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Early the next morning, when Gabriel and Coggan walk towards Bathsheba' house, they see Troy leaning out of an upper window and looking at ease. Coggan remarks that Bathsheba must have married Troy. He then observes that Gabriel's face has become very pale. In truth, Gabriel is absolutely distressed by Bathsheba's marriage and wonders why, against all good sense, she had chosen to marry him -- and secretly. He feels that she has perhaps been trapped into the marriage, for Bathsheba has never done anything in a secretive manner.
Troy cheerfully greets the two men. When Gabriel does not answer, Coggan reminds him that Troy is now the master of the farm. Gabriel understands that he has to adjust to the new situation. Coggan then suggests that perhaps Bathsheba is not at home, and they have not been married, after all. Oak feels that such a thought is far too unreal. Troy dispels this possibility when he tells about his plans for modernization of the mansion. He then surprises them with a casual question regarding Boldwood's family, asking Coggan if there has ever been insanity amongst the Boldwoods. Coggan replies that it has been rumored, but he could not be certain.
Troy, in a demeaning manner, throws the men a coin, tells them to buy a drink, and asks them to toast his health. Gabriel is very angry at Troy's condescension and refuses to take the money. Coggan warns Gabriel that he must not allow personal feelings to gain control over him. Gabriel replies that he would prefer to leave the farm rather than flatter Troy.
As Gabriel and Coggan walk on, they see Boldwood on his horse. They move back to let him pass. Gabriel wonders about Troy's question regarding Boldwood; he then forgets his own grief over Bathsheba on seeing Boldwood. This man's misery over Bathsheba is obvious; there is pain written in his body and on his face.
There is a face-to-face meeting between two rivals once again. In the previous chapter, it was the Troy-Boldwood meeting; now it is the Troy-Oak meeting. In both incidents, Troy is the cheerful winner. However, Oak is calm and controlled in contrast to Boldwood's foolish outburst. The characters are contrasted in other ways as well. Troy's comments regarding the modernization of the mansion show where his values are; he cares about appearances and material things, with no concern for nature or the earth. Gabriel, on the other hand, accepts the traditional farm-life with love and respect.
It is important to note other techniques used in the chapter. The reference to insanity in Boldwood's family foreshadows what is to happen to Boldwood later on in the novel. There is also dramatic irony surrounded the three men who love Bathsheba. Troy, who is the one that Bathsheba currently loves, is confronted by the other two; Gabriel and Boldwood. Just as he seems to have won Bathsheba, Troy seems to win over both of them. Finally, Troy's arrogance is clearly portrayed. He toys with Boldwood's feeling, just as Bathsheba has done. He cruelly leads Boldwood to Bathsheba's house and lets him read in the newspaper about their marriage. He proudly leans out the second story window of her house so everyone can see him. He vainly flips a coin to Troy and Coggan and tells the men to have a drink on him. He is feeling very smug now that he has won Bathsheba as his wife and her farm as his fortune. Oak, however, is also a proud man and tosses the coin back to Troy, much as the soldier had tossed Boldwood's money back to him.