Arabella meets Jude at the platform, and he admits both that he has seen Sue and has basically committed suicide by traveling in the wind and rain. He is now ready and eager to die. As they walk home Jude sees the spectres of the philosophers and writers he saw on his first night in Christminster, but now they seem to be mocking him. He lists their names to Arabella, but she is bored by them and asks him to stop.
Hardy drives home the tragedy by reminding us how brilliant and well-read Sue was, and how she was the only one who truly understood Jude and vice versa – as compared to Arabella, who doesn’t even want to hear the philosophers’ names.
That night in Marygreen the Widow Edlin goes to Sue’s house to help her with her domestic duties. Sue confesses that she saw Jude and still loves him “grossly.” Sue has decided to do a “penance” for this act by making herself sleep with Phillotson, though he hasn’t asked her. Mrs. Edlin tries to dissuade her, but Sue declares that she must do her duty.
Sue is still trying to suppress and kill her true self, and she has moved beyond sanity and the Widow Edlin’s reasonable arguments. This tragic situation is one of the few times that Sue actually admits a passionate, sexual love for Jude.
When Mrs. Edlin is about to leave to go to bed Sue seems terrified, but then she steels herself and goes to Phillotson’s room. Sue tells Phillotson about her meeting with Jude and their kiss. Phillotson is slightly upset and makes her promise not to do it again. Sue then offers to share his bed. Sue is still physically repulsed by Phillotson’s touch, but she submits to his kiss. Meanwhile Mrs. Edlin muses that “Weddings be funerals” nowadays.
This horrifying scene is the last we see of Sue. Phillotson remains generally sympathetic, but Sue’s innate nature and her terrible guilt make him seem a monster to her, and, in his ignorance, a monster in action. The Widow Edlin’s final sentiment is a pithy summary of Hardy’s condemnation of Victorian marriage.