Summary and Analysis Chapter 8



Elizabeth-Jane goes to remove Farfrae's supper tray, leaving Susan in their room, her face "strangely bright since Henchard's avowal of shame." Farfrae joins the patrons on the ground floor of the Three Mariners and before long is charming them with a plaintive Scotch ballad. Elizabeth-Jane, having cleared away Farfrae's dinner dishes, as well as her own, watches Donald from an inconspicuous spot. Farfrae is engaged in conversation by the townspeople, and because of his own trusting and higher nature refuses to accept the townspeople's belittling of Casterbridge. By popular acclaim he is required to sing some more songs, after which he takes his leave to retire.

Elizabeth-Jane, who has just turned down Farfrae's bedding upon the request of the landlady, passes him on the stairs. She is embarrassed and does not look at him. Farfrae, however is drawn to her and sings a ditty apparently intended for her.

Before retiring, Elizabeth-Jane tells her mother about Farfrae. It is obvious that the similar, serious nature of their characters appeals to her and that she is attracted to him. When Susan speaks of Henchard as "he," Elizabeth-Jane assumes that "he" is Farfrae.

Outside the inn Henchard paces back and forth, disturbed because Farfrae has rejected his offer. He hears Farfrae's singing and says to himself: "To be sure, to be sure, how that fellow does draw me, . . . I suppose 'tis because I'm so lonely. I'd have given him a third share in the business to have stayed!"


Farfrae shows himself to be an appealing and charming young man. The townspeople take to him immediately since he is a man of creative ability as well as charm, and such men are not to be found in Casterbridge. Also, the scene between Elizabeth-Jane and Farfrae, though still strangers, serves the purpose of showing them drawing ever closer. Henchard's remarks, on the other hand, display his interest in Farfrae and foreshadow his reliance upon him in personal and business matters.

The scene in the inn is again a distinctively Hardyan touch of Wessex local color. The charm of the rustics comes through in their dialect and poetic speech-rhythms, but there is an undertone of sourness and ill humor in these characters also.


danged damned (used as an expletive).

lammigers lame people.

wheel ventilator a fan which revolves by the action of the wind.

Gallows Hill a reference to the English Civil War incident in the seventeenth century which resulted in the sentencing to death of about 300 people.

ballet ballad.

bruckle not trustworthy.

Botany Bay penal colony in Australia.

chiney china, dishes.

chine a ridge or strip of wood; refers to such a strip on the bottom of a cask, on which the workman turns the cask, thus moving it without tipping it over.

gaberlunzie wandering beggar.