Phase the Seventh: Fulfilment
59. CHAPTER LIX (continued)
The prospect from this summit was almost unlimited.
In the valley beneath lay the city they had just left,
its more prominent buildings showing as in an isometric
drawing--among them the broad cathedral tower, with
its Norman windows and immense length of aisle and
nave, the spires of St Thomas's, the pinnacled tower of
the College, and, more to the right, the tower and
gables of the ancient hospice, where to this day the
pilgrim may receive his dole of bread and ale. Behind
the city swept the rotund upland of St Catherine's
Hill; further off, landscape beyond landscape, till the
horizon was lost in the radiance of the sun hanging
Against these far stretches of country rose, in front
of the other city edifices, a large red-brick building,
with level gray roofs, and rows of short barred windows
bespeaking captivity, the whole contrasting greatly by
its formalism with the quaint irregularities of the
Gothic erections. It was somewhat disguised from the
road in passing it by yews and evergreen oaks, but it
was visible enough up here. The wicket from which the
pair had lately emerged was in the wall of this
structure. From the middle of the building an ugly
flat-topped octagonal tower ascended against the east
horizon, and viewed from this spot, on its shady side
and against the light, it seemed the one blot on the
city's beauty. Yet it was with this blot, and not with
the beauty, that the two gazers were concerned.
Upon the cornice of the tower a tall staff was fixed.
Their eyes were riveted on it. A few minutes after the
hour had struck something moved slowly up the staff,
and extended itself upon the breeze. It was a black flag.
"Justice" was done, and the President of the Immortals,
in Aeschylean phrase, had ended his sport with Tess.
And the d'Urberville knights and dames slept on in
their tombs unknowing. The two speechless gazers bent
themselves down to the earth, as if in prayer, and
remained thus a long time, absolutely motionless: the
flag continued to wave silently. As soon as they had
strength they arose, joined hands again, and went on.