The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid Novel By Thomas Hardy: 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. These, followed by the slamming of a gate, explained as well as eyesight could have done, to any inhabitant of the district, that Dairyman Tucker’s under-milker was driving the cows from the meads into the stalls. When a rougher accent joined in the vociferations of man and beast, it would have been realized that the dairy-farmer himself had come out to meet the cows, pail in hand, and white pinafore on; and when, moreover, some women’s voices joined in the chorus, that the cows were stalled and proceedings about to commence.
A hush followed, the atmosphere being so stagnant that the milk could be heard buzzing into the pails, together with occasional words of the milkmaids and men.
‘Don’t ye bide about long upon the road, Margery. You can be back again by skimming-time.’
The rough voice of Dairyman Tucker was the vehicle of this remark. The barton-gate slammed again, and in two or three minutes a something became visible, rising out of the fog in that quarter.
The shape revealed itself as that of a woman having a young and agile gait. The colours and other details of her dress were then disclosed—a bright pink cotton frock (because winter was over); a small woollen shawl of shepherd’s plaid (because summer was not come); a white handkerchief tied over her head-gear, because it was so foggy, so damp, and so early; and a straw bonnet and ribbons peeping from under the handkerchief, because it was likely to be a sunny May day.
The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid Novel By Thomas Hardy
Name Of the Book: The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid
Name Of the Writer: #Thomas Hardy
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