At Fault (Dover Thrift Editions)
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True to the writer's intrepid explorations of taboo subjects and resonating with autobiographical elements, At Fault masterfully portrays a complex love triangle amid the tensions of the rural post-Reconstruction South. Thérèse Lafirme is a young Creole widow in love with a divorced St. Louis businessman, David Hosmer. The moral and religious constraints thrust upon Thérèse prevent her acceptance of Hosmer's wedding proposal, setting the two on a treacherous path that involves Hosmer's former wife, Fanny. Originally published in 1890, the novel is marked by the same fearless examination of society and sexuality that distinguish Chopin's later works.
between the pages to mark his place. Mr. Worthington then did a little hemming and hawing preparatory to saying something fitting the occasion; not wishing to be hasty in offering the old established form of congratulation, in a case whose peculiarity afforded him no precedential guide. Hosmer came to his relief by observing quite naturally that he and his wife had come over to say good-bye, before leaving for the South, adding “no doubt Mrs. Worthington has told you.” “Yes, yes, and I’m sure
David Hosmer sat alone in his little office of roughly fashioned pine board. So small a place, that with his desk and his clerk’s desk, a narrow bed in one corner, and two chairs, there was scant room for a man to more than turn himself comfortably about. He had just dispatched his clerk with the daily bundle of letters to the post-office, two miles away in the Lafirme store, and he now turned with the air of a man who had well earned his moment of leisure, to the questionable relaxation of
allow a margin for the road that on this side followed the course of the small river. High up and perilously near the edge, stood a small cabin. It had once been far removed from the river, which had now, however, eaten its way close up to it—leaving no space for the road-way. The house was somewhat more pretentious than others of its class, being fashioned of planed painted boards, and having a brick chimney that stood fully exposed at one end. A great rose tree climbed and spread generously
did not suspect that she was submitting one of those knotty problems to her unpracticed judgment that philosophers and theologians delight in disagreeing upon, and her inability to unravel it staggered her. She tried to convince herself that a very insistent sting of remorse which she felt, came from selfishness—from the pain that her own heart suffered in the knowledge of Hosmer’s unhappiness. She was not callous enough to quiet her soul with the balm of having intended the best. She continued
certain imaginative interest. The young man whom she so closely scrutinized was slightly undersized, but of close and brawny build. His hands were not so refinedly white as those of certain office bred young men of her acquaintance, yet they were not coarsened by undue toil: it being somewhat an axiom with him to do nothing that an available “nigger” might do for him. Close fitting, high-heeled boots of fine quality encased his feet, in whose shapeliness he felt a pardonable pride; for a young