Two days later, Ty and Ginny get a visit from Henry Dodge, the minister. While Ty works outside, Dodge eats a meal with Ginny and tells her that the events of the church potluck were embarrassing for everyone. Still, he insists that it’s time for Ginny to make peace with her father. He hints that there’s been a lot of “gossip” about what Rose and Ginny have done to Larry, but when Ginny presses him for details, he gives none.
It’s strongly suggested that Dodge and the rest of the community, have turned against the Cook sisters. Rose and Ginny think of themselves as calm businesswomen, but Dodge seems to consider them ungrateful, greedy children. As before, Ginny refuses to tell Dodge about her father’s abuse, even though it would justify her own actions—it’s too painful and difficult.
After Henry Dodge leaves, Ginny decides to drive to the center of Cabot, her town. She goes to an old antique store where Rose used to sell furniture. There, the store’s owner, Dinah, recognizes Ginny, and tells her that she’s heard that Larry is moving to Des Moines soon—something Ginny hadn’t heard. Afterwards, Ginny has some coffee at a café. The owner, Nelda, seems oddly curt with her—perhaps because she’s heard the gossip about Ginny.
Ginny gets more and more proof that the town has turned against her; Larry has been telling anyone who’ll listen about his ungrateful daughters. Ginny is the real victim, but she’s being painted as the villain—as once again Smiley humanizes the seemingly “evil” characters of Lear.
While shopping at a store called Roberta’s, Ginny hears Caroline, Larry, and Loren. Without showing herself, Ginny listens as Caroline helps her father shop for shoes—she speaks in the same gentle, kind tone that Ginny herself used to use with Larry. While they shop, Caroline tells Larry that they’ll need to talk to Ginny and Rose today. Larry insists that there’s no need: he’s perfectly happy spending his time shopping with Caroline. Larry tells Caroline that they should head back to Harold Clark’s place—and they all leave the store.
Larry and Caroline’s relationship is rooted in a fantasy—that Larry is a kindly, easy-going old man, and not an incestuous rapist. Larry seems to have found “paradise” in his daughter’s love; he recognizes that Caroline loves him more sincerely than either of her two siblings, but only because she doesn’t know the truth about him.
Afterwards, Ginny leaves the store and drives back the town. There, she tells Rose that she overheard Caroline and Larry, and she was shocked by how kindly and affectionately they spoke to one another. She also admits the truth to Rose: Larry abused her, too.
Ginny and Rose reach an emotional connection: they agree that Larry abused both of them. In a way, they’re envious of Caroline’s simple, naïve love for her father—they wish that they could have had the same happy relationship with him. Instead, Larry has scarred them for life.