“Meneseteung” begins with a description of a book of poems, dated 1873, and of its author, Almeda Joynt Roth, as she appears in a photograph. In her preface to the book, Almeda explains that in 1854, when she was fourteen, her family moved to a part of Ontario, Canada, that was then just being settled. There her father’s business prospered, and he built a comfortable home for his family. However, within the next six years, her sister, her brother, and her mother all died, leaving Almeda to keep house for her father until his death twelve years later. According to her preface, she wrote poetry to occupy her time and to help assuage her grief. The unidentified narrator concludes this section of the story with summaries of several poems and a brief comment on verse forms.
In the second section of the story, the narrator draws on the local newspaper, the Vidette, for details about daily life in 1879 in the small Ontario town where Almeda lived. It is then pointed out that Almeda’s house faces on a respectable street, but that the back bedroom, where she sleeps, looks out on a section into which no decent woman would venture. The researcher also relates information in the Vidette concerning Almeda’s neighbor, Jarvis Poulter, a prosperous widower.
The narrator notes that though Poulter often walks Almeda home from church, he has not yet made a declaration of his feelings. Almeda often wonders what marriage to him would be...
(The entire section is 568 words.)