Roman Fever and Other Stories
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A side from her Pulitzer Prize-winning talent as a novel writer, Edith Wharton also distinguished herself as a short story writer, publishing more than seventy-two stories in ten volumes during her lifetime. The best of her short fiction is collected here in Roman Fever and Other Stories. From her picture of erotic love and illegitimacy in the title story to her exploration of the aftermath of divorce detailed in "Souls Belated" and "The Last Asset," Wharton shows her usual skill "in dissecting the elements of emotional subtleties, moral ambiguities, and the implications of social restrictions," as Cynthia Griffin Wolff writes in her introduction. Roman Fever and Other Stories is a surprisingly contemporary volume of stories by one of our most enduring writers.
psychology?” asked Osric Dane. There was an agonising pause, during which each member of the club secretly deplored the distressing inefficiency of the others. Only Mrs. Roby went on placidly sipping her chartreuse. At last Mrs. Ballinger said, with an attempt at a high tone: “Well, really, you know, it was last year that we took psychology, and this winter we have been so absorbed in—” She broke off, nervously trying to recall some of the club’s discussions; but her faculties seemed to be
whole business? Or was I simply a—an excuse for getting away? Perhaps you didn’t care to travel alone? Was that it? And now you want to chuck me?” His voice had grown harsh. “You owe me a straight answer, you know; don’t be tenderhearted!” Her eyes swam as she leaned to him. “Don’t you see it’s because I care—because I care so much? Oh, Ralph! Can’t you see how it would humiliate me? Try to feel it as a woman would! Don’t you see the misery of being made your wife in this way? If I’d known you
about them, and that even the legacy of the defunct aunt had not been too great a strain on their faith in human nature. His first glance at the Comte Louis du Trayas showed Garnett that, by some marvel of fitness, Hermione had happened on a kindred nature. If the young man’s long mild features and shortsighted glance revealed no special force of character, they showed a benevolence and simplicity as incorruptible as her own, and declared that their possessor, whatever his failings, would never
either. Let me go on thinking so, at any rate, till you’ve seen her, and confirmed with your own eyes what Susy Suffern tells you.” III. ALL through what Susy Suffern told and retold during their four-hours’ flight to the hills this plea of Ide’s kept coming back to Mrs. Lidcote. She did not yet know what she felt as to its bearing on her own fate, but it was something on which her confused thoughts could stay themselves amid the welter of new impressions, and she was inexpressibly glad that he
smiling eyes on her daughter’s. “Will they think it odd if I do?” Leila stopped short, her lips half parted to reply. As she paused, the colour stole over her bare neck, swept up to her throat, and burst into flame in her cheeks. Thence it sent its devastating crimson up to her very temples, to the lobes of her ears, to the edges of her eye-lids, beating all over her in fiery waves, as if fanned by some imperceptible wind. Mrs. Lidcote silently watched the conflagration; then she turned away