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Boldwood's men arrive at the place where the judge is holding Boldwood's trial. They discuss a number of gifts for Bathsheba, which have been found in Boldwood's house. They include fine cloth, jewels, and furs. All of them have been wrapped neatly and labeled "Bathsheba Boldwood," bearing a date six years in the future. Oak, returning from Casterbridge, reports that Boldwood is under sentence of death. However, a merciful pardon is announced at the last moment, and Boldwood is to be kept in prison "during her Majesty's pleasure."
The gifts kept by Boldwood reveal his obsession for Bathsheba, to the point of insanity, the same insanity that causes him to murder Troy. But Boldwood's insanity also saves him. It is the only factor that is justified for a merciful reconsideration of the inevitable death sentence. Hardy has prepared the reader for such a sentence; it would have been unnatural and unjust if Boldwood had been executed. Throughout the novel, Hardy has carefully developed reasons for Boldwood's madness so as to make this decision reasonable.