Study Guide

The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 43

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Chapter 43

  • The rest of the town soon realizes that Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane are likely to get married.
  • Henchard wonders what will happen if they do.
  • Should he live with them in their house and try to make himself as inconspicuous as possible? Tiptoe around the house and try to repress his jealousy of Farfrae for the sake of staying close to Elizabeth-Jane?
  • The engagement hasn't been officially announced, and Henchard still hasn't decided what to do.
  • Then one day he sees Newson on the road outside of town where Elizabeth-Jane often walks.
  • Henchard is terrified.
  • Newson doesn't see him, though, and Elizabeth-Jane doesn't happen to walk that way.
  • That night, Henchard tells Elizabeth-Jane that he has decided to leave Casterbridge.
  • She's very sad to hear it and is afraid that it's because he doesn't approve of her marrying Farfrae.
  • He says he's fine with her marrying if she wants to, but that things might get awkward if he stays.
  • She's sorry he won't be there for the wedding.
  • He says he must go and asks her not to forget him.
  • Elizabeth-Jane still thinks it's because of Farfrae, but it's really because Newson is back, and Henchard can't stand the idea of her learning the truth and hating him for it.
  • He leaves quietly and in secret.
  • Elizabeth-Jane walks with him to the edge of town, still hoping he'll change his mind.
  • After she says goodbye to Henchard, she meets Farfrae on her way back into town.
  • He says he has a friend waiting to see her.
  • It's Richard Newson! He's been in town for a while, and has been hanging out at Farfrae's house.
  • He's the one who's been sending money to Elizabeth-Jane to buy the books, but she didn't realize who it was.
  • It's now obvious to Elizabeth-Jane why Henchard left.
  • Newson explains that he's her real father, and Henchard isn't there to defend himself by explaining that he honestly believed Elizabeth-Jane was his real daughter until he read Susan's note.
  • Elizabeth-Jane is understandably angry at Henchard, especially when she hears how he told Newson she was dead.
  • Newson, surprisingly, isn't all that angry about that.
  • Newson is excited about the wedding between Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane.
  • He's gotten to know Farfrae pretty well over the past couple of weeks, and he thinks he'll make a good husband for his daughter.

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