Her head fell back upon Bob's shoulder

Her head fell back upon Bob's shoulder

John Collier

Plate 14, Thomas Hardy's The Trumpet-Major

Good Words, May 1880

(top two-thirds of p. 332), vignetted: 9.3 cm wide x 14.5 cm high (captioned); illustrates a passage on previous page, 331.

The backdrop this plate does not immediately register since our focus is the couple. But gradually we become aware of the geese, the bull, the boards of the pen, the outhouses and the barn, and the vegetation on the hillside. A thorough countryman despite his merchant voyages, Bob is dressed appropriately for such an outing; Matilda, clad in a fashionable gown, petticoats, bonnet and long gloves, simply does not fit. The picture suggests that what Bob needs is a woman whose clothing (and by implication whose disposition) is better suited to an agricultural existence.

Image, information, and commentary supplied by Philip V. Allingham