In spite of the unpleasant initiation
of the day before, Tess inclined to the freedom and novelty
of her new position in the morning when the sun shone, now that she was once installed there; and she was curious
to test her powers in the unexpected direction asked of her, so as to ascertain
her chance of retaining her post. As soon as she was alone within the walled garden she sat herself down on a coop
, and seriously screwed up her mouth for the long neglected practice. She found her former ability to have degenerated to the production of a hollow rush of wind through the lips, and no clear note at all.
She remained fruitlessly blowing and blowing, wondering how she could have so grown out of the art which had come by nature, till she became aware of a movement among the ivy-boughs which cloaked
the garden-wall no less than the cottage. Looking that way she beheld a form springing from the coping to the plot. It was Alec d'Urberville, whom she had not set eves on since he had conducted her the day before to the door of the gardener's cottage where she had lodgings.
'Upon my honour!' cried he, 'there was never before such a beautiful thing in Nature or Art as you look, "Cousin" Tess ["Cousin" had a faint ring of mockery
]. I have been watching you from over the wall sitting - like Im-patience on a monument, and pouting up that pretty red mouth to whistling shape, and 'whoaing
and whoaing, and privately swearing, and never being able to produce a note. Why, you are quite cross because you can't do it.'
'I may be cross, but I didn't swear.'
'Ah! I understand why you are trying - those bullies! My mother wants you to carry on their musical education. How selfish of her! As if attending to these curst cocks and hens here were not enough work for any girl. I would flatly refuse, if I were you.'
'But she wants me particularly
to do it, and to be ready by to-morrow morning.'