Written by Erskin Quint
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Saturday, 16 July 2011

image for More Outtakes From "Jude The Obscure" Lovely Books, But What Where The Struggles That Led To Their Creation?

The schoolmaster was leaving the village. Everybody seemed sorry. The miller at Cuttercombe lent him the little tilted cart to carry his worldy goods to the city where he was going, some twenty miles off.

"But still I am unable to move my worldly goods", said the schoolmaster. "Why be that, sir?" asked the miller, his weathered, flour-dusted visage peering up at the master.

"I have no horse", said the schoolmaster, "and how am I to move the little tilted cart by myself?"

The miller went to fetch a horse. While he was away, horse-hunting, the master and the men who had been helping him to pack up his worldy goods, stood in the parlour of the rectory.

"Why are we in the rectory?" asked the schoolmaster of old Ben Axgrinder, the Axe Grinder. "For I have not been living here these last seven years. Indeed, I fear that we have packed up the wrong man's worldy goods. What a pickle we are in."

"Ah, do not fret, sir", soothed the old man. "For such a thing is not to be given much account in a book by Mr Thomas Hardy. The plots is so far-fetched that the mere matter of packing up a wrong man's worldly goods is a mere nothin', so it is."

This indeed appeared to calm the schoolmaster, whose name was Phillotson. "Thank you, Ben", he said. "I am calmed by your observations. We are indeed at the mercy of these ludicrous plots and miserable world-views, so we should be philosophical about our sorrows.

"But we still have the matter of my piano, and how to get it to Christminster. Nay, and where it should be stored there, for I am to dwell in temporary lodgings, betimes, until I can discover more permanent lodgings, betimes."

The men stood in the parlour, while the mocking glare of the sun played about their troubled faces. As they stood, and stood, and rubbed their chins, a small boy, who had been helping with the packing of the worldly goods, spoke up, blushing at the sound of his own voice.

"Aunt have got a great brick out-house, and it could be put there, perhaps, till you've found a place to settle in, sir."

"A proper notion", cried Isaac Tranter, the blacksmith. A deputation was then sent to wait on the boy's aunt - a maiden resident of the district - and the boy and the schoolmaster were left standing in the parlour, alone. Apart from each other, that is.

"Sorry I am going, Jude?" asked the master, kindly.

The boy, with tears in his eyes, admitted that he was indeed very sorry, but added:

"It is not for your departure, sir, that I weep. I weep for myself. To be saddled with a name as stupid as 'Jude The Obscure' is a burden indeed! How is a fellow to get along with such a name as that! The girls will run a mile!

"And this is such a stupid, miserable old book! I wanted to be in something of Mr Trollope's or Mr Stevenson's. There are adventures to be had with a Trollope or a Stevenson. With this book, all is bound to end in misery and tears, so that old fungus-face can bore the world with his doom and his gloom, just like with 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles!'

"Cut!" yelled Thomas Hardy.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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