(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Miss Leonora Logan, a lifelong resident of Thomasville, Tennessee, and retired school teacher of English, Latin, and history at the local high school, has left on one of her frequent automobile trips. The narrator, her former pupil, now a middle-aged man, is concerned that she will never again be seen alive. Indeed, the city fathers have condemned her house to build a new school on the site.

Miss Logan’s house, “Logana,” is not really the best site for a new school, but racial integration is coming to Thomasville, and the townspeople want to avoid zoning problems by clearing away the small houses belonging to blacks on her property. Perhaps more important, however, is the grudge the town has held against the Logan family for several generations. They feel the Logans tried to keep the town unspoiled and thereby retarded progress; Logans prevented the town from becoming the county seat, prevented the railroad from coming through the town, and prevented other manifestations of change. Now the town has gotten revenge on the last remaining Logan, elderly Miss Leonora, who taught the town’s children for fifty years.

As weeks pass with only an occasional postcard from Miss Leonora, people in town worry about her. They feel guilty about their role in her departure and project their guilt onto her: She is making the town look bad.

The narrator goes back in time to recall Miss Leonora’s youth, her intellectual interests—which...

(The entire section is 530 words.)