"Well, 'tis an honest deed, and we thank ye for it, Pennyways," said Joseph; to which opinion the remainder of the company subscribed unanimously. At this time of departure, when nothing more was visible of the inside of the parlour than a thin and still chink of light between the shutters, a passionate scene was in course of enactment there. Miss Everdene and Boldwood were alone.
WE now see the element of folly distinctly mingling with the many varying particulars which made up the character of Bathsheba Everdene. It was almost foreign to her intrinsic nature. Introduced as lymph on the dart of Eros, it eventually permeated and coloured her whole constitution.
By daylight, the bower of Oak's new-found mistress, Bathsheba Everdene, presented itself as a hoary building, of the early stage of Classic Renaissance as regards its architecture, and of a proportion which told at a glance that, as is so frequently the case, it had once been the memorial hall upon a small estate around it, now altogether effaced as a distinct property, and merged in the vast tract of a non-resident landlord, which comprised several such modest demesnes.
"I like Fanny best," said Troy; "and if, as you say, Miss Everdene is out of my reach, why I have all to gain by accepting your money, and marrying Fan. But she's only a servant." "Never mind do you agree to my arrangement?" "I do." "Ah!" said Boldwood, in a more elastic voice. "Oh, Troy, if you like her best, why then did you step in here and injure my happiness?"
O that valentine!" she said to herself, but not a word to him. "If you can love me say so, Miss Everdene. If not don't say no!" "Mr. Boldwood, it is painful to have to say I am surprised, so that I don't know how to answer you with propriety and respect but am only just able to speak out my feeling I mean my meaning; that I am afraid I can't marry you, much as I respect you.
"It is enough I don't ask more. I can wait on those dear words. And now, Miss Everdene, good- night!" "Good-night." she said, graciously almost tenderly; and Boldwood withdrew with a serene smile. Bathsheba knew more of him now; he had entirely bared his heart before her, even until he had almost worn in her eyes the sorry look of a grand bird without the feathers that make it grand.
Miss Everdene sat inside the window, facing down the table. She was thus at the head without mingling with the men. This evening Bathsheba was unusually excited, her red cheeks and lips contrasting lustrously with the mazy skeins of her shadowy hair.
"Well, Miss Everdene." he said, "putting aside what people say, I never in my life saw any courting if his is not a courting of you." Bathsheba would probably have terminated the con- versation there and then by flatly forbidding the subject, had not her conscious weakness of position allured her to palter and argue in endeavours to better it.
Coggan is going!" said Bathsheba, exhaling her relief in the form of a long breath which had lain in her bosom a minute or more. The door opened, and a deep voice said "Is Miss Everdene at home?" "I'll see, sir." said Mrs. Coggan, and in a minute appeared in the room. "Dear, what a thirtover place this world is!" con- tinued Mrs.
The large farmers, corn-merchants, millers, auctioneers, and others had each an official stall in the corn-market room, with their names painted thereon; and when to the familiar series of "Henchard," "Everdene," "Shiner," "Darton," and so on, was added one inscribed "Farfrae," in staring new letters, Henchard was stung into bitterness; like Bellerophon, he wandered away from the crowd, cankered in soul.
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