Chapter 26 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 577

Tuesday, July 15–Thursday, July 17

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Blomkvist flies to Alice Springs, Australia, and rents a car for the last 250 miles of his journey. He is going to the place Trinity found after tracing Anita’s phone conversation, a sheep farm called Cochran Farm. He did some research before coming to Australia, and he discovered that Spencer Cochran inherited the farm from his father but died in 1994. His widow now runs the farm. The couple was married in 1971, and her name is Anita. Blomkvist calls Berger in New York to tell her his work for Vanger is nearly completed.

When he gets to the farm, he explains he is looking for Anita Cochran; one of the hands offers to drive him. When they finally arrive, Blomkvist sees a woman with short, blonde hair wearing a red-checked shirt and jeans. Blomkvist says to her, in Swedish, “Hi, Harriet. It’s been a long time.” No one around her understood him, but the woman is shocked at these words coming from a stranger; the hired hands are immediately ready to defend her. Blomkvist reminds her that she was his babysitter one summer long ago in Hedeby and she relaxes a bit.

Blomkvist tells Harriet he saw her brother, Martin, just a few minutes before he died, and he shows her the scars on his neck. She wants to hear the entire story, so he tells her everything. He knew Anita had to be her confidante because they spent six weeks together that summer. Blomkvist plans to tell only Henrik about Harriet’s existence, so she talks to him. She tells him that Anita drove her off the island in the trunk of her car and loaned her money. Harriet stayed in a convent for a while, which is where she met Spencer Cochran. She was using the name Anita because she looked enough like her cousin to use her passport. Spencer and Harriet got married and lived here on the farm happily for years.

Blomkvist asks why she could not confide in Henrik, and Harriet says he must not understand everything about her situation yet or he would not ask such a question. Harriet introduces Blomkvist to one of the hands, her son, and tells him she has another son and a daughter. She then sends her son away and prepares to confess the whole story to Blomkvist.

When Harriet was sixteen, she told Anita about the sexual assaults from her brother and father but not about the murders they committed. Harriet did, however, tell Anita about the crime she committed and for which she hid in the convent for several years. Gottfried, her father, molested her for a year; her mother, Isabella, knew of the abuse but ignored it. Soon both Gottfried and Martin were molesting her, and both children were forced to do sexual things with their father. One day she finally saw her chance to get rid of him. He was drunk and chasing her. She ran to the jetty. When he reached her she was able to push him into the water; then she held him under with an oar until he died.

Martin saw what she did, and from then on she was in his power. Isabella finally sent Martin away to school, but Harriet could not see how she would ever be free. She saw only two choices: kill herself or flee. After telling her story, Harriet says it feels good to finally tell the truth.

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