Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Published in 1874, Far from the Madding Crowd is often considered Hardy's first masterpiece.

The story follows Bathsheba Everdene's life in the rural village of Weatherby, where she has come to live after inheriting her wealthy uncle's estate. The story is one of successive courtships, starting with Gabriel Oak, a young shepherd, but soon followed by the somewhat repressed William Boldwood, an older but prosperous farmer, and finally the dashing Sergeant Francis "Frank" Troy, who returns to Weatherby where he has a love interest in Bathsheba's former servant Fanny Robin.

The story evolves through a series of unexpected twists and turns where fate seems to be more often determined by chance than by choice.

Table of Contents


Chapter I: Description of Farmer Oak -- An Incident

Chapter II: Night -- the Flock -- An Interior -- Another Interior

Chapter III: A Girl on Horseback -- Conversation

Chapter IV: Gabriel's Resolve -- the Visit -- the Mistake

Chapter V: Departure of Bathsheba -- a Pastoral Tragedy

Chapter VI: The Fair -- the Journey -- the Fire

Chapter VII: Recognition -- a Timid Girl

Chapter VIII: The Malthouse -- the Chat -- News

Chapter IX: The Homestead -- a Visitor -- Half-Confidences

Chapter X: Mistress and Men

Chapter XI: Outside the Barracks -- Snow -- a Meeting

Chapter XII: Farmers -- a Rule -- in Exception

Chapter XIII: Sortes Sanctorum -- the Valentine

Chapter XIV: Effect of the Letter -- Sunrise

Chapter XV: A Morning Meeting -- the Letter Again

Chapter XVI: All Saints' and All Souls'

Chapter XVII: In the Market-Place

Chapter XVIII: Boldwood in Meditation -- Regret

Chapter XIX: The Sheep-Washing -- the Offer

Chapter XX: Perplexity -- Grinding the Shears -- a Quarrel

Chapter XXI: Troubles in the Fold -- a Message

Chapter XXII: The Great Barn and the Sheep-Shearers

Chapter XXIII: Eventide -- a Second Declaration

Chapter XXIV: The Same Night -- the Fir Plantation

Chapter XXV: The New Acquaintance Described

Chapter XXVI: Scene on the Verge of the Hay-Mead

Chapter XXVII: Hiving the Bees

Chapter XXVIII: The Hollow Amid the Ferns

Chapter XXIX: Particulars of a Twilight Walk

Chapter XXX: Hot Cheeks and Tearful Eyes

Chapter XXXI: Blame -- Fury

Chapter XXXII: Night -- Horses Tramping

Chapter XXXIII: In the Sun -- a Harbinger

Chapter XXXIV: Home Again -- a Trickster

Chapter XXXV: At an Upper Window

Chapter XXXVI: Wealth in Jeopardy -- the Revel

Chapter XXXVII: The Storm -- the Two Together

Chapter XXXVIII: Rain -- One Solitary Meets Another

Chapter XXXIX: Coming Home -- a Cry

Chapter XL: On Casterbridge Highway

Chapter XLI: Suspicion -- Fanny Is Sent for

Chapter XLII: Joseph and His Burden

Chapter XLIII: Fanny's Revenge

Chapter XLIV: Under a Tree -- Reaction

Chapter XLV: Troy's Romanticism

Chapter XLVI: The Gurgoyle: Its Doings

Chapter XLVII: Adventures by the Shore

Chapter XLVIII: Doubts Arise -- Doubts Linger

Chapter XLIX: Oak's Advancement -- a Great Hope

Chapter L: The Sheep Fair -- Troy Touches His Wife's Hand

Chapter LI: Bathsheba Talks with Her Outrider

Chapter LII: Converging Courses

Chapter LIII: Concurritur -- Horae Momento

Chapter LIV: After the Shock

Chapter LV: The March Following -- "Bathsheba Boldwood"

Chapter LVI: Beauty in Loneliness -- After All

Chapter LVII: A Foggy Night and Morning -- Conclusion

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