Tess of the DUrbervilles
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 38
Summary

Tess is suddenly struck by the thought of facing her parents, and she asks a passerby who does not know her if there is any news from Marlott. He relays to her how her parents celebrated her wedding on their own, since they had not been invited to the gentlemanly affair, which makes Tess sick with sadness. Joan Durbeyfield is surprised to see her daughter, and soon Tess breaks down and confesses to her mother everything. Joan calls her a fool, but Tess says she could not help unmasking her deception out of her true love for him. Joan, as always, finally resigns herself to the fact that they must deal with the incident as best they can.

Her mother breaks the news to her father. She overhears her father questioning her honesty and Tess cannot take it anymore. If her own parents will not believe her, she can only expect worse from the other townspeople. She knows she cannot stay in Marlott.

A few days later, Angel writes to her saying that he is in North England to look at a farm. Tess uses it as an excuse to leave, and she gives half of the money Angel gives her to her parents, saying that it was to remedy the trouble and humiliation she had brought them. Tess leaves, and Joan hopes that all is resolved and that the two lovers have realized how miserable they are apart.

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