Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Part III Edith Wharton

Chapter XXV

Page 1 of 6

Table Of Contents: The Glimpses of the Moon

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

IN the persistent drizzle of a Paris winter morning Susy Lansing walked back alone from the school at which she had just deposited the four eldest Fulmers to the little house in Passy where, for the last two months, she had been living with them.

She had on ready-made boots, an old waterproof and a last year's hat; but none of these facts disturbed her, though she took no particular pride in them. The truth was that she was too busy to think much about them. Since she had assumed the charge of the Fulmer children, in the absence of both their parents in Italy, she had had to pass through such an arduous apprenticeship of motherhood that every moment of her waking hours was packed with things to do at once, and other things to remember to do later. There were only five Fulmers; but at times they were like an army with banners, and their power of self-multiplication was equalled only by the manner in which they could dwindle, vanish, grow mute, and become as it were a single tumbled brown head bent over a book in some corner of the house in which nobody would ever have thought of hunting for them--and which, of course, were it the bonne's room in the attic, or the subterranean closet where the trunks were kept, had been singled out by them for that very reason.

These changes from ubiquity to invisibility would have seemed to Susy, a few months earlier, one of the most maddening of many characteristics not calculated to promote repose. But now she felt differently. She had grown interested in her charges, and the search for a clue to their methods, whether tribal or individual, was as exciting to her as the development of a detective story.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

What interested her most in the whole stirring business was the discovery that they had a method. These little creatures, pitched upward into experience on the tossing waves of their parents' agitated lives, had managed to establish a rough-and-ready system of self-government. Junie, the eldest (the one who already chose her mother's hats, and tried to put order in her wardrobe) was the recognized head of the state. At twelve she knew lots of things which her mother had never thoroughly learned, and Susy, her temporary mother, had never even guessed at: she spoke with authority on all vital subjects, from castor-oil to flannel under-clothes, from the fair sharing of stamps or marbles to the number of helpings of rice-pudding or jam which each child was entitled to.

There was hardly any appeal from her verdict; yet each of her subjects revolved in his or her own orbit of independence, according to laws which Junie acknowledged and respected; and the interpreting of this mysterious charter of rights and privileges had not been without difficulty for Susy.

Besides this, there were material difficulties to deal with. The six of them, and the breathless bonne who cooked and slaved for them all, had but a slim budget to live on; and, as Junie remarked, you'd have thought the boys ate their shoes, the way they vanished. They ate, certainly, a great deal else, and mostly of a nourishing and expensive kind. They had definite views about the amount and quality of their food, and were capable of concerted rebellion when Susy's catering fell beneath their standard. All this made her life a hurried and harassing business, but never-- what she had most feared it would be a dull or depressing one.

Page 1 of 6 Previous Chapter   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
The Glimpses of the Moon
Edith Wharton

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004