The Mayor of Casterbridge
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Bobbie Heil
Chapter 42

Yet, the thought of Newson still haunts Henchard even though he does not return. Farfrae, meanwhile, grieves over his wife, but he does not seek revenge on the culprits lest he expose the past deeds of his wife further. Henchard accepts the seed money offered by the Town Council to start a small business again. He continues to try to rationalize his lie to Newson, saying that he could not love her as much as he does and that he has not seen her for years whereas her loss to Henchard would be devastating.

His attentions to Elizabeth-Jane reveal much about her. He makes cautious comments about her purchases, although he is a bit startled when he thinks she is spending too much, especially on books. The seed trade is over for the season, and he is worried about her purchases. Her reasons for having so many books is quickly explained, when Henchard spies Farfrae looking at Elizabeth-Jane. His suspicions are confirmed when he overhears them talking one day on one of her customary walks. Farfrae has been purchasing the books for Elizabeth-Jane and intentionally meeting her on her walks. Henchard is disappointed that Farfrae has his eyes on taking Elizabeth-Jane from him, but he does not stand in the way. He has a passing thought of revealing Elizabeth-Jane’s past to him, but he curses himself for thinking of such evil.

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