In chapter XXXVII Angel sleep walks Tess into a coffin and then Tess and Angel part ways so she can go home while Angel figures out what he wants to do.
When Tess gets to the turnpike keeper near Marlott, she asks of news from the town. She finds out that she was married to a gentleman farmer and her parents weren’t of high enough standing to attend. However, Sir John has been celebrating since then. Fabulous…
Tess walks the rest of the way home and runs into a girl she had been friends with, she simply said that Angel was called away on business. Her next stop was home, where she meets Joan.
Joan is surprised to see Tess and asks if she’s actually married. Tess explains what has happened in the 4 days since she married Angel. Her heartwarming and sympathetic response – “O you little fool-you little fool! My good God! that ever I should ha’ lived to say it, but I say it again, you little fool!” What support! But Tess insists if she had to do it over again, she would.
Joan eventually comments, “I’m sure I don’t know why children o’ my bringing forth should all be bigger simpletons than other people’s – not to know better than to blab such a thing as that.” I think I could offer her some insight into this problem.
In the middle of their mother/daughter talk John comes home. Joan says she’ll tell him herself while Tess hides in another room. While she’s hiding upstairs she realizes that the house has changed and there is no longer room there for her.
John (I can’t even mockingly call him Sir John) talks about how he’s been telling everyone how important he is and how this will make him look like a fool. Really? THIS is what is going to make him look like a fool? He then comments that he might need to kill himself. But doesn’t stop there, “D’ye think he really have married her? – or is it like the first-”
Ugh, what a disgusting man! Tess doesn’t take this well and decides she can’t stay with her family.
Tess does receive a letter from Angel saying that he’s gone to the North of England, Tess uses this as an excuse to leave, saying she is going to meet up with him. She gives her parents half the money that Angel had given her and sets off. Her mother thinks that Tess and Angel have reconciled and I’m wondering where an estranged married woman goes on her own?