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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.