Act 2 Summary

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Act 2, Scene 1
A few weeks have passed. Val, who has been falsely accused by a woman of making a sexual advance on her, explains to Lady his past in New Orleans, where he indulged in wild living. He says he has now put that behind him. Outside, Carol constantly sounds her car horn, because the gas station refuses to serve her. Then she goes to a pharmacy, while Lady says she will provide Carol service if she comes into the store. Carol enters, and her brother David calls to say that he is coming to fetch her. Lady says she will refuse to allow him, her former lover, in the store. Carol once again makes romantic declarations to Val, which he again shrugs off. It transpires that he did know Carol during his New Orleans days. When David enters, Lady sends Carol and Val out of the store, and confesses to David that she had been pregnant with his child when he discarded her, and she had an abortion. She tells him never to return.

Act 2, Scene 2

Val and Vee discuss Vee's painting, Church of the Resurrection, and Val understands her artistic gift. Vee's husband, Sheriff Talbot, arrives and visits Jabe upstairs. Vee and Val continue to talk, as Val shows great understanding of her work. He takes her hands in his and lifts them to his mouth. At that moment, Talbott comes down the stairs. He sees the gesture and angrily tells them to stop.

Act 2, Scene 3
Val tells Lady that he wants to stay in town, even though he does not feel safe. Lady offers to allow him to stay at the store, in a small alcove behind a curtain. She says it will make her feel safer if he is there, guarding the store. She is physically tense and he manipulates her head, neck, and spine to relieve the tension. He also strokes her neck, after which she leaves to get linen for the bed. While she is gone, Val removes some money from the cashbox and leaves the store. Lady returns and discovers the theft.

Act 2, Scene 4
Late that night, Val returns and replaces the money he took. Lady appears on the landing and Val tells her he is quitting his job because he has won money gambling. Lady is suspicious and finds out that Val borrowed money to gamble with. She accuses him of robbing her, saying she deliberately left the money in the cashbox to see if she could trust him. Val accuses her of hiring him because she wanted to take a lover, which she denies. Then she breaks down in sobs. As Val is about to leave, she begs him to stay, and they go together to the alcove behind the curtain.

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Act 1 Summary


Act 3 Summary