The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton - Страница 1 из 386


The Age of Innocence
by
Edith Wharton
JTABLE 6 18 1
JTABLE 6 16 19
Book I
I.
On a January evening of the early seventies, Christine Nilsson was
singing in Faust at the Academy of Music in New York.
Though there was already talk of the erection, in remote metropolitan
distances "above the Forties," of a new Opera House which should
compete in costliness and splendour with those of the great European
capitals, the world of fashion was still content to reassemble every
winter in the shabby red and gold boxes of the sociable old Academy.
Conservatives cherished it for being small and inconvenient, and thus
keeping out the "new people" whom New York was beginning to dread and
yet be drawn to; and the sentimental clung to it for its historic
associations, and the musical for its excellent acoustics, always so
problematic a quality in halls built for the hearing of music.
It was Madame Nilsson's first appearance that winter, and what the
daily press had already learned to describe as "an exceptionally
brilliant audience" had gathered to hear her, transported through the
slippery, snowy streets in private broughams, in the spacious family
landau, or in the humbler but more convenient "Brown coupe." To come to
the Opera in a Brown coupe was almost as honourable a way of arriving
as in one's own carriage; and departure by the same means had the
immense advantage of enabling one (with a playful allusion to
democratic principles) to scramble into the first Brown conveyance in
the line, instead of waiting till the cold-and-gin congested nose of


-10     пред. Страница 1 из 386 след.     +10