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She wondered what he had been so anxious to burn.

Sometimes he would rally. Something unfulfilled troubled his mind, and once he even crawled downstairs. She found him shakily puttering over the papers in his huge davenport. He asked her to make a fire in the grate, and then, gathering up an armful of papers, he knelt down on the brick hearth, but suddenly drew back. His deep eyes gleamed hatefully at her. Holding out several stiff papers, he motioned to her to burn them. Usually she would have obeyed docilely enough, but this deviltry of merriment she resented. While she delayed, standing erect before the smouldering sticks, she noticed that a look of terror crept across his sick face. A spasm shook him, and he fainted. After that his weakness kept him in bed. She wondered what he had been so anxious to burn.
      From this time her thoughts grew more specific. Just how should she attain her ends.

— Robert Herrick, “The Price of Romance,” in Literary Love-letters : And Other Stories (1897) : 127-166 (145)

Robert Herrick (1868-1938)
papers (at University of Chicago)

Do I recall some of his books in my mother’s (or grandmother’s, or their both?) collections?

18 March 2022