In Chapter XXIV Angel lusts after Tess, almost kisses her and then declares his love.
We’re now entering phase 4 – The Consequence – nope, not the least bit ominous…
Angel decides to leave town in this chapter. He’s concerned about what happened and wants to figure out what is going on between them before anyone figures them out. He also knows Tess isn’t the kind of girl to be trifled with, but she is the girl that his life has become centered around.
Angel decides he needs to discuss this with his friends. The day after the almost kiss and declaration of love he decides to go visit his family in Emminster.
Meanwhile, back at the farm the girls are all sad when Crick says that Angel is gone for a few days. They also discuss that Angel will be leaving the farm permanently in about 4 months at the end of the year.
On the ride to Emminster Angel considers if he should or could marry Tess and what would his family say.
The first person in town that Angel sees is Miss Mercy Chant, the woman that Angel’s parents would like to see him marry. He pretty much ignores seeing her, hoping that she didn’t see him. We find out that she’s quite religious and the only daughter of a neighbor. But from seeing her Angel’s mind wanders back to Tess.
At home Angel finds his parents and brothers sitting down to breakfast. His brothers are Reverend Felix and Reverend Cuthbert. We learn quite a bit about Angel’s family in this chapter.
Angel’s sister is 16 years older and is in Africa, married to a missionary.
Reverend Cuthbert is a classics scholar and Dean of his college. He has the most liberal views, but not much of a heart.
Reverend Felix lives in the adjoining county and is a more modern version of his father. He’s less concerned about the thoughts of people then his father, but less forgiving.
His father is a dinosaur of a clergyman, the type that has fallen out of “contemporary” life. At 65 he’s a god-fearing man, gaunt and pale. Angel and Mr. Clare have disagreed over several aspects of religion, but Angel has always been forgiven.
As Angel spends time with his family he realizes just how different his life has become. And his brothers notice how much he has changed. He’s become less scholarly and cultured. During this walk, the reader learns that although the family is close, they are all very different. While they may be accepting in some ways, they will not be in others. His brothers worry that his changes will also translate to him losing his morals.
When Angel came to visit the family he brought black pudding and mead from Mrs. Crick. Well, the mead was too alcoholic so it was set aside for an emergency and the black pudding was given away to a needy family. Angel feels a little funny about this, he had expected the family would enjoy both, which he would be able to report back to Mrs. Crick. But, Mom and Dad are not ones to lie and expect him to tell the truth. Angel agrees with the actions; however, he disagrees with the sentiment. He does know enough to keep quiet about his opinions and do as he’s told, like a good son.
This doesn’t sound like the type of family that will be very accepting of Tess.