The Moment of Tenderness Characters

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Madame Septmoncel

Madame Septmoncel is the titular character of L'Engle's short story "Madame, Or...". She is the headmistress of a residence for young ladies, and readers meet her through Walter Burton, who goes to the school to pick up his sister, Nancy, for dinner. Walter is upset to see his sister "'getting under the influence of any one woman'" like Madame, and says "'it's like a spell, really'" (80). But with her dignified silver hair, firm handshake, and enchanting, womanly manners, Walter himself experiences her as a "tiny, exquisite woman" and is fascinated by her from the moment they meet (67). At the end of the night, Walter watches an older, sophisticated man kiss Madame's hand, "as Walter would have liked to have kissed it that afternoon" and her power of men is shown to be just as palpable as her power over the girls she teaches (85).

She tells Walter about...

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This section contains 1,957 words
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