Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 57 & 58 - Summary

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      Quite unaware of his own self Angel had reached his hotel. He did not know where to go. He felt as if he were astray. In the dense forest of life, he could not decide what way to adopt. At least about one thing, he was determined and that was to leave that obnoxious city as soon as possible. In the state of delirium, he took his meals in the hotel and left for the station after receiving a telegram from his mother who had expressed pleasure on his new address. She had also written that his brother Cuthbert had proposed to Mercy Chant and she had accepted the proposal. Angel had no interest now in the worldly affairs. Everything looked mockery; all the men seemed toys. When he reached the station and came to know that train was available after an hour, he set off on foot to the next station because he could not stay on the dirty ground of that city anymore. He was forwarding on an open highway. He heard the sounding footsteps behind him. He stopped with a dim sense that somebody was trying to overtake him. He was right. The human figure was of Tess who was quite breathless partly by the emotions and partly by running. He asked her nothing; seized her hand and took her into his arms. The two, who fully understood each other, began to walk ahead. After leaving the road, they took a footpath under the fir-trees. When they were safe from the glance of the travelers, Angel looked at her inquiringly. She told him that she had killed Alec. Due to the over-brimming emotions, her sentences were broken. Anyhow, she told him that since he had told a lie and that he had abused her darling husband, she could not bear that insult and struck him with the carving knife, Angel could not believe her yet for safety he took the obscure paths and forwarded towards the north. However, by degree, he was inclined to believe that she had certainly attempted. He was surprised to see in her the strength of affection for himself. Inwardly, he felt ashamed that really he had done injustice to such a pious soul. He embraced her very tightly and giving long kiss assured her that he would never desert her again and once again asked that she should forgive him. Tess, who had forgotten every misery and every suffering of the past in the arms of Angel, smiled and clung more tightly to him. Hand in hand they were going towards the undecided destination.

      From a road side inn, Angel brought the meals for Tess who was waiting in the bushes and the trees. After taking their lunch, they again set on their journey. They passed by the side of a neglected house, but could not find any shelter for the night; therefore returned to it. The house was really good and deserted for repairs. A lady from the hamlet of a vicinity came now and then to air the house Through a window they stole in. They remained silent till the caretaker had gone after shutting the windows. The darkness prevailed in the room because they had no candle to light.

      The only light they had was the light of the love.

      The long days, in that house, passed as the hours go. On the first night she whispered to him the story of his sleep walk in Wellbridge. Angel knew nothing about that. He asked that she should have told him the next morning and had he known it at that time, he would have, perhaps behaved differently. But Tess had nothing to lament. She put the matter off by getting closer to him.

      The house was aired on the clear days. For six continuous days, the season remained wet and foggy and no one disturbed their seclusion. On the eve of the sixth day, the sky became cloudless and Angel asked her to leave the house, but Tess would not do it because she was tired of the journey which she had done in her bygone days. She wanted to have a full rest with Angel. That night also they stayed there. The next morning the care taker came and saw them sleeping. Tess’ lips were parted like a half-opened flower near his cheek. The care taker was so struck with their innocent appearance that she could not dare to disturb their sleep. She closed the door and withdrew quite softly. Not more than a minute had passed that they woke up and sensed that something had happened. At once they left the room.

      Angel’s plan was to leave the country for a period till the police forgot about her. To escape from the police and to forward ahead stealthily was very difficult. Yet they marched on the untrodden paths.

      A great river was obstructing their way. They wanted to cross it in the midnight. But Tess sat on a stone in the shrines of a heathen-temple. She was tired of that fugitive’s race. She had no fear in her mind, from the police, because she was satisfied upon what she had done. The only fear she had, was that Angel may not turn again a hater of herself. The stone was yet warm and it rendered comfort to her. She asked Angel that if something happened to her, would he do her a favor? When Angel replied in affirmative she said that after her death, he should look after her family and should marry with Liza-Lu. By marrying her they would be able to continue their love even after Tess’s death, because Liza was all Tess except those ugly spots which Tess had. Angel promised to do so. She was lying on the stone and Angel was sitting by her side. Then she asked a question whether they would meet in the other world after their deaths. But before Angel could reply she was asleep. Angel kissed her innocent face and kept waking to guard her.

      In the early hours of morning, the police surrounded them. Angel was trying to resist but seeing their large number, he yielded. He did not allow them, however, to reach near her.

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