Cold Sassy Tree: Chapters 23-24

Chapters 23-24 Summary

Love tells Grandpa she doesn’t want an annulment. If she weren’t married to him, she still wouldn’t marry Clayton McAlister. Clayton had brought the saddle with him that he had given Love as an engagement present. Love wants to get rid of it, but Grandpa persuades her to keep it. He can get a free thorough-bred racehorse if she knows how to break it in. Love is excited and says yes, she knows how to train a horse. Grandpa tells Will to go and pick up the free horse with a wagon. Will bargains to take Grandpa Tweedy’s big wagon if he can go camping with the boys and bring the horse on the way back. He hopes that Miss Love will stay in the family.
At home Will defends Love to his parents, and this irritates his mother. His father mentions how Love took off ten years from Grandpa’s appearance with the shave and haircut. Hoyt and Will encourage Mary Willis to go to New York with Hoyt when he has to buy for the store in a couple of weeks. She desperately wants to go but can’t because she is in mourning.
Love tells Will that she is sorry she let Clayton kiss her. He promises not to tell anyone about it. Love thanks him for being her friend. Will begins to daydream about kissing Miss Love himself, but he also thinks of kissing Lightfoot McLendon the way Miss Love kissed Clayton.
Miss Effie Belle tells the town about Love kissing a stranger. When Love shows up at the Methodist service on Sunday to play the piano, the congregation shows their displeasure by not singing.
Chapters 23-24 Commentary

Mary Willis is trying to be proper by giving up her trip to New York because she is in mourning, but Will wrangles the camping trip with his buddies, on the condition that he not enjoy himself too much!
The town knows how to punish someone for stepping outside its codes. Miss Love doesn’t stand a chance. She is criticized for wearing black to church as though she has a right to be in mourning. Later she is criticized for wearing a red dress, disrespecting the mourning of Mattie Lou. The congregation in effect excommunicates Love by not singing to her playing. This kind of gossip and judging of others is very pleasurable to most of the townsfolk, like Miss Effie Belle.
Grandpa tells Will he is getting the horse for Miss Love to get her mind off “Mr. Texas.”