The Later Years of Thomas Hardy, 1892-1928

The Later Years of Thomas Hardy, 1892-1928

The Later Years of Thomas Hardy, 1892-1928

The Later Years of Thomas Hardy, 1892-1928

Excerpt

Early in January 1926, feeling that his age compelled him to such a step, Hardy resigned the Governorship of the Dorchester Grammar School. He had always been reluctant to hold any public offices, knowing that he was by temperament unfitted to sit on committees that controlled or ordained the activities of others. He preferred to be "the man with the watching eye".

On April 27, replying to a letter from an Oxford correspondent, who was one of four who had signed a letter to the Manchester Guardian upon the necessity of the reformation of the Prayer Book Services, Hardy writes from Max Gate:

"I have read your letter with interest: also the enclosure that you and your friends sent to the Manchester Guardian, particularly because, when I was young, I had a wish to enter the Church.

"I am now too old to take up the questions you lay open, but I may say that it has seemed to me that a simpler plan than that of mental reservation in passages no longer literally accepted (which is puzzling to ordinary congregations) would be just to abridge the creeds and other primitive parts of the Liturgy, leaving only the essentials. Unfortunately there appears to be a narrowing instead of a broadening tendency among the clergy of late, which if persisted in will exclude still more people from Church.

But if a strong body of young reformers were to make a bold stand, in a sort of New Oxford Movement, they would have a tremendous backing from the thoughtful laity, and might overcome the retrogressive section of the clergy.

"Please don't attach much importance to these casual thoughts, and believe me,

"Very truly yours,

"T. H."

In May he received from Mr. Arthur M. Hind a water-colour sketch of an attractive corner in the village of Minterne, which the artist thought might be the original of "Little Hintock" in the Woodlanders. In thanking Mr. Hind, Hardy writes:

"The drawing of the barn that you have been so kind as to send me has arrived uninjured, and I thank you much for the gift. I think it a charming picture, and a characteristic reproduction of that part of Dorset.

"As to the spot being the 'Little Hintock' of The Woodlanders--that is another question. You will be surprised and shocked at my saying that I myself do not know where 'Little Hintock' is! Several tourists have told me that they have found it, in every detail, and have offered to take me to it, but I have never gone.

"However, to be more definite, it has features which were to be found fifty years ago in the hamlets of Hermitage, Middlemarsh, Lyons-Gate, Revels Inn, Holnest, Melbury Bubb, etc.--all lying more or less under the eminence called High Stoy,just beyond Minterne and Dogbury Gate, where the country descends into the Vale of Blackmore.

"The topographers you mention as identifying the scene are merely guessers and are wrong. . . ."

On June 29 he again welcomed the Balliol Players, whose chosen play this summer, the Hippolytus of Eurip-

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