Why do you do this to me? I wish to read all of your Wessex novels unabridged, truly I do, but you have made it exceedingly difficult to get through Far from the Madding Crowd. It would be one thing if you were one of those verbose authors, typical of 19th century, but that is not you. You, Mr. Hardy, posses a true economy of words. You are capable (when motivated) of conveying much with little. So why do you insist on torturing me?
Oh, right. You were writing for a serial. Alright, I get it; the architecture biz blew and your wanted to make a living publishing novels. Nonetheless, I am close to chucking the book (for the second time) and pretending that your earlier Wessex novels simply do not exist. Let’s be honest, Tom, Tess and Jude are plenty sufficient for the casual literature enthusiast to “get” you. Perhaps I should have just stuck to your poetry, where your heart really seemed to be…
I am more than two-thirds of the way through the novel, so I suppose it only makes sense to press on but I’m warning you, no more funny business with that infuriating Cain kid!
Your biggest fan,
The plate above is by Helen Paterson Allingham from June 1876 installment of the Cornhill Magazine serialization. This plate and more may be found at The Victorian Web.