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Chapters 23 and 24

Chapter 23

The visitor is Donald Farfrae who has come to see Elizabeth-Jane, ready to begin a courtship with her now that Henchard is willing. Finding her not present, he awaits her return while Lucetta entertains him with light conversation and flirtation. They discuss her loneliness, her wealth, and her origins. He reveals some of his financial successes and reflects back on Scotland, and Lucetta finds him thoroughly intriguing. While they talk, they overhear a romantic conversation in the marketplace, causing their subject of discourse to switch to matters of love. Farfrae is then reminded of a previous appointment and leaves, but not before alluding to Lucetta's strong influence on him and his business.
After he is gone, Lucetta grows fond of the idea of a romantic involvement with Farfrae. Henchard's failure to pay her a visit encourages her thoughts towards the other man. When Henchard finally comes to see her, she turns him away, citing a headache. When Elizabeth-Jane returns, Lucetta earnestly asks her to stay for a long time, in line with her growing resentment for Henchard. Farfrae currently preoccupies Lucetta's whirlwind emotions.

Chapter 24

Elizabeth-Jane is glad to hear that she is again in Lucetta's favor, though she is aware that they both now have affections for Farfrae. One morning, Lucetta dons on new dress that arrives from London, and whimsically heads outdoors to catch a glimpse of Farfrae in her new outfit. The town is buzzing about a new seed machine, with various tubes and rivets. The two ladies come across Henchard, and Elizabeth-Jane makes the introductions, unaware of their past acquaintance. Elizabeth-Jane thinks she espies an intimate moment between the two, but she ignores it. Meanwhile, Farfrae enters, humming a song, which attracts both female admirers. Lucetta immediately jumps at the opportunity to converse with Farfrae, all but leaving Elizabeth-Jane out of the dialogue.
Lucetta inquires further about Elizabeth-Jane's relationship with Henchard, but she is reminded painfully of her past. She attempts to brighten her spirits by seeking further encounters with Farfrae. Elizabeth-Jane is aware of these hopeful sightings, although she only speaks demurely about the subject, never revealing her own feelings for the man. One day, Lucetta confides her past relationship with Henchard to Elizabeth-Jane, although disguising the tale as the occurrences of a "friend." She then reveals that this friend is expecting a proposal from the first man who has wronged her but that she has fallen for another man! She hopes that Elizabeth-Jane will concur that her actions have been correct, but Elizabeth-Jane cannot advise her on the situation. Lucetta sighs, but she is relieved to have spoken of the subject to someone. Their conversation continues about Lucetta's slowly fading appearance, and it is obvious from their interaction that although Elizabeth-Jane is younger, she is wiser. Later that night, Elizabeth-Jane is saddened that Lucetta does not reveal all the details of the story, but she has at least figured that the "she" in the story must be Lucetta.

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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