Tales of Men and Ghosts
Tales of Men and Ghosts was published as a collection in 1910, though the first eight of the stories had earlier appeared in Scribner's and the last two in the Century Magazine. Despite the title, the men outnumber the ghosts, since only "The Eyes" and "Afterward" actually call on the supernatural. In only two of the stories are women the central characters, though elsewhere they play important roles. Wharton enjoys subjecting her subjects -- all of them American gentlemen and gentlewomen, in the conventional senses of the word -- to various moral tests and sometimes ironic tests. Some of the stories deal with the intellectual fashions of the day -- "The Blond Beast" basing itself, to some degree, on Nietzsche, and "The Debt" on variants of Darwinism. Though "Afterward" is set in England, and "The Letters" in France, the rest of the stories are squarely in Wharton's own New York city, rather than (say) in what she calls "the soul-deadening ugliness of the Middle West," thus avoiding the need to come to terms with what fashion-conscious New Yorkers still today call "fly-over country" for everything that lies between the west bank of the Hudson River and San Francisco Bay.
First Page:Edited by Charles Aldarondo Aldarondo@yahoo.com
TALES OF MEN AND GHOSTS
I The Bolted Door II His Father's Son III The Daunt Diana IV The Debt V Full Circle VI The Legend VII The Eyes VIII The Blond Beast IX Afterward X The Letters
THE BOLTED DOOR
HUBERT GRANICE, pacing the length of his pleasant lamp lit library, paused to compare his watch with the clock on the chimney piece.
Three minutes to eight.
In exactly three minutes Mr. Peter Ascham, of the eminent legal firm of Ascham and Pettilow, would have his punctual hand on the door bell of the flat. It was a comfort to reflect that Ascham was so punctual the suspense was beginning to make his host nervous. And the sound of the door bell would be the beginning of the end after that there'd be no going back, by God no going back!
Granice resumed his pacing. Each time he reached the end of the room opposite the door he caught his reflection in the Florentine mirror above the fine old walnut credence he had picked up at Dijon saw himself spare, quick moving, carefully brushed and dressed, but furrowed, gray about the temples, with a stoop which he corrected by a spasmodic straightening of the shoulders whenever a glass confronted him: a tired middle aged man, baffled, beaten, worn out... Continue reading book >>
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