The Mayor of Casterbridge
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Bobbie Heil
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 Henchard, saying that she is glad that Henchard does right by Susan and marries her but now asks him to do right and wed her as he promised, now that Susan is dead. Moreover, Henchard finally figures out that the new resident of High-Place Hall, a lady by the name of Templeman who he assumes to be a relation of Lucetta’s, is indeed Lucetta herself. Lucetta has assumed the last name of her rich dead aunt and informs Henchard of her big plan. She has hired Elizabeth-Jane to live with her to give Henchard a reason to come to visit her. This notion makes Henchard very happy.

Meanwhile, Lucetta and Elizabeth-Jane spend a delightful first evening together amidst conversation. Lucetta, feeling comfortable around Elizabeth-Jane, reveals much to her, including her origins in the unflattering Jersey even though she arrives in the guise of a lady from Bath. The next day, Lucetta and Elizabeth-Jane observe the bustling marketplace outside their new home, though Elizabeth-Jane is unaware that Lucetta is observing Henchard specifically. Elizabeth-Jane is also spying Farfrae, unbeknownst to Lucetta.

Lucetta gets acquainted with several townspeople from Elizabeth-Jane’s descriptions, but she hopes most of all for Henchard to pay her a visit. Elizabeth-Jane doubts its likelihood, and Lucetta starts crying at the thought that her ingenious plan is doomed. She quickly schemes to get Elizabeth-Jane out of the house by sending her on numerous errands and then informs Henchard that she will be alone for the entire morning. Truthfully, since Henchard has not visited her yet, her passion for him has dwindled in her wait. When a visitor comes that day, Lucetta is surprised that it is again not Henchard.

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