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The Golden Bowl
Henry David Thoreau
Project Gutenberg
Prince Amerigo, an impoverished but charismatic Italian nobleman, is in London for his marriage to Maggie Verver, only child of the fabulously wealthy American financier and art collector, Adam Verver. While there, he re-encounters the American Charlotte Stant, a former mistress of his from his days in Rome, in Mrs. Assingham's drawing room; Maggie and Charlotte have been dear friends since childhood, although Maggie doesn't know of Charlotte and Amerigo's past relationship. Charlotte and Amerigo go shopping for a wedding present for Maggie. They find a curiosity shop where the shopkeeper offers them an antique gilded crystal bowl. But the Prince declines to purchase the bowl because he suspects it contains a hidden flaw.