Study Guide

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Phase IV: "The Consequence," Chapter Twenty-Five

By Thomas Hardy

Phase IV: "The Consequence," Chapter Twenty-Five

  • Angel wanders around that evening after Tess has gone to bed, thinking about what has happened.
  • He hadn't meant to tell her he loved her—he hadn't meant to fall in love at all.
  • But he's not toying around with her, either. He's got a conscience, and doesn't want to break any hearts.
  • He decides to go home to see his folks for a few days, and talk it over with them.
  • He's almost finished studying farming, and will soon be ready to start one of his own. He tells himself that it would make more sense to marry a woman who understands the business.
  • But he decides to go see his parents anyway.
  • The next morning at breakfast one of the girls comments that Mr. Clare isn't there.
  • Dairyman Crick says that Angel has gone home to see his parents—probably to plan for the future, since he's almost finished his time at the dairy.
  • Marian, Izz, Retty, and of course Tess all sigh and look sad at the news.
  • Meanwhile, Angel is riding his horse towards his parents' house, thinking things over. Should he marry Tess? Would they be happy together? Does he really love her, or does he just have the hots for her?
  • He's carrying a basket with some black puddings and a bottle of mead as a gift from Mrs. Crick to his parents. (Culinary note: black puddings aren't some tasty chocolate treat. They're basically sausages made out of blood.)
  • As he passes the church where his father preaches, he sees a young woman—it's Mercy Chant, the daughter of his parents' friend and neighbor. They hope he'll marry her someday.
  • He decides she hasn't seen him, so he's not obliged to say hi.
  • He gets to his parents' house just as they're all sitting down to breakfast.
  • His brothers, Felix and Cuthbert, are there as well.
  • Mr. Clare is an old man to have such a young son, and he's very set in his ways and thoroughly convinced that his way of viewing the world and religion is the right one.
  • At least he's sincere about it, though.
  • His family greets him, and Angel sits down to breakfast with them.
  • They notice that he's lost some of his fancy polish—he's started to behave "like a farmer."
  • After breakfast, he goes for a walk with his brothers. They might be noticing his lack of social graces, but he's starting to notice their closed-mindedness.
  • Their parents, meanwhile, have gone out to do good work among the poor in their community, as they do everyday.
  • At lunch, he looks around for the black puddings, but his mother tells him that they had given them to some poor folks.
  • Angel then looks for the mead, and they tell him it was too alcoholic to drink at the table, so they've put it in the medicine cabinet with the brandy.
  • Angel is disappointed—he likes both mead and black puddings, and wanted his family to enjoy them so that he could tell Mrs. Crick that her gift was appreciated.