Study Guide

The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

  • Even the King of Prussia seems kind of pricey, so Elizabeth-Jane offers to help out as a waitress to cover part of their dinner and lodging.
  • The landlady is a kind woman and agrees, even though Elizabeth-Jane's offer is unusual and old-fashioned.
  • Elizabeth-Jane is asked to carry dinner up to the young man they saw sending a note to Henchard.
  • The young man is from Scotland. He doesn't notice Elizabeth-Jane when she comes into his room with his dinner tray.
  • She checks him out and likes what she sees.
  • After a while, Elizabeth-Jane returns to the room she's sharing with her mother, right next door to the young man's.
  • They can hear through the wall. There's a second person there, and Susan recognizes the voice. It's Michael Henchard!
  • The scene moves next door, where Henchard is talking to the young man.
  • The man introduces himself as Donald Farfrae.
  • Henchard thinks Farfrae is there in response to an advertisement for a job. He is looking to hire a manager for his business.
  • Henchard's background is in hay harvesting, but his business is in both hay and grain. He needs a manager to help out, especially with the grain side of things.
  • Farfrae says he's actually just passing through town on his way to America and isn't looking for a job. He overheard the townspeople complaining about bad grain, and he knows of a way to fix it so that it's useable.
  • He offers to show Henchard his method for free.
  • Henchard is delighted – he'll be able to get all the townspeople to stop their complaining!
  • He's especially grateful that Farfrae – a total stranger – was willing to help him out.
  • Farfrae just shrugs and says that he's glad to help.
  • He invites Henchard to stay and have a glass of beer with him, but Henchard says no – he's sworn an oath not to drink alcohol to make up for something he did in the past that he is ashamed of.
  • Henchard repeatedly offers the job to him, but Farfrae keeps refusing, saying that he wants to see more of the world.

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