We can tell from the start the tone is that of a light hearted one. We can tell that Tony Kytes is the centre of village gossip, as the Carter knows a lot about him. The following quote shows Tony is a womaniser and an arch deceiver “He was quite the woman’s favourite, and in return for their likings he loved ’em in shoals.” From this you would automatically presume he was extremely attractive but Carter goes on to tell us other wise ” ‘Twas a little, round, firm, tight face, with a seam here and there left by the smallpox. The Carter finds it amusing that he has not physically matured ” And there was no more than a sign of a whisker or beard on Tony Kytes face than on the palm of my hand. Tony made the woman laugh by singing ” He used to sing the ‘ The Tailor’s Breeches’ with a religious a manner, as if it were a hymn:- ‘o the petticoat went off, and the breeches went on!’ ” .
“But in course of time Tony got fixed down to one in particular” this implies she was not the first choice for Tony and that he probably preferred loving the woman in shoals. The woman Tony is about to marry is Milly Richards ” a nice, light, small tender little thing” this shows Milly can be easily manipulated by Tony and will do exactly as she is told.As the story continues we learn that Tony is coming home from the market in his waggon when he meets Unity Sallet, “one...
of the young women he’d been very tender towards before he’d got engaged to Milly.” We can see Unity is much more forward than Milly. Immediately Unity asks Tony for a lift, “My dear Tony will you give me a lift home”.
We then see that Tony can not refuse a woman and he tells them what they want to hear “That I will, darling… You don’t suppose I could refuse ‘ee.
After Unity is on board she begins to flirts cautiously with Tony by asking him of his marriage to Milly ” In what way she better than I?” Unity never mentions Milly’s name to Tony she just implies she is better than Milly.Unity begins to manipulate Tony by reminding him how long they have known each other. By reminding Tony of past memories it makes him think whether he likes Unity more than Milly. Unity uses Tony’s weaknesses against him “Now look at me” Tony is encouraged to look at Unity, she knows he will do anything for a pretty face. This is the first part of the story where Hardy uses the manipulation of Tony to bring humour into the tale.
Soon Tony sees something he sees some thing very familiar to him, the feather in Milly’s hat. Tony tries to turn the manipulation round to avoid confrontation, he asks her to hide under the tarpaulin. Before Unity can protest he uses terms of endearment to convince her to hide “Do-..
. and perhaps I shall put the loving question to yo
after all” this implies marriage but he never actually mentions the word. He tells Unity it is not all settled with himself and Milly, this shows he is a deceiver. At the thought of marriage to Tony she goes under the tarpaulin.When Milly sees Tony she looks up with a little pout at him as they get closer.
She reminds him they had arranged to meet to talk over there future home. He then panics at the thought of being caught so he makes up an excuse. Humour is made has we see Tony trying to regain control. Tony says that he saw her mother in the market and she looked like she was expecting Milly.
However, this excuse does not work as Milly has already seen her mother when she was on her way back from the market. Therefore, Tony has no choice but to let Milly ride home with him.Tony and Milly talk pleasantly and look at the trees, beasts, birds, insects and ploughmen at work in the fields. Tony tires to avoid the subject of their marriage and new home. Their conversation continues pleasantly until Tony sees Hannah Jolliver who Tony had met and loved before both Unity and Milly.
Hannah was much prettier then both of the other girls and Tony had nearly married her instead of Milly. “My dear Milly- my coming wife, as I may call ‘ee” says Tony in his usual modest way, but not so loud that Unity can over hear again this implies he is a deceiver. Tony continues saying that he can see a young woman looking out of a window and he thinks she may accost him. Tony goes onto say that Hannah has the mistaken idea that Tony was going to marry her. He tells Milly that Hannah will lose her temper, as Milly is prettier than, Tony asks Milly to creep under the sacks in the front of the waggon.
Again he call her his “coming wife”, Tony his reassuring her that he wants her and not Hannah. Tony drives on until he is by the roadside cottage.Hannah who is waiting at the window tosses her head and smiles at Tony. Hardy shows the humour of the situation as Tony loses control yet again. “Well aren’t you going to be civil enough to ask me to ride with you!” she says.
This shows Hannah is much bolder and more forward than Milly. Tony tells Hannah that her though she was staying in the house. Hannah replies by saying she was just stopping on her way home, so Tony has no choice but to take her onboard. “Tony feels a dim sort of sweat riding up inside his clothes” the Carter would have found this highly amusing as he is being overtaken by panic.Hannah was sitting next to Tony and he is becoming very cautious, as he is petrified of being caught.
Hannah begins to manipulate Tony just as Unity did. Hannah looks straight into Tony’s eyes and talks to him. The more this continued the more Tony realised he liked Hannah, more than both Unity and Milly.