'Oh, she saw that he was the kind of man who was fated to make himself ridiculous, and she never interfered with his natural tendancies.'
The Muse's Tragedy
'Mrs Amyot had two fatal gifts: a capacious but inaccurate memory, and an extraordinary fluency of speech. There was nothing that she did not remember - wrongly; ........'
'The moral atmosphere of the Tillotson interior was as carefully screened and curtained as the house itself: Mrs Tillotson senior dreaded ideas as much as a draft in her back.'
To set the scene: an author (Osric Dane) is about to be an important visitor at a a ladies' luncheon club, held in the dining room of one of the ladies.
'The question of that lady's reception had for a month past profoundly moved the members of the Lunch Club. It was not that they felt themselves unequal to the task, but that their sense of the opportunity plunged them into the agreeable uncertainty of the lady who weighs the alternatives of a well-stocked wardrobe.'
And to continue:
'"We aspire," the President went on, "to be in touch with whatever is highest in art, literature and ethics."
Osric Dane again turned to her. "What ethics?" she asked.
A tremor of apprehension encircled the room. None of the ladies required any preparation to pronounce on a question of morals; but when they were called ethics it was different.'
All of these quotes from Edith Wharton's 'Short Stories'