Study Guide

Across Five Aprils Chapter 9

By Irene Hunt

Chapter 9

  • The soldiers who are abandoning the war are shacking up at a place called Point Prospect and everyone is pretty much leaving them alone/is super scared of them.
  • In March of 1863, a group of disgruntled soldiers kill a man called Hig Philips for dodging the draft and for being an overall doofus.
  • This puts everyone on alert.
  • Nancy and her boys are living at the Creightons' house now and the whole family has taken on new rules for safety.
  • One night some men stop by the Creightons' house and ask to talk to Matt.
  • They're Federal Registrars agents whose job is to track down deserters of the war.
  • And guess who they're looking for… Eb.
  • Matt says they haven't heard from him but the men believe Eb is trying to make his way back home.
  • An annoyed Jenny steps up and leads the men through their property to prove that Eb is not hiding out somewhere.
  • Finally she tells them they can check out Point Prospect if they're looking for deserters, but they don't seem to be very keen on that idea. Point: Jenny.
  • Jenny calls them out on disturbing her family instead of bravely confronting the deserters.
  • The Feds take Jethro with them as they look outside, and before long they start mocking him for the way he speaks. Stay classy, Feds.
  • When they get back to their wagon, the men instruct Jethro to immediately contact the Federal Registrars if Eb shows up—if he doesn't, his whole family will be in major trouble.
  • In springtime, Jeth starts to pack some heat while working.
  • Out in the fields one day, he notices the call of a wild turkey—but it's not a normal call, so he goes to investigate.
  • Armed with his rifle, Jethro heads into the woods bordering the field.
  • Now he's able to tell that the calls are coming from a man, so he asks the hidden individual what they want.
  • A voice responds, telling Jeth to lower the gun—but Jethro wants to see the man's face first. Can't say we blame the kid after all he's been through.
  • But guess who it is… it's Eb.
  • Well it's a scraggly, sad, image of Eb anyway. Even Jethro can hardly believe it's him.
  • Jeth is momentarily excited to see his cousin, but Eb brings him back down to reality and points out the elephant in the woods—he's a deserter.
  • What's worse is that he has no intention of seeing Matt and Ellen.
  • Jethro is confused because, like, why come back at all?
  • Eb says he couldn't stay away.
  • He asks Jeth to tell him what has been going on with the family, and they both play catch-up for a bit.
  • Jethro asks if Eb is hungry. Um, duh. He's always hungry.
  • So good guy Jeth runs to get him some food.
  • It's time to tell Eb that the guys from the Federal Registrar came poking around, and of course Eb is pretty freaked out by the news. He'll stay out in the woods until they figure something out.
  • Needless to say, Jeth has a lot on his mind as he tries to decide both if he should help Eb, and how to do so.
  • Jenny can tell that something is up with him and after supper asks what's up.
  • He does a good job at not clueing her in though, and leads her to believe that he has an upset stomach from smoking.
  • The best part of his lie is that Jenny makes up a special plate of food for him, which he can sneak out to Eb later.
  • In bed, Jethro searches for an answer to the problem known as Eb.
  • Finally a light bulb goes off and he has an idea—write to President Lincoln. Obviously.
  • And there's no time like the present, so Jeth starts writing that very night.
  • The next morning, Jethro brings Eb all sorts of goodies.
  • He also decides to send his letter to the President.
  • At noon, Jethro convinces his father to let him drive over to Hidalgo (not mentioning the letter or Eb, of course), and he sends off his letter from there.
  • Apparently Jethro doesn't do "waiting for an answer" very well though, and he's restless at night, which makes Jenny worry—which makes helping Eb harder.
  • Plus Jethro has major doubts about whether or not he did a good thing.
  • And then it comes.
  • Ed Turner brings the mail in the middle of dinner so Jeth has a grand audience for the big news.
  • First he reads the letter to himself and then aloud to his family.
  • All in all, the president is going to allow all deserters a chance to return to their posts without major punishment.
  • Great news, straight from the President's pen.