Study Guide

The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 37

By Thomas Hardy

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Chapter 37

  • There's a big hubbub in Casterbridge: a member of the British royal family is planning to travel through town.
  • Farfrae, as the mayor, is in charge of welcoming the royal procession.
  • He and Lucetta are all decked out in their finest clothes.
  • Henchard is determined to take part in the welcoming ceremony, even though he's no longer mayor and holds no official office at all.
  • Elizabeth-Jane is worried that Henchard is up to something and tries to get him to accompany her to see the procession.
  • But he pushes his way to the front and thrusts out his hand to shake hands with the guest of honor.
  • This could be seen as an insult to the royal guest, so Farfrae leaps forward and shoves Henchard aside.
  • Of course, this makes Henchard totally furious.
  • He backs down for the moment because they're in public, but he plans to get his revenge.
  • Meanwhile, some of the townspeople who know about Lucetta's letters are planning to set up the skimmity-ride for later that night.
  • A lot of them think it's not a good idea – Farfrae is a good man, and Lucetta has been proper enough since coming to Casterbridge. If she has secrets from her past, it's none of their business.
  • But Joshua Jopp pushes them into it because he's angry at both Lucetta and Henchard and wants revenge.

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