Noon in the Hayfield, detail (1897) by Sir George Clausen
"Tess was no insignificant creature to toy with and dismiss; but a woman living her precious life--a life which, to herself who endured or enjoyed it, possessed as great a dimension as the life of the mightiest to himself. Upon her sensations the whole world depended to Tess; through her existence all her fellow-creatures existed, to her. The universe itself only came into being for Tess on the particular day in the particular year in which she was born.
This consciousness upon which he had intruded was the single opportunity of existence ever vouchsafed to Tess by an unsympathetic First Cause--her all; her every and only chance."