Gertrude was a stray. She had been born with a taste for exploration, and she did not have it in her to center her life with her affectionate parents . . . Garrulous, skinny, and unwashed, she drifted from house to house around the Blenhollow neighborhood, forming and breaking alliances based on an attachment to babies, animals, children her own age, adolescents, and sometimes adults . . . She was helpful, pervasive, honest, hungry, and loyal. She never went home of her own choice. When the time to go arrived, she was indifferent to all its signs. “Go home, Gertrude,” people could be heard saying in one house or another, night after night. “Go home, Gertrude. It’s time for you to go home now, Gertrude.” “You had better go home and get your supper, Gertrude.” “I told you to go home twenty minutes ago, Gertrude.” “Your mother will be worrying about you, Gertrude.” “Go home, Gertrude. Go home.”
— John Cheever, The Country Husband