`I know no name of Durbeyfield; but there is the name of d'Urberville at The Herons,' said the second.
`That's it!' cried Clare, pleased to think that she had reverted to the real pronunciation. `What place is The Herons?'
`A stylish lodging-house. 'Tis all lodging-houses here, bless 'ee.'
Clare received directions how to find the house, and hastened thither, arriving with the milkman. The Herons, though an ordinary villa, stood in its own grounds, and was certainly the last place in which one would have expected to find lodgings, so private was its appearance. If poor Tess was a servant here, as he feared, she would go to the back-door to that milkman, and he was inclined to go thither also. However, in his doubts he turned to the front, and rang.
The hour being early the landlady herself opened the door.
Clare inquired for Teresa d'Urberville or Durbeyfield.
Tess, then, passed as a married woman, and he felt glad, even though she had not adopted his name.
`Will you kindly tell her that a relative is anxious to see her?'
`It is rather early. What name shall I give, sir?'
`No; Angel. It is my Christian name. She'll understand.'
`I'll see if she is awake.'
He was shown into the front room - the dining-room - and looked out through the spring curtains at the little lawn, and the rhododendrons and other shrubs upon it. Obviously her position was by no means so bad as he had feared, and it crossed his mind that she must somehow have claimed and sold the jewels to attain it. He did not blame her for one moment. Soon his sharpened ear detected footsteps upon the stairs, at which his heart thumped so painfully that he could hardly stand firm. `Dear me! what will she think of me, so altered as I am!' he said to himself; and the door opened.
Tess appeared on the threshold - not at all as he had expected to see her - bewilderingly otherwise, indeed. Her great natural beauty was, if not heightened, rendered more obvious by her attire. She was loosely wrapped in a cashmere dressing-gown of gray-white, embroidered in half-mourning tints, and she wore slippers of the same hue. Her neck rose out of a frill of down, and her well-remembered cable of dark-brown hair was partially coiled up in a mass at the back of her head and partly hanging on her shoulder - the evident result of haste.
He had held out his arms, but they had fallen again to his side; for she had not come forward, remaining still in the opening of the doorway. Mere yellow skeleton that he was now he felt the contrast between them, and thought his appearance distasteful to her.
`Tess!' he said huskily, `can you forgive me for going away? Can't you - come to me? How do you get to be - like this?'
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