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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
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Chapter 41

The rest of the evening and most of the following day is a silent and painful one for both Troy and Bathsheba. Troy finally asks her for twenty pounds, telling her that it was for the races. Bathsheba begs him not to go. She expresses her fears that the sort of life that he is leading will result in the loss of her farm. Troy does not listen to Bathsheba and insists on taking the money, but this time he says that it is not for the races. Bathsheba promises him some money from her household funds and regrets these quarrels which are ruining their marriage.

When Troy takes out his watch, he opens the back case and stares at the lock of hair kept inside. Bathsheba notices the lock of hair and asks whose hair it is. Putting on a very casual air, Troy tells her it is her hair. Bathsheba easily knows that he is lying because the hair is blond in color. When she questions him again, Troy admits to her that the hair belongs to a pretty, unmarried woman whom he wanted to marry before he had met Bathsheba. After Troy goes away, Bathsheba bursts into great sobs.

The next morning Bathsheba learns that Troy has left for Casterbridge. In the meantime, Boldwood informs Joseph Poorgrass that Fanny has died in the Casterbridge Union house and that he is arranging to send a wagon to bring the body. Since Fanny had been in the service of her uncle, Bathsheba sends word to Boldwood through Poorgrass that she will arrange for Fanny's funeral. She trusts Poorgrass with the mission of bringing Fanny's body. From Liddy, Bathsheba learns that the color of Fanny's hair was yellow. Liddy tells her that Fanny's lover had been in the same regiment as Troy. Bathsheba realizes that Fanny's lover is none other than Troy. This realization is most painful to her.


Notes

The chapter shows Troy and Bathsheba at loggerheads with each other. Troy asks for gambling money, and Bathsheba begs him not to go to the races. He clearly indicates he will do what he wants, despite her wishes. The marriage between the two is then seriously threatened by Bathsheba's discovery that Troy is Fanny's lover. Ironically, the dead Fanny is a more successful rival of Bathsheba than the living Fanny. She becomes the final wedge into the crack that has been widening in the marriage between Bathsheba and Troy.

Bathsheba, now maturing and beginning to accept responsibility on a regular basis, promptly offers to take over the arrangements for Fanny's burial since she used to work on her uncle's farm. Ironically, her kindness and charity to a woman she does not know result in her learning about her husband's involvement with the woman. In contrast to Bathsheba, Troy has not accepted responsibility and his postponement of helping Fanny has had tragic results. Troy's realization and remorse are yet to come.

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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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