The House of Mirth tells the story of Lily Bart, a woman who is torn between her desire for luxurious living and a relationship based on mutual respect and love. She sabotages all her possible chances for a wealthy marriage, loses the good opinion of her social circle, and dies young, poor, and alone. Lily is initially of good social standing and rejects several offers of advantageous marriage. Lily then damages that good standing by accepting an invitation to Lawrence Selden's private rooms. Lily's social standing erodes further when her friend Judy Trenor's husband Gus gives Lily a large sum of money. Lily innocently accepts the money, believing that it is the return on investments he supposedly made for her. The rumors of this transaction, and of her mysterious visit to Gus in his city residence crack her social standing. To escape the rumors and gossip, she accepts an invitation from Bertha Dorset to join her and her husband, George, on a cruise of Europe aboard their yacht the Sabrina. Unfortunately, while aboard the yacht Bertha accuses Lily of adultery with George to move societal attention from Bertha's own infidelity with the poet Ned Silverton. Lily has the option of saving herself by publishing evidence of an affair between Bertha and Selden, but abstains for sake of Selden's reputation. The ensuing scandal ruins Lily, leading her Aunt Peniston to disinherit her.
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