The night of the feast, Pelagia lies in bed and dreams about having sex with Mandras. She thinks she could never follow orders from Mandras and wonders what marriage will be like. She wonders what love actually is. She feels shockingly unhappy. The next day, she invents tasks that keep her in the front of house so she can see Mandras coming. She runs into Lemoni one afternoon and realizes that in two years, Lemoni will start working in her parents' house and won't be free until she's a widow, by which time the community will turn on her. Pelagia wishes that life could be better for Lemoni and comforts the girl when a cricket bites her.
Pelagia's fear of having to take orders from Mandras suggests that once a woman learns how to think and discovers her worth, it's impossible to go back and allow herself to be subjugated and abused by the men around her. This again implies that this relationship isn't going to work out for her. Pelagia's hope for Lemoni's future shows that one of the ways she can help improve life for women as a whole is to teach girls like Lemoni to think as well.
At dinner, Dr. Iannis suggests that Mandras hasn't come because he's still hung over. Pelagia is relieved that her father knows about it. She asks if he approves, and Dr. Iannis gently tells her that Mandras is too young and she's too educated. He suggests they emigrate, but also reasons that Cephalonia is their home. He steps outside for a moment and when he returns, he drops a small derringer (a pistol) into Pelagia's hand. She drops it in horror, and Dr. Iannis tells her that a war is coming. He says that she's to use it to defend herself by using the gun on herself, or on him, as necessary. He says that her marriage might have to wait.
Note here that while Dr. Iannis expresses his concerns about Pelagia's engagement to Mandras, he also doesn't tell her no outright. This is one way for him to recognize Pelagia's independence and ability to make her own decisions--in other words, he won't stop her if she wants to give up her learning in order to be Mandras's wife, as he recognizes that's her prerogative.
On the second day, Pelagia waits for Mandras but he doesn't come. On the third day, she goes down to the sea and sits on a rock. She notices someone swimming naked with the dolphins, arranging a net in the rocks. After a few minutes, she realizes it's Mandras. He's extremely handsome as he draws in his net and whistles. Three dolphins swim around him and catch the fish he throws for him, and then he grabs the dorsal fin of one dolphin and lets it tow him out to sea. Pelagia is distraught--she wonders if he is a sea nymph, as it's bad luck to see one naked. She weeps, believing Mandras has drowned.
Pelagia's slight break with reality and reason illustrates the extent to which she buys into the Greek traditions and superstitions that guide her, given that she's genuinely upset and believes Mandras drowned. However, the fact that she leans so heavily on this possibility only betrays her unwillingness to marry him--focusing on this story allows her to shape her reality and hope to be released from her engagement.
Pelagia's tears are interrupted by Mandras at the door. He apologizes for being late and says he just spoke to Dr. Iannis. Pelagia feels numb and conflicted. She thinks that Mandras should've drowned and is still a boy who plays with dolphins, but he's too beautiful to die. She pleads with him to not go to war.
When Pelagia asks Mandras to not go to war, she demonstrates a recognition that war and the politics that brought the war about have the power to tear them apart and destroy them, even if she doesn't genuinely want Mandras to die.