Vol. 9 No. 6 1942 - page 472

with Ellen's grandfather, and her father was always in town. Some·
times he was brought home in very bad shape-which she grad·
ually learned was due to drinking-and had to stay in bed for
weeks. He had killed himself when Ellen was eleven in a cheap
little New York hotel of which he had been ashamed to let her
mother know the address.
Those tragedies of the tum of the century! I thought; it was
one thing to die or be broken for a political ideal or a social order
as had happened to both Southerners and Northerners in the years
of the Civil War; but to die, to be crushed, to be shattered, through
the overpowering progress of big business, through the unre·
strained greed of speculation, seemed hard on those men and
women whom we remember as gentle and bright and who look at us,
in such photographs as those which Ellen produced from a drawer,
with the American friendliness and candor.
She could hardly remember anything amiable in the relations
between her father and mother. Her mother had studied violin and
had wanted a professional career; her marrying Ellen's father had
put an end to this, and she had never forgiven him for it. She
would complain that she had given up her music and then been left
without resources for the social life in which he had involved her.
"She might have had," said Ellen, "a quite different life. Techni–
cally, she was very good. I don't think she was meant for mar–
riage." They had used to have long dreadful controlled quarrels,
which Ellen would sometimes overhear: her mother's cold voice
would go on and on, pretending to appeal to him in a reasonable
way-What was she to think? What was she to expect? when he
didn't keep his promises or use ordinary judgment, etc. He would
be sorry, try to reassure her about his conduct and prospects for
the future. It was heartbreaking, Ellen saiq: though not at all
intelleCtual, he had really been a lovable man, and he had a sort •
of distinction of feeling quite different from her mother's emphatic
dignity. After he had lost his money, he would never borrow from
friends-though there were plenty who would have been glad to
help him. But he had never had to work before, and he had never
in his career as a ladies' man been up against anyone like Ellen's
mother. "It must have been wretched beyond words," she said.
"You say that I ought to be glad I came out of it-but, even assum·
ing that I'm worth anything, how does that make it better for
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