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A Ruth Suckow omnibus by Ruth Suckow

By Ruth Suckow

A dozen tales describe the lives of people who locate energy of their goals, and thoughts of small-town childhoods.

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And there were men in town who said that no one in that bank knew as much about its business as Susan. But all that seemed irrelevant to the consistent interest of her love affair. It obscured the rest of her life to Susan herself. There was never a moment when she was not aware of it. At the bank, when she was making up accounts with swift and practiced accuracy, it was there in her breast, something unsatisfied, an ache and a craving; it was there behind the businesslike rhythm of the adding machine; and when she sat at the big table in the back room where the sunshine lay slantwise in the morning its sweetness enveloped her in dreamy pain.

She looked for a moment at her own face in the darkened mirror of the old-fashioned parlor. She saw it faded, sad, old, wise with a wisdom she could not be without, and yet that she might wish she had never had to learn. The whole town, of course, knew that the affairwhatever it had beenwas over. They blamed the Doctor and felt sorry for Susan, but without much conviction, at that. Not nearly as much as one might have expected. "She ought to have brought him to time sooner," the men at the bank agreed.

She seemed no longer set apart from the town's life. Again she was appreciated in her shining and immaculate slimness; although now the memory of the affair, the never-ending curiosity and speculation as to exactly how far it had goneits culmination indignantly denied by the innocent and insisted upon with secret delight and outward cynical derision by the knowing ones Page 17 shed a deeper and more significant aura of romance about her. But the summer went on and the thing still hung fire. The Doctor stayed on in the brick house.

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