Summary and Analysis Chapter 42



About a year passes. Farfrae, not knowing of Jopp's malevolence, puts aside any plans to punish the perpetrators of the skimmity-ride. Henchard now owns a small seed shop purchased for him by the town council. Together he and Elizabeth-Jane begin to make a respectable living for themselves. However, even though Henchard has come to disregard the eventuality of Newson's return, he now fears that Donald Farfrae will wish to marry Elizabeth-Jane, thus robbing him of the only creature close to him. He has seen many newly bought books in Elizabeth-Jane's modest room and wonders how she has been able to buy them.

Farfrae, in time, has come to believe that Lucetta's secret would have come out sooner or later, and if she had lived their chances for happiness would probably not have been so great.

Donald and Elizabeth-Jane begin to meet, accidentally at first. Donald continues to give her presents of books, and soon their old love grows anew. Henchard spies on them, burning with a kind of possessive jealousy. His suspicions are justified when he sees Donald kissing Elizabeth-Jane, and for a fleeting moment he considers telling Donald of his stepdaughter's illegitimate birth. But he cannot quite bring himself to do it and exclaims: "Why should I still be subject to these visitations of the devil . . . ?"


Farfrae is now depicted by Hardy as a rather prim and somewhat unforgiving man. Though he has shown forgiveness to Henchard and an understanding of humanity in the past, his rueful thoughts about Lucetta seem to give him almost a puritanical air. This tends to give more weight to Henchard's thought that Farfrae might drop Elizabeth-Jane if he knew of her birth, however.


Juno's bird peacock.

Argus eyes mythological figure with one hundred eyes. When Argus was killed the eyes were placed on the tail of Juno's sacred peacock.

solicitus timor a worrisome fear (Latin).

locus standi accepted or recognized standing (Latin).