Phase the Fourth: The Consequence
29. CHAPTER XXIX
"Now, who mid ye think I've heard news o' this
morning?" said Dairyman Crick, as he sat down to
breakfast next day, with a riddling gaze round upon the
munching men and maids. "Now, just who mid ye think?"
One guessed, and another guessed. Mrs Crick did not
guess, because she knew already.
"Well," said the dairyman, "'tis that slack-twisted
'hore's-bird of a feller, Jack Dollop. He's lately
got married to a widow-woman."
"Not Jack Dollop? A villain--to think o' that!" said a
The name entered quickly into Tess Durbeyfield's
consciousness, for it was the name of the lover who had
wronged his sweetheart, and had afterwards been so
roughly used by the young woman's mother in the
"And had he married the valiant matron's daughter, as
he promised?" asked Angel Clare absently, as he turned
over the newspaper he was reading at the little table
to which he was always banished by Mrs Crick, in her
sense of his gentility.
"Not he, sir. Never meant to," replied the dairyman.
"As I say, 'tis a widow-woman, and she had money, it
seems--fifty poun' a year or so; and that was all he
was after. They were married in a great hurry; and
then she told him that by marrying she had lost her
fifty poun' a year. Just fancy the state o' my
gentleman's mind at that news! Never such a cat-
and-dog life as they've been leading ever since! Serve
him will beright. But onluckily the poor woman gets
the worst o't."
"Well, the silly body should have told en sooner that
the ghost of her first man would trouble him," said Mrs
"Ay; ay," responded the dairyman indecisively.
"Still, you can see exactly how 'twas. She wanted a home,
and didn't like to run the risk of losing him. Don't ye
think that was something like it, maidens?"
He glanced towards the row of girls.