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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES
Shortly after returning to the dairy farm, Angel tells Tess that he would be delighted to have her as his wife. She confesses that she loves him, but does not accept his proposal. He coaxes her to tell the reason for her denial of him, and she says it is because of her unprivileged background and position. Angel tells Tess he will give her time to think it over.
Angel also tells Tess about the Trantridge incident in which a D'Urberville insulted his father. She is quick to realize that the man being discussed is Alec. Tess is once again appalled at the cruelty of her fate.
In this chapter, Angel is pictured as impulsive. Upon returning to Talbothay's, he wastes no time in embracing Tess and asking for her hand in marriage. When she says she loves him but cannot marry him, Angel tries to be patient. He promises to give her time to reconsider his proposal and assures her that she should not be apprehensive about her background or his family.
The narration of the Trantridge incident by Angel to Tess is a shocking event for her. She immediately realizes that the young man being discussed is Alec. Tess suddenly feels very vulnerable for the first time since she has been at Talbothay. She worries that her secret may not remain a secret with Alec's involvement with Angel's family. Once again Tess realizes the cruelty of fate.
Angel continues to try and convince Tess to marry him. Believing her reticence is due to a lack of confidence in her status, Angel continually praises Tess and encourages her in her studies. She, however, continues to say she cannot marry him. Angel, on the other hand, is more convinced that ever that in time Tess is sure to accept his proposal. Tess, fearing that Angel's insistence will break her resolve, decides to tell Angel about herself. Her conscience will not let her continue to love him without telling him the truth.
Angel continues his pursuit of Tess and spends time encouraging and teaching her. He is very impressed with her quickness and ability to learn. In fact, he is amazed to see Tess "pick up his vocabulary, his accent, and fragments of his knowledge, to a surprising extent." He is obviously trying to change Tess into the image his parents want to see in her; he is trying to make her into a Christian lady, again suggesting that this relationship is not going to be a smooth one.
As time passes, Tess realizes that her love for Angel cannot be easily checked. She longs to accept his proposal for marriage, but she knows her past prevents her from becoming his wife. As Hardy puts it, she is enduring both "positive pain and positive pleasure."
Because her resistance to Angel is breaking under her desire for him, Tess resolves to tell him about her past. Her conscience will not let her continue to live a lie, but she is worried about Angel's reaction. Tess hopes that love will reign over rationality.
Another day at the farm is full of news regarding Jack Dallop, who has married a widow that he believes to be rich. When she marries, however, her income ceases, and she is rich no more. There is a discussion among the dairy people about the widow's connivance. They all voice their opinion. When Tess's turn comes, she is in a dilemma, but she does say that the widow should have disclosed the secret.
Angel continues to pursue Tess. In late September, he grows upset about Tess's silence about his proposal and calls her "Miss Flirt." He demands an answer and threatens that his stay will depend on her decision. Tess is petrified at giving him her consent and once again suggests that one of the other milkmaids would make a better wife for Angel.
Tess continues to be in a tough situation. She wants to seize the moment and marry Angel. "She loves him so passionately, and he is so godlike in her eyes;" but she knows that she needs to tell him the truth, which may spoil her chance for happiness. When she hears the story of Jack Dallop's wife not telling him the secret about her money, Tess is again reminded of her own dilemma. She cannot accept Angel's proposal until she has spoken to him of her past. She also knows that Angel is growing impatient. In fact, in late September he demands an answer from her. For the last time, she suggests he considers one of the other milkmaids as a wife, but Angel cannot be dissuaded in his love for Tess.