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The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy

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Introduction

The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy Entry 1 - At work today I found out that Edward, my son's father should be bringing home his new wife tomorrow. I hear she is 'a rosy cheeked, titsy-tosy little body'; well that is what the other gossiping maids say. I know they talk about me. I've asked my son to find out what she looks like. Edward hasn't spoken to me in ages. I'm feeling isolated, all I have is my son. Edward had to leave me. He couldn't have been associated with muck like me. I was not good enough for him. I have borne my shame alone all these years. Entry 2 - My son saw Edward's new lady as they were entering the village. He says she is very ladylike and quite young. She has lightish hair and blueish eyes and her mouth is 'nice and red'. I later sent him to the church the next morning to see how tall she is. ...read more.

Middle

I saw her again a couple of weeks later we got onto the conversation of health and I asked how she was and she replied by sowing me her arm; it was discoloured and looked as though had handled it roughly, just as in my dream. I asked her when it happened she said a fortnight ago and that it was the same time as I had my dream. It was definitely not a coincidence; some people have called me a witch before. Could it be that I am a witch? I feel guilty for wishing her harm, as I like her. Entry 4/5 - I seem to be meeting Gertrude a lot more lately. Her arm is getting much worse; it is shrivelled and has the outline of four fingers, "It looks almost like finger marks", this is what Gertrude said after I asked to see the arm. She has seen the doctor and has tried various potions all to no avail. ...read more.

Conclusion

He told her he could show her if she wanted, she agreed and I was sent outside. He left the door open slightly and I watched through the gap. He brought a tumbler from the dresser, nearly filled it with water, prepared an egg and broke it on the edge of the glass so that the white went it and the yolk remained. The leant over the table and Gertrude watched the glass, "Do you catch likeness of any face or figure as you look", he asked. I couldn't hear what she replied but she murmured something. When she came out I asked her what she saw but didn't want to tell me she said, "Was it you who first proposed coming here?" she then said "How very odd, if you did!" She must have seen my face. Final Entry - My son and I have decided to leave Holmstoke. Ever since seeing Conjuror Trendle, Gertrude has not spoken to me. Rumours say I am responsible for her arm, which is now hanging uselessly at her side. Hopefully my son and I can find a place where no one knows us. ?? ?? ?? ?? James Easter ...read more.

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