'THROBBINGS OF NOONTIDE'
Serving on the committee to arrange for the Dorchester lecture was Hardy’s Dorchester acquaintance, Alfred Herbert (‘Bertie’) Evans, who operated a pharmacy near the King’s Arms Hotel. Evans was a man of many interests and skills, including music and dramatics, and it now occurred to him that it might add to the attractiveness of the lecture by A. M. Broadley if the programme could include a ‘dramatic interlude’ based on some of the pages of The Trumpet-Major. Evans
laid this proposal before Hardy; the novelist gave his approval; and Evans thereupon made a dramatic adaptation of the supper scene in the miller’s house in the fourth and fifth chapters of the novel. When February 8, 1908, arrived, the ‘dramatic interlude’ proved the hit of the evening. Evans thereupon decided to dramatize the entire novel, and by the following autumn he had his play ready. The Trumpet-Major wets given in Dorchester on November 18, 1908, and was a great success. This was the beginning of what developed into annual performances by ‘the Hardy players’, as the Dorchester Debating and Dramatic Society came eventually to be called.