantic error Jude continued to wish himself out of the world.
During the three or four succeeding years a quaint and singular
vehicle might have been discerned moving along the lanes and by-roads
near Marygreen, driven in a quaint and singular way.
In the course of a month or two after the receipt of the books
Jude had grown callous to the shabby trick played him by the dead
languages. In fact, his disappointment at the nature of those
tongues had, after a while, been the means of still further
glorifying the erudition of Christminster. To acquire languages,
departed or living in spite of such obstinacies as he now knew them
inherently to possess, was a herculean performance which gradually
led him on to a greater interest in it than in the presupposed patent
process. The mountain-weight of material under which the ideas lay
in those dusty volumes called the classics piqued him into a dogged,
mouselike subtlety of attempt to move it piecemeal.
He had endeavoured to make his presence tolerable to his crusty
maiden aunt by assisting her to the best of his ability, and the
business of the little cottage bakery had grown in consequence. An
aged horse with a hanging head had been purchased for eight pounds at
a sale, a creaking cart with a whity-brown tilt obtained for a few
pounds more, and in this turn-out it became Jude's business thrice a
week to carry loaves of bread to the villagers and solitary cotters
immediately round Marygreen.
The singularity aforesaid lay, after all, less in the conveyance
itself than in Jude's manner of conducting it along its route.
Its interior was the scene of most of Jude's education by "private
study." As soon as the horse had learnt the road and the houses
at which he was to pause awhile, the boy, seated in front, would
slip the reins over his arm, ingeniously fix open, by means of a
strap attached to the tilt, the volume he was reading, spread the
dictionary on his knees, and plunge into the simpler passages from
Caesar, Virgil, or Horace, as the case might be, in his purblind
stumbling way, and with an expenditure of labour that would have made
a tender-hearted pedagogue shed tears; yet somehow getting at the
meaning of what he read, and divining rather than beholding the
spirit of the original, which often to his mind was something else
than that which he was taught to look for.
The only copies he had been able to lay hands on were old Delphin
editions, because they were superseded, and therefore cheap. But,
bad for idle schoolboys, it did so happen that they were passably
good for him. The hampered and lonely itinerant conscientiously
covered up the marginal readings, and used them merely on points of
construction, as he would have used a comrade or tutor who should
have happened to be passing by. And though Jude may have had little
chance of becoming a scholar by these rough and ready means, he was
in the way of getting into the groove he wished to follow.
While he was busied with these ancient pages, which had already been
thumbed by hands possibly in the grave, digging out the thoughts
of these minds so remote yet so near, the bony old horse pursued
his rounds, and Jude would be aroused from the woes of Dido by the
stoppage of his cart and the voice of some old woman crying, "Two
to-day, baker, and I return this stale one."
He was frequently met in the lanes by pedestrians and others without
his seeing them, and by degrees the people of the neighbourhood
began to talk about his method of combining work and play (such they
considered his reading to be), which, though probably convenient
enough to himself, was not altogether a safe proceeding for other
travellers along the same roads. There were murmurs. Then a private
resident of an adjoining place informed the local policeman that the
baker's boy should not be allowed to read while driving, and insisted
that it was the constable's duty to catch him in the act, and
take him to the police court at Alfredston, and get him fined for
dangerous practices on the highway. The policeman thereupon lay in
wait for Jude, and one day accosted him and cautioned him.
As Jude had to get up at three o'clock in the morning to heat the
oven, and mix and set in the bread that he distributed later in the
day, he was obliged to go to bed at night immediately after laying
the sponge; so that if he could not read his classics on the highways
he could hardly study at all. The only thing to be done was,
therefore, to keep a sharp eye ahead and around him as well as he
could in the circumstances, and slip away his books as soon as
anybody loomed in the distance, the policeman in particular. To do
that official justice, he did not put himself much in the way of
Jude's bread-cart, considering that in such a lonely district the
chief danger was to Jude himself, and often on seeing the white tilt
over the hedges he would move in another direction.
On a day when Fawley was getting quite advanced, being now about
sixteen, and had been stumbling through the "Carmen SŠculare," on
his way home, he found himself to be passing over the high edge of
the plateau by the Brown House. The light had changed, and it was
the sense of this which had caused him to look up. The sun was going
down, and the full moon was rising simultaneously behind the woods in
the opposite quarter. His mind had become so impregnated with the
poem that, in a moment of the same impulsive emotion which years
before had caused him to kneel on the ladder, he stopped the horse,
alighted, and glancing round to see that nobody was in sight, knelt
down on the roadside bank with open book. He turned first to the
shiny goddess, who seemed to look so softly and critically at his
doings, then to the disappearing luminary on the other hand, as he
"Phoebe silvarumque potens Diana!"
The horse stood still till he had finished the hymn, which Jude
repeated under the sway of a polytheistic fancy that he would never
have thought of humouring in broad daylight.
Reaching home, he mused over his curious superstition, innate or
acquired, in doing this, and the strange forgetfulness which had led
to such a lapse from common sense and custom in one who wished, next
to being a scholar, to be a Christian divine. It had all come of
reading heathen works exclusively. The more he thought of it the
more convinced he was of his inconsistency. He began to wonder
whether he could be reading quite the right books for his object
in life. Certainly there seemed little harmony between this pagan
literature and the mediŠval colleges at Christminster, that
ecclesiastical romance in stone.
Ultimately he decided that in his sheer love of reading he had taken
up a wrong emotion for a Christian young man. He had dabbled in
Clarke's Homer, but had never yet worked much at the New Testament
in the Greek, though he possessed a copy, obtained by post from a
second-hand bookseller. He abandoned the now familiar Ionic for a
new dialect, and for a long time onward limited his reading almost
entirely to the Gospels and Epistles in Griesbach's text. Moreover,
on going into Alfredston one day, he was introduced to patristic
literature by finding at the bookseller's some volumes of the
Fathers which had been left behind by an insolvent clergyman of the
As another outcome of this change of groove he visited on Sundays all
the churches within a walk, and deciphered the Latin inscriptions on
fifteenth-century brasses and tombs. On one of these pilgrimages he
met with a hunch-backed old woman of great intelligence, who read
everything she could lay her hands on, and she told him more yet
of the romantic charms of the city of light and lore. Thither he
resolved as firmly as ever to go.
But how live in that city? At present he had no income at all. He
had no trade or calling of any dignity or stability whatever on which
he could subsist while carrying out an intellectual labour which
might spread over many years.
What was most required by citizens? Food, clothing, and shelter.
An income from any work in preparing the first would be too meagre;
for making the second he felt a distaste; the preparation of the
third requisite he inclined to. They built in a city; therefore he
would learn to build. He thought of his unknown uncle, his cousin
Susanna's father, an ecclesiastical worker in metal, and somehow
mediŠval art in any material was a trade for which he had rather a
fancy. He could not go far wrong in following his uncle's footsteps,
and engaging himself awhile with the carcases that contained the
As a preliminary he obtained some small blocks of freestone, metal
not being available, and suspending his studies awhile, occupied his
spare half-hours in copying the heads and capitals in his parish
There was a stone-mason of a humble kind in Alfredston, and as
soon as he had found a substitute for himself in his aunt's little
business, he offered his services to this man for a trifling wage.
Here Jude had the opportunity of learning at least the rudiments of
freestone-working. Some time later he went to a church-builder in
the same place, and under the architect's direction became handy at
restoring the dilapidated masonries of several village churches round
Not forgetting that he was only following up this handicraft as
a prop to lean on while he prepared those greater engines which
he flattered himself would be better fitted for him, he yet was
interested in his pursuit on its own account. He now had lodgings
during the week in the little town, whence he returned to Marygreen
village every Saturday evening. And thus he reached and passed his
At this memorable date of his life he was, one Saturday, returning
from Alfredston to Marygreen about three o'clock in the afternoon.
It was fine, warm, and soft summer weather, and he walked with his
tools at his back, his little chisels clinking faintly against the
larger ones in his basket. It being the end of the week he had left
work early, and had come out of the town by a round-about route which
he did not usually frequent, having promised to call at a flour-mill
near Cresscombe to execute a commission for his aunt.
He was in an enthusiastic mood. He seemed to see his way to living
comfortably in Christminster in the course of a year or two, and
knocking at the doors of one of those strongholds of learning of
which he had dreamed so much. He might, of course, have gone there
now, in some capacity or other, but he preferred to enter the city
with a little more assurance as to means than he could be said to
feel at present. A warm self-content suffused him when he considered
what he had already done. Now and then as he went along he turned
to face the peeps of country on either side of him. But he hardly
saw them; the act was an automatic repetition of what he had been
accustomed to do when less occupied; and the one matter which really
engaged him was the mental estimate of his progress thus far.
"I have acquired quite an average student's power to read the
common ancient classics, Latin in particular." This was true,
Jude possessing a facility in that language which enabled him with
great ease to himself to beguile his lonely walks by imaginary
"I have read two books of the "Iliad", besides being pretty familiar
with passages such as the speech of Phoenix in the ninth book,
the fight of Hector and Ajax in the fourteenth, the appearance of
Achilles unarmed and his heavenly armour in the eighteenth, and the
funeral games in the twenty-third. I have also done some Hesiod, a
little scrap of Thucydides, and a lot of the Greek Testament... I
wish there was only one dialect all the same.
"I have done some mathematics, including the first six and the
eleventh and twelfth books of Euclid; and algebra as far as simple
"I know something of the Fathers, and something of Roman and English
"These things are only a beginning. But I shall not make much
farther advance here, from the difficulty of getting books. Hence I
must next concentrate all my energies on settling in Christminster.
Once there I shall so advance, with the assistance I shall there
get, that my present knowledge will appear to me but as childish
ignorance. I must save money, and I will; and one of those colleges
shall open its doors to me--shall welcome whom now it would spurn,
if I wait twenty years for the welcome.
"I'll be D.D. before I have done!"
And then he continued to dream, and thought he might become even a
bishop by leading a pure, energetic, wise, Christian life. And what
an example he would set! If his income were ú5000 a year, he would
give away ú4500 in one form and another, and live sumptuously (for
him) on the remainder. Well, on second thoughts, a bishop was
absurd. He would draw the line at an archdeacon. Perhaps a man
could be as good and as learned and as useful in the capacity of
archdeacon as in that of bishop. Yet he thought of the bishop again.
"Meanwhile I will read, as soon as I am settled in Christminster,
the books I have not been able to get hold of here: Livy, Tacitus,
Herodotus, Ăschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes--"
"Ha, ha, ha! Hoity-toity!" The sounds were expressed in light
voices on the other side of the hedge, but he did not notice them.
His thoughts went on:
"--Euripides, Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Epictetus, Seneca,
Antoninus. Then I must master other things: the Fathers thoroughly;
Bede and ecclesiastical history generally; a smattering of Hebrew--I
only know the letters as yet--"
"--but I can work hard. I have staying power in abundance, thank
God! and it is that which tells.... Yes, Christminster shall be my
Alma Mater; and I'll be her beloved son, in whom she shall be well
In his deep concentration on these transactions of the future Jude's
walk had slackened, and he was now standing quite still, looking
at the ground as though the future were thrown thereon by a magic
lantern. On a sudden something smacked him sharply in the ear, and
he became aware that a soft cold substance had been flung at him, and
had fallen at his feet.
A glance told him what it was--a piece of flesh, the characteristic
part of a barrow-pig, which the countrymen used for greasing their
boots, as it was useless for any other purpose. Pigs were rather
plentiful hereabout, being bred and fattened in large numbers in
certain parts of North Wessex.
On the other side of the hedge was a stream, whence, as he now for
the first time realized, had come the slight sounds of voices and
laughter that had mingled with his dreams. He mounted the bank and
looked over the fence. On the further side of the stream stood a
small homestead, having a garden and pig-sties attached; in front of
it, beside the brook, three young women were kneeling, with buckets
and platters beside them containing heaps of pigs' chitterlings,
which they were washing in the running water. One or two pairs of
eyes slyly glanced up, and perceiving that his attention had at last
been attracted, and that he was watching them, they braced themselves
for inspection by putting their mouths demurely into shape and
recommencing their rinsing operations with assiduity.
"Thank you!" said Jude severely.
"I DIDN'T throw it, I tell you!" asserted one girl to her neighbour,
as if unconscious of the young man's presence.
"Nor I," the second answered.
"Oh, Anny, how can you!" said the third.
"If I had thrown anything at all, it shouldn't have been THAT!"
"Pooh! I don't care for him!" And they laughed and continued their
work, without looking up, still ostentatiously accusing each other.
Jude grew sarcastic as he wiped his face, and caught their remarks.
"YOU didn't do it--oh no!" he said to the up-stream one of the three.
She whom he addressed was a fine dark-eyed girl, not exactly
handsome, but capable of passing as such at a little distance,
despite some coarseness of skin and fibre. She had a round and
prominent bosom, full lips, perfect teeth, and the rich complexion
of a Cochin hen's egg. She was a complete and substantial female
animal--no more, no less; and Jude was almost certain that to her was
attributable the enterprise of attracting his attention from dreams
of the humaner letters to what was simmering in the minds around him.
"That you'll never be told," said she deedily.
"Whoever did it was wasteful of other people's property."
"Oh, that's nothing."
"But you want to speak to me, I suppose?"
"Oh yes; if you like to."
"Shall I clamber across, or will you come to the plank above here?"
Perhaps she foresaw an opportunity; for somehow or other the eyes
of the brown girl rested in his own when he had said the words, and
there was a momentary flash of intelligence, a dumb announcement of
affinity "in posse" between herself and him, which, so far as Jude
Fawley was concerned, had no sort of premeditation in it. She saw
that he had singled her out from the three, as a woman is singled out
in such cases, for no reasoned purpose of further acquaintance, but
in commonplace obedience to conjunctive orders from headquarters,
unconsciously received by unfortunate men when the last intention of
their lives is to be occupied with the feminine.
Springing to her feet, she said: "Bring back what is lying there."
Jude was now aware that no message on any matter connected with her
father's business had prompted her signal to him. He set down his
basket of tools, picked up the scrap of offal, beat a pathway for
himself with his stick, and got over the hedge. They walked in
parallel lines, one on each bank of the stream, towards the small
plank bridge. As the girl drew nearer to it, she gave without Jude
perceiving it, an adroit little suck to the interior of each of her
cheeks in succession, by which curious and original manoeuvre she
brought as by magic upon its smooth and rotund surface a perfect
dimple, which she was able to retain there as long as she continued
to smile. This production of dimples at will was a not unknown
operation, which many attempted, but only a few succeeded in
They met in the middle of the plank, and Jude, tossing back her
missile, seemed to expect her to explain why she had audaciously
stopped him by this novel artillery instead of by hailing him.
But she, slyly looking in another direction, swayed herself backwards
and forwards on her hand as it clutched the rail of the bridge; till,
moved by amatory curiosity, she turned her eyes critically upon him.
"You don't think "I" would shy things at you?"
"We are doing this for my father, who naturally doesn't want anything
thrown away. He makes that into dubbin." She nodded towards the
fragment on the grass.
"What made either of the others throw it, I wonder?" Jude asked,
politely accepting her assertion, though he had very large doubts as
to its truth.
"Impudence. Don't tell folk it was I, mind!"
"How can I? I don't know your name."
"Ah, no. Shall I tell it to you?"
"Arabella Donn. I'm living here."
"I must have known it if I had often come this way. But I mostly go
straight along the high-road."
"My father is a pig-breeder, and these girls are helping me wash the
innerds for black-puddings and such like."
They talked a little more and a little more, as they stood regarding
each other and leaning against the hand-rail of the bridge. The
unvoiced call of woman to man, which was uttered very distinctly
by Arabella's personality, held Jude to the spot against his
intention--almost against his will, and in a way new to his
experience. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that till this
moment Jude had never looked at a woman to consider her as such, but
had vaguely regarded the sex as beings outside his life and purposes.
He gazed from her eyes to her mouth, thence to her bosom, and to her
full round naked arms, wet, mottled with the chill of the water, and
firm as marble.
"What a nice-looking girl you are!" he murmured, though the words had
not been necessary to express his sense of her magnetism.
"Ah, you should see me Sundays!" she said piquantly.
"I don't suppose I could?" he answered
"That's for you to think on. There's nobody after me just now,
though there med be in a week or two." She had spoken this without
a smile, and the dimples disappeared.
Jude felt himself drifting strangely, but could not help it. "Will
you let me?"
"I don't mind."
By this time she had managed to get back one dimple by turning
her face aside for a moment and repeating the odd little sucking
operation before mentioned, Jude being still unconscious of more than
a general impression of her appearance. "Next Sunday?" he hazarded.
"To-morrow, that is?"
"Shall I call?"
She brightened with a little glow of triumph, swept him almost
tenderly with her eyes in turning, and retracing her steps down the
brookside grass rejoined her companions.
Jude Fawley shouldered his tool-basket and resumed his lonely way,
filled with an ardour at which he mentally stood at gaze. He had
just inhaled a single breath from a new atmosphere, which had
evidently been hanging round him everywhere he went, for he knew not
how long, but had somehow been divided from his actual breathing as
by a sheet of glass. The intentions as to reading, working, and
learning, which he had so precisely formulated only a few minutes
earlier, were suffering a curious collapse into a corner, he knew not
"Well, it's only a bit of fun," he said to himself, faintly conscious
that to common sense there was something lacking, and still more
obviously something redundant in the nature of this girl who had
drawn him to her which made it necessary that he should assert mere
sportiveness on his part as his reason in seeking her--something in
her quite antipathetic to that side of him which had been occupied
with literary study and the magnificent Christminster dream. It had
been no vestal who chose THAT missile for opening her attack on him.
He saw this with his intellectual eye, just for a short; fleeting
while, as by the light of a falling lamp one might momentarily see an
inscription on a wall before being enshrouded in darkness. And then
this passing discriminative power was withdrawn, and Jude was lost to
all conditions of things in the advent of a fresh and wild pleasure,
that of having found a new channel for emotional interest hitherto
unsuspected, though it had lain close beside him. He was to meet
this enkindling one of the other sex on the following Sunday.
Meanwhile the girl had joined her companions, and she silently
resumed her flicking and sousing of the chitterlings in the pellucid
"Catched un, my dear?" laconically asked the girl called Anny.
"I don't know. I wish I had thrown something else than that!"
regretfully murmured Arabella.
"Lord! he's nobody, though you med think so. He used to drive old
Drusilla Fawley's bread-cart out at Marygreen, till he 'prenticed
himself at Alfredston. Since then he's been very stuck up, and
always reading. He wants to be a scholar, they say."
"Oh, I don't care what he is, or anything about 'n. Don't you think
it, my child!"
"Oh, don't ye! You needn't try to deceive us! What did you stay
talking to him for, if you didn't want un? Whether you do or whether
you don't, he's as simple as a child. I could see it as you courted
on the bridge, when he looked at 'ee as if he had never seen a woman
before in his born days. Well, he's to be had by any woman who can
get him to care for her a bit, if she likes to set herself to catch
him the right way."
The next day Jude Fawley was pausing in his bedroom with the sloping
ceiling, looking at the books on the table, and then at the black
mark on the plaster above them, made by the smoke of his lamp in past
It was Sunday afternoon, four-and-twenty hours after his meeting with
Arabella Donn. During the whole bygone week he had been resolving to
set this afternoon apart for a special purpose,--the re-reading of
his Greek Testament--his new one, with better type than his old copy,
following Griesbach's text as amended by numerous correctors, and
with variorum readings in the margin. He was proud of the book,
having obtained it by boldly writing to its London publisher, a thing
he had never done before.
He had anticipated much pleasure in this afternoon's reading, under
the quiet roof of his great-aunt's house as formerly, where he now
slept only two nights a week. But a new thing, a great hitch, had
happened yesterday in the gliding and noiseless current of his life,
and he felt as a snake must feel who has sloughed off its winter
skin, and cannot understand the brightness and sensitiveness of its
He would not go out to meet her, after all. He sat down, opened the
book, and with his elbows firmly planted on the table, and his hands
to his temples, began at the beginning:
H╩ KAIN╩ DIATH╩K╩
Had he promised to call for her? Surely he had! She would wait
indoors, poor girl, and waste all her afternoon on account of him.
There was a something in her, too, which was very winning, apart from
promises. He ought not to break faith with her. Even though he had
only Sundays and week-day evenings for reading he could afford one
afternoon, seeing that other young men afforded so many. After
to-day he would never probably see her again. Indeed, it would be
impossible, considering what his plans were.
In short, as if materially, a compelling arm of extraordinary
muscular power seized hold of him--something which had nothing in
common with the spirits and influences that had moved him hitherto.
This seemed to care little for his reason and his will, nothing for
his so-called elevated intentions, and moved him along, as a violent
schoolmaster a schoolboy he has seized by the collar, in a direction
which tended towards the embrace of a woman for whom he had no
respect, and whose life had nothing in common with his own except
H╩ KAIN╩ DIATH╩K╩ was no more heeded, and the predestinate Jude
sprang up and across the room. Foreseeing such an event he had
already arrayed himself in his best clothes. In three minutes he was
out of the house and descending by the path across the wide vacant
hollow of corn-ground which lay between the village and the isolated
house of Arabella in the dip beyond the upland.
As he walked he looked at his watch. He could be back in two hours,
easily, and a good long time would still remain to him for reading
Passing the few unhealthy fir-trees and cottage where the path
joined the highway he hastened along, and struck away to the left,
descending the steep side of the country to the west of the Brown
House. Here at the base of the chalk formation he neared the brook
that oozed from it, and followed the stream till he reached her
dwelling. A smell of piggeries came from the back, and the grunting
of the originators of that smell. He entered the garden, and knocked
at the door with the knob of his stick.
Somebody had seen him through the window, for a male voice on the
"Arabella! Here's your young man come coorting! Mizzle, my girl!"
Jude winced at the words. Courting in such a businesslike aspect as
it evidently wore to the speaker was the last thing he was thinking
of. He was going to walk with her, perhaps kiss her; but "courting"
was too coolly purposeful to be anything but repugnant to his ideas.
The door was opened and he entered, just as Arabella came downstairs
in radiant walking attire.
"Take a chair, Mr. What's-your-name?" said her father, an energetic,
black-whiskered man, in the same businesslike tones Jude had heard
"I'd rather go out at once, wouldn't you?" she whispered to Jude.
"Yes," said he. "We'll walk up to the Brown House and back, we can
do it in half an hour."
Arabella looked so handsome amid her untidy surroundings that he felt
glad he had come, and all the misgivings vanished that had hitherto
First they clambered to the top of the great down, during which
ascent he had occasionally to take her hand to assist her. Then
they bore off to the left along the crest into the ridgeway, which
they followed till it intersected the high-road at the Brown
House aforesaid, the spot of his former fervid desires to behold
Christminster. But he forgot them now. He talked the commonest
local twaddle to Arabella with greater zest than he would have felt
in discussing all the philosophies with all the Dons in the recently
adored university, and passed the spot where he had knelt to Diana
and Phoebus without remembering that there were any such people in
the mythology, or that the sun was anything else than a useful
lamp for illuminating Arabella's face. An indescribable lightness
of heel served to lift him along; and Jude, the incipient scholar,
prospective D.D., professor, bishop, or what not, felt himself
honoured and glorified by the condescension of this handsome country
wench in agreeing to take a walk with him in her Sunday frock and
They reached the Brown House barn--the point at which he had planned
to turn back. While looking over the vast northern landscape from
this spot they were struck by the rising of a dense volume of smoke
from the neighbourhood of the little town which lay beneath them at a
distance of a couple of miles.
"It is a fire," said Arabella. "Let's run and see it--do! It is not
The tenderness which had grown up in Jude's bosom left him no will to
thwart her inclination now--which pleased him in affording him excuse
for a longer time with her. They started off down the hill almost at
a trot; but on gaining level ground at the bottom, and walking a
mile, they found that the spot of the fire was much further off than
it had seemed.
Having begun their journey, however, they pushed on; but it was not
till five o'clock that they found themselves on the scene,--the
distance being altogether about half-a-dozen miles from Marygreen,
and three from Arabella's. The conflagration had been got under
by the time they reached it, and after a short inspection of the
melancholy ruins they retraced their steps--their course lying
through the town of Alfredston.
Arabella said she would like some tea, and they entered an inn of an
inferior class, and gave their order. As it was not for beer they
had a long time to wait. The maid-servant recognized Jude, and
whispered her surprise to her mistress in the background, that he,
the student "who kept hisself up so particular," should have suddenly
descended so low as to keep company with Arabella. The latter
guessed what was being said, and laughed as she met the serious and
tender gaze of her lover--the low and triumphant laugh of a careless
woman who sees she is winning her game.
They sat and looked round the room, and at the picture of Samson and
Delilah which hung on the wall, and at the circular beer-stains on
the table, and at the spittoons underfoot filled with sawdust. The
whole aspect of the scene had that depressing effect on Jude which
few places can produce like a tap-room on a Sunday evening when
the setting sun is slanting in, and no liquor is going, and the
unfortunate wayfarer finds himself with no other haven of rest.
It began to grow dusk. They could not wait longer, really, for the
tea, they said. "Yet what else can we do?" asked Jude. "It is a
three-mile walk for you."
"I suppose we can have some beer," said Arabella.
"Beer, oh yes. I had forgotten that. Somehow it seems odd to come
to a public-house for beer on a Sunday evening."
"But we didn't."
"No, we didn't." Jude by this time wished he was out of such an
uncongenial atmosphere; but he ordered the beer, which was promptly
Arabella tasted it. "Ugh!" she said.
Jude tasted. "What's the matter with it?" he asked. "I don't
understand beer very much now, it is true. I like it well enough,
but it is bad to read on, and I find coffee better. But this seems
"Adulterated--I can't touch it!" She mentioned three or four
ingredients that she detected in the liquor beyond malt and hops,
much to Jude's surprise.
"How much you know!" he said good-humouredly.
Nevertheless she returned to the beer and drank her share, and they
went on their way. It was now nearly dark, and as soon as they had
withdrawn from the lights of the town they walked closer together,
till they touched each other. She wondered why he did not put his
arm round her waist, but he did not; he merely said what to himself
seemed a quite bold enough thing: "Take my arm."
She took it, thoroughly, up to the shoulder. He felt the warmth of
her body against his, and putting his stick under his other arm held
with his right hand her right as it rested in its place.
"Now we are well together, dear, aren't we?" he observed.
"Yes," said she; adding to herself: "Rather mild!"
"How fast I have become!" he was thinking.
Thus they walked till they reached the foot of the upland, where they
could see the white highway ascending before them in the gloom. From
this point the only way of getting to Arabella's was by going up the
incline, and dipping again into her valley on the right. Before they
had climbed far they were nearly run into by two men who had been
walking on the grass unseen.
"These lovers--you find 'em out o' doors in all seasons and
weathers--lovers and homeless dogs only," said one of the men as
they vanished down the hill.
Arabella tittered lightly.
"Are we lovers?" asked Jude.
"You know best."
"But you can tell me?"
For answer she inclined her head upon his shoulder. Jude took the
hint, and encircling her waist with his arm, pulled her to him and
They walked now no longer arm in arm but, as she had desired, clasped
together. After all, what did it matter since it was dark, said Jude
to himself. When they were half-way up the long hill they paused as
by arrangement, and he kissed her again. They reached the top, and
he kissed her once more.
"You can keep your arm there, if you would like to," she said gently.
He did so, thinking how trusting she was.
Thus they slowly went towards her home. He had left his cottage
at half-past three, intending to be sitting down again to the New
Testament by half-past five. It was nine o'clock when, with another
embrace, he stood to deliver her up at her father's door.
She asked him to come in, if only for a minute, as it would seem so
odd otherwise, and as if she had been out alone in the dark. He gave
way, and followed her in. Immediately that the door was opened he
found, in addition to her parents, several neighbours sitting round.
They all spoke in a congratulatory manner, and took him seriously as
Arabella's intended partner.
They did not belong to his set or circle, and he felt out of place
and embarrassed. He had not meant this: a mere afternoon of
pleasant walking with Arabella, that was all he had meant. He did
not stay longer than to speak to her stepmother, a simple, quiet
woman without features or character; and bidding them all good night
plunged with a sense of relief into the track over the down.
But that sense was only temporary: Arabella soon re-asserted her
sway in his soul. He walked as if he felt himself to be another man
from the Jude of yesterday. What were his books to him? what were
his intentions, hitherto adhered to so strictly, as to not wasting a
single minute of time day by day? "Wasting!" It depended on your
point of view to define that: he was just living for the first
time: not wasting life. It was better to love a woman than to be a
graduate, or a parson; ay, or a pope!
When he got back to the house his aunt had gone to bed, and a general
consciousness of his neglect seemed written on the face of all things
confronting him. He went upstairs without a light, and the dim
interior of his room accosted him with sad inquiry. There lay his
book open, just as he had left it, and the capital letters on the
title-page regarded him with fixed reproach in the grey starlight,
like the unclosed eyes of a dead man:
H╩ KAIN╩ DIATH╩K╩
* * * * * *
Jude had to leave early next morning for his usual week of absence at
lodgings; and it was with a sense of futility that he threw into his
basket upon his tools and other necessaries the unread book he had
brought with him.
He kept his impassioned doings a secret almost from himself.
Arabella, on the contrary, made them public among all her friends
Retracing by the light of dawn the road he had followed a few hours
earlier under cover of darkness, with his sweetheart by his side, he
reached the bottom of the hill, where he walked slowly, and stood
still. He was on the spot where he had given her the first kiss. As
the sun had only just risen it was possible that nobody had passed
there since. Jude looked on the ground and sighed. He looked
closely, and could just discern in the damp dust the imprints of
their feet as they had stood locked in each other's arms. She was
not there now, and "the embroidery of imagination upon the stuff of
nature" so depicted her past presence that a void was in his heart
which nothing could fill. A pollard willow stood close to the place,
and that willow was different from all other willows in the world.
Utter annihilation of the six days which must elapse before he could
see her again as he had promised would have been his intensest wish
if he had had only the week to live.
An hour and a half later Arabella came along the same way with her
two companions of the Saturday. She passed unheedingly the scene of
the kiss, and the willow that marked it, though chattering freely on
the subject to the other two.
"And what did he tell 'ee next?"
"Then he said--" And she related almost word for word some of his
tenderest speeches. If Jude had been behind the fence he would have
felt not a little surprised at learning how very few of his sayings
and doings on the previous evening were private.
"You've got him to care for 'ee a bit, 'nation if you han't!"
murmured Anny judicially. "It's well to be you!"
In a few moments Arabella replied in a curiously low, hungry tone of
latent sensuousness: "I've got him to care for me: yes! But I want
him to more than care for me; I want him to have me--to marry me! I
must have him. I can't do without him. He's the sort of man I long
for. I shall go mad if I can't give myself to him altogether! I
felt I should when I first saw him!"
"As he is a romancing, straightfor'ard, honest chap, he's to be had,
and as a husband, if you set about catching him in the right way."
Arabella remained thinking awhile. "What med be the right way?" she
"Oh you don't know--you don't!" said Sarah, the third girl.
"On my word I don't!--No further, that is, than by plain courting,
and taking care he don't go too far!"
The third girl looked at the second. "She DON'T know!"
"'Tis clear she don't!" said Anny.
"And having lived in a town, too, as one may say! Well, we can teach
'ee som'at then, as well as you us."
"Yes. And how do you mean--a sure way to gain a man? Take me for an
innocent, and have done wi' it!"
"As a husband."
"As a husband."
"A countryman that's honourable and serious-minded such as he; God
forbid that I should say a sojer, or sailor, or commercial gent from
the towns, or any of them that be slippery with poor women! I'd do
no friend that harm!"
"Well, such as he, of course!"
Arabella's companions looked at each other, and turning up their eyes
in drollery began smirking. Then one went up close to Arabella, and,
although nobody was near, imparted some information in a low tone,
the other observing curiously the effect upon Arabella.
"Ah!" said the last-named slowly. "I own I didn't think of that
way! ... But suppose he ISN'T honourable? A woman had better not
have tried it!"
"Nothing venture nothing have! Besides, you make sure that he's
honourable before you begin. You'd be safe enough with yours. I
wish I had the chance! Lots of girls do it; or do you think they'd
get married at all?"
Arabella pursued her way in silent thought. "I'll try it!" she
whispered; but not to them.
One week's end Jude was as usual walking out to his aunt's at
Marygreen from his lodging in Alfredston, a walk which now had large
attractions for him quite other than his desire to see his aged and
morose relative. He diverged to the right before ascending the hill
with the single purpose of gaining, on his way, a glimpse of Arabella
that should not come into the reckoning of regular appointments.
Before quite reaching the homestead his alert eye perceived the top
of her head moving quickly hither and thither over the garden hedge.
Entering the gate he found that three young unfattened pigs had
escaped from their sty by leaping clean over the top, and that she
was endeavouring unassisted to drive them in through the door which
she had set open. The lines of her countenance changed from the
rigidity of business to the softness of love when she saw Jude, and
she bent her eyes languishingly upon him. The animals took advantage
of the pause by doubling and bolting out of the way.
"They were only put in this morning!" she cried, stimulated to pursue
in spite of her lover's presence. "They were drove from Spaddleholt
Farm only yesterday, where Father bought 'em at a stiff price enough.
They are wanting to get home again, the stupid toads! Will you shut
the garden gate, dear, and help me to get 'em in. There are no men
folk at home, only Mother, and they'll be lost if we don't mind."
He set himself to assist, and dodged this way and that over the
potato rows and the cabbages. Every now and then they ran together,
when he caught her for a moment and kissed her. The first pig was
got back promptly; the second with some difficulty; the third a
long-legged creature, was more obstinate and agile. He plunged
through a hole in the garden hedge, and into the lane.
"He'll be lost if I don't follow 'n!" said she. "Come along with
She rushed in full pursuit out of the garden, Jude alongside her,
barely contriving to keep the fugitive in sight. Occasionally they
would shout to some boy to stop the animal, but he always wriggled
past and ran on as before.
"Let me take your hand, darling," said Jude. "You are getting out of
breath." She gave him her now hot hand with apparent willingness,
and they trotted along together.
"This comes of driving 'em home," she remarked. "They always know
the way back if you do that. They ought to have been carted over."
By this time the pig had reached an unfastened gate admitting to the
open down, across which he sped with all the agility his little legs
afforded. As soon as the pursuers had entered and ascended to the
top of the high ground it became apparent that they would have to run
all the way to the farmer's if they wished to get at him. From this
summit he could be seen as a minute speck, following an unerring line
towards his old home.
"It is no good!" cried Arabella. "He'll be there long before we get
there. It don't matter now we know he's not lost or stolen on the
way. They'll see it is ours, and send un back. Oh dear, how hot I
Without relinquishing her hold of Jude's hand she swerved aside and
flung herself down on the sod under a stunted thorn, precipitately
pulling Jude on to his knees at the same time.
"Oh, I ask pardon--I nearly threw you down, didn't I! But I am so
She lay supine, and straight as an arrow, on the sloping sod of this
hill-top, gazing up into the blue miles of sky, and still retaining
her warm hold of Jude's hand. He reclined on his elbow near her.
"We've run all this way for nothing," she went on, her form heaving
and falling in quick pants, her face flushed, her full red lips
parted, and a fine dew of perspiration on her skin. "Well--why don't
you speak, deary?"
"I'm blown too. It was all up hill."
They were in absolute solitude--the most apparent of all solitudes,
that of empty surrounding space. Nobody could be nearer than a mile
to them without their seeing him. They were, in fact, on one of the
summits of the county, and the distant landscape around Christminster
could be discerned from where they lay. But Jude did not think of
"Oh, I can see such a pretty thing up this tree," said Arabella. "A
sort of a--caterpillar, of the most loveliest green and yellow you
ever came across!"
"Where?" said Jude, sitting up.
"You can't see him there--you must come here," said she.
He bent nearer and put his head in front of hers. "No--I can't see
it," he said.
"Why, on the limb there where it branches off--close to the moving
leaf--there!" She gently pulled him down beside her.
"I don't see it," he repeated, the back of his head against her
cheek. "But I can, perhaps, standing up." He stood accordingly,
placing himself in the direct line of her gaze.
"How stupid you are!" she said crossly, turning away her face.
"I don't care to see it, dear: why should I?" he replied looking
down upon her. "Get up, Abby."
"I want you to let me kiss you. I've been waiting to ever so long!"
She rolled round her face, remained a moment looking deedily aslant
at him; then with a slight curl of the lip sprang to her feet, and
exclaiming abruptly "I must mizzle!" walked off quickly homeward.
Jude followed and rejoined her.
"Just one!" he coaxed.
"Shan't!" she said.
He, surprised: "What's the matter?"
She kept her two lips resentfully together, and Jude followed her
like a pet lamb till she slackened her pace and walked beside him,
talking calmly on indifferent subjects, and always checking him if
he tried to take her hand or clasp her waist. Thus they descended
to the precincts of her father's homestead, and Arabella went in,
nodding good-bye to him with a supercilious, affronted air.
"I expect I took too much liberty with her, somehow," Jude said to
himself, as he withdrew with a sigh and went on to Marygreen.
On Sunday morning the interior of Arabella's home was, as usual,
the scene of a grand weekly cooking, the preparation of the special
Sunday dinner. Her father was shaving before a little glass hung on
the mullion of the window, and her mother and Arabella herself were
shelling beans hard by. A neighbour passed on her way home from
morning service at the nearest church, and seeing Donn engaged at
the window with the razor, nodded and came in.
She at once spoke playfully to Arabella: "I zeed 'ee running with
'un--hee-hee! I hope 'tis coming to something?"
Arabella merely threw a look of consciousness into her face without
raising her eyes.
"He's for Christminster, I hear, as soon as he can get there."
"Have you heard that lately--quite lately?" asked Arabella with a
jealous, tigerish indrawing of breath.
"Oh no! But it has been known a long time that it is his plan. He's
on'y waiting here for an opening. Ah well: he must walk about with
somebody, I s'pose. Young men don't mean much now-a-days. 'Tis a sip
here and a sip there with 'em. 'Twas different in my time."
When the gossip had departed Arabella said suddenly to her mother:
"I want you and Father to go and inquire how the Edlins be, this
evening after tea. Or no--there's evening service at Fensworth--you
can walk to that."
"Oh? What's up to-night, then?"
"Nothing. Only I want the house to myself. He's shy; and I can't
get un to come in when you are here. I shall let him slip through my
fingers if I don't mind, much as I care for 'n!"
"If it is fine we med as well go, since you wish."
In the afternoon Arabella met and walked with Jude, who had now
for weeks ceased to look into a book of Greek, Latin, or any other
tongue. They wandered up the slopes till they reached the green
track along the ridge, which they followed to the circular British
earth-bank adjoining, Jude thinking of the great age of the trackway,
and of the drovers who had frequented it, probably before the Romans
knew the country. Up from the level lands below them floated the
chime of church bells. Presently they were reduced to one note,
which quickened, and stopped.
"Now we'll go back," said Arabella, who had attended to the sounds.
Jude assented. So long as he was near her he minded little where he
was. When they arrived at her house he said lingeringly: "I won't
come in. Why are you in such a hurry to go in to-night? It is not
"Wait a moment," said she. She tried the handle of the door and
found it locked.
"Ah--they are gone to church," she added. And searching behind the
scraper she found the key and unlocked the door. "Now, you'll come
in a moment?" she asked lightly. "We shall be all alone."
"Certainly," said Jude with alacrity, the case being unexpectedly
Indoors they went. Did he want any tea? No, it was too late: he
would rather sit and talk to her. She took off her jacket and hat,
and they sat down--naturally enough close together.
"Don't touch me, please," she said softly. "I am part egg-shell. Or
perhaps I had better put it in a safe place." She began unfastening
the collar of her gown.
"What is it?" said her lover.
"An egg--a cochin's egg. I am hatching a very rare sort. I carry it
about everywhere with me, and it will get hatched in less than three
"Where do you carry it?"
"Just here." She put her hand into her bosom and drew out the egg,
which was wrapped in wool, outside it being a piece of pig's bladder,
in case of accidents. Having exhibited it to him she put it back,
"Now mind you don't come near me. I don't want to get it broke, and
have to begin another."
"Why do you do such a strange thing?"
"It's an old custom. I suppose it is natural for a woman to want to
bring live things into the world."
"It is very awkward for me just now," he said, laughing.
"It serves you right. There--that's all you can have of me"
She had turned round her chair, and, reaching over the back of it,
presented her cheek to him gingerly.
"That's very shabby of you!"
"You should have catched me a minute ago when I had put the egg down!
There!" she said defiantly, "I am without it now!" She had quickly
withdrawn the egg a second time; but before he could quite reach her
she had put it back as quickly, laughing with the excitement of her
strategy. Then there was a little struggle, Jude making a plunge for
it and capturing it triumphantly. Her face flushed; and becoming
suddenly conscious he flushed also.
They looked at each other, panting; till he rose and said: "One kiss,
now I can do it without damage to property; and I'll go!"
But she had jumped up too. "You must find me first!" she cried.
Her lover followed her as she withdrew. It was now dark inside the
room, and the window being small he could not discover for a long
time what had become of her, till a laugh revealed her to have rushed
up the stairs, whither Jude rushed at her heels.
It was some two months later in the year, and the pair had met
constantly during the interval. Arabella seemed dissatisfied; she
was always imagining, and waiting, and wondering.
One day she met the itinerant Vilbert. She, like all the cottagers
thereabout, knew the quack well, and she began telling him of her
experiences. Arabella had been gloomy, but before he left her she
had grown brighter. That evening she kept an appointment with Jude,
who seemed sad.
"I am going away," he said to her. "I think I ought to go. I think
it will be better both for you and for me. I wish some things had
never begun! I was much to blame, I know. But it is never too late
Arabella began to cry. "How do you know it is not too late?" she
said. "That's all very well to say! I haven't told you yet!" and
she looked into his face with streaming eyes.
"What?" he asked, turning pale. "Not...?"
"Yes! And what shall I do if you desert me?"
"Oh, Arabella--how can you say that, my dear! You KNOW I wouldn't
"I have next to no wages as yet, you know; or perhaps I should have
thought of this before... But, of course if that's the case, we must
marry! What other thing do you think I could dream of doing?"
"I thought--I thought, deary, perhaps you would go away all the more
for that, and leave me to face it alone!"
"You knew better! Of course I never dreamt six months ago, or even
three, of marrying. It is a complete smashing up of my plans--I mean
my plans before I knew you, my dear. But what are they, after all!
Dreams about books, and degrees, and impossible fellowships, and all
that. Certainly we'll marry: we must!"
That night he went out alone, and walked in the dark self-communing.
He knew well, too well, in the secret centre of his brain, that
Arabella was not worth a great deal as a specimen of womankind.
Yet, such being the custom of the rural districts among honourable
young men who had drifted so far into intimacy with a woman as he
unfortunately had done, he was ready to abide by what he had said,
and take the consequences. For his own soothing he kept up a
factitious belief in her. His idea of her was the thing of most
consequence, not Arabella herself, he sometimes said laconically.
The banns were put in and published the very next Sunday. The people
of the parish all said what a simple fool young Fawley was. All his
reading had only come to this, that he would have to sell his books
to buy saucepans. Those who guessed the probable state of affairs,
Arabella's parents being among them, declared that it was the sort of
conduct they would have expected of such an honest young man as Jude
in reparation of the wrong he had done his innocent sweetheart. The
parson who married them seemed to think it satisfactory too. And so,
standing before the aforesaid officiator, the two swore that at every
other time of their lives till death took them, they would assuredly
believe, feel, and desire precisely as they had believed, felt, and
desired during the few preceding weeks. What was as remarkable
as the undertaking itself was the fact that nobody seemed at all
surprised at what they swore.
Fawley's aunt being a baker she made him a bride-cake, saying
bitterly that it was the last thing she could do for him, poor silly
fellow; and that it would have been far better if, instead of his
living to trouble her, he had gone underground years before with his
father and mother. Of this cake Arabella took some slices, wrapped
them up in white note-paper, and sent them to her companions in the
pork-dressing business, Anny and Sarah, labelling each packet ""In
remembrance of good advice"."
The prospects of the newly married couple were certainly not very
brilliant even to the most sanguine mind. He, a stone-mason's
apprentice, nineteen years of age, was working for half wages till
he should be out of his time. His wife was absolutely useless in a
town-lodging, where he at first had considered it would be necessary
for them to live. But the urgent need of adding to income in ever so
little a degree caused him to take a lonely roadside cottage between
the Brown House and Marygreen, that he might have the profits of a
vegetable garden, and utilize her past experiences by letting her
keep a pig. But it was not the sort of life he had bargained for,
and it was a long way to walk to and from Alfredston every day.
Arabella, however, felt that all these make-shifts were temporary;
she had gained a husband; that was the thing--a husband with a lot
of earning power in him for buying her frocks and hats when he should
begin to get frightened a bit, and stick to his trade, and throw
aside those stupid books for practical undertakings.
So to the cottage he took her on the evening of the marriage, giving
up his old room at his aunt's--where so much of the hard labour at
Greek and Latin had been carried on.
A little chill overspread him at her first unrobing. A long tail of
hair, which Arabella wore twisted up in an enormous knob at the back
of her head, was deliberately unfastened, stroked out, and hung upon
the looking-glass which he had bought her.
"What--it wasn't your own?" he said, with a sudden distaste for her.
"Oh no--it never is nowadays with the better class."
"Nonsense! Perhaps not in towns. But in the country it is supposed
to be different. Besides, you've enough of your own, surely?"
"Yes, enough as country notions go. But in town the men expect more,
and when I was barmaid at Aldbrickham--"
"Barmaid at Aldbrickham?"
"Well, not exactly barmaid--I used to draw the drink at a
public-house there--just for a little time; that was all. Some
people put me up to getting this, and I bought it just for a fancy.
The more you have the better in Aldbrickham, which is a finer town
than all your Christminsters. Every lady of position wears false
hair--the barber's assistant told me so."
Jude thought with a feeling of sickness that though this might be
true to some extent, for all that he knew, many unsophisticated girls
would and did go to towns and remain there for years without losing
their simplicity of life and embellishments. Others, alas, had an
instinct towards artificiality in their very blood, and became adepts
in counterfeiting at the first glimpse of it. However, perhaps there
was no great sin in a woman adding to her hair, and he resolved to
think no more of it.
A new-made wife can usually manage to excite interest for a few
weeks, even though the prospects of the household ways and means
are cloudy. There is a certain piquancy about her situation, and
her manner to her acquaintance at the sense of it, which carries off
the gloom of facts, and renders even the humblest bride independent
awhile of the real. Mrs. Jude Fawley was walking in the streets of
Alfredston one market-day with this quality in her carriage when she
met Anny her former friend, whom she had not seen since the wedding.
As usual they laughed before talking; the world seemed funny to them
without saying it.
"So it turned out a good plan, you see!" remarked the girl to the
wife. "I knew it would with such as him. He's a dear good fellow,
and you ought to be proud of un."
"I am," said Mrs. Fawley quietly.
"And when do you expect?"
"Ssh! Not at all."
"I was mistaken."
"Oh, Arabella, Arabella; you be a deep one! Mistaken! well, that's
clever--it's a real stroke of genius! It is a thing I never thought
o', wi' all my experience! I never thought beyond bringing about the
real thing--not that one could sham it!"
"Don't you be too quick to cry sham! 'Twasn't sham. I didn't know."
"My word--won't he be in a taking! He'll give it to 'ee o' Saturday
nights! Whatever it was, he'll say it was a trick--a double one, by
"I'll own to the first, but not to the second... Pooh--he won't
care! He'll be glad I was wrong in what I said. He'll shake down,
bless 'ee--men always do. What can 'em do otherwise? Married is
Nevertheless it was with a little uneasiness that Arabella approached
the time when in the natural course of things she would have to
reveal that the alarm she had raised had been without foundation.
The occasion was one evening at bedtime, and they were in their
chamber in the lonely cottage by the wayside to which Jude walked
home from his work every day. He had worked hard the whole twelve
hours, and had retired to rest before his wife. When she came into
the room he was between sleeping and waking, and was barely conscious
of her undressing before the little looking-glass as he lay.
One action of hers, however, brought him to full cognition. Her face
being reflected towards him as she sat, he could perceive that she
was amusing herself by artificially producing in each cheek the
dimple before alluded to, a curious accomplishment of which she was
mistress, effecting it by a momentary suction. It seemed to him for
the first time that the dimples were far oftener absent from her face
during his intercourse with her nowadays than they had been in the
earlier weeks of their acquaintance.
"Don't do that, Arabella!" he said suddenly. "There is no harm in
it, but--I don't like to see you."
She turned and laughed. "Lord, I didn't know you were awake!" she
said. "How countrified you are! That's nothing."
"Where did you learn it?"
"Nowhere that I know of. They used to stay without any trouble when
I was at the public-house; but now they won't. My face was fatter
"I don't care about dimples. I don't think they improve a
woman--particularly a married woman, and of full-sized figure like
"Most men think otherwise."
"I don't care what most men think, if they do. How do you know?"
"I used to be told so when I was serving in the tap-room."
"Ah--that public-house experience accounts for your knowing about
the adulteration of the ale when we went and had some that Sunday
evening. I thought when I married you that you had always lived in
your father's house."
"You ought to have known better than that, and seen I was a little
more finished than I could have been by staying where I was born.
There was not much to do at home, and I was eating my head off, so I
went away for three months."
"You'll soon have plenty to do now, dear, won't you?"
"How do you mean?"
"Why, of course--little things to make."
"When will it be? Can't you tell me exactly, instead of in such
general terms as you have used?"
"There's nothing to tell. I made a mistake."
"It was a mistake."
He sat bolt upright in bed and looked at her. "How can that be?"
"Women fancy wrong things sometimes."
"But--! Why, of course, so unprepared as I was, without a stick of
furniture, and hardly a shilling, I shouldn't have hurried on our
affair, and brought you to a half-furnished hut before I was ready,
if it had not been for the news you gave me, which made it necessary
to save you, ready or no... Good God!"
"Don't take on, dear. What's done can't be undone."
"I have no more to say!"
He gave the answer simply, and lay down; and there was silence
When Jude awoke the next morning he seemed to see the world with a
different eye. As to the point in question he was compelled to
accept her word; in the circumstances he could not have acted
otherwise while ordinary notions prevailed. But how came they to
There seemed to him, vaguely and dimly, something wrong in a social
ritual which made necessary a cancelling of well-formed schemes
involving years of thought and labour, of foregoing a man's one
opportunity of showing himself superior to the lower animals, and of
contributing his units of work to the general progress of his
generation, because of a momentary surprise by a new and transitory
instinct which had nothing in it of the nature of vice, and could be
only at the most called weakness. He was inclined to inquire what he
had done, or she lost, for that matter, that he deserved to be caught
in a gin which would cripple him, if not her also, for the rest of a
lifetime? There was perhaps something fortunate in the fact that the
immediate reason of his marriage had proved to be non-existent. But
the marriage remained.
The time arrived for killing the pig which Jude and his wife had
fattened in their sty during the autumn months, and the butchering
was timed to take place as soon as it was light in the morning, so
that Jude might get to Alfredston without losing more than a quarter
of a day.
The night had seemed strangely silent. Jude looked out of the window
long before dawn, and perceived that the ground was covered with
snow--snow rather deep for the season, it seemed, a few flakes still
"I'm afraid the pig-killer won't be able to come," he said to
"Oh, he'll come. You must get up and make the water hot, if you want
Challow to scald him. Though I like singeing best."
"I'll get up," said Jude. "I like the way of my own county."
He went downstairs, lit the fire under the copper, and began feeding
it with bean-stalks, all the time without a candle, the blaze
flinging a cheerful shine into the room; though for him the sense of
cheerfulness was lessened by thoughts on the reason of that blaze--to
heat water to scald the bristles from the body of an animal that as
yet lived, and whose voice could be continually heard from a corner
of the garden. At half-past six, the time of appointment with the
butcher, the water boiled, and Jude's wife came downstairs.
"Is Challow come?" she asked.
They waited, and it grew lighter, with the dreary light of a snowy
dawn. She went out, gazed along the road, and returning said, "He's
not coming. Drunk last night, I expect. The snow is not enough to
hinder him, surely!"
"Then we must put it off. It is only the water boiled for nothing.
The snow may be deep in the valley."
"Can't be put off. There's no more victuals for the pig. He ate the
last mixing o' barleymeal yesterday morning."
"Yesterday morning? What has he lived on since?"
"What--he has been starving?"
"Yes. We always do it the last day or two, to save bother with the
innerds. What ignorance, not to know that!"
"That accounts for his crying so. Poor creature!"
"Well--you must do the sticking--there's no help for it. I'll show
you how. Or I'll do it myself--I think I could. Though as it is
such a big pig I had rather Challow had done it. However, his basket
o' knives and things have been already sent on here, and we can use
"Of course you shan't do it," said Jude. "I'll do it, since it must
He went out to the sty, shovelled away the snow for the space of a
couple of yards or more, and placed the stool in front, with the
knives and ropes at hand. A robin peered down at the preparations
from the nearest tree, and, not liking the sinister look of the
scene, flew away, though hungry. By this time Arabella had joined
her husband, and Jude, rope in hand, got into the sty, and noosed the
affrighted animal, who, beginning with a squeak of surprise, rose to
repeated cries of rage. Arabella opened the sty-door, and together
they hoisted the victim on to the stool, legs upward, and while Jude
held him Arabella bound him down, looping the cord over his legs to
keep him from struggling.
The animal's note changed its quality. It was not now rage, but the
cry of despair; long-drawn, slow and hopeless.
"Upon my soul I would sooner have gone without the pig than have had
this to do!" said Jude. "A creature I have fed with my own hands."
"Don't be such a tender-hearted fool! There's the sticking-knife--
the one with the point. Now whatever you do, don't stick un too
"I'll stick him effectually, so as to make short work of it. That's
the chief thing."
"You must not!" she cried. "The meat must be well bled, and to do
that he must die slow. We shall lose a shilling a score if the meat
is red and bloody! Just touch the vein, that's all. I was brought
up to it, and I know. Every good butcher keeps un bleeding long.
He ought to be eight or ten minutes dying, at least."
"He shall not be half a minute if I can help it, however the meat may
look," said Jude determinedly. Scraping the bristles from the pig's
upturned throat, as he had seen the butchers do, he slit the fat;
then plunged in the knife with all his might.
"'Od damn it all!" she cried, "that ever I should say it! You've
over-stuck un! And I telling you all the time--"
"Do be quiet, Arabella, and have a little pity on the creature!"
"Hold up the pail to catch the blood, and don't talk!"
However unworkmanlike the deed, it had been mercifully done. The
blood flowed out in a torrent instead of in the trickling stream she
had desired. The dying animal's cry assumed its third and final
tone, the shriek of agony; his glazing eyes riveting themselves on
Arabella with the eloquently keen reproach of a creature recognizing
at last the treachery of those who had seemed his only friends.
"Make un stop that!" said Arabella. "Such a noise will bring
somebody or other up here, and I don't want people to know we are
doing it ourselves." Picking up the knife from the ground whereon
Jude had flung it, she slipped it into the gash, and slit the
windpipe. The pig was instantly silent, his dying breath coming
through the hole.
"That's better," she said.
"It is a hateful business!" said he.
"Pigs must be killed."
The animal heaved in a final convulsion, and, despite the rope,
kicked out with all his last strength. A tablespoonful of black
clot came forth, the trickling of red blood having ceased for some
"That's it; now he'll go," said she. "Artful creatures--they always
keep back a drop like that as long as they can!"
The last plunge had come so unexpectedly as to make Jude stagger, and
in recovering himself he kicked over the vessel in which the blood
had been caught.
"There!" she cried, thoroughly in a passion. "Now I can't make any
blackpot. There's a waste, all through you!"
Jude put the pail upright, but only about a third of the whole
steaming liquid was left in it, the main part being splashed over
the snow, and forming a dismal, sordid, ugly spectacle--to those who
saw it as other than an ordinary obtaining of meat. The lips and
nostrils of the animal turned livid, then white, and the muscles of
his limbs relaxed.
"Thank God!" Jude said. "He's dead."
"What's God got to do with such a messy job as a pig-killing, I
should like to know!" she said scornfully. "Poor folks must live."
"I know, I know," said he. "I don't scold you."
Suddenly they became aware of a voice at hand.
"Well done, young married volk! I couldn't have carried it out much
better myself, cuss me if I could!" The voice, which was husky,
came from the garden-gate, and looking up from the scene of slaughter
they saw the burly form of Mr. Challow leaning over the gate,
critically surveying their performance.
"'Tis well for 'ee to stand there and glane!" said Arabella. "Owing
to your being late the meat is blooded and half spoiled! 'Twon't
fetch so much by a shilling a score!"
Challow expressed his contrition. "You should have waited a bit"
he said, shaking his head, "and not have done this--in the delicate
state, too, that you be in at present, ma'am. 'Tis risking yourself
"You needn't be concerned about that," said Arabella, laughing.
Jude too laughed, but there was a strong flavour of bitterness in
Challow made up for his neglect of the killing by zeal in the
scalding and scraping. Jude felt dissatisfied with himself as a man
at what he had done, though aware of his lack of common sense, and
that the deed would have amounted to the same thing if carried out by
deputy. The white snow, stained with the blood of his fellow-mortal,
wore an illogical look to him as a lover of justice, not to say a
Christian; but he could not see how the matter was to be mended. No
doubt he was, as his wife had called him, a tender-hearted fool.
He did not like the road to Alfredston now. It stared him cynically
in the face. The wayside objects reminded him so much of his
courtship of his wife that, to keep them out of his eyes, he
read whenever he could as he walked to and from his work. Yet
he sometimes felt that by caring for books he was not escaping
common-place nor gaining rare ideas, every working-man being of that
taste now. When passing near the spot by the stream on which he had
first made her acquaintance he one day heard voices just as he had
done at that earlier time. One of the girls who had been Arabella's
companions was talking to a friend in a shed, himself being the
subject of discourse, possibly because they had seen him in the
distance. They were quite unaware that the shed-walls were so thin
that he could hear their words as he passed.
"Howsomever, 'twas I put her up to it! 'Nothing venture nothing
have,' I said. If I hadn't she'd no more have been his mis'ess than
"'Tis my belief she knew there was nothing the matter when she told
him she was..."
What had Arabella been put up to by this woman, so that he should
make her his "mis'ess," otherwise wife? The suggestion was horridly
unpleasant, and it rankled in his mind so much that instead of
entering his own cottage when he reached it he flung his basket
inside the garden-gate and passed on, determined to go and see his
old aunt and get some supper there.
This made his arrival home rather late. Arabella however, was busy
melting down lard from fat of the deceased pig, for she had been out
on a jaunt all day, and so delayed her work. Dreading lest what he
had heard should lead him to say something regrettable to her he
spoke little. But Arabella was very talkative, and said among other
things that she wanted some money. Seeing the book sticking out of
his pocket she added that he ought to earn more.
"An apprentice's wages are not meant to be enough to keep a wife on,
as a rule, my dear."
"Then you shouldn't have had one."
"Come, Arabella! That's too bad, when you know how it came about."
"I'll declare afore Heaven that I thought what I told you was true.
Doctor Vilbert thought so. It was a good job for you that it wasn't
"I don't mean that," he said hastily. "I mean before that time.
I know it was not your fault; but those women friends of yours gave
you bad advice. If they hadn't, or you hadn't taken it, we should at
this moment have been free from a bond which, not to mince matters,
galls both of us devilishly. It may be very sad, but it is true."
"Who's been telling you about my friends? What advice? I insist
upon you telling me."
"Pooh--I'd rather not."
"But you shall--you ought to. It is mean of 'ee not to!"
"Very well." And he hinted gently what had been revealed to him.
"But I don't wish to dwell upon it. Let us say no more about it."
Her defensive manner collapsed. "That was nothing," she said,
laughing coldly. "Every woman has a right to do such as that. The
risk is hers."
"I quite deny it, Bella. She might if no lifelong penalty attached
to it for the man, or, in his default, for herself; if the weakness
of the moment could end with the moment, or even with the year.
But when effects stretch so far she should not go and do that which
entraps a man if he is honest, or herself if he is otherwise."
"What ought I to have done?"
"Given me time... Why do you fuss yourself about melting down that
pig's fat to-night? Please put it away!"
"Then I must do it to-morrow morning. It won't keep."
Next morning, which was Sunday, she resumed operations about ten
o'clock; and the renewed work recalled the conversation which had
accompanied it the night before, and put her back into the same
"That's the story about me in Marygreen, is it--that I entrapped 'ee?
Much of a catch you were, Lord send!" As she warmed she saw some of
Jude's dear ancient classics on a table where they ought not to have
been laid. "I won't have them books here in the way!" she cried
petulantly; and seizing them one by one she began throwing them upon
"Leave my books alone!" he said. "You might have thrown them
aside if you had liked, but as to soiling them like that, it is
disgusting!" In the operation of making lard Arabella's hands had
become smeared with the hot grease, and her fingers consequently
left very perceptible imprints on the book-covers. She continued
deliberately to toss the books severally upon the floor, till Jude,
incensed beyond bearing, caught her by the arms to make her leave
off. Somehow, in going so, he loosened the fastening of her hair,
and it rolled about her ears.
"Let me go!" she said.
"Promise to leave the books alone."
She hesitated. "Let me go!" she repeated.
After a pause: "I do."
Jude relinquished his hold, and she crossed the room to the door,
out of which she went with a set face, and into the highway. Here
she began to saunter up and down, perversely pulling her hair into a
worse disorder than he had caused, and unfastening several buttons of
her gown. It was a fine Sunday morning, dry, clear and frosty, and
the bells of Alfredston Church could be heard on the breeze from the
north. People were going along the road, dressed in their holiday
clothes; they were mainly lovers--such pairs as Jude and Arabella
had been when they sported along the same track some months earlier.
These pedestrians turned to stare at the extraordinary spectacle she
now presented, bonnetless, her dishevelled hair blowing in the wind,
her bodice apart, her sleeves rolled above her elbows for her work,
and her hands reeking with melted fat. One of the passers said in
mock terror: "Good Lord deliver us!"
"See how he's served me!" she cried. "Making me work Sunday mornings
when I ought to be going to my church, and tearing my hair off my
head, and my gown off my back!"
Jude was exasperated, and went out to drag her in by main force.
Then he suddenly lost his heat. Illuminated with the sense that all
was over between them, and that it mattered not what she did, or he,
her husband stood still, regarding her. Their lives were ruined, he
thought; ruined by the fundamental error of their matrimonial union:
that of having based a permanent contract on a temporary feeling
which had no necessary connection with affinities that alone render
a lifelong comradeship tolerable.
"Going to ill-use me on principle, as your father ill-used your
mother, and your father's sister ill-used her husband?" she asked.
"All you be a queer lot as husbands and wives!"
Jude fixed an arrested, surprised look on her. But she said no more,
and continued her saunter till she was tired. He left the spot, and,
after wandering vaguely a little while, walked in the direction of
Marygreen. Here he called upon his great-aunt, whose infirmities
"Aunt--did my father ill-use my mother, and my aunt her husband?"
said Jude abruptly, sitting down by the fire.
She raised her ancient eyes under the rim of the by-gone bonnet that
she always wore. "Who's been telling you that?" she said.
"I have heard it spoken of, and want to know all."
"You med so well, I s'pose; though your wife--I reckon 'twas
she--must have been a fool to open up that! There isn't much to know
after all. Your father and mother couldn't get on together, and they
parted. It was coming home from Alfredston market, when you were a
baby--on the hill by the Brown House barn--that they had their last
difference, and took leave of one another for the last time. Your
mother soon afterwards died--she drowned herself, in short, and your
father went away with you to South Wessex, and never came here any
Jude recalled his father's silence about North Wessex and Jude's
mother, never speaking of either till his dying day.
"It was the same with your father's sister. Her husband offended
her, and she so disliked living with him afterwards that she went
away to London with her little maid. The Fawleys were not made for
wedlock: it never seemed to sit well upon us. There's sommat in our
blood that won't take kindly to the notion of being bound to do what
we do readily enough if not bound. That's why you ought to have
hearkened to me, and not ha' married."
"Where did Father and Mother part--by the Brown House, did you say?"
"A little further on--where the road to Fenworth branches off, and
the handpost stands. A gibbet once stood there not onconnected with
our history. But let that be."
In the dusk of that evening Jude walked away from his old aunt's as
if to go home. But as soon as he reached the open down he struck out
upon it till he came to a large round pond. The frost continued,
though it was not particularly sharp, and the larger stars overhead
came out slow and flickering. Jude put one foot on the edge of the
ice, and then the other: it cracked under his weight; but this did
not deter him. He ploughed his way inward to the centre, the ice
making sharp noises as he went. When just about the middle he looked
around him and gave a jump. The cracking repeated itself; but he did
not go down. He jumped again, but the cracking had ceased. Jude
went back to the edge, and stepped upon the ground.
It was curious, he thought. What was he reserved for? He supposed
he was not a sufficiently dignified person for suicide. Peaceful
death abhorred him as a subject, and would not take him.
What could he do of a lower kind than self-extermination; what was
there less noble, more in keeping with his present degraded position?
He could get drunk. Of course that was it; he had forgotten.
Drinking was the regular, stereotyped resource of the despairing
worthless. He began to see now why some men boozed at inns. He
struck down the hill northwards and came to an obscure public-house.
On entering and sitting down the sight of the picture of Samson and
Delilah on the wall caused him to recognize the place as that he
had visited with Arabella on that first Sunday evening of their
courtship. He called for liquor and drank briskly for an hour or
Staggering homeward late that night, with all his sense of
depression gone, and his head fairly clear still, he began to laugh
boisterously, and to wonder how Arabella would receive him in his
new aspect. The house was in darkness when he entered, and in
his stumbling state it was some time before he could get a light.
Then he found that, though the marks of pig-dressing, of fats and
scallops, were visible, the materials themselves had been taken away.
A line written by his wife on the inside of an old envelope was
pinned to the cotton blower of the fireplace:
""Have gone to my friends. Shall not return.""
All the next day he remained at home, and sent off the carcase of the
pig to Alfredston. He then cleaned up the premises, locked the door,
put the key in a place she would know if she came back, and returned
to his masonry at Alfredston.
At night when he again plodded home he found she had not visited the
house. The next day went in the same way, and the next. Then there
came a letter from her.
That she had gone tired of him she frankly admitted. He was such
a slow old coach, and she did not care for the sort of life he
led. There was no prospect of his ever bettering himself or her.
She further went on to say that her parents had, as he knew, for
some time considered the question of emigrating to Australia, the
pig-jobbing business being a poor one nowadays. They had at last
decided to go, and she proposed to go with them, if he had no
objection. A woman of her sort would have more chance over there
than in this stupid country.
Jude replied that he had not the least objection to her going. He
thought it a wise course, since she wished to go, and one that might
be to the advantage of both. He enclosed in the packet containing
the letter the money that had been realized by the sale of the pig,
with all he had besides, which was not much.
From that day he heard no more of her except indirectly, though her
father and his household did not immediately leave, but waited till
his goods and other effects had been sold off. When Jude learnt
that there was to be an auction at the house of the Donns he packed
his own household goods into a waggon, and sent them to her at the
aforesaid homestead, that she might sell them with the rest, or as
many of them as she should choose.
He then went into lodgings at Alfredston, and saw in a shopwindow the
little handbill announcing the sale of his father-in-law's furniture.
He noted its date, which came and passed without Jude's going near
the place, or perceiving that the traffic out of Alfredston by
the southern road was materially increased by the auction. A few
days later he entered a dingy broker's shop in the main street
of the town, and amid a heterogeneous collection of saucepans, a
clothes-horse, rolling-pin, brass candlestick, swing looking-glass,
and other things at the back of the shop, evidently just brought in
from a sale, he perceived a framed photograph, which turned out to be
his own portrait.
It was one which he had had specially taken and framed by a local man
in bird's-eye maple, as a present for Arabella, and had duly given
her on their wedding-day. On the back was still to be read, ""Jude
to Arabella"," with the date. She must have thrown it in with the
rest of her property at the auction.
"Oh," said the broker, seeing him look at this and the other articles
in the heap, and not perceiving that the portrait was of himself:
"It is a small lot of stuff that was knocked down to me at a cottage
sale out on the road to Marygreen. The frame is a very useful one,
if you take out the likeness. You shall have it for a shilling."
The utter death of every tender sentiment in his wife, as brought
home to him by this mute and undesigned evidence of her sale of
his portrait and gift, was the conclusive little stroke required
to demolish all sentiment in him. He paid the shilling, took the
photograph away with him, and burnt it, frame and all, when he
reached his lodging.
Two or three days later he heard that Arabella and her parents had
departed. He had sent a message offering to see her for a formal
leave-taking, but she had said that it would be better otherwise,
since she was bent on going, which perhaps was true. On the evening
following their emigration, when his day's work was done, he came out
of doors after supper, and strolled in the starlight along the too
familiar road towards the upland whereon had been experienced the
chief emotions of his life. It seemed to be his own again.
He could not realize himself. On the old track he seemed to be a
boy still, hardly a day older than when he had stood dreaming at the
top of that hill, inwardly fired for the first time with ardours for
Christminster and scholarship. "Yet I am a man," he said. "I have
a wife. More, I have arrived at the still riper stage of having
disagreed with her, disliked her, had a scuffle with her, and parted
He remembered then that he was standing not far from the spot at
which the parting between his father and his mother was said to have
A little further on was the summit whence Christminster, or what he
had taken for that city, had seemed to be visible. A milestone, now
as always, stood at the roadside hard by. Jude drew near it, and
felt rather than read the mileage to the city. He remembered that
once on his way home he had proudly cut with his keen new chisel an
inscription on the back of that milestone, embodying his aspirations.
It had been done in the first week of his apprenticeship, before
he had been diverted from his purposes by an unsuitable woman. He
wondered if the inscription were legible still, and going to the back
of the milestone brushed away the nettles. By the light of a match
he could still discern what he had cut so enthusiastically so long
[with a pointing finger]
The sight of it, unimpaired, within its screen of grass and nettles,
lit in his soul a spark of the old fire. Surely his plan should
be to move onward through good and ill--to avoid morbid sorrow
even though he did see uglinesses in the world? "Bene agere et
loetari"--to do good cheerfully--which he had heard to be the
philosophy of one Spinoza, might be his own even now.
He might battle with his evil star, and follow out his original
By moving to a spot a little way off he uncovered the horizon in a
north-easterly direction. There actually rose the faint halo, a
small dim nebulousness, hardly recognizable save by the eye of faith.
It was enough for him. He would go to Christminster as soon as the
term of his apprenticeship expired.
He returned to his lodgings in a better mood, and said his prayers.
"Save his own soul he hath no star."--SWINBURNE.
"Notitiam primosque gradus vicinia fecit;
Tempore crevit amor."--OVID.
The next noteworthy move in Jude's life was that in which he appeared
gliding steadily onward through a dusky landscape of some three
years' later leafage than had graced his courtship of Arabella,
and the disruption of his coarse conjugal life with her. He was
walking towards Christminster City, at a point a mile or two to the
south-west of it.
He had at last found himself clear of Marygreen and Alfredston: he
was out of his apprenticeship, and with his tools at his back seemed
to be in the way of making a new start--the start to which, barring
the interruption involved in his intimacy and married experience with
Arabella, he had been looking forward for about ten years.
Jude would now have been described as a young man with a forcible,
meditative, and earnest rather than handsome cast of countenance.
He was of dark complexion, with dark harmonizing eyes, and he wore
a closely trimmed black beard of more advanced growth than is usual
at his age; this, with his great mass of black curly hair, was some
trouble to him in combing and washing out the stone-dust that settled
on it in the pursuit of his trade. His capabilities in the latter,
having been acquired in the country, were of an all-round sort,
including monumental stone-cutting, gothic free-stone work for the
restoration of churches, and carving of a general kind. In London
he would probably have become specialized and have made himself a
"moulding mason," a "foliage sculptor"--perhaps a "statuary."
He had that afternoon driven in a cart from Alfredston to the village
nearest the city in this direction, and was now walking the remaining
four miles rather from choice than from necessity, having always
fancied himself arriving thus.
The ultimate impulse to come had had a curious origin--one more
nearly related to the emotional side of him than to the intellectual,
as is often the case with young men. One day while in lodgings at
Alfredston he had gone to Marygreen to see his old aunt, and had
observed between the brass candlesticks on her mantlepiece the
photograph of a pretty girlish face, in a broad hat with radiating
folds under the brim like the rays of a halo. He had asked who she
was. His grand-aunt had gruffly replied that she was his cousin
Sue Bridehead, of the inimical branch of the family; and on further
questioning the old woman had replied that the girl lived in
Christminster, though she did not know where, or what she was doing.
His aunt would not give him the photograph. But it haunted him; and
ultimately formed a quickening ingredient in his latent intent of
following his friend the school master thither.
He now paused at the top of a crooked and gentle declivity,
and obtained his first near view of the city. Grey-stoned and
dun-roofed, it stood within hail of the Wessex border, and almost
with the tip of one small toe within it, at the northernmost point of
the crinkled line along which the leisurely Thames strokes the fields
of that ancient kingdom. The buildings now lay quiet in the sunset,
a vane here and there on their many spires and domes giving sparkle
to a picture of sober secondary and tertiary hues.
Reaching the bottom he moved along the level way between pollard
willows growing indistinct in the twilight, and soon confronted the
outmost lamps of the town--some of those lamps which had sent into
the sky the gleam and glory that caught his strained gaze in his days
of dreaming, so many years ago. They winked their yellow eyes at him
dubiously, and as if, though they had been awaiting him all these
years in disappointment at his tarrying, they did not much want him
He was a species of Dick Whittington whose spirit was touched to
finer issues than a mere material gain. He went along the outlying
streets with the cautious tread of an explorer. He saw nothing of
the real city in the suburbs on this side. His first want being a
lodging he scrutinized carefully such localities as seemed to offer
on inexpensive terms the modest type of accommodation he demanded;
and after inquiry took a room in a suburb nicknamed "Beersheba,"
though he did not know this at the time. Here he installed himself,
and having had some tea sallied forth.
It was a windy, whispering, moonless night. To guide himself he
opened under a lamp a map he had brought. The breeze ruffled and
fluttered it, but he could see enough to decide on the direction he
should take to reach the heart of the place.
After many turnings he came up to the first ancient mediŠval pile
that he had encountered. It was a college, as he could see by the
gateway. He entered it, walked round, and penetrated to dark corners
which no lamplight reached. Close to this college was another; and
a little further on another; and then he began to be encircled as it
were with the breath and sentiment of the venerable city. When he
passed objects out of harmony with its general expression he allowed
his eyes to slip over them as if he did not see them.
A bell began clanging, and he listened till a hundred-and-one strokes
had sounded. He must have made a mistake, he thought: it was meant
for a hundred.
When the gates were shut, and he could no longer get into the
quadrangles, he rambled under the walls and doorways, feeling with
his fingers the contours of their mouldings and carving. The minutes
passed, fewer and fewer people were visible, and still he serpentined
among the shadows, for had he not imagined these scenes through
ten bygone years, and what mattered a night's rest for once? High
against the black sky the flash of a lamp would show crocketed
pinnacles and indented battlements. Down obscure alleys, apparently
never trodden now by the foot of man, and whose very existence seemed
to be forgotten, there would jut into the path porticoes, oriels,
doorways of enriched and florid middle-age design, their extinct air
being accentuated by the rottenness of the stones. It seemed
impossible that modern thought could house itself in such decrepit
and superseded chambers.
Knowing not a human being here, Jude began to be impressed with
the isolation of his own personality, as with a self-spectre, the
sensation being that of one who walked but could not make himself
seen or heard. He drew his breath pensively, and, seeming thus
almost his own ghost, gave his thoughts to the other ghostly
presences with which the nooks were haunted.
During the interval of preparation for this venture, since his wife
and furniture's uncompromising disappearance into space, he had read
and learnt almost all that could be read and learnt by one in his
position, of the worthies who had spent their youth within these
reverend walls, and whose souls had haunted them in their maturer
age. Some of them, by the accidents of his reading, loomed out in
his fancy disproportionately large by comparison with the rest. The
brushings of the wind against the angles, buttresses, and door-jambs
were as the passing of these only other inhabitants, the tappings
of each ivy leaf on its neighbour were as the mutterings of their
mournful souls, the shadows as their thin shapes in nervous movement,
making him comrades in his solitude. In the gloom it was as if he
ran against them without feeling their bodily frames.
The streets were now deserted, but on account of these things he
could not go in. There were poets abroad, of early date and of late,
from the friend and eulogist of Shakespeare down to him who has
recently passed into silence, and that musical one of the tribe who
is still among us. Speculative philosophers drew along, not always
with wrinkled foreheads and hoary hair as in framed portraits, but
pink-faced, slim, and active as in youth; modern divines sheeted in
their surplices, among whom the most real to Jude Fawley were the
founders of the religious school called Tractarian; the well-known
three, the enthusiast, the poet, and the formularist, the echoes
of whose teachings had influenced him even in his obscure home.
A start of aversion appeared in his fancy to move them at sight of
those other sons of the place, the form in the full-bottomed wig,
statesman, rake, reasoner, and sceptic; the smoothly shaven historian
so ironically civil to Christianity; with others of the same
incredulous temper, who knew each quad as well as the faithful, and
took equal freedom in haunting its cloisters.
He regarded the statesmen in their various types, men of firmer
movement and less dreamy air; the scholar, the speaker, the plodder;
the man whose mind grew with his growth in years, and the man whose
mind contracted with the same.
The scientists and philologists followed on in his mind-sight in
an odd impossible combination, men of meditative faces, strained
foreheads, and weak-eyed as bats with constant research;
then official characters--such men as governor-generals and
lord-lieutenants, in whom he took little interest; chief-justices and
lord chancellors, silent thin-lipped figures of whom he knew barely
the names. A keener regard attached to the prelates, by reason of
his own former hopes. Of them he had an ample band--some men of
heart, others rather men of head; he who apologized for the Church
in Latin; the saintly author of the Evening Hymn; and near them the
great itinerant preacher, hymn-writer, and zealot, shadowed like Jude
by his matrimonial difficulties.
Jude found himself speaking out loud, holding conversations with
them as it were, like an actor in a melodrama who apostrophizes the
audience on the other side of the footlights; till he suddenly ceased
with a start at his absurdity. Perhaps those incoherent words of the
wanderer were heard within the walls by some student or thinker over
his lamp; and he may have raised his head, and wondered what voice it
was, and what it betokened. Jude now perceived that, so far as solid
flesh went, he had the whole aged city to himself with the exception
of a belated townsman here and there, and that he seemed to be
catching a cold.
A voice reached him out of the shade; a real and local voice:
"You've been a-settin' a long time on that plinth-stone, young man.
What med you be up to?"
It came from a policeman who had been observing Jude without the
latter observing him.
Jude went home and to bed, after reading up a little about these men
and their several messages to the world from a book or two that he
had brought with him concerning the sons of the university. As he
drew towards sleep various memorable words of theirs that he had
just been conning seemed spoken by them in muttering utterances;
some audible, some unintelligible to him. One of the spectres (who
afterwards mourned Christminster as "the home of lost causes," though
Jude did not remember this) was now apostrophizing her thus:
"Beautiful city! so venerable, so lovely, so unravaged by the fierce
intellectual life of our century, so serene! ... Her ineffable charm
keeps ever calling us to the true goal of all of us, to the ideal, to
Another voice was that of the Corn Law convert, whose phantom he had
just seen in the quadrangle with a great bell. Jude thought his soul
might have been shaping the historic words of his master-speech:
"Sir, I may be wrong, but my impression is that my duty towards a
country threatened with famine requires that that which has been the
ordinary remedy under all similar circumstances should be resorted to
now, namely, that there should be free access to the food of man from
whatever quarter it may come... Deprive me of office to-morrow, you
can never deprive me of the consciousness that I have exercised the
powers committed to me from no corrupt or interested motives, from no
desire to gratify ambition, for no personal gain."
Then the sly author of the immortal Chapter on Christianity: "How
shall we excuse the supine inattention of the Pagan and philosophic
world, to those evidences [miracles] which were presented by
Omnipotence? ... The sages of Greece and Rome turned aside from the
awful spectacle, and appeared unconscious of any alterations in the
moral or physical government of the world."
Then the shade of the poet, the last of the optimists:
How the world is made for each of us!
* * * * *
And each of the Many helps to recruit
The life of the race by a general plan.
Then one of the three enthusiasts he had seen just now, the author of
"My argument was ... that absolute certitude as to the truths of
natural theology was the result of an assemblage of concurring and
converging probabilities ... that probabilities which did not reach
to logical certainty might create a mental certitude."
The second of them, no polemic, murmured quieter things:
Why should we faint, and fear to live alone,
Since all alone, so Heaven has will'd, we die?
He likewise heard some phrases spoken by the phantom with the short
face, the genial Spectator:
"When I look upon the tombs of the great, every motion of envy dies
in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate
desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a
tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tombs of
the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those
whom we must quickly follow."
And lastly a gentle-voiced prelate spoke, during whose meek, familiar
rhyme, endeared to him from earliest childhood, Jude fell asleep:
Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed.
Teach me to die ...
He did not wake till morning. The ghostly past seemed to have gone,
and everything spoke of to-day. He started up in bed, thinking he
had overslept himself and then said:
"By Jove--I had quite forgotten my sweet-faced cousin, and that she's
here all the time! ... and my old schoolmaster, too." His words
about his schoolmaster had, perhaps, less zest in them than his words
concerning his cousin.
Necessary meditations on the actual, including the mean
bread-and-cheese question, dissipated the phantasmal for a while, and
compelled Jude to smother high thinkings under immediate needs. He
had to get up, and seek for work, manual work; the only kind deemed
by many of its professors to be work at all.
Passing out into the streets on this errand he found that the
colleges had treacherously changed their sympathetic countenances:
some were pompous; some had put on the look of family vaults above
ground; something barbaric loomed in the masonries of all. The
spirits of the great men had disappeared.
The numberless architectural pages around him he read, naturally,
less as an artist-critic of their forms than as an artizan and
comrade of the dead handicraftsmen whose muscles had actually
executed those forms. He examined the mouldings, stroked them as
one who knew their beginning, said they were difficult or easy in
the working, had taken little or much time, were trying to the arm,
or convenient to the tool.
What at night had been perfect and ideal was by day the more or
less defective real. Cruelties, insults, had, he perceived, been
inflicted on the aged erections. The condition of several moved him
as he would have been moved by maimed sentient beings. They were
wounded, broken, sloughing off their outer shape in the deadly
struggle against years, weather, and man.
The rottenness of these historical documents reminded him that he was
not, after all, hastening on to begin the morning practically as he
had intended. He had come to work, and to live by work, and the
morning had nearly gone. It was, in one sense, encouraging to think
that in a place of crumbling stones there must be plenty for one of
his trade to do in the business of renovation. He asked his way to
the workyard of the stone-mason whose name had been given him at
Alfredston; and soon heard the familiar sound of the rubbers and
The yard was a little centre of regeneration. Here, with keen edges
and smooth curves, were forms in the exact likeness of those he had
seen abraded and time-eaten on the walls. These were the ideas in
modern prose which the lichened colleges presented in old poetry.
Even some of those antiques might have been called prose when they
were new. They had done nothing but wait, and had become poetical.
How easy to the smallest building; how impossible to most men.
He asked for the foreman, and looked round among the new traceries,
mullions, transoms, shafts, pinnacles, and battlements standing on
the bankers half worked, or waiting to be removed. They were marked
by precision, mathematical straightness, smoothness, exactitude:
there in the old walls were the broken lines of the original idea;
jagged curves, disdain of precision, irregularity, disarray.
For a moment there fell on Jude a true illumination; that here in the
stone yard was a centre of effort as worthy as that dignified by the
name of scholarly study within the noblest of the colleges. But he
lost it under stress of his old idea. He would accept any employment
which might be offered him on the strength of his late employer's
recommendation; but he would accept it as a provisional thing only.
This was his form of the modern vice of unrest.
Moreover he perceived that at best only copying, patching and
imitating went on here; which he fancied to be owing to some
temporary and local cause. He did not at that time see that
mediŠvalism was as dead as a fern-leaf in a lump of coal; that other
developments were shaping in the world around him, in which Gothic
architecture and its associations had no place. The deadly animosity
of contemporary logic and vision towards so much of what he held in
reverence was not yet revealed to him.
Having failed to obtain work here as yet he went away, and thought
again of his cousin, whose presence somewhere at hand he seemed to
feel in wavelets of interest, if not of emotion. How he wished he
had that pretty portrait of her! At last he wrote to his aunt to
send it. She did so, with a request, however, that he was not to
bring disturbance into the family by going to see the girl or her
relations. Jude, a ridiculously affectionate fellow, promised
nothing, put the photograph on the mantel-piece, kissed it--he did
not know why--and felt more at home. She seemed to look down and
preside over his tea. It was cheering--the one thing uniting him to
the emotions of the living city.
There remained the schoolmaster--probably now a reverend parson.
But he could not possibly hunt up such a respectable man just yet;
so raw and unpolished was his condition, so precarious were his
fortunes. Thus he still remained in loneliness. Although people
moved round him he virtually saw none. Not as yet having mingled
with the active life of the place it was largely non-existent to him.
But the saints and prophets in the window-tracery, the paintings
in the galleries, the statues, the busts, the gargoyles, the
corbel-heads--these seemed to breathe his atmosphere. Like all
newcomers to a spot on which the past is deeply graven he heard that
past announcing itself with an emphasis altogether unsuspected by,
and even incredible to, the habitual residents.
For many days he haunted the cloisters and quadrangles of the
colleges at odd minutes in passing them, surprised by impish
echoes of his own footsteps, smart as the blows of a mallet. The
Christminster "sentiment," as it had been called, ate further and
further into him; till he probably knew more about those buildings
materially, artistically, and historically, than any one of their
It was not till now, when he found himself actually on the spot of
his enthusiasm, that Jude perceived how far away from the object of
that enthusiasm he really was. Only a wall divided him from those
happy young contemporaries of his with whom he shared a common mental
life; men who had nothing to do from morning till night but to read,
mark, learn, and inwardly digest. Only a wall--but what a wall!
Every day, every hour, as he went in search of labour, he saw them
going and coming also, rubbed shoulders with them, heard their
voices, marked their movements. The conversation of some of the
more thoughtful among them seemed oftentimes, owing to his long and
persistent preparation for this place, to be peculiarly akin to his
own thoughts. Yet he was as far from them as if he had been at the
antipodes. Of course he was. He was a young workman in a white
blouse, and with stone-dust in the creases of his clothes; and in
passing him they did not even see him, or hear him, rather saw
through him as through a pane of glass at their familiars beyond.
Whatever they were to him, he to them was not on the spot at all; and
yet he had fancied he would be close to their lives by coming there.
But the future lay ahead after all; and if he could only be so
fortunate as to get into good employment he would put up with the
inevitable. So he thanked God for his health and strength, and took
courage. For the present he was outside the gates of everything,
colleges included: perhaps some day he would be inside. Those
palaces of light and leading; he might some day look down on the
world through their panes.
At length he did receive a message from the stone-mason's yard--that
a job was waiting for him. It was his first encouragement, and he
closed with the offer promptly.
He was young and strong, or he never could have executed with such
zest the undertakings to which he now applied himself, since they
involved reading most of the night after working all the day. First
he bought a shaded lamp for four and six-pence, and obtained a good
light. Then he got pens, paper, and such other necessary books as he
had been unable to obtain elsewhere. Then, to the consternation of
his landlady, he shifted all the furniture of his room--a single one
for living and sleeping--rigged up a curtain on a rope across the
middle, to make a double chamber out of one, hung up a thick blind
that nobody should know how he was curtailing the hours of sleep,
laid out his books, and sat down.
Having been deeply encumbered by marrying, getting a cottage, and
buying the furniture which had disappeared in the wake of his wife,
he had never been able to save any money since the time of those
disastrous ventures, and till his wages began to come in he was
obliged to live in the narrowest way. After buying a book or two
he could not even afford himself a fire; and when the nights reeked
with the raw and cold air from the Meadows he sat over his lamp in
a great-coat, hat, and woollen gloves.
From his window he could perceive the spire of the cathedral, and the
ogee dome under which resounded the great bell of the city. The tall
tower, tall belfry windows, and tall pinnacles of the college by the
bridge he could also get a glimpse of by going to the staircase.
These objects he used as stimulants when his faith in the future was
Like enthusiasts in general he made no inquiries into details of
procedure. Picking up general notions from casual acquaintance, he
never dwelt upon them. For the present, he said to himself, the one
thing necessary was to get ready by accumulating money and knowledge,
and await whatever chances were afforded to such an one of becoming
a son of the University. "For wisdom is a defence, and money is a
defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life
to them that have it." His desire absorbed him, and left no part of
him to weigh its practicability.
At this time he received a nervously anxious letter from his poor old
aunt, on the subject which had previously distressed her--a fear that
Jude would not be strong-minded enough to keep away from his cousin
Sue Bridehead and her relations. Sue's father, his aunt believed,
had gone back to London, but the girl remained at Christminster. To
make her still more objectionable she was an artist or designer of
some sort in what was called an ecclesiastical warehouse, which was
a perfect seed-bed of idolatry, and she was no doubt abandoned to
mummeries on that account--if not quite a Papist. (Miss Drusilla
Fawley was of her date, Evangelical.)
As Jude was rather on an intellectual track than a theological, this
news of Sue's probable opinions did not much influence him one way or
the other, but the clue to her whereabouts was decidedly interesting.
With an altogether singular pleasure he walked at his earliest spare
minutes past the shops answering to his great-aunt's description; and
beheld in one of them a young girl sitting behind a desk, who was
suspiciously like the original of the portrait. He ventured to enter
on a trivial errand, and having made his purchase lingered on the
scene. The shop seemed to be kept entirely by women. It contained
Anglican books, stationery, texts, and fancy goods: little plaster
angels on brackets, Gothic-framed pictures of saints, ebony crosses
that were almost crucifixes, prayer-books that were almost missals.
He felt very shy of looking at the girl in the desk; she was so
pretty that he could not believe it possible that she should belong
to him. Then she spoke to one of the two older women behind the
counter; and he recognized in the accents certain qualities of his
own voice; softened and sweetened, but his own. What was she doing?
He stole a glance round. Before her lay a piece of zinc, cut to
the shape of a scroll three or four feet long, and coated with a
dead-surface paint on one side. Hereon she was designing or
illuminating, in characters of Church text, the single word
A L L E L U J A
"A sweet, saintly, Christian business, hers!" thought he.
Her presence here was now fairly enough explained, her skill in
work of this sort having no doubt been acquired from her father's
occupation as an ecclesiastical worker in metal. The lettering on
which she was engaged was clearly intended to be fixed up in some
chancel to assist devotion.
He came out. It would have been easy to speak to her there and then,
but it seemed scarcely honourable towards his aunt to disregard her
request so incontinently. She had used him roughly, but she had
brought him up: and the fact of her being powerless to control him
lent a pathetic force to a wish that would have been inoperative as
So Jude gave no sign. He would not call upon Sue just yet. He had
other reasons against doing so when he had walked away. She seemed
so dainty beside himself in his rough working-jacket and dusty
trousers that he felt he was as yet unready to encounter her, as he
had felt about Mr. Phillotson. And how possible it was that she had
inherited the antipathies of her family, and would scorn him, as
far as a Christian could, particularly when he had told her that
unpleasant part of his history which had resulted in his becoming
enchained to one of her own sex whom she would certainly not admire.
Thus he kept watch over her, and liked to feel she was there.
The consciousness of her living presence stimulated him. But she
remained more or less an ideal character, about whose form he began
to weave curious and fantastic day-dreams.
Between two and three weeks afterwards Jude was engaged with some
more men, outside Crozier College in Old-time Street, in getting a
block of worked freestone from a waggon across the pavement, before
hoisting it to the parapet which they were repairing. Standing in
position the head man said, "Spaik when he heave! He-ho!" And they
All of a sudden, as he lifted, his cousin stood close to his elbow,
pausing a moment on the bend of her foot till the obstructing object
should have been removed. She looked right into his face with
liquid, untranslatable eyes, that combined, or seemed to him to
combine, keenness with tenderness, and mystery with both, their
expression, as well as that of her lips, taking its life from some
words just spoken to a companion, and being carried on into his face
quite unconsciously. She no more observed his presence than that of
the dust-motes which his manipulations raised into the sunbeams.
His closeness to her was so suggestive that he trembled, and turned
his face away with a shy instinct to prevent her recognizing him,
though as she had never once seen him she could not possibly do so;
and might very well never have heard even his name. He could
perceive that though she was a country-girl at bottom, a latter
girlhood of some years in London, and a womanhood here, had taken
all rawness out of her.
When she was gone he continued his work, reflecting on her. He had
been so caught by her influence that he had taken no count of her
general mould and build. He remembered now that she was not a large
figure, that she was light and slight, of the type dubbed elegant.
That was about all he had seen. There was nothing statuesque in her;
all was nervous motion. She was mobile, living, yet a painter might
not have called her handsome or beautiful. But the much that she was
surprised him. She was quite a long way removed from the rusticity
that was his. How could one of his cross-grained, unfortunate,
almost accursed stock, have contrived to reach this pitch of
niceness? London had done it, he supposed.
From this moment the emotion which had been accumulating in his
breast as the bottled-up effect of solitude and the poetized
locality he dwelt in, insensibly began to precipitate itself on this
half-visionary form; and he perceived that, whatever his obedient
wish in a contrary direction, he would soon be unable to resist the
desire to make himself known to her.
He affected to think of her quite in a family way, since there were
crushing reasons why he should not and could not think of her in any
The first reason was that he was married, and it would be wrong.
The second was that they were cousins. It was not well for cousins
to fall in love even when circumstances seemed to favour the passion.
The third: even were he free, in a family like his own where marriage
usually meant a tragic sadness, marriage with a blood-relation would
duplicate the adverse conditions, and a tragic sadness might be
intensified to a tragic horror.
Therefore, again, he would have to think of Sue with only a
relation's mutual interest in one belonging to him; regard her in
a practical way as some one to be proud of; to talk and nod to;
later on, to be invited to tea by, the emotion spent on her being
rigorously that of a kinsman and well-wisher. So would she be to him
a kindly star, an elevating power, a companion in Anglican worship,
a tender friend.
But under the various deterrent influences Jude's instinct was to
approach her timidly, and the next Sunday he went to the morning
service in the Cathedral church of Cardinal College to gain a further
view of her, for he had found that she frequently attended there.
She did not come, and he awaited her in the afternoon, which was
finer. He knew that if she came at all she would approach the
building along the eastern side of the great green quadrangle from
which it was accessible, and he stood in a corner while the bell was
going. A few minutes before the hour for service she appeared as
one of the figures walking along under the college walls, and at
sight of her he advanced up the side opposite, and followed her into
the building, more than ever glad that he had not as yet revealed
himself. To see her, and to be himself unseen and unknown, was
enough for him at present.
He lingered awhile in the vestibule, and the service was some way
advanced when he was put into a seat. It was a louring, mournful,
still afternoon, when a religion of some sort seems a necessity to
ordinary practical men, and not only a luxury of the emotional
and leisured classes. In the dim light and the baffling glare of
the clerestory windows he could discern the opposite worshippers
indistinctly only, but he saw that Sue was among them. He had not
long discovered the exact seat that she occupied when the chanting
of the 119th Psalm in which the choir was engaged reached its second
part, "In quo corriget", the organ changing to a pathetic Gregorian
tune as the singers gave forth:
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?
It was the very question that was engaging Jude's attention at this
moment. What a wicked worthless fellow he had been to give vent as
he had done to an animal passion for a woman, and allow it to lead
to such disastrous consequences; then to think of putting an end to
himself; then to go recklessly and get drunk. The great waves of
pedal music tumbled round the choir, and, nursed on the supernatural
as he had been, it is not wonderful that he could hardly believe that
the psalm was not specially set by some regardful Providence for this
moment of his first entry into the solemn building. And yet it was
the ordinary psalm for the twenty-fourth evening of the month.
The girl for whom he was beginning to nourish an extraordinary
tenderness was at this time ensphered by the same harmonies as those
which floated into his ears; and the thought was a delight to him.
She was probably a frequenter of this place, and, steeped body and
soul in church sentiment as she must be by occupation and habit, had,
no doubt, much in common with him. To an impressionable and lonely
young man the consciousness of having at last found anchorage for
his thoughts, which promised to supply both social and spiritual
possibilities, was like the dew of Hermon, and he remained throughout
the service in a sustaining atmosphere of ecstasy.
Though he was loth to suspect it, some people might have said to him
that the atmosphere blew as distinctly from Cyprus as from Galilee.
Jude waited till she had left her seat and passed under the screen
before he himself moved. She did not look towards him, and by the
time he reached the door she was half-way down the broad path.
Being dressed up in his Sunday suit he was inclined to follow her
and reveal himself. But he was not quite ready; and, alas, ought
he to do so with the kind of feeling that was awakening in him?
For though it had seemed to have an ecclesiastical basis during the
service, and he had persuaded himself that such was the case, he
could not altogether be blind to the real nature of the magnetism.
She was such a stranger that the kinship was affectation, and he
said, "It can't be! I, a man with a wife, must not know her!" Still
Sue WAS his own kin, and the fact of his having a wife, even though
she was not in evidence in this hemisphere, might be a help in one
sense. It would put all thought of a tender wish on his part out
of Sue's mind, and make her intercourse with him free and fearless.
It was with some heartache that he saw how little he cared for the
freedom and fearlessness that would result in her from such
Some little time before the date of this service in the cathedral the
pretty, liquid-eyed, light-footed young woman Sue Bridehead had an
afternoon's holiday, and leaving the ecclesiastical establishment in
which she not only assisted but lodged, took a walk into the country
with a book in her hand. It was one of those cloudless days which
sometimes occur in Wessex and elsewhere between days of cold and wet,
as if intercalated by caprice of the weather-god. She went along for
a mile or two until she came to much higher ground than that of the
city she had left behind her. The road passed between green fields,
and coming to a stile Sue paused there, to finish the page she was
reading, and then looked back at the towers and domes and pinnacles
new and old.
On the other side of the stile, in the footpath, she beheld a
foreigner with black hair and a sallow face, sitting on the grass
beside a large square board whereon were fixed, as closely as they
could stand, a number of plaster statuettes, some of them bronzed,
which he was re-arranging before proceeding with them on his way.
They were in the main reduced copies of ancient marbles, and
comprised divinities of a very different character from those the
girl was accustomed to see portrayed, among them being a Venus of
standard pattern, a Diana, and, of the other sex, Apollo, Bacchus,
and Mars. Though the figures were many yards away from her the
south-west sun brought them out so brilliantly against the green
herbage that she could discern their contours with luminous
distinctness; and being almost in a line between herself and the
church towers of the city they awoke in her an oddly foreign and
contrasting set of ideas by comparison. The man rose, and, seeing
her, politely took off his cap, and cried "I-i-i-mages!" in an accent
that agreed with his appearance. In a moment he dexterously lifted
upon his knee the great board with its assembled notabilities divine
and human, and raised it to the top of his head, bringing them on to
her and resting the board on the stile. First he offered her his
smaller wares--the busts of kings and queens, then a minstrel, then
a winged Cupid. She shook her head.
"How much are these two?" she said, touching with her finger the
Venus and the Apollo--the largest figures on the tray.
He said she should have them for ten shillings.
"I cannot afford that," said Sue. She offered considerably less,
and to her surprise the image-man drew them from their wire stay and
handed them over the stile. She clasped them as treasures.
When they were paid for, and the man had gone, she began to be
concerned as to what she should do with them. They seemed so very
large now that they were in her possession, and so very naked.
Being of a nervous temperament she trembled at her enterprise.
When she handled them the white pipeclay came off on her gloves and
jacket. After carrying them along a little way openly an idea came
to her, and, pulling some huge burdock leaves, parsley, and other
rank growths from the hedge, she wrapped up her burden as well as she
could in these, so that what she carried appeared to be an enormous
armful of green stuff gathered by a zealous lover of nature.
"Well, anything is better than those everlasting church fallals!" she
said. But she was still in a trembling state, and seemed almost to
wish she had not bought the figures.
Occasionally peeping inside the leaves to see that Venus's arm was
not broken, she entered with her heathen load into the most Christian
city in the country by an obscure street running parallel to the main
one, and round a corner to the side door of the establishment to
which she was attached. Her purchases were taken straight up to her
own chamber, and she at once attempted to lock them in a box that was
her very own property; but finding them too cumbersome she wrapped
them in large sheets of brown paper, and stood them on the floor in a
The mistress of the house, Miss Fontover, was an elderly lady in
spectacles, dressed almost like an abbess; a dab at Ritual, as become
one of her business, and a worshipper at the ceremonial church of St.
Silas, in the suburb of Beersheba before-mentioned, which Jude also
had begun to attend. She was the daughter of a clergyman in reduced
circumstances, and at his death, which had occurred several years
before this date, she boldly avoided penury by taking over a little
shop of church requisites and developing it to its present creditable
proportions. She wore a cross and beads round her neck as her only
ornament, and knew the Christian Year by heart.
She now came to call Sue to tea, and, finding that the girl did not
respond for a moment, entered the room just as the other was hastily
putting a string round each parcel.
"Something you have been buying, Miss Bridehead?" she asked,
regarding the enwrapped objects.
"Yes--just something to ornament my room," said Sue.
"Well, I should have thought I had put enough here already," said
Miss Fontover, looking round at the Gothic-framed prints of saints,
the Church-text scrolls, and other articles which, having become too
stale to sell, had been used to furnish this obscure chamber. "What
is it? How bulky!" She tore a little hole, about as big as a wafer,
in the brown paper, and tried to peep in. "Why, statuary? Two
figures? Where did you get them?"
"Oh--I bought them of a travelling man who sells casts--"
"St. Peter and St.--St. Mary Magdalen."
"Well--now come down to tea, and go and finish that organ-text, if
there's light enough afterwards."
These little obstacles to the indulgence of what had been the merest
passing fancy created in Sue a great zest for unpacking her objects
and looking at them; and at bedtime, when she was sure of being
undisturbed, she unrobed the divinities in comfort. Placing the pair
of figures on the chest of drawers, a candle on each side of them,
she withdrew to the bed, flung herself down thereon, and began
reading a book she had taken from her box, which Miss Fontover knew
nothing of. It was a volume of Gibbon, and she read the chapter
dealing with the reign of Julian the Apostate. Occasionally she
looked up at the statuettes, which appeared strange and out of place,
there happening to be a Calvary print hanging between them, and,
as if the scene suggested the action, she at length jumped up and
withdrew another book from her box--a volume of verse--and turned to
the familiar poem--
Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean:
The world has grown grey from thy breath!
which she read to the end. Presently she put out the candles,
undressed, and finally extinguished her own light.
She was of an age which usually sleeps soundly, yet to-night she
kept waking up, and every time she opened her eyes there was enough
diffused light from the street to show her the white plaster figures,
standing on the chest of drawers in odd contrast to their environment
of text and martyr, and the Gothic-framed Crucifix-picture that was
only discernible now as a Latin cross, the figure thereon being
obscured by the shades.
On one of these occasions the church clocks struck some small hour.
It fell upon the ears of another person who sat bending over his
books at a not very distant spot in the same city. Being Saturday
night the morrow was one on which Jude had not set his alarm-clock to
call him at his usually early time, and hence he had stayed up, as
was his custom, two or three hours later than he could afford to do
on any other day of the week. Just then he was earnestly reading
from his Griesbach's text. At the very time that Sue was tossing and
staring at her figures, the policeman and belated citizens passing
along under his window might have heard, if they had stood still,
strange syllables mumbled with fervour within--words that had for
Jude an indescribable enchantment: inexplicable sounds something
""All hemin heis Theos ho Pater, ex hou ta panta, kai hemeis eis
Till the sounds rolled with reverent loudness, as a book was heard
""Kai heis Kurios Iesous Christos, di hou ta panta kai hemeis di
He was a handy man at his trade, an all-round man, as artizans in
country-towns are apt to be. In London the man who carves the boss
or knob of leafage declines to cut the fragment of moulding which
merges in that leafage, as if it were a degradation to do the second
half of one whole. When there was not much Gothic moulding for
Jude to run, or much window-tracery on the bankers, he would go out
lettering monuments or tombstones, and take a pleasure in the change
The next time that he saw her was when he was on a ladder executing
a job of this sort inside one of the churches. There was a short
morning service, and when the parson entered Jude came down from his
ladder, and sat with the half-dozen people forming the congregation,
till the prayer should be ended, and he could resume his tapping. He
did not observe till the service was half over that one of the women
was Sue, who had perforce accompanied the elderly Miss Fontover
Jude sat watching her pretty shoulders, her easy, curiously
nonchalant risings and sittings, and her perfunctory genuflexions,
and thought what a help such an Anglican would have been to him in
happier circumstances. It was not so much his anxiety to get on with
his work that made him go up to it immediately the worshipers began
to take their leave: it was that he dared not, in this holy spot,
confront the woman who was beginning to influence him in such an
indescribable manner. Those three enormous reasons why he must
not attempt intimate acquaintance with Sue Bridehead, now that his
interest in her had shown itself to be unmistakably of a sexual kind,
loomed as stubbornly as ever. But it was also obvious that man could
not live by work alone; that the particular man Jude, at any rate,
wanted something to love. Some men would have rushed incontinently
to her, snatched the pleasure of easy friendship which she could
hardly refuse, and have left the rest to chance. Not so Jude--at
But as the days, and still more particularly the lonely evenings,
dragged along, he found himself, to his moral consternation,
to be thinking more of her instead of thinking less of her, and
experiencing a fearful bliss in doing what was erratic, informal, and
unexpected. Surrounded by her influence all day, walking past the
spots she frequented, he was always thinking of her, and was obliged
to own to himself that his conscience was likely to be the loser in
To be sure she was almost an ideality to him still. Perhaps to know
her would be to cure himself of this unexpected and unauthorized
passion. A voice whispered that, though he desired to know her, he
did not desire to be cured.
There was not the least doubt that from his own orthodox point of
view the situation was growing immoral. For Sue to be the loved one
of a man who was licensed by the laws of his country to love Arabella
and none other unto his life's end, was a pretty bad second beginning
when the man was bent on such a course as Jude purposed. This
conviction was so real with him that one day when, as was frequent,
he was at work in a neighbouring village church alone, he felt it to
be his duty to pray against his weakness. But much as he wished to
be an exemplar in these things he could not get on. It was quite
impossible, he found, to ask to be delivered from temptation when
your heart's desire was to be tempted unto seventy times seven. So
he excused himself. "After all," he said, "it is not altogether
an "erotolepsy" that is the matter with me, as at that first time.
I can see that she is exceptionally bright; and it is partly a wish
for intellectual sympathy, and a craving for loving-kindness in my
solitude." Thus he went on adoring her, fearing to realize that
it was human perversity. For whatever Sue's virtues, talents, or
ecclesiastical saturation, it was certain that those items were not
at all the cause of his affection for her.
On an afternoon at this time a young girl entered the stone-mason's
yard with some hesitation, and, lifting her skirts to avoid draggling
them in the white dust, crossed towards the office.
"That's a nice girl," said one of the men known as Uncle Joe.
"Who is she?" asked another.
"I don't know--I've seen her about here and there. Why, yes, she's
the daughter of that clever chap Bridehead who did all the wrought
ironwork at St. Silas' ten years ago, and went away to London
afterwards. I don't know what he's doing now--not much I fancy--as
she's come back here."
Meanwhile the young woman had knocked at the office door and asked if
Mr. Jude Fawley was at work in the yard. It so happened that Jude
had gone out somewhere or other that afternoon, which information she
received with a look of disappointment, and went away immediately.
When Jude returned they told him, and described her, whereupon he
exclaimed, "Why--that's my cousin Sue!"
He looked along the street after her, but she was out of sight. He
had no longer any thought of a conscientious avoidance of her, and
resolved to call upon her that very evening. And when he reached
his lodging he found a note from her--a first note--one of those
documents which, simple and commonplace in themselves, are seen
retrospectively to have been pregnant with impassioned consequences.
The very unconsciousness of a looming drama which is shown in such
innocent first epistles from women to men, or "vice versa", makes
them, when such a drama follows, and they are read over by the purple
or lurid light of it, all the more impressive, solemn, and in cases,
Sue's was of the most artless and natural kind. She addressed him
as her dear cousin Jude; said she had only just learnt by the merest
accident that he was living in Christminster, and reproached him with
not letting her know. They might have had such nice times together,
she said, for she was thrown much upon herself, and had hardly any
congenial friend. But now there was every probability of her soon
going away, so that the chance of companionship would be lost perhaps
A cold sweat overspread Jude at the news that she was going away.
That was a contingency he had never thought of, and it spurred him
to write all the more quickly to her. He would meet her that very
evening, he said, one hour from the time of writing, at the cross in
the pavement which marked the spot of the Martyrdoms.
When he had despatched the note by a boy he regretted that in his
hurry he should have suggested to her to meet him out of doors, when
he might have said he would call upon her. It was, in fact, the
country custom to meet thus, and nothing else had occurred to him.
Arabella had been met in the same way, unfortunately, and it might
not seem respectable to a dear girl like Sue. However, it could not
be helped now, and he moved towards the point a few minutes before
the hour, under the glimmer of the newly lighted lamps.
The broad street was silent, and almost deserted, although it was
not late. He saw a figure on the other side, which turned out to
be hers, and they both converged towards the crossmark at the same
moment. Before either had reached it she called out to him:
"I am not going to meet you just there, for the first time in my
life! Come further on."
The voice, though positive and silvery, had been tremulous. They
walked on in parallel lines, and, waiting her pleasure, Jude watched
till she showed signs of closing in, when he did likewise, the place
being where the carriers' carts stood in the daytime, though there
was none on the spot then.
"I am sorry that I asked you to meet me, and didn't call," began Jude
with the bashfulness of a lover. "But I thought it would save time
if we were going to walk."
"Oh--I don't mind that," she said with the freedom of a friend. "I
have really no place to ask anybody in to. What I meant was that the
place you chose was so horrid--I suppose I ought not to say horrid--I
mean gloomy and inauspicious in its associations... But isn't it
funny to begin like this, when I don't know you yet?" She looked him
up and down curiously, though Jude did not look much at her.
"You seem to know me more than I know you," she added.
"Yes--I have seen you now and then."
"And you knew who I was, and didn't speak? And now I am going away!"
"Yes. That's unfortunate. I have hardly any other friend. I have,
indeed, one very old friend here somewhere, but I don't quite like
to call on him just yet. I wonder if you know anything of him--Mr.
Phillotson? A parson somewhere about the county I think he is."
"No--I only know of one Mr. Phillotson. He lives a little way out in
the country, at Lumsdon. He's a village schoolmaster."
"Ah! I wonder if he's the same. Surely it is impossible! Only a
schoolmaster still! Do you know his Christian name--is it Richard?"
"Yes--it is; I've directed books to him, though I've never seen him."
"Then he couldn't do it!"
Jude's countenance fell, for how could he succeed in an enterprise
wherein the great Phillotson had failed? He would have had a day of
despair if the news had not arrived during his sweet Sue's presence,
but even at this moment he had visions of how Phillotson's failure in
the grand university scheme would depress him when she had gone.
"As we are going to take a walk, suppose we go and call upon him?"
said Jude suddenly. "It is not late."
She agreed, and they went along up a hill, and through some prettily
wooded country. Presently the embattled tower and square turret
of the church rose into the sky, and then the school-house. They
inquired of a person in the street if Mr. Phillotson was likely to
be at home, and were informed that he was always at home. A knock
brought him to the school-house door, with a candle in his hand and a
look of inquiry on his face, which had grown thin and careworn since
Jude last set eyes on him.
That after all these years the meeting with Mr. Phillotson should be
of this homely complexion destroyed at one stroke the halo which had
surrounded the school-master's figure in Jude's imagination ever
since their parting. It created in him at the same time a sympathy
with Phillotson as an obviously much chastened and disappointed man.
Jude told him his name, and said he had come to see him as an old
friend who had been kind to him in his youthful days.
"I don't remember you in the least," said the school-master
thoughtfully. "You were one of my pupils, you say? Yes, no doubt;
but they number so many thousands by this time of my life, and have
naturally changed so much, that I remember very few except the quite
"It was out at Marygreen," said Jude, wishing he had not come.
"Yes. I was there a short time. And is this an old pupil, too?"
"No--that's my cousin... I wrote to you for some grammars, if you
recollect, and you sent them?"
"Ah--yes!--I do dimly recall that incident."
"It was very kind of you to do it. And it was you who first started
me on that course. On the morning you left Marygreen, when your
goods were on the waggon, you wished me good-bye, and said your
scheme was to be a university man and enter the Church--that a degree
was the necessary hall-mark of one who wanted to do anything as a
theologian or teacher."
"I remember I thought all that privately; but I wonder I did not keep
my own counsel. The idea was given up years ago."
"I have never forgotten it. It was that which brought me to this
part of the country, and out here to see you to-night."
"Come in," said Phillotson. "And your cousin, too."
They entered the parlour of the school-house, where there was a lamp
with a paper shade, which threw the light down on three or four
books. Phillotson took it off, so that they could see each other
better, and the rays fell on the nervous little face and vivacious
dark eyes and hair of Sue, on the earnest features of her cousin,
and on the schoolmaster's own maturer face and figure, showing him
to be a spare and thoughtful personage of five-and-forty, with a
thin-lipped, somewhat refined mouth, a slightly stooping habit, and
a black frock coat, which from continued frictions shone a little at
the shoulder-blades, the middle of the back, and the elbows.
The old friendship was imperceptibly renewed, the schoolmaster
speaking of his experiences, and the cousins of theirs. He told them
that he still thought of the Church sometimes, and that though he
could not enter it as he had intended to do in former years he might
enter it as a licentiate. Meanwhile, he said, he was comfortable in
his present position, though he was in want of a pupil-teacher.
They did not stay to supper, Sue having to be indoors before it grew
late, and the road was retraced to Christminster. Though they had
talked of nothing more than general subjects, Jude was surprised to
find what a revelation of woman his cousin was to him. She was so
vibrant that everything she did seemed to have its source in feeling.
An exciting thought would make her walk ahead so fast that he could
hardly keep up with her; and her sensitiveness on some points
was such that it might have been misread as vanity. It was with
heart-sickness he perceived that, while her sentiments towards him
were those of the frankest friendliness only, he loved her more than
before becoming acquainted with her; and the gloom of the walk home
lay not in the night overhead, but in the thought of her departure.
"Why must you leave Christminster?" he said regretfully. "How can
you do otherwise than cling to a city in whose history such men as
Newman, Pusey, Ward, Keble, loom so large!"
"Yes--they do. Though how large do they loom in the history of the
world? ... What a funny reason for caring to stay! I should never
have thought of it!" She laughed.
"Well--I must go," she continued. "Miss Fontover, one of the
partners whom I serve, is offended with me, and I with her; and it
is best to go."
"How did that happen?"
"She broke some statuary of mine."
"Yes. She found it in my room, and though it was my property she
threw it on the floor and stamped on it, because it was not according
to her taste, and ground the arms and the head of one of the figures
all to bits with her heel--a horrid thing!"
"Too Catholic-Apostolic for her, I suppose? No doubt she called them
popish images and talked of the invocation of saints."
"No... No, she didn't do that. She saw the matter quite
"Ah! Then I am surprised!"
"Yes. It was for quite some other reason that she didn't like my
patron-saints. So I was led to retort upon her; and the end of it
was that I resolved not to stay, but to get into an occupation in
which I shall be more independent."
"Why don't you try teaching again? You once did, I heard."
"I never thought of resuming it; for I was getting on as an
"DO let me ask Mr. Phillotson to let you try your hand in his
school? If you like it, and go to a training college, and become a
first-class certificated mistress, you get twice as large an income
as any designer or church artist, and twice as much freedom."
"Well--ask him. Now I must go in. Good-bye, dear Jude! I am so
glad we have met at last. We needn't quarrel because our parents
did, need we?"
Jude did not like to let her see quite how much he agreed with her,
and went his way to the remote street in which he had his lodging.
To keep Sue Bridehead near him was now a desire which operated
without regard of consequences, and the next evening he again set out
for Lumsdon, fearing to trust to the persuasive effects of a note
only. The school-master was unprepared for such a proposal.
"What I rather wanted was a second year's transfer, as it is called,"
he said. "Of course your cousin would do, personally; but she has
had no experience. Oh--she has, has she? Does she really think of
adopting teaching as a profession?"
Jude said she was disposed to do so, he thought, and his ingenious
arguments on her natural fitness for assisting Mr. Phillotson, of
which Jude knew nothing whatever, so influenced the schoolmaster that
he said he would engage her, assuring Jude as a friend that unless
his cousin really meant to follow on in the same course, and regarded
this step as the first stage of an apprenticeship, of which her
training in a normal school would be the second stage, her time would
be wasted quite, the salary being merely nominal.
The day after this visit Phillotson received a letter from Jude,
containing the information that he had again consulted his cousin,
who took more and more warmly to the idea of tuition; and that
she had agreed to come. It did not occur for a moment to the
schoolmaster and recluse that Jude's ardour in promoting the
arrangement arose from any other feelings towards Sue than the
instinct of co-operation common among members of the same family.
The schoolmaster sat in his homely dwelling attached to the school,
both being modern erections; and he looked across the way at the old
house in which his teacher Sue had a lodging. The arrangement had
been concluded very quickly. A pupil-teacher who was to have been
transferred to Mr. Phillotson's school had failed him, and Sue had
been taken as stop-gap. All such provisional arrangements as these
could only last till the next annual visit of H.M. Inspector, whose
approval was necessary to make them permanent. Having taught for
some two years in London, though she had abandoned that vocation of
late, Miss Bridehead was not exactly a novice, and Phillotson thought
there would be no difficulty in retaining her services, which he
already wished to do, though she had only been with him three or four
weeks. He had found her quite as bright as Jude had described her;
and what master-tradesman does not wish to keep an apprentice who
saves him half his labour?
It was a little over half-past eight o'clock in the morning and he
was waiting to see her cross the road to the school, when he would
follow. At twenty minutes to nine she did cross, a light hat tossed
on her head; and he watched her as a curiosity. A new emanation,
which had nothing to do with her skill as a teacher, seemed to
surround her this morning. He went to the school also, and Sue
remained governing her class at the other end of the room, all day
under his eye. She certainly was an excellent teacher.
It was part of his duty to give her private lessons in the evening,
and some article in the Code made it necessary that a respectable,
elderly woman should be present at these lessons when the teacher and
the taught were of different sexes. Richard Phillotson thought of
the absurdity of the regulation in this case, when he was old enough
to be the girl's father; but he faithfully acted up to it; and sat
down with her in a room where Mrs. Hawes, the widow at whose house
Sue lodged, occupied herself with sewing. The regulation was,
indeed, not easy to evade, for there was no other sitting-room in the
Sometimes as she figured--it was arithmetic that they were working
at--she would involuntarily glance up with a little inquiring smile
at him, as if she assumed that, being the master, he must perceive
all that was passing in her brain, as right or wrong. Phillotson was
not really thinking of the arithmetic at all, but of her, in a novel
way which somehow seemed strange to him as preceptor. Perhaps she
knew that he was thinking of her thus.
For a few weeks their work had gone on with a monotony which in
itself was a delight to him. Then it happened that the children were
to be taken to Christminster to see an itinerant exhibition, in the
shape of a model of Jerusalem, to which schools were admitted at
a penny a head in the interests of education. They marched along
the road two and two, she beside her class with her simple cotton
sunshade, her little thumb cocked up against its stem; and Phillotson
behind in his long dangling coat, handling his walking-stick
genteelly, in the musing mood which had come over him since her
arrival. The afternoon was one of sun and dust, and when they
entered the exhibition room few people were present but themselves.
The model of the ancient city stood in the middle of the apartment,
and the proprietor, with a fine religious philanthropy written on his
features, walked round it with a pointer in his hand, showing the
young people the various quarters and places known to them by name
from reading their Bibles; Mount Moriah, the Valley of Jehoshaphat,
the City of Zion, the walls and the gates, outside one of which there
was a large mound like a tumulus, and on the mound a little white
cross. The spot, he said, was Calvary.
"I think," said Sue to the schoolmaster, as she stood with him a
little in the background, "that this model, elaborate as it is, is a
very imaginary production. How does anybody know that Jerusalem was
like this in the time of Christ? I am sure this man doesn't."
"It is made after the best conjectural maps, based on actual visits
to the city as it now exists."
"I fancy we have had enough of Jerusalem," she said, "considering we
are not descended from the Jews. There was nothing first-rate about
the place, or people, after all--as there was about Athens, Rome,
Alexandria, and other old cities."
"But my dear girl, consider what it is to us!"
She was silent, for she was easily repressed; and then perceived
behind the group of children clustered round the model a young man
in a white flannel jacket, his form being bent so low in his intent
inspection of the Valley of Jehoshaphat that his face was almost
hidden from view by the Mount of Olives. "Look at your cousin Jude,"
continued the schoolmaster. "He doesn't think we have had enough of
"Ah--I didn't see him!" she cried in her quick, light voice.
"Jude--how seriously you are going into it!"
Jude started up from his reverie, and saw her. "Oh--Sue!" he said,
with a glad flush of embarrassment. "These are your school-children,
of course! I saw that schools were admitted in the afternoons, and
thought you might come; but I got so deeply interested that I didn't
remember where I was. How it carries one back, doesn't it! I could
examine it for hours, but I have only a few minutes, unfortunately;
for I am in the middle of a job out here."
"Your cousin is so terribly clever that she criticizes it
unmercifully," said Phillotson, with good-humoured satire. "She is
quite sceptical as to its correctness."
"No, Mr. Phillotson, I am not--altogether! I hate to be what is
called a clever girl--there are too many of that sort now!" answered
Sue sensitively. "I only meant--I don't know what I meant--except
that it was what you don't understand!"
""I" know your meaning," said Jude ardently (although he did not).
"And I think you are quite right."
"That's a good Jude--I know YOU believe in me!" She impulsively
seized his hand, and leaving a reproachful look on the schoolmaster
turned away to Jude, her voice revealing a tremor which she herself
felt to be absurdly uncalled for by sarcasm so gentle. She had not
the least conception how the hearts of the twain went out to her at
this momentary revelation of feeling, and what a complication she was
building up thereby in the futures of both.
The model wore too much of an educational aspect for the children not
to tire of it soon, and a little later in the afternoon they were all
marched back to Lumsdon, Jude returning to his work. He watched the
juvenile flock in their clean frocks and pinafores, filing down the
street towards the country beside Phillotson and Sue, and a sad,
dissatisfied sense of being out of the scheme of the latters' lives
had possession of him. Phillotson had invited him to walk out
and see them on Friday evening, when there would be no lessons to
give to Sue, and Jude had eagerly promised to avail himself of the
Meanwhile the scholars and teachers moved homewards, and the next
day, on looking on the blackboard in Sue's class, Phillotson was
surprised to find upon it, skilfully drawn in chalk, a perspective
view of Jerusalem, with every building shown in its place.
"I thought you took no interest in the model, and hardly looked at
it?" he said.
"I hardly did," said she, "but I remembered that much of it."
"It is more than I had remembered myself."
Her Majesty's school-inspector was at that time paying
"surprise-visits" in this neighbourhood to test the teaching
unawares; and two days later, in the middle of the morning lessons,
the latch of the door was softly lifted, and in walked my gentleman,
the king of terrors--to pupil-teachers.
To Mr. Phillotson the surprise was not great; like the lady in the
story he had been played that trick too many times to be unprepared.
But Sue's class was at the further end of the room, and her back was
towards the entrance; the inspector therefore came and stood behind
her and watched her teaching some half-minute before she became aware
of his presence. She turned, and realized that an oft-dreaded moment
had come. The effect upon her timidity was such that she uttered a
cry of fright. Phillotson, with a strange instinct of solicitude
quite beyond his control, was at her side just in time to prevent her
falling from faintness. She soon recovered herself, and laughed;
but when the inspector had gone there was a reaction, and she was
so white that Phillotson took her into his room, and gave her some
brandy to bring her round. She found him holding her hand.
"You ought to have told me," she gasped petulantly, "that one of the
inspector's surprise-visits was imminent! Oh, what shall I do! Now
he'll write and tell the managers that I am no good, and I shall be
disgraced for ever!"
"He won't do that, my dear little girl. You are the best teacher
ever I had!"
He looked so gently at her that she was moved, and regretted that she
had upbraided him. When she was better she went home.
Jude in the meantime had been waiting impatiently for Friday. On
both Wednesday and Thursday he had been so much under the influence
of his desire to see her that he walked after dark some distance
along the road in the direction of the village, and, on returning to
his room to read, found himself quite unable to concentrate his mind
on the page. On Friday, as soon as he had got himself up as he
thought Sue would like to see him, and made a hasty tea, he set
out, notwithstanding that the evening was wet. The trees overhead
deepened the gloom of the hour, and they dripped sadly upon him,
impressing him with forebodings--illogical forebodings; for though he
knew that he loved her he also knew that he could not be more to her
than he was.
On turning the corner and entering the village the first sight that
greeted his eyes was that of two figures under one umbrella coming
out of the vicarage gate. He was too far back for them to notice
him, but he knew in a moment that they were Sue and Phillotson. The
latter was holding the umbrella over her head, and they had evidently
been paying a visit to the vicar--probably on some business connected
with the school work. And as they walked along the wet and deserted
lane Jude saw Phillotson place his arm round the girl's waist;
whereupon she gently removed it; but he replaced it; and she let it
remain, looking quickly round her with an air of misgiving. She did
not look absolutely behind her, and therefore did not see Jude, who
sank into the hedge like one struck with a blight. There he remained
hidden till they had reached Sue's cottage and she had passed in,
Phillotson going on to the school hard by.
"Oh, he's too old for her--too old!" cried Jude in all the terrible
sickness of hopeless, handicapped love.
He could not interfere. Was he not Arabella's? He was unable to
go on further, and retraced his steps towards Christminster. Every
tread of his feet seemed to say to him that he must on no account
stand in the schoolmaster's way with Sue. Phillotson was perhaps
twenty years her senior, but many a happy marriage had been made
in such conditions of age. The ironical clinch to his sorrow was
given by the thought that the intimacy between his cousin and the
schoolmaster had been brought about entirely by himself.
Jude's old and embittered aunt lay unwell at Marygreen, and on the
following Sunday he went to see her--a visit which was the result of
a victorious struggle against his inclination to turn aside to the
village of Lumsdon and obtain a miserable interview with his cousin,
in which the word nearest his heart could not be spoken, and the
sight which had tortured him could not be revealed.
His aunt was now unable to leave her bed, and a great part of Jude's
short day was occupied in making arrangements for her comfort. The
little bakery business had been sold to a neighbour, and with the
proceeds of this and her savings she was comfortably supplied with
necessaries and more, a widow of the same village living with her and
ministering to her wants. It was not till the time had nearly come
for him to leave that he obtained a quiet talk with her, and his
words tended insensibly towards his cousin.
"Was Sue born here?"
"She was--in this room. They were living here at that time. What
made 'ee ask that?"
"Oh--I wanted to know."
"Now you've been seeing her!" said the harsh old woman. "And what
did I tell 'ee?"
"Well--that I was not to see her."
"Have you gossiped with her?"
"Then don't keep it up. She was brought up by her father to hate her
mother's family; and she'll look with no favour upon a working chap
like you--a townish girl as she's become by now. I never cared much
about her. A pert little thing, that's what she was too often, with
her tight-strained nerves. Many's the time I've smacked her for her
impertinence. Why, one day when she was walking into the pond with
her shoes and stockings off, and her petticoats pulled above her
knees, afore I could cry out for shame, she said: 'Move on, Aunty!
This is no sight for modest eyes!'"
"She was a little child then."
"She was twelve if a day."
"Well--of course. But now she's older she's of a thoughtful,
quivering, tender nature, and as sensitive as--"
"Jude!" cried his aunt, springing up in bed. "Don't you be a fool
"No, no, of course not."
"Your marrying that woman Arabella was about as bad a thing as a man
could possibly do for himself by trying hard. But she's gone to
the other side of the world, and med never trouble you again. And
there'll be a worse thing if you, tied and bound as you be, should
have a fancy for Sue. If your cousin is civil to you, take her
civility for what it is worth. But anything more than a relation's
good wishes it is stark madness for 'ee to give her. If she's
townish and wanton it med bring 'ee to ruin."
"Don't say anything against her, Aunt! Don't, please!"
A relief was afforded to him by the entry of the companion and nurse
of his aunt, who must have been listening to the conversation, for
she began a commentary on past years, introducing Sue Bridehead as
a character in her recollections. She described what an odd little
maid Sue had been when a pupil at the village school across the green
opposite, before her father went to London--how, when the vicar
arranged readings and recitations, she appeared on the platform, the
smallest of them all, "in her little white frock, and shoes, and pink
sash"; how she recited "Excelsior," "There was a sound of revelry by
night," and "The Raven"; how during the delivery she would knit her
little brows and glare round tragically, and say to the empty air, as
if some real creature stood there--
"Ghastly, grim, and ancient Raven,
wandering from the Nightly shore,
Tell me what thy lordly name is
on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
"She'd bring up the nasty carrion bird that clear," corroborated the
sick woman reluctantly, "as she stood there in her little sash and
things, that you could see un a'most before your very eyes. You too,
Jude, had the same trick as a child of seeming to see things in the
The neighbour told also of Sue's accomplishments in other kinds:
"She was not exactly a tomboy, you know; but she could do things that
only boys do, as a rule. I've seen her hit in and steer down the
long slide on yonder pond, with her little curls blowing, one of
a file of twenty moving along against the sky like shapes painted
on glass, and up the back slide without stopping. All boys except
herself; and then they'd cheer her, and then she'd say, 'Don't be
saucy, boys,' and suddenly run indoors. They'd try to coax her out
again. But 'a wouldn't come."
These retrospective visions of Sue only made Jude the more miserable
that he was unable to woo her, and he left the cottage of his aunt
that day with a heavy heart. He would fain have glanced into the
school to see the room in which Sue's little figure had so glorified
itself; but he checked his desire and went on.
It being Sunday evening some villagers who had known him during his
residence here were standing in a group in their best clothes. Jude
was startled by a salute from one of them:
"Ye've got there right enough, then!"
Jude showed that he did not understand.
"Why, to the seat of l'arning--the 'City of Light' you used to talk
to us about as a little boy! Is it all you expected of it?"
"Yes; more!" cried Jude.
"When I was there once for an hour I didn't see much in it for my
part; auld crumbling buildings, half church, half almshouse, and not
much going on at that."
"You are wrong, John; there is more going on than meets the eye of a
man walking through the streets. It is a unique centre of thought
and religion--the intellectual and spiritual granary of this country.
All that silence and absence of goings-on is the stillness of
infinite motion--the sleep of the spinning-top, to borrow the simile
of a well-known writer."
"Oh, well, it med be all that, or it med not. As I say, I didn't see
nothing of it the hour or two I was there; so I went in and had a pot
o' beer, and a penny loaf, and a ha'porth o' cheese, and waited till
it was time to come along home. You've j'ined a college by this
time, I suppose?"
"Ah, no!" said Jude. "I am almost as far off that as ever."
Jude slapped his pocket.
"Just what we thought! Such places be not for such as you--only for
them with plenty o' money."
"There you are wrong," said Jude, with some bitterness. "They are
for such ones!"
Still, the remark was sufficient to withdraw Jude's attention from
the imaginative world he had lately inhabited, in which an abstract
figure, more or less himself, was steeping his mind in a sublimation
of the arts and sciences, and making his calling and election sure
to a seat in the paradise of the learned. He was set regarding his
prospects in a cold northern light. He had lately felt that he
could not quite satisfy himself in his Greek--in the Greek of
the dramatists particularly. So fatigued was he sometimes after
his day's work that he could not maintain the critical attention
necessary for thorough application. He felt that he wanted a
coach--a friend at his elbow to tell him in a moment what sometimes
would occupy him a weary month in extracting from unanticipative,
It was decidedly necessary to consider facts a little more closely
than he had done of late. What was the good, after all, of using
up his spare hours in a vague labour called "private study" without
giving an outlook on practicabilities?
"I ought to have thought of this before," he said, as he journeyed
back. "It would have been better never to have embarked in the
scheme at all than to do it without seeing clearly where I am going,
or what I am aiming at... This hovering outside the walls of the
colleges, as if expecting some arm to be stretched out from them to
lift me inside, won't do! I must get special information."
The next week accordingly he sought it. What at first seemed an
opportunity occurred one afternoon when he saw an elderly gentleman,
who had been pointed out as the head of a particular college, walking
in the public path of a parklike enclosure near the spot at which
Jude chanced to be sitting. The gentleman came nearer, and Jude
looked anxiously at his face. It seemed benign, considerate, yet
rather reserved. On second thoughts Jude felt that he could not
go up and address him; but he was sufficiently influenced by the
incident to think what a wise thing it would be for him to state his
difficulties by letter to some of the best and most judicious of
these old masters, and obtain their advice.
During the next week or two he accordingly placed himself in such
positions about the city as would afford him glimpses of several
of the most distinguished among the provosts, wardens, and other
heads of houses; and from those he ultimately selected five whose
physiognomies seemed to say to him that they were appreciative and
far-seeing men. To these five he addressed letters, briefly stating
his difficulties, and asking their opinion on his stranded situation.
When the letters were posted Jude mentally began to criticize
them; he wished they had not been sent. "It is just one of those
intrusive, vulgar, pushing, applications which are so common in these
days," he thought. "Why couldn't I know better than address utter
strangers in such a way? I may be an impostor, an idle scamp, a man
with a bad character, for all that they know to the contrary...
Perhaps that's what I am!"
Nevertheless, he found himself clinging to the hope of some reply
as to his one last chance of redemption. He waited day after day,
saying that it was perfectly absurd to expect, yet expecting.
While he waited he was suddenly stirred by news about Phillotson.
Phillotson was giving up the school near Christminster, for a larger
one further south, in Mid-Wessex. What this meant; how it would
affect his cousin; whether, as seemed possible, it was a practical
move of the schoolmaster's towards a larger income, in view of a
provision for two instead of one, he would not allow himself to say.
And the tender relations between Phillotson and the young girl of
whom Jude was passionately enamoured effectually made it repugnant to
Jude's tastes to apply to Phillotson for advice on his own scheme.
Meanwhile the academic dignitaries to whom Jude had written
vouchsafed no answer, and the young man was thus thrown back
entirely on himself, as formerly, with the added gloom of a weakened
hope. By indirect inquiries he soon perceived clearly what he had
long uneasily suspected, that to qualify himself for certain open
scholarships and exhibitions was the only brilliant course. But to
do this a good deal of coaching would be necessary, and much natural
ability. It was next to impossible that a man reading on his own
system, however widely and thoroughly, even over the prolonged period
of ten years, should be able to compete with those who had passed
their lives under trained teachers and had worked to ordained lines.
The other course, that of buying himself in, so to speak, seemed the
only one really open to men like him, the difficulty being simply of
a material kind. With the help of his information he began to reckon
the extent of this material obstacle, and ascertained, to his dismay,
that, at the rate at which, with the best of fortune, he would be
able to save money, fifteen years must elapse before he could be in a
position to forward testimonials to the head of a college and advance
to a matriculation examination. The undertaking was hopeless.
He saw what a curious and cunning glamour the neighbourhood of the
place had exercised over him. To get there and live there, to move
among the churches and halls and become imbued with the "genius
loci", had seemed to his dreaming youth, as the spot shaped its
charms to him from its halo on the horizon, the obvious and ideal
thing to do. "Let me only get there," he had said with the
fatuousness of Crusoe over his big boat, "and the rest is but a
matter of time and energy." It would have been far better for him in
every way if he had never come within sight and sound of the delusive
precincts, had gone to some busy commercial town with the sole object
of making money by his wits, and thence surveyed his plan in true
perspective. Well, all that was clear to him amounted to this, that
the whole scheme had burst up, like an iridescent soap-bubble, under
the touch of a reasoned inquiry. He looked back at himself along the
vista of his past years, and his thought was akin to Heine's:
Above the youth's inspired and flashing eyes
I see the motley mocking fool's-cap rise!
Fortunately he had not been allowed to bring his disappointment into
his dear Sue's life by involving her in this collapse. And the
painful details of his awakening to a sense of his limitations should
now be spared her as far as possible. After all, she had only known
a little part of the miserable struggle in which he had been engaged
thus unequipped, poor, and unforeseeing.
He always remembered the appearance of the afternoon on which he
awoke from his dream. Not quite knowing what to do with himself, he
went up to an octagonal chamber in the lantern of a singularly built
theatre that was set amidst this quaint and singular city. It had
windows all round, from which an outlook over the whole town and
its edifices could be gained. Jude's eyes swept all the views in
succession, meditatively, mournfully, yet sturdily. Those buildings
and their associations and privileges were not for him. From the
looming roof of the great library, into which he hardly ever had time
to enter, his gaze travelled on to the varied spires, halls, gables,
streets, chapels, gardens, quadrangles, which composed the ensemble
of this unrivalled panorama. He saw that his destiny lay not with
these, but among the manual toilers in the shabby purlieu which he
himself occupied, unrecognized as part of the city at all by its
visitors and panegyrists, yet without whose denizens the hard readers
could not read nor the high thinkers live.
He looked over the town into the country beyond, to the trees which
screened her whose presence had at first been the support of his
heart, and whose loss was now a maddening torture. But for this blow
he might have borne with his fate. With Sue as companion he could
have renounced his ambitions with a smile. Without her it was
inevitable that the reaction from the long strain to which he had
subjected himself should affect him disastrously. Phillotson had
no doubt passed through a similar intellectual disappointment to
that which now enveloped him. But the schoolmaster had been since
blest with the consolation of sweet Sue, while for him there was no
Descending to the streets, he went listlessly along till he arrived
at an inn, and entered it. Here he drank several glasses of beer in
rapid succession, and when he came out it was night. By the light of
the flickering lamps he rambled home to supper, and had not long been
sitting at table when his landlady brought up a letter that had just
arrived for him. She laid it down as if impressed with a sense of
its possible importance, and on looking at it Jude perceived that it
bore the embossed stamp of one of the colleges whose heads he had
addressed. "ONE--at last!" cried Jude.
The communication was brief, and not exactly what he had expected;
though it really was from the master in person. It ran thus:
SIR,--I have read your letter with interest; and, judging
from your description of yourself as a working-man, I
venture to think that you will have a much better chance
of success in life by remaining in your own sphere and
sticking to your trade than by adopting any other course.
That, therefore, is what I advise you to do. Yours
To Mr. J. FAWLEY, Stone-mason.
This terribly sensible advice exasperated Jude. He had known all
that before. He knew it was true. Yet it seemed a hard slap after
ten years of labour, and its effect upon him just now was to make him
rise recklessly from the table, and, instead of reading as usual, to
go downstairs and into the street. He stood at a bar and tossed off
two or three glasses, then unconsciously sauntered along till he
came to a spot called The Fourways in the middle of the city, gazing
abstractedly at the groups of people like one in a trance, till,
coming to himself, he began talking to the policeman fixed there.
That officer yawned, stretched out his elbows, elevated himself
an inch and a half on the balls of his toes, smiled, and looking
humorously at Jude, said, "You've had a wet, young man."
"No; I've only begun," he replied cynically.
Whatever his wetness, his brains were dry enough. He only heard in
part the policeman's further remarks, having fallen into thought on
what struggling people like himself had stood at that crossway, whom
nobody ever thought of now. It had more history than the oldest
college in the city. It was literally teeming, stratified, with the
shades of human groups, who had met there for tragedy, comedy, farce;
real enactments of the intensest kind. At Fourways men had stood
and talked of Napoleon, the loss of America, the execution of King
Charles, the burning of the Martyrs, the Crusades, the Norman
Conquest, possibly of the arrival of Caesar. Here the two sexes had
met for loving, hating, coupling, parting; had waited, had suffered,
for each other; had triumphed over each other; cursed each other in
jealousy, blessed each other in forgiveness.
He began to see that the town life was a book of humanity infinitely
more palpitating, varied, and compendious than the gown life.
These struggling men and women before him were the reality of
Christminster, though they knew little of Christ or Minster.
That was one of the humours of things. The floating population
of students and teachers, who did know both in a way, were not
Christminster in a local sense at all.
He looked at his watch, and, in pursuit of this idea, he went on till
he came to a public hall, where a promenade concert was in progress.
Jude entered, and found the room full of shop youths and girls,
soldiers, apprentices, boys of eleven smoking cigarettes, and light
women of the more respectable and amateur class. He had tapped the
real Christminster life. A band was playing, and the crowd walked
about and jostled each other, and every now and then a man got upon
a platform and sang a comic song.
The spirit of Sue seemed to hover round him and prevent his flirting
and drinking with the frolicsome girls who made advances--wistful
to gain a little joy. At ten o'clock he came away, choosing a
circuitous route homeward to pass the gates of the college whose head
had just sent him the note.
The gates were shut, and, by an impulse, he took from his pocket the
lump of chalk which as a workman he usually carried there, and wrote
along the wall:
""I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you:
yea, who knoweth not such things as these?""--Job xii. 3.
The stroke of scorn relieved his mind, and the next morning he
laughed at his self-conceit. But the laugh was not a healthy one.
He re-read the letter from the master, and the wisdom in its lines,
which had at first exasperated him, chilled and depressed him now.
He saw himself as a fool indeed.
Deprived of the objects of both intellect and emotion, he could not
proceed to his work. Whenever he felt reconciled to his fate as a
student, there came to disturb his calm his hopeless relations with
Sue. That the one affined soul he had ever met was lost to him
through his marriage returned upon him with cruel persistency, till,
unable to bear it longer, he again rushed for distraction to the
real Christminster life. He now sought it out in an obscure and
low-ceiled tavern up a court which was well known to certain worthies
of the place, and in brighter times would have interested him simply
by its quaintness. Here he sat more or less all the day, convinced
that he was at bottom a vicious character, of whom it was hopeless to
In the evening the frequenters of the house dropped in one by one,
Jude still retaining his seat in the corner, though his money was all
spent, and he had not eaten anything the whole day except a biscuit.
He surveyed his gathering companions with all the equanimity
and philosophy of a man who has been drinking long and slowly,
and made friends with several: to wit, Tinker Taylor, a decayed
church-ironmonger who appeared to have been of a religious turn in
earlier years, but was somewhat blasphemous now; also a red-nosed
auctioneer; also two Gothic masons like himself, called Uncle Jim and
Uncle Joe. There were present, too, some clerks, and a gown- and
surplice-maker's assistant; two ladies who sported moral characters
of various depths of shade, according to their company, nicknamed
"Bower o' Bliss" and "Freckles"; some horsey men "in the know"
of betting circles; a travelling actor from the theatre, and two
devil-may-care young men who proved to be gownless undergraduates;
they had slipped in by stealth to meet a man about bull-pups,
and stayed to drink and smoke short pipes with the racing gents
aforesaid, looking at their watches every now and then.
The conversation waxed general. Christminster society was
criticized, the dons, magistrates, and other people in authority
being sincerely pitied for their shortcomings, while opinions on how
they ought to conduct themselves and their affairs to be properly
respected, were exchanged in a large-minded and disinterested manner.
Jude Fawley, with the self-conceit, effrontery, and "aplomb" of
a strong-brained fellow in liquor, threw in his remarks somewhat
peremptorily; and his aims having been what they were for so many
years, everything the others said turned upon his tongue, by a sort
of mechanical craze, to the subject of scholarship and study, the
extent of his own learning being dwelt upon with an insistence that
would have appeared pitiable to himself in his sane hours.
"I don't care a damn," he was saying, "for any provost, warden,
principal, fellow, or cursed master of arts in the university! What
I know is that I'd lick 'em on their own ground if they'd give me a
chance, and show 'em a few things they are not up to yet!"
"Hear, hear!" said the undergraduates from the corner, where they
were talking privately about the pups.
"You always was fond o' books, I've heard," said Tinker Taylor, "and
I don't doubt what you state. Now with me 'twas different. I always
saw there was more to be learnt outside a book than in; and I took my
steps accordingly, or I shouldn't have been the man I am."
"You aim at the Church, I believe?" said Uncle Joe. "If you are such
a scholar as to pitch yer hopes so high as that, why not give us a
specimen of your scholarship? Canst say the Creed in Latin, man?
That was how they once put it to a chap down in my country."
"I should think so!" said Jude haughtily.
"Not he! Like his conceit!" screamed one of the ladies.
"Just you shut up, Bower o' Bliss!" said one of the undergraduates.
"Silence!" He drank off the spirits in his tumbler, rapped with it
on the counter, and announced, "The gentleman in the corner is going
to rehearse the Articles of his Belief, in the Latin tongue, for the
edification of the company."
"I won't!" said Jude.
"Yes--have a try!" said the surplice-maker.
"You can't!" said Uncle Joe.
"Yes, he can!" said Tinker Taylor.
"I'll swear I can!" said Jude. "Well, come now, stand me a small
Scotch cold, and I'll do it straight off."
"That's a fair offer," said the undergraduate, throwing down the
money for the whisky.
The barmaid concocted the mixture with the bearing of a person
compelled to live amongst animals of an inferior species, and the
glass was handed across to Jude, who, having drunk the contents,
stood up and began rhetorically, without hesitation:
""Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, Factorem coeli et terrae,
visibilium omnium et invisibilium.""
"Good! Excellent Latin!" cried one of the undergraduates, who,
however, had not the slightest conception of a single word.
A silence reigned among the rest in the bar, and the maid stood
still, Jude's voice echoing sonorously into the inner parlour, where
the landlord was dozing, and bringing him out to see what was going
on. Jude had declaimed steadily ahead, and was continuing:
""Crucifixus etiam pro nobis: sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus
est. Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas.""
"That's the Nicene," sneered the second undergraduate. "And we
wanted the Apostles'!"
"You didn't say so! And every fool knows, except you, that the
Nicene is the most historic creed!"
"Let un go on, let un go on!" said the auctioneer.
But Jude's mind seemed to grow confused soon, and he could not get
on. He put his hand to his forehead, and his face assumed an
expression of pain.
"Give him another glass--then he'll fetch up and get through it,"
said Tinker Taylor.
Somebody threw down threepence, the glass was handed, Jude stretched
out his arm for it without looking, and having swallowed the liquor,
went on in a moment in a revived voice, raising it as he neared the
end with the manner of a priest leading a congregation:
""Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre
Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et
conglorificatur. Qui locutus est per prophetas.
"Et unam Catholicam et Apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum
Baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et exspecto Resurrectionem
mortuorum. Et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.""
"Well done!" said several, enjoying the last word, as being the first
and only one they had recognized.
Then Jude seemed to shake the fumes from his brain, as he stared
round upon them.
"You pack of fools!" he cried. "Which one of you knows whether I
have said it or no? It might have been the Ratcatcher's Daughter
in double Dutch for all that your besotted heads can tell! See what
I have brought myself to--the crew I have come among!"
The landlord, who had already had his license endorsed for harbouring
queer characters, feared a riot, and came outside the counter; but
Jude, in his sudden flash of reason, had turned in disgust and left
the scene, the door slamming with a dull thud behind him.
He hastened down the lane and round into the straight broad street,
which he followed till it merged in the highway, and all sound of his
late companions had been left behind. Onward he still went, under
the influence of a childlike yearning for the one being in the world
to whom it seemed possible to fly--an unreasoning desire, whose ill
judgement was not apparent to him now. In the course of an hour,
when it was between ten and eleven o'clock, he entered the village of
Lumsdon, and reaching the cottage, saw that a light was burning in
a downstairs room, which he assumed, rightly as it happened, to be
Jude stepped close to the wall, and tapped with his finger on the
pane, saying impatiently, "Sue, Sue!"
She must have recognized his voice, for the light disappeared from
the apartment, and in a second or two the door was unlocked and
opened, and Sue appeared with a candle in her hand.
"Is it Jude? Yes, it is! My dear, dear cousin, what's the matter?"
"Oh, I am--I couldn't help coming, Sue!" said he, sinking down upon
the doorstep. "I am so wicked, Sue--my heart is nearly broken,
and I could not bear my life as it was! So I have been drinking,
and blaspheming, or next door to it, and saying holy things in
disreputable quarters--repeating in idle bravado words which ought
never to be uttered but reverently! Oh, do anything with me,
Sue--kill me--I don't care! Only don't hate me and despise me like
all the rest of the world!"
"You are ill, poor dear! No, I won't despise you; of course I won't!
Come in and rest, and let me see what I can do for you. Now lean on
me, and don't mind." With one hand holding the candle and the other
supporting him, she led him indoors, and placed him in the only easy
chair the meagrely furnished house afforded, stretching his feet upon
another, and pulling off his boots. Jude, now getting towards his
sober senses, could only say, "Dear, dear Sue!" in a voice broken by
grief and contrition.
She asked him if he wanted anything to eat, but he shook his head.
Then telling him to go to sleep, and that she would come down early
in the morning and get him some breakfast, she bade him good-night
and ascended the stairs.
Almost immediately he fell into a heavy slumber, and did not wake
till dawn. At first he did not know where he was, but by degrees his
situation cleared to him, and he beheld it in all the ghastliness
of a right mind. She knew the worst of him--the very worst. How
could he face her now? She would soon be coming down to see about
breakfast, as she had said, and there would he be in all his shame
confronting her. He could not bear the thought, and softly drawing
on his boots, and taking his hat from the nail on which she had hung
it, he slipped noiselessly out of the house.
His fixed idea was to get away to some obscure spot and hide, and
perhaps pray; and the only spot which occurred to him was Marygreen.
He called at his lodging in Christminster, where he found awaiting
him a note of dismissal from his employer; and having packed up he
turned his back upon the city that had been such a thorn in his
side, and struck southward into Wessex. He had no money left in
his pocket, his small savings, deposited at one of the banks in
Christminster, having fortunately been left untouched. To get to
Marygreen, therefore, his only course was walking; and the distance
being nearly twenty miles, he had ample time to complete on the way
the sobering process begun in him.
At some hour of the evening he reached Alfredston. Here he pawned
his waistcoat, and having gone out of the town a mile or two, slept
under a rick that night. At dawn he rose, shook off the hayseeds and
stems from his clothes, and started again, breasting the long white
road up the hill to the downs, which had been visible to him a long
way off, and passing the milestone at the top, whereon he had carved
his hopes years ago.
He reached the ancient hamlet while the people were at breakfast.
Weary and mud-bespattered, but quite possessed of his ordinary
clearness of brain, he sat down by the well, thinking as he did so
what a poor Christ he made. Seeing a trough of water near he bathed
his face, and went on to the cottage of his great-aunt, whom he found
breakfasting in bed, attended by the woman who lived with her.
"What--out o' work?" asked his relative, regarding him through eyes
sunken deep, under lids heavy as pot-covers, no other cause for his
tumbled appearance suggesting itself to one whose whole life had been
a struggle with material things.
"Yes," said Jude heavily. "I think I must have a little rest."
Refreshed by some breakfast, he went up to his old room and lay down
in his shirt-sleeves, after the manner of the artizan. He fell
asleep for a short while, and when he awoke it was as if he had
awakened in hell. It WAS hell--"the hell of conscious failure," both
in ambition and in love. He thought of that previous abyss into
which he had fallen before leaving this part of the country; the
deepest deep he had supposed it then; but it was not so deep as this.
That had been the breaking in of the outer bulwarks of his hope:
this was of his second line.
If he had been a woman he must have screamed under the nervous
tension which he was now undergoing. But that relief being denied to
his virility, he clenched his teeth in misery, bringing lines about
his mouth like those in the Laoco÷n, and corrugations between his
A mournful wind blew through the trees, and sounded in the chimney
like the pedal notes of an organ. Each ivy leaf overgrowing the wall
of the churchless church-yard hard by, now abandoned, pecked its
neighbour smartly, and the vane on the new Victorian-Gothic church in
the new spot had already begun to creak. Yet apparently it was not
always the outdoor wind that made the deep murmurs; it was a voice.
He guessed its origin in a moment or two; the curate was praying with
his aunt in the adjoining room. He remembered her speaking of him.
Presently the sounds ceased, and a step seemed to cross the landing.
Jude sat up, and shouted "Hoi!"
The step made for his door, which was open, and a man looked in.
It was a young clergyman.
"I think you are Mr. Highridge," said Jude. "My aunt has mentioned
you more than once. Well, here I am, just come home; a fellow gone
to the bad; though I had the best intentions in the world at one
time. Now I am melancholy mad, what with drinking and one thing and
Slowly Jude unfolded to the curate his late plans and movements, by
an unconscious bias dwelling less upon the intellectual and ambitious
side of his dream, and more upon the theological, though this had, up
till now, been merely a portion of the general plan of advancement.
"Now I know I have been a fool, and that folly is with me," added
Jude in conclusion. "And I don't regret the collapse of my
university hopes one jot. I wouldn't begin again if I were sure to
succeed. I don't care for social success any more at all. But I do
feel I should like to do some good thing; and I bitterly regret the
Church, and the loss of my chance of being her ordained minister."
The curate, who was a new man to this neighbourhood, had grown deeply
interested, and at last he said: "If you feel a real call to the
ministry, and I won't say from your conversation that you do not,
for it is that of a thoughtful and educated man, you might enter the
Church as a licentiate. Only you must make up your mind to avoid
"I could avoid that easily enough, if I had any kind of hope to
"For there was no other girl, O bridegroom,
like her!"--SAPPHO (H. T. Wharton).
It was a new idea--the ecclesiastical and altruistic life as distinct
from the intellectual and emulative life. A man could preach and
do good to his fellow-creatures without taking double-firsts in the
schools of Christminster, or having anything but ordinary knowledge.
The old fancy which had led on to the culminating vision of the
bishopric had not been an ethical or theological enthusiasm at all,
but a mundane ambition masquerading in a surplice. He feared that
his whole scheme had degenerated to, even though it might not have
originated in, a social unrest which had no foundation in the nobler
instincts; which was purely an artificial product of civilization.
There were thousands of young men on the same self-seeking track
at the present moment. The sensual hind who ate, drank, and lived
carelessly with his wife through the days of his vanity was a more
likable being than he.
But to enter the Church in such an unscholarly way that he could not
in any probability rise to a higher grade through all his career than
that of the humble curate wearing his life out in an obscure village
or city slum--that might have a touch of goodness and greatness in
it; that might be true religion, and a purgatorial course worthy of
being followed by a remorseful man.
The favourable light in which this new thought showed itself by
contrast with his foregone intentions cheered Jude, as he sat there,
shabby and lonely; and it may be said to have given, during the next
few days, the "coup de grÔce" to his intellectual career--a career
which had extended over the greater part of a dozen years. He did
nothing, however, for some long stagnant time to advance his new
desire, occupying himself with little local jobs in putting up and
lettering headstones about the neighbouring villages, and submitting
to be regarded as a social failure, a returned purchase, by the
half-dozen or so of farmers and other country-people who condescended
to nod to him.
The human interest of the new intention--and a human interest is
indispensable to the most spiritual and self-sacrificing--was created
by a letter from Sue, bearing a fresh postmark. She evidently
wrote with anxiety, and told very little about her own doings, more
than that she had passed some sort of examination for a Queen's
Scholarship, and was going to enter a training college at Melchester
to complete herself for the vocation she had chosen, partly by his
influence. There was a theological college at Melchester; Melchester
was a quiet and soothing place, almost entirely ecclesiastical in its
tone; a spot where worldly learning and intellectual smartness had no
establishment; where the altruistic feeling that he did possess would
perhaps be more highly estimated than a brilliancy which he did not.
As it would be necessary that he should continue for a time to work
at his trade while reading up Divinity, which he had neglected at
Christminster for the ordinary classical grind, what better course
for him than to get employment at the further city, and pursue this
plan of reading? That his excessive human interest in the new place
was entirely of Sue's making, while at the same time Sue was to be
regarded even less than formerly as proper to create it, had an
ethical contradictoriness to which he was not blind. But that much
he conceded to human frailty, and hoped to learn to love her only as
a friend and kinswoman.
He considered that he might so mark out his coming years as to begin
his ministry at the age of thirty--an age which much attracted him as
being that of his exemplar when he first began to teach in Galilee.
This would allow him plenty of time for deliberate study, and for
acquiring capital by his trade to help his aftercourse of keeping the
necessary terms at a theological college.
Christmas had come and passed, and Sue had gone to the Melchester
Normal School. The time was just the worst in the year for Jude to
get into new employment, and he had written suggesting to her that
he should postpone his arrival for a month or so, till the days had
lengthened. She had acquiesced so readily that he wished he had not
proposed it--she evidently did not much care about him, though she
had never once reproached him for his strange conduct in coming to
her that night, and his silent disappearance. Neither had she ever
said a word about her relations with Mr. Phillotson.
Suddenly, however, quite a passionate letter arrived from Sue.
She was quite lonely and miserable, she told him. She hated the
place she was in; it was worse than the ecclesiastical designer's;
worse than anywhere. She felt utterly friendless; could he come
immediately?--though when he did come she would only be able to
see him at limited times, the rules of the establishment she found
herself in being strict to a degree. It was Mr. Phillotson who had
advised her to come there, and she wished she had never listened to
Phillotson's suit was not exactly prospering, evidently; and Jude
felt unreasonably glad. He packed up his things and went to
Melchester with a lighter heart than he had known for months.
This being the turning over a new leaf he duly looked about for
a temperance hotel, and found a little establishment of that
description in the street leading from the station. When he had
had something to eat he walked out into the dull winter light over
the town bridge, and turned the corner towards the Close. The
day was foggy, and standing under the walls of the most graceful
architectural pile in England he paused and looked up. The lofty
building was visible as far as the roofridge; above, the dwindling
spire rose more and more remotely, till its apex was quite lost in
the mist drifting across it.
The lamps now began to be lighted, and turning to the west front
he walked round. He took it as a good omen that numerous blocks
of stone were lying about, which signified that the cathedral was
undergoing restoration or repair to a considerable extent. It seemed
to him, full of the superstitions of his beliefs, that this was an
exercise of forethought on the part of a ruling Power, that he might
find plenty to do in the art he practised while waiting for a call to
Then a wave of warmth came over him as he thought how near he now
stood to the bright-eyed vivacious girl with the broad forehead
and pile of dark hair above it; the girl with the kindling glance,
daringly soft at times--something like that of the girls he had
seen in engravings from paintings of the Spanish school. She was
here--actually in this Close--in one of the houses confronting this
very west fašade.
He went down the broad gravel path towards the building. It was
an ancient edifice of the fifteenth century, once a palace, now
a training-school, with mullioned and transomed windows, and a
courtyard in front shut in from the road by a wall. Jude opened the
gate and went up to the door through which, on inquiring for his
cousin, he was gingerly admitted to a waiting-room, and in a few
minutes she came.
Though she had been here such a short while, she was not as he had
seen her last. All her bounding manner was gone; her curves of
motion had become subdued lines. The screens and subtleties of
convention had likewise disappeared. Yet neither was she quite the
woman who had written the letter that summoned him. That had plainly
been dashed off in an impulse which second thoughts had somewhat
regretted; thoughts that were possibly of his recent self-disgrace.
Jude was quite overcome with emotion.
"You don't--think me a demoralized wretch--for coming to you as I
was--and going so shamefully, Sue?"
"Oh, I have tried not to! You said enough to let me know what had
caused it. I hope I shall never have any doubt of your worthiness,
my poor Jude! And I am glad you have come!"
She wore a murrey-coloured gown with a little lace collar. It was
made quite plain, and hung about her slight figure with clinging
gracefulness. Her hair, which formerly she had worn according to the
custom of the day was now twisted up tightly, and she had altogether
the air of a woman clipped and pruned by severe discipline,
an under-brightness shining through from the depths which that
discipline had not yet been able to reach.
She had come forward prettily, but Jude felt that she had hardly
expected him to kiss her, as he was burning to do, under other
colours than those of cousinship. He could not perceive the least
sign that Sue regarded him as a lover, or ever would do so, now that
she knew the worst of him, even if he had the right to behave as one;
and this helped on his growing resolve to tell her of his matrimonial
entanglement, which he had put off doing from time to time in sheer
dread of losing the bliss of her company.
Sue came out into the town with him, and they walked and talked with
tongues centred only on the passing moments. Jude said he would like
to buy her a little present of some sort, and then she confessed,
with something of shame, that she was dreadfully hungry. They were
kept on very short allowances in the college, and a dinner, tea, and
supper all in one was the present she most desired in the world.
Jude thereupon took her to an inn and ordered whatever the house
afforded, which was not much. The place, however, gave them a
delightful opportunity for a "tŕte-Ó-tŕte", nobody else being in the
room, and they talked freely.
She told him about the school as it was at that date, and the rough
living, and the mixed character of her fellow-students, gathered
together from all parts of the diocese, and how she had to get up and
work by gas-light in the early morning, with all the bitterness of
a young person to whom restraint was new. To all this he listened;
but it was not what he wanted especially to know--her relations with
Phillotson. That was what she did not tell. When they had sat and
eaten, Jude impulsively placed his hand upon hers; she looked up
and smiled, and took his quite freely into her own little soft one,
dividing his fingers and coolly examining them, as if they were the
fingers of a glove she was purchasing.
"Your hands are rather rough, Jude, aren't they?" she said.
"Yes. So would yours be if they held a mallet and chisel all day."
"I don't dislike it, you know. I think it is noble to see a man's
hands subdued to what he works in... Well, I'm rather glad I came
to this training-school, after all. See how independent I shall be
after the two years' training! I shall pass pretty high, I expect,
and Mr. Phillotson will use his influence to get me a big school."
She had touched the subject at last. "I had a suspicion, a fear,"
said Jude, "that he--cared about you rather warmly, and perhaps
wanted to marry you."
"Now don't be such a silly boy!"
"He has said something about it, I expect."
"If he had, what would it matter? An old man like him!"
"Oh, come, Sue; he's not so very old. And I know what I saw him
"Not kissing me--that I'm certain!"
"No. But putting his arm round your waist."
"Ah--I remember. But I didn't know he was going to."
"You are wriggling out if it, Sue, and it isn't quite kind!"
Her ever-sensitive lip began to quiver, and her eye to blink, at
something this reproof was deciding her to say.
"I know you'll be angry if I tell you everything, and that's why I
don't want to!"
"Very well, then, dear," he said soothingly. "I have no real right
to ask you, and I don't wish to know."
"I shall tell you!" said she, with the perverseness that was
part of her. "This is what I have done: I have promised--I
have promised--that I will marry him when I come out of the
training-school two years hence, and have got my certificate; his
plan being that we shall then take a large double school in a great
town--he the boys' and I the girls'--as married school-teachers often
do, and make a good income between us."
"Oh, Sue! ... But of course it is right--you couldn't have done
He glanced at her and their eyes met, the reproach in his own belying
his words. Then he drew his hand quite away from hers, and turned
his face in estrangement from her to the window. Sue regarded him
passively without moving.
"I knew you would be angry!" she said with an air of no emotion
whatever. "Very well--I am wrong, I suppose! I ought not to have
let you come to see me! We had better not meet again; and we'll only
correspond at long intervals, on purely business matters!"
This was just the one thing he would not be able to bear, as she
probably knew, and it brought him round at once. "Oh yes, we will,"
he said quickly. "Your being engaged can make no difference to me
whatever. I have a perfect right to see you when I want to; and I
"Then don't let us talk of it any more. It is quite spoiling our
evening together. What does it matter about what one is going to do
two years hence!"
She was something of a riddle to him, and he let the subject drift
away. "Shall we go and sit in the cathedral?" he asked, when their
meal was finished.
"Cathedral? Yes. Though I think I'd rather sit in the railway
station," she answered, a remnant of vexation still in her voice.
"That's the centre of the town life now. The cathedral has had its
"How modern you are!"
"So would you be if you had lived so much in the Middle Ages as I
have done these last few years! The cathedral was a very good place
four or five centuries ago; but it is played out now... I am not
modern, either. I am more ancient than mediŠvalism, if you only
Jude looked distressed.
"There--I won't say any more of that!" she cried. "Only you don't
know how bad I am, from your point of view, or you wouldn't think so
much of me, or care whether I was engaged or not. Now there's just
time for us to walk round the Close, then I must go in, or I shall be
locked out for the night."
He took her to the gate and they parted. Jude had a conviction that
his unhappy visit to her on that sad night had precipitated this
marriage engagement, and it did anything but add to his happiness.
Her reproach had taken that shape, then, and not the shape of words.
However, next day he set about seeking employment, which it was not
so easy to get as at Christminster, there being, as a rule, less
stone-cutting in progress in this quiet city, and hands being mostly
permanent. But he edged himself in by degrees. His first work was
some carving at the cemetery on the hill; and ultimately he became
engaged on the labour he most desired--the cathedral repairs, which
were very extensive, the whole interior stonework having been
overhauled, to be largely replaced by new. It might be a labour of
years to get it all done, and he had confidence enough in his own
skill with the mallet and chisel to feel that it would be a matter of
choice with himself how long he would stay.
The lodgings he took near the Close Gate would not have disgraced a
curate, the rent representing a higher percentage on his wages than
mechanics of any sort usually care to pay. His combined bed and
sitting-room was furnished with framed photographs of the rectories
and deaneries at which his landlady had lived as trusted servant in
her time, and the parlour downstairs bore a clock on the mantelpiece
inscribed to the effect that it was presented to the same
serious-minded woman by her fellow-servants on the occasion of her
marriage. Jude added to the furniture of his room by unpacking
photographs of the ecclesiastical carvings and monuments that he
had executed with his own hands; and he was deemed a satisfactory
acquisition as tenant of the vacant apartment.
He found an ample supply of theological books in the city book-shops,
and with these his studies were recommenced in a different spirit and
direction from his former course. As a relaxation from the Fathers,
and such stock works as Paley and Butler, he read Newman, Pusey, and
many other modern lights. He hired a harmonium, set it up in his
lodging, and practised chants thereon, single and double.
"To-morrow is our grand day, you know. Where shall we go?"
"I have leave from three till nine. Wherever we can get to and come
back from in that time. Not ruins, Jude--I don't care for them."
"Well--Wardour Castle. And then we can do Fonthill if we like--all
in the same afternoon."
"Wardour is Gothic ruins--and I hate Gothic!"
"No. Quite otherwise. It is a classic building--Corinthian, I
think; with a lot of pictures."
"Ah--that will do. I like the sound of Corinthian. We'll go."
Their conversation had run thus some few weeks later, and next
morning they prepared to start. Every detail of the outing was
a facet reflecting a sparkle to Jude, and he did not venture to
meditate on the life of inconsistency he was leading. His Sue's
conduct was one lovely conundrum to him; he could say no more.
There duly came the charm of calling at the college door for her; her
emergence in a nunlike simplicity of costume that was rather enforced
than desired; the traipsing along to the station, the porters'
"B'your leave!," the screaming of the trains--everything formed the
basis of a beautiful crystallization. Nobody stared at Sue, because
she was so plainly dressed, which comforted Jude in the thought that
only himself knew the charms those habiliments subdued. A matter
of ten pounds spent in a drapery-shop, which had no connection
with her real life or her real self, would have set all Melchester
staring. The guard of the train thought they were lovers, and put
them into a compartment all by themselves.
"That's a good intention wasted!" said she.
Jude did not respond. He thought the remark unnecessarily cruel,
and partly untrue.
They reached the park and castle and wandered through the
picture-galleries, Jude stopping by preference in front of the
devotional pictures by Del Sarto, Guido Reni, Spagnoletto,
Sassoferrato, Carlo Dolci, and others. Sue paused patiently beside
him, and stole critical looks into his face as, regarding the
Virgins, Holy Families, and Saints, it grew reverent and abstracted.
When she had thoroughly estimated him at this, she would move on and
wait for him before a Lely or Reynolds. It was evident that her
cousin deeply interested her, as one might be interested in a man
puzzling out his way along a labyrinth from which one had one's self
When they came out a long time still remained to them and Jude
proposed that as soon as they had had something to eat they should
walk across the high country to the north of their present position,
and intercept the train of another railway leading back to
Melchester, at a station about seven miles off. Sue, who was
inclined for any adventure that would intensify the sense of her
day's freedom, readily agreed; and away they went, leaving the
adjoining station behind them.
It was indeed open country, wide and high. They talked and bounded
on, Jude cutting from a little covert a long walking-stick for Sue
as tall as herself, with a great crook, which made her look like a
shepherdess. About half-way on their journey they crossed a main
road running due east and west--the old road from London to Land's
End. They paused, and looked up and down it for a moment, and
remarked upon the desolation which had come over this once lively
thoroughfare, while the wind dipped to earth and scooped straws and
hay-stems from the ground.
They crossed the road and passed on, but during the next half-mile
Sue seemed to grow tired, and Jude began to be distressed for her.
They had walked a good distance altogether, and if they could not
reach the other station it would be rather awkward. For a long
time there was no cottage visible on the wide expanse of down and
turnip-land; but presently they came to a sheepfold, and next to the
shepherd, pitching hurdles. He told them that the only house near
was his mother's and his, pointing to a little dip ahead from which a
faint blue smoke arose, and recommended them to go on and rest there.
This they did, and entered the house, admitted by an old woman
without a single tooth, to whom they were as civil as strangers can
be when their only chance of rest and shelter lies in the favour of
"A nice little cottage," said Jude.
"Oh, I don't know about the niceness. I shall have to thatch it
soon, and where the thatch is to come from I can't tell, for straw do
get that dear, that 'twill soon be cheaper to cover your house wi'
chainey plates than thatch."
They sat resting, and the shepherd came in. "Don't 'ee mind I," he
said with a deprecating wave of the hand; "bide here as long as ye
will. But mid you be thinking o' getting back to Melchester to-night
by train? Because you'll never do it in this world, since you don't
know the lie of the country. I don't mind going with ye some o' the
ways, but even then the train mid be gone."
They started up.
"You can bide here, you know, over the night--can't 'em, Mother?
The place is welcome to ye. 'Tis hard lying, rather, but volk may do
worse." He turned to Jude and asked privately: "Be you a married
"Hsh--no!" said Jude.
"Oh--I meant nothing ba'dy--not I! Well then, she can go into
Mother's room, and you and I can lie in the outer chimmer after
they've gone through. I can call ye soon enough to catch the first
train back. You've lost this one now."
On consideration they decided to close with this offer, and drew up
and shared with the shepherd and his mother the boiled bacon and
greens for supper.
"I rather like this," said Sue, while their entertainers were
clearing away the dishes. "Outside all laws except gravitation and
"You only think you like it; you don't: you are quite a product of
civilization," said Jude, a recollection of her engagement reviving
his soreness a little.
"Indeed I am not, Jude. I like reading and all that, but I crave to
get back to the life of my infancy and its freedom."
"Do you remember it so well? You seem to me to have nothing
unconventional at all about you."
"Oh, haven't I! You don't know what's inside me."
"An urban miss is what you are."
She looked severe disagreement, and turned away.
The shepherd aroused them the next morning, as he had said. It was
bright and clear, and the four miles to the train were accomplished
pleasantly. When they had reached Melchester, and walked to the
Close, and the gables of the old building in which she was again to
be immured rose before Sue's eyes, she looked a little scared. "I
expect I shall catch it!" she murmured.
They rang the great bell and waited.
"Oh, I bought something for you, which I had nearly forgotten," she
said quickly, searching her pocket. "It is a new little photograph
of me. Would you like it?"
"WOULD I!" He took it gladly, and the porter came. There seemed to
be an ominous glance on his face when he opened the gate. She passed
in, looking back at Jude, and waving her hand.
The seventy young women, of ages varying in the main from nineteen to
one-and-twenty, though several were older, who at this date filled
the species of nunnery known as the Training-School at Melchester,
formed a very mixed community, which included the daughters of
mechanics, curates, surgeons, shopkeepers, farmers, dairy-men,
soldiers, sailors, and villagers. They sat in the large school-room
of the establishment on the evening previously described, and word
was passed round that Sue Bridehead had not come in at closing-time.
"She went out with her young man," said a second-year's student, who
knew about young men. "And Miss Traceley saw her at the station with
him. She'll have it hot when she does come."
"She said he was her cousin," observed a youthful new girl.
"That excuse has been made a little too often in this school to be
effectual in saving our souls," said the head girl of the year,
The fact was that, only twelve months before, there had occurred
a lamentable seduction of one of the pupils who had made the same
statement in order to gain meetings with her lover. The affair had
created a scandal, and the management had consequently been rough on
cousins ever since.
At nine o'clock the names were called, Sue's being pronounced three
times sonorously by Miss Traceley without eliciting an answer.
At a quarter past nine the seventy stood up to sing the "Evening
Hymn," and then knelt down to prayers. After prayers they went in to
supper, and every girl's thought was, Where is Sue Bridehead? Some
of the students, who had seen Jude from the window, felt that they
would not mind risking her punishment for the pleasure of being
kissed by such a kindly-faced young men. Hardly one among them
believed in the cousinship.
Half an hour later they all lay in their cubicles, their tender
feminine faces upturned to the flaring gas-jets which at intervals
stretched down the long dormitories, every face bearing the legend
"The Weaker" upon it, as the penalty of the sex wherein they were
moulded, which by no possible exertion of their willing hearts and
abilities could be made strong while the inexorable laws of nature
remain what they are. They formed a pretty, suggestive, pathetic
sight, of whose pathos and beauty they were themselves unconscious,
and would not discover till, amid the storms and strains of
after-years, with their injustice, loneliness, child-bearing, and
bereavement, their minds would revert to this experience as to
something which had been allowed to slip past them insufficiently
One of the mistresses came in to turn out the lights, and before
doing so gave a final glance at Sue's cot, which remained empty, and
at her little dressing-table at the foot, which, like all the rest,
was ornamented with various girlish trifles, framed photographs being
not the least conspicuous among them. Sue's table had a moderate
show, two men in their filigree and velvet frames standing together
beside her looking-glass.
"Who are these men--did she ever say?" asked the mistress. "Strictly
speaking, relations' portraits only are allowed on these tables, you
"One--the middle-aged man," said a student in the next bed--"is the
schoolmaster she served under--Mr. Phillotson."
"And the other--this undergraduate in cap and gown--who is he?"
"He is a friend, or was. She has never told his name."
"Was it either of these two who came for her?"
"You are sure 'twas not the undergraduate?"
"Quite. He was a young man with a black beard."
The lights were promptly extinguished, and till they fell asleep the
girls indulged in conjectures about Sue, and wondered what games
she had carried on in London and at Christminster before she came
here, some of the more restless ones getting out of bed and looking
from the mullioned windows at the vast west front of the cathedral
opposite, and the spire rising behind it.
When they awoke the next morning they glanced into Sue's nook,
to find it still without a tenant. After the early lessons by
gas-light, in half-toilet, and when they had come up to dress for
breakfast, the bell of the entrance gate was heard to ring loudly.
The mistress of the dormitory went away, and presently came back to
say that the principal's orders were that nobody was to speak to
Bridehead without permission.
When, accordingly, Sue came into the dormitory to hastily tidy
herself, looking flushed and tired, she went to her cubicle in
silence, none of them coming out to greet her or to make inquiry.
When they had gone downstairs they found that she did not follow them
into the dining-hall to breakfast, and they then learnt that she had
been severely reprimanded, and ordered to a solitary room for a week,
there to be confined, and take her meals, and do all her reading.
At this the seventy murmured, the sentence being, they thought, too
severe. A round robin was prepared and sent in to the principal,
asking for a remission of Sue's punishment. No notice was taken.
Towards evening, when the geography mistress began dictating her
subject, the girls in the class sat with folded arms.
"You mean that you are not going to work?" said the mistress at last.
"I may as well tell you that it has been ascertained that the young
man Bridehead stayed out with was not her cousin, for the very
good reason that she has no such relative. We have written to
Christminster to ascertain."
"We are willing to take her word," said the head girl.
"This young man was discharged from his work at Christminster for
drunkenness and blasphemy in public-houses, and he has come here to
live, entirely to be near her."
However, they remained stolid and motionless, and the mistress left
the room to inquire from her superiors what was to be done.
Presently, towards dusk, the pupils, as they sat, heard exclamations
from the first-year's girls in an adjoining classroom, and one rushed
in to say that Sue Bridehead had got out of the back window of the
room in which she had been confined, escaped in the dark across the
lawn, and disappeared. How she had managed to get out of the garden
nobody could tell, as it was bounded by the river at the bottom, and
the side door was locked.
They went and looked at the empty room, the casement between the
middle mullions of which stood open. The lawn was again searched
with a lantern, every bush and shrub being examined, but she was
nowhere hidden. Then the porter of the front gate was interrogated,
and on reflection he said that he remembered hearing a sort of
splashing in the stream at the back, but he had taken no notice,
thinking some ducks had come down the river from above.
"She must have walked through the river!" said a mistress.
"Or drownded herself," said the porter.
The mind of the matron was horrified--not so much at the possible
death of Sue as at the possible half-column detailing that event in
all the newspapers, which, added to the scandal of the year before,
would give the college an unenviable notoriety for many months to
More lanterns were procured, and the river examined; and then, at
last, on the opposite shore, which was open to the fields, some
little boot-tracks were discerned in the mud, which left no doubt
that the too excitable girl had waded through a depth of water
reaching nearly to her shoulders--for this was the chief river of the
county, and was mentioned in all the geography books with respect.
As Sue had not brought disgrace upon the school by drowning herself,
the matron began to speak superciliously of her, and to express
gladness that she was gone.
On the self-same evening Jude sat in his lodgings by the Close Gate.
Often at this hour after dusk he would enter the silent Close, and
stand opposite the house that contained Sue, and watch the shadows of
the girls' heads passing to and fro upon the blinds, and wish he had
nothing else to do but to sit reading and learning all day what many
of the thoughtless inmates despised. But to-night, having finished
tea and brushed himself up, he was deep in the perusal of the
Twenty-ninth Volume of Pusey's Library of the Fathers, a set of books
which he had purchased of a second-hand dealer at a price that seemed
to him to be one of miraculous cheapness for that invaluable work. He
fancied he heard something rattle lightly against his window; then he
heard it again. Certainly somebody had thrown gravel. He rose and
gently lifted the sash.
"Jude!" (from below).
"Yes--it is! Can I come up without being seen?"
"Then don't come down. Shut the window."
Jude waited, knowing that she could enter easily enough, the front
door being opened merely by a knob which anybody could turn, as
in most old country towns. He palpitated at the thought that she
had fled to him in her trouble as he had fled to her in his. What
counterparts they were! He unlatched the door of his room, heard a
stealthy rustle on the dark stairs, and in a moment she appeared in
the light of his lamp. He went up to seize her hand, and found she
was clammy as a marine deity, and that her clothes clung to her like
the robes upon the figures in the Parthenon frieze.
"I'm so cold!" she said through her chattering teeth. "Can I come by
your fire, Jude?"
She crossed to his little grate and very little fire, but as the
water dripped from her as she moved, the idea of drying herself was
absurd. "Whatever have you done, darling?" he asked, with alarm, the
tender epithet slipping out unawares.
"Walked through the largest river in the county--that's what I've
done! They locked me up for being out with you; and it seemed so
unjust that I couldn't bear it, so I got out of the window and
escaped across the stream!" She had begun the explanation in her
usual slightly independent tones, but before she had finished the
thin pink lips trembled, and she could hardly refrain from crying.
"Dear Sue!" he said. "You must take off all your things! And let me
see--you must borrow some from the landlady. I'll ask her."
"No, no! Don't let her know, for God's sake! We are so near the
school that they'll come after me!"
"Then you must put on mine. You don't mind?"
"My Sunday suit, you know. It is close here." In fact, everything
was close and handy in Jude's single chamber, because there was not
room for it to be otherwise. He opened a drawer, took out his best
dark suit, and giving the garments a shake, said, "Now, how long
shall I give you?"
Jude left the room and went into the street, where he walked up and
down. A clock struck half-past seven, and he returned. Sitting in
his only arm-chair he saw a slim and fragile being masquerading as
himself on a Sunday, so pathetic in her defencelessness that his
heart felt big with the sense of it. On two other chairs before the
fire were her wet garments. She blushed as he sat down beside her,
but only for a moment.
"I suppose, Jude, it is odd that you should see me like this and all
my things hanging there? Yet what nonsense! They are only a woman's
clothes--sexless cloth and linen... I wish I didn't feel so ill and
sick! Will you dry my clothes now? Please do, Jude, and I'll get a
lodging by and by. It is not late yet."
"No, you shan't, if you are ill. You must stay here. Dear, dear
Sue, what can I get for you?"
"I don't know! I can't help shivering. I wish I could get warm."
Jude put on her his great-coat in addition, and then ran out to the
nearest public-house, whence he returned with a little bottle in his
hand. "Here's six of best brandy," he said. "Now you drink it,
dear; all of it."
"I can't out of the bottle, can I?" Jude fetched the glass from the
dressing-table, and administered the spirit in some water. She
gasped a little, but gulped it down, and lay back in the armchair.
She then began to relate circumstantially her experiences since
they had parted; but in the middle of her story her voice faltered,
her head nodded, and she ceased. She was in a sound sleep. Jude,
dying of anxiety lest she should have caught a chill which might
permanently injure her, was glad to hear the regular breathing. He
softly went nearer to her, and observed that a warm flush now rosed
her hitherto blue cheeks, and felt that her hanging hand was no
longer cold. Then he stood with his back to the fire regarding her,
and saw in her almost a divinity.
Jude's reverie was interrupted by the creak of footsteps ascending
He whisked Sue's clothing from the chair where it was drying, thrust
it under the bed, and sat down to his book. Somebody knocked and
opened the door immediately. It was the landlady.
"Oh, I didn't know whether you was in or not, Mr. Fawley. I
wanted to know if you would require supper. I see you've a young
"Yes, ma'am. But I think I won't come down to-night. Will you bring
supper up on a tray, and I'll have a cup of tea as well."
It was Jude's custom to go downstairs to the kitchen, and eat his
meals with the family, to save trouble. His landlady brought up the
supper, however, on this occasion, and he took it from her at the
When she had descended he set the teapot on the hob, and drew out
Sue's clothes anew; but they were far from dry. A thick woollen
gown, he found, held a deal of water. So he hung them up again, and
enlarged his fire and mused as the steam from the garments went up
Suddenly she said, "Jude!"
"Yes. All right. How do you feel now?"
"Better. Quite well. Why, I fell asleep, didn't I? What time is
it? Not late surely?"
"It is past ten."
"Is it really? What SHALL I do!" she said, starting up.
"Stay where you are."
"Yes; that's what I want to do. But I don't know what they would
say! And what will you do?"
"I am going to sit here by the fire all night, and read. To-morrow
is Sunday, and I haven't to go out anywhere. Perhaps you will be
saved a severe illness by resting there. Don't be frightened. I'm
all right. Look here, what I have got for you. Some supper."
When she had sat upright she breathed plaintively and said, "I do
feel rather weak still. I thought I was well; and I ought not to be
here, ought I?" But the supper fortified her somewhat, and when she
had had some tea and had lain back again she was bright and cheerful.
The tea must have been green, or too long drawn, for she seemed
preternaturally wakeful afterwards, though Jude, who had not taken
any, began to feel heavy; till her conversation fixed his attention.
"You called me a creature of civilization, or something, didn't you?"
she said, breaking a silence. "It was very odd you should have done
"Well, because it is provokingly wrong. I am a sort of negation of
"You are very philosophical. 'A negation' is profound talking."
"Is it? Do I strike you as being learned?" she asked, with a touch
"No--not learned. Only you don't talk quite like a girl--well, a
girl who has had no advantages."
"I have had advantages. I don't know Latin and Greek, though I know
the grammars of those tongues. But I know most of the Greek and
Latin classics through translations, and other books too. I read
LempriŔre, Catullus, Martial, Juvenal, Lucian, Beaumont and Fletcher,
Boccaccio, Scarron, De Brant˘me, Sterne, De Foe, Smollett, Fielding,
Shakespeare, the Bible, and other such; and found that all interest
in the unwholesome part of those books ended with its mystery."
"You have read more than I," he said with a sigh. "How came you to
read some of those queerer ones?"
"Well," she said thoughtfully, "it was by accident. My life has been
entirely shaped by what people call a peculiarity in me. I have no
fear of men, as such, nor of their books. I have mixed with them--one
or two of them particularly--almost as one of their own sex. I mean
I have not felt about them as most women are taught to feel--to be on
their guard against attacks on their virtue; for no average man--no
man short of a sensual savage--will molest a woman by day or night,
at home or abroad, unless she invites him. Until she says by a look
'Come on' he is always afraid to, and if you never say it, or look
it, he never comes. However, what I was going to say is that when I
was eighteen I formed a friendly intimacy with an undergraduate at
Christminster, and he taught me a great deal, and lent me books which
I should never have got hold of otherwise."
"Is your friendship broken off?"
"Oh yes. He died, poor fellow, two or three years after he had taken
his degree and left Christminster."
"You saw a good deal of him, I suppose?"
"Yes. We used to go about together--on walking tours, reading tours,
and things of that sort--like two men almost. He asked me to live
with him, and I agreed to by letter. But when I joined him in London
I found he meant a different thing from what I meant. He wanted me
to be his mistress, in fact, but I wasn't in love with him--and on
my saying I should go away if he didn't agree to MY plan, he did
so. We shared a sitting-room for fifteen months; and he became a
leader-writer for one of the great London dailies; till he was taken
ill, and had to go abroad. He said I was breaking his heart by
holding out against him so long at such close quarters; he could
never have believed it of woman. I might play that game once too
often, he said. He came home merely to die. His death caused a
terrible remorse in me for my cruelty--though I hope he died of
consumption and not of me entirely. I went down to Sandbourne
to his funeral, and was his only mourner. He left me a little
money--because I broke his heart, I suppose. That's how men
are--so much better than women!"
"Good heavens!--what did you do then?"
"Ah--now you are angry with me!" she said, a contralto note of
tragedy coming suddenly into her silvery voice. "I wouldn't have
told you if I had known!"
"No, I am not. Tell me all."
"Well, I invested his money, poor fellow, in a bubble scheme, and
lost it. I lived about London by myself for some time, and then I
returned to Christminster, as my father-- who was also in London, and
had started as an art metal-worker near Long-Acre--wouldn't have me
back; and I got that occupation in the artist-shop where you found
me... I said you didn't know how bad I was!"
Jude looked round upon the arm-chair and its occupant, as if to read
more carefully the creature he had given shelter to. His voice
trembled as he said: "However you have lived, Sue, I believe you are
as innocent as you are unconventional!"
"I am not particularly innocent, as you see, now that I have
'twitched the robe
From that blank lay-figure your fancy draped,'"
said she, with an ostensible sneer, though he could hear that she was
brimming with tears. "But I have never yielded myself to any lover,
if that's what you mean! I have remained as I began."
"I quite believe you. But some women would not have remained as they
"Perhaps not. Better women would not. People say I must be
cold-natured--sexless--on account of it. But I won't have it!
Some of the most passionately erotic poets have been the most
self-contained in their daily lives."
"Have you told Mr. Phillotson about this university scholar friend?"
"Yes--long ago. I have never made any secret of it to anybody."
"What did he say?"
"He did not pass any criticism--only said I was everything to him,
whatever I did; and things like that."
Jude felt much depressed; she seemed to get further and further away
from him with her strange ways and curious unconsciousness of gender.
"Aren't you REALLY vexed with me, dear Jude?" she suddenly asked, in
a voice of such extraordinary tenderness that it hardly seemed to
come from the same woman who had just told her story so lightly. "I
would rather offend anybody in the world than you, I think!"
"I don't know whether I am vexed or not. I know I care very much
"I care as much for you as for anybody I ever met."
"You don't care MORE! There, I ought not to say that. Don't answer
There was another long silence. He felt that she was treating
him cruelly, though he could not quite say in what way. Her very
helplessness seemed to make her so much stronger than he.
"I am awfully ignorant on general matters, although I have worked so
hard," he said, to turn the subject. "I am absorbed in theology, you
know. And what do you think I should be doing just about now, if you
weren't here? I should be saying my evening prayers. I suppose you
"Oh no, no," she answered, "I would rather not, if you don't mind.
I should seem so--such a hypocrite."
"I thought you wouldn't join, so I didn't propose it. You must
remember that I hope to be a useful minister some day."
"To be ordained, I think you said?"
"Then you haven't given up the idea?--I thought that perhaps you had
by this time."
"Of course not. I fondly thought at first that you felt as I do
about that, as you were so mixed up in Christminster Anglicanism.
And Mr. Phillotson--"
"I have no respect for Christminster whatever, except, in a qualified
degree, on its intellectual side," said Sue Bridehead earnestly. "My
friend I spoke of took that out of me. He was the most irreligious
man I ever knew, and the most moral. And intellect at Christminster
is new wine in old bottles. The mediŠvalism of Christminster must
go, be sloughed off, or Christminster itself will have to go. To
be sure, at times one couldn't help having a sneaking liking for
the traditions of the old faith, as preserved by a section of the
thinkers there in touching and simple sincerity; but when I was in my
saddest, rightest mind I always felt,
'O ghastly glories of saints, dead limbs of gibbeted Gods!'"...
"Sue, you are not a good friend of mine to talk like that!"
"Then I won't, dear Jude!" The emotional throat-note had come back,
and she turned her face away.
"I still think Christminster has much that is glorious; though I
was resentful because I couldn't get there." He spoke gently, and
resisted his impulse to pique her on to tears.
"It is an ignorant place, except as to the townspeople, artizans,
drunkards, and paupers," she said, perverse still at his differing
from her. "THEY see life as it is, of course; but few of the people
in the colleges do. You prove it in your own person. You are one
of the very men Christminster was intended for when the colleges
were founded; a man with a passion for learning, but no money, or
opportunities, or friends. But you were elbowed off the pavement
by the millionaires' sons."
"Well, I can do without what it confers. I care for something
"And I for something broader, truer," she insisted. "At present
intellect in Christminster is pushing one way, and religion the
other; and so they stand stock-still, like two rams butting each
"What would Mr. Phillotson--"
"It is a place full of fetishists and ghost-seers!"
He noticed that whenever he tried to speak of the schoolmaster she
turned the conversation to some generalizations about the offending
university. Jude was extremely, morbidly, curious about her life as
Phillotson's "protÚgÚe" and betrothed; yet she would not enlighten
"Well, that's just what I am, too," he said. "I am fearful of life,
"But you are good and dear!" she murmured.
His heart bumped, and he made no reply.
"You are in the Tractarian stage just now, are you not?" she added,
putting on flippancy to hide real feeling, a common trick with her.
"Let me see--when was I there? In the year eighteen hundred and--"
"There's a sarcasm in that which is rather unpleasant to me, Sue.
Now will you do what I want you to? At this time I read a chapter,
and then say prayers, as I told you. Now will you concentrate your
attention on any book of these you like, and sit with your back to
me, and leave me to my custom? You are sure you won't join me?"
"I'll look at you."
"No. Don't tease, Sue!"
"Very well--I'll do just as you bid me, and I won't vex you, Jude,"
she replied, in the tone of a child who was going to be good for ever
after, turning her back upon him accordingly. A small Bible other
than the one he was using lay near her, and during his retreat she
took it up, and turned over the leaves.
"Jude," she said brightly, when he had finished and come back to her;
"will you let me make you a NEW New Testament, like the one I made
for myself at Christminster?"
"Oh yes. How was that made?"
"I altered my old one by cutting up all the Epistles and Gospels into
separate "brochures", and rearranging them in chronological order as
written, beginning the book with Thessalonians, following on with the
Epistles, and putting the Gospels much further on. Then I had the
volume rebound. My university friend Mr.--but never mind his name,
poor boy--said it was an excellent idea. I know that reading it
afterwards made it twice as interesting as before, and twice as
"H'm!" said Jude, with a sense of sacrilege.
"And what a literary enormity this is," she said, as she glanced
into the pages of Solomon's Song. "I mean the synopsis at the head
of each chapter, explaining away the real nature of that rhapsody.
You needn't be alarmed: nobody claims inspiration for the chapter
headings. Indeed, many divines treat them with contempt. It seems
the drollest thing to think of the four-and-twenty elders, or
bishops, or whatever number they were, sitting with long faces and
writing down such stuff."
Jude looked pained. "You are quite Voltairean!" he murmured.
"Indeed? Then I won't say any more, except that people have no
right to falsify the Bible! I HATE such hum-bug as could attempt to
plaster over with ecclesiastical abstractions such ecstatic, natural,
human love as lies in that great and passionate song!" Her speech
had grown spirited, and almost petulant at his rebuke, and her eyes
moist. "I WISH I had a friend here to support me; but nobody is ever
on my side!"
"But my dear Sue, my very dear Sue, I am not against you!" he said,
taking her hand, and surprised at her introducing personal feeling
into mere argument.
"Yes you are, yes you are!" she cried, turning away her face that he
might not see her brimming eyes. "You are on the side of the people
in the training-school--at least you seem almost to be! What I
insist on is, that to explain such verses as this: 'Whither is thy
beloved gone, O thou fairest among women?' by the note: '"The Church
professeth her faith",' is supremely ridiculous!"
"Well then, let it be! You make such a personal matter of
everything! I am--only too inclined just now to apply the words
profanely. You know YOU are fairest among women to me, come to
"But you are not to say it now!" Sue replied, her voice changing
to its softest note of severity. Then their eyes met, and they
shook hands like cronies in a tavern, and Jude saw the absurdity of
quarrelling on such a hypothetical subject, and she the silliness of
crying about what was written in an old book like the Bible.
"I won't disturb your convictions--I really won't!" she went on
soothingly, for now he was rather more ruffled than she. "But I did
want and long to ennoble some man to high aims; and when I saw you,
and knew you wanted to be my comrade, I--shall I confess it?--thought
that man might be you. But you take so much tradition on trust that
I don't know what to say."
"Well, dear; I suppose one must take some things on trust. Life
isn't long enough to work out everything in Euclid problems before
you believe it. I take Christianity."
"Well, perhaps you might take something worse."
"Indeed I might. Perhaps I have done so!" He thought of Arabella.
"I won't ask what, because we are going to be VERY nice with each
other, aren't we, and never, never, vex each other any more?" She
looked up trustfully, and her voice seemed trying to nestle in his
"I shall always care for you!" said Jude.
"And I for you. Because you are single-hearted, and forgiving to
your faulty and tiresome little Sue!"
He looked away, for that epicene tenderness of hers was too
harrowing. Was it that which had broken the heart of the poor
leader-writer; and was he to be the next one? ... But Sue was so
dear! ... If he could only get over the sense of her sex, as she
seemed to be able to do so easily of his, what a comrade she would
make; for their difference of opinion on conjectural subjects only
drew them closer together on matters of daily human experience. She
was nearer to him than any other woman he had ever met, and he could
scarcely believe that time, creed, or absence, would ever divide him
But his grief at her incredulities returned. They sat on till she
fell asleep again, and he nodded in his chair likewise. Whenever
he aroused himself he turned her things, and made up the fire anew.
About six o'clock he awoke completely, and lighting a candle, found
that her clothes were dry. Her chair being a far more comfortable
one than his she still slept on inside his great-coat, looking warm
as a new bun and boyish as a Ganymede. Placing the garments by her
and touching her on the shoulder he went downstairs, and washed
himself by starlight in the yard.
When he returned she was dressed as usual.
"Now could I get out without anybody seeing me?" she asked. "The
town is not yet astir."
"But you have had no breakfast."
"Oh, I don't want any! I fear I ought not to have run away from that
school! Things seem so different in the cold light of morning, don't
they? What Mr. Phillotson will say I don't know! It was quite by
his wish that I went there. He is the only man in the world for whom
I have any respect or fear. I hope he'll forgive me; but he'll scold
me dreadfully, I expect!"
"I'll go to him and explain--" began Jude.
"Oh no, you shan't. I don't care for him! He may think what he
likes--I shall do just as I choose!"
"But you just this moment said--"
"Well, if I did, I shall do as I like for all him! I have thought of
what I shall do--go to the sister of one of my fellow-students in the
training-school, who has asked me to visit her. She has a school
near Shaston, about eighteen miles from here--and I shall stay there
till this has blown over, and I get back to the training-school
At the last moment he persuaded her to let him make her a cup of
coffee, in a portable apparatus he kept in his room for use on rising
to go to his work every day before the household was astir.
"Now a dew-bit to eat with it," he said; "and off we go. You can
have a regular breakfast when you get there."
They went quietly out of the house, Jude accompanying her to the
station. As they departed along the street a head was thrust out
of an upper window of his lodging and quickly withdrawn. Sue still
seemed sorry for her rashness, and to wish she had not rebelled;
telling him at parting that she would let him know as soon as she
got re-admitted to the training-school. They stood rather miserably
together on the platform; and it was apparent that he wanted to say
"I want to tell you something--two things," he said hurriedly as the
train came up. "One is a warm one, the other a cold one!"
"Jude," she said. "I know one of them. And you mustn't!"
"You mustn't love me. You are to like me--that's all!"
Jude's face became so full of complicated glooms that hers was
agitated in sympathy as she bade him adieu through the carriage
window. And then the train moved on, and waving her pretty hand to
him she vanished away.
Melchester was a dismal place enough for Jude that Sunday of her
departure, and the Close so hateful that he did not go once to the
cathedral services. The next morning there came a letter from her,
which, with her usual promptitude, she had written directly she had
reached her friend's house. She told him of her safe arrival and
comfortable quarters, and then added:--
What I really write about, dear Jude, is something I said
to you at parting. You had been so very good and kind to
me that when you were out of sight I felt what a cruel and
ungrateful woman I was to say it, and it has reproached me
ever since. IF YOU WANT TO LOVE ME, JUDE, YOU MAY: I don't
mind at all; and I'll never say again that you mustn't!
Now I won't write any more about that. You do forgive your
thoughtless friend for her cruelty? and won't make her
miserable by saying you don't?--Ever,
It would be superfluous to say what his answer was; and how he
thought what he would have done had he been free, which should have
rendered a long residence with a female friend quite unnecessary for
Sue. He felt he might have been pretty sure of his own victory if
it had come to a conflict between Phillotson and himself for the
possession of her.
Yet Jude was in danger of attaching more meaning to Sue's impulsive
note than it really was intended to bear.
After the lapse of a few days he found himself hoping that she would
write again. But he received no further communication; and in the
intensity of his solicitude he sent another note, suggesting that he
should pay her a visit some Sunday, the distance being under eighteen
He expected a reply on the second morning after despatching his
missive; but none came. The third morning arrived; the postman did
not stop. This was Saturday, and in a feverish state of anxiety
about her he sent off three brief lines stating that he was coming
the following day, for he felt sure something had happened.
His first and natural thought had been that she was ill from her
immersion; but it soon occurred to him that somebody would have
written for her in such a case. Conjectures were put an end to by
his arrival at the village school-house near Shaston on the bright
morning of Sunday, between eleven and twelve o'clock, when the parish
was as vacant as a desert, most of the inhabitants having gathered
inside the church, whence their voices could occasionally be heard in
A little girl opened the door. "Miss Bridehead is up-stairs," she
said. "And will you please walk up to her?"
"Is she ill?" asked Jude hastily.
"Only a little--not very."
Jude entered and ascended. On reaching the landing a voice told him
which way to turn--the voice of Sue calling his name. He passed the
doorway, and found her lying in a little bed in a room a dozen feet
"Oh, Sue!" he cried, sitting down beside her and taking her hand.
"How is this! You couldn't write?"
"No--it wasn't that!" she answered. "I did catch a bad cold--but I
could have written. Only I wouldn't!"
"Why not?--frightening me like this!"
"Yes--that was what I was afraid of! But I had decided not to write
to you any more. They won't have me back at the school--that's why I
couldn't write. Not the fact, but the reason!"
"They not only won't have me, but they gave me a parting piece of
She did not answer directly. "I vowed I never would tell you,
Jude--it is so vulgar and distressing!"
"Is it about us?"
"But do tell me!"
"Well--somebody has sent them baseless reports about us, and they
say you and I ought to marry as soon as possible, for the sake of my
reputation! ... There--now I have told you, and I wish I hadn't!"
"Oh, poor Sue!"
"I don't think of you like that means! It did just OCCUR to me to
regard you in the way they think I do, but I hadn't begun to. I HAVE
recognized that the cousinship was merely nominal, since we met as
total strangers. But my marrying you, dear Jude--why, of course,
if I had reckoned upon marrying you I shouldn't have come to you so
often! And I never supposed you thought of such a thing as marrying
me till the other evening; when I began to fancy you did love me a
little. Perhaps I ought not to have been so intimate with you. It
is all my fault. Everything is my fault always!"
The speech seemed a little forced and unreal, and they regarded each
other with a mutual distress.
"I was so blind at first!" she went on. "I didn't see what you felt
at all. Oh, you have been unkind to me--you have--to look upon me
as a sweetheart without saying a word, and leaving me to discover it
myself! Your attitude to me has become known; and naturally they
think we've been doin
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