The Mayor of Casterbridge
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Bobbie Heil
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 to hear her own words being read aloud in Henchard’s voice. Thinking she has been revealed, she is surprised that her husband greets the scandal with continued calmness. She hears Henchard leave and seeing Farfrae smile at her, she is extremely relieved that her secret is still safe, but she is still frozen in anxiety and confused as to Henchard’s future motives. Henchard does not destroy the letters; only he takes them with him as he leaves.

Lucetta writes to Henchard, asking why he schemes to reveal her and pleading that he swear to harbor the secret forever. She arranges to meet him that night to speak with him in person about his intentions. When they meet, Henchard is uneasy to see the shaky state in which he finds Lucetta, knowing that he is the primary cause. He soon accepts that Lucetta is a small prize in his war with Farfrae and he gives way, agreeing to return her letters and apologizing for his actions. He cautions, however, that even if he does not inform Farfrae, Lucetta’s husband will somehow learn the truth. They part ways, with Henchard promising to keep his word.

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