Paragraphs from Tess.
From Phase the Third, XVI
. .The bird's-eye perspective before her was not so luxuriantly beautiful, perhaps, as that other one which she knew so well; yet it was more cheering. It lacked the intensely blue atmosphere of the rival vale, and its heavy soils and scents; the new air was clear, bracing, ethereal. The river itself, which nourished the grass and cows of these renowned dairies, flowed not like the streams in Blackmore. Those were slow, silent, often turbid; flowing over beds of mud into which the incautious wader might sink and vanish unawares. The Froom waters were clear as the pure river of Life shown to the Evangelist, rabid as the shadow of a cloud, with pebbly shallows that prattled to the sky all day long. There the water-flower was the lily; the crowfoot here.
. .Either the change in the quality of the air from heavy to light, or the sense of being amid new scenes where there were no invidious eyes upon her, set up her spirits wonderfully. Her hopes mingled with the sunshine in an ideal photosphere which surrounded her as she bounded along against the soft south wind. She heard a pleasant voice in every breeze, and in every bird’s note seemed to lurk a joy.
. .Her face was latterly changed with changing states of mind, continually fluctuating between beauty and ordinariness, according as the thoughts were gay or grave. One day she was pink and flawless; another pale and tragical. When she was pink she was feeling less than when pale; her more perfect beauty accorded with her less elevated mood; her more intense mood with her less perfect beauty. It was her best face physically that was now set against the south wind.
I just like Hardy's use of photosphere. And his portrayal of a flawless, tragical Tess, whose elevated and intense moodiness coalesseces with her perfect beauty.
I've added the initial paragraph because of our inability to describe the landscape or dairies as Hardy did. Its water-flowers and semi-colons are worth seeing again anyway, from a purely literary perspective, if not a historical one. How inarticulate we are.... and how beautiful the not fictional Wessexes of a 'few' years ago....