Questions 1-11 are based on the following
This passage is excerpted from Edith Wharton, House of Mirth, originally published in 1905.
Selden paused in surprise. In the afternoon rush of the
Grand Central Station his eyes had been refreshed by the sight of
Miss Lily Bart.
It was a Monday in early September, and he was returning
5 to his work from a hurried dip into the country; but what was
Miss Bart doing in town at that season? Her desultory air
perplexed him. She stood apart from the crowd, letting it drift
by her to the platform or the street, and wearing an air of
irresolution which might, as he surmised, be the mask of a
10 very deﬁnite purpose. It struck him at once that she was
waiting for someone, but he hardly knew why the idea
arrested him. There was nothing new about Lily Bart, yet he
could never see her without a faint movement of interest: it
was characteristic of her that she always roused speculation,
15 that her simplest acts seemed the result of far-reaching
An impulse of curiosity made him turn out of his direct
line to the door, and stroll past her. He knew that if she did
not wish to be seen she would contrive to elude him; and it
20 amused him to think of putting her skill to the test. "Mr.
Selden—what good luck!"
She came forward smiling, eager almost, in her resolve to
intercept him. One or two persons, in brushing past them,
lingered to look; for Miss Bart was a ﬁgure to arrest even the
25 suburban traveller rushing to his last train.
Selden had never seen her more radiant. Her vivid head,
relieved against the dull tints of the crowd, made her more
conspicuous than in a ball-room, and under her dark hat and
veil she regained the girlish smoothness, the purity of tint,
30 that she was beginning to lose after eleven years of late hours
and indefatigable dancing.
"What luck!" she repeated. "How nice of you to come to
He responded joyfully that to do so was his mission in
35 life, and asked what form the rescue was to take.
"Oh, almost any—even to sitting on a bench and talking to
me. One sits out a cotillion—why not sit out a train? It isn't a
bit hotter here than in Mrs. Van Osburgh's conservatory—and
some of the women are not a bit uglier." She broke off,
40 laughing, to explain that she had come up to town from
Tuxedo, on her way to the Gus Trenors' at Bellomont, and
had missed the three-ﬁfteen train to Rhinebeck. "And there
isn't another till half-past ﬁve." She consulted the little
jewelled watch among her laces. "Just two hours to wait. And
45 I don't know what to do with myself. My maid came up this
morning to do some shopping for me, and was to go on to
Bellomont at one o'clock, and my aunt's house is closed, and
I don't know a soul in town." She glanced plaintively about
the station. "It IS hotter than Mrs. Van Osburgh's, after all. If
50 you can spare the time, do take me somewhere for a breath of
He declared himself entirely at her disposal: the adventure
struck him as diverting. As a spectator, he had always
enjoyed Lily Bart; and his course lay so far out of her orbit
55 that it amused him to be drawn for a moment into the sudden
intimacy which her proposal implied.
"Shall we go over to Sherry's for a cup of tea?"
She smiled assentingly, and then made a slight grimace.
"So many people come up to town on a Monday—one is
60 sure to meet a lot of bores. I'm as old as the hills, of course,
and it ought not to make any difference; but if I'M old
enough, you're not," she objected gaily. "I'm dying for tea—
but isn't there a quieter place?"
He answered her smile, which rested on him vividly. Her
65 discretions interested him almost as much as her
imprudences: he was so sure that both were part of the same
carefully-elaborated plan. In judging Miss Bart, he had
always made use of the "argument from design."