Tess of the d’Urbervilles

A pretty young girl has to leave home to make money for her family. She is clever and a good worker; but she is uneducated and does not know the cruel ways of the world.

So, when a rich young man says he loves her, she is careful – but not careful enough. He is persuasive, and she is overwhelmed. It is not her fault, but the world says it is. Her young life is already stained by men’s desires, and by death.

  1. affection fondness; gentle, lasting love (as of a parent for a child)
  2. ancestors members of a family who lived a long time ago
  3. ashes what is left of a fire which is no longer burning
  4. baptize to perform the ceremony of receiving someone (often a baby) into the Christian Church
  5. bear (v) to suffer pain or unhappiness
  6. beehive a home for bees (insects which produce honey)
  7. blush (v) to become red in the face, especially when embarrassed
  8. bull a male cow; a large, often dangerous animal
  9. caretaker someone who is paid to look after an empty house
  10. cathedral a large, important church
  11. cheek the side of the face below the eye
  12. churn (n) a container in which milk is stirred to make butter
  13. cock a male chicken, with brightly coloured feathers, and a loud call which is usually heard very early in the morning
  14. corn various grassy plants grown in fields and used to make flour
  15. county one of the regions that a country is divided into
  16. crow (n) to make a noise like a cock (some country people believe that if a new husband hears a cock crow, it means his wife is not pure, not a virgin)
  17. dairy a place where milk is kept and butter and cream are made
  18. descendant a person with an old, well-known family as ancestors
  19. desire (n) a strong wish
  20. destined intended or planned in advance (by God or fate)
  21. drunk (n) a person who has drunk too much and cannot control his actions
  22. faithful loyal to somebody for a long time; keeping promises to stay with your wife/husband
  23. flour – mill a building with machinery to make flour from corn
  24. garlic a plant (wild or from gardens) with a strong taste and smell
  25. give way to allow oneself to be overcome or beaten by something
  26. gentleman (in this story) a man of good family, usually wealthy
  27. grasshopper an insect that jumps and makes a sharp sound by rubbing its back legs together (often heard in the countryside in summer)
  28. greenhouse a glass building used for growing delicate plants
  29. harp a large musical stringed instrument, in the shape of a triangle
  30. hedge a line of small trees planted close together
  31. holy of God; religious
  32. honeymoon a short holiday for a newly-married couple
  33. honour (n) good, respected personal character and behaviour
  34. instinct a natural reaction; a force in people which makes them behave in a certain way
  35. justice the quality or ideal of being right and fair
  36. logic a way of reasoning or thinking systematically
  37. maiden an old-fashioned word for a girl who is a virgin (with no experience of sex with a man)
  38. mistletoe an evergreen plant, often hung in a house at Christmas (there is an old custom of kissing under the mistletoe)
  39. noble (adj) of a good, often ancient family with a high social position
  40. pagan (adj) of a person who is not a believer in any of the world’s main religions
  41. parson a priest in charge of a small area
  42. passion strong feeling or emotion, especially of love, hate or anger
  43. philosophy the study of beliefs and ideas
  44. preacher a religious person (not always a priest) who gives talks about religion, good behaviour, etc.
  45. public house a place where alcoholic drinks are bought and drunk
  46. reap (v) to cut the corn when it is ready
  47. reject (v) to refuse to accept
  48. ribbon a small thin piece of coloured material worn in the hair
  49. ruin (v) to destroy or spoil; (n) a building which has fallen down or been destroyed
  50. seal (n) a stamp or ring with the family name or sign
  51. seduce to persuade someone (usually young and inexperienced) against their wishes to have sex
  52. shed (n) a building for farm animals
  53. shilling a British coin no longer in use
  54. skim (v) to remove the cream (the richer milk) from the milk
  55. sob (v) to cry loudly and very unhappily
  56. stool a small seat without a back
  57. strawberry a small, red, juicy, soft fruit
  58. suicide a person who kills him/herself
  59. symbol a thing that represents or suggests something
  60. temple a building used for religious purpose
  61. threshing – machine a machine for beating or rubbing corn to separate the best part from the outer covering
  62. title a word for people of noble family (e.g. Lord, Prince)
  63. tomb a box-like container made of stone, for dead bodies in a church or churchyard
  64. tragic very, very sad and unfortunate
  65. vague uncertain; unclear
  66. waggon an open cart or carriage pulled by a horse