Phase the Seventh: Fulfilment
56. CHAPTER LVI
Mrs Brooks, the lady who was the householder at The
Herons, and owner of all the handsome furniture, was
not a person of an unusually curious turn of mind.
She was too deeply materialized, poor woman, by her long
and enforced bondage to that arithmetical demon
Profit-and-Loss, to retain much curiousity for its own
sake, and apart from possible lodgers' pockets.
Nevertheless, the visit of Angel Clare to her
well-paying tenants, Mr and Mrs d'Urberville, as she
deemed them, was sufficiently exceptional in point of
time and manner to reinvigorate the feminine proclivity
which had been stifled down as useless save in its
bearings to the letting trade.
Tess had spoken to her husband from the doorway,
without entering the dining-room, and Mrs Brooks, who
stood within the partly-closed door of her own
sitting-room at the back of the passage, could hear
fragments of the conversation--if conversation it could
be called--between those two wretched souls. She heard
Tess re-ascend the stairs to the first floor, and the
departure of Clare, and the closing of the front door
behind him. Then the door of the room above was shut,
and Mrs Brooks knew that Tess had re-entered her
apartment. As the young lady was not fully dressed,
Mrs Brooks knew that she would not emerge again for
She accordingly ascended the stairs softly, and stood
at the door of the front room--a drawing-room,
connected with the room immediately behind it (which
was a bedroom) by folding-doors in the common manner.
This first floor, containing Mrs Brooks's best
apartments, had been taken by the week by the
d'Urbervilles. The back room was now in silence; but
from the drawing-room there came sounds.
All that she could at first distinguish of them was one
syllable, continually repeated in a low note of
moaning, as if it came from a soul bound to some
Then a silence, then a heavy sigh, and again----