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CHAPTER XXX : HOT CHEEKS AND TEARFUL EYES

8 September 2023

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Half an hour later Bathsheba entered her own house. There burnt upon her face when she met the light of the candles the flush and excitement which were little less than chronic with her now. The farewell words of Troy, who had accompanied her to the very door, still lingered in her ears. He had bidden her adieu for two days, which were, so he stated, to be spent at Bath in visiting some friends. He had also kissed her a second time.

It is only fair to Bathsheba to explain here a little fact which did not come to light till a long time afterwards: that Troy’s presentation of himself so aptly at the roadside this evening was not by any distinctly preconcerted arrangement. He had hinted—she had forbidden; and it was only on the chance of his still coming that she had dismissed Oak, fearing a meeting between them just then.

She now sank down into a chair, wild and perturbed by all these new and fevering sequences. Then she jumped up with a manner of decision, and fetched her desk from a side table.

In three minutes, without pause or modification, she had written a letter to Boldwood, at his address beyond Casterbridge, saying mildly but firmly that she had well considered the whole subject he had brought before her and kindly given her time to decide upon; that her final decision was that she could not marry him. She had expressed to Oak an intention to wait till Boldwood came home before communicating to him her conclusive reply. But Bathsheba found that she could not wait.

It was impossible to send this letter till the next day; yet to quell her uneasiness by getting it out of her hands, and so, as it were, setting the act in motion at once, she arose to take it to any one of the women who might be in the kitchen.

She paused in the passage. A dialogue was going on in the kitchen, and Bathsheba and Troy were the subject of it.

“If he marry her, she’ll gie up farming.”

“’Twill be a gallant life, but may bring some trouble between the mirth—so say I.”

“Well, I wish I had half such a husband.”

Bathsheba had too much sense to mind seriously what her servitors said about her; but too much womanly redundance of speech to leave alone what was said till it died the natural death of unminded things. She burst in upon them.

“Who are you speaking of?” she asked.

There was a pause before anybody replied. At last Liddy said frankly, “What was passing was a bit of a word about yourself, miss.”

“I thought so! Maryann and Liddy and Temperance—now I forbid you to suppose such things. You know I don’t care the least for Mr. Troy—not I. Everybody knows how much I hate him.—Yes,” repeated the froward young person, “hate him!”

“We know you do, miss,” said Liddy; “and so do we all.”

“I hate him too,” said Maryann.

“Maryann—Oh you perjured woman! How can you speak that wicked story!” said Bathsheba, excitedly. “You admired him from your heart only this morning in the very world, you did. Yes, Maryann, you know it!”

“Yes, miss, but so did you. He is a wild scamp now, and you are right to hate him.”

“He’s not a wild scamp! How dare you to my face! I have no right to hate him, nor you, nor anybody. But I am a silly woman! What is it to me what he is? You know it is nothing. I don’t care for him; I don’t mean to defend his good name, not I. Mind this, if any of you say a word against him you’ll be dismissed instantly!”

She flung down the letter and surged back into the parlour, with a big heart and tearful eyes, Liddy following her.

“Oh miss!” said mild Liddy, looking pitifully into Bathsheba’s face. “I am sorry we mistook you so! I did think you cared for him; but I see you don’t now.”

“Shut the door, Liddy.”

Liddy closed the door, and went on: “People always say such foolery, miss. I’ll make answer hencefor’ard, ‘Of course a lady like Miss Everdene can’t love him’; I’ll say it out in plain black and white.”

Bathsheba burst out: “O Liddy, are you such a simpleton? Can’t you read riddles? Can’t you see? Are you a woman yourself?”

Liddy’s clear eyes rounded with wonderment.

“Yes; you must be a blind thing, Liddy!” she said, in reckless abandonment and grief. “Oh, I love him to very distraction and misery and agony! Don’t be frightened at me, though perhaps I am enough to frighten any innocent woman. Come closer—closer.” She put her arms round Liddy’s neck. “I must let it out to somebody; it is wearing me away! Don’t you yet know enough of me to see through that miserable denial of mine? O God, what a lie it was! Heaven and my Love forgive me. And don’t you know that a woman who loves at all thinks nothing of perjury when it is balanced against her love? There, go out of the room; I want to be quite alone.”

Liddy went towards the door.

“Liddy, come here. Solemnly swear to me that he’s not a fast man; that it is all lies they say about him!”

“But, miss, how can I say he is not if—”

“You graceless girl! How can you have the cruel heart to repeat what they say? Unfeeling thing that you are.... But I’ll see if you or anybody else in the village, or town either, dare do such a thing!” She started off, pacing from fireplace to door, and back again.

“No, miss. I don’t—I know it is not true!” said Liddy, frightened at Bathsheba’s unwonted vehemence.

“I suppose you only agree with me like that to please me. But, Liddy, he cannot be bad, as is said. Do you hear?”

“Yes, miss, yes.”

“And you don’t believe he is?”

“I don’t know what to say, miss,” said Liddy, beginning to cry. “If I say No, you don’t believe me; and if I say Yes, you rage at me!”

“Say you don’t believe it—say you don’t!”

“I don’t believe him to be so bad as they make out.”

“He is not bad at all.... My poor life and heart, how weak I am!” she moaned, in a relaxed, desultory way, heedless of Liddy’s presence. “Oh, how I wish I had never seen him! Loving is misery for women always. I shall never forgive God for making me a woman, and dearly am I beginning to pay for the honour of owning a pretty face.” She freshened and turned to Liddy suddenly. “Mind this, Lydia Smallbury, if you repeat anywhere a single word of what I have said to you inside this closed door, I’ll never trust you, or love you, or have you with me a moment longer—not a moment!”

“I don’t want to repeat anything,” said Liddy, with womanly dignity of a diminutive order; “but I don’t wish to stay with you. And, if you please, I’ll go at the end of the harvest, or this week, or to-day.... I don’t see that I deserve to be put upon and stormed at for nothing!” concluded the small woman, bigly.

“No, no, Liddy; you must stay!” said Bathsheba, dropping from haughtiness to entreaty with capricious inconsequence. “You must not notice my being in a taking just now. You are not as a servant—you are a companion to me. Dear, dear—I don’t know what I am doing since this miserable ache of my heart has weighted and worn upon me so! What shall I come to! I suppose I shall get further and further into troubles. I wonder sometimes if I am doomed to die in the Union. I am friendless enough, God knows!”

“I won’t notice anything, nor will I leave you!” sobbed Liddy, impulsively putting up her lips to Bathsheba’s, and kissing her.

Then Bathsheba kissed Liddy, and all was smooth again.

“I don’t often cry, do I, Lidd? but you have made tears come into my eyes,” she said, a smile shining through the moisture. “Try to think him a good man, won’t you, dear Liddy?”

“I will, miss, indeed.”

“He is a sort of steady man in a wild way, you know. That’s better than to be as some are, wild in a steady way. I am afraid that’s how I am. And promise me to keep my secret—do, Liddy! And do not let them know that I have been crying about him, because it will be dreadful for me, and no good to him, poor thing!”

“Death’s head himself shan’t wring it from me, mistress, if I’ve a mind to keep anything; and I’ll always be your friend,” replied Liddy, emphatically, at the same time bringing a few more tears into her own eyes, not from any particular necessity, but from an artistic sense of making herself in keeping with the remainder of the picture, which seems to influence women at such times. “I think God likes us to be good friends, don’t you?”

“Indeed I do.”

“And, dear miss, you won’t harry me and storm at me, will you? because you seem to swell so tall as a lion then, and it frightens me! Do you know, I fancy you would be a match for any man when you are in one o’ your takings.”

“Never! do you?” said Bathsheba, slightly laughing, though somewhat seriously alarmed by this Amazonian picture of herself. “I hope I am not a bold sort of maid—mannish?” she continued with some anxiety.

“Oh no, not mannish; but so almighty womanish that ’tis getting on that way sometimes. Ah! miss,” she said, after having drawn her breath very sadly in and sent it very sadly out, “I wish I had half your failing that way. ’Tis a great protection to a poor maid in these illegit’mate days!” 

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Articles
Far from the Madding Crowd
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Far From the Madding Crowd is Hardy’s fourth novel and this is considered to be his warmest and sunniest novel. Most of his major novels especially those written in his later years like Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure have tragic endings. But this novel is in line with happy, meaningful and conventional endings, with the marriage of the female protagonist Bathsheba to the unpretentious hero, Gabriel Oak who has been in love with her right through the narrative. This is a conventional love story where constancy in love, however unflashy and restrained, gets its just reward.
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PREFACE

24 August 2023
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In reprinting this story for a new edition I am reminded that it was in the chapters of “Far from the Madding Crowd,” as they appeared month by month in a popular magazine, that I first ventured to ad

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CHAPTER I : Description of Farmer Oak—An Incident

24 August 2023
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When Farmer Oak smiled, the corners of his mouth spread till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears, his eyes were reduced to chinks, and diverging wrinkles appeared round them, extendin

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CHAPTER II : NIGHT—THE FLOCK—AN INTERIOR—ANOTHER INTERIOR

24 August 2023
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It was nearly midnight on the eve of St. Thomas’s, the shortest day in the year. A desolating wind wandered from the north over the hill whereon Oak had watched the yellow waggon and its occupant in t

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CHAPTER III : A GIRL ON HORSEBACK—CONVERSATION

24 August 2023
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The sluggish day began to break. Even its position terrestrially is one of the elements of a new interest, and for no particular reason save that the incident of the night had occurred there Oak went

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CHAPTER IV : GABRIEL’S RESOLVE—THE VISIT—THE MISTAKE

24 August 2023
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The only superiority in women that is tolerable to the rival sex is, as a rule, that of the unconscious kind; but a superiority which recognizes itself may sometimes please by suggesting possibilities

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CHAPTER V : DEPARTURE OF BATHSHEBA—A PASTORAL TRAGEDY

24 August 2023
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The news which one day reached Gabriel, that Bathsheba Everdene had left the neighbourhood, had an influence upon him which might have surprised any who never suspected that the more emphatic the renu

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CHAPTER VI : THE FAIR—THE JOURNEY—THE FIRE

24 August 2023
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Two months passed away. We are brought on to a day in February, on which was held the yearly statute or hiring fair in the county-town of Casterbridge. At one end of the street stood from two to thre

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CHAPTER VII : RECOGNITION—A TIMID GIRL

24 August 2023
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Bathsheba withdrew into the shade. She scarcely knew whether most to be amused at the singularity of the meeting, or to be concerned at its awkwardness. There was room for a little pity, also for a ve

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CHAPTER VIII : THE MALTHOUSE—THE CHAT—NEWS

24 August 2023
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Warren’s Malthouse was enclosed by an old wall inwrapped with ivy, and though not much of the exterior was visible at this hour, the character and purposes of the building were clearly enough shown by

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CHAPTER IX : THE HOMESTEAD—A VISITOR—HALF-CONFIDENCES

24 August 2023
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By daylight, the bower of Oak’s new-found mistress, Bathsheba Everdene, presented itself as a hoary building, of the early stage of Classic Renaissance as regards its architecture, and of a proportion

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CHAPTER X : MISTRESS AND MEN

24 August 2023
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Half-an-hour later Bathsheba, in finished dress, and followed by Liddy, entered the upper end of the old hall to find that her men had all deposited themselves on a long form and a settle at the lower

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CHAPTER XI : OUTSIDE THE BARRACKS—SNOW—A MEETING

24 August 2023
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For dreariness nothing could surpass a prospect in the outskirts of a certain town and military station, many miles north of Weatherbury, at a later hour on this same snowy evening—if that may be call

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CHAPTER XII : FARMERS—A RULE—AN EXCEPTION

24 August 2023
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The first public evidence of Bathsheba’s decision to be a farmer in her own person and by proxy no more was her appearance the following market-day in the cornmarket at Casterbridge. The low though e

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CHAPTER XIII : SORTES SANCTORUM—THE VALENTINE

24 August 2023
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It was Sunday afternoon in the farmhouse, on the thirteenth of February. Dinner being over, Bathsheba, for want of a better companion, had asked Liddy to come and sit with her. The mouldy pile was dre

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CHAPTER XIV : EFFECT OF THE LETTER—SUNRISE

24 August 2023
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At dusk, on the evening of St. Valentine’s Day, Boldwood sat down to supper as usual, by a beaming fire of aged logs. Upon the mantel-shelf before him was a time-piece, surmounted by a spread eagle, a

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CHAPTER XV : A MORNING MEETING—THE LETTER AGAIN

7 September 2023
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The scarlet and orange light outside the malthouse did not penetrate to its interior, which was, as usual, lighted by a rival glow of similar hue, radiating from the hearth. The maltster, after havin

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CHAPTER XVI : ALL SAINTS’ AND ALL SOULS’

7 September 2023
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On a week-day morning a small congregation, consisting mainly of women and girls, rose from its knees in the mouldy nave of a church called All Saints’, in the distant barrack-town before-mentioned, a

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CHAPTER XVII : IN THE MARKET-PLACE

7 September 2023
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On Saturday Boldwood was in Casterbridge market house as usual, when the disturber of his dreams entered and became visible to him. Adam had awakened from his deep sleep, and behold! there was Eve. Th

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CHAPTER XVIII : Boldwood in Meditation—Regret

8 September 2023
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Boldwood was tenant of what was called Little Weatherbury Farm, and his person was the nearest approach to aristocracy that this remoter quarter of the parish could boast of. Genteel strangers, whose

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CHAPTER XIX : THE SHEEP-WASHING—THE OFFER

8 September 2023
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Boldwood did eventually call upon her. She was not at home. “Of course not,” he murmured. In contemplating Bathsheba as a woman, he had forgotten the accidents of her position as an agriculturist—that

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CHAPTER XX : PERPLEXITY—GRINDING THE SHEARS—A QUARREL

8 September 2023
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“He is so disinterested and kind to offer me all that I can desire,” Bathsheba mused. Yet Farmer Boldwood, whether by nature kind or the reverse to kind, did not exercise kindness here. The rarest of

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CHAPTER XXI : TROUBLES IN THE FOLD—A MESSAGE

8 September 2023
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Gabriel Oak had ceased to feed the Weatherbury flock for about four-and-twenty hours, when on Sunday afternoon the elderly gentlemen Joseph Poorgrass, Matthew Moon, Fray, and half-a-dozen others, ca

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CHAPTER XXII : THE GREAT BARN AND THE SHEEP-SHEARERS

8 September 2023
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Men thin away to insignificance and oblivion quite as often by not making the most of good spirits when they have them as by lacking good spirits when they are indispensable. Gabriel lately, for the f

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CHAPTER XXIII : EVENTIDE—A SECOND DECLARATION

8 September 2023
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For the shearing-supper a long table was placed on the grass-plot beside the house, the end of the table being thrust over the sill of the wide parlour window and a foot or two into the room. Miss Eve

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CHAPTER XXIV : THE SAME NIGHT—THE FIR PLANTATION

8 September 2023
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Among the multifarious duties which Bathsheba had voluntarily imposed upon herself by dispensing with the services of a bailiff, was the particular one of looking round the homestead before going to b

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CHAPTER XXV : THE NEW ACQUAINTANCE DESCRIBED

8 September 2023
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Idiosyncrasy and vicissitude had combined to stamp Sergeant Troy as an exceptional being. He was a man to whom memories were an incumbrance, and anticipations a superfluity. Simply feeling, consideri

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CHAPTER XXVI : SCENE ON THE VERGE OF THE HAY-MEAD

8 September 2023
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“Ah, Miss Everdene!” said the sergeant, touching his diminutive cap. “Little did I think it was you I was speaking to the other night. And yet, if I had reflected, the ‘Queen of the Corn-market’ (trut

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CHAPTER XXVII : HIVING THE BEES

8 September 2023
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The Weatherbury bees were late in their swarming this year. It was in the latter part of June, and the day after the interview with Troy in the hayfield, that Bathsheba was standing in her garden, wat

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CHAPTER XXVIII : THE HOLLOW AMID THE FERNS

8 September 2023
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The hill opposite Bathsheba’s dwelling extended, a mile off, into an uncultivated tract of land, dotted at this season with tall thickets of brake fern, plump and diaphanous from recent rapid growth,

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CHAPTER XXIX : PARTICULARS OF A TWILIGHT WALK

8 September 2023
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We now see the element of folly distinctly mingling with the many varying particulars which made up the character of Bathsheba Everdene. It was almost foreign to her intrinsic nature. Introduced as ly

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CHAPTER XXX : HOT CHEEKS AND TEARFUL EYES

8 September 2023
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Half an hour later Bathsheba entered her own house. There burnt upon her face when she met the light of the candles the flush and excitement which were little less than chronic with her now. The farew

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CHAPTER XXXI : BLAME—FURY

8 September 2023
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The next evening Bathsheba, with the idea of getting out of the way of Mr. Boldwood in the event of his returning to answer her note in person, proceeded to fulfil an engagement made with Liddy some f

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CHAPTER XXXII : NIGHT—HORSES TRAMPING

14 September 2023
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The village of Weatherbury was quiet as the graveyard in its midst, and the living were lying well-nigh as still as the dead. The church clock struck eleven. The air was so empty of other sounds that

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CHAPTER XXXIII : IN THE SUN—A HARBINGER

14 September 2023
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A week passed, and there were no tidings of Bathsheba; nor was there any explanation of her Gilpin’s rig. Then a note came for Maryann, stating that the business which had called her mistress to Bath

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CHAPTER XXXIV : HOME AGAIN—A TRICKSTER

14 September 2023
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That same evening at dusk Gabriel was leaning over Coggan’s garden-gate, taking an up-and-down survey before retiring to rest. A vehicle of some kind was softly creeping along the grassy margin of th

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CHAPTER XXXV : AT AN UPPER WINDOW

14 September 2023
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It was very early the next morning—a time of sun and dew. The confused beginnings of many birds’ songs spread into the healthy air, and the wan blue of the heaven was here and there coated with thin w

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CHAPTER XXXVI : WEALTH IN JEOPARDY—THE REVEL

14 September 2023
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One night, at the end of August, when Bathsheba’s experiences as a married woman were still new, and when the weather was yet dry and sultry, a man stood motionless in the stockyard of Weatherbury Upp

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CHAPTER XXXVII : THE STORM—THE TWO TOGETHER

14 September 2023
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A light flapped over the scene, as if reflected from phosphorescent wings crossing the sky, and a rumble filled the air. It was the first move of the approaching storm. The second peal was noisy, wit

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CHAPTER XXXVIII : RAIN—ONE SOLITARY MEETS ANOTHER

14 September 2023
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It was now five o’clock, and the dawn was promising to break in hues of drab and ash. The air changed its temperature and stirred itself more vigorously. Cool breezes coursed in transparent eddies ro

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CHAPTER XXXIX : COMING HOME—A CRY

14 September 2023
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On the turnpike road, between Casterbridge and Weatherbury, and about three miles from the former place, is Yalbury Hill, one of those steep long ascents which pervade the highways of this undulating

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CHAPTER XL : ON CASTERBRIDGE HIGHWAY

14 September 2023
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For a considerable time the woman walked on. Her steps became feebler, and she strained her eyes to look afar upon the naked road, now indistinct amid the penumbræ of night. At length her onward walk

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CHAPTER XLI : SUSPICION—FANNY IS SENT FOR

14 September 2023
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Bathsheba said very little to her husband all that evening of their return from market, and he was not disposed to say much to her. He exhibited the unpleasant combination of a restless condition with

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CHAPTER XLII : JOSEPH AND HIS BURDEN—BUCK’S HEAD

14 September 2023
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A wall bounded the site of Casterbridge Union-house, except along a portion of the end. Here a high gable stood prominent, and it was covered like the front with a mat of ivy. In this gable was no win

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CHAPTER XLIII : FANNY’S REVENGE

14 September 2023
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“Do you want me any longer ma’am?” inquired Liddy, at a later hour the same evening, standing by the door with a chamber candlestick in her hand and addressing Bathsheba, who sat cheerless and alone i

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CHAPTER XLIV : UNDER A TREE—REACTION

14 September 2023
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Bathsheba went along the dark road, neither knowing nor caring about the direction or issue of her flight. The first time that she definitely noticed her position was when she reached a gate leading i

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CHAPTER XLV : TROY’S ROMANTICISM

15 September 2023
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When Troy’s wife had left the house at the previous midnight his first act was to cover the dead from sight. This done he ascended the stairs, and throwing himself down upon the bed dressed as he was,

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CHAPTER XLVI : THE GURGOYLE: ITS DOINGS

15 September 2023
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The tower of Weatherbury Church was a square erection of fourteenth-century date, having two stone gurgoyles on each of the four faces of its parapet. Of these eight carved protuberances only two at t

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CHAPTER XLVII : ADVENTURES BY THE SHORE

15 September 2023
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Troy wandered along towards the south. A composite feeling, made up of disgust with the, to him, humdrum tediousness of a farmer’s life, gloomy images of her who lay in the churchyard, remorse, and a

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CHAPTER XLVIII : DOUBTS ARISE—DOUBTS LINGER

15 September 2023
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Bathsheba underwent the enlargement of her husband’s absence from hours to days with a slight feeling of surprise, and a slight feeling of relief; yet neither sensation rose at any time far above the

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CHAPTER XLIX : OAK’S ADVANCEMENT—A GREAT HOPE

15 September 2023
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The later autumn and the winter drew on apace, and the leaves lay thick upon the turf of the glades and the mosses of the woods. Bathsheba, having previously been living in a state of suspended feelin

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CHAPTER L : THE SHEEP FAIR—TROY TOUCHES HIS WIFE’S HAND

15 September 2023
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Greenhill was the Nijni Novgorod of South Wessex; and the busiest, merriest, noisiest day of the whole statute number was the day of the sheep fair. This yearly gathering was upon the summit of a hill

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CHAPTER LI : BATHSHEBA TALKS WITH HER OUTRIDER

15 September 2023
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The arrangement for getting back again to Weatherbury had been that Oak should take the place of Poorgrass in Bathsheba’s conveyance and drive her home, it being discovered late in the afternoon that

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CHAPTER LII : CONVERGING COURSES

15 September 2023
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I Christmas-eve came, and a party that Boldwood was to give in the evening was the great subject of talk in Weatherbury. It was not that the rarity of Christmas parties in the parish made this one a

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CHAPTER LIII : CONCURRITUR—HORÆ MOMENTO

15 September 2023
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Outside the front of Boldwood’s house a group of men stood in the dark, with their faces towards the door, which occasionally opened and closed for the passage of some guest or servant, when a golden

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CHAPTER LIV : AFTER THE SHOCK

15 September 2023
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Boldwood passed into the high road and turned in the direction of Casterbridge. Here he walked at an even, steady pace over Yalbury Hill, along the dead level beyond, mounted Mellstock Hill, and betwe

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CHAPTER LV : THE MARCH FOLLOWING—“BATHSHEBA BOLDWOOD”

15 September 2023
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We pass rapidly on into the month of March, to a breezy day without sunshine, frost, or dew. On Yalbury Hill, about midway between Weatherbury and Casterbridge, where the turnpike road passes over the

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CHAPTER LVI : BEAUTY IN LONELINESS—AFTER ALL

15 September 2023
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Bathsheba revived with the spring. The utter prostration that had followed the low fever from which she had suffered diminished perceptibly when all uncertainty upon every subject had come to an end.

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CHAPTER LVII : A FOGGY NIGHT AND MORNING—CONCLUSION

15 September 2023
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“The most private, secret, plainest wedding that it is possible to have.” Those had been Bathsheba’s words to Oak one evening, some time after the event of the preceding chapter, and he meditated a f

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