1 Frome was in the habit of walking into Starkfield to fetch home his wife's cousin, Mattie Silver, on the rare evenings when some chance of amusement drew her to the village.
2 It was his wife who had suggested, when the girl came to live with them, that such opportunities should be put in her way.
3 His wife had never shown any jealousy of Mattie, but of late she had grumbled increasingly over the house-work and found oblique ways of attracting attention to the girl's inefficiency.
4 "Well, when she gets married, I mean," his wife's drawl came from behind him.
5 Then the door opened and he saw his wife.
6 He felt as if he had never before known what his wife looked like.
7 It is powerful cold down here, Ethan assented; and with lowered head he went up in his wife's wake, and followed her across the threshold of their room.
8 His accounts revealed merely what the means had been; and these were such that it was fortunate for his wife and daughter that his books were examined only after his impressive funeral.
9 His wife died of the disclosure, and Mattie, at twenty, was left alone to make her way on the fifty dollars obtained from the sale of her piano.
10 He became suddenly conscious that he was looking at Mattie while Zeena talked to him, and with an effort he turned his eyes to his wife.
11 As soon as his wife had driven off Ethan took his coat and cap from the peg.
12 If he glued it together the next morning months might elapse before his wife noticed what had happened, and meanwhile he might after all be able to match the dish at Shadd's Falls or Bettsbridge.
13 As her young brown head detached itself against the patch-work cushion that habitually framed his wife's gaunt countenance, Ethan had a momentary shock.
14 "Jotham Powell brought some goods over from the Flats for his wife, and he drove right on home with them," she explained.
15 His wife looked so hard and lonely, sitting there in the darkness with such thoughts.