past the need; she could spend all day in the greenhouse
Ellen didn’t mind. “I’m past the need of folk around me,” she said. It was pleasant to have the house to herself. She could spend all day in the greenhouse Rob had built in the fall, at the suggestion of Giuseppi the gardener. Mary always fussed about her staying there. “You’ll get cold, steaming youself up so. And you shouldn’t work so hard.” With Mary gone, Ellen could live there, in the warm, penetrating smell of rich earth and growing things. Giuseppi didn’t mind her puttering. “You make grow the things you touch,” he told her, chewing away on a stem of a rose leaf. If she felt tired, she could sit down, watching him build small cold frames for the spring planting. She forgot it was winter, a season to endure, even when the snow lay in blue ridges along the metal seams of the glass roof overhead. At Christmas she would show Anne the greenhouse. But Anne, at Christmas, was too busy for more than a glance. “Lovely roses. How are you, Giuseppi?” The she was off, a friend in Rye, from her college, shopping in New York with her mother, the theatre. She’s happy, thought Ellen, Out of all this, something may grow within her.
ex Helen R. Hull, Islanders (1927) : 272
Encountered Helen R. Hull in the same volume of The Seven Arts that contained Sherwood Anderson’s “The Untold Lie” — her remarkable story “Groping,” The Seven Arts (February 1917) : 309-327
and at hathitrust
which is among seven stories later gathered in Last September , Patricia McClelland Miller, ed. (Naiad Press, 1988)
Islanders is efficiently described by Grant Overton in his useful The Women Who Make Our Novels (1918; “new and completely revised edition” 1928) : 178-179 —
Islanders (1927) sees women set off on islands of monotony and futility while men sail freely away; but it sees this against a background of some color and movement and it shows, in its central figure, a woman who is anything but futile. Ellen Dacey becomes the mainstay of her family when her father, her brother anad her lover join the rush of Forty-niners for gold. Ellen’s courage brings the family through lean years in the little Michigan town. When the adventurers come home — such as do come home — Ellen discovers that to them she is just a woman, an old maid, “An Telly.” Yet during the years that follow Ellen is the person of power in the successive dramas of three generations; her sympathy and understanding, affecting, in turn, her brother, her nephews, and her grandniece, Anne.