Chapter 6 Summary

At breakfast the next morning, Ethan acts proprietary and does not even offer to help Mattie with the dishes. He and Jotham make their plan for this rather muddy day; Jotham will be sent to retrieve Zeena while Ethan continues working on the farm. He goes back to the house one more time. He wants to say that these will be their last moments alone together; instead, he simply tells Mattie he will probably be home for dinner. One of his errands in town is to buy glue, but the miry roads cause one of his horses to get cut and he is running short of time. When he finally makes it to town, the regular clerks are not at Eady’s store and Ethan is forced to ask Dennis Eady for help. The inexperienced Dennis is unable to find glue anywhere, so Ethan goes to Ms. Homan’s store. She is slow and full of questions, but she finally locates a single bottle of glue. Ethan grabs it and hurries home. The weather has gotten worse, and Ethan is afraid Jotham and Zeena may overtake him on the road.

The barn is empty when he arrives, much to Ethan’s relief, and he hastily settles the animals so he can get to the house and glue the pickle dish. As he walks in, Mattie grabs his sleeve and tells him in a dramatic whisper Zeena is home. Jotham dropped her off and then headed straight to his own home with some packages. When Ethan asks how Zeena is, Mattie tells him she does not know; she came in and went straight to her room without saying a word. Ethan tells her he will mend the dish tonight when she is asleep. Just then, Jotham returns with the sleigh.

After trips such as this, Zeena is often miserable to be around, so Ethan invites Jotham to join them as a “neutralising presence.” But Jotham, never one to turn down a free meal, declines the offer—twice. Zeena generally attacks the first person she sees when things are not going well for her, so Ethan assumes Jotham was the recipient of her wrath earlier and has no interest in repeating the experience. When Ethan heads back into the house, the scene is much the same as it was the evening before except there is now an air of dread in the room.