Today, I forgot to bring the book I am currently reading to work with me. It is not surprising considering the crazy morning we had at my house, but I felt off balance until I remembered that I really wanted to read Xingu before Brona’s month-long event, The Wharton Review, ended. Hooray for e-readers… I spent a happy lunch break quietly laughing at Wharton’s wit.
I’m sure we all know people who like to talk without knowing exactly what they are talking about. That is the Lunch Club, a group of six women in Hillbridge, all of them “indomitable huntresses of erudition.” They meet and discuss Culture (with a capital C), and it is quite impressive how well they can discuss things they obviously know very little about.
For one of their meetings, they invite a prominent author, Osric Dane, ostensibly to discuss her latest book.
“The desire to propitiate a divinity is generally in inverse ratio to its responsiveness, and the sense of discouragement produced by Osric Dane’s entrance visibly increased the Lunch Club’s eagerness to please her.”
Without a clear idea of what exactly the topic of discussion will be, and with Miss Dane proving to be rather condescending and belligerent, the meeting would have quickly become a disaster if the least liked member of the Lunch Club, Mrs. Roby, hadn’t saved the day by starting to talk about Xingu.
Soon enough, every person in attendance ventures forth various opinions of Xingu, agreeing with and contradicting each other, all the while silently trying to figure out what exactly Xingu is.
It is not until after Mrs. Roby and Osric Dane suddenly leave the meeting that the remaining ladies try to figure out what they have been talking about. The answer is quite surprising and leads them to promptly uninvite Mrs. Roby from future meetings. Ha, I can picture it all so well!
There has been a hint that The Wharton Review might return next year, and I truly hope so because unlike the Lunch Club’s Mrs. Plinth, I do look for amusement in my choice of books! And I have thoroughly enjoyed reading some of Wharton’s writing and my fellow bloggers’ reviews of her work.
“Amusement,” said Mrs. Plinth, “is hardly what I look for in my choice of books.”
“Oh, certainly, ‘The Wings of Death’ is not amusing,” ventured Mrs. Leveret, whose manner of putting forth an opinion was like that of an obliging salesman with a variety of other styles to submit if his first selection does not suit.
“Was it meant to be?” inquired Mrs. Plinth, who was fond of asking questions that she permitted no one but herself to answer. “Assuredly not.”