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Bathsheba returns home excited, but a bit sad. Troy has told her that he must go from Weatherbury to visit friends in Bath. Knowing how strong her feelings are about Troy, Bathsheba feels that she must write to Boldwood, firmly refusing his offer of marriage. Without even waiting for Boldwood's return from a short trip, she decides to send the letter off to him.
As Bathsheba walks to the kitchen to find someone to deliver her note, she hears her maids discussing the possibility of her marrying Troy. She goes into the kitchen and tells them that she is not interested in the sergeant. At the same time, she defends him against their collective criticism. She even warns them that anyone speaking against Troy will be dismissed. Leaving the letter, Bathsheba hurries back to the parlor, overcome with emotions. Liddy follows her mistress to apologize for everyone.
Bathsheba surprises Liddy when she admits to being in love with Troy. She attempts to force the maid into speaking well of Troy's reputation, but Liddy is not willing to do so. Her refusal angers Bathsheba, and Liddy is confused at her mistress's change of temper. In the end, Liddy, to satisfy her mistress, promises to think well of Troy and keeps the content of their conversation a secret. Liddy, however, is so upset by the exchange that she tells Bathsheba about her wish to leave her service.
Bathsheba calms and consoles Liddy, telling her that she is more of a companion than a servant to her. She says that if Liddy were to go away, she would be left without a friend. Liddy agrees to stay, and the two of them feel happy that they have made up their quarrel. Liddy again advises Bathsheba to keep her strong and overwhelming emotions for Troy under control.
Troy's bad reputation is well known to the rustics. He has no friends among the villagers. The only people who seem to care for him are Fanny and Bathsheba, women at opposite ends of a social scale. Bathsheba's maids can understand Troy's magic effect over her, but are worried about her infatuation for such a deceitful man. Despite her love for Troy and her letter to Boldwood ending his hopes of marrying her, she is very sad because she realizes that Oak and her servants are right in their assessment of Troy. Bathsheba, however, is unwilling to think badly of him.