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The Woodlanders is one of Hardy’s later novels, although he originally intended it as a successor to Far From The Madding Crowd. It concerns the life and loves of Giles Winterborne,Grace Melbury,Edred Fitzpiers, Felice Charmond and Marty South.The topics of class,fidelity and loyalty are delt with in Hardys exquisite style and set in the beautiful woodlands of Hintock.
The rambler who, for old association or other reasons, should trace the forsaken coach road running almost in a meridional line from Bristol to the south shore of England, would find himself during the latter half of his journey in the vicinity of some extensive woodlands, interspersed with apple orchards. Here the trees, timber or fruit bearing, as the case may be, make the wayside hedges ragged by their drip and shade, stretching over the road with easeful horizontality, as if they found the unsubstantial air an adequate support for their limbs. At one place, where a hill is crossed, the largest of the woods shows itself bisected by the high way, as the head of thick hair is bisected by the white line of its parting. The spot is lonely.
The physiognomy of a deserted highway expresses solitude to a degree that is not reached by mere dales or downs, and bespeaks a tomb like stillness more emphatic than that of glades and pools. The contrast of what is with what might be probably accounts for this