The Mayor of Casterbridge
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Bobbie Heil
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 present, he awaits her return while Lucetta entertains him with light conversation and flirtation. They discuss her loneliness, her wealth, and her origins. He reveals some of his financial successes and reflects back on Scotland, and Lucetta finds him thoroughly intriguing. While they talk, they overhear a romantic conversation in the marketplace, causing their subject of discourse to switch to matters of love. Farfrae is then reminded of a previous appointment and leaves, but not before alluding to Lucetta’s strong influence on him and his business.

After he is gone, Lucetta grows fond of the idea of a romantic involvement with Farfrae. Henchard’s failure to pay her a visit encourages her thoughts towards the other man. When Henchard finally comes to see her, she turns him away, citing a headache. When Elizabeth-Jane returns, Lucetta earnestly asks her to stay for a long time, in line with her growing resentment for Henchard. Farfrae currently preoccupies Lucetta’s whirlwind emotions.

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