The Mayor of Casterbridge
Thomas Hardy
Contributed by Bobbie Heil
Chapter 7

Elizabeth-Jane and her mother discover that the inn, though moderate, is still too pricey for their budget. However, Elizabeth-Jane pacifies the dilemma by offering the landlady her services that evening in exchange for their lodging, an old but almost obsolete custom in Casterbridge. The landlady is agreeable nonetheless, asking her to carry dinner upstairs to the Scotch gentleman. When Elizabeth-Jane arrives at his door, he is occupied reading a paper, giving her a good opportunity to study his handsome features.

Returning to her own room, Elizabeth-Jane finds her attentive mother, eavesdropping on the conversation next door, between the Scotsman and Henchard. The mayor assumes him to be the new corn-factor manager, whom he is expecting, but the other man, Donald Farfrae, replies that he is not. Instead, Farfrae is on his way to America to partake in the growing wheat industry overseas. Henchard is highly disappointed but his primary concern is Farfrae’s revelation in the note that he can restore the grown wheat and salvage Henchard’s bad sales. Farfrae demonstrates the successful process that illuminates Henchard, who then tries to convince Farfrae to stay in Casterbridge as his manager. Farfrae is unconvinced but invites Henchard for a drink, it being the Three Mariners’ specialty. Henchard declines, citing his vow for his shameful actions as a youth, and takes his leave of Farfrae, while continuing to praise him.

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