Study Guide

Serena Chapter 24

By Ron Rash

Chapter 24

  • The next Saturday, Serena and Pemberton head to the Cecils' house for dinner. Did we say house? We mean mansion.
  • These wealthy investors are hosting a little shindig for some of their friends, a.k.a. other rich folks.
  • Everyone tells Serena they are so sorry for her loss. She tenses at the mention of her miscarriage, though, so Pemberton takes her into the other room to get her away from everyone's questions.
  • Back with the crowd, Harris introduces everyone to the Pembertons as his business partners and they make a toast to "making fortunes." For the record, our toasts are usually reserved for butter and jam.
  • A guy named Lowenstein asks Serena what they plan to do next and she says they will harvest the trees here and then move onto Brazil.
  • The guests are a little shocked by this. When she tells them they can make eight bucks for every dollar they invest, though, Lowenstein is interested but Calhoun wants more info.
  • Harris tries to lighten the mood by making a joke. They've barely finished their drinks, and already Serena is hitting the guests up for money for her latest business venture.
  • Conversation turns to the land Harris just bought with the Pembertons.
  • Serena just knows there's more to the story than copper, so she asks Harris a bunch of questions in front of everyone in hopes of trapping him.
  • Ever the bragger, Harris falls for it. He lets it slip that there are gems in the mountains that they bought—rubies, sapphires, amethysts, you name it.
  • Then Serena lowers the boom: You know you can't go mining until we've got all the trees, right? It says so right in the contract.
  • Harris realizes he's trapped and so does everyone else at the party. Darn. He'll have to give some of the profit over to the Pembertons unless he wants them causing problems for the next decade.
  • Pemberton notices that his wife is as calm as ever except in her eyes. They are fiery and fierce, just like she was before she wanted to get rid of Buchanan.
  • At dinner there's talk of a Renoir painting that the Cecils just purchased. When she's asked what she makes of the artist, Serena comments that he doesn't know how to paint.
  • Webb is there, too, and throws around Cicero quotes until Serena points out how the guy died.
  • Translation: This is a threat to Webb. Either he backs off the park thing, or he, too, will find himself ruined… or dead.
  • When they get home, Serena chats with Galloway on the porch and Pemberton knows she's instructing him to arrange a funeral (read: kill) for Harris.
  • It also dawns on the guy that Serena will succeed in getting Lowenstein and Calhoun on board with Brazil. After all, his wife is very convincing…