Edith Wharton was an American novelist, whose works often critiqued New York high society, based on her own experiences living in it in the 1870s-1900s. She was rose to literary fame with The House of Mirth in 1905 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 for The Age of Innocence. While living in France during World War I, she was awarded the Legion of Honor for her work in assisting refugees and establishing hospitals in France.
Adventures with Indiana Jones
In 1917, Wharton traveled to Morocco. While she was touring the country, she was assigned by General Lyautey an escort from the French Foreign Legion, Captain Duval, who was really Indiana Jones in a role for French intelligence. Duval's escort mission was cover for Jones' assignment to determine who among Sheikh Kamal's men had been secretly giving arms to rebel tribesmen.
As they began their journey around Morocco, Jones opened up to the older novelist and told her his story of how he ended up in the war and some of his romances along the way. Despite the age difference, they developed a closeness as they traveled to ruins and towns. In one town, while shopping for trinkets, they met the American journalist, Lowell Thomas, who joined their expedition. Wharton and Thomas verbally sparred over meals regarding Thomas' role in presenting heroes to the public and the public's right to know about celebrity's lives. When Thomas equated Wharton's character's private scenes to the public's right to know, Wharton reminded Thomas that her works and characters were fictional, and not journalism. It was following the exchange that Thomas first noticed a spark between Wharton and Jones.
The party reached Hidron, where Sheikh Kamal entertained them. Kamal was intrigued by Wharton and remarked that she was quite intellectual - for a woman. Wharton retorted that Kamal was quite courteous - for a man. Wharton enjoyed Kamal's lavish dinner and entertainment, unfazed by the belly dancers. When the writer turned her discussion with Kamal to the topic of people making themselves unhappy by being too beholden to customs and rules to act on their feelings, the uncomfortable Jones excused himself and used his exit to continue his investigation into the gun supplies. The next day, Wharton met with many of the town's dignitaries at Kamal's estate while Jones uncovered the traitors in Hidron.
Afterwards, Jones and Wharton indirectly acknowledged that the age gap between them was too great to bridge despite their feelings. Upon Wharton's departure from Hidron, Thomas reassured her that he wasn't going to write anything about her trip in Morocco to which she replied that it hadn't occurred to her that he would. Before she boarded her cart, Jones gave her a customary French kiss on each cheek to say goodbye, but she returned with a full kiss on the lips. Jones was then left to watch her leave.
Behind the scenes
Actress Clare Higgins portrayed Edith Wharton in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
The historical Wharton traveled to Morocco in 1917 and published her travel writings In Morocco in 1920.
- The Secret Life of Edith Wharton (Non-fiction source)