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Edith Wharton's first published novella, _The Touchstone_, is really a story about celebrity: public consumption and commodity in relation to a celebrated figure. Stephen Glennard learns that a biographer will soon publish a book about Margaret Aubyn's short life. Glennard, it turns out, corresponded with the author during her short life. Publishing these intimate letters will allow Glennard many pleasures in life, incluing money enough to marry his beautiful new beloved, Alexa Trent. The novella includes flashes of Wharton's beautiful phrasing, the kind fully fleshed and beautifully crafted in later works like _The Custom of the Country_.