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Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Tess of the D'Urbervilles


by Thomas Hardy

Tess Durbeyfield Timeline and Summary

  • Tess sees Angel at the dance on the village green; he doesn't dance with her.
  • She falls asleep while driving the family's produce to the market in the middle of the night; the horse, Prince, is killed by an oncoming mail coach.
  • Tess is sent by her parents to visit the D'Urberville family at Trantridge, in the hopes that they'll lend them money for a new horse.
  • Later, Tess is invited by Alec D'Urberville to come and work at Trantridge; her parents pressure her to accept the invitation.
  • She works at Trantridge for a while, then is seduced and raped by Alec in The Chase.
  • She goes back to Marlott immediately afterwards, gives birth to a baby, and works in the fields close to home to make money.
  • The baby dies; she buries it in the churchyard.
  • Tess travels to Talbothays Dairy to work where no one knows her history.
  • She falls in love with Angel Clare, a gentleman's son who is getting practical experience at a dairy in preparation to buy a farm of his own.
  • Tess agrees to marry Angel and tries to tell him about her history in a letter, but he never receives it.
  • Tess marries Angel.
  • She confesses everything to him on their wedding night.
  • Angel can't get over it, and leaves her for Brazil with instructions to get extra money from his father when she spends what he leaves her.
  • Tess goes back to her parents' house at Marlott for a while, then decides to work at a farm during the winter with an old friend from Talbothays.
  • She tries to visit Angel's parents, but overhears his brothers talking about his unfortunate marriage, and gives it up.
  • Tess sees Alec D'Urberville, who has converted to Christianity and has become a wandering preacher.
  • She tries to ward off Alec's unwanted advances.
  • Tess is called back to her parents' house because of her mother's bad health.
  • Her mother recovers, but her father suddenly dies.
  • Tess has to help her mother and younger siblings move to a new house; Alec offers to give her family a cottage on his estate; Tess refuses.
  • Alec eventually convinces Tess to become his mistress again, and puts her family up in his cottage.
  • Angel returns for Tess and meets her in Sandbourne; she tells him it's too late.
  • She stabs Alec in the heart with a knife and joins Angel.
  • They run away together across the countryside to avoid the authorities who understandably want to arrest Tess.
  • Tess is arrested when they stop for a break at Stonehenge.
  • Tess is executed in the county capitol of Wintoncester.