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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.

July, 1895.

"To sorrow
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 Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
General Fiction
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