Christine appears with a large bouquet of flowers. Mother and daughter stare at each other bitterly. Christine scornfully complains that their "sepulcher" of a house needs brightening. Only Abe Mannon could have built such a "temple to his hatred."
Turning toward the house, she mentions with studied casualness that she met Captain Brant in New York and invited him to dinner. Threateningly Lavinia observes that Father will be coming home soon and Christine withdraws.
Lavinia sits frozen on a bench and Seth approaches. Lavinia asks him to resume his story. Seth asks if she has not noticed that Brant looks just like her father, Orin, and all the other male Mannons. He believes that Brant is the child of David Mannon and Marie Brantôme, the Canuck nurse. Abe Mannon put them out of the house and tore it down afterward to conceal their illicit affair. To Seth, Brant looks like David's ghost returning home. Seth advises that she find the truth.
Suddenly the romantic-looking sea captain himself enters from the drive. Brant starts upon seeing Lavinia but immediately dons his most winning air. Lavinia recoils. She asks him what he thinks of her father's imminent return—he must know that she loves her father more than anyone.
A wary Brant replies that though daughters and sons usually love their fathers and mothers respectively, he had thought Lavinia might be different. She is like her mother; her face is the "dead image" of Christine's and they share the same hair. The only other woman with such hair was his mother.
Lavinia angrily protests. Uneasy, Brant resolves to establish himself on intimate footing with Lavinia again and recalls the night when they kissed on the beach and he told her of his clippers and voyages in the South Seas. Dryly Lavinia asks if he asked his mother permission to kiss her and if he spoke truly in declaring that he loved his tall, white clippers more than any woman. She recalls his admiration for the naked native women on his Eden-like "Blessed Islands," woman who had never known that love could be a sin.