A novel by T. Hardy, published 1882.
Lady Constantine, whose disagreeable husband is away, falls in love with Swithin St Cleeve, an astronomer, younger than herself, who works at the top of a tower, where many of the scenes of the novel occur. Hearing her husband has died, Lady Constantine secretly marries Swithin, but later learns that by so doing she had deprived him of a legacy; and that her husband, though now dead, was alive when she married Swithin. Thus their marriage is void, and she nobly insists on his leaving her, to take up employment abroad. She then finds she is pregnant by him; she accepts an offer of marriage from Bishop Helmsdale and a son is born. Swithin returns after the bishop's death, and is appalled that she is no longer a young woman. Eventually he offers to marry her, but the joy is too great and she falls dead in his arms.
Related content in Oxford Index
Thomas Hardy (1840—1928) novelist and poet