And Troy’s deformities lay deep down from a woman’s vision, whilst his embellishments were upon the very surface: this contrasting with homely Oak, whose defects were patent to the blindest and whose virtues were as metals in a mine.

Far from the Madding Crowd p. 165

To take metals from a mine requires time and effort. We embellish stories to hide the plainness or worse yet the defects.  And it’s not that Troy didn’t know his defects. That was the real problem. He knew his defects wouldn’t attract a good woman, so he had to embellish the truth with personality, a uniform, and emotional manipulation. But even a little digging, even a few questions would have rubbed off the embellishments and showed them for what they were: makeup on a pig. 

The same is necessary to find the truth with Oak: time and attention. Do you see what time and effort produce in both instances? A reward. With Troy the reward is salvation from a horrid relationship. With Oak the reward is knowing a good man. 

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