Chapters 49, 50, 51, and 52
The letter is sent to Angel's parents, to be forwarded to Angel, and the Clares are confident that the letter will be incentive for Angel to return home soon. Mrs. Clare worries about her youngest son very much, blaming herself for his unlucky marriage, though she does not intervene, knowing she cannot make the situation any better.
Angel, during this, has suffered greatly in Brazil. He is unused to the harsh climate, and his hardships have mentally aged him, with most of his lamentations surrounding morality and his dear Tess. Angel had a companion during his travels for a short time, and after confessing his troubles to him, the man tells Angel that he has acted wrongly towards Tess. The next day, they are caught in a thunderstorm and the man soon dies. He also recalls his encounter with Izz Huett, and he slowly grows warm to the idea of Tess. He knows he has been harsh to her but with every moment he is away, he becomes more her advocate than her critic.
Tess, meanwhile, grows more and more doubtful about Angel's feelings towards her. She fears that since the original facts of their parting have not changed, then nothing has changed. Nonetheless, she still endeavors to do whatever she can to please Angel, like learning how to sing his favorite songs. Tess is so preoccupied with these thoughts that she does not even realize how quickly time is passing.
One night, Liza-Lu, Tess' sister, appears to tell Tess that her mother is ill and that their father is not well either, and Tess sets out immediately for home.
Tess' long walk finally brings her back to Marlott, some 15 miles away. She finds her mother and father doing no better, and she sets about improving the household. Her first project is to plant their garden in their allotment of the village fields. She enjoys working on the soil, to escape the confinement of her home. One day, Tess notices that someone is working the same plot as her, but she pays no mind, thinking him to be someone hired by her father to assist her. However, he moves nearer until she discerns that it is Alec d'Urberville. He protests to her working under these conditions, but she says that she likes doing it since it is for her father.
In her misery, she murmurs that she has no husband, and Alec takes advantage of her sorrow to push his own case. He calls himself her friend, asking her to see what he has brought for her family. But Tess cries that she cannot take anything from him, saying that she will provide for her family herself. Tess leaves the garden, to be met by her sister who tells her that their father is dead! Tess is shocked, since it was her mother, and not her father, who had been ill. Moreover, with her father's death, their lease on the house expires.
Therefore, the remaining Durbeyfields are forced to vacate their home. Since they have nowhere to go, they must hire their own cart to move their belongings as opposed to having a cart sent for them. Tess blames herself again for the events, since she is aware that her presence precipitates their eviction. Her sullied past is unappreciated by those who would likely have allowed the other Durbeyfields to stay as tenants otherwise.
Alec comes just then, seeing Tess' sad state and attributing it to an old d'Urberville legend. Tess informs him that they will be moving to Kingsbere temporarily, but Alec implores for them to come to Trantridge instead since the house is empty now. He says that it is the least he can do since he owes her something for her past. She refuses, saying that she has money at her father-in-law's, and Alec leaves hotly. Tess is inspired then to write a fiery note to Angel, scorning him for treating her so poorly when she does not deserve it. She sends it off, and comes back to her reality when Joan asks about the visitor. It is not her husband, as Joan surmises, but Tess has a sinking and strange feeling that somehow it was.
The moving day arrives, and thankfully it does not rain. A wagon passes with Marian and Izz, and Tess goes over to greet her friends. They see that she is unhappy, owing to Angel's continued absence, and they scheme to write an anonymous letter to Angel describing Tess' virtue and longing. Meanwhile, Tess and her family travel a great distance to Kingsbere, but they find out that their original lodging accommodations have fallen through and they are homeless. Ingeniously, Joan decides to set up in the old d'Urberville vaults.
Alec d'Urberville passes by, and Joan tells him that Tess is visiting the church. He surprises her, and again Tess turns him away, lamenting that she is still alive.
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Points to Ponder
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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