I was very competitive with my siblings about reading and wanted to read everything my sister (who is 8 years older than me) read rather than “age-appropriate” books. Therefore I skipped over things like “5 Children and It” and “Treasure Island”, etc. So recently I’ve started reading them and discovered “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett who is a very interesting woman and it’s a wonderful read. The way she describes the excitement and therapeutic value of getting things to grow is just spot on and struck a strong chord with me at the moment.
When Tess confronts Alec, he claims that he has a newfound duty to save others and feels that he must save Tess. Still, he seems to blame Tess for her tempting Alec to sin, and makes her swear never to tempt him again. Alec begins to visit Tess frequently, despite her overt suspicion and dislike for him, and even asks her to marry him and accompany him to Africa where he plans to be a missionary. Tess refuses and admits to Alec that she is already married, but Alec derides the idea that her marriage is secure and attempts to refute Tess's (and Angel's) religious views. Alec accuses Tess once more of tempting him, and blames her for his backsliding from Christianity. Alec soon disavows his faith and loses the adornments of it, returning to his more fashionable ways and giving up preaching. When Alec tells Tess that she should leave her husband, she slaps him and then refuses to back down when Alec appears ready to return her blow. She tells Alec that she will not cry if he hits her, because she will always be his victim.
Abraham falls asleep, leaving Tess to contemplate. She too eventually falls asleep and dreams about a “gentlemanly suitor” who grimaces and laughs at her. Suddenly, Tess and Abraham are awakened by a calamity. Their carriage has collided with the local mail cart, and the collision has killed Prince, their old horse. Realizing that the loss of their horse will be economically devastating for her family, Tess is overcome with guilt. The surrounding foliage seems to turn pale and white as Tess does. The carriage is hitched up to the wagon of a local farmer, who helps them bring the beehives toward the market in Casterbridge.