Being a man not without a frequent consciousness that there was some beauty in this life he led, he stood still after looking at the sky as a useful instrument, and regarded it in an appreciative spirit, as a work of art superlatively beautiful.Far from the Madding Crowd p. 12
We’re sticking with the night sky for one more post. Gabriel Oak: quiet, confident, stoic even. Boldwood lives on a switch: practical or passionate—to a fault in both. Troy only lives for passion and to impress by that passion, and thus he is a coward with no substance to give. Oak, however is the complete man, doing what must be done while recognizing the beauty (or bigger picture?) behind it all. This night is just one example of how both utility and beauty co-exist, and how Oak is both the shepherd and husband that Bathsheba would need.