To the Europeans, South America is a man with a moustache, a guitar, and a gun,’ the doctor said, laughing over his newspaper. ‘They don’t understand the problem ·’
‘Nothing for the colonel?’ The colonel was terrified. The postmaster tossed the bag onto his shoulder, got off the platform, and replied without turning his head: ‘No one writes to the colonel.’
His lungs filled with stifling air and he pronounced the sentence as if he had just invented it: ‘There’s strength in numbers.’
Hernan went into the tailor shop with the clock. Alvaro was sewing on a machine. At the back, beneath a guitar hanging on a nail, a girl was sewing buttons on. There was a sign tacked up over the guitar: “TALKING POLITICS FORBIDDEN.” Outside, the colonel felt as if his body were superfluous.
The colonel acknowledged that forty years of shared living, of shared hunger, of shared suffering, had not been enough for him to come to know his wife. He felt that something had also grown old in their love.
And then, to the colonel: ‘Come in, friend. When I went to look for you this afternoon, I couldn’t even see your hat.’ ‘I don’t wear one, so I won’t have to take if off for anyone.’
The doctor saw his own teeth reflected in the little chromed lock of his bag
The doctor stayed in the living room, detained by Sabas’s wife, who asked him for a remedy ‘for those things which come over one suddenly and which one doesn’t know what they are.’
The doctor examined him with a look absolutely devoid of any professional interest.
The death of her son had not wrung a single tear out of her
It had taken the colonel seventy-five years – the seventy-five years of his life, minute by minute – to reach this moment. He felt pure, explicit, invincible at the moment when he replied: ‘Shit’.
Even then he was the most striking figure in Starkfield, though he was but the ruin of a man
During the early part of my stay I had been struck by the contrast between the vitality of the climate and the deadness of the community
I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access
Once or twice in the past he had been faintly disquieted by Zenobia’s way of letting things happen without seeming to remark them, and then, weeks afterward, in a casual phrase, revealing that she had all along taken her notes and drawn her inferences
These alterations of mood were the despair and joy of Ethan Frome. The motions of her mind were as incalculable as the flit of a bird in the branches
Now he thought she understood him, and feared; now he was sure she did not, and despaired
Though she was but seven years her husband’s senior, and he was only twenty-eight, she was already an old woman.
By nature grave and inarticulate, he admired recklessness and gaiety in others and was warmed to the marrow by friendly human intercourse
When she spoke it was only to complain, and to complain of things not in his power to remedy; and to check a tendency to impatient retort he had first formed the habit of not answering her, and finally of thinking of other things while she talked.
Through the obscurity which hid their faces their thoughts seemed to dart at each other like serpents shooting venom. Ethan was seized with horror of the scene and shame at his own share in it. It was as senseless and savage as a physical fight between two enemies in the darkness
Now she had mastered him and he abhorred her.
It was the first time that Mattie had ever written to him, and the possession of the paper gave him a strange new sense of her nearness; yet it deepened his anguish by reminding him that henceforth they would have no other way of communicating with each other. For the life of her smile, the warmth of her voice, only cold paper and dead words!
If I missed my train where’d I go?” “Where are you going if you catch it?”