La muerte de Lily

No le sienta bien


¿Podría haber seguido viviendo nuestra Lily Bart, sin conseguir el candidato ideal para tener dinero, obteniendo trabajos miserables, sobreviviendo a escándalos sobre su moral, y sin verdaderos amigos? ¿O solo fue una sobredosis de barbitúricos accidental?

In the final paragraphs of the novel
… He noticed the other faces, vague with fear and conjecture—he saw the landlady's imposing bulk sway professionally toward him; but he moved back, putting up his hand, while his eyes mechanically mounted the steep black walnut stairs, up which he was immediately aware that his cousin was about to lead him.
A voice in the background said that the doctor might be back at any minute—and that nothing, upstairs, was to be disturbed. Someone else exclaimed: "It was the greatest mercy—" then Selden felt that Gerty had taken him gently by the hand, and that they were to be suffered to go up alone.
In silence they mounted the three flights, and walked along the passage to a closed door. Gerty opened the door, and Selden went in after her. Though the blind was down, the irresistible sunlight poured a tempered golden flood into the room, and in its light
Selden saw a narrow bed along the wall, and on the bed, with motionless hands and calm unrecognizing face, the semblance of Lily Bart.

That it was her real self, every pulse in him ardently denied. Her real self had lain warm on his heart but a few hours earlier—what had he to do with this estranged and tranquil face which, for the first time, neither paled nor brightened at his coming?
Caresse Crosby
Gerty, strangely tranquil too, with the conscious self-control of one who has ministered to much pain, stood by the bed, speaking gently, as if transmitting a final message.
"The doctor found a bottle of chloral—she had been sleeping badly for a long time, and she must have taken an overdose by mistake.... There is no doubt of that—no doubt—there will be no question—he has been very kind. I told him that you and I would like to be left alone with her—to go over her things before anyone else comes. I know it is what she would have wished."
Selden was hardly conscious of what she said. He stood looking down on the sleeping face which seemed to lie like a delicate impalpable mask over the living lineaments he had known. He felt that the real Lily was still there, close to him, yet invisible and inaccessible; and the thinness of the barrier between them mocked him with a sense of helplessness. There had never been more than a little impalpable barrier between them—and yet he had suffered it to keep them apart! And now, though it seemed slighter and frailer than ever, it had suddenly hardened to immovable, and he might beat his life out against it in vain…
He raised the lid of the desk, and saw within it a cheque-book and a few packets of bills and letters, arranged with the orderly precision which characterized all her personal habits. He looked through the letters first, because it was the most difficult part of the work. They proved to be few and unimportant, but among them he found, with a strange commotion of the heart, the note he had written her the day after the Brys' entertainment.
"When may I come to you?"—his words overwhelmed him with a realization of the cowardice which had driven him from her at the very moment of achievement. Yes—he had always feared his fate, and he was too honest to disown his cowardice now; for had not all his old doubts started to life again at the mere sight of Trenor's name?
He laid the note in his card-case, folding it away carefully, as something made precious by the fact that she had held it so; then, growing once more aware of the lapse of time, he continued his examination of the papers.
To his surprise, he found that all the bills were receipted; there was not an unpaid account among them. He opened the cheque-book, and saw that, the very night before, a cheque of ten thousand dollars from Mrs. Peniston's executors had been entered in it. The legacy, then, had been paid sooner than Gerty had led him to expect. But, turning another page or two, he discovered with astonishment that, in spite of this recent accession of funds, the balance had already declined to a few dollars. A rapid glance at the stubs of the last cheques, all of which bore the date of the previous day, showed that between four or five hundred dollars of the legacy had been spent in the settlement of bills, while the remaining thousands were comprehended in one cheque, made out, at the same time, to Charles Augustus Trenor… (Paragraphs from The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton, in easier English)

Recursos
Una carta de Edith Wharton revela que la autora estaba investigando con un médico sobre la forma de suicidarse, que podría haber incorporado en su novela con Lily Bart. ¡Interesante!

También es interesante leer sobre la vida de Edith Wharton, que como Lily Bart vivió en la Nueva York opulenta.