A Night at Greenway Court

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"A Night at Greenway Court"
AuthorWilla Cather
CountryUnited States
Genre(s)Short story
Published inNebraska Literary Magazine
Publication typePeriodical
Publication dateJune 1896

"A Night at Greenway Court" is a short story by Willa Cather. It was first published in Nebraska Literary Magazine in June 1896.[1] Four years later a revised version was published in the Library.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

In 1752, Richard Morgan — a citizen of Winchester, Virginia — visits his friend Lord Fairfax at nearby Greenway Court. There, he meets Philip Maurepas, a Frenchman who tells them about his years in India. He expresses his disdain for the King, to Viscount Chillingham's dismay. They compare the political orders both in England and in France. Maurepas then attacks Fairfax because of the painting of a woman with a lily that he has. The next day, Fairfax acts regally and Fairfax pretends nothing happened. The narrator concludes that he acted in accordance with his Virginian duty.


  • Richard Morgan, the narrator.
  • Richard Morgan's father.
  • Josiah Goodrich, a friend of Richard Morgan's.
  • M. Philip Marie Maurepas, a gambler who left France because of his debts. He learnt his English in India.
  • Lord Thomas Fairfax
  • Viscount Chillingham
  • Mr Courtney, a pastor.
  • Fernando Fairfax, a forebear of Thomas's.
  • Mistress Crawford, Thomas's housekeeper.
  • Murzapha Jung, Dupleix's ally.
  • Nabob of the Carnatic, Dupleix's enemy.
  • Tecunda Sahib, Nabob's enemy.

References to actual history[edit]

Literary significance and criticism[edit]

The story has been deemed Poesque.[3] It has also been said to be 'straight out of' William Makepeace Thackeray's Henry Esmond.[4] Others have stressed the influence of John Esten Cooke, who wrote about Greenway Court,[5] or Anthony Hope.[6]


  1. ^ Willa Cather's Collected Short Fiction, University of Nebraska Press; Rev Ed edition, 1 November 1970, page 492
  2. ^ Sheryl L. Meyering, A Reader's Guide to the Short Stories of Willa Cather, G.K. Hall & Co, 1995, p. 157
  3. ^ Mildred R. Bennett, The World of Willa Cather, University of Nebraska Press, 1961, page 5
  4. ^ Catherine M. Downs, Becoming Modern: Willa Cather's Journalism, Susquehanna University Press, 2000, page 141
  5. ^ Bernice Slote, The Kingdom of Art, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1966, p. 41
  6. ^ James Woodress, Willa Cather: Her Life and Art, New York: Pegasus, 1970, p. 28

External links[edit]