Farfrae calls upon Lucetta, and while Lucetta insists that Elizabeth-Jane join them, Elizabeth-Jane is fully aware that she is excluded even while in the room. She thinks that Farfrae seems a different man from the one who danced with her. She, observing him, realizes that he must be the second man in Lucetta’s story.
Elizabeth-Jane has been established as an intuitive and observant character, further evidenced by her observation of Farfrae’s dramatic change, and her discernment of the truth of Lucetta’s story.
Henchard, meanwhile, has found his affections for Lucetta increasing due to her inaccessibility and her growing beauty. Having realized that ignoring her is not working to increase her interest, Henchard calls on Lucetta while Elizabeth-Jane is not at home. Henchard tells her that she has his full consent to their being married, as they had planned before Susan’s return. Lucetta replies that it is still early for any such plans. He says he is happy to see her come into so much wealth, and comments upon the fineness of her furniture, which she had brought from Bath.
Henchard is more interested in Lucetta now that she is uninterested in him. As he attempted to keep near Elizabeth-Jane once he realized he would actually lose her, he again seems only to see the value of others when he is losing them. Lucetta’s evasion of Henchard’s plan for their marriage shows her changed heart. Henchard is clearly interested in Lucetta’s wealth, as well as her beauty.
Henchard says his proposal of their marriage will silence the gossip in Lucetta’s home town of Jersey, and Lucetta angrily replies that she did nothing wrong in Jersey, despite the talk of her connection with Henchard. She says that they should let things be for the present, and act as acquaintances.
Lucetta would once have stopped at nothing to silence gossip about herself, whether or not she was in the wrong, but now that she has met Farfrae, she attempts to defend her actions in Jersey.
A wagon of Farfrae’s, accompanied by the man himself, passes by the window, and if Henchard had been looking at Lucetta’s face at that moment, he would have seen the love shining there. Henchard, however, does not see this and points out that Lucetta came to Casterbridge for his sake and now will not give him the time of day.
Henchard isn’t able to understand why Lucetta no longer seems interested. That he would have understood the expression on her face had he only seen it shows that he is not clueless about affairs of the heart.
After Henchard leaves, Lucetta passionately exclaims that she will not be a slave to the past by binding herself to Henchard, but instead that she will love Farfrae.
A key sentence in the novel, Lucetta’s decision has a dramatic impact on multiple characters. Henchard, meanwhile, has been a slave to the past, with equally terrible consequences.
Elizabeth-Jane observes both Farfrae and Henchard’s love for Lucetta and her own invisibleness in comparison. She feels that such a situation is reasonable in Farfrae’s case, for who is she, she believes, next to Lucetta? But she feels some pain over being neglected by her own father. Elizabeth-Jane’s life has taught her to be good at renouncing her own emotions and interests. Life has given her things she did not want and kept away those things she did.
Elizabeth-Jane's situation is painful because both her father (she thinks) and her love interest clearly prefer her companion to herself. Neither man attempts to still be kind or attentive to Elizabeth-Jane. Henchard is guided by his selfish interest in only his own feelings. Elizabeth-Jane, however, is used to the feeling of isolation.