What Lies Beneath
As showed in the title of Edith Wharton's "Roman Fever", Mrs. Ansley, one of the main characters of the story was driven by a kind of fever-her passion for Mr. Slade, and did something that is completely contrary to her proclaimed image. Still, she stuck to the old tradition and kept silent about the truth.
Mrs. Ansley is described as somewhat reserved and quiet, regarded as typical woman of "old New York"(244)- conservative and "prudent" (251). However, when love is concerned, she lost her prudence and went without hesitation for the date with her friend's fiancée. For her, love can be above tradition for a certain degree but not totally, so she "cared for that memory" (254) with Mr. Slade even though it lasted only for one night and did not demand a marriage.
Although Mrs. Slade constantly mentioned Roman fever to remind her of the past memories, she avoided talking more about it by seemly absorbed in her knitting or giving not much reply. In fact, as we found out at the end of the story that it is partly because she felt "sorry for" (256) Mrs. Slade as she thought that it was she who betrayed their friendship. Unlike Mrs. Slade who had rested upon a seemingly victory and unveiled the forgery in order to defeat her, she did not defend herself most of the time until Mrs. Slade's crowing over is hardly tolerable.
Though weaker in physical condition-"smaller and paler" (241) than Mrs. Slade who is an "extremely dashing" woman (246), Mrs. Ansley is presented mentally healthier and stronger than Mrs. Slade. The sentence that she "began to move ahead of Mrs. Slade " is not just a narration of the circumstance, but also a triumphant proclamation of her actual victory.
what lies beneath
What Lies Beneath