Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 19 - Summary

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      In general the cows were milked as they presented themselves without much choice. And yet certain cows will show preference for a particular pair of hands only. Dairyman Crick as a rule, broke down these partialities by constant interchange. The maids, on the other hand, preferred to milk certain cows to whom they had grown accustomed. Tess soon found out which of the cows had a preference for her style. Out of the whole ninety-five, there were eight in particular which gave milk at her mere touch. But she wanted to respect the dairyman's wishes, and so would have any animal that came by, except the very hard yielders. But then curiously she would always get the cows she had preference for. She discovered Clare had a hand in ranging the cows, and she pointed it out to him naturally but she blushed. But she regretted why she pointed it out to him. At dusk, milking was over, she walked in the garden alone musing over it. It was summer evening in June and she was very quiet. Soon the silence was broken by the strumming of strings. The notes came from the attic and Tess listened to them like a fascinated bird. She could not leave the spot. Instead, she drew close to the place of the performer unobserved by him. He ended his plaintive melody, a simple one and she waited thinking, another might be begun—But, tired of playing, he came round the fence, and was pacing up behind her. She tried to move away but Angel saw her summer gown and spoke. They fell into a small conversation. He discovered that she was a rare girl and at such a young age had the capacity to understand life in so sad terms. She also wondered why this man, handsome and with a good education, should consider it a misfortune to be alive. As for her, she thought, there were sound reasons. Thus neither could understand the other properly and awaited new knowledge of each other’s character and moods. From now onwards, day by day, they added to their knowledge of each other. Tess felt very small when she would compare herself with Angel. He caught her one day in one of these moods and offered to teach her any subject that she would like. But she was not willing to learn anymore than what she knew already. She kept on keeling the buds and Clare left her. Tess thought she should tell Clare about her ancestry but on learning from the dairyman that Clare had no interest in old families, she did not do so.

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