"What Be You Here For?" by Charles S. Reinhart. 7 ¼ x 9 ½ inches (18.5 cm high by 24.5 cm wide). Chapter Nine of Thomas Hardy's "Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid" in The Graphic (Summer) 25 June 1883, 23.

Context of the Illustration: Margaery has to answer to her Father

A well-known step moved on the sanded floor within, and she went forward.  That she saw her father’s face before her, just within the door, can hardly be said: it was rather Reproach and Rage in a human mask.‘What! ye have dared to come back alive, hussy, to look upon the dupery you have practised on honest people! You’ve mortified us all; I don’t want to see ’ee; I don’t want to hear ’ee; I don’t want to know anything!"

He walked up and down the room, unable to command himself. "Nothing but being dead could have excused ’ee for not meeting and marrying that man this morning; and yet you have the brazen impudence to stand there as well as ever!  What be you here for?"

"I’ve come back to marry Jim, if he wants me to," she said faintly. "And if not — perhaps so much the better. I was sent for this morning early. I thought —." She halted.  To say that she had thought a man’s death might happen by his own hand if she did not go to him, would never do. "I was obliged to go," she said. "I had given my word."

"Why didn’t you tell us then, so that the wedding could be put off, without making fools o’ us?">/p>

Because I was afraid you wouldn’t let me go, and I had made up my mind to go."

"To go where?"

She was silent; till she said, "I will tell Jim all, and why it was; and if he’s any friend of mine he’ll excuse me." [Chapter IX, The Graphic, 4]

Related material

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Allingham, Philip V. "The Original Illustrations for Thomas Hardy's The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid." The Thomas Hardy Journal 16, 3 (October, 2000): 45-62.

Hardy, Thomas. "The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid." Illustrated by C. S. Reinhart. The Graphic (Summer) June 25 1883: 23; Harper's Weekly (14 July 1883): 437.

Purdy, Richard Little, and Michael Millgate, eds. Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy, Oxford: Clarendon, 1978-88. Vol. I (1840-92), 1978.

Ray, Martin. Thomas Hardy: A Textual Study of the Short Stories. London: Ashgate, 1997.

Created 27 September 2007

Last modified 7 August 2020