Study Guide

The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 24

By Thomas Hardy

Chapter 24

  • Elizabeth-Jane is happy that Lucetta wants her to stay.
  • She helps Lucetta decide what new dress to wear one day for a walk out in the market.
  • It's a beautiful, busy day in the square, and they see Henchard.
  • Henchard makes some small talk with them and points out a new machine for sowing seeds that Farfrae has brought to town.
  • Henchard says it'll never work and makes a few insulting remarks on Farfrae's business sense.
  • Clearly, Henchard is still jealous.
  • He mutters something to Lucetta that Elizabeth-Jane can't quite hear.
  • She thinks this is weird, since (as far as she knows) they don't know each other.
  • Then Henchard leaves.
  • They see Farfrae and stop to chat.
  • Lucetta is very flirty with him.
  • Elizabeth-Jane notices, and wonders about this.
  • Lucetta explains that they'd met the other day, then changes the subject by remarking on how cold and distant Henchard was to his own daughter.
  • Elizabeth-Jane agrees and says it's because Henchard doesn't think she's respectable; she wasn't educated as a fine lady.
  • Lucetta hints that she can sympathize with what it's like having people think you're not respectable.
  • The next day Lucetta goes out by herself.
  • Elizabeth-Jane suspects that Lucetta is hoping to run into Farfrae, and when Lucetta gets back, she finds out she did see him.
  • That night, Lucetta tells Elizabeth-Jane part of her story. Only, the way she tells it, it all happened to "a friend," and she doesn't use real names.
  • Elizabeth-Jane suspects that Lucetta is talking about herself but doesn't let on.
  • Lucetta asks what "this poor girl" should do – should she marry the man to whom she was once engaged, who had accidentally trashed her reputation, or should she marry this new guy that she likes better?
  • Elizabeth-Jane says she can't say.

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