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Room for Improvement?

Edith Wharton first attempted a novel at the tender age of eleven: "'Oh, how do you do, Mrs. Brown?' said Mrs. Tompkins," it began. "'If only I had known you were going to call, I should have tidied up the drawing room.'"

Young Edith proudly showed her mother the work -- and received only one comment in return: "Drawing rooms are always tidy."

[Wharton is widely credited with inventing the concept of interior design.]

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