We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Mayor of Casterbridge

The Mayor of Casterbridge


by Thomas Hardy

The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 26 Summary

  • Henchard and Farfrae meet by chance in the street one morning.
  • They nod to each other, and Henchard stops Farfrae to chat.
  • They haven't talked in ages, and Farfrae is happy to be friends again.
  • Henchard reminds him of the secret he'd told him a long time ago – about the young lady whose reputation was ruined and whom he'd been planning to marry before Susan reappeared.
  • Farfrae remembers.
  • Henchard still doesn't mention the lady by name.
  • He says he has offered to marry the young lady but that she has refused.
  • Farfrae says hey, Henchard has done his duty and doesn't owe the young lady anything anymore.
  • Henchard agrees, but he doesn't want to let it go.
  • He figures there's someone else – a rival – and he's not the kind of guy to back down.
  • The next day, both Henchard and Farfrae visit at the same time.
  • It's kind of awkward.
  • Henchard realizes Farfrae must be his rival, which drives him crazy.
  • Henchard decides to take out his anger against Farfrae by trying to out-compete him in business, so he hires a new manager.
  • He looks up Joshua Jopp, the man who had wanted the job originally.
  • Jopp is still out of work, and Henchard hires him on the spot.
  • Jopp reminds Henchard that he had done business in Jersey, too, and had often seen Henchard there.
  • It doesn't occur to Henchard that Jopp might therefore know something about Lucetta.
  • He tells Jopp that his big plan is to out-compete Farfrae and drive him out of business.
  • Henchard decides to play the market. If he buys a lot of grain for cheap before the harvest, then the harvest is bad, the supply will go down and the price will go up. He'd therefore be able to re-sell all that grain at a huge profit.
  • The problem is that the weather is hard to predict.
  • So Henchard resorts to asking a kind of old wizard who lives out in the country to predict the weather for him.
  • The man tells him that the harvest will be crummy.
  • Henchard is delighted and buys a ton of grain.
  • But then the weather turns beautiful.
  • The price of grain falls and falls.
  • Henchard decides he can't afford to wait any longer and sells his grain at a huge loss.
  • Henchard is disgusted and fires Jopp in his anger.
  • Jopp is angry and determined to find a way to get revenge.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...