Bathsheba pays no attention to where she’s going. She passes a thicket with Gabriel and beech trees, and enters to hide there. She sinks down by a trunk and closes her eyes. Later, gradually, she becomes aware of the call of sparrows, finches, and robins. Then she hears a ploughboy from her own farm approaching. Through the fern Bathsheba watches her horses stop to drink at a pond across the way. The glow of the rising sun breaks through the morning mist, but the swamp also has a wet and poisonous feeling. Bathsheba rises, frightened now by the place.
Bathsheba takes comfort in her natural environment, and yet as is so often the case in the novel, nature proves to be a hostile environment just as often as it offers comfort and solace to the characters. Still, the eeriness of the swamp where Bathsheba has fled aligns with and confirms her own feelings of despair and alienation from the place she’s called her own.
Now a schoolboy comes into sight, trying to memorize a prayer by repeating it over and over: a small bit of amusement amid Bathsheba’s tragedy. Now she is anxious, hungry and thirsty. But suddenly she sees Liddy come along the road, and calls out to her: Liddy makes her way through the swamp, and, teary-eyed, begins to question Bathsheba, who asks her not to. She asks if Fanny has been taken away yet: she’ll be taken away at nine, Liddy says. She fetches some tea and food for Bathsheba, who doesn’t want to go inside. Instead they wander through the wood for hours.
Even at heightened moments of conflict and tragedy, the novel introduces picaresque details relating to the more humorous aspects of country life. Liddy proves herself to be a constant and loyal companion of Bathsheba, even if her mistress has been subject to wild emotions and temper. While Bathsheba knows she’ll have to face reality and her husband eventually, she can’t bear to do so quite yet.
Bathsheba first wonders if she might never go home again. Then, though, she tells Liddy that only women without pride run away from their husbands. They return in a roundabout way to the house and enter at the back. She asks Liddy to make a disused attic comfortable for themselves and Mary-ann: she asks how they might pass time there. She dismisses Liddy’s suggestions of knitting, sewing, and samplers, and asks Liddy to bring some old books. They remain there all day, though Troy doesn’t appear in the neighborhood anyway.
After contemplating her situation alone in the swamp, Bathsheba has come to the conclusion that her pride—which has led her so astray in the past—will now force her to embrace a more dignified position rather than running away. All Bathsheba can do is try to mitigate the despair that she feels by distancing herself from Troy within their own home.
Bathsheba watches, at six in the evening, the young village men gather for a game of fives. Their game soon ends abruptly: Liddy says that it’s because men are putting up a grand tombstone in the churchyard.
The young men’s games seem far away from Bathsheba’s plight, though ultimately everyone in the village is drawn into Fanny’s tragedy.