What are the first hints of submerged conflict between Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley in part 1 of "Roman Fever"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In "Roman Fever" by Edith Wharton,  two matrons sit on the terrace, much as they did many years ago in their youth when they may have thought themselves friends. When Mrs. Slade comments that she feels it is still "the most beautiful view in the world," Mrs. Ansley replies, "It always will be, to me," with emphasis on me, but Mrs. Slade makes no comment.  

Grace Ansley was always old-fashioned," she thought; and added aloud,..."It's a view we've both been familiar with for a good many years. when we first met here we were younger than our girls are now. You remember?"

Then, when an allusion to the full moon causes Mrs. Slade to frown "as though references to the moon were out of place" the tension builds as Mrs. Ansley remarks further that she and Mrs. Slade did not know much about each other when they were young. Nevertheless, each woman has "a label ready to attach to each other's name," not to mention many uncharitable thoughts about each other such as those about how pretty they were, and the personalities of their daughters. In other words, they "visualized each other, each through the wrong end of her little telescope."

In truth, they only socialize with each other because they are neighbors and were friends in their youth. They now feel mainly resentment, disrespect, and envy. Obviously, something has occurred in the past for which each harbors a certain antipathy for the other.

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