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Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

by Thomas Hardy

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Phase I: "The Maiden," Chapter Seven Summary

  • Tess wakes up early the day she is supposed to set out for The Slopes.
  • Her mother insists that she wear her finest dress, and Tess objects that she's going to work, not for a holiday.
  • Her mother presses her, and Tess finally agrees to let her mother dress her in any way she sees fit.
  • Her mother washes and dries Tess's hair so that it's all soft and fluffy, and ties it back with a big pink ribbon.
  • The narrator tells us that Tess's huge hair, combined with her…ahem, other assets – make her seem older than she is.
  • Her mother is very pleased with how pretty Tess looks.
  • Tess says goodbye to her father, who tells her that he's willing to sell the other branch of the family the rights to the family name for a thousand – no, a hundred – no, for fifty – OK, fine, for twenty pounds.
  • Tess feels rather bitter as she turns to leave.
  • Her mother and some of the younger children walk with Tess to where she's arranged to meet the cart.
  • Tess is about to climb into the cart when they see a second one coming. This one is a fancy two-person carriage, driven by – you guessed it – Alec D'Urberville himself.
  • Tess is hesitant to climb up with him – she would have preferred the plain country cart that is carrying her luggage. But, after a moment's hesitation, she climbs in with him.
  • As soon as Tess is out of sight, the younger children start to cry. Even Mrs. Durbeyfield tears up.
  • That night in bed, she expresses her misgivings to her husband – maybe, she thinks, she ought to have looked into the young man's character a bit before trusting her daughter with him so far from home. But then she comforts herself with the thought that "if he don't marry her afore he will after" (7.38).