Study Guide

Cold Mountain Chapter 19

By Charles Frazier

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Chapter 19

The Far Side of Trouble

  • Ada and Inman are sitting in a hut in the Cherokee village, and Ruby's made coffee.
  • Ruby's not so thrilled about Inman, though. At least she's not talking to him much.
  • Stobrod's still in tough shape, and no one knows if he's getting better or worse.
  • Inman catches up on some much-deserved sleep.
  • The ladies go to another building and make turkey for dinner. Ada had good luck hunting, after all.
  • Ruby and Ada have some girl talk. Ruby says they don't need Inman for the farm.
  • Ada says she knows she doesn't need Inman, but she thinks she wants him.
  • Ruby says that's a whole different thing.
  • Ada observes that she doesn't want to be old and bitter, wishing she'd had more nerve at this moment.
  • Not exactly a bachelorette party at the spa, but a good heart-to-heart.
  • Inman wakes up and gets Stobrod some water.
  • Inman finds the ladies in the other cabin.
  • They feed him a great turkey dinner.
  • Ruby says she's going to go take care of her father for a while. Sounds like a hint that Ada and Inman will have some time alone.
  • It's slightly awkward for a minute after she leaves, so Inman decides to update Ada on his recent reading.
  • His only recent reading is Bartram. He tells her about how beautifully Bartram describes the area near Cold Mountain and how much the book has meant to him. A good move on a date, at least a date with Ada.
  • He starts to read from Bartram, and the passage seems to be about sex. Awkward. And unexpected. It's like paging through a flower catalog with a date and running across a steamy section—not what Inman had in mind.
  • Ada asks if it's all like that, and Inman says almost none of it is.
  • Inman decides to do the dishes to ease the moment. Not too bad. If you have to hide from your date, proving your generosity about dishes is a good bet.
  • When he comes back, it takes them a minute, but they manage to start talking about the letters they wrote each other.
  • Then they talk about the village they're in for a while.
  • Finally, Inman tells Ada that all the way home he was just hoping she would marry him. Seems like their relationship is finally getting somewhere.
  • Or not. Inman says it seems unfair to ask someone to commit to him after the war. He's afraid he's ruined beyond repair.
  • Ada says she doesn't see why he can't be healed. Inman reaches out and touches her hair, and everything goes all movie-slow-motion as they finally hold each other. They start telling each other stories and talking about life, holding each other the whole time.
  • Ruby turns up just as Inman's about to kiss Ada on the neck again. Talk about unfortunate timing. The couple manages to scramble apart before Ruby comes in, and Ruby asks if she should go back out.
  • Then Ruby gives them an update on Stobrod.
  • Ruby also says she's made up something like a bed in the cabin Stobrod's in. Inman goes and sleeps there, thinking the whole time about Ada.
  • Ada lays awake thinking—you guessed it—about Inman.
  • Ada and Ruby have some more girl talk. Ruby's trying to figure out how to take care of her father if he lives. Ada says he can stay with them, and Ruby is appreciative.
  • The next day, Ada and Inman go hunting together. It may not be the most romantic idea, but they haven't seen each other in four years, so they make the most of it.
  • They sit and talk while they're out, and Ada tells Inman how she's changed over the last few years.
  • Ada also says that she wants Ruby to stay on the farm whatever happens.
  • Inman asks if Ruby could learn to put up with him.
  • Ada says she thinks they can make it work, if Inman makes an effort to show Ruby he understands her.
  • They find an arrow in a tree, and things go all symbolic. They plan to revisit this spot over the years of their lives together. They even talk about bringing their grandchildren.
  • They don't catch anything while hunting, but at least Ada and Inman are able to bring back firewood and goldenseal, a medicinal plant to help Stobrod.
  • More girl time. Ruby and Ada spend some time planning what they'll do for the farm after this.
  • Ruby realizes that the crisis or most intense point of Stobrod's illness will be tonight. She says she wants to stay there all night to take care of him.
  • Ada and Inman spend the night together. They hold each other close and tell stories of their pasts. Then they talk about their future together. Yep, sounds a lot like the Odyssey.

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