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Chapters 11, 12, and 13

Chapter 11

The Ring of Casterbridge, the meeting site, is used as a common point for appointments of many varieties, but rarely to reunite happy lovers, owing to its morbid history as the location of the town gallows. Henchard's first words upon seeing Susan are about his vow, and the two embrace each other and apologize for their pasts. He tells her about his plan: that she and Elizabeth-Jane should take up residence in Casterbridge, that he should meet them and woo Susan, and then that they should be reunited in a lawful marriage. Though Susan has some objections, she consents to the plan, and they take leave of each other.

Chapter 12

Henchard arrives home to find Farfrae working late and invites him inside to have dinner. The two men find each other's company comforting, even though they have different characters and possess a large age difference. Henchard reveals that even though they have not known each other long, he has no one else to confide in. Farfrae is agreeable to hear Henchard's woes. After Henchard relays the whole tale, Farfrae tells him that he should make amends with Susan. But Henchard continues with the story, describing a woman in Jersey with whom he also has relations. This other woman is well educated and falls in love with Henchard on one of his visits there when he takes ill and she nurses him back to health. In their time together, they are intimate, causing a scandal in Jersey that shames her, causing Henchard to agree to marry her. Farfrae concurs with Henchard that his first duties are to Susan, so Henchard decides to break the news to the other woman gently. Farfrae also counsels Henchard to tell his daughter the truth, saying that she will forgive him for his past, but Henchard refuses, preferring the alternate course of re-marrying Susan and taking Elizabeth-Jane as his stepdaughter to amend their history. Henchard thanks Farfrae for his attentive ears and quickly writes a letter telling the other woman the unfortunate change in plans.

Chapter 13

Henchard sets up Susan and Elizabeth-Jane, using the last name Newson, in a small nearby cottage. Soon afterwards, he makes the first of many visits to their home, and quickly rumors of their courtship spread throughout the small town. Their wedding day arrives, even as the town buzzes about how low a bride Susan is in comparison to the dignified mayor. The locals continue their attacks on Susan's humble status, with the subject at hand slowly drifting to personal reminisces. Conversation continues until the newlyweds pass by, dispersing the gossipers.

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


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