Tess of the D’Urbervilles
, Mr Crick tells the story of an ‘“old aged man”’ who tricked a bull by playing a Nativity Hymn on his fiddle when it wasn’t Christmas, in order to escape a violent altercation with the animal (
III.XVII.110-111). The old man’s name was William Dewy who, at the time of telling, ‘“is a-lying in Mellstock Churchyard at this very moment”’ (
III.XVII.111). A ‘“curious story”’ that ‘“carries us back to medieval times”’ (
III.XVII.111), the tale not only invokes a distant world recovered through narrative, it also reintroduces the figure of Dick Dewy’s grandfather. In
The Mayor of Casterbridge
, Michael Henchard’s bankruptcy case is heard. In addition to his assets, Henchard offers his gold watch and purse, which are turned down in the following manner:
The creditors, farmers almost to a man, looked at the watch, and at the money, and into the street; when Farmer James Everdene of Weatherbury spoke.
‘No, no, Henchard,’ he said warmly. ‘We don’t want that.’Tis honourable in ye; but keep it. What do you say, neighbours — do ye agree?’ ‘Ay, sure: we don’t wish it at all,’ said Grower, another creditor.
‘Let him keep it, of course,’ murmured another in the background — a silent, reserved young man named Boldwood; and the rest responded unanimously. (