Study Guide

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

By Thomas Hardy

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

  • Later that evening, Angel and his father are left alone together, and Angel seizes the opportunity to talk to his dad about his plans.
  • His father tells him that, since he didn't pay for his college education like he did for Angel's brothers, he instead put aside that money for Angel to buy land with.
  • Angel is appropriately grateful, and mentions that he might, you know, be thinking about getting married.
  • His father agrees that marriage is great—provided it's to a saintly and devout Christian woman.
  • Angel's father tries to push the Mercy Chant card, but Angel interrupts.
  • Yes, yes, Angel says, but isn't it also important that she be good at farming?
  • Angel's mother comes in, and says she hopes that the young lady in question is, in fact, a "lady"—someone he wouldn't be embarrassed to invite among polite, fancy company.
  • He tells them all about Tess, emphasizing that she is a regular church-goer.
  • They finally agree to meet her, and advise him to take things slowly.
  • Even though Angel can legally do what he likes as far as marriage, he doesn't push the point.
  • He goes back to the dairy to see Tess, and his father rides part of the way with him.
  • His father tells him about his efforts to convert wealthy, party-animal types, and how he has (not surprisingly) often failed.
  • One of the rich people Mr. Clare had been trying to work with was a Mr. D'Urberville.
  • Angel perks up—he's heard of that old family, since their estates were close to the dairy, and knows something about their family history, including a ghost story about a coach and four (horses).
  • Mr. Clare says it's some new family that has adopted the old name. The original family died out more than sixty years before.
  • Anyway, this Alec D'Urberville guy is a total jerk, and when Mr. Clare tried gently to point out the errors of his ways, Alec made fun of him in public.
  • Angel gets upset on his father's behalf, of course, but his father takes it all in stride, and says he'll just keep trying.