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Humanities Libertexts

10.5: The Ruined Maid

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    3180
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    Thomas Hardy

    “O ‘Melia[1], my dear, this does everything crown!
    Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
    And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?” —
    “O didn’t you know I’d been ruined?” said she.

    — “You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,
    Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks[2];
    And now you’ve gay bracelets and bright feathers three!” —
    “Yes: that’s how we dress when we’re ruined,” said she.

    — “At home in the barton[3] you said thee’ and thou,’
    And thik oon,’ and theäs oon,’ and t’other’; but now
    Your talking quite fits ‘ee for high compa-ny!” —
    “Some polish is gained with one’s ruin,” said she.

    — “Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak
    But now I’m bewitched by your delicate cheek,
    And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!” —
    “We never do work when we’re ruined,” said she.

    — “You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream,
    And you’d sigh, and you’d sock[4]; but at present you seem
    To know not of megrims[5] or melancho-ly!” —
    “True. One’s pretty lively when ruined,” said she.

    — “I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,
    And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!” —
    “My dear — a raw country girl, such as you be,
    Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t ruined,” said she.

    — 1901

    Contributors   


    1. Short and familiar form of Amelia. 
    2. Weeds. 
    3. Farmyard. 
    4. Sigh. 
    5. Low spirits. 
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