#AMREADING EDITH WHARTON, THE REEF. Americans in Paris, 1912.
An American in Paris: It’s not quite clear whether he lives in Europe in order to cultivate an art, or cultivates an art as a pretext for living in Europe.
Being ladylike: What were all her reticences and evasions but the result of the deadening process of forming a lady? Passion was completely absent. She was sure that if anything of the kind had occurred in her immediate circle, her mother would have consulted the family clergyman.
Getting used to beauty: He was wondering whether to a really fine taste the exceptional thing could ever become indifferent through habit, whether the appetite for beauty was soon dulled and could be kept alive only by privation.
The company of a good-looking woman: He knew the primitive complacency of the man at whose companion other men stare. She had a responsive temperament, and he felt a fleeting desire to make its chords vibrate for his own amusement.
Unhappiness: She had been unhappy before, and the vision of old miseries flocked like hungry ghosts about her fresh pain.
A stolid friend: She found refuge from unhappiness in her friend’s unawareness. She guessed no more than one chose, and yet acted astutely on such hints one vouchsafed her. She was like a well-trained retriever whose interest in his prey ceases when he lays it at his master’s feet.
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