Born in 1862 into an affluent and socially prominent New York family, “Old New York,” a magnificent city in a Gilded Age, was to become the focus of Pulitzer-Prize winning author Edith Wharton’s literary and lifelong obsession. She called it “incurably ugly,” yet found it endlessly fascinating.
Nothing would have interested James more than watching his two friends Wharton and Fullerton as they circled each other. How wonderful is this room? And that dress? "Extremely" being the only acceptable answer of course.
“It was the old New York way
of taking life “without effusion of blood”:
the way of people who dreaded scandal
more than disease,
who placed decency above courage,
and who considered that
nothing was more ill-bred than “scenes,”
except the behavior of those
who gave rise to them.”
~The Age of Innocence. 1920