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Far From the Madding Crowd
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2015 > Far From the Madding Crowd: Chapters 28 - 41

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message 1: by Marie (last edited Aug 15, 2015 03:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marie Williams | 713 comments Mod
Bathsheba loved Troy in the way that only self-reliant women love when they abandon their self-reliance. When a strong woman recklessly throws away her strength she is worse than a weak woman who has never had any strength to throw away.

Sergeant Troy appears in Bathsheba's wheat field. Despite his attempted flirtation, Bathsheba feigns annoyance and asks him to leave. But she agrees to meet several nights later in the forest.

Jealous, but also truly concerned for Bathsheba's welfare and reputation, Ganriel decides to talk to her about Troy's reputation and ask her not to see him again.

You know, mistress, that I love you, and shall love you always.

Are ye not more to me than my own affairs, and even life!

“I wish you to go elsewhere," she commanded, a paleness of face invisible to the eye being suggested by the trembling words. "Do not remain on this farm any longer. I don't want you—I beg you to go!"

"That's nonsense," said Oak, calmly. "This is the second time you have pretended to dismiss me; and what's the use o' it?"

Go, indeed—what folly will you say next? Treating me like Dick, Tom and Harry when you know that a short time ago my position was as good as yours! Upon my life, Bathsheba, it is too barefaced. You know, too, that I can't go without putting things in such a strait as you wouldn't get out of I can't tell when.

I should be as glad as a bird to leave the place—for don't suppose I'm content to be a nobody. I was made for better things. However, I don't like to see your concerns going to ruin, as they must if you keep in this mind… I hate taking my own measure so plain, but, upon my life, your provoking ways make a man say what he wouldn't dream of at other times!

But you know well enough how it is, and who she is that I like too well, and feel too much like a fool about to be civil to her!

Will you leave me alone now? I don't order it as a mistress—I ask it as a woman, and I expect you not to be so uncourteous as to refuse.

Certainly I will, Miss Everdeen...

After her discussion with Gabriel, she writes a letter to turn down Boldwood's proposal. She becomes angry when she overhears the girls gossiping about her betrothal, then confesses to Liddy that she is in love with Troy.

"But, I say, there was a time when I knew nothing of you, and cared nothing for you, and yet you drew me on. And if you say you gave me no encouragement, I cannot but contradict you.”

“Where are your pleasant words all gone—your earnest hope to be able to love me? Where is your firm conviction that you would get to care for me very much? Really forgotten?—really?”

“Heavens you must be heartless quite”

“An unprotected childhood in a cold world has beaten gentleness out of me.”

She confesses to Boldwood that she is in love with Troy, and fears what may happen to him if Boldwood should meet him in anger.

Late one evening, Gabriel and Coogan try to recover what they believe is Bathsheba's horse being stolen by gypsies. They find her leaving, claiming she is going to Bath on business. Cain Ball returns from Bath the next week, saying that he saw Bathsheba walking arm and arm with Troy, and then visibly upset.

“Don't take on about her, Gabriel. What difference does it make whose sweetheart she is, since she can't be yours?"

"That's the very thing I say to myself," said Gabriel.

Boldwood happens on Troy, and stops him on the way to secretly meet Bathsheba late at night. He offers to pay him to marry Fanny. Troy claims he loves fanny, but is marrying Bathsheba for money, and as she has already been with him she has no choice but to marry him. He goes as planned to meet her, with Boldwood following to sign a financial agreement to pay Troy to save Bathsheba's reputation. But Boldwood finds he's been tricked and they are already married.

The year's Harvest supper is used as a wedding feast. Gabriel goes to warn Troy of impending bad weather, but Troy disagrees and sends the women away so the men can get drunk.

Gabriel decides to go out and try to save the grain crop anyway. Knowing the men are drunk, Bathsheba comes to help him through the storm. She breaks down and confesses that she had intended to end her relationship with Troy. That she was only with him and had to marry him out of desperation and jealousy.

After purchasing his discharge, Troy continues to spend money and his gambling losses are mounting. They pass a young girl on the way home from the market. Troy recognizes Fanny and sends Bathsheba ahead. He gives her money and sends her to Casterbridge, where he promises to come to her.

Troy asks Bathsheba for more money, and they argue, her begging him to give up this other woman and come back to her. But he refuses, saying seeing her again made him remember how much he cared about her, and that he no longer loves Bathsheba.

She goes looking for Gabriel, only to find out Fanny has died after her return and was Troy's lover.

QNPoohBear | 470 comments That sword performance was so laced with innuendo. I wonder how many women read this book and whether they understood it? "My sword never misses" obviously foreshadowing his seduction of Bathsheba.

More later... I need to review my comments I made as I was reading it and I hear rumbles of thunder.

Sara (phantomswife) QNPoohBear wrote: "That sword performance was so laced with innuendo. I wonder how many women read this book and whether they understood it? "My sword never misses" obviously foreshadowing his seduction of Bathsheba...."

Exactly. One has to be tuned into innuendo while reading from this period. Nothing was allowed to "said" outright.

QNPoohBear | 470 comments Needless to say, my opinion on Frank changed as soon as Bathsheba went out to the woods to meet him. He was clearly trying to seduce her which makes him more of a bad boy than I expected.

Boldwood doesn't trust Troy and Oak doesn't trust Troy that should tell Bathsheba something, but it doesn't. I'd rather see her married comfortably to Boldwood than be seduced by Troy. I get that some women love the bad boy but this is sheer folly. She needs a strong guardian! Of course she's so hot-headed she's just go off and do her own thing anyway. She will completely ruin her reputation.

Bathsheba handled her break up with Boldwood badly. She shouldn't have done it by letter but when he came back with a broken heart, she handled it well, for her.

I love Cain's description of Bath. It's so funny. What a witty observation. Unexpected humor is always nice.

Poor Poor Boldwood! Yeesh.

Thank heavens for Oak saving the day again.

It was hard to read about the folly of Bathsheba's heedless, headstrong choices. I have some sympathy for her now but not a whole lot. Frank says she knew how married life would be, but how could she know? Girls always think they can reform the bad boy and she is young and on her own with no one to advise her on what married life would be like. All she has is Oak and Boldwood saying this guy is no good.

I don't think Bathsheba would have made a good wife for Boldwood. She's too headstrong and impulsive. Gabriel would have been better because he tells it like it is, looks after her and manages her farm. I only feel a little bad for her because her actions brought on her misery. I feel most bad for Fanny. That was truly a sad and terrible story.

If Bathsheba had married Boldwood for security, she would still have believed herself in love with Frank or drawn to him because let's face it, Boldwood is a nice guy but there's no sexual chemistry there. Hardy was pushing the limits of what was acceptable for Victorian society by making his heroine such a passionate woman.

I found some good analyses on the Victorian Web. About the scene with the sword play: "Instead, Paterson objectifies as stage scene what is very much a heightened sensory experience, Bathsheba's moment by moment impressions of inverted rainbows and body-thrusts and the "scarlet haze" (p. 655) that is Troy's sword-arm seen in rapid motion as luminous streams of this aurora militaris" (p. 655). Thus, the illustration fails to suggest the phallic implications that Hardy underscores in Troy's remarking, "My sword never errs" (p. 656). Paterson shows the scabbard lying in the grass, just beyond Troy's left foot; only the swaying of the scabbard-belt on his left hip betrays the speed with which he is about to carve a space in the air immediately about Bathsheba."
Essay about the illustrations

More on Hardy

Marie Williams | 713 comments Mod
I don't know a great deal about the reception this one received when it was published. I know Jude, and I think Tess, had to be sold covered in brown paper because the book shops feared retribution from their communities. But this is definitely Thomas Hardy at his lightest and least blatant. I'm certain it was quite shocking to a large number of the women reading it. Of course it is partially because access to reading material was so financially limited. The lower classes saw and heard far worse on a daily basis, especially in larger cities, and the extreme upper class was far less prudish than their middle class counterparts. So much of our perception of the Victorian time period is based around middle class morality.

Fanny is truly a heart breaking story, simply because she believed in Troy. She wasn't simply naive, or believed she could be the one to reform the bad boy, she saw the person he could have been if he wasn't such a spoiled tramp with an ego. She tried to care for him and she suffered for it.

I have a hard time having any sympathy for Bathsheba. Anyone intelligent enough to run a business, who is then stupid enough to sleep with/marry someone because they saw someone prettier than you, kind of gets what they ask for. Especially because if either Gabriel or Boldwood had said the same thing to her, she would have pitched a fit.

Oh Gabriel, poor, sweet Gabriel... I have never have decided if I wanted to hug him, or slap him and say "You can do better, go get a woman that deserves you." No matter how badly she treats him, he still does what's best for her. But oh do I love the this is the second time you've pretended to fire me part...

And poor Boldwood, even if his initial reaction was a bit rushed. While one of the few things I will give Bathsheba credit for is that she didn't marry that poor man, you can't blame him for his reaction to her handling of the situation. He was right about everything he said to her, and he never even deserved to have to be involved in all this.

Marie Williams | 713 comments Mod
If you think the sword fight scene was sexually charged- and it obviously was - just wait til you see it in the movie...

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 127 comments Poor Fanny would have been perfectly happy as a soldier's wife and following the drum. But could Troy have managed to be good to her? Poor, poor Fanny.

Marie I think your saying that Bathsheba was smart enough to run a business, but stupid about men (people)?

I kept telling myself as I read this last month, that BS is very young and I wondered what her age was when her last parent died. One of us who read this last month felt BS had a lack of supervision and influence of a woman in her life. She has a native wit and intelligence, but is very young and immature about other things.

I definitely thought Oak was too good for her and was weary of him "mooning" over her when she constantly showed him the worst side of herself.

I was very disappointed that she never made a declaration to Oak--and he deserved one for his steadfast devotion and so did the reader! In the end their " getting together" in THs hands (a man's hands after all!) was a non-event. One of the two other readers implied that this would have played out differently if the writer had been a woman. I wasn't looking for cheesy melodrama, but it was a let-down. All this build up--and then a great big nothing!

Another thing that I couldn't understand: why BS had the resolution to run a farm/business, but she could not resolve to refuse Boldwood after Troy walked out on her--was thought to be dead?

message 8: by Marie (last edited Aug 20, 2015 10:23AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marie Williams | 713 comments Mod
It's a little off topic, but I thought you all might like to see the newest addition for the owners of the lambs. They are owned by a member of my mother's step-family, a smallish hobby farm in the mountains, with the little sheep, two cows, several horses, and a couple of miniature donkeys.

She was born a few days ago...

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 127 comments Pardon my ignorance of livestock, but what type of animal is that? It doesn't look like a lamb.

message 10: by Marie (last edited Aug 21, 2015 08:58PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marie Williams | 713 comments Mod
Yes Andrea, that's because it's a cow... ;) Don't ask me what kind though, I'm ignorant of livestock, too.

She belongs to the same people who have the lambs. One of their donkeys gave birth a couple of weeks ago, but her baby didn't make it.

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 127 comments I didn't know cows have such long ears. I was thrown off by the ears.


Marie Williams | 713 comments Mod
I had just called and asked my mother if she knew what kind they of cows they owned, and apparently they're called Brahman. The long ears are kind of their unique, identifying characteristic.

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