Hand put on her arm

“Sophistication”, pp.146 “The summer evening together that had left its mark on the memory of both the young man and woman had, when looked at quite sensibly, been rather stupidly spent. They had walked out of town along a country road. Then they had stopped by a fence near a field of young corn and George had taken off his coat and let it hang on his arm. ‘Well, I’ve stayed here in Winesburg—yes—I’ve not yet gone away but I’m growing up,’ he had said. ‘I’ve been reading books and I’ve been thinking. I’m going to try to amount to something in life.

‘Well,’ he explained, ‘that isn’t the point. Perhaps I’d better quit talking.’ The confused boy put his hand on the girl’s arm. His voice trembled. The two started to walk back along the road toward town. In his desperation George boasted, ‘I’m going to be a big man, the biggest that ever lived here in Winesburg,’ he declared. ‘I want you to do something, I don’t know what. Perhaps it is none of my business. I want you to try to be different from other women. You see the point. It’s none of my business I tell you. I want you to be a beautiful woman. You see what I want.’

The boy’s voice failed and in silence the two came back into town and went along the street to Helen White’s house. At the gate he tried to say something impressive. Speeches he had thought out came into his head, but they seemed utterly pointless. ‘I thought—I used to think—I had it in my mind you would marry Seth Richmond. Now I know you won’t,’ was all he could find to say as she went through the gate and toward the door of her house.”

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