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The Dewy's house, a low-roofed cottage, has three chimneys and a thatched roof. The walls of the house are covered with creeping plants, and the door appears to be worn out from the coming and going of many people. A little away from the cottage is a building from which comes the sound of woodcutting. The sound of horses can also be heard.
The men's church choir enters the house, wiping their boots clean on the doorstep. As they enter, they spy Dick's father, Reuben Dewy. Known to the townsfolk as the Tranter, Reuben, a stout, red-faced man of about forty, is busily engaged in opening a barrel of cider. He does not bother to look up when they enter, but he welcomes the men and tells them that the cider is made from the finest apples.
The main room to the left of the cottage is decorated with a Christmas tree. The Tranter's wife and four of his children are gathered there; Susan, Jim, Bessy, and Charley are all between the ages of four and sixteen; Dick, the oldest, is twenty years old. Mrs. Dewy invites the choir to sit round the fire. She warmly asks Thomas Leaf to sit beside her and inquires about Mr. Penny's daughter, who is expecting her fifth baby.
As Reuben is about to open the barrel, he remembers the deceased Sam Lawson, who had given him the cider. When the cider shoots out in a stream, he sends his daughter to get mugs and tells Michael to put his thumb over the hole while he retrieves a cork. The choir sits drinking around the table. Reuben wonders if his father, known as Grandfather William, is cutting wood or playing the violin. He goes to find him and ask him to join the party.
In this chapter, traditional rustic hospitality and family life are introduced. The Dewy home is warmly described in careful detail. Even though the Dewys are not wealthy, they are a close family unit. They have put up a Christmas tree in the big room of their picturesque cottage and have gathered around it, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the choir. Mrs. Dewy and four of her children are also eager for the return of Dick, the oldest son. As they wait, Reuben Dewy, Dick's father, is attempting to open a barrel of cider, which he plans to share with the men from the church choir.
When the choir members enter, they are warmly welcomed with familiarity, even though Reuben never looks up from the task at hand. He feels totally comfortable with these rustics and feels no need to be formal. The group gathers around the table to enjoy the cider and good-humored conversation about their lives, past and present; it is obvious that they like and enjoy one another. When Reuben realizes that his own father, Grandfather William, has not yet joined them, he calls him to the party. In totality, the chapter is a warm picture of close community filled with a festive mood.