Harper's Bazaar Short Stories by Elizabeth Bowen

By Elizabeth Bowen

3 vintage brief tales by way of the novelist and short-story author Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973). ‘So a lot Depends’, ‘The Easter Egg Party’ and ‘The Needlecase.’

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When he pressed his cheek against the trunk, he felt the tree trembling and he could imagine its top again swaying in the wind. The tree could not see either, and lived for centuries. It had a different way of living. Lorge went to it many times although people often laughed at him because he had a new lover. But after three weeks he had the horses harnessed and was driven by his neighbour. This neighbour was a friend of his. He had been away at the time when Lorge had lost his eyesight. When he now saw the pale fat clod in the rack-waggon, he became very confused and afraid of fate.

Why did it snap, what was the reason, eh, given that it hadn’t rained? Either a rope doesn’t hold, in which The Bavarian Stories (1920–1924) 53 case you can’t hang yourself with it, or else it does, in which case you have to pull it apart if it is supposed to have snapped. It had snapped, so this affair wasn’t a suicide. Don’t say a word, not yet; I know the murderer’s behaviour was most unusual, even apart from the way he pulled his victim down again – he was able to, the branch was thick, a thick branch – he showed himself in public, he shouted in the street for everyone to hear, in order to get a gentleman who had been in Java to come to the window by night with a candle in his hand.

When a child took him out for a walk it ran off to play and he was seized by a great fear and was not brought home till late at night. Then the brothers who had been worried about him laughed and said: ‘You must have been with a woman,’ and ‘We can’t get rid of you, you see’. They meant it as a joke, being glad to have him back again. That night he could not get to sleep for a long time. Those two sentences settled down like squatters and made themselves at home in his brain which had become as inhospitable to the brighter side of life as a house without windows is to cheerful lodgers.

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