This same red damask, on which distinguished and undistinguished guests had sat in her old lost home. Maybe Fyodor Dostoyevsky had sat there in his lamentable nervous state, dazzled by Sophias sister Aniuta. And certainly Sophia herself as her mothers unsatisfactory child, displeasing as usual.
The same old cabinet brought also from her home at Palibino, with the portraits of her grandparents set into it, painted on porcelain. The Shubert grandparents. No comfort there. He in uniform, she in a ball gown, displaying absurd self-satisfaction.
They had got what they wanted, Sophia supposed, and had only contempt for those not so conniving or so lucky.
Did you know Im part German? she had said to Maksim.
Of course. How else could you be such a prodigy of industry? And have your head filled with mythical numbers?
If I loved you.
Fufu brought her jam on a plate, asked her to play a childs card game. Leave me alone. Cant you leave me alone?
Later she wiped the tears out of her eyes and begged the childs pardon.
Excerpted from the title story of Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro Copyright © 2009 by Alice Munro. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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