Ann Eliza and Evelina Bunner live a quiet and routinized life, the most precarious aspect of which is the danger of not being able to pay their monthly rent. For the Bunner sisters, one day stretches, much like the others, into the next, and the two women live on in diginified and phlegmatic acceptance of their eminently safe lives. Their status quo condition is disrupted when Hermann Ramy, a modest, lonely, and enigmatic man, enters their lives. Both sisters become attracted to Ramy, and when he proposes marriage to the older sister, Ann Eliza, she rejects his suit, despite her wish to accept it. Realizing that her younger sister also wants to marry Ramy, Ann Eliza puts aside her own happiness in the hopes that Ramy will propose to Evelina. He does and she accepts. However, Ann Eliza's act of renunciation, motivated by a generous commitment to her sister's happiness, has disastrous consequences. In marrying Ramy, Evelina is ushered into a harsh life of physical battering, starvation, illness, and death. Rany, a drug addict, squanders his wife's small savings, beats her when she is pregnant, and, when she is of no further use to him, abandons her. Destroyed by Ramy's abuse, Evelina returns home, where, she dies of consumption.
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ain't alpaca Ann Eliza murmured Ann Eliza saw Ann Eliza thought artificial flowers asked baby back room bangles began beneath black silk bonnet Bunner Sisters cashmere cheeks clock counter cup of tea custard pie doctor door dress dress-maker dress-maker's drew dust dyer's EDITH WHARTON elder sister Evelina Bunner Evelina continued face flowers flushed glad glance gone guess hair hand Hawkins headaches Herman Ramy Hoboken Hochmuller Hochmuller's hospital I'm real jonquils knew lady with puffed laid length Linda live looked Loomis Louis mantle married Mellins's Miss Bunner Miss Evelina Miss Mellins morning never Newfoundland dog night on'y once oughter pale paused priest puffed sleeves Ramy's rocking-chair round seat sewing sick silence smile sorry stood street suddenly Sunday supper sure tell told took turned voice walked wedding window winter passed woman wondered words