Melanctha

Melanctha always made herself escape but often it was an effort. She did not know what it was that she so badly wanted, but with all her courage Melanctha here was a coward, and so she could not learn to understand.

Melanctha and some man would stand in the evening and walk together. Sometimes Melanctha would be with another girl and then it was much easier to stay or to escape, for then they could make way for themselves together, and be throwing words and laughter at each other, could keep a man from getting too strong in his attention.

But when Melanctha was alone, and she was so, very often, she would sometimes come very near to making a long step in the road that leads to wisdom. Some men would learn a good deal about her in the talk, never altogether truly, for Melanctha all her life did not know how to tell a story wholly. She always, and yet not with intention, managed to leave out big pieces which make a story very different, for when it came to what had happened and what she had said and what it was that she had really done, Melanctha never could remember right.

Gertrude Stein, “Melanctha” in Three Lives Stories of  The Good Anna, Melanctha and The Gentle Lena, (A Public Domain Book, for Kindle), location 988

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