My Antonia Book 3, Chapters 3 and 4
Jim takes Lena to the theater often. Jim describes the time they see the play Camille and the effect it has on them both. He has never seen actors who truly make their lines become alive and vibrant. Every word coming from their mouths enchant him and he is aggravated and disappointed when he misses what they say. He finds the lead actress, who plays Marguerite, to be powerful and dazzling. Lena is so involved that she cries during the play. Jim is glad that he has taken Lena and not a Lincoln girl, who would be more concerned with social activities than with the play.
Jim visits Lena in her shop often. He is surprised that someone as laid-back and easy-going as she is could be so successful in a tough business. Remembering her as the girl who barely had enough clothing to cover her body, he is surprised at Lena's gift for dressingmaking. He now knows why Ole Benson took such an interest in Lena; he is attracted to Lena's beauty and charms. Jim discovers that he is not the only one interested in Lena; her landlord, Colonel Raleigh, visits her often, and her next-door neighbor, an older man named Mr. Ordinsky, has apparently proposed to her many times.
Lena distracts Jim so much, that his interest in his studies begin to wane. Cleric accepts a job offer at Harvard, and suggests that Jim follow him to complete his college education there. Although Jim does not tell him of his relationship with Lena, Cleric hears about Jim and Lena's relationship and warns Jim against her. He wants to take Jim east, so that he will not be distracted by Lena. When Jim goes to see Lena afterward, to tell her that he is leaving Lincoln, Jim confesses that he cannot think, much less study, when he is with her. Lena admits that she should not have gone to see Jim that day in March. She did not want to start a relationship with him then, although she had always liked him since childhood. Lena replies that she never intends to marry anyone, because she does not want a husband or a family. She has had enough of the hard times, living at home with many sisters and brothers and working on the farm. Jim leaves Lincoln to visit his grandparents in Black Hawk and his relatives in Virginia, before finally joining Cleric at Harvard.