By this time Hardy’s grandmother had seen many changes at Higher Bockhampton. The path leading down towards Cuckoo Lane had become a narrow road along which houses had been built and attractive gardens developed. A tranter named Keats (or Keates) had lived in a house below her field, and she remembered how, sitting at home in the stillness of the night, she could hear him beating out the tune with his feet as he danced at a party in his house a hundred or more yards off. After his death (by 1835) his business, which included small-scale farming since he held land on both sides of the lane amounting to more than four acres, was conducted by his two sons, William, who lived almost opposite the Hardys and next door to James, and his younger brother Charles, who remained at home with his mother. Hardy remembered her in Under the Greenwood Tree, where Mrs Dewy, as the choir assembles before carol-singing round the parish, tells Susan to ‘run down to Grammer Kaytes’s’ to see if she can borrow some larger candles; and again in A Pair of Blue Eyes, where the reference to ‘poor deaf Grammer Bates’ (originally Cates) by the pig-killer Robert Lickpan suggests that Hardy had seen or heard pig-killing at the tranter’s as well as at home.
KeywordsSmoke Straw Gravel Bark Ghost
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Bibliography and References
- Keats and Drane: monograph, 51.Google Scholar
- The maypole garland: William Archer, Real Conversations (London: Heinemann, 1904).Google Scholar
- Glow-worm story: from the account Hardy wrote for Alfred Pope; cf. Letters, vol. IV, pp. 183–4.Google Scholar
- Isaac Last and the ‘British’ school: monograph, 44.Google Scholar
- The High Street on market days: The Mayor of Casterbridge, ch. 9.Google Scholar