Dana and Kevin arrive back in 1976. They make love. Kevin seems lost. He tells Dana that he felt most at home on the Weylin plantation. Against her will, Dana feels the same way. Kevin’s newly acquired accent reminds Dana of Rufus, and her house reminds her a little of the Weylins’. Kevin says he grew his beard as a disguise, because a mob was after him for helping slaves escape. He cannot remember how the TV or typewriter works. He grows increasingly upset and lashes out at Dana. Dana gets dizzy, and Kevin runs for her bag.
Dana arrives at the Weylins’ alone. Rufus is drunk and lying facedown in a puddle. Dana turns him over and fetches Nigel, who carries Rufus to the house. Weylin, looking old and frail, tells her that as long as she continues to save Rufus’s life, he will allow her to stay. Dana says if he beats her again, she will stop looking out for Rufus. Enraged, Weylin orders her to go tend to Rufus. He says if anything befalls Rufus, he will flay her alive. She believes he means it.
Rufus is trembling. Nigel says that he has the ague, meaning malaria. Dana tells Nigel to put some mosquito netting around Rufus. She explains that the insects spread the disease. But when Rufus tells Dana that his eyes, head, and leg hurt, she realizes that malaria isn’t the problem. Weylin comes in, and Dana tells him he should get a doctor. He refuses, saying Dana can save him. He says she might be a witch or a devil, but she can feel pain, and she will suffer if Rufus dies.
Rufus is sick for days. Dana tends to him, giving him aspirin and forcing him to eat. Dana learns that since she was last there, Alice has had three children by Rufus, two of whom have died. Her third child, Joe, is still living. Dana is pained to hear that Hagar, her ancestor, has not been born yet. The other slaves are cruel to Alice. They suspect that she enjoys being with Rufus. Rufus finally gets well. Weylin has a heart attack. Dana tries to revive him, but she can’t. Rufus accuses her of letting him die.
Nigel and Carrie now have three sons. Nigel says it’s painful to see them enslaved. Alice tells Dana that her first two children fell ill, and the doctor bled them. She blames Rufus for their deaths, since it was he who insisted on sending for the doctor. To punish Dana for failing to save his father, Rufus forces her to work in the fields. Evan Fowler, the new overseer, whips Dana across her back and breasts, ordering her to cut corn faster. As the day wears on, the pain of the work competes with the pain of Fowler’s occasional whippings. Finally, Dana passes out.
When Dana revives, Rufus is standing over her. At the house, she changes and dresses her wounds. She goes to Rufus’s room to get some Excedrin. He orders her not to leave, threatening to send her back to the fields if she disobeys. She stays. Rufus grows gentler and says he knows she tried to save his father. He says his mother is coming back. She is a laudanum (opium) addict, and he wants Dana to take care of her. Dana begs him to reconsider, and he says he will think about it. As Dana leaves, Rufus tells her she can read a book for the rest of the day, or do whatever else she likes. Dana realizes he would be shocked if she refused to forgive him whenever he did something to hurt her.