While the men are investigating upstairs, Mrs. Hale reminisces about how happy Mrs. Wright had been before her marriage, and she regrets that she had not come to visit Mrs. Wright despite suspecting the unhappiness she had suffered as John Wright's wife. After looking around the room, the women discover a quilt and decide to bring it with them, although the men tease them for pondering about the quilt as they briefly enter the room before going to inspect the barn. Meanwhile, the women discover an empty birdcage and eventually find the dead bird in a box in Mrs. Wright's sewing basket while they are searching for materials for the quilt. The bird has been strangled in the same manner as John Wright. Although Mrs. Peters is hesitant to flout the men, who are only following the law, she and Mrs. Hale decide to hide the evidence, and the men are unable to find any clinching evidence that will prevent her from being acquitted by a future jury - which will, the play implies, most likely prove sympathetic to women.
The biggest dilemma both these women have to consider in this play is whether or not to report what they know to the authorities. It's true that nearly every piece of "evidence" the women find was also seen--and overlooked--by the men. At the same time, if they had explained their reasoning to the men, Minnie would no doubt have been found guilty of killing her husband. This is an internal conflict for both women, of course. Though she had no relationship with Minnie, Mrs. Peters can understand Minnie's rage and helplessness because of experiences in her own life. Mrs. Hale is a former friend of Minnie's and understands how difficult her life became; however, she is also married to the sheriff and knows she should not be withholding evidence.