Chapter 22

Synopsis of chapter 22

Wild garlic, photo by Martin Bodman, available through Creative CommonsThe taste of garlic is discovered in the butter, which means there is wild garlic growing in the cows' pasture. The community turn out to eradicate it. Tess finds herself alongside Angel, and tries to recommend the virtues of the other dairymaids, even hinting at their admiration for him. She is amazed at how honourably Angel behaves towards them all.

Commentary on chapter 22

The chapter provides another genre painting of a country activity: the community working together in a single line to eradicate the weed. Other members of the dairy community are named. Tess is shown to be as self-sacrificing as she knows how towards Angel, but it is clearly not going to be enough.

dry mead: a mead or meadow is a field kept permanently as grassland to graze cattle or sheep. A water-mead is one near the river which is liable to get flooded. A dry mead is above the flood plain.

pilgrimage: see notes to Ch 10.


communistically: according to the community. NB no political connotation.

consumptive: liable to T.B. or tuberculosis, a common disease mainly of the lungs, which was deadly in Victorian times

privateering: the opposite of communal behaviour; doing one's own thing

twang: strange taste, though not a strong one

Investigating chapter 22

  • What do you think is the point of this little episode?
    • Do you think the discovery of garlic is symbolic in any way?
  • Compare Angel's attitude to the dairymaids with Alec's attitude to farm girls.
    • Why is Tess so surprised at it?
    • How does it make her feel about Angel?
  • Explain the term 'heroically' in this context.
Related material
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.