Tess of the DUrbervilles
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 25

Angel, meanwhile, is consumed with thoughts about how his experience at Talbothays, which was supposed to be uneventful, is now shaping his very existence. He knows that Tess is a real person with emotions, and he is careful not to injure her in any way by pushing himself without knowing her true feelings. He is almost entirely convinced that if he is to be a farmer, a farmer’s wife, and not a gentlewoman, is the right bride for him. With only several more months at the dairyhouse before his learning experience is finalized, Angel plans his course of action.

He decides to head back home then, uneasy with how his family will take the news that he is in love with a country girl. He arrives home, unexpected and unannounced, and while he is comforted, he knows he does not feel entirely as one with his family. His experiences with the country folk have made him more relaxed, although to his family, he appeared a little less refined. Angel’s divergence from his brothers is also obvious, since they have followed their parents’ wishes while Angel strikes out on his own. He resents their snide comments about the country people and their inferior intelligence. At dinner, he notices that the edibles Mrs. Crick sends along are not present, and his parents tell him that they have given them away to some of the parishioners. Angel is disappointed, since Mrs. Crick would be offended that her gifts are unappreciated, but he lets the issue drop.

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