The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion

by

Thomas Hardy

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Humphrey Gould is a bachelor from a local family, unremarkable in both appearance and personality, who becomes engaged to Phyllis Grove. He is considered an unusually good match for her due to his slightly higher social status, though in reality he is no better off financially than Phyllis and her father. Shortly after proposing to Phyllis, Humphrey leaves for Bath, and though he promises to return to her, he stays away for a whole year. He sends letters to Phyllis, but they contain no more than formalities. He doesn’t display any great affection towards her, and his absence and lack of obvious emotional attachment strengthen the rumor that he no longer considers their engagement to be a sure thing. Humphrey returns to see Phyllis, bringing a gift—an ornate mirror—but instead of restating his intention to marry her, he reveals that he has secretly married another woman. He needs Phyllis to explain to his father, who would otherwise oppose this secret marriage, that she could never have married Humphrey. Humphrey seems to have his selfishness rewarded, receiving what he desires before vanishing from the story.

Humphrey Gould Quotes in The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion

The The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion quotes below are all either spoken by Humphrey Gould or refer to Humphrey Gould. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
).
Part 3 Quotes

This account—though only a piece of hearsay, and as such entitled to no absolute credit—tallied so well with the infrequency of his letters and their lack of warmth, that Phyllis did not doubt its truth for one moment; and from that hour she felt herself free to bestow her heart as she should choose. Not so her father; he declared the whole story to be a fabrication.

Page Number: 9-10
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4 Quotes

Without him her life seemed a dreary prospect, yet the more she looked at his proposal the more she feared to accept it—so wild as it was, so vague, so venturesome. She had promised Humphrey Gould, and it was only his assumed faithlessness which had led her to treat that promise as nought. His solicitude in bringing her these gifts touched her; her promise must be kept, and esteem must take the place of love. She would preserve her self-respect. She would stay at home, and marry him, and suffer.

Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

She looked into it, saw how heavy her eyes were, and endeavoured to brighten them. She was in that wretched state of mind which leads a woman to move mechanically onward in what she conceives to be her allotted path. Mr Humphrey had, in his undemonstrative way, been adhering all along to the old understanding; it was for her to do the same, and to say not a word of her own lapse.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Phyllis Grove, Humphrey Gould
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion PDF

Humphrey Gould Character Timeline in The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion

The timeline below shows where the character Humphrey Gould appears in The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Gender, Rank, and Power Theme Icon
...to a rundown country house. Phyllis, despite her debilitating shyness, receives a shocking proposal from Humphrey Gould. Humphrey is unremarkable in every way, yet he’s a remarkable match for Phyllis, given... (full context)
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
They delay their wedding, and Humphrey cites his lack of money as the reason. Winter approaches and he leaves the country... (full context)
Part 3
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Gender, Rank, and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Rumor, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Loyalty Theme Icon
Phyllis hears a rumor that her betrothed, Humphrey, does not consider the engagement between them to be completely official. Allegedly, he’s been telling... (full context)
Part 4
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Secrecy, Rumor, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Loyalty Theme Icon
...away from her. Two passengers alight, and Phyllis recognizes one of them as her betrothed, Humphrey. The other is his friend. As they’re waiting for a man with a horse and... (full context)
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Loyalty Theme Icon
...plan to escape—will be seen as a great scandal. She regrets believing the rumor that Humphrey had broken their engagement, and understands now that he has been planning to return and... (full context)
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Gender, Rank, and Power Theme Icon
...returns home instead. The next morning, Phyllis’s father is excited to inform her, “triumphantly,” that Humphrey has brought her a gift and will return again soon to walk with her. The... (full context)
Part 5
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Gender, Rank, and Power Theme Icon
Loyalty Theme Icon
Phyllis and Humphrey go for a walk. The conversation is mostly led by Humphrey, which gives Phyllis time... (full context)