Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 17 - Summary

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      So many men were busy in squeezing milk out of the udders of the cows, but one of them had a very distinguished personality. He was the owner of the great-dairy. He was a middle-aged man and was known as Mr. Crick. But it Was his nickname, his full name being Mr. Richard Crick. He offered Tess a warm welcome and Assigned her the job of milkmaid and presented her a cow to milk. It was a kind of small test to judge her efficiency in work. To the great surprise of the dairy-man Crick, she drank some milk as a light refreshment there and then she began to milk the presented cow. After being convinced of the capability of Tess, Crick asked her to rest and begin her work from the next day. But the expectation of the delight in this new life had kindled in her a strong desire to have a respected place in the eyes of her colleagues and her boss. She was already equipped and therefore started her work from that very evening.

      But, perhaps, the cows did not want her to join her duty that day. They, at sight of this newcomer, drew up their milk back in their udders and refused to yield the usual quantity. A song was sung to entice them. For a while, there was no effect of music on them, but after some time, the situation arrived at its usual routine and the milkers were pleased to see their pots full. When the song had also failed, some people had absorbed themselves in a conversation, the topic of which was the effect of music on the animals. A milker was telling a story. She was busy in her work. A person was mostly being addressed as ‘Sir’ she thought, the addressing would be for the dairyman Crick. But then she heard him also talking to a man with a great respect. She rose from beneath her cow with her filled pot and saw the respected man. It seemed as if he was her acquaintance. Suddenly, in her eyes, the image of that pedestrian arrived who had not danced with her in Marlott. Though the mustaches and the beard had much changed his countenance, yet she recognized him. He was the same young man. The only difference was that the past capriciousness was replaced by the present sobriety.

      She was allowed to sleep in the house of the dairyman. Three more room-mates were there who were all virgins and had a fancy for the man who was much respected in the dairy. One of them informed Tess in her nipping that he was the son of the Reverend James Clare, the most earnest clergyman of his parish. His other two sons were also clergymen. Only this youngest son Angel Clare, who was here, had not adopted the church life. He wanted to become an ideal farmer. Therefore after learning the sheep-farming, he was here to learn the working of dairy and then he would go to master the poultry and so many other wings of farming. The whole day’s fatigue had choked the throat of her interest in this matter and therefore after bidding them “Good Night” she closed her eyes, heavy with sleep.

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