Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

  “Going swimming?”

  Natalie came down quickly from the wall, feeling to make sure that her skirt was down properly, turning to see who had spoken to her at this irrecoverable moment; it was no more than a figure disappearing into the rain, and turning a wet grinning face back at her over its shoulder; for a second she thought that it might easily be the one-armed man from the restaurant.

  More people were nearby on the bridge, but she was not embarrassed to turn away from the parapet and walk quietly toward the college; it occurred to her that unless she actually jumped over the parapet into the river she was of small interest to them. As she passed, she looked into their faces, and they were laughing or talking or walking quietly along, and none of them did more than slide a look past Natalie who was walking quietly along without interest.

  The reassuring bulk of the college buildings showed ahead of her, and she looked fondly up at them and smiled. As she had never been before, she was now alone, and grown-up, and powerful, and not at all afraid.

  * Here I perceive imperfectly my own meaning, and apologize if you understand, but if you do not, I—being this morning more sober—charge you to keep it in mind until you do. Do you get any other letters with footnotes?



  Shirley Jackson, Hangsaman

  (Series: # )




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