FIRST LINES FRIDAY: Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy

Hello, Friday! First Lines Friday is a feature on my blog in which I post the first lines from a book I am interested in reading, either a new release or a backlist title! For the next several Fridays, I will be featuring titles I am going to hopefully read as part of my 12 Decades/12 Months/12 Books challenge (#12decades12books). I have been wanting to read Thomas Hardy for a few years now, and while I’ve bought several of his books, I’ve yet to read any of them. Whoops.

When Farmer Oak smiled, the corners of his mouth spread, till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears, his eyes were reduced to mere chinks, and diverging wrinkles appeared round them, extending upon his countenance like the rays in a rudimentary sketch of the rising sun.

His Christian name was Gabriel, and on working days he was a young man of sound judgment, easy motions, proper dress, and general good character. On Sundays he was a man of misty views, rather given to a postponing treatment of things, whose best clothes and seven-and-six-penny umbrella were always hampering him: upon the whole one who felt himself to occupy morally that vast middle space of Laodicean neutrality which lay between the Sacrament people of the parish and the drunken division of its inhabitants — that is, he went to church, but yawned privately by the time the congregation reached the Nicene creed, and thought of what there was for dinner when he meant to be listening to the sermon. Or, to state his character as it stood in the scale of public opinion, when his friends and critics were in tantrums he was considered rather a bad man; when they were neither he was a man whose moral colour was a kind of pepper and salt mixture.

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