The Story of an African Farm

by Olive Schreiner

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Part 2: Chapter 9 Summary

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There is a stranger sitting in the old cabin. Lyndall and Doss enter, and Lyndall tells the man that she had to wait until everyone was asleep before she could come. She has written to this stranger, telling him “Come if you wish,” and now he has come, but he must not stay at the house. Lyndall has already lied once and does not care to do so again.

The man asks Lyndall about her upcoming marriage. She explains that if she marries Gregory, she can “shake him off” when it suits her. She has control over the situation. If she marries this stranger, on the other hand, he will hold her, and she will “never be free again.” The stranger is the one who has given Lyndall the ring she sometimes wears, and she tells him that sometimes she loves him, but sometimes she hates him. If she marries him, she will come to her senses one day and hate him always.

The stranger tells Lyndall that she is being foolish, that he loves her (at least to a point), and that he wants to marry her. Lyndall recognizes the generosity of his act, but she does not want to require his generosity, because he would feel sorry for her then. He merely wants her until he can break her. Then she will be of no use to him. He is chasing her because she has rejected him.

Lyndall makes the stranger an offer. She will go with him, but she will not marry him. Then she can be free to leave when she wishes. She wants to get away from the homestead. The stranger calls her a “poor little thing” and agrees to the plan. Lyndall will come for him at three o’clock.

Lyndall goes to Otto’s grave and weeps there, talking to Otto about being alone and cold and hard. She then returns to her room and speaks to her reflection in the mirror, telling it that they will have to help themselves since they are all alone. They will not be afraid, for they, Lyndall and her reflection, will always have each other.

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Part 2: Chapter 8 Summary

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Part 2: Chapter 10 Summary