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Ni ck- knock, ni ck- knock, went t he cr adl e; t he candl e- f l ame st r et ched
i t sel f t al l , and began j i ggi ng up and down; t he wat er dr i bbl ed f r om
t he mat r on' s el bows, and t he song gal l oped on t o t he end of t he
ver se, Mr s Dur beyf i el d r egar di ng her daught er t he whi l e. Even now,
when bur dened wi t h a young f ami l y, J oan Dur beyf i el d was a passi onat e
l over of t une. No di t t y f l oat ed i nt o Bl ackmoor Val e f r omt he out er
wor l d but Tess' s mot her caught up i t s not at i on i n a week.

Ther e st i l l f ai nt l y beamed f r omt he woman' s f eat ur es somet hi ng of
t he f r eshness, and even t he pr et t i ness, of her yout h; r ender i ng i t
pr obabl e t hat t he per sonal char ms whi ch Tess coul d boast of wer e i n
mai n par t her mot her ' s gi f t , and t her ef or e unkni ght l y, unhi st or i cal .

" I ' l l r ock t he cr adl e f or ' ee, mot her , " sai d t he daught er gent l y.
" Or I ' l l t ake of f my best f r ock and hel p you wr i ng up? I t hought you
had f i ni shed l ong ago. "

Her mot her bor e Tess no i l l - wi l l f or l eavi ng t he housewor k t o her
si ngl e- handed ef f or t s f or so l ong; i ndeed, J oan sel domupbr ai ded
her t her eon at any t i me, f eel i ng but sl i ght l y t he l ack of Tess' s
assi st ance whi l st her i nst i nct i ve pl an f or r el i evi ng her sel f of her
l abour s l ay i n post poni ng t hem. To- ni ght , however , she was even i n a
bl i t her mood t han usual . Ther e was a dr eami ness, a pr e- occupat i on,
an exal t at i on, i n t he mat er nal l ook whi ch t he gi r l coul d not
under st and.

" Wel l , I ' mgl ad you' ve come, " her mot her sai d, as soon as t he l ast
not e had passed out of her . " I want t o go and f et ch your f at her ;
but what ' s mor e' n t hat , I want t o t el l ' ee what have happened. Y' l l
be f ess enough, my poppet , when t h' st know! " ( Mr s Dur beyf i el d
habi t ual l y spoke t he di al ect ; her daught er , who had passed t he Si xt h
St andar d i n t he Nat i onal School under a London- t r ai ned mi st r ess,
spoke t wo l anguages: t he di al ect at home, mor e or l ess; or di nar y
Engl i sh abr oad and t o per sons of qual i t y. )

" Si nce I ' ve been away?" Tess asked.

" Ay! "

" Had i t anyt hi ng t o do wi t h f at her ' s maki ng such a mommet of hi msel f
i n t hi k car r i age t hi s af t er noon? Why di d ' er ? I f el t i ncl i ned t o
si nk i nt o t he gr ound wi t h shame! "

" That wer al l a par t of t he l ar r y! We' ve been f ound t o be t he
gr eat est gent l ef ol k i n t he whol e count y- - r eachi ng al l back l ong
bef or e Ol i ver Gr umbl e' s t i me- - t o t he days of t he Pagan Tur ks- - wi t h
monument s, and vaul t s, and cr est s, and ' scut cheons, and t he Lor d
knows what al l . I n Sai nt Char l es' s days we was made Kni ght s o' t he
Royal Oak, our r eal name bei ng d' Ur ber vi l l e! . . . Don' t t hat make
your bosompl i m? ' Twas on t hi s account t hat your f at her r ode home
i n t he vl ee; not because he' d been dr i nki ng, as peopl e supposed. "

" I ' mgl ad of t hat . Wi l l i t do us any good, mot her ?"

" O yes! ' Ti s t hought ed t hat gr eat t hi ngs may come o' t . No doubt a
mampus of vol k of our own r ank wi l l be down her e i n t hei r car r i ages
as soon as ' t i s known. Your f at her l ear nt i t on hi s way hwome
f r omShast on, and he has been t el l i ng me t he whol e pedi gr ee of t he
mat t er . "