The next morning Dairyman Crick is upset because a customer had complained of the butter's taste. They try it, and Crick decides that it is a garlic plant in the meadow. All the workers form a line and walk slowly across the fields, looking for garlic shoots. Tess and Angel walk side by side, but speak perfunctorily.
The uniform line of farm workers is reminiscent of the generalized stereotype of “Hodge,” or that of simple rural folk following blindly along with their heads down.
Tess and Angel break from the line, and Tess tries to turn his attention to Izz and Retty, as she has decided they are more worthy of marrying Angel than she. She compliments their beauty and agricultural skills, and the fact that they blush when he looks at them. After that she makes herself avoid Angel, and tries to give her three friends every opportunity to be near him. She realizes that all the dairymaids love him, and it is admirable that he shows such self-restraint.
Tess again shows her self-sacrificing spirit, denying herself joy because she feels she is unworthy of it. Angel's restraint in taking advantage of the women's affections is a pleasant contrast to Alec's aggressiveness in pursuing whatever pleasure he wants.