Chapter two

Drilling

The chapter begins with Chris once again reflecting at the standing stones on the events since the previous chapter.

Chris's mother poisoned the twins and committed suicide as she could not cope with another pregnancy. The effect on Chris is profound. She realises the child in your heart died then and that the Chris of the books and the dreams died with it.

The younger boys, Alec and Dod, are adopted by relatives in Aberdeen; Will, who cared not a fig for father now, has a girlfriend called Mollie Douglas and plans to emigrate.

In this section the back-breaking work of the harvest takes place, and we are given various impressions of the community.

Gibbon talks of the harvest madness when human lust seems uncontrolled - a tinker makes advances towards Chris, John Guthrie hovers outside her room like a great cat padding there - even the Minister, Mr Gibbon, according to John Guthrie, whored with the rest and gets drunk on a visit to Aberdeen.

On the other hand, a more positive impression of the community is given at the harvest meals and in the assistance given by neighbours at the fire at Peesie's Knapp.

Though John Guthrie and his neighbours Chae Strachan and Long Rob of the Mill do not share the same opinions on everything, there is a good relationship between them, as can be seen at the New Year celebrations.

It is Guthrie that saves Chae's family from the fire, and Long Rob's remarks are often characterised by wisdom and good humour. Chae and Rob are the most reliable and supportive characters in the story.

Unlike others in Kinraddie, Chris had been quick to master her harvest madness. Conscious that she was growing up limber and sweet, she dreams of that lover who would some day come and kiss her and hold her, so.

At one of the social gatherings Chris regrets her lost opportunities when Munro of Cuddiestoun says the kitchen's more her style than the College - on the other hand, she is introduced to Ewan Tavendale, foreman at Upperhill, who will in time become her husband.

Will is secretly planning to leave home and Ewan calls one night while Chris is baking, ostensibly to say goodbye to Will but in reality to see Chris. Will goes to Aberdeen one day and does not come back, informing Chris by letter that he has married Mollie and emigrated to Argentina.

John Guthrie's predictable outrage contributes to the stroke he suffers a week later. As an invalid Chris finds him no less demanding than before.

At the standing stones, the chapter ends with Chris listening to the blast of an angry-blown whistle – her father, now an invalid, is calling to her:

quote
She started and sighed and took her hands down from her face and listened again…the ploughing was done, she was set to her drilling, and faith! It was weary work!" (Drilling)