Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 31 - Summary

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      The next day, Tess wrote a very urgent letter in the most touching language. By the end of the week, the reply which she received was according to her guess. Her mother had thanked God and had expressed a great pleasure at the news of her marriage. About her question she said that no doubt, her past was very troublesome pricking and she agreed that it gave her a life-long sorrow to mourn but she advised her not to disclose it to Angel. She wrote since others did not trumpet theirs, why should she trumpet her? Moreover no girl should be such a fool, specialty in the case of Tess where the fault was not her but that of Alec. In the letter, she asked her to make a promise never to reveal it. After reading the reply, Tess closed her eyes. She was enjoying the unsurpassable affection of her mother. She felt somewhat lighter.

      The gear was changed in the motor of love and therefore they were enjoying themselves in the accelerated speed. However, advanced they were in their amorous embraces but there was hardly a touch of earth in their love. Sex could not intrude the territory of the pure love. For Tess, Angel was a God and for him she was the purest woman. He never tried to disturb that purity before he was legally authorized and since they were unmarried, therefore they did not trespass the boundaries of courtship. Tess, who had seen none except Alec, was surprised at the pious behavior of Angel. She had not known that men could be so disinterested. His love for her was not Byronic but Shellyan. Seeing such virtues in Angel, many a time she tried to clear her heart away but on the very verge, she retreated. Throughout the day they worked together, the evening was passed in the rovings and at night they slept quite satisfied. It was Angel only who wanted to fix the date of the marriage, but Tess always wanted to keep in that very state. She knew that those were the happiest moments for her. Arm in arm, when Angel took her through the men working in the fields, she raised her neck high with pride. On Sundays, they devoted more time to their wanderings.

      The Dairyman Crick who had guessed something about them would always give them chances to chat. One evening they were sitting together in the house, the other occupants of the house were out. The remorse had again attacked Tess and she in her agony was saying to Angel that she was really unworthy of him. She also complained that why he not courted her when she was only sixteen. When she was asked the reason, she wanted to say that he would have got a real virgin then, but she could not say it, she said that he would have owned her heart for more years in that case. On certain moments this mental conflict grew so strong that she would begin to sob and Angel began to suspect that she suffered from hysteria. That day also when she began to weep without any cause, Angel said that she was capricious. And then she had to assure him that she loved him and him only.

      They were sitting very close. A person could easily suspect that Tess was sitting on the thighs of Angel. But in the darkness, nothing was visible. Suddenly Mr. Crick and Mrs. Crick along with the three room-mates of Tess appeared there and Tess jumped up like an elastic ball and stood aside. Without being asked she began to tell that she was not sitting on his knees. Angel, however, cleared the position by telling them that they were soon going to marry. It was really a good news. Mr. Crick at once set the news on the air.

      The girls did not feel jealous because they had recognized the talents in Tess. They knew that Tess was worthier than them all. At night, they congratulated her. They said that virtue is always rewarded. It was but natural for Angel to pick her up because she was the most virtuous. But Tess, who knew that she was not, began to weep. Her companions were surprised at her behavior. She resolved with the burning heart to tell her history to Angel Clare, despite her mother’s command. For long, at night, the tears trickled from her eyes and the pillow went on absorbing them.

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