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Imagine a conversation - Jesus and Tess of the d'Urbervilles - by James Archer

Editable and printable version

Scene: In Tess’s prison cell the night before her execution.  


Jesus   I love you, Tess.

Tess    You’ve got a funny way of showing it, after all I’ve been through.  What about Sorrow?

Jesus   I love her too.  She’s one of my favourites.

Tess    But you wouldn’t let her be buried in the churchyard because she wasn’t baptised.

Jesus   I didn’t say that.  Anyway, she was.

Tess    Don’t toy with me – I can’t cope with it.

Jesus   I’m not.  I loved your baptism ceremony – it was wonderful.  So much love and faith – it made me cry.

Tess    But it wasn’t proper!

Jesus   Proper enough for me.  And the burial – I look at her grave every day.

Tess    You mean …. it’s OK?

Jesus   Of course.  I’m not bothered about rules like baptism and burial.  I look at the heart.

Tess    And what did you see?

Jesus   Your love, your faith, your grief.  It was very special being with you through it.

Tess    You were there then?  I didn’t know it. What about later? 

Jesus   I was there too.  When you met Angel, when you told him the truth, when he left you, when you were desperate.

Tess    So why didn’t you help me?

Jesus   I did.  I sorted things out with your mother-in-law.  But when she came out to give you a big hug, you’d gone.

Tess    So I didn’t need to sell myself to Alec.

Jesus   No, and you didn’t need to kill him either.  You could just have walked out when Angel came back.

Tess    I’m sorry.  I’ve blown it.  It’s too late now.  I’ll be gone in the morning.

Jesus   They killed me too – like a common criminal.

Tess    So how come you’re here talking to me?

Jesus   I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me will not perish, but lives for ever.

Tess    I do believe and trust in you.

Jesus   Do not be afraid.  I have overcome the world. I love you. I am with you always.

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