Tess of the d'Urbervilles Chapter 4
When Joan arrived at the unlicensed pub, she found that Durbeyfield has told everyone the news, but the only thing the townsfolk care about is whether or not it will bring the Durbeyfields any money because a fancy name will do them no practical good. Although she mentions it to none but her husband, Joan has heard of a wealthy, old woman several towns over who is a d'Urberville. Her plan is to send Tess to get the woman to take her in and make a match for her with a wealthy man so that the family will be set for life. Abraham comes in about that time and overhears the plan. Joan's only concern is that Tess will refuse to go out of some sense of decorum. She is funny that way. But Joan feels confident that it will work out in the end because she has looked it up in The Book of Fortunes and seen that Tess will marry a gentleman. What Joan doesn't see is that while Tess may marry a gentleman, her life will not be happy. As they talk, Tess arrives to get her family and they go home with her.
Only a few hours later, at 2 a.m., Tess's mother wakes her to take the beehives to market several towns away. Her father was supposed to do it, but he is too drunk, so Tess and Abraham load the wagon and begin the journey to market. Along the way Abraham chatters and mentions the plan Joan has constructed for Tess to marry a gentleman. Tess is embarrassed at the idea of asking rich relatives for help for such a lazy family as hers, but she says nothing to her brother. He continues to talk about various subjects and then asks her if the stars are worlds. She answers with, "I don't know; but I think so. They sometimes seem to be like the apples on our stubbard-tree. Most of them splendid and sound - a few blighted." Chapter 4, pg. 25 She concludes that the star we live on is a blighted one.
Soon Tess and Abraham fall asleep driving the cart through the night and Tess wakes to find that the mail cart has collided with theirs on the path and their horse has been stabbed through the chest and is bleeding to death. Tess's parents aren't as upset about losing their only horse and transportation as Tess is, mainly because they don't worry about their income as much as Tess does. Instead of selling off the carcass for what little money they could get to help support their family, Durbeyfield says, "I won't sell his old body. When we d'Urbervilles was knights in the land, we didn't sell our chargers for cat's meat. Let 'em keep their shillings! He've served me well in his lifetime, and I won't part from him now." Chapter 4, pg. 29 Tess feels responsible for their financial predicament.