Kathryn Davis, the author of such gems as The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf, Versailles, and, most recently, The Thin Place, will come to Middlebury College to read on November 14 (4:30 p.m.). We’re proud to say that some of Davis’s early stories appeared in New England Review: “Floggings” in 1989 (11.3) and “Eternity” in 1982 (5.1).
[the story is available via JSTOR (subscription required) or by purchasing Vol. 11, #3]
“And just what do you think you’re doing?” the voice asked, making the young man, Lucien, drop the hem of the petticoat from his soft freckled fingers, whereupon it spread out against the wall in a white fan, like a wave spreading across the beach, the eyelet shirred and smelling of fish. The petticoat was tacked to the wall at its enormous waistband; beside it was displayed an equally enormous pair of bloomers, hand-sewn of flannel, the seams finished off in the French manner with stitches so tiny they appeared to be the work of mice. “Qu’est-ce que tu fais?” the voice asked, coyly this time. “Or are you a mute?” It was late afternoon and through the room’s single window the light issued in a single yellow block, as if the glass Lucien had polished just that morning wasn’t there, and the light was a corporeal substance of which there was too much. He looked around. The museum had been closed for an hour, but that didn’t always stop the tourists- people who, no doubt, in their normal lives respected the message of locked doors – from lifting the peevish faces of their offspring up against the windows, hinting by gesture at the need for a bathroom. But the room was empty. “Like tree trunks,” the voice said. “Or so the Captain claimed. He was my equal, and he adored my legs. Mes jambes. He had a tongue in him the size of a hand and, let me tell you, the manual dexterity to go with it.”