The Defeat of the City (Henry)

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The Defeat of the City
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Voice of the City»
Microsummary: A successful city lawyer returned to his rural roots with his high-society wife, rediscovering his true self and reconnecting with his family, while his wife surprisingly embraced the simpler life.

Robert Walmsley, a successful young metropolitan lawyer, married Alicia Van Der Pool, a high-class woman from an old and prestigious family. After their wedding, they settled in the city and became part of the elite society.

Robert Walmsley — narrator; successful city lawyer; well-dressed, sophisticated, but reconnects with his rural upbringing.
Alicia Van Der Pool — Robert's wife; high-society, initially distant, but eventually embraces rural life.

One day, Alicia found a letter from Robert's mother, inviting them to visit the family farm. Intrigued by the idea of experiencing rural life, Alicia insisted they go for a week or two.

Upon arriving at the farm, Robert was immediately reminded of his childhood and felt a strong connection to the land. He became increasingly nostalgic and began to act like his younger, carefree self. He wrestled with his brother, played pranks on his sisters, and even danced and sang with the family's old servant. Throughout all of this, Alicia remained quiet and reserved, seemingly out of place in the rural setting.

As the night went on, Robert realized that his behavior might be seen as inappropriate by his sophisticated wife. He expected her to be disappointed in him and to criticize him for his actions. However, when they were alone in their room, Alicia surprised him by saying that she thought she had married a gentleman, but had instead married something better - a man.

I thought I married a gentleman, but I find that I have married something better — a man — Bob, dear, kiss me, won’t you?

She asked him to kiss her, showing her acceptance and love for him despite his rural background. In that moment, the city and its superficiality seemed far away.