Study Guide

A Lesson Before Dying Chapter 3

By Ernest J. Gaines

Chapter 3

  • Grant puts his aunt and Miss Emma into the back seat of his car and slams the door. He drives them to Henri Pichot's big house and opens the gate, drives in, and shuts it behind him.
  • He hits all the bumps in the driveway, which is irritating to the ladies in the back, but they don't say anything.
  • Grant says that he thought he was free from ever having to go through Henri's back door ever again, but his aunt tells him that today isn't like other days.
  • The maid, Inez Lane, lets them in and goes to look for Mr. Henri, who is speaking to someone in his library.
  • Miss Emma had been the cook and housekeeper at the Pichots' house for many years, and Grant's aunt, Tante Lou, had done the washing and ironing.
  • Grant had had to do a lot of chores there, too, but before he went to college, ten years ago, his aunt had told him that she and Emma had enough to get by without him ever having to go through the back door of the house ever again.
  • And now here he is, going to go in through the back door. Ouch.
  • Mr. Henri sends the maid back to ask what they want, and Miss Emma tells her she needs to speak to him.
  • Henri Pichot and his friend, Louis Rougon, dressed in suits and carrying drinks, come out into the room.
  • Miss Emma says she wants to ask Mr. Henri a favor, because they called her boy a hog and she wants a man to go to the chair, not a hog.
  • She asks Henri if he will talk to his brother-in-law, the sheriff, so he will let the teacher visit her godson in jail.
  • After some hemming and hawing Mr. Henri agrees to talk to Sam, and Miss Emma threatens to come back and beg every day until he has good news for her.