Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 22 - Summary

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      The second day, the women came down. First milking was done and then butter was churned. Then they all went in for breakfast. The owner of the dairy Crick was walking there. He had a letter in his hand in which some customers had complained that butter was bad. Many milkmaids collected round him. Clare tasted the butter. Tess also tasted it. Mrs. Crick came out and she also examined it. Cutter was quite poor in quality. The dairy owner pointed out that it had some bad odor. He said, “we shall root out the grass. They went out with their knives. This tiny plant was hardly visible in the grassy fields. They formed a line. On one side of it was Angel Clare. By his side was Tess, then, Marian, then Huett, Retty and then Villabelle, Jonathan, Mrs. Backniles. At the end was Francis. All the women were going ahead looking at the ground. They did not want to have even an inch of ground without close inspection. Hardly they got four or five plants. The plants were smelling so sharp, that they had spoilt the butter when it was eaten by a cow. Therefore the women were picking up this plant bending quite low.

      At the time of bending, the yellow reflection of flowers was falling on their faces which made their faces shine like moon. Although behind them the sun was also shining. Angel Clare who worked with them sometimes looked around. He asked Tess, “Is everything alright?”

      After this, they began to work. They were out of the line, trying to find out the odious plants. Crick did not hear all this. Tess remained behind. Clare was out of the line and began to uproot the plants. In loneliness, Tess asked Angel, “Do you want to marry Izz Huett or Retty, because they can prove suitable wives.” Angel replied, “They are beautiful and good. I have an idea in my mind to marry them. But they are not better or more beautiful than you.” Tess had the spirit of self-sacrifice. Even then she could not say plainly that he should marry one of them and not her.

      Then she went with the owner of the dairy and Angel was left behind. Now she did not talk to Angel Clare, and always tried not to show herself. She gave chance to the remaining three girls to develop love with Angel.

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