Chapter 24 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 573

Chapter 24 introduces two new characters, Mary and Tom Talbot. Young Mary is lovely. She has golden skin and green eyes with gold flecks. She has long legs and seems to float when she walks. Her face is often flushed with excitement. 

Better than anything in the world, Mary loves...

(The entire section contains 573 words.)

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Chapter 24 introduces two new characters, Mary and Tom Talbot. Young Mary is lovely. She has golden skin and green eyes with gold flecks. She has long legs and seems to float when she walks. Her face is often flushed with excitement. 

Better than anything in the world, Mary loves throwing parties and going to parties. Her husband does not make a good deal of money, so often, Mary has to convince other people to give the parties. But whenever she is able to do so, Mary throws her own. She has numerous birthday parties every year and no holiday is neglected. Her husband, who loves her very much, is excited because she is excited. 

In a way, Mary tries to stay gay in order to boost her husband's spirits. Money is often very tight and Tom gets depressed. She thinks it is her job to "keep the dark things out of the house." Sometimes, though, the "dark things" get in despite her efforts. In these instances, Mary puts in extra effort to be festive. 

On one such occasion, when the Talbots are short on rent and Tom has received a notice of termination from the water department, Mary goes out and collects a little bouquet of wildflowers. She brings it to Tom and asks him whether he knows what day it is, although there truly is not a special occasion to celebrate and Mary is frantically trying to think of something to say. 

Tom is not in the mood to be taken out of his thoughts. He snaps at his wife and says they have to face facts: they are about to "go down" and they are kidding themselves.

Mary refuses to accept it. She tells Tom that they will not "go down." They, she says emphatically, are "magic people." She reminds him of a couple of times when they had mysteriously come into money, either finding it or having it sent to them unexpectedly. Mary is certain that once again, something, somehow, some way, will come along to rescue them this time too. "Nothing can happen to us," she asserts. 

Finally, Mary comes up with a reason to celebrate. She tells Tom that today is the "anniversary of the founding of the Bloomer League." Having settled on an occasion, Mary throws herself into decorating the house for the party. Tom, however, still cannot be persuaded out of his blues. Mary sees that he means it and dejectedly gives up and goes out to their yard. 

Sometimes, when Tom must be away for work and Mary is in a party mood, she throws a little fete for the neighborhood cats, and since Tom refuses to participate this time, she sets up such a soiree again. However, when she goes about to round up her attendees, Mary is horrified to discover one of the cats has captured a mouse and is torturing the poor creature.  

Mary calls out for Tom over and over in a panic. Tom, who had been falling asleep, is finally roused and jumps out of bed. He can hear Mary crying outside. 

Seeing what has happened, Tom tells Mary to turn her head. He puts the injured mouse out of its misery quickly. The couple, Mary still sobbing, goes back into the house. Mary makes tea and Tom accepts a cup. He sees that he is wanted and useful to his wife. Later that year, Mary throws a "pregnancy party." 

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