The dame school session ends and the harvest begins. What does that mean? More work! There are onions to be harvested, apples to be picked, and cider to be pressed. There are also candles to be made for the winter.
During one such day of work (a candle-making session), Kit and the women finish their tasks early. Kit decides to use the extra time to visit Hannah.
Aunt Rachel asks where Kit is headed and unwilling to lie, Kit tells her. Though a bit reluctant, Aunt Rachel gives Kit a piece of leftover apple tart to take to the old woman.
Kit arrives at Hannah to find a visitor outside chopping firewood. Who? Why, Nat Eaton. Who else?
Nat is visiting on business and is there chopping Hannah’s wood for the winter. He also plans on thatching her roof. Kit, astonishing even herself, offers to help.
Kit gathers up the grass that Nat cuts and then the two scramble up the roof to lay the thatch. With the job done, they sit quietly. Kit feels peaceful and at home.
Time for some real talk: Nat asks Kit if she has been homesick. She says not when she visits Hannah, but otherwise, yes, it’s been hard for her to fit in.
Nat tells Kit a story about a fancy tropical bird that his father wouldn’t let him bring home from Barbados when he was a kid. Why? Because the New England birds would peck it and harass it.
Catching on to the metaphor, Kit asks if he thinks she has changed her tropical feathers – and is now a crow. He jokes that perhaps they’ve made her into a sparrow.
The talk turns to books. While Nat is not big on formal education, it turns out he loves to read. He and Kit discover their mutual love for Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. It is, after all, a story about a shipwreck on an island.
The conversation turns to a new topic: politics. Kit asks Nat why everyone in New England seems to be disloyal to King James. Nat gets very serious and tells her that “a man is loyal to the place he loves” (12.50).
Kit knows this would please Uncle Matthew, but isn’t sure what to think about it.
Supper time draws near and it’s time for Kit to depart. Nat ends up walking her home (much to her embarrassment) and ends up meeting the entire Wood family on the front porch. None of them look pleased, nor does William, who is also there visiting.
Uncle Matthew asks where Kit has been, and she tells him. Uncle Matthew is angry and calls Hannah a “heretic” (12.68). He forbids Kit to visit her again.
Kit is bummed, but as they walk inside Mercy whispers not to worry since she likes the looks of that seaman.