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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
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Chapter 3

The next morning Gabriel finds the young woman's hat lying in a ditch. He picks it up and takes it to his hut, hoping to return it to the woman. He soon sees her riding towards Tewnell Mill. As he observes this woman for the third time, Oak is surprised at her riding skills. He decides to return her hat to her as she comes back home. When she returns to the cow shed, Gabriel is waiting on the path with her hat. Gabriel's sudden appearance startles the young woman, but she soon calms herself. Then Gabriel is startled by the woman's uncommon beauty. The woman tells Gabriel that she knows who he is, and Gabriel clumsily lets out the secret of his admiration for her. The woman is unimpressed, and for the next few days, she avoids meeting Gabriel.

On a particularly cold afternoon, while keeping his usual watch for the young woman, Oak feels drowsy. He thereupon returns to his hut, lights the fire, and pulls down the ventilators to warm the hut up. After the room is warm, he plans to open the ventilator; but Oak falls sleep. When he awakes, he finds himself on the lap of the young woman who is trying to revive him. She tells him that it was his dog, which had led her to his smoking hut. She reminds him of his error in not leaving the slides of the hut open before falling asleep. Oak expresses his gratitude to her for her kind act of saving him. He wishes to hold her hand and even kiss it, but the young woman refuses to let him. She even teases him by not telling him her name.


Notes

At the beginning of the chapter, Gabriel watches the young woman from a distance for a third time. He is impressed with her horsemanship and amazed at her act of lying flat on the horse in order to avoid low-hanging boughs. In spite of her beauty and vanity, this woman is not a typical Victorian heroine who dares display only primness and propriety. At the end of the chapter, she again astounds Gabriel by rescuing him. He wakes up in her lap after she rescued him from his smoke-filled hut, reversing the usual victim-savior roles. Her willingness to handle the rescue effort alone again shows that there is more to her than her prim Victorian beauty.

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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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