Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
On Christmas Eve, the Mellstock Choir prepares to set out for its annual caroling venture. In fine voice, mellowed by generous mugs of cider, the men and boys gather at the home of Reuben Dewy. Then, with their fiddles and the cello of Grandfather Dewy, they depart on their rounds. After calling at outlying farms and houses, they arrive at the schoolhouse to serenade the new schoolmistress, Fancy Day. At first, there is no indication that she has heard them; but at last, she appears, framed, picture-like, in a window. Later, the men miss young Dick Dewy. When they find him, he is leaning against the school, staring up listlessly at the now-darkened window.
At church the following morning, Fancy Day causes a stir of excitement. She is the main attraction for Dick Dewy, Farmer Shiner, and the new vicar, Mr. Maybold, but she does not endear herself to a number of other men in the congregation because she commits what they regard almost as blasphemy. For as long as anyone can remember, the male choir has provided music for the service, but the young woman, on her first day in church, leads the young girls in singing along with the men. Some of the older and wiser ones foresee trouble from a woman who is so forward.
Dick gives his annual party on the afternoon and evening of Christmas Day. When Dick can claim Fancy for a dance, he is transported with joy; but when she dances with Shiner, a more handsome and more wealthy man, Dick is downcast. When...
(The entire section is 1213 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Under the Greenwood Tree Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!