This was my first experience with Oscar Wilde outside of a classroom and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well, most of it. Chapter eleven did its level best to shrivel my eyes out of my sockets with its extreme dryness, but the rest of it was pretty darn good. I went in expecting a horrid Gothic tale, but the humor! The characters! The witty dialogue! How unexpected! My interest is piqued. I will be searching out more of Oscar Wilde's works.
Five stars for awesomeness, minus one star for that dang eleventh chapter, and, as a proud American woman who married out of my country, if I had more ambition I would cross-stitch the entire conversation about American women onto a sampler.
"And by the way, Harry, talking about silly marriages, what is this humbug your father tells me about Dartmoor wanting to marry an American? Ain't English girls good enough for him?"
"It is rather fashionable to marry Americans just now, Uncle George."
"I'll back English women against the world, Harry," said Lord Fermor, striking the table with his fist.
"The betting is on the Americans."
"They don't last, I am told," muttered his uncle.
"A long engagement exhausts them, but they are capital at a steeplechase. They take things flying. I don't think Dartmoor has a chance."
"Who are her people?" grumbled the old gentleman. "Has she got any?"
Lord Henry shook his head. "American girls are as clever at concealing their parents, as English women are at concealing their past," he said, rising to go.
"They are pork-packers, I suppose?"
"I hope so, Uncle George, for Dartmoor's sake. I am told that pork-packing is the most lucrative profession in America, after politics."
"Is she pretty?"
"She behaves as if she was beautiful. Most American women do. It is the secret of their charm."
"Why can't these American women stay in their own country? They are always telling us that it is the paradise for women."
"It is. That is the reason why, like Eve, they are so excessively anxious to get out of it," said Lord Henry.