Jude the Obscure HTML version
PART I: Chapter 1
PART I: At Marygreen
"Yea, many there be that have run out of their wits for women, and become
servants for their sakes. Many also have perished, have erred, and sinned, for
women.... O ye men, how can it be but women should be strong, seeing they do
THE schoolmaster was leaving the village, and everybody seemed sorry. The
miller at Cresscombe lent him the small white tilted cart and horse to carry his
goods to the city of his destination, about twenty miles off, such a vehicle proving
of quite sufficient size for the departing teacher's effects. For the schoolhouse
had been partly furnished by the managers, and the only cumbersome article
possessed by the master, in addition to the packing-case of books, was a cottage
piano that he had bought at an auction during the year in which he thought of
learning instrumental music. But the enthusiasm having waned he had never
acquired any skill in playing, and the purchased article had been a perpetual
trouble to him ever since in moving house.
The rector had gone away for the day, being a man who disliked the sight of
changes. He did not mean to return till the evening, when the new school-teacher
would have arrived and settled in, and everything would be smooth again.
The blacksmith, the farm bailiff, and the schoolmaster himself were standing in
perplexed attitudes in the parlour before the instrument. The master had
remarked that even if he got it into the cart he should not know what to do with it
on his arrival at Christminster, the city he was bound for, since he was only going
into temporary lodgings just at first.
A little boy of eleven, who had been thoughtfully assisting in the packing, joined
the group of men, and as they rubbed their chins he spoke up, blushing at the
sound of his own voice: "Aunt have got a great fuel-house, and it could be put
there, perhaps, till you've found a place to settle in, sir."
"A proper good notion," said the blacksmith.
It was decided that a deputation should wait on the boy's aunt-- an old maiden
resident--and ask her if she would house the piano till Mr. Phillotson should send
for it. The smith and the bailiff started to see about the practicability of the
suggested shelter, and the boy and the schoolmaster were left standing alone.
"Sorry I am going, Jude?" asked the latter kindly.
Tears rose into the boy's eyes, for he was not among the regular day scholars,
who came unromantically close to the schoolmaster's life, but one who had
attended the night school only during the present teacher's term of office. The
regular scholars, if the truth must be told, stood at the present moment afar off,
like certain historic disciples, indisposed to any enthusiastic volunteering of aid.
The boy awkwardly opened the book he held in his hand, which Mr. Phillotson
had bestowed on him as a parting gift, and admitted that he was sorry.
"So am I," said Mr. Phillotson.
"Why do you go, sir?" asked the boy.