Study Guide

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

By Thomas Hardy

Phase VII: "Fulfillment," Chapter Fifty-Three

  • Angel arrives at his parents' house after his long trip.
  • Mrs. Clare is shocked to see how frail and scrawny he is after his illness.
  • The first thing he asks is whether any letters have come from Tess.
  • They've held her most recent letter, the angry one, and he reads it and almost despairs of ever making things up with her.
  • He tells his parents about her being a D'Urberville, and then goes to bed.
  • He writes to Mrs. Durbeyfield at Marlott to tell them of his return, but Mrs. Durbeyfield writes back saying that they no longer live in Marlott, that Tess isn't living with her, and that she doesn't want to say where Tess is now living.
  • Angel figures they're all just mad at him, and doesn't worry too much about it.
  • Angel waits to hear again from Mrs. Durbeyfield, figuring that she'd write again once she'd had a chance to tell Tess that he was back. But no note comes.
  • Then a letter that had been forwarded to him in Brazil, but which was returned, reaches him. It's the one in which Tess begs him to hurry back, because she's being pressed to do what she doesn't want to.
  • Angel immediately sets out to find her, especially when he sees the note sent by Marian and Izz.