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Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid

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By: (1840-1928)

A milkmaid, Margery, encounters a mysterious foreigner and perhaps prevents him from committing suicide. In gratitude, the man offers her any reward she can name. She tells him she wants to go to a ball. He takes her, admittedly a bit reluctantly, to a yeoman's ball in a neighboring county. From there the story continues because of course, a lot happens after the ball. She happens to already have an engagement to a local lad but his hold over her seems to grow of its own accord. This Hardy story may not end the way you wish, but that is often true of stories by this master writer.

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This etext was prepared from the 1920 Macmillan and Co. edition by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk.

THE ROMANTIC ADVENTURES OF A MILKMAID

by Thomas Hardy

CHAPTER I

It was half past four o'clock (by the testimony of the land surveyor, my authority for the particulars of this story, a gentleman with the faintest curve of humour on his lips); it was half past four o'clock on a May morning in the eighteen forties. A dense white fog hung over the Valley of the Exe, ending against the hills on either side.

But though nothing in the vale could be seen from higher ground, notes of differing kinds gave pretty clear indications that bustling life was going on there. This audible presence and visual absence of an active scene had a peculiar effect above the fog level. Nature had laid a white hand over the creatures ensconced within the vale, as a hand might be laid over a nest of chirping birds.

The noises that ascended through the pallid coverlid were perturbed lowings, mingled with human voices in sharps and flats, and the bark of a dog... Continue reading book >>


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