The Witch of Blackbird Pond
by Elizabeth George Speare
The Witch of Blackbird Pond Chapter 10 Summary
- Kit returns home from her visit to Mr. Kimberley with good news: she’s talked him into giving Mercy – and her! – another chance. Everyone is surprised.
- Kit says she got the courage from Hannah Tupper, who must have bewitched her. Kit is joking, of course, but Aunt Rachel takes this comment very seriously.
- Aunt Rachel tells Kit that Hannah is a Quaker, and that Quakers are “queer stubborn people.” (10.16). They don’t believe in the Sacraments. (That means they don’t take communion.)
- We learn too that Quakers are seen as troublemakers and have been persecuted and even hanged in places like Boston. Aunt Rachel mentions that Hannah and her husband were branded and driven out of Massachusetts.
- Kit doesn’t really see the big deal since Hannah is such a nice person, but Aunt Rachel insists that Kit should stay away from the old woman. Kit says she can’t make any promises.
- Kit wonders if she should tell William Ashby about Hannah and decides against it. She considers John Holbrook too, though he has been brainwashed by Dr. Bulkeley.
- Speaking of John Holbrook, Kit reflects on Judith’s growing affections for him. Though nothing has been spoken – and John does nothing to single her out – it’s clear that Judith is falling more and more in love with him.
- Two weeks of work go by and Kit is very busy. One day on the walk back from the onion field, Kit decides to visit Hannah. Judith warns against it, but Kit goes anyway.
- At the house by Blackbird Pond, Hannah is spinning flax, which, Kit learns, she does to earn money. She earns enough, at least, to pay taxes and the fines she gets for not going to Meeting.
- Kit can’t believe Hannah gets fined for not going to the Puritan’s Meetings, but is intrigued by Quakerism. She asks if she can become a Quaker too and Hannah chuckles, saying that being a Quaker isn’t just about getting out of Meeting.
- With that, a dark shadow appears in the doorway. Who could it be? Why Hannah’s seafaring fried: Nathaniel Eaton.
- Nathaniel Eaton?! Yes, indeed. The young Nat is Hannah’s mysterious friend and today he’s brought her some molasses from Barbados.
- Hannah and Nat catch up with news and Hannah grows vague for a moment and mentions her dead husband as if he were still alive. Kit worries.
- Nevertheless, Hannah makes the joke that the only two friends she’s found in Wethersfield she’s found crying in the meadow.
- Hannah tells the story of finding a small eight-year-old Nat weeping in the meadow, running away because his father wouldn’t let him stay on the ship for the winter.
- Just like with Kit, Hannah had given Nat a blueberry corncake and a kitten to pet. She even walked him back to the ship.
- Hannah is excited because now all three can have supper together, but Kit realizes that the hour is late and that she must go.
- Nat walks her out and as he does, teases her in a smocking tone about not fitting in well in Wethersfield. Kit is not amused. Nat is serious for a moment, though, and asks Kit to keep an eye on Hannah.
- Kit concludes that Nat is a “contradictory person” and that she “would never know what to expect from him” (10.96).
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