Rob returns home by evening. Mrs Gifford tells him that she is aware of Mike's visit the night previous – having again noted the absence of some household articles, such as food and clothing – and again rebukes Rob, with great sadness instead of anger this time, for not doing what she feels would have been the right thing. To justify himself, Rob explains about the operation that would have been performed on Mike had he turned him in.
He realises that Mike had inherited a spirit of freedom from his father, and though his father had been forced into submission, Mike had not grown up entirely blind to the oppression around him. It had simply taken contact with someone from the other side – Rob, a Conurban – to spark rebellion in him. Rob also realises that he had almost bought into the groupthink himself by assimilating into the gentry with such determination that he had forgotten his Conurban past, even taking up the offer to join the Guardians.
He makes a decision: either he can remain in the place he has won in County society, now in perfect safety, or he can join the movement which has fled to the Conurbs and struggle alongside Mike in liberating the masses. The story closes with Rob leaving the Giffords at night and returning to the Barrier, trowel in hand.