The Story of an African Farm

by Olive Schreiner

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Part 2: Chapter 12 Summary

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Gregory returns to the farm. He looks the same to Em except that he no longer has a beard. Em feeds him, and then he tells her what he has been doing.

Gregory traced Lyndall and the stranger to a hotel and then followed their course, stopping at farmhouses along the way. At one point, the stranger bought a wagon and oxen. At an inn, Gregory learned from the master’s daughter that Lyndall was cold to the stranger and drew back from him when he touched her.

Continuing to follow the trail, Gregory arrived at a hotel in a small town. The matron liked to gossip, and Gregory learned that there was a sick woman at the hotel whose baby had died after only a few hours of life. The woman herself, the doctor said, would never rise again, yet she was patient and always said that she was better. Her Mozambique nurse, however, was leaving, and she would need care.

Realizing that the woman was Lyndall, Gregory changed into the women’s clothing he had carried with him and became her nurse. Gregory cared tenderly and efficiently for Lyndall, answering all her requests and handling all her needs with great love. Lyndall was always in pain but rarely complained, although Gregory did overhear her praying for relief one day, for even an hour without pain. Lyndall tried hard to eat and to get up, but she never really could. She reflected on death, spoke of her baby, and wrote to the stranger, again telling him that she could not marry him.

Finally, Gregory took Lyndall in a wagon out on the plain toward the mountains. Lyndall died looking at her reflection in the mirror and talking to it as she always had.

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Part 2: Chapter 11 Summary

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Part 2: Chapter 13 Summary