Summary and Analysis Chapter 35



Very early the next morning, Gabriel and Coggan were in the fields. They heard an upper casement window being opened. Troy leaned out. "She has married him!" said Coggan. As Gabriel failed to reply, Coggan, glancing at the averted face, said, "Good heavens above us, Oak, how white your face is; you look like a corpse!" The two men stood near the stile, "Gabriel listlessly staring at the ground. His mind sped into the future, and saw there enacted in years of leisure the scenes of repentance that would ensue from this work of haste." He mused over the reasons for all the mystery. Had Bathsheba somehow been entrapped?

As the men turned toward the house, Troy hailed them. Coggan replied and, after some urging, so did Oak. Troy commented on the gloom of the house, suggesting modernization. Gabriel defended it for its traditions. Troy preferred comfort. After this discussion, Troy suddenly asked Coggan whether there was any insanity in Boldwood's family. Coggan seemed vaguely to remember an old, disturbed uncle. Troy dismissed this information and announced his intention of being out in the fields after a few days. Then he threw them a half-crown so that they might drink to his health. Gabriel was angry, but Coggan caught the coin and urged Gabriel to restrain himself, for he was certain that Troy would buy his discharge from the army and become master of the farm. "Therefore 'tis well to say 'Friend' outwardly, though you say 'Troublehouse' within."

Boldwood appeared, reminding Coggan of Troy's inquiry. "Gabriel, for a minute, rose above his own grief in noticing Boldwood's. . . . The clash of discord between mood and matter here was forced painfully home to the heart; and, as in laughter there are more dreadful phases than in tears, so was there in the steadiness of this agonized man an expression deeper than a cry."


Observe how quickly Troy takes over the reins. The reactions of Coggan and Oak are typical: Gabriel needs time for self-control, but Coggan seeks to serve his own interests by serving his new master. The stern pose of Boldwood after his earlier outbursts seems to indicate that he is trying to suppress his true feelings. Hardy's keen observation of many types of people manifests itself in the small but telling gestures, poses, and expressions of all the characters.