A joyless widow briefly hopes for love from a visiting salesman, only to learn that he wishes to marry her daughter (drawing comparison with two earlier stories -- "The Flame" and "Nina.") She finds meaning in caring for their daughter, but the baby tragically dies and she returns to boredom and loneliness. In the preface to a 1938 collection of his stories, Country Tales, Bates singles out this tale, along with "The Black Boxer," as accomplishing his difficult transition from a focus on mood to a focus on character and thereby projecting him "into a new world."
New Statesman and Nation (May 9, 1931, p. 400, attached)
Times Literary Supplement (May 19, 1931; p. 409, attached, of the 1931 edition)
In The Criterion (October 1930), The Black Boxer Tales (1932), Thirty Tales (1934), The Bride Comes to Evensford and Other Tales (1949) and published in a separate edition as Mrs. Esmond's Life (1931). Reprinted as "Mrs. Esmond's Life" in Greater Omnibus of Private Books (1942), American Aphrodite (4:13, 1954).
|a13 New Statesman and Nation.pdf||240.37 KB|
|a13 TLS.pdf||644.88 KB|