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Chapter 5 like any other thing, a gift Summary Inman continues his journey along a narrow road at the edge of a cliff. He feels he could not make a stand against Home Guard here so he hurries. Ahead there is a man with a horse standing in the road. Inman approaches carefully and stops beside a boulder with his pistol drawn to observe the man.
The man lifts the body of a woman off his horse and is about to drop her over the cliff into the river. Inman runs out and stops him. He is rough and threatening with the man. The man is a soon to be married preacher who has gotten the woman pregnant. She is still alive but has been drugged.
Inman makes the man lead him to the town where the woman lives. When they arrive Inman gags the man with a kerchief and ties him to a tree. The woman is barely regaining consciousness as Inman carries her into her house. Her long dark hair and soft body make him think of Ada. He places her in her bed and tells her the preacher is no good. Then he goes back outside and writes a note about what happened and tacks it to the tree near the preacher.
Inman leaves, walking hard, but covers little ground before morning. He sleeps, and then begins walking again, extremely fatigued. He comes upon a camp of gypsies who take him in and feed him. Being entertained, Inman stays with them the remainder of the day. There is a dark-haired woman there and again he thinks of Ada. He goes off beyond the camp to read from Bartram and sleep. He dreams of Ada and the flowers he had just read about.
The next day Inman discovers that the gypsies had cleared out during the night. He then walks the entire day, cheered by the memory of his dream.
We see a slight softening of Inman in this chapter. As the terrain becomes more rolling he does not seem so bitter. In Chapter 3 he was full of despair and tried to kill the smith four times. Now, though he considers the preacher damnable and sees the merit in killing him, Inman chooses another solution. In addition, Inman’s spirits are comforted with his memories of Ada.