'Arnold, after yawning twice, got up and went into the house. Stretched out on the bed in his room, with the Venetian blinds closed, he began to compare the life of the Talbots with his own well-ordered but childless and animalless life in town. Everywhere they go, he thought, they leave tracks behind them, like people walking in the snow. Paths crisscrossing, lines that are perpetually meeting: the mother's loving pursuit of the youngest, the man's love for his daughter, the dog's love for the man, the two boys;' preoccupation with each other. Wheels and diagrams, Arnold said to himself. The patterns of love.'
William Maxwell, 'The Patterns of Love' in Over by the River and Other Stories, p.81.