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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
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Chapter 29

Bathsheba has fallen in love with Troy against her better judgment and instinctive understanding of his weakness. Too overcome by her feelings for the sergeant, Bathsheba is unable to analyze their relationship in a rational manner, as she had previously done with Oak and Boldwood. She feels she cannot even speak to her confidante Liddy, because her love for Troy is too intensely personal and because she feels some sense of sexual shame about it.

Gabriel is aware of Bathsheba's infatuation and is troubled, not only on account of his own love for her, but also because of the worthless nature of Troy's character. He decides to speak to her about his concerns. One evening as she is walking in the woods, he has the opportunity to talk to Bathsheba away from listening ears. He reminds her of her promise to marry Boldwood, but she denies that she has any intention of so doing. Then Gabriel frankly tells her that Troy is an unworthy character and warns her not to trust him. He says that association with him would spoil her fair name.

Bathsheba stoutly defends Troy, which upsets Gabriel even more. He assures her of his eternal love and begs her to marry Boldwood for the sake of her reputation. She once again tells him angrily to leave her farm. Gabriel tells her to first hire a good farm-manager so that he can go away. He adds that he is actually doing her a favor by staying on, since he could raise his own position if he did leave. Apologizing for his brusque behavior, he reaffirms his love for her and insists that he is only concerned about her happiness. Secretly delighted by Gabriel's faithfulness, Bathsheba sends him away. Gabriel is worried about leaving her alone, but on seeing Troy joining her, he hurries home.

As Gabriel passes the churchyard, he turns to look at the tower door to check if Troy has indeed used it. He observes that ivy grows across the unused door, and Gabriel realizes that Troy has lied to Bathsheba. Gabriel instinctively knows that it will not be the only lie she hears.


Notes

The story of Troy's churchgoing is established as a falsehood in Gabriel's mind. Whereas Gabriel can think clearly to detect Troy's deceits, Bathsheba is so blinded by Troy's deceitful charm that she never cares to check whether his statements are really the whole truth. When Gabriel tries to warn her about Troy's character, she grows indignant and again dismisses him from the farm. He cleverly promises to leave as soon as she hires a good farm manager to replace him. Instinctively he knows that she will forgive him, and he will stay on her farm, just as before.

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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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