Study Guide

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Phase VII: "Fulfillment," Chapter Fifty-Six

By Thomas Hardy

Phase VII: "Fulfillment," Chapter Fifty-Six

  • The landlady at the hotel, Mrs. Brooks, overheard part of the conversation between Angel and Tess.
  • After Angel leaves, she tiptoes partway up the stairs, and hears anguished moaning from the D'Urberville room.
  • She peeps in at the keyhole, and sees Tess crying at the breakfast table in the outer room, and overhears Alec asking what is wrong.
  • She overhears part of the explanation—Tess saying that she had lost Angel again because of Alec, and that Alec had torn her life to shreds and had caged her forever.
  • Mrs. Brooks is afraid of being caught eavesdropping, so she hurries back downstairs, and heads back to the kitchen to finish her own breakfast.
  • After a while, she looks out the window, and sees Tess leaving the hotel.
  • She doesn't think much of it —her wealthy guests must have had a spat, that's all.
  • But then, after a while, she glances towards the ceiling, and sees a bright red splotch there.
  • She climbs up on a table and touches it—it's blood.
  • She gets a couple of male servants to go with her, and goes upstairs to investigate.
  • Alec has been stabbed to death and is lying in the bed.