Miss Merle narrates Chapter three. She has brought an apple pie over to the Marshall House to give to Jack, the Major, in whom she has long been romantically interested with no success. After seeing Janey's distress and Jack slumped over drunk, she drives down to the quarters. She sees Candy in front of Mathu's house. Mathu, Johnny Paul, and Rufe are all sitting on the porch holding shotguns. Candy tells Miss Merle that she shot Beau.
Miss Merle has known Candy since Candy was five or six when Candy's mother and father died in a car crash. For this reason, Miss Merle knows that Candy is lying to her. Miss Merle begs Candy to tell her the truth, but Candy insists that she shot Beau. Candy then explains that even though she did it, Mathu, Rufe, and Johnny Paul have also confessed to the crime. Miss Merle tells Candy that she knows that Candy did not kill Beau.
Candy asks Miss Merle to help by gathering as many men as possible to the scene, with twelve gauge shotguns and some empty gun shells. When Miss Merle questions her reasoning, Candy explains that if Mapes comes with just the three men there, he will beat them until one confesses. If more men with shotguns appear, Mapes will not gather a confession so easily. Candy explains that she does not want anything to happen to her people, especially to Mathu. Miss Merle looks at Mathu and decides that he definitely killed Beau. She remembers how the youthful Candy was closer to Mathu than to the aunt and uncle who were supposed to raise her. Miss Merle knows that Candy is trying to protect Mathu with this scheme. Candy also begs Miss Merle to make sure that Lou comes before Mapes.
Miss Merle returns to the Marshall House. She finds Jack still asleep drunk on the porch and Bea sitting on the west gallery. When Bea sees Miss Merle, she orders Janey to go get them a drink called a "pea picker," made of gin and pink lemonade.
Miss Merle tells Bea that Beau Bauton has been killed in the quarters and it is not the right time for a drink. Bea does not care and becomes very angry when Merle tries to counteract her order to Janey. Bea tells Miss Merle that she is not the mistress of Marshall House and that Miss Merle has no right to give her servants orders. Janey gets the drinks.
Miss Merle tells Bea and Janey that Candy is claiming responsibility for the shooting. Bea commends Candy's spunk remarking that it runs in their family, as Candy is her niece. She also criticizes Beau's Cajun background. Miss Merle explains Candy's plan to Janey and Bea. When Janey gets hysterical, Miss Merle slaps Janey's black face. Bea suggests that Janey call Clatoo since Clatoo has hated Fix ever since Fix's brother tried to rape Clatoo's sister and his sister was sent to prison and became insane. Miss Merle tells Bea and Janey to keep thinking up more people. As Miss Merle heads to the phone, Bea also orders Janey to bring her another drink.
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You will not be able to follow this book at all. Im sorry if you have to read this
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I recommend not over-analyzing this novel, written to meet a 1980s multiculturalist standard less tilted than today’s. Charlie appears borderline disabled intellectually, which gives Beau an opening to chase him, a thing Beau otherwise couldn’t have done without repercussions. That Candy likes “her people” (Mathu and the other Marshall farmhands) was necessary then but condemned as patronizing today. The attempted lynching and shootout are implausible after mid-1960s and holding a trial only days after a crime hasn’t been seen sinc
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