“I fancy you seem oppressed, Tessy,” said Clare.
“Yes,” she answered, putting her hand to her brow. “I tremble at many things. It is all so serious, Angel. Among other things I seem to have seen this carriage before, to be very well acquainted with it. It is very odd—I must have seen it in a dream.”
“Oh—you have heard the legend of the d’Urberville Coach—that well-known superstition of this county about your family when they were very popular here; and this lumbering old thing reminds you of it.”
“I have never heard of it to my knowledge,” said she. “What is the legend—may I know it?”
“Well—I would rather not tell it in detail just now. A certain d’Urberville of the sixteenth or seventeenth century committed a dreadful crime in his family coach; and since that time members of the family see or hear the old coach whenever—But I’ll tell you another day—it is rather gloomy. Evidently some dim knowledge of it has been brought back to your mind by the sight of this venerable caravan.”
“I don’t remember hearing it before,” she murmured. “Is it when we are going to die, Angel, that members of my family see it, or is it when we have committed a crime?”
He silenced her by a kiss.
By the time they reached home she was contrite and spiritless. She was Mrs Angel Clare, indeed, but had she any moral right to the name? Was she not more truly Mrs Alexander d’Urberville? Could intensity of love justify what might be considered in upright souls as culpable reticence? She knew not what was expected of women in such cases; and she had no counsellor.
However, when she found herself alone in her room for a few minutes—the last day this on which she was ever to enter it—she knelt down and prayed. She tried to pray to God, but it was her husband who really had her supplication. Her idolatry of this man was such that she herself almost feared it to be ill-omened. She was conscious of the notion expressed by Friar Laurence: “These violent delights have violent ends.” It might be too desperate for human conditions—too rank, to wild, too deadly.
“O my love, why do I love you so!” she whispered there alone; “for she you love is not my real self, but one in my image; the one I might have been!”
Afternoon came, and with it the hour for departure. They had decided to fulfil the plan of going for a few days to the lodgings in the old farmhouse near Wellbridge Mill, at which he meant to reside during his investigation of flour processes. At two o’clock there was nothing left to do but to start. All the servantry of the dairy were standing in the red-brick entry to see them go out, the dairyman and his wife following to the door. Tess saw her three chamber-mates in a row against the wall, pensively inclining their heads. She had much questioned if they would appear at the parting moment; but there they were, stoical and staunch to the last. She knew why the delicate Retty looked so fragile, and Izz so tragically sorrowful, and Marian so blank; and she forgot her own dogging shadow for a moment in contemplating theirs.