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The Little Lady of the Big House

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(1915)



The story concerns a love triangle. The protagonist, Dick Forrest, is a rancher with a poetic streak (his "acorn song" recalls London's play, "The Acorn Planters."). His wife, Paula, is a vivacious, athletic, and sexually self-aware woman (in one scene, she rides a stallion into a "swimming tank," emerging in "a white silken slip of a bathing suit that molded to her form like a marble-carven veiling of drapery.") Paula, like Charmian, is subject to insomnia; and Paula, like Charmian, is unable to bear children. Based on a reading of Charmian's diary, Stasz identifies the third vertex of the triangle, Evan Graham, with two real-life men named Laurie Smith and Allan Dunn. Even minor characters can be identified; Forrest's servant Oh My resembles London's valet Nakata. The long-bearded hobo philosopher Aaron Hancock resembles the real-lifelong-bearded hobo philosopher Frank Strawn-Hamilton, who was a long-term guest at the London ranch. Sculptor Haakan Frolich makes an appearance as "the sculptor Froelig"--and painter Xavier Martinez appears as the character "Xavier Martinez!"

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Jack London