Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
Summary

Phase the Seventh: The Fulfillment, Chapters LIII–LIX

Summary Phase the Seventh: The Fulfillment, Chapters LIII–LIX

Summary: Chapter LVI

Mrs. Brooks, the landlady at The Herons, follows Tess upstairs and spies on her through the keyhole. She sees Tess holding her head in her hands, accusing Alec of deceiving her into thinking that Angel would never come back for her. Alec replies angrily, and Mrs. Brooks, startled, flees the scene. Back in her own room, she sees Tess go through the front gate, where she disappears onto the street. A short while later, Mrs. Brooks notices a dark red spot spreading on the ceiling. Terrified, Mrs. Brooks has a workman open the door of the d’Urberville rooms, where they discover Alec lying on the bed, stabbed to death. The landlady gives the alarm, and the news of Alec’s murder quickly spreads through the town.

Summary: Chapter LVII

Angel decides to leave on the first train. At his hotel, he finds a telegraph from his mother informing him that Cuthbert is going to marry Mercy Chant. Rather than waiting for the train, Angel decides to walk to the next station and meet it there. As he hikes out of the valley, he sees Tess running after him. He draws her off the main road, and she tells him that she has killed Alec. Tess says she had to kill Alec because he wronged Angel, but that she also had to return to Alec because Angel abandoned her. She begs Angel’s forgiveness, and he, thinking she is delirious, tells her he loves her. At last he realizes she is serious, though he still does not believe she has actually killed Alec. He agrees to protect her.

They walk toward the interior of the country, waiting for the search for Tess to be called off so they can escape overseas. That evening, they find an old mansion and slip in through the windows. After a woman comes to close up the house, Angel opens the shutters, and they are alone for the night.

Summary: Chapter LVIII

Five days pass, and Angel and Tess slowly lapse back into their original love. They make little mention of their estrangement. One day the woman who airs the house discovers their hiding place, and they decide it is time to leave. After a day of travel, they arrive in the evening at Stonehenge, where Tess feels quite at home. As she rests by a pillar, she says that she feels as if there are no people in the world but them.

Tess becomes distraught, and asks Angel to look after Liza-Lu when Tess is dead. She says she hopes Angel will marry Liza-Lu, then asks her husband if he believes they will meet again after death. Angel does not answer, and Tess, upset, drifts into sleep.

At dawn, Angel realizes that they are surrounded. Men are moving in from all sides, and Angel realizes Tess must truly have killed Alec. Angel asks the men not to take Tess until she wakes. When she sees them, she feels strangely relieved. Tess is glad she will not live, because she feels unworthy of Angel’s love.