He pushed the skiff down the slope, floated it, and jumped into it without an oar

He pushed the skiff down the slope, floated it, and jumped into it without an oar. by Walter Paget (1863-1935). Illustrated London News, 17 December 1892, page 775. 23.5 cm wide by 17.5 cm high. Scene from Chapter XXXII, "The Pursuit Abandoned" (page 774) in Thomas Hardy's The Pursuit of The Well-Beloved: A Sketch of a Temperament

Pearston has decided to commit suicide by taking a fishing boat from The Beal and permitting the outbound tide to run it into The Race, "the confluence of three currents making the surface of the sea at this point to boil like a pot. . . ." The rocky outcropping in the background is the same as that depicted in plate 2 (p. 427), once again (as in plate 23) giving us a visual sense of closure to this Hardy "fantasy." He is sure that his frail craft and its occupant will be crushed on Portland's grey stones, ironically the source of his father's wealth. His suicide, however, is thwarted by some island boatmen, who rescue him just in time, preserving him for his re-union with Marcia.

References

Hardy, Thomas. The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved. The Illustrated London News, 8 October--17 December, 1892. Pp. 426-775.

Hardy, Thomas. The Well-Beloved with The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved (1892). Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Classics, 2000.

Jackson, Arlene M. Illustration and the Novels of Thomas Hardy. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1981.


Last modified 7 August 2002