Phase the Third: The Rally
17. CHAPTER XVII (continued)
But one of the girls who occupied an adjoining bed was
more wakeful than Tess, and would insist upon relating
to the latter various particulars of the homestead into
which she had just entered. The girl's whispered words
mingled with the shades, and, to Tess's drowsy mind,
they seemed to be generated by the darkness in which
"Mr Angel Clare--he that is learning milking, and that
plays the harp--never says much to us. He is a pa'son's
son, and is too much taken up wi' his own thoughts to
notice girls. He is the dairyman's pupil--learning
farming in all its branches. He has learnt
sheep-farming at another place, and he's now mastering
dairy-work.... Yes, he is quite the gentleman-born. His
father is the Reverent Mr Clare at Emminster--a good
many miles from here."
"Oh--I have heard of him," said her companion, now
awake. "A very earnest clergyman, is he not?"
"Yes--that he is--the earnestest man in all Wessex,
they say--the last of the old Low Church sort, they
tell me--for all about here be what they call High.
All his sons, except our Mr Clare, be made pa'sons too."
Tess had not at this hour the curiosity to ask why the
present Mr Clare was not made a parson like his
brethren, and gradually fell asleep again, the words of
her informant coming to her along with the smell of the
cheeses in the adjoining cheeseloft, and the measured
dripping of the whey from the wrings downstairs.