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9

 

Neither Angel Clare nor his family had originally chosen farming as a profession for him When he was a boy people admired his great qualitiesNow he was a man something vague and undecided in his look showed that he had no particular purpose in lifeHe was the youngest son of a poor parsonOne day when he was studying at home his father discovered that Angel had ordered a book of philosophy which questioned the Church's teaching How could his son become a priest if he read such books Angel explained that he did not in fact wish to enter the Church like his brothers because the Church's views were too strict and did not allow free thinking The simple parson was shocked He was a man of fixed ideas and a firm believer And if Angel did not want to become a priest what was the use of sending him to study at Cambridge For the parson the whole point of going to university was to become a minister of God

I want to use my mind,’Angel insisted.‘ I want to read philosophyI want to question my beliefso that what is left after I have questioned it will be even stronger.’

But Angelyour mother and I have saved and saved to send you to university like your brothers But how can we send you there if it is not in the service of God?’

So Angel did not have the advantage of a university education After some years studying at home he decided to learn farmingHe thought this kind of work could give him what he most valuedindependence and freedom to thinkSo he came to Talbothays at twentysixas a student

At first he stayed up in his room most of the time in the eveningsreading and playing his harpBut he soon preferred to read human nature by taking his meals in the general diningroom with the dairy people The longer he stayed the more Clare liked living with these simple country people No longer did he see them as lacking in intelligence He realized they were no different from him he and they were all people walking on the dusty road which ends in deathHe began to like working outside He was learning about nature and about life He came to know the changing seasonsmorning and eveningdifferent windswaters and mistsshade and silenceand the voices of natureAll this he had never known before

For several days after Tess's arrivalClaresitting reading a bookhardly noticed she was thereBut one morning at breakfast he was reading music and listening to the tune in his headwhen he heard a musical voice which seemed to become part of his tune He looked round at Tess seated at the table

What a fresh and pure daughter of nature that dairymaid is!’thought AngelHe seemed to remember something about hersomething which took him back into a happy past before decision made his life difficult This memory made him look more often at Tess than the other dairymaids

 


 

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