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Feeling numb, dazed, and scarcely conscious of anything around her, Eustacia wanders back to her grandfather's house. He is not in, but Charley is. He is horror-stricken at the state she is in and hovers around her, trying his best to be of service. He offers her food and drink and lights a fire. When he sees her looking intently at some pistols, he removes them, telling her that he did not want her to injure herself.
In the days that follow, Charley tries to revive Eustacia's fallen spirits. On the fifth of November, he lights a bonfire and invites her to have a look. She is uninterested at first, but then lets it burn. Wildeve sees her bonfire and thinks it is a signal for him. When he comes over, he is sympathetic towards Eustacia's condition and blames himself for her plight. He offers to help her get away from the heath that she so hates. She tells him she wants to go to Budmouth and then Paris. She accepts his offer of assistance and tells him that she will signal him at eight o'clock on the night that she wants to leave. Eustacia then instructs Wildeve that he should arrive with a horse-drawn cart at midnight on the same night that he sees her signal.
Charley's unstinting devotion to Eustacia goes unnoticed in her state of numbness, but her presence gives him a purpose to live, and he is grateful for it. When he sees her staring at the pistols, he assumes she is contemplating suicide and removes them. Having "preserved her from the rashest of acts, he mentally assumed in addition a guardian's responsibility for her welfare." Eustacia's death wish, seen once before, is now much stronger. Life has brought her down, and fate has crushed her.
It is important to notice that the year has come around full circle. It is again the fifth of November, and Charley lights a bonfire. When Wildeve sees it, he assumes it is a signal to him and comes to Eustacia. Seeing her pitiful condition, he offers to help her escape from the heath. She gladly accepts his offer and makes plans. The plot moves swiftly from this chapter forward.