The Story of an African Farm

by Olive Schreiner

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Part 2: Chapter 3 Summary

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The new man who made Em blush is Gregory Rose, and he is sitting before the door of his little house, brooding. He decides to write to his sister Jemima, and in the letter, he complains about how everyone has always been cruel to him (except her) and explains that he is in love with Em. Yet he is jealous of the servant boy, for he has seen Em kiss him. He tells his sister that he is going to propose to Em, and if she denies him, he will drown himself. She is, he declares, the one love of his life.

Gregory then goes to the homestead, where he sees Em, who is watching the milking. He proclaims his love for her, but she is not sure if she loves him best of all, enough to marry him. He begs her not to be cold and cruel to him, but he agrees to wait until next Saturday for her answer, kissing her, assuring her of his unending love, and telling her that he cannot live without her love.

Em is impressed by Gregory’s declaration, for no one has ever said such things to her before. She decides that she will tell him that she loves him back, and the next day she does, adding that she wishes she were “beautiful and nice for him.” Gregory tells her that she is beautiful and that their life will be perfect, and he makes Em promise that she will never kiss Waldo again. Gregory promises to think of nothing but her and his love for her, and Em says she will try not to love anyone else, but she does not know if that will work.

Lyndall will be returning from school the next day, and Em tells Gregory that she is “like a little queen” and that he must come and meet her. Em looks at the beautiful things she has laid aside for her marriage, dreams about being Gregory’s wife, and thanks God.

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Part 2: Chapter 4 Summary