Chapters 24–27 Summary
Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 833
Indiana and Ralph fall into a peaceful way of life on Bourbon Island, while Delmare tries to rebuild his business. Ralph walks at night and is glad to no longer be in France, which holds bad memories for him. Most of his life has been spent here on Bourbon Island; he remembers carrying small Indiana about and looking for birds’ nests with her. He is sad that Indiana is no longer so devoted to him now, and this sadness causes him to avoid her, except at meal times. He watches over her, but he does not really engage with her. He sees it as his duty to keep Delmare from speaking harshly to her.
A reactionary government comes to power in France in August of 1829. This is difficult for Raymon, as it destroys his hopes that the monarchy will one day return. He feels that his fortune is now “hanging by a thread.” Raymon feels humiliated and begins to blame royalty for their own failings. Raymon comes down with rheumatism and retreats to the country with his mother, feeling discarded by society. His mother, too, falls ill, and Raymon wishes he had not rejected Indiana, who would have looked after his mother and loved him deeply. He decides that when he is better, he will marry.
He receives Indiana’s letter and again feels he misjudged her, knowing now that she truly loved him. He wonders whether he can still win her back.
Raymon’s mother, on her deathbed, calls Raymon to him and suggests that he might marry Indiana yet, when Delmare dies. She says she approves of Indiana greatly. When she dies, Raymon is devastated and feels he has lost everything.
Raymon decides he does want Indiana but that he cannot wait twenty years to marry her. He wonders if he could coax her back to be his mistress and keep her safe. He writes back to her and vaguely says that he hopes she will return; he describes the horrors that are happening in France and asks her to assure him that she is happy. In reality, he is asking her to say that she is unhappy and will return to him.
The letter takes three months to arrive. In the meantime, Indiana has been writing a diary addressed to Raymon. One day, Delmare breaks open the box in which this diary, as well as Raymon’s letters to Indiana, are kept. In a furious rage, Delmare throws Indiana to the ground and kicks her on the forehead. He is horrified immediately afterward and withdraws to his bedroom, intending to kill himself. But through the window he sees that Indiana is not dead and changes his mind. He does not want to simply allow her to leave him and go to her lover.
Ralph is surprised and furious when he sees what has happened. He goes to break open Delmare’s door and strangle him only to find him on the floor, having suffered a fit of apoplexy.
When Delmare is well enough, Ralph reproaches him. Delmare, remorseful, wants to apologize to his wife, but Ralph dissuades him from this—Indiana will never forgive him. She now dreams only of leaving. When Raymon’s letter arrives, she feels she suddenly loves him more than she ever did. She decides to leave the island and go back to him.
One day, she manages to secure a meeting with Captain Random, whose ship is about to sail back to France. She begs him to take her on board and gives him her jewelry to pay for the passage. Random, moved by the fact that Indiana has been hurt by her husband, agrees to take her on board.
Indiana packs her things and prepares to leave. Meanwhile, Delmare feels unwell. Indiana suddenly feels remorse at the prospect of leaving him, especially because that evening Delmare is sweet-tempered and tells Indiana to go to bed and not worry about him. Indiana weeps, feeling sinful. She goes to see her husband and finds Ralph there, asleep in an armchair. She takes a gold chain from her neck and places it around Ralph’s. Delmare, dreaming, says, “Beware of that man, he will ruin you.”
Indiana is wrenched with indecision but decides that she is going to France for Raymon’s happiness, not her own. She gets into the rowing boat which has come to take her to the ship. Halfway out, she realizes that the dog, Ophelia, is following her. When she begs the oarsmen to take the dog on board, they instead smash its skull with the oars. Indiana is devastated and reiterates to herself that she is enduring all this suffering for Raymon. And, if the worst should happen, she has with her a dagger with which she could kill herself.
The voyage itself is long and terrible, filled with seasickness and mockery from the sailors, but Indiana is already so sad that she thinks little of these circumstances.