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The House of Mirth Study Guide-Online Summary Free BookNotes-Edith Wharton
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES

CHAPTER 13

Summary

Lily wakes up the next morning after the Brysí party to find two notes. One is from Mrs. Trenor asking her to meet her for dinner that evening. The other is from Lawrence Selden saying he is leaving town and asking to see her before he goes. She is surprised at Lawrenceís gesture. She wonders if he intends to ask her to marry him. After she told him it was impossible on one of their first meetings, he had made no more advances. She plans to write him a note evading the meeting, but when she sits down to write, she canít do it. She writes that she will meet him at four the next day.

She is happy to have been called by Judy Trenor in light of her friendís recent coldness. She assumes that Mrs. Trenor wants to hear all about the party. She is having dinner with Carry Fisher that evening, though, so she sends a note to Mrs. Trenor saying she will come by for a chat after the dinner at ten oíclock. Accordingly, after the dinner, she leaves the Fisher party and goes to the Trenorsí townhouse. She is greeted at the door by Gus Trenor who rushes her into the den. He avoids her questions about Judy until he gets her into the den and then he tells her Judy is ill and asked him to explain. When Lily tries to leave, he gets between her and the door. Finally, she understands that Judy isnít even in the town house and that Gus has trapped her there. He raves about how she has been kind to other men and that she owes him, but has not given him any of her attention. He says that if he paid for her, she owes him her attention. He reveals that he has heard that she went to Lawrence Seldenís apartment one day and he assumes that she borrowed money from him and was paying him back with sexual favors.


Lily tries to coax him to let her go and then she tries to be haughty, but nothing works on him. She is terrified of him. He accuses her of having borrowed money from Selden and Rosedale. Finally, she raises her head and asks him what else he has to say to her. At these words, he deflates and seems to recognize what he has been attempting to do. He lets her go. She makes him show her out and call a cab so as to keep up appearances with the staff at the house. On her way into the cab, she thinks she sees a man who looks familiar. Inside the cab, she gives way to her terror at what might have happened to her. She canít think of going home to Mrs. Peniston or her bedroom at Mrs. Penistonís house so she decides to go see Gerty Farish.

Notes

The true nature of the exchange Lily has set up between herself and Gus Trenor is shown in this chapter. Gus has wanted sex for the money he has helped Lily make by giving her stock tips. He has sought to buy her sexual favors and when she didnít pay up, he set up a trap for her and planned to rape her. Lily has been willfully ignorant of her part in this transaction until now. Now that she knows, she goes to the one person who is not playing the game at all--Gerty Farish.

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Free Study Guide for The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton-Online Plot Synopsis
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