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Charles Sperling

You have the name of the Hardy residence correct at the end of your piece and wrong at the start. It is "Max Gate," not "Mar Gate." (Which recalls Jay Finley Christ's poem about untold Sherlock Holmes cases, "The Old Tin Box," with its allusion to "the powderless Margate job.")

*The Return of the Native* was the first Hardy novel I read and I retain a great fondness for it, even if I prefer *Tess of the d'Urbervilles* and *Jude the Obscure.* The view of sex in both is, to use your adjectives, "realistic and cynical."

Hardy's "Christmas: 1924" is one of the few poems I can quote by heart:

" Peace upon earth!" was said. We sing it,
And pay a million priests to bring it.
After two thousand years of mass
We've got as far as poison-gas.

Lance Mannion

Charles, thanks for the reminder about Hardy's own poetry and for catching the typo in the caption to the photo. If it was a typo and not an unconscious allusion to Mar-a-lago. I hate it when you know who gets into my head when I'm thinking about something else. I corrected it.

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