That cold accretion called the world, which, so terrible in the mass, is so unformidable, even pitiable, in its units.

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More from Tess of the d'Urbervilles

The season developed and matured. Another year’s installment of flowers, leaves, nightingales, thrushes, finches, and such ephemeral creatures, took up their positions where only a year ago others had stood in their place when these were nothing more than germs and inorganic particles. Rays from the sunrise drew forth the buds and stretched them into long stalks, lifted up sap in noiseless streams, opened petals, and sucked out scents in invisible jets and breathings.

All these young souls were passengers in the Durbeyfield ship-entirely dependent on the judgment of the two Durbeyfield adults for their pleasures, their necessities, their health, even their existence. If the heads of the Durbeyfield household chose to sail into difficulty, disaster, starvation, disease, degradation, death, thither were these half-dozen little captives under their hatches compelled to sail with them-six helpless creatures, who had never been asked if they wished for life on any terms, much less if they wished for it on such hard conditions as were involved in being of the shiftless house of Durbeyfield. Some people would like to know whence the poet whose philosophy is in these days deemed as profound and trustworthy as his song is breezy and pure, gets his authority for speaking of “Nature’s holy plan.”

Lord love ‘ee, neither court-paying, nor preaching, nor the seven thunders themselves, can wean a woman when ‘twould be better for her that she should be weaned.