What happens to Shep in Green Grow the Lilacs?

In Green Grow the Lilacs, Shep senses a stranger approaching the house and begins barking fiercely. But once he realizes it's Curly, he suddenly stops. As Ado Annie says with a nervous giggle, Old Shep's stopped barking as if he'd been shot.

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Curly McClain got into a fight with the wicked Jeeter Fry. The jealous Jeeter had just tried to kill Curly and his new bride, Laurie, by burning down the barn into which they'd been forced by the local townsfolk as part of an age-old custom.

In the ensuing kerfuffle, Jeeter fell on his knife and died. At the end of the scene, Curly handed himself in to the authorities, seemingly ready to take whatever punishment they would dish out to him.

Ever the romantic, Curly wants to spend one last night with his wife before his hearing begins. With that in mind, he breaks out of jail and heads off to Aunt Ella's farmhouse. As he approaches the house, Aunt Ella's dog, Old Shep, starts barking incessantly, as he does when any stranger approaches. But then, all of a sudden, he stops.

Straight away, Laurie knows just what this means: her beloved Curly has come back. With a nervous giggle in her voice, Ado Annie observes that Old Shep has stopped barking as if he'd been shot. As for Aunt Ella, she's not convinced that anyone's there; she thinks that the dog's just got a touch of the colic.

As it turns out, Laurie was absolutely right: it is Curly who's rocked up at the farmhouse. Having escaped from the jailhouse, he's hoping that he'll be able to hide out in the farmhouse for one night just so that he can be with his new bride.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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