“Letter from Stranger” Zweig in brief summary

“Letter from Stranger” Zweig in brief summary

A well-known writer R. after a three-day trip to the mountains returns to Vienna and, looking at the number in the newspaper, recalls that on this day he turns forty-one. After reading the accumulated mail, he puts aside a thick letter written in unfamiliar handwriting. A little later, comfortably sitting in a chair and lighting a cigar, he opens a letter. Neither on him nor on the envelope does not have the name and address of the sender. The letter begins with the words “To you, who never knew me,” and it is not clear that this is a reference or heading. Intrigued, R. plunges into reading. The stranger writes about how she first saw R. She was thirteen years old when R. settled in their house. The daughter of a poor widow, the girl followed him admiringly, he seemed to her

the embodiment of a distant, beautiful life, inaccessible to her. She sat for hours in the hallway, to see him in the peephole, kissed the handle of the door, to which he touched. Once she even managed to visit his apartment: in the absence of the owner, the old servant knocked out carpets, and the girl helped him to pull them back. But three years later the girl had to leave: her mother remarried, and the wealthy stepfather took her and the girl to Innsbruck. Before leaving, the girl got courage and rang the door to her idol. But no one came to her call: obviously, R. was not at home. She waited for his return, ready to rush at his feet, but, alas, he returned home not alone: ​​with him was a woman. In Innsbruck, the girl lived two years: from sixteen to eighteen years. Neither the provided life, nor the care of the parents, nor the attention of the fans distracted her from thinking about her beloved, and she at the first opportunity, rejecting the help of her relatives, She left for Vienna and entered the ready-made dress shop. Every evening she went after work to the house of R. and for hours stood under his windows. When she once faced him on the street, he did not recognize her as a former neighbor. He never recognized her. Two days later he met her again and invited him to dinner together. After the restaurant, he invited the
girl to her, and they spent the night together. At parting he gave her white roses. Then he twice invited the girl to her. These were the happiest moments of her life. But R. needed to leave. He again gave her roses and promised to immediately notify the girl at the return, but she never waited for him a single line. She had a baby, their common child. She left her job, was poor, but she did not want to ask for help from either her family or his: she did not want to bind him, she did not want to provoke distrust in him, she did not want to, that he would help her only out of pity or out of shame. The stranger gave herself to the child all the time, and R. reminded herself only once a year: on the day of his birth, she sent him a bouquet of white roses – exactly as he had given her after the first night of their love. She still does not know if he understood who and why sends these flowers to him, whether he remembered the nights spent with her. To the child did not need anything, the stranger became a kept woman, she was very pretty, had many admirers. It used to happen that lovers were attached to her and wanted to marry, but she still hoped in her heart that R. would ever call her, and was afraid to lose the opportunity to respond to his call. Once in a restaurant where a stranger was with friends, R. saw her and, not recognizing, mistook him for a cocotte. He called her to him, and she followed him straight from the middle of the evening, that offends the person with whom she came, not saying goodbye to anyone without even taking a coat from the coat rack, because her friend had a ticket. They spent the night together again. And in the morning, R. said that he was going on a trip to Africa. She timidly remarked: “What a pity!” He said that they always come back from travels. “They come back, having forgotten,” she objected. She hoped that at that moment he would recognize her, but he did not recognize it. Moreover, when she was about to leave, he stealthily slipped the money into her muff. She made one last attempt: she asked for one of the white roses standing in the blue vase. He readily extended the flower to her. He explained that he does not know who is sending flowers to him, and that’s why he loves them. “Maybe they are also from a woman, forgotten by you,” said the stranger, glancing at him to recognize her. But he looked at her tenderly and uncomprehendingly. He never recognized her. Running out of the apartment, she almost collided with his old servant. When she looked through the tears at the old man, a light flashed in his eyes: she was sure that he recognized her, although he had never seen her since her childhood. She snatched from the coupler the money that R. paid her, and stuck it to the old man. He looked at her frightened – and in that instant he learned more about her than R. in his entire life. The child of a stranger died. Feeling that she herself falls ill, she decided to write a letter to R. and reveal the secret of her love for him. He will receive this letter only in the event that she dies. She asks him in memory of her once a year to buy white roses and put them in a blue vase. When she looked through the tears at the old man, a light flashed in his eyes: she was sure that he recognized her, although he had never seen her since her childhood. She snatched from the coupler the money that R. paid her, and stuck it to the old man. He looked at her frightened – and in that instant he learned more about her than R. in his entire life. The child of a stranger died. Feeling that she herself falls ill, she decided to write a letter to R. and reveal the secret of her love for him. He will receive this letter only in the event that she dies. She asks him in memory of her once a year to buy white roses and put them in a blue vase. When she looked through the tears at the old man, a light flashed in his eyes: she was sure that he recognized her, although he had never seen her since her childhood. She snatched from the coupler the money that R. paid her, and stuck it to the old man. He looked at her frightened – and in that instant he learned more about her than R. in his entire life. The child of a stranger died. Feeling that she herself falls ill, she decided to write a letter to R. and reveal the secret of her love for him. He will receive this letter only in the event that she dies. She asks him in memory of her once a year to buy white roses and put them in a blue vase. He looked at her frightened – and in that instant he learned more about her than R. in his entire life. The child of a stranger died. Feeling that she herself falls ill, she decided to write a letter to R. and reveal the secret of her love for him. He will receive this letter only in the event that she dies. She asks him in memory of her once a year to buy white roses and put them in a blue vase. He looked at her frightened – and in that instant he learned more about her than R. in his entire life. The child of a stranger died. Feeling that she herself falls ill, she decided to write a letter to R. and reveal the secret of her love for him. He will receive this letter only in the event that she dies. She asks him in memory of her once a year to buy white roses and put them in a blue vase.

After reading the letter, R. sits thinking for a long time. He wakes up vague memories – about the neighbor’s girl, about a girl she met on the street, about a woman in a night restaurant, but he can not remember his face. Suddenly his eyes fall on the blue vase. For the first time in many years, it is empty on the day of his birth. “He felt the breath of death and the breath of immortal love, something opened in his soul, and he thought of the past life as a disembodied vision, as a distant passionate music.”


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
“Letter from Stranger” Zweig in brief summary