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Tess of the D'Urbervilles
by Thomas Hardy
Alec D'Urberville Timeline and Summary
Alec sees Tess for the first time when she appears at his estate of The Slopes as his distant relative. (He chooses not to tell her that he's not actually a D'Urberville by blood.) Alec lusts heartily after Tess. She goes home, and he sends a letter inviting her to come and work for his mother. When she arrives, he deliberately frightens her by driving the cart too fast. He makes her feel how dependent she is on him so that she'll grow to trust him. He gives her a ride home from town late at night when she was getting harassed by fellow farm workers, and takes her for a ramble through the forest. He gets lost, and leaves her by herself while he goes out to reconnoiter. When he comes back, he finds her asleep under the trees, and rapes her. He's feels a bit guilty about it later, especially when Tess leaves Trantridge to go home. Alec makes fun of the Reverend Clare, who tries to convert him. Alec is, finally, converted by the Reverend Clare, and becomes a wandering preacher. He sees Tess in passing while giving a sermon in a village. He becomes obsessed with her again, and after a brief struggle, gives up on being a preacher to start stalking her. When her father dies and the family is destitute and on the verge of homelessness, he steps in to offer a cottage on his estate. He persuades her that Angel will never come back, so she should live with him as his mistress. When Angel does come back, Tess stabs Alec in the heart and kills him.