February, 2017: The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington

Once again we had a substitution — Geri took over the hosting duties.

(Book #82) Mrs. Geraldine _____ _______ served as gracious hostess to a table of eight dinner guests at her home on February 13. The table was set with the Emma pattern of gold-edged china, one of 3 patterns associated with the tradition of family elegance. (Geri has three sets of dishes and she used the one her youngest will inherit.) Place cards were done in lovely caligraphy and each was inscribed with a quote befitting the table guest. Souvenir menus of the seven course meal accompanied each place setting.

Guests enjoyed a variety of artisan cheeses, heart-shaped sausage and savory crackers in the drawing room as they sipped on champagne punch. In the dining room the first course was crudite with dill dip, followed by a cucumber and avocado soup. Next was a salad of blood oranges, honey and lemon zest. The main course was a Cornish hen served with potatoes Dauphinoise — a pairing that went well with both red and white wine. Guests then retired to the drawing room for port or sherry and a Bittersweet chocolate mouse cake with fresh whipped cream. Mrs. Christine Saxby Bensonhurst gifted the hostess with chocolate dipped strawberries in celebration of the hostess’ February birthday.

All of the members enjoyed the historical aspects of the book. It’s amazing to think that you could lose your investment when headlights for cars seemed like such a great idea! We talked about the repeated reference to the dirt of the modern age. Most of us agreed we would have been hard-pressed to love George even as mothers! Then the nasty quiz was brought out:

The Magnificent Ambersons

In the movie, we move from George’s youthful indescretions; his reckless driving and fighting, to his return from college when he meets Lucy Morgan.  The scene with the re-election of George as president of  F.O.T.A. is left out and this means we never learn of the animosity between George Amberson Minafer and:

  1. Mrs. Johnson
  2. Mrs. Henry Franklin Foster
  3. Fred Kinney
  4. Frank Bronson

In the movie, we meet George’s Uncle Jack.  Which of his uncles do we meet in the book?

  1. Jack, George and Sydney
  2. George and Sydney
  3. Jack and Sydney
  4. George, Sydney and Eugene.

Another kissing question! In the movie, George kisses Lucy after they tumble out of the sleigh while racing with the autocar.  Do they kiss in the book?

  1. Yes, at the time of the sleigh accident.
  2. Yes, but not when the sleigh accident occurs.
  3. No, they almost kiss but Lucy stops it with her bouquet.
  4. No, George asks her for a kiss and she says No.

In the movie, Eugene and Isabel sit under a tree and Eugene asks “Don’t you think you should tell George about us?”  Where does this scene take place in the book?

  1. It doesn’t happen in the book.
  2. It takes place when they are alone a moment on the tour of the factory.
  3. It takes place just before George has his accident in the sleigh.
  4. It happens at George’s commencement.

In the film, we don’t know about the headlight business until Fanny says she’s lost all her money to it.  In the book, we learn about it when she talks to these two people before she invests:

  1. Isabel Minafer and Eugene Morgan
  2. The Major and Eugene Morgan
  3. The Major and George Amberson
  4. George Amberson and Eugene Morgan

Bonus Question:  What were Isabel’s last words?

A favorite quote:  “Magnificence, like the size of a fortune, is always comparative, as even Magnificent Lorenzo may now perceive, if he has happened to haunt New York in 1916; and the Ambersons were magnificent in their day and place.

Answers: 3, 2, 4, 1, 4 and “I wish I could have seen him one last time.”