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After the Logan children have moped for a week, expecting any moment to have their secret revealed, T.J. Avery pays a visit to the boys. T.J. wants them to sneak down to the Wallace store and learn how to do the new dances, but Stacey reminds him that they are not permitted to go there. Failing to bait them with forbidden adventure, T.J. announces that he has the "latest" about the night men. They had gone to the Tatum place where they had tarred and feathered Mr. Tatum for calling Mr. Barnett a liar. Mr. Barnett (who ran the Mercantile in Strawberry) had charged Tatum for a number of items that were never ordered. Relieved that it had nothing to do with the bus, the children leave the room to run an errand for Mama-but T.J. does not immediately follow as he says he has to get his hat. A few minutes later they find him in Mama’s room looking at her school materials. He denies looking for answers to an upcoming test, but the implication is that he was doing exactly that.
A few days later, T.J. shows them a paper on the way to school. Stacey takes it from him and tears it into little pieces. At lunch time, T.J. makes a new cheat list. When he sees Mrs. Logan coming toward him during the test, he slips the notes to Stacey who doesn’t see his mother coming. Consequently, Stacey gets the whipping for cheating.
After school, T.J. takes off toward the Wallace store. Stacey follows him after trying to tell the other children to go home. They refuse and go with him. Stacey catches up to T.J. outside the store and a fist fight ensues which is stopped by Mr. Morrison who puts the kids in his wagon and takes them home. He promises not to tell, but only because he is leaving it up to Stacey to tell on himself.
The next evening, Stacey having already told his mother about the incident, Mary takes the kids for a ride to the Berry home. There they meet Mr. Berry who spends his days in the dark and lives in constant pain as a result of the burns inflicted on him. Mary tells the children that the Wallaces did that-which is the reason they no longer go to the Wallace store. On the way home she stops at the Turner home in an attempt to get them to stop shopping at the Wallace store as well.
Taylor uses a pacing device to create the passage of time of the ride home from the store and to tell the story of the Logan land. They are the only black family in the area who owns their own land; Grandpa Logan had bought 200 acres from a Yankee who had purchased all the Granger land after the war. The elder Jamison had also bought about 2000 acres. Later the Grangers wanted to buy it all back, but the elder Jamison and Logan wouldn’t sell. When Mr. Jamison died, his son Wade sold another 200 acres to the Logans and the rest of it back to the Grangers. Mr. Granger is at the Logan house when Mr. Morrison gets the kids home. Mama tells them that he has been after them to sell their land "again."