, universal, automatic tendency to find sweet pleasure somewhere, which pervades
all life, from the meanest to the highest, had at length mastered Tess. Being even now only a young woman of twenty, one who mentally and sentimentally had not finished growing, it was impossible that any event should have left upon her an impression that was not in time capable of transmutation
And thus her spirits, and her thankfulness, and her hopes, rose higher and higher. She tried several ballads, but found them inadequate
; till, recollecting the psalter
that her eyes had so often wandered over of a Sunday morning before she had eaten of the tree of knowledge, she chanted: 'O ye Sun and Moon... O ye Stars... ye Green Things upon the Earth... ye Fowls of the Air Beasts and Cattle... Children of Men... bless ye the Lord, praise Him and magnify
Him for ever!'
She suddenly stopped and murmured: 'But perhaps I don't quite know the Lord as yet.'
And probably the half-unconscious rhapsody
was a Fetichistic utterance in a Monotheistic setting; women whose chief companions are the forms and forces of outdoor Nature retain in their souls far more of the Pagan fantasy of their remote forefathers than of the systematized religion taught their race at later date. However, Tess found at least approximate
expression for her feelings in the old Benedicite that she had lisped from infancy
; and it was enough. Such high contentment
with such a slight initial performance as that of having started towards a means of independent living was a part of the Durbeyfield temperament
. Tess really wished to walk uprightly, while her father did nothing of the kind; but she resembled him in being content with immediate and small achievements, and in having no mind for laborious
effort towards such petty social advancement as could alone be effected by a family so heavily handicapped
as the once powerful d'Urbervilles were now.