Summary and Analysis
Jude often muses on "the defeat of his early aims" and thinks of the possible changes in the colleges to benefit people like himself. Though he tells Arabella he doesn't want Sue to know about him, when Mrs. Edlin calls he asks about Sue and is startled to discover she is now sharing her husband's bed. He talks about the best days of the relationship between Sue and himself and the ways in which each of them changed. Physician Vilbert, who has been attending Jude at Arabella's request, calls, but Jude's insults cause him to leave. On his way out he meets Arabella, who gives him wine with some of the quack doctor's own "love-philter" in it. From her allowing him to kiss her and from what she says, it is evident that Arabella is keeping an eye out for the time when Jude will be dead.
As these brief scenes show, Jude has only the past; to Arabella belong the present and future. Jude is still trying to justify or understand the meaning of his life, this time to Mrs. Edlin: "Our ideas were fifty years too soon to be any good to us. And so the resistance they met with brought reaction in her, and recklessness and ruin on me!" This remark, of course, echoes what he said earlier in his speech to the street crowd.
Meanwhile, Arabella is flirting with Physician Vilbert. When Jude's gone, she'll need someone to take care of her, and she has to take what she can get now.