Unformatted text preview: PR
LIBRARY BOUGHT WITH THE INCOME
OF THE SAGE ENDOWMENT
FUND GIVEN IN 1891 BY HENRY WILLIAMS SAGE Cornell University
tine original of tiiis book is in Cornell University Library. There are no known copyright restrictions the United States on the use of the in text. FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD PREFACE
1 N reprinting
that was it Crowd," as this story for a new edition I "Far from
they appeared month by month
chapters of in the magazine, that I first am reminded the Madding in a popular ventured to adopt the word " Wessex " from the pages of early English history, and give
fictitious significance as the existing name once included in that extinct kingdom.
novels I a it of the district The series of projected being mainly of the kind called local, they seemed to require a
to lend unity to their territorial definition of some sort Finding that the area of scene. a single county did not afford a canvas large enough for and that there were objections this purpose, name, I disinterred the old one. The to an invented press and the public were kind enough to welcome the fanciful plan, and willingly joined me in the anachronism of imagining a Wessex population living under Queen Victoria; modern Wessex of
reaping machines, labourers who children. But railways, the union penny workhouses, — mowing and lucifer matches, could read and write, and National school
I believe I am correct in stating that, until the existence of this contemporaneous nounced post, in the present story, in 1874, Wessex was anit had never been PREFACE
heard and of, " a Wessex peasant," that the expression, " a Wessex or would theretofore custom," have been taken to refer to nothing later in date than the Norman Conquest.
did not anticipate that this application of the word I a modern to my own use would extend outside the chapters of But the name was soon taken up chronicles. The elsewhere as a local designation.
the now Examiner, defunct bearing date July
" 15, 1876, The Wessex Labourer," which, first in to the one of entitled do so was
its articles turning out to the article be no dissertation on farming during the Heptarchy, but on
the modern peasant of the south-west counties, and his presentation in these stories. Since then the appellation which had thought I to re- serve to the horizons and landscapes of a merely realistic has become more and more popular as dream-country, a practical provincial definition ; and the dream-country has, by degrees, solidified into a utilitarian region which people can go papers from. be so kind as take to, But I ask house a
all to forget this, believe that there are first and write to the good and gentle readers and to to refuse steadfastly to any inhabitants of a Victorian Wessex outside the pages of this which they were in, and the companion volumes in discovered. Moreover, the village called Weatherbury, wherein the
scenes of the present story of the series are for the most
part laid, would perhaps be hardly discernible by the explorer, without though
tale at the was help, in any existing place nowadays time, comparatively written, recent, at ; which the a sufficient reality to meet the descrip- PREFACE
both of backgrounds and personages, might have tions, been traced good easily enough. fortune, unrestored houses The church and intact, remains, by great and a few of the old but the ancient malt-house, which was formerly so ; down characteristic of the parish, has been pulled twenty years also ; cottages that were once lifeholds.
base, which not so long ago
vitality in front of the say, The The game seemed of prisoner's- to enjoy a perennial worn-out stocks, may, so be entirely unknown to the boys there. these most of the thatched and dormered far as I can rising generation of school- practice of divination by Bible and key, the regarding of valentines as things of serious import, the
shearing-supper, and the harvest-home, have, too, nearly disappeared in the wake of the old houses have gone, which the
change is it said, village at much and with them one time was notoriously prone. at the root of this has The been the recent supplanting of the class of stationary cottagers, who carried on the and humours, by a population of more or local traditions
less ; of that love of fuddling to migratory labourers, which has led to a break of con- tinuity in local history, more fatal than any other thing to the preservation of legend, folk-lore, close inter-social
relations, and eccentric individualities. For these the in- dispensable conditions of existence are attachment to the
soil of one particular spot by generation after generation.
T. H. February 1895. CONTENTS CHAPTER FIRST
Description of Farmer CHAPTER SECOND
Night — The Flock Interior . p^ce Oak—An Incident . —
... — An Another Interior . i CHAPTER THIRD
A Girl on Horseback —Conversation 8 . 17 . 26 Departure of Bathshbba — A Pastoral Tragedy 37 CHAPTER FOURTH
Gabriel's Resolve —The Visit — The . Mistake CHAPTER FIFTH CHAPTER SIXTH The Fair—The Journey— The Fire CHAPTER SEVENTH
Recognition — A Timid Girl . . . 43 -55 , CHAPTER EIGHTH The Malthouse— The Chat — News CHAPTER NINTH The Homestead —A Visitor CHAPTER TENTH
Mistress and Men . — Half-Confidences ..... CHAPTER ELEVENTH
Outside the Barracks —Snow — A Meeting . 59 80 87 95 CONTENTS CHAPTER TWELFTH
Farmers — A Rule — An Exception
SoRTEs Sanctorum — The page
. Valentine . . loi . . 107 CHAPTER FOURTEENTH
Effect of the Letter — Sunrise CHAPTER FIFTEENTH
A Morning Meeting—The . . Letter again .112
. 117 . 129 CHAPTER SIXTEENTH
All Saints' and All Souls'.
In the Market-place BoLDwooD IN Meditation . .... CHAPTER SEVENTEENTH
CHAPTER EIGHTEENTH . — Regret . 133 .136 CHAPTER NINETEENTH
The Sheep-washing —The Offer . CHAPTER TWENTIETH
Perplexity — Grinding the Shears —A . 142 Quarrel 149 . 156 . 164 . . 176 . . 184 . 192 . 197 . CHAPTER TWENTY-FIRST
Troubles in the Fold —A Message . CHAPTER TWENTY-SECOND
The Great Barn and the Sheep-shearers CHAPTER TWENTY-THIRD
Eventide —A Second Declaration CHAPTER TWENTY-FOURTH The same Night —The Fir Plantation CHAPTER TWENTY-FIFTH
The New Acquaintance described CHAPTER TWENTY-SIXTH
Scene on the Verge of the Hay-mead . ..... CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVENTH
Hiving the Bees 208 CONTENTS CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHTH PAGE The Hollow amid the Ferns 212 CHAPTER TWENTY-NINTH
Walk Particulars of a Twilight 219 CHAPTER THIRTIETH
Hot Cheeks and Tearful Eyes 228 CHAPTER THIRTY-FIRST
Blame —Fury . CHAPTER THIRTY-SECOND — Horses tramping Night CHAPTER THIRTY-THIRD
In the Sun — A Harbinger 244 . 2S4 . 264 CHAPTER THIRTY-FOURTH
Home again —A Trickster CHAPTER THIRTY-FIFTH
At an Upper Window 276 CHAPTER THIRTY-SIXTH
Wealth in —The Jeopardy Revel 281 CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVENTH The Storm—The Two together 291 CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHTH
Rain — One Solitary meets Another CHAPTER THIRTY-NINTH
Coming Home—A Cry 299 304 CHAPTER FORTIETH
On Casterbridge Highway 309 . CHAPTER FORTY-FIRST
Suspicion — Fanny is sent for 317 CHAPTER FORTY-SECOND
Joseph and his Burden — Buck's Head 329 CHAPTER FORTY-THIRD
Fanny's Revenge 342 CONTENTS CHAPTER FORTY-FOURTH
Under a Tree — Reaction .... ..... page 354 CHAPTER FORTY-FIFTH
Troy's Romanticism CHAPTER FORTY-SIXTH
The Gurgoyle : its Doings CHAPTER FORTY-SEVENTH
Adventures by the Shore ....
.... 363 369 378 CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHTH
Doubts Arise —Doubts Vanish . . 382 . . 388 CHAPTER FORTY-NINTH
Oak's Advancement —A Great Hope CHAPTER FIFTIETH ......
..... The Sheep Fair
Hand — Troy touches his Wife's
395 CHAPTER FIFTY-FIRST Bathsheba talks with her Outrider . . 412 CHAPTER FIFTY-SECOND
Converging Courses 422 CHAPTER FIFTY- THIRD CONCURRITUR — HoRvE MOMENTO . . . 435 CHAPTER FIFTY-FOURTH
After the Shock 448 CHAPTER FIFTY-FIFTH The March following — 'Bathsheba Boldwood' 453 CHAPTER FIFTY-SIXTH
Beauty in Loneliness — After All . CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVENTH
A Foggy Night and Morning — Conclusion . 459 . 470 DESCRIPTION OF FARMER OAK DESCRIPTION OF FARMER OAK AN INCIDENT When Farmer Oak smiled, the corners of his mouth
they were within an unimportant distance
of his ears, his eyes were reduced to mere chinks, and
diverging wrinkles appeared round them, extending upon
his countenance Uke the rays in a rudimentary sketch
spread till of the rising sun.
His Christian name was Gabriel, and on working
days he was a young man of sound judgment, easy
motions, proper dress, and general good character.
Sundays he was a man of misty views, rather given to
postponing, and hampered by his best clothes and
upon the whole, one who felt himself to
occupy morally that vast middle space of Laodicean
neutrality which lay between the Communion people
: — that is, he went
of the parish and the drunken section,
to church, but yawned privately by the time the congregation reached the Nicene creed, and thought of what there would be for listening to the sermon. dinner when he meant to be
Or, to state his character as stood in the scale of public opinion, when his friends
and critics were in tantrums, he was considered rather a
bad man ; when they were pleased, he was rather a good
man ; when they were neither, he was a man whose
moral colour was a kind of pepper-and-salt mixture.
it FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Since he lived six times as many working-days as
Sundays, Oak's appearance in his old clothes was most
peculiarly his own
the mental picture formed by his
neighbours in imagining him being always dressed in
He wore a low-crowned felt hat, spread out
at the base by tight jamming upon the head for security
in high winds, and a coat like Dr. Johnson's
extremities being encased in ordinary leather leggings
and boots emphatically large, affording to each foot a
roomy apartment so constructed that any wearer might
stand in a river all day long and know nothing about
their maker being a conscientious man who always — ; — endeavoured to compensate for any weakness in his cut
by unstinted dimension and solidity.
Mr. Oak carried about him, by way of watch, what
may be called a small silver clock; in other words, it
was a watch as to shape and intention, and a small clock
This instrument being several years older
than Oak's grandfather, had the peculiarity of going
either too fast or not at all.
The smaller of its hands,
as to size. too, occasionally slipped round on the pivot, and thus,
though the minutes were told with the greatest precision,
nobody could be quite certain of the hour they belonged
The stopping peculiarity of his watch Oak remedied
by thumps and shakes, and he escaped any evil consequences from the other two defects by constant com- parisons with and observations of the sun and stars, and by pressing his face close to the glass of his neighbours'
windows, till he could discern the hour marked by the
green-faced timekeepers within.
It may be mentioned
that Oak's fob being painfully difficult of access, by
reason of its somewhat high situation in the waistband
of his trousers (which also lay at a remote height
under his waistcoat), the watch was as a necessity
pulled out by throwing the body extremely to one side,
compressing the mouth and face to a mere mass of
ruddy flesh on account of the exertion required, and DESCRIPTION OF FARMER OAK
drawing up the watch by its chain, like a bucket from a well. But some thoughtful persons, who had seen him
walking across one of his fields on a certain December
sunny and exceedingly mild
regarded Gabriel Oak in other aspects than these.
his face one might notice that many of the hues and
curves of youth had tarried on to manhood there even
remained in his remoter crannies some relics of the boy.
His height and breadth would have been sufficient to
make his presence imposing, had they been exhibited
with due consideration.
But there is a way some men
have, rural and urban alike, for which the mind is more
responsible than flesh and sinew it is a way of curtailing their dimensions by their manner of showing them.
And from a quiet modesty that would have become a
vestal, which seemed continually to impress upon him
that he had no great claim on the world's room, Oak
walked unassumingly, and with a faintly perceptible
bend, quite distinct from a bowing of the shoulders.
This may be said to be a defect in an individual if he
depends for his valuation more upon his appearance
than upon his capacity to wear well, which Oak did not.
He had just reached the time of life at which young
is ceasing to be the prefix of
man in speaking of one.
He was at the brightest period of masculine growth,
for his intellect and his emotions were clearly separated
he had passed the time during which the influence of
youth indiscriminately mingles them in the character
of impulse, and he had not yet arrived at the stage
wherein they become united again, in the character of
prejudice, by the influence of a wife and family. — — : : ' ' ' ' : short, he was twenty-eight, and a bachelor.
field he was in this morning sloped steeply to The Through a spur of this
a ridge called Norcombe Hill.
hill ran the highway from Norcombe to Casterbridge,
Casually glancing over the
sunk in a deep cutting.
3 FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Oak saw coming down the incline before him
an ornamental spring waggon, painted yellow and gaily
marked, drawn by two horses, a waggoner walking
alongside bearing a whip perpendicularly.
was laden with household goods and window plants,
and on the apex of the whole sat a woman, young and
Gabriel had not beheld the sight for more
than half a minute, when the vehicle was brought to a
standstill just beneath his eyes.
hedge, ' The tailboard of the waggon gone, Miss,' said the is waggoner. 'Then I heard it fall,' said the girl, in a soft, though
not particularly low voice.
I heard a noise I could
not account for when we were coming up the hill.'
'I'll run back.'
'Do,' she answered.
The sensible horses stood perfectly still, and the
waggoner's steps sank fainter and fainter in the distance.
The girl on the summit of the load sat motionless,
surrounded by tables and chairs with their legs upwards,
backed by an oak settle, and ornamented in front by
pots of geraniums, myrtles, and cactuses, together with
a caged canary- all probably from the windows of the
There was also a cat in a willow
house just vacated.
basket, from the partly-opened lid of which she gazed
with half- closed eyes, and affectionately surveyed the
small birds around.
The handsome girl waited for some time idly in her
place, and the only sound heard in the stillness was the
hopping of the canary up and down the perches of its
Then she looked attentively downwards. It
was not at the bird, nor at the cat it was at an oblong
package tied in paper, and lying between them.
turned her head to learn if the waggoner were coming.
He was not yet in sight ; and her eyes crept back to
the package, her thoughts seeming to run upon what
At length she drew the article into her
was inside it.
' — ; 4 AN INCIDENT
kp, and untied the paper covering
a small swing
looking-glass was disclosed, in which she proceeded to
survey herself attentively.
She parted her lips and
It was a fine morning, and the sun lighted up to a
glow the crimson jacket she wore, and painted scarlet a soft lustre upon her bright face and black hair.
myrtles, geraniums, and cactuses packed around her
were fresh and green, and at such a leafless season they
invested the whole concern of horses, waggon, furniture,
and girl with a peculiar vernal charm. What possessed
her to indulge in such a performance in the sight of the
sparrows, blackbirds, and unperceived farmer who were
alone its spectators,
whether the smile began as a
factitious one, to test her capacity in that art,
knows it ended certainly in a real smile. She blushed
at herself, and seeing her reflection blush, blushed the
The change from the customary spot and necessary
occasion of such an act
from the dressing hour in a
bedroom to a time of travelling out of doors lent to
the idle deed a novelty it certainly did not intrinsically — — ; — possess. The
a delicate one.
into the sunlight, which picture was prescriptive infirmity had clothed — in had stalked the freshness of an originality. cynical inference was irresistible by Gabriel Oak A he
as regarded the scene, generous though he fain
There was no necessity whatever for her looking
She did not adjust her hat, or pat her
in the glass.
hair, or press a dimple into shape, or do one thing to
signify that any such intention had been her motive in
She simply observed herself as a
taking up the glass.
fair product of Nature in the feminine kind, her thoughts
seeming to glide into far-off though likely dramas in
which men would play a part vistas of probable
triumphs the smiles being of a phase suggesting that
Still, this was
hearts were imagined as lost and won. — — 5 FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
but conjecture, and the whole series of actions was so
idly put forth as to make it rash to assert that intention
had any part in them at all.
The waggoner's steps were heard returning. She
put the glass in the paper, and the whole again into its
place. When waggon had passed on, Gabriel withdrew
and descending into the road,
followed the vehicle to the turnpike-gate at the bottom
of the hill, where the object of his contemplation now
halted for the payment of toll.
About twenty steps
still remained between him and the gate, when he heard
from the his point of espial, a dispute.
It was a difference concerning twopence
between the persons with the waggon and the man at
the toll-bar. Mis'ess's niece is upon the top of the things, and
she says that's enough that I've offered ye, you great
These were the
miser, and she won't pay any more.'
'Very well; then mis'ess's niece can't pass,' said the
' turnpike-keeper, closing the gate. Oak looked from one to the other of the disputants, There was something in the
tone of twopence remarkably insignificant.
had a definite value as money it was an appreciable
infringement on a day's wages, and, as such, a higgling
'Here,' he said, stepping
matter; but twopence
forward and handing twopence to the gatekeeper ; let
the young woman pass.'
He looked up at her then and fell into a reverie. — ' she heard his words, and looked down.
Gabriel's features adhered throughout their form so
exactly to the middle line between the beauty of St.
John and the ugliness of Judas Iscariot, as represented
in a window of the church he attended, that not a single
lineament could be selected and called worthy either of
distinction or notoriety.
The red-jacketed and darkhaired maiden seemed to think so too, for she carelessly 6 AN INCIDENT
glanced over him, and told her man to drive on.
might have looked her thanks to Gabriel on a minute
scale, but she did not speak them ; more probably she
felt none, for in gaining her a passage he had lost her
her point, and we know how women take a favour of
that kind. ' The gatekeeper surveyed the retreating vehicle.
That's a handsome maid,' he said to Oak.
But she has her faults,' said Gabriel.
And the greatest of them is well, what it is
' — ' always.'
' Beating people 'Oh down ? ay, 'tis so.' no.' 'What, then?'
perhaps by the comely
glanced back to where he had
witnessed her performance over the hedge, and said,
Gabriel, a traveller's indifference, 'Vanity.' FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD NIGHT THE FLOCK AN INTERIOR
II It was nearly midnight on the eve of A shortest day in the year. from the north over the
the yellow waggon and
a few days earlier. St. Thomas's, the wandered
whereon Oak had watched
occupant in the sunshine of
desolating wind hill
its — Hill
forming part of Norcombe Ewelease
one of the spots which suggest to a passer-by
that he is in the presence of a shape approaching the
indestructible as nearly as any to be found on earth.
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