Summary: Chapter Fourteen
October comes with the colorful changing of seasons in the landscape. Judith and Kit go to the wharf to watch the Dolphin come in to port with all its goods, including glass windows for William’s house. Nat confronts Kit that she should have told him she was engaged to marry William, and then he asks her to deliver a package to Hannah. At home, Matthew and the selectmen react to news that Sir Edmond Andros will take over as royal governor of Connecticut.
Summary: Chapter Fifteen
The men of the town mobilize at the Woods’ home to formulate a response to the king’s impending takeover of their government. William’s arrival to join the discussion surprises Kit, but Judith says it was common knowledge he had turned against the king’s interference in the autonomy of their government months earlier. Matthew counters a call for armed resistance with a plea for no bloodshed. He wants to protect the signed charter granted by King Charles from being taken and destroyed by Governor Andros. Judith and Kit go to watch the arrival of British troops, and Kit notes an escort from Hartford led by Captain Samuel Talcott, whom Kit had seen at Matthew’s meetings. That evening, their governor signed a statement annexing the Colony of Connecticut to Massachusetts, which was already under Governor Andros’s control. William arrives with news that the charter has been secreted away from Andros and is safe.
Analysis: Chapters Fourteen–Fifteen
The changing of seasons is a recurring motif in the novel, and the emergence of autumn symbolizes Kit’s changing character as it evolves once more to brush away the old and make way for the new. Kit marvels at the colorful autumnal landscape around her, but for the first time does not compare its beauty to that of Barbados, indicating that she has come to appreciate New England on its own merits. When witnessing Matthew’s reverence for the land, Kit realizes she no longer fears or hates her uncle, but respects and loves him. Her relationship with Nat changes in a less positive way when he confronts her for not revealing her potential engagement to William. Though the reader is aware of her conflicting feelings, Nat is not, leading to an unfortunate but inevitable tension between the two characters.
This section of the novel features several dramatized depictions of real events and figures from history, a key aspect of the historical fiction genre. Sir Edmund Andros was the real-life governor of New England whose appointment led to tension between the King of England and the citizens of colonial Connecticut. The reactions of fictional characters such as Matthew, William, and the many other Puritan men who gather at the Wood household to voice their discontent are examples of how Puritan society would have responded to such news. Similarly, the stealing of the Connecticut Charter, which the story implies Matthew was involved in, is a real event from history that symbolized freedom from tyranny to colonial Americans. Kit, who formerly held Royalist opinions, is surprised to find herself proud of Matthew’s bravery and begins to understand the colonists’ desire for freedom, implying that such acts of bravery during this time period were instrumental in changing real-life attitudes toward colonial independence. Although violence is avoided, these details again foreshadow the growing discontent that will eventually lead to the American Revolution.