Death Accident of Prince (Horse) in Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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      Prince was the name of the horse who drove the cart of Tess’s father on the market days when he took his beehives to Casterbridge. When John Durbeyfield came to know that he belonged to the noble family of d’Urbervilles, his pride knew no bounds. He sent his basket to his house through a young boy whom he paid a shilling. He himself drove home in a carriage. When it was evening, he celebrated the discovery with wine. He was so drunk and late that he could not take the beehives to the market next morning. The result was that Tess had to do it with her little brother Abraham. He had danced with her.

      Abraham put on his clothes in a drowsy state. Tess dressed herself hastily. She lighted a lantern and went with her little brother to the stable. She led out the horse Prince from there. The horse looked at the two figures and their lantern. He could not believe that at that hour of sleep and rest he was to go out and labour. They harnessed him to the cart and directed him onward. They did not want to overload the weak animal, so they walked at his shoulder while covering the uphill part of the way. When they mounted the cart, Abraham became reflective. He told Tess how she was to become a gentle lady by marrying a gentleman, for their great relation would help them. Then Abraham asked her if the stars were worlds. Tess told him that they were worlds. Most of them were splendid and sound but some of them were blighted. They lived on a blighted planet. That was why their father coughed and their mother washed clothes all the time.

      When Abraham went to sleep, she became thoughtful. She saw the vanity of her father's pride. She imagined that the gentleman who had stuck into her mother’s fancy, laughed at her poverty. While thinking in this way Tess grew drowsy. A sudden jerk shook her in her seat. She awoke from the sleep into which she had fallen.

      She heard a hollow groan of her wounded horse. The lantern of her waggon had gone out. Another lantern shone in her face. Tess jumped down and discovered the dreadful accident. The fast moving morning mail-cart had driven into her wagon. Its pointed shaft had entered the breast of her horse like a sword—His life’s blood was flowing out? When she tried to stop it, she got wet with it. Prince stood firm and motionless for sometime and then it fell dead. By this time the mail-cart man had joined her. He sent a farmer’s man to help her. He brought a cab which drove her waggon of beehives to the marketplace and took Prince to Marlott where the horse was buried by all the members of the family.

      This death of Prince was a dreadful thing in the life of Jack and Joan Durbeyfield. He was their bread-earner. They were left helpless without him. This death forced Tess to go to Trantridge where she had to lose her honor and chastity. It was this tragic death of Prince which indirectly spelled ruin on her. This death of family-horse was a sort of what might be called the generating circumstance. It disturbed the normal course of life in the case of Tess and her family. It sent the ball rolling. It gave rise to action. Without it Tess would never have gone to Trantridge even for the sake of the whole world. This death was a bolt from the blue. It was a blow from the unseen hand of all-powerful and irresistible fate which once a certain poet described to be but the other name for the will of God who alone is Almighty. That which was to be happened. Poor Tess or any human being could not have resisted it.

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