Branshaw Teleragh. Edward Ashburnham’s English country estate. The physical manifestation of the glory of the English gentry, the upper class of England, has been, for centuries, the country house surrounded by acres of woods and working farm land. In the lush countryside of Hampshire, southeast of London, John Dowell lives in the dream house of his deceased wife, Florence. She never lived there, not because the couple were not wealthy enough, but because she had been living a life of lies, and adding to them, until eventually she thought that suicide was her only way out. For both of them the great country house represents the finest example of civilized living. However, the magnificent house becomes, as Dowell says, a prison. His wife is dead, and the man he most admired, Edward Ashburnham, the former owner, has committed suicide, finding himself in various ways constantly betraying the obligations of the ideal English gentleman that Dowell thought he was, and which he often was when his wife allowed him to practice his duty as a benevolent landlord.
*Nauheim (now-HIM). Health resort in western Germany, usually called Bad Nauhiem, that was popular with the wealthy for rest, recreation, and often as an elegant refuge for the ill and the aged to soothe and sometimes heal their illnesses, serious or trivial. The Ashburnhams and the Dowells meet here on a regular basis over several years to cosset the heart problems of Edward Ashburnham and Florence Dowell, although both parties, for different reasons, are only pretending to be ill. Only the “best” people can afford to spend time there, in expensive hotels, enjoying the international company, and the occasional naughty dalliance. Nauheim is not so much a symbol of upper-class extravagance as it is the real thing—a place where Dowell’s wife and the English gentleman whom Dowell...
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