Chapters 31-34 Summary
Joe Willet spends the night shut up in his room. When morning breaks, he climbs out the window and over the rooftops, then he walks to London. He takes a room in the Black Lion Inn, where he always stopped for dinner when he came to the city on errands for his father. He hears someone speaking loudly; the landlord says it is an army recruiter. Joe strikes up a conversation with the recruiter, and soon he decides to join the army. He puts off the recruiter until that night, telling him that there is something he has to do first. He goes to the locksmith’s shop and finds Dolly Varden alone. He pleads with her, telling her of his love for her, but she feigns indifference. Convinced that she has rejected him, Joe leaves. Dolly waits for him to return, but when he does not, she throws herself on her bed, crying. Joe signs up with the recruiter, who feeds him before they leave the inn.
Edward, dining with his father, pleads with him to change his mind concerning Emma. Mr. Chester refuses and tells Edward about his own brother; he associated with low people and was disowned by his father, then he died early. Edward does not believe his father would disown him, but Mr. Chester does and orders him out of the house.
Five years have passed, and it is the year 1780. John Willet is joined at the Maypole by his usual guests, Mr. Cobb and Mr. Parkes. John is drowsing by the fire when they hear a voice in the wind. Solomon Daisy bursts in the door with a look of terror on his face, cursing himself for leaving the house on March 19th, the anniversary of the murder of Reuben Haredale. He explains that he had forgotten to wind the church clock and went to do so. From the belfry he heard a cry from the churchyard. When he went down, he was confronted by a ghost. All the men know whose ghost it was: Reuben Haredale’s. John asks the men to keep this story secret. Cobb and Parkes walk Solomon Daisy back home, and John Willet settles down in the Maypole alone.
Soon Mr. Willet decides that Mr. Haredale should hear this tale before it is spread abroad; he knows his friends will not be able to keep silent. He takes Hugh with him and goes to the Warren, where Mr. Haredale is sitting up late. When John tells him the story, Mr. Haredale reacts even more strongly than John had thought he might. He thanks John for telling him. He gives Hugh a drink, half of which Hugh throws on the floor as a toast. As John Willet and Hugh walk back toward the Maypole, three horsemen race past but then stop to wait for them.