When these lines appear, it is at the point where Mrs Hale and Mrs Peters really begin to understand the events which led to the killing of Mr Wright – and that Minnie was most likely guilty of the crime.
They had previously noted that she had been disturbed from sifting her sugar, and that the last stitches of her quilt work were ragged and uneven. They had deduced that she lived a miserable life, with little money or care from her husband. When they find the canary with its neck broken, they see the similarity with the death of Mr Wright, and piece together that she most likely strangled him in bed after years of neglect, and as a result of him killing her canary.
The women know that the canary and the quilt are evidence against Minnie, and they choose to conceal them from the sheriff and his man-
Has the bird flown?"
"We think the cat got it," said Mrs. Hale in a voice curiously even.