Far From the Madding Crowd

Far From the Madding Crowd

The second of Bathsheba’s suitors, Mr. Boldwood is a respectable, handsome, but serious forty-ish farmer, who is in charge of Lower Farm, not far from Bathsheba’s farm in Waterbury. He has never married and, despite the gossip of the villagers, has never really been in love. He was, though, responsible for Fanny Robbin for a time, undertaking responsibility for her schooling and then her place at Bathsheba’s uncle’s farm. Boldwood’s crucial turning point in the novel is the valentine that Bathsheba sends off to him, provoking a years-long adoration and obsession—one that slowly disintegrates into madness. The valentine opens Boldwood’s eyes to the world of women, and disrupts his decades-long habit of stability and solemnity. As the book goes on, Boldwood’s love for Bathsheba takes on disturbing features, as he tries to extract promises from Bathsheba even when it causes her distress. Boldwood’s increasingly serious mental disturbance, though, is paired with a sincere love for Bathsheba, one that finally gives her freedom even at the expense of his own.

Mr. Boldwood Quotes in Far From the Madding Crowd

The Far From the Madding Crowd quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Boldwood or refer to Mr. Boldwood. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Far From the Madding Crowd published in 2003.
Chapter 16 Quotes

Boldwood’s blindness to the difference between approving of what circumstance suggests, and originating what it does not, was well matched by Bathsheba’s insensibility to the possible great issues of little beginnings.

Related Characters: Bathsheba Everdene, Mr. Boldwood
Related Symbols: The Valentine
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 19 Quotes

In every point of view ranging from politic to solicitous it was desirable that she, a lonely girl, should marry, and marry this earnest, well to do, and respected man. He was close to her doors: his standing was sufficient: his qualities were even supererogatory. Had she felt, which she did not, any wish whatever for the married state in the abstract, she could not reasonably have rejected him as a woman who frequently appealed to her understanding for deliverance from her whims.

Related Characters: Bathsheba Everdene, Mr. Boldwood
Page Number: 113-114
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 30 Quotes

“You are taking too much upon yourself!” she said vehemently. “Everybody is upon me—everybody. It is unmanly to attack a woman so! I have nobody in the world to fight my battles for me, but no mercy is shown. Yet if a thousand of you sneer and say things against me, I will not be put down!”

Related Characters: Bathsheba Everdene (speaker), Mr. Boldwood
Page Number: 179-180
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 37 Quotes

All the night he had been feeling that the neglect he was labouring to repair was abnormal and isolated—the only instance of the kind within the circuit of the county. Yet at this very time, within the same parish, a greater waste had been going on, uncomplained of and disregarded. A few months earlier Boldwood’s forgetting his husbandry would have been as preposterous an idea as a sailor forgetting he was in a ship.

Related Characters: Gabriel Oak, Mr. Boldwood
Page Number: 224
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 50 Quotes

“I don’t know—at least I cannot tell you. It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in a language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.”

Related Characters: Bathsheba Everdene (speaker), Mr. Boldwood
Page Number: 308
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Mr. Boldwood Character Timeline in Far From the Madding Crowd

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Boldwood appears in Far From the Madding Crowd. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
...maid, opens the door to a deep voice. She goes upstairs to say that Mr. Boldwood wants to see her, but Bathsheba is not dressed well enough. She orders Mrs. Coggan... (full context)
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Bathsheba asks who Mr. Boldwood is. Liddy says he’s a 40-year-old, unmarried gentleman farmer. He had put Fanny through school,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Class Status and Mobility Theme Icon
...out that the soldier was higher than a private. Bathsheba says someone should tell Mr. Boldwood. As she rises, she makes a short speech saying that though she’s a woman, she’ll... (full context)
Chapter 12
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
Class Status and Mobility Theme Icon
...the one good-looking man who didn’t seem interested in her. Liddy exclaims that it’s Farmer Boldwood, who rides past them, his eyes fixed forward. Bathsheba says he’s interesting, and Liddy agrees... (full context)
Chapter 13
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
...refuses to tell Liddy whom she imagined as a suitor. Liddy’s thoughts turn to Mr. Boldwood, and says his pew is just opposite Bathsheba at church—but he never once turned to... (full context)
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
...the envelope. Laughing, Liddy said it would be such fun to send it to old Boldwood. Bathsheba pauses, thinking that though it’s silly, she’s a little disconcerted that the most dignified... (full context)
Chapter 14
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On Valentine’s Day Boldwood sits down to read his mail, and immediately sees the seal. Suddenly his quiet existence... (full context)
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Suddenly, Boldwood decides to see if anything more might be in the envelope. He jumps up, but... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Boldwood enters the malthouse, and gives Gabriel a letter. He reads it: it’s from Fanny, who... (full context)
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Gabriel shows the letter to Boldwood, who is dismayed. Boldwood says Troy is clever, the son of a medical man who... (full context)
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
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...need Gabriel. He jumps up, marks the infant sheep with “B.E.”, then leaves with Cain. Boldwood leaves with him, and as they approach the field he draws Bathsheba’s letter, and asks... (full context)
Chapter 16
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On Saturday in the market, Boldwood really looks at Bathsheba for the first time. He’s long considered women as remote phenomena... (full context)
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Pride and Penance Theme Icon
Watching Bathsheba negotiate with a farmer, Boldwood suddenly becomes hotly jealous. Bathsheba realizes Boldwood is finally staring at her, and feels triumphant,... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Boldwood owns Lower Farm, as close to aristocracy as possible here in Weatherbury, and the one... (full context)
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Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
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Boldwood comes to the stable door and looks towards Bathsheba’s farm, seeing her, Gabriel, and Cainy... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Finally Boldwood does call on Bathsheba, but she isn’t at home—he’s forgotten that she is mistress of... (full context)
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
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Boldwood comes up and says hello to Bathsheba, who finds him severe and serious, and tries... (full context)
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Bathsheba stammers that she never should have sent the valentine, as it was thoughtless. Boldwood exclaims that it was not thoughtlessness, but rather the beginnings of her feelings for him.... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Bathsheba muses that Boldwood is so kind to offer her everything she could want. Many women in her situation,... (full context)
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Pride and Penance Theme Icon
Class Status and Mobility Theme Icon
...speak with Gabriel alone. She asks him if people remarked on her private discussion with Boldwood yesterday: he says they did, but didn’t think it odd—they imagined the two would be... (full context)
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Gabriel adds that Bathsheba is to blame for playing pranks on a man like Boldwood. She cries that she won’t allow any man to criticize her private conduct, and she... (full context)
Chapter 21
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
But Gabriel’s contentment is interrupted by the appearance of Farmer Boldwood, who crosses towards Bathsheba. They speak in low tones, inaudible to Gabriel, though he imagines... (full context)
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
Bathsheba leaves Boldwood and then reappears 15 minutes later in a new riding habit: she and Boldwood ride... (full context)
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
...remarks that he once gave her advice, and she couldn’t care less. He even thinks Boldwood probably kissed her at the sheep-washing the other day. Gabriel says that’s false, but Fray... (full context)
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...he realizes he was mistaken in lecturing her: he had thought she was trifling with Boldwood, but really she was trifling with him. (full context)
Chapter 22
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Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
The night of the shearing supper, Bathsheba sits by the table, flushed and eyes sparkling. Boldwood appears at the gate and Bathsheba asks him to take Gabriel’s spot: Gabriel moves readily.... (full context)
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Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Gabriel notices that Boldwood has gone. His thoughts are interrupted by Bathsheba asking for his flute, since she’s been... (full context)
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
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Bathsheba says, trembling, that she will try to love Boldwood, and will marry him if she can believe that she’ll be a good wife. But... (full context)
Chapter 23
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
...sometimes, mastered, the narrator says. She can’t decide whether or not he insulted her. But Boldwood, all the same, had never told her she was beautiful. (full context)
Chapter 28
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
...love and it pains him. He decides to speak to Bathsheba, using her treatment of Boldwood as excuse. He finds her one day walking through the corn fields. He awkwardly brings... (full context)
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Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
Class Status and Mobility Theme Icon
Bathsheba insists that she must clear up any mistake. She didn’t promise Boldwood anything: she respects but has never loved him, and as soon as he returns from... (full context)
Chapter 29
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
...of Gabriel. She sits then jumps back up, writing a final letter of refusal to Boldwood. To calm her uneasiness, she decides to take it to one of the servant women... (full context)
Chapter 30
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To avoid Boldwood upon his return, Bathsheba decides to visit Liddy at her sister’s, as the girl has... (full context)
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Boldwood regrets how her jest has now turned to earnestness, and he bemoans how much torture... (full context)
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Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
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...colder than he thinks, a result of an unprotected childhood in a cold world: resentfully, Boldwood says that’s no reason—she does have the ability to love, and he knows where it’s... (full context)
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
...that Troy is about to return to Weatherbury, and fears a quarrel between him and Boldwood. She paces up and down and then sits down on some rocks to think, the... (full context)
Chapter 31
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...Weatherbury Hill. Gabriel decides to pursue it, but Coggan says their horses will be too loud—Boldwood’s would be better. (full context)
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Gabriel runs down to Boldwood’s and returns with two horses. He and Coggan ride to the hill, but the gypsies... (full context)
Chapter 33
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
...and Liddy’s voices from a carriage. Gabriel feels great relief. He lingers there until seeing Boldwood pass by, and then goes to bed. Meanwhile, Boldwood continues on to Bathsheba’s farm. He’s... (full context)
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
...Liddy to see Miss Everdene, but, in an odd mood, she says the lady cannot. Boldwood decides he must still not be forgiven. He’s still wandering through Weatherbury, when he catches... (full context)
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Boldwood follows and addresses Troy, saying he wants to speak to him about a woman Troy... (full context)
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Boldwood says that if Troy hadn’t shown up, he’d almost certainly be engaged to Miss Everdene... (full context)
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...he must leave to meet Bathsheba, who’s expecting him, and wish her good-bye according to Boldwood’s proposal. He may hide and listen to them, Troy says, as he steps forward. She... (full context)
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Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
When Bathsheba runs off, Troy mockingly asks Boldwood, whose face is nervous and clammy, if he should tell her he’s given her up.... (full context)
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
...house. Troy opens the door, and then slides a newspaper through the slot back to Boldwood, telling him to read. It is an announcement of Troy’s marriage to Bathsheba. Gleefully, Troy... (full context)
Chapter 34
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
...it’s better for him to be outwardly friendly to their new master. They nod at Boldwood, who is passing by, his face colorless: Gabriel notices his despair, which matches his own. (full context)
Chapter 37
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
Soon Gabriel too returns home. He passes Boldwood, and they each comment on the other’s haggard appearance. Gabriel says he’s been working on... (full context)
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Finally Boldwood does admit that he’s been out of sorts lately. Gabriel says he did think Bathsheba... (full context)
Chapter 40
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
...to her: at times she wonders what life would have been like with him, or Boldwood, but she’s not often subject to such musings. Then she sees Boldwood approach Gabriel across... (full context)
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
...asks what color her hair was; he can’t remember. He repeats everything he heard from Boldwood and Gabriel, and says he imagines she might have died simply from exposure. Bathsheba intently... (full context)
Chapter 41
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
The village has learned the rumor of Fanny Robbin’s death, but thanks to Gabriel’s and Boldwood’s discretion, no one knows her young man was Troy. Gabriel hopes it will stay silent... (full context)
Chapter 42
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
...hours. She can imagine a connection between herself and Fanny’s possible tragedy, which Gabriel and Boldwood could not suspect, since they didn’t know she met Fanny on the road the Saturday... (full context)
Chapter 47
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
...ask another for help finding Mrs. Troy: her husband has drowned. Bathsheba gasps, then faints. Boldwood, who’s been watching, caches her. As they hear that a coast guard found Troy’s clothes,... (full context)
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
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Boldwood gathers his senses, still thinking of the feeling of Bathsheba in his arms. He offers... (full context)
Chapter 48
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Boldwood lives secluded: it’s whispered that forgetfulness has nothing to do with the strange neglect that... (full context)
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Boldwood, meanwhile, has begun to nourish a renewed hope regarding Bathsheba, who has now been persuaded... (full context)
Chapter 49
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
...Fair takes place, the annual sheep fair that draws crowds from far away. Bathsheba’s and Boldwood’s flocks require a great deal of attention to make it there, though Weatherbury isn’t as... (full context)
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
...is curious to see Turpin, the grandest show in the fair. As she waits outside, Boldwood comes up to her and asks her nervously about her sheep. They begin to talk... (full context)
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
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...a cut in the tent cloth so as to peer in from above: she’s with Boldwood, and Troy feels another unexpected jolt of attraction. But he again thinks of her pride... (full context)
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Bathsheba thanks Boldwood for her cup of tea, and she insists on paying for it herself. Suddenly Pennyways... (full context)
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Boldwood offers to destroy the note, but Bathsheba says carelessly that it would be unjust not... (full context)
Chapter 50
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Since Poorgrass is now suffering from his ‘multiplying eye,’ and Gabriel is busy, Bathsheba accepts Boldwood’s offer to ride aside her as she drives home herself. She’d rather have Gabriel’s company,... (full context)
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
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Suddenly, Boldwood asks if Bathsheba will marry again some day. She says she hasn’t thought of it,... (full context)
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Boldwood asks if Bathsheba likes or respects him. She says it’s difficult to define her feelings... (full context)
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Almost afraid, she says she’ll never marry another while Boldwood wishes her to be his wife. But she hesitates to promise to marry him in... (full context)
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
One day Bathsheba is working with Gabriel and mentions Boldwood: Gabriel says he’ll never forget her. Suddenly Bathsheba shares with Gabriel her anxiety about her... (full context)
Chapter 51
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
On Christmas eve, Boldwood is to give a great party. This is quite unusual for him, and the village... (full context)
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Boldwood is also dressing with his tailor, more fastidiously than ever. Finally the tailor leaves and... (full context)
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
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Boldwood asks Gabriel to tie his neckerchief, then feverishly asks if a woman keeps her implied... (full context)
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Pennyways also hasn’t been able to learn whether there’s anything really between Bathsheba and Boldwood. She’s not fond of him, though, he thinks. Troy says she’s a handsome woman, and... (full context)
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
...looks, and Liddy flatters her: Bathsheba worries that people will think she’s trying to snare Boldwood. She sighs that her feelings swing from wretched to buoyant, and she wishes she could... (full context)
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Boldwood tells Gabriel that his share in the farm is much too small: he wants to... (full context)
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Boldwood goes into his closet and opens a small circular case inside, gazing at the diamond... (full context)
Chapter 52
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Outside Boldwood’s house, a few men are whispering about Troy being seen in Casterbridge that afternoon. One,... (full context)
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Boldwood can be seen walking down the path, and the men stand still: they can hear... (full context)
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...into the windowpane: Troy’s face peers in, listening to Gabriel and the maltster talking about Boldwood’s party and his love of Bathsheba. The men withdraw back to the house, and decide... (full context)
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...an hour, she decides she can leave, and she goes into the parlor. But then Boldwood enters, saying he’s been meaning to speak to her: she knows perhaps why. Does she... (full context)
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Boldwood, in turn, begs her to promise marriage after six years: he deserves it, for loving... (full context)
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Boldwood now gazes into the fire, when at once he notices a few concerned whispers from... (full context)
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Boldwood doesn’t recognize Troy, and invites him in cheerily. Troy takes off his cap and looks... (full context)
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At first Bathsheba doesn’t move; when Troy repeats his order, Boldwood tells her to go with her husband. Still she doesn’t move: she is frozen in... (full context)
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Boldwood, meanwhile, is trying to turn the gun on himself. Samway sees this, darts up to... (full context)
Chapter 53
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Boldwood turns towards Casterbridge and descends into the town. He stops in front of the entrance... (full context)
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Gabriel is one of the first to hear, and rushes to Boldwood’s house, where all the women are huddled against the walls like sheep in a storm.... (full context)
Chapter 54
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All knew that Boldwood was in strange moods that fall, but few other than Bathsheba and Troy suspected his... (full context)
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All at Weatherbury, though, feel that Boldwood isn’t morally responsible for his acts—introducing as their own proof his neglect of the cornstacks... (full context)
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...leaves, and many wait for him on the Casterbridge road. Finally he returns, and announces Boldwood is not to die: confinement will be his punishment. (full context)
Chapter 55
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...stammers that he’s thought of California, and that he has reasons to decline to manage Boldwood’s farm. (full context)