Tess of the DUrbervilles
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 18

Angel Clare’s reason for being at the dairy stems from his differences in opinion from his father, a very religious parson from Emminster. Angel, unlike his two older brothers, does not attend a university, even though he shows the most promise. His deviance is precipitated when his father intercepts a book of Angel’s, which he considers to be blasphemous. Angel replies that he is curious about the system of philosophy only, but that indeed, he does not wish to have an official religious future although he loves the Church very much. His disappointed parents decide not to send him to college if he does not plan on entering the Church, and Angel accepts his fate, having grown to disdain material wealth and rank. A friend excites him about being a farmer in the Colonies in America, and seeing this as an opportunity to eventual freedom and intellectual liberty, Angel sets about trying to learn the intricacies of farming, and so he comes to be at Talbothays. His interactions with country folk have made him very fond of them.

He also lives in the dairyhouse, in the attic by himself, and takes his meals with the Cricks and the other resident milkers, even though he is somewhat outcast because of Mrs. Crick’s concern for his gentlemanly status. Angel does not notice Tess at first, until one morning when he discerns her nice voice among the others in conversation. He immediately has an opinion that she is a fine example of a good and wholesome country girl. He feels he has met her before, though he cannot pinpoint where, which causes him to have a keen interest in Tess.

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