From the very first paragraph of this memorable short story it is clear that the main concern of Josephine and Richards is how to break the news of the death of Brently Mallard to his wife without shocking her so greatly and endangering her health because of her heart condition. Thus it is that we are told that Richards, a friend of Mr. Mallard, had rushed back so that Mrs. Mallard could be informed by a member of the family rather than find out through any cruder form of communication. We are told in particular how they inform Mrs. Mallard of this tragic news:
It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing.
Mrs. Mallard's sister, Josephine, thus tells her in a very elliptical fashion rather than bluntly coming out with the truth, trying to soften this incredible blow to Mrs. Mallard to do her best to not shock her and endanger her health.