Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
Silvia Fox married Richard Tebrick in 1879 and went to live with him at Rylands, near Stokoe, Oxon. The bride was oddly beautiful, a woman with small hands and feet, reddish hair, brownish skin, and freckles. Early in the year 1880, while the two were still very much in love, Silvia accompanied her husband on a walk. Hearing the sounds of a hunt, Mr. Tebrick pulled his bride forward to get a good view of the hounds. Suddenly, she snatched her hand away and cried out. Mr. Tebrick saw a small red fox beside him on the ground where his wife had stood.
Even in her changed form, he could still recognize his wife. When she began to cry, so did he; to soothe her, he kissed her on the muzzle. Waiting until after dark, he buttoned her inside his coat and took her home. First, he hid her in the bedroom; then he announced to the maid that Mrs. Tebrick had been called to London. When he carried her tea to the bedroom and found his poor fox trying to cover herself with a dressing gown, he dressed her properly, set her up on some cushions, and served her tea, which she drank daintily from a saucer while he fed her sandwiches.
Because the dogs had all that time been making a clamor, he went out into the yard and shot them. Then he dismissed the servants and retired to bed, sleeping soundly with his vixen in his arms. The next morning, their daily routine started. First, he would cook breakfast; later, he would wash and brush his wife. Next, they would eat breakfast together, the same food Silvia had enjoyed before her transformation. Once he started reading to her from Clarissa, but he found her watching a pet dove in its cage nearby. Soon Mr. Tebrick began to take his vixen outdoors to walk. On such occasions, her chief joy was chasing ducks near the pond.
One day after tea, she led him to the drawing room with gestures that showed she wished him to play the piano; but when she continued to watch the bird, he freed the dove from its cage and tore his wife’s picture into bits. He also found himself disgusted by the way she ate a chicken wing at the table. One night, she refused to share his bed and pranced about the room all night.
(The entire section is 885 words.)
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