She Was Holding Her Handkerchief to Her Eyes, and 
Then He Saw That She Was Weeping Silently

"She Was Holding Her Handkerchief to Her Eyes, and Then He Saw That She Was Weeping Silently by Walter Paget (1863-1935). Illustrated London News, 3 December 1892, page 711. 17.5 cm high by 23.6 cm wide. Scene from Chapter XXVII, "He Desperately Clutches the Form" (bottom of page 710, column three) from Thomas Hardy's The Pursuit of The Well-Beloved: A Sketch of a Temperament


Having won her hand through her mother's good graces, Jocelyn suddenly realizes in this scene that he has not won young Avice's heart. Again, the pattern of the past re-asserting itself is suggested in the receipt of a letter (which she has destroyed; it is not mentioned until the page on which the illustration appears) from a former beloved. Later, as with Marcia Bencomb, Jocelyn will undertake to assist his partner. But whereas the previous collaborative correspondence was to dismiss the former attachment, this one will offer the former lover hope and encouragement (to the serial readers a very odd state of affairs indeed, but one which Hardy has convincingly motivated). For the moment, however, all that lies ahead, later in the instalment.

The young wife is seated in a bamboo, bentwood chair beside small table on which are laid out (exactly as in the text) the brown Delf teapot, small cream pitcher, sugar bowl, and two teacups are laid out on the tray. Taking his hint from the phrase "which as artists, they affected" (by which Hardy describes the Delf teapot), Paget has supplied the open cabinet (its door, thrown open, suggesting disclosure), the oriental screen, and rattan chair. Open on Avice's lap, as in the letterpress, is the old schoolbook. Since she has not yet noticed her husband's presence on account of his noiseless enrtrance, Paget's Jocelyn does not yet feel the necessity of dissembling; in a moment, he will come forward, making it appear that he has not noticed her distress. But, caught in this moment, Jocelyn's gaze is anything but non-chalant as he begins to take off his street-coat (a gesture not described in the letterpress). In essence, the picture is composed of textual details and (logical) non-textual additions. — Philip V. Allingham

Last modified 22 September 2002