Just as Susan and Elizabeth-Jane arrive in town, a Scotsman, Donald Farfrae, is passing through on his way to America. He has experience as a grain and corn merchant, and is on the cutting edge of agricultural science. He befriends Henchard and helps him out of a bad financial situation by giving him some timely advice. Henchard persuades him to stay and offers him a job as his corn , rudely dismissing a man named Jopp to whom he had already offered the job. Hiring Farfrae is a stroke of business genius for Henchard, who, although hardworking, is not well-educated.
A young Scotsman named Donald Farfrae enters Casterbridge on the same day as do Susan and Elizabeth-Jane. Henchard takes an instant liking to the total stranger and convinces Farfrae to stay on in Casterbridge as his right-hand man. Henchard even confides to Farfrae the two greatest secrets of his life: the sale of his wife and the affair he has had with a Jersey woman, Lucetta, whose reputation has been destroyed by the affair. Henchard is perplexed about how to make amends to both women.
James Purefoy as Donald Farfrae - The Mayor of Casterbridge
When Lucetta marries Donald Farfrae, Jopp (who knew her in Jersey) asks her, as an old acquaintance, to put in a good word for him with Farfrae so as to help him find work. Lucetta refuses for reasons that are not clear, but that could be read as reluctance to keep a potential blackmailer close by or a high-and-mighty refusal to help anybody. Henchard by this time is using Jopp to run errands, and charges him with the important task of returning Lucetta’s love letters, which Jopp decides to publicly read first. He is instrumental in putting together the , which is a public procession designed to mock and humiliate people, to publicise the affair between Henchard and Lucetta so as to hurt both. It is during the skimmington ride that the pregnant Lucetta suffers her first seizure and becomes fatally ill.