Tess of the D'Urbervilles Phase I: "The Maiden," Chapter Seven
By Thomas Hardy
Phase I: "The Maiden," Chapter Seven
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—okay, 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).