(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The narrator imagines herself as she was in earlier days: a beloved and respected Indian wife and mother, faithfully fulfilling her household duties. Now, however, her visits with her children and grandchildren degenerate into bitterness because references to her current relations with a European man named Boekelman are unavoidable. She alternately laughs and cries when she considers, at her age, that she has such passion for a man who is as advanced in years as herself. She reminisces about their first meeting. It happened, significantly enough, as the result of an accident, when her chauffeur drove into the rear bumper of Boekelman’s car. Flushing angrily, Boekelman emerged from his car, with a little, barking dog in his arms. Once he caught sight of the narrator, gorgeously arrayed in the back of her Packard, he stopped shouting and cast her an admiring glance.

The narrator reflects on how her married life was spent quietly in the countryside with a much older husband and young children. Once she was widowed and her children were grown, she moved to the city, reveling in shopping and being invited to parties and teas. At one such function, she again met Boekelman. His foreignness is what most interested her. Unlike Indian men, he talked freely and familiarly with women and showed them little courtesies, such as opening doors for them.

Boekelman now no longer opens doors for the narrator, which she considers proper now that they live in the...

(The entire section is 601 words.)