Margaret returns. She makes Dana read to her, clean her room, do her laundry, and sleep next to her on the floor. Her old temper seems to have left her, perhaps because of her opium addiction. One day, three of the Weylin slaves are tied up and taken away to be sold. Tess is one of them. Dana tries to talk to her, but Rufus drags her off to the library. He tells her that his father arranged the sale before his death and says the slaves are his property. Dana is heartbroken.
Dana encounters Carrie, who takes her to her own cabin. Dana laments that she saved Rufus’s life. Through gestures, Carrie says that if she had not, they all would have been sold to break up the estate. Carrie rubs Dana’s cheek and tells her that her black skin “doesn’t come off,” no matter what others say.
Rufus tells Dana to write letters for him to his creditors. She says in her own time, she avoided secretarial work, and he smiles and says Kevin told him that she was a writer. He offers her some paper to use as she pleases and says he doesn’t want to sell any more slaves. He says his father left debts, and he hopes Dana can forestall the sale of more slaves by writing persuasive letters.
One night, Dana and Alice are eating dinner in Alice’s cabin. Rufus comes home drunk and tells them that they are “only one woman.” He leaves. Alice asks Dana if Rufus ever sleeps with her, and she says no. Alice says she understands what Rufus means. He wants Alice to sleep with and Dana to talk to, and the two women look alike.
The slaves have a party to husk the corn. Rufus supplies good food and whiskey. A muscular slave named Sam says that it’s too bad Dana is spoken for. At Christmas, there is another party. Rufus asks Dana if she has her eye on someone. Looking at Sam, he says he would sell anyone she wanted to marry. He says Kevin is far away. Later, Alice convinces Rufus to let Dana teach their son Joe to read. Dana tells Rufus that his son is very smart, and Rufus starts to take an interest in is the boy. Alice wants Rufus to free Joe, and he says he will—in return for Alice’s affection. Alice thinks he wants her to be more like Dana. She tells Dana that she doesn’t trust Rufus, and that she will run away again after she has the baby she’s carrying. She asks Dana to steal some opium from Margaret to keep the baby quiet.
Alice gives birth to a daughter, Hagar. Dana is elated because Hagar is her ancestor, and she hopes she will no longer be called to the past to save Rufus’s life. A few weeks later, Alice asks Dana for the opium. She says she has to escape before she turns into Dana. Dana threatens to withhold help unless Alice stops speaking to her like that. Alice says Dana will help her, because she can’t stand to see herself as a “white nigger.” Dana gives her the opium.