Summary – Chapters Seven and Eight
It is the morning of the wedding and Mrs Yeobright has declined to go. She is expecting Thomasin as she has sent a note saying she is coming for some money, but is barely thinking of her as she imagines the ceremony.
Wildeve comes towards evening time and explains the Captain has pressed Thomasin into attending the wedding. He says he will take the something she was going to give Thomasin, and Mrs Yeobright is clearly reluctant to do this. He then leaves and Mrs Yeobright decides to deliver Thomasin the money to Mistover, where she knows she will be, and decides to give her son his share too. She gives the two bags of 50 guineas each to Christian to take to them.
On his way, he hears people on the heath and puts the money in his boots. He is relieved to find he knows them and Fairway tells him they are going to the raffle at the Quiet Woman to win a gown and Christian chooses to go with them first.
At the inn, Christian is persuaded to enter the raffle and wins. He hints to Wildeve that he has money in his boots and then says he is going to Mistover to see Thomasin. Wildeve realizes Christian has been entrusted with money and considers how he was overlooked. They walk together in the dark as Wildeve comes with him to escort Thomasin home. Venn has also been at the inn unobserved and leaves not long after these two.
On the way to Mistover, Wildeve asks if they can sit down when they get to Rainbarrow. As they sit, Christian rattles the dice he has borrowed from Wildeve and they talk about gambling and Wildeve tells him about men who have won. Christian says he would like to play for another shilling. He wins three times and Wildeve the fourth, and Christian is now out of money.
Wildeve is feeling vengeful because he was not trusted by Mrs Yeobright and plays dice again with Christian using Thomasin’s money. Wildeve wins it all and Christian uses the money in the other boot and loses this too and leaves. The chapter ends with the reddleman approaching from a nearby bush.
In Chapter Eight, Wildeve stares and Venn sits where Christian had been sitting. Venn takes him on at dice and starts winning the money back. Wildeve is excitable, but Venn plays like an automaton as he wins and wins. After losing more money, Wildeve throws the dice and box into the heath. They only find one and then carry on playing and Venn keeps beating him. When the lantern goes out, Wildeve collects glow worms to play by their light. Wildeve accuses Venn of tampering with the dice, even though they are his, and asks to play so the lowest point wins and Venn agrees.
Venn goes on to win all the money and withdraws. Wildeve is left stupefied and then sees a carriage pass containing Eustacia and Clym going to their new home. He forgets ‘the loss of the money at the sight of his lost love’.
Venn also sees them 100 yards on and finds out Thomasin has not left Mistover yet. When her cart comes later he stops it and hands her 100 guineas screwed up in paper. He makes the mistake based on Wildeve denying the money was not his (and not knowing Clym was to have half). This is described as an error ‘which helped to cause more misfortune than treble the loss in money value could have done’.
Analysis – Chapters Seven and Eight
The competition between Venn and Wildeve is made all the more significant as they challenge each other at dice and Venn wins back the money for Thomasin. The gambling with dice is symbolic of the rivalry between them and it is of note that Venn’s win is a form of a moral victory. Whereas Wildeve plays Christian in vengeful spite, and becomes carried away the more he continues. Venn is seen to play Wildeve as a form of retribution. This is demonstrated clearly when he hands the money over to Thomasin on the first chance he has.
Native Son: Book 3 Chapters 7-8