She Stopped Like A Clock

She Stopped Like A Clock

George Du Maurier


Wood engraving

Illustration for Thomas Hardy's The Hand of Ethelberta

The Cornhill Magazine 32 (1875): facing page 1

The novel begins dramatically, with Ethelberta's suddenly meeting her ex-lover Christopher Julian for the first time since her marriage to young Petherwin. Ethelberta experiences a range of emotions almost wholly unreflected in the first plate, nor does Du Maurier offer any evidence of Ethelberta's breathless pursuit of the duck and the hawk (which symbolically foreshadows the pursuit of Ethelberta by her various suitors). Du Maurier has, however, given us the background heather, the depression in the ground from which Christopher unexpectedly emerges, his hat, purgee, and knapsack, supplementing the country walking outfit as described by Hardy with a touch of his own, a walking stick. Ethelberta "stops like a clock" because in the shadows her interlocutor is a mere "tourist" until she hears the familiar voice which transports her to a time before her marriage. Better realized in a small space is Ethelberta's approaching the edge of pond with the duck-hawk overhead, the scene of the initial letter vignette which occurs before the scene realized in the first plate