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

CHAPTER 29

Summary

After Lucetta returns to Casterbridge, she and Elizabeth-Jane are taking a walk when a bull charges them. They run into a barn, with the bull following. When the door shuts accidentally, they are trapped inside with the animal. Henchard, who is looking for Lucetta, saves the two of them. Henchard is very tender towards Lucetta and tells her that he has behaved brutally towards her. He suggests they have a long engagement instead of an immediate marriage. Lucetta is overjoyed at the news and wants to repay his kindness with money, which Henchard refuses to accept. All he wants her to do is to tell Mr. Grower, his chief creditor, that she is going to marry him. Mr. Grower would then not insist on an immediate repayment of the loan, and Henchard would be able to a tide over the crisis. Unfortunately for Henchard, Lucetta cannot do this, for Mr. Grower was a witness to her marriage to Farfrae in Port-Bredy. When Henchard hears this news, he explodes in anger and threatens her again with disclosing their past relationship, this time to Farfrae.

Notes

This chapter is filled with drama. It contains a dramatic account of Elizabeth-Jane and Lucetta being charged by a bull and an equally dramatic rescue by Henchard. The most dramatic event, however, is when Lucetta discloses that she has married Farfrae while she was in Port-Bredy. She was driven to marry in haste as a result of the chance appearance of the old "'furmity woman'." Once she heard of Henchard's past, she simply could not bear the thought of marrying him.


Henchard simply cannot escape his past and the enormity of his selling his wife and child. Twenty years ago, he set his fate in motion and now can do nothing to control it. Neither can he control his anger. When he hears about Lucetta's marriage to Farfrae, he explodes with emotion. He is like the wounded bull he has just brought under control. He is filled with rage, just like the bull, and uses tactics of intimidation to get what he wants from those around him; yet ultimately he is ineffectual in his efforts.

CHAPTER 30

Summary

Lucetta seeks Farfrae's permission to let Elizabeth-Jane live with them, which he readily gives. When Elizabeth-Jane learns that Lucetta has married Farfrae, she is upset on two counts. The first is because she is still in love with Farfrae. The second is because she feels that Lucetta has done something wrong as she had pledged herself to Henchard. Since she feels she cannot live with Lucetta any longer, Elizabeth-Jane finds alternative lodgings for herself, leaves a note for Lucetta, and departs immediately.

Notes

Donald Farfrae is a hardheaded businessman who does not neglect his work no matter how "exceptional" the circumstance is. Therefore, he stays on to conduct business in Port-Bredy, even though he has married Lucetta that very day. He does not oppose Lucetta's proposal to keep Elizabeth-Jane with them as she is "quiet and unassuming."

Elizabeth-Jane is not only reserved, but also a loner, not interested in gossip. She has no idea about the marriage between Lucetta and Farfrae. When Lucetta breaks the news to her, she is upset. She does not understand Lucetta's fear of Henchard or her love for Farfrae. It is no surprise that the independent Elizabeth-Jane leaves Lucetta's house immediately. There is also a practical streak in her. She takes stock of her financial situation to see how she can eke out a subsistence for herself. She is glad to realize that the annuity Henchard has settled on her will stand her in good stead.

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