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As "the first comer", Zenobia welcomes the travelers to Blithedale Farm, having "something appropriate...to say to every individual". She tells Mr. Coverdale that she is a fan of his poetry, and has even committed some of it to heart. Zenobia is undeniably a "remarkably beautiful" woman. The narrator notes that she exudes a sense of sexuality which, "though pure...(is) hardly felt to be quite decorous".
When someone asks how tasks will be assigned on the farm, Zenobia responds that the women will at first take on the domestic duties of the house, but that in time, depending on "individual adaptations", some men may work in the kitchen instead, and some women in the fields. Silas Foster, who works the fields, comes in and comments on the gloomy weather, and his pessimism causes the visitors to doubt for a moment the wisdom of their undertaking. Their courage prevails, however, and Coverdale expresses the joy they take in their purpose, to show "mankind the example of a life governed by other than the false and cruel principles, on which human society has all along been based". Foster, ever the voice of foreboding, comments that "unless the women-folks will undertake to do all the weeding", the farm will never be able to compete with the Boston producers. Coverdale thinks it is "rather odd, that one of the first questions raised, after their separation from the greedy...self-seeking world, should relate to the possiblilty of getting the advantage" over others.
There is one more member of the group still to arrive - Mr. Hollingsworth, a philanthropist (Chapter 3).
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