Chapter 9 Summary
Meg wakes up to the shrill sound of the telephone ringing. Fearing that it is the President with bad news, she is relieved to hear that it is only Mrs. O’Keefe, who demands that someone come to get her as she has found something important to show Mr. Murry. Meg cannot remember what she was kything, but she knows that it is something important about Mrs. O’Keefe. When her mother-in-law arrives, Meg says her childhood name, Beezie. Mrs. O’Keefe is surprised, saying that name would be better forgotten.
Mrs. O’Keefe, intrigued by the name Branzillo, had gone on a search and found a letter from Bran Maddox in Vespugia to Matthew Maddox, the writer. Bran says that when he came to Vespugia, he was met with the legend of a Welsh prince who came to America before any other white man; he then went down to South America. He is called Gedder, though it is known that this is not his real name. Bran hopes that Dr. Llawcae will allow his daughter Zillah to go to Vespugia so that she and Bran can be married. Mr. Murry does not see the connection, so she points out the “coincidence”: she had a letter from a Maddox in Vespugia when Mad Dog Branzillo was threatening global annihilation. Mrs. O’Keefe wants to speak to “Chuck” (Charles Wallace), but Mr. Murry explains that he is out taking a walk. Mrs. O’Keefe says that she will stay until he gets back. Meg wonders how the girl Beezie turned into Mrs. O’Keefe.
Beezie questions why her father had to die. It is discovered that Mr. Maddox had been more heavily in debt than anyone knew, which explains why he sold the valuable Matthew Maddox book. In the attic, Beezie and Chuck find a box of old letters and a journal which is by Zillah, Bran Maddox’s love. Bran had been wounded in the Civil War, and Zillah doubts that they will ever be married. Duthbert Mortmain has begun to court Beezie and Chuck’s mother. Out of financial desperation, Mrs. Maddox marries him and lets him run the family store. Soon, Mortmain’s temper becomes apparent. Mrs. Maddox appears one morning with a black eye. Mortmain begins to pinch Beezie in a provocative way, first on the arm and then on the bottom. When Beezie’s grandmother warns him to leave the girl alone, Mortmain moves to strike her, but Chuck thrusts himself between them, taking the full force of the blow. He is knocked into the china cabinet, and in pain, cries out that Gedder pushed him, begging Zillah not to let him marry Gwen.