1 He let the vision possess him as they climbed the hill to the house.
2 They walked around to the back of the house, between the rigid gooseberry bushes.
3 Zeena always went to bed as soon as she had had her supper, and the shutterless windows of the house were dark.
4 Business is pretty slack, to begin with, and then I'm fixing up a little house for Ned and Ruth when they're married.
5 Ethan finished his usual morning tasks about the house and barn; then he said to Jotham: "I'm going down to Starkfield."
6 Even a few minutes earlier, when they had stood alone outside the house, he would not have dared to think of kissing her.
7 As he drew near the farm he saw, through the thin screen of larches at the gate, a light twinkling in the house above him.
8 But it was not only that the coming to his house of a bit of hopeful young life was like the lighting of a fire on a cold hearth.
9 They finished supper, and while Mattie cleared the table Ethan went to look at the cows and then took a last turn about the house.
10 Then the girl had returned to her task of clearing up the kitchen for the night and he had taken his lantern and gone on his usual round outside the house.
11 To this retreat he descended as soon as the house was quiet, and Zeena's steady breathing from the bed had assured him that there was to be no sequel to the scene in the kitchen.
12 It was only when she drew toward her last illness, and his cousin Zenobia Pierce came over from the next valley to help him nurse her, that human speech was heard again in the house.
13 Young Ethan Frome walked at a quick pace along the deserted street, past the bank and Michael Eady's new brick store and Lawyer Varnum's house with the two black Norway spruces at the gate.
14 Again he listened, fancying he heard a distant sound in the house; then he felt in his pocket for a match, and kneeling down, passed its light slowly over the rough edges of snow about the doorstep.
15 The barn was empty when the horses turned into it and, after giving them the most perfunctory ministrations they had ever received from him, he strode up to the house and pushed open the kitchen door.
16 He did his best to supplement her unskilled efforts, getting up earlier than usual to light the kitchen fire, carrying in the wood overnight, and neglecting the mill for the farm that he might help her about the house during the day.
17 Left alone, after his father's accident, to carry the burden of farm and mill, he had had no time for convivial loiterings in the village; and when his mother fell ill the loneliness of the house grew more oppressive than that of the fields.
18 He was an old friend of Ethan's family, and his house one of the few to which Zeena occasionally went, drawn there by the fact that Mrs. Hale, in her youth, had done more "doctoring" than any other woman in Starkfield, and was still a recognised authority on symptoms and treatment.
19 The builder refused genially, as he did everything else: he treated the matter as something in the nature of a practical joke, and wanted to know if Ethan meditated buying a grand piano or adding a "cupolo" to his house; offering, in the latter case, to give his services free of cost.
20 The pure air, and the long summer hours in the open, gave back life and elasticity to Mattie, and Zeena, with more leisure to devote to her complex ailments, grew less watchful of the girl's omissions; so that Ethan, struggling on under the burden of his barren farm and failing saw-mill, could at least imagine that peace reigned in his house.