(urth) The Nebraskan and the Nereid

Mo Holkar lists at ukg.co.uk
Sun Apr 17 08:38:21 PDT 2011

At 14:25 17/04/2011, Gerry wrote:
>The Nereid explained her motivation.  She wanted to marry the 
>Nebraskan Professor.  "You cannot imagine what village life is like 
>for such a girl, who has no money, no dowry.  Then a stranger comes, 
>and he is tall and strong, rich to her...".  She wanted life with 
>him in America, not a moment of lust (and, realistically, she would 
>hardly have had to bargain away her life to achieve that!)

Mm, good point. OK, I am convinced now :-) Thanks for explaining in detail!

>Besides, I do not see the Nereid as a monster who would extract so 
>hard a bargain for a small favour.  And the maid knew the ways of 
>Nereids; we have a clue earlier for that.
>Further evidence: Wolfe does not just say that the bed was unmade 
>(this would have been enough to link the girl to the maid, if that 
>was all that was intended).  He notes also that the Professor 
>complained to the landlady. This is typical Wolfe IMO, dropping an 
>important plot point in an aside. When the landlady in turn 
>complained to the maid, she would have learned that the Professor 
>had not recognised her, or he would have said nothing about the bed. 
>(Or if he had recognised her and complained, that would have been 
>worse.)  So her dreams of life with him were over, or so she thought 
>anyway, though perhaps she underestimated the ability of men, 
>especially professors, to not notice stuff... (Had she persevered, I 
>suspect a happy outcome was still possible.)

Yes, this interpretation makes it an even sadder story than I'd 
thought... although he has previously seen the maid as 'dumpy', so 
perhaps he would still have been repelled on realization.



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