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Free Study Guide for The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy-MonkeyNotes
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES

CHAPTER 9

Summary

The next morning Farfrae departs for Bristol. He is accompanied by Henchard, who walks with him part of the way and entreats him to stay on whatever terms the Scotsman puts down. Farfrae, whose plans for America are vague, decides to accept Henchard's offer. He is immediately installed as manager in one of the offices. Elizabeth-Jane, to her astonishment, finds him there when she is sent by her mother to inform Henchard of their arrival in Casterbridge.

Notes

In this chapter, Henchard's sudden liking for Farfrae is further developed. He is determined to hire the Scotsman, and since Henchard is a man of action who does not easily give up, he pursues Farfrae. In order to succeed with the man, Henchard allows the Scotsman to name the terms and conditions of his employment. When Farfrae finally accepts, Henchard immediately sends to Bristol for his luggage. Henchard proves again that he is an impatient man with strong impulses. His successful hiring of Farfrae does much to advance the plot, for the two men are brought together now, only to compete against each other later in the novel.


A detailed description of the town of Casterbridge with its quaint surroundings and bustling commercial life is provided in the chapter. The impression is given that Henchard heads this commercial activity, for he is at the center of business and politics in this town.

Irony also plays a part in this chapter. When Susan is finally brave enough to seek Henchard out, she sends her daughter to reveal their presence to him. When Susan arrives at the corn office to locate him, she instead finds Farfrae.

CHAPTER 10

Summary

While Elizabeth-Jane waits for Henchard, Jopp, who was to have been the manager instead of Farfrae, arrives on the scene for an interview and is promptly told the job has been taken. Henchard then notices Elizabeth-Jane, who asks to have a short meeting with him. Henchard learns from Elizabeth-Jane that Susan is alive and that Newson has been given up for dead. He sends a note to Susan to meet him at eight o'clock that evening at the Ring, a Roman amphitheater outside of town. He realizes that Elizabeth-Jane is ignorant of past events and discloses nothing to her. He encloses five guineas in the note, significantly implying he had bought her back. Afterwards, he wonders if they could be impostors, but decides against it based on Elizabeth-Jane's naïve manner.

Notes

Henchard, in his interview with Jopp, is blunt and tactless, showing himself to be the arrogant and assuming man he was earlier in the novel. His poor treatment of Jopp will come back later in the novel to haunt him, for Henchard has made a bitter enemy of him. In contrast, when Elizabeth-Jane discloses her name to Henchard, he treats her kindly. It is important to note that she calls herself Elizabeth-Jane Newson, assuming her father is the lost sailor.

Henchard understands the kindness and nobility of his wife in not disclosing their past to Elizabeth-Jane. Surprisingly he feels a pang of jealousy when she refers to Newson as her father. He also notices that his daughter is simply dressed and assumes that she and Susan are not very well off. He writes Susan a note, sending it with Elizabeth-Jane and asking for a meeting at 8:00 p.m.; he sets the meeting after dark, outside of town, for he does not want to be exposed. Henchard also symbolically sends five guineas with the note, the amount that the sailor paid for Susan earlier in the novel. It is a small gesture on his part to make amends.

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