Tess of the d'Urbervilles Chapter 12
Tess is walking back to her parents' home in Marlott four months after leaving for the d'Urberville manor in Tantridge and only two weeks after Alec d'Urberville seduced her. She is saddened and disgusted by what happened, and her innocent view of the world is gone because of what he did to her. Alec catches up with Tess in a carriage and insists on driving her the rest of the way home if she refuses to come back to Tantridge with him, which she does. She agrees to ride with him because she has nothing left to fear from him. He's already taken from her what she wanted to protect anyway. He seems sad that she does not love him, but he doesn't seem to feel any remorse for what he did to her. She notices his indifference to her sadness and explains to him that she really had no idea what he was doing until it was too late. Only after her sincere explanation does he seem to understand how he's wronged her, but even then, he's not all that sorry for taking advantage of her. He offers her money to try to compensate her, but she is too proud to take it. He tells her that if she needs anything, he'll be in London and she can write to him there for anything, but she wants nothing from her fake cousin.
Alec drops Tess at the edge of town as she wishes, and a young man who is traveling the countryside painting scripture on the sides of barns walks along with her. When he paints one barn along her path, his chosen scripture, "THY, DAMNATION, SLUMBERETH, NOT. 2 Pet. ii. 3," Chapter 12, pg. 78 makes her feel more guilty despite the fact that her sin was not her doing. The artist mentions that Mr. Clare, a fiery preacher, is preaching in her village, but Tess wants only to go home.
Joan Durbeyfield is surprised to see her daughter come home. When Tess brokenly explains what happened with Alec, Joan is angry that her daughter did not force Alec to marry her, if for no other reason than the good of the family. But Alec never meant to marry Tess and she doesn't want him anyway, so that wouldn't have worked out. Tess feels angry with her mother for never telling her what happens between men and women so that she might have protected herself, but Joan's excuse is that she thought it might scare Tess away from Alec and ruin her chances of marrying him. Joan tells Tess that sex is part of nature and nature pleases God, so she must make the best of the situation. There is no pity for Tess's situation.