Grace leaves the Penitentiary on August 7, 1872. The Warden and Janet will be accompanying her to her new home. Grace feels a twinge of regret upon leaving the prison, because “to go from a familiar thing, however undesirable, into the unknown, is always a matter for apprehension.” Grace, the Warden, and Janet make their way to Ithaca, New York, where, Janet says, “a gentleman”—an old friend of Grace’s—is waiting for Grace.
It’s implied that Grace’s release from prison means she has been justly treated by the judiciary system. However, Grace’s feeling of regret complicates the question of justice, implying that the committee who worked for her release may have, in some ways, done her a disservice by forcing her to transplant her life—an experience that she found incredibly painful in her life before the murders. Yet again, Grace is without a home.
Grace arrives in Ithaca and comes face to face with Jamie Walsh, who collapses at her feet. The two go to a hotel where Jamie explains that after Grace’s trial he took a job in Toronto, and then moved to the States. He is now a childless widower. He begs Grace to forgive him, which she says she did “readily,” telling him, she “would no doubt have been put in prison anyway, even if he hadn’t mentioned Nancy’s dresses.” Jamie proposes marriage, and Grace eventually consents, even though she has a hard time “viewing him as a full-grown man” and not the awkward boy she knew. Grace stays at the hotel for the few days that it takes for the wedding to be arranged. The day of the ceremony, she says, “I remembered Aunt Pauline saying so many years before that I would no doubt marry beneath me, and wondered what she would think now.”
Grace’s fatalism comes to the forefront here; it’s as if she feels her marriage to Jamie Walsh was fated, not only because her Aunt Pauline predicted it but because the apples she once peeled with Mary Whitney also indicated that she would marry a man whose name began with a J. This adds a sort of tragedy to Grace’s life, as if she is powerless to affect anything that happens to her—which essentially reduces her to an object, since she possesses very little if any free will in this scenario. Grace’s passivity becomes a kind of entrapment, and the fact that her life is arranged for her—by the Warden, and perhaps even by some divine power—suggests that she is still, in a sense, imprisoned, despite having left the penitentiary.