Study Guide

The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 39

By Thomas Hardy

Chapter 39

  • Farfrae goes home and finds that someone has sent a note asking him to visit the town of Weatherbury on business.
  • He'd been planning to go to Budmouth that evening, but the note makes the problem in Weatherbury seem more urgent, so he goes there instead.
  • The note was actually from some of Farfrae's employees. They'd heard that the skimmity-ride was planned for that night, and they wanted him to be gone so he wouldn't be humiliated.
  • They didn't worry about Lucetta, since they all believed that the scandal they'd heard was true.
  • That evening at about eight o'clock, there's a commotion outdoors.
  • Lucetta is sitting in her living room and doesn't think much of it.
  • Then she hears her servants describing what they see out the window.
  • It's a parade with two life-sized figures tied to a donkey.
  • One of them is dressed as Henchard and the other is dressed just as Lucetta was that day at the royal procession!
  • The whole town is out to see it.
  • Elizabeth-Jane suddenly arrives.
  • She's seen the parade and heard the gossip and has come to take care of Lucetta.
  • She tries to close the windows, but Lucetta won't let her.
  • Lucetta is almost hysterical.
  • She's afraid her husband will find out and stop loving her.
  • Lucetta faints and Elizabeth-Jane calls for the doctor.
  • The doctor comes and says things are serious.
  • Lucetta is pregnant, so the excitement and fainting fits are particularly bad for her.
  • Elizabeth-Jane sends one of Farfrae's servants to go after him and bring him back.
  • Unfortunately, Farfrae didn't tell anyone about his change of plan. The servants all think he went to Budmouth.
  • Only Henchard, who saw him leave, knows he'd actually gone toward Weatherbury.
  • The constable and police go around town trying to catch the organizers of the skimmity-ride, but no one owns up, and the constable just shrugs it off.

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