Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 15 - Summary

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      Roger Ascham has said, “We get the short way by a long wandering.” When one spends all his energy in wandering, what then is the use of the short way? Exactly this was the condition of Tess. Before going to the house of d’Urberville she used to read religious books. But she was unable to follow them. Therefore she could say to God in satire like St. Augustine, “You have shown me the right path. But you have not permitted me to pursue it.”

      Tess lived at the house of her father. The whole winter she looked after the fowls. She used to prepare dresses for her sisters and brothers. Sometimes she was absorbed in deep thought. She looked at every important day with great care. She used to remember her birthday and she often remembered the birthday of her child. She looked into the mirror. But she also thought of the day when other persons will say that Tess died on this day. Thus Tess was gradually changing into a serious and perfect woman. There were wrinkles of thoughtfulness on her face. Sometimes there was a note of sorrow in her voice. Her eyes were becoming larger and she was going to be a full woman.

      She lived in perfect isolation that people in the village were gradually forgetting her. But it was clear that she would not go to live with her relatives. Tess had still pulsating life in her. This was quite necessary that she should forget the dead past for her happiness. Is the purity of woman destroyed forever if it is once destroyed. She used to ask herself the above question. She was not getting a chance to go out. After this came spring. New leaves sprouted on the trees. Just as there is new life in the world, Tess had an inner desire to go out. In the first part of May, she received a letter from a friend, which informed her that he needed a woman who could milk cows, and that Tess could be employed for the summer. The place was not quite far, but a man who does not go out thinks that miles are longitude and parishes are towns, and towns are provinces. She had decided not to build castles in the air. She would spend her life on the dairy. Her mother knew about it. This was called Talbothays dairy. It was situated near d’Urberville. Their family graveyard was near the place. This hope gave her new life, just as branches bear new leaves. New life was being born in her.

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