The Blithedale Romance

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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What is the summary of Chapter 5 in The Blithedale Romance?

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After the evening meal, the group, except for Silas, gathers in the sitting room.  Priscilla sits beside Zenobia, gazing at her with "humble delight", and Coverfield supposes that perhaps she has read some of Zenobia's writings, and has been exceedingly impressed by them.  Zenobia is scornful at this idea, and says Priscilla must be "a seamstress from the city" who has come to do her sewing; the reason for her conjecture is that she has noticed "needle marks on the tip of her forefinger...her paleness...and her wretched fragility".  Priscilla begins to cry, and Coverfield and Zenobia can only surmise that Zenobia's scornful comments have been overheard.  Vexed, Zenobia resolves to be "reasonably kind" to Priscilla, and carresses her hair.  This sign of acceptance has "a magical effect" on the little waif, and from that moment, "she melt(s) in quietly amongst (them)...her tenure at Blithedale...thenceforth fixed".  Although she appears to be disquieted by the storm, Priscilla proceeds to open her bag and knit a silk purse, which has a hidden aperture that is very difficult to detect.

The group is largely uncommunicative that evening, especially Hollingsworth, who is deep within his own meditations.  They do try to decide on a name for their experiment, with "Sunny Glimpse", "Utopia", and "Oasis" suggested and voted down.  The members finally agree to keep the name "Blithedale".  Later, Silas comes in and advises everyone to go to bed, because they will be rising early in the morning to begin work on the farm (Chapter 5).

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