(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

From a conversation between Faith Darwin and one of her three boyfriends, Philip, the reader learns of a poem written by Faith’s father (“one of the resident poets of the Children of Judea, Home for the Golden Ages”), lamenting the loss of his wife but expressing the desire “to go sailing in spring among realities.” It also alludes to “a young girl who waits in a special time and place/ to love me.” This reference becomes a topic of debate between Faith and Philip.

Philip likes “old people” (for example, his former wife’s dad) and hopes to talk to Faith’s father, which he does at the end. He is a worldly businessperson who bewails his being forced into “low practicality” by “the thoughtless begetting of children, and the vengeance of alimony.” Faith chides him for ascribing malice to Anita Franklin, her old friend and Philip’s former wife. She warns Philip not to disillusion her parents about Anita, whom Philip “dumped.” In passing, Faith confesses her romantic disposition, preferring John Keats’s and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s fantasies to John Milton’s moralizing.

Visiting her parents in a retirement home, Faith is scolded by her father for criticizing her former husband in front of the children. Her son Richard wonders whether the home is a hospital. “Worry and tenderness” characterize Faith’s attitude. When she was a child, she was “a constant entertainment” to her parents—her father tells...

(The entire section is 469 words.)