The Mother's Recompense

The Mother's Recompense

by Edith Wharton
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The Mother's Recompense by Edith Wharton

Kate Clephane was wakened, as usual, by the slant of Riviera sun
across her bed. It was the thing she liked best about her shabby
cramped room in the third-rate H�tel de Minorque et de l'Univers:
that the morning sun came in at her window, and yet that it didn't
come too early.

No more sunrises for Kate Clephane. They were associated with too
many lost joys--coming home from balls where one had danced one's
self to tatters, or from suppers where one had lingered, counting
one's winnings (it was wonderful, in the old days, how often she
had won, or friends had won for her, staking a louis just for fun,
and cramming her hands with thousand franc bills); associated, too,
with the scramble up hill through the whitening gray of the garden,
flicked by scented shrubs, caught on perfidious prickles, up to the
shuttered villa askew on its heat-soaked rock--and then, at the
door, in the laurustinus-shade that smelt of honey, that unexpected
kiss (well honestly, yes, unexpected, since it had long been
settled that one was to remain "just friends"); and the pulling
away from an insistent arm, and the one more pressure on hers of
lips young enough to be fresh after a night of drinking and play
and more drinking. And she had never let Chris come in with her at
that hour, no, not once, though at the time there was only Julie
the cook in the house, and goodness knew . . . Oh, but she had
always had her pride--people ought to remember THAT when they said
such things about her . . .

That was what the sunrise reminded Kate Clephane of--as she
supposed it did most women of forty-two or so (or was it really
forty-four last week?). For nearly twenty years now she had lived
chiefly with women of her own kind, and she no longer very
sincerely believed there were any others, that is to say among
women properly so called. Her female world was made up of three
categories: frumps, hypocrites and the "good sort"--like herself.
After all, the last was the one she preferred to be in.

Not that she could not picture another life--if only one had met
the right man at the right hour. She remembered her one week--that
tiny little week of seven days, just six years ago--when she and
Chris had gone together to a lost place in Normandy where there
wasn't a railway within ten miles, and you had to drive in the
farmer's cart to the farm-house smothered in apple-blossoms; and
Chris and she had gone off every morning for the whole day, while
he sketched by willowy river-banks, and under the flank of mossy
village churches; and every day for seven days she had watched the
farmyard life waking at dawn under their windows, while she dashed
herself with cold water and did her hair and touched up her face
before he was awake, because the early light is so pitiless after
thirty. She remembered it all, and how sure she had been then that
she was meant to live on a farm and keep chickens; just as sure as
he was that he was meant to be a painter, and would already have
made a name if his parents hadn't called him back to Baltimore and
shoved him into a broker's office after Harvard--to have him off
their minds, as he said.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013691131
Publisher: WDS Publishing
Publication date: 01/17/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 205 KB

About the Author

Born into a prosperous New York family, Edith Wharton (1862-1937) wrote more than 15 novels, including The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and other esteemed books. She was distinguished for her work in the First World War and was the first woman to receive a Doctorate of Letters from Yale University. She died in France at the age of 75.

Date of Birth:

January 24, 1862

Date of Death:

August 11, 1937

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Place of Death:

Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France


Educated privately in New York and Europe

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