| Quote #1
He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message. (2)
The overwhelming sense of Richards here is someone in a hurry. He got to Mrs. Mallard as soon as he could when he heard about Mr. Mallard's death. All the negative words here ("only," "forestall," "less careful, "less tender") seem to emphasize how quickly Richards hoped to arrive at the Mallard home.
| Quote #2
She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms. (3)
Mrs. Mallard goes from zero to grief in less than sixty seconds. As soon as she understands the delicate reporting employed by her sister and Richards, Mrs. Mallard reacts instantaneously to the news of her loss. She cries "at once" and her complete emotional outburst is "sudden." These are interesting qualities or actions in light of her weak heart and delicate constitution.
| Quote #3
She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. (5)
Even as Mrs. Mallard has to accept the fact that Mr. Mallard has died, outside the house, life goes on. Even the trees themselves seem to shake with "new spring life." The outside world hasn't stopped to note the passing of Mr. Mallard at all. The natural world moves to its own, unstoppable clock.