Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 51 - Summary

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      Old Lady Day was the day of great importance for the agriculturists. It was a day of fulfillment, and new agreements were made. The laborers and the work folk who did not wish to remain in the old places shifted to new farms. Every year many families migrated. It was on this day that they had to vacate their thatch. They could live there as the weekly tenants but the villagers would not allow such a family to corrupt the village girls. They said that the father was a drunkard, the daughter practiced loose morals and the children did not go to Church. Joan was a proud woman. She herself decided to shift to Kingsbere where she had arranged two rooms.

      On the evening of the preceding day, the whole family except Tess had gone to bid ‘Good-Byes’ to their respective friends. Tess was keeping house till they should return. She was kneeling in the window-bench and her face was close to the casement and was pondering over the defame she had brought to the family. If she had not come from Flintcomb-Ash, perhaps the people would not have extricated them. She was lost in these thoughts that Mr. d’Urberville came upon his horse. But to Tess, the voice of the hoofs of the horse heard the rattling of the wheels of a d’Urberville coach. It was really ominous on the part of the heaven. Alec d’Urberville told the legend that once it was heard by a maiden and her way of elopement with a youth of her family, she killed him in the coach. Then suddenly he asked about the other members of the house and when he saw the packed luggage he at once came to know that they would shift the next day. He offered his own house which would be white washed, a poultry would be set for her mother and children would go to the school. Tess kept mum. She was trying to stand against these temptations. He again said that he owed her something of the past and he wanted to repay that debt. She knew that she will have to pay for all the comforts, therefore she told him that she would not accept his proposal because she had plenty of money at her father-in-laws. Alee knew that she would not ask for their help because her pride would check her. He want away ask her to give his message to her mother. After his departure, she grew very impassioned. She sized a pepper and wrote few lines to Angel in anger - that he had done her injustice and that he was cruel.

      Her mother sensed from the foot marks of the horse that somebody had come. She admitted that he was Alec d’Urberville, but she did not tell him the proposal which he had placed before her. The children were then singing a very pathetic song. Tears came rolling from her eyes. She felt she was the cause of all those miseries.

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