Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 20 - Summary

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      Dairyman Crick’s household of maids and men lived on comfortably even mentally. Fess and Clare unconsciously studied each other and were coming closer to each other. Tess had never been in her recent life so happy as she was now. Tess and Clare met continually, they could not help it. They met early in the morning, for it was necessary to rise very early here. Before milking, skimming was done which began at a little past three. Usually someone or other of them would wake the rest, the first being aroused by an alarm clock. This task often fell on Tess because she could be relied upon not to sleep through the alarm. At three she would leave her room, run to the dairyman’s door, then up the ladder to Angel’s attic calling him in a loud whisper, then she woke her fellow milk maids. By the time that Tess was dressed Clare was downstairs and out in the humid air. The other maids and dairymen gave themselves another turn on the pillow and took some twenty-five minutes more to come out. In the beginning, Tess did not skim and went out of doors at once after rising, where he was generally awaiting her. Being the first two persons to get up at the dairy house, they seemed to themselves the first persons up of all the world. They walked along together to the spot where the cows lay. At this early hour, she impressed him most deeply. After some time they would hear dairyman Crick’s voice, lecturing the non-resident milkers for arriving late. The milking progressed till it was time for breakfast.

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