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'The Return'
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John O'London's Weekly
Daily News
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First-Person Narratives
Character: Uncle Silas

The narrator returns to the 'little house by the pine spinney where Uncle Silas had lived for seventy years', finding everything repaired and painted white, the orchard and garden chopped down, the rose-bushes too.

Allowed by the new owner to go to the cellar, he leaves with overlooked bottles of elderberry and cowslip wine as well as Silas's gun, and learns of a previous visitor: a woman who said she 'wanted to look at the place again for the last time... wanting the old bath as a keepsake, to do my washing in'. The nephew, bearing his treasures, thinks about 'that tart and irascible housekeeper, a flint-hearted iron-corseted woman, tartar, a sour old tyrant, standing there in the summer garden, all broken up and stupefied, weeping her heart out for something nobody would ever understand'.

This concluding tale in the initial set of Silas stories captures the changes to society and countryside that feature so prominently in Bates's work of the 1930s.

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