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The Inner Shrine

Basil King

Book Overview: 

At the opening of this story Diane Eveleth returns from a party in Paris to her mother-in-law, who tells her that her husband George Eveleth has been killed in a duel, fought with the Marquis de Bienville. Diane secretly transfers her remaining patrimony to her mother-in-law and the two women sail for New York, where the elder woman has relatives.

Here Diane is offered the situation of chaperone for the daughter Dorothea of Derek Pruyn, a widower whom she has met before. Eventually, Pruyn makes her an offer of marriage. She withholds her answer until his return from a voyage to South America, when she is prepared to accept him, but on his home-coming she finds his attitude towards her completely changed. Pruyn has encountered de Bienville on his voyage and has heard from him that Diane was unfaithful to her husband.

The book concentrates on how the relationships between the various protagonists develop.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . things into account, have been considered balanced by the circumstance that it was affording employment to some refined woman of reduced means, capable of taking care of the invalid. It had the further advantage that, coming suddenly as it did, it absorbed the attention of Miss Lucilla van Tromp, the sick lady's companion and niece, who became unable henceforth to give to the household of her cousin, Derek Pruyn, that general supervision which a kindly old maid can exercise in the home of a young and prosperous widower. Were Destiny on the lookout for still another opening, she could have found it in the fact that Miss Dorothea Pruyn, whose father's discipline came by fits and starts, while his indulgence was continuous, had reached a point in motherless maidenhood where, according to Miss Lucilla, "something ought to be done." There was thus unrest, and a straining after new conditions, in that very family toward which Mrs. Eveleth's imagination turned from this drear. . . Read More