The Mayor of Casterbridge By Thomas Hardy Summary and Analysis Chapter 22 - Lucetta Waits for Henchard's Call

Summary

Henchard had gone to High-Place Hall the same evening as Elizabeth-Jane because he had received a letter from Lucetta informing him of her new residence. However, Henchard learns that a Miss Templeman is the only resident, not a Miss Le Sueur (the name by which Henchard had known Lucetta in Jersey). Henchard receives another note from Lucetta informing him that she has taken the name of Templeman — from a recently deceased aunt — in order to keep her real identity secret. Henchard also learns that Lucetta has received a large inheritance from the aunt, and he immediately feels that now would be a proper time to pursue his marriage plans. He is amused that Lucetta has invited Elizabeth-Jane to be her companion since this will give him a reason to visit High-Place Hall. Henchard immediately goes to see Lucetta, but is told she is engaged. This annoys him, and he decides to punish her by delaying his next visit.

A few days pass and Henchard has not yet visited Lucetta. Elizabeth-Jane and Lucetta have become quite friendly, though Elizabeth-Jane now surmises that she is the less flighty of the two. Lucetta discloses her Jersey background even though she had resolved not to do so. Lucetta feels that Henchard will not come since he does not want to see Elizabeth-Jane. She therefore sends Elizabeth-Jane on some errands, writes a note to Henchard inviting him to come immediately, and awaits his arrival. A visitor is finally shown into her drawing room, but to Lucetta's surprise the man is not Henchard.

Analysis

Some interesting developments occur in this chapter. Hardy shows that the clever deception which Henchard had practiced in order to marry Susan is being repeated in variation by Lucetta. Furthermore, the reader begins to doubt Henchard's ability to hold any affectionate ties since the question of love does not enter much into his consideration of marriage to Lucetta. He seems to be thinking of it primarily as a commercial alliance although his sentiments "gathered around Lucetta before they had grown dry."

Lucetta's room overlooking the market has already become an important vantage point and a center of interest.

Glossary

mon ami étourderie mon ami, my friend; étourderie, lack of concern — thoughtless action; thoughtlessness (French).

carrefour crossroads, open square (French).

gibbous rounded, seemingly hunch-backed.

Titian famous Venetian artist (1477-1576).

netting making netting, the groundwork for delicate embroidery.

cyma-recta an architectural term: a curved profile partly concave and partly convex, the convex part nearest the wall (often referring to a curved molding).

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