Ada Leverson

British writer (1862-1933)

Ada Leverson (10 October 186230 August 1933) was a British novelist. She was nicknamed "Sphinx" by her friend, Oscar Wilde. She was a writer in the "comedy of manners" tradition, depicting love and marriage with affection and satirical wit.



Love's Shadow (1908)

  • "Lady Cannon's gone to a matinée at the St. James's. We had tickets for the first night, but of course she wouldn't use them then. She preferred to go alone in the afternoon, because she detests the theatre, anyhow, and afternoon performances give her a headache. If she does a thing that's disagreeable to her, she likes to do it in the most painful possible way. She has a beautiful nature."
    • Chapter ii.
  • Like all weddings it had left the strange feeling of futility, the slight sense of depression that comes to English people who have tried, from their strong sense of tradition, to be festive and sentimental and in high spirits too early in the day. The frame of mind supposed to be appropriate to an afternoon wedding can only be genuinely experienced by an Englishman at two o'clock in the morning.
    • Chapter xxiv.
  • As a rule the person found out in a betrayal of love holds, all the same, the superior position of the two. It is the betrayed one who is humiliated.
    • Chapter xxxix.

Tenterhooks (1912)

  • He had no special hobbies, but he needed luxury in general of a kind, and especially the luxury of getting things in a hurry, his theory being that everything comes to the man who won't wait.
    • Chapter vii.
  • She thought that most women make a great mistake in allowing dress to be the master instead of the servant of their good looks; many women were, she considered, entirely crushed and made insignificant by the beauty of their clothes.
    • Chapter x.

Love at Second Sight (1916)

  • Somehow she had thought of him so much that when she actually saw him again her affection seemed cooler. Had she worn out the passion by dint of constancy?
    • Chapter x.
  • Some men are born husbands; they have a passion for domesticity, for a fireside, for a home. Yet, curiously, these men very rarely stay at home. Apparently what they want is to have a place to get away from.
    • Chapter xviii.

Quotes about Ada Leverson

  • On the first occasion she had sat next Henry James at dinner, she had not been able to resist putting to him certain questions about his books, for she had been a lifelong admirer of them, and that, at last, after he had answered some of these murmured inquiries, he had turned his melancholy gaze upon her, and had said to her, "Can it be— it must be— that you are that embodiment of the incorporeal, the elusive yet ineluctable being to whom through the generations novelists have so unavailingly made invocation; in short, the Gentle Reader? I have often wondered in what guise you would appear or, as it were, what incarnation you would assume."
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