As Mr. Watts shouldered the blame, the town went about rebuilding beds and other amenities. One day, Mr. Watts and Grace appeared with their trolley, clown’s nose, and parasol. Matilda writes that it was a shock to see this procession again, especially since she had gotten to know Mr. Watts better. For the rest of the village, this procession served as a reminder that the Watts family’s possessions had been spared. In a solemn rush, they looted the house and burned its contents while Mr. Watts and Grace looked on with understanding.
Mr. Watts revitalizes his odd tradition with Grace as means of returning to his old way of life after his attempt to integrate himself into the village leads disaster. In addition, it seems he wanted to remind the villagers that his possessions had been spared, inviting them to pillage his home in order to put him in the same circumstances as everybody else. As such, he returns to his life as an isolated “other” while simultaneously working to relate to the community.
When the “redskins” returned, the lead officer looked sick. He demanded medicine and was annoyed to learn that the village had none to provide. Finally, he reminded the townspeople why he was there, warning them that he did not have the patience he had exhibited last time. Once again, he asked for Pip, and Dolores made no move to retrieve Great Expectations. When it became evident to the officer that the village wouldn’t cooperate, he doused everybody’s homes in gasoline and lit them on fire. The schoolhouse and Mr. Watts’s home were the only buildings left standing, and this time none of the villagers rushed to even the score. Returning to school several days later, Matilda noticed that there were only half the number of students in attendance because many of the older boys had decided to join the rebel fighters.
Dolores’s continued refusal to remedy this situation speaks to the strength of her convictions: she is a woman who would rather see her house burn (along with her neighbors’ houses) than confess to having done something that would reflect poorly on her. Given this stubbornness, it’s no wonder that she so vehemently clings to her worldviews. In this case, though, her unwillingness to accommodate new ideas ultimately leads to destruction and misunderstanding.