A Matter of Mean Elevation (Henry)

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A Matter of Mean Elevation
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An American trader rescued a kidnapped opera singer from a remote mountain village, where she was held captive by music-loving Indians. As they descended the mountains, her demeanor changed with the environment.

John Armstrong, an American trader, traveled through the mountains of Venezuela, collecting gold dust from the indigenous people in exchange for hardware and cutlery. One day, his guide Luis suggested they visit the village of Tacuzama, where they might find more gold.

John Armstrong — American trader; resourceful, adventurous, and romantic.
Luis — Armstrong's arriero; knowledgeable about the mountains and local villages.

Upon arriving, they heard a beautiful woman singing in English. Armstrong discovered that she was Mlle. Giraud, a famous opera singer who had been kidnapped by the Indians and forced to perform for them.

Nina Giraud — opera singer; beautiful, adaptable, and initially solemn.

I am held a prisoner by these Indians. God knows I need help. In two hours come to the little hut twenty yards toward the Mountainside.

He rescued her, and together they journeyed through the mountains, where Armstrong fell in love with her.

As they descended from the mountains and approached the coast, Mlle. Giraud's demeanor changed. She became more lively and interested in the world around her. When they reached the town of Macuto, she eagerly embraced the local social scene, leaving Armstrong feeling disillusioned. He realized that the woman he had fallen in love with in the mountains was not the same person in the bustling coastal town.

Won’t there be a sensation? Don’t I wish I had an engagement just now, though! What a picnic the press agent would have!

Armstrong met his friend Rucker, and they played a game of billiards to take his mind off the situation. The story highlights the impact of environment on human behavior and emotions, as both Armstrong and Mlle. Giraud were deeply affected by the majestic mountains and the lively coast.