Early on in the book, Jude gets interested in the selfish and practical Arabella, who employs pigs in a lot of her flirting tactics. In this extract, the pigs have escaped, and she's instructed Jude to help her catch it:
He set himself to assist, and dodged this way and that over the potato rows and the cabbages. Every now and then they ran together, when he caught her for a moment and kissed her. The first pig was got back promptly; the second with some difficulty; the third, a long-legged creature, was more obstinate and agile. He plunged through a hole in the garden fence, and into the lane.
'He'll be lost if I don't follow'n!' said she. 'Come along with me!'
I much prefer Arabella to Sue, or to Jude, to be honest. Arabella gives orders. She gets what she wants, and discards it when she's through. I don't think she's immoral - after all, she decides to lawfully marry her second husband (rather than live as a bigamist) because she feels he is her 'proper' husband and it's only fair. And she doesn't have a stroke every time she has to make a decision like that.
Jude and Sue are the opposite. And you just know they'd be a really annoying couple in modern life. They'd be fruitarians. They'd only wear hemp clothes and tell everyone how any form of marriage is slavery, and rant about Gap at dinner parties, and feel superior. And deep down, they'd still be really, really sad about something. Anything. Because life's not perfect, and we can't all be morally angelic.
Bum to it, I say. Life's too short to load your guilt on to your kids and then watch them hang themselves about it.
And yes, I am aware that I may have oversimplified this book.