An ave valetque to Alma Salter, the second wife of a considerably older and once successful writer, is given by Ida, who had been a friend in the household of the first Mrs. Salter though only a servant to her successor. Still (if surprisingly) she was the reluctant confidante of Alma Salter, and through the inconsecutive flux of her own memories of the Salters, both wives and the children of each marriage, and Alma's latterday confessions, the reader can piece together Alma's small triumphs but great failures, which leave her at the end alienated from them all, even from her own son, Archie. So that where the faithful Ida's story begins with hatred for the woman who had trespassed in their lives, it ends-after Alma's suicide- in pity, a pity which eventually will isolate Ida from the family and terminate her association with it.... In this writer's bibliography, it is probably closest but not equal to Memory of Love, in its rather hothouse care and cultivation of fitful, volatile emotions. As such, it is also exclusively feminine.