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<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton


“Look here, Frome,” I began, “there’s no earthly use in your going
any farther-” but he interrupted me: “Nor you neither. There’s
been about enough of this for anybody.” I understood that he was
offering me a night’s shelter at the farm, and without answering I
turned into the gate at his side, and followed him to the barn,
where I helped him to unharness and bed down the tired horse.
When this was done he unhooked the lantern from the sleigh,
stepped out again into the night, and called to me over his
shoulder: “This way.” Far off above us a square of light trembled
through the screen of snow. Staggering along in Frome’s wake I
floundered toward it, and in the darkness almost fell into one of
the deep drifts against the front of the house. Frome scrambled up
the slippery steps of the porch, digging a way through the snow
with his heavily booted foot. Then he lifted his lantern, found the
latch, and led the way into the house. I went after him into a low
unlit passage, at the back of which a ladderlike staircase rose into
obscurity. On our right a line of light marked the door of the room
which had sent its ray across the night; and behind the door I
heard a woman’s voice droning querulously.

Frome stamped on the worn oil-cloth to shake the snow from his
boots, and set down his lantern on a kitchen chair which was the
only piece of furniture in the hall. Then he opened the door.
“Come in,” he said; and as he spoke the droning voice grew still...
It was that night that I found the clue to Ethan Frome, and began to
put together this vision of his story. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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