The Mayor of Casterbridge
by Thomas Hardy
The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 41 Summary
- Elizabeth-Jane comes to see Henchard and tell him the bad news about Lucetta.
- Henchard appreciates the fact that she came to tell him in person.
- She looks tired because she was up half the night, so he tells her to take a nap in the other room while he fixes her some breakfast.
- She's surprised and pleased that he's being so nice to her, and she could definitely use a nap, so she agrees.
- While she's asleep, a sailor comes to the door.
- He says his name is Newson.
- Henchard is obviously shocked.
- Newson reminds Henchard of their transaction back at the Weydon Fair twenty years earlier.
- Henchard says he's ashamed to remember it, and Newson feels the same way.
- He says he has come to make amends.
- He explains that Susan had thought for a long time that the sale was binding, so she was content to live faithfully as his wife.
- But when a friend heard the story and told her she was being stupid, Susan was discontent and worried.
- When Newson got back and saw how Susan's attitude had changed, he felt guilty.
- On his next sailing cruise, he had some really bad weather. He decided not to go home and to let Susan think he'd drowned.
- He figured then she'd be free to go find Henchard, or do whatever she wanted, since she was no longer happy living as his wife.
- Newson has heard that Susan died, but he wants to know where Elizabeth-Jane is.
- On an impulse, Henchard says that Elizabeth-Jane is dead too.
- Newson is sorry – he has made a lot of money and wanted to give it to Elizabeth-Jane.
- Henchard doesn't back down, and Newson leaves town.
- Elizabeth-Jane wakes up fresh as a daisy and very grateful to the man she still believes is her father for having made her breakfast.
- Henchard wants to have a real relationship with Elizabeth-Jane again, but now he's terrified that Newson will find out the truth and come back.
- If Elizabeth-Jane ever finds out that he lied to Newson to keep them apart, she'll never forgive him.
- Later that day, Henchard is hanging out down by the bridge again.
- He sees his own body down in the water! This totally creeps him out.
- He finds Elizabeth-Jane and brings her to the bridge to show her.
- Of course, it's only the model of him from the skimmity-ride. Someone must have dumped it in the river when the constable broke up the parade.
- But Henchard thinks it's a sign from heaven.
- Elizabeth-Jane and Henchard move in together.
People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...