Chapters 3-4 Summary
Myrtle Bouchard (Miss Merle) is the narrator. She has brought a pie for Jack (the Major) in an attempt to attract his attention, although he does not seem interested. When Miss Merle hears the news from Janey, she forgets the pie in the car and drives down to the quarters, where Candy is now joined by a crowd of people, three of whom (Mathu, Johnny Paul, and Rufe—all elderly men) are holding shotguns. Candy tells Miss Merle that is was she who shot Beau. Miss Merle has known Candy for twenty-five years, ever since she came to live at Marshall Plantation after her parents were killed in a car accident, and she knows Candy is lying. Candy insists repeatedly that she shot Beau, but Miss Merle believes Mathu pulled the trigger. She tells Miss Merle to gather up more people from the area and to have them bring their shotguns with empty number-five shells. Mathu, Johnny Paul, and Rufe have each also confessed to the murder, and Candy wants more people around when Mapes, the sheriff, arrives; she does not want him thinking he can overpower all of them. She intends to protect “her people.”
Candy tells Miss Merle to go talk to Janey to learn who else has had run-ins with Beau. When Miss Merle arrives back at the house, Miss Bea is sitting on the porch (the “garry”), demanding that Janey bring her a pea picker (gin and pink lemonade). Miss Merle tells Miss Bea that this is not the time for drinks. A man is dead and they need to round up more people, as Candy requested. Miss Bea admires Candy’s spunk for claiming to be the murderer. Janey comes unglued and begins sobbing. Miss Merle slaps her and tells her to give her names of people. Janey gives a few names of men who have been abused or offended by Fix Boutan or Beau. Miss Merle goes inside to begin calling them.
Robert Louis Stevenson Banks (Chimley) narrates now. Chimley and Mat, two elderly men, are fishing when Fue, a sissy boy as Chimley calls him, tells them to get their shotguns and an empty number five shell and go up to the Marshall house. If they don’t, they may as well hide under their beds from what will be coming. When they learn that Mathu killed Beau, they are impressed. Mathu is the only one of the Black community who has ever stood up to any of the Cajuns. Chimley returns home; his wife is upset and surprised that he has come back so early. Chimley says nothing as he loads his gun and fires it out the window, then he tells his wife to have the fish prepared for supper. Chimley grabs some extra shells and goes to the Marshall Plantation.