Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chapter 2: The Duchess Conspires-Lily Bart and Georges Du Roy - Bel Ami and House of Mirth

Louise Bourgeois - Red Flowers

“Lily, I am so glad you could come. Lady Skiddaw and I would like to spend as much time with you as possible while we are here. Are you going to be free enough for that?”

“Since I got back from Monte Carlo I have all the free time in the world, Duchess. Or haven’t you heard the news?”

“Amelia, please. My title is only for those fogies to whom it is so important. Not for my friends. Yes, I did hear, but it will blow over and things will get back to normal for you. Actually I hope they don’t but that is for our next topic of conversation.”

“I think not. Bertha Dorset seems intent on ruining me. She imagines things until she believes they are true.”

“Well, no one believes her, certainly?”

“No, but she has all the money and power over the social network here, and I have none. They can’t afford to displease her.”

“When I am here, if they want me, they will have to have you. By the time my visit is over, you will be integrated back in their set, and she will have to plan something else.  I see you are laughing Lily.Does that mean you agree with me?”

“Not at all, but we will see, won’t we? Where shall we go tonight? I had some ideas, but what are yours?”

Mrs. Trenor invited Lady Skiddaw and myself to a small intimate party she is having. I told her we were already engaged with you and that I would check with you to see if you could reschedule. She immediately asked me to bring you, by all means. See how it works! Voila! I also mentioned Baron Du Roy is here and wishes to meet some English women. But he is here to meet you and marry you, Lily.”

“Oh, Amelia,” Lily laughs. “I’ve never met him. How could he want that. He knows nothing about me. What happened to all the beauties in Paris? Did they all disappear?” And Lily laughs softly again.

“My dear, he does not need to know anything about you. He knows me, and that is all that is needed. I told him about you and he decided to come to New York with me to meet you.  Don’t look so astonished. He is looking for a wife. His young wife died in childbirth almost three years ago, and he has a young child, a boy, who has never had a mother. He, for some reason I don’t know, prefers to find an English speaking woman for himself and his son.”

“Really, Amelia, you can’t mean this.”

“But I do. He is here now, staying at my hotel. He is titled, very, very rich, very handsome, is the editor of the largest most influential newspaper in all of Paris, La Vie Francaise, an accomplished political journalist, author of some short stories, is working on a novel, and his son is heir to the Walter fortune – Walter owns the newspaper and he was married to his daughter “

“He certainly sounds very busy. Where can he find the time to find a wife and marry?’ laughs Lily.

“You may laugh, Lily, but there are many people who take me far more seriously than you do.” Amelia puts on a pouting face and Lily laughs again.

“I will certainly meet your Baron and help him find a more suitable choice than I.”

“Oh, Lily, you foolish girl. He is perfect for you. Why wouldn’t you want to marry him?”

“Well, that’s hard to say since I’ve never laid eyes on him.”

“You will tonight. I have told him he must come to meet you there. So that’s that. I want you to dress lovely, but then you always do anyway, so just prepare yourself to greet him without any prior judgments, will you please?”

“I will,” says Lily, “I will.”

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