Study Guide

Angle of Repose Part 4, Chapter 5

By Wallace Stegner

Part 4, Chapter 5

  • We're taken to one of the bustling social evenings in Leadville.
  • The event begins with Helen Hunt Jackson grilling the Geological Survey dudes over whether they would illegally give inside info to their business friends. Coming out swinging, huh?
  • Clarence King, the director of the survey, scoffs at the question. The room devolves into a bunch of jokes, which Susan thinks is good because a question that inflammatory might cause a fistfight.
  • Helen attempts to get King to answer the question straight up, but he refuses—that is, until Oliver "unexpectedly" pipes in to second Helen's request for an actual answer (4.5.34).
  • Susan sees this as a huge faux pas. Luckily, King manages to give a good enough answer (that he only hires men he trusts with his life) to defuse the situation.
  • Soon afterward, the guests begin gathering their things, thanking their hosts for a lovely evening, and strolling out the door.
  • Alone now, Susan takes the opportunity to chew out Oliver for his utter lack of social skills. This is a recurring complaint for her, it seems.
  • Oliver tells Susan that she shouldn't worry about King not liking him because after all, the dude's already given him a job with the Geological Survey.
  • Susan apologizes for being a "foolish woman" who doubts her husband (4.5.104). She quickly becomes excited at the prospect of Oliver doing something he truly loves.
  • The couple begins to kiss passionately and...the chapter ends.