Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 709
The villagers bury Faith next to her brothers, but they will not permit Aphra to be buried within the precinct of the village. Anna and Brand toil to dig a grave for her in the rock near Joss’s cairn. Elinor is buried in the churchyard. Mr. Stanley offers the prayers as Mr. Mompellion’s grief is too great to allow anything else. Mr. Mompellion moves about less and less until he eventually confines himself to his room. Not even Mr. Stanley can get him to come to his senses—apparently Mr. Mompellion has lost his faith.
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After Mr. Mompellion harshly dismisses Elizabeth Bradford from the rectory, Anna goes to the rectory and whispers to the horse Anteros that since they are alive, they might as well live. She takes the horse out of the stable and mounts him bareback as she learned to do as a child. They gallop around the entire village and outlying farms. When they return, Mr. Mompellion bursts from the rectory and exclaims that Anna must have lost her senses. He falls to his knees to embrace her, and the two kiss.
Later, Mr. Mompellion tries to apologize to Anna, but she will not hear it. Her desire is strong, as is his, and the two make love on the kitchen floor before going up to lie in bed. He falls asleep, and Anna creeps out to return home to feed her sheep. A while later, Mr. Mompellion joins her bucking hay, and he asks if he can sleep in her bed this night. She consents, and inside while they sit before the hearth, Mr. Mompellion removes Anna’s shoes so that he can massage her feet. Then he goes to the kitchen where he fumbles with the crockery to put together a simple dinner of fruit and cheese. Afterwards, they go to Anna’s room where they have each other again. Anna falls asleep and does not wake until morning. While in bed, Anna asks the rector if he thinks about Elinor when he is with her, and the rector tells her that he never lay with Elinor. The rector explains that Elinor had to atone for her sin of killing her unborn child lest her soul be lost forever. Anna asks him how he could have stayed his desire, and Mr. Mompellion tells her that he reminded himself of all the vile realities of a woman’s body. The thought of Elinor's bile and pus turned him off. Then Mr. Mompellion mocks God and admits his faithlessness and claims that from now on, he will do as he pleases. He reaches for Anna, but she runs away from him and goes to the church.
Inside the church, Anna finds Elizabeth Bradford who has come to pray for the deliverance of her mother. She is struggling in childbirth and losing much blood, so Anna agrees to help. Anna finds that the baby is a simple breach, and after a little manipulation the baby is easily birthed. But Mrs. Bradford has lost so much blood that Anna fears the woman might survive through the night. Anna leaves to get a nettle tonic from her cottage, but the air is cold so she returns for a smock. Inside she finds Elizabeth attempting to drown the baby. Anna stops her, and Elizabeth tries to justify her actions—the baby is a bastard from her mother’s adulterous relationship. Mr. Bradford wishes mother and baby dead, but Anna will not stand for it. Anna and Elizabeth agree that Anna will secretly raise the baby as her own if she leaves the village and Elizabeth pays her way. Mrs. Bradford also gives Anna an emerald ring and necklace before she leaves.
Somehow, Mr. Mompellion has found out about what has happened in Bradford Hall, and he warns Anna that she and the baby are not safe. He offers to find her a ride to the estate of Elinor’s family where his patron will find her shelter and a job. He gives her Anteros to ride into Bakewell where she will meet her escort. At the edge of the village, she turns to wave goodbye, and he waves back before the horse gallops downhill and out of sight.