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Troy is reported to be moving about in Casterbridge. Four of Boldwood's men spy him outside the malthouse window as he tries to listen to the conversation between Gabriel Oak and the maltster inside. They want to report what they have seen to Bathsheba.
At the party, Bathsheba is on the point of leaving, but is stopped by Boldwood. He wants her to give him her decision. Unwillingly, she promises that she will marry Boldwood if Troy does not turn up at the end of seven years. He then forces her to wear the ring that he has bought. Bathsheba is upset, but agrees that she will keep it on, though only for the night. Before she leaves, Troy enters, heavily wrapped, so that only his eyes are visible. Bathsheba recognizes him and, filled with emotions, she sits down at the foot of the stairs. Boldwood also recognizes Troy by his harsh laughter. Troy commands Bathsheba to accompany him home, but Boldwood tells her not to go with him. When Troy seizes Bathsheba's arm, she begins to scream. Boldwood takes a gun from his rack by the fireplace and shoots Troy. He is stopped as he tries to shoot himself, but no one tries to stop him from going out into the night.
Hardy has meticulously led up to the climax of the novel at the party. Bathsheba reluctantly promises to marry Boldwood if Troy does not reappear within the next six years. Shortly after this promise is made, Troy makes his melodramatic and disguised entry into the party. Both Bathsheba and Boldwood immediately recognize him. He attempts to take Bathsheba home, and acts roughly in the process.
Boldwood, unable to accept that now Bathsheba can never be his and upset by her rough treatment at the hands of Troy, grabs a gun and shoots him. He is stopped from shooting himself. The way is now cleared for Gabriel to claim Bathsheba as his own.