Nathan and Ruku awaken at the temple to find their money has been stolen. They leave in search of their son Murugan's home, but get lost in the city. A street urchin named Puli helps them find the place, but when they finally arrive they discover that Murugan has not been there for two years. The owner of the house is a kind woman doctor, Dr. Birla, and she feeds Nathan and Ruku and offers them a place to stay for the night before sending them off to the Collector's house, where she believes Murugan has gone (Chapter 25).
Nathan and Ruku find the Collector's house, but Murugan is not there either. He has left behind a wife and a child, however. The wife cleans the house to support herself and her children, and she is understandably bitter that Murugan left her, for "the usual (things)...women and gambling". Unable to help her, Nathan and Ruku return to the temple (Chapter 26).
Finding themselves with nowhere to go, Nathan and Ruku decide to go back home, but they do not have any money for the journey. Ruku sets herself up as a reader and writer of letters, but earns only two annas a day, all of which must be spent on food to sustain them. Puli returns and suggests they seek work at the stone quarry, where they will get better wages. The work is dangerous and back-breaking, but it does offer more money. Nathan and Ruku calculate that by working there, they will be able to save enough to return home in forty days (Chapter 27).
Nathan and Ruku have almost accumulated enough money to return home when Nathan becomes ill with fever. It is monsoon season, and everyday it rains heavily, but Nathan, determined, continues to work. One day, he collapses, and is left by the side of the road in the mud. Some kind men carry him to back to the temple, and Ruku follows them in tears (Chapter 28).
Ruku sits with Nathan's head in her lap while his body suffers with fever. At midnight, the fever breaks, but Nathan, calm now, knows death is near. In a tender but heartbreaking scene, Ruku rests with him awhile, until, quietly and gently, Nathan dies (Chapter 29).
Alone now, Ruku convinces Puli to come home with her. They return to her son Selvam, who promises that somehow, they shall manage to survive together. Ruku tells Salvan that she and Nathan have adopted Puli, and that, in time, she will tell him about Nathan's "gentle passing" (Chapter 30).