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Miss Strangeworth is aware that Linda Stewart and Dave Harris are having some problems involving their relationship.
Many people seemed disturbed recently, Miss Strangeworth thought. Only yesterday the Stewarts' fifteen-year-old Linda had run crying down her own front walk, and all the way to school, not caring who saw her. People around town thought she might have had a fight with the Harris boy, but they showed up together at the soda shop after school as usual, both of them looking grim and bleak....
Miss Strangeworth had sent a letter to Linda's parents "to open their eyes." We can imagine the sort of letter it was. The old woman had developed a unique personal style since she began writing her poison-pen letters about a year ago. She does not make direct accusations but suggests possibilities and asks questions. Characteristically, she often implies that everybody in town knows about a situation except the person to whom she is writing.
Miss Strangeworth never concerned herself with facts; her letters all dealt with the more negotiable stuff of suspicion.
It just happens that when she goes to the post office to mail the three letters she had written that day, she overhears Linda and Dave talking. They are obviously in love with each other, but the seeds of suspicion Miss Strangeworth has planted in Linda's parents' minds are destroying the relationship. This is a case where Miss Strangeworth believes that her letter has actually been responsible for uncovering the truth. She thinks her suspicion was correct. Linda and Dave were doing what Miss Strangeworth only suggested they might be doing. The result is that Linda's parents have barred Dave from their home and are evidently pressuring their daughter to stop seeing the boy altogether.
Miss Strangeworth cannot feel guilty about the trouble she has caused Linda and Dave because she now feels she has done the right thing. The conversation she overhears convinces her that her intuition was correct, especially when Linda says:
"I can't tell you. I just wouldn't tell you for anything. You've got to have a dirty, dirty mind for things like that."....
Miss Strangeworth sighed and turned away. There was so much evil in people.
The relationship between the two young people was perfectly innocent. The evil was in Miss Strangeworth's own mind. She is a troublemaker. With her warped perspective, she creates troubles where no troubles existed before. This is a peaceful little town, but she sees the possibility of evil everywhere she goes and everywhere she looks. In the case of Linda and the Harris boy, she feels she has done her duty in warning Linda's parents. She sighs. She feels a bit sorry for the kids, but she knows it is better for them to be separated than to continue their improper and dangerous liaison.
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