Year of Wonders Study Notes
When a plague strikes the village, residents make the extraordinary choice, led by a young priest, to quarantine themselves to prevent further spread of the disease. The story is told through the eyes of a young maid, Anna Frith, as she witnesses the disintegration of her small community as death takes its toll on every family, including her own. Before the plague starts, Anna is a young widow with two small boys. Her husband, Sam, had died in a mining accident. Anna works as a maid at the rectory and occasionally at the local estate, Bradford Hall.
The plague begins when she takes in a lodger, who has cloth imported from London for his tailoring.
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He dies soon after the bolts of cloth arrive, and his death is quickly followed by those of Anna’s sons and neighbors. Soon, many in the village are sick. Recognizing this as a plague, the pastor, Michael Mompellion, asks the villagers to take an oath agreeing to quarantine the town to prevent the spread of the disease. Michael and his wife, Elinor, spend most of their time tending to the sick and praying with the dying.
Anna often accompanies them.
Some villagers turn to superstition and blame the plague on Mem and Anys Gowdie, midwives and herb specialists. The women are brutally murdered by a mob. Anna had always admired these women, and soon she and Elinor begin studying their herbs and medical books to aid the sick and strengthen the healthy. Anna gets closer to Elinor, who she views as a friend, teacher and mother-figure. At times, Anna feels jealousy about the love that exists between Elinor and Michael as she is so lonely with all her loved ones dead.
She tries using opium to numb her pain but decides against continuing the drug after Elinor shares her history and addiction to poppies.
Elinor shares how she ran off with a young man who abandoned her. Pregnant and afraid, she used a hot poker to destroy the unborn child but also destroyed her womb and so can’t have children. Michael worked on her father’s estate and becomes her friend, then Plot Summary 1 husband. Superstitions continue to escalate as many claim they have seen Anys’ ghost and pay her to instruct them how to prevent sickness.
Anna’s stepmother, Aphra, is highly superstitious and, like Anna’s father Joss, expresses contempt toward the Mompellions. By summer, half the village is buried.
Anna asks her father to help dig the graves as the sexton has died, and Michael Mompellion is exhausted from adding this to all his other duties. Joss finally agrees but begins demanding high payments for his services, making him a despised man in town. He eventually attempts murder to rob a man, but the man survives. Joss’ hands are nailed to the man’s mine stowes.
His wife doesn’t come for him in the night as expected as her sons have come down with the plague, so he dies in a storm.
The villagers meet at an outdoor area instead of church so they can stand farther apart and not spread the disease as it thrives on warm weather. One villager turns to flagellation, which greatly upsets Mompellion. The man has rid his house of all goods except handcrafted crosses. The man finally dies in an accident, and his wife is given furnishings and clothes, but she dies soon after from the plague. Mompellion recognizes that the plague was passed onto the woman hrough the gifts she received.
He instructs the villagers to burn all their goods to prevent more spread. Meanwhile, Aphra has been discovered to be the phony ghost of Anys Gowdie, who has been taking money from the villagers in exchange of useless cures. Two men take charge of her for the night before her trial the next day. They put her in pig slop up to her neck, which she barely survives. The experience removes any shreds of reason Aphra had left and she goes insane. Anna is concerned for her little daughter, Faith, and tries to visit Aphra.
She discovers Faith has also died, and her mother has the corpse hanging on a wall as she rants around a fire. Everyone decides it is best to leave Aphra alone until her fit is over. It has become apparen’t that the plague is over as there have not been any new deaths for weeks. Elinor implores her husband to reopen the village. A date is finally set and Plot Summary 2 all the villagers gather to hear the official news.
But before it can be shared, Aphra appears with the corpse of her daughter. Elinor and Michael try to comfort her, but she kills Elinor before taking her own life.
Mompellion is inconsolable following Elinor’s death, much as Anna tries to pull him from his depression. One day, Anna takes his horse and gallops through a neighboring village. She feels suddenly alive and wants to choose life over death.
When she returns, Michael greets her and before long, they embrace and kiss. They go into the rectory and make love in the kitchen. Later, Michael goes to her cottage and they spend a tender evening and night together. In the morning, Anna discovers a shocking truth – Michael had never touched his wife as a punishment for her lustful sin and killing her unborn child.
Now that he has lost his faith, he plans to do what he pleases because it was all meaningless.
Anna is repulsed by his cruelty to Elinor and runs away. She finds refuge in the church but encounters Elizabeth, the Bradford’s haughty daughter. She tells Anna her mother is dying in childbirth. Anna agrees to try to help her. Anna discovers that Mrs. Bradford’s pregnancy is illegitimate.
She manages to save the mother and baby girl but soon discovers Elizabeth trying to drown the infant. Anna says she will take the baby away and is given some money in exchange. The next morning Mompellion warns her that Ms.
Bradford is on his way and that Anna is in danger. He gives her his horse and a letter of introduction to stay with Elinor’s father.
Anna decides on a different course and takes a boat bound for Venice. She decides to stop in the Arabic port city of Oran. She marries a doctor in name only to be able to stay in his home as part of his harem. She becomes his assistant and learns many new ways of approaching health and medicine. She also has a baby by Michael Mompellion that she names Elinor. The novel ends with Anna and her two daughters venturing out in to the city.
Anna has found independence, work she is passionate about and renewed motherhood. Plot Summary 3 Apple Picking Season Apple Picking Season Summary The novel begins in the Fall of 1666. The main character, Anna Frith, is a servant to the village priest, who she tries to get to eat some apples, but he is despondent and broken. Everyone looks weary and Anna thinks back to happier times when she married Sam Frith at age fifteen and left a drunken father and stepmother who overworked Anna.
Sam dies, but she has two sons. She cares for Michael Mompellion, the preacher, because his wife, Elinor, is dead.
Anna is lonely at night when her empty house gives her no comfort, her children having died in the plague. The next morning, she milks her cow and carries some milk to Michael. At the rectory, she encounters Elizabeth Bradford, whose family fled the village and the plague. When Anna announces Elizabeth’s presence, Mompellion tells Anna to tell her to go to hell.
Elizabeth forces her way into the house to plead for Mompellion’s attendance on her ill mother. Mompellion says that the Bradford family deserted the village in their time of need so he wants nothing to do with them. Elizabeth tells Anna about her father’s abuse of the family.
When Anna goes to Mompellion, he sits with an unopened Bible on the desk. Anna reads a comforting passage in the Bible and he recites one back to her about a home and a wife and children and then roughly grabs her arm, bringing tears to her eyes. Shocked, she departs.
Apple Picking Season Analysis In the first chapter, the main character, Anna Frith, is introduced as well as another central character, village preacher, Michael Mompellion. Beginning at the end of the plague, we sense that they are part of a handful of survivors, and there is a sthrong sense of gloom and apathy.
Much of Anna’s past is shared, such as her harsh upbringing at the hands of her father and stepmother, her young mmarriage to miner Sam Frith, the birth of two sons, and the deaths of her husband in an accident and her boys to the plague. Anna’s relationship with Mompellion is tense, since he is so bound Apple Picking Season 4 by his own despair, but obviously Anna had a good relationship with his wife to want to help him. Mompellion is facing a loss of faith and decries his former beliefs. The test of faith is a major theme woven tthroughout the novel.
The local and wealthy Bradfords are also introduced through the daughter, Elizabeth.
It seems they fled the village rather than help their neighbors. It becomes increasingly apparen’t tthroughout the novel that the Bradfords are a pretty heartless bunch and reflect some of the worst of human nature in times of trial. Apple Picking Season 5 Ring of Roses Ring of Roses Summary There is a flashback to the spring of 1665 when Anna is a widow at only eighteen. She is glad to take in a lodger, George Viccars, a tailor. She feels he is heaven sent, though that would prove to be quite wrong.
She is thrilled when Geroge offers sixpence a week. Her sons, Jamie and Tom, are very little with Tom still nursing.
Anna’s children enjoy George’s company and Anna enjoys his stories. That summer, a box of cloth arrives from London. George makes a beautiful dress for Anna.
George wishes Anna felt something for him. He is flushed and staggers a bit. When she tries on the dress, George gives her a kiss, and Anna realizes he is flush with fever. The next morning, she goes to the rectory, leaving George asleep. Anna greets Elinor, who is teaching Anna, a willing pupil, many skills. Anna is afraid to learn about herbs because herblore is often associated with witches.
Many villagers are suspicious of Mem Gowdie and her retty niece, Anys. Anna’s stepmother, Aphra, is convinced Anys is a sorceress and often gossips to other villagers about her. Anna checks on George midday and is shocked to find him extremely ill. He tells Anna to leave so she doesn’t catch the illness and asks for the priest. Michael Mompellion spends two days at George’s side when he finally dies. Ring of Roses Analysis The bulk of the novel begins with the onset of the plague.
An outsider, George Viccars has goods delivered from London, which we later learn is infested by the plague. Later, some villagers will blame him for being a devil that spawned evil.
Anna’s superstitious stepmother, Aphra, will become a major character in the impending conflicts between the supernatural and religion. Ring of Roses 6 Anna’s attraction to George is not just physical but intellectual and emotional. She is drawn to his stories about the world outside her village and likes the way he plays so well with her sons. It is obvious she has a sthrong intellectual curiosity, which Elinor stimulates by teaching her about herbs and how to read.
Ring of Roses 7 The Thunder of His Voice The Thunder of His Voice Summary Before leaving, Michael tells Anna she should follow George’s advice “burn everything. Soon, George’s customers begin arriving. The first is Anys Gowdie. Anna describes her as a calming force during birthing when helping her aunt Mem Gowdie, the midwife. She tells Anys about George’s advice, but Anys will not have her dress burned.
George’s other clients feel the same. Anna burns his clothes and, sadly, the dress he made for her. Anna is consumed by thoughts of George and Anys and decides to stop by the Gowdies. Anna remembers with shame how she and other children used to tease Anys for being a vegetarian, but when she was pregnant, Anna used herbs Anys recommended which had helped greatly.
Anys tells her that she “lay” with George, but it was Anna he wanted for a wife, and Anys had advised him to win Anna’s heart through her sons.
Anna asks why Anys did not want George for a husband. Anys replies that she loves her work and will not be chattel to any man, plus she likes a little vvariety, not just one plant. Leaving there, Anna stops to chat with her friend Lib Hancock. Later, she helps with a dinner at the Bradford manor; none of the family is particularly endearing to anyone. At the dinner, though, the talk is of the plague in London.
They talk of the rich who leave London to escape and Mompellion suggest that the honorable and courageous thing would be to stay so as not to spread the disease.
Anna worries about her sons having been around George and runs home to find them sleeping peacefully. The Thunder of His Voice Analysis George’s warning to burn everything implies he believes his sickness is the plague, and he probably knew the warning signs from his travels. While it’s disconcerting to Anna that he slept with Anys Gowdie, she can’t help admiring Anys’ gutsy, The Thunder of His Voice 8 provocative and independent style.
These are traits she will develop as the novel progresses. The division of wealth and poverty are clearly seen at Bradford Hall.
The wealthy in the novel are generally abhorrent, except for Elinor, who came from such privilege. The first conversation about plagues happens at Bradford Hall when a dinner guest shares news of what he has heard from London. The Bradfords and their guests think it is madness not to run from the plague if you have the mearns, an idea which Mompellion wholeheartedly refutes. His adamant view on this foreshadows what he will ask of his congregation.
Seeds of worry begin to grow in Anna as she fears for her cchildren’s lives. The Thunder of His Voice 9 Rat-fall Rat-fall Summary The fall following George Viccars’ death is one of the loveliest Anna recalls, with warm, sunny dry days.
She is so relieved her children aren’t ill. Anna and James tend the sheep and then sit on the riverbank. Michael Mompellion stumbles upon them and Tom cries, but Mompellion settles him down. Mompellion is good with the children and Anna is glad to have a kind, open pastor. At home, Jamie surprises Anna by showering her with roses.
One day Mary Hadfield finds some of the boys playing with dead rats.
Soon after, Edward Hadfield is ill with a high fever. A surgeon uses leeches on him, but when he learns about George’s death, he tells Anna for the villagers not to call him. Edward dies before sunset, soon followed by his brother and stepfather. Little Tom is ill and that night, Anna goes to bed with Tom in her arms, knowing it will be the last time. In the morning, he is lifeless. Rat-fall Analysis The summer is like the calm before the storm, since the reader knows that the plague is about to strike and Anna’s carefree happiness will come to an end.
The moment when Anna helps the deliver the ewe is important as this foreshadows more important births to follow. Mompellion is seen in a more human light when playing with the children, and there is a sense that Anna feels an intellectual understanding about him. The plague strikes quickly, and Anna is one of the first affected. The pain she feels for her baby’s illness and death is horrific, yet only the start of many more painful moments ahead, to which the first chapter alluded. Rat-fall 10 Sign of a Witch Sign of a Witch Summary Jamie is also struck by the plague. Anna spends her time trying new treatments.
Elinor is by her side much of the time, and Anys also helps. Jamie suffers for five long days before dying. The days that follow are a blur as more villagers succumb to the plague. Anna goes back to work but spends any spare time at the church cemetery. One day, Anna hears a drunken group of people and sees Mem Gowdie on the ground, hands bound, being beaten and accused of causing the plague.
Anna pleads with them to stop, but the group ignores her. They drag Mem to the mine water to see if she sinks or swims, the test for a witch. Anna is pushed knocked unconscious when she tries to intervene.
When Anna comes to, Mary Hadfield is screaming that Mem is drowning and is not a witch. Anna tries to go down to save her but looses her footing. Anys appears and pulls Anna up, then swings down to brings Mem up unconscious, and Anys begins administering CPR.
When Mem revives, the villagers accuse Anys of being a witch by raising the dead. Anna begs Lib Hancock to stop the madness, but Lib reminds Anna that Anys had slept with Viccars, the “Devil,” who brought the plague. Anna tries to help Anys but is knocked away as they tie a noose around Anys’ neck. Anys starts telling stories about the other women there and they hang her.
Michael Mompellion appears and yells at the crowd saying the only evil present is theirs. He tells them to pray and hope that somehow they will be forgiven their sins.
The villagers pray and lament. Sign of a Witch Analysis Fear and anguish turn villagers against each other. As nonconformists dabbling in natural science, Mem and Anys Gowdie are easy targets by those with supernatural fears. The lynch mob mentality shows an ugly side of human nature, when reason is overtaken by the paranoia of the unknown. Though she tried her best to help Anys, Sign of a Witch 11
Anna suffers guilt over her death for having had loose lips about her affair with George Viccars, which was used as proof she had slept with the devil. Mompellion’s arrival helps calm the madness, but the conflict between superstition and religious faith is just beginning.
Sign of a Witch 12 Venom in the Blood Venom in the Blood Summary Mem does not attend Anys’ funeral as she is sick with the fever in the rectory, where Elinor insisted she be brought. Five days after Anys’ funeral, Mem dies. The village has lost its only healers and midwives. The law will not enter the plague-struck village, so no one is tried for their murder.
Some of the mob die from the plague; others do penance in the hope of forgiveness.
In church, Mompellion speaks passionately about the love of God saying the plague is a test. Many may be tempted to flee the village infecting even more people. He says they must stay in the village to isolate the disease. Supplies will be delivered to the edge of the village on a regular basis until the plague has ended. He warns that those who flee will suffer from “loneliness, shunning, and fear. ” Mompellion implores everyone to stay in the village so if they are sick, they will have neighbors and friends and, as long as he is alive, will not die alone.
He asks the villagers to reflect and pray before making their decision. All the villagers agree not to flee except the wealthy Bradfords, who slip quietly out of church. Venom in the Blood Analysis In this chapter, Mompellion convinces his congregation to make a choice for the better good and contain the plague by a self-imposed quarantine. Most villagers are swayed by the argument that they would be shunned and alone outside the village, so it is probably fear more than virtue that guides their decisions. It is no surprise that the Bradfords plan to leave, given the earlier dinner party conversation and their selfish style.
Anna does not hesitate to make her decision to stay as her will to live is pretty shattered, and she realizes she has no where else to go. Venom in the Blood 13 Wide Green Prison Wide Green Prison Summary Anna’s spirits are higher after Mompellion’s sermon and is surprised to find Maggie Cantwell, the Bradford’s cook, at her gate. Maggie’s been dismissed without a moment’s notice and she asks Anna to help gather her belongings. Michael Mompellion enters and appeals to Colonel Bradford to do his duty, but the Colonel is says it’s foolish not to flee the plague.
Mompellion warns the Colonel that his reputation will be forever ruined in the village and that God’s wrath will be greater than any plague. As the Bradfords leave, some servants beg for help and find homes in the village.
Maggie and Brand did not swear in church to stay, so they travel to stay with kin. Later, Anna and other villagers watch as goods are delivered at a distance. A list of the dead are given to the delivery person to share with kin and friends in nearby villages. At the rectory, Elinor rushes Anna out the door to help with a woman in labor.
Anna is terrified, but Elinor insists, so Anna help births the child, though inside she is trembling. However, she remembers how Mem and Anys Gowdie helped her and tries to model them.
Anna thinks the baby is not positioned correctly, so she encourages Mary to walk. Hours later, the child is still sideways, and Anna can almost hear Anys’ voice guiding her to feel inside for the child to understand the best way to help it out. She manages to get hold of a foot and pulls the baby through. Anna and Elinor laugh with relief. Amid all the death, they celebrate over a new life.
Anna knows she is returning to an empty house and finds the poppy vial in Elinor’s basket and slips it into her sleeve. Wide Green Prison Analysis The Bradfords make their decision to leave the village and show their true colors in the cruel dismissal of and insensitivity for their staff. Unlike the others, they have the Wide Green Prison 14 mearns with which to run, emphasizing the class distinctions. The rest of the village is officially cut off ,and Anna instantly feels a sense of isolation in the “wide green prison” they have created for themselves.
Helping birth a new life gives Anna some momentary satisfaction in the midst of so much grief, but her depression and loneliness are overwhelming.
The poppy drug seems like a welcome escape. Wide Green Prison 15 So Soon to be Dust So Soon to be Dust Summary Maggie, the Bradford Cook, and Brand return covered in rotten fruit. Mompellion carries the almost unconscious Maggie into the cottage of Jakob Merrill, a villager who had found Maggie and Brand on the road. They were recognized as coming from the plague village and were pelted with fruit and then stones. Maggie collapsed and Brand got her into a barrow and hauled her back.
Mompellion tells him he did well not to desert Maggie, and that he is the hero of the plague, which will make heroes of them all whether or not they ask for this.
Brand will stay with Jakob’s children and Maggie move to Anna’s cottage. Anna searches for a horse and cart for Maggie’s transport and encounters her drunk father. They get into an altercation, and he asks the men to bring some “branks,” an iron head cage he once used on Anna’s mother, with a bit to muzzle the tongue. Anna remembers her fear of seeing her mother suffer with that contraption, and her father humiliating her mother by dragging her around the village.
Fear makes Anna wet herself and she rushes home and scrubs her soiled clothing and body, shaking and upset.
Suddenly a boy arrives saying she must go see Maggie, who dies before midnight. Anna wonders why one with special gifts, like Maggie’s for cooking or Viccars’ for sewing, were “so soon to be dust,” when they had so many productive years left. So Soon to be Dust Analysis Maggie and Brand’s return highlights the fears and phobias associated with the plague. People in need of care are instead shunned and mistreated. Their story undoubtedly makes other villagers think twice about leaving the quarantined area.
Maggie’s death is the beginning of many doubts Anna will feel about her faith, since there seems to be no reason for the senselessness of dying young. So Soon to be Dust 16 This chapter also reflects on some of Anna’s cruel childhood at the hands of her father. Her mother was powerless to prevent his cruelty so Anna grew up fearing him, as she still does. So Soon to be Dust 17 The Poppies of Lethe The Poppies of Lethe Summary Anna makes her own “tincture” using honey and the poppy resin for the pleasant dreams. When Anna wakes, she is much calmer than before.
She is glad shehas more with which to face the despair in her life.
Sally Maston, her neighbor’s five-year old, appears bloodied from plague sores. At Sally’s cottage, her mother lies dead, her father is close to death, while a baby cries. By sunset, four families are affected by death. Mompellion tends the dying, while Elinor and Anna help the orphaned children. Anna learns that Lib Hancock is dying and goes to see her, but Lib is too far gone and dies without an exchange of words.
Anna drinks the last of the poppy mixture and has another magical dream and wakes feeling serene until she realizes she has no more poppies.
She ventures out and notices Blacksmith Talbot’s house is silent. Anna finds Kate Talbot pregnant and her husband using his hot irons on his plague boils. Anna discovers that Kate is using a charm on her husband and asks where it came from. Kate says the ghost of Anys Gowdie whispered to put a shilling in a log in exchange for the charm. Anna tells her that someone was playing a greedy trick.
Anna milks the cow and prepares a meal for Kate, then heads out on her poppy errand. Anna finds Elinor at the Gowdie cottage searching for herbs that might help fight against the plague.
Anna confesses she took the poppy, but Elinor already knows and says she, too, has tried it when wanting to forget. Elinor tells Anna that as a privileged child Elinor was sheltered from real life and at age fourteen believed a young man who convinced her to elope, but he abandoned her. Her father and brother took her home, but she was pregnant. Elinor violated her body with a hot iron.
A physician managed to save her life but not her womb. He gave her poppy to ease the pain. Elinor imagines she would still be in a lost, drug-induced state if not for Michael.
When Michael found Elinor ill, he offered his friendship and then his love. Elinor asks Anna The Poppies of Lethe 18 if she will still work with her, knowing all this and Anna loves Elinor more than ever.
They trace the spread of the plague and realize that the oldest in the village seldom got it, so they will concentrate and saving the youngest. The Poppies of Lethe Analysis More evidence that superstition is growing in the village comes when Anna sees Kate’s charm and talks of the ghost of Anys Gowdie. The poppies provide immediate relief to Anna’s state of mind but also a quick addiction.
If not for Elinor’s tale of her harrowing experiences and dependence on poppy, Anna might have been inclined to keep using the drug. She’s not altogether convinced she won’t need them in her uncertain future.
Elinor’s tale explains more about Elinor’s background, the consequence of her lust and her relationship with Michael, though the biggest component of their relationship has yet to be revealed. To Anna, Elinor represents all that is good, whatever her past, while she questions her own actions. Not being able to square matters with her best friend Lib leaves an unpleasant feeling with which Anna knows she will have to live.
The Poppies of Lethe 19 Among Those That Go Down to the Pit Among Those That Go Down to the Pit Summary Mompellion is digging six graves, including one for the sexton. Anna often visits the sick with Mompellion.
One man they visit is Jakob Merrill, who confesses being a poor husband and worries for his young daughter and son. Mompellion assures Jakob that God loves him and Jakob took in Brand when Brand was homeless and, if he makes the young man part of his family, Brand can farm the land and look after the children. Jakob makes a will for such an arrangement. Anna bribes her father with two lambs to dig the graves.
Anna hopes his children will get some of the meat.
Weeks pass and only on Sundays do they take a break. Mompellion tells the villagers the plague thrives in warm weather and there will be more testing of their wills. He says they will meet at Cucklett Delf instead of church so that the healthy can stand well enough away from the ill to not get sick. The dead must be buried as quickly as possible under any ground. Mompellion collapses. Mr.
Stanley, a new minister in town, delivers a sermon and assures the people that their loved ones will be saved even if not buried in the church cemetary.
Merry Wickford, a Quaker, is unable to mine the minimum share of lead required to keep her mine, so a neighbor, David Burton, puts a nick on it. Anna pleads with other miners to help the poor orphan, but their loyalty is with Burton as he is of their own faith. With one day left, it seems Merry faces the poor house. Elinor says they will get the lead for Merry. Elinor and Anna dress in mining clothes and find the necessary tools.
Merry is to help with cleaning the lead and letting them know when they have an ample dish to be measured.
They set to breaking the rock and soon realize they will never be able to accomplish their task. Anna suggests they do “fire setting” that combines extreme heat and cold water to create an explosion, though it is a dangerous undertaking that cost Sam his life. Anna sets it up and runs as rocks fly everywhere. The task is successful, and Merry has many dishes worth of ore in the mine. The Barmester declares Merry’s mine safe and all the miners except David Burton cheer Among Those That Go Down to the Pit 20 Merry and the women.
Anna sleeps well that night, feeling for once she has accomplished something that turned out right.
Among Those That Go Down to the Pit Analysis Sundays are a harsh reminder that death still holds a sthrong hold on the village as there are more and more faces missing at church. The warm weather also brings new threats and a sense of despair as no end is in sight. As the dead keep piling up, Mompellion is driven to exhaustion. Anna’s efforts to solicit her father’s help as a grave digger reinforces his callous personality and will prove to be a fatal decision.
Anna has a great fear of being underground, which she imagines like a living death. Her worst fear is to be buried alive, one that almost comes true.
In the end, Anna and Elinor prove their strength and wits in their deducation to help little Merry Pickford. It tightens the bond between the two women and is another event that helps builds Anna’s growing independent nature. Among Those That Go Down to the Pit 21 The Body of the Mine The Body of the Mine Summary For nine days, Anna is so sore it is difficult to do the simplest tasks. One morning she sees her father who thanks Anna for helping him get the grave digging job.
Anna has heard gossip that he has been demanding an unfair share of household goods from the sick and weak and is careless about contagion.
Anna chides her father for thieving, but he makes no reply. On Sundays, the villagers meet at Cucklett Delf, with families standing at least three yards from each other to avoid infection. Anna’s father never comes. Anna goes with Mompellion, who tries to reason with her father to change his ways, but he is drunk and the words are wasted. Anna’s father commits an act so vile, the villagers rise to action.
A young man, Christopher Unwin, is the last survivor in a family of twelve and has had the plague for so long he he might be one of the rare ones to survive it. Christopher believes he is near death, so Anna goes with Mompellion to see him.
Anna’s father is there digging a grave, probably anticipating plundering the house after Christopher dies. Mompellion fights with Anna’s father. Later, Christopher has an appetite. Mompellion jokes they both beat more than the reaper.
The next morning, Anna finds Christopher Unwin, muddied and bloody, and who says Anna’s father tried to kill him whacking him with the shovel and stealing his clothes and goods. Christopher was buried alive and had to dig his way out. The villagers tu