Hardy distrusted the application of nineteenth-century empiricism to history because he felt it marginalized important human elements. In The Trumpet Major, the tale of a woman courted by three competing suitors during the Napoleonic wars, he explores the subversive effects of ordinary human desire and conflicting loyalties on systematized versions of history. This edition restores Hardy's original punctuation and removes the bowdlerisms forced upon the text on its initial publication.… (more)
In the days of high-waisted and muslin-gowned women, when the vast amount of soldiering going on in the country was a cause of much trembling to the sex, there lived in a village near the Wessex coast two ladies of good report, though unfortunately of limited means.
The candle held by his father shed its wavring light upon John's face and uniform as with a farewell smile he turned on the door-stone, backed by the black night; and in another moment he had plunged into the darkness, the ring of his smart step dying away upon the bridge as he joined his companions-in-arms, and went off to blow his trumpet till silenced for ever upon one of the bloody battle-fields of Spain.