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The next morning, Ethan is quite happy because he has a vision of what life might be like with Mattie. His thoughts of her are interrupted by Jotham, who comes for breakfast; Ethan feels he must hide his happiness from him.
Outside the weather is icy. Ethan decides that he and Jotham should spend the morning loading lumber so that when the weather clears in the afternoon Ethan can drive the lumber to town and Jotham can go and pick up Zeena. He tells Jotham to go and harness the horses, so that he can have a moment alone with Mattie. He watches her wash the dishes, her hair curling in the steam, and wants to say that they "shall never be alone like this again." Instead, he picks up his tobacco pouch and says he'll be home for dinner. She sings at her work.
Ethan remembers that he wants to run to town to get glue for the pickle dish, but his morning goes badly. A horse gets injured, there is rain and sleet, and the work takes them long past the dinner hour. He knows he has only a slight chance of getting to town after dinner, before Jotham gets back with Zeena. When he leaves, he feels a comprehending nod from Mattie. He sets out in a hurry, but is overtaken by Jotham and then works extra hard to get the lumber unloaded. When he goes to Eady's store, Denis and his friends are sitting around by the stove, visiting, and no one really knows where to find the glue. He drives to Mrs. Homan's store; she has trouble finding her one bottle of glue, but finally locates it. As he hurries away, she says that she hopes Zeena has not broken anything important.
Ethan drives his heavy rig through the rain, hoping to get back before Zeena and Jotham. He puts his horses in the empty barn and rushes into the house to tell Mattie that they have to quickly mend the dish, but Mattie informs him that Zeena is already home. They stare at each other in disappointment. It turns out that Jotham drove the horse to his house to deliver some goods for his wife. Ethan asks how Zeena is, but Mattie doesn't know since Zeena went to her room without a word. Ethan gives a low whistle, puts the glue in his pocket, and promises to mend the dish during the night.
Jotham comes back, and Ethan asks him to stay for dinner. He likes the idea of Jotham's neutralizing presence at the table, for Zeena is usually fussy after a journey. Jotham, however, rejects the offer and even refuses to come inside and dry off. The rejections seem ominous to Ethan; he suspects that the doctor visit has not gone well. When Ethan returns to the kitchen, the scene is comfortable and looks very much like the previous night, except that Mattie and Ethan merely look at each other in silence.
In this chapter, Ethan again fantasizes about Mattie, but his thoughts are interrupted by the reality around him. He has a difficult morning in the bad weather, and the gluing of the pickle dish becomes a threatening issue. At Eady's store, they cannot even locate any glue to sell him. At Mrs. Homan's store, he buys the last bottle of glue; she tells Ethan that she hopes that Zeena has not broken anything important. Ethan is fearful that she will tell everyone about the glue and her supposition. Then, Ethan's rush home is doomed. Although Zeena is not seen in this chapter, Jotham's refusal to stay and eat is a bad sign, an ominous warning.