From another of Edith Wharton’s too-overlooked stories, The Mission of Jane.
“How smart you look! Is that a new gown?” he asked.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she said.
Since she never did, he always wondered at her bringing this out as
a fresh grievance against him; but his wonder was unresentful, and
he said good-humoredly: “You sparkle so that I thought you had on
She sighed and blushed again.
“It must be,” he continued, “that you’ve been to a dressmaker’s
opening. You’re absolutely brimming with illicit enjoyment.”
She stared again, this time at the adjective. His adjectives always
embarrassed her: their unintelligibleness savored of impropriety.