Tranter Dewey’s cottage
Tranter Dewey’s cottage. This sociable and comfortable English home of Davy’s father, who works as a tranter, or a carter, is modeled on Hardy’s own long, low cottage with a hipped roof made of thatch. It is here the Mellstock choir readies for caroling on Christmas Eve and also where they discuss their imminent ouster from service at the local church. Later in the spring, they meet here to discuss strategy for a visit to the vicar. Readers watch as the members of the choir fortify themselves for the uncomfortable interview by eating a rasher of bacon and drinking cider.
Vicarage study. Office of Mr. Maybold, the village vicar, that is the setting for the most comic scene of the novel. The men march to the vicar’s study to request a dignified farewell for their choir. Grandfather William exemplifies the country people’s discomfort with the unfamiliar as he is startled at discovering springs in the vicar’s chair seat. Tranter Dewey in his enthusiasm backs the vicar into a corner, and the scene is capped by a tableau of the other members of the choir, looking in at the door.
The vicar’s study is also the setting for the saddest scene in the story, in which Maybold watches from his window as a boy leaves to deliver his sad letter to Fancy Day, the new schoolmistress. With the vicar looking on, the boy fights briefly with another boy who coincidentally carries a similar letter to the vicar from Fancy. Such crisscrossing of messengers or letters is developed in later Hardy novels to illustrate the workings of fate.
Mellstock Church. Village...
(The entire section is 696 words.)