Tess of the DUrbervilles
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 8

Meanwhile, Tess and Alec drive together with him paying her many compliments on her appearance. Ever since the accident with Prince, Tess has been more timid on transportation and so she asks Alec to slow down. He is surprised, thinking her a brave lass, and eggs her on by speeding even more so to terrify her. Though Tess does not want to show her fear, she is inclined to clutch Alec’s waist throughout the ride. Alec agrees to slow down if Tess will let him kiss her and being unable to persuade him to remedy his driving otherwise, she assents but wipes off her cheek where his lips touch her. This gesture insults Alec who speeds up again, only agreeing to slow down if he may kiss her again without her wiping her face. She agrees but just then her hat blows away. Alec moves to retrieve it for her, but Tess is quicker and descends the carriage first. Afterwards, she will not reboard the carriage, irritating Alec since he feels that she did it on purpose. Tess’ anger gets the best of her and she berates him for the maltreatment. Alec feels sorry then for injuring her and tries to get her to ride with him, promising to go slow for the rest of the trip, but Tess refuses. She proceeds to walk, but she does not mind that Alec keeps pace beside her on the carriage. Along the way, she notices his sincerity of feeling sorry for upsetting her, but she no longer has any confidence in him. Even though Tess had threatened to return home if Alec continued to irritate her, she realizes sadly that she cannot head home anymore without extreme embarrassment. Soon, they arrive at the d’Urberville home.

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