In chapter LII Tess and her family leave their home for the lodging they had booked, only the Inn and full. Alec arrives to rescue the family for homelessness.
Chapter LIII starts out in Emminster Vicarage where Angel’s parents are awaiting his arrival home. They are quite anxious about his return, but the Angel who returns is not the same. He’s tired and thin:
“You could see the skeleton behind the man, and almost the ghost behind the skeleton. His sunken eye-pits were of morbid hue, and the light in his eyes had waned. “
The first think he wanted to know was if a letter had come for him, from Tess. He opened the latest letter from Tess, the one where she says the he has been too cruel to him. He says, aloud, that it’s true and worries she won’t forgive him. His mother says not to worry about it, that she’s just a poor commoner. But Angel defends Tess and explains her d’Urberville lineage.
He’s still quite tired and waits until the next day to send a letter to Marlott, inquiring about her. Basically, he’s too much of a chicken to just go and find her. He receives a return letter from Tess’ mother, Joan. She says that Tess is away but that she will let Angel know when she returns and that the family has left Marlott.
Angel is aware that Joan is also mad at him, but is relieved to find out that Tess is well. While he waits he rereads the loving letter from Tess and knows he must go in search of Tess. He inquires with his father as to whether Tess sought out money, which we know she has not.
FINALLY, the man realizes that Tess’ pride has kept her from him and that she has likely suffered from the absence. Really, Angel? What the heck did you think was going to happen when you abandoned your wife? In the meantime Angel’s parents have figured out what really happened and have grown even fonder of Tess. I’m a bit surprised by this, but glad to hear it! They’re not as stuffy as Angel would have us think.
While he packs his bags to search for Tess the letter from Marian and Izz Huett arrives. Well at least the man has a heads up that he’ll have to fight for his woman. I hope he’s more of a fighter than Tess has been.