"I'm — afraid — you'll have to send for a hurdle," he went on feebly. Lithograph by Archibald Standish Hartrick for Thomas Hardy's "A Changed Man" as initially published in The Sphere (21 & 28 April 1900): 419. [image with caption and title of story]

Unfortunately, American readers did not see either of his illustrations for "A Changed Man" since these were not reproduced in its American serial version in the Cosmopolitan. Despite the costumes that seem more appropriate to the mid-1890s than the mid-1850s in Hartrick's two illustrations at the head of each of the instalments, the story is set about mid-century, there having been a cholera outbreak in 1854 in the Dorchester suburb of Fordington, a slum with an unsavoury reputation that Hardy here and in The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) calls "Durnover." The story is set, in part one, in Casterbridge proper, at the head of the High Street ("The Top of the Town"), where Hardy locates the barracks, Laura's house, and the observant invalid's oriel window; in part two, the scene shifts to the plague-infested suburb below, although the lights of Casterbridge are evident on the distant skyline of the second illustration. The atmosphere of the military barracks of the first instalment's letterpress (Parts 1 through 4) is only obliquely suggested by Jack Maumbry's hussar's uniform, but, after Maumbry's rapid transformation from dashing rake to self-sacrificing clergyman, the contrasting atmosphere of the suburb at night is communicated effectively in the second lithograph. To heighten the contrast, Archibald Standish Hartrick presents the two scenes as binary opposites: fashionable interior versus stark, barely lit exterior, the constant between the two being the figures of Jack and Laura.

Already in the first illustration, despite Jack's being depicted in full regimentals, including his hussar's helmet (worn indoors!), the caption suggests that the moral and inward transformation from pleasure-seeking hedonist to self-sacrificing humanitarian has begun, the artist's inspiration being "We now get below the surface of things" (421), a surface that, although agreeable in the illustration, seems cluttered and confining. Although the lithographic mode has not permitted Hartrick to depict in detail the Maumbrys' parlour "filled with hired furniture" (421), he suggests their lifestyle through the opulent mirror, roaring fire, bric-a-brac, mantel clock, paintings, plant, and chaise lounge. Laura seems to be patting the vacant space beside her as a rigid Captain Maumbry toys with some ornament on the mantelpiece.

Thus, Hartrick attempts to show the outward and visible signs of some inward change as the hussar considers adopting Rev. Sainway's perspective on martial music being played on Sunday afternoons. The dimensions of the room, as reflected in the mirror to extend the reader's notion of the space the couple occupies, imply that the space in which they live is morally as well as physically restrictive. The first illustration thus subtly prepares the reader for the ensuing scene in the letterpress when the Captain broaches to his incredulous wife his determination to abandon the vocation of arms for that of a curate in the Church of England. Hartrick captures well Laura's indolence and love of ease and beautiful possessions, even if he overdoes the depiction of Laura in her finery by giving her a hat with a prominent feather. In her left hand, Laura grasps the poker, ready to stir the embers, a task which perhaps her husband should have offered to undertake.

Image scan 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 person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. ]

Last modified 17 August 2008