Phase the First: The Maiden
7. CHAPTER VII
On the morning appointed for her departure Tess was
awake before dawn--at the marginal minute of the dark
when the grove is still mute, save for one prophetic
bird who sings with a clear-voiced conviction that he
at least knows the correct time of day, the rest
preserving silence as if equally convinced that he is
mistaken. She remained upstairs packing till
breakfast-time, and then came down in her ordinary
week-day clothes, her Sunday apparel being carefully
folded in her box.
Her mother expostulated. "You will never set out to see
your folks without dressing up more the dand than
"But I am going to work!" said Tess.
"Well, yes," said Mrs Durbeyfield; and in a private
tone, "at first there mid be a little pretence o't....
But I think it will be wiser of 'ee to put your best
side outward," she added.
"Very well; I suppose you know best," replied Tess with
And to please her parent the girl put herself quite in
Joan's hands, saying serenely--"Do what you like with
Mrs Durbeyfield was only too delighted at this
tractability. First she fetched a great basin, and
washed Tess's hair with such thoroughness that when
dried and brushed it looked twice as much as at other
times. She tied it with a broader pink ribbon than
usual. Then she put upon her the white frock that Tess
had worn at the club-walking, the airy fulness of
which, supplementing her enlarged COIFFURE, imparted to
her developing figure an amplitude which belied her
age, and might cause her to be estimated as a woman
when she was not much more than a child.
"I declare there's a hole in my stocking-heel!" said
"Never mind holes in your stockings--they don't speak!
When I was a maid, so long as I had a pretty bonnet the
devil might ha' found me in heels."