Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Important Quotations Explained
you really know, Durbeyfield, that you are the lineal representative
of the ancient and knightly family of the d’Urbervilles, who derive
their descent from Sir Pagan d’Urberville, that renowned knight
who came from Normandy with William the Conqueror, as appears by Battle
Abbey Roll?” “Never heard it before, sir!”
came close, and bent over her. “Dead, dead, dead!” he murmured.
After fixedly regarding her for some moments with the same gaze
of unmeasurable woe he bent lower, enclosed her in his arms, and
rolled her in the sheet as in a shroud. Then lifting her from the
bed with as much respect as one would show to a dead body, he carried
her across the room, murmuring, “My poor poor Tess, my dearest darling Tess!
So sweet, so good, so true!” The words of endearment, withheld so
severely in his waking hours, were inexpressibly sweet to her forlorn
and hungry heart. If it had been to save her weary life she would
not, by moving or struggling, have put an end to the position she
found herself in. Thus she lay in absolute stillness, scarcely venturing
to breathe, and, wondering what he was going to do with her, suffered herself
to be borne out upon the landing. “My wife—dead, dead!” he said.
the trees several pheasants lay about, their rich plumage dabbled
with blood; some were dead, some feebly twitching a wing, some staring
up at the sky, some pulsating quickly, some contorted, some stretched
out—all of them writhing in agony except the fortunate ones whose
tortures had ended during the night by the inability of nature to
bear more. With the impulse of a soul who could feel for kindred sufferers
as much as for herself, Tess’s first thought was to put the still
living birds out of their torture, and to this end with her own
hands she broke the necks of as many as she could find, leaving
them to lie where she had found them till the gamekeepers should
come, as they probably would come, to look for them a second time.
“Poor darlings—to suppose myself the most miserable being on earth
in the sight o’ such misery as yours!” she exclaimed, her tears running
down as she killed the birds tenderly.
As soon as she drew close to it she discovered all in a moment that
the figure was a living person; and the shock to her sense of not
having been alone was so violent that she was quite overcome, and
sank down nigh to fainting, not however till she had recognized
Alec d’Urberville in the form. He leapt off the slab and supported
her. “I saw you come in,” he said smiling, “and got up there not
to interrupt your meditations. A family gathering, is it not, with
these old fellows under us here? Listen.” He stamped with his heel heavily
on the floor; whereupon there arose a hollow echo from below. “That
shook them a bit, I’ll warrant,” he continued. “And you thought
I was the mere stone reproduction of one of them. But no. The old
order changeth. The little finger of the sham d’Urberville can do more
for you than the whole dynasty of the real underneath. . . . Now
command me. What shall I do?”
was done, and the President of the Immortals (in Aeschylean phrase)
had ended his sport with Tess. And the d’Urberville knights and
dames slept on in their tombs unknowing. The two speechless gazers
bent themselves down to the earth, as if in prayer, and remained
there a long time, absolutely motionless: the flag continued to
wave silently. As soon as they had strength they arose, joined hands
again, and went on.
by DanMitchell23, January 01, 2013
Really like this novel, here is what I thought!
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