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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
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Chapter 17

Saturday is market day at Casterbridge, and Bathsheba attends. Boldwood is there too. On this day, he particularly notices Bathsheba's arrival and gazes at her trying to understand more about the mysterious sender of the valentine. He knows that she is a beautiful woman, but knows little else about her. As he watches her conducting business, Boldwood realizes that he feels jealous when he sees her busy in a business deal with a young farmer. For her part, Bathsheba understands that she has caught Boldwood's attention. She feels victorious, but at the same time she is not quite happy about it. After all, she had to catch his attention through the valentine card she had sent. Since Bathsheba knows that she is not seriously interested in Boldwood, she decides to apologize to him. However, if she does so, her actions could be misunderstood by Boldwood and cause further harm.


Notes

Both Bathsheba and Boldwood are caught in a bad situation. Bathsheba realizes the folly of her action; Boldwood remains silent, not making any move to approach Bathsheba and talk to her about her purpose for sending the valentine. This lack of action on Boldwood's part bodes nothing good for their relationship.

By sending the valentine to Boldwood, Bathsheba has already melted the ice of reserve on his part. Since Boldwood's attention springs from this stimulus, she does not value it. Boldwood does nothing more than gape at Bathsheba. This contributes inevitably to his subsequent feeling of disappointment. He misses an excellent opportunity to use business as pretext to talk to her. No doubt he idealizes Bathsheba but he does nothing to confirm that he is interested in her.

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