Francia seems very concerned and put out, but invites them all inside. Hildy and Francia are bickering, but they show the two travellers to rooms where they can stay. For the record, Francia's arms have not uncrossed since the door opened.
Francia insists that they'll have to work to earn their stay, but it's clear that her bark is worse than her bite.
Viola asks if there's a way for her to send a message back to her ship.
The women explain that they are church settlers, who moved away from the racket of technology and civilization—in other words, Viola's stuck for seven months, until her ship arrives.
Todd is put to work in dark barn; he needs to keep a low profile until the town stops worrying about their Prentisstown guest.
Todd's mind is busy thinking as he works. He's not convinced that he's as safe as everyone says he is; it seems weird to be suddenly safe after so much running.
He also notices that the town seems to be run by women, ordering men to work. Example: Francia is the mayor.
The whole town seems calm, but in a kind of creepy way.
While eating his lunch, Todd talks to Ivan, another worker—he tells him that there's going to be a town meeting about Todd and Viola that night.
He starts to clue Todd in a little more about what's really going on: Prentisstown has allies. Todd begins to get a picture of them from Ivan's Noise until Manchee interrupts with excited barks—there are a group of tiny little kids peering at them through a hole in the wall.
Hildy come to invite Todd back to the house to have dinner, while the rest of the town is in their meeting.
As Todd steps out of the barn after cleaning up, he runs into Matthew Lyle, whose noise is telling Todd "Ye ain't going nowhere, boy" (18.189).