Due to a carpenters' strike, the narrator finds himself based in the small Massachusetts town of Starkfield for the winter. He learns Ethan Frome's story from many sources. Frome was crippled by an accident almost a quarter of a century earlier. When the narrator's horse rides are ceased due to an illness in the stable. So he hitches a ride with Frome in his carriage. One-day the narrator's train is cancelled and Ethan Frome
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showed last 75 words of 1204 total
then collects herself to make one final remark. Removing her spectacles and leaning toward the narrator in confidence, she declares in a lowered voice that Mattie would have been better off dying after the accident, for, as it stands, "I don't see's there's much difference between the Fromes up at the farm and the Fromes down in the graveyard; 'cept that down there they're all quiet, and the women have got to hold their tongues."