Study Guide

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Phase III: "The Rally," Chapter Twenty-Three

By Thomas Hardy

Phase III: "The Rally," Chapter Twenty-Three

  • It's now July, and they've had a lot of rain.
  • One Sunday morning, Tess and the other milkmaids decide to walk to church.
  • On their way, they find that part of the road is flooded.
  • It's not very deep, and on a working day they would have marched on across in their work boots.
  • But they're wearing fancy Sunday shoes, and don't want to mess them up.
  • Luckily for them, Angel happens to be out walking (remember, he has problems with the way the church is run).
  • He offers to carry them each across.
  • Of course the girls all agree.
  • The first three are all blushing and excited as he lifts them up. After all, this might be the only time they get to be in his arms.
  • He saves the best for last, and carries Tess across slowly so that he can whisper to her.
  • She still tries to flatter her friends to make them seem better than she is.
  • He almost kisses her, but doesn't want to take advantage of the situation.
  • After he leaves them all, Tess's friends look despondent.
  • She asks them what's up, and they say that they're miserable because Angel likes her the best.
  • But still, they don't hold it against her. Especially when Tess cries out that they're all better than she is.
  • That night, as they're getting ready for bed, she cries and says that she'd never marry him, or any man.
  • They all convince themselves that Angel has no idea of marrying any of them.
  • Izz is so depressed that she says she'll leave the dairy and go home.
  • Later on, Izz mentions that there's some fine lady that Angel's family wants him to marry.
  • Tess is shocked, and for the first time, feels some jealousy. But she no longer has any hope that he might intend to ask her to marry him.