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Almost a year elapses. Oak is officially appointed as bailiff of Bathsheba's farm. The mistress of the farm maintains a certain aloofness and shows little interest in the farm's management. Boldwood too has led the life of a recluse. He also seeks the help of Gabriel to manage his affairs. Bathsheba agrees to this help with great reluctance.
The improvement in Gabriel's fortunes leads to gossip that he has changed; the villagers falsely accuse him of putting on airs. They also complain that he is too frugal in spite of his improved financial means.
Boldwood again hopes to win Bathsheba. From Liddy he elicits the information that her mistress would wait for another six years (seven years after Troy's disappearance) so that no legal hurdle will present itself to her remarrying.
Boldwood's obsession with Bathsheba has almost become a form of madness. Hardy hints that he must control it or else it will destroy him eventually. Gabriel, on the other hand, exercises patience, restraint, and tolerance. He continues to be devoted to Bathsheba, but calmly lives with the pain of her rejection. He, however, has become bailiff of the farm, and fate seems to be smiling on him, hinting of good things to come.