Chapter 1 Summary

As The House of Mirth begins, Lawrence Selden notices Miss Lily Bart standing alone in New York’s Grand Central Station. She looks stunning, and as always, he finds himself fascinated by her. Lily is not simply beautiful; she is skilled at being beautiful. From early childhood, she has been trained to exhibit refinement and social grace, and she does both better than anyone else.

When Lily spots Selden, she greets him and explains that she has missed her train. Selden offers to entertain her while she waits for the next one. He takes her for a walk up Madison Avenue. When she gets tired and suggests sitting down on a bench, he offers her tea in his apartment, which is close by in a building called the...

(The entire section is 550 words.)