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Custom of the Country

Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton
By: (1862-1937)

Edith Wharton was a novelist of manners of late 19th Century New York “Society”, who spent much of her life in France. In this novel she tells the story of Undine Sprague, the thrice- (or more) married, upwardly mobile beauty from “Apex City”, transplanted to New York, and finally to France, leaving the dead and wounded in the wake of her “experiments in happiness”.

First Page:

THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY

by EDITH WHARTON

1913

THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY

I

"Undine Spragg how can you?" her mother wailed, raising a prematurely wrinkled hand heavy with rings to defend the note which a languid "bell boy" had just brought in.

But her defence was as feeble as her protest, and she continued to smile on her visitor while Miss Spragg, with a turn of her quick young fingers, possessed herself of the missive and withdrew to the window to read it.

"I guess it's meant for me," she merely threw over her shoulder at her mother.

"Did you EVER, Mrs. Heeny?" Mrs. Spragg murmured with deprecating pride.

Mrs. Heeny, a stout professional looking person in a waterproof, her rusty veil thrown back, and a shabby alligator bag at her feet, followed the mother's glance with good humoured approval.

"I never met with a lovelier form," she agreed, answering the spirit rather than the letter of her hostess's enquiry.

Mrs. Spragg and her visitor were enthroned in two heavy gilt armchairs in one of the private drawing rooms of the Hotel Stentorian... Continue reading book >>


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