Tess of the DUrbervilles
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 21

One day, the dairy house is perturbed when the butter does not churn. The Cricks recall an incident in the past when the same thing happened, owing to a relationship gone sour where a man, Jack Dollop, hides in the churn to escape a furious mother after he involves himself with her daughter scandalously. The Cricks speculate that perhaps another budding romance is the cause of their present troubles; however, soon enough, the butter begins to church again.

Meanwhile, Tess is disturbed that her co-workers found the story so humorous, since only she understands the real sorrow behind the tale. She feels wretched and heads to bed early. She is awoken by the whispers of her roommates, Marian, Izzy, and Retty, who are trying to observe Angel. They whisper about who he will marry and acknowledge that he likes Tess the best, even though they conclude that none of them will be his wife since he is a gentleman and they are all below him. Tess, upon hearing their laments, vows to herself that since she has no wish to get married, she will do her best to turn Angel’s attention to the other maids. Tess will not stand in the way with silly ideas that one day she might be Mrs. Angel Clare, even though there is lingering hope.

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