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After one year's stay in Washington, Carol gets tired of her office work. One day, while having tea, she notices the young girls. They talk about bedroom farce and running up to New York and Carol feels very old and rustic. When one of the girls gives orders to the chauffeur, Carol realizes that she herself is only a Government clerk from a small place called Gopher Prairie. Then she sees Juanita and Harry Haydock walking down the road and runs to them with joy. She clings to them and gives them dinner at St. Marks. She listens to all the gossip about Gopher Prairie eagerly and feels sorry to let them go. Once she goes out with the captain to a restaurant. She notices Bresnahan entertaining two ladies. The captain informs Carol that though Bresnahan is good sales man of motor cars, he is a nuisance in the aeronautic section. She watches a movie and is shocked to see Erik Valborg appear in a minor role. She feels very sorry for him. She receives Kennicott's letter and finds that Kennicott has a personality, which Erik can never have.
Kennicott comes to Washington to see her. She is touched to see him in a new soft gray suit and a new tie. His shoes are polished to a shine and he had shaved perhaps before getting off the train. She takes two days leave from her office to be with him. Kennicott spends half an hour in her flat with Hugh. She takes him around Washington. She feels moved when she finds that he is slightly balder and his fingernails are as roughly treated as ever.
He gives her news of Gopher Prairie. They had started the construction of the new school building. Vida made him tired by the way she looked at her Maje. Chet Dashaway had been killed in a motor accident. But he never tells her to like him or return to him. He wants to know if they are still married but he never asks any questions. He shows her photographs of Gopher Prairie. She looks at them and remembers his first wooing.
She informs him that he will have to stay at a hotel but he does not get angry or hurt. He wants to go to her flat to see Hugh and meet her friends. He makes friends easily with her housemates and suggests remedies for red eyes and inoculation for cold. The next day he comes to the flat for breakfast and washes the dishes. They go sight seeing. He tells her how he had to earn while he was studying. He regrets the fact that his friends in college did nothing but loaf around and cause nuisance. He feels that he should have attended concerts at that age so that she would have thought of him as intelligent. He asks her if she liked the photos and if she would like to see Gopher Prairie. She tells him that if she did she would retain the right to criticize it. She admits that she must have been tiresome to live with and likes the way he grins when she says that.