Study Guide

The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 8

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Chapter 8

  • Elizabeth-Jane and Susan stop eavesdropping through the wall and sit down to eat their supper.
  • Susan is glad to have overheard Henchard mention that he's given up drinking and that he's ashamed of something he did in the past. She assumes (rightly) that he's referring to the whole wife-auction incident.
  • Elizabeth-Jane carries down their dinner tray and sees that the young man, Farfrae, is in the main room of the inn with the townspeople who hang out there.
  • He's singing a Scottish song and chatting with people.
  • Everyone loves his singing and asks for more songs.
  • Most of the songs he sings are about loving his homeland.
  • Elizabeth-Jane thinks he has the most beautiful voice ever.
  • Later he passes Elizabeth-Jane in the stairwell and sings a few lines of a song about a pretty girl to her.
  • She blushes and runs back to her room.
  • Her mother is worried that Elizabeth-Jane shouldn't have helped out as a waitress. If they do introduce themselves to Henchard, it might embarrass him that his "distant relatives by marriage" helped at an inn.
  • But Elizabeth-Jane can't focus on her mother's worries – she keeps thinking about how well-educated and kind the Scottish young man seemed.
  • Henchard goes home wishing that he'd been able to persuade the young man to stay – partly because he does need a manager for his grain business, and partly because he's lonely and he liked the young man personally.

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