The Story of an African Farm

by Olive Schreiner

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Part 2: Chapter 6 Summary

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On the way to Tant’ Sannie’s wedding, Gregory complains about the ride. Lyndall is driving with Waldo. Lyndall thinks about how terrible it would be “to bring a human being into the world” and have the responsibility for it. She does not believe that God sends babies. Men and women do that. Since Lyndall believes in nothing, not God nor the devil, she must bear her own burdens and take responsibility for what she does. She says, though, that she likes Waldo. He is “a spirit” rather than a mere body.

The preparations for the wedding have already started when the two couples arrive. Excitement and bustle are everywhere, and then the bridegroom and bride arrive, and the ceremony takes place. The feast and dancing begin then, and children fall asleep in the side rooms. The bridal couple retires to the bedroom, but the guests continue to eat and dance.

Em wishes Gregory would ask Lyndall to dance, but he already has three times, and she has turned him down. He goes to her anyway and sits with her, wondering where she got her ring. Lyndall soon gets up and goes to find Waldo. Lyndall and Waldo sit in the buggy and talk about life and about all the various experiences people have in it. Lyndall wants to see it all, but she feels shut in. Waldo wants to see the world, too, but he does not have a specific plan. Lyndall scolds him that he must decide on something he wants to do, some focus for his life. She shares, indirectly, that she would like to become an actor and that she will keep waiting and working at it until she does, even if she makes more blunders. She will strive toward her goal and must succeed in the end, just like she did when she waited and worked to go to school.

Waldo misses Lyndall’s point and comments that human beings are so small. Lyndall insists that Waldo must have a beautiful life that will “end in something” and have meaning. Then she remarks that the stars are laughing at them. They speak briefly of prayer, and then Lyndall declares that she is cold. She asks Waldo to get the horses ready so that they can go home, but then she allows Gregory to drive her instead, and Em goes with Waldo. Em sits up in the dark for a long time when she gets home.

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Part 2: Chapter 7 Summary