Tess of the d'Urbervilles Chapter 23
On their way to church on Sunday, the four dairymaids come to a flooded road they cannot cross without ruining their church clothes. Although walking around to a low spot is a better idea, they will be terribly late to church. Angel comes splashing around the bend in the flooded road and carries the girls to dry ground on the other side of the road. As he's carrying Tess, he tells her that the only reason he carried the other girls was so that he could carry her. When she tries to modestly brush off his words, he seems as if he is going to kiss her, but he thinks better of it. The other girls, seeing the romance unfold, plainly accept that Tess has won Angel's heart, but they are not jealous of Tess because they don't believe any dairymaid really has a shot to be his wife. Angel's family has picked out a clergyman's daughter, Mercy Chant, to be his wife. Tess and the other dairymaids grieve the hopelessness of loving Angel.