“The first two weeks after her return represented to Mrs. Peniston the domestic equivalent of a religious retreat. She ‘went through’ the linen and blankets in the precise spirit of a penitent exploring the inner folds of conscience; she sought for moths as the stricken soul seeks for lurking infirmities. The topmost shelf of every closet was made to yield up its secret, cellar and coal-bin were probed to their darkest depths and, as a final stage in the lustral rites, the entire house was swathed in penitential white and deluged with expiatory soapsuds.”
Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth.
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