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Chapters 22, 23, and 24

Chapter 22

The next morning, Mr. Crick is upset that one of his customers has complained that the butter has a foul taste owing to the cows eating garlic. He rounds up the workers so they can canvass the fields and remove the troublesome plants. The process is arduous, like finding a needle in a haystack, but they continue their search. Angel walks purposely next to Tess, but remembering her vow, Tess immediately tries to draw Angel to the sight of Izzy and Retty, praising their beauty. From then on, she tries not to be alone with Angel, while giving the other three girls every chance. Tess, however, seeing Angel's endeavors not to spite any of the girls, grows even more fond of him, not knowing that such tenderness is possible in men.

Chapter 23

One Sunday, the four girls decide to dress up and attend services at Mellstock Church. They set up in the best clothes, but they soon face a problem - heavy rains have flooded a portion of the road, impeding their progress. The four ponder their limited options, when Angel Clare rides along, exciting the hearts of all four girls. He is not attending church; rather he is inspecting the damage caused by the storms. Finding the girls in their predicament, he offers to carry them to the other side. All the girls wait excitedly for their turn in Angel's arms, with Angel taking Tess last. He comments that he has waited very long to hold her, but Tess tried to defer his compliments. He walks slowly, trying to prolong the moment, but he does not push his overtures of love any further that day.
After Tess joins up with the others and Angel leaves, the girls lament that they have no chance against Tess for Angel's heart. The accusations hurt Tess, since she does not want to be the cause of their heartbreak, but the girls are resigned to this reality. There is little jealousy since there is little hope. That night in bed, the girls talk further, wondering about what Angel's intended wife, a girl from Emminster, must look like. The information is new to Tess, but it only strengthens her resolve not to be romantically involved with Angel. She feels entirely less worthy of him than the others.

Chapter 24

However, Tess cannot stop the eventual and continued budding of their romance. It is hot during the summer, but Angel is cooled at thoughts of his silent and beautiful Tess. He watches her as she milks, obsessed with her warmth and vitality, and infatuated with her utter humanity, which makes her real to him.
One day, Angel goes from simple observation to the desire to caress Tess, and he walks over to her and clasps the shocked Tess. He apologizes but finally confesses his undying love for Tess, which causes Tess to cry in surprise and confusion. She has no reply, but she frees herself and continues milking, just in time to see Mr. Crick walk by. Whatever her actions from that moment on, Angel has already revealed his emotions.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapters 1, 2, and 3
Chapters 4, 5, and 6
Chapters 7, 8, and 9
Chapters 10 and 11
Chapters 12, 13, 14, and 15
Chapters 16, 17, and 18
Chapters 19, 20, and 21
Chapters 22, 23, and 24
Chapters 25, 26, and 27
Chapters 28, 29, and 30
Chapters 31 and 32
Chapters 33 and 34
Chapters 35, 36, and 37
Chapters 38, 39, and 40
Chapters 41, 42, 43, and 44
Chapters 45, 46, 47, and 48
Chapters 49, 50, 51, and 52
Chapters 53, 54, and 55
Chapters 56, 57, 58, and 59


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