Chapters 10-11 Summary
After their trip to the prison camp, Charlene Madlee drops Patty back off in town, expressing her appreciation for her company and offering her help if ever Patty should need it. Back at home, Patty brings Anton lunch and some fresh clothes, including a shirt she had chosen for her father two Father's Days ago. Patty had used all her birthday money to buy her father the beautiful, expensive blue shirt, but instead of being pleased with the gift, he had dismissed it uncaringly, and had even gotten irritated when she had pointed out that she had had his initials embroidered on the pocket. In contrast, Anton expresses true appreciation for the offering, and thanks Patty with sincerity, touching her cheek gently with his hand.
Anton is shocked when Patty tells him that the FBI has come to Jenkinsville to investigate his disappearance, and he perceives that, because of the capture of the German saboteurs, the timing of his escape could not have been worse. He tells Patty that he wishes he possessed "a bit of [her] courage," and Patty feels at last that she is "a good and worthy person." Her euphoria is short-lived, however, when Anton talks about being with his family again, and she realizes that he does not plan on taking her with him. Overcome by a sense of betrayal and a reawakened awareness of her own perceived ugliness, Patty leaves Anton and goes to the front of the house to brood.
Freddy Dowd happens to come by as Patty is sitting on the steps, and as he jabbers on about crawdads, his latest interest, she reflects that he is an outcast, just like her. Mr. Bergen drives up, and Patty, remembering that her father has forbidden her to associate with Freddy, urgently whispers to the boy to leave. Patty's father has already seen Freddy, however, and is livid that his daughter has disobeyed him. Without giving her a chance to explain, he chases Patty to the back of the house and beats her brutally with his belt.
As she cowers under her father's blows, Patty catches a glimpse of Anton, racing with raised fists towards her father's back. She shouts, "Go away! Go away!" and with a look of horror, Anton freezes, covers his eyes, and returns to the garage.
The next morning, after Mr. and Mrs. Bergen have left for work, Ruth summons Patty into the kitchen, and asks her about the man who had wanted to save her from her daddy's violence; Ruth had been watching from the house, and had seen Anton come rushing out from the garage. Patty considers her response for a moment, then realizes that she has nothing to fear from Ruth. With a sense of relief, she tells her the truth.
Acutely aware of the gravity of the situation, Ruth does not at first know what to do, but she has witnessed Anton's willingness to sacrifice himself to save Patty, and understands how much Patty needs a friend. The kind housekeeper promises to fix a proper meal for Patty and the prisoner as soon as she has delivered little Sharon to her friend Sue Ellen's house. Elated, Patty walks over to the garage to see Anton.
Anton is in a sober mood, concerned about Patty and profoundly disturbed...
(The entire section is 833 words.)