Jiffynotes index page

\\ home \ Mayor of Casterbridge, The:
Chapter 45

A month has passed since the wedding and Elizabeth-Jane and Farfrae are happily wed. Newson, with his thirst for the sea, leaves several days after the wedding for a town closer to sea. Meanwhile, the mystery of who brought the goldfinch to the party, which dies unfortunately from neglect, is solved when a servant relays that the gentleman who visited Elizabeth-Jane that night was its owner. Elizabeth-Jane suddenly believes that the gift was a symbol of Henchard's repentance and she feels awful to have turned him away. She begs her husband to allow her to go find Henchard so that she can make peace with him. Farfrae, who never hated Henchard as passionately as Henchard hated him, is very willing to help in the search. The search is not an easy task, but soon one of Farfrae's men relays that Henchard has been seen near the Melchester highway. The next morning, Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane ride in that direction, hoping to find Henchard and make amends. They near the location, only to learn that Henchard has been spotted towards Egdon Heath, but there too, they are unable to find him. They finally resolve to head back to Casterbridge, when Elizabeth-Jane spies Abel Whittle, one of the town locals. From him, they hear of Henchard's whereabouts. Henchard had been used to providing for Whittle's old mother, sending her coal and anything else she might need. Whittle, taking kindly to Henchard therefore, noticed him looking sad on the evening of Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane's wedding, and so he follows him. Henchard does not want to be followed, but Whittle continues on and cares for Henchard in his last days. But still Henchard weakens and today, when Elizabeth-Jane and Farfrae finally find him, they learn that he has recently died. Henchard's last wishes are pinned to the bed, and Whittle shows the paper to them. It is Henchard's will, with seven dying wishes: that Elizabeth-Jane remain ignorant of his death, that he not be buried in sacred ground, that no bells be tolled for him, that nobody sees his dead body, that there is no funeral procession for mourners, that no flowers be planted on his grave, and that no one remember him at all. Elizabeth-Jane tearfully accepts the news, and painfully agrees to abide by it. Elizabeth-Jane regrets not having searched for Henchard earlier, and she struggles with the memories of her life's experiences. She notes that of life's lessons, she learns primarily that the world is a sad place, where even her own present success is not enough to counter all her sorrows and make her an optimist. In life, happiness is rare and only occurs fleetingly between the general episodes of pain.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapters 1 and 2
Chapters 3 and 4
Chapters 5 and 6
Chapters 7 and 8
Chapters 9 and 10
Chapters 11, 12, and 13
Chapters 14 and 15
Chapter 16
Chapters 17 and 18
Chapters 19 and 20
Chapters 21 and 22
Chapters 23 and 24
Chapters 25 and 26
Chapter 27
Chapters 28 and 29
Chapters 30 and 31
Chapters 32 and 33
Chapter 34
Chapters 35 and 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapters 40 and 41
Chapters 42 and 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45


Copyright © 1999 - Jiffynotes.com. All Rights Reserved.
To cite information from this page, please cite the date when you
looked at our site and the author as Jiffynotes.com.
Privacy Statement