“Scarlet Stockings” by Lousia May Alcott
Card picked: 10♠
Found at: AmericanLiterature.com
“What will you do then?”
“Nothing, thank you.”
And settling himself more luxuriously upon the couch, Lennox closed his eyes, and appeared to slumber tranquilly. Kate shook her head, and stood regarding her brother, despondently, till a sudden idea made her turn toward the window, exclaiming abruptly,
“Scarlet stockings, Harry!”
“Where?” and, as if the words were a spell to break the deepest day-dream, Lennox hurried to the window, with an unusual expression of interest in his listless face.
Harry Lennox is a man of leisure, perfectly happy to while away the hours during his visit to his sister’s sleepy town. The only diversion is Belle Morgan, the lovely and spirited young woman who wears the scarlet stockings.
Belle initially sees Harry as a “peacock,” but after she becomes friends with Kate Lennox, she is willing to see more in him. Belle’s idea of happiness is to do service for others, joyously and uncomplaining. She is a patriotic American. She is appalled that Harry sees himself as half-English and believes he should remain neutral in the conflict between the Northern and Southern states. Eventually, Belle admits to Harry that she and Kate conspired to wake Harry out of his comfortable life, but not until, unknown to Belle, Harry has enlisted. Is he doing it only to win Belle’s heart? Is Belle a hypocrite when it’s Harry’s life and limbs on the line? Will Harry even survive??? I must say, I was a little worried when I came to Part III of the story WHAT BECAME OF THEM.
There is a lack of communication among the characters which I always find to be a frustrating trope in literature (and other forms of storytelling). This might be why I’ve never quite taken to Alcott as an author. But otherwise, this is a deft story told mostly through dialogue.