14 cm high by 10 cm wide
Fifteenth illustration for Hardy's Under the Greenwood Tree, facing page 326 (recto).
See below for passage illustrated and commentary.
Photograph, caption, and commentary by Philip V. Allingham
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[The gamekeeper, Geoffrey Day,] appeared to be a man who was always looking down as if trying, to recollect something he said yesterday. The surface of his face was fissured rather than wrinkled, and over and under his eyes were folds which seemed as a kind of exterior eyelids. His nose had been thrown backwards by a blow in a poaching fray, so that when the sun was low and shining in his face, people could see far into his head. There was in him a quiet grimness, which would in his moments of displeasure have become surliness, had it not been tempered by honesty of soul, and which was often wrongheadedness because not allied with subtlety. Although not an extraordinarily taciturn man among friends slightly richer than he, he never wasted words upon outsiders, and to his trapper Enoch his ideas were seldom conveyed by any other means than nods and shakes of the head. [Part the Third, "Summer," Chapter 6, "Yalbury Wood and the Keeper's House," p. 154-15]
This is the one illustration that really seems out of place, since it follows the wedding scene somewhat illogically — after all, despite the ominous presence of Geoffrey Day's shotgun, he is hardly in a position to object to the marriage at this point. The placement seems arbitrary, as if the editor, William Tinsley, were determined to have an illustration to face the opening page of the final chapter. The only rationale may be that the final chapter begins with a description of the Days' cottage in Yalbury Wood, near which under the great greenwood tree the wedding dance occurs under his auspices as host. The gamekeeper actually appears inside the cottage, as Fancy prepares to leave with Dick. Nevertheless, the illustration's showing Day as "Lord Wessex's head man-in-charge, on the outlying Yalbury estate" in his working attire and carrying his weapon points to a much earlier earlier description of the gruff father-in-law who now seems thoroughly resigned to his daughter's choice — and of her prescriptions for modern and socially appropriate conduct in drinking and of limiting the use of dialectal expressions such as "thee" and "thou" in her father's speech.
Although the reader encounters Geoffrey Day in the sixth chapter of Part the Third, the illustration may well pertain to the passage in which Fancy's father first learns of Fancy's starving herself from his assistant in "The Spell," chapter four in "Part the Fourth: Autumn." Having noticed with "great consternation" Fancy's extremely limited portion of bread and butter when she serves him tea after school, Geoffrey and his trusty gossip, Enoch, while eradicating ant-hills discuss this peculiar change in Fancy's eating habits. With his gun under his arm afterward, Geoffrey strides off, ruminating upon what he should do to correct the situation:
"'Tis to be hoped poor Miss Fancy will be able to keep on her school," said Geoffrey's man Enoch to Geoffrey the following week, as they were shovelling up ant-hills in the wood.
Geoffrey stuck in the shovel, swept seven or eight ants from his sleeve, and killed another that was prowling round his ear, then looked perpendicularly into the earth as usual, waiting for Enoch to say more. "Well, why shouldn't she?" said the keeper at last.
"The baker told me yesterday," continued Enoch, shaking out another emmet that had run merrily up his thigh, "that the bread he've left at that there school-house this last month would starve any mouse in the three creations; that 'twould so! And afterwards I had a pint o' small down at Morrs's, and there I heard more."
"What might that ha' been?"
"That she used to have a pound o' the best rolled butter a week, regular as clockwork, from Dairyman Viney's for herself, as well as just so much salted for the helping girl, and the 'ooman she calls in; but now the same quantity d'last her three weeks, and then 'tis thoughted she throws it away sour."
"Finish doing the emmets, and carry the bag home-along." The keeper resumed his gun, tucked it under his arm, and went on without whistling to the dogs, who however followed, with a bearing meant to imply that they did not expect any such attentions when their master was reflecting.
Hardy, Thomas. Under The Greenwood Tree. A Rural Painting of the Dutch School (1870). Il. R. Knight. London: Chatto and Windus, 1878.
Hardy, Thomas. Under The Greenwood Tree, or, The Mellstock Quire — A Rural Painting of the Dutch School (1872). Ed. Anna Winchcombe. Houndmills, Basingstoke, and London: Macmillan Education, 1978. [All citations from the 1878 Chatto and Windus edition have been checked against this following readily available paperback edition.]
Kay-Robinson, Denys. The Landscape of Thomas Hardy. Exeter: Webb and Bower, 1984.
Pinion, F. B. A Hardy Companion: A Guide to the Works of Thomas Hardy and Their Background. Trowbridge, Wiltshire, and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1968, rpt. 1984.
Wright, Sarah Bird. Thomas Hardy A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 2002.
Last modified 13 July 2014