Chapter 106 Summary
Mr. Edwin Holt, the owner of the Holt Cotton Mill, has been admiring Tom’s blacksmithing work for a long time. Mrs. Holt desires for Tom to make some “decorative window grills” for their big house, so Mr. Murray writes out a traveling pass for Tom to discuss it with the Holts further. Only Tom could accomplish the delicate work that Mrs. Holt proposes: each metal grill containing twisting vines with leaves and flowers. As Tom measures the windows, it is the first time he sees Irene working within the house. Tom can’t get her out of his mind. Tom feels sure that this beautiful, copper-colored young lady must already be spoken for. Tom finds himself unable to sleep at night, thinking about Irene.
Tom’s blacksmithing work allows him to think while he toils over the hot fires. Of course, most of his thoughts rest on the beautiful Irene. Tom thinks nothing of people watching him as he hones his craft. Little does he know how proud the Murrays are to own such a skilled craftsman. Soon, the Holts' window grills are done. Amid the happy cries of Mrs. Holt and the others regarding Tom’s delicate work, Tom secretly hopes to catch a glimpse of Irene again as he installs them.
Tom and Irene finally meet at the Holt plantation. Irene confides in Tom that she is hoping they can talk even more. Tom is taken aback by her honesty and her desire to see more of him. From then on, Tom asks for an all-day traveling pass every Sunday to visit with Irene. One of the first things Irene explains to Tom is that she gets her “copper” coloring from her father, an American Indian.
Irene things very highly of the Holts and can’t say enough about how wonderful her master and missus are. Tom worries about this a bit because he can never see eye to eye with her about that. Tom also worries about how the Holt family is equally devoted to Irene. Tom would never allow a marriage to exist between two different plantations. When Tom expresses the latter concern to Irene, she replies, “I git sol’ whenever I gits ready!” That seals the deal. The marriage is planned. Knowing how much Irene likes roses, Tom plans to craft a delicate rose of iron for her as a wedding gift.