Just now, however, as I was stupidly attempting to simultaneously read and stir the beginnings of bread dough, I dropped the book . . . and it fell open to a glossary. Oops. Pummy, it turns out, is the name for "crushed apples used in cider-making"; and a gam'ster is "a cudgel player, etc.; hence a plucky animal"; while a rozum is "a quaint saying or nonsense," and by extension a person with strange ideas. And, ooh, one more: a market-nitch is "the amount drunk after market. A 'nitch' is 'a burden; as much as one can carry of wood, hay, or straw, and sometimes of drink,'" drawn from William Barnes's A Grammar and Glossary of the Dorset Dialect (1863). Sometimes of drink!
The Penguin edition also marks all the changes Hardy introduced between the first publication of the novel, in the Graphic, in the fall of 1891, and the collected Wessex edition of his novels that was published in 1912. Some of the changes are bound to be of great interest to Hardy fans, as they show Hardy continuing to tinker in relatively serious ways with the details of Tess's relationship with Alec D'Urberville--long after he'd pointedly sworn off novel-writing.
One utterly minor emendation seems worth sharing, as it's hard not to enjoy despite Alec's horridness: on Alec's first appearance in the Wessex edition of the novel, he is described as having
an almost swarthy complexion, with full lips, badly moulded, though red and smooth, above which was a well-groomed black moustache with curled points, though his age could not be more than three- or four-and-twenty.At the time of the Grapic edition, however, his moustache had been less impressive:
a sooty fur represented for the present the dense black moustache that was to be.
All this reminds me of a letter from Tolstoy to his publisher, M. N. Katkov, that I read recently. Sent from Yasnaya Polyana on January 3, 1865, it accompanied the manuscript of the first part of War and Peace, which Tolstoy encouraged Katkov to publish, preferably in one part, and soon:
But of course you have your own considerations, and if you find it better to divide the first part, it can't be helped. But in that case, write and tell me whether you wish to have the 2nd part this year, i.e. this winter. It woudl be a nuisance for me to leave it until next autumn, since I can't hold on to waht I have written without correcting and revising it endlessly. . . . The manuscript is full of crossings out, and I do apologise, but as long as it's in my hands I revise it so much that it can't look any different.As I've said before: thank you, tireless textual scholars. Your loving drudgery is appreciated.