The Clerk Saw the Hunting Man Pass by Charles Green — an illustration for Thomas Hardy's "Andrey Satchel and the Parson and the Clerk." 1891. Lithograph, 9.8 cm high by 12.1 cm wide. Scanned image, caption, and commentary by Philip V. Allingham [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. ]

From Thomas Hardy's "Wessex Folk" (subsequently renamed "A Few Crusted Characters") in Harper's New Monthly Magazine (April 1891): 703. In this fourth plate for Thomas Hardy's nine framed tales in "Wessex Folk" Green depicts a moment involving only a secondary character — Parson Toogood's factotum and avid fox-hunting clerk (never actually named). Again, what seems a minor incident, the clerk's watching a suitably attired hunter pass on horseback, underscores the importance of coincidence in our lives. Had the clerk not been working in the garden and seen the horseman going to the meeting of the hounds, the Parson would have performed the marriage ceremony punctually for the desperate Jane and her drunken groom, Andrey— thereby ruining the humour of the anecdote.

Last modified 2 June 2008