One-Minute Book Reviews

April 28, 2011

Edith Wharton on American and European ‘Royalty’

Filed under: Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 9:22 pm
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Americans may have no monarchy, but they know how to treat people royally. In The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton describes how New Yorkers reacted to the arrival of Ellen Olenska, who had returned to the city after years in Europe:

“The Lovell Mingotts had sent out cards for what was known as ‘a formal dinner’ (that is, three extra footmen, two dishes for each course, and a Roman punch in the middle), and had headed their invitations with the words ‘To Meet the Countess Olenska,’ in accordance with the hospitable American fashion, which treats strangers as if they were royalties, or at least their ambassadors.” 

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