Summary and Analysis Chapter 38



"It was now five o'clock, and the dawn was promising to break in hues of drab and ash." The wind grew stronger and uncovered some wheat ricks, and Gabriel weighted them down with fence rails. He continued to cover the barley while the rain beat down heavily. He remembered that eight months earlier he had fought a fire in this same spot, for love of the same woman.

Two hours later, as Oak was wearily finished, wavering figures emerged from the barn. A scarlet one headed for the house. Not one of them remembered the ricks. On his way home, Gabriel met Boldwood, who remarked that Gabriel looked ill and asked the trouble. Oak explained that he had been working on the ricks, and Boldwood admitted having forgotten his. Once such an oversight would have been impossible for him. "Oak was just thinking that whatever he himself might have suffered . . . here was a man who had suffered more."

Boldwood preoccupied with what people thought, said that Bathsheba had not jilted him, that she had never promised him anything. He lamented his fate, his expression wild. Then he roused himself and resumed his reserve, saying, "Well good morning; I can trust you not to mention to others what has passed between us two here."


Bathsheba and her three admirers again appear in the same chapter — Troy whistling and carefree; Boldwood suffering from deep emotional tension; and Gabriel remaining loyal to Bathsheba and the land and sympathizing with Boldwood.