Winnie is exposed to even more change in her life when she goes inside the Tuck cottage. In her home, her mother and grandmother were experts at order and cleanliness, but in the Tuck home, it is a homely little place with dust and cobwebs and even a mouse that lives in a table drawer. Everything is helter-skelter and everywhere there is evidence of their individual activities: Mae’s sewing and Angus’ wood carving. Mae explains that they make things to sell. However, there are also bowls of daisies everywhere and the clean, sweet smell of water. Winnie is amazed and yet she is comfortable. Mae talks to her about how the boys go away doing different things in different places. Miles is good at carpentry and blacksmithing while Jesse does what strikes him at the moment, like working in someone’s fields or in saloons. She explains that none of them can stay in one place for very long because of their secret. People will notice that they’re not growing older and begin to wonder if it’s witchcraft at work. They have been at this little house for twenty years, and Mae says it’s just about time to move on. She also explains how they always set up a family reunion every ten years at the spring so they can come home together. She wonders aloud why it happened to them, because they deserve neither special blessings nor curses. However, she is accepting of the idea that life brings what it will and there’s no use fussing about it. She ends her conversation with Winnie by telling her that Angus has a few ideas to express to her after dinner.
The purpose of this chapter seems to be to contrast what Winnie has always known - cleanliness and order with a lack of freedom -to the Tuck home - disorder and untidiness but a comfortable, free feeling. It is all part of Winnie’s metamorphosis to see that other people may live differently, but may still be good, kind, people.
Dinner at the Tuck home is also very different to Winnie. They eat sitting in the parlor instead of around the table. There are no rules for dining like at her home and no one talks as long as there is food on the table. Winnie loses her elation and pleasure. The differences from her own home make her declare that she wants to go home. Mae calmly explains that they will take her home once they have explained why she must promise never to tell about the spring. That’s why they brought her there. Angus then says he will take Winnie for a boat ride in the old row boat before dark, because there’s a good deal to be said and he is afraid there’s not much time to say it. They talk about seeing the Man in the Yellow Suit and how Winnie says he knows her and will tell her father. That makes Tuck more sure than ever that they have to get her home as fast as they can.
This chapter continues the motif of change. Winnie has been enjoying the changes she’s experiencing until dinner, which is so different from what’s she’s used to that she cries to go home. This shows that sometimes change can be overwhelming and we seek what is familiar to bring us comfort. Also, Tuck’s uneasiness foreshadows that troubles are coming.