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4

 

When Tess arrived home the following afternoon a letter had already been received by her motherIt appeared to come from Mrs dUrbervilleand offered Tess work looking after chickens Joan Durbeyfield was delighted

It's just a way of getting you there without raising your hopesShe's going to recognize you as familyI'm sure of it.’

I would rather stay here with father and you,’said Tesslooking out of the window

But why?’

I'd rather not tell you motherI don't really know.’

A few days later when Tess came back from looking for work the children came running out and danced round her

The gentleman's been here!’they shouted

Joan was full of smiles Mrs dUrberville's son had calledand asked if Tess could come or not

He's a very handsome man!’said Mrs Durbeyfield

I don't think so,’said Tess coldly.‘I'll think it over.’She left the room

He's in love with her you can see that,’said Mrs Durbeyfield to her husband.‘No doubt he'll marry her and she'll be a fine lady.’

John Durbeyfield had more pride in his new-found blood than energy or health.‘That's what young Mr dUrberville is trying to doImprove his blood by marrying into the old line!’

Persuaded by her mother and the childrenTess finally agreed to goMrs Durbeyfield secretly made wedding plansThen the day came when Tess wearing her best Sunday clothes on her mother's orderssaid goodbye to her family

Goodbyemy girl,’said Sir Johnwaking from a short sleep.‘Tell young dUrberville I'll sell him the titleyessell itat a reasonable price.’

Not for less than a thousand pounds!’cried Lady Durbeyfield

Notell him he can have it for a hundredNofifty notwentyYestwenty poundsthat's the lowestFamily honour is family honour and I won't take any less!’

Tess felt like crying but turned quickly and went outHer mother went with her to the edge of the villageThere she stopped and stood waving goodbyeand watched her daughter walking away into the distance A waggon came to take her bagsand then a fashionable little carriage appearedIt was driven by a well-dressed young man smoking a cigarAfter a moment's hesitationTess stepped in

Joan Durbeyfieldwatchingwondered for the first time if she had been right in encouraging Tess to go That night she said to her husband,‘Perhaps I should have found out how the gentleman really feels about her.’

Yesperhaps you ought,’murmured Johnhalf asleepJoan's natural trust in the future came back to her

Wellif he doesn't marry her beforehe'll marry her afterIf she plays her cards right.’

If he knows about her dUrberville bloodyou mean?’

Nostupidif she shows him her pretty face.’

Meanwhile Alec dUrberville was whipping his horse and driving the carriage faster and faster downhillThe trees rushed past at great speedTess was feeling thoroughly frightenedHe took no notice when she asked him to slow downShe cried out and held on to his arm in fear

Don't touch my arm hold on to my waist!’he shouted At the top of another hill he saidlaughing,‘Put your arms around me again my beauty!’

Never!’said Tess independently

Let me give you one little kiss Tess and I'll stop!’

Will nothing else do?’cried Tess in despair.‘Oh very well!’

As they raced onhe was on the point of kissing herwhen she suddenly moved asideso that he almost fell off

I'll break both our necks!’he swore passionately

I thought you would be kind to me,’said Tessher eyes filling with tears.‘I don't want to kiss anybody!’

But he insistedso in the end she sat still and dUrberville kissed herNo sooner had he done so than she wiped the place on her cheek with her handkerchiefJust then her hat blew off into the road and dUrberville stopped the horseTess jumped down to get itthen turned triumphantly to Alec

I shall walk from here,’she said firmly

But it's five or six miles more.’

I don't care.’

You made that hat blow off on purposeYou diddidn't you?’

She was silentHe swore angrily at her

Don't use such bad words!’cried Tess.‘I shall go back to motherI hate you!’

DUrberville suddenly started laughing

LookI promise never to do that again,’he said.‘Comelet me take you in the carriage.’

But she refused and began to walk in the direction of TrantridgeSo they progressed slowlydUrberville driving the carriage beside Tess

 


 

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