Helen had set up housekeeping in Seattle with this Stone, whom she had apparently married in NevadaIs it just me who sees here a pretty obvious suggestion he was a rolling Stone?
Lily and Nona were fetched from Spokane and took up housekeeping in Fingerbone, jsut as my grandmother had wished. Their alarm was evident from the first . . . . [after poking the fire, lowering the shades, carting in some flowers and adding water to the vases] [t]hen they still seemed at a loss.
Thus finely did our house become attuned to the orchard and to the particularities of weather, even in the first days of Sylvie's housekeeping. Thus did she begin by littles and perhaps unawares to ready it for wasps and bats and barn swallows. Sylvie talked a great deal about housekeeping. [Followed by description of her inept efforts to keep house by exposing it and its contents to water and air.]
Most disspiriting, perhaps, was the curtain on Lucille's side of the table, which had been half consumed by fire once when a birthday cake had been set too close to it. Sylvie had beaten out the flames with a back issue of Good Housekeeping, but she had never replaced the curtain.
There were other things about Sylvie's housekeeping that bothered Lucille. For example, Sylvie's room was just as my grandmother had left it, but the closet and the drawers were mostly empty, since Sylvie kept her clothes and even her hairbrush and toothpowder in a cardboard box under the bed. She slept on top of the covers, with a quilt over her, which during the daytime she pushed under the bed also. Such habits . . . were clearly the habits of a transient. They offended Lucille's sense of propriety.
The visitors glanced at the cans and papers as if they thought Sylvie must consider such things appropriate to a parlor. That was ridiculous. We had simply ceased to consider that room a parlor since, until we had attracted the attention of these ladies, no one ever came to call. Who would think of dusting or sweeping the cobwebs down in a room used for the storage of cans and newspapers -- things utterly without value? Sylvie only kept them, I think, because she considered accumulation to be the essence of housekeeping, and because she considered the hoarding of worthless things to be proof of a particularly scrupulous thrift.
Sylvie realized that her first scheme to keep us together had failed. She had little hope that the hearing . . . would turn out well. Still, she persisted in her housekeeping. She polished the windows, or those that still had panes, and others she covered neatly with tape and brown paper.[And then she burns just about everything she can find, including the library book Ruth is reading.]
For we had to leave. I could not stay, and Sylvie would not stay without me. Now truly we were cast out to wander, and there was an end to housekeeping. Sylvie set fire to the straw of the broom, and held it blazing to the hem of the pantry curtain, and to the fringe of the rug, so there were two good fires, but then we heard a train whistle, and Sylvie said, 'We have to run! Get your coat!'
Religion: do you think that Robinson really chose the name "Ruth" as a deliberate Biblical reference