The Mayor of Casterbridge

The Mayor of Casterbridge

The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Henchard’s stunned reaction to Elizabeth-Jane’s new address is explained by the events of the previous evening. Henchard had then received a letter from Lucetta. In this letter, Lucetta wrote that she had heard of Susan’s death and felt in these circumstances that she must reach out to Henchard in the hope that he would keep his previous promise to her. Henchard had already learned that a lady of the last name Templeman, which he knew was the name of Lucetta’s remaining relative, had purchased High-Place Hall.
Henchard realizes upon hearing that Elizabeth-Jane is moving to High-Place Hall that her move must have been the intentional plan of the woman living there. Lucetta’s note to Henchard expresses her hope of reconciliation and Henchard connects this to High-Place Hall because a woman named Templeman, Lucetta’s relative, is moving in there.
Themes
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When Henchard visited High-Place Hall the previous evening, he inquired after Miss La Sueur (the last name by which he had known Lucetta) and heard that only Miss Templeman had arrived. Henchard wondered if Lucetta had come into some money through her relations with the Templeman relative she had spoken of. The next day, soon after Elizabeth-Jane’s departure, Henchard receives another note from Lucetta explaining that she is, in fact, the Miss Templeman in residence, having taking her rich deceased relative’s name, along with her inheritance. She refers to the “practical joke” of getting Elizabeth-Jane to live with her, and says she has moved to Casterbridge that Henchard might easily visit her.
Lucetta’s change of name, which she reveals to Henchard in a second note, reflects two things: first, it shows her desire to hide her past, which is linked to her real last name, and second, it shows the dramatic change of situation Lucetta has experienced because of the money she has received from her relative named Templeman. Lucetta’s perspective on Elizabeth-Jane’s move as a “practical joke” demonstrates that Henchard, and not her “friendship” with the younger woman, is her priority.
Themes
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
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Henchard’s excitement and hopes for Lucetta are greatly increased by her letters and he sets out that very night to visit High-Place Hall. However, upon calling, he is told that Lucetta is engaged that evening, but would be happy to see him the next day. Henchard exclaims at Lucetta giving herself such airs and resolves to likewise make her wait to see him.
Henchard is inspired by these letters, but angered by Lucetta acting as if she is now a great lady. Henchard’s reaction to such treatment is one of pride: he will not humble himself, but will wait for her to come to him.
Themes
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon
Earlier in the evening when Elizabeth-Jane arrived at High-Place Hall, she had joined Lucetta in the drawing room where the other woman endeavored to entertain her with some card tricks. Instead, the two women have a conversation in which Lucetta shares the story of her newly received fortune. She also tells Elizabeth-Jane about her true home in Jersey, although she arrived in Casterbridge from Bath. Lucetta could not have confessed these details to a safer person than Elizabeth-Jane who tells no one else.
Lucetta’s partial confession of her past and her previous identity, although this might have been a mistake with another listener, is safe with Elizabeth-Jane. In many ways, Elizabeth-Jane, although younger, is more mature than Lucetta in her discretion, her emotional support, and her ability to focus on others rather than draw attention to herself.
Themes
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
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The next day, Lucetta dresses for Henchard’s visit and waits for him all day. She does not tell Elizabeth-Jane for whom they are waiting. That day is market day, and the two women watch the action below in the square. Elizabeth-Jane observes Farfrae and then her father as the pair encounters each other, and Henchard clearly refuses to speak to the younger man. Lucetta asks Elizabeth-Jane if she is particularly interested in any of the men she sees below, but she says no, despite her blush.
Lucetta prepares for Henchard’s visit, which shows she is interested in catching his attention. The market day scene provides a venue for Lucetta and Elizabeth-Jane to observe life in Casterbridge. Elizabeth-Jane does not admit her affection for Farfrae to Lucetta because she is unwilling to admit it even to herself.
Themes
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
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Lucetta is disappointed that Henchard did not visit, despite having spent the day so nearby in the square. She supposes he was busy and that he will come on Sunday or Monday, but he does not. Lucetta no longer loves Henchard, as she once did, but she wishes to secure her position. On Tuesday, the Candlemas Fair calls the merchants back into the market square. Lucetta wonders aloud to Elizabeth-Jane if her father will visit her today because he will be coming for the fair. Elizabeth-Jane says he will not come because of his grudge against her.
Lucetta’s focus on Henchard is explained as practical rather than emotional. She is more interested in preventing gossip about her past than in marrying for love, which shows the pernicious nature of gossip and the effects it could have at this time period, as well as Lucetta’s desire to be successful in the eyes of society. Elizabeth-Jane believes Henchard is staying away because of her.
Themes
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
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Lucetta starts to cry as she realizes that she has prevented Henchard from visiting by inviting Elizabeth-Jane to live with her. Lucetta says she likes Elizabeth-Jane’s company very much, and the younger woman feels the same way. Lucetta devises an errand to send Elizabeth-Jane away from the house that morning, so that Henchard may visit. Elizabeth-Jane senses that Lucetta wants to get rid of her that morning, but does not understand why.
Lucetta feels she has prevented the very thing she wanted through her own scheming, so she plans to get Elizabeth-Jane temporarily out of the way. She does not realize that Henchard is in fact staying away as a response to Lucetta’s airs and waiting for her to reach out to him. Lucetta blames Elizabeth-Jane for a situation outside of Elizabeth-Jane's control.
Themes
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The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
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As soon as Elizabeth-Jane has departed, Lucetta writes to Henchard explaining that she has sent Elizabeth-Jane away that morning so that he may visit. Finally hearing a man being shown into the house, Lucetta hides behind the curtains in the drawing room, suddenly timid. When she throws back the curtain, she discovers that the man who has been shown in is not Henchard.
Lucetta reaches out to Henchard once Elizabeth-Jane is gone. Lucetta is always direct and forward with Henchard when she is attempting to secure her position. Lucetta is left alone with the different visitor who arrives because she has sent Elizabeth-Jane away.
Themes
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon