A novel by T. Hardy, published 1873.
The scene is the northern coast of Cornwall. Stephen Smith, a young architect, comes to Endelstow to restore the church tower and falls in love with Elfride Swancourt, the blue‐eyed daughter of the vicar. Her father is incensed that someone of Stephen's humble origin should claim his daughter. Elfride and Stephen run away together, but Elfride vacillates over marriage, and Stephen, hoping to better himself, accepts a post in India. Henry Knight, Stephen's friend and patron, then meets Elfride, and after she has saved his life on a cliff they become engaged. However, Knight is horrified to hear of Elfride's truancy with Stephen. He harshly breaks off the engagement. Eventually he and Stephen meet; Stephen learns that Elfride is still unmarried and Knight learns the innocent facts of her past escapade with Stephen. But the train which carries them both to Cornwall is also carrying Elfride's dead body. They learn when they arrive at Endelstow that she has died, and that she had recently married Lord Luxellian.
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Thomas Hardy (1840—1928) novelist and poet