Believing the auction to be legally binding, Susan lives as Newson's wife for 18 years. After Newson is lost at sea Susan, lacking any means of support, decides to seek out Henchard again, taking her daughter with her. Susan has told Elizabeth-Jane little about Henchard, and the young woman knows only that he is a relative by marriage. Susan discovers that Henchard has become a very successful hay and grain merchant and Mayor of Casterbridge, known for his staunch sobriety. He has avoided explaining how he lost his wife, allowing people to assume he is a widower.
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