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Priscilla and her father have come to Red House with Nancy and Godfrey and are being persuaded to stay for tea. The presence of a woman has greatly altered the Cass homestead; the house is no longer dusty and cluttered, and the fragrance of lavender and rose leaves fills the rooms. Priscilla, now fully resigned to being an old maid, stays busy managing her father's farm. She advises Nancy that she should start a dairy, for it would help to keep her occupied. Nancy says that a dairy would not make up to Godfrey, for it is children that he wants. Unfortunately Nancy has been unable to give him that gift.
After Priscilla leaves, Godfrey departs to oversee the progress of the draining of the Stone Pits. Nancy ruminates over her married life. Nancy is sad that there are no children in their life; their only child had died in infancy. Godfrey has suggested adopting one. In fact, he has often talked of perhaps adopting Eppie (although still unable to confess his fatherhood to his wife or the community). Nancy had refused the idea of adoption on the principle that if Providence did not bestow them with a child, then they had no right to adopt one. Nancy has tried to make up to Godfrey in other ways.Her maid interrupts Nancy from her thoughts. She informs Nancy that a huge crowd is hurrying along the road. Nancy feels apprehensive and wishes that her husband would return soon.
This chapter takes place at Red House, which has undergone significant changes under the caring and meticulous hand of Nancy. She has brought order, cleanliness, and stability to the once disorganized residence of the Cass family. Godfrey's dream that somebody like Nancy would be his wife and make his house a home has come true. The only thing that is missing from this idyllic picture of domesticity is a child. Nancy is sad that she and Godfrey are childless, but she refuses to adopt even though Godfrey has suggested the adoption of Eppie several times. (Godfrey simply assumes that Silas would not object to his plan.) Nancy accepts their childlessness as Providence; her husband sees it as retribution for his earlier sins with Molly. Although he cares for Eppie at a distance and has provided things for her and Silas (such as the furniture), Godfrey is still too weak in spirit to openly admit his past and accept Eppie as his daughter.