I’m trying to read some Christmas stories to get in the mood for the season and I’ve had this book, aptly titled Christmas Stories, waiting for me since I saw O’s postings last year, and I decided to order it immediately. It’s a lovely collection of stories, mostly from classic authors like Dickens, Gogol, Trollope, Tolstoy, Cather, etc. The Story of the Goblins Who Stole the Sexton is the first story in the collection and it goes like this …
Lily returns to New York only to find that her aunt Peniston has died. During the reading of the will, Lily is expected to inherit her aunt’s fortune but Mrs. Peniston has been displeased with Lily’s European travels and perhaps with her behaviour as a whole and has left the bulk of her money to Grace Stepney, giving Lily only ten thousand dollars. The shock is again born with a resignation by Lily.
Lily awakes the next morning still exhausted but with a clearer view of her circumstances. Gus Trenor would need to be repaid the nine thousand dollars he has given her and she feels a tired weariness at her predicament. “She was realizing for the first time that a woman’s dignity may cost more to keep up than her carriage; and that the maintenance of a moral attribute should be dependent on dollars and cents, made the world appear a more sordid place than she had conceived it.”