Tag: authenticity

Henry James, “Paste” (1899)

henry james pearls paste

(Joe Dyer)

Reversed remake of Maupassant’s “Necklace.” Charlotte’s aunt was an actress. She dies. Charlotte and her aunt’s son, Arthur Prime, find what appears to be a pearl necklace among her belongings. Arthur is adamant that it’s mere paste. The pearls can’t be real. Charlotte isn’t so sure. But who gave the pearls to the aunt? Might she have had a lover? Arthur can’t abide the thought. He lets her keep them though. Charlotte lends them to another woman for a party, where everyone marvels at the pearls. Charlotte decides they must be real and returns them to Arthur, who alleges to destroy them. But later the woman who’d worn them at the party has them again, having bought them at a store. Arthur had sold them, become aware of their authenticity.

Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly, December 1899