What An Escape!

"What An Escape!" He Said." by George Du Maurier for Harper's New Monthly Magazine (1880). Plate 4 Thomas Hardy's A Laodicean. [Paula and Somerset Ascend the Hill from the Railway Tracks, Where They Have Just Narrowly Escaped Being Run Over by a Train.]

Du Maurier had choice of far more dramatic moments than this, although this scene in the tent does set the stage for the romance between George Somerset and Paula Power because this is the point when she agrees to dance with him, in spite of her father's prejudices against dancing. The artist might have caught the pair in a more private moment in the summer house, where Dare and Havill overhear part of their conversation, as we learn in the next chapter (but still part of the fourth instalment), and where she refuses to be more explicit about her feelings towards Somerset, even though he has revealed his devotion. Instead, Du Maurier has chosen what the young architect terms "The happiest moment [he has] ever known" while "Several persons looked at them significantly. . . ." In fact, although George does not look particularly smitten in the plate, at least eight of the dancers seem to be scrutinizing the couple.

Image scan, 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.]

Created 11 May 2001

Last modified 31 December 2019