Summary and Analysis
"Bathsheba went along the dark road, neither knowing nor caring about the direction or issue of her flight." Finally she sank down in a brake of ferns. At daybreak, unsure whether or not she had slept, she felt calmer. Eventually Liddy found her, and the two women decided to walk about until Fanny had been taken away. Liddy went back to the house to check, telling those who asked that her mistress was unwell so that people would assume Bathsheba was in her room.
When Liddy returned, Bathsheba lectured her, warning, "You,'ll find yourself in a fearful situation; but mind this, don't you flinch. Stand your ground, and be cut to pieces. That's what I'm going to do."
They re-entered the rear of the house, Bathsheba withdrawing into an unused attic. Liddy brought in a piece of carpet and laid a fire. From the window Bathsheba viewed the farm and saw the young men at play in the sunset. Suddenly they stopped. Liddy said, "I think 'twas because two men came just then from Casterbridge and began putting up a grand carved tombstone." The young men had gone to see whom the stone was for.
"'Do you know?' Bathsheba asked.
"'I don't,' said Liddy."
Hardy does not use nature as mere setting: It is an integral part of his story. Bathsheba discovers before her a hollow in which there is a swamp: "The general aspect of the swamp was malignant. From its moist and poisonous coat seemed to be exhaled the essences of evil things in the earth. . . . Bathsheba arose with a tremor at the thought of having passed the night on the brink of so dismal a place." Thus Bathsheba's physical surroundings reflect the dark happenings in her life. She has been brought to the edge of an evil abyss, but she has not fallen into it.