Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 8 - Summary

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      Alec was driving the carriage fast. Tess was sitting beside him. He was praising Tess. The vast expanse of earth was around them. The land of her birth was quite verdurous. The carriage reached a spot where there was a steep ridge almost for a mile. Tess was quite careful in the carriage journey after the accident of the Prince. A minor jolt used to shock her. If the driver showed the least carelessness she was quite restless. Therefore she requested Alee to drive the carriage more carefully. Alec replied that it was not the desire of a brave woman, and that he was in the habit of driving the carriage quite fast. This would give excitement to Tess. The mare knew the inclination of her master at such places. Without any goading, she began to run quite fast. The wheels of the carriage span like a top. Tess did not show fear, but she caught hold of Alec’s arm in order to be safe. Alec said that she should not get hold of his arm, otherwise, both of them would fall. If she wanted, she could place her arm round his waist. Tess put her arm round his waist. Thus they reached the other end of the ridge. Tess said, “In spite of your folly let God be thanked.” Alec d’Urberville said, “This is your fear”. Tess said, “This is truth.” Alec said, “You have given up the grip of my waist as soon as you were out of danger.”

      Tess made no reply and sat silent. Again they reached a spot where they had to do down hill. Alec wanted to give a race to the carriage. Tess asked him to behave. Alec took no notice of the request and loosened the rein, without touching him she sat quite motionless. Alec wanted to kiss her. It bred a feeling of revulsion and hatred in Tess. The speed of the Carriage slackened, Tess made it quite clear, that she hated any attempt on the part of Alec rather to woo her or to kiss her.

      Alec was a confirmed rogue. Tess sat quiet, and Alec tried again to kiss her. Tess sat silent. Alec tried again to kiss her. Tess felt ashamed. She took out a handkerchief and wiped her face. Tess said sadly, “I thought you were my relation. I want that nobody should kiss me.”

      There was another ridge ahead. Alec tried again to kiss her. The hat of Tess blew away. This time the speed of the carriage was very much slowed. Tess got down and went to pick up her hat. Alec could understand that Tess had purposely let her hat blow away. The silence of Tess measured his suspicion. He took the carriage to her. He began to rebuke her. Tess also reprimanded him. She was on the top of bush to save herself from him. She said, “If you tease me like this, I shall go to my mother.”

      Hearing this the anger of Alee cooled down and he began to laugh. He told Tess that he would never behave like this. But Tess had lost all faith in Alec. She had the idea of going back to her mother’s home. But she was also thinking that this was purely an emotional way of life. After some time she saw the farm where she was to work.

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