The day after his meeting with Mr. MacKenzie, Simon sets off to visit Mr. Kinnear’s former house in Richmond Hill. A housekeeper shows him around the house, and the tour makes Simon feel like he has been to “some discreditable peepshow.” He then visits Mr. Kinnear’s and Nancy’s graves. He picks a rose from the bush growing over Nancy’s grave, “with some half-formed notion of taking it back to Grace,” but then he reconsiders.
Simon’s visit to Mr. Kinnear’s former house is proof of his persistent desire to find out the “truth” behind Grace’s story, and his feeling of having been to a peepshow again suggests a link between sex and violence.
Simon spends the night in a hotel halfway between Richmond Hill and Toronto. The next day, before taking the afternoon train back to Kingston, he tries to find Mary Whitney’s grave. He finds a headstone with her name on it, but thinks: “She could be an old woman, a wife, a small infant, anyone at all. Nothing has been proved. But nothing has been disproved, either.”
Again, Simon is doing his best to ascertain whether he can believe Grace’s story by obtaining concrete proof of her claims. The fact that Mary Whitney exists does next to nothing to corroborate Grace’s story about her, which once again highlights the slippery nature of truth and also seems to suggest a reluctance on Simon’s part to take Grace’s word at face-value.
On the train back to Kingston, Simon realizes that “Grace Marks is the only woman he’s ever met that he would wish to marry.” He wonders if he would’ve married Grace had he met her before the murders, but decides he wouldn’t have. “Grace would have been entirely different from the woman he now knows,” he thinks. “A young girl, scarcely formed; tepid, bland, and tasteless. A flat landscape.” He pictures himself embracing Grace, pressing his mouth to her, stamping the word Murderess on “her throat like a brand.”
It is difficult to know what to make of Simon’s professed attraction to Grace. He is certainly excited by the fact that she is “unconventional”—she is potentially both violent and avidly sexual, two qualities that the women Simon has known, especially those of his social class, are not allowed to be. But Simon also seems to enjoy the fact that Grace’s possible guilt gives him power over her: he is able to exert a kind of moral superiority. Despite the fact that he thinks he would not have been attracted to Grace were she a “bland” non-murderess, it would appear that underneath Simon’s attraction to Grace’s notoriety and mysteriousness is still a desire to exercise his power over a woman.