In Chapter XLVI Alec visit’s Tess and proposes, she declines. But Alec is being controlled by his other brain and persists. He visits her again, telling her what a temptress she is. When she finally kicks him out he hatches a plan to get her back.
It is now March and time for some sort of farming thing – the threshing of the last wheat-rick at the farm. I’ll be honest, not really sure what that is, but I know it was shitty backbreaking labor.
Meanwhile, a man is watching the workers. Izz and Marian notice him first, “O no. ‘Tis a ranter pa’son who’s been sniffing after her lately.” Yes, Alec is back and he’s dressed differently. I guess he formulated his plan and is back after Tess. One thing interesting from the exchange between Izz and Marian is that they describe Tess as being in a sense, a widow, since Angel is away.
At lunchtime Alec approaches Tess and she’s still not happy to see him. Alec explains that the religion has left him, because of her and what she does to him. Tess should now stay with him since it is her fault for his backtracking. He doesn’t say the words, but he’s basically asking her to marry him again. Oh, and he threw in some baby guilt too.
Tess is shocked and appalled that Alec has stopped preaching. Meanwhile he goes on about how his religious friends are now praying for him. Oh, and she shouldn’t feel bad, it’s not her fault that she’s so pretty and has a sexy body, “I saw it on the rick before you saw me-that tight pinafore-thing sets it off, and that wing-bonnet you field girls should never wear those bonnets if you wish to keep out of danger.” “I believe that if the bachelor-apostle, whose deputy I thought I was, had been tempted by such a pretty face, he would have let go the plough for her sake as I do.” Ugh, what a load of horseshit!
Tess is speechless so Alec continues on about how without something forcing him to be good, then he cannot be good. Hmmm, is he looking for a wife to keep him in line? She tells him she wishes he would go back to religion, but he can’t because she has changed him.
“Your husband little thought how his teaching would recoil upon him! Tess, I am more taken with you than ever, and I pity you too. For all your closeness, I see you are in a bad way-neglected by one who ought to cherish you.”
Ouch, because the truth hurts! She’s mad too, he professes his love and then finds ways to hurt her.
Alec then talks about how she says she has a husband, but he’s not there and she doesn’t say his name and oh, well, I’m closer to you anyway. Then he quotes the prophet Hosea:
Tess?-‘And she shall follow after her lover, but she shall not overtake him; and she shall seek him, but shall not find him; then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was better with me than now!’ Tess, my trap is waiting just under the hill, and darling-mine, not his!-you know the rest.
Tess kicks his ass 1800s style, with a glove, and not a dainty white glove, a work glove, even draws blood. Alec doesn’t like this, but has to keep his temper. Hmm, I suspect if he ever became a husband he would use force to keep his wife in line.
Then we find out he did once offer to marry her and she declined, given the conversation I assume this was when they were first together. Alec then goes on to tell her, “I was your master once and will be your master again. If you are any man’s wife you are mine!” That actually sounds a bit like what Angel worried about…
Wow, what a master manipulator. Angel, you better get your ass back her and claim your wife you stupid idiot! No really, I’m starting to miss Angel…