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Interlopers at the Knap
Thomas Hardy

Page 1 of 193


INTERLOPERS AT THE KNAP 

CHAPTER I 

The north road from Casterbridge is tedious and lonely, especially
in winter-time.  Along a part of its course it connects with Long-
Ash Lane, a monotonous track without a village or hamlet for many
miles, and with very seldom a turning.  Unapprized wayfarers who are
too old, or too young, or in other respects too weak for the
distance to be traversed, but who, nevertheless, have to walk it,
say, as they look wistfully ahead, 'Once at the top of that hill,
and I must surely see the end of Long-Ash Lane!' But they reach the
hilltop, and Long-Ash Lane stretches in front as mercilessly as
before. 

Some few years ago a certain farmer was riding through this lane in
the gloom of a winter evening.  The farmer's friend, a dairyman, was
riding beside him.  A few paces in the rear rode the farmer's man.
All three were well horsed on strong, round-barrelled cobs; and to

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