Under the Greenwood Tree (Thomas Hardy, 1872)

In rural Wessex, a church string ensemble is upset by a newcomer to town who’s been engaged to replace them on the organ. Fancy Day is her name, and Dick Dewy — one of the redundant musicians — falls madly in love with her. She rather likes his attention, as she does anyone’s attention; if Fancy is nothing else, she’s an incorrigible flirt. It’s an uphill climb for Dick, what with his being the son of a simple country tranter (and I had to look that up, too — it’s an archaic term for mover) and the Days having pretensions to high society. At last, Dick wins out and he and Fancy are married, and though the other villagers doubt how long it will last, the couple are happy for the moment and that counts for something.

Inscriptions: From the Livermore Falls, Maine public library. There’s quite a bit of marginalia throughout, most of which has been erased but some the librarian must have missed. It seems that somebody read it for a school book report and left their notes.


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