Summary: Part II, Chapter V: The Avenging Angels
Hope, Ferrier, and Lucy continue their journey through the mountains, which Hope knows well. Hope understands that the Mormons will follow them, so they only stop briefly before nightfall. On the second day, they run out of food. As Hope believes their pursuers can no longer reach them, he leaves Ferrier and Lucy to hunt for food.
Several hours later, he heads back with some meat from a bighorn sheep. Upon his return, he realizes he wandered into unfamiliar territory and must walk extra miles before finding their camp. He calls out but receives no answer. Ferrier, Lucy, and the animals are gone. Hope can tell from the tracks on the ground that a group of men on horses had overcome the camp. He sees a freshly dug mound nearby marked as Ferrier’s grave, and he guesses the men took Lucy back to Salt Lake City.
Hope vows to devote the rest of his life to seeking revenge. As he approaches Salt Lake City, he recognizes a man who tells him that Lucy married Drebber the day before. Within a month, Lucy dies. Hope visits her dead body and removes the wedding ring from her finger.
After Lucy’s death, Hope disappears into the mountains. He tries to kill Drebber and Stangerson, who get guards for protection. When some time passes with no more attempts on their lives, Drebber and Stangerson determine that Hope no longer seeks them, but they’re wrong. Suffering from exposure and lack of food in the mountains, Hope returns to Nevada to regain his health and earn money.
Five years pass before Hope can return to Salt Lake City. Once there, he learns that Drebber and Stangerson, along with a group of other Mormons, left Utah and became Christians. Hope travels throughout the country to look for them. Finally, many years later, in Cleveland, Ohio, he spies Drebber through a window, but Drebber also sees Hope.
Drebber goes to the police and reports that a dangerous rival from his past has shown up. The police arrest Hope, and by the time he is freed, Drebber and Stangerson, who works as Drebber’s secretary, have fled to Europe. Hope works to save money and then follows them to Europe, where he continues to track them. Hope finally catches up with Drebber and Stangerson in London.
Analysis: Part II, Chapter V
The landscape described at the beginning of Chapter V strongly symbolizes the situation that the Ferriers and Jefferson Hope find themselves in. The “marvelous though savage beauty” of their surroundings represents the mix of peril and potential, as the three travelers pick their way through danger toward the possibility of escape. The mountains “hemmed them in” on all sides, a metaphor for the way the travelers feel as if they are being watched by the invisible eye of the Avenging Angels. This turns out to be more than a feeling, as dangers that had been foreshadowed now arrive. The land goes from a symbol of danger to being an enemy in itself when, in a bitter piece of irony, Jefferson Hope’s considerable talents fail him for the first time. He is unable to find his way back to Lucy and John before the Avenging Angels strike, and in the moment of climax, everything comes unraveled for Hope.
Beginning with Jefferson Hope’s vow of revenge, the events of the rest of the chapter serve as an explanation for several of the mysteries in Part I, and also as a partial resolution of Part II. Hope finds out that it was Stangerson who shot John Ferrier and that Drebber married Lucy solely for the purpose of seizing the Ferriers’ land and wealth, finally providing readers with Hope’s motivation for murder: Hope will avenge John Ferrier by murdering Stangerson and avenge Lucy by murdering Drebber. The scene in which Hope takes Lucy’s wedding ring from her dead body explains why the gold circlet was found at Brixton Road and why Hope returned to the scene of the crime desperate to find it. The twenty-odd years’ gap in time between the death of the Ferriers and the murders of Stangerson and Drebber is the last piece of the puzzle and is explained by the difficulties Hope has in finding and pursuing his targets.