270. UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE . THOMAS HARDY
UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE
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The plot concerns the activities of a group of church musicians, the Mellstock parish choir, one of whom, Dick Dewy, becomes romantically entangled with a comely new schoolmistress, Fancy Day. Dick, smitten, seeks to insinuate himself into her life and affections, but Fancy’s beauty has gained her other suitors, including a rich farmer and the new vicar at the parish church.
The vicar, Mr Maybold, informs the choir that he intends Fancy, an accomplished organ player, to replace their traditional musical accompaniment to Sunday services. The tranter and the rest of the band visit the vicar’s home to negotiate, but reluctantly give way to the more modern organ. Meanwhile, Dick seems to win Fancy’s heart, and she discovers an effective strategem to overcome her father’s objection to the potential marriage. After the two are engaged secretly, however, vicar Maybold impetuously asks Fancy to marry him and lead a life of relative affluence; racked by guilt and temptation, she accepts……
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