The Mayor of Casterbridge
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Bobbie Heil
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 thoughts about Farfrae when she hears Elizabeth-Jane approaching, hoping to join her in her walk. Lucetta is slightly irked by the invasion of her privacy, but she is quickly distracted at the sight of a large old bull rambling towards them. The ladies look on at first, secure in their safety, but soon they realize the bull means to charge at them. They take off towards a barn and attempt to climb out of the animal’s way but they are soon trapped with no means of escape.

Suddenly, Henchard comes to their rescue, battling the bull and calming a hysterical Lucetta. She is breathless at his heroism, and Henchard reveals that he was coming to find Lucetta to speak with her. As the three make their way back towards town, Elizabeth-Jane returns to retrieve Lucetta’s muff while the two continue on. She sees Farfrae rolling down the path, explaining Lucetta’s presence, and he is thoroughly concerned for Lucetta’s welfare after hearing of the incident. When he arrives home, Farfrae asks his housekeeper if his move, planned for that evening, is prepared.

Henchard and Lucetta are meanwhile on their walk alone, and he asks Lucetta to help him out of his present circumstances. If Lucetta explains to Henchard’s creditor, Mr. Grower, that they are to be married that night, Henchard will receive an extension on his loan for one night, which he desperately needs in order to accumulate the money. However, Lucetta shockingly reveals that she cannot agree to the deception because Mr. Grower was a witness at her own wedding - to Farfrae! They had wed in Port Bredy just a few days ago! Lucetta is tearful in her explanation about her true love for Farfrae and not wanting to hurt Henchard, but Henchard is painfully bitter. She offers to assist him with the loan, but he demands that she leave his sight immediately. She leaves him and runs back to her house.

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