Her hand boldly into his hand

The Thinker, pp. 80. “Helen and Seth stopped by a fence near where a low dark building faced the street. The building had once been a factory for the making of barrel staves but was now vacant. Across the street upon the porch of a house a man and woman talked of their childhood, their voices coming dearly across to the half-embarrassed youth and maiden. There was the sound of scraping chairs and the man and woman came down the gravel path to a wooden gate. Standing outside the gate, the man leaned over and kissed the woman. ‘For old times’ sake,’ he said and, turning, walked rapidly away along the sidewalk.

‘That’s Belle Turner,’ whispered Helen, and put her hand boldly into Seth’s hand. ‘I didn’t know she had a fellow. I thought she was too old for that.’ Seth laughed uneasily. The hand of the girl was warm and a strange, dizzy feeling crept over him. Into his mind came a desire to tell her something he had been determined not to tell. ‘George Willard’s in love with you,’ he said, and in spite of his agitation his voice was low and quiet. ‘He’s writing a story, and he wants to be in love. He wants to know how it feels. He wanted me to tell you and see what you said.’ ”

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It’s Helen who reaches for Seth’s hand and Seth who releases Helen’s hand.

The narrator makes plain he considers boldness a male attribute at (27), which, coupled with the “boyish hand” Helen White writes with (80), seems to suggest something masculine (or possibly “Tandy“) in her character.

Helen seems to court Seth just as George Willard (77) does; and provides another example of a young woman initiating romantic liaisons through notes (a la Louise Trunnion, Louise Bentley).


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