Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 123. Lithograph, 8 cm high by 10 cm wide. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]by Charles Green — an illustration for Thomas Hardy's "Wessex Folk." June 1891 in
Context of the Illustration: The Conman Outconned
"One day," the registrar continued, "Georgy was ambling out of Melchester on a miserable screw, the fair being just over, when he saw in front of him a fine-looking young farmer riding out of the town in the same direction. He was mounted on a good strong handsome animal, worth fifty guineas if worth a crown. When they were going up Bissett Hill, Georgy made it his business to overtake the young farmer. They passed the time o’ day to one another; Georgy spoke of the state of the roads, and jogged alongside the well-mounted stranger in very friendly conversation. The farmer had not been inclined to say much to Georgy at first, but by degrees he grew quite affable too — as friendly as Georgy was toward him. He told Crookhill that he had been doing business at Melchester fair, and was going on as far as Shottsford-Forum that night, so as to reach Casterbridge market the next day. When they came to Woodyates Inn they stopped to bait their horses, and agreed to drink together; with this they got more friendly than ever, and on they went again. Before they had nearly reached Shottsford it came on to rain, and as they were now passing through the village of Trantridge, and it was quite dark, Georgy persuaded the young farmer to go no further that night; the rain would most likely give them a chill. For his part he had heard that the little inn here was comfortable, and he meant to stay. At last the young farmer agreed to put up there also; and they dismounted, and entered, and had a good supper together, and talked over their affairs like men who had known and proved each other a long time. When it was the hour for retiring they went upstairs to a double-bedded room which Georgy Crookhill had asked the landlord to let them share, so sociable were they. [Life's Little Ironies, Osgood, McIlvaine edition, 287]
From Thomas Hardy's "Incident in the Life of Mr. George Crookhill — one of the tales in Wessex Folk (subsequently renamed A Few Crusted Characters) in Harper's New Monthly Magazine. In this seventh plate for Thomas Hardy's nine framed tales, Green depicts Georgy Crookhill drinking with a man of about his own age whom he has met on the road from Casterbridge [Dorchester], a traveller whom he assumes to be the wealthy and gullible Farmer Jollice. Again, this scene lays the groundwork for the plot involving the gulling of the local confidence man and petty thief by a much cleverer rogue. The unfortunate protagonist steals the clothes and mount of the farmer (left), who however turns out to be a military deserter. Only the coincidence of the real Farmer Jollice's turning up to verify that Crookhill is not the man who stole his belongings permits him to escape the firing squad.
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
Brady, Kristin. The Short Stories of Thomas Hardy: Tales of Past and Present. London & Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1984.
Hardy, Thomas. "Incident in the Life of Mr. George Crookhill." [June 1891] Life's Little Ironies: A Set of Tales with Some Colloquial Sketches Entitled "A Few Crusted Characters." London: Osgood, McIlvaine, 1894. 286-91.
Hardy Thomas. Wessex Folk (subsequently renamed A Few Crusted Characters) in Harper's New Monthly Magazine 81 (March-May 1891): 594, 701, 703, 891, 894; 82 (June 1891): 123.
Ray, Martin. Chapter 25, "A Few Crusted Characters." Thomas Hardy: A Textual Study of the Short Stories. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997. 228-258.
Created 21 May 2008
Last modified 17 April 2020