Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Frost in the Moonlight

Yes, that present participle in sentence 4 is grammatically awkward; an infinitive or the simple past would have made more sense. But I like the visual details, the movement, the simile about autumn grasses, the simplicity.

She was bent, but very tall and slender, and was walking slowly with a cane. Her head was covered with a great hood or wrapping of some kind, which she pushed back when she saw me. Some faint whitish figures on her dress looked like frost in the moonlight; and the dress itself was made of some strange stiff silk, which rustled softly like dry rushes and grasses in the autumn, -- a rustling noise that carries a chill with it. She came close to me, a sorrowful little figure very dreary at heart, standing still as the flowers themselves; and for several minutes she did not speak, but watched me, until I began to be afraid of her. Then she held out her hand, which trembled as if it were trying to shake off its rings.

-- Sarah Orne Jewett, "Lady Ferry." From Old Friends and New, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 1907.

No comments: