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Jake and Singer arrive at Doctor Copelandís house. Portia invites them into the kitchen and introduces Jake to Willie, who is lying on a mattress on the floor. Beside him is his brother Buddy, Marshall Nichols, and John Roberts, the latter two men are Doctor Copelandís contemporaries and leading citizens of the African- American community in the city. Jake tries to get Willie to tell the story of what happened to him. Willie is obsessed with what has happened to his feet. He feels phantom pains and thinks he would feel better if he could have his feet back. He reluctantly tells Jake the story of what caused the prison guards to torture him and his fellow prisoners. Buster Johnson had said something and a guard had beaten him severely with a stick. While the beating was taking place, another man and Willie tried to run away. They were caught and taken back and tied up. Jake doesnít want to hear about the torture. He tells Willie he wants the names of the other men and the names of the prison guards. Willie says he thinks Jake is trying to get him into trouble and Jake is shocked that Willie thinks he could be in worse trouble than he is already. Willie says the other men are not his friends. Portia explains that during the three days of the torture, Willie and the others had quarreled and now donít speak. Doctor Copeland has been upset by this. He wants to get all three of the men together to live with him.
Jake feels queasy and strange in the room. He feels isolated as he sits there. He hears that Doctor Copeland is in the front room in bed sick. They tell him he has had an accident. Lancy and Highboy come in with some wine and sweet bread. Jake tries to talk to John Roberts and Marshall Nichols. Marshall Nichols urges amelioration, saying they must work on amicable relations with white people and do nothing to hurt the relations that exist at the moment. He uses such formal speech that Jake urges him to talk plainly so he can understand him. Finally, Jake leaves the room and goes into the front room where Doctor Copeland is lying in bed.