In Chapter XXV Angel Clare decides to visit friends and family. We get to meet his very religious family and realize how different (and perhaps more liberal) he is from them.
Chapter XXVI starts will Angel finally finding time to have a talk with his father, Mr. Clare. He starts with discussing his plans to move abroad and farm. Mr. Clare supports this and offeres to send him money each year so he can buy land, since he didn’t send him to Cambridge. He also comments that he thinks that Angel will be financially richer in a few years then his brothers will be.
Then they move onto the topic of marraige. Dad is quick to say that Angel should marry a Christian woman who will take care of him. Oh, and Mercy Chant would be a perfect match. Angel tries to push the whole, shouldn’t she know about farming angle. Not that his father doesn’t see his point, he just never thought of it. He’s really just stuck on Angel’s wife being a nice Christian girl who can take care of Angel, like Mercy, who he used to show interest in. They go round and round with this, in the end Angel knows that he wont be around the family once he leaves for a colony, but like most kids, he wants to please his parents.
Then Mom jumps in, she wants Angel to marry a lady. To which Angel responds that his life has been rough and any woman he marries will need to live like that. But of course, Mercy could do that. While Mercy is well educated, he believes another woman (Tess) could be taught to the level of a lady. Oh, and she’s a unimpeachable Christian too… Oh, dear…
Around this point you realize that Angel’s parents know he’s talking about a specific girl, but it’s not clear when he had told them about Tess. He does go on to speak quite highly of her.
Eventually Angel’s parents decide they will not refuse to meet her. Angel decides to leave it at that. He knows their views and knows it’s best not to push them.
Although Angel tried to sell Tess based on her skills on a farm, he admits to himself that he simply loves this girl for who she is.
The next morning Angel’s brothers leave for home, he decides to head home to see Tess and skip the awkward trip with them. Instead he is accompanied by his father for the first bit of the trip.
On the ride they discuss church politics, where it’s reinforced that Angel and his father had different views on religion. Then Dad went to talk about a young d’Urbeville living 40 miles away in Trantride, of no relation to the original d’Urbeville’s (who have died off). From this we find out that it’s not that Angel doesn’t like the old families, he actually finds them interesting, he just doesn’t think it means they have any special worth, I like that quality in Angel.
Anyway, back to the d’Urberville man… Well after his father died he picked up some bad activities, inspite of having a blind mother. Mr. Clare did have the opportunity to meet the d’Urberville man while covering for another preacher. Mr. Clare tried to help d’Urberville change his ways and it almost came to blows. This upsets Angel; because, in Angel’s own humanity he is very much similar to his father.
So, Alec d’Urberville is going to reappear in the book and Angel will be shocked and upset when he finds out his love is not as pure as he imagines.