The next day Jude considers studying his Greek and ignoring Arabella’s invitation, but then he decides it would be rude not to call on her. It is as if an external force casts aside his “elevated intentions” and sends him off to Arabella. Jude arrives at her house and takes her for a walk, talking with her about the “commonest local twaddle” as if it were his beloved Latin or Greek.
The narrator pulls no punches in disparaging Jude’s distraction from Christminster for Arabella’s sake. Though Christminster is perhaps an idealized, impossible dream, Jude’s fatal flaw is casting aside his future and “higher nature” for worldly pleasures.
Arabella and Jude see a fire in the distance and they run off to investigate it. It gets late and they are far from home, so they stop at a bar where a picture of Samson and Delilah is hanging on the wall. They drink a beer and Arabella shows her surprising knowledge of liquor. They walk home in the dark and Jude kisses Arabella several times.
The picture of Samson and Delilah is an obvious warning for Jude – Samson was a Biblical man of incredible strength who was seduced by Delilah, who cut off his hair, the source of his power. Arabella also becomes associated with alcohol, Jude’s other sensual weakness.
When they enter Arabella’s house Jude is surprised that her family thinks of him as a serious suitor. Jude returns to his own home and starts to wonder if he is “wasting” his life on books instead of loving a woman. The next day Jude returns to Alfredston for work, romanticizing the night before but keeping his romance a secret.
In this society there is no “casual” dating, but only wooing with the intent to marry or else a scandalous, sinful affair. Jude still tends towards melodrama and romance, while Arabella is narrow-minded and greedy.
An hour later Arabella passes by the same spot (the scene of their kiss) with her two friends, recounting all the details of the previous night and declaring that she wants to marry Jude. Her two friends, Sarah and Anny, propose that Arabella try a special trick to “catch” Jude, if he is an honest man. Arabella is confused at first but her friends explain it, saying that “lots of girls do it” and it is the cause of many marriages, and Arabella decides to try it.
It is telling that Jude passes by the spot of their kiss and cherishes the memory, while Arabella passes by without even noticing. Hardy can never state it outright, but it becomes clear that Arabella’s plan is to seduce Jude, get pregnant (or seem to), and then guilt him into marrying her. In this society, sex outside of marriage is a great sin, and can only be rectified by a wedding.