The pleasure of solitude

Powerful Essays
The pleasures of solitude (by John Cheever)
John Cheever (1912—1982) is a well known American storyteller. He started on his literary career at the age of 16. In his works Cheever deals with the complexities of the life of the middle class, the inhabitants of small towns and suburbs of big cities.
THE PLEASURES OF SOLITUDE
One evening when Ellen Goodrich had just returned from the office to her room in Chelsea, she heard a light knock on her door. She knew no one in the city intimately; there was no one she could expect. She opened the door and found two small boys standing in the hallway. She supposed they were ten or eleven. Their clothing was thin and they were shaking with cold.
"Florence Valle live here?" one of them asked.
"I don't know anyone by that name," Ellen said. "Perhaps if you ask the landlady - she lives on the first floor."
"We're looking for Florence Valle. She's his cousin," the second boy said, pointing to his friend. " She used to live here."
"I'm very sorry," Ellen said, "but I don't know her."
"Maybe she's moved," he said. "We walked all the way over here..."
Ellen very seldom felt that she could afford pity and sympathy for other people, but the boys looked frightened and cold, and her desire to help them was stronger than her reserve. She noticed them staring beyond her to a dish of candy in the room. When she invited them to have a piece, they refused with a shy and elaborate politeness that made her want to take them in her arms. She suggested that they each take a piece of candy home and went into the room for the dish. They followed her.
"You got a nice place here, Miss."
"Yuh, you got a nice place here."
Their faces were thin and solemn and their voices were hoarse. "Haven't you any overcoats, you boys?" she asked. "Are you going around in the cold dressed like that?"
"We ain't got any overcoats, Miss."
"I should think you'd take cold, walking around like that."
"We ain't got any overcoats."
They told her their names

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