The Mayor of Casterbridge
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Bobbie Heil
Chapter Summaries
Timeline
Chapter Summaries Table
Chapter Summary
Chapter 1

It is the early 19th-century on a late summer evening. A man, his wife, and their child approach the village of Weydon-Priors after a long journey....

Chapter 2

Henchard is awoken the next morning with a confused picture of yesterday’s occurrences. The sight of his wife’s wedding ring and the possession...

Chapter 3

Almost two decades pass, and one day, upon the same road leading to Weydon Priors, there walk two persons, one assumed to be Susan Henchard and the...

Chapter 4

Through the years, Susan tries to tell her daughter the truth but always reneges for fear of disrupting Elizabeth-Jane’s innocence. Her history t...

Chapter 5

They walk to the town’s largest hotel, the King’s Arms, and through the window, they see a dinner banquet with the mayor of Casterbridge, Mr. H...

Chapter 6

Outside the tavern, a stranger appears: a young pleasant-looking man with a Scottish accent carrying a bag containing several articles. On hearing ...

Chapter 7

Elizabeth-Jane and her mother discover that the inn, though moderate, is still too pricey for their budget. However, Elizabeth-Jane pacifies the di...

Chapter 8

Susan appears happy to hear of Henchard’s vow, while Elizabeth-Jane makes her way downstairs, like Farfrae, being drawn by the lively activity an...

Chapter 9

Elizabeth-Jane awakens the next day to hear Henchard calling up to Farfrae, inquiring about his journey out of Casterbridge. They decide to walk to...

Chapter 10

While Elizabeth-Jane waits to be acknowledged outside Henchard’s office, Joshua Jopp, the corn manager who Henchard has originally been expecting...

Chapter 11

The Ring of Casterbridge, the meeting site, is used as a common point for appointments of many varieties, but rarely to reunite happy lovers, owing...

Chapter 12

Henchard arrives home to find Farfrae working late and invites him inside to have dinner. The two men find each other’s company comforting, even ...

Chapter 13

Henchard sets up Susan and Elizabeth-Jane, using the last name Newson, in a small nearby cottage. Soon afterwards, he makes the first of many visit...

Chapter 14

Susan and Elizabeth-Jane move in with Henchard, and he makes efforts to ensure the comfort of their move. The stability of the new marriage does we...

Chapter 15

No one in Casterbridge notices Elizabeth-Jane’s attractiveness at first, but soon, her looks are known throughout town. Elizabeth-Jane marvels at...

Chapter 16

There is little change in the business aspect between the two men, but their friendship has suffered, since Henchard is now only courteous to Farfa...

Chapter 17

Elizabeth-Jane senses that she has irritated Henchard because she danced with Farfrae. She is sad that she is not fitting for the role of mayor’s...

Chapter 18

Susan Henchard is ill, but after the finest doctors are brought in, she recovers. Michael Henchard awakes one morning to find a letter from his wom...

Chapter 19

Three weeks after the funeral, Henchard reveals to Elizabeth-Jane that he is her real father, causing her to cry but reluctantly, she accepts her n...

Chapter 20

Henchard’s agitation upon learning the truth causes him to lash out at Elizabeth-Jane, chiding her for her use of the vernacular, for her unladyl...

Chapter 21

The town is already aware that a new resident will be taking up in High-Place Hall, a stone house very close to the center of town and overlooking ...

Chapter 22

While Elizabeth-Jane is pondering her job offer, Henchard has been preoccupied as well. A letter arrives from Lucetta (the woman from Jersey) to He...

Chapter 23

The visitor is Donald Farfrae who has come to see Elizabeth-Jane, ready to begin a courtship with her now that Henchard is willing. Finding her not...

Chapter 24

Elizabeth-Jane is glad to hear that she is again in Lucetta’s favor, though she is aware that they both now have affections for Farfrae. One morn...

Chapter 25

Farfrae begins to call on Lucetta, and although Elizabeth-Jane is also present during his visits, she feels almost invisible. Elizabeth-Jane is pai...

Chapter 26

One day, Henchard and Farfrae meet unexpectedly on a walk, and in their awkwardness, they attempt to pass each other without speaking. However, Hen...

Chapter 27

The harvest is impending, and since the prices have been low, Farfrae purchases a good deal. As if blessed by Farfrae’s golden touch, his rewards...

Chapter 28

The next morning, Henchard attends to his duties as Justice of the Peace. The one case over which he presides involves an old woman charged with di...

Chapter 29

Lucetta’s walk curiously takes her along the same path on which she has just recently returned from Port Bredy. She is consumed with romantic tho...

Chapter 30

The move Farfrae had referred to is to Lucetta’s house. Lucetta had arrived before Farfrae from Port Bredy in order to break the news and prepare...

Chapter 31

By now, there is no one who does not know of Henchard’s past mistake with his first wife, and the town livens at the scandal. Henchard appears to...

Chapter 32

One night, Henchard makes his way to a bridge, renowned for attracting the down-and-out personalities who want to revel in their misery privately. ...

Chapter 33

Every Sunday in Casterbridge, many visit the Three Mariners Inn after church to partake in a half-pint of liquor over a lively conversation around ...

Chapter 34

The next morning, Elizabeth-Jane wakes early and heads over to speak with Farfrae, not wanting to disturb Lucetta. She alludes to Henchard’s moti...

Chapter 35

During that same night, Lucetta is upstairs resting when she hears the doorbell. The visitor comes to talk to her husband, but she is shocked soon ...

Chapter 36

When Lucetta arrives home, she finds Jopp waiting for her at the door. Since Jopp knows Lucetta from Jersey where Jopp used to work, he hopes that ...

Chapter 37

One day, there is an announcement that a royal personage will be passing through town, and the town is giddy in preparation for the brief arrival. ...

Chapter 38

Lucetta is reveling in her position as the mayor’s wife, having shook the hand of the royal personally and hearing the buzz that her husband migh...

Chapter 39

Farfrae’s detour on his journey is caused because an unsigned note arrives telling him to head immediately to Weatherbury instead of his original...

Chapter 40

That evening, Henchard spies the figures and knows their intention. At Lucetta’s, he learns that a rider has been dispatched to get Farfrae, but ...

Chapter 41

Henchard returns home sadly, and soon Elizabeth-Jane arrives to see him. Tired from her long night, she immediately falls asleep. While she is rest...

Chapter 42

Yet, the thought of Newson still haunts Henchard even though he does not return. Farfrae, meanwhile, grieves over his wife, but he does not seek re...

Chapter 43

The town does not entirely approve of the mayor’s courtship with Elizabeth-Jane, deeming her too inferior for his position, but several believe t...

Chapter 44

Meanwhile, Henchard continues on her journey away from town. He rests, with the burdens of his souls allowing him to sleep deeply. He appears to be...

Chapter 45

A month has passed since the wedding and Elizabeth-Jane and Farfrae are happily wed. Newson, with his thirst for the sea, leaves several days after...

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