In Thomas Hardy's "A Trampwoman's Tragedy," a woman travels with her lover, Mother Lee and "jeering John." Based on the title, it seems these are people that travel from town to town, looking for handouts: food, shelter, etc. The speaker lists many places they see, traveling past places they have passed before:
We beat afoot the northward way
We had travelled times before.
It's easy to assume that the people who own these taverns know them. Some may be generous, but we get the sense that most are not. The trip is long: they cross water "unhelped by bridge" and are "stung by every Marshwood midge" (bug).
The speaker notes that her lover, "my fancy man," and she loved "lone inns...where folks might sit unseen." With little or no money, inns of higher repute would chase the poor, nonpaying guests out, but it sounds as if some would allow them to rest in the quiet shadows.
Then one day, the speaker plays a deadly game of teasing her lover by flirting with "jeering John"—simply out of...
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