Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Chapter 35 - Summary

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Phase—The Fifth


Chapter XXXV

      Tess, who was too sentimental, who wept before speaking and sobbed before weeping told her history in a very even tone never raising her voice high. All the through she had remained serious. But when the narrative ended she was eager to know the result. Angel was stunned. For some time he sat like a statue. When asked forgiveness by Tess he came to his own self. Tess clearly saw that his face had withered. Tess said that she had forgiven him, therefore, he should forgive her. But Angel Clare in whom the virtues paralyzed and the humanity began to suffocate, was roaming in the field of tradition. He agreed that Tess was more sinned than sinning, he agreed that it was not her fault, he also admitted that she had tried many times to disclose it before marriage, but he himself had hindered, and even before the fixation of the date she had always said that she was unworthy of him and this way he fully assented that she was really virtuous but he very blankly refused saying that he could not forgive her because forgiveness did not apply to all the cases. Tess who knew that one day such situation would arise, fell from her heights which she had never enjoyed. She beseeched on the knees of Angel, washed his feet with her tears, and clung with his legs, but Angel was no more an angel, he had become man and man could never forgive such sin committed by his wife.

      He did not know what to do—he went out in the open to think more freely in the fresh air. Neither knew Tess—she followed him to request with more urges. She was walking after him. She said that if he thought it proper she was ready to expiate her sin by drowning herself in the river. Angel said that, that would be a foolishness and the people would laugh at it. She offered that she would not write about her marriage to her parents and if he liked she would not accompany him if he went abroad, but anyhow he should forgive her. He scolded her for embarrassing him more. He asked her to go to the farm house and to sleep. She obeyed like a dutiful wife.

      After some time when he returned, he found that Tess was asleep. It seemed to him as if that innocence, that simplicity and that purity which he had seen on the face of Tess in the morning was no more there. Even an hour before she was the most pious woman but now she looked him the most dirty one. He did not know if he despised her, but at least of this fact, he was sure that his love for her had evaporated. Tess who had shifted her burden on Angel, was sleeping without any care. Angel dismounted the stairs and lay down in the couch lying in the sitting room. The bride was up-stairs and her tears had dried on her cheeks leaving behind the marks of the path of their flow and the bridegroom was down stairs whose eyes were fixed on the ceiling. This was their first honey-moon night.

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