<br/>At eleven o'clock that night, having secured a bed at
one of the hotels and telegraphed his address to his
father immediately on his arrival, he walked out into
the streets of Sandbourne. It was too late to call on
or inquire for any one, and he reluctantly postponed
his purpose till the morning. But he could not retire
to rest just yet.
<br/>This fashionable watering-place, with its eastern and
its western stations, its piers, its groves of pines,
its promenades, and its covered gardens, was, to Angel
Clare, like a fairy place suddenly created by the
stroke of a wand, and allowed to get a little dusty.
An outlying eastern tract of the enormous Egdon Waste
was close at hand, yet on the very verge of that tawny
piece of antiquity such a glittering novelty as this
pleasure city had chosen to spring up. Within the
space of a mile from its outskirts every irregularity
of the soil was prehistoric, every channel an
undisturbed British trackway; not a sod having been
turned there since the days of the Caesars. Yet the
exotic had grown here, suddenly as the prophet's gourd;
and had drawn hither Tess.
<br/>By the midnight lamps he went up and down the winding
way of this new world in an old one, and could discern
between the trees and against the stars the lofty
roofs, chimneys, gazebos, and towers of the numerous
fanciful residences of which the place was composed.
It was a city of detached mansions; a Mediterranean
lounging-place on the English Channel; and as seen now
by night it seemed even more imposing than it was.
<br/>The sea was near at hand, but not intrusive; it
murmured, and he thought it was the pines; the pines
murmured in precisely the same tones, and he thought
they were the sea.
<br/>Where could Tess possibly be, a cottage-girl, his young
wife, amidst all this wealth and fashion? The more he
pondered, the more was he puzzled. Were there any cows
to milk here? There certainly were no fields to till.
She was most probably engaged to do something in one of
these large houses; and he sauntered along, looking at
the chamber-windows and their lights going out one by
one, and wondered which of them might be hers.
<br/>Conjecture was useless, and just after twelve o'clock
he entered and went to bed. Before putting out his
light he re-read Tess's impassioned letter. Sleep,
however, he could not—so near her, yet so far from
her—and he continually lifted the window-blind and
regarded the backs of the opposite houses, and wondered
behind which of the sashes she reposed at that moment.
<br/>He might almost as well have sat up all night. In the
morning he arose at seven, and shortly after went out,
taking the direction of the chief post-office. At the
door he met an intelligent postman coming out with
letters for the morning delivery.
<br/>"Do you know the address of a Mrs Clare?" asked Angel.
The postman shook his head.
<br/>Then, remembering that she would have been likely to
continue the use of her maiden name, Clare said—
<br/>"Of a Miss Durbeyfield?"
<br/>This also was strange to the postman addressed.
<br/>"There's visitors coming and going every day, as you
know, sir," he said; "and without the name of the house
'tis impossible to find 'em."
<br/>One of his comrades hastening out at that moment, the
name was repeated to him.
<br/>"I know no name of Durbeyfield; but there is the name
of d'Urberville at The Herons," said the second.
<br/>"That's it!" cried Clare, pleased to think that she had
reverted to the real pronunciation. "What place is The
<br/>"A stylish lodging-house. 'Tis all lodging-houses
here, bless 'ee."
<br/>Clare received directions how to find the house, and
hastened thither, arriving with the milkman. The
Herons, though an ordinary villa, stood in its own
grounds, and was certainly the last place in which one
would have expected to find lodgings, so private was
its appearance. If poor Tess was a servant here, as he
feared, she would go to the back-door to that milkman,
and he was inclined to go thither also. However, in
his doubts he turned to the front, and rang.
<br/>The hour being early, the landlady herself opened the
door. Clare inquired for Teresa d'Urberville or
<br/>Tess, then, passed as a married woman, and he felt
glad, even though she had not adopted his name.
<br/>"Will you kindly tell her that a relative is anxious to
<br/>"It is rather early. What name shall I give, sir?"
<br/>"No; Angel. It is my Christian name. She'll
<br/>"I'll see if she is awake."
<br/>He was shown into the front room—the dining-room—and
looked out through the spring curtains at the little
lawn, and the rhododendrons and other shrubs upon it.
Obviously her position was by no means so bad as he had
feared, and it crossed his mind that she must somehow
have claimed and sold the jewels to attain it. He did
not blame her for one moment. Soon his sharpened ear
detected footsteps upon the stairs, at which his heart
thumped so painfully that he could hardly stand firm.
"Dear me! what will she think of me, so altered as I
am!" he said to himself; and the door opened.
<br/>Tess appeared on the threshold—not at all as he had
expected to see her—bewilderingly otherwise, indeed.
Her great natural beauty was, if not heightened,
rendered more obvious by her attire. She was loosely
wrapped in a cashmere dressing-gown of gray-white,
embroidered in half-mourning tints, and she wore
slippers of the same hue. Her neck rose out of a frill
of down, and her well-remembered cable of dark-brown
hair was partially coiled up in a mass at the back of
her head and partly hanging on her shoulder—the
evident result of haste.
<br/>He had held out his arms, but they had fallen again to
his side; for she had not come forward, remaining still
in the opening of the doorway. Mere yellow skeleton
that he was now, he felt the contrast between them, and
thought his appearance distasteful to her.
<br/>"Tess!" he said huskily, "can you forgive me for going
away? Can't you—come to me? How do you get to
<br/>"It is too late," said she, her voice sounding hard
through the room, her eyes shining unnaturally.
<br/>"I did not think rightly of you—I did not see you as
you were!" he continued to plead. "I have learnt to
since, dearest Tessy mine!"
<br/>"Too late, too late!" she said, waving her hand in the
impatience of a person whose tortures cause every
instant to seem an hour. "Don't come close to me,
Angel! No—you must not. Keep away."
<br/>"But don't you love me, my dear wife, because I have
been so pulled down by illness? You are not so
fickle—I am come on purpose for you—my mother and
father will welcome you now!"
<br/>"Yes—O, yes, yes! But I say, I say it is too late."
<br/>She seemed to feel like a fugitive in a dream, who
tries to move away, but cannot. "Don't you know
all—don't you know it? Yet how do you come here if
you do not know?"
<br/>"I inquired here and there, and I found the way."
<br/>"I waited and waited for you," she went on, her tones
suddenly resuming their old fluty pathos. "But you did
not come! And I wrote to you, and you did not come!
He kept on saying you would never come any more, and
that I was a foolish woman. He was very kind to me,
and to mother, and to all of us after father's death.
<br/>"I don't understand."
<br/>"He has won me back to him."
<br/>Clare looked at her keenly, then, gathering her
meaning, flagged like one plague-stricken, and his
glance sank; it fell on her hands, which, once rosy,
were now white and more delicate.
<br/>"He is upstairs. I hate him now, because he told me a
lie—that you would not come again; and you <i>have</i> come!
These clothes are what he's put upon me: I didn't care
what he did wi' me! But—will you go away, Angel,
please, and never come any more?"
<br/>They stood fixed, their baffled hearts looking out of
their eyes with a joylessness pitiful to see. Both
seemed to implore something to shelter them from
<br/>"Ah—it is my fault!" said Clare.
<br/>But he could not get on. Speech was as inexpressive as
silence. But he had a vague consciousness of one
thing, though it was not clear to him till later; that
his original Tess had spiritually ceased to recognize
the body before him as hers—allowing it to drift, like
a corpse upon the current, in a direction dissociated
from its living will.
<br/>A few instants passed, and he found that Tess was gone.
His face grew colder and more shrunken as he stood
concentrated on the moment, and a minute or two after,
he found himself in the street, walking along he did
not know whither.
<br/>Mrs Brooks, the lady who was the householder at The
Herons and owner of all the handsome furniture, was
not a person of an unusually curious turn of mind.
She was too deeply materialized, poor woman, by her long
and enforced bondage to that arithmetical demon
Profit-and-Loss, to retain much curiousity for its own
sake, and apart from possible lodgers' pockets.
Nevertheless, the visit of Angel Clare to her
well-paying tenants, Mr and Mrs d'Urberville, as she
deemed them, was sufficiently exceptional in point of
time and manner to reinvigorate the feminine proclivity
which had been stifled down as useless save in its
bearings to the letting trade.
<br/>Tess had spoken to her husband from the doorway,
without entering the dining-room, and Mrs Brooks, who
stood within the partly-closed door of her own
sitting-room at the back of the passage, could hear
fragments of the conversation—if conversation it could
be called—between those two wretched souls. She heard
Tess re-ascend the stairs to the first floor, and the
departure of Clare, and the closing of the front door
behind him. Then the door of the room above was shut,
and Mrs Brooks knew that Tess had re-entered her
apartment. As the young lady was not fully dressed,
Mrs Brooks knew that she would not emerge again for
<br/>She accordingly ascended the stairs softly, and stood
at the door of the front room—a drawing-room,
connected with the room immediately behind it (which
was a bedroom) by folding-doors in the common manner.
This first floor, containing Mrs Brooks's best
apartments, had been taken by the week by the
d'Urbervilles. The back room was now in silence; but
from the drawing-room there came sounds.
<br/>All that she could at first distinguish of them was one
syllable, continually repeated in a low note of
moaning, as if it came from a soul bound to some
<br/>Then a silence, then a heavy sigh, and again—
<br/>The landlady looked through the keyhole. Only a small
space of the room inside was visible, but within that
space came a corner of the breakfast table, which was
already spread for the meal, and also a chair beside.
Over the seat of the chair Tess's face was bowed, her
posture being a kneeling one in front of it; her hands
were clasped over her head, the skirts of her
dressing-gown and the embroidery of her night-gown
flowed upon the floor behind her, and her stockingless
feet, from which the slippers had fallen, protruded
upon the carpet. It was from her lips that came the
murmur of unspeakable despair.
<br/>Then a man's voice from the adjoining bedroom—
<br/>"What's the matter?"
<br/>She did not answer, but went on, in a tone which was a
soliloquy rather than an exclamation, and a dirge
rather than a soliloquy. Mrs Brooks could only catch a
<br/>"And then my dear, dear husband came home to
me … and I did not know it! … And you
had used your cruel persuasion upon me … you
did not stop using it—no—you did not stop!
My little sisters and brothers and my mother's
needs—they were the things you moved me
by … and you said my husband would never
come back—never; and you taunted me, and said what a
simpleton I was to expect him! … And at last I
believed you and gave way! … And then he came back!
Now he is gone. Gone a second time, and I have lost
him now for ever … and he will not love me the
littlest bit ever any more—only hate me! … O yes,
I have lost him now—again because of—you!" In writhing,
with her head on the chair, she turned her face towards
the door, and Mrs Brooks could see the pain upon it,
and that her lips were bleeding from the clench of her
teeth upon them, and that the long lashes of her closed
eyes stuck in wet tags to her cheeks. She continued:
"And he is dying—he looks as if he is dying! … And
my sin will kill him and not kill me! … O, you have
torn my life all to pieces … made me be what I prayed
you in pity not to make me be again! … My own true
husband will never, never—O God—I can't bear this!—I
<br/>There were more and sharper words from the man; then a
sudden rustle; she had sprung to her feet. Mrs Brooks,
thinking that the speaker was coming to rush out of the
door, hastily retreated down the stairs.
<br/>She need not have done so, however, for the door of the
sitting-room was not opened. But Mrs Brooks felt it
unsafe to watch on the landing again, and entered her
own parlour below.
<br/>She could hear nothing through the floor, although she
listened intently, and thereupon went to the kitchen to
finish her interrupted breakfast. Coming up presently
to the front room on the ground floor she took up some
sewing, waiting for her lodgers to ring that she might
take away the breakfast, which she meant to do herself,
to discover what was the matter if possible. Overhead,
as she sat, she could now hear the floorboards slightly
creak, as if some one were walking about, and presently
the movement was explained by the rustle of garments
against the banisters, the opening and the closing of
the front door, and the form of Tess passing to the
gate on her way into the street. She was fully dressed
now in the walking costume of a well-to-do young lady
in which she had arrived, with the sole addition that
over her hat and black feathers a veil was drawn.
<br/>Mrs Brooks had not been able to catch any word of
farewell, temporary or otherwise, between her tenants
at the door above. They might have quarrelled, or Mr
d'Urberville might still be asleep, for he was not an
<br/>She went into the back room, which was more especially
her own apartment, and continued her sewing there. The
lady lodger did not return, nor did the gentleman ring
his bell. Mrs Brooks pondered on the delay, and on what
probable relation the visitor who had called so early
bore to the couple upstairs. In reflecting she leant
back in her chair.
<br/>As she did so her eyes glanced casually over the
ceiling till they were arrested by a spot in the middle
of its white surface which she had never noticed there
before. It was about the size of a wafer when she
first observed it, but it speedily grew as large as the
palm of her hand, and then she could perceive that it
was red. The oblong white ceiling, with this scarlet
blot in the midst, had the appearance of a gigantic ace
<br/>Mrs Brooks had strange qualms of misgiving. She got
upon the table, and touched the spot in the ceiling
with her fingers. It was damp, and she fancied that it
was a blood stain.
<br/>Descending from the table, she left the parlour, and
went upstairs, intending to enter the room overhead,
which was the bedchamber at the back of the
drawing-room. But, nerveless woman as she had now
become, she could not bring herself to attempt the
handle. She listened. The dead silence within was
broken only by a regular beat.
<br/>Drip, drip, drip.
<br/>Mrs Brooks hastened downstairs, opened the front door,
and ran into the street. A man she knew, one of the
workmen employed at an adjoining villa, was passing by,
and she begged him to come in and go upstairs with her;
she feared something had happened to one of her
lodgers. The workman assented, and followed her to the
<br/>She opened the door of the drawing-room, and stood back
for him to pass in, entering herself behind him. The
room was empty; the breakfast—a substantial repast of
coffee, eggs, and a cold ham—lay spread upon the table
untouched, as when she had taken it up, excepting that
the carving-knife was missing. She asked the man to go
through the folding-doors into the adjoining room.
<br/>He opened the doors, entered a step or two, and came
back almost instantly with a rigid face. "My good God,
the gentleman in bed is dead! I think he has been hurt
with a knife—a lot of blood had run down upon the
<br/>The alarm was soon given, and the house which had
lately been so quiet resounded with the tramp of many
footsteps, a surgeon among the rest. The wound was
small, but the point of the blade had touched the heart
of the victim, who lay on his back, pale, fixed, dead,
as if he had scarcely moved after the infliction of the
blow. In a quarter of an hour the news that a
gentleman who was a temporary visitor to the town had
been stabbed in his bed, spread through every street
and villa of the popular watering-place.
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