What are the inhabitants of the graveyard discussing at the end of chapter 1 in The Graveyard Book?

The inhabitants of the graveyard discuss the matter of the recently orphaned baby at the end of chapter 1 of The Graveyard Book. After a long and vigorous discussion, they decide to give the baby the Freedom of the Graveyard.

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In the opening chapter of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, a baby is orphaned after his family is brutally murdered by an intruder. Mercifully, the infant is able to escape the house before he suffers the same fate as his family.

Amazingly, the boy is able to make his way to the top of the hill, where he arrives at the graveyard. The ghosts who inhabit this creepy-looking place are completely bemused by the appearance of the child; they simply don't know what to do with him.

So they hold a lengthy debate in the amphitheater. One of the assembled ghosts, Josiah Worthington, argues that the child should be returned to its natural mother. In contrast, Mr. Owens says that his wife considers it her duty to keep the baby.

As for Mrs. Owens herself, she argues that she made a promise to the ghost of the boy's mother that she would take care of the child. She goes on to suggest that the baby be given the Freedom of the Graveyard. What this means is that the boy will be able to see ghosts and perform certain ghostly functions like haunting, but without actually being a ghost himself.

The debate rages on all night, until the Lady on the Grey, a ghost of a beautiful lady on horseback, intervenes and says that the dead should have charity. The matter is settled; the baby—who will in due course be known as Bod—is to be given the Freedom of the Graveyard.

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