In present day, Mattie reads one of Grace's letters, in which Grace talks about her relationship with her mother, and Mattie realizes that she desperately misses her own mother.
She remembers happy times, but also how her mother told her to keep her virtue when Mattie started menstruating—much embarrassment ensued when Mattie asked where her virtue was located.
Even though Mamma revealed where virtue is located, she never told Mattie how to tell when a man loves her.
Mattie thinks she knows why Grace gave her virtue (code for virginity) to Chester, and she recalls that Minnie has said to pay attention to the man's behavior.
But it's no use: Mattie's mother said that Mattie would know if a man loved her, and Mattie knows that Royal doesn't love her. She calls both herself and Grace sad and stupid for loving men who will never love them back.