The Story of an African Farm

by Olive Schreiner

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Part 2: Chapter 8 Summary

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Gregory Rose comes back to the farm and sees Em, but his real purpose is to find Lyndall. Lyndall is sitting with Doss up on the shelving rock. She seems to be waiting for someone, but she lets Gregory stay. Gregory complains that she never talks to him. Lyndall speaks of a Black African man she sees walking by, but Gregory wants to talk about love. He tells Lyndall that he wrote an essay about it once. Lyndall rather playfully remarks that there are two kinds of love, one that starts in the head and travels to the heart and another that “blots out wisdom” and does not last long. She compares the kinds of love to various flowers and to seeds that grow into a plant.

A stone dislodged by Lyndall hurts Doss’s paw, and the conversation turns to Waldo. The two have different ideas about Waldo’s potential. Lyndall compares Waldo to a thorn tree that will blossom one day and Gregory to a “little tin duck floating on a dish of water.” Em, she continues, is always an accompanist to other people’s songs, and Lyndall considers her to be much better than herself.

Gregory suddenly declares his love for Lyndall and says that he wants only to be of use to her in some way. Lyndall asks him to give her his name. He agrees to marry her and serve her, expecting nothing to be given in return.

Em has been crying, but she goes to say good night to Lyndall. She has had a dream about a dead baby, and someone tells her that it is Lyndall’s baby. She could not find Lyndall in her dream. Em tells Lyndall that she knows that people cannot help loving her cousin. What has happened is not Lyndall’s fault.

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Part 2: Chapter 9 Summary