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The Mellstock Quire
Thomas Hardy

Page 1 of 361

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THE MELLSTOCK QUIRE
A RURAL PAINTING OF THE DUTCH SCHOOL 

PREFACE 

This story of the Mellstock Quire and its old established west-
gallery musicians, with some supplementary descriptions of similar
officials in Two on a Tower, A Few Crusted Characters, and other
places, is intended to be a fairly true picture, at first hand, of
the personages, ways, and customs which were common among such
orchestral bodies in the villages of fifty or sixty years ago. 

One is inclined to regret the displacement of these ecclesiastical
bandsmen by an isolated organist (often at first a barrel-organist)
or harmonium player; and despite certain advantages in point of
control and accomplishment which were, no doubt, secured by
installing the single artist, the change has tended to stultify the
professed aims of the clergy, its direct result being to curtail and
extinguish the interest of parishioners in church doings.  Under the

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