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It is a dull Sunday afternoon on the thirteenth of February. Lunch is over, and Bathsheba calls Liddy over to while away the afternoon. Liddy, in her usual lively way, suggests to Bathsheba the idea of discovering her husband by means of the Bible and a key; Bathsheba agrees to play the game. She opens the Bible at the Book of Ruth, puts the key on the page, and thinks of someone. Liddy wonders if it could be Boldwood and then starts talking about how he had completely failed to take notice of her presence during church service earlier that day. Liddy urges Bathsheba to send a Valentine's Day card to Farmer Boldwood. Bathsheba, quite unsure of the wisdom of the action, follows Liddy's advice. She directs the card to Boldwood with the seal "Marry me" imprinted on it, but does not sign her name.
In this chapter, Bathsheba again acts foolishly, an action that this time hints of serious consequences. She had been foolish earlier to spurn Gabriel in the manner that she did, but she did not have to suffer seriously for having made a joke of his love for her. Now Bathsheba may have to pay for her vanity and her childishness. She is upset that Boldwood has not paid her attention at the Corn Exchange or at church and is determined to force the issue with him. Even though she knows it is not wise, she sends him a Valentine card, sealed with the words "Marry me." She is trifling with the feelings of others. Since she has reached the climax of her success, the reader senses that everything will not continue on a smooth path for this vain woman; surely fate will soon turn against her.