— But you will be ready to say, what was your hope in doing this? — What did you look forward to? — To any thing, every thing — to time, chance, circumstances, slow effects, sudden bursts, perserverance and weariness ... Every possibility of good was before me, and the first of blessings secured ... — from Emma, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

January 19, 2013

A girl walks into a flat...


He ushered her into a slip of a hall hung with old prints. She noticed the letters and notes heaped on the table among his gloves and sticks; then she found herself in a small library, dark but cheerful, with its walls of books, a pleasantly faded Turkey rug, a littered desk, and, as he had foretold, a tea-tray on a low table near the window. A breeze had sprung up, swaying inward the muslin curtains, and bringing a fresh scent of mignonette and petunias from the flower-box on the balcony.
      Lily sank with a sigh into one of the shabby leather chairs.
      'How delicious to have a place like this all to one's self! What a miserable thing it is to be a woman.' She leaned back in a luxury of discontent.
      Selden was rummaging in a cupboard for the cake.
      'Even women,' he said, 'have been known to enjoy the privileges of a flat.'
      'Oh, governesses -- or widows. But not girls -- not poor, miserable, marriageable girls!'
      'I know a girl who lives in a flat.'
      She sat up in surprise. 'You do?'
      'I do,' he assured her, emerging from the cupboard with the sought-for cake.
      'Oh, I know -- you mean Gerty Farish.' She smiled a little unkindly.  'But I said marriageable -- and besides, she has a horrid little place, and no maid, and such queer things to eat. Her cook does the washing and the food tastes of soap. I should hate that, you know.'
      'You should n't dine with her on wash-days,' said Selden, cutting the cake.

from The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton

Reading Edith, finally!!

6 comments:

LauraC said...

I am also reading The House of Mirth and recognized the quotation immediately. I would love to step into that apartment, it instantly made me love Lawrence Seldon. What a fool Lily is!

Karen K. said...

I love House of Mirth, it's probably my favorite Wharton. I just reread Ethan Frome and it was still amazing. I need to read more Wharton this year.

Katherine said...

I love Edith Wharton! I have to space out my reading of her books so that I don't read them too fast. I may have to re-read House of Mirth, though, since the first time I read it was in high school, and I didn't appreciate it as much as I might today.

Bellezza said...

You say, "Reading Edith finally", and I say, "Hope to read Edith some day". At least you're there! Lovely excerpt.

Mystica said...

One I haven't read so it was new to me. Thanks for the intro!

Vintage Reading said...

I loved that extract. The first time I read HoM I was late for work because it totally absorbed me.

Thank you for visiting!

Card Catalog

#6barsets #emma200th #maisie #PalliserParty #Woolfalong A.A. Milne Agatha Christie Alexander McCall Smith Amy Lowell Angela Thirkell Ann Bridge Anne Perry Anthony Trollope Anticipation Armchair Travels Art Audiobooks Barbara Pym Biography Bloomsbury Bookish things Boston British Library Crime Classics Cambridge Cathleen Schine Charles Dickens Coffee-table books Cookbooks D.E. Stevenson Deborah Crombie Donna Leon Dorothy L. Sayers E.H. Young E.M. Forster Edith Wharton Elinor Lipman Elizabeth Gaskell Elizabeth Jenkins Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth von Arnim Emily Dickinson Ernest Hemingway Eudora Welty Fiction Films Food from Books Food Writing Found on a Blog George Eliot Georgette Heyer Helen Ashton Henry James History Homes and Haunts Ideas Imogen Robertson Isabella Stewart Gardner Jacqueline Winspear Jane Austen Joanna Trollope Julia Child Language Laurie Colwin Letters Library Books Literature Louise Andrews Kent Louise Penny M.F.K. Fisher Madame Bovary Madame de Sévigné Madame de Staël Margaret Kennedy Margery Sharp Mary Shelley Memoirs Miss Read My Year with Edith Mysteries Nathaniel Hawthorne Nonfiction Nook Only Connect P.D. James Paris in July Persephones Plays Poetry Pride and Prejudice 200 Queen Victoria R.I.P. Reading England 2015 Ruth Rendell Sarah Orne Jewett Short Stories Switzerland Sylvia Beach Team Middlemarch The 1924 Club The Brontës the Carlyles The Classics Club Thomas Hardy Virago Virginia Woolf Washington Irving Willa Cather William Maxwell Winifred Peck Winifred Watson