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Chapters 25 and 26

Chapter 25

Farfrae begins to call on Lucetta, and although Elizabeth-Jane is also present during his visits, she feels almost invisible. Elizabeth-Jane is pained to see their relationship unfolding, but as always, she hides her feelings, only to seek privately a way of escape from the awkwardness. Soon she discerns that Farfrae must be the second man in Lucetta's story.
Meanwhile, Henchard, having been rebuffed by Lucetta, slowly discovers that he longs for her companionship and attempts to court her as well. During his visit, he mentions his past promise to wed her, and he scoffs at her new appearance as a rich and noble woman since he has known her from her Jersey days, before the money and respect. Lucetta is insulted at his demeanor and tells him that for the time being, she wishes only to be acquaintances. However, Henchard notices her glances out the window and is sick to learn that she has taken to Farfrae. His fury causes her desperately to cry out that she will love whom she pleases.
Elizabeth-Jane by now realizes that both her father and Farfrae are smitten with Lucetta, though she does not yet discern that Henchard is the first man in Lucetta's story. Though she is sad, she reluctantly accepts her fate, realizing how she pales in comparison to the fine Lucetta. She mournfully awaits Fate's next deliverance to her, expecting nothing since she is unused to receiving anything.

Chapter 26

One day, Henchard and Farfrae meet unexpectedly on a walk, and in their awkwardness, they attempt to pass each other without speaking. However, Henchard is preoccupied with a recent letter from Lucetta and asks Farfrae to recall the secret that he had confided to him when they first met. Farfrae advises that if Henchard has proposed to her and she refuses, then he not longer has any obligation to her. Still Henchard is blinded by his competitiveness with Farfrae and his emotions for Lucetta.
On a visit to Lucetta, Henchard tries to determine her feelings for Farfrae, to no great success. Before they can delve any further into the topic, the door knocks and in walks Farfrae, also seeking to pay Lucetta a visit. The four sit awkwardly, with both Farfrae and Henchard assuming Lucetta's attentions are solely directed at him.
The encounter antagonizes Henchard, and he immediately hires Joshua Jopp as his foreman, the man whom Farfrae had displaced when Henchard first hired him. Henchard reveals to him that his plan is to drive Farfrae out of business, and Jopp willingly agrees, holding his own dislike for the Scotsman for taking his job. Their scheme is to buy and sell their crops in accordance with the weather pattern, to ensure a profit when there is a scarce supply. If the weather is poor, they will hoard their quantities until the prices skyrocket.
Henchard's blind determination to snuff out Farfrae leads him to seek a hermit, believed to have powers of divination. That night Henchard pays a visit to Wide-oh, as he was rudely called by the townspeople, and learns from him that the season's weather will be full of rain and storms. Henchard quickly leaves the lonely man, thanking him for the information, and returns to town. The next day, he and Jopp purchase an exorbitant supply of grain, causing the town to wonder about the sudden large transaction. Yet sadly, the weather turns out excellent and grain is in plentiful supply. Henchard loses heavily on his bet for bad weather. When he comes across Farfrae one day, he tries to downplay his losses, but he cannot deny his bankruptcy.
The gloomy Henchard has a long meeting with the Casterbridge Bank, and he is infuriated after the proceedings when he sees Jopp. He fires his employee for not advising him towards a better course, and although Jopp tries to explain his actions, Henchard will hear no more and storms away. Jopp is left standing, unemployed and outraged at Henchard.

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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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