Mr. Bell is very interested in this plan and asks if Mr. Thornton has taste-tested these meals. Mr. Thornton says that at first he was careful to restrict himself to just buying the meat and letting the hands organize and run the dining hall and meal plans, deciding the men would resent further intrusion by the boss. Then one day, as he was walking through the yard at lunchtime, Higgins and a couple of the other men invite him to eat with them. Now that the ice is broken, the men have invited him in several times to eat with them. Mr. Bell says that he would have thought that the hands would find his presence restricting, keeping them from venting about the job and their bosses. John says that he is careful to only join them when invited, and that as they've gotten more familiar with each other, the men have become comfortable speaking pretty frankly to him.
Since Aunt Shaw will be staying in the spare room, Mr. Bell is planning to move to an inn but Mr. Thornton invites him to stay at his house, which he does. His presence is a welcome relief from Fanny's endless prattle about her wedding clothes and plans.