Summary and Analysis
The swarming of the bees was late that June. Bathsheba watched them finally gravitating toward one high branch of an unwieldy tree, forming a huge black mass. Since the farmhands were all haying, she decided to hive the bees alone. Wearing clothes that covered her completely, including gloves, hat, and a veil, she fetched a ladder and mounted it.
Troy appeared and offered his help, declaring how fortunate he was to be arriving at just the right moment. Bathsheba insisted that he don the protective hat, veil, and gloves. "He looked such an extraordinary object in this guise that, flurried as she was, she could not avoid laughing outright. It was the removal of yet another stake from the palisade of cold manners which had kept him off."
Troy brought the filled hive down, a cloud of bees trailing behind it. He remarked that holding the hive made his arm ache more than a week of sword exercises did. When Bathsheba said that she had never seen an exhibition of swordplay, he volunteered to give one for her, privately, that evening. Reconsidering her plan to bring Liddy with her, after Troy reacted to it coldly, Bathsheba agreed to come unaccompanied, "for a very short time."
"'It will not take five minutes,' said Troy."
This chapter contains lighthearted conversation and rare laughter. The ludicrous costuming of Troy adds to the merriment. Also, in this further encounter between Bathsheba and Troy and their plans for still another meeting, the pace of the plot is quickened.