Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 9 - Summary

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      Tess was appointed supervisor of the poultry farm. There was a small residential house on the farm, which was allotted to her for residential purpose. On the ground floor lived birds and pet fowls. This house was very old. It was used for residential purposes, but later on, it was used for other purposes. There was a beautiful garden around the house. Tess set the house in order in a few days. She could look after the work very well as she had some experience of this type of work. Then Tess went to see her employer. She was blind and sat in a chair. Her hair was grey. She was more than sixty years. She wore a big cap. Her face was full and fresh. She said to Tess, ‘Have you come to work on our farm. I hope you will look after our fowls well. Our watchman has informed us that you are a very good girl.’

      As Mrs. d’Urberville was talking of Tess, a bird sat in her lap. Tess took charge of the poultry farm and began to work hard. She could whistle like birds and had affection for them. But the employer was informed that she could not work very well. The old woman had wrinkles of hatred on her face. She was deprived of the post. Tess came to know that there was no love lost between the mother and her son.

      Even after her removal from the poultry farm, she tried to work there. But really she was out of practice for this work. On whistling she found that she could do so, because it needed her sometime before she could do this. In the meantime Alec came there swift like a hawk.

       Alec said that he had never seen such a beautiful girl. He further said, “Dear Sister, Tess, I have seen you trying to whistle. I know my mother wants that you should learn whistling. How far is it proper to teach hens and cocks whistling. If I were in your position, I might have refused it flatly” Then he began to teach her whistling. Then Alec came almost every day to Tess and talked to her. Their contacts grew, and her fear was to some extent dispelled.

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