Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  8 (1884), 446–64.

Nature's Serial Story Ch. 9  [9/13]

E P Roe


Novel, Serial


Natural History, Reading, Fear, Meteorology

    When Amy Winfield discovers a 'huge black snake' (later found to be 'over four feet' long) devouring a nest of fledglings, she instinctively calls to Webb Clifford, who shoots the reptile with a 'breach-loading gun', and later reads aloud to the gathered family-group 'Burroughs's account of a like scene and rescue' (448). The incident also occasions a discussion of the unpleasant appearance of snakes, and their role in mythology. In a similar manner, the 'electric pyrotechnics' of a violent rain storm in which 'the lightning played almost every freak imaginable' terrifies Amy and leads her to ponder the 'danger [...] in God's universe'. Webb, however, reassures her that he 'can explain it all with my matter-of-fact philosophy', and rationalises her fear by explaining that 'finely organised natures' such as her own are deeply 'affected' by 'these electrical storms' (453 and 455). Amy later worries that she cannot interest Webb sufficiently, wishing that she 'knew enough to talk to him as he would like', and she 'stealthily trie[s] to read some of the scientific books that she saw him poring over' (457).


Roe 1885

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