Part 3, Chapters 31–34

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Last Updated on February 25, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1272

Chapter 31

Hiram recognizes that Conduction is best achieved through the combination of water, a memory, and an object that makes the memory real.

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He and Sophia at first try to hide from Thena the fact that they are together, but Thena soon realizes the truth. Early in December, Nathaniel returns, and Sophia is then summoned to him. Hiram drives her out to his home on Howell’s orders. Sophia is curious to know why Corrine might favor her, and has kept her, but Hiram says he doesn't know.

At the usual meeting place, one of Nathaniel’s men says he cannot take Sophia today but will send word when he can. So, the pair turn back to Lockless. Sophia says that Pete was sent over the bridge before Hiram’s return. She tells him she still knows she needs to run, but she cannot do so until Hiram will tell her how and what they are running toward.

They return to Thena seated in her work dress with no coat. Her head is bandaged. She has left Caroline inside sleeping and does not know what has happened to her head. Inside the house, Hiram finds furniture splintered and smashed; Thena's lockbox is cloven in two. Her laundry money has been stolen.

At this juncture, there are only about twenty-five people left in Lockless. Hiram does not know who could have done this or who to tell. So, instead, he moves the whole group down to Thena’s old cabin, and he and Sophia continue to perform the washing duties.

Sophia and Hiram discuss the possibility that Nathaniel actually intends to bring Sophia out to Tennessee, a land of different customs, and marry her. Sophia does not want this; she only wants to belong to herself.

Corrine brings a group of cousins and friends to Lockless at holiday time. Hiram knows all of them to be agents. He admires Corrine’s genius at expanding her network. On a walk with Corrine, he tells her that it is now time for his family to be Conducted as discussed, because of the attack. Corrine assures him that Sophia’s title will revert from Nathaniel to her after a week. Nathaniel is no longer interested in Sophia, so she is saved. Corinne also says that it is not yet time for Thena to be taken. She thanks Hiram for his work but says it would look odd for a woman who has established herself as a washerwoman to simply disappear.

Hiram knows she is correct but is angry all the same. Corrine warns him that if he tries to act without her consent, he will “doom” them all.

Chapter 32

Hiram is determined to perform Conduction alone. He tells Sophia he is ready to explain where he has been and where they are headed. He tells her about training at Bryceton, meeting Moses and Kessiah, and his promise to rescue Thena. He also tells her that Corrine now holds Sophia’s title. He explains that he is going to get Sophia and Thena out but that he himself must stay at Lockless until told otherwise.

He then shows her the “how” of it. He takes her down to the river, takes her hand, and squeezes the wooden horse. His rage against Georgie, combined with the memories he and Sophia exchange about the old days, combine to begin the Conduction. Blue mist and music roll across the river. The mists envelop Sophia and Hiram and transport them across the river. They Conduct back and forth, “like dancing.”

The next day, Hiram asks Sophia where she first saw the water dance. Sophia says the dance is an old custom of giving praise and then asks whether Conduction was what Santi Bess did, her own kind of dance. She also intuits that this is why the Underground wanted Hiram.

Hiram says that he wants to Conduct Caroline and Sophia somewhere safe, but she says she doesn't want to split up the family they have created. She wants to attach herself, willingly, to Hiram and to be with him.

The next day, Sophia pretends to be ill so that Hiram can walk with Thena alone. He...

(The entire section contains 1272 words.)

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Part 3, Chapters 28–30

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