Tess of the d’Urbervilles summary By Thomas Hardy

Tess of the d’Urbervilles summary By Thomas Hardy

An Introductory Note:[Tess of the d’Urbervilles summary]

Tess of the d’Urbervilles, novel by Thomas Hardy, first published serially in bowdlerized form in the Graphic (July—December 1891) and in its entirety in book form (three volumes) the same year. It was subtitled A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented because Hardy felt that its heroine was a virtuous victim of a rigid Victorian moral code. Now considered Hardy’s masterwork, it departed from conventional Victorian fiction in its focus on the rural lower class and in its open treatment of sexuality and religion.


The impoverished peddler John Durbeyfield is shocked to discover that he is the direct descendent of nobility – the d’Urberville family . Meanwhile, his older daughter, Tess, dances in the May Day dance alongside the other girls in the village. It is here where she first exchanges looks with a young man. Her parents make the decision to send their daughter to the d’Urberville mansion, where they hope that the lady of the house will shower their daughter in riches. In reality, Mrs. d’Urberville is of no relation to Tess at all. He husband, Simon Stoke, changed his name to d’Urberville after his retirement. Tess is unaware of this, and when the lascivious Alec d’Urberville offers Tess as job tending to the birds on the d’Urberville homestead, Tess feels obligated to accept. She feels guilt for an accident involving the family horse and their loss of income. Tess goes on to spend several months working at the estate, growing to resent Alec for his continued attempts to seduce her. Eventually , Alec takes advantage of Tess in the woods one evening after a fair. Tess knows that she is not in love with Alec, so she returns to her family. Soon, she gives birth to Alec’s child, who is named Sorrow. Sorrow passes away not long after birth, and Tess spends the next year at home before deciding to seek work elsewhere. She eventually accepts a job as a milkmaid at the Talbothays Dairy. While there, she enjoys a time of contentment and is truly happy. She makes friends with three other milkmaids: Izzy, Retty and Marian. She eventually meets a man named Angel Clare, who she soon discovers was the man at the May Day Dance. Tess falls in love with Angel . They grow closer during her time at Talbothays, and eventually become engaged. Still, she is haunted by her past and struggles with whether or not she should tell Angel. Wanting to clear her mind, she writes him a letter and slips it under his door. But, the note slides under the carpet and Angel never receives it. Tess begins to struggle more.

She is unable to find decent work and soon has to accept a job at a dishevelled farm. She attempts to visit Angel’s family, but overhears them talking about Angel’s ‘poor marriage and leaves. She hears a wandering street preacher and is shocked to discover that it is, in fact, Alec d’Urberville, who has found Christianity with the help of Angel’s father, the Rev. Clare. Alec and Tess are each taken aback by this encounter and Alec pleads with Tess to never tempt him again. Not long after, he begs Tess to marry him, having turned his back on his faith. Tess’s sister, LizaLu, comes to tell her that their mother is on her deathbed and this forces Tess to return home in order to care for the dying woman. Her mother recovers, but when her father dies unexpectedly, the family ends up being evicted from their home. Alec offers to help, but Tess refuses. She knows that in taking his help, she would be obligated to him. Eventually, Angel decides to forgive his wife. He leaves for Brazil to find her. Instead, he finds her mother, who informs him that Tess has left for a village called Sandbourne. When he arrives, he finds Tess in a boarding house known as The Herons. He begs his wife to take him back, but soon finds that he is too late. Tess had returned to Alec d’Urberville. Angel leaves, heartbroken to the point of insanity. Tess goes upstairs and stabs Alec to death. When the landlady finds Alec, she reports the death to the authorities, but Tess has already left to find Angel. Angel promises to help Tess, however, he struggles to believe that she had actually killed Alec. The pair hide out in an empty mansion for the next few days, and then continue their travels. When they arrive in Stonehenge, Tess falls asleep, however, they are discovered the next morning by a search party. Tess is apprehended and sent to prison. Angel and Liza-Lu look on as a black flag is raised over the jail, alerting all to the execution of Tess.

An Analytical Summary:

1. Phase the First : Chapters 1 to 5 :

As he walks home to the village of Marlott, John Durbeyfield, a middle-aged man, meets Parson Tringham, who greets him as “Sir John.” When Durbeyfield asks the parson why he greets him in this manner, he answers that he recently learned that he is from the d’Urberville lineage, descended from Sir Pagan d’Urberville who fought with William the Conqueror. He tells Durbeyfield that if knighthood were hereditary, he would be Sir John. The d’Urberville family is now extinct, and the parson thinks of this only as demonstrating the mighty have fallen.

Durbeyfield was returning home during the May Day dance in which women of Marlott walked in procession in white gowns, holding willow wands and white flowers. Among the girls is Tess Durbeyfield, the daughter of John. Tess is no more handsome than the other girls, but has large, innocent eyes. She sees her father riding in a carriage singing that he has a great family vault in Kingsbere and knighted forefathers. Tess reprimands her friends for mocking her father. At this time Tess is a mere vessel of emotion untinctured by experience.’ She still has the local dialect, but also can affect more educated speech. Three young onlookers of superior class watch the women in the procession. The three are brothers (Angel, Felix, and Cuthbert) and consider asking the women to dance.

Mrs. Durbeyfield still has some of the freshness of youth, but it is faint. She speaks in the local dialect, and tells her daughter what John Durbeyfield learned that day. Mrs. Durbeyfield thinks that great things will come of this. She also tells Tess that John has fat around his heart, which could cause his death in ten years or ten days. He is now at Rolliver’s, and wants to rest before his journey tomorrow with a load of beehives. Now that Tess is home, Joan Durbeyfield can go to Rolliver’s to fetch her husband, but Joan herself does not return, so Tess sends her brother Abraham. Tess herself decides to go when Abraham does not return a half hour later,

Rolliver’s Inn is the only alehouse in the village, and can only boast of an off-license: nobody can legally drink on the premises, but this rule is often averted. Mrs. Durbeyfield had found her husband there bragging about his grand project for his family. He will send Tess to claim kin, for there is a lady of the name d’Urberville. John Durbeyfield admits that he has not told Tess this, but she is tractable and will do what he wishes. Joan Durbeyfield reminds her husband that there are many families that were once estimable and are now ordinary, but agrees to the arrangement. Tess arrives, and Abraham tells her that she will marry a gentleman. It is eleven o’clock when Tess gets her family to bed, and the next morning John is unable to go on his journey. Tess agrees to go with Abraham. On the way there, Abraham and Tess discuss how other stars are worlds just like Earth. Tess says that some worlds are splendid, but a few are blighted, and they decide that they are on a blighted one. Tess realizes the vanity of her father’s pride. Suddenly, the wagon stops and they find that the morning mail-cart has crashed into their horse, killing it. Tess blames herself, while Abraham blames it for living on a blighted star. Tess does not know how to break the news to her family, but John Durbeyfield takes the news stoically.

Distress looms in the distance because of the death of the horse. Joan Durbeyfield tells Tess about Mrs. d’Urberville living on the outskirts of The Chase, and tells Tess that she must go and claim kinship and ask for help. Tess is deferential, but she cannot understand why her mother should find such satisfaction in contemplating this enterprise. She suggesting getting work, but finally agrees to go. Tess leaves for The Chase, where she finds the home of the Stoke d’Urbervilles, as they are now called. A young man with an almost swarthy complexion answers the door, and claims to be Alec d’Urberville. He does not allow Tess to see his mother, for she is an invalid, but she tells him that she is a poor relation. Alec shows her the estate, and he promises that his mother will find a berth for her. He tells her not to bother with the Durbeyfield name, but she says she wishes for no better. Alec prepares to kiss her, but lets her go. Tess perceives nothing, but if she had she might have asked why she was doomed to be seen and coveted that day by the wrong man.

II. Phase the First : Chapters 6 to 9


Tess travels back home, suddenly aware of the “spectacle she presented” with roses in her hat and bosom. On Tess’s return Joan says she has received a letter informing her Tess has been offered a place looking after “a little fowl-farm” for Mrs. d’Urberville. Tess continues to dismiss the idea of marriage, saying instead, “I hope it a chance for earning money.” The note regarding her hiring indicates a cart will be sent for her in two days. The narrator notes, “Mrs. d’Urberville’s handwriting seemed rather masculine.” And Alec d’Urberville apparently has already called on the Durbeyfields.

With high hopes for an advantageous match for Tess, Joan dresses her daughter, who is reluctant about living with the d’Urbervilles but has been unable to find another option Tess, obedient and resigned to her situation, consents: “Do what you like with me, mother. With her mother insisting she look her best, Tess wears the white dress she wore for the ceremony in the opening chapters, and Joan fixes her hair so that it looks fuller than usual. When the cart arrives, so does a two-wheeled one-horse carriage driven by Alec. The youngest Durbeyfield child asks, “Is dat the gentleman-kinsman who’ll make Sissy a lady?” Tess goes with Alec to Trantridge, and her mother has some misgivings about Alec’s intentions toward her daughter, but she comforts herself that “if he doesn’t marry her afore he will after.”

. Alec is a reckless driver, insisting Tess hold onto him “round the waist” as they careen down a hill. At the second hill he instructs her to do so again. When she resists, he says he would like to kiss her lips or cheek. She resists again. When he shows no regard for her feelings, Tess notes, “I—thought you would be kind to me, and protect me, as my kinsman!” He dismisses this statement, and again she insists, “I don’t want anybody to kiss me.” He presses a kiss to her cheek, and she wipes off the trace of him. Offended by her gesture, he tries yet again to get her to let him kiss her. Tess uses the excuse of retrieving her hat, which has blown off, and disembarks. Once out of the carriage, she refuses to get back in, choosing to walk the remaining “five or six miles.” Alec’s temper evaporates as Tess gets angrier, and he offers he will “never do it anymore against your will,” but she doesn’t believe him. She contemplates returning home but doesn’t want to break her .

Tess settles in at the gardener’s cottage, rearranging things. She is summoned the birds—to see Mrs. d’Urberville, who is blind and wants to inspect her fowl. The older woman would like Tess to whistle for the birds, so Tess sets out to learn to do so. Tess meets Alec again, who asks about her thoughts on his mother, tries to teach her to whistle, and invites Tess to come to him if she has difficulties or needs help. Unaware Mrs. d’Urberville has not been told that Tess is a relative, Tess settles into a routine. 


III. Phase the First : Chapters 10 & 11

The village of Trantridge demonstrates a particular levity and its residents hard. The chief pleasure of many residents is going to Chaseborough, a decaying market town several miles away. Tess did not join in the weekly pilgrimages, but under pressure from matrons not much older than herself, she finally consents to go. During one trip there, she finds Alec d’Urberville also in town, and he promises to see her again. Tess goes on alone and finds a barn where the residents are dancing. Tess does not abhor dancing, but she did not want to do so, for the movement of the dancers grew more passionate. Tess finds Alec again, but she refuses his offers of assistance home. Tess goes to the other girls, one of whom is Car Darch, nicknamed the Queen of Spades, and her sister, Nancy, nicknamed Queen of Diamonds. Car carries a wicker-basket containing her mother’s groceries on the top of her head, and a stream of treacle had dripped down below her waist. All of the other girls laugh at Car, including Tess. However, Car notices Tess and confronts her. Car begins to disrobe to fight Tess, but Tess refuses and says that if she knew that Car was of that sort, she would not have consented to come with such a whorage. Car merely insults and continuously berates Tess, making her feel indignant and ashamed. Alec finds Tess once again, and he tells Tess to come with him. As Alec rescues Tess, Car’s mother laughs, realizing that Tess has gotten out of the frying pan and into the fire.


Tess admits to Alec that she is much obliged to him. He asks her why she dislikes him kissing her, and she says it is because she doesn’t love him, and is angry with him sometimes. Alec did not object to this confession, because he prefers her anger to frigidity. He asks if he has offended her by love-making, and she says sometimes. She does not answer when he asks if she is offended every time he tries. Tess is weary, and nearly falls asleep on Alec’s shoulder. Alec stops the horse and encloses her waist with his arm to support her, which immediately puts her on the defensive. When she pushes him away, he calls her devilish unkind, for he means no harm. He asks if she can show her belief in him by letting him clasp her with his arm. She finally submits and allows him to do so. Later on their journey, Tess finds that Alec has prolonged the ride home, and they are now in The Chase, the oldest wood in England. Tess calls him treacherous, and asks him to let her down so she may walk home. He agrees to let her walk home only after he finds a nearby house and ascertains their distance from Trantridge. Alec gives her overcoat and walks away. In the meantime, he goes to ascertain which quarter of The Chase he is actually in, for he had purposely ridden at random. He returns to Tess and finds her sleeping. Tess’ ‘guardian angel is nowhere to be seen, and Tess is seduced by Alec d’Urberville.

IV. Phase the Second : Chapters 12 to 15

A month later after the attack, Tess leaves Trantridge and her job at the d’Urberville home. Alec overtakes her, asks her to return, and says if she won’t he’ll take her the rest of the way to Marlott. He admits he was wrong and offers her money, “ready to pay to the uttermost farthing. You know you need not work in the fields or the dairies again. You know you may clothe yourself with the best, instead of in the bald plain way you have lately affected, as if you couldn’t get a ribbon more than you earn.” Tess refuses. After Alec drops her off, she meets a painter, who is painting gloomy religious texts. She asks him, “Suppose your sin was not of your own seeking?” whereupon the painter directs her to Mr. Clare for guidance. When Tess returns home, she tells her mother what Alec did to her. Joan chastises Tess for not getting Alec to marry her. She points out they are struggling and accuses Tess of caring only for herself. Tess is appalled by the idea of marriage to Alec and counters her mother’s complaints by asking why her mother hadn’t better prepared her for the dangers of men. Her mother admits she was afraid Tess would push Alec away if she were aware of his interest. “I thought if I spoke of his fond feelings and what they might lead to, you would be hontish wi’ him and lose your chance.”

Driven by curiosity and rumors, people come to visit Tess and talk about her behind her back. Tess falls into depression. After several weeks she attends church and starts going on solitary walks to be alone with the landscape and nature.

The narrator describes the landscape, the fields, and the work of harvesting corn with a threshing machine. Tess is in the field working along with others. During a break Tess’s sister brings a “bundle” to Tess. The bundle is Tess’s child, whom she unwraps and nurses, then begins to kiss “violently.” One of the women remarks Tess will eventually stop saying she wishes she and the child were in the churchyard—despite Tess’s despair, she is fond of the baby. The narrator notes that although Tess feels censure and shame, these feelings are only hers, for “To all humankind … Tess was only a passing thought.” No sooner does she arrive home than disaster strikes: her child, who has been sickly since birth, is very ill and “about to die.” Tess is frantically worried for the baby, who has never been baptized (in Anglican Christianity, baptism is required to enter heaven). Her father refuses to allow the vicar in and locks the doors, so she decides to baptize her own child. With her family as witnesses, Tess baptizes her son, christening him “Sorrow.” He dies in the morning. She goes to the vicar to ask if her baptism will be “the same” as if he himself had performed it; although the answer is clearly “no” in Christian doctrine, he is moved and tells her it will be “just the same.” She asks for a Christian burial, and he initially refuses, thinking that it was Tess, not her father, who refused the baptism. Eventually, for “a shilling and a pint of beer to the sexton” the child is buried in the churchyard at night in secret.

The events of the last “year or two” have changed Tess, and she has become a “complex woman.” She decides to leave her village for a new life and in doing so makes plans to work as a dairymaid at Talbothays, a farm near the former estates of the d’Urbervilles. Tess has matured physically as well, becoming “what would have been called a fine creature; her aspect was fair and arresting; her soul that of a woman whom the turbulent experiences of the last year or two had quite failed to demoralize.”

Chapters 16 to 20 :


Tess leaves home for the second time, deciding that were she to remain, her younger siblings would probably gain less good by her precepts than harm by her example. On the way to Talbothays, Tess passes Kingsbere, the area in which her ancestors lay entombed. She dismisses ideas about her ancestors, realizing that she has as much of her mother as her father in her. Tess arrives at the dairy around milking time, half-past four in the morning.

Tess begins milking with the other milkers, including the master dairyman, Richard Crick, who introduces himself to Tess and inquires after her family. Crick knows a little about the d’Urbervilles, but Tess dismisses the ideas that she comes from an esteemed family. Later, while Tess is on a break with the other workers, Crick tells a story about an aged man named William Dewy who was chased by a bull, but played a Christmas Eve hymn for the bull on his fiddle, causing it to lay down as if it were in a Nativity scene. After Crick tells the story, a young man remarks that the story is a reminder of medieval times, when faith was a living thing. The young man is Angel Clare, with whom Tess danced years ago. Later, Tess inquires about Angel, and another milkmaid tells her that Angel is learning milking and never says much. Since he is a parson’s son, he is too taken with his thoughts to notice girls. Angel’s father is Reverend Clare at Emminster, and all of his sons except for Angel are clergymen.

Angel Clare has a nebulous, preoccupied quality, for he is a man with no very definite aim or concern about his material future. The youngest son of his father, a poor parson, he is at Talbothays to acquire a practical skill in the various processes of farming. His father had married his mother late in life, and his brothers had each acquired a university degree, even though Angel was the one whose promise might have done full justice to academic training. Before Angel met Tess at the dance in Marlott years before, a parcel came to Reverend Clare from the bookseller. This book was a philosophical work that prompts an argument between Angel and his father in which he admits that he does not want to be a minister. Since he was not to be ordained, Mr. Clare did not send Angel to Cambridge. Angel instead spent years in desultory studies, undertakings and meditations, beginning to evince considerable indifference to social forms and observances. He began to despise the distinctions of rank and wealth. Angel now takes great delight in the companionship at Talbothays: the conventional farm-folk of his imagination were obliterated in favor of more respectable people. Angel had grown away from old associations and now sees something new in life and humanity, making close acquaintance with natural phenomena. Tess and Angel discuss whether or not one’s soul can leave his body while alive, and he finds her to be a fresh and virginal daughter of nature. He seems to discern in her something familiar that carries him back to a joyous past.

Since cows tend to show a fondness for particular milkers, Dairyman Crick insists on breaking down these partialities by constant interchange, yet the milkers themselves prefer to stay with particular cows. Angel Clare begins to arrange the cows so that Tess may milk her favorite ones. She mentions this to Angel, yet later regrets that she disclosed to him that she learned of his kindness. Tess hears Angel playing at his harp, and when she finds him she admits that she has no fear of the wilderness, but has more indoor fears. Angel admits that he thinks that the hobble of being alive is rather serious. Tess cannot understand why a man of clerical family and good education should look upon it as a mishap to be alive. She realizes that he is at the dairy so that he may become a rich dairyman. Angel asks Tess if she would like to take up a course of study, but she tells him that sometimes she does not want to know anything more about history than she actually does. Later, Tess learns from Dairyman Crick that Angel has scorn for the descendants of many noble families. After hearing this caricature of Clare’s opinions Tess is glad that she had not said a word about her family.

Tess had never in her recent life been so happy and would possibly never be so happy again. She and Tess stand between predilection and love. For Angel, Tess represents a visionary essence of woman, and calls her Artemis, Demeter, and other fanciful names, but she insists that he call her simply Tess. Tess seems to exhibit a dignified largeness of disposition and physique. The two are always the first to awake at the dairy house, where they feel an impressive isolation, as if they are Adam and Eve.

VI. Phase the Third : Chapters 21 to 24 :

The butter will not churn, and the dairy is in disarray as a result. Dairyman Crick makes plans to see a conjuror. His wife suggests the butter will not churn because “somebody in the house is in love I’ve heard tell in my younger days that that will cause it.” Dairyman Crick uses her comment to explain it was not love that made the churn fail to work but the actions of a man. He tells a story of a woman wronged by a man-Jack Dollop—who left her and how she and her mother came after him. Tess is shaken by the story, although no one notices or suspects anything. The butter churns finally. Afterward, Tess hears three of the maids talking about Angel and how they all fancy him, but he fancies Tess. She feels guilt on learning of his feelings because she has resolved never to marry.

Dairyman Crick has received a letter in which a customer complains the butter has a tang, which he determines to be a result of garlic. He sends the workers out to find the invasive garlic weeds in the field. Angel has offered to help and “not … by accident that he walked next to Tess.” When they have a moment of privacy-afforded to them by Dairyman Crick who suggests she rested for a while she draws his attention to the dairymaids Izz Huett and Retty Priddle. Bluntly Tess suggests he “marry one of them, if you want a dairy woman and not a lady; and don’t think of marrying me!” She then keeps her distance from him.

It i5 July, and Tess has been at Talbothays for two months. She and the other three maids are going to Mellstock Church, three to four miles away . On the way they discover the road is flooded. They come across Angel, who pauses to look at the four women and offers to carry them across the water . He carries the first three across, leaving Tess for last in order to have time alone with her, unseen by the other girls. Afterward the others tease Tess; she admits to herself she loves him but tells the others she’ll stay out of their way. However, it is obvious that Angel is only interested in Tess. In conversation Izz wonders about the woman Angel’s family has chosen for him to marry. On hearing this Tess decides his interest in her is no more than fleeting.

July passes, and Angel is troubled by his interest in Tess, who is silent to morning as Tess is milking her cow and looking far away into the meadow, Angel studies her at length and in detail. Moments pass, and suddenly he embraces her. He stops before kissing her and apologizes for not asking. He professes devotion to her. The cow, Old Pretty, is startled and lifts her foot to kick the milk. Tess starts crying. Angel explains his feelings, adding he won’t press her if these feelings upset her.

VII. Phase  Chapters 25 to 30 :

That night, after Tess retires to her chamber, Angel goes outside, not knowing what to think of himself. Angel and Tess had kept apart since their embrace that afternoon. Angel is shocked to find how great the obscure dairy where he works means to him. To Angel, everything exists through Tess. Angel decides to discuss Tess with his friends, thinking that in less than five months his term at Talbothays will be over and after a few months at other farms he will be fully equipped in agricultural knowledge and in a position to start a farm himself. At that point he would want a wife who would understand farming. One morning Dairyman Crick tells his milkers that Angel has gone to Emminster to spend a few days with his family. Crick expects that Angel will not remain long at Talbothays. Angel returns home, where he finds near his father’s church a woman wearing a broadbrimmed hat and attempts to avoid her. The young lady is Mercy Chant, whom his parents hoped would marry Angel. Reverend Clare is a clergymen of a type that had nearly died out, a spiritual descendant of Luther and Calvin, an Evangelical of Evangelicals. Among his family, Angel has become to seem more like a farmer and behaves less in the manner of a scholar. After breakfast Angel walks with his brothers, two men who wear whatever glasses are fashionable without reference to their affect on their vision, and who carry pocket copies of Wordsworth when he is fashionable, and Shelley when he is. His brothers notice Angel’s growing social ineptness as he notice their growing mental limitations. At dinner that night, Mrs. Clare tells Angel that she has given away the black-pudding that Mrs. Crick sent as a gift to local children, while they will not drink the mead that Mrs. Crick sent, for it is too alcoholic and they never drink spirits at the table on principle. When Angel suggests that he will say to the Cricks that the family enjoyed the gifts, Mr. Clare insists that Angel tell them the truth.

Angel discusses with his father his plans for attaining or one of the Colonies. Reverend Clare feels that it is his duty to set up a sum of money for Angel, for he did not pay for him to go to university. When Angel mentions marriage, Reverend Clare suggests Mercy Chant, but Angel says that it would be more practical to have a woman who can work as a farmer. Angel mentions that he has found a possible Clare asks if she is from a respectable family. Mrs. Clare insists on Mercy wife, and Mrs.

Chant, claiming that she has accomplishments. Angel claims that Tess is full of actualized poetry, and an unimpeachable Christian. Reverend Clare tells Angel a story about a young man with the last name d’Urberville, known for his rakish behavior. Reverend Clare had confronted him when he was preaching at another church, and the two nearly got into a brawl. Angel finds that he cannot accept his parents’ narrow dogma, but he reveres his father’s practice and recognizes the heroism under the piety.

Angel returns to Talbothays, where he finds Tess, who has recently awakened. Angel tells Tess that he shall soon want to marry, and asks Tess if she will be his wife. Tess declares that she cannot be his wife, and she claims that the reason is that his father is a parson and his mother wouldn’t want her to marry him. He counters these objections, telling her that he has discussed the matter with his parents. Angel then recounts the story that his father told him about Alec d’Urberville, not mentioning the actual name, and when he asks Tess about marriage once more she says that it cannot be.

Tess’s refusal does not permanently daunt Clare, knowing that the negative is often the preface to a later affirmative. Angel asks Tess if she loves another man, but she says that this is not the reason for her refusal. She says that it is for his own good. Tess wonders why nobody has told Angel the entirety of Tess’s history. When Angel asks Tess once more, she tells him that she will tell him all about himself. She vows to tell him on Sunday. Tess feels that she cannot help giving in and marrying Angel, but feels that it is wrong and it may kill Angel when he finds out about her.

Dairyman Crick tells the milkers at breakfast that Jack Dollop just got married to a widow-woman, and never married the matron’s daughter. However, by marrying the widow lost her yearly allowance. Mrs. Crick remarks that the widow should have told Jack sooner that the ghost of her first husband would trouble him. Beck Knibbs, a married helper from one of the cottages, says that she was justified in not telling him, for all is fair in love and war. For Tess, what is comedy to her fellow workers is tragedy to her. Tess refuses Angel once more. Dairyman Crick sends Angel to go to the station, and Tess agrees to accompany him.

Tess and Angel travel together on the carriage to the station. Tess considers the various Londoners and such who will drink the milk that they are bringing to the station. Angel once again asks Tess to marry him. Tess finally begins to tell Angel her history. She tells him that she is not a Durbeyfield, but a d’Urberville. He dismisses that information as insignificant. He claims that he hates the aristocratic principle of blood, but is interested in this news. Angel claims that he rejoices in the d’Urberville descent, for Tess’s sake. Angel vows to spell Tess’s name correctly from this very day, and calls her Teresa d’Urberville.” Tess finally assents to marry Angel. Angel realizes when he saw Tess first, at the dance at Marlott.

VIII. Phase the Fourth : Chapters 31 to 34 :

Durbeyfield, in reply to her daughter’s letter, advises Tess not to “say a word of your Bygone Trouble to him … Many a woman-some of the Highest in the Land-have had a Trouble in their time; and why should you Trumpet yours when others don’t Trumpet theirs? No girl would be such a Fool, specially as it is so long ago, and not your Fault at all.” Tess is struck by Angel’s calm affection, more ethereal and imaginative than passionate. Angel and Tess both openly seek out the other’s companionship. 

it as they spend the month of October in this way. One evening when they are inside, exclaims she is not worthy of him. Angel tries to calm her, and she laments he wasn’t taking notice of her when he was first in her village four years earlier . Angel presses for the date of the wedding, and she tries to stall. While they are talking, the Cricks, Retty, and Marian return. Angel tells them he is marrying Tess. Later when Tess is with the other dairymaids-Retty, Izz, and Marian—she again says Angel ought to marry one of them.

As Angel continues to press for a wedding date, Tess agrees to marry him on the last day of the year. However, on a Sunday in mid-December, Izz pulls Tess aside and tells her the wedding banns were not called and only two Sundays remain before the wedding day. When Tess asks Angel about the banns, he tells her he’s decided they’ll be married with a license rather than banns, as it is more private. Angel gets Tess a dress, gloves, and handkerchief, and she worries that-like Queen Guinevere-her white dress will change color and betray her lack of purity. Tess is continually fearful of bad omens and actions that bring bad luck, like postponing the wedding. 

Angel decides he would like a day out with Tess before they are Eve they set out to town. There they encounter two men from Trantridge, one of whom insults Tess. Angel punches him. The man apologizes, saying it must have been a mistake, but after Angel and Tess leave the offender tells his friend it was not. When Tess, unnerved, asks to put off the wedding, Angel says they can’t. At the dairy farm they separate, and Tess hears a noise. When she goes to check on Angel, he tells her he dreamed of fighting the man they encountered earlier that evening. Tess returns to her room and writes four pages detailing the events of several years ago; she then slips the sealed letter under his door. Angel greets her warmly the next morning and does not mention the letter. Worried he hasn’t read it, Tess checks his room and does not see it. She thinks it means he has forgiven her. Angel continues this way up to the day of the wedding on New Year’s Eve, when she discovers the letter still sealed and stuck under the carpet. Unable to let him read it on their wedding day, she destroys the letter. In a moment alone with him she says she wants to confess her faults and mistakes. He says they’ll have time afterward. She presses to tell him, but he says no. They go to the church, and Angel mentions the legend of the d’Urberville coach-a vaguely remembered tale of a terrible crime once committed in a d’Urberville’s carriage, which descendants of the family see as an apparition. None of Angel’s family come to the wedding; his parents are disappointed in his choice of a bride, and his brothers have not responded to his announcement and invitation. Nor are Tess’s family and friends from Marlott present. Tess asks him to kiss each of the milkmaids once before the wedding, and he does.

After the wedding Angel and Tess go to the bridal residence and has portraits of women from the family hanging on the walls. He notes she is clearly one of them, and they await their luggage. While they wait for a package comes from Angel’s father. In it are a necklace, earrings, and bracelets for Tess from Angel’s godmother. Tess puts on the jewels, and Angel is struck by her beauty. Jonathan delivers the luggage, along with the story of the dairymaids. Betty tried to kill herself, and Marian got drunk. Tess feels another swell of guilt because they are mourning the loss of Angel, and she resolves to tell him her story. Angel tells her he hadn’t wanted to confess until after the wedding, but he reveals he sinned, spending 48 hours in debauchery with a Tess tells him she too has secrets, and the chapter closes with her revealing them.


IX. Phase the Fifth : Chapters 35 to 39 :

Tess finishes her story, which she had given in a monotone and without any displays of emotion. She watches the flame in the fireplace flicker, as everything around her seems to mock her situation with its lack of response. Angel stirs the fire, having not yet comprehended the events. His face withers as he cries out that this cannot be true. She begs for forgiveness, for she has forgiven him the same. Angel claims that forgiveness is irrelevant, for she was one person before and now is another. He calls her another woman in her shape. She bursts into tears as she asks whether or not she still belongs to him anymore. Tess vows not to do anything unless he orders her, and vows to behave as a wretched slave and die if he so desires. He tells her that there is a discordance between her present mood of self-sacrifice and her past mood of self-preservation. Angel leaves the room for a walk. Tess follows him, but the two say nothing. Finally she asks what she has done, saying that it is his mind that has changed and that she is not the deceitful woman that he thinks she is. She claims that she was a child when it happened and knew nothing of men. He claims he forgives her, but forgiveness is not all. Tess says that her mother has told her of many cases in which similar situations occur, in which the husband survives and still loves the wife. Angel claims that his situation is one for satirical laughter rather than tragedy, and asks Tess to return to the house to go to bed. Angel returns later to find her sleeping soundly. He turns to leave and sees a portrait of a d’Urberville lady that appears sinister.

Angel arises at dawn; the neighboring cottager’s wife knocks on the door, but he sends her away because her presence is awkward. Angel prepares breakfast, and the two behave civilly to one another, although the pair are “but ashes of their former fires.” Angel asks again if it is true, and he asks if the man is still in England. Tess says that he can get rid of her by divorcing her; her confession has given him adequate grounds for that. She tells him that she thought of putting an end to herself under the mistletoe, but did not because she felt it would cause scandal. Tess continues to do chores around the house for Angel while he visits a local miller, but he scolds her for behaving as a servant and not a wife. Tess breaks into tears, claiming that she had told him that she was not respectable enough to marry him, but he urged her. Her tears would have broken any man but Angel Clare, whose affection masks a hard, logical deposit like a vein of metal that blocks his acceptance of Tess as it blocked his acceptance of the Church. He tells her that it is not a question of respectability, but one of principle. Angel tells Tess that it is imperative that they should stay together to avoid scandal, but it is only for the sake of form. Angel tells Tess that he cannot live with Tess without despising himself and despising her. He considers what their possible children may think. She considers arguing that in Texas or Australia, nobody will know about her misfortunes, but she accepts the momentary sentiment as inevitable. Angel’s love is doubtless ethereal to a fault, imaginative to impracticability. He orders her to go away from him, and she says that she can go home. She claims that she has convinced him and that she thinks it best.

At midnight, Angel enters the bedroom to find Tess, who was asleep. Standing still, he murmurs in an indescribably sad tone “dead, dead, dead.” Angel occasionally walks in his sleep as he does now. Tess sees this continued mental distress. Angel bends low and encloses Tess in his arms, and rolls her the sheet as in a shroud. He lifts her from the bed and carries her across the room, murmuring “my dearest darling Tess! So

sweet so good, 50 truel.” He leans her against the banister as if to throw her down, but rather kisses her and descends the staircase. Tess cannot determine Angel’s ultimate intention, but finally realizes that he is dreaming about the Sunday when he carried her across the water with the other milkmaids. He carries her near the river, and she believes he may drown her. He walks through the shallow areas of the river carrying her, but they reach the other side in safety; if she had awakened him, they would have fallen into the gulf and both died. Angel carries her to the empty stone coffin of an abbot, where he lays Tess and then falls down asleep. Tess sits up in the coffin, but does not awake Angel out of fear that he may die if awakened from sleep-walking. She walks him back to the house and induces him to lay down on the sofa bed. The next morning, Angel seems to know nothing about the previous night’s events. The two leave Wellbridge to return to Talbothays to pay a visit to the Cricks. At Talbothays, Tess learns that Marian and Retty have left Talbothays, and she fears they will come to no good. After Tess and Angel leave, Mrs. Crick remarks how unnatural the two look, as if they were in a dream. Angel tells Tess that he has no anger, and he will let her know where he is going as soon as he himself knows. He tells her that until he comes to her she should not come to him, and that she should write if she is ill or if she wants anything. 

Tess returns to Marlott, where a turnpike-keeper tells how has married a gentleman farmer and the Durbeyfields have since been celebrating. Tess attempts to arrive at home unobserved, but cannot. She sees a girl whom she knew from school and claims that her husband is now away at business. When Tess arrives at home, she admits to her mother that she told Angel about her past. Tess claims that she could not so sin against him, but Joan replies that she sinned enough to marry him first. Tess finds that there is no place for her at home anymore; her old bed is now used by two of the younger children. Her father is a foot-hagler now, having sold his second horse. When John finds out what has happened to Tess, he laments the humiliation he will receive, and claims that he will put an end to himself. Tess decides to stay only a few days, and receives a letter from Angel informing her that he had gone to the north of England to look for a farm. Tess uses this as a reason to leave Marlott, claiming that she will join Angel. Before she leaves, she gives half of the fifty pounds Angel has given her to her mother, as a slight return for the humiliation she had brought upon them. father’s parsonage.

Three weeks after the marriage, Angel returns to his conduct has been desultory, and his mood became one of dogged indifference. He wonders if he had treated Tess unfairly, and returns to Emminster to disclose his plan to his parents and to best explain why he has arrived without Tess without revealing the actual cause of their separation. Angel tells his parents that he has decided to go to Brazil. They regret that they could not have met his wife and that they did not attend the wedding. Mrs. Clare questions Angel about Tess, asking if he was her first love, and if she is pure and virtuous without question. He answers that she is. The Clares read a chapter in Proverbs praise of a virtuous wife. After reading the chapter, Mrs. Clare thinks about how the passage so well describes the woman Angel has chosen. Angel can no longer bear this, and goes to his chamber. Mrs. Clare follows him, thinking that something wrong. He admits to his mother that he and his wife have had a difference. Mrs. Clare senses that Tess is a young spotless. Angel woman whose history will bear investigation, but he replies that she perceives his own limitations, knowing that he is a slave to custom and conventionality. what Tess was not, he had overlooked what she was.


X. Phase the Fifth : Chapters 40 to 44 :

Angel briefly encounters Mercy Chant, the girl his father hoped he would marry, and teases her. He then returns to Wellbridge Farm, where he and Tess spent the days after their wedding, to return the keys and attend to last-minute business. There he encounters Izz Huett who has come to call on the couple. In their few minutes of conversation she informs him she no longer works at the dairy and Marian has taken to drink. He knows Izz is in love with him and asks her to accompany him to Brazil. When she immediately accepts, knowing the situation and its consequences—and being an honest woman who became more so under Tess’s influence-she tells him, “nobody could love ‘ee more than Tess did! … She would have laid down her life for ‘ee. I could do no more.” Angel, deeply affected, withdraws his invitation and leaves her, but he is no less determined to go his own way.

Eight months have passed since Tess and Angel separated. Tess has left Marlott and is now alone and out of money. She has worked at a dairy but lost her position as autumn and the rains came. Out of pride Tess has hidden her situation from her family, so when Joan writes asking for help, Tess sends her 20 of the 30 pounds due her from Angel’s banker. She considers contacting Angel’s father but decides against doing so, again out of pride and fear “they would despise her in the character of a mendicant.” Meanwhile, Angel is in Brazil and sick with fever. Tess travels to a farm recommended to her in a letter from Marian. Along the way she encounters the man whom Angel fought with, who knew of her from Trantridge. She also comes across dead and dying pheasants, who have been shot by hunters. Several of these she puts out their misery, crying as she does so.

Tess travels to Chalk-Newton. At an inn she is made uncomfortable by men commenting on her good looks—including the man from Trantridge whom Angel hit for making coarse remarks about her, who teases her about the event. She goes outside, cuts off her eyebrows, and hides her face in a kerchief to stop men from looking at her, as she wants nothing to do with any of them. She reaches Marian, who presses her to find out what has happened; Tess refuses to give details and asks her to either tell people that she’s married nor say anything against Angel. Marian tells her work on the farm is not pleasant and escorts her to the farmer’s house. Tess signs a contract to stay until Old Lady-Day (March 25). After she finds a place to live, she writes to her parents to give them her new address but still does not tell them of her situation.

The farm, Flintcomb-Ash, is ‘a starve-acre place,” farmed by the villagers and neglected by an absentee lord. Tess joins Marian in the fields. Work-cutting swedes (another word for rutabagas)—is hard and made harder with the rain. Marian offers some drink, but Tess refuses. They reminisce about working at Talbothays, and Marian decides to write to both Izz and Retty. Izz agrees to join them. Tess continues to refuse to talk about Angel, although she does blow a kiss in the direction she assumes South America to be. Izz arrives as do Car Darch, the Queen of Spades, and her sister, the Queen of Diamonds, from Trantridge. Neither Darch sister seems to remember Tess. However, Tess is taken aback when she discovers her employer is Farmer Groby, the same man from Trantridge who made her uncomfortable on the road and the one with whom Angel fought defending her honor. The subject of Angel’s departure resurfaces, upsetting Tess. Izz and Marian offer to finish her task when she flags. Later when Izzie leaves, Marian is still drinking and tells Tess about Angel inviting Izz to go with him. Tess blames herself and says she ought to have written to Angel more often, so she starts a letter. She fails to finish it because of doubt, but she wears her wedding ring all night.

A year has passed since Tess and Angel wed. Tess decides to visit his 15 miles away. When she arrives after having walked the distance, she hides her work boots and puts on the ones Angel bought for her. She overhears Cuthbert and Felix, who discuss Angel and his unfortunate marriage to a dairymaid–from whom, they muse, he seems to still be separated. They meet Mercy Chant, who sees the walking boots and assumes that a beggar has thrown them out in order to seem more destitute: she takes them to give away to charity. Tess does not speak to Mr. and Mrs. Clare, but instead she leaves. As she is leaving she hears of a “ranter”-an itinerant preacher and upon overhearing the man in question delivering a fiery but not particularly eloquent sermon, she discovers him to be Alec d’Urberville.


XI. Phase the Sixth : Chapters 45 to 49 :

Alec d’Urberville appears with the same unpleasantness, but now has a neatly mustache and a half-clerical dress. Alec has not been reformed, but rather transfigured, his passion for religious devotion instead of sensuality. Tess feels that this change is unnatural, although Christianity has a pattern of great sinners becoming great saints. Alec approaches her and tells her that his duty is to save, and there is no person to whom he has a greater duty than Tess. Tess asks him if he has saved himself, for charity begins at home. He says indifferent that he has done nothing and that no amount of contempt will equal what he has brought upon himself. Alec mentions Reverend Clare, who has been his religious inspiration since confronting Alec. She tells Alec that she does not believe his conversion, for a better man does not believe as much as Alec claims. Alec tells Tess that he should not look at her too often, for women’s faces have too much power over him already. The two reach the point called Cross-in-Hand, named for a stone pillar that once stood there. Alec asks her who has taught her such proper English, and she claims that she has learned things in her troubles. She tells him about Sorrow, which shocks him. He asks Tess to swear on the Cross-in-Hand that she will never tempt him by her charms and ways. Upon leaving Tess, Alec opens a letter from Reverend Clare that expresses joy at Alec’s conversion. Tess asks a shepherd the meaning of the Cross-in-Hand, and he says that it is no holy cross, but rather a medieval torture device and a place of ill omen. . Tess sees a man approach as she -trimmed Several days pass since Tess’s journey to Emminster works; it is not Farmer Groby, her employer, but rather Alec d’Urberville. Alec claims that he has a good reason for violating Tess’s request that he not see her. He tells her that he now sees that she suffers from hard conditions, which she did not know earlier because he saw her in her best dress. He tells her that her case was the worst he was ever concerned in, and he had no idea of what resulted until their encounter days before. He takes the blame for the ordeal, but says that it is a shame that parents bring up girls ignorant of the wicked. He tells her that he has lost his mother since Tess left Trantridge :id he intends to devote himself to missionary work in Africa. He asks Tess if she will be his wife and accompany her. He tells Tess that his mother’s dying wish was for Alec to be married, and he presents Tess with a marriage license. Tess admits to Alec that she is already married, and claims that she and Alec are now strangers. As Tess attempts to inpiain her situation, Alec calls her a deserted wife and he grabs her hand. She asks Alec name of his own Christianity.

When Farmer Groby leaves, Tess says that Farmer Groby will not hurt her, because he’s not in love with her. That night, Tess writes a letter to Angel, concealing her hardships. Tess sees Alec again, and he remarks that Tess seems to have no religion, perhaps owing to him. She says that she believes in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, but she does not believe other details. Alec dismisses her opinions as merely those of her husband. He claims that Angel must be an infidel. Alec gives Tess a poster giving the time when he would preach, but daims that he would rather be with Tess. Alec claims that Tess has the means of his backsliding, and accuses her of tempting him.

A man comes to see Tess, and her three companions watch. They do not recognize the man as Alec, however, for Alec does not appear as a ranting parson, as they have heard him described, but rather as a dandy. Alec has returned to his normal appearance, wearing fancy clothing once more and shaving off his beard. Alec claims that he has given up his preaching entirely. Alec tells Tess that he does not want her working at Flintcomb-Ash. He derides Tess’s husband, whose name he does not know, as a “mythological personage.” Alec tells her that she should leave her husband forever, and Tess responds by slapping him with her leather glove, drawing blood. When he springs up at her, she tells him that he can whip her or crush her, and she will not cry out because she is always his victim. Alec tells her that he was her master once and will be her master again.

Alec continues to visit Flintcomb-Ash to observe Tess. When he visits her again, he says that if he cannot legitimize their former relations, he can at least assist her. He says that although his religious mania is over, he retains a little good nature. He says that he will make her family comfortable if only she will show confidence in him. She tells him not to mention her siblings, and if he wants to help them, he should do so without telling her. After Alec leaves, Tess writes yet another letter to Angel, asking him to return to her. In this letter, she writes that she lives entirely for him and would be content to live with him as his servant if not as his wife.

The Clares received the letter that Tess wrote to Angel so that they may forward it to him. Mrs. Clare laments that Angel has been ill-used and should have been sent to Cambridge. The Clares blame themselves for Angel’s marriage, for if Angel were not destined to be a farmer, he would have never been thrown in with an agricultural girl. During Angel’s absence he had mentally aged a dozen years. Angel wonders whether he rejected Tess eternally and could no longer say that he would always reject her. Angel has grown to be Tess’s advocate, remembering Izz Huett’s words about her. Tess’s sister, LizaLu, visits Tess at Flintcomb-Ash and tells her how both of their parents are ill and Joan may be dying.

XII. Phase the Sixth : Chapters 50 to 52 :

tends her parents’ farm; her father’s “illness” is implied to be the same as ever: drink and laziness. Joan begins to recover, and Alec appears again offering help. Alec comes in disguise and helps Tess in the field. He compares himself to the serpent in the garden and Tess to Eve. Even now Alec pursues her. He asks if she will join her husband, and when she exclaims she has “no husband,” Alec says she has a friend. He tells her he has tender feelings for her and would take care of her, adding if her mother dies, the children will need help because her father will not do much. He offers such help, which Tess refuses. Alec is frustrated and retreats. At the same time Liza-Lu comes Tess to tell Tess the news Jack Durbeyfield has just died from an existing heart condition. Joan has improved and is out of danger.


Joan has taken rooms in Kingsbere, for they have lost the house in part Tess’s being “fallen.“ When Alec learns this, again he offers to take care of Tess, her mother, and her siblings by housing them at his home in Trantridge where there is room and where he will place the children in a good school. Tess is unsure, asking herself , “How do I know that you would do all this?” Alec offers a guarantee in writing. Tess is wavering, and Alec suggests she tell her mother and let her decide. He also finishes the story Angel began about the d’Urberville coach: an ancestor of Tess’s abducted a beautiful young woman; in her attempt to escape one of them killed the other-Alec can’t remember which. Should a genuine d’Urberville-Alec points out this doesn’t apply to him-hear the sound of the phantom coach, it is a bad omen. Ultimately Tess still refuses. She pulls the bar holding up the window when he reaches for her, and in doing so drops the window so that his arm is caught between the stone and the casement. She tells him she will not come and that she has money at her father-in-law’s if she asks for it. After he departs Tess’s self-imposed docility and discipline crack, and she writes an angry letter to Angel asking why he has treated her “so monstrously” and stressing she can “never, never forgive you.” In the letter she voices the injustice he has inflicted on her. way see Marian and Izz. The girls

The Durbeyfields set out for Kingsbere and on their tell Tess that Alec looked for her but they didn’t tell him where she was. Tess lets them know he had found her and, in reply to their questions, she tells them Angel has not come back. When the Durbeyfields arrive at the outskirts of Kingsbere, there are no rooms. They shelter at the d’Urberville tomb, although Alec again offers to look after Joan and the children. In her despair Tess laments she is “on the wrong side” of the tomb. Meanwhile Izz and Marian write to Angel, telling him that she is in danger from “an Enemy in the shape of a Friend,” and that Angel’s neglect of her puts her in an impossible position.

XIII 53 to 56 :

 Mrs. Clare await the return of their son, and when Clare is shocked to see him sickly and angular. He asserts that he is fine now, but then nearly faints. The Clares give Angel the latest letter they received from Tess, which asserts that Tess will try to forget him. Mrs. Clare tells him not to worry about such a mere child of the soil, but Angel retorts that they are all children of the soil. Angel sends a line to Marlott announcing his return and his hope that Tess is still living there, but in several days receives a letter from Joan Durbeyfield telling him that they are no longer at Marlott and Tess is not with them and she does not know when Tess will return. Angel decides to wait for another letter, but then rereads an earlier letter by Tess in which she claims that she would die for him. He determines that her more recent note does not show her true feelings, and decides to find Tess. Angel realizes that Tess has not asked for money from the Clares because of their special charity toward sinners.

. Angel travels to Marlott, where he learns that John Durbeyfield is dead and his widow and children had left for Kingsbere. He sees John Durbeyfield’s tomb, with its inscription “How Are the Mighty Angel finds Joan Durbeyfield, who tells him that Tess has not come Fallen.” Eventually, home. When Angel asks whether Tess would want him to look for her, Joan Durbeyfield dalims no emphatically, but Angel replies that he is sure that she would because he knows Tess better. Joan admits that she has never really known her daughter, and tells Angel that Tess is at Sandbourne.

Angel reaches Sandbourne, a fashionable village that had recently experienced tremendous growth. Angel wonders where Tess could be amidst the wealth and fashion around him. He asks the postman for the address of a Mrs. Clare, and then a Miss Durbeyfield, but he does not know either. Another postal worker tells Angel the address of a d’Urberville at The Herons. Angel goes to this lodging house and asks Mrs. Brooks, the householder, for Teresa d’Urberville. He learns that she has been passing as a married woman. Tess appears, loosely wrapped in a cashmere dressing gown. Angel begs forgiveness for going away, but she says that it is too late. She says that she waited and waited, but Alec has won her back. She says that she hates Alec now, for he told her the lie that Angel would never come again. Angel can barely speak, but feels that Tess had ceased to recognize the body before her as her husband.

Mrs. Brooks had heard fragments of the conversation between Angel and Tess, and hears Tess return to her room. Mrs. Brooks ascends the stairs and stands at the door of the drawing room. She can hear only a low sort of moaning as Tess sobs, and then hears portions of a conversation between Alec and Tess in which she tells him that Angel has returned and it looks as if he is dying. She tells Alec that she has lost Angel again because of him. Alec replies in sharper words and there is a sudden rustle before Mrs. Brooks hastily retreats down the stairs. Later, Mrs. Brooks notices a red spot on the white ceiling that had grown since the morning and has qualms of misgivings. She finds a workman nearby and asks him to enter the room with her. They find in the room Alec d’Urberville, who has been stabbed in the heart with a knife and is now dead.

XIV. Phase the Seventh : Chapters 57 to 59 :

Angel is surprised when he finds Tess in a wealthy area of Sandbourne, a resort town on the English Channel. When he finds out where she lives, he assumes she must be a servant in one of the lodging houses; when her landlady answers the door and he realizes she is a tenant, he tells himself she must have gotten hold of and sold the diamond jewelry. But Tess, when he sees her, is richly dressed and beautiful; her hands are no longer rosy from hard work. She is cold toward him and tells him “it is too late.” He asks whether she rejects him because of his health, and tells her he has come for her, adding his parents will welcome her. She continues to insist he is too late; when she wrote to him begging for him to return, he did not come. Alec, she finally reveals, won her back to him by convincing her that Angel had abandoned her forever. Angel, stunned, does not even notice when she leaves the room, and he somehow finds street. That night, Tess tells Angel about how he carried her while sleepwalking, and he regrets that she did not tell him about this earlier, for it might have prevented much misunderstanding and woe. Tess is reluctant to leave their shelter and go toward Southampton or London, for she wonders why they must put an end to all that is sweet and lovely. She says that what must come will come. Angel decides that they must finally leave the mansion, but Tess wishes to stay, for she believes she will not last more than several weeks. Angel plans to take Tess north, where they can sail from Wessex. They travel northward and reach Stonehenge. Tess wishes to remain there himself walking down the , for Angel used to say that she was a heathen and thus Stonehenge is appropriate for her. to look after Liza-Lu if he loses her and to marry her. Tess falls asleep there, and as she sleeps á party of sixteen men surrounds Stonehenge to get Tess. Tess awakes, and asks Angel if they have come for her. Tess admits that she is almost glad, for her happiness have lasted. She tells them that she is ready.


Angel and Liza-Lu are walking hand in hand out of Wintoncester, the Wessex. A black flag is raised over an ugly building, indicating that an execution has been carried out, and the narrator notes that “Justice’ was done.” The pair sink down to the overcome, but ultimately rise up and walk on, holding hands.




Hardy began Tess of the d’Urbervilles in 1888-89 and considered such Cis/Cissy, and Sue, for the title character. Eventually, he decided on Tess. Hardy had been working on this manuscript with the intention of submitting it for serial publication, in which only a few chapters would be released at a time; depending on the material’s reception and the publisher’s willingness, these chapters would then later be combined in book form. Hardy contracted with W. F. Tillotson & Son in 1887 for a serialized story to be delivered in four installments between 1887 and June 30, 1889. Hardy also negotiated with Harper’s Bazaar in America for the story at about the same time.

Background: Tess of the Durbervilles is as famous for its heroine as for its notoriously Originally shunned by critics upon its publication in 1891 because of “immorality,” the novel traces the difficult life of Tess Durbeyfield, whose victimization at the hands of men eventually leads to her horrific downfall. Tess spares the reader none of the bitterness Inherent in English country life, and Hardy’s often romanticized love for the landscape of Wessex is balanced by the novel’s grimly realistic depiction of social injustice.

Character List;

Tess Durbeyfield The young daughter of a rural working class family at the start Durbeyfield is sent to claim kinship with the wealthier side of her family, the d’Urbervilles, when her family faces imminent poverty. After being seduced by Alec d’Urberville, she bears his child, which died in infancy, and must leave her home to start a new life elsewhere. Although Tess is dutiful and obedient as the novel begins, she gains great strength and fortitude through her suffering, but remains unwavering in her love for Angel Clare and is prepared to do anything that Angel might wish. not enter college

Angel did contradicts his

tragic plot.

of the novel, Tess

Angel Clare The son of a parson and the youngest of three brothers, as his siblings, despite his superior intellect, but rather diverged from the career path his father intended for him, the ministry, to study agriculture so that he might become a farmer. Despite holding more liberal opinions than his father and brothers, Angel Clare is nevertheless equally dogmatic and obstinate. He has a deeply theoretical mindset; it is this quality that causes him to reject Tess when he learns information about her past that idealistic view of her.

Alec d’Urberville

The sophisticated, urbane son of the elderly, blind Mrs. Stoke-d’Urberville, Alec is rapacious and possessive, believing that his status in society and his financial situation gives him power to possess and control Tess after he gives her a job caring for his mother’s chickens. After seducing Tess, Alec reforms his hedonistic ways to become a fundamentalist preacher , but soon deviates from his newfound spirituality once he sees Tess again.

Mrs. Brooks

She is the householder at The Herons, the boarding establishment at Sandbourne where Alec and Tess stay together. She discovers Alec after Tess stabs him in the heart. Mercy Chant

Reverend Clare and his wife intend this young woman from Emminster to marry Angel, despite his affection for Tess, for she holds proper religious views, according to the Clares. Reverend Clare

A fundamentalist parson in the style that has nearly died out when the novel begins, Reverend Clare does not send his son, Angel, to college because the two disagree on religious philosophy. Reverend Clare is responsible for Alec d’Urberville’s conversion after he confronts Alec.

Cuthbert Clare

He is one of Angel’s older brothers. Felix Clare Mrs. Clare

He is one of Angel’s older brothers.

Angel’s mother is a conservative woman who dislikes the idea that Angel has married Tess, believing her to be a simple country girl unsuitable for her more refined son. Richard Crick

The dairyman and owner of Talbothays Dairy, he employs both Tess and Angel. Dairyman Crick is a gregarious, jovial man who treats Tess well as an employer. Abraham Durbeyfield

The younger brother of Tess, Abraham accompanies his sister when she must deliver a cart of bees in place of their father.

Joan Durbeyfield

Tess’s mother

is a bawdy, irresponsible woman who views her daughter only in exploitative terms, believing that she can send Tess to the d’Urbervilles explicitly to marry a gentleman and thus raise the fortunes of her family. Tess returns home when Joan is deathly ill, but she makes a sudden recovery just as her husband’s health worsens. John Durbeyfield

A jovial, irresponsible man, John Durbeyfield sets the plot of the novel in motion when he learns that the Durbeyfield family is descended from the renowned d’Urbervilles. John suffers from heart disease, and when he dies his family is evicted from their homes and forced to move to Kingsbere.


Car Darch

Liza-Lu Durbeyfield

Tess’s younger sister travels to Flintcomb-Ash to request that her sister return home when her parents are ill. Before Tess is caught, she asks Angel to marry Liza-Lu after Tess has

Nicknamed the Queen of Spades, this woman nearly fights Tess when Tess laughs at Car when she stains her dress with treacle. Tess is only saved from a brawl when Alec saves her. Tess later meets Car again when the two work together at Flintcomb-Ash. Nancy Darch

Nicknamed the Queen of Diamonds, Nancy is the sister of Car and accompanies her sister to Flintcomb-Ash to work.

Farmer Groby

When Angel and Tess are in town before their wedding, this former Trantridge Cross resident identifies Tess as a woman of ill repute, causing Angel to defend her honor. Later he nearly accosts Tess as she travels to Flintcomb-Ash, and appears a third time as her employer at Flintcomb. Because of her early cold treatment of him, Farmer Groby is a difficult taskmaster who treats Tess poorly.

Izz Huett

One of the dairymaids at Talbothays Dairy with whom Tess stays, Izz Huett is also in love with Angel Clare, but after his separation from Tess when he invites her to accompany him to Brazil, Izz refuses because of Tess’s love for Angel. Izz later works with Tess at Flintcomb-Ash and sends a letter to Angel telling him to forgive Tess. Jonathan Kail

A servant at Talbothays’ dairy, he delivers news of the other works to Tess and Angel during their honeymoon.


One of the dairymaids at Talbothays with whom Tess stays, Marian is also in love with Angel Clare and becomes an alcoholic after Tess and Angel marry. Marian invites Tess to come to Flintcomb-Ash where she works, and with Izz Huett sends a letter to Angel telling him to forgive Tess.

Retty Priddle

One of the dairymaids at Talbothays with whom Tess stays, Retty is also in love with Angel Clare. After Tess and Angel marry, Retty attempts to drown herself, but soon joins her former dairymaids at Flintcomb-Ash.

Mrs. Stoke-d’Urberville

An elderly, blind woman and the mother of Alec, she employs Tess to look after her chickens. She dies not long after Tess leaves Trantridge Cross. Parson Tringham

This clergyman in Marlott tells John Durbeyfield that his family is descended from the noted d’Urberville family.


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