Lady Windermere's Fan

Topics: Marriage / Pages: 4 (953 words) / Published: Dec 7th, 2010
On his wife’s birthday, Lord Windermere presented her with a beautiful, delicately wrought fan with her name, Margaret, engraved upon it. She intended to carry the fan at a ball she was giving that evening, a ball to which everyone of importance in London had been invited. That afternoon, the Duchess of Berwick called on Lady Windermere, to tell her friend of a rumored affair between Lord Windermere and Mrs. Erlynne, a fascinating but notorious woman not received in the best houses. According to the duchess’ story, Lord Windermere had for some months been supplying Mrs. Erlynne with funds for her support. The old dowager suggested that Lady Windermere take immediate steps to learn the relationship between the two.
Lady Windermere was upset. Determined to find out if there were any truth to the gossip, she opened her husband’s desk. In a locked bank book, which she ripped open, she found evidence of her husband’s duplicity, a record of checks issued to Mrs. Erlynne over a long period of time. Angry and hurt at Lord Windermere’s apparent failure to appreciate love and virtue, she turned on him the moment he appeared. His main concern was annoyance that his wife had dared tamper with his property behind his back. He informed her that his relations with Mrs. Erlynne were perfectly honorable, that she was a fine but unfortunate woman who wished to win the regard of society once more. Moreover, Lord Windermere explicitly ordered his wife to send Mrs. Erlynne an invitation to the ball. When Lady Windermere refused, her husband wrote an invitation. Angered at his act, Lady Windermere threatened to strike Mrs. Erlynne with the fan if she dared cross the threshold of Windermere House.
When Mrs. Erlynne appeared at the ball, Lady Windermere lost her resolution and let the fan drop to the floor. The guests, believing that Mrs. Erlynne had been invited by Lady Windermere herself, accepted her. She was lionized by all the men, and the women, curious because of the many stories

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