Tess of the DUrbervilles
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 31

After Tess writes to her mother, Joan Durbeyfield writes back quickly congratulating her but cautioning her not to reveal her past intimacy with Alec d’Urberville. Tess’ love for Angel is strong, and they become an inseparable pair. Angel remarks on how delightful it will be when they are married, and his whole family can see the proof that she is a real d’Urberville.

One evening, all of a sudden, Tess cries out that she is not worthy of Angel and wonders why he could not have loved her when he saw her at the dance to spare her the years she spent without him. Angel lovingly calls her capricious with her fits and asks when they shall set their wedding-day. She cannot decide on a date, saying that she likes things as they are. Just then, the Cricks and two milkmaids come across the two and Tess springs up from embarrassment. Still, the Cricks say they were already aware of the relationship and are happy for them.

Later that night, the girls stay up and talk to Tess about Angel, disappointed that they will marry even though they do not hate Tess for her luck. Tess says that he should really be marrying one of them since they are better than her, and then she bursts out crying. The girls see that they have upset Tess, and speak no further on the issue. However, Tess, through her tears, resolves to reveal her entire past to Angel, against her mother’s wishes, since she can no longer bear the deception.

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