In chapter XLVIII Alec offers to help Tess’ family. Tess is so exhausted from work that she almost accepts and sends a letter to Angel begging him to come home or have her come to him.
Tess’ letter does make it to Angel’s parents who pass it on to him hoping it will encourage him to return home as he had mentioned he might do. They also discuss how they think they fucked up his life. I guess that’s not a new phenomenon for parents.
Meanwhile, Angel is riding a mule and contemplating that Brazil was not a good choice for him and that he wants to return home. Aside from the issues with the climate Angel has started to question morality and is warming towards Tess.
While traveling around Angel meets and man from England and after several days of talking, Angel reveals his history with Tess. The other man tells him he’s an ass. Ok, I don’t think that’s what he actually said, but that’s what he meant. Then the man died from fever a few days later. Thankfully he served his purpose in the book before dying.
In his guilt he starts thinking about Izz and the things she said about Tess’ love from him and the way she looked on their wedding day. It took over a year, but distance is making the heart grow fonder, but is it too late?
Tess’ letter takes a while to get there, longer then Tess may have expected. And as usual her moods go up and down regarding what he may do. She spends her time planning what to do in preparation for his coming home. Mostly she plays music that reminds her of Angel and loses track of time.
One day nearing the end of her time at the farm her sister, Liza-Lu, comes to visit. Liza-Lu has hit puberty and her growth spurt, something that Liza-Lu doesn’t seem to understand (let’s hope Tess can warn her about men better than Mom did.) Anyway, the reason for her visit is that Mom is sick and dying and their father is not well either.
Tess feeds and tucks Liza-Lu in, packs her bags, leaves a note that she’s heading home that night and tells Marian and Izz to inform the farmer of her departure.
We know in the last chapter it was March, and in this chapter we know that April 6th has not yet come. I’m guessing Angel is not going to get home before Tess loses hope and in desperation does something stupid with Alec. And by stupid I mean takes money from him, binding her to him.