The Mayor of Casterbridge
Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Had the incident been well known of old and always, it might by this time have grown to be lightly regarded as the rather tall wild oat, but the single one, of a young man with whom the steady and mature (if somewhat headstrong) burgher of to-day had scarcely point in common. But the act having lain as dead and buried ever since, the interspace of years was unperceived; and the black spot of his youth wore the aspect of a recent crime. (31.1)
Because Henchard doesn't tell anyone about the wife sale when he first arrives in Casterbridge, when the truth comes out many years later, it's as though it happened yesterday. The news is new, and so the long intervening years don't temper it.
Her figure in the midst of the huge enclosure, the unusual plainness of her dress, her attitude of hope and appeal, so strongly revived in his soul the memory of another ill-used woman who had stood there and thus in bygone days, and had now passed away into her rest, that he was unmanned, and his heart smote him for having attempted reprisals on one of a sex so weak. (35.17)
Henchard's meeting with Lucetta at the Casterbridge Ring is an echo of his meeting with Susan there. The two scenes have a lot of parallels, and Henchard senses it himself.
A quarter of a mile from the highway was a pre-historic earthen fort, of huge dimensions and many ramparts, within or upon whose enclosures a human being, as seen from the road, was but an insignificant speck. (43.9)
The ancient fort the narrator describes is prehistoric – it's even older than the ancient Roman ruins around Casterbridge! In part because of its size, but also because of its extreme age, the fort makes "human beings" seem "insignificant" next to it.