, "Henchard, with withering humility of demeanor, touched the brim of his hat to her." — initial illustration by Robert Barnes for Hardy's "The Mayor of Casterbridge" (2 January 1886)

Henchard, with withering humility of demeanor, touched the brim of his hat to her by Robert Barnes. Plate 15, Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, which appeared in the London The Graphic, 10 April 1886: Chapter XXXIII, p. 397. 17.4 cm high by 22.3 cm wide — 6 ⅝ inches high by 8 ⅞ inches wide. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

Passage Illustrated: Henchard's Haughty Demeanour Startles Lucetta

Henchard did not turn his eyes toward either of the pair, keeping them fixed on the bond he twisted, as if that alone absorbed him. A feeling of delicacy, which ever prompted Farfrae to avoid anything that might seem like triumphing over a fallen rival, led him to keep away from the hay-barn where Henchard and his daughter were working, and to go on to the corn department. Meanwhile Lucetta, never having been informed that Henchard had entered her husband’s service, rambled straight on to the barn, where she came suddenly upon Henchard, and gave vent to a little “Oh!” which the happy and busy Donald was too far off to hear. Henchard, with withering humility of demeanour, touched the brim of his hat to her as Whittle and the rest had done, to which she breathed a dead-alive “Good afternoon.”

“I beg your pardon, ma’am?” said Henchard, as if he had not heard.

“I said good afternoon,” she faltered.

“O yes, good afternoon, ma’am,” he replied, touching his hat again. “I am glad to see you, ma’am.” Lucetta looked embarrassed, and Henchard continued: “For we humble workmen here feel it a great honour that a lady should look in and take an interest in us.”

She glanced at him entreatingly; the sarcasm was too bitter, too unendurable. [Chapter XXXIII, 399 in serial; pp. 284-285 in volume]


Although he has now fallen to the rank of mere journeyman in Farfrae's employ, Henchard looks surprisingly tidy and fashionably dressed, despite the absence of tailcoat that he was wearing in the previous illustration, Henchard turned slightly, and saw that the comer was Jopp, his old foreman (3 April 1886). Lucetta, respectably dressed in bonnet and shawl, looks terrified at Henchard's apparently respectful greeting and tipping of his hat, perfunctory though the gesture may be on closer inspection. Whatever is going on?

The slender female figure working alongside Henchard is definitely not the muscular Nance Mockridge; rather, this is Elizabeth-Jane, who has come from church to accompany her stepfather home. As a dutiful daughter, she has agreed to help him finish the hay-trussing — the activity in evidence from the bale of hay in the background. Passing the barn, Lucetta has not realised that Henchard is now working for her husband, and is therefore startled to see him at work. Perhaps her startled expression is also a reaction to her former lover's "biting undertones" as he sarcastically addresses her as a "lady," and describes himself, despite his costly clothing (including patterned vest, cravat, and dark trousers) as a mere "humble workman."

Scanned image and text 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.]


Allingham, Philip V. "A Consideration of Robert Barnes' Illustrations for Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge as Serialised in the London Graphic: 2 January-15 May, 1886." Victorian Periodicals Review 28, 1 (Spring 1995): pp. 27-39

Hardy, Thomas. The Mayor of Casterbridge. The Graphic 33 (1886).

Hardy, Thomas. The Mayor of Casterbridge: A Story of a Man of Character. London: Osgood McIlvaine, 1895.

Jackson, Arlene. "The Mayor of Casterbridge: Realism and Metaphor."Illustration and the Novels of Thomas Hardy. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1981. Pp. 96-104.

Created 28 July 2001

Last modified 21 March 2024