On this Saturday Bathsheba was passing slowly on foot through the crowd of rural business-men gathered as usual in front of the market-house, who were as usual gazed upon by the burghers with feelings that those healthy lives were dearly paid for by exclusion from possible aldermanship, when a man, who had apparently been following her, said some words to another on her left hand.
There are no more uses of "alderman" in the book.
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aldermen usually represent city wards
Mary Whitney said she [Mrs. Parkinson] ought to have been the Alderman herself, as she was the better man.