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Just before the harvest, the weather turns nasty, and the price of grain spikes.
Farfrae makes a ton of money because he'd bought grain when the prices were low.
The rivalry between Farfrae and Henchard is now a matter of town gossip.
Their servants and laborers take part in the rivalry, too.
One day, Lucetta and Elizabeth-Jane see some of Henchard's employees accidentally knock over a wagon of Farfrae's in the street by driving too close to it.
The men get in an argument over whose fault it was.
Lucetta and Elizabeth-Jane take Farfrae's side, and Henchard is enraged.
Henchard is called away by the town police officers.
Some old woman has been arrested for being drunk and disorderly and swearing next to the church. Henchard is the Justice of the Peace since his term as mayor is over, so he'll need to deal with the woman the next day.
Later, he overhears Farfrae speaking alone to Lucetta.
He doesn't quite propose marriage, but he comes close to it, and she is clearly encouraging him.
When she goes home, Henchard follows her and barges in.
He asks why she came to Casterbridge if not to marry him.
She says she came because she thought she had to marry him, even though she didn't love him as much as she used to.
Henchard says that if she doesn't promise to marry him, he'll reveal their past relationship.
Lucetta gives in to the blackmail.
Henchard wants a witness to Lucetta's promise.
Elizabeth-Jane comes downstairs to hear it.
Lucetta promises to marry Henchard.
After Henchard leaves, Elizabeth-Jane asks Lucetta what power Henchard has over her, that he can force her to make this promise against her will.