She only requested a photograph from her husband who was traveling abroad, alas!  instead she gets a full-size, god-like marble statue that is delivered many years later to her second husband's house...

Hardy, Hardy, Thomas Hardy, how I love thee! All the drama and unhappiness, the deaths and loneliness. Didn't I always say I prefer happy endings?
But that's the one thing you can never get in his gripping stories. The incident described above takes place in his story "Barbara of the House of Grebe". Barbara worships the mentioned statue, that shows her first husband in all his glory before his handsome face was destroyed by fire, and who, after finding Barbara unable to resume her love for him, leaves her and dies soon after that. The second husband, who's described as determined and brutal, employs a fellow to distort the statue to resemble the man after the deformation, in order to make his wife love him! Aaand he succeeds. Barbara gets all clingy and nervous and he annoyed. In series she gives birth to eleven children, of whom only one daughter reach adulthood. Then Barbara dies and he never remarries.

In other stories poetic women get obsessed about poets (as happens in "An Imaginative Woman") and die without having met him but being suspected of having had an affair with, or touch a hanged man's neck to obtain healing of a wound that cannot be otherwise healed and die afterwards  ("The Withered Arm")  and men that are unable to marry the girls they love because their wives don't die quickly enough ("Fellow Townsmen").

I want to read one of his novels, now.


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