Abek meets Gerda and Papa as they are walking in a nearby cemetery. Abek and Papa get along, but Gerda wants to go home, so the meeting with Abek is cut short. Several days later, Abek visits their home, bringing Papa a book he had wanted. Papa guesses that Abek is interested in Gerda, but it seems that Gerda does not return his interest, and she makes a point of going out while he is there.
Abek takes to visiting every day, and Gerda is kind to him. They have long discussions. He turns out not to be thirty years old but only twenty-three, six years older than Gerda.
Letters arrive from Arthur, reporting that he is well, working in a chemical plant.
Gerda visits Lise to hear her play the piano for the last time, since it is to be confiscated by the Germans. Abek arrives there too, and he walks her home. He tells her he loves her and wants her to promise to marry him when the war is over. She replies that he is asking too much of her. She feels that she can never love him, although she values him as a friend.
The next day she seesAbek again and tells him that she would like to continue seeing him, but he should not talk about love until after the war. He gives her a book of Chinese love poems.
The main focus of this chapter is on the growing relationship between Gerda and Abek, who is courting her like any young man would in peacetime—and winning the support of her father, too, although Papa tells Gerda not do decide anything until the war is over. This is advice that Gerda takes to heart. She is still only seventeen years old and is perhaps too young to cope with the ardent and serious attentions of Abek, with his premature declaration of love and his desire to marry her. Her feelings for him, while appreciative, never grow into the kind of love a woman must feel for a man if she is contemplating marrying him.