Tess looked alarmed. Her father possibly to go behind the eternal
cloud so soon, notwithstanding this sudden greatness!
'But where is father?' she asked again.
Her mother put on a deprecating
look. 'Now don't you be bursting out angry! The poor man - he felt so rafted after his uplifting by the pa'son's news - that he went up to Rolliver's half an hour ago. He do want to get up his strength for his journey to-morrow with that load of beehives, which must be delivered, family or no. He'll have to start shortly after twelve to-night, as the distance is so long.'
'Get up his strength!' said Tess impetuously
, the tears welling to her eyes. 'O my God! Go to a public-house to get up his strength! And you as well agreed as he, mother!'
and her mood seemed to fill the whole room, and to impart a cowed look to the furniture, and candle, and children playing about, and to her mother's face.
'No,' said the latter touchily
, 'I be not agreed. I have been waiting for 'ee to bide and keep house while I go to fetch him.'
'O no, Tess. You see, it would be no use.'
Tess did not expostulate
. She knew what her mother's objection meant. Mrs Durbeyfield's jacket and bonnet were already hanging slily
upon a chair by her side, in readiness
for this contemplated jaunt
, the reason for which the matron deplored more than its necessity.
'And take the Compleat Fortune-Teller to the outhouse,' Joan continued, rapidly wiping her hands, and donning the garments.
The Compleat Fortune-Teller was an old thick volume, which lay on a table at her elbow, so worn by pocketing that the margins had reached the edge of the type. Tess took it up, and her mother started.