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At the end of Far From the Madding Crowd, which is perhaps Thomas Hardy’s most popular novel, Gabriel Oak and Bathsheba Everdene are newly-married.
Now, at Weatherbury Farm, time has moved on and with three grown up children, the Oak family find Wessex life is slowly changing. Is this change for the better?
In Far From the Madding Crowd, which is perhaps Thomas Hardy’s most popular novel, we leave Gabriel Oak and Bathsheba Everdene newly-married. Now, many years on, Bathsheba’s husband and three almost grown-up children have superseded the three diverse suitors of her youth. Bathsheba’s caprice and wilfulness has been replaced with the trials and tribulations of family life. All three children reject the careers chosen for them by their parents to become evermore cosmopolitan in their lives and outlook. As the children mature and make fewer demands on her time, Bathsheba becomes involved with Gabriel’s mission to improve the working and living conditions of agricultural labourers. She strives against prejudice to form a women’s movement to uphold and promote the rights of Union members’ wives. But as Industrialisation filters slowly into Hardy’s Victorian rural scenes, the Oak family find Wessex life is changing forever. Is this change for the better? For further details about Weatherbury Farm, Thomas Hardy and Dorset, please visit: http://members.tripod.co.uk/patmann
The woman smiled with pleasure at the vision on the horizon. Her three, now nearly grown up children, chased each other playfully like long-legged colts, alongside and around their father as he strode purposefully along the white heath path before turning sharply into the lane across the meadow which would lead them to Oakdene and Bathsheba.
Gabriel, pausing a moment, raised his eyes towards the great bulk of the house. It was necessary to form a shield with the palm of his hand for the bright orange light was sinking slowly on the horizon and the farmhouse kitchen facing westwards reflected the sun's rays making it virtually impossible to see through the lattice window at such a distance. It was hard to break the habit of a married lifetime and it must be said he had no wish so to do. Accordingly the farmer did as he always did for he hoped to catch a glimpse of his adored wife before she saw him, a game they both played and laughed about for who could truly know who saw who first. He was rewarded with a wave as Bathsheba, seeing her family approaching, left the warmth and sanctuary of her kitchen so that she could fling open the door to welcome them.