Summary and Analysis
Both Donald and Henchard call upon Lucetta. Lucetta insists that Elizabeth-Jane be present when Donald calls. During these visits Elizabeth-Jane sees only too plainly that Donald's old passion for her has disappeared and that he is now in love with Lucetta. At these times she remains in the room until she can conveniently excuse herself.
Michael, having grown more possessive of Lucetta now that she has become inaccessible, visits her and proposes marriage. Lucetta puts off the decision, and Michael half-realizes that he has been rejected. Though he may suspect a rival, he does not as yet know of Donald. Elizabeth-Jane accepts Donald's rejection of her since she considers Lucetta far more desirable. However, as the days pass she cannot really understand Henchard's complete unconcern for her welfare. After all, she has never to her knowledge caused him any grief. Out of long experience with "the wreck of each day's wishes," Elizabeth-Jane becomes reconciled to being rejected by the two men in her life who have come to symbolize her happiness.
Though much occurs in this chapter concerning Donald and Henchard, most of the events are seen as they affect Elizabeth-Jane and appear to her understanding. In this manner Hardy emphasizes his theme of blind fate when he talks of Elizabeth-Jane's stoicism: "She had learnt the lesson of renunciation."