Eight tales by Edith Wharton, published in 1916.
“Xingu” is a witty account of the Hillbridge Lunch Club, a gathering of “indomitable huntresses of erudition”—hypocrites and snobs, with the single exception of a newcomer, Mrs. Roby—who entertain a famous woman author. Her indifference to the “topics” advanced for discussion ends only when Mrs. Roby refers familiarly to “Xingu,” an esoteric subject that she and the other members then pretend to know thoroughly. The ladies of the Lunch Club discover the Xingu to be a Brazilian river, and, crestfallen and indignant, expel Mrs. Roby. “Coming Home,” a story of the World War, is concerned with a young Frenchwoman who gives herself to a German officer to save her fiancé's home and family from destruction. The fiancé takes revenge by murdering the German, now a wounded prisoner, who is entrusted to his care. “Autres Temps …” is a poignant tale of a woman's personal tragedy, contrasting the attitudes toward divorce of two generations of New York society. “Kerfol” and “The Triumph of Night” are subtle delineations of ghosts, mystery, and terror. “Bunner Sisters,” a novelette, tells of the lives of two commonplace spinsters who operate a small shop near Stuyvesant Square, in 19th-century New York City.
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Edith Wharton (1862—1937) American novelist and short-story writer