From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Mayor of Casterbridge
by Thomas Hardy
The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 12 Summary
Henchard goes home and finds Farfrae still there working on the bookkeeping. He invites him to come into the house and hang out for a while. Henchard doesn't have any friends and he wants to confide in someone. Farfrae seems trustworthy, so he starts telling him the whole story. He tells every detail of the wife auction, then glosses over his rise to wealth and importance in Casterbridge. Farfrae says he's done a lot of good to balance out the bad. Then Henchard says that his wife has come back. Great, says Farfrae. Yeah, says Henchard, but there's a problem: if he takes Susan back, he'll hurt someone else. A couple years earlier, when traveling on business in Jersey, Henchard got sick. A young lady there took pity on him. She was poor but well-educated, and her parents were dead. She helped to nurse him back to health. He swears they never slept together or anything, but they didn't worry too much about how things looked. All the girl's friends and acquaintances assumed she'd been sleeping with Henchard. Now, this is 19th-century England, and sex out of wedlock was a Very Big Deal. Basically the girl's reputation was ruined, so obviously she wanted Henchard to marry her to make up for it. He was planning to, because he assumed Susan was dead, but then Susan showed up! Farfrae says it's too bad for the young lady from Jersey, but there's no help for it – Henchard should take care of Susan, since she's still alive. Henchard agrees, and asks Farfrae to write a letter to the young lady to explain things to her.
People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...