Tess of the DUrbervilles
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 19

Mr. Crick does not like the cows to have favorite milkers (as shown from their reception of whose hands are upon their udders), but all the milkers continue to have their favorites. One day, Tess finally realizes that what she thought was random chance in getting her favorite cows is really Angel’s doing, who has arranged the cows so that she may milk the ones she prefers. 

They begin the first of many conversations, and Angel is surprised that Tess, although so young, speaks as if she knows a whole lifetime of sorrows. He finds her impressive and interesting that she shares his same views that life has many burdens. Tess understands the reasons for her own sadness, but she cannot understand why Angel can feel the same way as a gentleman of privilege. This mutual puzzlement spurs on their fascination with each other.

Angel even offers to teach Tess some history, since she shows some interest in the subject, but again, Tess speaks pessimistically about the questions in life that not even the wisest books can answer. Angel scoffs at her bitterness, which makes Tess even sadder, thinking that he must think ill of her for her attitude. Thinking she might find favor in his eyes if he knew she is a descendent of the d’Urbervilles, she first asks Mr. Crick if Angel has ever spoken of his opinion on old families. Hearing him relay Angel’s disgust for old wealth, Tess is glad for the information and does not mention her heritage to Angel at all.

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