The House of Mirth
How we cite our quotes:
The sight of Selden's writing brought back the culminating moment of her triumph: the moment when she had read in his eyes that no philosophy was proof against her power. It would be pleasant to have that sensation again . . . no one else could give it to her in its fullness. (1.13.4)
Because no one else matters to Lily the way that Selden does. You'd think she'd have put this together by now…
It was not, indeed, anything specific that he feared: there had been a literal truth in his declaration that he did not think anything would happen. What troubled him was that, though Dorset's attitude had perceptibly changed, the change was not clearly to be accounted for. It had certainly not been produced by Selden's arguments, or by the action of his own soberer reason. Five minutes' talk sufficed to show that some alien influence had been at work, and that it had not so much subdued his resentment as weakened his will, so that he moved under it in a state of apathy, like a dangerous lunatic who has been drugged. (2.3.60)
Though Wharton never spells this out explicitly, George Dorset's change in attitude is no doubt the work of the treacherous Bertha Dorset. She has her hooks in George and she will stoop to any lows to keep him (and keep him miserable).