Phase the Third: The Rally
22. CHAPTER XXII (continued)
Dairyman Crick withdrew, and Tess dropped behind. Mr
Clare also stepped out of line, and began privateering
about for the weed. When she found him near her, her
very tension at what she had heard the night before
made her the first to speak.
"Don't they look pretty?" she said.
"Izzy Huett and Retty."
Tess had moodily decided that either of these maidens
would make a good farmer's wife, and that she ought to
recommend them, and obscure her own wretched charms.
"Pretty? Well, yes--they are pretty girls--fresh
looking. I have often thought so."
"Though, poor dears, prettiness won't last long!"
"O no, unfortunately."
"They are excellent dairywomen."
"Yes: though not better than you."
"They skim better than I."
Clare remained observing them--not without their
"She is colouring up," continued Tess heroically.
"Oh! Why it that?"
"Because you are looking at her."
Self-sacrificing as her mood might be Tess could not
well go further and cry, "Marry one of them, if you
really do want a dairywoman and not a lady; and don't
think of marrying me!" She followed Dairyman Crick,
and had the mournful satisfaction of seeing that Clare