Summary: Gloves

Spring has come again in the present-day narrative. Iris has been writing down her memories for nearly a year. Her condition worsens.

Summary: Home fires

Iris returns to her narrative of the past. By the time World War II breaks out, she has suffered several miscarriages, and Richard is openly unfaithful to her. They maintain a façade for social appearances. The war is initially a tricky situation for Richard since he has spoken out in favor of the Germans, but he shifts his alliances and maintains his hold on money and power.

Summary: Diana Sweets

In May 1945, just after the end of European hostilities in World War II, Iris receives a phone call from Laura. Laura is in Toronto and wants to meet with her. They meet at a restaurant. Laura explains that after leaving the clinic, she first hid at Avilion with Reenie’s help and eventually moved to Halifax. She had access to her inheritance from her father and spent most of her time on charity work. She tried to contact Iris but was never able to get through. Laura urges Iris to leave Richard, but Iris is evasive, claiming she needs the money and fears losing her child.

Laura asks Iris what she knows about the circumstances under which Laura was admitted to the clinic. Iris says she was told that Laura was suffering delusions, including one that she was pregnant. Laura explains that she was in fact pregnant, and Richard and Winifred had her admitted in order to prevent a scandal. Laura underwent an abortion without her consent. Iris asks about the father, and Laura seems astonished that Iris doesn’t know. Iris takes this as confirmation that Alex Thomas was the father of Laura’s baby. However, Iris is confused when Laura begins to refer to some sort of bargain that she had to participate in in order to keep Alex safe and his whereabouts hidden. Laura explains that now that the war is over, she is waiting for Alex to come back and look for her.

Iris bluntly breaks the truth to her sister: Alex died in Holland six months prior. Iris and Alex were lovers, and because he listed her as his next of kin, she received the telegram announcing his death. Laura seems stunned and leaves the restaurant without saying anything to her sister.

Summary: Escarpment

The next day, Iris worries about Laura. Returning from a luncheon, she learns that Laura stopped by the house looking for her, but only hours later, she receives news of Laura’s death in a car accident. Iris calls Richard and they plan out how to minimize the scandal and make sure the death appears accidental. As Iris prepares to leave the house, she finds a pile of Laura’s old notebooks, which Laura must have left at the house when she stopped by in Iris’s absence. Curious, Iris opens them.