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Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Tess of the D'Urbervilles


by Thomas Hardy

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Phase V: "The Woman Pays," Chapter Forty Summary

  • At breakfast, Angel and his parents discuss his Brazil plan. Everyone tries to be optimistic, but Brazil has a bad reputation—a lot of farmers have emigrated there to seek their fortunes, and have returned disappointed within a year.
  • Angel goes to the town after breakfast to withdraw his money from the bank.
  • While he's there, he arranges for thirty pounds to be sent to Tess in eight months, along with instructions that she write to his father in case of any emergency.
  • On his way back, he runs into Mercy Chant.
  • She asks him about his plans in Brazil, and the conversation turns to the Roman Catholicism of most of the people there.
  • Since she, like Angel's own parents, is a strict Protestant, she's shocked when he makes light of the religious differences of Catholicism.
  • He apologizes for having shocked her, and wonders if he's going nuts.
  • Angel has one other errand before leaving for Brazil. He has to go back to the place where he and Tess spent those few nights after their wedding to pay the rent and pick up a few things they'd left.
  • When he gets there, he remembers how happy they were when they arrived, and wonders if he made a mistake.
  • Then Izz Huett shows up—she says she came to visit them.
  • Angel explains that they're not living there, and tells Izz that Tess is at her parents' house because he's going to find a farm in Brazil.
  • Angel asks how everyone's doing at the dairy, and Izz says that she left, because the dairy was just too depressing, what with Retty's attempted suicide and Marian's descent into alcoholism.
  • Angel offers Izz a ride home, since she lives pretty close by.
  • On the way, she admits that she was pretty depressed, herself, since Angel and Tess left the dairy.
  • Angel asks why, and Izz is like, "hellooooo, I've had a crush on you for months!"
  • Angel's quiet for a while, and then thinks about how the whole system of marriage has screwed him (at least, that's the way he sees it).
  • So he tells Izz that he and Tess separated for personal reasons—not just because he's going to Brazil first to check out the farm situation. And then he asks Izz if she'll go with him.
  • She says yes, even though it would be wrong and immoral in the eyes of most people.
  • Angel asks if she really loves him—loves him more than Tess?
  • Izz says she loves him, but not more than Tess – no one could love him more than Tess.
  • That honesty from Izz snaps Angel out of his momentary lunacy, and he turns the cart around to drop Izz off at home.
  • Izz starts crying, of course, but calms down and, when they say good-bye, is able to forgive Angel for totally messing with her head.
  • He sends his farewells to Marian and Retty through Izz, and asks her to tell them to be strong and good.
  • He wavers as he drives away—he almost turns around to drive back to Tess at her parents' house, but decides that if he was right before, he's right now. The state of Tess's feeling for him has nothing to do with it.
  • So, five days later, he leaves for Brazil from a ship out of London.

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