11 May 2011

Well Written Wednesdays: Inaugural Edition

Once upon a time I had this series called Mellifluous Mondays, in which I'd post a poem every Monday morning. That lasted for almost two years, then somehow receded into nonexistence. But I still love words! Prose or poetry, fiction or not. Words have been like magic to me ever since I could read them-- which, I think, was about the age of four.

So I am instituting a new series, Well Written Wednesdays. :) No longer limited to poetry, this is simply going to be a weekly selection of skillfully crafted words. I begin with two excerpts from Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence.


Wherein, then, lay the [quality] that made the young man's heart beat with a kind of retrospective excitement?  It seemed to be in Madame Olenska's mysterious faculty of suggesting tragic and moving possibilities outside the daily run of experience.  She had hardly ever said a word to him to produce this impression, but it was a part of her, either a projection of her mysterious and outlandish background or of something inherently dramatic, passionate and unusual in herself. 


Overhead, Handel's March swelled pompously through the imitation stone vaulting, carrying on its waves the faded drift of the many weddings at which, with cheerful indifference, he had stood on the same chancel step watching other brides float up the nave toward other bridegrooms. "How like a first night at the Opera!" he thought, recognising all the same faces in the same boxes (no, pews), and wondering if, when the Last Trump sounded, Mrs. Selfridge Merry would be there with the same towering ostrich feathers in her bonnet, and Mrs. Beaufort with the same diamond earrings and the same smile--and whether suitable proscenium seats were already prepared for them in another world. After that there was still time to review, one by one, the familiar countenances in the first rows; the women's sharp with curiosity and excitement, the men's sulky with the obligation of having to put on their frock-coats before luncheon, and fight for food at the wedding-breakfast.

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