At breakfast Dairyman Crick tells some news he has heard of Jack Dollop, the man from his butterchurn story. Dollop did not actually marry the girl he had wronged, but instead married a rich widow for her pension. But after they were married the widow revealed that she had lost her pension by marrying him. The table discusses whether it would have been better for the widow to tell Dollop the truth before they were married, even if it meant losing him. Again the workers find the story funny while to Tess it is tragic. To her it is like people laughing at a martyr.
Again Dollop appears at an instructive time for Tess, paralleling her own story. She is reminded that she is an outsider from the other dairymaids, who are actually as pure and honest as Angel thinks Tess is. She can understand the pain of telling the painful truth to someone you love, even within the context of a humorous anecdote.
Angel approaches and again proposes, and Tess refuses. He had planned to kiss her, but his surprise at her refusal stops him. It is only the recent story of Jack Dollop that makes Tess refuse this time. A few weeks pass of Angel's persuasive wooing, and Tess knows her resolve will soon break.
Tess starts to accept the inevitable and realizes she cannot escape her own passion. The only question for her is how to spare Angel pain, and how to summon the courage to potentially push him away.
One dark, early morning Angel begs Tess to speak clearly at last, or he will have to leave. She asks for more time again, but agrees to call him “Angel dearest.” Angel kisses her for the first time upon the cheek, and Tess runs quickly downstairs.
Tess all but agrees to marriage by accepting his kiss and his pet name, but technically she maintains her position.
Later Tess and Angel follow Marian, Retty, and Izz out and Angel remarks how different they are from he and Tess. Tess denies it and again says any of them would make a more proper wife for him than she would. Then she feels she has done her duty.
Tess again feels duty-bound to push Angel towards her more innocent friends, despite her heart's desire. Angel betrays his naiveté by generalizing the other women together.
That afternoon the time passes faster than usual, and Dairyman Crick declares that someone needs to take the milk straight to the station. Angel volunteers and asks Tess to come with him. She is not dressed for cold, but agrees.
The end of the chapter, in which Tess once again is about to go on a wagon ride alone with a man (last time she did this was when Alec raped her), suggesting that the next chapter will be more decisive than the couple's many previous interactions.