Sunday, June 20, 2010
Edith Wharton, One of the great authors of the "Gilded Age"
"I have sometimes thought that a woman's nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting room, where members of the families come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond are other rooms, the handles of whose doors are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes."
This has always been a favorite passage of mine, from a short story by Edith Wharton, " The Fullness of Life". One can read many things into this, but I sometimes think it applies so well to large " Gilded Age " houses and what they meant! Yes, they were for impression and displays of wealth and power, but they were also homes, and many times the owners had cozy little corners where they could just be themselves. There was a story I once heard where the lady of a great house, a woman of society, while gowned in all of the best that Paris couturiers could create, had a little room, where she sewed little dresses and ribbons to relax. Would love to hear what others might think about what this passage could mean?