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By Jules Renard

De ses promenades à travers les prés, les routes et les jardins de sa Nièvre natale. Jules Renard, chasseur d'images ", ramène dans sa gibecière des photographs croqués sur le vif: insectes et animaux des bois, volailles des basses-cours et bêtes domestiques, rien n'échappe à l'oeil de l'écrivain, qui sait faire surgir le trait saillant, drôle, inattendu mais juste, d'une précision "mathématique", comme il aimait à le dire lui-même. Les Histoires naturelles, assortment de pix cocasses et attendris, trésor d'humour et de délicatesse, sont le résultat d'un sens de l'observation qui tient à l. a. fois du naturaliste et du poète.

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B. Lewis and Nancy Lewis (New York: Scribner舖s, 1988), p. 5. 4. Edith Wharton, A Backward Glance (1934. Reprint: New York: Scribner舗s, 1964), p. 73. 5. Quoted in Louis Auchincloss, Edith Wharton: A Woman in Her Time (New York: Viking Press, 1971), p. 142. 6. Kenneth Clark, Another Part of the Wood: A Self-Portrait (1974. Reprint: New York: Ballantine, 1976), p. 206. 7. Edmund Wilson, The Forties, edited with an introduction by Leon Edel (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1983), p. 209. 8. Quoted in Henry James and Edith Wharton, Letters, 1900-1915, edited by Lyall Powers (New York: Scribner舖s, 1990), p.

Haffen, the charwoman in Selden舗s building, sells her the incriminating love letters that Bertha has written to Selden in the course of their affair. The normally cautious and fastidious Selden quite un-characteristically (a minor flaw in the plot) had torn them up and thrown them into the wastebasket. The innocent 舠girl舡 is disillusioned and shocked by this evidence of their sexual passion, later echoed in the illicit relations between Bertha and Silverton, Carry Fisher and Gus Trenor, Nettie and the unnamed gentleman who seduced her.

In the first of many lies, she tells Rosedale that she舗s been to her dressmaker, though as the owner of the building he knows there are no dressmakers on the premises. Several motifs in this chapter reverberate throughout the novel: dinginess, which Lily abhors but which overwhelms her at the end; mirrors and the duality of her nature; transparent lies (for she舗s basically honest and a poor liar); apparent but not real rescues: first by Selden in the train station, then by a 舠rescuing vehicle舡 that enables her to escape from Rosedale; and a dark fate that pursues her to the end.

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