A Book On A Dirt Road Near The Village Of Weydon Priors
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The novel opens on a dirt road near the village of Weydon-Priors, in the English county of Wessex. Michael Henchard, a hay-trusser, is traveling with his wife, Susan, and young daughter, Elizabeth-Jane. However, a passing farmer tells the Henchards that there is no chance of finding employment or housing in the village. Discouraged, Michael takes his family to a furmity seller 's tent in Weydon-Priors. The furmity seller adds liquor to Michael 's meal, and after several servings Michael becomes an angry drunk. Because he believes his marriage at a young age ruined all his chances for success, he offers to sell his wife and daughter to the highest bidder. After several unanswered calls for bids, Susan says that someone should buy her, since her present owner isn 't to her liking. Most of the other customers in the tent treat the auction as a joke, but soon a passing sailor hears the announcements and enters the tent. He offers to buy Susan and Elizabeth-Jane for five guineas, first making sure that Susan is willing to go. When Michael takes the money, Susan and Elizabeth-Jane leave with the sailor. Before leaving, Susan hurls her wedding-ring at Michael. Michael merely falls into a drunken slumber as the rest of the shocked customers leave.
The next morning, Michael awakens. Seeing the wedding ring and the money brings the events of the previous evening back to him. He realizes that he was partly to blame for his actions, but he also blames Susan for actually thinking that