The Mayor of Casterbridge
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Bobbie Heil
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 pained to see their relationship unfolding, but as always, she hides her feelings, only to seek privately a way of escape from the awkwardness. Soon she discerns that Farfrae must be the second man in Lucetta’s story.

Meanwhile, Henchard, having been rebuffed by Lucetta, slowly discovers that he longs for her companionship and attempts to court her as well. During his visit, he mentions his past promise to wed her, and he scoffs at her new appearance as a rich and noble woman since he has known her from her Jersey days, before the money and respect. Lucetta is insulted at his demeanor and tells him that for the time being, she wishes only to be acquaintances. However, Henchard notices her glances out the window and is sick to learn that she has taken to Farfrae. His fury causes her desperately to cry out that she will love whom she pleases.

Elizabeth-Jane by now realizes that both her father and Farfrae are smitten with Lucetta, though she does not yet discern that Henchard is the first man in Lucetta’s story. Though she is sad, she reluctantly accepts her fate, realizing how she pales in comparison to the fine Lucetta. She mournfully awaits Fate’s next deliverance to her, expecting nothing since she is unused to receiving anything.

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