Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 50 - Summary

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      Covering mile after mile, ascending and descending, darkness of night Tess was proceeding towards her home. She had started at ten and at three in the morning when the stars were still twinkling she entered her village. In her house, she found that mother’s condition was worse since the departure of Liza and at that time she lay quite senseless in her bed. She prepared breakfast for herself and her father and began to arrange the articles of the house which lay at sixes and sevens. The family had gone poorer. Mother was in the bed and she could not do the domestic work. Father lay always in his chair and thought about asking the Government to help the decaying movement of an ancient family. He was a born shirker. His negligence of work had forced the family to eat away the seeds of potatoes. Anyhow, from her neighbors she collected some seeds and began to work in the field.

      One day, Tess and Lizalu were working with their neighbors in the field and the sun had recently hidden itself in the western horizon. Tess had determined to finish the work that night and therefore the work continued. The dry straws were set on fire to yield light and heat. Tess discerned that by her side Alec was working in the field. When she looked at him he also raised his eyes and smiled at her. She knew the cause of his smile. She was very oddly dressed because all her clothes had worn away. Apparently, he was bent upon insulting her husband which she could not tolerate. She turned her face away. Then he pleaded that he had gone there to search her but in vain. At last, he has come here and he did all because he loved her very passionately. Tess was bored to the edge of her grave by continuously hearing this song of passionate love. She knew that if Alec wanted anything that was her body and nothing else. Alec again pressed on her weak point and showed his generosity by telling her that he was ready to give every comfort to her relations. Tess rebuked him very harshly and in anger he retreated. Poor Tess did not know that luck was in his favor, because hardly had he gone some yards that her brother came and announced that their father was dead.

      It was really a strange accident. One who was expected to die had come back to life and one who was quite healthy had expired. He died of heart-attack. He was a life-holder who is called a “levier”. After his death they had to vacate the property which was given on lease for the life period of Jack Durbeyfield. Long ago, when d’Urbervilles were in cower and pelf they had turned some poor families out of their courses and now this last family of the same branch was facing the same trouble. Strange are the ways of God.

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