Study Guide

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Phase VI: "The Convert," Chapter Forty-Eight

By Thomas Hardy

Phase VI: "The Convert," Chapter Forty-Eight

  • Later that afternoon, Tess notices that Alec has come back. When he sees her look up, he waves and blows her a kiss to show her there are no hard feelings about the slap.
  • The farmer says that they'll finish the field even if they have to work into the night—there's a full moon, so they'll have light to work by.
  • All the workers are already exhausted.
  • Tess is the only one of the women who is working on top of the machine itself, and the vibration of it shakes her from head to toe.
  • At one point, the farmer comes up and tells Tess that she can go join her friend if she likes, but Tess knows that Alec must have had something to do with this, and so she refuses, and continues to work.
  • After they're finished, Alec offers to walk her home.
  • He says he's sorry she had to work so hard—most farms don't make women stand on the machine, since it's too back-breaking.
  • Tess is thankful for his kindness, but has a hard time telling when he's being nice, and when he's trying to put her off her guard.
  • He asks about her family, and says that he saw them recently. He went to them to ask where she was working.
  • She feels so sorry for her little brothers and sisters that she's tempted to give in to him, and he knows it.
  • She tells him not to bring them up, and that she doesn't want to accept anything from him, either for herself or for him.
  • That night, Tess writes another letter to Angel, begging him to come to her, or to ask her to come to him. She doesn't give any details, but she says that she's being pressed and harassed to do what she doesn't want to do.