The Equations of Love (New Canadian Library)
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In the two novellas that make up The Equations of Love, Ethel Wilson describes ordinary people in perilous circumstances with extraordinary insight and compassion. “Tuesday and Wednesday” reconstructs the events of two days in the life of Mort and Myrtle Johnson, whose uninspired marriage is strangely transformed by the tragic intervention of fate. “Lilly’s Story” is the study of a woman who, protecting her daughter, invents a new identity for herself, only to live as a fugitive from her own happiness.
Fist published in 1952, these intuitive and richly ironic stories reveal the unspoken longings and surprising motives that balance the equations of love.
From the Paperback edition.
longer distinguish, across the misty drizzly street, the figures of Mort and his friend among the other people, so she went on her way, hurrying a little, to St. James Church. St. James Church is a noble grey building, non-Gothic, perhaps neo-Byzantine, which stands staunchly on the corner of East Cordova Street and of Gore Avenue which runs down to the near waterfront. Although not lofty, the church rises above the surrounding shabby wooden buildings of the East End, and, higher still, holds up
return for this handshake. Her seclusion was warmed by it and not violated. She went out into the dark lighted street where wet pavements shone. The rain had for a moment ceased. I will get back home before the rain begins again, she thought, thinking of her veil, and she hurried along, her head poking forward, as if she had an immediate appointment. A block or two along Cordova Street she saw, under the street lamp, a group of men standing, talking. Others joined this group. Men questioned each
when Lilly arrived at Comox in the guise of Mrs. Walter Hughes, wearing her innocent black and carrying in her arms her pretty baby, the small village lay hidden and scattered along the green and wooded contours of land that slope down to the Salt Chuck – to the sea. The village of Comox looked down on the estuary of the Courtenay River, and across at the forests, and out towards the ocean where curved the sand spit. Into the estuary swarmed the great spring salmon that fought their way in their
earnestly over the back of her hand at Mrs. Butler, like any child, and the thing was done. And, said Mrs. Butler to herself, she calls me Madam, how strange! And to think that I haven’t asked for references, or spoken of wages, but because she says Madam, and wiped her nose like that, and loves her baby, and is a widow, and wants to come, I know I’m going to take her. And I’ll have to fight Esther … and Maurice too. “That’s a promise?” she said out loud, looking kindly but with authority at
I feel for Paul. You will know just a little by what you felt for my father. We are almost frighteningly happy.” “Well …” said Lilly, looking at the letter. She read further. I’m glad his folks live in Montreal, she thought, and she felt some apprehension of this Paul. Paul Lowry heard, little by little, about Eleanor’s handsome young father, who married a poor girl, broke with his family, went ranching, and was killed by a stallion before Eleanor was born. He heard of her mother’s courage, and