Summary of the Story by V. Woollf “the Legacy”

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Gilbert Clandon looks over things of his wife, Angela. She had left everything in order – a little gift of some sort for every one of her friends. It is as if she had foreseen her death. Six weeks ago she was run over by the car. He is waiting for Sissy Miller. She had been his wife’s secretary and Angela left her the pearl brooch. To him, of course, she left nothing in particular, unless it were her diary. Ever since they were married, she had kept a diary. But she had never allowed him to read it. It was the only thing they had not shared when she was alive. So she had left it him, as her legacy. The maid announces that Miss Miller has come. Miss Miller is in mourning; her brother had died only a week or two before Angela. She cannot speak at first. She sits there dabbing her eyes with her handkerchief. Then they remember some moments of Angela life and he gives her the brooch. When Miss Miller leaves she stops on the threshold, as if a sudden thought has struck her, and with strange sympathetic expression she offers him any possible help at any time. Her words and the look that goes with them are unexpected to him. He thinks that she had entertained a passion for him, but he can only think about it as a joke. How he would have liked to share that joke with his wife! He turns instinctively to her diary and begins to read. He reads and remembers many events of their life. He recalls how they were happy together, their travels, and his successful career in politics. And then he begins to understand that he had become more and more absorbed in his work and she was more often alone. At some moment she told him that she felt so idle, so useless. She wished to have some work of her own. He made no objection. So she began to go to the poorest district of London and to help the needy. In that period of her life she met somebody whom she addressed “B. M.” in her diary. He apparently was a socialist and criticized their social system and authorities. Gilbert finds these...
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