Tess of the DUrbervilles
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 37

That night, Tess hears Angel enter her room. He is sleepwalking and fears that Tess is dead. In his delusion, he lifts her and carries her outside, all the while kissing and lamenting his great loss. Tess realizes that he must be dreaming of the Sunday when he had carried her and the other girls over the flooded road. As they continue to walk, she fears that he might in reality drown her, but she is stirred by the hope that they both might be drowned and die together. Instead, he brings her into a church and places her in an old coffin meant for an abbot, before laying down himself and sleeping. Tess realizes that they cannot stay out there, lest they freeze, but she does not want to wake up her husband, lest he be embarrassed that he has conducted himself in this manner. So she continues the ruse by whispering into her husband’s ear for them to continue their walk, and they proceed back to the house.

The next morning, Angel does not appear to remember the incident, and Tess does not have the heart to tell him. They head out that morning, and Angel wishes to pass by the dairy again to close up some last minute business. Tess, therefore, to keep up with appearances must accompany him, so together, they feign marital bliss and pay a visit to the Cricks.

At the dairy, Tess and Angel appear as if normal, though the Cricks can tell something is awry. The pair leave together after a short visit, but they soon part ways. Angel tells her that he is not angry at her but that he needs some time, and if he sees fit, he will send for her but she is not to try to come to him before then. Tess then makes her way back to Marlott.

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