Mrs Poyser and the Old Squire

Mrs Poyser and the Old Squire

William Small

Wood engraving by J. Cooper

5½ x 3½ inches

George Eliot,Adam Bede, facing 302.

An awkwardly composed design which enshrines an awkward situation as Mrs Poyser harangues the Old Squire; the noise created by the barking dogs, honking geese and the clatter of the horses’ hoofs as the servant provides a means of escape, all add to the effect of febrile intensity. Eliot emphasises the moral strength and forthrightness of the Poysers, and Small amplifies Mrs Poyser’s lack of deference by showing the moment when she pursues the squire into the farmyard, still shouting at him.

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  • Scanned image and text by Simon Cooke.

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