Almost at a leap Tess thus changed from simple girl to complex
woman. Symbols of reflectiveness
passed into her face, and a note of tragedy at times into her voice. Her eyes grew larger and more eloquent
. She became what would have been called a fine creature; her aspect was fair and arresting; her soul that of a woman whom the turbulent
experiences of the last year or two had quite failed to demoralize
. But for the world's opinion those experiences would have been simply a liberal education.
She had held so aloof
of late that her trouble, never generally known, was nearly forgotten in Marlott. But it became evident to her that she could never be really comfortable again in a place which had seen the collapse
of her family's attempt to claim kin' - and, through her, even closer union - with the rich d'Urbervilles. At least she could not be comfortable there till long years should have obliterated
her keen consciousness
of it. Yet even now Tess felt the pulse of hopeful life still warm within her; she might be happy in some nook which had no memories. To escape the past and all that appertained
thereto was to annihilate
it, and to do that she would have to get away.
Was once lost always lost really true of chastity
? she would ask herself. She might prove it false if she could veil bygones. The recuperative
power which pervaded organic
nature was surely not denied to maidenhood
She waited a long time without finding opportunity for a new departure. A particularly fine spring came round, and the stir of germination
was almost audible in the buds; it moved her, as it moved the wild animals, and made her passionate
to go. At last, one day in early May, a letter reached her from a former friend of her mother's, to whom she had addressed inquiries long before - a person whom she had never seen - that a skilful milkmaid
was required at a dairy-house many miles to the southward, and that the dairyman would be glad to have her for the summer months.