Souls Belated has ratings and 18 reviews. Carmo said: Pequeno livro que nos fala dessa tão peculiar característica que a raça humana faz questão de c. Souls Belated. by Edith Wharton. I. Their railway-carriage had been full when the train left Bologna; but at the first station beyond Milan their only remaining. You do understand, don’t you? You see how the very thought of the thing humiliates me! We are together today because we choose to be-don’t.

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Their railway-carriage had been full when the train left Bologna; but at the first station beyond Milan their only remaining companion — a courtly person who ate garlic out of a carpet-bag belaetd had left his crumb-strewn seat with a bow. They were both sorry to be alone. The train vibrated to a sudden slamming of doors; a waiter ran along the platform with a tray of fossilized sandwiches; a belated porter flung a bundle of shawls and band-boxes into a third-class carriage; the guard snapped out a brief Partenza!

Gannett did not notice it. He had returned to his Revue de Parisand she had to rise and lower the shade of the farther window. Against the vast horizon of their leisure such incidents stood out sharply. Having lowered the shade, Lydia sat down, leaving the length of the carriage edithh herself and Gannett. At length he missed her and looked up. He looked at her curiously: It was a refreshing touch, relieving the tension of her spirit with the suggestion that, after all, if he could smoke!

The relief was only momentary.

Her experience of smokers was ediht her husband had disapproved of the use of tobacco but she knew from hearsay that men sometimes smoked to get away from things; that a cigar might be the masculine equivalent of darkened windows and a headache.

Gannett, after a puff or two, returned to his review. It was just as she had foreseen; he feared to speak as much as she did. It was one of the misfortunes of their situation that they were never busy enough to necessitate, or even to justify, the postponement of unpleasant discussions.

If they avoided a question it was obviously, unconcealably because the question was disagreeable. They had unlimited leisure and an accumulation of mental energy to devote to any subject that presented itself; new topics were in fact at a premium.

Souls Belated

Lydia sometimes had premonitions of a famine-stricken period when there would he nothing left to talk about, and she had already caught herself doling out piecemeal what, in the first prodigality of their confidences, she would have whartonn to him in a breath.

Their silence therefore might simply mean that they had nothing to say; but it was another disadvantage of their position that it allowed infinite opportunity for the classification of belatde differences. How could it be otherwise, with that thing between them? She glanced up at the rack overhead. The thing was there, in her dressing-bag, symbolically suspended over her head and his.

He was thinking of it now, just as she was; they had been thinking of it in unison ever since they had entered the train. While the carriage had held other travelers they had screened her from his thoughts; but now that he and she were alone she knew exactly what was passing through his mind; she could almost hear him asking himself what he should say to her. The thing had come that morning, brought up to her in an innocent-looking envelope with the rest of their letters, as they were leaving the hotel at Bologna.

Souls Belated by Edith Wharton

As she tore it open, she and Gannett were laughing over some esith of the local guide-book — they had been driven, of late, to make the most of such incidental humors of travel. Even when she had unfolded the document she took it for some unimportant business paper sent abroad for her signature, and her eye traveled inattentively over the curly Whereases of the preamble until a word arrested her: She had been prepared for it, of course, as healthy people are said to be prepared for death, in the sense of knowing it must come without in the least expecting that it will.


She had known from the first that Tillotson meant to divorce her — but what did it matter? Nothing mattered, in those first days of sohls deliverance, but the fact that she was free; and whxrton so much she had begun to be aware that freedom had released her from Tillotson as that it had given her to Gannett. This discovery had not been agreeable to her self-esteem.

She had preferred to think that Tillotson had himself embodied all her reasons for leaving him; wharon those he represented had seemed cogent enough to stand in no need of reinforcement. Yet she had not left him till she met Gannett. It was her love for Gannett that had made life with Tillotson so poor and incomplete a business. Hwarton senior commanding the approaches from the second-story front windows — had been reduced to a series of purely automatic acts.

The moral atmosphere of the Tillotson interior was as carefully screened and curtained as the house itself: Tillotson senior dreaded ideas as much as a draught belatex her back. Prudent people liked an even temperature; and to do anything unexpected suls as foolish as going out in the rain.

One of the chief advantages of being rich was that one need not be exposed to unforeseen contingencies: Lydia, coming from a smaller town, and entering New York life through the portals of the Tillotson mansion, had mechanically accepted this point of view as inseparable from having a front pew in church and a parterre box at the opera. All the people who came to the house revolved in the same small circle of prejudices.

Before she met Gannett her life had seemed merely dull: It was natural that Tillotson should be the chief sufferer from this readjustment of focus. She did not understand this until afterwards. At the time she fancied that she had merely reached the limits wharfon endurance.

Souls Belated by Edith Wharton | Bag Full Of Books

In so large a charter of liberties as the mere act of leaving Tillotson seemed to confer, the small question of divorce or no divorce helated not count. It was when she saw that she had left her husband only to be with Gannett that she perceived the significance of anything affecting their relations. Her husband, in casting her off, had virtually flung her at Gannett: The measure of alacrity with which Gannett would receive her would be the subject of curious speculation over afternoon-tea tables and in club corners.

She knew what would be said — she had heard it so often of others! The recollection bathed her in misery. What she dreaded was belatted necessity of having to explain herself; of having to combat his arguments; of calculating, in spite of herself, the exact measure of insistence with which he pressed them. She knew not whether she most shrank from his insisting too much or too little. In such a case the nicest sense of proportion might be at fault; and how easy to fall into the error of taking her resistance for a test of his sincerity!

Whichever way she turned, an ironical implication confronted her: Beneath all these preoccupations lurked the dread of what he was thinking. Sooner or later, of course, edkth would have to speak; but that, in the meantime, he should think, even for a moment, that there was any use in speaking, seemed to her simply unendurable. Her sensitiveness on this point was aggravated by another fear, as yet barely on the level of consciousness; the fear of unwillingly involving Gannett in the trammels of her dependence.


To look upon him as the instrument of her liberation; to resist in herself the least tendency to a wifely taking possession of his future; had seemed to Lydia the one way of maintaining the dignity of their relation.

Her view had not changed, but she was aware of a growing inability to keep her thoughts fixed on the essential point — the point of parting with Gannett. It was easy to face as editu as she kept it sufficiently far off: What was needful was the courage to recognize the moment when, by some word or look, their voluntary fellowship should be transformed into a bondage the more wearing that it was based on none of those common obligations which make the most imperfect marriage in some sort a centre of gravity.

When the porter, at the next station, threw the door open, Lydia drew back, making way for the hoped-for intruder; but none came, and the train took up its leisurely progress through the spring wheat-fields and budding copses. She now began to hope that Gannett would speak before the next station. She watched him furtively, half-disposed to return to the seat opposite his, but there was an artificiality about his absorption that restrained her.

She had never before seen him read with so conspicuous an air of warding off interruption. What could he be thinking of? Why should he be afraid to speak? Or was it her answer that he dreaded? The train paused for the passing of an express, and he put down his book and leaned out of the window.

Presently he turned to her with a smile. His easy tone relieved her, and she smiled back at him as she crossed over to his corner. Beyond the embankment, through the opening in a mossy wall, she caught sight of the villa, with its broken balustrades, its stagnant fountains, and the stone satyr closing the perspective of a dusky grass-walk.

There must be at least two centuries of solitude under those yew-trees. She knew now that he meant to speak. He lit another cigarette. Lydia tried to speak carelessly. Why not live everywhere, as we have been doing?

Edith Wharton’s “Souls Belated” | 20th Century Literature

She made a slight gesture which caused his hand to slip from hers. He looked at her hesitatingly. She flamed with sympathy and self-reproach.

How stupid of me not to have esith of it sooner! Where shall we go? Where do you think you could work best? Should you like it?

Why should you shut yourself up in a desert? Gannett, for a moment, made no reply. At length he said, avoiding her eye as carefully as she avoided his: She thrust up her chin and turned toward the window. The train rattled on and he groped for a third cigarette.

She shook her head with a sigh. Their eyes met and she moved back to his side. What on earth do you mean? She saw that he turned pale. Are you tired of the whole business? Or was I simply a — an excuse for getting away? And whwrton you want to chuck me? Her eyes swam as she leaned to him. Try to feel it as a woman would!

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