House of Mirth - Edith Wharton - Страница 1 из 486


The House of Mirth
BY
EDITH WHARTON
BOOK ONE
Chapter 1
Selden paused in surprise. In the afternoon rush of the Grand Central
Station his eyes had been refreshed by the sight of Miss Lily Bart.
It was a Monday in early September, and he was returning to his work from
a hurried dip into the country; but what was Miss Bart doing in town at
that season? If she had appeared to be catching a train, he might have
inferred that he had come on her in the act of transition between one and
another of the country-houses which disputed her presence after the close
of the Newport season; but her desultory air perplexed him. She stood
apart from the crowd, letting it drift by her to the platform or the
street, and wearing an air of irresolution which might, as he surmised,
be the mask of a very definite purpose. It struck him at once that she
was waiting for some one, but he hardly knew why the idea arrested him.
There was nothing new about Lily Bart, yet he could never see her without
a faint movement of interest: it was characteristic of her that she
always roused speculation, that her simplest acts seemed the result of
far-reaching intentions.
An impulse of curiosity made him turn out of his direct line to the door,
and stroll past her. He knew that if she did not wish to be seen she
would contrive to elude him; and it amused him to think of putting her
skill to the test.
"Mr. Selden--what good luck!"
She came forward smiling, eager almost, in her resolve to intercept him.


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