Thomas Hardy: Far from the Madding Crowd

Chapter 12: Farmers--a Rule--an Exception (continued)

"I wonder why he is so wrapt up and indifferent, and seemingly so far away from all he sees around him."

"It is said--but not known for certain--that he met with some bitter disappointment when he was a young man and merry. A woman jilted him, they say."

"People always say that--and we know very well women scarcely ever jilt men; 'tis the men who jilt us. I expect it is simply his nature to be so reserved."

"Simply his nature--I expect so, miss--nothing else in the world."

"Still, 'tis more romantic to think he has been served cruelly, poor thing'! Perhaps, after all, he has!"

"Depend upon it he has. Oh yes, miss, he has! I feel he must have."

"However, we are very apt to think extremes of people. I shouldn't wonder after all if it wasn't a little of both--just between the two--rather cruelly used and rather reserved."

"Oh dear no, miss--I can't think it between the two!"

"That's most likely."

"Well, yes, so it is. I am convinced it is most likely. You may take my word, miss, that that's what's the matter with him."

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