Two days later Coverdale decides to go back to Blithedale. It is a beautiful day and the closer Coverdale gets, the happier his heart is—he can almost imagine that Hollingsworth will warmly shake his hand, and Priscilla and Zenobia will greet him with open arms. Coverdale keeps thinking of them as he walks, sometimes bitterly thinking about how easily he gave up his whole heart to someone else’s interests and questioning why he feels compelled to go back to them. He notes that it’s dangerous to get too involved with the passions of a group he doesn’t belong to. Coverdale wonders what he’ll find at Blithedale and thinks fondly of the honest work he did there, calling it his home where he might be buried one day. Coverdale decides to sneak in and ascertain how things are going before presenting himself.
Coverdale isn’t so much returning to Blithedale as he is returning to Zenobia, Priscilla, and Hollingsworth. When Coverdale left Blithedale, he worried that if he came back then nothing would be the same, but he still entertains the hope that somehow everything will have gone back to the way it was before he rejected Hollingsworth. Furthermore, Blithedale is where Coverdale did work that he’s truly proud of and that he believes is more meaningful than his poetry. Still, Coverdale is suspicious and chooses to sneak in, which also gives him the option of sneaking back out if everything has changed for the worse.
Coverdale climbs into his hermitage to get a better view of the farm, but he doesn’t see anyone outside. Confused, he climbs back down and searches for signs of life. Eventually, he hears familiar laughter and sneaks towards it. In a clearing, Coverdale sees that everyone is dressed up and dancing together. Some people are dressed as witches and devils, but Silas is wearing his usual clothes and watching the people dance and laugh. During a lull in the revelry, Coverdale laughs and someone recognizes his voice. They all dart into the woods to find him, but Coverdale eludes them. Lost in thought, he wanders around until he hears someone say his name. A woman’s voice tells him to step forward, but she says he’s missed quite the scene. Coverdale realizes he’s at Eliot’s Pulpit—Priscilla is sitting at Hollingsworth’s feet and Zenobia is standing in front of them.
When Coverdale runs from the other people at Blithedale, it confirms that he’s really there to find Zenobia, Hollingsworth, and Priscilla, not the other friends he made there whose lives aren’t so interesting. When Coverdale finds them at Eliot’s Pulpit, it’s clear that the catastrophe or crisis he knew must happen, has happened. Coverdale once looked forward to this, thinking he’ll be able to move on with his life once the situation is resolved.