Study Guide

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Phase V: "The Woman Pays," Chapter Forty-Two

By Thomas Hardy

Phase V: "The Woman Pays," Chapter Forty-Two

  • The next day, several more young men bother her with compliments about her good looks.
  • So Tess decides to try to make herself ugly, and clips off her eyebrows and ties a handkerchief around her face as though she had a toothache.
  • This has the desired effect—now when she passes men on the road, they mumble to each other about what an ugly girl she is.
  • Tess arrives at the place where Marian has been working, and is happy to see her, even though it's clear that Marian's fallen on hard times, too.
  • Marian is surprised at Tess's appearance, since she's married to a gentleman and all.
  • Marian assumes that whatever's wrong, it must be the fault of something outside both Tess and Angel, since she won't admit that either of them has any real faults.
  • Marian offers to help Tess to get a job at the farm where she's working, even though it's tough work and not much fun.
  • Tess doesn't really care what she does, so long as Marian agrees not to tell anyone about Angel—Tess doesn't want Angel's name to be associated with farm labor.
  • Tess signs an agreement with the farmer's wife (the farmer's out for the day) to stay and work until "Old Lady Day" (in late March/early April).
  • She sends a letter to her parents telling them where she's living, but not how poor she is—she's afraid that they'd think badly of Angel if they knew.