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Chapter 5 Summary

After dinner, Ethan goes to care for the animals for the night while Mattie tidies the kitchen. When he returns, Ethan sees the picture he envisioned, Mattie sitting with her sewing by the light of a lamp. It is, to him, perfect contentment. He takes off his boots, picks up his pipe, and becomes part of the domestic scene. When he realizes he is unable to see Mattie from his position, he asks her to come sit nearer to him. Mattie does so, seating herself in Zeena’s nearby rocking chair. Looking at her there gives Ethan a start because he sees Zeena’s face superimposed over the younger woman’s face. Mattie, too, feels ill at ease and moves back to the light of the lamp. Ethan gets up to stoke the fire and uses the opportunity to move his chair so he can watch Mattie. He reminds her they were to have gone coasting tonight. Ethan insists that it is a dangerous ride and Mattie insists she would not be afraid, but both are content to stay where they are.

Ethan leans over, touches the end of her needlework, and asks her to guess who he saw getting kissed this afternoon. Mattie blushes and guesses correctly, and the conversation dies. Her blush sets up a “flaming guard” around her. They...

(The entire section is 446 words.)