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Tess of the d'Urbervilles di Hardy Thomas

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles

di Hardy Thomas

The story: Summary


The story begins with the meeting between John Durbeyfield and Parson Tringham, who explained that the man was a direct descendant of the ancient family of the  d'Urbervilles, who was impoverished. He was very excited by the notice and went immediately home to tell it to his wife and his seven children.


In spite of their noble descent, the Durbeyfields were very poor, and besides this, the head of the family was ill. So Tess, the oldest of the children, but still young, had to leave Marlett to ask for a job to the last d'Urberville family at Trantridge and to make money for her family.

She met Alec, son of Mrs. d'Urbervilles, who offered her work looking after chickens. Tess began to enjoy her new job, but from the beginning the attitude of Alec was insolent to her, up to the point that a night he raped her.

A few weeks after that episode, Tess decided to return home and to tell all the story to the mother, who reproached her, because she didn't stay and marry Alec. She was very depressed and tried to forget him, but the memory of that horrible man didn't leave her: in fact she gave birth to a child, who soon died of lack of food.

After this last sorrow, Tess wanted to go elsewhere and she found a job as a milkmaid some miles to the South. There she made the acquaintance of same nice girls and a young man, who was a beginner at dairy work too. His name was Angel Clare and he noticed Tess only several days after her arrival.

They began to make friends, but she didn't want to be too involved. He fell in love with her and secretly he was requited, even if she tried to repress her feelings. Finally Tess yielded to Angel's proposal and they fixed the date of the wedding on 31st December.

One night she wrote a four-e letter to him describing what happened three years ago and then she pushed it under his doors, but he didn't see it.

They married and spent their honeymoon staying in the old farmhouse, which had belonged to the d'Urbervilles. That evening Tess confessed her secret and Angel was so much upset, he couldn't forgive her. He decided to go to farm in another country, where nobody could know about her past and she had to return home.

So Angel left for Brazil and  Tess reached Marlott, but she left again looking for work and she found occasional dairy work.

Unfortunately one day she met Alec, but he was very changed and now he preached. When he saw Tess, his past attitude became again, he forgot his change and started persecuting her.

In the meantime, her mother felt ill and she had to return home and attend to the children. Unexpectedly her father died and they had to leave, but they didn't find an accommodation, so Tess was forced to accept the offers of Alec.

Meanwhile Angel came back from Brazil and received a letter from Tess' friends, who explained the situation. He searched for her and found her in a big house at Sandbourne.  


There they met and Tess revealed that she had married Alec and she didn't want to see him again. After he went away, she went upstairs into the bedroom and killed his husband with a knife. Then she joined Angel and they ran away together, but at Stonehenge Tess was captured by the policemen.

At the end, she was shut up and executed in the prison of Wintoncester.


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