Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 41 - Summary

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      After the separation of Tess and Clare, it was the month of October. Tess was quite changed. She did not carry with her boxes and personal effects like a newly married bride. She used to go with a basket and a bundle of other articles. For some months after the marriage, she had prosperous days. But, later her pocket became empty.

      After leaving the village, she took up some work. She was employed at a place known as Port-Bredy. Mentally she remained in great stagnation. Her vision of love was being destroyed. The season of milk was about to end. She wanted to find out work somewhere else. It was harvesting time. She could get lot of work.

      Twenty-five pounds given by Clare had been saved by her very carefully. It was her invaluable possession. They were golden sovereigns for her. And one by one they left her hands. She used to send her address from time to time. But she never described her condition. When all the money had been spent; she got a letter from her mother, in which the need for money had been shown. Her father’s roof was broken. He had to reproof the house. He had not paid yet the money for previous roofing. Tess had to receive thirty pounds from the banker of Clare. As soon as she received the amount, she sent twenty pounds for her parents, she had been instructed that in case of want of money, she should write to the father of Clare.

      But Tess had great deal of pride. She could not beg for money. She thought that Angel’s parents must hate her. Therefore she did not write to the parents of Angel.

      She remembered her ornaments. Tess did not know where Clare had deposited them. Meanwhile, her husband’s days had been full of trial. He had fallen ill in Brazil. The weather of that place was not suitable to him. Tess had nothing with her. She had no hope of getting any job. The dairy where she had worked in the winter, had no work. She could get employment at Talbothays. But she did not want to go there for certain reasons. Therefore she went towards a farm situated in the middle of that region. Marian’s letter was with her. Marian had heard that Tess had separated from her husband.

      She had no hope of getting mercy from her husband. Another difficulty for her was that wherever she went, the young men used to tease her on account of her beauty. She thought that she must work near the house of Angel’s father. Therefore she walked towards Chalk, Newton, where she wanted to stay for the nights. She reached the top of a hill. The Sun was about to set. It was rather dark. She heard the sound of footsteps behind her. Turning back, she saw that he was a companion of Alec d’Urberville. He was the same person whom Angel had beaten. Tess had no limit to her exasperation. She ran forward. She stopped at the gate of a farm, and entered it very hurriedly. She did not stop till she was quiet inside the farm. Tess gathered their dry dead leaves; and slept thereon. Her sleep was fitful. She heard strange noises there. She thought that the dry leaves were making noise. “Is there any person equally miserable like me.” Tess asked herself. She regarded the world an illusion Tess was very sad. Again she heard the sound of something falling on the ground from the trees. But she was not afraid. Because she was quite restless. In the sky, there was a streak of light. In the morning light, she saw the trees. Below were many dead birds. The last evening a shooting party was out hunting birds. Many birds were shot dead. Some were injured and took shelter in this grove. At night the injured birds were falling dead one by one. Some birds were in their last throes. Tess had deep sympathy for the miserable and tortured beings.

      Therefore to set them free from the torture, she killed them. While killing them, tears were rolling down her cheeks. She was saying, “Dear birdies, my life is as miserable as yours.”

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