Study Guide

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Phase VI: "The Convert," Chapter Fifty-Two

By Thomas Hardy

Phase VI: "The Convert," Chapter Fifty-Two

  • Before dawn the next day, Tess, 'Liza-Lu, Abraham, and Joan get up to pack the wagon for their big move.
  • Lots of families are moving, because lots of laborers have signed up for new jobs starting that day. But the Durbeyfields don't have any work lined up where they're headed.
  • On their way, they see Izz and Marian, who are also moving.
  • When they arrive in Kingsbere, someone comes out of the rooms that they had written ahead to rent, and tells them that there aren't actually any rooms available—their letter came too late.
  • They try to find rooms elsewhere, but aren't successful. Everything's already full.
  • The wagon driver tells them that they have to unload somewhere—he's supposed to drive back that night.
  • He unloads their furniture close to the church, and drives off.
  • The D'Urberville family vault is in this church, so Mrs. Durbeyfield sets up a bed for the younger children in the vault where all the family tombs are.
  • Mrs. Durbeyfield, 'Liza-Lu, and Abraham set out to look for rooms again, leaving Tess in the vault to look after the little ones.
  • When they get out of the church, they see Alec D'Urberville.
  • Mrs. Durbeyfield doesn't like him very much, so she nods to him, and walks on.
  • After tucking in the children, Tess wanders around the churchyard, and checks out the family tombs.
  • Alec surprises her there, and asks her what he can do for her.
  • She tells him to go away, and he agrees to go—but only to look for her mother, who he figures will be unsuccessful in her search for housing.
  • Tess is left alone in the tombs of her ancestors, and wishes she were with them.
  • In the meanwhile, Marian and Izz are traveling, too, and discussing Angel and Tess.
  • They guess what's going on with Alec, since they've seen him hovering around her, and wonder if there's anything they can do to help mend things between Tess and Angel. After all, they're smart enough to realize that neither one of them will ever get Angel, so why shouldn't they try to help Tess?
  • They write a letter to Angel, and address it to him care of his parents at Emminster Vicarage.