|The Return of the Native
by Thomas Hardy
The date at which the following events are assumed to
have occurred may be set down as between 1840 and 1850,
when the old watering place herein called "Budmouth" still
retained sufficient afterglow from its Georgian gaiety
and prestige to lend it an absorbing attractiveness to
the romantic and imaginative soul of a lonely dweller inland.
Under the general name of "Egdon Heath," which has been
given to the sombre scene of the story, are united
or typified heaths of various real names, to the number
of at least a dozen; these being virtually one in character
and aspect, though their original unity, or partial unity,
is now somewhat disguised by intrusive strips and slices
brought under the plough with varying degrees of success,
or planted to woodland.
It is pleasant to dream that some spot in the extensive
tract whose southwestern quarter is here described,
may be the heath of that traditionary King of Wessex--Lear.
I bade good morrow,
And thought to leave her far away behind;
But cheerly, cheerly,
She loves me dearly;
She is so constant to me, and so kind.
I would deceive her,
And so leave her,
But ah! she is so constant and so kind."
THE THREE WOMEN
1 - A Face on Which Time Makes but Little Impression
A Saturday afternoon in November was approaching the time
of twilight, and the vast tract of unenclosed wild known
as Egdon Heath embrowned itself moment by moment.
Overhead the hollow stretch of whitish cloud shutting
out the sky was as a tent which had the whole heath
for its floor.
The heaven being spread with this pallid screen and the
earth with the darkest vegetation, their meeting-line
at the ...