In the Time of the Butterflies

On their way to see la Virgencita, what do the girls discover about their parents’ marriage?

chapter 4

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Chea Mirabal decides to take all her daughters on a pilgrimage to Higuey, where there have been sightings of the Virgencita. On the drive there, Chea speaks a bit too flippantly about her husband, and Patria begins to wonder why Mama wanted to go on the pilgrimage. Mama declares, "They're all scoundrels—Dominicans, Yanquis, every last man ... yes, your father, too." She will not elaborate, but Patria understands that her father must have been unfaithful. When they reach Higuey it is filled with pilgrims, so the women decide to stay with distant relations who live there. Patria shares a bed with Chea, and after they pray the rosary, Patria asks her mother, "What's wrong, Mama? ... Another woman?" Her mother confirms it.