Study Guide

Across Five Aprils Chapter 7

By Irene Hunt

Chapter 7

  • Friends from all over come to help Matt and replenish what he lost in the fire.
  • Things start to return to some sort of normal but Jethro is still afraid that something else will happen.
  • Eventually boys who were wounded in battle start coming back home.
  • One boy, Dan Lawrence, brings news of Tom.
  • Still weak from being injured, he goes with his father to tell Matt what happened to Tom.
  • Dan goes through all the events that happened that day, eventually coming to the conclusion that Tom has died.
  • A week after Dan breaks the news to Matt and Ellen, Ross Milton openly publishes a letter to the vandals who destroyed Matt's farm.
  • Ross verbally slaps the men who carried out the devastating acts and says that Matt has suffered more than enough, especially now since one of his sons has died for the Union.
  • Jenny cuts out the letter and places it in the family Bible.
  • Matt doesn't have the heart or the steady hand to write in Tom's death, so he asks Jenny to do it for him instead.
  • Jethro sits next to Jenny as she flips to the page where they keep the record; he sees his own name in addition to the names of his lost siblings.
  • Jeth asks Jenny if he remembers them.
  • She starts traveling down memory lane and reminisces about the boys.
  • Eventually Jenny completes Tom's record and fills in the date and place of his death.
  • The two of them look over the list, recognizing the names.
  • Jethro points out the space next to Jenny's name where they'll someday write in her marriage to Shad.
  • Jenny takes this opportunity to open up about her fear that someday someone will come to tell her that Shad has been killed.
  • These days there is no laughter or joy around… except for one incident that brings some delight to the town.
  • Wortman gets his comeuppance.
  • Since mob violence has been rearing its ugly head, Sam Gardiner (the store owner in Newton) has taken to staying late into the night at his store waiting for his chance to show the vandals who's really boss.
  • But it never comes.
  • So instead of waiting, Sam tricks Wortman and his crew into thinking that he will be leaving the store unguarded for a week.
  • Now it's stakeout time for Sam.
  • After three days, Wortman and his henchmen break into the store at night.
  • But Sam is waiting for them and promptly fires a shot, which finds its way into Wortman's bum.
  • To add insult to injury, Ross Milton publishes the whole account in the paper to make sure that everyone hears about it.
  • Meanwhile the war is still going on with stories of how Confederate general Beauregard left Corinth before Union general Halleck even arrived.
  • Jethro is beginning to doubt the Union officers.