Chapter XIV: Ardua Hall is the 14-th chapter of The Testaments. Agnes is the narrator.
Agnes recounts her coming to Ardua Hall and abandoning her prospective marriage to begin her induction as an Aunt.
Agnes is presented with photos of three candidates for marriage, and the Aunts (who arrange the marriages) assure her that her opinion will be taken into consideration. Her options include Commander Judd and two younger men. Paula and Kyle prefer Judd, who is the most powerful of the three, and ultimately their engagement is announced.
Agnes meets Judd and is repulsed by him. Paula is eager to be done with the wedding to get Agnes out of the way. It’s scheduled for two weeks after her dress fitting.
As the day approaches, Agnes thinks about Becka and fantasizes about suicide or escape. Aunt Lydia pays Agnes a visit, prompting that she get in contact with Aunt Estée. Under the guise of preparing for her wedding to Commander Judd, Agnes seeks out first Aunt Vidala, and eventually makes her way to Aunt Esteé. She then declares her wish to become an Aunt, threatening suicide otherwise. She is taken to Ardua Hall, where she reunites with a much happier Becka.
Paula soon arrives and tries to force Agnes to return, prompting Aunt Lydia to give her a choice: relinquish Agnes to the Aunts, or be exposed as a murderer (She had killed her previous husband and pinned it on the Handmaid). Agnes is summarily turned over to Ardua Hall. After each of the Founder Aunts interviews Agnes, she is accepted as a Supplicant and becomes Aunt Victoria.
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