Study Guide

The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 45

By Thomas Hardy

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Chapter 45

  • About a month after the wedding, Elizabeth-Jane starts thinking about her stepfather.
  • She feels bad for him – she knows he must be penniless and possibly homeless.
  • Farfrae immediately agrees to help find him.
  • They drive around, asking if anyone has seen him.
  • They search and search, and eventually they find Abel Whittle, the old employee who now works for Farfrae.
  • Whittle is just going into a cottage.
  • Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane call to him and ask what he's doing so far from Casterbridge.
  • He explains that he found Henchard on the road – cold, wet, and sick – and took him to an empty cottage to take care of him.
  • Whittle explains that Henchard was kind to his mother when she was poor and sick, and so it only seemed right.
  • Henchard died just 30 minutes before Elizabeth-Jane and Farfrae arrived.
  • They go in and see that Henchard has written a will. He doesn't want to be buried in the churchyard, he doesn't want a funeral, or flowers on his grave, and he doesn't want anyone to remember him.

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