The House of Mirth
by Edith Wharton
The House of Mirth Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
Mrs. Dorset smiled on her reproachfully. "Lecture you – I? Heaven forbid! I was merely trying to give you a friendly hint. But it's usually the other way round, isn't it? I'm expected to take hints, not to give them: I've positively lived on them all these last months."
"Hints – from me to you?" Lily repeated.
"Oh, negative ones merely – what not to be and to do and to see. And I think I've taken them to admiration. (2.2.89-91)
Bertha is referring to the fact that Lily hasn't included her in events with important people like the Duchess. Lily has been living off the Dorsets' money and distracting George Dorset as necessary, but once again her pride has gotten in the way of her safety and comfort.
"The whole truth?" Miss Bart laughed. "What is truth? Where a woman is concerned, it's the story that's easiest to believe. In this case it's a great deal easier to believe Bertha Dorset's story than mine, because she has a big house and an opera box, and it's convenient to be on good terms with her." (2.4.23)
This is exactly what Judy Trenor tried to tell Lily in the beginning of the novel – that's it's safer to be fond of dangerous people. Lily learned this lesson the hard way, but at least she understands it by this point in the story. Still, Lily doesn't act on this lesson – she doesn't apply it to her own life and choices.