The Mayor of Casterbridge By Thomas Hardy Summary and Analysis Chapter 29 - Lucetta's Revelation

Summary

Lucetta is a mile out of town on the road to Port-Bredy waiting for Donald. Elizabeth-Jane comes to meet her when suddenly they are confronted by a ferocious bull. The enraged animal pursues them into a barn where they are forced to flee from his maddened charging. Henchard arrives, subdues the bull, and rescues them. He takes the hysterical Lucetta home.

Elizabeth-Jane, who had returned to the barn to retrieve Lucetta's muff, encounters Donald Farfrae in his carriage. She explains the events. Donald appears very upset by the news, but decides that he had better not seek out Lucetta for fear of intruding upon the two. He drops Elizabeth-Jane off and returns to his house, where his things are being packed for a move.

Henchard, meanwhile, has accompanied Lucetta to town. He informs her that he is willing to release her from an immediate marriage. She states that she would like to repay him with a large amount of cash in the same manner as he had been of financial assistance to her in the past. He refuses to take money, but asks her instead to say they will soon be married to a Mr. Grower, one of his heaviest creditors. Grower will then not press Henchard for immediate cash. He will then have sufficient time to raise the money. Lucetta cannot do this. She explains that when she learned that Henchard had sold his first wife, she feared to put her safety in his hands. She tells him that she and Donald Farfrae were married this week in Port-Bredy, and that Mr. Grower had been a witness to it.

Henchard is infuriated since he feels that she has broken her word. Lucetta tells him that her promise had been made under compulsion and before she had heard how he sold his first wife. She begs him not to tell Donald of the past. Henchard rages at her and once again threatens to tell the world of their past intimacy.

Analysis

The chance appearance of the furmity woman has resulted in Lucetta's marriage to Farfrae. We are aware of Henchard's hold over Lucetta, and we are sure that he will take advantage of it in his rage. This chapter reveals Hardy's minute, but architectural structuring of the novel. All things fall into place, though the reader may feel somewhat pressed by the chance occurrence of so many events. Though the furmity woman may have come to Casterbridge by chance, it must be remembered that if Henchard had not committed an enormity years ago, the chance arrival of the furmity woman would not have mattered in the least. Thus we see that a man is never free of his past; he can set his own fate in motion and afterward have not the slightest control over it.

Glossary

Yahoo in Gulliver's Travels, by Swift. An animal that looks like man, but behaves like a dumb, vicious beast.

the Thames Tunnel completed in 1843. Hardy might be referring to toys that represented the tunnel. He might also be referring to the stereoscope, a viewing device that represented pictures in seemingly three-dimensional perspective.

Gurth's collar a swineherd in Scott's Ivanhoe who wore a brass ring around his neck, which could only be filed through to free him of the collar.

a pensioner of Farfrae's wife to be put on relief by Farfrae's wife, or to be financially dependent on Farfrae's wife.

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After Michael sells his wife, he pledges never to drink alcohol for how long?




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