Short Story #279: An Honest Soul by Mary Wilkins
Title: An Honest Soul
Author: Mary Wilkins
SummaryMartha Patch lives alone in a very small house removed from the road. She is old and pieces together her living by doing odd jobs, mostly sewing and stitching. She has two orders from Miss Bliss and Miss Bennet that she has received, which will provide her with money and food enough to get through the next few months. As she gets to work on the dresses, she finds her time filled up well, except when she occasionally thinks about having a window out the front of the house with which to see the road. She cannot afford it and must settle for the rear window which looks out across the field. She soon realizes that she has mixed up the orders from Bliss and Bennet and must undo everything that she has done. She also needs to make sure she knows whose material is whose, so she takes a long trek to Miss Bennet's home to confirm. She works long and hard, tirelessly and with increasingly less food. She finally finishes, nearly exhausted after several weeks. She goes to bed and the next morning, the morning she plans to deliver the dresses, she finds that she has utterly fatigued herself. She falls on her way to the kitchen and is unable to get up. She is stranded there for a while but luckily hears a neighbor that she begins calling for. Her neighbor, Mrs. Peters manages to break in through the window and begins to help her out, providing food and helping her to bed. Later, Mr. Peters shows up and explains that he plans to put in a front window because he's had this large piece of glass just taking up space. Martha is dubious but agrees to it with much appreciation. In addition, Mrs. Peters explains that she knows there are some other people who need some work, which Martha is excited to know.
ReflectionThere's some great material in this story. That her name last name is Patch and she works to sew is not too much of a surprise, but more interesting is the presentation of the window. The rear window is almost reflective or looking backwards. In fact, all she can see out of it is youth, which is of course, her own past. However, the building of the front window, which opens to the road and makes her capable of seeing her community also comes about once her community has opened up to her and provided for her.
Short Story #279 out of 365
Rating: 4 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 9/15/2014
Source: You can find the full text of this story at this website.
For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.
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