Daisy Miller:
A Study In Two Parts

The Coxon Fund The Death of the Lion The Diary of a Man of Fifty Sir Dominick Ferrand Eugene Pickering

Henry James

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Henry James
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Daisy Miller ................................................................. 5 The Coxon Fund ....................................................... 71 The Death of the Lion ............................................. 142 The Diary of a Man of Fifty ..................................... 192 Sir Dominick Ferrand .............................................. 229 Eugene Pickering ..................................................... 293

Henry James

Daisy Miller: A Study
In Two Parts

Henry James PART I
AT THE LITTLE TOWN OF VEVEY, in Switzerland, there is a particularly comfortable hotel. There are, indeed, many hotels, for the entertainment of tourists is the business of the place, which, as many travelers will remember, is seated upon the edge of a remarkably blue lake—a lake that it behooves every tourist to visit. The shore of the lake presents an unbroken array of establishments of this order, of every category, from the “grand hotel” of the newest fashion, with a chalk-white front, a hundred balconies, and a dozen flags flying from its roof, to the little Swiss pension of an elder day, with its name inscribed in German-looking lettering upon a pink or yellow wall and an awkward summerhouse in the angle of the garden. 5

who. being distinguished from many of its upstart neighbors by an air both of luxury and of maturity. rather idly. sat in the garden of the “Trois Couronnes. a view of the sunny crest of the Dent du Midi and the picturesque towers of the Castle of Chillon. of Newport and Saratoga. I hardly know whether it was the analogies or the differences that were uppermost in the mind of a young American. American travelers are extremely numerous. when his friends spoke of him.” looking about him. who was staying at the hotel—Geneva having been for a long time his place of residence. But his aunt had a headache—his aunt had almost always a headache—and now she was shut up in her room. there are other features that are much at variance with these suggestions: neat German waiters. two or three years ago. little Polish boys walking about held by the hand. after all. He had come from Geneva the day before by the little steamer.” it must be added. so that he was at liberty to wander about. it may be said. is famous. and in whatever fashion the young American looked at things. a rustling of muslin flounces. You receive an impression of these things at the excellent inn of the “Trois Couronnes” and are transported in fancy to the Ocean House or to Congress Hall. in the month of June. who look like secretaries of legation. at some of the graceful objects I have mentioned. It was a beautiful summer morning. an echo. he had no enemies. But at the “Trois Couronnes. a rattle of dance music in the morning hours. a sound of high-pitched voices at all times.” When his enemies spoke of him. smelling camphor. with their governors. even classical. In this region. He was some seven-and-twenty years of age. Russian princesses sitting in the garden. they usually said that he was at Geneva “studying. to see his aunt. they said—but. however. they must have seemed to him charming.Daisy Miller One of the hotels at Vevey. indeed. 6 . There is a flitting hither and thither of “stylish” young girls. There are sights and sounds which evoke a vision. that Vevey assumes at this period some of the characteristics of an American watering place.

looking at him with a pair of bright. But Winterbourne had an old attachment for the little metropolis of Calvinism. In front of Winterbourne he paused.” he answered. simply. and universally liked. hard little voice—a voice immature and yet. and they were a source of great satisfaction to him. He carried in his hand a long alpenstock. which displayed his poor little spindle-shanks. the sharp point of which he thrust into everything that he approached—the flowerbeds. and he had afterward gone to college there—circumstances which had led to his forming a great many youthful friendships. “but I don’t think sugar is good for little boys. At last he finished his coffee and lit a cigarette. Very few Americans—indeed. which had been served to him on a little table in the garden by one of the waiters who looked like an attache. I think none—had ever seen this lady.Henry James he was an extremely amiable fellow. about whom there were some singular stories. with red stockings. and sharp little features. had an aged expression of countenance. Many of these he had kept. he also wore a brilliant red cravat. After knocking at his aunt’s door and learning that she was indisposed.” 7 . and then he had come in to his breakfast. Presently a small boy came walking along the path—an urchin of nine or ten. he had taken a walk about the town. he had been put to school there as a boy. that when certain persons spoke of him they affirmed that the reason of his spending so much time at Geneva was that he was extremely devoted to a lady who lived there—a foreign lady—a person older than himself. who was diminutive for his years. penetrating little eyes. and saw that several morsels of sugar remained. the trains of the ladies’ dresses. on which his coffee service rested. He had now finished his breakfast. not young. What I should say is. somehow. The child. you may take one. but he was drinking a small cup of coffee. the garden benches. “Will you give me a lump of sugar?” he asked in a sharp. Winterbourne glanced at the small table near him. He was dressed in knickerbockers. a pale complexion. “Yes.

” he declared. In America they didn’t come out.” he said. I’m an American boy.” “And are American little boys the best little boys?” asked Winterbourne. pronouncing the adjective in a peculiar manner. American candy’s the best candy. “If you eat three lumps of sugar. your mother will certainly slap you. And then.” rejoined his young interlocutor. I can’t help it. lance-fashion. and one came out right afterward. while he attacked a second lump of sugar. and the child. then. My mother counted them last night. “I can’t get any candy here—any American candy.” he said. It’s these hotels. Winterbourne had immediately perceived that he might have the honor of claiming him as a fellow countryman. for he had been brought to Europe at about this age.” said the child.” Winterbourne was much amused. “I don’t know. It’s the climate that makes them come out. stood looking about him. “I haven’t got any teeth to hurt. His companion thanked him for the compliment. “She’s got to give me some candy. “I see you are one of the best!” laughed Winterbourne. on Winterbourne’s affirmative reply—”American men are the best. two of which he buried in the pocket of his knickerbockers. I have only got seven teeth. He poked his alpenstock. paternally. it’s har-r-d!” he exclaimed. 8 . It’s this old Europe. She said she’d slap me if any more came out.Daisy Miller This little boy stepped forward and carefully selected three of the coveted fragments. into Winterbourne’s bench and tried to crack the lump of sugar with his teeth. who had now got astride of his alpenstock. blazes. Winterbourne wondered if he himself had been like this in his infancy. They have all come out. “Are you an American man?” pursued this vivacious infant. “Oh. depositing the other as promptly in another place. “Take care you don’t hurt your teeth.

scattering the pebbles about Winterbourne’s ears.” said Winterbourne. and knots of pale-colored ribbon. “American girls are the best girls. “This little boy and I have made acquaintance. The young lady gave no heed to this announcement. The young lady paused in front of his bench.” Winterbourne looked along the path and saw a beautiful young lady advancing. with a deep border of embroidery. near the parapet of the garden. She was bareheaded. straightening himself in his seat. She was dressed in white muslin.” “I imagine that is your fault. It seemed to Winterbourne that he had been in a manner presented.Henry James “Here comes my sister!” cried the child in a moment. and she was strikingly. in his little hard voice.” said the young lady. “She’s always blowing at me. throwing away his cigarette. with a hundred frills and flounces. “She’s an American girl. The young lady meanwhile had drawn near.” replied Randolph. “Well.” said Winterbourne. not hers. but she balanced in her hand a large parasol.” he said. but looked straight at her brother. “Randolph. The little boy had now converted his alpenstock into a vaulting pole. admirably pretty. as if he were prepared to rise. “He’s an American man!” cried Randolph.” he said cheerfully to his young companion. I guess you had better be quiet. by the aid of which he was springing about in the gravel and kicking it up not a little. as he had been per9 . He got up and stepped slowly toward the young girl. “My sister ain’t the best!” the child declared. which overlooked the lake. “That’s the way they come down. with great civility.” she simply observed. “what are you doing?” “I’m going up the Alps. “This is the way!” And he gave another little jump. “How pretty they are!” thought Winterbourne. In Geneva.

“To Italy. but he decided that he must advance farther. Then she rested her eyes upon the prospect again. a young man was not at liberty to speak to a young unmarried lady except under certain rarely occurring conditions. the young lady turned to the little boy again. And she said nothing more.” the child declared. While he was thinking of something else to say. “You don’t mean to say you’re going to take it to Italy?” “Yes.” responded Randolph. I guess you had better leave it somewhere.” “Oh. This pretty American girl. “Are you—a— going over the Simplon?” Winterbourne pursued. He wondered whether he had gone too far. “I bought it.” she said. she then turned her head and looked over the parapet. The young lady glanced at him again. Randolph. a little embarrassed. “Well. what mountain are we going over?” “Going where?” the child demanded. Italy is a beautiful place!” rejoined the young man. I want to go to America. what conditions could be better than these?—a pretty American girl coming and standing in front of you in a garden.” said Randolph.” she said. 10 . The young girl glanced over the front of her dress and smoothed out a knot or two of ribbon. at the lake and the opposite mountains. “I don’t know. “I suppose it’s some mountain.Daisy Miller fectly aware. “Yes. but here at Vevey. “I don’t want to go to Italy. simply glanced at him. “Are you going to Italy?” Winterbourne inquired in a tone of great respect. “I don’t know. “I should like to know where you got that pole.” she said after a moment. “Can you get candy there?” Randolph loudly inquired.” Winterbourne explained. sir. I am going to take it to Italy. however. on hearing Winterbourne’s observation.” she replied. rather than retreat.

She asked him if he was a “real American”. They were wonderfully pretty eyes. and Winterbourne presently risked an observation upon the beauty of the view. she gradually gave him more of the benefit of her glance. It was not at all insipid. and. He thought it very possible that Master Randolph’s sister was a coquette. Winterbourne had not seen for a long time anything prettier than his fair countrywoman’s various features—her complexion. but in her bright. but it was not exactly expressive. he was addicted to observing and analyzing it.” “I haven’t had any for ever so long—for a hundred weeks!” cried the boy. what would have been called an immodest glance. this was simply her habit. indeed.Henry James “I hope not. her nose. she was evidently neither offended nor flattered. no irony. He had a great relish for feminine beauty. her ears. her teeth. Yet. and seemed not particularly to hear him. he was sure she had a spirit of her own. as he talked a little more and pointed out some of the objects of interest in the view. still jumping about. for he had begun to perceive that she was not in the least embarrassed herself. and as regards this young lady’s face he made several observations. and though it was eminently delicate. Before long it became obvious that she was much disposed toward conversation. for the young girl’s eyes were singularly honest and fresh. superficial little visage there was no mockery. and mother thinks so too. He was ceasing to be embarrassed. and then he saw that this glance was perfectly direct and unshrinking. The young lady inspected her flounces and smoothed her ribbons again. however.” said his sister. with which she appeared quite unacquainted. It was not. There had not been the slightest alteration in her charming complexion. sweet. Winterbourne mentally accused it—very forgivingly—of a want of finish. She told him that they were going to Rome for the winter—she and her mother and Randolph. If she looked another way when he spoke to her. “I guess you have had enough candy. her manner. 11 .

“My father ain’t in Europe. Then he asked her if she should not be more comfortable in sitting upon the bench which he had just quitted. My father’s rich.” said Winterbourne. “Her name is Daisy Miller!” cried the child. She told him she was from New York State—”if you know where that is. But Randolph immediately added. “My father’s in Schenectady.” “It’s a pity you haven’t got one of my cards!” said Miss Miller. “Her real name is Annie P.” said the boy sharply. laughing. slippery brother and making him stand a few minutes by his side. “My father’s name is Ezra B. But on this point Randolph seemed perfectly indifferent.” he said.. Miller had been removed to the sphere of celestial reward. Miller. “Ask him his name. Winterbourne presently released the child. he seemed more like a German—this was said after a little hesitation—especially when he spoke. my boy. so far as he remembered. he continued to supply information with regard to his own family. “Randolph C. “And I’ll tell you her name”. 12 . Miller.” the boy went on.Daisy Miller she shouldn’t have taken him for one. indicating Winterbourne. you bet!” “Well!” ejaculated Miss Miller.” Winterbourne learned more about her by catching hold of her small. He’s got a big business. Miller. “Tell me your name. met an American who spoke like a German. She answered that she liked standing up and walking about. my father’s in a better place than Europe. that isn’t her name on her cards. and he leveled his alpenstock at his sister. “You had better wait till you are asked!” said this young lady calmly. lowering her parasol and looking at the embroidered border.” said his sister. “I should like very much to know your name. answered that he had met Germans who spoke like Americans. but that he had not. Winterbourne. but she presently sat down.” Winterbourne imagined for a moment that this was the manner in which the child had been taught to intimate that Mr. “But that isn’t her real name.” he announced.

” said Winterbourne. “He doesn’t like Europe.” said Winterbourne. There is one boy here. the people who passed by. It was many years since he had 13 . He’s going to college. and we thought of getting him to travel round with us. He’s very smart. She wanted to know why I didn’t give Randolph lessons—give him ‘instruction. He found it very pleasant. now wandering over the garden. you mean?” “Yes. and the beautiful view. I think she came from Boston. they won’t let him play. I should think. and with her pretty eyes now resting upon those of Winterbourne. But Randolph said he didn’t want a teacher traveling round with us.” said the young girl. ornamented with very brilliant rings. “he seems very smart. he wants to go right home. She talked to Winterbourne as if she had known him a long time. Sanders. perhaps you know her. folded in her lap. dragging his alpenstock along the path. “Or else she’s going to find some school.’ she called it.” “Mother’s going to get a teacher for him as soon as we get to Italy. There was an English lady we met in the cars—I think her name was Miss Featherstone. an American lady— perhaps you know her—Mrs. She told her of this teacher. He’s only nine.Henry James who departed.” “To Schenectady. “He wants to go back.” “Yes. but he always goes round with a teacher. I guess he could give me more instruction than I could give him. There was a lady told her of a very good teacher. She sat there with her extremely pretty hands. He hasn’t got any boys here. And we are in the cars about half the time.” And in this way Miss Miller continued to converse upon the affairs of her family and upon other topics. He said he wouldn’t have lessons when he was in the cars. Can you get good teachers in Italy?” “Very good. “Mother thought of getting him one. He ought to learn some more. to travel round with us.” “And your brother hasn’t any teacher?” Winterbourne inquired.

She was very quiet. I used to go to New York every winter. Whenever she put on a Paris dress she felt as if she were in Europe. you see the most frightful things here. she sat in a charming. In New York I had lots of society. and her tone was decidedly sociable. if there is. I don’t mean only in Schenectady. Do you? I suppose there is some society somewhere. or. Perhaps it was because she had heard so much about it before. that she chattered. It might have been said of this unknown young lady. who had come and sat down beside him upon a bench. I am sure they send all the pretty ones to America. There isn’t any society. And then she had had ever so many dresses and things from Paris. She had ever so many intimate friends that had been there ever so many times. “That English lady in the cars. when once you got used to their ways. She was not disappointed—not a bit. She had a soft. tranquil attitude. The only thing I don’t like.” said Winterbourne.Daisy Miller heard a young girl talk so much. “Yes. slender. “it always made me wish I was here.” said Miss Miller without examining this analogy. But I needn’t have done that for dresses. She declared that the hotels were very good. I told her I had never been in so many hotels in my life as since I came to Europe.” she said—”Miss Featherstone—asked me if we didn’t all live in hotels in America. in Europe. in particular. she appeared to be in the best humor with everything. “is the society.” But Miss Miller did not make this remark with a querulous accent.” she proceeded. but her lips and her eyes were constantly moving. and that Europe was perfectly sweet. Last winter I had seven14 . but I haven’t seen anything of it. I’m very fond of society. “It was a kind of a wishing cap. agreeable voice. and enumerated. and I have always had a great deal of it. I have never seen so many—it’s nothing but hotels. the various hotels at which they had stopped. but in New York. I don’t know where it keeps itself. She gave Winterbourne a history of her movements and intentions and those of her mother and brother.

” she said. He was inclined to think Miss Daisy Miller was a flirt—a pretty American flirt. two or three women—persons older than Miss Daisy Miller. He had never yet heard a young girl express herself in just this fashion. perplexed. an unscrupulous young person? Winterbourne had lost his instinct in this matter. she was looking at Winterbourne with all her prettiness in her lively eyes and in her light. and provided. as yet. with husbands—who were great coquettes—dangerous. But this young girl was not a coquette in that sense. she was very unsophisticated. after all. for respectability’s sake. “a great deal of gentlemen’s society. she was only a 15 . after all. He had never. here in Europe. and decidedly charmed. “I have more friends in New York than in Schenectady—more gentleman friends. “I have always had. and more young lady friends too. and his reason could not help him. slightly monotonous smile. Certainly she was very charming.” she resumed in a moment. and others had told him that. Miss Daisy Miller looked extremely innocent. an audacious. had he encountered a young American girl of so pronounced a type as this. and three of them were by gentlemen. Never.” added Daisy Miller. Some people had told him that. terrible women. he had become dishabituated to the American tone. save in cases where to say such things seemed a kind of demonstrative evidence of a certain laxity of deportment. but how deucedly sociable! Was she simply a pretty girl from New York State? Were they all like that.Henry James teen dinners given me. She paused again for an instant. they were not. never. at least.” Poor Winterbourne was amused. indeed. He had known. American girls were exceedingly innocent. the pretty girls who had a good deal of gentlemen’s society? Or was she also a designing. had any relations with young ladies of this category. since he had grown old enough to appreciate things. as they said at Geneva? He felt that he had lived at Geneva so long that he had lost a good deal. with whom one’s relations were liable to take a serious turn. And yet was he to accuse Miss Daisy Miller of actual or potential inconduite.

He’s only nine. She said she couldn’t go. if we can get Randolph. pointing with her parasol to the far-gleaming walls of the Chateau de Chillon. Mother’s afraid to leave him alone. I suppose. smiling. “He says he don’t care much about old castles. It presently became apparent that he was on the way to learn. “We were going last week. I wouldn’t go away from here without having seen that old castle. “Our courier says they take you right up to the castle. “Have you been to that old castle?” asked the young girl. formerly.” “You can go in the cars.” the young girl continued.” said Winterbourne.” said Miss Miller.” said Winterbourne.” And Miss Miller pointed again at the Chateau de Chillon. “I should think it might be arranged. Randolph wouldn’t go either. so we haven’t been to many places. He wants to stay at the hotel. Winterbourne was almost grateful for having found the formula that applied to Miss Daisy Miller. he wondered what were the regular conditions and limitations of one’s intercourse with a pretty American flirt. more than once. have seen it?” “No. or you can go by the little steamer. you know. I want to go there dreadfully. we haven’t been there. “Yes. She suffers dreadfully from dyspepsia. But I guess we’ll go this week. You can drive.” “Your brother is not interested in ancient monuments?” Winterbourne inquired. But it will be too bad if we don’t go up there. Of course I mean to go there.” said Winterbourne. He leaned back in his seat. he remarked to himself that she had the most charming nose he had ever seen. and the courier won’t stay with him. but my mother gave out. “You too. “Yes. you can go in the cars.” Winterbourne assented. he says he doesn’t think much of old castles.” “It’s a very pretty excursion. “and very easy to make. “Couldn’t you get some one to stay for the afternoon with Randolph?” 16 .Daisy Miller pretty American flirt.

“Eugenio’s our courier. handsome man. as a young girl at Geneva would have done. A tall. blushing. after all. thought it possible she was offended. presumably Eugenio. he’s the most fastidious man I ever saw. conscious that he had been very bold. he now 17 . “With your mother. very placidly. looking sharply at her companion. “Then we may arrange it.” she said. Eugenio had looked at Winterbourne from head to foot. But he’s a splendid courier.” he answered very respectfully. and yet Winterbourne. “I guess my mother won’t go. Eugenio!” said Miss Miller with the friendliest accent. and then. “I should much rather go to Chillon with you. But it seemed that both his audacity and his respect were lost upon Miss Daisy Miller. I guess he’ll stay at home with Randolph if mother does. “She don’t like to ride round in the afternoon. She didn’t rise.” Winterbourne reflected for an instant as lucidly as possible—”we” could only mean Miss Daisy Miller and himself. I guess Eugenio will. “I wish you would stay with him!” she said. This program seemed almost too agreeable for credence.” Winterbourne declared. but at this moment another person. But did you really mean what you said just now—that you would like to go up there?” “Most earnestly. He doesn’t like to stay with Randolph. appeared. If mother will stay with Randolph. and then we can go to the castle. approached Miss Miller. wearing a velvet morning coat and a brilliant watch chain.” “With me?” asked the young girl with the same placidity.” “Eugenio?” the young man inquired. Possibly he would have done so and quite spoiled the project. with superb whiskers. “Oh. Winterbourne hesitated a moment.Henry James Miss Miller looked at him a moment. he felt as if he ought to kiss the young lady’s hand.

he asked her if she had observed in the hotel an American family—a mamma. “I shall not be happy till we go!” he protested. “I have the honor to inform mademoiselle that luncheon is upon the table. thought his manner of looking an offense to Miss Miller. “See here. “Mademoiselle has made arrangements?” he added in a tone which struck Winterbourne as very impertinent. well. said to himself that she had the tournure of a princess. “And you are staying in this hotel?” she went on. She put up her parasol and walked back to the inn beside Eugenio. As soon as the former lady had got better of her headache.” he said. “I shall have the honor of presenting to you a person who will tell you all about me. at least. and a little boy. She turned to Winterbourne. Costello.” “To the Chateau de Chillon. drawing her muslin furbelows over the gravel. “I’m going to that old castle.” Miss Miller slowly rose. Seen them—heard them—and kept out of their way. to Miss Daisy Miller. a slightly ironical light upon the young girl’s situation. Winterbourne stood looking after her. I have observed them.” Mrs. “And a courier?” said Mrs. engaged to do more than proved feasible. a daughter. he waited upon her in her apartment. He had. and. “You won’t back out?” she said. mademoiselle?” the courier inquired. even to Miss Miller’s own apprehension. “And you are really an American?” The courier stood looking at Winterbourne offensively. after the proper inquiries in regard to her health. we’ll go some day. “Oh yes.Daisy Miller bowed gravely to the young lady. it conveyed an imputation that she “picked up” acquaintances. in promising to present his aunt. The young man. Eugenio!” she said. Mrs. however. Costello. And she gave him a smile and turned away. anyway. “Oh. Costello 18 . Eugenio’s tone apparently threw. and as she moved away. blushing a little—a very little. smiling and referring to his aunt.” said Miss Miller.

if she were not so dreadfully liable to sick headaches. were nearer to her. though he was on his travels. Costello declared. He immediately perceived. “I am afraid you don’t approve of them.” “The young girl is very pretty.” “Ah. “Of course she’s pretty. Costello had not seen him for many years. you don’t accept them?” said the young man. Mrs. a person of much distinction. 19 . who had come up to Vevey expressly to see her. of course. almost oppressively striking. a high nose. and a great deal of very striking white hair. This young man was amusing himself at Hamburg. but.” Mrs.” said Winterbourne in a moment. if he were acquainted with New York. She had two sons married in New York and another who was now in Europe. as she gave him to understand. I would if I could.Henry James was a widow with a fortune. But she is very common. that Miss Daisy Miller’s place in the social scale was low. to Winterbourne’s imagination. “I can’t. my dear Frederick. and. She admitted that she was very exclusive. And her picture of the minutely hierarchical constitution of the society of that city.” said Winterbourne after another pause. was therefore more attentive than those who. manifesting her approbation by initiating him into many of the secrets of that social sway which. which she presented to him in many different lights. from her tone. was. was rarely perceived to visit any particular city at the moment selected by his mother for her own appearance there. he would see that one had to be.” he said. and she was greatly pleased with him. “They are very common. “They are the sort of Americans that one does one’s duty by not—not accepting. but I can’t. which she wore in large puffs and rouleaux over the top of her head. pale face. as she said.” “I see what you mean. He had imbibed at Geneva the idea that one must always be attentive to one’s aunt. she exerted in the American capital. She had a long. Her nephew. she would probably have left a deeper impress upon her time. who frequently intimated that.

Costello observed. and yet she was very charming to me.” “I am much obliged to you. I am going to take her to the Chateau de Chillon. Costello. I shouldn’t wonder if he dines with them. I can’t think where they get their taste. He probably corresponds to the young lady’s idea of a count. “Well. and we talked a bit.” “We simply met in the garden. “that you had made her acquaintance. in short.Daisy Miller “She has that charming look that they all have. “And pray who is to guarantee hers?” “Ah. my dear aunt.” Winterbourne listened with interest to these disclosures.” “You had better have said at first. “She’s a very nice young girl. such fine clothes. “I am not a courier.” Winterbourne went on.” said Mrs. He sits with them in the garden in the evening.” “You don’t say that as if you believed it. Evidently she was rather wild. she is not. after all. so like a gentleman. I think he smokes.” “It was to guarantee my respectability.” “But. and she dresses in perfection— no. the mother is just as bad! They treat the courier like a familiar friend—like a gentleman. Very likely they have never seen a man with such good manners. Costello with dignity.” said Winterbourne. you don’t know how well she dresses.” his aunt resumed.” “An intimacy with the courier?” the young man demanded. “But she is wonderfully pretty. and. “She is completely uncultivated. “who has an intimacy with her mamma’s courier. “I can’t think where they pick it up. you are cruel!” said the young man.” “She is a young lady. they helped him to make up his mind about Miss Daisy.” Mrs. To prove that I believe it. “Oh.” 20 .” he said.” said Mrs.” “Tout bonnement! And pray what did you say?” “I said I should take the liberty of introducing her to my admirable aunt. she is very nice. a Comanche savage.

“Is it literally true that she is going to the Chateau de Chillon with you?” “I think that she fully intends it. “What a dreadful girl!” Her nephew was silent for some moments. my dear Frederick.” he began earnestly. “You really think. Mrs. 21 . But I really think that you had better not meddle with little American girls that are uncultivated. when this interesting project was formed? You haven’t been twenty-four hours in the house. You have lived too long out of the country. to carry her off?” “I haven’t the least idea what such young ladies expect a man to do. thank Heaven. How long had you known her.” “My dear aunt. then!” Winterbourne continued to curl his mustache meditatively. “You won’t let the poor girl know you then?” he asked at last. sooner or later. “Think what. smiling. to be shocked!” “But don’t they all do these things—the young girls in America?” Winterbourne inquired. “I should like to see my granddaughters do them!” she declared grimly.” “I have known her half an hour!” said Winterbourne. I am an old woman. “That she is the sort of young lady who expects a man.” said Winterbourne. smiling and curling his mustache. Costello. sir?” said his aunt. “Dear me!” cried Mrs. as you call them. “I must decline the honor of her acquaintance. and with a desire for trustworthy information— ”you really think that—” But he paused again.Henry James “You two are going off there together? I should say it proved just the contrary.” said Mrs. I am not so innocent. then. “You are guilty too. You are too innocent. may I ask. You will be sure to make some great mistake. but I am not too old. Costello. Costello stared a moment.” “Then.

Daisy Miller This seemed to throw some light upon the matter. “She’s going to try to get Eugenio to talk to him. that with Miss Daisy Miller there was no great need of walking on tiptoe. wandering about in the warm starlight like an indolent sylph. She says she doesn’t know how she lives. he should not appreciate her justly. but he discovered.” she answered. therefore. he hardly knew what he should say to her about his aunt’s refusal to become acquainted with her. “She will talk to him all she can.” It appeared that 22 .” If. Miss Daisy Miller seemed very glad to see him. He had dined with his aunt. opening her fan. by instinct.” said the young girl. “She doesn’t sleep—not three hours. “Has she gone to bed?” “No. He doesn’t like to go to bed. promptly enough. She’s gone somewhere after Randolph. and he was vexed with himself that. she declared it was the longest evening she had ever passed. Eugenio’s a splendid courier. she wants to try to get him to go to bed. had been sitting with her since dinner. and had just taken leave of her till the morrow. He found her that evening in the garden. Though he was impatient to see her. “I have been walking round with mother. She’s dreadfully nervous. Winterbourne was impatient to see her again.” “Let us hope she will persuade him. Miss Daisy Miller exceeded the liberal margin allowed to these young ladies. she doesn’t like to go to bed. It was ten o’clock. But he isn’t afraid of Eugenio. I guess she sleeps more than she thinks. and swinging to and fro the largest fan he had ever beheld. But mother gets tired walking round. but he can’t make much impression on Randolph! I don’t believe he’ll go to bed before eleven.” said Miss Daisy. for Winterbourne remembered to have heard that his pretty cousins in New York were “tremendous flirts. but he doesn’t like her to talk to him. it was probable that anything might be expected of her. “Have you been all alone?” he asked.” observed Winterbourne.

I suppose it’s about the same thing. I shall be ever so glad to know your aunt. “She would be most happy. It’s her wretched health.” he protested. “I think that’s a lovely description. Anyway. “She doesn’t want to know me!” she said suddenly. mortified by it. Miss Daisy Miller stopped and stood looking at him. “She’s your aunt. and she never dined at the table d’hote. “I want to know her ever so much. she was opening and closing her enormous fan.Henry James Randolph’s vigil was in fact triumphantly prolonged. gay voice. I’m dying to be exclusive myself. Winterbourne was silent a moment. I know I should like her. Every two days she had a headache. “But I suppose she doesn’t have a headache every day. not knowing what to say.” she said sympathetically. she wore white puffs.” his companion resumed. “she knows no one. I’m not afraid!” And she gave a little laugh. she said she had heard all about Mrs. for Winterbourne strolled about with the young girl for some time without meeting her mother.” he answered at last. he was touched. headache and all!” said Miss Daisy.” The young girl looked at him through the dusk. Her prettiness was still visible in the darkness. “Why don’t you say so? You needn’t be afraid.” he said. we are exclusive. “You needn’t 23 . She would be very exclusive. “My dear young lady. Costello from the chambermaid. I know just what YOUR aunt would be. mother and I. “She tells me she does. Well. shocked. “I have been looking round for that lady you want to introduce me to. on Winterbourne’s admitting the fact and expressing some curiosity as to how she had learned it. chattering along in her thin. We don’t speak to everyone—or they don’t speak to us. “but I am afraid those headaches will interfere. I like a lady to be exclusive.” Winterbourne was embarrassed. she spoke to no one. She was very quiet and very comme il faut.” The young girl walked on a few steps. laughing still. Winterbourne fancied there was a tremor in her voice.” Then.

“Well. hovered vaguely about the spot at which she had checked her steps. quite ready to sacrifice his aunt. and advancing with a slow and wavering movement. Daisy Miller looked out upon the mysterious prospect and then she gave another little laugh. the joke permissible—”perhaps she feels guilty about your shawl.” “Oh. “Why should she want to know me?” Then she paused again. for the instant. rude woman.” The figure of a lady appeared at a distance. And when she has got on my shawl. resuming her walk. to admit that she was a proud. the young lady. “I told her she could wear it. conversationally. too! She is always wearing my things.” The lady in question. and for a moment almost wished that her sense of injury might be such as to make it becoming in him to attempt to reassure and comfort her. But before he had time to commit himself to this perilous mixture of gallantry and impiety. and to declare that they needn’t mind her. and in front of her was the starlit lake.” 24 . here’s Mother! I guess she hasn’t got Randolph to go to bed. Suddenly it seemed to pause. She won’t come here because she sees you. it’s a fearful old thing!” the young girl replied serenely. “Are you sure it is your mother? Can you distinguish her in this thick dusk?” Winterbourne asked. “Or perhaps. and in the distance were dimly seen mountain forms. “Well!” cried Miss Daisy Miller with a laugh. “I guess I know my own mother. thinking. with Miss Miller. “I am afraid your mother doesn’t see you.” he added. “Gracious! she IS exclusive!” she said. There was a vague sheen upon its surface. He felt then. Winterbourne wondered whether she was seriously wounded. very indistinct in the darkness. ceasing to advance. she was close to the parapet of the garden.Daisy Miller be afraid.” said Winterbourne.” she repeated. gave an exclamation in quite another tone. He had a pleasant sense that she would be very approachable for consolatory purposes.

but by no means with that harshness of accent which her choice of words may imply.Henry James “Ah. Upon this the elder lady turned round. no.” the young girl added in her little soft. But by this time they had come up to Mrs.” Miss Miller gave him a serious glance. Well. Like her daughter. “I’m afraid your mother doesn’t approve of my walking with you. 25 . and a large forehead. Her mother was a small.” she was. a very exiguous nose. So far as Winterbourne could observe. with a wandering eye. I don’t know who it’s for! But mother doesn’t like any of my gentlemen friends. much frizzled hair. “Common. she had enormous diamonds in her ears. with her commonness. yet it was a wonder to Winterbourne that. Miller. flat monotone. “I shouldn’t think I was natural. She’s right down timid. “Oh.” “To introduce me. “Mother!” said the young girl in a tone of decision. Mrs. introducing the young man very frankly and prettily. “Mr. then. Daisy was near her. walked to the parapet of the garden and leaned upon it. “I had better leave you. “It isn’t for me.” said Miss Daisy Miller. come on!” urged Miss Daisy Miller. She always makes a fuss if I introduce a gentleman. decorated with a certain amount of thin. who.” “Oh. But I do introduce them—almost always. as Mrs. she gave him no greeting—she certainly was not looking at him. dear. I can’t say all that!” said his companion with a laugh.” And he proceeded to pronounce it. If I didn’t introduce my gentlemen friends to Mother.” said Winterbourne. as they drew near. Costello had pronounced her. Miller was dressed with extreme elegance. spare. looking intently at the lake and turning her back to them. it’s for you—that is. poking round here?” this young lady inquired. pulling her shawl straight. it’s for her. turning toward the lake again.” said her mother. “I don’t know. “What are you doing.” said Winterbourne. she had a singularly delicate grace. Winterbourne. “you must know my name. light person.

there was silence. “I wish he would!” said her mother. she turned her attention to the lake. “I shouldn’t think you’d want to talk against your own brother!” “Well.” said Daisy Miller. “I guess he doesn’t sleep much. “I’m going there with Mr. “It seems as if he couldn’t. I guess he sat up all night in the public parlor. “And what occurred at Dover?” Winterbourne asked. presently. “I have the pleasure of knowing your son.” said Mrs. it isn’t so bad as it was at Dover. “Well. Daisy’s mamma offered no response. He wasn’t in bed at twelve o’clock: I know that.” To this announcement.” said Daisy.” I was telling Mr.” “I think he’s real tiresome. “Well I do!” her mother answered with a little laugh.” Daisy pursued. He likes to talk to that waiter.” the young girl went on. Winterbourne. “Oh. But at last she spoke. Daisy Miller. “Well. I couldn’t induce him. for some moments. he wouldn’t go to that castle.Daisy Miller “I shouldn’t think you’d want that shawl!” Daisy exclaimed. Then. I don’t see how he lives!” “Anyhow.” said the elder lady. very placidly made. Mother. Winterbourne took for granted that she deeply 26 . yes!” said Winterbourne. quite without the asperity of a retort. “He’s only nine. he is tiresome.” “It was half-past twelve. Miller very gently. “He wants to talk to the waiter. “He wouldn’t go to bed at all. Winterbourne. Miller with mild emphasis. and to the young man’s ear her tone might have indicated that she had been uttering his name all her life.” Daisy rejoined. “Does he sleep much during the day?” Winterbourne demanded. “No. “Well.” said the young girl. Miller.” declared Mrs. “Did you get Randolph to go to bed?” asked the young girl.” urged Mrs.” Randolph’s mamma was silent.

Miller’s wandering eyes attached themselves.Henry James disapproved of the projected excursion. “But Chillon here.” he began. is very well worth seeing. in a tone impregnated with a sense of the magnitude of the enterprise. easily managed person.” said Winterbourne.” Mrs.” “Well. And yet he was quite prepared to find that. Miller with an air of increasing confidence. “It seems as if there was nothing she wouldn’t undertake. “I presume you will go in the cars. “Yes.” she pursued. And he desired more and more to make it a certainty that he was to have the privilege of a tete-a-tete with the young lady. as a matter of course. if Daisy feels up to it—” said Mrs. “Yes. of course. We visited several in England. but he said to himself that she was a simple.” said Winterbourne. “Ah yes! in England there are beautiful castles. Of course Daisy—she wants to go round.” “It is a pity you shouldn’t go. It seems as if there would be so many there. who was still strolling 27 . she should think we’d want to wait till we got to Italy. I think she’ll enjoy it!” Winterbourne declared. however. with a sort of appealing air. to Daisy. “Of course we only want to see the principal ones. Miller.” Mrs.” said Winterbourne. beginning to feel reassured as to her opposition. or in the boat. gently humming to herself. who. she meant to accompany her daughter.” she presently added. “your daughter has kindly allowed me the honor of being her guide. Miller rejoined. But there’s a lady here—I don’t know her name—she says she shouldn’t think we’d want to go to see castles here.” continued Mrs.” said her mother. I don’t know. “I have never been to that castle. “We’ve been thinking ever so much about going. “but it seems as if we couldn’t. strolled a few steps farther. and that a few deferential protestations would take the edge from her displeasure. “Well.” “Oh.

madam. I want you to take me out in a boat!” Daisy repeated. Annie Miller!” exclaimed her mother. “You are not disposed. “I should think she’d rather go indoors. and she had turned round and was looking at Winterbourne. “Mr.Daisy Miller along in front of them. and then walked forward in silence. “Well!” ejaculated the elder lady again. Winterbourne wants to take me.” said Winterbourne ardently. softly vocalizing. for he had never yet enjoyed the sensation of guiding through the summer starlight a skiff freighted with a fresh and beautiful young girl. “Of course!” said Daisy.” “I’m sure Mr. Winterbourne observed to himself that this was a very different type of maternity from that of the vigilant matrons who massed themselves in the forefront of social intercourse in the dark old city at the other end of the lake.” her daughter went on. “Well. Winterbourne!” murmured Daisy. “I beg you. They had all stopped. Her face wore a charming smile. “to undertake it yourself?” Daisy’s mother looked at him an instant askance. “Mademoiselle!” said the young man. madam.” Daisy declared. “I shouldn’t think she’d want to.” said Winterbourne.” he inquired. “You haven’t spoken to me for half an hour.” she said simply.” “I don’t believe it!” said Daisy.” said her mother. to let her go. “Well. “I have been having some very pleasant conversation with your mother. “He’s so awfully devoted!” “I will row you over to Chillon in the starlight. “Don’t you want to take me out in a boat?” “At present?” he asked. Then—”I guess she had better go alone. Miller’s unprotected daughter. her pretty eyes were 28 . But his meditations were interrupted by hearing his name very distinctly pronounced by Mrs.

No. “It will be still more lovely to do it.” Daisy stood there smiling. but he said nothing. she only stood there laughing. turning.” interposed her mother.” “I think not. “But I am afraid you are chaffing me.” said Winterbourne.” “Do tell her she can’t. Miller very gently. “There are half a dozen boats moored at that landing place. the way you say that!” cried Daisy. “I think you had better not go out in a boat. it’s not very difficult. madam. let me give you a row.” said Mrs. “I assure you it’s a formal offer.” Daisy went on.” said a voice. with a foreign accent. pointing to certain steps which descended from the garden to the lake. Winterbourne—this very minute. sir. mademoiselle?” “I am going with Mr. “You see. Miller to the courier. But she made no movement to accompany him. it’s impossible to be prettier than that. “Do.” remarked Mrs. then. “It’s quite lovely.” he said. “At eleven o’clock.” said Daisy. “It is eleven o’clock. Winterbourne wished to Heaven this pretty girl were not so familiar with her courier.” Eugenio declared. Eugenio.” “I was bound I would make you say something.” he said to the young girl. perceived the florid personage who was in attendance upon the two ladies. “I like a gentleman to be formal!” she declared. it would be lovely!” said Daisy. she threw back her head and gave a little. “If you will do me the honor to accept my arm. 29 . thought Winterbourne. “I should think you had better find out what time it is. we will go and select one of them. He had apparently just approached.Henry James gleaming. “I am going out in a boat!” Eugenio bowed. “Oh. out of the neighboring darkness.” “Yes. light laugh. and Winterbourne. mademoiselle. she was swinging her great fan about.

with this gentleman!” answered Daisy’s mamma.” “I myself shall make a fuss if you don’t go. taking the hand she offered him.Daisy Miller “I suppose you don’t think it’s proper!” Daisy exclaimed. Winterbourne stood looking after them. “Oh. “Does mademoiselle propose to go alone?” asked Eugenio of Mrs. Randolph has gone to bed!” the courier announced frigidly. and. the servants. “Well. were lounging about and staring. But the only very definite conclusion he came to was that he should enjoy deucedly “going off ” with her somewhere. now we can go!” said Mrs. 30 . “I am puzzled. solemnly. under the escort of the privileged Eugenio. He waited for her in the large hall of the hotel. He lingered beside the lake for a quarter of an hour. the foreign tourists. looking at him. where the couriers. “Oh. I hope it won’t keep you awake!” she said very smartly. The courier looked for a moment at Winterbourne—the latter thought he was smiling—and then.” said Winterbourne.” she said. no. Daisy. “Eugenio doesn’t think anything’s proper. he was indeed puzzled. “Good night.” he answered. “I hope you are disappointed. “Mr. Two days afterward he went off with her to the Castle of Chillon. turning over the mystery of the young girl’s sudden familiarities and caprices. “As mademoiselle pleases!” he said. “That’s all I want—a little fuss!” And the young girl began to laugh again. the two ladies passed toward the house. Daisy turned away from Winterbourne. or disgusted. with a bow. or something!” He looked at her.” “I am at your service. Miller. “I don’t care to go now. I hoped you would make a fuss!” said Daisy.” said Winterbourne. “Oh. Miller. smiling and fanning herself.

Winterbourne’s preference had been that they should be conveyed to Chillon in a carriage. she delivered herself of a great number of original reflections. as our ancestors used to say. It was the most charming garrulity he had ever heard. People continued to look at her a great deal. on the great staircase. without moving from her place. her little rapid. with his eyes upon her face. he had some expectation of seeing her regard it in the same way. and even. sensibility. squeezing her folded parasol against her pretty figure. To the young man himself their little excursion was so much of an escapade—an adventure—that. confiding step. Daisy Miller was extremely animated. she blushed neither when she looked at him nor when she felt that people were looking at her. Winterbourne was a man of imagination and. while.Henry James It was not the place he should have chosen. But he quite forgot his fears. The sail was not long. laugh overmuch. she was not fluttered. they were all looking at her very hard. she avoided neither his eyes nor those of anyone else. she declared that she had a passion for steamboats. he sat smiling. she was in charming spirits. but she was apparently not at all excited. but Winterbourne’s companion found time to say a great many things. in this particular. and you saw such lots of people. even allowing for her habitual sense of freedom. he felt as if there were something romantic going forward. He passed out with her among all the idle people that were assembled there. but she expressed a lively wish to go in the little steamer. he had 31 . He could have believed he was going to elope with her. and Winterbourne took much satisfaction in his pretty companion’s distinguished air. He had been a little afraid that she would talk loud. But it must be confessed that. desire to move about the boat a good deal. but she had appointed it. perhaps. she had begun to chatter as soon as she joined him. There was always such a lovely breeze upon the water. dressed in the perfection of a soberly elegant traveling costume. as he looked at her dress and. he was disappointed. buttoning her long gloves. She came tripping downstairs.

and I’ll carry round your hat. She found a great many pretexts in 32 .Daisy Miller assented to the idea that she was “common”. on his side. Miss Miller’s observations were not remarkable for logical consistency. but every now and then it took a subjective turn.” “I never was better pleased in my life. your ears are very near together. But he saw that she cared very little for feudal antiquities and that the dusky traditions of Chillon made but a slight impression upon her. had been generous—and ended by leaving them quite to themselves. “I like to make you say those things! You’re a queer mixture!” In the castle. They had the good fortune to have been able to walk about without other companionship than that of the custodian.” “You look as if you were taking me to a funeral. after they had landed. and Winterbourne arranged with this functionary that they should not be hurried—that they should linger and pause wherever they chose. fixing her agreeable eyes upon Winterbourne’s. Daisy tripped about the vaulted chambers. “Am I grave?” he asked. for anything she wanted to say she was sure to find a pretext. “What on earth are you so grave about?” she suddenly demanded. She looked at him a moment and then burst into a little laugh. and turned a singularly well-shaped ear to everything that Winterbourne told her about the place. but was she so. the subjective element decidedly prevailed. If that’s a grin.” murmured Winterbourne. after all. The custodian interpreted the bargain generously— Winterbourne. rustled her skirts in the corkscrew staircases. It will pay the expenses of our journey. “I had an idea I was grinning from ear to ear.” “Should you like me to dance a hornpipe on the deck?” “Pray do. flirted back with a pretty little cry and a shudder from the edge of the oubliettes. or was he simply getting used to her commonness? Her conversation was chiefly of what metaphysicians term the objective cast.

would force him to go back to Geneva. his tastes. no young lady had as yet 33 . habits. “I call it the first. “I think you’re horrid!” “Oh. his previous history. even within a day or two. Mr.” said Daisy. But a few moments later. they might know something. Poor Winterbourne was fairly bewildered. his intentions—and for supplying information upon corresponding points in her own personality. gone into one ear and out of the other. in that case. and indeed the most favorable account. but that he unfortunately other occupations. “Oh. “Other occupations? I don’t believe it!” said Miss Daisy. she broke out irrelevantly. “Well.” And for the next ten minutes she did nothing but call him horrid. “You don’t mean to say you are going back to Geneva?” “It is a melancholy fact that I shall have to return to Geneva tomorrow. Winterbourne said that nothing could possibly please him so much. But Daisy went on to say that she wished Winterbourne would travel with them and “go round” with them. I hope you know enough!” she said to her companion.” The young man admitted that he was not in business. Of her own tastes.Henry James the rugged embrasures of Chillon for asking Winterbourne sudden questions about himself—his family. “Don’t you want to come and teach Randolph?” she asked. “What do you mean? You are not in business. bother!” she said. Winterbourne. “I never saw a man that knew so much!” The history of Bonivard had evidently. and intentions Miss Miller was prepared to give the most definite. don’t say such dreadful things!” said Winterbourne—”just at the last!” “The last!” cried the young girl. as they say. when he was pointing out to her the pretty design of an antique fireplace. his habits. but he had engagements which. “I don’t believe it!” and she began to talk about something else. after he had told her the history of the unhappy Bonivard. I have half a mind to leave you here and go straight back to the hotel alone.” “Well.

in her telling him she would stop “teasing” him if he would promise her solemnly to come down to Rome in the winter. “Does she never allow you more than three days at a time?” asked Daisy ironically. the personal accent was now making its appearance. she’ll come after you in the boat. “That’s not a difficult promise to make. After this Daisy stopped teasing. in all this. If he had missed the personal accent. was quite unable to discover. he would certainly come.” said Winterbourne. and I will go down to the landing to see her arrive!” Winterbourne began to think he had been wrong to feel disappointed in the temper in which the young lady had embarked.” And this was the only allusion that the young man was ever to hear her make to his invidious kinswoman.Daisy Miller done him the honor to be so agitated by the announcement of his movements. She seemed to him. “I want you to come for me. Costello that he 34 .” “I don’t want you to come for your aunt. an extraordinary mixture of innocence and crudity. He declared that. In the evening Winterbourne mentioned to Mrs. and he was divided between amazement at the rapidity of her induction and amusement at the frankness of her persiflage. if you stay another day. His companion. “Doesn’t she give you a vacation in summer? There’s no one so hard worked but they can get leave to go off somewhere at this season.” said Daisy. How did Miss Daisy Miller know that there was a charmer in Geneva? Winterbourne. It sounded very distinctly. “My aunt has taken an apartment in Rome for the winter and has already asked me to come and see her. at last. after this. the young girl was very quiet. at any rate. ceased to pay any attention to the curiosities of Chillon or the beauties of the lake. I suppose. she opened fire upon the mysterious charmer in Geneva whom she appeared to have instantly taken it for granted that he was hurrying back to see. who denied the existence of such a person. Do wait over till Friday. and they drove back to Vevey in the dusk. Winterbourne took a carriage.

Costello sniffed a little at her smelling bottle. happily. “Ah. “is the young person whom you wanted me to know!” 35 . “The Americans—of the courier?” asked this lady.” said Winterbourne.Henry James had spent the afternoon at Chillon with Miss Daisy Miller. “And that.” Mrs. “the courier stayed at home.” “She went with you all alone?” “All alone.” she exclaimed.

His aunt had been established there for several weeks. “They seem to have made several acquaintances.” she wrote. As to what happens further. I think I may certainly call upon them. “After what happened at Vevey. for instance?” Winterbourne demanded. When she comes to a party 36 .” he said to Mrs. is also very intimate with some third-rate Italians. however. but the courier continues to be the most intime. with whom she rackets about in a way that makes much talk.” In the natural course of events. courier and all. Costello. who had returned to Geneva the day after his excursion to Chillon.Daisy Miller PART II WINTERBOURNE. would presently have ascertained Mrs. She has picked up half a dozen of the regular Roman fortune hunters. went to Rome toward the end of January. you must apply elsewhere for information. Of course a man may know everyone. and she takes them about to people’s houses. “Those people you were so devoted to last summer at Vevey have turned up here. “The girl goes about alone with her foreigners. Winterbourne. The young lady. and he had received a couple of letters from her. Bring me that pretty novel of Cherbuliez’s—Paule Mere—and don’t come later than the 23rd. on arriving in Rome. Men are welcome to the privilege!” “Pray what is it that happens—here. “If. you are very welcome. after what happens—at Vevey and everywhere—you desire to keep up the acquaintance. Miller’s address at the American banker’s and have gone to pay his compliments to Miss Daisy.

Miller slowly advanced. and for this short life that is quite enough.” Winterbourne meditated a moment. “I know you!” said Randolph. Winterbourne found her in a little crimson drawing room on a third floor. he went very soon to call upon two or three other friends. He had. Mrs. He had not been there ten minutes when the servant came in. Costello. who stopped in the middle of the room and stood staring at Winterbourne. however. They are very dreadful people. 37 . after a considerable interval. he determined to wait a little before reminding Miss Miller of his claims to her consideration. the image of a very pretty girl looking out of an old Roman window and asking herself urgently when Mr.Henry James she brings with her a gentleman with a good deal of manner and a wonderful mustache. An instant later his pretty sister crossed the threshold.” said Mrs.” The news that Daisy Miller was surrounded by half a dozen wonderful mustaches checked Winterbourne’s impulse to go straightway to see her.” “They are hopelessly vulgar. If. perhaps. not definitely flattered himself that he had made an ineffaceable impression upon her heart.” “And where is the mother?” “I haven’t the least idea. announcing “Madame Mila!” This announcement was presently followed by the entrance of little Randolph Miller. Winterbourne would arrive. at any rate. but he was annoyed at hearing of a state of affairs so little in harmony with an image that had lately flitted in and out of his own meditations. and she lived in the Via Gregoriana. the room was filled with southern sunshine. where she had placed her children at school. She was a very accomplished woman. They are bad enough to dislike. “They are very ignorant— very innocent only. One of these friends was an American lady who had spent several winters at Geneva. Depend upon it they are not bad. “Whether or no being hopelessly vulgar is being ‘bad’ is a question for the metaphysicians. and then.

you know. “I told you if I were to bring you. “We’ve got a bigger place than this. Miller turned uneasily in her chair. I don’t know whether you know we reside at Schenectady. I didn’t believe it. “It’s all gold on the walls. Mrs. “Well.” said Randolph. “Not very well. sir!” he added jocosely. “I think it’s this climate.” said Randolph. seating herself. Father’s got it. “I told you I should come.” she said. instead of embarrassing Mrs. especially in the winter season.” “I don’t believe tte that!” the young girl declared. “I suffer from the liver.” exclaimed Winterbourne. taking him by the hand. “I tell you. “It is bigger. “I told you!” Randolph exclaimed.” said Miss Daisy.” Winterbourne rejoined. “How is your education coming on?” Daisy was exchanging greetings very prettily with her hostess. “I arrived only yesterday. you would say something!” she murmured.” he said. “Well. “I am much obliged to you. I declare!” she said. “I hope you have been well since we parted at Vevey. it’s less bracing than Schenectady. sir. Winterbourne turned with a protesting smile to her mother. giving Winterbourne a thump on the knee. but this lady evaded his glance. Miller. Winterbourne judged it becoming to address a few words to her mother.Daisy Miller “I’m sure you know a great many things. and. seemed to relieve her.” laughed the young man.” Mrs. “She’s got the dyspepsia. fixed her eyes upon her son. too!” Daisy had entered upon a lively conversation with her hostess. “I’ve got it too. “You might have come to see me!” said Daisy.” she answered. smiling. I 38 . Miller now certainly looked at him—at his chin. but when she heard Winterbourne’s voice she quickly turned her head. I’ve got it most!” This announcement.

they think everything of him. Oh. and you will become very fond of it. Davis. The young man asked Mrs. “We crossed in that ship. It affects my sleep. “You are like the infant Hannibal.” said Winterbourne. “Only it was turned the wrong way.” 39 .” she answered.” And in reply to Winterbourne’s interrogation.” “The best place we’ve seen is the City of Richmond!” said Randolph. “I hate it worse and worse every day!” cried Randolph.” said Winterbourne.Henry James was saying to Daisy that I certainly hadn’t found any one like Dr. Miller how she was pleased with Rome.” his mother explained. during which Daisy chattered unremittingly to her own companion. Davis’s patient. Randolph had a good time on the City of Richmond. He has so much to do. We had been led to expect something different.” “Ah. “No. But we couldn’t help that. At Schenectady he stands at the very top. at Schenectady he stands first. But I wrote to Mr. “Well.” the child repeated. “that I should put a long way before Rome. “I think Zurich is lovely. I must say I am disappointed.” said his mother. and yet there was nothing he wouldn’t do for me. Mr. “But we have seen places. Miller wanted Daisy to see Europe for herself. He was just going to try something new when we came off. Davis. I ain’t!” Randolph declared at a venture. Miller that it seems as if I couldn’t get on without Dr.” she concluded.” Winterbourne had a good deal of pathological gossip with Dr. “We had heard so much about it. and I didn’t believe I should. wait a little. but he was bound to cure it. and we hadn’t heard half so much about it. “There’s Zurich.” she resumed. too. “You are not much like an infant.” “It’s the best place I’ve seen. I’m sure there was nothing he wouldn’t try. He said he never saw anything like my dyspepsia. and there’s a great deal of sickness there. “He means the ship. I suppose we had heard too much.

” interposed Randolph. You wouldn’t stay there when I asked you. you were awfully mean at Vevey.” said Daisy. and this gave a largeness to the axiom—were at once the most exacting in the world and the least endowed with a sense of indebtedness.” said Mrs.” By this time Daisy had turned her attention again to Winterbourne. giving a twist to a bow on this lady’s dress. She goes round everywhere. with eloquence. Walker in the tone of a partisan of Winterbourne. Of course. it’s a great deal pleasanter for a young lady if she knows plenty of gentlemen. He remembered that a cynical compatriot had once told him that American women—the pretty ones.” cried Winterbourne.Daisy Miller “Well. Winterbourne expressed the hope that her daughter at least found some gratification in Rome. rather annoyed at Miss Miller’s want of appreciation of the zeal of an admirer who on his way down to Rome had stopped neither at Bologna nor at Florence. “It’s on account of the society—the society’s splendid. Walker. And then she knows a great many gentlemen. Of course she goes round more than I do. I don’t know. with his rough ends to his 40 . simply because of a certain sentimental impatience.” “Mother-r. Oh.” “My dearest young lady. I must say they have been very sociable. I want to tell you something. my dear?” murmured Mrs. they have taken her right in. fingering Mrs. Walker’s ribbons. she has made a great number of acquaintances. she thinks there’s nothing like Rome. “And what is the evidence you have offered?” asked Winterbourne. “I’ve been telling Mrs. and she declared that Daisy was quite carried away. “You wouldn’t do anything. “have I come all the way to Rome to encounter your reproaches?” “Just hear him say that!” said Daisy to her hostess. “Mrs. we’ve got to turn the right way some time. “Did you ever hear anything so quaint?” “So quaint. “Well. “Why. Miller with a little laugh.” said Daisy. Walker how mean you were!” the young girl announced.

Winterbourne! He knows plenty of Italians. “you know I’m coming to your party. Miller prepared to take her leave. Walker. Mother.” she then said.” Daisy pursued with the prettiest serenity.” answered Daisy’s mamma.” “I’ve got a lovely dress!” “I am very sure of that. she gave a rapid glance at Winterbourne. “I tell you you’ve got to go.” said Mrs. they are not my friends. Walker. Giovanelli. smiling. Walker’s party. Walker was silent a moment.” said Daisy. Miller. “He’s a great friend of mine.” “It’s an intimate friend of mine—Mr.” said Mrs. He’s perfectly lovely!” It was settled that this brilliant personage should be brought to Mrs. “He’s an Italian. “I don’t think it’s safe. my dear.” “I am delighted to hear it.Henry James words.” Randolph proclaimed.” said Daisy without a tremor in her clear little voice or a shadow on her brilliant little face. 41 . Mrs. “I am going to the Pincio.” “I shall be happy to see any of your friends. He’s tremendously clever. “I guess we’ll go back to the hotel. Eugenio’ll raise—something!” “I’m not afraid of Eugenio. He thinks ever so much of Americans.” she went on. “You may go back to the hotel.” she said. but he wants to know some Americans.” said Daisy with a toss of her head. turning with a smile to Mrs. he’s the handsomest man in the world— except Mr. “Oh. “I never spoke to them. “Alone. smiling shyly in her own fashion. “She’s going to walk with Mr. Mrs. and then Mrs. Walker.” said Daisy. “I shall be glad to see Mr.” “But I want to ask a favor—permission to bring a friend. but I’m going to take a walk. Giovanelli. Walker asked. The afternoon was drawing to a close—it was the hour for the throng of carriages and of contemplative pedestrians. my dear—at this hour?” Mrs. “Look here. Giovanelli.

Remember what Dr. As the day was splendid. with the ornamental courier whose acquaintance he had made at Vevey seated within. and at the door Winterbourne perceived Mrs.” “My dear young friend. Eugenio!” cried Daisy. “I’m going to take a walk. Walker. Miller.” she said.” The distance from the Via Gregoriana to the beautiful garden at the other end of the Pincian Hill is. Giovanelli?” asked the hostess. “Is it Mr. without a shade of hesitation. you are too perfect. Winterbourne were as polite as he pretends. Miller observed. “You’ll get the fever. he would offer to walk with me!” Winterbourne’s politeness hastened to affirm itself.” subjoined Mrs. she glanced at Winterbourne. “Gracious me!” Daisy exclaimed. “I’m not going alone.” She continued to glance at Winterbourne.” “Your friend won’t keep you from getting the fever. she answered. Winterbourne was watching the young girl.” said Randolph. Miller’s carriage drawn up.” “Well. I am going to meet a friend. “Mr. She stood there. Walker. however. and loungers 42 .” said Mrs. “don’t walk off to the Pincio at this hour to meet a beautiful Italian. at this question his attention quickened. still showing her pretty teeth. “Mrs. rapidly traversed. walkers. in fact. “I don’t to do anything improper.Daisy Miller “Neither do I. and the concourse of vehicles. Giovanelli—the beautiful Giovanelli. They passed downstairs before her mother. The company had risen to its feet. “Goodbye. bent over and kissed her hostess. Davis told you!” “Give her some medicine before she goes.” Mrs. and if Mr. There’s an easy way to settle it. he speaks English. while she glanced and smiled. Daisy. Then. smiling and smoothing her bonnet ribbons. Miller. taking her hand pleadingly. “The Pincio is only a hundred yards distant. and the young girl gave him gracious leave to accompany her.” said Mrs. as sure as you live.

“I suppose you were asleep. Eugenio says they’re the best rooms in Rome. But we only had about a week of that. but Winterbourne.” “You must have stayed in the train a good while after it stopped!” cried the young girl with her little laugh. You have had time to go to see Mrs. You knew her at Geneva. apparently. the young Americans found their progress much delayed. We are going to stay all winter. in spite of his consciousness of his singular situation. I was sure it would be awfully poky. I like their style of conversation. and they are all so charming. and I guess we’ll stay then. she began to prattle about her own affairs. you knew me at Vevey. resolved that he would do no such thing. I thought it would be fearfully quiet. Giovanelli. I was sure we should be going round all the time with one of those dreadful old men that explain about the pictures and things. “I know where you knew her. to its appreciation. It’s a great deal nicer than I thought. to her sense. That’s just as good.” She asked him no other question than this. Walker—” Winterbourne began to explain. at once annoyed and gratified. if we don’t die of the fever. But 43 . was to consign her to the hands of Mr. “You can’t get out of that. and Italians.” “I knew Mrs. and Germans. “Why haven’t you been to see me?” asked Daisy. So you ought to have come. She told me so.Henry James numerous. and he wondered what on earth had been in Daisy’s mind when she proposed to expose herself. and now I’m enjoying myself. The slow-moving. This fact was highly agreeable to Winterbourne. Well. Walker. I think I like the English best. idly gazing Roman crowd bestowed much attention upon the extremely pretty young foreign lady who was passing through it upon his arm. The society’s extremely select. There are all kinds—English. “We’ve got splendid rooms at the hotel.” “I have had the honor of telling you that I have only just stepped out of the train. unattended. His own mission. I know ever so many people.

“Then I shall find him without you.” said Winterbourne. you don’t suppose I mean to communicate by signs?” “Pray understand. The main point is to give you an idea of my meaning. Winterbourne looked at him a moment and then said.” Daisy stopped and looked at him. There’s something or other every day.” “I beg your pardon if I say it wrong. “You certainly won’t leave me!” cried Winterbourne. Walker’s. with nothing but the presence of her charming eyes and her happy dimples.” “I certainly shall not help you to find him. “Well. “We had better go straight to that place in front. but I must say I never thought dancing was everything.” 44 . her rooms are so small.” cried Miss Daisy. then. He had a handsome face.” Winterbourne declared. I guess I shall have plenty at Mrs.” she said.Daisy Miller there are some lovely Americans. a glass in one eye.” said Daisy. “I don’t like the way you say that. she’s a cool one!” thought the young man. She burst into her little laugh. I never saw anything so hospitable. Giovanelli might be. “where you look at the view. “Do you mean to speak to that man?” “Do I mean to speak to him? Why. an artfully poised hat. “It’s too imperious. without a sign of troubled consciousness in her face. Miss Miller began to wonder where Mr. “that I intend to remain with you. There’s not much dancing. “Are you afraid you’ll get lost—or run over? But there’s Giovanelli. I was always fond of conversation. and a nosegay in his buttonhole. He’s staring at the women in the carriages: did you ever see anything so cool?” Winterbourne perceived at some distance a little man standing with folded arms nursing his cane.” When they had passed the gate of the Pincian Gardens. leaning against that tree.

” said Winterbourne. He bowed to Winterbourne as well as to the latter’s companion. “He is not a gentleman.” said the young American. Giovanelli had certainly a very pretty face. he’s not the right one. of course. reflected upon that profundity of Italian cleverness which enables people to appear more gracious in proportion as they are more acutely disappointed. “You should sometimes listen to a gentleman—the right one.” “I think you have made a mistake. D__n his good looks!” Mr. She strolled alone with one of them on each side of her. had counted upon something more intimate. He is a music master. But he kept his temper in a manner which suggested far-stretching intentions. “I do nothing but listen to gentlemen!” she exclaimed. who spoke English very cleverly—Winterbourne afterward learned that he had practiced the idiom upon a great many American heiresses—addressed her a great deal of very polite nonsense. he had not bargained for a party of three. or a third-rate artist. and was approaching the young girl with obsequious rapidity. he had a brilliant smile. Giovanelli. or a penny-aliner. and the young American. “Tell me if Mr. an intelligent eye. But he nevertheless said to Daisy. or to interfere with anything I do. he was extremely urbane.” Daisy evidently had a natural talent for performing introductions. Giovanelli. “I have never allowed a gentleman to dictate to me. “he is only a clever imitation of one. Winterbourne flattered himself that he had taken his measure. Mr. Winterbourne thought him not a bad-looking fellow. but with eyes that were prettier than ever. who said nothing. Giovanelli is the right one?” The gentleman with the nosegay in his bosom had now perceived our two friends.” Daisy began to laugh again. she mentioned the name of each of her companions to the other. 45 . “No. but Winterbourne felt a superior indignation at his own lovely fellow countrywoman’s not knowing the difference between a spurious gentleman and a real one.Henry James The young girl looked at him more gravely.

if he was an imitation. Fifty people have noticed her. It would therefore simplify matters greatly to be able to treat her as the object of one of those sentiments which are called by romancers “lawless passions. continued to present herself as an inscrutable combination of audacity and innocence. attended by her two cavaliers.” Winterbourne said to himself. Walker—the lady whose house he had lately left—was seated in the vehicle and was beckoning to him. It was impossible to regard her as a perfectly well-conducted young lady. “It is really too dreadful. At the same moment Winterbourne perceived that his friend Mrs. It was true that.” she said. on this occasion. he hastened to obey her summons. and he was vexed because of his inclination.” 46 . She had been walking some quarter of an hour. Walker was flushed. she was wanting in a certain indispensable delicacy. Leaving Miss Miller’s side. a nice girl. and to be able to think more lightly of her would make her much less perplexing. she wore an excited air. “Nevertheless. should not appear more impatient of his own company.” That she should seem to wish to get rid of him would help him to think more lightly of her. in joining her amoroso. had been in broad daylight and in the most crowded corner of Rome. even allowing for her being a little American flirt. the imitation was brilliant. Mrs. Giovanelli. but was it not impossible to regard the choice of these circumstances as a proof of extreme cynicism? Singular though it may seem. Would a nice girl. “That girl must not do this sort of thing. She must not walk here with you two men.Daisy Miller Giovanelli chattered and jested and made himself wonderfully agreeable. “a nice girl ought to know!” And then he came back to the question whether this was. indeed. to the pretty speeches of Mr. Winterbourne was vexed that the young girl. in fact. as it seemed to Winterbourne. But Daisy. and responding in a tone of very childish gaiety. when a carriage that had detached itself from the revolving train drew up beside the path. make a rendezvous with a presumably lowlived foreigner? The rendezvous in this case.

Walker. Walker tried.” “Do get in and drive with me!” said Mrs. I could not sit still for thinking of it. “I shall admire it much more as I see you driving round with it. It seemed too pitiful. so that the world may see she is not running absolutely wild.” said Winterbourne. I ordered the carriage and put on my bonnet.” said this lady. “I think it’s a pity to make too much fuss about it. but it’s so enchanting just as I am!” and Daisy gave a brilliant glance at the gentlemen on either side of her. retraced her steps with a perfect good grace and with Mr. “She’s very crazy!” cried Mrs. “but you can try.” Mrs.Henry James Winterbourne raised his eyebrows. and came here as quickly as possible. Thank Heaven I have found you!” “What do you propose to do with us?” asked Winterbourne. Walker. The young man went in pursuit of Miss Miller. on learning that Mrs.” “It’s a pity to let the girl ruin herself!” “She is very innocent. 47 . Walker’s carriage rug. thank you. Giovanelli at her side. She declared that she was delighted to have a chance to present this gentleman to Mrs. not even to attempt to save her. and then to take her safely home. smiling sweetly. no. “I am glad you admire it. smiling. and declared that she had never in her life seen anything so lovely as Mrs. Daisy.” said Winterbourne. Walker wished to speak to her.” said Daisy. to drive her about here for half an hour. “To ask her to get in. “That would be charming. She immediately achieved the introduction. Walker. “Did you ever see anything so imbecile as her mother? After you had all left me just now.” “I don’t think it’s a very happy thought. “Will you get in and let me put it over you?” “Oh. who had simply nodded and smiled at his interlocutor in the carriage and had gone her way with her companion.

” cried the lady from Geneva. rubbing down his gloves and laughing very agreeably. dear. it ought to be. as she afterward told him. dear child. Winterbourne think. dear Miss Miller.” Winterbourne wished that Mrs. and I will tell you.” she asked slowly. you know. “With my mother dear!” exclaimed the young girl.” said Daisy presently.” she added with a laugh. “Well. “I am more than five years old. “Does Mr. losing patience. Walker. she was tremendously pretty. with her hands devoutly clasped. and glancing at him from head to foot.” “You are old enough to be more reasonable. Giovanelli.” urged Mrs. And then. then!” said Daisy.” Daisy turned her quickened glance again from one of the gentlemen beside her to the other. “that. Walker. “Should you prefer being thought a very reckless girl?” she demanded. then she turned to Winterbourne. smiling intensely. Walker would tuck in her carriage rug and drive away. Giovanelli was bowing to and fro. “Talked about? What do you mean?” “Come into my carriage. “My mother never walked ten steps in her life. smiling. I ought to get into the carriage?” 48 . Mr. to save my reputation. to be talked about. throwing back her head.” Daisy looked at Mrs.Daisy Miller “It may be enchanting. but it is not the custom here. “I don’t think I should like it. Winterbourne thought it a most unpleasant scene. “If I didn’t walk I should expire. leaning forward in her victoria. She looked again at Mr.” “You should walk with your mother. Winterbourne saw that she scented interference. You are old enough. but this lady did not enjoy being defied. There was a little pink flush in her cheek. “I don’t think I want to know what you mean. “Gracious!” exclaimed Daisy.

told her that Mrs. “In such a case. “I never heard anything so stiff! If this is improper. and then he said. Walker’s victoria. and the truth. while the vehicle mingled again with the throng of carriages. “then I am all improper. as the few indications I have been able to give have made him known to the reader. and. He looked at her exquisite prettiness. Winterbourne was not in the best possible humor as he took his seat in Mrs. Mrs. I wish to be earnest!” 49 . Walker. But she only shook his hand. something to commit herself still further to that “recklessness” from which Mrs. Walker’s advice. He expected that in answer she would say something rather free. and there were tears in Mrs. Walker had so charitably endeavored to dissuade her. I hope you’ll have a lovely ride!” and.” she pursued. Walker had made an imperious claim upon his society. she turned away. “Get in here. “That was not clever of you. whereupon Mrs. The young man answered that he felt bound to accompany Miss Miller. Giovanelli. “I think you should get into the carriage. must speak in accordance with gallantry.” he said candidly. hardly looking at him. She was evidently in earnest. for Winterbourne. Winterbourne overtook Daisy and her companion.” she said to Winterbourne.” Daisy gave a violent laugh. with Mr. Walker’s eyes. Giovanelli bade him farewell with a too emphatic flourish of the hat. and you must give me up. indicating the place beside her. sir. Goodbye. while Mr. was simply to tell her the truth. for an instant he hesitated greatly. was that Daisy Miller should take Mrs. Mrs. Walker declared that if he refused her this favor she would never speak to him again. “I don’t wish to be clever.Henry James Winterbourne colored. in fact.” his companion answered. It seemed so strange to hear her speak that way of her “reputation. Walker sat looking after her. The finest gallantry. here. who made a triumphantly obsequious salute. very gently.” But he himself. offering the young girl his hand.

” “I suspect she meant no harm. the sooner one knows it the better.” “He must be edified by what he sees. your earnestness has only offended her and put her off. in short.” “She is naturally indelicate. Flirting with any man she could pick up.” said Mrs. “sits up till midnight.” “Fancy. “If she is so perfectly determined to compromise herself. “So I thought a month ago. then. “Take that example this morning. her making it a personal matter that you should have left the place!” Winterbourne was silent for some moments. But she has been going too far. laughing.” 50 . and that a smile goes round among all the servants when a gentleman comes and asks for Miss Miller.” “The servants be hanged!” said Winterbourne angrily.” “But her brother. dancing all the evening with the same partners.” “It has happened very well. “The poor girl’s only fault. “is that she is very uncultivated. Walker.” “What has she been doing?” “Everything that is not done here.” said Winterbourne. that you and I have lived too long at Geneva!” And he added a request that she should inform him with what particular design she had made him enter her carriage. receiving visits at eleven o’clock at night. Walker.” he presently added. then he said. I’m told that at their hotel everyone is talking about her. “I suspect. Her mother goes away when visitors come. Mrs. sitting in corners with mysterious Italians. How long had you known her at Vevey?” “A couple of days.Daisy Miller “Well. one can act accordingly.” Winterbourne rejoined. Walker declared. “I wished to beg you to cease your relations with Miss Miller— not to flirt with her—to give her no further opportunity to expose herself—to let her alone.” Mrs.

he now descended from the carriage. they were too deeply occupied with each other. Winterbourne stood there. She came a little nearer.” “There shall be nothing scandalous in my attentions to her. whereupon Daisy’s companion took her parasol out of her hands and opened it. At the same moment these persons rose and walked toward the parapet. When they reached the low garden wall. then. One of the seats at a distance was occupied by a gentleman and a lady. But he walked—not toward the couple with the parasol. you have a chance. he had turned his eyes toward Daisy and her cavalier.Henry James “I’m afraid I can’t do that. “I like her extremely. then. she drove majestically away. near which there are several seats. Mrs.” Mrs.” The carriage was traversing that part of the Pincian Garden that overhangs the wall of Rome and overlooks the beautiful Villa Borghese.” “All the more reason that you shouldn’t help her to make a scandal. by the way. This young man lingered a moment. It is bordered by a large parapet. familiarly. they stood a moment looking off at the great flat-topped pine clusters of the Villa Borghese. Here. still holding it. Winterbourne had asked the coachman to stop. They evidently saw no one. toward whom Mrs. upon the broad ledge of the wall.” said Winterbourne. and he held the parasol over her. so that both of their heads were hidden from Winterbourne. Walker pursued. he let it rest upon her shoulder. then he began to walk.” “There certainly will be in the way she takes them. “If you wish to rejoin the young lady I will put you down. The western sun in the opposite sky sent out a brilliant shaft through a couple of cloud bars. Costello. toward the residence of his aunt. But I have said what I had on my conscience. 51 . His companion looked at him a moment in silence. then Giovanelli seated himself. Walker gave a toss of her head. while he raised his hat.

” concluded Mrs. Daisy Miller was not there. Miller. Walker was one of those American ladies who. “You see. especially in this country. Walker impressively. it seems as if they couldn’t leave off. Miller at her hotel. at least. asked for Mrs. “Well. But I guess they’ll come before very long. but in a few moments he saw her mother come in alone. Winterbourne was among the guests. When Winterbourne arrived. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to a party alone. Mrs. Winterbourne again had the misfortune not to find them.” said Mrs. Walker. as textbooks. Mrs. 52 .” said poor Mrs. As she approached Mrs. Miller hopefully. Walker. Miller with that accent of the dispassionate. and she had on this occasion collected several specimens of her diversely born fellow mortals to serve. Winterbourne also drew near.” “And does not your daughter intend to favor us with her society?” demanded Mrs. but Daisy just pushed me off by myself. of studying European society. I wanted to bring Randolph or Eugenio. “I’m sorry she should come in that way. very shyly and ruefully. I don’t know what to do. and. Mrs. Miller’s hair above her exposed-looking temples was more frizzled than ever. I’ve come all alone. I ain’t used to going round alone.” said Mrs. Walker’s party took place on the evening of the third day. as it were. historian with which she always recorded the current incidents of her daughter’s career. and on the next day after. make a point. or someone. in their own phrase. Mr. Daisy’s all dressed. if not of the philosophic. This lady and her daughter.Daisy Miller He flattered himself on the following day that there was no smiling among the servants when he. They’ve got going at the piano. that gentleman—the Italian—that she wanted to bring. however. “I’m so frightened. “She got dressed on purpose before dinner. But she’s got a friend of hers there. Giovanelli sings splendidly. while residing abroad. were not at home. in spite of the frigidity of his last interview with the hostess. repeating his visit.

It was apparently not Daisy who had given him his orders. Giovanelli. She rustled forward in radiant loveliness. Daisy sat 53 . I shall not speak to her. When she comes. This gentleman bore himself gallantly. Walker. you know I introduced him to you. we had the greatest time at the hotel. turning away and addressing herself to Winterbourne. Giovanelli. Giovanelli.” Of all this Daisy delivered herself with the sweetest. while she gave a series of little pats. to the edges of her dress. He smiled and bowed and showed his white teeth. “Elle s’affiche. I told her that there was no use in her getting dressed before dinner if she was going to wait three hours. he’s got the most lovely voice.” Daisy came after eleven o’clock. Walker pregnantly. looking now at her hostess and now round the room. brightest audibleness. It’s her revenge for my having ventured to remonstrate with her. “I’m afraid you thought I never was coming. he curled his mustaches and rolled his eyes and performed all the proper functions of a handsome Italian at an evening party. though Mrs. and attended by Mr. smiling and chattering.” “This is most horrible!” said Mrs. and he knows the most charming set of songs. on such an occasion. “Is there anyone I know?” she asked. He sang very prettily half a dozen songs. “I didn’t see the use of her putting on such a dress as that to sit round with Mr. Walker. and she gave a very cursory greeting to Mr. I made him go over them this evening on purpose. Giovanelli. carrying a large bouquet. so I sent mother off to tell you. I wanted to make Mr.” responded Daisy’s mamma. round her shoulders. She came straight to Mrs. you know he sings beautifully.Henry James “Well. and I want you to ask him to sing. Everyone stopped talking and turned and looked at her. Walker afterward declared that she had been quite unable to find out who asked him. “I think every one knows you!” said Mrs. a young lady to wait to be spoken to. This is Mr. Giovanelli practice some things before he came. but she was not.

” said Winterbourne. professed a high admiration for his singing. giving him her little smiling stare again. as it were. and me only. “I’m a fearful. talked. am not a young lady of this country. thank goodness. I didn’t enjoy it. then. Walker!” “No.” said Miss Daisy. while it was going on.” “Of course you don’t dance. “Where.” she cried. “I hope you enjoyed your drive with Mrs.” “You’re a very nice girl. either. frightful flirt! Did you ever hear of a nice girl that was not? But I suppose you will tell me now that I am not a nice girl. Giovanelli. would he have proposed to her to walk? The Pincio is not the streets. and under the pretext that it was proper? People have different ideas! It would have been most unkind. 54 . as if she had seen him five minutes before.” Winterbourne answered.” said Daisy. Walker’s wanting me to get into her carriage and drop poor Mr. “But did you ever hear anything so cool as Mrs.Daisy Miller at a distance from the piano. The young ladies of this country have a dreadfully poky time of it. so far as I can learn. and I.” said Winterbourne gravely.” “I am afraid your habits are those of a flirt. “I don’t dance.” “About the streets?” cried Daisy with her pretty stare. you’re too stiff.” she said to Winterbourne.” said Winterbourne. he had been talking about that walk for ten days. but I wish you would flirt with me. “I am not sorry we can’t dance. “Of course they are. I don’t see why I should change my habits for them. we can’t dance.” “We paired off: that was much better. and though she had publicly.” “He should not have talked about it at all. I preferred walking with you. “he would never have proposed to a young lady of this country to walk about the streets with him. “It’s a pity these rooms are so small. not inaudibly.

“Not in young unmarried women. we are neither of us flirting. “Mr. “when you deal with natives you must go by the custom of the place.” she said. at least. he stood. Mr. “If I could have the sweet hope of making you angry.” Daisy declared. Flirting is a purely American custom. “And if you want very much to know. “Well. we are too good friends for that: we are very intimate friends. it is another affair. So when you show yourself in public with Mr. “Though you may be flirting.” “He isn’t preaching. and leaving him to exclaim mentally that little American flirts were the queerest creatures in the world.” “Ah!” rejoined Winterbourne. Giovanelli is not. blushing visibly. Mr. and without your mother—” “Gracious! poor Mother!” interposed Daisy. you are the last man I should think of flirting with. Giovanelli. at any rate.” said Winterbourne.” “I thought they understood nothing else!” exclaimed Daisy.” said Daisy with vivacity. but she immediately got up.” “You say that too often. “never says such very disagreeable things to me. Giovanelli.” said Winterbourne. at least. Giovanelli 55 . Daisy gave a delighted laugh.” She had allowed him up to this point to talk so frankly that he had no expectation of shocking her by this ejaculation. giving her interlocutor a single glance.” “It seems to me much more proper in young unmarried women than in old married ones. I should say it again. staring.” Winterbourne was bewildered. you are too stiff. to flirt with your friend at the piano. But if you won’t flirt with me. As I have had the pleasure of informing you. it doesn’t exist here. they don’t understand that sort of thing here.Henry James “Ah! thank you—thank you very much.” “Don’t do that. when I am angry I’m stiffer than ever. he means something else. “if you are in love with each other. do cease.

“She never enters my drawing room again!” replied his hostess. She sat with him in the adjoining room. Daisy turned very pale and looked at her mother. She turned her back straight upon Miss Miller and left her to depart with what grace she might. “I have offered you advice. Walker’s draw56 . Winterbourne saw that. Walker. Since Winterbourne was not to meet her in Mrs. beginning to smile again.” he said to Mrs. in the embrasure of the window. she was too much shocked and puzzled even for indignation. He left the piano and came over to Daisy. for the rest of the evening. but neither of these young people gave heed to it. There was an interesting performance at the piano. Winterbourne to offer me any tea. though it seemed to prove. You see. Daisy turned to Winterbourne.” she said. Winterbourne was standing near the door. “It has never occurred to Mr. “I prefer weak tea!” cried Daisy. Mrs. indeed. grave face at the circle near the door. he saw it all. She appeared. “Good night. for this inconsequent smile made nothing clear. that she had a sweetness and softness that reverted instinctively to the pardon of offenses. “Won’t you come into the other room and have some tea?” he asked. When Daisy came to take leave of Mrs.” she said with her little tormenting manner. to have felt an incongruous impulse to draw attention to her own striking observance of them. but Mrs.Daisy Miller had finished singing. looking with a pale.” Daisy turned away. “That was very cruel. He on his side was greatly touched. Miller was humbly unconscious of any violation of the usual social forms. He was still more perplexed.” Winterbourne rejoined. if I let Daisy come to parties without me. and she went off with the brilliant Giovanelli. indeed. Walker. I don’t want her to go away without me. “we’ve had a beautiful evening. this lady conscientiously repaired the weakness of which she had been guilty at the moment of the young girl’s arrival. Walker. for the first moment. bending before her with his ornamental smile.

she could chatter as freshly and freely with two gentlemen as with one. Winterbourne noted. Walker’s little party. he had a pleasant sense that he should never be afraid of Daisy Miller. he went as often as possible to Mrs. I may affirm that with regard to the women who had hitherto interested him. It must be added that this sentiment was not altogether flattering to Daisy. the same odd mixture of audacity and puerility. At the risk of exciting a somewhat derisive smile on the reader’s part. Mrs. but he very presently began to feel that she had no more surprises for him. and he liked her the more for her innocent-looking indifference and her apparently inexhaustible good humor. He could hardly have said why. Miller’s hotel. She appeared completely to have forgotten that Winterbourne had said anything to displease her at Mrs.Henry James ing room. in her conversation. she was perpetually telling him to do this and to do that. the unexpected in her behavior was the only thing to expect. the devoted Giovanelli was always present. One 57 . Miller being apparently constantly of the opinion that discretion is the better part of surveillance. he should be afraid—literally afraid—of these ladies. at first with surprise. it very often seemed to Winterbourne among the possibilities that. Winterbourne remarked to himself that if she was seriously interested in Giovanelli. She showed no displeasure at her tete-a-tete with Giovanelli being interrupted. there was always. but when he found them. given certain contingencies. that Daisy on these occasions was never embarrassed or annoyed by his own entrance. she was constantly “chaffing” and abusing him. it was very singular that she should not take more trouble to preserve the sanctity of their interviews. it was part of his conviction. But she was evidently very much interested in Giovanelli. or rather of his apprehension. The ladies were rarely at home. but she seemed to him a girl who would never be jealous. Very often the brilliant little Roman was in the drawing room with Daisy alone. She looked at him whenever he spoke. that she would prove a very light young person.

“I don’t believe that there is anything to be called an intrigue. the courier will come in for a magnificent commission.” “I have heard a dozen people speak of it. Mrs. Presently he pointed out the young girl and her cavalier to Mrs. This lady looked at them a moment through her eyeglass. “You are very much preoccupied. Costello. and if he succeeds in marrying the young lady. Miss Chandler’s—what’s her name?—Miss Miller’s intrigue with that little barber’s block. It was the courier probably who introduced him.” said Winterbourne. Peter’s with his aunt.” “Do you call it an intrigue. She has never seen anything like him. the finest gentleman.” he asked.” “They are certainly very intimate. than the courier. “it’s not their merit.” “No. And at the same time. you are thinking of something.” said Winterbourne.” rejoined Winterbourne.” said Mrs. he is better. “that you accuse me of thinking of?” “Of that young lady’s—Miss Baker’s.” said the young man.” Winterbourne asked—”an affair that goes on with such peculiar publicity?” “That’s their folly. 58 . Costello. Winterbourne perceived Daisy strolling about the great church in company with the inevitable Giovanelli. and then she said: “That’s what makes you so pensive in these days.” “I don’t believe she thinks of marrying him. She thinks him the most elegant man in the world. from hour to hour.” “You may be very sure she thinks of nothing. She goes on from day to day. I can imagine nothing more vulgar.” added Mrs.” “And what is it. Costello inspected the young couple again with her optical instrument. “and I don’t believe he hopes to marry her. they say she is quite carried away by him. “He is very handsome. having gone to St. One easily sees how it is. with something of that pensiveness to which his aunt had alluded. eh?” “I had not the least idea I was pensive.Daisy Miller Sunday afternoon. as they did in the Golden Age. even.

in a small way. a cavaliere avvocato. Costello. such opulence. Miller in that mysterious land of dollars. He is apparently a perfectly respectable little man.” Winterbourne gathered that day at St. Of the observation excited by Daisy’s “intrigue. and there is a substantial Mr. I believe he is. on his side.” said Mrs. But he doesn’t move in what are called the first circles.Henry James Costello. If he were only a count or a marchese! He must wonder at his luck. Costello. “Who is Giovanelli?” “The little Italian.” said Winterbourne. Costello. he. Peter’s sufficient evidence. at the way they have taken him up. has never found himself in personal contact with such splendor. “depend upon it that she may tell you any moment that she is ‘engaged. He has nothing but his handsome face to offer. A dozen of the American colonists in Rome came to talk with Mrs. And then she must seem to him wonderfully pretty and interesting. He is evidently immensely charmed with Miss Miller.” Winterbourne pursued. between Mrs.” “He accounts for it by his handsome face and thinks Miss Miller a young lady qui se passe ses fantaisies!” said Mrs. I rather doubt that he dreams of marrying her. I think it is really not absolutely impossible that the courier introduced him. such expensiveness as this young lady’s.” “Ah! but the avvocato can’t believe it. and meanwhile. The vesper service was going forward in splendid chants and organ tones in the adjacent choir. I believe that they are intellectually incapable of that conception. That must appear to him too impossible a piece of luck. If she thinks him the finest gentleman in the world. who sat on a little portable stool at the base of one of the great pilasters. “It is very true. I have asked questions about him and learned something.’” “I think that is more than Giovanelli expects. Costello and her 59 . Giovanelli knows that he hasn’t a title to offer. “that Daisy and her mamma have not yet risen to that stage of—what shall I call it?—of culture at which the idea of catching a count or a marchese begins.

Daisy Miller friends. get into an open cab with her accomplice and roll away through the cynical streets of Rome. but because it was painful to hear so much that was pretty. who had just come out of the Doria Palace. The girl is delightfully pretty. he jumped into a cab and went to call on Mrs. “And in the same cabinet. His friend talked for a moment about the superb portrait of Innocent X by Velasquez which hangs in one of the cabinets of the palace. Miller. Miller. there was a great deal said about poor little Miss Miller’s going really “too far. He felt very sorry for her—not exactly that he believed that she had completely lost her head.” said Mrs. but she apologized to him for receiving him in Daisy’s absence.” 60 . “She’s always going round with Mr. “A little Italian with a bouquet in his buttonhole. he could not deny to himself that she was going very far indeed.” “So she is!” answered Winterbourne. and natural assigned to a vulgar place among the categories of disorder. She was at home. “She’s gone out somewhere with Mr. Miller. I had the pleasure of contemplating a picture of a different kind—that pretty American girl whom you pointed out to me last week. a tourist like himself.” Winterbourne was not pleased with what he heard. who had emerged before him. he saw Daisy. “Who was her companion?” asked Winterbourne.” In answer to Winterbourne’s inquiries. Giovanelli. and then said. where he had been walking through the beautiful gallery. He made an attempt after this to give a hint to Mrs. but when. by the way. his friend narrated that the pretty American girl—prettier than ever— was seated with a companion in the secluded nook in which the great papal portrait was enshrined. Giovanelli. and undefended. and having assured himself that his informant had seen Daisy and her companion but five minutes before. but I thought I understood from you the other day that she was a young lady du meilleur monde. coming out upon the great steps of the church. He met one day in the Corso a friend.

Then at other moments he believed that she carried about in her elegant and irresponsible little organism a defiant. these shrewd people had quite made up their minds that she was going too far. “Well. because. Giovanelli promise to tell me. or even to have perceived it.” Winterbourne observed. “Oh. he’s a real gentleman. and sometimes it annoyed him to suspect that she did not feel at all. Miller about it—shouldn’t you?” Winterbourne replied that he certainly should. and the state of mind of Daisy’s mamma struck him as so unprecedented in the annals of parental vigilance that he gave up as utterly irrelevant the attempt to place her upon her guard. He asked himself whether Daisy’s defiance came from the consciousness of innocence. But I’ve made Mr. or from her being. Winterbourne wondered how she felt about all the cold shoulders that were turned toward her. too uncultivated and unreasoning.Henry James “I have noticed that they are very intimate. and they intimated that they desired to express to observant Europeans the great truth that. to have reflected upon her ostracism. her behavior was not representative—was regarded by her compatriots as abnormal. it seems as if they couldn’t live without each other!” said Mrs. It must be admitted that holding 61 . if SHE doesn’t. They ceased to invite her. I keep telling Daisy she’s engaged!” “And what does Daisy say?” “Oh. Miller. and Winterbourne ceased to meet her at the houses of their common acquaintances. essentially. “she goes on as if she was. she says she isn’t engaged. a young person of the reckless class. But she might as well be!” this impartial parent resumed. I should want to write to Mr. too provincial. perfectly observant consciousness of the impression she produced. He said to himself that she was too light and childish. passionate. though Miss Daisy Miller was a young American lady. anyhow. After this Daisy was never at home. as he perceived.

Giovanelli was at her side. and Giovanelli. too.” said Winterbourne. Daisy was strolling along the top of one of those great mounds of ruin that are embanked with mossy marble and paved with monumental inscriptions. He stood. looking off at the enchanting harmony of line and color that remotely encircles the city. Giovanelli. from the first. and the rugged surface of the Palatine was muffled with tender verdure. but this had been an observation of his whenever he met her. From either view of them he had somehow missed her. he encountered her in that beautiful abode of flowering desolation known as the Palace of the Caesars. and feeling the freshness of the year and the antiquity of the place reaffirm themselves in mysterious interfusion. and how far they were personal. She was “carried away” by Mr.” Giovanelli. It seemed to him that Rome had never been so lovely as just then. had treated Winterbourne with distinguished politeness. “I should think you would be lonesome!” “Lonesome?” asked Winterbourne. inhaling the softly humid odors. he laughed punctiliously at his pleasantries. A few days after his brief interview with her mother. wore an aspect of even unwonted brilliancy.” said Daisy. As I have already had occasion to relate. national. “as your companion. Can’t you get anyone to walk with you?” “I am not so fortunate.Daisy Miller one’s self to a belief in Daisy’s “innocence” came to seem to Winterbourne more and more a matter of fine-spun gallantry. he was vexed at his want of instinctive certitude as to how far her eccentricities were generic. “Well. It seemed to him also that Daisy had never looked so pretty. He listened with a deferential air to his remarks. he was angry at finding himself reduced to chopping logic about this young lady. The early Roman spring had filled the air with bloom and perfume. he seemed disposed to 62 . “You are always going round by yourself. and now it was too late.

Henry James testify to his belief that Winterbourne was a superior young man. and didn’t flatter himself with delusive—or at least too delusive—hopes of matrimony and dollars. HE knew how extraordinary was this young lady.” Daisy looked at him a moment. she began to color. watching Giovanelli. he had obviously a great deal of tact. “I know why you say that. Walker did the other night?” 63 .” And she nodded at her attendant. as an intelligent man. “Do you mean as Mrs. It even seemed to Winterbourne at times that Giovanelli would find a certain mental relief in being able to have a private understanding with him—to say to him. But I noticed you were as stiff as an umbrella the first time I saw you.” said Winterbourne.” said Daisy. They will show it disagreeably. Besides. On this occasion he strolled away from his companion to pluck a sprig of almond blossom. “How shall I find it?” “By going to see the others. that. “Of course I care to know!” Daisy exclaimed seriously. “Every one thinks so—if you care to know. “Because you think I go round too much with him.” “What will they do to me?” “They will give you the cold shoulder. I don’t go round so much. They don’t really care a straw what I do.” said Winterbourne. bless you. Do you know what that means?” Daisy was looking at him intently.” “I think you will find they do care. which he carefully arranged in his buttonhole.” “You will find I am not so stiff as several others. smiling. “How disagreeably?” “Haven’t you noticed anything?” Winterbourne asked. “But I don’t believe it. he had no objection to your expecting a little humility of him. “I have noticed you. He carried himself in no degree like a jealous wooer. They are only pretending to be shocked.

Winterbourne began to laugh. “And does Randolph believe it?” he asked. presently took leave of them. “I guess Randolph doesn’t believe anything. I believe it. dismissed his hired vehicle. He was silent a moment. “Yes. who had but lately entered. it recurred to him. then—I am not!” The young girl and her cicerone were on their way to the gate of the enclosure.” “Well. A week afterward he went to dine at a beautiful villa on the Caelian Hill. so that Winterbourne. The evening was charming.” she said. Daisy.” said Daisy. She looked away at Giovanelli. and her radiance was not brilliant. Randolph’s skepticism excited Winterbourne to further hilarity. she does. “I say that your mother tells me that she believes you are engaged. and he paused a moment. in the 64 . you don’t!” she answered. on arriving. Then looking back at Winterbourne. he had stopped laughing. “I shouldn’t think you would let people be so unkind!” she said. on his return from the villa (it was eleven o’clock). no. Winterbourne approached the dusky circle of the Colosseum. When. as a lover of the picturesque. but she was veiled in a thin cloud curtain which seemed to diffuse and equalize it. and he promised himself the satisfaction of walking home beneath the Arch of Constantine and past the vaguely lighted monuments of the Forum. who was decorating himself with his almond blossom. There was a waning moon in the sky. observing it too.” Winterbourne looked at her. “You don’t believe!” she added. “Oh.Daisy Miller “Exactly!” said Winterbourne. and. and he observed that Giovanelli was coming back to them. that the interior.” “I do say something”.” said Daisy very simply. “Since you have mentioned it.” he said. “I should think you would say something. and then. “I am engaged. addressed herself again to her countryman. “How can I help it?” he asked. “Well.

He turned aside and walked to one of the empty arches. and. but the historic atmosphere. her companion was standing in front of her. Winterbourne walked to the middle of the arena. they are deprecated by the doctors. the other was sleeping in the luminous dusk. Presently the sound of the woman’s voice came to him distinctly in the warm night air. “Let us hope he is not very hungry. “He will have to take me first. He stood there. Then he passed in. to take a more general glance. scientifically considered. among the cavernous shadows of the great structure. One of these was a woman. and emerged upon the clear and silent arena. seated. Then he saw that two persons were stationed upon the low steps which formed its base. and the riddle had become easy to read. The place had never seemed to him more impressive. It was as if a sudden illumination had been flashed upon the ambiguity of Daisy’s behavior. looking at her— 65 . near which. with a sort of relief.Henry James pale moonshine.” responded the ingenious Giovanelli.” but before he had finished his quotation he remembered that if nocturnal meditations in the Colosseum are recommended by the poets. in the familiar accent of Miss Daisy Miller. would be well worth a glance. as he observed. you will serve for dessert!” Winterbourne stopped. As he stood there he began to murmur Byron’s famous lines. The historic atmosphere was there. with a sort of horror. certainly. an open carriage—one of the little Roman streetcabs—was stationed. it was only as he drew near it that he made it out distinctly. She was a young lady whom a gentleman need no longer be at pains to respect. was no better than a villainous miasma. “Well. The great cross in the center was covered with shadow. he looks at us as one of the old lions or tigers may have looked at the Christian martyrs!” These were the words he heard. out of “Manfred. One-half of the gigantic circus was in deep shade. it must be added. intending thereafter to make a hasty retreat.

” “Ah. but when was the signorina ever prudent?” 66 . he himself must have been more brightly visible. but from a sense of the danger of appearing unbecomingly exhilarated by this sudden revulsion from cautious criticism. turning to Giovanelli.” “Neither am I—for you! I am speaking for this young lady. but. I wonder.” “I am afraid. Giovanelli lifted his hat. as he was going to advance again. Winterbourne had now begun to think simply of the craziness. Winterbourne! He saw me. of a delicate young girl lounging away the evening in this nest of malaria. He turned away toward the entrance of the place. looked at him a moment. gently. Daisy. he checked himself. “I told the signorina it was a grave indiscretion. What if she WERE a clever little reprobate? that was no reason for her dying of the perniciosa. “How long have you been here?” he asked almost brutally. lovely in the flattering moonlight. Then—”All the evening. But he took Winterbourne’s rebuke with docility. and he cuts me!” What a clever little reprobate she was.” Giovanelli lifted his well-shaped eyebrows and showed his brilliant teeth. not from the fear that he was doing her injustice. he heard Daisy speak again. it was Mr.” he added. This is the way people catch it.” said Winterbourne. Winterbourne came forward again and went toward the great cross. “that you. a native Roman. Daisy had got up.” she answered. “Why. and how smartly she played at injured innocence! But he wouldn’t cut her. “I never saw anything so pretty. “that you will not think Roman fever very pretty. as he did so. “for myself I am not afraid. should countenance such a terrible indiscretion.” said the handsome native. from a sanitary point of view. He felt angry with himself that he had bothered so much about the right way of regarding Miss Daisy Miller. Then.Daisy Miller looking at her companion and not reflecting that though he saw them vaguely.

He has got some splendid pills. “Did you believe I was engaged. but I’m healthy! I was bound to see the Colosseum by moonlight. “Don’t forget Eugenio’s pills!” said Winterbourne as he lifted his hat.” said Daisy in a little strange tone. I have seen the Colosseum by moonlight!” she exclaimed. Daisy followed with Winterbourne. Giovanelli? If there has been any danger. looking at the young American. noticing Winterbourne’s silence. Eugenio can give me some pills. But Giovanelli hurried her forward.” said Winterbourne. “Well. what do you believe now?” “I believe that it makes very little difference whether you are engaged or not!” He felt the young girl’s pretty eyes fixed upon him through the thick gloom of the archway.” said Winterbourne.” “I should advise you. I shouldn’t have wanted to go home without that. They passed under one of the dark archways.” Then. “Well. “I don’t look like much. she was apparently going to answer. “That’s one good thing. and we have had the most beautiful time. “to drive home as fast as possible and take one!” “What you say is very wise.Henry James “I never was sick. He made no answer. He kept looking at her. and the fortunate Italian placed himself beside her.” Daisy took her seat in the carriage. Here Daisy stopped a moment. the other day?” she asked. “I will go and make sure the carriage is at hand. and I don’t mean to be!” the signorina declared. Daisy chattered about the beauty of the place. “Quick! quick!” he said. “whether I have 67 .” And he went forward rapidly. “if we get in by midnight we are quite safe. she seemed not in the least embarrassed.” Giovanelli rejoined. “It doesn’t matter what I believed the other day. he only began to laugh. “I don’t care. haven’t we. she asked him why he didn’t speak. Mr. Winterbourne said nothing. Giovanelli was in front with the carriage. still laughing.

it’s so plaguy dark. “Daisy spoke of you the 68 . a most efficient and judicious nurse. the fact of her having been there under these circumstances was known to every member of the little American circle. and that they were being entertained in Mrs. Winterbourne reflected that they had of course known it at the hotel. in the Colosseum with a gentleman. as it were. She’s always going round at night. It was evident that Daisy was dangerously ill. to do him justice. she was now. I shouldn’t think she’d want to. at midnight. and commented accordingly. after all. immediately went to the hotel for more news. But the young man was conscious. but nevertheless. and that. at the same moment. when the rumor came to him. Davis. Miller was invisible. there had been an exchange of remarks between the porter and the cab driver. had serious information to give: the little American flirt was alarmingly ill. “It’s going round at night. except when there’s a moon. Winterbourne went often to ask for news of her. but Winterbourne paid her the compliment of saying to himself that she was not. In America there’s always a moon!” Mrs. and. mentioned to no one that he had encountered Miss Miller. Winterbourne. a day or two later. You can’t see anything here at night. such a monstrous goose. These people. He found that two or three charitable friends had preceded him. perfectly composed.” said Randolph—”that’s what made her sick. Miller. Winterbourne. Miller’s salon by Randolph. a couple of days later. rather to his surprise. though deeply alarmed. that it had ceased to be a matter of serious regret to him that the little American flirt should be “talked about” by low-minded menials. and they rolled away over the desultory patches of the antique pavement. as it appeared.Daisy Miller Roman fever or not!” Upon this the cab driver cracked his whip. after Daisy’s return. who. She talked a good deal about Dr. at least. was. and once he saw Mrs. giving her aughter the advantage of her society.

it had been a terrible case of the fever. Mr. At last he said. She told me to tell you that she never was engaged to that handsome Italian. if she is not engaged. in an angle of the wall of imperial Rome. I would scorn to scold him.” Winterbourne looked at him and presently repeated his words. but I suppose he knows I’m a lady.” she said to him. I thought he was so much of a gentleman.’ And then she told me to ask if you remembered the time you went to that castle in Switzerland. ‘Mind you tell Mr. “She was the most beautiful young lady I ever saw. Giovanelli hasn’t been near us since she was taken ill. I don’t know why she wanted you to know. “Half the time she doesn’t know what she’s saying. but she said to me three times. Near him stood Giovanelli. Winterbourne stood there beside it. she says she’s not engaged. A week after this. I am sure I am very glad. “And the most innocent?” “The most innocent!” Winterbourne felt sore and angry.” But. the poor girl died. “did you take her to that fatal place?” Mr. Daisy’s grave was in the little Protestant cemetery. and then he added in a moment. with a number of other mourners.” he asked. who came nearer still before Winterbourne turned away. but that time I think she did. She gave me a message she told me to tell you. as Winterbourne had said. Anyway. Winterbourne. “and she was the most innocent. I’m sure I’m glad to know it. Giovanelli’s urbanity was apparently imperturbable. But I said I wouldn’t give any such messages as that. Giovanelli was very pale: on this occasion he had no flower in his buttonhole. beneath the cypresses and the thick spring flowers. a number larger than the scandal excited by the young lady’s career would have led you to expect.Henry James other day. so I am. Well. “Why the devil. he seemed to wish to say something. it mattered very little. but I don’t call that very polite! A lady told me that he was afraid I was angry with him for taking Daisy round at night. Only. and the most amiable”. He looked 69 .

“of saying that she would have reciprocated one’s affection?” Winterbourne offered no answer to this question. but the following summer he again met his aunt. “I am sure I don’t know. But no. but he presently said. Mr.” “That was no reason!” Winterbourne declared. She would have appreciated one’s esteem. “For myself I had no fear. 70 . I have lived too long in foreign parts. whence there continue to come the most contradictory accounts of his motives of sojourn: a report that he is “studying” hard—an intimation that he is much interested in a very clever foreign lady. I am sure. and then he said. Costello. She would never have married me.” Nevertheless. Mrs. One day he spoke of her to his aunt—said it was on his conscience that he had done her injustice.Daisy Miller on the ground a moment. Costello. I am sure. In the interval Winterbourne had often thought of Daisy Miller and her mystifying manners.” asked Mrs. The subtle Roman again dropped his eyes. slow step.” Winterbourne listened to him: he stood staring at the raw protuberance among the April daisies. with his light. and she wanted to go. “If she had lived. I was booked to make a mistake.” “Is that a modest way.” “She would never have married you?” “For a moment I hoped so. “You were right in that remark that you made last summer. he went back to live at Geneva. had retired. I should have got nothing. Costello at Vevey. Giovanelli. but I have understood it since. Costello was fond of Vevey. Winterbourne almost immediately left Rome. “How did your injustice affect her?” “She sent me a message before her death which I didn’t understand at the time.” said Mrs. When he turned away again. Mrs.

and it was this perhaps that had put me into the frame of foreseeing how we should all. I won’t pretend to have taken his vast measure on that first occasion. alone in the compartment (from Wimbledon to Waterloo. Saltram. amount of this total. before the glory of the District Railway) I amended this declaration in the light of the sense that my friends would probably after all not enjoy a monopoly of Mr. have the honour of dealing with him as a whole. sooner or later. He had been a great experience. He was to stay all the winter: Adelaide dropped it in a tone that drew the sting from the inevitable emphasis. but later on. These excellent people might indeed have been content to give the circle of hospitality a diameter of six 71 .Henry James The Coxon Fund by Henry James CHAPTER I “THEY’VE GOT HIM FOR LIFE!” I said to myself that evening on my way back to the station. I had a full enough vision of the patience of the Mulvilles. but I think I had achieved a glimpse of what the privilege of his acquaintance might mean for many persons in the way of charges accepted. Whatever impression I then received of the.

At a later time they grew. thank heaven. new and predominantly purple. They had sent for me from Wimbledon to come out and dine. of some queer carpet-stuff. I saw. I remember that at dinner that evening he wore slippers. I had never known them not be in a “state” about somebody. poor dears. in 72 . I have never been absolutely deprived of that alternative in Mr. On finding myself in the presence of their latest discovery I had not at first felt irreverence droop—and. but if they didn’t say he was to stay all summer as well it was only because this was more than they ventured to hope. you inevitably pronounced Frank Saltram. however—I hasten to declare it—that compared to this specimen their other phoenixes had been birds of inconsiderable feather. and there had been an implication in Adelaide’s note—judged by her notes alone she might have been thought silly—that it was a case in which something momentous was to be determined or done. Wonderful indeed as. How the art of portraiture would rejoice in this figure if the art of portraiture had only the canvas! Nature. but the Mulvilles were still in the stage of supposing that he might be snatched from them by higher bidders. but theirs was a fidelity which needed no help from competition to make them proud. He had an incomparable gift. Saltram’s company. to fear no snatching.The Coxon Fund months. and I afterwards took credit to myself for not having even in primal bewilderments made a mistake about the essence of the man. inserting a jewel here and there or giving a twist to a plume. I never was blind to it—it dazzles me still. it was not to be overlooked that the Kent Mulvilles were in their way still more extraordinary: as striking an instance as could easily be encountered of the familiar truth that remarkable men find remarkable conveniences. when all was said. It dazzles me perhaps even more in remembrance than in fact. for I’m not unaware that for so rare a subject the imagination goes to some expense. and I dare say I tried to be droll on this point in accepting their invitation.

every demand of reflexion. but it was not his good-natured appetite that wrought confusion. If he had loved us for our dinners we could have paid with our dinners. and it would have been a great economy of finer matter. that their dinners were soignes. No one. sometimes holds her breath. He had previously of course discovered.Henry James truth. I think. and the first words he uttered on coming into the room were an elated announcement to Mulville that he had found out something. at any rate. 73 . hovering about it. first and last. neglect to declare that I shall falsify my counterfeit if I seem to hint that there was in his nature any ounce of calculation. Let me not indeed. but he never plotted for it. he had found out that the mercy of the Mulvilles was infinite. Though the great man was an inmate and didn’t dress. and if it’s rendering honour to borrow wisdom I’ve a right to talk of my sacrifices. Not catching the allusion and gaping doubtless a little at his face. At that moment. of emotion—particularly perhaps those of gratitude and of resentment. in saying this. and no man who was so much of an absorbent can ever have been so little of a parasite. I met. had largely rounded it. He had fine gross easy senses. He had a system of the universe. and if memory. Sometimes it almost appeared to me that his massive monstrous failure—if failure after all it was—had been designed for my private recreation. I shall never forget the look she gave me as she replied: “Everything!” She really believed it. He yielded lessons as the sea yields fish—I lived for a while on this diet. but he had no system of sponging— that was quite hand-to-mouth. I make free in these connexions with the plural possessive because if I was never able to do what the Mulvilles did. He took whatever came. He fairly pampered my curiosity. and people with still bigger houses and simpler charities. he kept dinner on this occasion waiting. I privately asked Adelaide what he had found out. as I had myself for that matter. this is because the voice that comes back was really golden. paid the tribute of giving him up so often.

as one looks back. are the little dramas that made up the innumerable facets of the big drama— which is yet to be reported. of which the interest is that it concerns even more closely several other persons. Such episodes. Their name is legion. This is not the large canvas I just now spoke of. are verily the anecdotes that are to be gathered.The Coxon Fund but the history of that experience would take me too far. 74 . and this is only one. for artistic purposes. and I wouldn’t have approached him with my present hand had it been a question of all the features. Frank Saltram’s features.

as our paths lay together. what it was then that after all such a mind as that left standing. his intellectual power had seemed to me almost awful. let me parenthesise. Walking and swinging my stick. and this other—they equally began. and I was at any rate so amusing that for long afterwards he never encountered me without asking for news of the old man of the sea. that it was still more that of another person. with blanched cheeks. I duly remember. the night I came back from Wimbledon so agitated with a new sense of life that. George Gravener. and George Gravener’s story may be said to have begun with my making him. I could only walk home. I had much to say to him. save in 75 . the first night of my acquaintance with Frank Saltram. and Gravener was staying at his brother’s empty house in Eaton Square. none the less. for the very thrill of it. in London. five years before. Saltram was old. come home with me for a talk. I overtook. as it were. At Cambridge. about my visit to the Mulvilles. at Buckingham Gate. in a manner. I had at that time a lodging in Ebury Street. Some one had once asked me privately. I hadn’t said Mr. since before we got to Ebury Street I was struck with the fact that. even in our devastating set. and it was to be seen that he was of an age to outweather George Gravener. and also that several years were to elapse before it was to extend to a second chapter. “It leaves itself!” I could recollect devoutly replying.Henry James CHAPTER II IT IS FURTHERMORE REMARKABLE that though the two stories are distinct—my own. I could smile at present for this remembrance. whom he more indifferently knew.

What was the need of appealing to laughter. had never had any—not even when I had fancied him most Aristophanesque. dreadful thought.The Coxon Fund the sense of being well set up on his legs. In my scrap of a residence—he had a worldling’s eye for its futile conveniences. I could enviously enquire. When she married Kent Mulville. had had its origin in an early. he turned away from the serried rows of my little French library. I gained a friend. Gravener looked as blank and parliamentary as if he were fifty and popular. Saltram’s queer figure. but when he sniffed at them I couldn’t help taking the opposite line. but Gravener practically lost one. at hungry twenty-six. however. were fresh to me: in the light of my old friend’s fine cold symmetry they presented mere success in amusing as the refuge of conscious ugliness. a childish intimacy with the young Adelaide. or only. like mine. As he had never before heard of the personage it took indeed the form of impatience of the preposterous Mulvilles. without so much as a sociable sneer at my bookbinder. the fruit of multiplied ties in the previous generation. I may have held in my ‘for interieur’ that the good people at Wimbledon were beautiful fools. but never a comrade’s joke—I sounded Frank Saltram in his ears. for I already felt that even should we happen to agree it would always be for reasons that differed. his thick nose and hanging lip. 76 . George Gravener had actually ceased to tower. a circumstance I mention in order to note that even then I was surprised at his impatience of my enlivenment. I wondered whether he had lost his humour. where you might appeal so confidently to measurement? Mr. We reacted in different ways from the form taken by what he called their deplorable social action—the form (the term was also his) of nasty second-rate gush. Already. It came home to me that he was admirably British as. his relation to whom. who was older than Gravener and I and much more amiable. The universe he laid low had somehow bloomed again—the usual eminences were visible.

but it’s clear enough he’s a humbug. “if I didn’t reflect that they don’t rave about me. my dear fellow—that’s so soon said!” “Not so soon when he isn’t! If they’ve got hold of one this time he must be a great rascal!” “I might feel injured.” “Clear ‘enough’ is just what it isn’t.” “Don’t be too sure! I’ll grant that he’s a gentleman. and when I answered that the very note of his fascination was his extraordinary speculative breadth my friend retorted that there was no cad like your cultivated cad. but it might have been a strange foreknowledge. and they disgust one—luckily perhaps!—with Christian charity. They were born to be duped. it was at any rate something that led him to go on after a moment: “I only ask one thing—it’s perfectly simple. “if it only were!” That ejaculation on my part must have been the beginning of what was to be later a long ache for final frivolous rest. in a given case. a real gentleman?” “A real gentleman.” I replied. All their geese are swans.” His vehemence was doubtless an accident. “Because the Kent Mulvilles have invented him. They’ve an infallible hand for frauds. they like it. they cry for it. a generation back. and that I might depend upon discovering—since I had had the levity not already to have enquired—that my shining light proceeded. but why on earth are you so sure?”— asking the question mainly to lay him the trap of saying that it was because the poor man didn’t dress for dinner.Henry James “Of course I’ve never seen the fellow. they don’t know anything from anything.” 77 .” Gravener presently added. I confess I was struck with his insistence. and I said. He took an instant to circumvent my trap and come blandly out the other side. Is a man. I forget what protest I dropped. after reflexion: “It may be—I admit it may be. from a Methodist cheesemonger. “if you’ll admit that he’s a scamp.” I answered. Gravener was profound enough to remark after a moment that in the first place he couldn’t be anything but a Dissenter.

and I reminded my visitor that though the dear Mulvilles were angels they were neither idiots nor millionaires. so they jumped at the privilege of paying his debts!” I professed that I knew nothing about his debts. “but you haven’t happened to mention what his reputation’s to rest on. Mulville had told me.” “And what’s it all about?” “My dear fellow. I can’t. no. which is far and away the richest I ever listened to. “The monster—many thanks! I decline to take him. It’s she who has left him.” “Left him to us?” Gravener asked. but he didn’t change the subject. Saltram to his wife.” Gravener went on.The Coxon Fund “I don’t know which to admire most. but certainly in his talk.” he returned.” “You’ll hear more about him in spite of yourself.” I was already mastering—to my shame perhaps be it said—just the tone my old friend least liked. “Where did they pick him up?” “I think they were struck with something he had published. your logic or your benevolence. “He didn’t leave her—no. “It’s doubtless only a trifle. re78 . “I was expecting to hear he has basely abandoned her. What they mainly aimed at was reuniting Mr. “and I’m too glad you don’t disappoint me.” “That of course wasn’t to be endured. I really can’t resist the impression that he’s a big man.” My friend coloured at this.” “As exhibited in his writings?” “Possibly in his writings. at this. don’t ask me! About everything!” I pursued.” “I can fancy the dreary thing!” “I believe they found out he had all sorts of worries and difficulties.” “Why on what I began by boring you with—his extraordinary mind.” I tried to recall exactly what Mrs.

he might very well go down to posterity as the greatest of all great talkers. in a cloud of tradition. as if he meant great things. “About his ideas of things. and I was sure he could only mean once more 79 .” I coloured. who had glanced at his watch and discovered it was midnight. for having actually heard. and even good wasn’t always to be compared to it. Before we parted George Gravener had wondered why such a row should be made about a chatterbox the more and why he should be pampered and pensioned. for such a picture was an anticipation of Saltram’s later development and still more of my fuller acquaintance with him. found to all this a retort beautifully characteristic of him. “There’s one little fact to be borne in mind in the presence equally of the best talk and of the worst. However.” He looked. of how many masters of conversation could he boast the acquaintance? Dying of talk?—why we were dying of the lack of it! Bad writing wasn’t talk. The greater the wind-bag the greater the calamity. and gladly. I overcharged a little. that we were drenched with sound. a little lyrically perhaps.Henry James minding myself of poor Adelaide. Gravener. Out of proportion to everything else on earth had come to be this wagging of the tongue. of legend. It was not however the mere speakers who were killing us—it was the mere stammerers. Fine talk was as rare as it was refreshing—the gift of the gods themselves. “You must have heard him to know what I mean—it’s unlike anything that ever was heard. We were drenched with talk—our wretched age was dying of it. should be pointed at for having listened. as many people seemed to think. in saying this. I differed from him here sincerely. I admit.” I then more charitably added. How many men were there who rose to this privilege. I fancifully added that we too should peradventure be gilded by the legend. I really expressed. my actual imagination of him when I proceeded to declare that. the one starry spangle on the ragged cloak of humanity. only going so far as to concede. From the best talk indeed the best writing had something to learn.

“I declare I will be. Perhaps it was what he did mean. he deprived me however of the exultation of being right by putting the truth in a slightly different way.The Coxon Fund that neither of them mattered if a man wasn’t a real gentleman. “The only thing that really counts for one’s estimate of a person is his conduct.” He had his watch still in his palm. My pleasantry so far failed to mollify him that he promptly added that to the rule he had just enunciated there was absolutely no exception. “None whatever?” “None whatever.” “Trust me then to try to be good at any price!” I laughed as I went with him to the door. and I reproached him with unfair play in having ascertained beforehand that it was now the hour at which I always gave in. if I have to be horrible!” 80 .

There was in those days in that region a petty lecture-hall to be secured on terms as moderate as the funds left at our disposal by the irrepressible question of the maintenance of five small Saltrams— I include the mother—and one large one. I was quite aware that one of these atmospheric disturbances was now due. for a short course of five. that was one of my great discomposures. four years later. elemental. the other time. of different sizes. as we said. who had been forced into the breach. in our arduous attempt to set him on his feet as a lecturer. orchestral. had fortunately the attitude of blandness that might have been looked for in persons whom the promise of (if I’m not mistaken) An Analysis of Primary Ideas had drawn to the neighbourhood of Upper Baker Street. Repetition. and of course one would never have seen him at his finest if one hadn’t seen him in his remorses. standing up there for an odious lamplit moment to explain to half a 81 . it was impossible not to feel that two failures were a large order. and it was past nine o’clock. a muster unprecedented and really encouraging. They set in mainly at this season and were magnificent. the audience. was the secret of Saltram’s power to alienate. or at any rate was the freshest. It was I. but none the less. I well knew by this time.Henry James CHAPTER III IF THAT FIRST NIGHT was one of the liveliest. By the time the Saltrams. This was the second time. of my exaltations. were all maintained we had pretty well poured out the oil that might have lubricated the machinery for enabling the most original of men to appear to maintain them. there was another.

This time therefore I left the excuses to his more practised patience. He was doing better than we hoped. and had on her other hand a companion of obscurer type. for meditation. She seemed to carry amusement in her handsome young head. prepared anything but a magnificent prospectus. presumably a waiting-maid. and her presence spoke. for he never. She herself might perhaps have been a foreign countess. The young lady produced an impression of auburn hair and black velvet. a little mystifyingly. to succumb to heaven knew which of his fond infirmities. It didn’t make her more fathomable to pass in a few minutes from this to the certitude that she was 82 . are the solemn ghosts of generations never born. who had come a little in the spirit of adventure. of a sudden extension of Saltram’s sphere of influence. This visitor was the only person who looked at her ease. There was nothing to plead but that our scouts had been out from the early hours and that we were afraid that on one of his walks abroad—he took one. whenever he was to address such a company—some accident had disabled or delayed him. I put the case. that any one could discover. of which I possess an almost complete collection. that we couldn’t so much as put a finger on Mr. of all occasions. Our philosopher’s “tail” was deplorably limp.The Coxon Fund dozen thin benches. My position was an accident. but I admit I had been angry. hence his circulars and programmes. only relieving myself in response to a direct appeal from a young lady next whom. in the hall. The meditative walks were a fiction. but if it had been calculated the reason would scarce have eluded an observer of the fact that no one else in the room had an approach to an appearance. at the best. and he had chosen such an occasion. and Kent Mulville was shocked at my want of public optimism. Saltram. as it seemed to me. I found myself sitting. and before she addressed me I had beguiled our sorry interval by finding in her a vague recall of the opening of some novel of Madame Sand. where earnest brows were virtuously void of anything so cynical as a suspicion.

irresponsible enquirer. She asked me if. the most efficient of whom were indeed the handful of poor Saltram’s backers. I soon made her out. and I hoped she had put her hand in her pocket. as Saltram himself would have been if he hadn’t been a prodigy. I presently ascertained she knew Mrs. I saw she’d help to pass the time when she observed that it was a pity this lady wasn’t intrinsically more interesting. She bored me to extinction. I’m bound to say it was we. They did her liberal justice. and even better than they I think I had sounded the abyss of Mrs. of the friends of the wife. I hasten to 83 . That was refreshing. She had come to England to see her aunt. and it was at her aunt’s she had met the dreary lady we had all so much on our mind. and I knew but too well how she had bored her husband. Perhaps she didn’t. and I answered that if she considered I was on my honour I would privately deprecate it. Like the Kent Mulvilles I belonged to both fraternities. I thought my young lady looked rich—I scarcely knew why. and this explained in a manner the miracle. or perhaps I should say the sisterhood. but it was a measure his wife kept challenging you to apply. however. at any rate our talk took a turn that prolonged it till she became aware we were left almost alone. Saltram. Saltram’s circle—at least among those who scorned to know her horrid husband—that she was attractive on her merits. The brotherhood of the friends of the husband was as nothing to the brotherhood.Henry James American. however—we of both camps. whereas her mere patrons and partisans had nothing but hatred for our philosopher. but there were those who stood by her. as a person apparently more initiated. I would recommend further waiting. Saltram’s wrongs. as it were—who had always done most for her. for it was an article of faith in Mrs. She was in truth a most ordinary person. it simply engendered depressing reflexions as to the possible check to contributions from Boston. not at all a fine fanatic—she was but a generous. The question of vulgarity had no application to him.

at which I laughed out so loud that my departing friends looked back at me over their shoulders as if I were making a joke of their discomfiture.” said my young lady. as I may call it. to which he has subjected us. before you as the purchaser of a ticket. Saltram herself says he is. his possession.” 84 . an effort attended perhaps more than ever on this occasion with the usual effect of my feeling that I wasn’t after all very sure of it. at her aunt’s. but it helped me on with my interlocutress. that is. I tried to tell her—I had it almost on my conscience—what was the proper way to regard him. “and I suppose they’d have done so if I hadn’t somehow got an idea that he’s fascinating. that her curiosity had been kindled—kindled mainly by his wife’s remarkable stories of his want of virtue. “and yet she allows that his mind’s wonderfully clear. “He doesn’t seem to have much force of character. In fact Mrs. “Do you mean in his bad faith?” “In the extraordinary effects of it. as one of his guarantors. “She says he drinks like a fish. She had read some of his papers and hadn’t understood them.” It was amusing to converse with a pretty girl who could talk of the clearness of Saltram’s mind.” my companion dropped. but it was at home. I expected next to hear she had been assured he was awfully clever. of some quality or other that condemns us in advance to forgive him the humiliation. you’ve seen!” My young lady raised fine eyebrows.” “So you came to see where the fascination resides? Well.The Coxon Fund add that the consequences of your doing so were no sufficient reason for his having left her to starve.” she sociably continued. She had come to-night out of high curiosity—she had wanted to learn this proper way for herself. for instance. “I suppose they ought to have kept me away. My joke probably cost Saltram a subscription or two.” “The humiliation?” “Why mine.

his great eyes.” “Yes. “Why his wife says he’s lovely!” My hilarity may have struck her as excessive. for I had a sense of recognising it: George Gravener. after a moment appealed.” My companion. of what was irritating in the narrowness of that lady’s point of view? “Mrs. for I had lived with it and overcome it and disposed of it. on Mrs. “How then do you get at it?” “You don’t! You mustn’t suppose he’s good-looking. “You don’t look humiliated a bit. she overpraises him where he’s weak. Saltram. and altogether he’s anything but smart. featureless save for his great eyes. and if you did I should let you off. “Do you call him a real gentleman?” I started slightly at the question. he’s middle-aged. who appeared to reflect on this. fat. but I confess it broke out afresh. for the mysterious quality you speak of is just the quality I came to see. “A real gentleman? Emphatically not!” My promptitude surprised her a little. to make up for it perhaps. but I quickly felt how little it was to Gravener I was now talking. assuredly. so characteristic. She had evidently heard all about his great eyes—the beaux yeux for which alone we had really done it all. that first flushed night. had put me face to face with it. “They’re tragic and splendid—lights on a dangerous coast. He’s not. disappointed as I am.” I explained. Had she acted only in obedience to this singular plea. Saltram’s part. so that. It had embarrassed me then. But he moves badly and dresses worse.” “Oh.” I added. “Do you say that because he’s—what do you call it in England?—of humble extraction?” 85 .Henry James She let her charming gay eyes rest on me.” said my young lady attentively. “undervalues him where he’s strongest. years before. you can’t ‘see’ it!” I cried. but it didn’t embarrass me now. superficially attractive.

as you say. to a great sum total of poetry. but. Fortunately we’re a little faithful band.The Coxon Fund “Not a bit.” “And how much do they come to?” “You’re right to put it as if we had a big bill to pay. sacrifices—all with nothing more deterrent than an agony of shame. “But the efforts.” “But isn’t it an awful drawback?” “Awful—quite awful. I say it simply because I know him well. the surrenders. especially in public: he smiles and bows and beckons across the street to them. But when they pass over he turns away.” Again she had a meditative moment. His father was a country school-master and his mother the widow of a sexton. “And is his magnificent vitality the cause of his vices?” “Your questions are formidable. but I’m glad you put them.” “He doesn’t recognise his obligations?” “On the contrary. these mere exercises of genius. The genius is there. your questions are rather terrible.” I held my tongue about the natural children.” “I mean isn’t it positively fatal?” “Fatal to what? Not to his magnificent vitality. notation. and we do what we can. loans. So he leaves all his belongings to other people to take care of. a mighty mass of speculation. I was thinking of his noble intellect. quotation. have been much exaggerated: they consist mainly after all in one comprehensive defect. he recognises them with effusion. in the wantonness of his youth. to the number of three. as I’ve told you before. 86 . “never come to much: the only things that come to much are the abandonments. They come. and he speedily loses them in the crowd.” I said. The recognition’s purely spiritual—it isn’t in the least social.” “A want of will?” “A want of dignity. engendered. He accepts favours. I only remarked that he did make efforts—often tremendous ones. but that has nothing to do with it. of philosophy. His vices.

to meet the surrender. fortunately for my manners. isn’t certainly as showy. at his age. there isn’t much. after all. out of which she leaned a moment after she had thanked me and taken her seat. “It’s quite worth it. “To ‘show’ if you will. you’ll have observed. “Not unless he really comes!” At which the brougham started off. but as I wasn’t prepared for another question I hastily pursued: “The sight of a great suspended swinging crystal—huge lucid lustrous. to show him to-night! However. since his writing.” My young lady looked not quite satisfied at this. to allow me to exclaim “Ingratitude!” 87 . carrying her away too fast. “I do want to see that crystal!” “You’ve only to come to the next lecture. It would just have been his talk.” “But what is there. Her smile even in the darkness was pretty. as well perhaps as of a little impatience. as I replied: “The exhibition of a splendid intellect.” “Wait over till next week.” “And what would his talk just have been?” I was conscious of some ineffectiveness. as his talk.” I went on: “we endeavoured. isn’t as fine.” She became grave. if he had lectured he’d have lectured divinely. ‘Showing’ Frank Saltram is often a poor business. I went with her to the door of her carriage.” I suggested. a block of light—flashing back every impression of life and every possibility of thought!” This gave her something to turn over till we had passed out to the dusky porch of the hall. mostly. Moreover two-thirds of his work are merely colossal projects and announcements.” “I go abroad in a day or two with my aunt. but there’s no genius to support the defence.Henry James you see. in front of which the lamps of a quiet brougham were almost the only thing Saltram’s treachery hadn’t extinguished. to show?” “In the way of achievement recognised and reputation established?” I asked.

It wasn’t till much later that I found this had not been the case with Kent Mulville. which she handed about for analysis. He had known it on the occasion I speak of—that is immediately after. but I couldn’t satisfy her. for in spite of my ingenuity I remained in ignorance.The Coxon Fund CHAPTER IV MRS. but ultimately confessed. She came to me to ascertain. They were the people who by doing most for her hus88 . he had entered into with regard to his wife. She had arts of her own of exciting one’s impatience. quite irreproachable and insufferable person. He was impenetrable then. in our little conscientious circle. whom I more and more loved. as she declared. moreover she hated the good Mulvilles. for if. justly resentful. It was of course familiar to me that Saltram was incapable of keeping the engagements which. What he confessed was more than I shall now venture to make public. she had washed her hands of him. the most infallible of which was perhaps her assumption that we were kind to her because we liked her. In reality her personal fall had been a sort of social rise—since I had seen the moment when. after their separation. She often appeared at my chambers to talk over his lapses. Her voice was grating and her children ugly. her desolation almost made her the fashion. whose hope for the best never twirled the thumbs of him more placidly than when he happened to know the worst. she had carefully preserved the water of this ablution. SALTRAM made a great affair of her right to be informed where her husband had been the second evening he failed to meet his audience. a deeply wronged.

I dare say I should have got on with her better if she had had a ray of imagination—if it had occasionally seemed to occur to her to regard Saltram’s expressions of his nature in any other manner than as separate subjects of woe. pearls strung on an endless thread. but she had a stubborn little way of challenging them one after the other. Saltram had made her acquaintance through mutual friends. I’m bound to say he didn’t criticise his benefactors.Henry James band had in the long run done most for herself. She pitied me for not knowing certain people who aided her and whom she doubtless patronised in turn for their luck in not knowing me. Miss Anvoy. She triumphed in what she told me and she may have triumphed still more in what she withheld. Lady Coxon. she. One might doubtless have overdone the idea that there was a general licence for such a man. had but lately come to England. This vagueness caused me to feel how much I was out of it and how large an inde89 . the irritating effect of a mind incapable of a generalisation. but if this had happened it would have been through one’s feeling that there could be none for such a woman. had been established here for years in consequence of her marriage with the late Sir Gregory of that name. They were all flowers of his character. as if she never suspected that he had a character. and above all she had sympathy. though practically he got tired of them. and the warm confidence with which he had laid his length upon them was a pressure gentle compared with her stiffer persuadability. Mrs. the aunt. She had a house in the Regent’s Park. or that deficiencies might be organic. however. She offered the odd spectacle of a spirit puffed up by dependence. My friend of the other evening. such as it was. had the highest standards about eleemosynary forms. a Bath-chair and a fernery. and indeed it had introduced her to some excellent society. I recognised her superiority when I asked her about the aunt of the disappointed young lady: it sounded like a sentence from an English-French or other phrase-book.

and she had. but I felt I should know most by not depriving her of her advantage. and I founded this reticence on the easy supposition that Mrs. The niece. on my leading her up to it. For the present. besides being immensely clever.Saltram. was an heiress. delivered without an 90 . the only daughter and the light of the eyes of some great American merchant. I confess I saw how it wouldn’t be in a mere week or two that I should rid myself of the image of Ruth Anvoy. besides which she would lack occasion to repeat her experiment. I gathered with surprise that she had not communicated to his wife the story of her attempt to hear Mr. this experience was stayed. be distracted. moreover. but I saw it would take only a little more or a little less to make her speak of them as thankless subjects of social countenance—people for whom she had vainly tried to do something. take a husband. The girl at any rate would forget the small adventure. Lady Coxon having in fact gone abroad accompanied by her niece. She had pretty clothes and pretty manners. Saltram had fatigued by overpressure the spring of the sympathy of which she boasted. a man. Saltram had at her command. Saltram was always sympathy. Saltram said.The Coxon Fund pendent circle Mrs. in whose very name. rather as to persons in her debt for favours received. I should have been glad to know more about the disappointed young lady. the great thing of all. A few months later indeed. when I learnt it. We clung to the idea of the brilliant course. Mrs. What had happened I didn’t know. when they had come back. her tone perceptibly changed: she alluded to them. The great thing of all for Mrs. as she might have mysterious means of depriving me of my knowledge. I should probably neither see her nor hear of her again: the knight’s widow (he had been mayor of Clockborough) would pass away and the heiress would return to her inheritance. I found something secretly to like. of endless indulgences and dollars. what was prettier still.. and she spoke as if during the absence of these ladies she mightn’t know where to turn for it. over there.

its large fireside and clear lamplight. Here it was.” We all knew what too much worry meant. so far as the comfort of a sigh so unstudied as to be cheerful might pass for such a sound. partly of course not to lose the advantage of his grand free hand in drawing up such things. quite late. so that Saltram’s golden words continued the sole coin that rang there. however. that they shamelessly broke down. They declined to make their saloon a market. that I’m at my best. but for myself I laughed at our playbills even while I stickled for them. I used to call it the music-room. when it gets toward eleven—and if I’ve not been too much worried. I think.” he suggestively allowed. felt a presence. The very gates of the kingdom of light seemed to 91 . It was indeed amusing work to be scrupulous for Frank Saltram. would still make the paying public aware of our great man. but the fact remained that in the case of an inspiration so unequal there was treachery. all minor eloquence grew dumb. there was fallacy at least. its pictures and its flowers. we might really arrive at something if the Mulvilles would but charge for admission.Henry James accident. I had a bold theory that as regards this temple of talk and its altars of cushioned chintz. He admitted with a candour all his own that he was in truth only to be depended on in the Mulvilles’ drawing-room. to be paid a greater price than such an enchanted hush as surrounded him on his greatest nights. “Yes. who also at moments laughed about it. On the Saturdays I used to bring my portmanteau. as a lecturer. It can have happened to no man. as there’s a flaw in every perfection this was the inexpugnable refuge of their egotism. so as not to have to think of eleven o’clock trains. In our scrutiny of ways and means we were inevitably subject to the old convention of the synopsis. anxiously watched the door or stealthily poked the fire. however. that. in the very conception of a series. Adelaide Mulville. for the pride of her hospitality. “it’s there. for we had anticipated Bayreuth. the syllabus. The most profane. on these occasions. it meant too enslaved for the hour to the superstition of sobriety.

The author’s real misfortune was that subscribers were so wretchedly literal. 92 . The editors and the publishers were the last people to take this remarkable thinker at the valuation that has now pretty well come to be established. It was the pressing pursuit of this knowledge that. the sittings of our little board. The former were half-distraught between the desire to “cut” him and the difficulty of finding a crevice for their shears. led her so often to my door. The title of an unwritten book didn’t after all much matter. She wanted all moneys to be paid to herself: they were otherwise liable to such strange adventures. In the consideration of ways and means. in concatenations of omnibuses and usually in very wet weather. I mean. Nature herself had brought him out in voluminous form. we were always conscious of the creak of Mrs.The Coxon Fund open and the horizon of thought to flash with the beauty of a sunrise at sea. would have been some system of subscription to projected treatises with their non-appearance provided for—provided for. alas. she almost presided. the state of affairs being mostly such as to supply her with every incentive for enquiring what was to be done next. brought into his face the noble blank melancholy that sometimes made it handsome. and the money was simply a deposit on borrowing the work. She hovered. and when a volume on this or that portentous subject was proposed to the latter they suggested alternative titles which. They trickled away into the desert—they were mainly at best. she interrupted. as reported to our friend. The ideal solution. When they tastelessly enquired why publication hadn’t ensued I was tempted to ask who in the world had ever been so published. a slender stream. Saltram’s shoes. but she carried matters to no great effect when she personally pushed into back-shops. She thought us spiritless creatures with editors and publishers. but some masterpiece of Saltram’s may have died in his bosom of the shudder with which it was then convulsed. failing the fee at Kent Mulville’s door. by the indulgence of subscribers.

He took more pains to swing his censer than I had 93 . and I think it stuck in my throat to have to treat him to the avowal I had found so easy to Mss Anvoy. being in view most from the tall steeple of Clockborough. He talked to Clockborough in short only less beguilingly than Frank Saltram talked to his electors. had naturally enough more ambition than charity. with the difference to our credit. He had sharp aims for stray sovereigns. Was this because I had already generalised to the point of perceiving that women are really the unfastidious sex? I knew at any rate that Gravener. His immediate ambition was to occupy e lui seul the field of vision of that smokily-seeing city. however. but it would have cost me much to confide to the friend of my youth. that we had already voted and that our candidate had no antagonist but himself. that the character of the “real gentleman” wasn’t an attribute of the man I took such pains for. It had cost me nothing to confide to this charming girl. Mulville’s work not mine—and by the time the claret was served had seen the god descend. already quite in view but still hungry and frugal.Henry James CHAPTER V I WAS DOUBTLESS often a nuisance to my friends in those years. and all his movements and postures were calculated for the favouring angle. but there were sacrifices I declined to make. The movement of the hand as to the pocket had thus to alternate gracefully with the posture of the hand on the heart. I never forgot our little discussion in Ebury Street. and I never passed the hat to George Gravener. He had more than once been at Wimbledon—it was Mrs.

the great newspaper. but on our way back to town he forestalled any little triumph I might have been so artless as to express by the observation that such a man was—a hundred times!—a man to use and never a man to be used by. in fine for the rest of my eloquence. I can find a place for them: we might even find a place for the fellow himself. The difference was that on Gravener’s part a force attached to it that could never attach to it on mine. and the irony of Saltram’s being made showy at Clockborough came out to me when he said. I hadn’t often made it myself. but for some other things very near them. for the discovery of analogies between his body of doctrine and that pressed from headquarters upon Clockborough—the bottling.” I myself should have had some fear—not. you know. to turn him on for a particular occasion in a particular channel. He was ABLE to use people—he had the machinery. in a word. I remember that this neat remark humiliated me almost as much as if virtually. was there to look to. I need scarcely say. Later on I could see that the oracle of Wimbledon was not in this case so appropriate as he would have been had the polities of the gods only coincided more exactly with those of the party. for the “things” themselves. of the air of those lungs for convenient public uncorking in corn-exchanges—was an experiment for which no one had the leisure. but it was no new misfortune that there were delicate 94 . Frank Saltram’s channel. but I’ll be hanged if I don’t put some of those things in. caged.The Coxon Fund expected. There was a distinct moment when. For what there would have been to do The Empire. in the fever of broken slumbers. was essentially not calculable. The only thing would have been to carry him massively about. paid. without saying anything more definite to me. and there was no knowing what disastrous floods might have ensued. however. Gravener entertained the idea of annexing Mr. clipped. Such a project was delusive. as if he had no memory of our original talk and the idea were quite fresh to him: “I hate his type. Saltram.

and I could see him in the old-time garden with Miss Anvoy. through Mrs. The man would have been. just as he was. none the less. who would be certain. but after she returned from abroad I learned from Mrs. a house with “grounds. I tried to focus the many-buttoned page. On his part. but I occur to remember the relief. and very justly. of feeling it sud95 . It would be too much to describe myself as troubled by this play of surmise. I could see the faded red livery. to think him good-looking. Saltram might never come back from the errand. As the rumble of dissolution grew louder the suitor would have pressed his suit. singular enough. not because he was down in the dust. poor Gravener. No one knew better than George Gravener that that was a time when prompt returns counted double. and I found myself hoping the politics of the late Mayor’s widow wouldn’t be such as to admonish her to ask him to dinner. I was destined to hear. was in correspondence with Lady Coxon’s housekeeper—that Gravener was known to have spoken of the habitation I had in my eye as the pleasantest thing at Clockborough. I afterwards learned. up in the clouds. Saltram that the lease had fallen in and that she had gone down to resume possession. Lady Coxon had a fine old house. in the daily airing. Saltram—who. as he said. If he therefore found our friend an exasperating waste of orthodoxy it was because of his being. The vivid scene was now peopled. a real enough gentleman if he could have helped to put in a real gentleman.Henry James situations in which The Empire broke down. as he perhaps even pushed the Bath-chair over somebody’s toes. Gravener’s great objection to the actual member was that he was not one. perhaps indeed I went so far as to pray. In fine there was an instinctive apprehension that a clever young journalist commissioned to report on Mr. the high-walled garden of this decent abode. I was sure. the big square shoulders. which she had let.” at Clockborough. this was the voice not of envy but of experience. they would naturally form a bar to any contact.

These are dead aches now. it was for what he had done to the Mulvilles. addressed by Saltram to Wimbledon during a stay with the Pudneys at Ramsgate. there was nothing so unfortunate as to have. I didn’t want to do anything in the world to him but that. had many features. The Pudneys had behaved shockingly. At a distance. I wanted to forget Frank Saltram— that was all. profiting by the example so signally given him of the fatal effect of a want of character. would have stopped me off here altogether. in a foreign land. gross indecency—one had one’s choice only of such formulas as that the more they fitted the less they gave one rest. I had had my disgusts. him. and my mark at last had been reached. to be definite about the business. ignoring. and her husband. for practical purposes. The letter. I at least know how much I missed. was the central feature of the incident. Adelaide cried about it for a week. on the Continent. Certain things cleared up in my mind. I avoided George Gravener at this moment and reflected that at such a time I should do so most effectually by leaving England. thank heaven. however. each more painful than whichever other we compared it with. nothing else. but that was no excuse. There are things which if I had had to tell them—well. if I may allow myself to-day such an expression. an incredible one. abjuring. I went abroad for the general election. It was all very well to have an unfortunate temperament. unanswered.The Coxon Fund denly brushed away by an annoyance really much greater. I forgot. It wasn’t for anything he had done to me. the drop too much. Base ingratitude. and if I don’t know how much. There were limits after all. certain values stood out. but this was a supreme revolt. Indignation had withered on the stalk. which. and I am under no obligation. unlearning him. left the letter. I owed him. and I felt that one could pity him as much as one ought only by never thinking of him again. oh 96 . an annoyance the result of its happening to come over me about that time with a rush that I was simply ashamed of Frank Saltram. I discovered what he had done for me.

The allusion was to Miss Anvoy. I was pursued of course by letters from Mrs. Yet when I at last wrote her that I was coming home and would discharge my accumulated burden by seeing her. though quite aware her embarrassments couldn’t but be now of the gravest. A direct question of Mrs. one day as my absence drew to an end. The great other fact about him just then was that he had been triumphantly returned for Clockborough in the interest of the party that had swept the country—so that I might easily have referred Mrs. while I rummaged in my desk for another paper. I but remarked in regard to her question that she must really put it to Miss Anvoy. was caught by a name on a leaf that had detached itself from the packet. and lo it continued to twinkle. and this is how. But the light it gave me just showed me how much more I wanted. 97 . Saltram to the journals of the day.Henry James unmistakeably. George Gravener. who. Saltram’s had thus remained unanswered— she had enquired of me in a postscript what sort of man this aspirant to such a hand might be. and the news was two months old. my eye. was engaged to be married to Mr. I sacrificed to propriety by simply putting them away. it appeared. I had lighted my little taper at his smoky lamp. Saltram which I didn’t scruple not to read. certain noble conceptions.

began to breathe again and to flap its folded wings. and it happened that. When the ladies left the room I moved up to where he sat and begged to congratulate him. in a social body. I fed with George Gravener. for his political success had momentarily passed out of my mind. and I remember thinking the whole man was in this assumption that in expressing my sense of what he had won I had fixed my thoughts on his “seat. not to have heard of that triumph and to be alluding to the rumour of a victory still more personal. I 98 . Lady Coxon.The Coxon Fund CHAPTER VI I HAD ALMOST AVOIDED the general election. and this had delayed their arrival. and yet his question made me conscious of some discomposure—I hadn’t intended to put this before everything. jocosely. under the new Ministry. and he was so much lighter in hand than I had lately seen him that his spirits might well have been fed from a twofold source. and one of the symptoms. with her aunt. on my return. What was present to it was that he was to marry that beautiful girl. at somebody’s house. He was so good as to say that he hoped I should soon make the acquaintance of Miss Anvoy. had been seriously unwell. but some of its consequences. who. I dare say I coloured however. Confidence.” We straightened the matter out. was presently coming up to town. one Saturday night. in London. The season. in the country. was understood to be reviving. People once more fed together. so that I could feign. had smartly to be faced. “On my election?” he asked after a moment. He himself indeed ought gracefully to have done so. was a recovery of appetite.

and. old maids. who was the oddest of women. but you’d scarcely know it. saddling her with a mass of queer obligations complicated with queer loopholes. on which. if it wasn’t for the great liberality of her father. Gravener had spoken of me there as an old friend. to whom she would have more or less to minister. but had given a handsome present and was apparently to be looked to. There were several dreary people. brightened and humanised by his luck.” he added. I gathered from something he dropped later on that the free-handed gentleman beyond the seas had not made a settlement. when I suggested that the young lady might come in through a loophole. Coxon cousins. The Knight’s widow was again indisposed—she had succumbed at 99 .” He added that his eldest brother had taken a tremendous fancy to her and that during a recent visit at Coldfield she had nearly won over Lady Maddock. My enquiry drew out that Lady Coxon. unless. he laughed and said “Do you mean for her?” When I had again explained what I meant he went on: “Oh she’s an American. without saying no. for other favours. People are simplified alike by great contentments and great yearnings. across the water. at Lady Coxon’s own house. then suddenly. “by her being used to more money than most girls in England. which was odder still. as if he suspected my turning a lantern on him. He really has been most kind. That wouldn’t in the least do for a fellow like me. and everything’s quite satisfactory. you know. I seem to recall that in some turn taken by our talk he almost imposed it on me as an act of decorum to ask if Miss Anvoy had also by chance expectations from her aunt. he declared quite dryly: “That’s all rot—one’s moved by other springs!” A fortnight later. even the daughters of rich men. would have in any contingency to act under her late husband’s will. perhaps. and I received a gracious invitation to dine. whether or no it was Gravener’s directness that begot my own. Gravener laughed. I understood well enough the springs one was moved by.Henry James told him I had heard the marriage would be a splendid one.

the insatiable House. She hadn’t happened to tell him of her visit to Upper Baker Street. I did what I could to help her to classify them. Mrs. was Mrs. “Good!” I remember crying. but she’d certainly tell him to-morrow. and taken in as a consequence of an appeal to her amiability. to make matters worse. “she’ll be put by me. after dinner. she said to me frankly. positively declined to release him. not indeed that this would make him like any better her having had the innocence to invite such a person as Mrs. with which he supposed he had contracted for easier terms. since. I had briefly to consider before I could reply that my objection to the lady named was the objection often ut100 . of such a burden. I asked myself what Miss Anvoy meant by doing such things. with almost jubilant mirth: “Oh you don’t admire Mrs. he had just sent up word that the House. was when. Saltram?” Why should I? This was truly a young person without guile. It could only strike me that I had never seen a young woman put such ignorance into her cleverness. From what immediately passed between the two ladies I gathered that the latter had been sent for post-haste to fill the gap created by the absence of the mistress of the house.” and my apprehension was promptly justified. such freedom into her modesty. I had at this moment my first glimpse of the fact that she was a person who could carry a responsibility. Saltram on such an occasion. but the only answer I arrived at was that Gravener was verily fortunate. Saltram with a vengeance. Saltram. I think. but I leave the reader to judge of my sense of the aggravation. when I heard the servant announce Mrs. for either of us. the grace and gaiety of the young lady left thus to handle the fauna and flora of the Regent’s Park.The Coxon Fund the eleventh hour. this. after I had recovered from the confusion of seeing her slightly disconcerted at perceiving in the guest introduced by her intended the gentleman with whom she had had that talk about Frank Saltram. Saltram taken in to dinner. I was struck with the courage. so that I found Miss Anvoy bravely playing hostess without even Gravener’s help.

continued: “But the chance of a lecture—one of the wonderful lectures? Isn’t there another course announced?” “Another? There are about thirty!” I exclaimed.” “We haven’t happened to talk of him.” Miss Anvoy. I returned. within a month or two. Saltram had thrown the Mulvilles over.” “None for me. A few days after this I heard that Gravener’s marriage was near at hand—was settled for 101 .” “I thought Mr.” “But you know he knows him and wonders what some of us see in him. “They’re tremendously worth it.” “You mean Gravener won’t let you?” “I haven’t asked him. who had been introducing with her American distinctness. “for at night all cats are grey.” “I’ll make George take me. But that won’t prevent his being planted there again. but there are some new ones. “I should like to see them. looked encouragingly round at some of the combinations she had risked.” the girl said. to bloom like a rose. She sniffed at this unfortunate as kindly as she had smiled at me and. Then as Miss Anvoy remained momentarily vague I added: “Those about her husband. Saltram’s little eyes in my back. “Get him to take you some day out to see the Mulvilles. He lets me do everything. Saltram came up to interrupt us. You saw the shade of this one the night we waited for him together.Henry James tered about people met at the social board—I knew all her stories.” she said with her fostering smile.” she went on as Mrs. Ah novelty would be pleasant!” “Doesn’t it appear that of late he has been particularly horrid?” “His fluctuations don’t matter”.” “Utterly.” “Oh yes.” Miss Anvoy thought a moment. What will you have? He has no dignity. turning away and feeling Mrs. addressing the question to her. “It’s too bad I can’t see him. Then. You mustn’t miss them.

sundry incidents occurred and the particular stage at which it suddenly struck me.The Coxon Fund Whitsuntide. about the smoky Midlands. What had already occurred was some accident determining a more patient wait. but this didn’t matter. his splendid tainted genius. talked about when we didn’t speak. These were the things Adelaide and I. If he wasn’t barefoot in the mire he was sure to be unconventionally shod. I had called on her after my dinner in the Regent’s Park. making me catch my breath a little. and there presently came to me in fact the report of a postponement. the acceleration. but as no invitation had reached me I had my doubts. This was probably rather late in the day. but without signs of perturbation. Lady Coxon had to be constantly attended to. whom I met again. and I went at others because he wasn’t. When we spoke it was only about the brilliant girl George Gravener 102 . the more tragic. upstairs. I went to Wimbledon at times because Saltram was there. began to reach me. The Pudneys. what was the matter was supposed to be that Lady Coxon was now critically ill. George Gravener. was for all the world that of fine drama. though I was at first unwitting. in fact told me as much. who had taken him to Birmingham. in dishonour. Something was the matter. had been lately done up (I could hear the crackle of the new chintz) and the difference only made his smirches and bruises. His room. that the progression. at this period. almost as the injured Lear wandered on the storm-lashed heath. I forget to-day the exact order in which. had already got rid of him. who were old enough friends to stare at each other in silence. and we had a horrible consciousness of his wandering roofless. Lady Coxon had to be so constantly attended to that on the occasion of a second attempt in the Regent’s Park I equally failed to obtain a sight of her niece. for it was through Adelaide Mulville that the side-wind of the comedy. and there were other good reasons as well. I judged it discreet in all the conditions not to make a third. but I had neither seen her nor seen Miss Anvoy. and the exact order doesn’t signify.

Henry James was to marry and whom he had brought out the other Sunday. “She likes me—she likes me”: her native humility exulted in that measure of success. for Mrs. 103 . We all knew for ourselves how she liked those who liked her. Mulville commemorated it after her sole fashion of showing confidence in a new relation. and as regards Ruth Anvoy she was more easily won over than Lady Maddock. I could see that this presentation had been happy.

and amid silences deep and exhaustive. from a broken-down jobmaster whose wife was in consumption—a vehicle that made people turn round all the more when her pensioner sat beside her in a soft white hat and a shawl. compunctions and condonations alike unutterable. Her account of the introduction I had in its order. I met Miss Anvoy at tea at the House of Commons. an early Victorian landau. The wheel of fate had now revolved. The member for 104 . This was his position and I dare say his costume when on an afternoon in July she went to return Miss Anvoy’s visit. very late in the season. but she was incorrigibly capable of liking him to be conspicuous in the landau while she was in shops or with her acquaintance. for the Mulvilles. if he was in the pillory for twenty minutes in the Regent’s Park—I mean at Lady Coxon’s door while his companion paid her call—it wasn’t to the further humiliation of any one concerned that she presently came out for him in person. of the sacrifices they made for Frank Saltram was that they had to give up their carriage. Mulville had begun immediately to drive him about? If he was ashamed of his ingratitude she might have been ashamed of her forgiveness. Adelaide drove gently into London in a one-horse greenish thing. Saltram was reinstated. imaginatively. Was it in pride or in penance that Mrs. However. near at hand. under Gravener’s auspices. hired. but before that. one of the dear woman’s own.The Coxon Fund CHAPTER VII ONE OF THE CONSEQUENCES. not even to show either of them what a fool she was that she drew him in to be introduced to the bright young American.

but before we separated I remarked to her that it was an act of mere humanity to warn her that if she should see more of Frank Saltram—which would be likely to follow on any increase of acquaintance with Mrs. She turned back toward the knot of the others. Mulville.” I rejoiced with her over plain Adelaide. “Oh it doesn’t matter!” I laughed. She replied that this was surely a subject on which one took everything for granted. and I said: “Dislike him as much as you will—I see you’re bitten.” “I hope I shan’t die of anything before I’ve seen more of Mrs. I fancied she had become aware Gravener was looking at us. you know—I’ve seen him!” She told me about Saltram’s call. She 105 . and the Mulvilles were not of the party. On the great terrace. the guest of honour immediately exclaimed to me: “I’ve seen him. Mulville—she might find herself flattening her nose against the clear hard pane of an eternal question—that of the relative. “And how did you find him?” “Oh so strange!” “You didn’t like him?” “I can’t tell till I see him again.” We went no further. importances of virtue and brains. She asked me if I called virtue a gift—a thing handed to us in a parcel on our first birthday. and I declared that this very enquiry proved to me the problem had already caught her by the skirt. “Immensely. that of the opposed.” “Bitten?” I thought she coloured a little. whereupon I admitted that I had perhaps expressed myself ill. What I referred to was what I had referred to the night we met in Upper Baker Street—the relative importance (relative to virtue) of other gifts.” “You want to do that?” She had a pause. whom she pronounced the loveliest woman she had met in England.Henry James Clockborough had gathered a group of pretty ladies. “one doesn’t die of it. as I strolled off with her a little.

Mulville. Her father. according to Mrs. “Moi pas comprendre!” I commented on this. “What help do you mean?” “That of the member for Clockborough. but really these American fathers—! What was a man to do? Mr.” She stared. Of course he’d follow her as soon as he was free to make her his wife. Mrs. but not to thank you for it?” I still more profanely enquired. in resisting its tendency to make one cross. lost so much money that it was really vexatious as showing how much he had had. Mulville let me know what was already said: she was charming. Saltram. Saltram. don’t you know? but not to think too much about it. smiled. “Alone? Gravener has permitted that?” “What will you have? The House of Commons!” I’m afraid I cursed the House of Commons: I was so much interested. in New York. explained that she supposed he simply meant that the thing was to use it. only she mightn’t now be able to bring him anything like the marriage-portion of which he had begun by having the virtual promise. and it was afterwards confirmed at Wimbledon: poor Miss Anvoy was in trouble—great disasters in America had suddenly summoned her home. in rejoinder to which Adelaide. had suffered reverses. this American girl. “To take it. News of the catastrophe first came to me from Mrs. then returned: “Why my idea has been to help him!” She had helped him—I had his own word for it that at Clockborough her bedevilment of the voters had really put him in. was of opinion that a man was never to suffer his relation to money to become a spiritual relation—he was to keep it exclusively material. the same help I myself had once had.The Coxon Fund would have help however. though I heard the very next month that this fine faculty had undergone a temporary eclipse. For a quarter of 106 . She would do so doubtless again and again. It was Adelaide who told me she had gone off alone at less than a week’s notice. with her beautiful sympathy.

“I take care of it for him!” The dear practical soul thought my agitation. He wasn’t looking. but I’m speaking of the effect on herself. “I assure you.” Something in her tone made me laugh.” Mrs. I uttered. “Thirty pounds. for she went on as if she had had a glimpse of my inward amaze at such passages. “Oh so charming!” she answered.Henry James an hour afterwards she wouldn’t look at me. he was in one of his happy hours. that afternoon—in the Regent’s Park. some vague synthetic cry. my dear friend. “Do you mean she gave him—a dole?” “Well.” “Yes. of her taking our friend to see Miss Anvoy. for I confess I was agitated. “It was to me of course she gave it. as it were. brightening. since you ask me!” “Right there on the spot?” Again poor Adelaide faltered.” “Straight out of her pocket?” “Out of the drawer of a table at which she had been writing. of swindling her betrothed!” 107 .” Now at last she met my eyes. Her disclosure made me for a moment muse violently.” I stared. Mulville had to remount the stream. “He said he recognised in her a nature he could absolutely trust. “With her father in the very act. somehow I couldn’t see the scene. it was while he was going back to the carriage. and I dare say that during that moment I wondered if anything else in the world makes people so gross as unselfishness. but this didn’t prevent my asking her what had been the result. I suppose. She just slipped the folded notes into my hand. “It was everything one could wish. referred to the employment of the money.” But I wasn’t thinking of that.” “Oh.” said Adelaide reassuringly. “Truly indeed these Americans!” I said. though I could see it was with an effort. “Do you mean a sum of money?” “It was very handsome.

But you tell me things that act on my nerves. the poetry. but I had to give it up.” After a moment I added: “Had he peradventure caught a glimpse of the money in the table-drawer?” At this my companion honestly flushed. “It sounds a little stale. “How can you be so cruel when you know how little he calculates?” “Forgive me. dear lady. He surprised even me. and some rude ripple that I emitted again caused my companion to admonish me. and it was a very beautiful impulse. “Oh I suppose Mr. Mulville exultantly demanded. “And perhaps even of her beautiful listening face. Mulville stared. I’m sure he hadn’t caught a glimpse of anything but some splendid idea.” It was impossible wholly to restrain one’s mirth at this. Mulville brightly concurred. but you know his freshness.” Mrs. but there it was. I do know it.” “And I know what you’ve enjoyed.” “On what great question. she overflowed to me on the steps while he was getting 108 . “Didn’t Miss Anvoy express her satisfaction in any less diffident way than by her charming present?” I was reduced to asking instead. hasn’t he been right?” “Of what other great men can you equally say it?—and that he has never.” “You say Saltram was very fine?” “Beyond everything. the sublimity of it. had a deflexion?” Mrs. “Oh yes.” “Perhaps even! And what was it all about?” “His talk? It was apropos of her engagement. the philosophy. but never. Very likely they won’t be able to keep it up.” “Of illustration? Indeed I do!” “And how he has always been right on that great question. Anvoy has scarcely gone bankrupt—or whatever he has done—on purpose. which I had told him about: the idea of marriage.The Coxon Fund Mrs. I tried to think of some other great man.

” Adelaide pursued.” These words somehow brushed up a picture of Saltram’s big shawled back as he hoisted himself into the green landau. I turned it over. and you know he’s really clean. She’s monstrously clever.Henry James into the carriage. “I mean yours. Miss Anvoy used such a remarkable expression—she said his mind’s like a crystal!” I pricked up my ears. you know. “She said she wasn’t disappointed.” “He looked very nice. “Monstrously!” 109 . “A crystal?” “Suspended in the moral world—swinging and shining and flashing there.” I thought again. “Did he wear his shawl?” “His shawl?” She hadn’t even noticed.

then she got much better. Lady Coxon got very bad. much on his mind and on his hands. after the House had risen. He was coming up from Scotland and I had just quitted some relations who lived near Durham. of which there have been too many. “Ah Miss Anvoy’s in America?” “Her father has got into horrid straits—has lost no end of money. from various causes. an absence of curiosity invidious. I met him in a railway-carriage. at any rate on entering the compartment I found he had had it for some time to himself. already. We fared in company. we even at last sociably conversed. But it may create tiresome delays. as it had made on another occasion. but I asked no question till something dropped by himself made. Lady 110 . I saw things weren’t well with him. The current of travel back to London wasn’t yet strong. who. and though he had a blue-book in his lap and the open jaws of his bag threatened me with the white teeth of confused papers. lay seriously ill at Clockborough. after expressing due concern.” I waited.The Coxon Fund CHAPTER VIII GEORGE GRAVENER didn’t follow her.” “None whatever. we inevitably. Then Mr. for late in September. I’m afraid he’s really in for some big reverse. but I eventually said: “I hope that raises no objection to your marriage. with her niece likely to be detained some time in America. and now he seems quite on his back. He mentioned that he was worried about his good old friend Lady Coxon. Anvoy suddenly began to totter. moreover it’s my trade to meet objections.

We stopped at that station. but by the time we got to Doncaster the principal thing he had let me see was that he was keeping something back. spared us his company. but the old lady. Saltram into my head. for some reason. and I felt sure that but for this I should have had the secret. and she sends me word that she must have Ruth.” said Gravener very frankly. she’s hopelessly mad. Gravener uttered a sound of impatience. My companion held his tongue. Gravener declared this to be false. and. I happened to remember the wonderful accounts she had given me of the kindness Lady Coxon had shown her. I’ve other things to smooth. Lady Coxon. who didn’t care for her. She writes me every post— telling me to smooth her aunt’s pillow. who used. at the carriage-door. He gave me a cold glance.Henry James Coxon’s worse again. some one made a movement to get in. But even Miss Anvoy was now quite tired of her. Saltram as might render that active person of some use. save for her servants. wanting to know what had put Mrs. to chuck money about in a manner she must now regret. had for an hour seen in the miserable woman—you could never know what she’d see in people—an interesting pretext for the liberality with which her nature overflowed. and we also glanced here and there in other directions. Gravener told me more about the crash in New York and the annoyance it had been to him. however. or what it was. we started afresh. Besides. that made me ask if she hadn’t such an appreciation of Mrs. and my hope of a disclosure returned. awfully upset by the news from America. poor girl. hadn’t seen her three times. and I pretended 111 . and I replied that she was unfortunately never out of it. I don’t remember whether it was this. How can I supply her with Ruth? I haven’t got Ruth myself!” “Surely you haven’t lost her?” I returned. is really alone. The only foundation for it was that Miss Anvoy. “She’s everything to her wretched father. She won’t receive her Coxon relations—she’s angry at so much of her money going to them. Then the intruder.

” “In advance—that’s quite right. and he handed it on to her. setting apart in his will a sum of money of which she was to enjoy the interest for life. and welcomed the note of interest when he went on: “As I told you a while ago. He had lighted another cigarette while he talked. But my story will interest you only so far as your mind isn’t made up. “It was a sketchy design of her late husband’s. but of which. The case he wanted to put to me was a matter on which it concerned him to have the impression—the judgement. “I mean of the average intelligent man.The Coxon Fund to go to sleep. is demented. poor dear.” Gravener said. should she eventually see her oppor112 .” “And you want me to decide between you? I decide in advance for Miss Anvoy. I asked if her ladyship’s misfortune were a trait of her malady or only of her character. with a laugh slightly artificial: “In fact it’s a subject on which Miss Anvoy and I are pulling different ways. and he pronounced it a product of both.” There would be the technical.” Gravener puffed his cigarette a minute and then continued: “Are you familiar with the idea of the Endowment of Research?” “Of Research?” I was at sea a moment. the strictly legal view. She has it on the brain.” His tone had much behind it—was full of promise. When I reopened my eyes he was looking at me with an injured air. and I saw he was glad to have it to handle when he brought out at last. That’s how I decided when I proposed to her.” I answered that I’d make every effort to attend. but you see I take what I can get. in fact I really dozed for discouragement. he might also say—of another person. He tossed away with some vivacity the remnant of a cigarette and then said: “If you’re not too sleepy I want to put you a case. then there would be the way the question would strike a man of the world.” “She wishes to endow—?” “Some earnest and ‘loyal’ seeker. “I give you Lady Coxon’s phrase. Lady Coxon.

” “Her earnest loyal seeker?” “The flower that blushes unseen for want of such a pecuniary independence as may aid the light that’s in it to shine upon the human race. He’s worst of all when he’s dead. or fermenting rather in her foolish brain: it lies with her to carry them out. in a word. That’s what Sir Gregory calls it.” Gravener said. the poor man’s aspirations are now in his wife’s bosom. But Lady Coxon has put the matter before her.” “She considers there’s something in it. This sum of money. “Delightful munificent Sir Gregory! It’s a charming idea. However. no less than thirteen thousand pounds.” I burst out laughing. who. the spiritual. such as they were.” “So Miss Anvoy thinks. the intellectual. He left his wife a full declaration of his views.” “Has she a candidate for the Fund?” “Not that I know of—and she’s perfectly reasonable about it. was to be called The Coxon Fund.” “Talk that. is most hampered in his search. has landed you in a disagreement. But of course she must first catch her hare. 113 . and we’ve naturally had a lot of talk. so far at least as that term may be applied to views vitiated by a vagueness really infantine. because then he can’t be stopped. and poor Sir Gregory evidently proposed to himself that The Coxon Fund should cover his name with glory—be universally desired and admired. The individual. and a good citizen who happens to have been an ass is worse for a community than bad sewerage. as you’ve so interestingly intimated.” “His search for what?” “For Moral Truth. A little learning’s a dangerous thing. having the rest of the machinery.Henry James tunity—the matter was left largely to her discretion—she would best honour his memory by determining the exemplary public use.

” 114 . a thin transcendental Bostonian. and that the flattering option left her is simply his tribute to her beautiful. His idea.” I found all this quite thrilling—I took it in with avidity. “I’m not competent—I hate the thing. She came to England forty years ago. as a ‘Werden. “The real history of the matter. she hasn’t. to do him justice. her aboriginal enthusiasm. To begin with.” I noted.” my friend went on. fancy constituting an endowment without establishing a tribunal—a bench of competent people. what becomes of the money?” I demanded. She feels indeed that she has become very British—as if that. She can’t! As she has never yet caught her hare. was that it should lapse if exactly the right person. if she hasn’t made some other disposition of it. “And if she dies without doing anything.” “But she has invited you.The Coxon Fund “And you consider there’s nothing?” “It seems to me a piece of solemn twaddle—which can’t fail to be attended with consequences certainly grotesque and possibly immoral.” “How can she cling if she’s dying?” “Do you mean how can she act in the matter?” Gravener asked. never spied out her lucky impostor—how should she. is that the inspiration was originally Lady Coxon’s own. and even her odd happy frumpy Clockborough marriage never really materialised her. were conceivable. as a process.’ as anything but an original sign of grace. I take it. “It goes back to his family. that she infected him with it. should fail to turn up. the perfect mixture of genius and chill penury. Besides. “That’s precisely the question. but it’s precisely what makes her cling to the notion of the ‘Fund’—cling to it as to a link with the ideal. of judges.” “The sole tribunal is Lady Coxon?” “And any one she chooses to invite. with the life she has led?—her husband’s intention has come very near lapsing. Ah the poor dear woman’s very particular—she says there must be no mistake.

Henry James

“She may do that then—she may divert it?” “Her hands are not tied. She has a grand discretion. The proof is that three months ago she offered to make the proceeds over to her niece.” “For Miss Anvoy’s own use?” “For Miss Anvoy’s own use—on the occasion of her prospective marriage. She was discouraged—the earnest seeker required so earnest a search. She was afraid of making a mistake; every one she could think of seemed either not earnest enough or not poor enough. On the receipt of the first bad news about Mr. Anvoy’s affairs she proposed to Ruth to make the sacrifice for her. As the situation in New York got worse she repeated her proposal.” “Which Miss Anvoy declined?” “Except as a formal trust.” “You mean except as committing herself legally to place the money?” “On the head of the deserving object, the great man frustrated,” said Gravener. “She only consents to act in the spirit of Sir Gregory’s scheme.” “And you blame her for that?” I asked with some intensity. My tone couldn’t have been harsh, but he coloured a little and there was a queer light in his eye. “My dear fellow, if I ‘blamed’ the young lady I’m engaged to I shouldn’t immediately say it even to so old a friend as you.” I saw that some deep discomfort, some restless desire to be sided with, reassuringly, approvingly mirrored, had been at the bottom of his drifting so far, and I was genuinely touched by his confidence. It was inconsistent with his habits; but being troubled about a woman was not, for him, a habit: that itself was an inconsistency. George Gravener could stand straight enough before any other combination of forces. It amused me to think that the combination he had succumbed to had an American accent, a transcendental aunt and an insolvent father; but all my old loyalty to him mustered 115

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to meet this unexpected hint that I could help him. I saw that I could from the insincere tone in which he pursued: “I’ve criticised her of course, I’ve contended with her, and it has been great fun.” Yet it clearly couldn’t have been such great fun as to make it improper for me presently to ask if Miss Anvoy had nothing at all settled on herself. To this he replied that she had only a trifle from her mother—a mere four hundred a year, which was exactly why it would be convenient to him that she shouldn’t decline, in the face of this total change in her prospects, an accession of income which would distinctly help them to marry. When I enquired if there were no other way in which so rich and so affectionate an aunt could cause the weight of her benevolence to be felt, he answered that Lady Coxon was affectionate indeed, but was scarcely to be called rich. She could let her project of the Fund lapse for her niece’s benefit, but she couldn’t do anything else. She had been accustomed to regard her as tremendously provided for, and she was up to her eyes in promises to anxious Coxons. She was a woman of an inordinate conscience, and her conscience was now a distress to her, hovering round her bed in irreconcilable forms of resentful husbands, portionless nieces and undiscoverable philosophers. We were by this time getting into the whirr of fleeting platforms, the multiplication of lights. “I think you’ll find,” I said with a laugh, “that your predicament will disappear in the very fact that the philosopher is undiscoverable.” He began to gather up his papers. “Who can set a limit to the ingenuity of an extravagant woman?” “Yes, after all, who indeed?” I echoed as I recalled the extravagance commemorated in Adelaide’s anecdote of Miss Anvoy and the thirty pounds.


Henry James

THE THING I had been most sensible of in that talk with George Gravener was the way Saltram’s name kept out of it. It seemed to me at the time that we were quite pointedly silent about him; but afterwards it appeared more probable there had been on my companion’s part no conscious avoidance. Later on I was sure of this, and for the best of reasons—the simple reason of my perceiving more completely that, for evil as well as for good, he said nothing to Gravener’s imagination. That honest man didn’t fear him—he was too much disgusted with him. No more did I, doubtless, and for very much the same reason. I treated my friend’s story as an absolute confidence; but when before Christmas, by Mrs. Saltram, I was informed of Lady Coxon’s death without having had news of Miss Anvoy’s return, I found myself taking for granted we should hear no more of these nuptials, in which, as obscurely unnatural, I now saw I had never too disconcertedly believed. I began to ask myself how people who suited each other so little could please each other so much. The charm was some material charm, some afffinity, exquisite doubtless, yet superficial some surrender to youth and beauty and passion, to force and grace and fortune, happy accidents and easy contacts. They might dote on each other’s persons, but how could they know each other’s souls? How could they have the same prejudices, how could they have the same horizon? Such questions, I confess, seemed quenched but not answered when, one day in February, going out to Wimbledon, I found our young lady in the house. A 117

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passion that had brought her back across the wintry ocean was as much of a passion as was needed. No impulse equally strong indeed had drawn George Gravener to America; a circumstance on which, however, I reflected only long enough to remind myself that it was none of my business. Ruth Anvoy was distinctly different, and I felt that the difference was not simply that of her marks of mourning. Mrs. Mulville told me soon enough what it was: it was the difference between a handsome girl with large expectations and a handsome girl with only four hundred a year. This explanation indeed didn’t wholly content me, not even when I learned that her mourning had a double cause—learned that poor Mr. Anvoy, giving way altogether, buried under the ruins of his fortune and leaving next to nothing, had died a few weeks before. “So she has come out to marry George Gravener?” I commented. “Wouldn’t it have been prettier of him to have saved her the trouble?” “Hasn’t the House just met?” Adelaide replied. “And for Mr. Gravener the House—!” Then she added: “I gather that her having come is exactly a sign that the marriage is a little shaky. If it were quite all right a self-respecting girl like Ruth would have waited for him over there.” I noted that they were already Ruth and Adelaide, but what I said was: “Do you mean she’ll have had to return to make it so?” “No, I mean that she must have come out for some reason independent of it.” Adelaide could only surmise, however, as yet, and there was more, as we found, to be revealed. Mrs. Mulville, on hearing of her arrival, had brought the young lady out in the green landau for the Sunday. The Coxons were in possession of the house in Regent’s Park, and Miss Anvoy was in dreary lodgings. George Gravener had been with her when Adelaide called, but had assented graciously enough to the little visit at Wimbledon. The carriage, with Mr. Saltram in it but not mentioned, had been sent off on some errand from which it was to return and pick the ladies up. 118

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Gravener had left them together, and at the end of an hour, on the Saturday afternoon, the party of three had driven out to Wimbledon. This was the girl’s second glimpse of our great man, and I was interested in asking Mrs. Mulville if the impression made by the first appeared to have been confirmed. On her replying after consideration, that of course with time and opportunity it couldn’t fail to be, but that she was disappointed, I was sufficiently struck with her use of this last word to question her further. “Do you mean you’re disappointed because you judge Miss Anvoy to be?” “Yes; I hoped for a greater effect last evening. We had two or three people, but he scarcely opened his mouth.” “He’ll be all the better to-night,” I opined after a moment. Then I pursued: “What particular importance do you attach to the idea of her being impressed?” Adelaide turned her mild pale eyes on me as for rebuke of my levity. “Why the importance of her being as happy as we are!” I’m afraid that at this my levity grew. “Oh that’s a happiness almost too great to wish a person!” I saw she hadn’t yet in her mind what I had in mine, and at any rate the visitor’s actual bliss was limited to a walk in the garden with Kent Mulville. Later in the afternoon I also took one, and I saw nothing of Miss Anvoy till dinner, at which we failed of the company of Saltram, who had caused it to be reported that he was indisposed and lying down. This made us, most of us—for there were other friends present— convey to each other in silence some of the unutterable things that in those years our eyes had inevitably acquired the art of expressing. If a fine little American enquirer hadn’t been there we would have expressed them otherwise, and Adelaide would have pretended not to hear. I had seen her, before the very fact, abstract herself nobly; and I knew that more than once, to keep it from the servants, managing, dissimulating cleverly, she had helped her husband to carry 119

The Coxon Fund

him bodily to his room. Just recently he had been so wise and so deep and so high that I had begun to get nervous—to wonder if by chance there were something behind it, if he were kept straight for instance by the knowledge that the hated Pudneys would have more to tell us if they chose. He was lying low, but unfortunately it was common wisdom with us in this connexion that the biggest splashes took place in the quietest pools. We should have had a merry life indeed if all the splashes had sprinkled us as refreshingly as the waters we were even then to feel about our ears. Kent Mulville had been up to his room, but had come back with a face that told as few tales as I had seen it succeed in telling on the evening I waited in the lecture-room with Miss Anvoy. I said to myself that our friend had gone out, but it was a comfort that the presence of a comparative stranger deprived us of the dreary duty of suggesting to each other, in respect of his errand, edifying possibilities in which we didn’t ourselves believe. At ten o’clock he came into the drawing-room with his waistcoat much awry but his eyes sending out great signals. It was precisely with his entrance that I ceased to be vividly conscious of him. I saw that the crystal, as I had called it, had begun to swing, and I had need of my immediate attention for Miss Anvoy. Even when I was told afterwards that he had, as we might have said to-day, broken the record, the manner in which that attention had been rewarded relieved me of a sense of loss. I had of course a perfect general consciousness that something great was going on: it was a little like having been etherised to hear Herr Joachim play. The old music was in the air; I felt the strong pulse of thought, the sink and swell, the flight, the poise, the plunge; but I knew something about one of the listeners that nobody else knew, and Saltram’s monologue could reach me only through that medium. To this hour I’m of no use when, as a witness, I’m appealed to—for they still absurdly contend about it—as to whether or no on that historic night he was drunk; and my position is slightly ridiculous, for I’ve 120

I watched her in the light of this queer possibility—a formidable thing certainly to meet—and I was aware that it coloured. I feel that now. though deeply interested. in dread of a coercion that she had begun already to feel. but this is incommunicable. If she was in England at all while the engagement stood the only proper place for her was under Lady Maddock’s wing. What I got out of it is the only morsel of the total experience that is quite my own. However. In this case doubtless Gravener would. There would be much to say. have found means to rejoin her. I shall perhaps be as clear as is absolutely needful if I remark that our young lady was too much given up to her own intensity of observation to be sensible of mine. She would show as little as possible before she should be ready to show 121 . if I had space. I had come up to town with her the next day and had been convinced that. Mulville had put before me as dreary. about the way her behaviour. ministered to the image that had taken birth in my mind. as I caught gleams of it. extravagantly perhaps. in spite of the House of Commons. she should have in any degree the air of waiting for her fate. and it takes something from my pride of clearness. while that other night I listened to George Gravener in the railway-carriage. It was plainly not the question of her marriage that had brought her back. I greatly enjoyed this discovery and was sure that had that question alone been involved she would have stirred no step.Henry James never cared to tell them what it really was I was taken up with. to my private amusement. even in thus roughly evoking the occasion. alone in the lodging Mrs. my interpretation of her very looks and tones. she was immensely on her guard. I’m bound to say. The others were shared. perhaps her prospective sister-in-law would be wholly won over. Now that she was unfortunate and relatively poor. It afterwards made me uncomfortable for her that. At Wimbledon for instance it had appeared to me she was literally afraid of Saltram. so that I was presently relieved at hearing of her having gone to stay at Coldfield.

but I prayed to heaven I mightn’t find myself in such a predicament. It wasn’t I who had launched her and it wasn’t I who could help her. but it contained no mention of Lady Coxon’s niece. I was in a manner out of earshot of the great oceanic rumble—I mean of the continuous hum of Saltram’s thought—and my uneasiness tended to keep me quiet. appealed to by her for advice. It was in part my suspense that was responsible for this. That she had come in some other character was the only thing that fitted all the appearances. I only wondered if Ruth Anvoy talked over the idea of The Coxon Fund with Lady Maddock. since I couldn’t help her. Having for family reasons to spend some time that spring in the west of England. I should think so much about her. and also somewhat why I didn’t hear from Wimbledon. I had a reproachful note about something or other from Mrs. If there was really a present rigour in the situation of which Gravener had sketched for me the elements.The Coxon Fund everything. Mulville a portion at least of what I had learned from Gravener. It would have been exciting to be approached by her. she would have to get out of her difficulty by herself. Saltram. Mulville was still reduced to wonder what she had come out again for if she hadn’t come as a conciliatory bride. on whom her eyes had been much less fixed since the recent untoward events. What this final exhibition might be on the part of a girl perceptibly so able to think things out I found it great sport to forecast. I waited impatiently to see whether she wouldn’t have told Mrs. I didn’t fail to ask myself why. 122 . But I saw Mrs. There was something I wanted so little to have to say that my prudence surmounted my curiosity.

in its violence. and as soon as she told me that darling Ruth had been in her house nearly a month I had my question ready. “She says you know. “How very awful!” 123 . “And why in the world doesn’t she do do?” I asked. “What in the name of maidenly modesty is she staying in England for?” “Because she loves me so!” cried Adelaide gaily. As soon as she arrived I guessed everything. “He has mentioned to her his having told you about it. returning to London. I was honoured by this admirable woman with an early visit.” “Ah but so little! Do you mean she has accepted the trust?” “In the most splendid spirit—as a duty about which there can be no two opinions.” I gave a quick cry at this. Saltram. which.Henry James CHAPTER X POOR ADELAIDE’S SILENCE was fully explained later—practically explained when in June. Gravener had now raised an objection to it. he called on her to put an end to their engagement in the only proper.” To which my friend added: “Of course she’s thinking of Mr.” Then on my also hesitating she added: “A condition he makes. and what was much more to the point was that Mr.” “The Coxon Fund?” I panted. the only happy manner. where in the innocence of his heart he had originally brought her himself. But she hadn’t come to see me only to tell me Miss Anvoy loved her: that was quite sufficiently established. He had protested at least against her being at Wimbledon. Adelaide had a pause. made my visitor turn pale.

if I would. I mean. exclaim: “You haven’t influenced her.The Coxon Fund “Awful?” “Why. as he did every one who had a soul: that word. to which she opposed a sound almost as contentious as my own had been. had to have a mind. It’s clear that by Lady Coxon’s will she may have the money. she doesn’t in the least consider it so. Mulville tossed her head. She can only take one view of it. Saltram naturally as a tremendous force for good. to have anything to do with such an idea one’s self. yes: she had absolutely to see her poor aunt’s solicitor. with genuine immediate horror. Adelaide. among them. She regarded Mr. but it’s still clearer to her conscience that the original condition. She was intelligent enough to understand him and generous enough to admire.” “I’m sure you needn’t!” and Mrs. help it if Miss Anvoy’s mind was haunted? I demanded with a groan what right a pretty girl engaged to a rising M. Besides. “Rich enough. He had influenced her. How could she. intensely implied on her uncle’s part. rich enough?” I demanded. it’s not her own money. I hope!” and my emphasis brought back the blood with a rush to poor Adelaide’s face. but is she. to sacrifice such a lot of good money?” “That’s for herself to judge.” “And Gravener does.” 124 .P. “She’s many things enough. This made me. even expressed feebly the power of the things he said to haunt the mind. It’s for the Endowment or it’s for nothing. She declared while she blushed—for I had frightened her again—that she had never influenced anybody and that the girl had only seen and heard and judged for herself. but the only explanation my bewildered friend could give me was that she was so clever. is attached to the use of it. as we knew. if not his own. definite. “He isn’t good enough!” I went on. and that’s the whole difficulty?” “The difficulty that brought her back.

Then at last she spoke of your knowing about the idea of the Endowment. but she said she was magnificent. though I’ve not seen him for months. “and it’s.” “Are you repeating her words?” I enquired. “Possibly. I forget what else Adelaide said. exactly this technical weakness that constitutes the force of the moral obligation. I think Adelaide laughed at my sequence. and I asked what could have made two such persons ever suppose they understood each other.” I permitted myself to observe. “Why on earth does she want to see me?” 125 . Mulville went on. for her. I thought of George Gravener confronted with such magnificence as that.” I turned this over. And I couldn’t very well tell you as much as that without telling you what I knew of the reason of it. It was not till a day or two ago. Mulville. “For several weeks. Gravener’s words?” Adelaide asked.” Mrs. It’s simply the way it strikes me too. We discussed the day. but I was pledged to secrecy.Henry James “The Endowment. Gravener made some reference to the legal aspect. It’s an old wife’s tale. “is a conception superficially sublime. Mrs. the nearest it would be convenient I should come out. Mulville assured me the girl loved him as such a woman could love and that she suffered as such a woman could suffer. but before she went I asked my visitor how long she had been acquainted with these prodigies.” said Mrs. Nevertheless she wanted to see me. but such an absurdly loose arrangement has no legal aspect.” “And that’s why you didn’t write?” “I couldn’t very well tell you she was with me without telling you that no time had even yet been fixed for her marriage.” “Ruth doesn’t insist on that. At this I sprang up with a groan. “that she asked me to ask you if you wouldn’t come and see her.” “Are you repeating Mr. “Oh I’m so sorry!—when?” Small though her sense of humour. but fundamentally ridiculous.

“Is Miss Anvoy prepared for that?” My visitor. Pale and bright. You won’t do him an ill turn?” Adelaide pleaded at the door. if he has lately been too prim. by the happiest of chances: he has positively been a dear. she was an image of intelligent purpose. And then. for a moment. Mulville dolorously echoed. He’ll presently take a day off. standing before her in the big drawing-room where they had tactfully left us to ourselves. more than justified my apprehensions. His very highest—pure celestial light. and I presently returned: “I think I’ll sail to-morrow for Australia. but I asked myself whether any girl had ever had so charming an instinct as that which permitted her to laugh out. treat us to some exhibition that will make an Endowment a scandal. naturally. we said?” The appointment was made definite and I enquired how. she successively tossed me. “On Thursday at five. screwed her parasol into my carpet. of the passion of duty. “What danger can equal for him the danger to which he’s exposed from himself?” I asked. Mulville. I felt more than ever committed to my fate as. really. continued. as for the joy of her difficulty. I tried with a smile to string together the pearls of lucidity which. as to what we revere him for. Saltram. on the Thursday afternoon. But I frivolously. into the priggish 126 .” “As a subject for the prize?” This was hugely obvious. about Mr.The Coxon Fund “To talk with you. all this time. “He grows bigger every day. “In perfection. getting up. That girl at Wimbledon. in the most wonderful form. I recognised fully now the cause of the agitation she had produced in me from the first—the faint foreknowledge that there was something very stiff I should have to do for her. “Look out sharp. the unconscious candidate had carried himself.” “Well then—sail!” said Mrs.” “So do you!” I laughed as she went off.” “A scandal?” Mrs. in her monotonous mourning. from her chair.

such a splendid one at last. they were absolutely clear to her. There were things she couldn’t go into—injunctions. impressions she had received. These aberrations. The Mulvilles were sympathy itself. She put her project boldly before me: there it stood in its preposterous beauty. and she admitted that it stirred very deep things. It was the idea of the application to the particular case. I hasten to add. on the occasion of our first meeting. She hadn’t been a month so much in the house with him without discovering that he wasn’t a man of monumental bronze. Saltram’s want of dignity. This remarkable young woman could be earnest without being solemn. if it had been she wouldn’t have attempted to saddle me with any portion of it. but she desired it there from my lips. one had always in the last resort to make up one’s mind for one’s self. the interpretation of a fidelity. She didn’t pretend that such a responsibility was a simple matter. He was like a jelly minus its mould. It wasn’t that she couldn’t imagine. and at moments when I ought doubtless to have cursed her obstinacy I found myself watching the unstudied play of her eyebrows or the recurrence of a singularly intense whiteness produced by the parting of her lips. Moreover she professed that she couldn’t discuss with me the primary question—the moral obligation: that was in her own breast.Henry James old room. by Mr. of a promise. Her reason for this was as distinct as her beauty: it was to make me explain what I had meant. but 127 . didn’t prevent my learning soon enough why she had wished to see me. and on questions of delicacy. and that was precisely the source of her interest in him and the ground of her project. She was as willing to take the humorous view of it as I could be: the only difference was that for her the humorous view of a thing wasn’t necessarily prohibitive. wasn’t paralysing. he had to be embanked. What she really desired of course was to know whether there was worse about him than what she had found out for herself. They were a part of the closest intimacy of her intercourse with her aunt. that troubled her.

in their position—would it even have been to be desired? Yes. and I divined that it struck her I might possibly intend it as a reference to some personal subjection to our fat philosopher.” She considered this remark an instant with her eyes on mine. At least I couldn’t interpret otherwise the sudden flash that came into her face. Such a manifestation. never. never. and that one couldn’t entertain any plan for making merit comfortable without running the gauntlet of that terrible procession of interrogation-points which. outbalance another? When Miss Anvoy threw off this appeal I could have embraced her for so delightfully emphasising her unlikeness to Mrs. like a young ladies’ school out for a walk. embarrassed me. All the weight. Oh she knew the question of character was immense. to some aberration of sensibility. “as well as the enthusiasm of one’s adhesion?” “Seeing how wonderfully you’ve threshed the whole thing out. however. never an exception. some perversion of taste. But were we absolutely to hold that there was never. the effect of a determination that people shouldn’t know from herself that her relations with the man she was to marry were strained. but while I was thinking how to reassure her the flush passed away 128 . as the result of any word of mine. in short. never. She made no allusion whatever to George Gravener—I thought her silence the only good taste and her gaiety perhaps a part of the very anxiety of that discretion.” I evasively replied. “gives me an extraordinary notion of the point your enthusiasm has reached. that she left me to throw was a sufficient implication of the weight HE had thrown in vain. for clever charity. for suspended pedantry—for letting one side.The Coxon Fund were they absolutely candid? Could they indeed be. hooked their uniform noses at the tail of governess Conduct. Saltram. “Why not have the courage of one’s forgiveness.” she asked. never an occasion for liberal acceptance. she had sent for me to ask no less than that of me—whether there was anything dreadful kept back.

The probable sincerity. like her. But with what quick response of fine pity such a relegation of the man himself made me privately sigh “Ah poor Saltram!” She instantly. I was to see. pardonably enough. he didn’t. 129 . I indulged in another inarticulate murmur—”Poor George Gravener!” What had become of the lift he had given that interest? Later on I made up my mind that she was sore and stricken at the appearance he presented of wanting the miserable money. took the measure of all I didn’t believe. “Oh you see one forgets so wonderfully how one dislikes him!” she said. and it enabled her to go on: “What can one do when a person has given such a lift to one’s interest in life?” “Yes. of his scruples about the particular use of it under discussion didn’t efface the ugliness of his demand that they should buy a good house with it.Henry James in a smile of exquisite good nature. too proud to show me why he was disappointed. what can one do?” If I struck her as a little vague it was because I was thinking of another person. grasp the lift Frank Saltram had given her interest in life. it also rings in my ear to-day as the purest of all our praises. in spite of the illiberality. as for his alienation. Then. and if her tone simply extinguished his strange figure with the brush of its compassion. If a mere spectator could ask that last question. This was the hidden reason of her alienation. with what rage in his heart the man himself might! He wasn’t. with this.

what troubled me most was a feeling of a different order. There was something even irritating in Miss Anvoy’s crude conscientiousness. got something excellent and cheap. How could I satisfy her? I asked myself—how could I tell her how much had been kept back? I didn’t even know and I certainly didn’t desire to know. I was sure he would have driven a bargain. That idea. and the laurel would. after all. as it was hoped that new beneficiaries would arise and come up to new standards. A great deal that I had in fact learned had been forced upon me by his wife. she couldn’t have let him alone and been content to entrust George Gravener with the purchase of the good house. I desired in truth to get away from my young lady. My own policy had ever been to learn the least about poor Saltram’s weaknesses—not to learn the most. I failed her. It wasn’t really that I was afraid of the scandal. as it were. in some respects at least. and I wondered why. Of course. I professed a horror of responsibilities and twitted her with her own extravagant passion for them.The Coxon Fund CHAPTER XI I was unable this time to stay to dinner: such at any rate was the plea on which I took leave. 130 . for that obviously helped me not to pretend to satisfy her. the moral discredit for the Fund. as the beneficiary of the Fund was to enjoy a simple life-interest. The Fund would start badly. scarcely be greener from the brows of the original wearer. I told her I must think over her case. it wouldn’t be a trifle that the first of these worthies shouldn’t have been a striking example of the domestic virtues. I temporised. I laughed louder even than she.

and it happened that for some reason or other I took in as I had perhaps never done before the beauty of his rich blank gaze. It was charged with experience as the sky is charged with light. There was a worry for me to work off. for I felt less the irregularity of Saltram’s getting the money than that of this exalted young woman’s giving it up. I stopped short as he turned his face to me. a deviation from attainable bliss in the life of two other persons in whom I was deeply interested? Suddenly. very restless—made me. or rather keep at a distance. with sad far-wandering eyes and plump white hands folded on the head of a stick—a stick I recognised. I had told Miss Anvoy 131 . instead of going straight to the station. While I met it I stood there smitten. as I have hinted. at the end of twenty minutes. fidget a little about that many-coloured Common which gives Wimbledon horizons. for I declined even to admit to myself that I had. What could have been clearer indeed than the attitude of recognising perfectly what a world of trouble The Coxon Fund would in future save us. been saddled with it. and I felt myself responding to it with a sort of guilty grimace. not the source of solicitude it ought perhaps to have been. in Miss Anvoy’s phrase. and in fact contribute to. It made me.Henry James however. This brought back his attention in a smile which expressed for me a cheerful weary patience. to begin with. a stout gold-headed staff that I had given him in devoted days. She looked graver at this than she had looked at all. and I told her so before I went away. saying she hoped such a preference wouldn’t make me dishonest. there was projected across this clearness the image of a massive middle-aged man seated on a bench under a tree. a bruised noble gentleness. I wanted her to have it for herself. and of yet liking better to face a continuance of that trouble than see. Doubtless I was rendered peculiarly sensitive to it by something in the way I had been giving him up and sinking him. and I felt on the instant as if we had been overspanned and conjoined by the great arch of a bridge or the great dome of a temple. was at that hour.

as regards staying all night. an hour later. Something had come up which made me want him to feel at peace with me—and which. I had too often had to press upon him considerations irrelevant. The coast was therefore 132 . and his breakfasts. He was as mild as contrition and as copious as faith. that he had no things. old friend—come back and spend the evening. didn’t seem in short majestic? There was majesty in his mere unconsciousness of our little conferences and puzzlements over his maintenance and his reward. I asked him if he hadn’t everything of mine. in whatever situation.The Coxon Fund that he had no dignity. all unbuttoned and fatigued as he waited for me to come up. I had abstained from ordering dinner. After I had sat by him a few minutes I passed my arm over his big soft shoulder—wherever you touched him you found equally little firmness—and said in a tone of which the suppliance fell oddly on my own ear: “Come back to town with me.” I wanted to hold him. When he objected. rose till all other risings were over. at Wimbledon. but it gives me pleasure now to think that on that particular evening I didn’t even mention Mrs. but I was as much in it on this occasion as I had been out of it then. but what did he seem to me. the night of the problematical sobriety and of Miss Anvoy’s initiation. I telegraphed possessively to the Mulvilles. he was never so fine as on a shy return.30 he was sublime. I dare say it was a smaller matter than that famous night at Wimbledon. precisely. and at Waterloo. I wanted to keep him. At about 1. so we were reduced to tea and fried fish at my rooms— reduced also to the transcendent. and even better at forgiving than at being forgiven. if he didn’t seem unconcerned with small things. was all the dear man himself wanted on any occasion. had always been the principal reason mentioned by departing cooks. Saltram and the children. He never. old shames and old rigours fell away from us. Late into the night we smoked and talked. I only let him see that I was conscious of what I owed him. and it was too late for preliminaries at a club.

about telling her Saltram was in the house. the episode in which. in my hand. “Why in the world should they write to me?” “Because they’ve something to tell you. but the Pudneys. It was another chapter. she placed. but she herself settled the question. vindictively. as it were. early the next morning. her resignation and desired to embody the act in an unsparing form. with a pregnant absence of comment. The chasm at Wimbledon was now blessedly closed.Henry James clear for me to receive her when. Saltram had tendered me. after she had come up. and then. I hesitated. of the history of their lamentable quarrel with her husband. disingenuously as they themselves had behaved. had dug a still deeper ditch for his aberration than the chasm left yawning behind.” Mrs. They always used the kind sold at post-offices with the stamp affixed. kept me reticent by drawing forth a sealed letter which. but after my eyes had caught the superscription I heard myself say with a flatness that betrayed a sense of something very different from relief: “Oh the Pudneys!” I knew their envelopes though they didn’t know mine. according to his wont at the end of a few months. I felt. For a single moment there glimmered before me the fond hope that Mrs. I had seen their horrid missives to the Mulvilles. to be delivered. it was announced to me his wife had called. They doubtless explain to you that they hadn’t your address. across their persistent 133 . one had to admit that he had put himself more grossly in the wrong than at any moment of his life.” I turned the thing over without opening it. “They enclosed it to me. to my surprise. To bring this about I would have feigned any humiliation. Saltram dryly added. He had begun by insulting the matchless Mulvilles for these more specious protectors. and as this letter hadn’t been posted they had wasted a penny on me. but hadn’t been in direct correspondence with them. looking at me very hard in the eyes. The worst.

I was the only person save George Gravener and the Mulvilles who was aware of Sir Gregory Coxon’s and of Miss Anvoy’s strange bounty. Where could there have been a more signal illustration of the clumsiness of human affairs than her having complacently selected this moment to fly in 134 . It was a question with them whether a man who had himself so much to cover up would dare his blow. “Why don’t they send it to her directly?” Mrs. “Because she’s staying with Mr. so that these vessels of rancour were in a manner afraid of each other. and I so far prevailed that I did arrest the correspondence in time to save our little circle an infliction heavier than it perhaps would have borne. and I had been from the first for not defending him—reasoning that if they weren’t contradicted they’d perhaps subside. As I held Mrs. “Wheels within wheels!” I exclaimed.” I felt it—it was fat and uncanny. “You’ll have to open the letter. Mulville. Saltram’s letter in my hand it was distinctly communicated to me that the day had come—they had ceased to be afraid. I judged that on the day the Pudneys should cease for some reason or other to be afraid they would treat us to some revelation more disconcerting than any of its predecessors. “I don’t want to know the worst. “There’s something for me too to deliver.” “So they tell me—to Miss Anvoy. This was above all what I wanted. kept up the nastiest fire. It also contains an enclosure. and Mrs. that their allegations had gone as yet only as far as their courage.The Coxon Fund gulf.” I presently declared. and I began to reflect on the grotesque. I felt a certain thrill.” I stared. I never doubted they had a strong case. I knew. conscious as they were in their own virtue of an exposed place in which Saltram could have planted a blow. the unconscious perversity of her action. Saltram hung fire. that is I divined.” “And why should that prevent?” Again my visitor faltered.

“Kindness to Miss Anvoy? You took. who’s so easily shocked? Why do such things concern her?” I asked. that Mr.” I made it out quickly enough. “You must make that out for yourself. Saltram’s embarrassment increased. and Mrs.” Still I didn’t understand. I burst out laughing.” This hadn’t occurred to her so long as the young lady had any.” “Then why couldn’t he send the letter to you to be delivered?” Mrs. “It’s a denunciation?” “A real lady doesn’t betray her husband!” this virtuous woman exclaimed. another view of kindness before her reverses. she gave me another hard look. “It’s his own idea. with consid135 . Mr. and I fear my laugh may have had an effect of impertinence. “It’s all in kindness.” she continued as she got up. Saltram with a flush. but she now added.” My companion smiled with some acidity “Perhaps you’re no safer than the Mulvilles!” I didn’t want her to think that. and I well remember that this was the moment at which I began. on the whole. exposed to all his craft. with a glance at my letter. Saltram considered. They know Mr.Henry James the face of it? “There’s the chance of their seeing her letters. Pudney!” cried Mrs. “You mean they might intercept it? How can you imply anything so base?” I indignantly demanded “It’s not I—it’s Mr. then it flashed upon me. Pudney doubtless explained their motives. “Because she’s there.” “Thank you for all the rest of us! What difference can it make when she has lost her power to contribute?” Again Mrs. then very nobly: “There are other things in the world than money. “Especially to Miss Anvoy. Pudney’s hand. much at a loss. and Mrs. Pudney have been watching this: they feel she may be taken in. nor that she should report to the Pudneys that they had not been happy in their agent.

from my pocket to a drawer which I double-locked would have amounted. 136 . I could see. capable of grabbing it to send it back to him. unopened. I felt. The passionate movement. did make her uneasy. in solitude. after I had made two or three more remarks of studiously bewildering effect. and there was a moment.” I at any rate soon responded. a thing you’ll profoundly regret. at which her eyes followed so hungrily the little flourish of the letter with which I emphasised them that I instinctively slipped Mr. When I saw she didn’t know what I meant by this I added: “You may turn out to have done.The Coxon Fund erable emotion. in bringing me this letter. for an initiated observer. to promise myself to enjoin upon Miss Anvoy never to open any letter that should come to her in one of those penny envelopes. quickly deepened. “It’s best you should take my view of my safety. My emotion. Saltram as to think I might by some diplomacy restore the Pudneys to a quieter vigilance. as if I had almost given her my word I wouldn’t deliver the enclosure. with which. I transferred the whole thing. She looked.” My tone had a significance which. and I fear I must add my confusion. I presently should have been as glad to frighten Mrs. in her embarrassed annoyance. at any rate. to some such pledge. Pudney’s communication into my pocket. after she had gone.

I left Mrs. At that season of the year I was usually oftener “with” them. The emotion was the livelier surely in that my pulses even yet vibrated to the pleasure with which. and. Adelaide Mulville. but I took my time. SALTRAM left me drawing my breath more quickly and indeed almost in pain—as if I had just perilously grazed the loss of something precious. and I learned that Miss Anvoy would also have come had she not been expecting a visit from Mr. one had to choose. During the month that I thus invited myself to stiffen again. I knew at last what I meant—I had ceased to wince at my responsibility. but it didn’t fade. I gave this supreme impression of Saltram time to fade if it would. and also that I had a letter to hand to her. Saltram to deal as her apprehensions should prompt with the Pudneys. I waited from day to day. I had rallied to the rare analyst. What had dropped from me like a cumbersome garment as Saltram appeared before me in the afternoon on the heath was the disposition to haggle over his value. individually. the night before.Henry James CHAPTER XII MRS. Hang it. so I would put it really high and have done with it. Gravener. Mulville drove in for him at a discreet hour—the earliest she could suppose him to have got up. wrote to me to ask why I was so stiff. perplexed by my absence. She also wrote that she feared a real estrangement had set in between Mr. Mrs. 137 . I was perfectly mindful that I was under bonds to see this young lady. it hasn’t faded even now. one had to put that value somewhere. the great intellectual adventurer and pathfinder. I didn’t quite know what it was—it had a shocking resemblance to my honour.

” “I believe she did. Saltram failed to disengage itself from the merely nebulous state. During the month.” he said. she also intimated that there might now be an opening for another clever young man. These are old frustrations now. Ruth Anvoy hasn’t married. “You mean Miss Anvoy has talked to you? She has told me so herself. if anything. “for it seemed to me that such a communication would rest wholly with herself. “That’s her own affair. Saltram? My dear fellow. and his promptitude showed that the ashes of his eagerness weren’t yet cold. In fact I don’t want to!” 138 . “It wasn’t to tell you so that I wanted to see you. I told him there was something I felt I ought in candour to let him know—I recognised the obligation his friendly confidence had laid on me. I might come to see him. I don’t know what you call discouraging!” Gravener cried. but such a thing’s measured by the effect.’” he said. and of course the question can’t come up to-day. She’s not ‘discouraged. toward the end.” I replied. I hear. If however she did speak to you of our conversation she probably told you I was discouraging. on a special errand. and neither have I. a trifle too reserved. and I thought she thought I was. There never was the slightest opening.” “Discouraging?” “On the subject of a present application of The Coxon Fund. She intimated that her sweet young friend was. “Well I thought I was. The reason I asked you to see me was that it appeared to me I ought to tell you frankly that—decidedly!—I can’t undertake to produce that effect. I wrote to George Gravener to ask if. I saw he had immediately connected my enquiry with the talk we had had in the railway-carriage.” “To the case of Mr. and his answer was to knock the very next day at my door. I may here parenthesise.The Coxon Fund Gravener and her sweet young friend—a state of things but half satisfactory to her so long as the advantage resulting to Mr.

“Taking one form of public recognition with another it seems to me on the whole I should be able to bear it.” he slowly brought out. damn you!” my visitor laughed.” “Why is it sent through you?” “Rather than you?” I wondered how to put the thing.” I said. “What does the letter contain?” “It’s sealed.” “And to invite me to do the same?” “Oh you don’t require it—you’ve evidence enough. I’m not.” 139 . Gravener’s clear handsome eyes plunged into mine a minute. but I propose to invite Mss Anvoy to remain in ignorance of it. as I tell you. and I don’t know what it contains.” “My relations with Miss Anvoy are not at an end.” poor Gravener stammered. Saltram. “But we’re perfectly good friends. “The offer I propose to make you gives me the right to address you a question remarkably direct. red and really grave. When I see the compliments that are paid right and left I ask myself why this one shouldn’t take its course.” “And you don’t mean to?” “There’s only one consideration that would make me. but evidently without fishing up a clue to this motive—a failure by which I was almost wounded.Henry James “It’s very good of you. Are you still engaged to Miss Anvoy?” “No. I speak of a sealed letter that I’ve been requested to deliver to her. Then he said: “You’d like to see that scoundrel publicly glorified—perched on the pedestal of a great complimentary pension?” I braced myself. This therefore is what you’re entitled to have looked to me to mention to you. Again for an instant I thought. “The only explanation I can think of is that the person sending it may have imagined your relations with Miss Anvoy to be at an end—may have been told this is the case by Mrs. I’ve some evidence that perhaps would be really dissuasive.

If you give it me. alas. It’s at home.” Gravener took up his hat. “Will you read it or not?” I said to Ruth Anvoy.” “I’d marry her the next day!” my visitor cried. turning it mechanically round he stood looking a moment hard at its unruffled perfection. Its magnificence. Saltram’s visit. to watch the manna descend. and then she said “Go back and destroy it. locked up. quite quenched him.The Coxon Fund “Such good friends that you’ll again become prospective husband and wife if the obstacle in your path be removed?” “Removed?” he anxiously repeated. Saltram. with a grand abstracted gesture. prompt as they were. “Have you brought it with you?” “No indeed. with which he clapped the hat on his head and left me. She debated for a time probably of the briefest. at Wimbledon. “Yes. when I had told her the story of Mrs. as it were. He drew it as he had always drawn everything. “I’ll engage to hand her the letter before night. it was the begin140 . The Coxon Fund had already become an operative benefit and a general amaze: Mr. “Hand it to the devil!” he broke out. while we gathered about. but.” I said. Then very angrily honestly and gallantly. when I burnt it unread.” I went back. as all the world now knows. but would she marry you? What I ask of you of course is nothing less than your word of honour as to your conviction of this. The Pudneys approached her again pressingly.” There was another great silence. but long enough to make me nervous. “If I send Miss Anvoy the letter I speak of she may give up her idea. had begun to draw the magnificent income.” “Then for God’s sake send it!” “I’ll do so if you’re ready to assure me that her sacrifice would now presumably bring about your marriage. but I didn’t destroy it till after Saltram’s death.

They’ve no one to live on now. They’ve got their carriage back. who by the deaths of his brother and his nephew has lately become Lord Maddock. and who at this hour accuses us of having bribed him. His wife. to become. which I should perhaps apologise for mentioning. to renounce his glorious office. the grander. of much of our occupation. he hates being in the Upper House.Henry James ning of his decline. With Saltram the fine type of the child of adoption was scattered. as may easily be imagined. the elder style. and hasn’t yet had high office. Adelaide’s most frequent reference to their destitution is embodied in the remark that dear far-away Ruth’s intentions were doubtless good. The very day he found himself able to publish he wholly ceased to produce. It was also naturally a new grievance for his wife. and especially deprived the Mulvilles. They complain that people are self-sufficing. She and Kent are even yet looking for another prop. This deprived us. as she says. but what’s an empty carriage? In short I think we were all happier as well as poorer before. but no one presents a true sphere of usefulness. even including George Gravener. is criminally dull. whose fortune clears the property. But what are these accidents. in the light of the great eventual boon promised the patient by the rate at which The Coxon Fund must be rolling up? 141 . on the whim of a meddlesome American. like everybody else. who began to believe in him as soon as he was blighted. whose want of self-support I never measured till they lost their great inmate.

I rather resented the practice of fathering all flatness on my late protector. Deedy. who had been owner as well as editor. a change of heart. but as I had my way to make I found matter enough for complacency in being on a “staff. Pinhorn. parted with at a rough valuation. Deedy who had let the thing down so dreadfully: he was never mentioned in the office now save in connexion with that misdemeanour. It was Mr.” as he was called in the office: he had the high mission of bringing the paper up. forming part of a promiscuous lot. who was in his unhonoured grave. Deedy. and it must have begun when I received my manuscript back from Mr. Mr. which had been supposed to be almost past redemption when he took hold of it. which poor Mrs. This was a weekly periodical. Pinhorn was my “chief. in her bereavement and depression. mainly plant and office-furniture. Young as I was I had been in a manner taken over from Mr.” At the same time I 142 . I suppose. I could account for my continuity but on the supposition that I had been cheap.The Death of the Lion The Death of the Lion by Henry James CHAPTER I I HAD SIMPLY.

“Where’s that?” “You want me to go down and see him?” I asked when I had enjoyed his visible search for the obscure suburb I seemed to have named. as if he had never heard of this celebrity. who indeed at that moment was by no means in the centre of the heavens. Pinhorn pursed up his mouth. Unregenerate as I was I could read the queer implications of this speech. When I had reminded him that the great principle on which we were supposed to work was just to create the demand we required. Pinhorn with another dig Mr. But you must remember that that’s the way we do things NOW.Henry James was aware of my exposure to suspicion as a product of the old lowering system. touch him. for he hasn’t been touched. This made me feel I was doubly bound to have ideas. “Very well. Pinhorn that I should lay my lean hands on Neil Paraday. and had doubtless been at the bottom of my proposing to Mr. to begin with. The present owner’s superior virtue as well as his deeper craft spoke in his reference to the late editor as one of that baser sort 143 .” “Call it that if you like.” This argument was effective and Mr. “Is there much to be done with him?” “Whatever there is we should have it all to ourselves. Pinhorn responded. “I don’t ‘want’ anything—the proposal’s your own.” Then he added: “But where can you do it?” “Under the fifth rib!” Mr. and even when I had knowingly explained he expressed but little confidence in the demand for any such stuff. Deedy.” said Mr.” “And what’s your inducement?” “Bless my soul—my admiration!” Mr. Pinhorn stared. I remember how he looked at me—quite. he considered a moment and then returned: “I see—you want to write him up.

though I knew of it only by hearsay—was. as I have hinted. Pinhorn effectually called me to order by reminding me of the promptness with which I had met Miss Braby at Liverpool on her return from her fiasco in the States. as it happened. I thus set in motion in the daily papers columns of 144 . work nearer at hand. as Pinhorn would have said. Pinhorn’s sympathies I procrastinated a little. Miss Braby’s own version of that great international episode? I felt somewhat uneasy at this lumping of the actress and the author. but such scruples presented themselves as mere ignoble thrift to his successor. while its freshness and flavour were unimpaired. and couldn’t be concerned to straighten out the journalistic morals of my chief. A few days later I called on Lord Crouchley and carried off in triumph the most unintelligible statement that had yet appeared of his lordship’s reasons for his change of front. very much what had made Mr. I would be as considerate as even Mr. and yet I should be as present as only Mr. Pinhorn nibble. Deedy had published reports without his young men’s having. Pinhorn could conceive. My allusion to the sequestered manner in which Mr. and I confess that after having enlisted Mr. Paraday lived—it had formed part of my explanation. Mr.The Death of the Lion who deal in false representations. whose own sincerity took the form of ringing door-bells and whose definition of genius was the art of finding people at home. Hadn’t we published. Really to be there this time moreover was a vision that made the idea of writing something subtle about Neil Paraday only the more inspiring. And then wasn’t an immediate exposure of everything just what the public wanted? Mr. It was as if Mr. Deedy could have wished. I was unregenerate. and I had. I could divine. feeling them indeed to be an abyss over the edge of which it was better not to peer. It struck him as inconsistent with the success of his paper that any one should be so sequestered as that. really been there. I had succeeded better than I wished. Deedy would as soon have sent me to call on Neil Paraday as he would have published a “holiday-number”.

Bounder. many curious particulars that had not been articulated in court. Pinhorn. Pinhorn called it. with Mrs. however. since I first spoke to him. I’ve always thought his sudden alertness a remarkable example of the journalistic instinct. to create a visible urgency. as Mr. Bounder. By this time. and no enlightenment could possibly have reached him. on the subject of her divorce. He bundled me off—we would at least not lose another. I became aware that Neil Paraday’s new book was on the point of appearing and that its approach had been the ground of my original appeal to Mr. If ever an article flowed from the primal fount it was that article on Mrs. who was now annoyed with me for having lost so many days. 145 .Henry James virtuous verbiage. It was a pure case of profession flair—he had smelt the coming glory as an animal smells its distant prey. The following week I ran down to Brighton for a chat. who gave me. Nothing had occurred.

after my remove from the inn. while he was occupied in his study. The curtain fell lately enough on the lamentable drama. I fortified myself. Some voice of the air had taught me the right moment. Pinhorn supposed us to put our victims through on the gallop. as my training had taught me to do. My memory of the day I alighted at Mr. make at present for publicity will simply have overmastered my precautions. Paraday or of certain proximate steps and stages. the moment of his life at which an act of unexpected young allegiance might most come home to him. I hadn’t an indefinite leave: Mr. in the office. These meagre notes are essentially private. however. He had recently recovered from a long.The Death of the Lion CHAPTER II I MAY AS WELL SAY at once that this little record pretends in no degree to be a picture either of my introduction to Mr. as my story itself shows. It was later. I had gone to the neighbouring inn for the night. The scheme of my narrative allows no space for these things. grave illness. and in any case a prohibitory sentiment would hang about my recollection of so rare an hour. but in the morning. that the rude motions of the jig were set to music. and he insisted the next day on my sleeping under his roof. 146 . and of the wonderful illuminating talk in which the welcome was conveyed. compassion. Paraday’s door is a fresh memory of kindness. hospitality. I said nothing to Mr. Paraday about it. but I spent the evening in his company. so that if they see the light the insidious forces that. by the conviction that nothing could be more advantageous for my article than to be written in the very atmosphere.

and if it was calculated to divert attention from my levity in so doing I could reflect with satisfaction that I had never been so clever. Pinhorn by my celerity. For myself. Pinhorn. I read it from beginning to end that day. I committed to paper the main heads of my impression. I knew where I had failed. That was the meaning of the question. Anything less relevant to Mr. but I was equally conscious that Mr. accompanied with a letter the gist of which was the desire to know what I meant by trying to fob off on him such stuff. Once my paper was written I was free to stay on. That night my manuscript came back from Mr. if not exactly its form. Then thinking to commend myself to Mr. but it was exactly where I couldn’t have succeeded. A copy of it arrived by the first post. Pinhorn. I had begun my visit to the great man on a Monday. There was nothing he loved so much as to print on the right occasion a thing he hated. Such as this mistake was I could now only look it in the face and accept it. with a second-class ticket) approached the subject of our enterprise only to stand off so helplessly. and how a miracle—as pretty as some old miracle of legend—had been wrought on the spot to 147 . and he was visibly angry at my having (at his expense.Henry James as he had notified me he should need to be. and in the evening he asked me to remain with him the rest of the week and over the Sunday. I knew but too well what had happened. and on the Wednesday his book came out. Pinhorn had the supreme shrewdness of recognising from time to time the cases in which an article was not too bad only because it was too good. and it made my mistake immense to me. I don’t mean to deny of course that I was aware it was much too good for Mr. and he let me go out into the garden with it immediately after breakfast. I walked out and posted my little packet before luncheon. I had been sent down to be personal and then in point of fact hadn’t been personal at all: what I had dispatched to London was just a little finicking feverish study of my author’s talent. Pinhorn’s purpose couldn’t well be imagined.

with a great cool stir of the air. He held me only till the danger was over. the flash of an opaline robe. and of which alone. Paraday’s new book. the sense of an angel’s having swooped down and caught me to his bosom. but an invitation immediately to send him—it was the case to say so—the genuine article. giving it a particular application to Mr. Pinhorn’s note was not only a rebuke decidedly stern. the revealing and reverberating sketch to the promise of which. obtained for it the hospitality of another journal. With my manuscript back on my hands I understood the phenomenon better. There had been a big brush of wings. by my change of heart. and then. I owed my squandered privilege. and the reflexions I made on it are what I meant. and it all took place in a minute. I must admit.The Death of the Lion save me. where. Pinhorn was so far vindicated as that it attracted not the least attention. A week or two later I recast my peccant paper and. Mr. at the beginning of this anecdote. 148 . Mr.

in close correspondence with him—were the distinguished person to whom it had been affectionately addressed. I remember rather profanely wondering whether the ultimate production could possibly keep at the pitch. He had been turning it round when I came down on him. in the garden. and this familiar statement of it. drop a final sovereign into the tray. the flushed fairness. so that one morning when. before his illness. a very prejudiced critic.Henry James CHAPTER III I WAS FRANKLY. It was the written scheme of another book—something put aside long ago. The idea he now communicated had all the freshness. and it had grown magnificently under this second hand. The theme I thought singularly rich. weighing mounds of coin. it might have passed for a great gossiping eloquent letter—the overflow into talk of an artist’s amorous plan. at any rate. but that he had lately taken out again to reconsider. But when he had tossed the last bright word after the others. 149 . my great man had offered to read me something I quite held my breath as I listened. at the end of three days. was really. made me feel as if I were. for the advantage of posterity. I knew a sudden prudent alarm. of the conception untouched and untried: it was Venus rising from the sea and before the airs had blown upon her. quite the strongest he had yet treated. Loose liberal confident. It was a high distinction simply to be told such things. as I had seen cashiers in banks. full too of fine maturities. in summarised splendour. I had never been so throbbingly present at such an unveiling. His reading of the fond epistle. a mine of gold. a precious independent work.

alluding with a laugh to the wonder of my young admiration and the narrow limits of his little provincial home. But. You think of more and more all the while. We had both got up. “If I weren’t better I shouldn’t have thought of that!” He flourished his script in his hand. but to use it. as you were telling 150 . The great thing is now to keep on my feet. his convalescence slow.The Death of the Lion “My dear master. as I now recall their expression. he applied to the flame of his match. “I don’t want to be discouraging. quickened as by this clearer air. “Time isn’t what I’ve lacked hitherto: the question hasn’t been to find it. a great hole—but I dare say there would have been a hole at any rate. how. but what time it will take. as an encircling medium. after all. “I’m sure that during the months you lay here in pain you had visitations sublime. “It isn’t as if I weren’t all right. while it lasted.” “Oh if you weren’t all right I wouldn’t look at you!” I tenderly said.” Neil Paraday looked at me with eyes—such pleasant eyes as he had—in which. so respectable.” “That’s exactly what I mean. I had taken a fresh one. too. if you’ll pardon my familiarity. I seem to have seen a dim imagination of his fate. You thought of a thousand things. all the same. what perfect conditions! Oh for a lone isle in a tepid sea!” “Isn’t this practically a lone isle. are you going to do it? It’s infinitely noble. That’s what makes you. what assured. and aren’t you. thank God. which with an intenser smile. and his illness had been cruel. The earth we tread has more pockets than a billiard-table. and he had lighted a cigarette. Of course my illness made. you’re better! Thank God. tepid enough?” he asked. He was fifty years old. what patience and independence. but that’s not true. At a time when so many people are spent you come into your second wind. you’re not. by way of answer to my exclamation.” I returned.

taken Mrs. some card or note. and almost anything that does that’s horrible. with a timorous “Sherry. on a tray. for the book’s verily a masterpiece. there’s nothing so safe. and the woman—the second London post had come in—had placed my letters and a newspaper on a bench.” At this moment the parlour-maid appeared in the door that opened from the garden: Paraday lived at no great cost. The Empire of that morning. from whom he had succeeded in separating without redundancy of legend. One never knows what a living artist may do—one has mourned so many. He now turned to speak to the maid. ‘We are happy to announce that Mr. You must be as dead as you can. The idea of his security became supremely dear to me. let us hope. the celebrated author. and I asked myself if I were the same young man who had come down a few days before to scatter him to the four winds. who offered him. which were a brief business. I sat down there to the letters. and the frisk of petticoats. one must make the worst of it. I wandered to the end of the precinct. agitated. is again in the enjoyment of excellent health. However. But couldn’t you bear even to see I was dying or dead?” my host enquired. ‘successful. excited.’ Somehow I shouldn’t like to see it. sir?” was about his modest mahogany. in London.’ as the newspapers say. Paraday down to dinner.” “You won’t see it. while. Paraday.’ If you weren’t a failure what would be the use of trying? That’s my one reserve on the subject of your recovery—that it makes you ‘score. It was the journal of highest renown. He allowed half his income to his wife. “Dead—passe encore. and then. took the paper from its envelope. It 151 .Henry James me yesterday. When I retraced my steps he had gone into the house. I had a general faith in his having behaved well. without heeding the address. I’m not in the least celebrated—my obscurity protects me. It looks well in the newspapers. and I had once.” “Don’t I meet that condition in having just published a book?” “Adequately.

my twinkling tapers and my flowers. already aware of it. It had knocked down. waked up a national glory. His new book. as it were. presenting Neil Paraday to the human race. the fifth from his hand. I instantly divined that The Empire had spoken of him. and it was an immense convenience he was there. my little customary altar. all was different. and I’ve not forgotten the odd little shock of the circumstance. fired. as if on the birth of a prince. The big blundering newspaper had discovered him. he had taken rank at a bound. It checked all eagerness and made me drop the paper a moment. What all this meant rolled over me. and now he was proclaimed and anointed and crowned. it was a “leader. a review. The guns had been booming these three hours in the house without our suspecting them. The article was “epoch-making.” the last of three. and.The Death of the Lion regularly came to Paraday. but I remembered that neither of us had yet looked at the copy already delivered. In a flash. Pinhorn. His place was assigned him as publicly as if a fat usher with a wand had pointed to the topmost chair. a salute of a whole column. When Neil Paraday should come out of the house he would come out a con152 . Of course. higher and higher. the next minute the voice of The Empire was in my ears. This one had a great mark on the “editorial” page. however. the tremendous wave I speak of had swept something away. between the watching faces and the envious sounds—away up to the dais and the throne. The article wasn’t. and The Empire. he was to pass up and still up. somehow. As I sat there conscious of a palpitation I think I had a vision of what was to be. uncrumpling the wrapper. I suppose. A national glory was needed. had been but a day or two out. breaking. I thanked heaven.” a landmark in his life. and I fear I grew a little faint— it meant so much more than I could say “yea” to on the spot. I had also a vision of the letter I would presently address to Mr. with Mr. and had reared itself into the likeness of a temple vast and bare. I saw it to be directed to my host and stamped with the name of his publishers. Pinhorn.

That was what had happened: the poor man was to be squeezed into his horrible age.Henry James temporary. I felt as if he had been overtaken on the crest of the hill and brought back to the city. A little more and he would have dipped down the short cut to posterity and escaped. 153 .

as if he had been told he had been snoring. and I felt as if Paraday and I were tossing terrified under his bows.” he heavily observed.” Mr.” he smiled.” our visitor 154 . “I hadn’t the least idea of it. A great interest is naturally felt in Mr. Morrow. might have been a policeman. I saw his momentum was irresistible. agreeably. for beside him walked a stout man with a big black beard. He had begun to pull off his gloves. “I was confident that I should be the first in the field. Paraday’s surroundings.The Death of the Lion CHAPTER IV WHEN HE CAME OUT it was exactly as if he had been in custody. “I represent. I thought. looking. through his glasses: they suggested the electric headlights of some monstrous modem ship. who. which were violently new. “This is Mr. and to look encouragingly round the little garden. “Already?” I cried with a sort of sense that my friend had fled to me for protection. Morrow remarked to me.” I winced as I remembered that this was exactly what I myself had wanted. Morrow glared. rather white: “he wants to publish heaven knows what about me. Mr. “That’s so very interesting—it’s something to start with. and in whom at a second glance I recognised the highest contemporary enterprise. “I find he hasn’t read the article in The Empire.” said Paraday.” said Paraday. save that he wore spectacles. As a “surrounding” I felt how I myself had already been taken in. I was a little fish in the stomach of a bigger one.

and while Mr. whose most prominent department. isn’t it?—and conve155 . Not because I had brought my mind back.Henry James continued. to betray. “Oh yes. “a syndicate of influential journals. Morrow so settled himself I felt he had taken official possession and that there was no undoing it. In addition to my connexion with the syndicate just mentioned I hold a particular commission from The Tatler. Morrow. the sunny stillness took no pity. ‘Smatter and Chatter’—I dare say you’ve often enjoyed it—attracts such attention. performed within the minute a great distant revolution. with the confidence of Guy Walsingham. One had heard of unfortunate people’s having “a man in the house. I may say—are in peculiar sympathy with Mr.” Neil Paraday had dropped on the garden-bench and sat there at once detached and confounded. no less than thirtyseven. I was honoured only last week. I saw just how emphatic I should make my rejoinder to Mr.’ She pronounced herself thoroughly pleased with my sketch of her method.” and this was just what we had. he looked hard at a bare spot in the lawn. I must remain as long as possible to save. during which we seemed to acknowledge in the only way that was possible the presence of universal fate. His movement had been interpreted by his visitor as an invitation to sink sympathetically into a wicker chair that stood hard by. the brilliant author of ‘Obsessions. and my thought. she went so far as to say that I had made her genius more comprehensible even to herself. as I was sure Paraday’s was doing. They would greatly appreciate any expression of his views on the subject of the art he so nobly exemplifies. like Mr. There was a silence of a moment. a mere pseudonym—rather pretty. as if with an anxiety that had suddenly made him grave. and that having come. whose public—whose publics. Paraday’s line of thought. as a representative of The Tatler. Pinhorn. I presently enquired with gloomy irrelevance if Guy Walsingham were a woman. but because our visitors last words were in my ear.

Have you peeped into ‘Obsessions’?” Mr. as I found poor Paraday. Morrow continued sociably to our companion.The Death of the Lion nient. next week. Paraday holds with the good old proprieties—I see!” And thinking of the thirty-seven influential journals. to save my friend the trouble: “Dear no—he hasn’t read it. His visitor paid no heed to his withdrawal. “There’s no point on which distinguished views are so acceptable as on this question—raised perhaps more strikingly than ever by Guy Walsingham—of the permissibility of the larger latitude. still absent. the same as Guy Walsingham’s. which. and I could imagine that he had already got his “heads. got up nervously and walked away. takes the ground. precisely in connexion with it. while our companion. he was a man of resources—he only needed to be on the spot. He had pocketed the whole poor place while Paraday and I were wool-gathering. I gather. but men are more naturally indelicate. helplessly assisting at the promulgation of this ineptitude. “Mr. Paraday glanced at ‘The Other Way Round’?” Mr. that the larger 156 . Morrow. he at first kept slightly behind him. I found myself. still silent. Morrow as well as any other.” His system. author of ‘The Other Way Round.’ would look a little odd. It was the psychological moment. “Things that are too far over the fence. I took on myself to repudiate the supposition. it determined the appearance of his note-book. Morrow now frankly appealed to me. but opened out the note-book with a more fatherly pat. you know.’ which everybody’s talking about. Has Mr. remote. Imperturbably bland. Paraday. however. as if he hadn’t heard the question: a form of intercourse that appeared to suit the cheerful Mr. for a lady who goes in for the larger latitude. ‘Obsessions. at any rate. by Miss So-and-so. made no answer. “Dora Forbes. with Dora Forbes. He doesn’t read such things!” I unwarily added. eh?” I was indeed a godsend to Mr. I’ve an appointment. even as the dentist approaching his victim keeps the horrible forceps. was justified by the inevitability with which I replied.

might suggest to Mr. isn’t it?—and there’s every prospect of its being widely imitated. without catching the allusion. Of course his sex makes him a less prejudiced witness. His young friend might be trusted to answer for him. A great deal of interest is felt in his acting on that idea—which is clever. Paraday—from the point of view of his sex. pleading that. Morrow didn’t expect great things even of his young friend. you know— would go right round the globe. Morrow had a subtle smile. none the less. My interlocutor’s pencil was poised. my private responsibility great. But when I explained that I alluded to Dora Forbes in person he informed me.Henry James latitude has simply got to come. But the poor man. looked at Neil Paraday with an anxious eye. at this moment. Paraday. greatly wondering if he were doomed to be ill again. He takes the line that we haven’t got to face it?” I was bewildered: it sounded somehow as if there were three sexes. and only found presence of mind to say: “Is this Miss Forbes a gentleman?” Mr. though greatly honoured by his visitor’s interest. but Paraday’s own kind face met his question reassur157 . he suddenly felt unwell and should have to take leave of him—have to go and lie down and keep quiet. but he hoped Mr. the bid for success under a lady’s name. But an authoritative word from Mr.” Our host at this moment joined us again. He holds that it has got to be squarely faced. I simply sat staring. His young friend. “He goes in for the slight mystification because the ladies are such popular favourites. Morrow was for a moment as confused as myself. “It wouldn’t be ‘Miss’—there’s a wife!” “I mean is she a man?” “The wife?”—Mr. and Mr. with visible amusement at my being so out of it. Morrow remarked invitingly that he should be happy to make a note of any observation the movement in question. excused himself. that this was the “pen-name” of an indubitable male—he had a big red moustache.

Pinhorn.The Death of the Lion ingly.” Getting newspaper-men out of the house was odd business for an emissary of Mr. and I was so exhilarated by the idea of it that I called after him as he left us: “Read the article in The Empire and you’ll soon be all right!” 158 . seemed to say in a glance intelligible enough: “Oh I’m not ill. but I’m scared: get him out of the house as quietly as possible.

Morrow with the two volumes of Paraday’s new book. but if we could talk things over right there where he sits I feel as if I should get the keynote. but there must be more to see—his study. his literary sanctum. Dora Forbes showed me all his table-drawers. Morrow ejaculated.” I had no wish whatever to be rude to Mr. I was much too initiated not to tend to more diplomacy. the little things he has about. The artist’s 159 .Henry James CHAPTER V “DELICIOUS MY HAVING come down to tell him of it!” Mr. “His life’s here. and I entertained an insurmountable. “I was shown into the drawing-room. but I had a quick inspiration. “and I’m so full of this admirable thing that I can’t talk of anything else. He wouldn’t be lying down on his study-table? There’s a great interest always felt in the scene of an author’s labours. dropping again into his chair. whence I in three minutes reappeared before Mr. from which. an almost superstitious objection to his crossing the threshold of my friend’s little lonely shabby consecrated workshop. however.” I said. and almost jammed my hand into one into which I made a dash! I don’t ask that of you. he the next moment eagerly rose. no—we shan’t get at his life that way.” I went on. “The way to get at his life is to—But wait a moment!” I broke off and went quickly into the house. “No. “My cab was at the door twenty minutes after The Empire had been laid on my breakfast-table. Morrow. or other domestic objects and features. Now what have you got for me?” he continued. Sometimes we’re favoured with very delightful peeps.

” “Heaven forbid I should take you for anything so dreadful! You came down to perform a little act of sympathy. You’ll of course have perceived for yourself that one scarcely does read Neil Paraday till one reads him aloud. whom I had forced again into his chair.” Mr. It tells you with a perfection that seems to me quite final all the author thinks. about the advent of the ‘larger latitude. my dear sir? Had you exhausted it when you came down here? It seems to me in our time almost wholly neglected. Morrow. “Everywhere—in the whole treatment of his case. What he has to tell us he tells us with this perfection. Take up your book again and let me listen. and this is the place to observe him. did I. disengage the answer—those are the real acts of homage. This last book of Mr. “Ah but you mustn’t take me for a reviewer. Morrow. while you pay it 160 .The Death of the Lion life’s his work. Morrow. after a minute. tossed the book away. I may confide to you. Paraday’s is full of revelations. the best interviewer is the best reader. Let us perform our little act together. and something should surely be done to restore its ruined credit. “The only kind that count. Extract the opinion. Have you exhausted it. for instance. and so. These pages overflow with the testimony we want: let us read them and taste them and interpret them. My dear sir. who had picked up the second volume and was insincerely thumbing it. and with such pathetic confidence. and it’s only when you expose it confidently to that test that you really get near his style.” Mr. Morrow good-humouredly protested. “Do you mean to say that no other source of information should be open to us?” “None other till this particular one—by far the most copious— has been quite exhausted. It’s the course to which the artist himself at every step.’” “Where does it do that?” asked Mr.” “Revelations?” panted Mr. refers us. he gives out to the ear an extraordinary full tone.

Presently his eyes fell on the manuscript from which Paraday had been reading to me and which still lay on the bench. Morrow quitted me abruptly. looked pregnant. compose yourself to attention while I produce for you—I think I can!—this scarcely less admirable ninth. Mr. as if he had really carried something off with him. and which at any rate left Mr. or even impertinent. Morrow gave me a straight look which was as hard as a blow between the eyes. and then Mr. So he 161 . Even the poor roses were common kinds. projecting hungrily all over the place the big transparency of his mask. it’s a plan—a secret.Henry James out. watching his broad back recede. and a question had formed itself in his mind which reached my sense as distinctly as if he had uttered it: “What sort of a damned fool are you?” Then he got up. As my own followed them I saw it looked promising. He went to the back door of the house. to that wonderful fifteenth chapter. Morrow made another movement. An instant later Mr. but it affected me as the translated impulse of the desire to lay hands on the manuscript. as if it gently throbbed with the life the reader had given it. the one he had come out from. “What’s that?” “Oh. Morrow indulged in a nod at it and a vague thrust of his umbrella. I may have been mistaken.” Mr. he had turned rather red. gathering together his hat and gloves. buttoning his coat. and this led me to indulge in a quick anticipatory grab which may very well have seemed ungraceful. Paraday’s two admirers very erect. If you feel you can’t do it justice. but on trying the handle he appeared to find it fastened. To reassure myself. glaring at each other while one of them held a bundle of papers well behind him.” “A secret!” There was an instant’s silence. It seemed to flare over Fleet Street and somehow made the actual spot distressingly humble: there was so little for it to feed on unless he counted the blisters of our stucco or saw his way to do something with the roses. I only grasped my manuscript the tighter.

Paraday’s “Home-life. and by listening intently enough I could presently hear the outer gate close behind him with a bang.The Death of the Lion passed round into the front garden. Morrow’s own expression. I thought again of the thirty-seven influential journals and wondered what would be his revenge.” and on the wings of the thirty-seven influential journals it went. I hasten to add that he was magnanimous: which was just the most dreadful thing he could have been. right round the globe. The Tatler published a charming chatty familiar account of Mr. 162 . to use Mr.

none the less. but he had the finest conception of being let alone that I’ve ever met.” His momentary terror had been real. he took his profit where it seemed most to crowd on him. London closed the parenthesis and exhibited him in rela163 . His formula had been found—he was a “revelation. He once told me that he had had no personal life to speak of since his fortieth year. my glorified friend came up to town. Observation too was a kind of work and experience a kind of success. while the phantasmagoric town was probably after all less of a battlefield than the haunted study. but I must dine with them first—they’ll find out why when they’ve time. “and not many have read three pages that I’ve written.Henry James CHAPTER VI A WEEK LATER. just as mine had been—the overclouding of his passionate desire to be left to finish his work.” he said to me. but had had more than was good for him before. For the time. but the fatigue had the merit of being a new sort.” It was rather rude justice perhaps. no exaltation more complete. where. having in his pocket the portable sophistries about the nature of the artist’s task. He was far from unsociable. His book sold but moderately. No advancement was ever more rapid. though the article in The Empire had done unwonted wonders for it. London dinners were all material and London ladies were fruitful toil. early in May. no bewilderment more teachable. but he circulated in person to a measure that the libraries might well have envied. it may be veraciously recorded he was the king of the beasts of the year. “No one has the faintest conception of what I’m trying for.

The monastic life. It was evidently all right. one of the most inevitable of these being that in which he found himself to Mrs.The Death of the Lion tions. was tremendous fun. Say what one would. I had found him on the sofa in his study. on occasions when the crush is great. and nothing could exceed the confused apprehensions it excited in me. It was difficult to say what she conduced to but circulation. his old ideal even had to be changed. the result of the agitation wrought in him by this forcing open of a new period. success was a complication and recognition had to be reciprocal. He had consented for a time to be of india-rubber. I had an instinctive fear of her which I tried without effect to conceal from her victim. That pretext of indisposition had not in the least been meant as a snub to the envoy of The Tatler— he had gone to lie down in very truth. His old programme. the pious illumination of the missal in the convent cell were things of the gathered 164 . the animals rub shoulders freely with the spectators and the lions sit down for whole evenings with the lambs. for her conscience was that of a romping child. and all I asked of her for our tractable friend was not to do him to death. In this establishment. Paraday heeded it. but which I let her notice with perfect impunity. but I should be glad when it was well over. She was constructed of steel and leather. wife of the boundless brewer and proprietress of the universal menagerie. I had a special fear—the impression was ineffaceable of the hour when. considered that she had secured a prime attraction. Nothing could exceed her enthusiasm over her capture. It had been ominously clear to me from the first that in Neil Paraday this lady. a creature of almost heraldic oddity. but she never did. Weeks Wimbush. who. as all the world agreed. after Mr. He had felt a pang of his old pain. She was a blind violent force to which I could attach no more idea of responsibility than to the creaking of a sign in the wind. as everybody knows. Morrow’s departure. but my thoughts were fixed on the day he should resume his shape or at least get back into his box.

postponing the pleasure of seeing how. and I doubt. my part of which was that I should make it my business to take care of him. point the moral of my sweet solicitude. if I shall ever again know the intensity of joy with which I felt that in so good a cause I was willing to make myself odious.” “And in the dining-room?” “A young lady. sir—waiting: I think a foreigner. On which days. the lady of the barouche would. sir? Mrs. Pinhorn) because I had nothing. a barouche and a smart hansom. Weeks Wimbush) I should represent the interest in his work—or otherwise expressed in his absence. Two vehicles. and had so much sympathy with my own zeal for it that she was the author of pleasing fictions on the subject of what my devotion had led me to give up. upstairs. were drawn up before the house. on my arrival.Henry James past. who had come to the door in answer to my knock. It didn’t engender despair. but at least it required adjustment. Wimbush. and all I had as yet achieved was to find 165 . Let whoever would represent the interest in his presence (I must have had a mystical prevision of Mrs. “In the drawing-room. No one took such an interest as herself in his doing only what was good for him. however. These two interests were in their essence opposed. at such a crisis. I gave up nothing (I don’t count Mr. and she was always on the spot to see that he did it. would have rushed round immediately after her own repast. She made appointments with him to discuss the best means of economising his time and protecting his privacy. didn’t the dear man lunch out? Mrs. I went into the dining-room first.” It was three o’clock. Weeks Wimbush. Before I left him on that occasion we had passed a bargain. as youth is fleeting. One day in Sloane Street I found myself questioning Paraday’s landlord. and on days when Paraday didn’t lunch out he attached a value to these appropriated hours. She further made his health her special business.

166 . but I had only got domesticated and wedged.The Death of the Lion myself also in the menagerie. so that I could do little more for him than exchange with him over people’s heads looks of intense but futile intelligence. I had dashed in to save my friend.

” “How do you know the sort I mean?” My interlocutress had blushed and smiled. I could only disclose my dread of it. showily bound and full of autographs of price.” “Yes. and in her lap a big volume. together with an expression that played among her pretty features like a breeze among flowers. of still more faded “thoughts.” I reflected. blue eyes. you know.” “Very true. Putting her book on the table she showed me a massive album.” I don’t know whether it was this that told me she was American.” I didn’t add that I had convinced him he ought to. “the sort of letter you mean goes straight into the fire. but I’m prepared to wait all day. I’ve written three times. for the propensity to wait all day is not in general characteristic of her race. but he doesn’t answer. and in a moment she added: “I don’t believe he gets many like them!” “I’m sure they’re beautiful. but he burns without reading. “I’ve come for his autograph. The collection of faded notes. 167 .” of quotations. black hair. I was enlightened probably not so much by the spirit of the utterance as by some quality of its sound. represented a formidable purpose.” she said when I had explained to her that I was under bonds to see people for him when he was occupied. signatures. platitudes. Paraday by letter. At any rate I saw she had an individual patience and a lovely frock.Henry James CHAPTER VII THE YOUNG LADY in the dining-room had a brave face. “Most people apply to Mr. “I’ve been waiting half an hour.

just as circumstances had made Neil Paraday.” She was interesting. Paraday should write his name in it. her errand. “All alone?” “I don’t see that that’s exactly your business. As a trick of this bold and sensitive girl. I foresaw at that moment that it would make her my peculiar charge. natural protectors—could conceive even she had inherited money. that her net had all the same caught many a big fish. it became romantic—a part of the general romance of her freedom. She would be another person to look after. She appeared to have had fruitful 168 . I was at a pass of my own fortunes when keeping hansoms at doors seemed to me pure swagger. but somehow I had never yet taken my duty to the great author so seriously. “Enough to have come from America for the purpose.” I stared. so that one’s honour would be concerned in guiding her straight. These things became clearer to me later on. “Do you burn without reading too?”—in answer to which I assured her that if she’d trust me with her repository I’d see that Mr. but it wouldn’t make me see him. She considered a little.The Death of the Lion “Isn’t he then in danger of burning things of importance?” “He would perhaps be so if distinguished men hadn’t an infallible nose for nonsense. her innocence. but if it will make me more seductive I’ll confess that I’m quite by myself. as I turned the pages of her volume. at the instant I had scepticism enough to observe to her. “That’s very well.” “Do you want very much to see him?” It seemed ungracious to catechise so charming a creature. however. I could imagine she had lost parents.” She looked at me a moment—her face was sweet and gay. I had to come alone or not come at all. The confidence of young Americans was notorious. and I speedily arrived at a conviction that no impulse could have been more generous than the impulse that had operated here.

and I felt the crisis demand all my lucidity. all my wisdom. The “girl-friend. It wasn’t even her own. I’m a student of physiognomy. and even such faces. There’s no author about whom I’m in such a state as I’m in about Neil Paraday. but she hastened to assure me that this was the first time she had brought it out. Paraday it had simply been a pretext.” I presently returned. She couldn’t have worried George Washington and Friedrich Schiller and Hannah More.” “Permit me to remark then. and as beguiling. “that you’ve a passion for Mr. she was responsible for none of its treasures. in Europe. She didn’t really care a straw that he should write his name. to pick up more autographs: she thought they might like to see.” I pursued. there were people moreover whose signatures she had presumably secured without a personal interview. Do you mean. in what company they would be. what she did want was to look straight into his face. the immortal names. It belonged to a girl-friend in America. a young lady in a western city. I demurred a little. Thus it was that my informant had encumbered herself with the ponderous tome. the curious errand. They’ve completely taken hold of me. For her visit to Mr. Paraday’s books?” “They’ve been everything to me and a little more beside—I know them by heart. to my surprise. This young lady had insisted on her bringing it. as some tale in the Arabian Nights. all made a story as strange to me. “And why do you require to do that?” “Because I just love him!” Before I could recover from the agitating effect of this crystal ring my companion had continued: “Hasn’t there ever been any face that you’ve wanted to look into?” How could I tell her so soon how much I appreciated the opportunity of looking into hers? I could only assent in general to the proposition that there were certainly for every one such yearnings.” 169 . “Oh yes.Henry James access to the great ones of the earth. by throwing up the album without a pang.” the western city. She met this argument. the idyllic faith. “that you’re one of the right sort.

hasn’t he any personal charm?” The girl was terrible and laughable in her bright directness. If she was ready for one it was only waiting for her. “He hasn’t any disfigurement?” “Nothing to speak of!” “Do you mean that social engagements interfere with his occupations?” “That but feebly expresses it. “Why. Know him only by what’s best in him and spare him for the same sweet sake. badgered.” 170 .” She turned it over. “Ah that dreadful word ‘personally’!” I wailed. I mean you’re one of those to whom an appeal can be made. and in a moment I mentioned it.” She looked mystified. bothered—he’s pulled to pieces on the pretext of being applauded. People expect him to give them his time. for you women bring it out with murderous effect. “we’re dying of it. When you meet with a genius as fine as this idol of ours let him off the dreary duty of being a personality as well.” “An appeal?” Her face lighted as if with the chance of some great sacrifice. sir—what’s the matter with him?” “The matter with him is that if he doesn’t look out people will eat a great hole in his life.The Death of the Lion “One of the enthusiasts? Of course I am!” “Oh there are enthusiasts who are quite of the wrong. and the result of her reflexion on what I had just said was to make her suddenly break out: “Look here. That will be far better. “Give up this crude purpose of seeing him! Go away without it. who wouldn’t themselves give five shillings for one of his books. then turned visibly pale. his golden time.” “So that he can’t give himself up to his beautiful imagination?” “He’s beset.” My young lady continued to look at me in confusion and mistrust.

“how to perform an act of homage really sublime?” Then as she hung on my words: “Succeed in never seeing him at all!” “Never at all?”—she suppressed a shriek for it.” She made no response to this. Do you want to know. I followed up my advantage. ten pages he ever wrote. and who yet hasn’t read.” My visitor’s wide eyes grew tenderer. “The more you get into his writings the less you’ll want to. pity. on which she presently laid her hands as if to take it away. credulity. “It’s the first time I was ever called crude!” she laughed. warming to my idea. Do you want to know how to show a superlative consideration? Simply avoid him.” “Avoid him?” she despairingly breathed.Henry James “Five? I’d give five thousand!” “Give your sympathy—give your forbearance. I’m sure. cultivate him at a distance and secretly appropriate his message.” “Why it’s too bad!” the girl exclaimed with the face of an angel. “I think I see what you mean. “Then how does she talk—?” “Without ceasing. I was afterwards happy to remember that she must have gathered from my face the liveliness of my interest in herself.” She looked at me without resentment or spite. “I did use to say out West that they might write a little less for autographs—to all the great poets. “Don’t force him to have to take account of you. and her thoughtful eyes fell on the big album. admire him in silence. you know—and study the thoughts and style a little more. “There’s a lady with him now who’s a terrible complication. and at the truth I had put before her with candour. and you’ll be immensely sustained by the thought of the good you’re doing him.” I continued. but I should be delighted if you’d let me come to see you—to explain it better.” “Oh I express it badly.” 171 . I only mention her as a single case. Two-thirds of those who approach him only do it to advertise themselves.

and though I wanted her to succeed in not seeing Neil Paraday I wanted her also.The Death of the Lion “What do they care for the thoughts and style? They didn’t even understand you. was still saving our friend in her own way. I wouldn’t want him to be lonely!” This time she rose in earnest. As Mrs. She eased the situation off. Weeks Wimbush. upstairs. to remain in the house. by the charming quaintness with which she finally said: “Well. I was at any rate far from desiring to hustle her off. and I dare say that you by no means make me out. I’m not sure. inconsequently. Sinking again into her chair to listen she showed a deep interest in the anecdote. Then thinking it over gravely she returned with her odd intonation: “Yes. the little incident of my having gone down into the country for a profane purpose and been converted on the spot to holiness.” I added. however. and I wasn’t so prepared with an effective attenuation as I could have wished. you’ll find my address somewhere in it on a paper!” she sighed all resignedly at the door. I asked my young lady to let me briefly relate.” She had got up to go. I assured her I’d bring it back to her myself. 172 . but you do see him!” I had to admit that this was the case. Paraday. but I persuaded her to let me keep the album to show Mr. in illustration of my point. “Well. “that I do myself.

this was the system that had. as this particular flight was difficult. I may briefly declare. to supply her with this information. she represented herself as convinced that. she appreciated the fact that my visits kept her up. weaned her. and the generous creature’s sacrifice was fed by our communion. quite agreeing with him moreover as to the wisdom of getting rid with equal promptitude of the book itself.” I constantly repeated. but I invited Mr. I told him how I had got rid of the strange girl who had brought it— her ominous name was Miss Hurter and she lived at an hotel. “Read him. but she wrote to me and I went again. She positively desired to do something sublime for him. though indeed I could see that. the more she thought of it. while. read him— that will be an education in decency. with that idea of mine about the act of homage: it had ended by filling her with a generous rapture. seeking him in his works even as God in nature. This was why I carried it to Albemarle Street no later than on the morrow. There were twenty selfish women about 173 . I had it on my conscience to keep her up: I neglected nothing that would contribute to it. as she expressed it. She had been immensely taken.Henry James CHAPTER VIII I BLUSH TO CONFESS IT. according to my assurance. Paraday that very day to transcribe into the album one of his most characteristic passages. We read him together when I could find time. and her conception of our cherished author’s independence became at last as fine as his very own. she wanted so much to hear more about Neil Paraday. I failed to find her at home. I returned repeatedly.

Nothing indeed would now have induced her even to look at the object of her admiration. but I was deterred by the reflexion that there were questions more relevant to his happiness. she instantly left the room by another door and then straightway quitted the house. all the rest of the evening. Milsom had invited me to their box—I attempted to point Mr. their letters. There was a moment when I felt it my duty to mention them to Neil Paraday. Paraday. came over from Paris. I thanked our stars that none had been presented to Mr. as they called it. by the end of the season. To torment her tenderly I pressed the glass upon her. Such conditions could never all come back.The Death of the Lion whom I told her and who stirred her to a beautiful rage. These tears. Something told me there was no security but in his doing so before the new factor. were reduced to a single one—the question of reconstituting so far as might be possible the conditions under which he had produced his best work. hearing his name announced at a party. on my making his acquaintance. I may remark. Paraday out to her in the stalls. and some of these occasions enabled Fanny Hurter to perform. Milsom. and the two ladies began to present. but some perhaps were not beyond recall. Mrs. for there was a new one that took up too much place. telling her how wonderfully near it brought our friend’s handsome head. should 174 . touching feats of submission. These question indeed. Once. letting me see that tears had gathered in her eyes. Pinhorn’s. read me that admirable sketch of. They received invitations and dined out. produced an effect on me of which the end is not yet. presented. On this she asked her sister to change places with her and. as we used to say at Mr. I wanted above all things to see him sit down to the subject he had. for consistency’s sake. By way of answer she simply looked at me in charged silence. Immediately after my first visit her sister. At another time when I was at the opera with them—Mrs. her inspired back to the house. while that lady devoured the great man through a powerful glass.

There would even not be wanting critics to declare. it was the same ingenuous assumption that he would rejoice in the repercussion. for the faithful. Poor Paraday. Pinhorn’s. Bounder and Miss Braby. Rumble’s picture. Wimbush into the mouth of another cannon. Rumble’s studio was a circus in which the man of the hour. A young artist in whom she was intensely interested. My impatience for the structure. the Vandyke up to date. and still more the woman. as we also used to say at Mr. he was the reporter on canvas. Mr. accepting with characteristic good-humour his confidential hint that to figure in his show was not so much a consequence as a cause of immortality. later on. I found my distracted friend had been stuffed by Mrs. From Mrs. Rumble. Guy Walsingham and Dora Forbes proclaimed in chorus from the same pictured walls that no one had yet got ahead of him. was to be the first to perch on the shoulders of renown. in return. that the plan was a thing to be more thankful for than the structure to have been reared on it. He had on coming up to town begun to sit for his portrait to a young painter. none the less. Paraday had been promptly caught and saddled. Mr. and who had no connexion with Mr. leaped through the hoops of his showy frames almost as electrically as they burst into telegrams and “specials. 175 . and there was one roaring year in which Mrs. There were moments when I fancied I might have had more patience with them if they hadn’t been so fatally benevolent. and had my bottled resentment ready when.” He pranced into the exhibitions on their back. Rumble. Wimbush to the last “representative” who called to ascertain his twelve favourite dishes.Henry James render the problem incalculable. was to show how far he could make him go. might well become an object of adoration. grew and grew with the interruptions. a tiny volume which. I hated at all events Mr. It only half-reassured me that the sketch itself was so copious and so eloquent that even at the worst there would be the making of a small but complete book. whose little game. I foresaw.

The people I was perhaps angriest with were the editors of magazines who had introduced what they called new features. He filled his lungs. and another over the question of a certain week. I intimated that he was too unwell for hospitality without a nuance. I had a battle with Mrs. The only thing he said to me was that he believed a comfortable attack of something or other would set him up: it would put out of the question everything but the exemptions he prized. I’m afraid I shall have presented him as a martyr in a very small cause if I fail to explain that he surrendered himself much more liberally than I surrendered him. I begged he might rather take the time in some restorative way. and her establishment was a huge machine in which the tiniest and the biggest wheels went round to the same treadle. of ponderous parties. for the most part. He hadn’t told me he was ill again that he had had a warning. hung over his August. at the end of July. I protested against this visit. so aware were they that the newest feature of all would be to make him grind their axes by contributing his views on vital topics and taking part in the periodical prattle about the future of fiction. for caresses without imagination. but I hadn’t needed this. for I found his reticence his worst symptom. Wimbush over the artist she protected. I made sure that before I should have done with him there would scarcely be a current form of words left me to be sick of. I had a scene with her in which I tried to express that the function of such a man was to exercise his genius—not to serve as a hoarding for pictorial posters. She played her victims against each other with admirable ingenuity. with the comedy of his queer fate: the tragedy was in the spectacles through which 176 . that Mr. A sultry air of promises. but meanwhile I could make surer still of my animosity to bustling ladies for whom he drew the water that irrigated their social flower-beds. Paraday appeared to have contracted to spend with her in the country. and he would greatly profit by the interval of rest.The Death of the Lion was naturally to write something somewhere about the young artist.

now on a visit to England. Wimbush averred. and every one was counting on it. Paraday’s admirers. “Oh all sorts of things!” I wondered if this were an imperfect recollection or only a perfect fib. I was worsted in my encounters. Mrs. Wimbush reminded me that he had again and again given her. He was conscious of inconvenience. Mrs. I don’t think her august presence had had to do with Paraday’s consenting to go.Henry James I chose to look. but how could he have heard a mere dirge in the bells of his accession? The sagacity and the jealousy were mine. and she quite understood my unuttered comment on her measure of such things. and his the impressions and the harvest. Mrs. she devoured everything he wrote. This time she might indeed have had a story about what I had given up to be 177 . was the most expensive specimen in the good lady’s collection. but it’s not impossible he had operated as a bait to the illustrious stranger. by telegraph. and wasn’t the dear Princess coming to help her to coddle him? The dear Princess. and for the fraction of a moment she hesitated and coloured. in her gilded cage. the privilege of listening to him. I looked at her a moment. and three days later she invited me. and above all of a great renouncement. and it was on that particular prospect the Princess had set her heart. Of course. For a moment too she met my eyes. to join the party at Prestidge. If he was well enough he was to read them something absolutely fresh. for wasn’t the state of his health the very reason for his coming to her at Prestidge? Wasn’t it precisely at Prestidge that he was to be coddled. Wimbush. the dear Princess most of all. She was so fond of genius in any walk of life. But if she could forget Neil Paraday’s beauties she could of course forget my rudeness. And then he read like an angel. “What has he read to you?” I crudely enquired. The party had been made up for him. and. was of a famous foreign house. Wimbush. as regards Mrs. and was so used to it and understood it so well: she was the greatest of Mr. with her retinue of keepers and feeders.

a young lady whom. 178 . I quitted with reluctance and whom the reminder of what she herself could give up was required to make me quit at all. I addressed from that fine residence several communications to a young lady in London. I confess.The Death of the Lion near the master. It adds to the gratitude I owe her on other grounds that she kindly allows me to transcribe from my letters a few of the passages in which that hateful sojourn is candidly commemorated.

I delight in his nonsense myself. There’s a sociable circle or a confidential couple. I positively feel my own flesh sore from the brass nails in Neil Paraday’s social harness. it gives me an importance that I couldn’t naturally pretend to. and when I next look round the precarious joy has been superseded by the book of life.Henry James CHAPTER IX “I SUPPOSE I OUGHT to enjoy the joke of what’s going on here. in attitudes. and the relinquished volume lies open on its face and as dropped under 179 . I’m made restless by the selfishness of the insincere friend—I want to monopolise Paraday in order that he may push me on.” I wrote. and in the hall I come upon ladies. “but somehow it doesn’t amuse me. To be intimate with him is a feather in my cap. as they mention. bending gracefully over the first volume. Pessimism on the contrary possesses me and cynicism deeply engages. and as my want of gaiety has at last worn out her patience she has given me a glimpse of her shrewd guess. why is it therefore that I grudge these happy folk their artless satisfaction? Mystery of the human heart—abyss of the critical spirit! Mrs. and with whom his talent for talking nonsense has prodigious success. Wimbush thinks she can answer that question. and I seek to deprive him of social refreshment because I fear that meeting more disinterested people may enlighten him as to my real motive. All the disinterested people here are his particular admirers and have been carefully selected as such. I discreetly avert my eyes. There’s supposed to be a copy of his last book in the house. The house is full of people who like him. awfully.

and he tells me it has a peculiarly exhausting effect. Wimbush pushes him again and again into the breach. too. she can have a personal crown. He looks very fagged and has at last confessed to me 180 . Paraday draw it out. I feel as if I ought to ‘tip’ some custode for my glimpse of it. when her husband succeeds. None of the uses I have yet seen him put to infuriate me quite so much. and her opinion on any matter is rusty and heavy and plain—made. to another piece of furniture. that the second volume is lost—has been packed in the bag of some departing guest. Mrs. I’ve a strong impression. He’s perpetually detailed for this job. and yet everybody has the impression that somebody else has read to the end. in the night of ages. You see therefore that the beautiful book plays a great part in our existence. Wimbush delights in her wit and says there’s nothing so charming as to hear Mr. to last and be transmitted. and Mrs. I’m sure it’s rather smudgy about the twentieth page. Somebody else presently finds it and transfers it.The Death of the Lion extreme coercion. with its air of momentary desolation. and the echoes of her education respond awfully to the rash footfall—I mean the casual remark—in the cold Valhalla of her memory. like an institution which goes on from generation to generation or a big building contracted for under a forfeit. and every one’s telling every one where they put it last. She contrives to commit herself extraordinarily little in a great many languages. Why should I take the occasion of such distinguished honours to say that I begin to see deeper into Gustave Flaubert’s doleful refrain about the hatred of literature? I refer you again to the perverse constitution of man. She can’t have a personal taste any more than. She has been told everything in the world and has never perceived anything. “The Princess is a massive lady with the organisation of an athlete and the confusion of tongues of a valet de place. Every one’s asking every one about it all day. Every one’s beginning—at the end of two days—to sidle obsequiously away from her. and is entertained and conversed with in detachments and relays.

however. When I hint that a violent rupture with our hostess would be the best thing in the world for him he gives me to understand that if his reason assents to the proposition his courage hangs woefully back. at the invitation of the Duke. and it has been postponed a day to allow Guy Walsingham to arrive. and several of the company. It’s indeed inveterately against himself that he makes his imagination act. Last night I had some talk with him about going to-day. Wimbush would never forgive him if he should leave her before the Princess has received the last hand. Besides. “To-day’s wet and cold. but he has some reason. that the first lesson of his greatness has been precisely that he can’t do what he likes. He makes no secret of being mortally afraid of her. It’s strange. when she’s so kind! At any rate. into the little supplementary seat of a brougham in which the Princess and our hostess 181 . even against himself. and when I ask what harm she can do him that she hasn’t already done he simply repeats: ‘I’m afraid.’ he said last night. He told me that this is what he would like to do.Henry James that his condition makes him uneasy—has even promised me he’ll go straight home instead of returning to his final engagements in town. Wimbush wants her to hear Mr. Paraday. reminding me. have driven over to luncheon at Bigwood. Mrs. their appetites.’ It sounds dreadfully weak. their motives. ‘only believe that I feel a sort of terror. I saw poor Paraday wedge himself. I’m afraid! Don’t enquire too closely. It appears this eminent lady’s staying at a house a few miles off. which puts him (I should hate it) in the place of others and makes him feel. and he pays for his imagination. What a pity he has such a lot of it! He’s too beastly intelligent. I’d as soon overturn that piece of priceless Sevres as tell her I must go before my date. She’s to come over in a day or two—Mrs. cutting his visit short. so sure am I that he’ll be better as soon as he’s shut up in his lighthouse. by command. their feelings. Wimbush has forcibly annexed her. the famous reading’s still to come off. which means of course that Mrs.

’ Lady Augusta said. Meanwhile Mrs.’ 182 . shines out by contrast. in the midst of all this. and I’ve a foreboding that it’s the noble morsel he read me six weeks ago. all marble and precedence. but from Mrs. it’s for Dora Forbes.’ I asked. is very grand and frigid. I’ve nothing but my acrimony to warm me. I believe. Coming in an hour ago I found Lady Augusta Minch rummaging about the hall. Wimbush. I believe. Bigwood. Wimbush goes by the calendar.’ “‘You bewilder me a little. the temperature goes by the weather. The clear thing is that Mrs. If the front glass isn’t open on his dear old back perhaps he’ll survive. but see what a comfort I find it to scribble to you! I appreciate it—it keeps me warm. and the Princess is easily heated. and I wish him well out of the adventure. Mrs. ‘when Guy Walsingham arrives?’ “‘It’s not for Guy Walsingham they’re waiting now.’ I replied. When I expressed my surprise that he should have bandied about anything so precious (I happen to know it’s his only copy—in the most beautiful hand in all the world) Lady Augusta confessed to me that she hadn’t had it from himself. the weather goes by God knows what. I can’t tell you how much more and more your attitude to him. Wimbush doesn’t guard such a treasure so jealously as she might. I never willingly talk to these people about him.The Death of the Lion were already ensconced. who had wished to give her a glimpse of it as a salve for her not being able to stay and hear it read. When I asked her what she was looking for she said she had mislaid something that Mr. ‘She’s coming. I ascertained in a moment that the article in question is a manuscript. ‘in the age we live in one gets lost among the genders and the pronouns. and have been out under an umbrella to restore my circulation. “‘Is that the piece he’s to read. there are no fires in the house. She says he also must hear him. and is actively wiring to him. early to-morrow. Paraday had lent her. Wimbush has found out about him.

’ “‘I dare say she is—she’s so awfully clever. Paraday’s greatest admirer.Henry James “‘Poor dear.’ said Lady Augusta. “‘I thought she was Mr. and her ladyship wanted to know whether. the author wouldn’t have something else to read that would do just as well. and at this she looked a little disconcerted. I suggested that the ‘man.’ “‘Of course he gave it back to my maid—or else his man did. But what’s the use of being a Princess—‘ “‘If you can’t dissemble your love?’ I asked as Lady Augusta was vague. and I’m hoping 183 . ‘I dare say it’s all right.’ fired with a noble emulation. had perhaps kept the work for his own perusal. Paraday lent her the manuscript to look over. Their questions are too delightful! I declared to Lady Augusta briefly that nothing in the world can ever do so well as the thing that does best. you mean. The piece in question was very long—it would keep them three hours. ‘She didn’t have time.’ “‘And Lord Dorimont went away directly after luncheon. as if it were the morning paper?’ “Lady Augusta stared—my irony was lost on her. I told my maid to give it to Lord Dorimont—or at least to his man. She said at any rate she’d question her maid. They haven’t time to look over a priceless composition. so she gave me a chance first.’ “‘And your chance has only proved a chance to lose it?’ “‘I haven’t lost it. because unfortunately I go tomorrow to Bigwood. I remember now—it was very stupid of me to have forgotten.’ “The conscience of these people is like a summer sea. they’ve only time to kick it about the house. she has the Princess to guard! Mr.’ “‘She spoke. But I added that if the manuscript had gone astray our little circle would have the less of an effort of attention to make. if the thing shouldn’t reappear for the grand occasion appointed by our hostess. “‘Three hours! Oh the Princess will get up!’ said Lady Augusta.

” 184 .The Death of the Lion that when I go down to dinner I shall find the manuscript has been recovered.

To-day he’s in great pain. He came down to dinner. He returns this afternoon. I haven’t yet seen the author of ‘Obsessions. He came back from Bigwood with a chill and.’ but of course I’ve had a moment by myself with the Doctor. and I’m to go back to see the patient at one o’clock. but Lady Augusta Minch was very shy of him.Henry James CHAPTER X “IT HAS NOT BEEN RECOVERED. with the inevitable result that when I returned I found him under arms and flushed and feverish. lay down a while before dinner. I tried to send him to bed and indeed thought I had put him in the way of it. being allowed to have a fire in his room. when he next takes his medicine. though decorated with the rare flower she had brought him for his button-hole. “and I’m moreover much troubled about our friend. Wimbush. Wimbush came up to see him. but he quite refuses to talk about the future.” I wrote early the next day. but after I had gone to dress Mrs. and the Doctor for Paraday also arrived early. I tried to get him to say that our invalid must go straight home—I mean to-morrow or next day. however. Absolute quiet and warmth and the regular administration of an important remedy are the points he mainly insists on. and the advent of ces dames—I mean of Guy Walsingham and Dora Forbes—doesn’t at all console me. for she has consented to his remaining in bed so that he may be all right to-morrow for the listening circle. It does Mrs. It consoles me a little that he certainly won’t be able to read—an exertion he was already more than unfit for. Guy Walsingham’s already on the scene. Lady Augusta went off after 185 .

” Later in the day I informed my correspondent. and by the time the company separated for the night I was sure the larger latitude had been generally accepted. the well-meaning ravages of our appreciative circle I bow my head in submission to some great natural. Before dinner I received a telegram from Lady Augusta Minch. assuring me her first care would be to follow up the lost manuscript. I’ve the worst forebodings. She looked so juvenile and so innocent that if. for she’s a goodnatured woman. for whom indeed I kept a loose diary of the situation. as Mr. I spent most of the day hovering about Neil Paraday’s room. who’s aware of the accident.The Death of the Lion breakfast. Wimbush. ‘So are they all honourable men. but somehow I’m strangely without passion— desperately calm. was a success. that I had made the acquaintance of this celebrity and that she was a pretty little girl who wore her hair in what used to be called a crop. I can see she thinks me a shocking busybody and doesn’t understand my alarm.’ That was precisely what made her give the thing to Lord Dorimont and made Lord Dorimont bag it. Morrow had announced. One would suppose it some thrilling number of the family budget. at Prestidge. Toward evening I became conscious somehow that her superiority was contagious. Lady Augusta promises me to trace the precious object and let me have it through the post by the time Paraday’s well enough to play his part with it. I’m rendered almost indifferent. Mrs. As I consider the unconscious. is much less agitated by it than she would doubtless be were she not for the hour inevitably engrossed with Guy Walsingham. she was resigned to the larger latitude. some universal accident. but she’ll do what she can. her superiority to prejudice must have come to her early. The last evidence is that her maid did give it to his lordship’s valet. I thought of Dora Forbes and felt that he had no time to lose. but it was communicated to me from below that Guy Walsingham. “Lord Dorimont thinks he 186 . What use he has for it God only knows. in fact quite gay (ha-ha!) by the sense of immitigable fate.

Fool that I had been: the thirty-seven influential journals wouldn’t have destroyed it. He was proud of being called to so distinguished a patient. on the morrow. When the nurse arrived she turned me out of the room. whose social gift never shone brighter than in the dry decorum with which she accepted this fizzle in her fireworks. and that. he was to have a nurse. “Le roy est mort—vive le roy”: I was reminded that another great author had already stepped into his shoes. Wimbush.” I did laugh. The Doctor came back. like the money-market or the national honour. her Imperial Highness was constitutionally sensitive. mentioned to me that Guy Walsingham had made a very favourable impression on her Imperial Highness. I’m sure. and it was an immense satisfaction to me to be sure he was wise and interested. a perceptible bustle in the air.Henry James must have left bundle in train—enquire. however.” How could I enquire—if I was to take the word as a command? I was too worried and now too alarmed about Neil Paraday. as I remembered this to be the mystic scroll I had scarcely allowed poor Mr. I should premise that at breakfast the news that our brilliant friend was doing well excited universal complacency. and the Princess graciously remarked that he was only to be commiserated for missing the society of Miss Collop. Morrow to point his umbrella at. on the spot. but he admitted to me that night that my friend was gravely ill. When I came down again after the 187 . they’d only have printed it. and my spirits rose to such cheerfulness that I could almost laugh over Lady Augusta’s second telegram: “Lord Dorimont’s servant been to station—nothing found. There was a certain gladness. what turn his condition would take. which I thought slightly anomalous in a house where a great author lay critically ill. Of course I said nothing to Paraday. On the morrow the dear man was easier. There could be no question of moving him: we must at any rate see first. Indeed I think every one did so. Push enquiries. It was really a relapse. a recrudescence of his old malady. Meanwhile. Mrs. on which I went downstairs.

The new visitor whispered to me that he judged something was going on he oughtn’t to interrupt. Guy Walsingham has just published a work in which amiable people who are not initiated have been pained to see the genius of a sister-novelist held up to unmistakeable ridicule. the disconcerted drop of Miss Collop’s public manner: she must have been in the midst of the larger latitude. he gave an irritated crook to his moustache. In a moment I saw what had happened: the author of “The Other Way Round” had just alighted at the portals of Prestidge. Dora Forbes evidently felt the dilemma. but not so fast as not to hear. when the door of the drawing-room opened. Then he added: “Shall I spoil it if I go in?” “I should think nothing could spoil it!” I ambiguously laughed. I heard a shrill voice lifted in a sort of rhythmic uncanny chant. I recognised his scruple when. We looked at each other hard a moment. “and the Princess has a thirst for the inedit. but had suffered a scruple to restrain him from penetrating further. “Miss Collop arrived last night. “Shall I go in?” he presently asked. The famous reading had begun. your distinguished confrere—or shall I say your formidable rival?” “Oh!” growled Dora Forbes.The Death of the Lion nurse had taken possession I found a strange gentleman hanging about the hall and pacing to and fro by the closed door of the drawing-room. he had a big red moustache and wore showy knickerbockers—characteristics all that fitted to my conception of the identity of Dora Forbes. Producing with extreme rapidity. so fresh an exhibition does it seem to them of the dreadful way men 188 . only it was the author of “Obsessions” who now furnished the sacrifice.” Dora Forbes lifted his bushy brows. expressed it in an infernal “Do!” After this I got out into the air. then I expressed something bitter that was in me. “Miss Collop?” “Guy Walsingham. pausing to listen at his gesture of caution.” I smiled. This personage was florid and bald.

her usual way of dealing with her eminent friends that a couple of days of it exhausted her patience. began to take place in the evening? His rule was soothing to behold. He took advantage to the utmost of the singular favour. Little country practitioner as he was. The privilege was withheld indeed from Dora Forbes. and I roamed alone about the empty terraces and gardens. under the Doctor’s rule. Day by day I saw him sink.Henry James have always treated women. small comfort as I was to have at the end. what is to be said of that general scatter of the company which. it’s true. taken on the third night raised an obstacle to her seeing him before her retreat. after a brief improvement. he literally packed off the Princess. however. Wimbush and has sat for his portrait to the young artists she protects. but I scarcely noticed it: as I paced there with rage in my heart I was too full of another wrong. so Mrs. His wife never came near him. and she went up to town with him in great publicity. He decreed in the interest of his patient an absolutely soundless house and a consequent break-up of the party. at the present hour. She departed as promptly as if a revolution had broken out. for she was fundamentally disappointed in him. and Guy Walsingham emigrated with her. This was so little. is immensely pushed by Mrs. 189 . If the interruption I had whimsically sanctioned was almost a scandal. let alone invited the Princess. Dora Forbes. What happened at Prestidge later in the day is of course contemporary history. I was kindly permitted to remain. This was not the kind of performance for which she had invited him to Prestidge. Wimbush kept her latest capture temporarily concealed. and this was not denied even to Mrs. a fortunate circumstance doubtless. The sudden turn for the worse her afflicted guest had. Wimbush. sat for it not only in oils but in monumental alabaster. I must add that none of the generous acts marking her patronage of intellectual and other merit have done so much for her reputation as her lending Neil Paraday the most beautiful of her numerous homes to die in.

It may be imagined whether. But where was that precious heritage and were both the author and the book to have been snatched from us? Lady Augusta wrote me that she had done all she could and that poor Lord Dorimont. It’s impossible. I put my ear closer to his pillow. that precious heritage of his written project. the night before he died. for I didn’t want to be taunted by her with desiring to aggrandise myself by a public connexion with Mr.” “In your garden that dreadful day? Yes!” “Won’t it do as it is?” “It would have been a glorious book. who had really been worried to death. Fortunately I’ve a devoted associate in the person of a young lady who has every day a fresh indignation and a fresh idea. was extremely sorry. to suppose it can have been wantonly destroyed. Some190 . Every stupid and hideous accident haunts my meditations. now that he’s gone. with notes. Perhaps some hazard of a blind hand. and at any rate intolerable. some brutal fatal ignorance has lighted kitchen-fires with it. but the manuscript has not been recovered. as indeed she was always ready to do. “Print it as it stands—beautifully. The last night of the horrible series. I couldn’t have the matter out with Mrs. I’m convinced that if such pages had appeared in his lifetime the Abbey would hold him to-day. and who maintains with intensity that the prize will still turn up. the promise seems to me less sacred.” “It is a glorious book.” “Beautifully!” I passionately promised. Paraday’s sweepings. with the tenderest editorial care.” Neil Paraday murmured. Wimbush. She had signified her willingness to meet the expense of all advertising. My undiscourageable search for the lost treasure would make a long chapter. you know. I’ve kept the advertising in my own hands. “That thing I read you that morning.The Death of the Lion In the event of his death it would fall to me perhaps to bring out in some charming form.

191 . The only thing for us at all events is to go on seeking and hoping together.Henry James times I believe her. and we should be closely united by this firm tie even were we not at present by another. but I’ve quite ceased to believe myself.

APRIL 5TH. but they afterwards faded away. the thing has been lying before me today as a clear. in the long intervals of consciousness? Where do they hide themselves away? in what unvisited cupboards and crannies of our being do they preserve themselves? They are like the lines of a letter written in sympathetic ink. There have been moments during the last ten years when I have fell so portentously old. But to me everything is so perfectly the same that I seem to be living my youth over again. that I should 192 . It is the warmth of this yellow sun of Florence that has been restoring the text of my own young romance. hold the letter to the fire for a while and the grateful warmth brings out the invisible words. 1874. At the moment they were powerful enough. all the forgotten impressions of that enchanting time come back to me. so fagged and finished.—They told me I should find Italy greatly changed. and in seven-and-twenty years there is room for changes.The Diary of a Man of Fifty The Diary of a Man of Fifty by Henry James FLORENCE. What in the world became of them? Whatever becomes of such things. fresh page.

Henry James

have taken as a very bad joke any intimation that this present sense of juvenility was still in store for me. It won’t last, at any rate; so I had better make the best of it. But I confess it surprises me. I have led too serious a life; but that perhaps, after all, preserves one’s youth. At all events, I have travelled too far, I have worked too hard, I have lived in brutal climates and associated with tiresome people. When a man has reached his fifty-second year without being, materially, the worse for wear—when he has fair health, a fair fortune, a tidy conscience and a complete exemption from embarrassing relatives— I suppose he is bound, in delicacy, to write himself happy. But I confess I shirk this obligation. I have not been miserable; I won’t go so far as to say that—or at least as to write it. But happiness— positive happiness—would have been something different. I don’t know that it would have been better, by all measurements—that it would have left me better off at the present time. But it certainly would have made this difference—that I should not have been reduced, in pursuit of pleasant images, to disinter a buried episode of more than a quarter of a century ago. I should have found entertainment more—what shall I call it?—more contemporaneous. I should have had a wife and children, and I should not be in the way of making, as the French say, infidelities to the present. Of course it’s a great gain to have had an escape, not to have committed an act of thumping folly; and I suppose that, whatever serious step one might have taken at twenty-five, after a struggle, and with a violent effort, and however one’s conduct might appear to be justified by events, there would always remain a certain element of regret; a certain sense of loss lurking in the sense of gain; a tendency to wonder, rather wishfully, what might have been. What might have been, in this case, would, without doubt, have been very sad, and what has been has been very cheerful and comfortable; but there are nevertheless two or three questions I might ask myself. Why, for instance, have I never married—why have I never been able to care 193

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for any woman as I cared for that one? Ah, why are the mountains blue and why is the sunshine warm? Happiness mitigated by impertinent conjectures—that’s about my ticket. 6TH.—I knew it wouldn’t last; it’s already passing away. But I have spent a delightful day; I have been strolling all over the place. Everything reminds me of something else, and yet of itself at the same time; my imagination makes a great circuit and comes back to the starting-point. There is that well-remembered odour of spring in the air, and the flowers, as they used to be, are gathered into great sheaves and stacks, all along the rugged base of the Strozzi Palace. I wandered for an hour in the Boboli Gardens; we went there several times together. I remember all those days individually; they seem to me as yesterday. I found the corner where she always chose to sit— the bench of sun-warmed marble, in front of the screen of ilex, with that exuberant statue of Pomona just beside it. The place is exactly the same, except that poor Pomona has lost one of her tapering fingers. I sat there for half an hour, and it was strange how near to me she seemed. The place was perfectly empty—that is, it was filled with HER. I closed my eyes and listened; I could almost hear the rustle of her dress on the gravel. Why do we make such an ado about death? What is it, after all, but a sort of refinement of life? She died ten years ago, and yet, as I sat there in the sunny stillness, she was a palpable, audible presence. I went afterwards into the gallery of the palace, and wandered for an hour from room to room. The same great pictures hung in the same places, and the same dark frescoes arched above them. Twice, of old, I went there with her; she had a great understanding of art. She understood all sorts of things. Before the Madonna of the Chair I stood a long time. The face is not a particle like hers, and yet it reminded me of her. But everything does that. We stood and looked at it together once for half an hour; I remember perfectly what she said. 194

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8TH.—Yesterday I felt blue—blue and bored; and when I got up this morning I had half a mind to leave Florence. But I went out into the street, beside the Arno, and looked up and down—looked at the yellow river and the violet hills, and then decided to remain— or rather, I decided nothing. I simply stood gazing at the beauty of Florence, and before I had gazed my fill I was in good-humour again, and it was too late to start for Rome. I strolled along the quay, where something presently happened that rewarded me for staying. I stopped in front of a little jeweller’s shop, where a great many objects in mosaic were exposed in the window; I stood there for some minutes—I don’t know why, for I have no taste for mosaic. In a moment a little girl came and stood beside me—a little girl with a frowsy Italian head, carrying a basket. I turned away, but, as I turned, my eyes happened to fall on her basket. It was covered with a napkin, and on the napkin was pinned a piece of paper, inscribed with an address. This address caught my glance—there was a name on it I knew. It was very legibly written—evidently by a scribe who had made up in zeal what was lacking in skill. Contessa Salvi-Scarabelli, Via Ghibellina—so ran the superscription; I looked at it for some moments; it caused me a sudden emotion. Presently the little girl, becoming aware of my attention, glanced up at me, wondering, with a pair of timid brown eyes. “Are you carrying your basket to the Countess Salvi?” I asked. The child stared at me. “To the Countess Scarabelli.” “Do you know the Countess?” “Know her?” murmured the child, with an air of small dismay. “I mean, have you seen her?” “Yes, I have seen her.” And then, in a moment, with a sudden soft smile—”E bella!” said the little girl. She was beautiful herself as she said it. “Precisely; and is she fair or dark?” The child kept gazing at me. “Bionda—bionda,” she answered, 195

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looking about into the golden sunshine for a comparison. “And is she young?” “She is not young—like me. But she is not old like—like—” “Like me, eh? And is she married?” The little girl began to look wise. “I have never seen the Signor Conte.” “And she lives in Via Ghibellina?” “Sicuro. In a beautiful palace.” I had one more question to ask, and I pointed it with certain copper coins. “Tell me a little—is she good?” The child inspected a moment the contents of her little brown fist. “It’s you who are good,” she answered. “Ah, but the Countess?” I repeated. My informant lowered her big brown eyes, with an air of conscientious meditation that was inexpressibly quaint. “To me she appears so,” she said at last, looking up. “Ah, then, she must be so,” I said, “because, for your age, you are very intelligent.” And having delivered myself of this compliment I walked away and left the little girl counting her soldi. I walked back to the hotel, wondering how I could learn something about the Contessa Salvi-Scarabelli. In the doorway I found the innkeeper, and near him stood a young man whom I immediately perceived to be a compatriot, and with whom, apparently, he had been in conversation. “I wonder whether you can give me a piece of information,” I said to the landlord. “Do you know anything about the Count SalviScarabelli?” The landlord looked down at his boots, then slowly raised his shoulders, with a melancholy smile. “I have many regrets, dear sir—” “You don’t know the name?” “I know the name, assuredly. But I don’t know the gentleman.” I saw that my question had attracted the attention of the young 196

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Englishman, who looked at me with a good deal of earnestness. He was apparently satisfied with what he saw, for he presently decided to speak. “The Count Scarabelli is dead,” he said, very gravely. I looked at him a moment; he was a pleasing young fellow. “And his widow lives,” I observed, “in Via Ghibellina?” “I daresay that is the name of the street.” He was a handsome young Englishman, but he was also an awkward one; he wondered who I was and what I wanted, and he did me the honour to perceive that, as regards these points, my appearance was reassuring. But he hesitated, very properly, to talk with a perfect stranger about a lady whom he knew, and he had not the art to conceal his hesitation. I instantly felt it to be singular that though he regarded me as a perfect stranger, I had not the same feeling about him. Whether it was that I had seen him before, or simply that I was struck with his agreeable young face—at any rate, I felt myself, as they say here, in sympathy with him. If I have seen him before I don’t remember the occasion, and neither, apparently, does he; I suppose it’s only a part of the feeling I have had the last three days about everything. It was this feeling that made me suddenly act as if I had known him a long time. “Do you know the Countess Salvi?” I asked. He looked at me a little, and then, without resenting the freedom of my question—”The Countess Scarabelli, you mean,” he said. “Yes,” I answered; “she’s the daughter.” “The daughter is a little girl.” “She must be grown up now. She must be—let me see—close upon thirty.” My young Englishman began to smile. “Of whom are you speaking?” “I was speaking of the daughter,” I said, understanding his smile. “But I was thinking of the mother.” 197

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“Of the mother?” “Of a person I knew twenty-seven years ago—the most charming woman I have ever known. She was the Countess Salvi—she lived in a wonderful old house in Via Ghibellina.” “A wonderful old house!” my young Englishman repeated. “She had a little girl,” I went on; “and the little girl was very fair, like her mother; and the mother and daughter had the same name— Bianca.” I stopped and looked at my companion, and he blushed a little. “And Bianca Salvi,” I continued, “was the most charming woman in the world.” He blushed a little more, and I laid my hand on his shoulder. “Do you know why I tell you this? Because you remind me of what I was when I knew her—when I loved her.” My poor young Englishman gazed at me with a sort of embarrassed and fascinated stare, and still I went on. “I say that’s the reason I told you this—but you’ll think it a strange reason. You remind me of my younger self. You needn’t resent that—I was a charming young fellow. The Countess Salvi thought so. Her daughter thinks the same of you.” Instantly, instinctively, he raised his hand to my arm. “Truly?” “Ah, you are wonderfully like me!” I said, laughing. “That was just my state of mind. I wanted tremendously to please her.” He dropped his hand and looked away, smiling, but with an air of ingenuous confusion which quickened my interest in him. “You don’t know what to make of me,” I pursued. “You don’t know why a stranger should suddenly address you in this way and pretend to read your thoughts. Doubtless you think me a little cracked. Perhaps I am eccentric; but it’s not so bad as that. I have lived about the world a great deal, following my profession, which is that of a soldier. I have been in India, in Africa, in Canada, and I have lived a good deal alone. That inclines people, I think, to sudden bursts of confidence. A week ago I came into Italy, where I spent six months when I was your age. I came straight to Florence—I was eager to see 198

On the subject of Italy I was very ridiculous. let us take a walk.” I said. “Oh. “It’s very beautiful. my dear boy. “we are not ridiculous.” “Well. as if he had been struck with a sudden respect.” said my companion.” The young man inclined himself a little. If you too are staying at this inn. We will walk down the Arno to the Cascine. it’s my whole situation over again. But that’s nothing to you. “On the contrary.” said my young friend. We had a great deal of talk: it’s not only myself.” I asked. It’s an introduction to beauty. we are fellow-travellers. I remember well.” “Just so. He stood and looked away for a moment at the river and the mountains. He hesitated a moment. “That’s the way I used to talk. one never forgets it.” “And it must be a great pleasure.” he murmured. I used to try—I used to write verses. “One can’t express that. There are several things I should like to ask of you. it’s enchanting. we are two very reasonable.” “Oh.Henry James it again. superior people. and at last he said. “do you prefer?” My companion looked a little mystified. I have taken the liberty of giving you a hint of them. and we strolled for an hour beside the river and through the shady alleys of that lovely wilderness. What form of it. in silence. on account of associations. I couldn’t express it. I like to hear.” 199 . They have been crowding upon me ever so thickly. fortunately the beauty is always here.” “The first time one comes—as I have done—it’s a revelation. “to come back.” “Yes. “Are you very fond of Italy?” I asked.” My young Englishman assented with an air of almost filial confidence.” I answered.” “So am I ridiculous. “No. “I am very fond of the pictures. then.” He glanced at me again.

And among the pictures. But the daughter—how long have you known her?” “Only since I have been here.” Again the young man hesitated a little. A week. I keep confounding. and then he confessed that the group of painters he preferred. but I had certain favourites. perhaps. 200 . a great many. “That was exactly my taste!” And then I passed my hand into his arm and we went our way again. with wrinkles accentuated by the dust of ages.The Diary of a Man of Fifty “So was I.” “A week?” For a moment he said nothing. “The Count Salvi died before I knew her—a couple of years after their marriage. We sat down on an old stone bench in the Cascine. a month—it was all the same to me.” “Very true.” I said. smiling.” said the young man. “The Countess Salvi died ten years ago.” “And what else have you heard?” My companion stared at me. I have heard that. My companion admitted that he had heard her daughter say so. I was so struck with this that I stopped short. was that of the early Florentines. on the whole. I will tell you. to all others. and a solemn blank-eyed Hermes.” “That’s just the answer I should have made. Has the daughter the same charm?” “You forget. which do you like best?” “Oh. he had evidently heard nothing.” “I think it is more than a month.” said my young man. Later. “A month.” I added. “After I knew her she married again. “She was a very interesting woman—there are a great many things to be said about her.” “Yes. stood above us and listened to our talk. A very short time.” “So did I. “that I have never seen the mother.

” I said. “The Andrea del Sarto is there.” continued my friend. In the drawing-room. Somehow I took for granted it was all over. The Countess’s sittingroom looks into that garden.” “What have I told you to make you afraid?” I looked a little at his ingenuous countenance. “The mother was a very dangerous woman. The furniture is covered with pale sea-green. “But the friend who gave me my letter to Madame de Salvi died many years ago. then—in twenty-seven years. How did you make her acquaintance?” “By a letter—an introduction given me by a friend in England. is a superb Andrea del Sarto. “Why don’t you go and see it? If you knew the mother so well. I walked past the palace yesterday and saw that it was occupied. Then he asked. too.” My companion listened to all this. and furnished only with three chairs. it’s magnificent. Before you come into the drawingroom you stand a moment in a great vaulted place hung round with faded tapestry. and there is a medallion by Luca della Robbia set into the wall at the place where it makes a bend. why don’t you call upon the daughter?” “From what you tell me I am afraid. above the fireplace.” “And there’s a portrait of Madame de Salvi.” He too was silent. admired her greatly.” “I hope he appreciated it! There is a fountain in the court.” “The analogy is complete. He.” “Ah. they have changed it. but I took for granted it had changed hands. “I should like to see that. The staircase is of white marble.” 201 . paved with bare tiles. “brought it to her husband as her marriage-portion. I never thought of the little girl. and there is a charming old garden beyond it.” “The Countess Scarabelli.” said my friend.Henry James “It’s probably six. I was silent a moment. I don’t know why it never came into my mind that her daughter might be living in Florence. But the furniture is in pale red. I never heard what had become of her.

” I don’t know at what time he comes home. She is always at home of an evening. save that he is a better boy than I. Today he brought me a message from his Contessa—a very gracious little speech.The Diary of a Man of Fifty The young Englishman began to blush again. He continues to represent to me. 9TH. She remembered often to have heard her mother speak of me—she called me her English friend. “The daughter is not. If you were to stay later people might talk.” she would say. All her mother’s friends were dear to her. Madame de Salvi used to turn me out. battered soldier. “You must not ask me that.” he said. Poor young Stanmer (he is of the Devonshire Stanmers—a great property) reported this speech verbatim. I remember.—I have seen that poor boy half a dozen times again. He goes to see her every evening and stays half the night.” And as we walked back I begged him to render me the service of mentioning my name to his friend. in the most extraordinary manner.M. “Are you very sure?” He didn’t say he was sure. but I suppose his evening seems as short as mine did. come. but he presently inquired in what way the Countess Salvi had been dangerous. He is evidently acutely interested in his Countess. and that I asked permission to come and see her. old enough to be his father. and leads quite the same life with her that I led with Madame de Salvi. and a most amiable young fellow he is. the correspondence is perfect at all points.—”Come. I desire to remember only what was good in her. should come to call upon his inammorata. and she begged I would do her the honour to come and see her. But I remember how it used to matter to me when 202 . and of saying that I had known her mother well. my own young identity. and of course it can’t in the least signify to him that a poor grizzled.” I answered “for after all. these Florentines keep the most extraordinary hours. “it’s time to go. towards 3 A..

I shall go tomorrow night. They were old Florentine names. of all human countenances that I have ever known. I used to be in a hurry enough to go there once. What a transcendent coquette! … But basta cosi as she used to say. was the one that passed most quickly and completely from the expression of gaiety to that of repose. I stood starting at her. the old walls. and there was some curiosity. I think I had been talked about. which. I meant to go tonight to Casa Salvi. of old. At twenty-five I shouldn’t have been afraid of myself at fifty-two. There are the same cypresses on the opposite hills. I am afraid of the very echoes. She is a wonderful likeness of her mother. and yet with the same faults in her face. and wondering of 203 . I have been all the evening at Casa Salvi. But she used to let me stay after them all. Camerino was thirty-four—and then the others! She was always at home in the evening. when I came home. I have just come home. I don’t know what I’m afraid of. that’s a point of difference. but with her mother’s perfect head and brow and sympathetic. When I went in I was tremendously startled. Beautiful like her mother. and they all used to come. and three or four other admirers. So.Henry James other men came. It is very warm—my window is open—I can look out on the river gliding past in the starlight. and while you were watching it with a kind of awe. However. but I couldn’t bring myself to the point. she thought an old English name as good. it’s only because I’m so old. Poor young Stanmer was there. But why should I have been talked about? They were all youngish men—none of them of my time. they all got up when I came in. it is past midnight. I couldn’t get over it. I used to stand and look out. Repose in her face always suggested sadness. eyes. Her face has just that peculiarity of her mother’s. 10TH.—She has the most extraordinary resemblance to her mother. I suppose I am afraid of the very look of the place—of the old rooms. almost pitying.

and was dressed in light. There are the same precious pictures on the walls of the salon—the same great dusky fresco in the concave ceiling.” “A good one. She is thin and very fair.” said the Countess. I have received an impression of you. who carried a twinkling taper before me up the great dark marble staircase.” She looked at me. “I am surprised at that. still laughing.” I declared. But I was sure she had forgotten me. she was charming. and young Stanmer sat in the corner of the sofa—as I used to do—and watched her while she talked. The Countess Scarabelli’s smiles tonight.” cried the Countess. however.” “She never forgot. “She was not like that. gave a little shrug balancing her hand 204 . and I was admitted by a solitary servant. I hope. there may be changes of detail. “my mother often spoke of you. The house. I suppose.” said the Countess. The furniture is worn and faded.The Diary of a Man of Fifty what tragic secret it was the token. as her mother used to do. She greeted me—divinely.’” “I hope she spoke of me kindly. into a radiant Italian smile. and not answering this: it was just her mother’s trick.” “She was not like most other women in any way.” I insisted. for a certain time—very good friends. The Countess. “I have always been very curious to see you. The daughter is not rich.” “Often?” I answered. “I have often heard of you. rattling open her fan.” “Why are you surprised? Were you not good friends?” “Yes. but they don’t modify the general effect. vaporous black that completes the resemblance. it kindled. laughing. were almost uninterrupted. as I sat down near her. the rooms. “‘My Englishman. any more than the mother.’ she used to call you—’il mio Inglese. are almost absolutely the same. looking at me intently and smiling. “Ah. on the instant.

You don’t mind my being frank like this—eh?” “I delight in it.” She looked at me with sudden gravity. then. She was always pretending she was not clever.” “That speech. “completes the resemblance. But aren’t all Englishmen eccentric? All except that one!” and the Countess pointed to poor Stanmer.” “Every one tells me that.” I said. in his corner of the sofa. eh? To escape from dangerous comparisons I will admit. it reminds me of your mother.” 205 .” I went on. “he is peculiar in this: he is rather afraid of you.” said our hostess. “So-so. He is in love with you. That will make a difference. “I know what you want. He had seen that we were talking about him. But let us talk of you. “Like all the world—yes.” cried the Countess. You will see for yourself. “She declares she doesn’t care a pin’s head what you think.Henry James to and fro. “He’s as quiet as a lamb—he’s like all the world.” “Well.” I answered. “I like men who are afraid of nothing. she spoke of you as a great original. that I am clever.” I said. You are very—how shall I say it?—very eccentric. she turned her face toward Stanmer. I always supposed you had had a quarrel.” I said to Stanmer.” Instantly she began to smile. very gravely. But I am not clever like her. he coloured and got up—then came toward us. “You want to know what the Signora Contessa says about you.” “Is that what your mother told you?” “To tell the truth. “I don’t object to your saying that for all the world—but I do for him.” “You are almost a match for the Signora Contessa. “Oh. “I don’t care a straw what she says.” Stanmer looked straight into her face. and in reality—” “In reality she was an angel. I know just what he is.

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“I recognise the Countess’s style!” Stanmer exclaimed, turning away. “One would think,” said the Countess, “that you were trying to make a quarrel between us.” I watched him move away to another part of the great saloon; he stood in front of the Andrea del Sarto, looking up at it. But he was not seeing it; he was listening to what we might say. I often stood there in just that way. “He can’t quarrel with you, any more than I could have quarrelled with your mother.” “Ah, but you did. Something painful passed between you.” “Yes, it was painful, but it was not a quarrel. I went away one day and never saw her again. That was all.” The Countess looked at me gravely. “What do you call it when a man does that?” “It depends upon the case.” “Sometimes,” said the Countess in French, “it’s a lachete.” “Yes, and sometimes it’s an act of wisdom.” “And sometimes,” rejoined the Countess, “it’s a mistake.” I shook my head. “For me it was no mistake.” She began to laugh again. “Caro Signore, you’re a great original. What had my poor mother done to you?” I looked at our young Englishman, who still had his back turned to us and was staring up at the picture. “I will tell you some other time,” I said. “I shall certainly remind you; I am very curious to know.” Then she opened and shut her fan two or three times, still looking at me. What eyes they have! “Tell me a little,” she went on, “if I may ask without indiscretion. Are you married?” “No, Signora Contessa.” “Isn’t that at least a mistake?” “Do I look very unhappy?” She dropped her head a little to one side. “For an Englishman—no!” “Ah,” said I, laughing, “you are quite as clever as your mother.” 206

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“And they tell me that you are a great soldier,” she continued; “you have lived in India. It was very kind of you, so far away, to have remembered our poor dear Italy.” “One always remembers Italy; the distance makes no difference. I remembered it well the day I heard of your mother’s death!” “Ah, that was a sorrow!” said the Countess. “There’s not a day that I don’t weep for her. But che vuole? She’s a saint its paradise.” “Sicuro,” I answered; and I looked some time at the ground. “But tell me about yourself, dear lady,” I asked at last, raising my eyes. “You have also had the sorrow of losing your husband.” “I am a poor widow, as you see. Che vuole? My husband died after three years of marriage.” I waited for her to remark that the late Count Scarabelli was also a saint in paradise, but I waited in vain. “That was like your distinguished father,” I said. “Yes, he too died young. I can’t be said to have known him; I was but of the age of my own little girl. But I weep for him all the more.” Again I was silent for a moment. “It was in India too,” I said presently, “that I heard of your mother’s second marriage.” The Countess raised her eyebrows. “In India, then, one hears of everything! Did that news please you?” “Well, since you ask me—no.” “I understand that,” said the Countess, looking at her open fan. “I shall not marry again like that.” “That’s what your mother said to me,” I ventured to observe. She was not offended, but she rose from her seat and stood looking at me a moment. Then—“You should not have gone away!” she exclaimed. I stayed for another hour; it is a very pleasant house. Two or three of the men who were sitting there seemed very civil and intelligent; one of them was a major of engineers, who offered 207

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me a profusion of information upon the new organisation of the Italian army. While he talked, however, I was observing our hostess, who was talking with the others; very little, I noticed, with her young Inglese. She is altogether charming—full of frankness and freedom, of that inimitable disinvoltura which in an Englishwoman would be vulgar, and which in her is simply the perfection of apparent spontaneity. But for all her spontaneity she’s as subtle as a needlepoint, and knows tremendously well what she is about. If she is not a consummate coquette … What had she in her head when she said that I should not have gone away?—Poor little Stanmer didn’t go away. I left him there at midnight. 12TH.—I found him today sitting in the church of Santa Croce, into which I wandered to escape from the heat of the sun. In the nave it was cool and dim; he was staring at the blaze of candles on the great altar, and thinking, I am sure, of his incomparable Countess. I sat down beside him, and after a while, as if to avoid the appearance of eagerness, he asked me how I had enjoyed my visit to Casa Salvi, and what I thought of the padrona. “I think half a dozen things,” I said, “but I can only tell you one now. She’s an enchantress. You shall hear the rest when we have left the church.” “An enchantress?” repeated Stanmer, looking at me askance. He is a very simple youth, but who am I to blame him? “A charmer,” I said “a fascinatress!” He turned away, staring at the altar candles. “An artist—an actress,” I went on, rather brutally. He gave me another glance. “I think you are telling me all,” he said. “No, no, there is more.” And we sat a long time in silence. At last he proposed that we should go out; and we passed in the street, where the shadows had begun to stretch themselves. 208

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“I don’t know what you mean by her being an actress,” he said, as we turned homeward. “I suppose not. Neither should I have known, if any one had said that to me.” “You are thinking about the mother,” said Stanmer. “Why are you always bringing her in?” “My dear boy, the analogy is so great it forces itself upon me.” He stopped and stood looking at me with his modest, perplexed young face. I thought he was going to exclaim—“The analogy be hanged!”—but he said after a moment— “Well, what does it prove?” “I can’t say it proves anything; but it suggests a great many things.” “Be so good as to mention a few,” he said, as we walked on. “You are not sure of her yourself,” I began. “Never mind that—go on with your analogy.” “That’s a part of it. You are very much in love with her.” “That’s a part of it too, I suppose?” “Yes, as I have told you before. You are in love with her, and yet you can’t make her out; that’s just where I was with regard to Madame de Salvi.” “And she too was an enchantress, an actress, an artist, and all the rest of it?” “She was the most perfect coquette I ever knew, and the most dangerous, because the most finished.” “What you mean, then, is that her daughter is a finished coquette?” “I rather think so.” Stanmer walked along for some moments in silence. “Seeing that you suppose me to be a—a great admirer of the Countess,” he said at last, “I am rather surprised at the freedom with which you speak of her.” I confessed that I was surprised at it myself. “But it’s on account of the interest I take in you.” 209

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“I am immensely obliged to you!” said the poor boy. “Ah, of course you don’t like it. That is, you like my interest—I don’t see how you can help liking that; but you don’t like my freedom. That’s natural enough; but, my dear young friend, I want only to help you. If a man had said to me—so many years ago— what I am saying to you, I should certainly also, at first, have thought him a great brute. But after a little, I should have been grateful—I should have felt that he was helping me.” “You seem to have been very well able to help yourself,” said Stanmer. “You tell me you made your escape.” “Yes, but it was at the cost of infinite perplexity—of what I may call keen suffering. I should like to save you all that.” “I can only repeat—it is really very kind of you.” “Don’t repeat it too often, or I shall begin to think you don’t mean it.” “Well,” said Stanmer, “I think this, at any rate—that you take an extraordinary responsibility in trying to put a man out of conceit of a woman who, as he believes, may make him very happy.” I grasped his arm, and we stopped, going on with our talk like a couple of Florentines. “Do you wish to marry her?” He looked away, without meeting my eyes. “It’s a great responsibility,” he repeated. “Before Heaven,” I said, “I would have married the mother! You are exactly in my situation.” “Don’t you think you rather overdo the analogy?” asked poor Stanmer. “A little more, a little less—it doesn’t matter. I believe you are in my shoes. But of course if you prefer it, I will beg a thousand pardons and leave them to carry you where they will.” He had been looking away, but now he slowly turned his face and met my eyes. “You have gone too far to retreat; what is it you know about her?” 210

Henry James

“About this one—nothing. But about the other—” “I care nothing about the other!” “My dear fellow,” I said, “they are mother and daughter—they are as like as two of Andrea’s Madonnas.” “If they resemble each other, then, you were simply mistaken in the mother.” I took his arm and we walked on again; there seemed no adequate reply to such a charge. “Your state of mind brings back my own so completely,” I said presently. “You admire her—you adore her, and yet, secretly, you mistrust her. You are enchanted with her personal charm, her grace, her wit, her everything; and yet in your private heart you are afraid of her.” “Afraid of her?” “Your mistrust keeps rising to the surface; you can’t rid yourself of the suspicion that at the bottom of all things she is hard and cruel, and you would be immensely relieved if some one should persuade you that your suspicion is right.” Stanmer made no direct reply to this; but before we reached the hotel he said—”What did you ever know about the mother?” “It’s a terrible story,” I answered. He looked at me askance. “What did she do?” “Come to my rooms this evening and I will tell you.” He declared he would, but he never came. Exactly the way I should have acted! 14TH.—I went again, last evening, to Casa Salvi, where I found the same little circle, with the addition of a couple of ladies. Stanmer was there, trying hard to talk to one of them, but making, I am sure, a very poor business of it. The Countess—well, the Countess was admirable. She greeted me like a friend of ten years, toward whom familiarity should not have engendered a want of ceremony; she made me sit near her, and she asked me a dozen questions about my 211

more than once. “Those things are very old. “Twenty-seven? Altro!” “I mean my own past. the pictures are beautiful. to accompany me to the Uffizzi. yes. if you prefer. “Ah. smiling.The Diary of a Man of Fifty health and my occupations. “Have you gone to the galleries with him?” She hesitated a moment. She dropped her fan with a certain violence. you are impertinent!” 212 .” “My mother must have been very kind to you. that’s the past. your mother did me the honour. “I go into the galleries.” “A little impertinent? Never.” murmured the Countess.” I said. into the old palaces and the churches.” I said.” “Eh. “It seems to me that your question is a little impertinent. Today I spent an hour in Michael Angelo’s chapel at San Loreozo. “I went to a great many of those places with your mother.” said the Countess. cara Signora? She was perfectly free. “I live in the past. “Have you lately looked at any of them?” I asked. so it seems to me now.” “To what.” “Twenty-seven years old.” “If she was intending to marry again.” I looked at her a moment. over the top of her fan.” “Ah. she met my eyes gravely. Your lamented father was dead—and she had not yet contracted her second marriage.” “So it seemed to me at the time.” “Ah yes. As I say. “Are you very careful?” I said. But I think you are like that.” said the Countess. “she made sacrifices. glancing at Stanmer. it was all the more reason she should have been careful.” “At the time only?” “Well.” I answered.

that I knew you when you were three years old. more lightly. She was wonderfully nice 213 . after all these years. And yet. “I don’t judge my mother. poor little Stanmer. I think. caused me to feel a strange exhilaration. Of course I controlled my manner. one must do your mother justice. her own brief married life had been happy.” I said. unfortunately for him. unlike her mother’s.” said the Countess. discreetly. That is a mortal sin. will do as I did. “If it was not.”—I wonder if the late Count Scarabelli was also killed in a duel.Henry James “Ah no. It seems almost monstrous.” she said. as well.” “You have not forgiven her that!” said the Countess. I trust. “Have you?” I asked. that woman is consummately plausible. very gravely.” I said. “She was very unhappy with my father. My stepfather was very kind to me. I bear the poor man no resentment.” “That I can easily believe.” “Did he fight any more duels?” “He was killed in a duel. “Remember that I am old enough to be your father. And your stepfather—is he still living?” “He died—before my mother. and simply remarked to the Countess that as his fault had been so was his punishment. She was certainly thinking of her second marriage. but she presently looked up. “I saw him a great many times—your mother already received him. “I have forgotten it now. saying nothing. shall perish by the pistol? Which of those gentlemen is he. instead of shocking me. I wonder? Is it reserved for poor little Stanmer to put a bullet into him? No. I may surely ask such questions. that the feeling of which I speak was at the bottom of my saying to her that I hoped that. especially as I can give no reason for it—but this announcement.” “I remember him. however. But you are right. and if his adversary … Is it on the books that his adversary. Most assuredly.” My hostess sat with lowered eyes.

Such frankness and freedom. If your beautiful mother were to come to life for an hour she would see the resemblance. “I stay on from day to day. it’s the beautiful moment. and Heaven knows that very often my perplexity was extreme. partly. he reminds me so much of what I was at his age. I am so much interested. She is a perfect Italian. “lest I should appear to praise myself. she was really irresistible. “And yet you don’t look at all like him!” “Ah. I’m glad our city pleases you!” “Florence pleases me—and I take a paternal interest to our young friend. and the conversation for half an hour was general.” she said. because he is shy of talking a foreign tongue. Was I like that—was I so constantly silent? I suspect I was when I was perplexed. without any of the stiffness. he has a beautiful mind. But she comes honestly by it.The Diary of a Man of Fifty last evening. so much of the brightness. “I hope you are not leaving Florence yet.” “Bel tipo inglese. “I have become very fond of him. of good breeding. such graceful gaiety.” She gave me a little amused stare. you didn’t know me when I was twenty-five. expressive eyes upon me. After the talk I have just jotted down she changed her place. I was very hand214 . and over it all something so picturesquely simple and southern. Before I went away I had a few more words tete-a-tete with the Countess. I suppose.” I added. “And he is very intelligent.” I rejoined.” said my hostess. and that my week was over.” “Eh. and yet something so soft and womanly. “you will stay a while longer?” I answered that I came only for a week. glancing at Stanmer.” She stood there resting her smile and her clear. “I don’t like to praise him too much. Stanmer indeed said very little.

He was lounging back in his chair with an air of indolence rather too marked for a drawing-room. Remember it was you who said he was intelligent. but I was. like him. I should be sorry to have him think any evil of me. appealingly—with her beautiful candid brow.” “And you mean.Henry James some! And. his appearance at that moment quite confirmed my assertion.” At this. therefore. I mean that his situation is the same as mine. then. and as fortune would have it. it’s the mental resemblance.” The Countess gave me one of her serious looks. I was ingenuous. fundamentally. moreover.” “Your mother might have told you. I laughed out—I laugh still as I write it.” “And so you mean that Mr. “he can’t read the riddle?” “You yourself. “Don’t you see. 215 . Stanmer is in a suspicions mood?” “Well. Madame Scarabelli seemed struck with his attitude. “Come.” And she looked straight at me—seriously. “what was it—this famous situation of yours? I have heard you mention it before.” “All my mother ever told me was that you were—a sad puzzle to her.” I said. trusting. and staring at the ceiling with the expression of a man who has just been asked a conundrum. that was my situation—I was a sad puzzle to a very clever woman.” She looked round at him. it isn’t that. of course. “said he was incapable of thinking evil.” she answered. Stanmer?” “He is racking his brains to make you out.” “Trusting? I remember my mother once telling me that you were the most suspicious and jealous of men!” “I fell into a suspicious mood. not in the least addicted to thinking evil. I couldn’t easily imagine any harm of any one. candid. “Well. since she occasionally did me the honour to speak of me.” she said. that I am a puzzle to poor Mr.

and then she turned away.—I have written nothing for a good many days. the other day. though my admiration for the Countess and my desire to prevent you from taking a foolish step are equally sincere. he at last made up his mind to ask me to tell him the wrong that Madame de Salvi had done me. smiling. And then. He is very happy in spite of his doubts. isn’t that the proper expression? I can’t exactly make up my mind to that. I profess an admiration for the Countess Scarabelli.” She looked deep into my eyes for a moment. I told him that if he was bent upon knowing I would satisfy him.” “Explain you. Explain me to him. “I want him to think well of me. you seem to me. but meanwhile I have been half a dozen times to Casa Salvi. and I confess that in the perception of his happiness I have lived over again my own. dear lady?” “You are older and wiser than he. This is so much the case that when. “But I thought you wanted so much to put me out of conceit of our friend. but there are various reasons for it.The Diary of a Man of Fifty I inclined myself. to indulge in painful imagery. just now. so happy! 216 .” “I admit I am inconsistent. Make him understand me. 26TH. If I am a puzzle to him. but he won’t listen to the idea of leaving Florence. and at the same time I attempt to poison your mind. but that it seemed a pity. on the whole. for I accept her hospitality. do me a little service. in the second place. I rather checked his curiosity. I have proposed to him to come with me to Venice for a fortnight. In the first place—it’s obvious—I am open to the charge of playing a double game. in a manner which might have meant— ”How could that be possible?” “I have a great esteem for him.” she went on. I have seen a good deal also of my young friend—had a good many walks and talks with him.

” “I have always said that the Countess is fascinating.” “I just admitted that I admired her. that is so delightful while it lasts. Besides. laughing again. but I have never minded it. These are the rare moments of life. but I am at least not a partner to the conspiracy.Henry James One hesitates to destroy an illusion. I may be the victim to be rescued. “You admire her as much as I do. how much one is hound in honour not to warn a young friend against a dangerous woman because one also has relations of civility with the lady. Heaven knows I admired that! It’s a nice point. because I have always understood it.” “In such a case. It is not the first time he has laughed at me. and I think I laughed. “the Countess knows your state of mind. no matter how pernicious. “Recommend you!” he exclaimed.” said Stanmer. “in the case you speak of I would give the lady notice.” I looked at him. “Not in the least. in the midst of an Italian spring. To be young and ardent. “I would break off my relations. her mother was an absolutely scientific one.” “Give her notice?” “Mention to her that you regard her with suspicion. I like to see you there.” said Stanmer. however.” he added in a moment. “Is that what you recommend me to say to the Countess?” I asked. “I recommend nothing.” “Otherwise. I’ll stand on the brink and watch you.” said Stanmer.” 217 . by chance?” He shook his head emphatically. “Are you jealous of me. That would be more loyal. I never said she was a vulgar flirt. because your conduct contradicts your words.” And he began to laugh again.” “Your real reason is that you feel you have no case against the poor lady. and to believe in the moral perfection of a beautiful woman—what an admirable situation! Float with the current. and that you propose to do your best to rescue a simple-minded youth from her wiles.

she has guessed them for herself. Stanmer afterwards assured me explicitly that he has never given her a hint of the liberties I have taken in conversation with—what shall I call it?—with her moral nature. should I clip them? It would really be very interesting to see Stanmer swallowed up. it is open war.—Hang it. It is the same story. I don’t want the poor boy to be miserable.” said I. should it have the same denoument? Let him make his own denoument. under a mixture of impulses. a quarter of a century later. as I finished it in mine. “she’s an accomplished woman!” And it is indeed very clever of her to take that tone. but I have lingered on in Florence. 5TH. I have had it on my conscience not to go near the Countess again—and yet from the moment she is aware of the way I feel about her. however. She declares that she has a good conscience.The Diary of a Man of Fifty “Has she told you so?” Stanmer hesitated. does curiosity reduce a man!) Let him finish the story in his own way. But as regards her meshes. “She has begged me to listen to everything you may say against her. There need be no scruples on either side. however. but why. I should like to see how he would agree with her after she had devoured him—(to what vulgar imagery. and yet her manner has always been so charming to me! She is truly an accomplished woman! MAY 4TH. after all. She must hate me intensely.” “Ah. She is as free to use every possible art to entangle poor Stanmer more closely as I am to clip her fine-spun meshes. we naturally shouldn’t meet very cordially. Under the circumstances.—I have stayed away from Casa Salvi for a week.—Ah. by the way. why. 6TH. but did my denoument then prove such a happy one? 218 .

I had no moments of liking for him. “What was it she did to you?” “Sit down and I’ll tell you.” And he sat there beside she candle. I was sure that she lied. The trouble. I was prepared to do. very intelligent.—He came to my room late last night. I believed that she could be cruel. to attach me to 219 . not in the least disposed to make a quarrel with me. Unfortunately they didn’t last long. I can’t say what I expected—I can’t say what. and while these moments lasted I would have done anything for her. “Have you quarrelled with the Countess?” But he only repeated his own.Henry James 7TH. at any rate. I answered him first with another question. With my name and my prospects. I don’t know. of course. But you know what I mean. I couldn’t help laughing out. Nevertheless. And yet he was a very agreeable fellow. however. he was a sort of fixture in the house. “That’s just what I would have said to any one who should have made the insinutation! But I suppose you are not asking me the question you put to me just now from dispassionate curiosity. he was much excited. “What was it she did to you?” he asked. I am not sure that she would have accepted it—I am by no means clear that she wanted that. for I had no definite rights. on what ground I could have quarrelled with him. wanted keenly. If I had moments of dislike for the divine Bianca. is my story. But she wanted. and yet I didn’t trust her.” “A man may want to know!” said the innocent fellow. she had a charm which made it pure pedantry to be conscious of her faults. was simply that I was jealous of him. “This. I might perfectly have offered her my hand. I was very much in love with her. “There was a man always there—Count Camerino. as the matter stood. Camerino was always there. staring at me. very civil. at moments.” “The man she married?” “The man she married. am I not describing the Scarabelli?” “The Countess Scarabelli never lied!” cried Stanmer.

susceptible. ‘What has he done?’ She hesitated a good while.” I went on. he stood looking out a moment. convenient young Englishman established near her en permanence. “No. ‘because you like him so much. he had done a mortal injury to a man 220 . to live near her and see her every day. “I must do her complete justice. certainly. I should have been capable of giving up everything—England.” I added. He himself. for I had been at no pains to conceal my feeling about him.’ I said.” “It remains perfectly true that at a given moment I was capable of doing as I say. ‘I dislike him.” he said. It was a brutal speech. and she admitted that her husband’s jealousy had been the occasion of it. had been anything but irreproachable. rather neatly. credulous. then?” asked Stanmer. The Count. my career. she turned pale. ‘He has all the appearance of being your lover. “You know she was older than I. I honestly believe she was fond of me. One day in the garden. her mother asked me in an angry tone why I disliked Camerino. That was what she wanted—a rich. it appeared. then she said: ‘He killed my husband. “Madame Scarabelli is older than you.The Diary of a Man of Fifty her. ‘Che voule?’” “Is that all?” asked Stanmer. She took it very strangely. my family—simply to devote myself to her. was a monster of jealousy— he had led her a dreadful life.’ ‘I assure you I don’t like him. ‘and you receive him!’ Do you know what she said? She said. ‘How can he be my lover after what he has done?’ she asked. and then he turned round. And yet. and something had just happened to bring it out. meanwhile.” “Why didn’t you do it. “Why don’t you?” “To be a proper rejoinder to my question. she went on to say that Camerino had killed Count Salvi in a duel. she wanted to have me about. but any other man in my place would have made it. but she was not indignant.’ I retorted.’ she answered.’ ‘Good heavens!’ I cried. “yours should be asked twenty-five years hence.” At this Stanmer got up and walked to the window.

” said Stanmer. The duel was fought with swords. “Its not being known made no difference. “Yes. and this affair had become notorious. I was horrified. he had not as yet obtained it. didn’t like him. he died on the following day. and the Count received a wound of which. I was extremely shocked at the Countess’s want of dignity in continuing to see the man by whose hand her husband had fallen. and it was not known. and so successfully that it was presently observed that. as it left him much more free to keep up his intimacy with the Countess. that marriage is hard to get over. de Salvi. but for some reason or other (the Countess. to do her justice. This gentleman took a fancy not to contradict the impression. and this outrage. did not tell me that her husband was a coward). though at first it was not expected to be fatal. The gentleman in question had demanded satisfaction for his outraged honour. at any rate. it was of course in Camerino’s interest not to contradict it. So long as he consented. the other gentleman had the credit of having put his blade through M. It was not becoming. And as for Salvi having been a brute.” Stanmer hooked extremely meditative. “I am bound to believe it was for the same reason. and the man whom his wife subsequently married. that is but a way of saying that his wife. I know not how justly.” 221 . By an extraordinary arrangement (the Italians have certainly no sense of fair play) the other man was allowed to be Camerino’s second.Henry James of whom he pretended to be a friend. in an access of jealous fury the Count had struck Camerino in the face. and it was allowed to subsist. The duel with Camerino had come on first. his eyes were fixed on mine. “Why didn’t she contradict it?” I shrugged my shoulders. was deemed expiable before the other.” Stanmer had listened to all this with extreme attention. The matter was hushed up as much as possible for the sake of the Countess’s good name. by the whole story.” “The husband had been a great brute. among the public.

with a lot of so-called ‘fashionable intelligence.” said I. a distinguished Bolognese. it was when I left Florence in a post-chaise. my dear boy.” said Stanmer.” “That’s about the same thing. I read that the Countess Bianca Salvi. and she answered that her husband had been a brute. no one knew it. I told her that she frightened me. “what a long breath I drew when I heard of it! I remember the place and the hour.” “You couldn’t have been much in love with her.’ There. famous for some years as the presiding genius of the most agreeable seen in Florence. was about to bestow her hand upon Count Camerino. shocked me. seven years after I had left Florence.The Diary of a Man of Fifty “Ah. Being a military man. horrified me. I never saw her again. “I was not—three months after.’ as Falstaff says!” And Stanmer began to laugh. But it was not then I needed my resolution. and in one of them was a letter from Italy. it was a tremendous escape! I had been ready to marry the woman who was capable of that! But my instinct had warned me. In the heat of my displeasure I left Florence. therefore it was no scandal. and I kept my vow. and that she had no moral sense. The post brought me some English papers. Besides. and other delectable items. We had a passionate argument. and I had trusted my instinct. among various scandals in high life. And what did she say?” “She asked me what I would have? I called her friendship with Camerino a scandal. All I can say is that it was the great effort of my life.” 222 . I have had on various occasions to face time enemy.” “‘Instinct’s everything. “Did you tell Madame de Salvi that your instinct was against her?” “No. It was at a hill-station in India. and I declared I would never see her again. Ah.” “If you had been you would have come back—three days after.” “So doubtless it seems to you. Just your argument! I retorted that this was odious reasoning.

and then he added—”Perhaps she wouldn’t have done so if you had remained. “I’ll take care of that myself!” And he went away—satisfied.” “I don’t see any Camerino in my case. which was lighted only by a couple of candles. with the immense 223 . I have done for you what you seem unable to do for yourself.” “Thank you.” he said.—He’s an obstinate little wretch.” he said. it irritates me to see him sticking to it. Perhaps he is looking for his Camerino. “you have analysed her!” “You ought to he grateful to me. She married Camerino.” He has a little innocent way! “Very likely she would have dispensed with the ceremony. 10TH. It could only damage her. drily. She wished to say the thing that would most effectually persuade me that he was not her lover—that he could never be. at any rate. And then she wished to get the credit of being very frank. There was no one there. “Perhaps among those gentlemen I can find one for you. how you must have analysed her!” cried my companion. “There is nothing so analytic as disillusionment.” “Good heavens. and then he said: “I don’t understand! I don’t understand why she should have told you that Camerino had killed her husband. to his fate. I hope. “Upon my word. it is growing insupportably hot. He was silent a while. But there it is. staring.” I answered.—I went this evening to bid farewell to the Scarabelli.” said Stanmer.Henry James Stanmer turned about the room two or three times. she was alone in her great dusky drawing-room.” he cried. I don’t lime that. I shall leave him.” “She was afraid it would damage her more that I should think he was her lover. 11TH.” “Yes.

” “You have. what we call a fixed idea. of course. at any rate. She was dressed in white. 224 . “But I am very glad to have seen you. laughing again. and it is the first time I have been alone with you. All things considered. “I imagine you know. I have too much reason rather than too little. and I saw that the Countess perceived it to be Stanmer’s. “I think you are a little crazy. But in a moment she came back. This evening you are enchanting.” “There is no harm in that so long as it’s a good one. you have treated me with wonderful kindness.” She looked at me a while.” At this moment there was the sound of a step in the ante-chamber. with a laugh.” “Yes. You are too wise for that. A man who can resist your charms! The fact is.” “I won’t say I’m sorry!” she said. and I thank you and kiss your hands. You are a curiosity.” “Che! what have I done?” “Nothing at all.” “Ah no. I am only too sane. “Treat her so?” “How could you desert the most charming woman in the world?” “It was not a case of desertion. she was deucedly pretty. why I had been so long without coming. and stood looking at me. “How could you treat my mother so?” she asked. I always wondered about you. she turned away. She asked me. I leave Florence tomorrow. I can’t. “I think you say that only for form. and if it had been it seems to me she was consoled.” “But yours is abominable!” she exclaimed. and her beautiful solemn eyes seemed to shine in the dimness of the room.” I answered.The Diary of a Man of Fifty windows open over the garden. “Of course you can’t like me or my ideas.” She gave no heed to this. you must find me so.

and then. BOLOGNA. Don’t go to the trouble of saying you are sorry. “I shall depart in the morning.” I said.” I said. softly. I thought. “My poor mother needed a protector. I wrote that last entry five days ago. turning it all over. after an interval. I think I appeased her. after coming back from Casa Salsi. “Good-bye. he’s five-and-twenty—and yet I must add. I wonder at his docility.” she murmured. interrupting our talk. to deprecate her anger. Of course you are not. it does irritate me—the way he sticks! He was followed in a moment by two or three of the regular Italians. and then bent my venerable head and kissed it. Instead of going to bed. Delightful old Italian town—but it lacks the charm of my Florentine secret. and she gave me her hand in silence. and the first faint streaks of sunrise were in the sky. He must think me indeed a tiresome. he made his appearance.Henry James “That wouldn’t have happened. 225 . After all. “Do you need a protector?” I added. and I made my visit short. looking out at the river. Presently I heard a slow footstep beneath my window. almost angrily— ”Yes. I stood a long time at the window. made out by the aid of a street lamp that Stanmer was but just coming home. and. but he said he was very glad to have made my acquaintance. with a little air of bravado. I called to him to come to my rooms. Signore.” He made no attempt to say he was sorry. It was a warm. I must have bullied you immensely. 14TH.” But. the night was half over when I woke up. and have been here these three days. I kept her hand an instant. “I want to bid you good-bye. late at night. meddlesome bore. still night. Countess. I afterwards fell asleep in my chair. and looking down.—I left Florence on the 11th.” Stanmer came in. and looking at me. She looked at me from head to foot. and upon my word.

with his little innocent air. dated Rome. “has been very suggestive. S. You talked me into a great muddle. but a month after that it was all very clear. I hope it will last—I mean his cleverness. everything occurs to one sooner or later. a greater force than it had ever had before. whom I saw in Florence—a remarkable little note. “My dear General—I have it at heart to tell you that I was married a week ago to the Countess Salvi-Scarabelli.” “Have you found Camerino?” I asked. And then he asked me whether.” He looked for a minute as if he were trying to anticipate that day by the exercise of his reason.” I said. PARIS. pointed by his candid young countenance. S.” That’s what I said to him. “P.” he said. for the moment. smiling. “I have given up the search. and worth transcribing. “Has it ever occurred to you that you may have made a great mistake?” “Oh yes.—Yours ever. had.—A note from young Stanmer.The Diary of a Man of Fifty “Your conversation. but I didn’t say that the question. DECEMBER 17TH.” “Well. I myself had been so especially happy. “some day when you find that you have made a great mistake. E. not his happiness.—A fig for analogies unless you can find an analogy for my happiness!” His happiness makes him very clever. 226 . Things that involve a risk are like the Christian faith. as things had turned out. remember I told you so. they must be seen from the inside.

I had a complete theory about her. you don’t.” “You forget that I do know her.Henry James LONDON. A handsome young fellow. “I was thinking of your own story. “Depend upon it you were wrong. APRIL 19TH.” he answered. you never did. I heard the other day that they had come to England. she’s in one of the other rooms. suddenly breaking off and looking at me. 1877. I must do him the justice to say that he looks felicitous. “Depend upon it you were wrong!” he said. but that I would do myself the honour of calling upon his wife. for I remember I used to disparage that woman to him.” And he gave a little significant laugh. I didn’t feel like facing the ci-devant Scarabelli at that moment.” I answered. I want you to know her. As I have had the honour to say. but in an instant he repeated his movement. I had to do that. But he didn’t seem at all stiff.” “I am sure the Countess has forgiven me. and then. We talked for a minute of something else.” I said.” “Oh no. but it was rather awkward.” “I was not alluding to my wife. with a fresh contented face. who married Bianca Salvi’s daughter. on the contrary. Come and make her acquaintance. I asked him if his wife were there. “Oh yes. I met Edmund Stanmer. “My dear young friend.—Last night. he appeared to enjoy our encounter. “and in that case you ought to bear no grudge. so I said that I was leaving the house.” “My own story?” 227 . at Lady H—’s. “imagine the alacrity with which I concede it. which I didn’t pretend to forget. he laid his hand on my arm. He reminded me of Florence.” Something else again was spoken of. I will call upon her immediately.

how the questions come crowding in! If I marred her happiness. I certainly didn’t make my own. and was her fault only that I had forsaken her? Was the poor woman very unhappy? God forgive me.” And I turned away. Was it not rather a mistake?” I looked at him a moment. I am afraid of finding her at home. he’s positively rosy.—I haven’t yet called on the ci-devant. And that boy’s words have been thrumming in my ears—“Depend upon it you were wrong. 22D. “That’s not a question to solve in a London crush. And I might have made it—eh? That’s a charming discovery for a man of my age! 228 .The Diary of a Man of Fifty “So many years ago. Wasn’t it rather a mistake?” Was I wrong—was it a mistake? Was I too cautions—too suspicious—too logical? Was it really a protector she needed—a man who might have helped her? Would it have been for his benefit to believe in her.

but I’ll take it if you’ll alter it.” Mr. principled though he was in favour of it. like a child with a sea-shell at his ear. Locket’s rather curt note had said. he began to be aware of the great roar of the “underground. but how could he maintain a godlike calm.” This communication had reached Jersey Villas by the first post. He knew that such precipitation looked eager.” that. a specimen of his ardent young genius? It was not till. I’ll show you what I mean. even with a cruel reservation.” Peter Baron tried to figure to himself at 229 . and Peter Baron had scarcely swallowed his leathery muffin before he got into motion to obey the editorial behest. the cruelty of the reservation penetrated. and there was no waste of words in the postscript in which he had added: “If you’ll come in and see me. to his inner sense. and he had no desire to look eager—it was not in his interest. with the taste of acrid smoke.Henry James Sir Dominick Ferrand by Henry James “THERE ARE SEVERAL OBJECTIONS to it. It was really degrading to be eager in the face of having to “alter. in his third-class carriage. the first time one of the great magazines had accepted.

but he saw that to the small round eye of this still more downtrodden brother he represented selfish success. and from his window. as he sat in his corner while the train stopped. He made believe—as if to the greasy fellow-passenger opposite—that he felt indignant. a phrase which still rankled. in the befogged gaslight.Sir Dominick Ferrand that moment that he was not flying to betray the extremity of his need. Locket his attention had been briefly engaged by an incident occurring at Jersey Villas. the “parlours” of Mrs. Peter Baron. He had heard her. a week before. He should therefore be associated with a deviation from a solemn habit. had even seen her pass in and out. “You don’t seem able to keep a character together. the door of which stood open to a small front garden). however. and this observation had created in his mind a vague prejudice in her favour. On leaving the house (he lived at No. but whatever might be thought in the office of that periodical of some of his flights of fancy. that before he started on his mission to Mr. 3. but hurrying to fight for some of those passages of superior boldness which were exactly what the conductor of the “Promiscuous Review” would be sure to be down upon. Locket’s inexorable earlier notes. and that would more than make up to him for a phrase in one of Mr. He would have liked to linger in the conception that he had been “approached” by the Promiscuous. considered. Tormenting indeed had always seemed to him such a fate as to have the creative head without the creative hand. Bundy’s terminology. about his showing no symptom of the faculty really creative. the bookstall standard of literature and asked himself whose character had fallen to pieces now. had taken possession of the rooms on the ground floor.” this pitiless monitor had somewhere else remarked. It should be mentioned. two or three times. he encountered the lady who. there was no want of vividness in his occasional suspicion that he passed there for a familiar bore. Such a preju230 . The only thing that was clearly flattering was the fact that the Promiscuous rarely published fiction.

she positively preferred tenants who were clever. Bundy. Bundy that she was not a simple strummer. who considered her “parlours” (they were a dozen feet square). Mrs. had not falsified this somewhat rash prediction. She never 231 . it was true. not from her singing (for she only played). the earnest proprietress of No. but from her gay admonitions to her child. but it was still less to be overlooked that she had a cottage piano. she had satisfied Mrs. Bundy. Jersey Villas stood in pairs. and Peter could honestly reply that his ear was equally sensitive. to be a feature. Mrs. who reserved the drawing-room for a casual dressmaking business. reminding him that her affection for his own person was a proof that. guaranteed on the part of the stranger a first-class talent. Ryves. as a forecourt to each house. had threshed out the subject of the new lodger in advance with our young man. Ryves.” Mrs. Ryves’s piano would blight his existence if her hand should prove heavy or her selections vulgar. Bundy. it had been fairly apparent that she had a light step. 3. she had a weakness for a pretty tune. but if she played agreeable things and played them in an agreeable way she would render him rather a service while he smoked the pipe of “form. who evidently knew thoroughly what she was about. in the humble row. who wanted to let her rooms. Mrs. even more attractive. semidetached. than the second floor with which Baron had had to content himself—Mrs. Everything would depend on the “touch” of their inmate. of which Peter Baron had caught the accent. was held. Bundy admitted to Peter Baron that. whom she occasionally allowed to amuse himself—under restrictions very publicly enforced—in the tiny black patch which. had been subjected to a violent test. Ryves—such was the name under which the new lodger presented herself—had been admitted to the house as confessedly musical. This was the case with Mrs.Henry James dice. She had furthermore a little boy and a very sweet voice. for herself. other things being equal. and Mrs. if possible. and Mrs.

but it was the opinion of the immediate neighbourhood that he had not a leg to stand upon. and his mother appeared to have come out for a moment. He really knew little about music. it was not so on the rights and the wrongs of landladies. would have reigned supreme had it not been for the singularly bad taste of No. and on whatever subject the sentiment of Jersey Villas might have been vague. as a sort of conscious response to some of his broodings and doubts. who had not even Mr. She was discussing with him the responsibility that he might incur by passing a piece of string round one of the iron palings and pretending he was in command of a “geegee”. to see that he was doing no harm. if you had listened to Mrs.Sir Dominick Ferrand played in the morning. bareheaded. Mrs. you would have supposed to be divided from the obnoxious instrument by walls and corridors. Ryves’s piano was on the free side of the house and was regarded by Mrs. Baron’s excuse of being “littery”(he kept a bull-terrier and had five hats—the street could count them). Ryves’s conception of it was that she seemed devoted to the dismal. It was not. therefore. and he found himself listening with pleasure at other hours to her discreet and melancholy strains. who was so reasonable. Ryves’s little boy was in the garden as Peter Baron issued from the house. 4. As much. could not be said of the gentleman of No. “Ou geegee!” in a manner productive of some refined embar232 . shouting. of massive structure and fabulous extent. Mrs. on the contrary. however. however. they floated up. Harmony. Bundy as open to no objection but that of their own gentleman. This gentleman had taken up an attitude which had now passed into the phase of correspondence and compromise. Bundy. that these strains were not pleasant to him. He rushed at Baron with a flourish of the bridle. but it happened that at the sight of the other lodger the child was seized with a finer perception of the drivable. and whom. which was Baron’s working-time. 4. obstacles and intervals. and the only criticism he would have made of Mrs.

in the house. and as the young man’s eyes rested on her the tolerance for which she expressed herself indebted seemed to him the least indulgence she might count upon. hereupon clamoured for another ride. nodding slightly but not unsociably. you’re not a nuisance!” and felt more and more introduced. and such an impression shortens many steps. who was handsome. thank you—you mustn’t let him worry you”. Baron met his advance by mounting him on a shoulder and feigning to prance an instant. don’t go!” Baron broke out. She gave a vague exclamation and. But the people next door don’t like it. he was turning away. having put down the child and raised his hat. 233 . Ryves. “I have to play. “Oh. so that by the time this performance was over—it took but a few seconds—the young man felt introduced to Mrs. to moderate his transports. though my room. she added: “It’s very good of you not to complain of my piano. with a sudden expressiveness which made his voice. This was a proof of the intensity of that interest. when it was superseded by the thought of his prospective discussion with Mr. is not against their wall. She stood a moment with the child in her arms.” She looked gentle and bright as she spoke. passed back into the house. She had made an impression which remained till the other party to the conversation reached the railway-station. But he only laughed and said “Oh. Locket.Henry James rassment to his mother. as it fell upon his ear. Her smile struck him as charming. “If they really make a fuss I’m afraid I shall have to go.” she went on. strike him as the voice of another. The little boy.” said Peter Baron. permittingly shook her head to get rid of them. you know. and he put his fingers exuberantly into her hair. and then as. She said. and she took him up herself.” “I particularly enjoy it—you play beautifully. Therefore I thank you for letting me tell them that you. “Oh. don’t find me a nuisance. you see—it’s all I can do. so that while she smiled at Baron she slowly. no.

to look at. Locket had been so good as to disengage depended for clearness mainly on this scene. Locket lived in the depths of Chelsea. often rosy. one of the rickety features of Mrs. Bundy’s second floor. He had had the question out with Mr. He felt lavish this morn234 . a different air was in the streets and a chaff of traffic for the observer of manners to catch. He walked to work off his excitement and to think in what manner he should reconstruct. a fresher bustle. in the awkward attitude engendered by the poor piece of furniture. there were livelier industries to profit by and shop-girls. it was the time when poor Baron made his purchases. these were hours that he habitually spent at his table. his extravagances. and that was a tribute which Baron was in a position to make the most of. amiable house. There was a new amusement for him. which were wholly of the wandering mind. But there was also a scene which scandalised the editorial conscience and which the young man had promised to rewrite. and he had a foreknowledge that if ever he should ruin himself it would be well before noon. in a London walk in the morning. Locket. Above all. Mr. who quitted his editor with his manuscript under his arm. Locket had had to admit that there was an idea in his story. in a little panelled. which had to serve as his altar of literary sacrifice. he looked vaguely into shop-windows for solutions and hints. This inference was probably a part of the joy in which Peter Baron walked as he carried home a contribution it pleased him to classify as accepted. He went some distance without settling that point. The idea that Mr. and then. so it was easy to see his objection was perverse. Mr. and he was in a flutter which ought to have been a sense of triumph and which indeed at first he succeeded in regarding in this light. If by exception he went out when the day was young he noticed that life seemed younger with it.Sir Dominick Ferrand The aftertaste of the later conference was also intense for Peter Baron. and Baron took his way homeward along the King’s Road. were all matutinal. for some mysterious reason. as it began to worry him.

but it had got pushed out of sight in one of the upper rooms—they contained such a wilderness of treasures—and happened to have but just come to light. and indeed this occasion differed from most others in containing the germ of real danger. the crowded panes of the curiosity-mongers and the desirable exhibitions of mahogany “done up. Before the old bookshops and printshops. but there was one that detained him in supreme contemplation. On this particular occasion the King’s Road proved almost unprecedentedly expensive. just to help himself on his way. where he presently found himself bending over 235 . with elbow-room and drawers and a fair expanse of leather stamped neatly at the edge with gilt. the sum mentioned by the voluble vendor mocked at him even more than he had feared. He never saw a commodious writing-table. For once in a way he had a bad conscience—he felt himself tempted to pick his own pocket. which he described as remarkably cheap for what it was. Peter suffered himself to be conducted into an interminable dusky rear. on the strength of what the Promiscuous would do for him. and it had been in stock some time. Peter Baron glanced at them all through the fronts of the shops. It was an old piece. as he hinted. and he was on the point of completing his comedy by a pensive retreat when the shopman bespoke his attention for another article of the same general character. without being freshly reminded of Mrs. he had lost sight for the moment of what he should have to do for the Promiscuous. There were several such tables in the King’s Road— they seemed indeed particularly numerous today.” he used. and lost himself in pictures of a transfigured second floor. There was a fine assurance about it which seemed a guarantee of masterpieces. from a sale in the country.Henry James ing. He refurnished Mrs. but when at last he went in and. by an innocent process. Bundy’s dilapidations. to commit luxurious follies. Bundy with a freedom that cost her nothing. asked the impossible price. It was far too expensive.

236 . firm lid. After he had sat for a minute with his nose in the friendly desk he had a queer impression that it might tell him a secret or two—one of the secrets of form. he reflected on the economy of having a literary altar on which one could really kindle a fire. with the aid of front legs. but as the shopman pushed up a chair for him and he sat down with his elbows on the gentle slope of the large. on a sort of retreating pedestal which is fitted with small drawers. Bundy’s he had to write on an insincere cardtable. He would have said in advance that such an article was exactly what he didn’t want. but the davenport arrived that evening at Jersey Villas. contracted conveniences known immemorially to the knowing as davenports. but what was all life but a compromise? He could beat down the dealer. A davenport was a compromise. raised. he sat ominously silent while his companion dropped the striking words: “Now that’s an article I personally covet!” Then when the man mentioned the ridiculous price (they were literally giving it away). He felt rather vulgar. and at Mrs. but it had an old-time solidity and to Peter Baron it unexpectedly appealed. When he took his head out of it he said to the shopman: “I don’t mind meeting you halfway. as if fragrant. faint odour in the receptacle. This specimen had visibly seen service.Sir Dominick Ferrand one of those square substantial desks of old mahogany. There was a strange. one of the sacrificial mysteries— though no doubt its career had been literary only in the sense of its helping some old lady to write invitations to dull dinners. He raised the lid and looked lovingly into the deep interior.” He had been told by knowing people that that was the right thing. he felt that such a basis for literature would be half the battle. hallowed things had once been put away there.

and the piano had had much to do with it. but she had the highest confidence in Mrs. and for the rest she depended on 237 . Bundy. Ryves. Just as this instrument served. but Jersey Villas could be proud of a profession that didn’t happen to be the wrong one— they had seen something of that. Mrs. as a theme for discussion.Henry James CHAPTER II “I DARESAY it will be all right. she held her beautiful child in her arms. Mrs. of conversation frequently renewed. Fortunately however they did have it. so between Peter Baron and the lady of the parlours it had become a basis of peculiar agreement. was characterised in general by a familiar domestic severity in respect to picturesque young women. The two lodgers had grown regularly acquainted. Bundy knew this. Mrs. looked dimly like a modern Madonna. at least. 4. Ryves had told her).” said the poor lady of the “parlours” a few days later. Bundy back to a gratified recognition of one of those manifestations of mind for which she had an independent esteem. knowing more now about his new friend. who when. Ryves had a hundred a year (Baron wondered how Mrs. made the most of it. he thought it unlikely Mrs. as a letter of furnished lodgings. at any rate. and he. She was luminous about her being a lady. widowed and fatigued. and a lady who could bring Mrs. a topic. She was professional. Ryves was so prepossessing that Peter was sure that even if they had not had the piano he would have found something else to thresh out with her. he seems quiet now. in reference to their litigious neighbour and the precarious piano. with the gentleman at No.

Ryves sometimes went out. Baron judged that her music. looked out on a good deal of life. The young man’s window. 238 . Sidney haunted the doorstep of No. 3 he was eminently sociable. like Baron himself. Mrs.Sir Dominick Ferrand her lovely music. and he asked himself at first whether she played country-dances at children’s parties or gave lessons to young ladies who studied above their station. even though lovely. and. was a frail dependence. Mrs. Peter Baron’s window had always. for the little boy had been almost as great a help as the piano. Very soon. she tried to compose—to produce songs that would make a hit. to his sense. she almost always came back with them. with manuscripts under her arm. and. He was capable of a shyness of curiosity about her and of dumb little delicacies of consideration. through a starched muslin curtain it kept his neighbour before him. it all went fast. who had lived on—and from a noble nursery—into a period of diplomas and humiliation. made him almost more aware of her comings and goings than he felt he had a right to be. still more like Baron. and one of the things it had most shown him was that there is nobody so bereft of joy as not to be able to command for twopence the services of somebody less joyous. and had established independent relations with Peter. She had almost no visitors. poor dingy Miss Teagle. it would hardly help to fill a concert-room. but she occupied a pinnacle for Miss Teagle. to picture books criticised for not being all geegees and walking sticks happily more conformable. upstairs. indeed. they were essentially local. too. Ryves was a struggler (Baron scarcely liked to think of it). Her vain approaches were to the music-sellers. a frequent feature of which was an adventurous visit. he was sufficiently enlightened. who was also ancient and who came humbly enough to governess the infant of the parlours. and he ended by knowing more or less what she went out for and what she came in from. only a decent old lady or two. looked out on their acquaintance. She did give a few lessons. every day.

laughing. that she mentioned how only one song in a thousand was successful and that the terrible difficulty was in getting the right words. the concessions to the platitude of his conception of the public mind were degrading. she confided to Peter one of the first times he took Sidney. as he stared at it with his elbows on his desk. The davenport was delightful. The touching note was in her person as well. This rightness was just a vulgar “fluke”—there were lots of words really clever that were of no use at all. an aspect uncompromising and incorruptible. back to his mother. who now found himself confronted with the consequence of a frivolous optimism. with its essential finish: “How could you promise anything so base. yet only three weeks after his first encounter with Mrs. Locket. He had made the purchase in anticipation of the money he expected from Mr.Henry James A successful song was an income. that he supposed any words he should try to produce would be sure to be too clever. or any principle of perception more discoverable than the stare of huddled sheep! Peter Baron felt that it concerned him to determine if he were only not clever enough 239 . Locket were impossible. after six months of its tottering predecessor. It seemed to look up at him reproachfully and to say. Ryves he sat at his delightful davenport (well aware that he had duties more pressing). how could you pass your word to mutilate and dishonour me?” The alterations demanded by Mr. blase and drowsy. The fruit of his labour presented. trying to string together rhymes idiotic enough to make his neighbour’s fortune. It was not on one of these occasions. Peter said. He was satisfied of the fineness of her musical gift—it had the touching note. The public mind!—as if the public had a mind. Locket’s liberality was to depend on the ingenuity of his contributor. but once when he had come in on no better pretext than that of simply wanting to (she had after all virtually invited him). and such a re-enforcement to the young man’s style was not impaired by his sense of something lawless in the way it had been gained. but Mr.

but it might very well become a labour of love. He had not ventured to show her anything yet. he did meet it obliquely when he considered that he shouldn’t be an utter failure if he were to produce some songs to which Mrs. Besides. If the sense was not confused it was because the sound was so familiar. The truth about his luckless tale was now the more bitter from his having managed. but one morning. to whom he had sacrificed barley-sugar (it had no attraction for his own lips. biting his pen and wondering what was meant by the “rewards” of literature. it seemed to him that. for some days. at a moment when her little boy was in his room. Ryves might be able to set to music. but there were hours when he judged this question to be altogether too arduous. Locket and trying his hand at the sort of twaddle that Mrs. He had said to the child. baffled and sombre. between sound and sense. Success in these experiments wouldn’t be a reward of literature. yet in these days there was 240 . As he sat there. reflecting that he might quite as well perish by the sword as by famine. by an inspiration. to taste it as sweet. was half of practice. Poor Peter actually flushed with pain as he recognised that this was not success. Humility. he generally ended by tossing away the composition deflowered by Mr. for he had learned enough about her. He might in truth have had less pride if he had had more skill. and resignation was half of success. little by little. To spend his mornings over cheap rhymes for her was certainly to shirk the immediate question. That was the way he thought of her now. The experiments would be pleasant enough for him if they were pleasant for his inscrutable neighbour. in the profession of letters. Ryves’s accompaniments would give a circulation. to guess how much there was still to learn. the production of gelid prose which his editor could do nothing with on the one side and he himself could do nothing with on the other.Sir Dominick Ferrand or if he were simply not abject enough to rewrite his story. and more discretion if he had had more practice. he had arrived at the happy middle course (it was an art by itself ).

and after he had gone Baron stood a moment at the window chinking pennies and keys in pockets and wondering if the charming composer would think his song as good. Ryves. my boy!” he exclaimed. gurgling and sticky. and this time a distinctly disobedient. Sidney had absorbing occupation and. “Confound the little brute!” he exclaimed. the traces of Sidney’s assault were visible in three or four ugly scratches. Sidney paused an instant. to his regret. whom with his left arm he held in durance on his knee while with his free hand he addressed the missive to Mrs. As Sidney was fond of errands he was easily got rid of. It came of course immediately. with his head beneath it. leaving the child for a moment under a demoralising impression of impunity. I say. began to bang on the surface of it with a paper-knife which at that spot had chanced to fall upon the floor. as he was fond of beating time to his intensest joys. this thing has a false back!” jumped up and secured his visitor. rap. while Peter still hunted for the envelope. roamed. Peter heard it from within and was struck with its oddity of sound—so much so that. In this manner he lurched like a little toper into the rear of the davenport. “I say. he waited with quick curiosity for a repetition of the stroke. where. as he thought it. which stood a few steps out from the recess of the window. who had at the same instant found his envelope and ejaculated “Hallo. about the room. and. His eyes as he turned away fell on the wooden back of the davenport. was rummaging among a mass of papers for a proper envelope. he had confided to the small Sidney that if he would wait a little he should be intrusted with something nice to take down to his parent. then. solicitous for the ancient glaze of his most cherished possession.Henry James always some of it about). he administered another. while Peter copied off the song in a pretty hand. 241 . feeling as if an altar had been desecrated. and then the young man. or in other words as bad. He was reminded. At the moment Sidney committed this violence his kind friend had happened to raise the lid of the desk and.

again standing beside the desk. during which he reflected that the people of the shop were not such fools after all. and the purpose could only be the creation of a secret compartment. everything fitted with a closeness that completely saved appearances. The article was really a wonder of neat construction. satisfied for his own part with its honourable appearance and averse in general to shiny furniture. The people at the shop had never noticed it. so that the object had left the place for Jersey Villas. and. He now recalled that the man had wanted to polish it up before sending it home. there was a space between the inner and the outer pieces (he could measure it). he knocked on the wood with his knuckle. else they would have called his attention to it as an enhancement of value. but his suspicion was strongly confirmed when. The sacrifice could of course only be for a purpose. the more so as every indication of it had been cleverly concealed. Peter Baron was still boy enough to be thrilled by the idea of such a feature. It sounded from that position commonplace enough. His legendary lore instructed him that where there was a hiding-place there was always a hidden spring. and he pried and pressed and fumbled in an eager search for the sensitive spot. and that. two or three hours after his visit. of the observation this outrage had led him to make.Sir Dominick Ferrand however. carrying presumably its secret with it. It took Baron some minutes to pursue his inquiry. there was an absurdity 242 . for further assurance. he had in his impatience declined to wait for such an operation. The back was distinctly hollow. so wide that he was a fool not to have noticed it before. The depth of the receptacle from front to rear was so great that it could sacrifice a certain quantity of room without detection. he put his head beneath the lifted lid and gave ear while with an extended arm he tapped sharply in the same place. They had admitted moreover that they had accidentally neglected this relic of gentility—it had been overlooked in the multiplicity of their treasures. This secret it seemed indeed capable of keeping.

a sliding panel. in presence of the ingenuity with which it had been dissimulated. Peter returned to the charge. inserted sideways into that portion of the structure which formed part of the support of the desk. of different sizes. for it had occurred to him that he had perhaps not sufficiently visited the small drawers. Baron. in its turn. which yielded with a click when he pressed it and which instantly produced a loosening of one of the pieces of the shelf forming the highest part of the davenport—pieces adjusted to each other with the most deceptive closeness. a small sliding panel. Locket wouldn’t object to. in two vertical rows. he listened and measured again. These objects were a collec243 . he inspected every joint and crevice. had at any rate been worth somebody’s hiding. but for the odd chance of little Sidney Ryves’s having hammered on the outside at the moment he himself happened to have his head in the desk. old-fashioned story that Mr. with the happy result of discovering at last. but there was distinctly something in the compartment! Perhaps it was a lost manuscript—a nice. which. there were six in number. but Peter couldn’t find the spring. like a flat button. immediately felt that. It contained objects which. oblong box. for he had been right in guessing that the chamber was not empty. with the effect of becoming surer still of the existence of a chamber and of making up his mind that his davenport was a rarity. He took them out again and examined more minutely the condition of their sockets. but if it couldn’t hold many things it might hold precious ones. Its capacity was limited. safe. revealed the existence of a smaller receptacle. This apparently would have been a loss. whether precious or not.Henry James in being baffled. he might have remained for years without suspicion of it. a narrow. This particular piece proved to be. in the false back. in the place into which the third on the left-hand row was fitted. of which. Not only was there a compartment between the two backs. Behind the panel was a spring. He thumped and sounded. when pushed.

which he had many a time paid before. He looked at them all narrowly. dead story—they were the ashes of fires burned out. musty smell. As Peter Baron held his discoveries successively in his hands he became conscious of a queer emotion which was not altogether elation and yet was still less pure pain. but he was careful not to loosen them. sorted and matched according to dates or to authorship. which affected him with the melancholy of some smothered human accent. but had he given money for these buried papers? He paid by a growing consciousness that a nameless chill had stolen into the air the penalty. of being made of sensitive stuff. He had made a find. but it somehow added to his responsibility. but (in a manner he couldn’t have defined) this circumstance suddenly constituted a danger. an impossible tantalising wisdom.Sir Dominick Ferrand tion of small fiat parcels. It was the perception of the danger. something like honour or kindness or justice. he turned them over and over. and he wondered uncomfortably whether the contents of the secret compartment would be held in equity to be the property of the people in the King’s Road. They told some old. bore the impress neither of arms nor of initials. felt them curiously and snuffed in their vague. He had given money for the davenport. Standing there before his ambiguous treasure and losing himself for 244 . wrapped in white paper and neatly sealed. The little bundles were neither named nor numbered—there was not a word of writing on any of the covers. something indeed perhaps even finer still—a difficult deciphering of duty. It was as if an occasion had insidiously arisen for a sacrifice— a sacrifice for the sake of a fine superstition. but they plainly contained old letters. the packets might have been there for ages. of the shape of packets of letters. of different sizes. The seals. he was in the presence of something interesting. mechanically figured. Baron counted them—there were nine in all. for instance. which caused to remain in abeyance any impulse he might have felt to break one of the seals. the paper looked old—it had turned faintly sallow.

“It was the impulse of a kind nature. He hastily laid a big book over the place and then went and opened his door.” 245 . leaving the door ajar. for she had his open manuscript in one hand and was nervously pulling it about with the other. please!” and slipped the little heap of packets into the biggest of the drawers of the davenport. “and I can’t tell you what pleasure you give me. Then he answered “One moment. The visitor came in. he listened an instant—he was in the attitude of a miser surprised while counting his hoard. She looked frightened and pretty. she was at least conscious of the enormity of the step and incapable of treating it with levity. irresistible impulse— that of thanking him for it in person and without delay. Ryves.” he said. Her agitation was so visible that he thought at first that something dreadful had happened to her child—that she had rushed up to ask for help. in invading the privacy of a fellowlodger. he was startled by a light. and if. pushing forward the seat of honour and repeating that he rejoiced in such a visit. she had been guilty of a departure from rigid custom. Instinctively. The levity was for Peter Baron. The aperture of the false back was still gaping. however. and he had not time to work back the spring.Henry James the moment in the sense of a dawning complication. It offered him a sight none the less agreeable for being unexpected—the graceful and agitated figure of Mrs. he charged her with the purpose of telling him that he ought to be ashamed to send her down such rubbish. which happened to be open. quick tap at the door of his sitting-room. before answering. to help her. to clothe his familiarity with respect. who endeavoured. and after a minute during which. to beg him to go for the doctor. Then he perceived that it was probably connected with the desperate verses he had transmitted to her a quarter of an hour before. she recovered herself sufficiently to stammer out that his song was exactly what she had been looking for and that after reading it she had been seized with an extraordinary.

and now I must go. though she said three or four times over that it was beautiful. “I’m so delighted to do anything for you I can. For an instant he felt found out. Good-by!” said Mrs.” “There isn’t.” “It’s absurd. I think. “Well. Ryves’s. His own glanced in the same direction and he saw that in his hurry to shuffle away the packets found in the davenport he had overlooked one of them. but on his hearthrug she lingered with such an odd helplessness that he felt almost sorry for her. I’m all right.” said Baron. I had a sudden fancy. rather absently. and evidently wished to appear to have come but for a few seconds. fixing her eyes an instant on an object on his desk that had caught them. “I shall have to think it over.” she answered.” “Charming of you. You must excuse me. and that.” said Baron. I only wanted you to know. But your sudden fancies are inspirations. indeed. and that’s all I wanted to say.” his visitor repeated.Sir Dominick Ferrand She declined to sit down. and it was only his quick second thought that told him how little the incident of which the packet was a sequel was an affair of Mrs. as if he had been concerned in something to be ashamed of. I’m not a bit busy. She was evidently not thinking of his song. which lay with its seals exposed. Good-by.” “There may be a word or two that might be changed.” she added. is really why I came up. But I like it. Again she looked at him with a troubled intensity. I wondered if there might be. then suddenly she demanded: “Is there anything the matter with you?” “The matter with me?” “I mean like being ill or worried. Her conscious eyes came back 246 . “Perhaps I can improve it if you find it doesn’t go. Ryves. and when her eyes met his own they struck him as anxious and appealing. “I don’t want any—if you’re all right. She looked confusedly at the place in which she found herself. “What are the words you want changed?” Baron asked. to live with it a little.

” “Are you in a quandary?” the visitor asked.” “What are they?” murmured Mrs. and suddenly this instinct of keeping his discovery to himself was succeeded by a really startled inference that.” said Mrs.Henry James to his as if they were sounding them. I never heard of anything so miraculous. After an instant he saw that she also divined the very reflection he was then making. with the rarest alertness. “Yes. more gaily now. a grateful. in a secret compartment of my writing-table. “I haven’t had time. happy desire. had been her real motive. They’re sealed.” “You haven’t broken the seals?” She had come further back. “What did you know?” “That you were in some predicament. she had guessed something and that her guess (it seemed almost supernatural). “What do you advise?” She herself smiled now. Ryves. it only happened ten minutes ago. down two flights of stairs. it determined her still more to put an end to her momentary visit. still looking earnest and asking: “What have you found?” “Some ancient family papers. holding it before her eyes. with her eyes on the sealed parcel. Ryves. to appear to have nothing to conceal.” And he took up the packet he had left out.” Peter Baron stood smiling at her and rapping his packet on the palm of his hand. and this gave him a lively desire. Some secret sympathy had made her vibrate—had touched her with the knowledge that he had brought something to light. “Back to whom?” 247 . “A lot of other things like that. about giving them back. For herself.” “You’re extraordinary. “I haven’t the least idea. But before she had passed to the door he exclaimed: “All right? How can a fellow be anything else who has just had such a find?” She paused at this.” “I knew it.

“I haven’t the least idea. Ryves inquired.” Peter Baron reflected.” “That proves the things haven’t been missed. “It’s rather tantalising—it’s a bit of a problem. with much expression.” he said. Ryves hesitated. that there was a hidden chamber or that mysterious documents were buried there. diverted by her intensity.” 248 .” “Is it honest to keep them?” “Certainly. Obviously the man who sold it to me sold me more than he meant. “The table had been in the place for years.” “Ah then. Ryves.Sir Dominick Ferrand “The man of whom I bought the table. saying again more emphatically “Don’t!” “Don’t break a seal?” “Don’t give back the papers. “Will you show me what you have in your hand?” He gave her the packet. the piece of furniture in which they were hidden is not an ancestral possession. She looked grave again. turning his packet over.” “Don’t!” said Mrs. with eyes almost ardent. I bought it at second hand—you see it’s old—the other day in the King’s Road. “It has a queer. Mrs. charming old fragrance. and she looked at it and held it for an instant to her nose. She was pale. and the people had every opportunity to find them out. They didn’t— therefore let them take the consequences.” “Are the papers of value?” Mrs. “Charming? It’s horrid.” She handed him back the packet.” Baron went on. they’re not from your family?” “No indeed. They were in the hidden chamber when the table came to the shop. Ought I to go and tell him? It’s rather a nice question. he had no idea (from his own point of view it was stupid of him). But I can ascertain by breaking a seal. They’re yours as much as the people’s of the shop.

“To save them for what. “I can’t make out why it matters to you. “I don’t know—for a generous sacrifice. and I’m very grateful. Ryves went on.” “Certainly. that now she had saved them she must really go. impenetrable covers.” 249 .” the young man reasoned. Finally she put the whole thing on the ground of his just doing her a favour. his agreeable relations with her. It’s just a whim. she grew excited and became familiar. and he exhibited the ingenious recess and the working of the curious spring. She was greatly interested. She asked him to retain the papers.” Mrs. I see now that this was why the spirit moved me to come up—to save them. absurd as it was. and she conceded that nothing was more probable. advanced many steps in the treatment of this question. Baron’s acquaintance. one way or the other. He declared that women had not the smallest sense of honour. “Neither can I. acknowledging that. the rest of which. nor why you should think it worth talking about.” he argued. yet when he offered to settle the point off-hand she caught him by the wrist.Henry James “Let me show you how they were concealed. simply because it would please her. to be silent about them. she was nervous. he placed in a row before her. “They might be traced—their history. and she retorted that at any rate they have other perceptions more delicate than those of men.” he rejoined. if it will give you any pleasure. in their little blank. I’ll say nothing at the shop. an element of friendly candour made its way into their discussion of it. if I mayn’t break the seals?” Baron asked. to which she replied that this was exactly why he ought to be quiet. their ownership. moving away. He admitted that the papers might be rubbish. That would be reason enough.” “That’s charming of you. She added. she appealed to him again not to do anything so foolish as to give up the papers.

“Ah. imaginative. but I feel as if something or other were in peril. I won’t ask more than I ought. 250 . and after that he went out.. Goodby. to whom the answer appeared inadequate and the proposition indeed in that form grossly unfair. The vivacity of her interest in a question in which she had discoverably nothing at stake mystified. it was the way he liked women to be. “I don’t know what. He dropped them again into their secret well. quick to feel. in addition.Sir Dominick Ferrand “Why should it be generous? What’s at stake?” Peter demanded. He felt restless and excited. you ask too much—I’m so curious about them!” “Well. leaning against the baluster and smiling up at him. I trust to your discretion. irresistibly charmed him. Locket was still further off. coming out to the landing. amused and. He didn’t complain of it. quick to act. She was delicate.” “That’s delightful as far as it goes. But what will you do for me if I burn the papers?” Mrs. leaning against the doorpost as she stood on the landing. another day was lost for work—the dreadful job to be performed for Mr. but he was not impelled for the hour to commit the sealed packets to the flames. Ryves considered a moment. She had partly descended the staircase and she stopped. returned to his room. Burn them up!” she exclaimed with shining eyes. and Baron. “Burn them first and you’ll see!” On this she went rapidly downstairs. and I’m much obliged to you for your promise to be quiet.” “You ought to reward my discretion.” said Baron. inflammable. “Surely you’ve had your reward in the honour of my visit.

Ryves’s visit he paid by appointment another call on the editor of the Promiscuous. Locket. and there would have been nothing for him but to go away with the prospect of never coming again had he not chanced to say abruptly. “Very extinct indeed. Locket shot his young friend another sharp glance. Locket was affected by his audacity. looked over his glasses. gave it air after discovering that poor Baron had come to tell him something more interesting than that he couldn’t after all patch up his tale. as he got up from his chair: “Do you happen to be at all interested in Sir Dominick Ferrand?” Mr. had felt weak and slightly silly. which had to Peter’s sense the smoky brownness of an old pipebowl. you know the family’s extinct. He found him in the little wainscoted Chelsea house. He had armed himself for a struggle. perceiving how little Mr. Locket himself however who presently made the interview spacious. surrounded with all the emblems of his office—a litter of papers. irrelevantly.” Mr. “The late Sir Dominick?” “The only one. a silent retort to the glibness of this information. and then. a hedge of encyclopaedias. I’m 251 . Peter had begun with this. left with his heroism on his hands. It was Mr.Henry James CHAPTER III TEN DAYS AFTER Mrs. had intimated respectfully that it was a case in which both practice and principle rebelled. a photographic gallery of popular contributors—and he promised at first to consume very few of the moments for which so many claims competed. but the Promiscuous didn’t even protest. who had also got up.

” Peter Baron declared.” “Are you very sure?” Baron asked. but meeting the young man’s eyes again he asked: “Are you—a—thinking of proposing an article upon him?” “Not exactly proposing it—because I don’t yet quite see my way.” Mr.” said Mr. in a way that relegated poor Peter to the general. and the conversation took a fresh start on a basis which such an extension of privilege could render but little less hu252 .Sir Dominick Ferrand afraid the subject today would scarcely be regarded as attractive. “I might consider the question in a special connection.” “That depends upon what it is. but the idea rather appeals to me. Mr. Locket stared again. Locket leaned forward a little. Mr. shuffling papers together. “Do you allude to—a—revelations?” “Very curious ones. “That often freshens up an old story. shot another glance under his glasses. hesitating. then he added: “Have you been studying him?” “I’ve been dipping into him. it was therefore easy for him after an instant to bend a little further and to sink into his chair with a movement of his hand toward the seat Baron had occupied.” Mr. “the documents I speak of would be a crushing monument. Locket.” He was silent a minute.” Peter added. colouring a little. However. had kept his body at the bowing angle.” Mr.” said the young man. Locket. in the attitude of giving permission to retire. “I think I could make him one. It’s often only another tombstone. still on his feet. he was unable to repress an unattenuated “You?” “I have some new material. Locket. Baron resumed possession of this convenience. Locket emitted the safe assertion that this eminent statesman had been a striking figure in his day.” “It buries it sometimes. with his fingertips on his table.” “I’m afraid he’s scarcely a question of the hour.

If you don’t care to do that without a further guarantee I’ll copy you out some passages. they’ve been seen by nobody.” “Select a few of the worst!” Mr. I felt nervous about bringing them out. he could take the measure of that himself as he spoke. and even in this intensely professional presence. But he added in a moment more dryly: “You know they ought to be seen by an expert. but his scruples turned their face upon him from quarters high as well as low.” “You may have it if you’ll come to my rooms.Henry James miliating to our young man. I should have liked the testimony of my eyes. but wouldn’t this very circumstance qualify it for the Promiscuous? “Of course the letters may be forgeries. and if on the one hand he had by no means made up his mind not to mention his strange knowledge. Locket laughed. He had matured no plan of confiding his secret to Mr.” “Have you got any of them with you?” “No. he had still more left to the determination of the moment the question of how he should introduce the subject.” 253 . the impression of somebody else. Over Baron’s distressing information he had become quite human and genial. Locket at last. as he had appealed to other sources of comfort. “I’ve no doubt that’s what many people will say.” “That’s a pity. He had indeed during the past days—days of painful indecision—appealed in imagination to the editor of the Promiscuous. He wanted an opinion. and he had really come out to make him conscientiously that other announcement as to which it appeared that so much artistic agitation had been wasted. he only felt that he needed for his peace of mind to communicate his discovery. he felt relieved of half his burden.” “Have they been seen by any expert?” “No indeed. Locket.” said Mr. He was in fact too nervous to decide. five minutes after he had begun to tell his queer story. His story was very queer.

“How much will they be worth to me if they are?” Mr. Locket considered. Locket.” Peter replied. “You had better give up original composition and take to buying old furniture. and all for what advantage? There are so many letters. The creative faculty’s so rare. then with a smile he looked up. “It will be one of the strangest post-mortem revelations of which history preserves the record.” Again Mr. and I’ve compared everything carefully. I repudiate the possibility of forgery.” Peter communed with his innermost spirit.Sir Dominick Ferrand “That’s exactly what I dread. I’ve obtained permission to see them. “It’s very odd. Besides. No sign of genuineness is wanting. original composition couldn’t pay worse.” Mr. down to the very postmarks. Locket turned in his study-chair.” “I’ve been to the British museum—there are many of his letters there. there are details. “I’m bound to declare that Sir Dominick Ferrand was never one 254 . that would be the task of the writer introducing them to the public. I should think. that no forger could have invented. Locket exclaimed. grave now.” “Certainly.” “I do feel tempted to turn my attention to real heroes. But to be worth anything such documents should be subjected to a searching criticism—I mean of the historical kind. “They’ll be worth nothing to me if they’re not. whose interest could it conceivably have been? A labor of unspeakable difficulty.” “Do you mean because it will pay better?” “For you. too—twentyseven in all.” said Peter. what an ass!” Mr. worried with a paper-knife the crevice of a drawer.” “Lord. “I should require to look at them before answering that question.

who took Europe. but he made every one feel as if they cared. but he could easily put himself in the place of that portion of the public 255 .” said Baron. I mean. second-rate—that’s how I’ve always read him. Flashy. unexpected show of force by which he imposed on the United States our interpretation of that tiresome treaty—I could never make out what it was about. These were both matters that no one really cared a straw about. of his prestige—is scarcely audible now. to say had passed away with him.” “They’re still proud of some of the things he did at the Foreign Office—the famous ‘exchange’ with Spain. made them jump a bit. in the Mediterranean. which was usually nothing at all. crafty. What therefore will the country think when it learns he was venal?” Peter Baron himself was not angry with Sir Dominick Ferrand. “He did. He was a mere flash in the pan. or took America. that alone was remarkable for a man dying at forty-four. It was never a secret. which took Europe so by surprise and by which she felt injured.” “He speaks to the people of this country. Say what you like. and the country liked his doing it—it was a pleasant change. his political ‘cheek’ and wit. he’s still a high name. especially when it became apparent how much we had the best of the bargain. no doubt. the nation rose to the way he played his trumps—it was uncommon.Henry James of mine. partly also. his very appearance—he certainly was handsome—and the possibilities (of future personal supremacy) which it was the fashion at the time. who had simply become to him (he had been “reading up” feverishly for a week) a very curious subject of psychological study. in our period. which it’s the fashion still. that his private life had its weak spots. The rest of the world considered that they knew in any case exactly what we would do. He had been twice at the Foreign Office. moreover. but his voice—the voice. Then the sudden. by surprise. He was one of the few men we’ve had. on account of other things his early success and early death.

the chatter would be immense. as you call it.” “They all have this in common. on the writer’s part. It was some time fortunately since the conduct of public affairs had wanted for men of disinterested ability. so incredibly. would be a calculable blow to the retrospective mind. as I gather. The dread of the light in the other connection is evidently different. the rectification of history. “that they constitute evidence of uneasiness. the horror. Baron saw vividly that if these relics should be made public the scandal. “There are too many things to explain. from whom he had evidently received money.” 256 .” Mr.Sir Dominick Ferrand whose memory was long enough for their patriotism to receive a shock. the parties to the nefarious transactions? You say the transactions appear to be of two distinct kinds—some of them connected with public business and others involving obscure personal relations. They are addressed to a woman.” said Peter Baron. Immense would be also the contribution to truth. in some instances of painful alarm. He had felt for several days (and it was exactly what had made him so nervous) as if he held in his hand the key to public attention. in relation to exposure—the exposure in the one case. and how long had they been there? What hands secreted them? what hands had. of the fact that he had availed himself of official opportunities to promote enterprises (public works and that sort of thing) in which he had a pecuniary stake. There would be a perfect and probably a very complicated pedigree to trace. How did they get into your davenport. and these letters are the earliest in date. “and the singular provenance of your papers would count almost overwhelmingly against them even if the other objections were met. Locket went on. clung to them and preserved them? Who are the persons mentioned in them? who are the correspondents. but the extraordinary documents concealed (of all places in the world—it was as fantastic as a nightmare) in a “bargain” picked up at second-hand by an obscure scribbler.

the question would come up of whose property today such documents would legally he. Locket wiped his glasses. “What woman?” “I haven’t the least idea. for he felt that he was putting himself in a false position.” With this Peter Baron rose again. he himself prayed to be delivered. “Of course.” Peter Baron added. There are heirs. There are lots of questions I can’t answer. “I have no theory. I see. hut I’ve gone into that a little. executors to consider. in the second place they’re compromising.” ‘’That’s to his honour and against your theory. Locket’s studied detachment the fermentation of impulses from which. Locket got up. He detected in Mr. Mr. lots of identities I can’t establish. Locket remained seated. At this Mr.’’ said Mr. But as to two points I’m clear. Locket. who would be likely to suffer from any steps in the direction of publicity. directly or indirectly related to the personage in question. and he left no brothers and no sisters. lots of gaps I can’t fill. though of course my inquiries have had to be very rapid and superficial. It happens to be a rare instance of a life that had. He left a largeish mass of debt. of course. He can have had no heirs and no executors to speak of. descendants.” “I see. no loose ends. unsuccessful as he was. and they are the essential ones. for he left no property. “But I don’t think I should care much for your article. rather vexed with himself for having been led on to advertise his treasure (it was his interlocutor’s perfectly natural scepticism that produced this effect). Sir Dominick Ferrand had no children. he watched Baron go across the room for his hat and umbrella.” 257 .” said Mr.” “In some degree perhaps.Henry James Mr. Locket. At least there are none perceptible at present. while his visitor pursued: “So far as I can ascertain. His wife survived him. as it were. there is no one now living. In the first place the papers in my possession are genuine. but she died ten years ago.

Locket conceded after a moment.” the editor hinted.” Mr.” “They’d sell your number!” Baron laughed.Sir Dominick Ferrand “What article?” “The one you seem to wish to write. but Mr. Locket might hurry after him. “Mind you. He thought Mr. if there’s no question of their being of use to you?” “I don’t say that—I might like the letters themselves. and Peter Baron returned on foot to Jersey Villas. “When should I find you at home?” “Don’t come.” “Oh.” “Themselves?” “Not as the basis of a paper. I shall probably destroy them. Locket seemed to have other things to do.” “I should like to see the secret compartment. as if he had been looking out for a stray hansom. Locket.” said Mr. in the street near the house.” “You would think there was something in it if you were to see my documents. waiting however just afterwards.” said the young man. “Don’t trouble yourself. embodying this new matter. “Good-by. And then he bade his host good-by. I don’t say that I think there’s nothing in it.” the caustic editor rejoined. “Copy me out some extracts. “I daresay I should like to look at them.” With this Peter Baron took his departure.” “I might make you one. “I make you no offer. to which he would not have signalled had it appeared. I don’t wish to write it!” Peter exclaimed. 258 . but just to publish—for a sensation.” “To what end.

of his interesting neighbour of the parlours. Bundy. he let his fire go out. ineffective afternoon. Bundy. on its next peregrination. upon which he had addressed himself mechanically to the task of doing up his dishonoured manuscript—the ingenious fiction about which Mr. The situation at Jersey Villas (Mrs. to advertise it.Henry James CHAPTER IV ON THE EVENING that succeeded this apparently pointless encounter he had an interview more conclusive with Mrs. looking out of his window for something that didn’t happen. for whose shrewd and philosophic view of life he had several times expressed. Locket had been so stupid—for further adventures and not improbable defeats. from an absence more disappointing even than Mrs. He was so nervous and so depressed that he was unable even to fix his mind on the composition of the note with which. found him extended moodily 259 . but had been told she was absent for the hour. He was too nervous to eat. arriving at last with his lamp. asking himself if his genius were a horrid delusion. in general. Bundy which seemed. Ryves had suddenly flown off to Dover) was such as to create in him a desire for moral support. something that seemed now to be the advent of a persuasive Mr. and there was a kind of domestic determination in Mrs. He passed a restless. Locket and now the return. and it was in the melancholy chill of the late dusk that Mrs. and he forgot even to dine. he forgot to light his candles. Bundy’s. a considerable relish. He had asked for her on coming in. it was necessary that his manuscript should be accompanied. even to the good woman herself.

for it was this fine principle that broke down the barriers after he had reflected reassuringly that it was not meddling with Mrs. Bundy’s knowledge of the human heart. edited. just send her to me to talk to!” As regards happiness indeed she warned Baron against imposing too high a standard on a young thing who had been through so much. though it had its infirmities. pulling himself together sufficiently to reply that his health was well enough but that his spirits were down in his hoots. on his spirit. in submissive receipt of Mrs.Sir Dominick Ferrand upon his sofa. Ryves. The young man rose from his couch. He left out of account however Mrs. and before he knew it he found himself. and this led tolerably straight to another question. sat equally heavy (they were indeed but different phases of the same). Bundy’s version of this experience. At the same time he hated to appear to pry into the secrets of his absent friend. Bundy. one of them congenital and consisting of the fact that it had sprung essentially from the virginal brain of Miss Teagle. abruptly. even a little blushingly. and which the good woman answered with expression when she ejaculated: “Think it a liberty for you to run down for a few hours? If she do. as well as a vivid conviction that she constituted a theme as to which Mrs. She had been informed that he wished to speak to her. Bundy would require little pressure to tell him even more than she knew. It was an interesting picture. my dear sir. Crudely. embellished by the richer genius of Mrs. Amplified. without the responsibility of choice. He had a strong disposition to “draw” his landlady on the subject of Mrs. and as she placed on the malodorous luminary an oily shade of green pasteboard she expressed the friendly hope that there was nothing wrong with his ‘ealth. Ryves’s affairs to try and find out if she struck such an observer as happy. which. who had incorporated with it and now 260 . Bundy. to discuss her with their bustling hostess resembled too much for his taste a gossip with a tattling servant about an unconscious employer. he put the direct question to Mrs.

it gave Peter Baron much food for meditation. He sounded this note experimentally in Mrs. She couldn’t tell him why their faultless friend was so isolated. and on emerging from the station he was on the point of asking what direction he should take. seemed bright and breezy to him. He wandered off to the pier in company with happier tourists and. Bundy asked. his roamings had been neither far enough nor frequent enough to make the cockneyfied coast insipid.Henry James liberally introduced copious interleavings of Miss Teagle’s own romance. as he approached it. He had been long enough shut up in London to be conscious of refreshment in the mere act of turning his face to Paris. but he thought of another way she might live as he sat. She had no idea of the picture it would have been natural for him to desire that Mrs. and she was therefore unable to estimate the points in respect to which his actual impression was irritating. Bundy had of course given him the address he needed. but it was easy to see that it didn’t reverberate in her fancy. so unrelated. Mrs. “Now that he isn’t there to make them. the next day. Bundy’s ear. Baron was not prepared to say that she could. Everard Ryves. She had indeed no adequate conception of the intellectual requirements of a young man in love. shrinkingly proud. can she?” Mrs. in the train which rattled him down to Dover. at the same time that it only half relieved his curiosity about the causes of the charming woman’s underlying strangeness. The place. who was a “most rising” young man in the city. watched enviously the 261 . not making any year less than his clear twelve hundred. Ryves should present to him. His attention however at this moment was drawn away by the bustle of the departing boat. leaning on a rail. On the other hand she could tell him (he knew it already) that she had passed many years of her life in the acquisition of accomplishments at a seat of learning no less remote than Boulogne. and that Miss Teagle had been intimately acquainted with the late Mr. so nervously. his mourning widow can’t live as she had then.

he recognised in our young man a source of pleasures from which he lately had been weaned. kept hold of the child. he saw that if she had been angry at his having followed her she had quickly got over it.” “Oh. Ryves turned once more as he came near. Peter Baron. ah. he flourished his hat as she stood looking at him with a face that he imagined rather white. when was he to have the very draught? He turned away as he dropped this interrogative sigh. Mrs. from the sweet. “No. to whom. I’m not crossing. and he was thankful for the happy effect of being dragged by his jubilant friend in the very direction in which he had tended for so many hours. whom Miss Teagle artfully endeavoured to wrest from him—a policy in which he was aided by Sidney’s own rough but instinctive loyalty. On putting him down the pilgrim from Jersey Villas stood confronted with a sensibly severe Miss Teagle. Ryves’s response to this salutation was to shift her position in such a manner as to appear again absorbed in the Calais boat. however.” Mrs. on the part of a loyal suivante) the same complaint as that of her employer. Ryves had not advanced an inch. from a distance. Whatever it was. the agitation of foreign travel. but it came over me that you might be. It was for some minutes a foretaste of adventure. but why. and in doing so perceived that in another part of the pier two ladies and a little boy were gathered with something of the same wistfulness. for Mrs. who had followed her little charge. The little boy indeed happened to look round for a moment. strained smile with which she asked him if he were on his way to France. “What’s the matter with the old woman?” he asked himself as he offered her a hand which she treated as the merest detail. and then. and that’s why I hurried down—to catch you before you were off. it was (and very properly. Mrs. but.Sir Dominick Ferrand preparation. He bounded forward with irrepressible cries of “Geegee!” and Peter lifted him aloft for an embrace. 262 . upon which. if we could. we can’t go—more’s the pity. with the keenness of the predatory age.

Give me all your hours in short. something that may take some time. I’ve come to see you. “should you wish to prevent it?” “Because I’ve something to ask you first. to Baron’s sense. by the importunate twitch of the child’s little. as the emotion of an unexpected pleasure might have been.” He saw now that her embarrassment had really not been resentful.Henry James Ryves inquired. so that the rest of the episode was seasoned. to which he replied that he would tell her all about it if she would send Miss Teagle off with Sidney. and I’m ready to declare that the place is as good as the day. and the charm which little by little it scattered over his fleeting visit proved indeed to be the collective influence of the conditions he had put into words. as they stood there together. The friends wandered together with a conjugal air and Sidney not between them. Miss Teagle. so that they may live in my memory as one of the sweetest occasions of life. “and I won’t make any secret of the fact that I expect you to resign yourself gracefully to the trial and give me all your time. who was always anticipating her cue. without asking your leave first to pay you this little visit—that and the intense desire for another bout of horseplay with Sidney. cool hand. plump. it had been nervous. tremulous. who clung to his recovered prey. Let me walk with you and talk with you and lunch with you—I go back this afternoon. Let me drink deep of these things. The day’s lovely. She had however to retire without Sidney. hanging 263 . drain the cup like a man who hasn’t been out of London for months and months. Oh. “What is it you wish to ask me?” Mrs.” The emission of steam from the French packet made such an uproar that Baron could breathe his passion into the young woman’s ear without scandalising the spectators. had already begun ostentatiously to gaze at the distant shores of France and was easily enough induced to take an earlier start home and rise to the responsibility of stopping on her way to contend with the butcher. Ryves demanded. “That’s really why I determined last night.” Peter Baron went on.

in spite of your advice. in a spell of silence which seemed to confess—especially when. The presence of the boy moreover was no hindrance to their talking in a manner that they made believe was very frank. warmed by the sunshine. as it moved rumbling away. and she sat down at the end while the breeze. Ryves got up from her scat and asked him. ruffled the purple sea. “How ferociously do you suspect me of having judged it?” she inquired. I couldn’t imagine—as I vow I can’t imagine now—why such a matter should appear so closely to touch you. not to allude again to his discovery. You turned away from me. their eyes met—that it produced the same fond fancy in each. and after an instant she repeated interrogatively: “The next moment?” “As soon as I told you what I had done. I determined to see for myself what my discovery represented. You must do me justice and hear what determined me. Peter Baron presently told his companion what it was he had taken a journey to ask. It was no concern of 264 . saying nothing. to the extent of leaving the house the next moment. She seemed disappointed (but she was forgiving) on learning from him that he had only wished to know if she judged ferociously his not having complied with her request to respect certain seals. first. as a particular favour. She coloured a little and looked troubled. “Why. I went straight downstairs to confess to you. It had all the look of my having offended you. I went out on some business and when I returned you had quitted the house. You didn’t even give me time to tell you how it was that.” They were still lingering on the great granite pier when he touched on this matter.Sir Dominick Ferrand wistfully. and he had time afterwards to get over his discomfiture at her appearance of having fancied it might be something greater. over the lengthened picture of the Calais boat. a moment later. till they could look after it. you will remember. I was scrupulous about this. of your wishing to get away from me.” Mrs.

that she was vague and. together with a pudding invented by Miss Teagle. worried and nervous. and if Miss Teagle could go up for some things she should probably be able to manage an extension. She was very sorry to have been for a moment so absurd as to appear to do so. but the sea in the afternoon light was a more appealing picture. Earlier in the day she had said that she perhaps wouldn’t return to Jersey Villas at all. in which there were other sources of satisfaction. and they took their course to her lodgings with such pleasant little pauses and excursions by the way as permitted her to show him the objects of interest at Dover. The young man had asked his companion (he had asked her before) when she was to come back to Jersey Villas. as they hypocritically swallowed it. of which. At another moment she had spoken of an early date. and she had said that she should probably stay at Dover another week. or only return to wind up her connection with Mrs. the wind had gone down. the sails of the ships were white in the purple distance. the Channel was crowded. Fortunately the incident didn’t spoil the hour. and she humbly begged his pardon for her meddling. they partook. while he laughed out. in secret. It was dreadfully expensive. Baron saw that she had no plan. though he was really bewildered. waiting for something that didn’t de265 . in its order. made them look at each other in an intimacy of indulgence.Henry James hers at all. They came out again and. and she had no warrant for prying into his secrets. Bundy. but it was doing the child all the good in the world. Saying this she walked on with a charming colour in her cheek. no real reasons. at the endless capriciousness of women. to the disappointment of Miss Teagle. an immediate reoccupation of the wonderful parlours. Baron had his eye on his watch—he had to think of his train and the dismal return and many other melancholy things. while Sidney grubbed in the gravel of the shore. who had fixed her hopes on a fly and a ladylike visit to the castle. sat selfishly on the Parade. She let him stop at a wine-merchant’s and buy a bottle for luncheon. which.

I had lain awake all night threshing about. they put me into a state. 266 . my own nerves (as I may say) were irritated. It made me ill. A silence of several minutes had fallen upon them while they watched the shining sails. if you had come to tell me you had destroyed them—” “Those terrible papers? I like the way you talk about ‘destroying!’ You don’t even know what they are.” “I know—I know. itching with curiosity. It was ten to one they were rubbish. I had told you I wouldn’t touch them. the little bundle contained old letters— very curious old letters. the former possessor of the confounded davenport. they were vain. that was why. It took me but a few minutes to perceive that the contents were not rubbish. suddenly.’ So you broke the other seals?” Mrs.Sir Dominick Ferrand pend on herself. The longer I hovered about them with such precautions the longer I was taken in. that they had been even a practical joke on the part of some weak-minded gentleman of leisure. I had deferred to your whim.” “What sort of a state?” “I don’t know. Ryves put an end by exclaiming abruptly. and the sooner I exposed their insignificance the sooner I should get back to my usual occupations. ‘private and confidential. they haunt me. but without completing her sentence: “Oh. early one morning. a fixed idea. they were empty. This conviction made my hand so uncontrollable that that morning before breakfast I broke one of the seals. your superstition (what is it?) but at last they got the better of me. It had come over me in the small hours in the shape of an obsession. to which Mrs. my capacity to work was gone. that there was nothing in the ridiculous relics and that my exaggerated scruples were making a fool of me. Ryves looked at him with the strange apprehension he had seen in her eyes when she appeared at his door the moment after his discovery.” “They haunted me. I couldn’t keep my hands off them.” “I don’t want to know.

you wouldn’t let me tell you that person’s name. She had Sidney by the hand now. as he met this queer gaze. rose quickly. and the young man was on the other side of her.” “It must be for someone else—the other person concerned. I don’t think it is. though you would let me tell you very little. “But with your miraculous gift it’s a wonder you haven’t divined. and had had to exert extraordinary self-command not to rush up to his rooms while the study of the open packets was going on.” Mrs.” “I only divine what I want. I don’t know that I do. it’s none of my business. “That’s very convenient!” exclaimed Peter. to whom Sidney had presently come round again. smiled hard at her to prevent her guessing that he smarted with the fine reproach conveyed in the tone of her last words. “No. of course. it’s dif267 .” Baron rejoined. “You’re so sensitively organised and you’ve such mysterious powers that you re uncanny. fortunately. had passed on her side the same tormented night as he. laughing. Ryves. The other day.” Baron. that’s all. They moved toward the station—she had offered to go part of the way. but had shown him at the moment how she had been conscious of it an hour before. walking with her along the Parade. “Only. but you don’t like me so much as that. but she appeared able to guess everything.Henry James “You know.” “Oh.” Baron declared. being thus in the dark. “I don’t want to know it.” “One would think somebody you liked was in danger. for she reminded him that she had not had to wait that morning till he came downstairs to know what had happened above.” “No.” Baron argued. She hesitated. “I feel what takes place at a distance.” said Mrs. however. Ryves. at this. because I told you an hour later.” “I told you that that was what was present to me the day I came up to see you.

On the way back to town the situation struck him as grotesque. but to catch up Sidney and squeeze him till he uttered a little shriek. and he wanted immensely to be able to reply: “I’ll do anything you like if you’ll love me. his attempts that had come to nothing. his obscurity. and nothing then was left him. no. Poor as he was he hated the sordid (he knew she didn’t love it). He was under such a charm as he had never known.” she added. I can’t promise! We must part now. was not yet). Ryves meditated. An offer of what? he quickly asked himself here. and this time she turned on him the clouded clearness of her eyes. Therefore he didn’t put the question in the words it would have pleased him most to hear himself utter. Ryves stopped short. “You’ll miss your train.” These words. looking fixedly at the ground. is reasonable?” Mrs. “I thought you might do it to oblige me.” Mrs. but she was a greater success than Peter Baron. before hurrying to the station. and he felt small for talking of marriage. and said to her: “What will you do for me if I put an end to them?” She shook her head sadly—it was always her prettiest movement. however. where their shadows were long in the afternoon light. with an angry young pang.” “Does it strike you that such an expectation. on the empty asphalt of the Parade (the “season. his abilities for which there was nothing to show? Mrs. as he had already asked himself after making in spirit other awkward dashes in the same direction—of what but his poverty. “What do you mean to do with them?” It was Peter Baron’s turn to meditate. but he compromised. Ryves was not exactly a success. She drew it away quickly.” at Dover. would have represented a responsibility and have constituted what was vulgarly termed an offer. 268 . “I can promise nothing—oh. taking the hand she held out to him.” He looked at his watch. formed in such conditions.Sir Dominick Ferrand ficult to see your motive for wishing the papers destroyed. which he did.

for she had taken the attitude of exerting pressure without. Why didn’t she set up at once as a professional clairvoyant and eke out her little income more successfully? In purely private life such a gift was disconcerting. it appeared. Locket. What disturbed it still further was that he received early in the day a visit from Mr. and he asked himself why he should be the sport of her moods and her mysteries. She should either have had less to say or have been willing to say more. Mrs.Henry James CHAPTER V IT TORMENTED HIM so the next morning that after threshing it out a little further he felt he had something of a grievance. She had imposed herself as an influence. Ryves’s intervention had made him acutely uncomfortable. but it was just this apparent infallibility that he resented. yet she could tell him of no good that would come to him from the doing. there were things she looked to him to do for her. Peter drew them forth with a promptitude intended to show that he recognised the commercial character of the call and without attenuating the inconsequence of this depar269 . He perceived her knack of punctual interference to be striking. her evasions disturbed at any rate his own tranquillity. remarked as soon as he had got into the room or rather while he still panted on the second flight and the smudged little slavey held open Baron’s door. leaving him under no illusion as to the grounds of such an honour. who. that he had taken up his young friend’s invitation to look at Sir Dominick Ferrand’s letters for himself. recognising on his part an equal right. yet she held herself aloof as a participant. her divinations.

since on the one hand there was no question now of the article in the Promiscuous which was to reveal their existence. “Do you think they’re genuine?” He didn’t mean to be mocking. as an object darkly editorial. Mr. he couldn’t have said why.Sir Dominick Ferrand ture from the last determination he had expressed to Mr. while he spoke. and that’s why I ask you to lend them to me. For all his caution Mr. in short. He asked his visitor to what end he wished to remove the letters. felt a deep pang of anxiety. somehow. Mr. Locket. I shall have to go into them at my leisure. humming softly. and he could see that they produced that effect on Mr.” The young man looked at him a moment. He showed his visitor the davenport and the hidden recess. resting on the shelf of the davenport. while the cautious editor sat silent and handled the papers. but the words sounded so to his own ear. Locket. Locket took decidedly too many things for granted. the advantage of which he had just been conscious was about to be transferred by a quiet process of legerdemain to a person who already had advantages enough. suddenly apprehensive.” He had shuffled the papers together with a movement charged. Baron. as their owner. It made our young man. and on the other he himself. struck Peter. Locket was unable to keep a warmer light out of his judicial eye as he said to Baron at last with sociable brevity—a tone that took many things for granted: “I’ll take them home with me—they require much attention. who viewed it askance. and he smoked a cigarette. “I can’t in the least determine. had a thousand insurmountable scruples about putting them into circulation. and the explorer of Sir Dominick Ferrand’s irregularities remembered afresh how clear he had been after all about his indisposition to traffic in them. he meant not to be. with the air of being preliminary to that of thrusting them into a little black bag which he had brought with him and which. with a sense of unwonted advantage and triumph. Locket looked over his spectacles as over the battlements of a 270 .

in due acknowledgment of services rendered. Do you think I want to steal the confounded things?” In reply to such a challenge Peter could only hastily declare that he was guilty of no discourteous suspicion— he only wanted a limit named. assured him he would restore the property within three days. touching. your attitude is tantamount to an accusation of intended bad faith. lightly drew its two lips together. Mr. “You may think me presumptuous. Locket’s brow. looking hard into each other’s eyes. but the eye that I venture to allude to in those terms—” “Is the eye now fixed so terribly on me?” Peter laughingly interrupted. When he was ready. a pledge of every precaution against accident. “I’m not thinking of the end—I’m thinking of the beginning. his little arrangements for removing it discreetly. in a manner which. He fell back a few steps with an injured dignity that might have been a protest against physical violence. you mustn’t show them to anyone!” Baron exclaimed. I confess. A few glances have assured me that such documents ought to be submitted to some competent eye.” “Oh. his treacherous reticule distended with 271 . and completed. but he might. laying his hand on the gaping receptacle. “Oh. it would be interesting. Locket admitted the justice of the demand. was what incited Mr. “How long would it be your idea to retain them?” he inquired. The tension was quickly relieved however by the surprised flush which mantled on Mr. With this perception he came quickly closer and. to know how they strike a man of your acuteness!” It had occurred to him that by such a concession he might endear himself to a literary umpire hitherto implacable. In this way the two men stood for a few seconds. “Really.Henry James fortress. with Peter’s assistance. form the habit of publishing Peter Baron. my dear young sir. Locket to begin stuffing the papers into his bag. There would be no question of his publishing Sir Dominick Ferrand. almost in the attitude of combat. he immediately became aware.

a few bars at the end of her note. mystic. he gave a lingering look at the inscrutable davenport. as his visitor hurried downstairs. the ostensible purpose of which was to thank him for the amiability of his visit. a letter that was not from Miss Teagle. In answering her. under the Dover postmark. but that one would have to remount the stream of time to ascertain. by the last delivery. “That would be thought a cheap escape if you were to put it into a story.Sir Dominick Ferrand its treasures. its advantages for the future of each of them. which he did that night before going to bed. as a specimen. She had scrawled. however. To one course I have definitely made up my mind: not to make any statement or any inquiry at the shop. He spoke of this future with an eloquence of which he would have defended the sincerity. written that morning after breakfast. I simply accept the mystery. rather grandly. that Baron principally expatiated. after he had left her. and drew of it a picture extravagantly rich. as he was about to settle himself to tasks for some time terribly 272 . The whole letter testified to a restless but rather pointless desire to remain in communication with him. it was on this bright possibility of their collaboration. I shall be impatient till I see my papers again. Locket smiled. I shouldn’t offer the story to you. she had in a moment of inspiration got hold of the tail of a really musical idea—a perfect accompaniment for the song he had so kindly given her. The next morning. “It’s how they ever got into that thing that puzzles one’s brain!” “There was some concatenation of circumstances that would doubtless seem natural enough if it were explained. It was a slightly confused but altogether friendly note.” said Peter. mocking musical signs which had no sense for her correspondent. “Yes. to express regret at any appearance the writer might have had of meddling with what didn’t concern her. That evening.” the young man called out.” Mr. and to let him know that the evening before. he received.

Locket was on the hearthrug. and in course of time found himself in Mr. he whirled round so as to enable himself to look at his tempter with an eye intended to be cold. He had some of the plasticity of the raw contributor. he was agitated by the arrival of a telegram which proved to be an urgent request from Mr. that was what it meant: Mr. into the seat which happened to be nearest and which. A hundred pounds would be paid him that day. for poor Baron. another morning sacrificed. a barren scandal. “I take all the risks. Locket’s own chair at Mr. and no questions would be either asked or answered.” the editor of the Promiscuous repeated. He gave the muse another holiday. Locket’s own table—so much nobler an expanse than the slippery slope of the davenport— considering with quick intensity. This represented. and Peter. with a sense that after all it was rather a relief not to be sitting so close to Sir Dominick Ferrand. an offence that can’t be remedied. like an orator on a platform. but somehow it didn’t even occur to him that he might impose his own time upon the editor of the Promiscuous. in the twenty-four hours. Yes. the quantity of happiness. the keeper of the keys of renown. of emancipation that might reside in a hundred pounds. The letters were out on the table. had discovered so much in Sir Dominick’s literary remains that his visitor found him primed with an offer. What surprised him most was to find Mr. had dropped. Locket taking exactly the line about the expediency of publication which he would have expected Mr. whose funds were very low. as he became conscious it moved on a pivot. at the very moment at which he habitually addressed his preliminary invocation to the muse. Locket. Locket not to take. in the white flash of certain words just brought out by his host. rather weakly. I take all the risks. feeling she was really ashamed to take it. that minute. who had become dreadfully distracting. is the thing in the 273 .Henry James neglected. Locket that he would immediately come down and see him. Mr. “Hush it all up. under the influence of his sudden ultimatum.

Locket had put it before him that he had a high responsibility—that he might vindicate the disfigured truth. he owed it in disquieting quarters. That formula of Baron’s covered all the ground. no doubt justly enough. His impressions were at war with each other—he was flurried by possibilities of which he yet denied the existence. Locket to reiterate to his young friend his phrase about their making a sensation. He needed money bitterly. took a long walk on the Embankment. it was not to protect a celebrated name or to lock them up in a cupboard. It was not necessary for Mr. Peter left the letters behind him and. till he should have thought out the terms on which he might—in the event of certain occurrences—be induced to dispose of them. He sighed as he took no note of the pictures made by barges—sighed because it all might mean money. 274 . But the author of that incorruptible masterpiece had put his finger on the place in saying to his interlocutor on the occasion of his last visit that. Sir Dominick’s aberrations would sell the edition. if given to the world in the pages of the Promiscuous. to a work of the most disinterested art. thinking how the series (he would spread it into three numbers) would be the talk of the town. and one edition was a low estimate of the probable performance of the magazine. contribute a chapter to the history of England. Locket had said. He had consented to trust Mr. “You haven’t a right to suppress such momentous facts. If Peter had money he might treat himself to ardour. Locket with the papers a day or two longer. If he wished to purchase the “rights.Sir Dominick Ferrand world that least justifies an airing—” some such line as that was the line he would have thought natural to a man whose life was spent in weighing questions of propriety and who had only the other day objected. A hundred pounds were not this gentleman’s last word.” the hungry little editor had declared. in the light of this virtue. to bliss. on withdrawing from the editorial presence.” as theatrical people said. Mr. Mr. nor perhaps was mere unreasoning intractability Peter’s own.

before an impartial posterity. as he worried with a stick that betrayed him the granite parapets of the Thames. of the croppingup of some lurking litigious relative—he would take over unreservedly and bear the brunt of dealing with. figured vividly in Mr. These questions. Locket should only be able to kick up dust enough over the circumstances that had guided his hand his fortune would literally be made. but he felt. embarrassments. If Mr. the sum “down. that any lively publisher would give for it. suggesting. the clever.” at a later stage. this reconstruction. as he had hinted before. such a preposterous origin. vitiated by their childish pedigree. that he was not such a fool as not to know how Mr. the making of a book in large type—the book of the hour. The explanation of this anomaly was of course that the editor shrewdly saw a dozen ways of getting his money back. if one preferred the name. for instance. taunting things the daily and weekly papers would say? Peter Baron had his guileless side. Couldn’t one see them in advance. Peter thought a hundred pounds a low bid. It was therefore altogether an opportunity of dealing at first hand with the lively publisher that 275 . and the profits of this scandalous volume or. Nothing could help it on better with the public than the impenetrability of the secret attached to it. Locket would “work” the mystery of his marvellous find.” in other words. the feeble ingenuity of a third-rate novelist. There would be in the “sensation. was a thing he should have to place himself at the positive disadvantage of being silent about. It was to be remembered that the papers were discredited. He would rather give no account of the matter at all than expose himself to the ridicule that such a story would infallibly excite. Locket’s calculations.Henry James that there were ever so many questions one would have to meet should one venture to play so daring a game. dangers—the danger. of a great historical humbug. yet he wondered how the Promiscuous could bring itself to offer such a sum—so large it loomed in the light of literary remuneration as hitherto revealed to our young man.

276 .Sir Dominick Ferrand Peter was invited to forego. that there was so little likelihood of his having to struggle with that particular pressure. he had not been tempted by a figure that would have approximately represented the value of his property. in the repaire he had lately quitted. on the spot. Peter gave a masterful laugh. rejoicing in his heart that. It was a good job. he mentally added as he turned his face homeward.

It hadn’t arrived when I came away. as yet at least. She saw him look round and. which she had just been packing and getting together. where she let him know that within a couple of days she had seen clearer what was best.” “It wasn’t your answer that brought me. as he reached the gate. in need. he approached Jersey Villas. she had determined to quit Jersey Villas and had come up to take away her things. as she had intimated. looked out from it as if she were expecting something—as if she had been passing to and fro to watch. standing in front of the fireless grate with her hands behind her. she suddenly asked: “Where have you come from now?” 277 . Yet when he had expressed to her that it was a delightful welcome she replied that she had only thought there might possibly be a cab in sight. Mrs.Henry James CHAPTER VI WHEN. “You didn’t mention in yours that you were coming up. Ryves. He offered to go and look for one.” “You’ll see when you get back that my letter is charming. in confusion—Mrs. He went back with her into her sitting-room. in her bonnet and jacket. then.” “I daresay. saw it make a frame for an unexpected presence. Ryves’s preparations for departure were not striking.” Baron said.” Baron had observed that the room was not. “I wrote you last night a charming letter in answer to yours. HALF AN HOUR LATER. upon which it appeared that after all she was not. he noticed that the house-door was open.

She dropped her own experiments and gave him immortal things. the rehearsal of his play. and he lounged there. but. When she had finished he asked again for the same delight. at the piano. pacified and charmed. She herself was pacified—trouble was a false note.” “What are you concocting between you?” “Nothing at all. gave him. of the young artist in the presence for the first time of “production”—the proofs of his book. whatever it is. She phrased the words with her sketchy sweetness. “And what’s that?” “Oh. but he let it pass. they’re not in the house. kept him quiet and safe. feeling the mean little room grow large and vague and happy possibilities come back. I’ll tell you when he has done it!” Baron begged her to let him hear the “musical idea” she had mentioned in her letter. throbbing with the emotion.Sir Dominick Ferrand “From an interview with a literary friend. the accompaniment of his song. irrecoverable ever after in its freshness. she called out to him: “Those papers of yours—the letters you found—are not in the house?” “No. with a sentiment of which the very first notes thrilled him. We’ve fallen out—we don’t agree. I don’t know what he wants. Abruptly. don’t do it.” “Well.” “He must do what I want!” said Baron. Later he was on the point of asking her how she knew the objects she had mentioned were not in the house. The subject was a profitless riddle—a 278 .” “Is he a publisher?” “He’s an editor. it did him such a world of good. and he sat there as if he had been held in a velvet vise. smoothed out the creases of his spirit. I’m glad you don’t agree. the hanging of his picture.” “I was sure of it! No matter—it’s all right!” she added. on which she took off her hat and jacket and. and then for more music and for more. seating herself at her piano.

This was indeed but another face of the question of her dining with him somewhere that evening (where else should she dine?)—accompanying him. so supremely depleted had the hour of Bohemia left him. in cheap places. He closed his eyes—he wanted another vision. Ryves declined to have her life abused. at the end. after the brilliances of the evening. in particular the question of her putting off her return to Dover till the morrow and dispensing meanwhile with the valuable protection of Sidney. like some monstrosity seen in the darkness. in their deadly respectable lives. which was indeed. Ryves. and came home in “busses” and under umbrellas. scratching a light for her glimmering taper. became increasingly confidential. just for an hour of Bohemia. They went afterwards to the theatre. to a jolly little place in Soho. at the proper moment. come in for a minute if you like!”). and Mrs. yes. On the way back Peter Baron turned something over in his mind as he had never turned anything before. a return to ugliness and truth. He felt on this point a passion of suspense and impatience. and yet in the course of the day his whole temper on the subject of certain fitnesses had changed. at the jolly little place. and yet for what would it be but to tell her how poor he was? This was literally the moment to say it. but in fact. Mrs. Moreover they had other things to talk about. had said: “Oh. with their little emptied coffee-cups pushed away and the young man’s cigarette lighted by her command. At Jersey Villas (it was near midnight. in her precarious parlour. she let him stand while he 279 . Even Bohemia was too expensive. face to face. as one opened one’s eyes to it. she had shown him that she had extraordinary senses—her explanation would have been stranger than the fact. it was the question of whether. for instance.Henry James puzzle that grew grotesquely bigger. to which she did accompany him—it dealt in macaroni and Chianti—the pair put their elbows on the crumpled cloth and. Besides. she would let him come into her sitting-room for five minutes.

But there was something in his whimsical neighbour that struck him as terribly invulnerable. usually lived on into the new dawns in which old ghosts steal away. if she would only hear him out. with a cold. would make just the blessed difference? Whether Mrs. if one’s beginnings were rough. yet it had never meant so many fears and pains—impossibilities and memories. Moreover she couldn’t talk of such things in that place. humiliated night. at that hour. but that youth and love and faith and energy— to say nothing of her supreme dearness—were all on his side. considerations insurmountable. women who after having really loved and lost. She got rid of him with kind and confused words. Women in her situation. he felt that he had been put in his place. There were peculiarities in her position. independences and pieties. and she begged him not to make her regret her good-nature in staying over. should one add to the hardness of the conditions by giving up the dream which. She had liked him—if she hadn’t she wouldn’t have let him think so!— but she protested that she had not. but after he had got possession of both her hands and breathed into her face for a moment all the intensity of his tenderness—in the relief and joy of utterance he felt it carry him like a rising flood—she checked him with better reasons. sweet afterthought in which he felt there was something deep. in the odious vulgar sense.Sir Dominick Ferrand explained that he had certainly everything in the way of fame and fortune still to gain. and afterwards. in the dull. “encouraged” him. and a sort of uncomplaining ache for the ruin of a friendship that had been happy. Why. Her procrastinating head-shake was prettier than ever. 280 . Ryves heard him out or not is a circumstance as to which this chronicle happens to be silent.

and I find the case is one in which I should consider the advisability of going to an extreme length.” said Mr. behind his curtain. but he wanted to prove to himself that he was gallant—was made. Bundy. 3.Henry James CHAPTER VII “I’VE HAD TIME TO LOOK a little further into what we’re prepared to do. Ryves’s luggage upon it. and take her place in the modest vehicle. crept softly about the room. and he sat once more at the davenport.” His state of mind was far from hilarious. below his breath and with inflections that for his own sake he endeavoured to make humorous: “Three hundred—three hundred. in general and in particular.” Peter Baron. he saw the mistress of his thoughts come out of the house. repeating. stood at the door of No. who kept bobbing at the window of the cab an endlessly moralising old head. Locket. Ryves had really taken flight—he had made Jersey Villas 281 . where the bone of contention. Mrs. Permitting himself. see it a single step further. in the shape of a large. was placed well in view. with Mrs. The first thing he had been aware of on stepping into his front room was that a fourwheeled cab. loose heap of papers that showed how much they had been handled. “We shall see our way to offering you three hundred. a pardonable peep. attended by Mrs. After this his eyes rested for a long time on the sprigged cotton back of the landlady. but we shouldn’t. in his dressing-gown and slippers. Jersey Villas the next morning had had the privilege of again receiving the editor of the Promiscuous. of undiscourageable stuff. with his hands in his pockets. for he felt poor and sore and disappointed. I must positively assure you.

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impossible for her—but Mrs. Bundy, with a magnanimity unprecedented in the profession, seemed to express a belief in the purity of her motives. Baron felt that his own separation had been, for the present at least, effected; every instinct of delicacy prompted him to stand back. Mr. Locket talked a long time, and Peter Baron listened and waited. He reflected that his willingness to listen would probably excite hopes in his visitor—hopes which he himself was ready to contemplate without a scruple. He felt no pity for Mr. Locket and had no consideration for his suspense or for his possible illusions; he only felt sick and forsaken and in want of comfort and of money. Yet it was a kind of outrage to his dignity to have the knife held to his throat, and he was irritated above all by the ground on which Mr. Locket put the question—the ground of a service rendered to historical truth. It might be—he wasn’t clear; it might be—the question was deep, too deep, probably, for his wisdom; at any rate he had to control himself not to interrupt angrily such dry, interested palaver, the false voice of commerce and of cant. He stared tragically out of the window and saw the stupid rain begin to fall; the day was duller even than his own soul, and Jersey Villas looked so sordidly hideous that it was no wonder Mrs. Ryves couldn’t endure them. Hideous as they were he should have to tell Mrs. Bundy in the course of the day that he was obliged to seek humbler quarters. Suddenly he interrupted Mr. Locket; he observed to him: “I take it that if I should make you this concession the hospitality of the Promiscuous would be by that very fact unrestrictedly secured to me.” Mr. Locket stared. “Hospitality—secured?” He thumbed the proposition as if it were a hard peach. “I mean that of course you wouldn’t—in courtsey, in gratitude— keep on declining my things.” “I should give them my best attention—as I’ve always done in the past.” Peter Baron hesitated. It was a case in which there would have 282

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seemed to be some chance for the ideally shrewd aspirant in such an advantage as he possessed; but after a moment the blood rushed into his face with the shame of the idea of pleading for his productions in the name of anything but their merit. It was as if he had stupidly uttered evil of them. Nevertheless be added the interrogation: “Would you for instance publish my little story?” “The one I read (and objected to some features of ) the other day? Do you mean—a—with the alteration?” Mr. Locket continued. “Oh, no, I mean utterly without it. The pages you want altered contain, as I explained to you very lucidly, I think, the very raison d’etre of the work, and it would therefore, it seems to me, be an imbecility of the first magnitude to cancel them.” Peter had really renounced all hope that his critic would understand what he meant, but, under favour of circumstances, he couldn’t forbear to taste the luxury, which probably never again would come within his reach, of being really plain, for one wild moment, with an editor. Mr. Locket gave a constrained smile. “Think of the scandal, Mr. Baron.” “But isn’t this other scandal just what you’re going in for?” “It will be a great public service.” “You mean it will be a big scandal, whereas my poor story would be a very small one, and that it’s only out of a big one that money’s to be made.” Mr. Locket got up—he too had his dignity to vindicate. “Such a sum as I offer you ought really to be an offset against all claims.” “Very good—I don’t mean to make any, since you don’t really care for what I write. I take note of your offer,” Peter pursued, “and I engage to give you to-night (in a few words left by my own hand at your house) my absolutely definite and final reply.” Mr. Locket’s movements, as he hovered near the relics of the eminent statesman, were those of some feathered parent fluttering over 283

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a threatened nest. If he had brought his huddled brood back with him this morning it was because he had felt sure enough of closing the bargain to be able to be graceful. He kept a glittering eye on the papers and remarked that he was afraid that before leaving them he must elicit some assurance that in the meanwhile Peter would not place them in any other hands. Peter, at this, gave a laugh of harsher cadence than he intended, asking, justly enough, on what privilege his visitor rested such a demand and why he himself was disqualified from offering his wares to the highest bidder. “Surely you wouldn’t hawk such things about?” cried Mr. Locket; but before Baron had time to retort cynically he added: “I’ll publish your little story.” “Oh, thank you!” “I’ll publish anything you’ll send me,” Mr. Locket continued, as he went out. Peter had before this virtually given his word that for the letters he would treat only with the Promiscuous. The young man passed, during a portion of the rest of the day, the strangest hours of his life. Yet he thought of them afterwards not as a phase of temptation, though they had been full of the emotion that accompanies an intense vision of alternatives. The struggle was already over; it seemed to him that, poor as he was, he was not poor enough to take Mr. Locket’s money. He looked at the opposed courses with the self-possession of a man who has chosen, but this selfpossession was in itself the most exquisite of excitements. It was really a high revulsion and a sort of noble pity. He seemed indeed to have his finger upon the pulse of history and to be in the secret of the gods. He had them all in his hand, the tablets and the scales and the torch. He couldn’t keep a character together, but he might easily pull one to pieces. That would be “creative work” of a kind—he could reconstruct the character less pleasingly, could show an unknown side of it. Mr. Locket had had a good deal to say about responsibility; and responsibility in truth sat there with him all the 284

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morning, while he revolved in his narrow cage and, watching the crude spring rain on the windows, thought of the dismalness to which, at Dover, Mrs. Ryves was going back. This influence took in fact the form, put on the physiognomy of poor Sir Dominick Ferrand; he was at present as perceptible in it, as coldly and strangely personal, as if he had been a haunting ghost and had risen beside his own old hearthstone. Our friend was accustomed to his company and indeed had spent so many hours in it of late, following him up at the museum and comparing his different portraits, engravings and lithographs, in which there seemed to be conscious, pleading eyes for the betrayer, that their queer intimacy had grown as close as an embrace. Sir Dominick was very dumb, but he was terrible in his dependence, and Peter would not have encouraged him by so much curiosity nor reassured him by so much deference had it not been for the young man’s complete acceptance of the impossibility of getting out of a tight place by exposing an individual. It didn’t matter that the individual was dead; it didn’t matter that he was dishonest. Peter felt him sufficiently alive to suffer; he perceived the rectification of history so conscientiously desired by Mr. Locket to be somehow for himself not an imperative task. It had come over him too definitely that in a case where one’s success was to hinge upon an act of extradition it would minister most to an easy conscience to let the success go. No, no—even should he be starving he couldn’t make money out of Sir Dominick’s disgrace. He was almost surprised at the violence of the horror with which, as he shuffled mournfully about, the idea of any such profit inspired him. What was Sir Dominick to him after all? He wished he had never come across him. In one of his brooding pauses at the window—the window out of which never again apparently should he see Mrs. Ryves glide across the little garden with the step for which he had liked her from the first—he became aware that the rain was about to intermit and the 285

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sun to make some grudging amends. This was a sign that he might go out; he had a vague perception that there were things to be done. He had work to look for, and a cheaper lodging, and a new idea (every idea he had ever cherished had left him), in addition to which the promised little word was to be dropped at Mr. Locket’s door. He looked at his watch and was surprised at the hour, for he had nothing but a heartache to show for so much time. He would have to dress quickly, but as he passed to his bedroom his eye was caught by the little pyramid of letters which Mr. Locket had constructed on his davenport. They startled him and, staring at them, he stopped for an instant, half-amused, half-annoyed at their being still in existence. He had so completely destroyed them in spirit that he had taken the act for granted, and he was now reminded of the orderly stages of which an intention must consist to be sincere. Baron went at the papers with all his sincerity, and at his empty grate (where there lately had been no fire and he had only to remove a horrible ornament of tissue-paper dear to Mrs. Bundy) he burned the collection with infinite method. It made him feel happier to watch the worst pages turn to illegible ashes—if happiness be the right word to apply to his sense, in the process, of something so crisp and crackling that it suggested the death-rustle of bank-notes. When ten minutes later he came back into his sitting-room, he seemed to himself oddly, unexpectedly in the presence of a bigger view. It was as if some interfering mass had been so displaced that he could see more sky and more country. Yet the opposite houses were naturally still there, and if the grimy little place looked lighter it was doubtless only because the rain had indeed stopped and the sun was pouring in. Peter went to the window to open it to the altered air, and in doing so beheld at the garden gate the humble “growler” in which a few hours before he had seen Mrs. Ryves take her departure. It was unmistakable—he remembered the knockkneed white horse; but this made the fact that his friend’s luggage 286

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no longer surmounted it only the more mystifying. Perhaps the cabman had already removed the luggage—he was now on his box smoking the short pipe that derived relish from inaction paid for. As Peter turned into the room again his ears caught a knock at his own door, a knock explained, as soon as he had responded, by the hard breathing of Mrs. Bundy. “Please, sir, it’s to say she’ve come back.” “What has she come back for?” Baron’s question sounded ungracious, but his heartache had given another throb, and he felt a dread of another wound. It was like a practical joke. “I think it’s for you, sir,” said Mrs. Bundy. “She’ll see you for a moment, if you’ll be so good, in the old place.” Peter followed his hostess downstairs, and Mrs. Bundy ushered him, with her company flourish, into the apartment she had fondly designated. “I went away this morning, and I’ve only returned for an instant,” said Mrs. Ryves, as soon as Mrs. Bundy had closed the door. He saw that she was different now; something had happened that had made her indulgent. “Have you been all the way to Dover and back?” “No, but I’ve been to Victoria. I’ve left my luggage there—I’ve been driving about.” “I hope you’ve enjoyed it.” “Very much. I’ve been to see Mr. Morrish.” “Mr. Morrish?” “The musical publisher. I showed him our song. I played it for him, and he’s delighted with it. He declares it’s just the thing. He has given me fifty pounds. I think he believes in us,” Mrs. Ryves went on, while Baron stared at the wonder—too sweet to be safe, it seemed to him as yet—of her standing there again before him and speaking of what they had in common. “Fifty pounds! fifty pounds!” she exclaimed, fluttering at him her happy cheque. She had come 287

That cheque. He was silent for a while. this time in earnest. he was silent. the first thing. jubilant. ever so much more. for she had consented to his getting in with her and driving. also had evidently forgotten the trumpery papers: she never mentioned them again. and even the odd coincidence. in consequence of an extraordinary conversation that he had with her. had ceased to exist. had made somehow all the difference in their relations. the remarkable sacrifice he had just achieved. of her having reverted to the house again. at Mr. when he went down to give her the money for which. and of course his share of the money would be the half. Locket. natural. She was rosy. and Baron could think of nothing but this confirmed vision of their being able to work fruitfully together that would account for so rapid a change. The difference was huge. at the very moment the trumpery papers. he had exchanged the cheque she had left with him. only when. she couldn’t leave the others alone. on her side. the day following his arrival at Dover with the 288 . They talked of it so profoundly that it drove everything else for the time out of his head— his duty to Mr. religiously. But she. and then later. after a little. when it came to be a question of his permanent attitude. Morrish’s bank. or rather certain things it represented. Mr. appreciated its pace. This conversation took place at Dover. as if with one of her famous divinations. Morrish had practically promised he would take anything that was as good as that. She had only come to tell him the good news— she repeated this assurance more than once. matching with the oddity of all the others. to tell him. to Victoria. She had kept her cab because she was going to Dover. the origin really of their intimacy. but Baron. It was a vehicle infirm and inert. She didn’t talk of impossibilities now—she didn’t seem to want to stop him off. She said they must do more. from curiosity to see if her fine nerves had really given her a hint. tremulously silent. and Peter Baron never boasted of what he had done with them. she chattered like a happy woman.Sir Dominick Ferrand back. prodigiously.

“My mother—my poor mother. Surely you must have guessed!” she went on. letting him now take her hand.” said Mrs. piecing dimly together what she meant. Ryves. that he answered: “Tell me everything—tell me!” “You must know what I am—who I am. “Don’t you see I’ve no belongings.” “A poor girl?” Baron was mystified. He did—I think it was the only happiness she ever knew. that it was only something more to love her for. She paused with this. which felt as cold as her hard duty. but she kept herself free still. and it was with the gesture of taking still tenderer possession of her. of my own? I was only a poor girl. But she died of it. and drew her closer. you must know especially what I’m not! There’s a name for it. and through gathering tears her eyes met his as if to plead with him to understand. This flash of ugly possibilities passed however. in a great surge of pity. cruel name. I’m so glad you tell me—it’s so grand of you!” Baron mur289 . to continue: “She was a poor girl—she was only a governess. important way she held up a finger.” “Oh. with the thinnest quaver of irony. no friends. but feeling. she was alone. no relations. There dawned in her face as she approached the subject a light of warning that frightened him. he returned to the question over which they had had their little scene the night they dined together—on this occasion (he had brought a portmanteau and he was staying) she mentioned that there was something very particular she had it on her conscience to tell him before letting him commit himself. it was charged with something so strange that for an instant he held his breath. nothing at all. distressed. a hideous. checked indeed by the grave. I’ve had to speak of it—it has made a great difference in my life. touched. It’s not my fault! Others have known.Henry James fifty pounds (he had after all to agree to share them with her—he couldn’t expect her to take a present of money from him). He understood. she thought he loved her. in all the world.

I’ll help you. and you must give me time. you can’t judge. “Ah. but you had to know. “Then—your father?” He hesitated. I believe. gently and gravely. as if with his hands on old wounds. oh you will. Think of it. with a tired smile which had the effect of putting the whole story further and further away. you must let it settle. for that. as a little girl. Now that you know. thinking: “You had better know. and he remained looking at her a moment.” she went on. hesitating. something that helps me now. but he was kind to her. I know it from a person who’s dead. you must believe me. He was very kind to me. later. Ryves. she added quickly. though I didn’t know then. I think.” Baron shook his head. as if with the sense that it couldn’t be far enough: “You don’t know. smiling confidently.” she added. you must think. perhaps. I remember him. “I don’t care a straw. but I remember many things. Everyone is dead now—it’s too far off. “You must work for yourself. Doesn’t it make us better friends?” asked Mrs. who he was.” She turned away from him. That’s the only good thing. I must have time myself.Sir Dominick Ferrand mured. think of it. his wife knew—a lady who came to see me once after his death. how I shall work for you!” he exclaimed.” Her eyes had met his eyes again. Ryves. He put me with some very good people—he did what he could for me. “Never—never. I was a very little girl. and she added. and leave it so. however. I know it from letters. I think of him with a strange pity—I see him!” said Mrs. It was all misery and folly—he was married. “You mustn’t say anything against him. What he could he did—something that helped me afterwards. He wasn’t happy—there were good reasons. “He had his own troubles. who he was.” 290 .” “You must wait. for he has only made it more of a rapture to care for you. with the faint past in her eyes. The next moment. “You can’t tell. oh I must! Yes. it’s all right. we must wait together.

it had the effect of a powerful shock. It came back to him again and again that if the 291 . with his hidden face: “Ah. never know!” She never knew. as he recovered his balance. as depression produced by the long probation she succeeded in imposing on him. in the intensity of his embrace and the wonder of his escape. He knew that he stared. that he had in fact destroyed the old documents she had had such a comic caprice about. the agitation and several of the odd incidents that accompanied them. some of which. in a few seconds. my beloved!” which lost itself as he drew her close and held her long. in spite of the pains he took not to be caught. then turned pale. or rather to attribute now to other causes. as he had just found her.” Baron wondered an instant. that his emotion struck her simply as a violent surprise. He was a great man.” “He was a high celebrity. it’s you. indeed. with the sense of danger.” Baron saw in her face. You’ve often heard of him. that she had seen something in his. much food. for if he was put to the proof she herself was not left undissected. when she asked him casually. with all her guessing.Henry James “I do—a little. to his knowledge. the curiosity they had had the queer privilege of exciting in her had lapsed with the event as irresponsibly as they had arisen. “I’ve no doubt you’re a princess!” he said with a laugh. He was more patient than she could guess. she must never. But the blood rushed back to its courses with his still quicker consciousness of safety. and she appeared to have forgotten. The sensibility. the confused horror of having dealt a blow.” “There must indeed have been some good in him. was noted by his friend and interpreted. She made him nervous. for clandestine meditation. and he could make out. It took more than a minute for him to say over to himself often enough. He gave a muffled murmur: “Ah. He was Sir Dominick Ferrand. she only learned. “I’m not ashamed of him. He was cold for an instant. They naturally gave Peter Baron rather more to think about.

Sir Dominick Ferrand documents he had burned proved anything they proved that Sir Dominick Ferrand’s human errors were not all of one order. What was more to the point was that as he came to know her better and better—for they did work together under Mr. Baron nevertheless still tries his hand also at prose. This periodical published in due course a highly eulogistic study of the remarkable career of Sir Dominick Ferrand. The woman he loved was the daughter of her father. He sometimes wondered. 292 . as this gentlemen calls it. Morrish’s protection—his affection was a quantity still less to be neglected. on several of their songs. Morrish’s patronage. and his offerings are now not always declined by the magazines. he couldn’t get over that. But he has never approached the Promiscuous again. That piece of furniture is still almost as useful to him as Mr. There is a tremendous run. in the light of her general straightness (their marriage had brought out even more than he believed there was of it) whether the relics in the davenport were genuine.

Chairs. the open windows of the Kursaal sent long shafts of unnatural light into the dusky woods. before the gam-ing had been suppressed. and proposing an adjournment to the silken ottomans of the Kursaal.Henry James Eugene Pickering by Henry James CHAPTER I IT WAS AT Homburg. however. or half the world. The night was perfect. Everywhere the crowd was great. The evening was very warm. and now and then. I had captured one. the season was at its height. were scarce. in the intervals of the music. several years ago. but it seemed no easy matter to find a mate for it. when I observed a young man lounging back on one of the objects of my quest. one might almost hear the clink of the napoleons and the metallic call of the croupiers rise above the watching silence of the saloons. and we at last prepared to sit down. for the crowd was equally dense in the gaming-rooms around the tables. I was on the point of giving up in despair. with his feet 293 . rather. and all the world was gathered on the terrace of the Kursaal and the esplanade below it to listen to the excellent orchestra. I had been strolling with a friend.

” I said. “Yes. who had watched me.Eugene Pickering supported on the rounds of another. but Weber’s lovely music only deepened the blank of memory. he is odd-looking. that his face is familiar to me. with his hands in his pockets. so that I could not look at him again. What had made us 294 .” He started. We had our backs turned to him. and murmured something about not having noticed that he had it. and.” The orchestra was playing the Prayer from Der Freischutz. at home and abroad. and I promptly approached him. how to make itself comfortable. His hands were locked round his long legs. I concluded that he only strikingly resembled some one I knew. which were near by. In passing. but something in his appearance suggested that his present attitude was the result of inadvertence rather than of egotism. This was more than his share of luxury. Who the deuce was he? where. but singularly enough. near the table. had I known him? It seemed extraordinary that a face should be at once so familiar and so strange. the look of familiarity quite faded from his face. He evidently belonged to the race which has the credit of knowing best. stared. how. and I went to consign my friend to her mamma on the terrace. He was staring at the conductor of the orchestra and listening intently to the music. When the music ceased we left our places. and yet that I can’t place him. saw my puzzling friend stationed opposite to me. and I turned into the gaming-rooms and hovered about the circle at roulette. blushed. as I seated myself beside her. with rather a foolish air. and his mouth was half open. looking round. “What an odd-looking youth!” said my companion. But who in the world was it he resembled? The ladies went off to their lodgings. “There are so few chairs. pushed the chair away with awkward alacrity. I saw that my young man had departed. but what is odder still is that I have seen him before. “that I must beg you to surrender this second one. when. now that I observed him at my leisure. Gradually I filtered through to the inner edge. He was watching the game.

but a trifle the worse for wear. She was dressed in white muslin very much puffed and filled. She was youthful rather than elderly. This faded. shaking his loose gold in his pocket. a few minutes later. He was the verdant offshoot. I conceived. Though at Homburg. she gave one a sense of sentimental. relieved here and there by a pale blue ribbon. She was seated about half-way between my friend and me. of some ancient. I used to flatter myself on guessing at people’s nationality by their faces. indeed. a correspondent of philosophers. and though her features were meagre and her complexion faded. as a rule. white neck. artificial gracefulness. certainly. “one could never be sure. but he looked peculiarly amiable and if his overt wonderment savoured a trifle of rurality. he evidently felt the temptation. when I saw her smile. crumpled. prominent eyes. but before long I noticed a lady who evidently had an eye for her neighbours as well as for the table. I said to myself. He was not handsome. I guessed aright. and his ingenuous. She had a charming gray eye and a good deal of yellow hair disposed in picturesque disorder. and pretty rather than plain. his long. was a German— such a German. he had been brought up in the quietest of homes. as people said. I was curious to see whether he would put anything on the table. and he was having his first glimpse of life. and.Henry James call his appearance odd was his great length and leanness of limb. and I presently observed that she was trying to catch his eye. inexpressive masks about him. rigid stem. vaporous beauty. Was she not a friend of poets. it was an agreeable contrast to the hard. a muse.” I yet doubted whether this lady were one of those whose especial vocation it was to catch a gentleman’s eye. and every now and then passing his hand nervously over his eyes. a 295 . his blue. Most of the spectators were too attentive to the play to have many thoughts for each other. as I had seen imagined in literature. I thought her wonderfully pretty. He stood gazing at the chinking complexity of losses and gains. but he seemed paralysed by chronic embarrassment. somehow. unconscious absorption in the scene before him.

wavered awkwardly. but he shrank from the hazard. as it was immediately repeated with a good deal of intensity. looked up at him with the same smile. then. for although she still smiled intently as she watched his hesitation. She tilted back. however. and raising an ungloved hand. pretty face. to give up her chair to a rustling friend to whom she had promised it. She caught his eye at last. Our young man’s physiognomy had seemed to his new acquaintance to express the perfection of inexperience. and lapis—she beckoned him to come to her. and at last made his way to the lady’s chair. laid two fingers on his sleeve. in desperation. put it into his hand.Eugene Pickering priestess of aesthetics—something in the way of a Bettina. he blushed to the roots of his hair. before me. were speedily merged in wonderment as to what my diffident friend was making of her. there was anything but indifference in her pale. covered altogether with bluegemmed rings—turquoises. He stared a moment. She was asking him. He was evidently filled with a sort of delightful trouble. I would have staked the coin on its being his companion’s last. like a practical woman. interrogatively. to which he replied by a shake of the head. unable to suppose that the invitation was addressed to him. Suddenly. when I again looked 296 . and said something. My attention was diverted at this moment by my having to make way for a lady with a great many flounces. and wiping his forehead with his pocket-handkerchief. The gesture was executed with a sort of practised coolness. Old players have a fancy that when luck has turned her back on them they can put her into goodhumour again by having their stakes placed by a novice. a Rahel? My conjectures. rather blankly. evidently. sapphires. but she drew from her pocket a double napoleon. and accompanied with an appealing smile. he reached over and laid the piece on the table. By the time he reached it he was crimson. and he was saying no. she had determined to make him serve her turn. Unlike most of her neighbours. if he had ever played. she had no little pile of gold before her. and bade him place it on a number of his own choosing. and. he enjoyed the adventure.

but the warm starlight vaguely illumined a dozen figures scattered in couples. “I told you so. and laid it on a number. I suppose my smile had ceased to be boyish. I had no intention of letting Pickering go without reminding him of our old acquaintance. One of these figures. to look round the table with a gleeful. but. I looked for him 297 . upward smile. Recognition. conscious laugh. she was drawing in a very goodly pile of gold with her little blue-gemmed claw. I had been looking at Eugene Pickering! Though I lingered on for some time longer he failed to recognise me. Now that luck had faced about again. but he. At last she seemed disposed to rest on her gains. Good luck and bad.” he glanced round the table again and laughed. she left her chair. at the Homburg tables. however. in the midst of which his eyes encountered my own. had kindled a smile in my own face. were equally undemonstrative. She gave the young man a little nod which seemed to say. The lamps were out. and he made a way for her through the crowd. pressed her with awkward ardour. looked at him a moment fixedly. and she at last took it from him. hand over hand. Before going home I took a turn on the terrace and looked down on the esplanade.Henry James across at the lady in white muslin. A moment later the croupier was raking it in. but as he saw her prepare to withdraw he offered her a double napoleon and begged her to place it. Then suddenly the familiar look which had vanished from his face flickered up unmistakably. She shook her head with great decision. rapid. was a lady in a white dress. He had innocence enough left. I think. it was the boyish laugh of a boyhood’s friend. and seemed to bid him put it up again. and this happy adventuress rewarded her young friend for the sacrifice of his innocence with a single. his companion played for herself—played and won. and I was curious to see what had become of his singularity. still blushing a good deal. less fortunate than he. and proceeded to bury them in the folds of her muslin. Pickering had staked nothing for himself. Stupid fellow that I was. I thought. He had been a very singular boy.

and Pickering. it’s but fifteen years since you used to do my Latin exercises for me. One of the charms of Homburg is the fact that of a hot day you may walk about for a whole afternoon in unbroken shade. Then I remembered that poor Pickering had been. “Why. he had gone to walk an hour before. To the Hardtwald I bent my steps. the waiter said. My step was so noiseless on the turf that. you are not changed so utterly.Eugene Pickering the next morning at two or three of the hotels. So at last I introduced myself. in those Latin 298 . confident that I should meet him in the evening. I went my way. I came upon a young man stretched at his length in the sun-checkered shade. “and after all. apparently. and stared up at me with an air of general trustfulness. and began a dozen random questions. lay a sealed letter. ending with a demand as to how in the world I had known him. He looked as if he had been lounging there for some time. I had time to recognise Pickering again. Then he jumped up and grasped my hands. When he perceived me he jerked himself forward. which in turn melts away into the wooded slopes of the Taunus Mountains. eh?” he answered.” I said. But he was out. The umbrageous gardens of the Kursaal mingle with the charming Hardtwald. perpendicular gloom of the firwoods. and strolled for an hour through mossy glades and the still. and yet speaking with a sort of ingenuous dismay. to give him a chance to recognise me. on the grassy margin of a by-path. being awkwardly near-sighted. It was the rule with the Homburg world to spend its evenings at the Kursaal. his hair was tossed about as if he had been sleeping.” “Not changed. on the grass near him. Suddenly. still smiling. but without a sign of knowing me. before he saw me. and at last I discovered his whereabouts. beside his hat and stick. and stared and blushed and laughed. He put on his glasses. had already discovered a good reason for not being an exception. and I stood looking at him without introducing myself—purposely. and kicking his heels towards a patch of blue sky.

and rummaged out a heap of childish playthings—tin soldiers and torn story-books.” he added. nor as a man either. she had. a standing joke in Verona. “I am rather dazed. jack-knives and Chinese puzzles. an old nurse with bushy eyebrows came and fetched him away in a carriage. He had made but a short stay at school—not because he was tormented. You see. rather bewildered at finding myself for the first time—alone. I never had many friends.” And he jerked back his shoulders nervously. half an hour before the rest of us were liberated. We had the whole summer day before us. virtually at least. at least. “and that makes it the stranger I shouldn’t have known you. for he thought it so fine to be at school at all that he held his tongue at home about the sufferings incurred through the medicine-bottle. I wondered whether the old nurse with the bushy eyebrows had remained attached to his person up to a recent period. His extremely fair complexion. and his bottle of medicine. This he imparted to me in confidence at the time. a victim of juvenile irony.” “Yes. as if to settle himself in an unwonted position. caused him to be called Juliet. which suggested a vague analogy with the sleeping-potion in the tragedy.” I went on. This is what we remembered between us. she was not. we were very good friends. For you know. It was as if we had stumbled upon an ancient cupboard in some dusky corner.” he said. as a boy. and we sat down on the grass together and overhauled our old memories. and threw up his head. Certainly Romeo’s sweetheart hardly suffered more. but because his father thought he was learning bad manners. “We were capital friends. his nurse. and I 299 . Remembering these things. you know. and discovered presently that.Henry James days. I hastened to say to Pickering that I hoped he was still the same good fellow who used to do my Latin for me. “then and afterwards. and every day at two o’clock. passing his hand over his eyes. He used to bring a bottle of medicine to school and take a dose in a glass of water before lunch.

for the time. I could go out to play alone. First and foremost. must have been rather a snob. seemed hostile to these observances. that he was always to wear a muffler and gloves. My parents. Pickering was a widower—a fact which seemed to produce in him a sort of preternatural concentration of parental dignity. And yet I remember never being jealous of my happier comrade. and Eugene faded. fell on me. I think I vaguely supposed that he would melt into thin air. I think. and be sent to bed. but my envy of these luxuries was tempered by a vague compassion which left me free to be generous. mysteriously. or spend half an hour in the garden without a formal report of it when he came in. A tutor was provided for him. for Eugene was treated like a prince. After that I never saw Eugene. very large whiskers. he was to be a “gentleman”. His father went to live in the country. and notions of his own as to how a boy— or his boy. and striking up. and I was allowed for a few months to have my lessons with Eugene. at eight o’clock. born as I was under quite another star. The tutor. in reminiscence. after a supper of bread and milk. Mr. chiefly. while I got all the questions and the raps with the ruler. my parents were appealed to. to be moulded into urbanity beneath the parental eye.Eugene Pickering remember how it increased my oppressive awe of Mr. on experiment. School-life. and Eugene was taken home again. Pickering. one of those friendships of childhood. He was a majestic man. and indeed began gradually 300 . a keen dark eye. The choice. at any rate—should be brought up. which seemed to mean. and a single select companion was prescribed. Poor Pickering could never take a step without asking leave. who had no desire to see me inoculated with importunate virtues. to protect the lad’s morals. He had a watch and a pony and a great store of picture-books. who had appeared to me in glimpses as a sort of high priest of the proprieties. with a hooked nose. I could button my jacket myself. into a pale image of the depressing effects of education. sent me back to school at the end of six months. and sit up till I was sleepy.

and I saw that I was likely to profit by a certain overflow of sentimental fermentation. This appealing tremor was indeed outwardly visible. He kept shifting himself about on the grass. He struck me. for me. for all this trepidation filled me with a great friendliness. I observed him now with a good deal of interest. That’s a long time to give an account of. It had found him evidently a very compliant. and I confess that. in a fashion. such eventless. Our present meeting was my first assurance that he had really survived all that muffling and coddling. “since you used to call me ‘butter-fingers’ for always missing the ball. Everything about him pointed to an experience from which he had been debarred. I became aware. gradually. that I could almost tell their history 301 . I trembled for the unwarned innocence of such a soul.Henry James to doubt of his existence. breaking out to say something and rushing off to something else. for he was a rare phenomenon—the fruit of a system persistently and uninterruptedly applied. wiping a light perspiration from his forehead. It had bequeathed him. Our sudden meeting had greatly excited him. yielding subject.” he began. an extraordinary freshness of impression and alertness of desire. and yet they have been. “It’s nearly fifteen years. monotonous years. as you say. his whole organism trembled with a dawning sense of unsuspected possibilities of feeling. unsophisticated cloister face. as I looked at him and met his transparent blue eye. that the world had already wrought a certain work upon him and roused him to a restless. troubled selfconsciousness. I could do so with a good conscience. he had the same candid. His education had been really almost monastic. and to regard him as one of the foolish things one ceased to believe in as one grew older. now that he stood on the threshold of the great world. It seemed natural that I should have no more news of him. thrusting his hands through his hair. his gentle affectionate spirit was not one of those that need to be broken. as certain young monks I had seen in Italy.

He took a fancy to it at first through his intense affection for my mother and the sort of worship he paid her memory. She died at my birth. “I am a regular garden plant. and if there is any virtue in tending I ought to take the prize at a flower show. I suppose. he prided himself on his conservative opinions. have had all kinds of adventures and travelled over half the world. “and that the result is something grotesque. I assure you I am a tremendous scholar. You. as it were. it seems that I bore an extraordinary likeness to her. and yet with something of the irony of vain regret. and a duller life for a young man grown. my father had a great many theories. It was a dull life for a growing boy. You remember my father.” He spoke of his father at some length. I was perfectly happy. Mr. From those boyish days up to his death we were always together. I had a succession of tutors. unable to conceive of any larger vocation for his son than to strive to reproduce so irreproachable a model.” said my friend. piece by piece. winter and summer. “So you see. I have been watched and watered and pruned. Besides. 302 . I don’t think that in fifteen years we spent half a dozen hours apart. and a library to browse about in. but my education. Some three years ago my father’s health broke down. in detail. a frigid egotist. “I know I have been strangely brought up. I used to think you a little Captain Cook in roundabouts.Eugene Pickering in ten words. for climbing the garden fence to get the ball when I had let it fly over. I suppose. and that children were not to grow up like dusty thorns by the wayside. So. I climbed no fences then or since. and he was kept very much within doors. but I never knew it. smiling and blushing. and the great care he took of me? I lost him some five months ago. I remember you had a turn for deeds of daring. We lived in the country. and as I grew up. to my sense.” Pickering went on. and with a respect which I privately declined to emulate. Pickering had been. he thought the usual American laisser-aller in education was a very vulgar practice. seeing but three or four people. became one of my father’s personal habits.

“I stayed at home. and yet as if I didn’t know how to take hold of it. the freedom he was condemned to ignore in practice. I suppose. through the veil of his personal diffidence. I must begin with Homburg.Henry James although I was a man grown. and he used to sit at his window. I know it. on the continent. Evidently he was a clever fellow. nervously. Opportunity was now offering a meaning to the empty forms with which his imagination was stored. and there was a singular contrast between the meagre experience he described and a certain radiant intelligence which I seemed to perceive in his glance and tone. He had severe attacks of neuralgia. If I was out of his sight for a quarter of an hour he sent some one after me. I landed but a fortnight ago.” Pickering continued. He kept an opera-glass at hand. I imagined he had read a great deal. “but I confess I envy you the novelties you are going to behold. in some degree. I lived altogether at home. and the most innocent youth.” Again he hesitated. A few days before his death I was twenty-seven years old. and when I was out in the garden he used to watch me with it.” I said. and hesitated a moment. but it appeared to him dimly.” He glanced at me to see if my remark contained an allusion. I came to Bremen in the steamer with a very friendly German. It seemed as if life offered itself to me for the first time. who undertook to initiate me into the glories and mysteries of the Fatherland. he said. and his natural faculties were excellent. basking in the sun. he took up the letter which was lying beside him. and here I am. At this season. as you suppose. in restless intellectual conjecture. “I have not sailed round the world. evidently with no intention of making an epigram. looked hard at the seal with a 303 . After he died I missed him greatly. Coming to Homburg you have plunged in medias res. and recovered. “Yes.” He uttered all this with a frank eagerness which increased as he talked. as if he were going to add something about the scene at the Kursaal but suddenly. in a sort of dull stupor.

it’s true. life is learning to know one’s self. and cried. I see I was only stultified. with passions. “Upon my word. will you understand it? No matter. smiling. intelligent creature. that he was apparently weighing an impulse to break some last barrier of reserve. a possible will of my own! I find there is a world to know. “I desire nothing better than to lie here in the shade and hear everything. and then flung it back on the grass with a sigh. But not so long—now!” And he let his eyes wander to the letter again. and in that sense I have lived more in the past six weeks than in all the years that preceded them. by all means. then came back rapidly and flung himself on the grass again. either. but I saw that he had suddenly become preoccupied. everything. looked at me a moment appealingly. with possible convictions—even with what I never dreamed of. I find I am an active. But now it is different. I should like to tell you everything!” “Tell me everything. At last he suddenly laid his hand on my arm. We talked for a while longer. I was like a poodle-dog that is led about by a blue ribbon. it keeps rising to my head like the fumes of strong wine. I am filled with this feverish sense of liberation. “How long do you expect to be in Europe?” I asked. I should have said yesterday. and scoured and combed and fed on slops. and he gravely picked it up and put it into his pocket.” I glanced at the letter—interrogatively. a life to lead.” “Ah. but the question is. It’s not easy. “Six months I supposed when I came.” I answered.Eugene Pickering troubled frown. men and women to form a thousand 304 . “And where shall you go—what shall you do?” “Everywhere. you think me a queer fellow already. with desires. passing his hand over his eyes. It was not life. “I said just now I always supposed I was happy. but now that my eyes are open. sentient. to tell you what I feel—not easy for so queer a fellow as I to tell you in how many ways he is queer!” He got up and walked away a moment.

he doesn’t want to assent beforehand to his weakness. impersonal precept. seems to hold me back. So it is that it comes back—this irresistible impulse to take my plunge—to let myself swing. charmed by the smell of the brine and yet afraid of the water. To break a window and let in light and air—I feel as if at last I must act!” 305 . that I can neither wholly obey nor wholly resist. I am full of impulses. ‘and much good may it do you. any more than I dream of. where we must plunge and dive and feel the breeze and breast the waves. soundless country life. I am not full of strength. colourless.’ you want to say. when I have learned so well how to stand aside and let them pass. You would understand all this better if you could breathe for an hour the musty in-door atmosphere in which I have always lived. but it seems terrible and unsafe. Why shouldn’t I turn my back upon it all and go home to—what awaits me?—to that sightless. I stand shivering here on the brink.Henry James relations with. “‘Swing ahead. I honestly believe I may safely take out a license to amuse myself. in Heaven’s name. and long days spent among old books? But if a man IS weak. but. to go where liberty leads me. Life seems inspiring at certain moments. and I ask myself why I should wantonly measure myself with merciless forces. fixing me with his excited eyes. Pleasure and pain are empty words to me.” he went on gravely. It all lies there like a great surging sea.” He paused a moment. longing. staring. if I have. wondering. what I long for is knowledge—some other knowledge than comes to us in formal. But it isn’t that I think of. and perhaps perceived in my own an irrepressible smile at his perplexity. playing with suffering. somehow. but a nameless influence from the past.’ I don’t know whether you are laughing at my scruples or at what possibly strikes you as my depravity. I am sure I shall not prosper in it. “whether I have an inclination toward wrong-doing. I doubt. The world beckons and smiles and calls. he wants to taste whatever sweetness there may be in paying for the knowledge.

Mr.Eugene Pickering “Act. nor in what’s called ‘life’ for life’s sake.” he said at last. Such as I sit here.” I answered. and shook it solemnly. and come and tell me whether you have found the pearl of wisdom.” “With whom?” “With a person I don’t love. “The pearl of wisdom. and tossing off provocations to destiny. on his side. “But don’t take things too hard. I shook him by the hand and laughed. in the same severe seclusion in which I was spending my days. by all means. I stopped smiling. and was bringing up his daughter. as if he thought my sympathy a trifle meagre. Vernor was largely engaged in business. and I imagine that once upon a time he found himself in a financial strait and was helped through it 306 . now or ever. when you have a chance. and begged him to explain. talking in this wild way. “What is it?” I asked. years ago. Your long confinement makes you think the world better worth knowing than you are likely to find it. I am engaged. Nevertheless. “It is my sentence!” “Not of death.” He gave me no smile in response. It’s a bequest of the past—the past I had no hand in! The marriage was arranged by my father. A man with as good a head and heart as yours has a very ample world within himself. my destiny is settled and sealed. take your plunge. I am given in marriage. “is love. he was also a widower. honest love in the most convenient concentration of experience! I advise you to fall in love. and I am no believer in art for art.” He frowned a little. when I was a boy.” This was serious. but drew from his pocket the letter of which I have spoken. The young girl’s father was his particular friend. “It will remind you of an old-fashioned romance. I hope!” “Of marriage. “It is the singular part of my story. held it up. To this day I am unacquainted with the origin of the bond of union between our respective progenitors.” I cried. now and always.

as if he were weary of thinking of it. informed me of it very solemnly. drily rather and doggedly. and has been living these many years at Smyrna. wishing to provide against his death.Henry James by my father’s coming forward with a heavy loan. I believe. got on his feet.” I said. I never suspected this superior conspiracy till something less than a year ago. between her father and her governess. and he was sure to have a rule of life—as clear as if it had been written out in his beautiful copper-plate hand—adapted to the conduct of a gentleman toward a friend in pecuniary embarrassment. indeed. So our fate was fixed. on which. and he pledged himself to bring her up to be the wife of his benefactor’s son. parentally. I believe—as big as herself. Vernor. She is a good deal my junior. with a sort of emotion which varied only in degree from that with which I could have hailed the announcement that he had ordered me a set 307 . Isabel has grown up there in a white-walled garden. Mr. “and I heartily congratulate you.” “You are joking. I have not seen my betrothed since she was a very plain-faced little girl in a sticky pinafore. and vowed my father an eternal gratitude. A thousand to one Miss Vernor is charming.” he answered. for these dull days. “It’s a romance. he was sure to adhere to it. I was neither elated nor depressed. He was a man of dogmas. a wife kept in a box of rose-leaves for him.” He related all this calmly enough. My father. hugging a one-armed doll—of the male sex. on reaching the marrying age. I received it. His little daughter was the apple of his eye. in his situation. when she is eighteen we are to marry. as I remember. without the accent of complaint. paid his debt. Mr. It’s not every young man who finds. “and I am terribly serious. six months ago she was seventeen. with a wounded air. in an orange grove. What is more. and we have been educated for each other. he could offer no security but his word. Of this my father was quite capable. Let me tell you the rest. Vernor is in what is called the Eastern trade. I wonder you don’t post off to Smyrna.

The fumes of unrighteous pride may rise into your brain and tempt you. to which he had been confined for a week. I believe I may trust the salutary force of your respect for my memory. But I must remember that when I am removed you will stand here alone. ‘I shall not live to see you married. So I must ask 308 . He had not spoken for some time. in the interest of a vulgar theory which it will call your independence. and anything but grief at that moment was doubtless impious and monstrous. indeed. it would be a selfish pleasure. After this his health failed rapidly. ‘but since the foundation is laid. to shatter the edifice I have so laboriously constructed. but novels and poems were one thing and life was another. on my going to him—’I feel that I shall not last long. I had heard of their being made in heaven. I supposed that was the way that all marriages were made. and what was my father but a divinity? Novels and poems. to know to a certainty that you will be safely domiciled here.’ he said. but an extremely inanimate. intensely. who has a pretty. that little signifies. face to face with a hundred nameless temptations to perversity. and I have never thought of myself but in you. and in a moment he beckoned to me. but happening to look at him I saw his eyes wide open. and I supposed he was asleep. I believe in your docility. To foresee your future. and fixed on me strangely. in its main outline. But. I said nothing. but there came into my heart for the first time a throbbing sense of being over-governed. I wish to clear this bright vision from the shadow of a doubt. and he thought my silence was all sorrow. He was smiling benignantly. face. my son.’ he went on. near his bed. Then. with a wife approved by my judgment.’ He was talking of death. talked about falling in love. in his dimly-lighted room. One night I was sitting. A short time afterwards he introduced me to a photograph of my predestined. as I habitually sat for hours. cultivating the moral fruit of which I have sown the seed—this will content me. ‘but I am willing to die when I think how comfortably I have arranged your future.Eugene Pickering of new shirts.

I feel it now. you are living now. News that his daughter is standing expectant at the altar. you will marry Isabel Vernor. ‘You will follow the path I have marked. I wish I could say as much for my own. All this passionate consciousness of your situation is a very ardent life. somehow. nor do I mean to.” “No. for the present. Yesterday I thought I was in a fair way to sail with the tide. It contains bad news. I drew away my hand and asked to be trusted without any such terrible vow.’ And he grasped my hand. as if the seeds of ultimate repose had been sown in those unsuspecting years—as if after many days I might gather the mellow fruit. I feel.Henry James you for a promise—the solemn promise you owe my condition. grasping whatever the present offers me.” “I see you have not yet broken the seal. but I want to live first!” “My dear fellow. I felt the reproach. I will obey. I want to spend three months without thinking of the past or the future. “What is it?” “A letter from Smyrna.” “I want to forget my situation.’ This was pretty ‘steep. He sat up in his bed and looked at me with eyes which seemed to foresee a lifetime of odious ingratitude.’ as we used to say at school. News that Mr. But after many days! I will keep my promise. I was frightened. My reluctance startled my father into a suspicion that the vulgar theory of independence had already been whispering to me.” 309 . you will be faithful to the young girl whom an influence as devoted as that which has governed your own young life has moulded into everything amiable. I promised! And even now I don’t regret my promise nor complain of my father’s tenacity.” “What do you call bad news?” “News that I am expected in Smyrna in three weeks. But this morning comes this memento!” And he held up his letter again. Vernor disapproves of my roving about the world.

and I am sure you will find it’s tarry not!!” And he flung the letter on the grass.” I said. When I do. I know I should. and I have contemplated it mentally in every possible light. Meanwhile. He watched me put away the letter. smiling. do you know what I should do? I should march home and ask the Oberkellner how one gets to Smyrna. put it into your pocket. and yet it set me thinking. “curiosity would make me open it. Will you do me a favour? Pick up the letter. let it rest in peace!” And I consigned it to the most sacred interstice of my pocket-book.Eugene Pickering “Is not this pure conjecture?” “Conjecture. The sigh was natural. “And how long is your rope to be? The Homburg season doesn’t last for ever. you had better open it. therefore. by no fault of his own. and not stop till I arrived. pack my trunk. possibly. I want my hands tied. It was his situation. Look at the device on the seal. and he was only trying to be natural. “If I were to open it and read my summons.” He shook his head. take my ticket. The only way. and keep it till I ask you for it.” “To-morrow if you say so. “Upon my word.” I took the letter. and when it had disappeared gave a soft sigh of relief. it would be the fascination of habit. His general recoil from an immediate responsibility 310 . “I have no curiosity! For a long time now the idea of my marriage has ceased to be a novelty. that was fantastic. To say that I was disposed to humour the poor fellow would seem to be saying that I thought his request fantastic.” I said. to wander to my rope’s end is to leave the letter unread.” “Does it last a month? Let that be my season! A month hence you will give it back to me.” “In your place. I fear nothing from that side. but safe conjecture. As soon as I looked at the letter something smote me at the heart. but I do fear something from conscience. you may know that I am at my rope’s end.

When it came to losing your money for you.” “In other words. I imagine she was not alone. The world began to call her so.” “No. that I had been an undiscovered spectator. She confessed. “I felt as if the whole table were staring at me. “Ah.” he said.” 311 . I suppose she’s German. but if there was an old grievance on one side. but he met my eyes with the same clear goodhumour.” “Ah. you noticed that too?” cried Pickering.” “She did herself injustice. of his exploits at roulette. but her manner was so gracious and reassuring that I supposed she was doing nothing unusual. then. she said it was too late to ask me. in spite of herself. “Is not that what you say of bad women?” “Of some—of those who are found out. and at last finding that she had the reputation. He blushed deeply.” “If that’s her name. sitting on the terrace in the starlight. still quite unconfused.” “Well. I was with her—for nearly an hour. so I told him.” “Ah! And did you go in?” “No. she is a lady with no reputation to lose!” Pickering seemed puzzled. indeed. abruptly. she made you insist. she does what she chooses.Henry James imposed by others might be wholesome enough. “I have not yet found out Madame Blumenthal. though she remarked that in a general way she did not stand upon ceremony. was there not possibly a new-born delusion on the other? It would be unkind to withhold a reflection that might serve as a warning. however. that she is very eccentric. I saw her afterwards. you saw that wonderful lady?” “Wonderful she was indeed. she resolved to enjoy its privileges. she said. Now. before she ever dreamed of it. he smiled a little. still smiling. too. afterwards. Then I walked home with her. the night before.

” he said. What my friend was thinking of I can’t say.” I said. “I think not. whose husband is dead. and we strolled away into the forest.” “Very true. It represented. I was meditating on his queer biography. sat down on a fallen log. but gravely took out his pocket-book and drew forth a small photograph. a simple maiden in her flower—a slight young girl. In a word. if you can. I asked him if he had it with him. my dear fellow. I have known Madame Blumenthal for less than twenty-four hours. “Amen!” I answered. and letting my wonderment wander away to Smyrna. did you seem for a moment to see Madame Blumenthal sitting opposite?” “Opposite?” “Opposite. But when you found this letter of yours on your place at breakfast. “I have had the desire for three months. Her husband is dead. “And now.” He seemed to ponder my question. Suddenly I remembered that he possessed a portrait of the young girl who was waiting for him there in a white-walled garden. talking of lighter things. and Pickering’s clear glance seemed to question my mirth. does she interest you?” “Very much!” he cried. whether this clever Madame Blumenthal. He said nothing. and looked out across an interval of meadow at the long wooded waves of the Taunus. with a certain childish 312 . or anywhere in the neighbourhood. joyously. there is no time to lose. at last. as the poet says. if we are to see the world in a month. Tell me. “that I too must be frank. jumping up with a laugh. “You have been so bluntly frank with me.Eugene Pickering “Yes. unshrinkingly. She is very clever. has given a point to your desire for a suspension of communication with Smyrna.” I laughed involuntarily at the conjunction of these facts. but she speaks English so well that you wouldn’t know it.” Pickering rose. At last we reached the edge of the wood. Let us begin with the Hardtwald.

” “Ah. There was no ease in her posture. she looks a little wiser. I hope.” “I think I can guess it. I suppose.” he said. “By this time. then.” I said. At last. “I should take some satisfaction in seeing you immediately leave Homburg. “There is something I have not told you. and in her timid gaze there seemed to lurk the questioning gleam of childhood.” He looked at me. she wore a short-waisted white dress. abruptly—“My dear fellow. “of course you can’t leave Homburg.” said Pickering. she is very sweet—no doubt!” And he put the thing away without looking at it. But her awkwardness was as pretty as that of some angular seraph in a mediaeval carving. “why have I been dressed up for this ceremony in a white frock and amber beads?” “Gracious powers!” I said to myself.” 313 . “She is very sweet!” “Yes. surprised. with a smile of triumph. “what an enchanting thing is innocence!” “That portrait was taken a year and a half ago. “What is this for?” her charming eyes appeared to ask. and her dark eyes fixed. as I gave it back. for her likeness.Henry James roundness of contour. very gravely.” “Immediately?” “To-day—as soon as you can get ready. “She says that she means to play no more for the present. poor girl. Madame Blumenthal has asked you to come and play her game for her again. stiffly and shyly. She has asked me to come and take tea with her this evening. as if with an effort to be perfectly just. We were silent for some moments. her head was bent downward a little.” “Not much.” “Not at all!” cried Pickering. and little by little he blushed. she was standing.” I said.” I said. her arms hung at her sides and her hands were clasped in front. “something that your saying that Madame Blumenthal has no reputation to lose has made me half afraid to tell you.

and beheld. I stay!” I made him a mock bow for his energy. as if he were expecting me to laugh. “Urge it strongly. glancing at the book. My knock remained unnoticed. the speeches were very long. He greeted me heartily. but. an Historisches Trauerspiel in five acts. I opened it. was surprised to hear the sound of a loud voice within.” I said. after an instant’s delay. towards the end of the play. and there was an inordinate number of soliloquies by the heroine. as he answered. I told him that unless he followed my advice I would never speak to him again. “That’s very fine. “I wanted an occasion to break a rule—to leap a barrier. “Say it’s my duty—that I must. threw his book on the table. stood before me.” There were a great many marginal corrections and annotations.” And we walked back through the woods. began in this fashion— 314 . One of them. I went to see Pickering the next day.Eugene Pickering He answered nothing.” he said in a moment. “And who is your teacher?” I asked. feathering the shaft with a harmless expletive. He rather avoided meeting my eye. and on knocking. as directed. “but now. “Good!” he cried. and struck the ground with his stick. but I discovered my friend walking up and down the room and apparently declaiming to himself from a little volume bound in white vellum.” “Indeed! Has she written a grammar?” “It’s not a grammar. apparently from the author’s hand. so I presently introduced myself. “Madame Blumenthal. He got up.” I didn’t quite understand him. to put you in a proper mood for Madame Blumenthal’s tea. we will go and listen to the band play Schubert under the lindens.” And he handed me the book. and said that he was taking a German lesson. it’s a tragedy. I found no company. but looked askance at me. Here it is. I remember. at his inn. entitled “Cleopatra. in delicate type. at his door. with a very large margin.

the advent of Adelina Patti. but Madame Blumenthal tells me that she had it played at her own house in Berlin. are a vigorous stimulus to the appetite. that on hearing now the striking of a new hour. for organisms in which the interfusion of soul and sense is peculiarly mysterious. At last. as it were. is life but sensation. and observing how the echoes of the past were immediately quenched in its music. It is a good German custom at Homburg to spend the hour preceding dinner in listening to the orchestra in the Kurgarten. and he now hinted that it behoved me to amend my opinion. to the fashion. that this information was very soberly offered.” I said.Henry James “What. as we had done the day before. Mozart and Beethoven. after all. No doubt Madame Blumenthal was a clever woman. and that she herself undertook the part of the heroine. he announced that Madame Blumenthal had proved to be an extraordinarily interesting woman. and sensation but deception?—reality that pales before the light of one’s dreams as Octavia’s dull beauty fades beside mine? But let me believe in some intenser bliss. “Has the tragedy ever been acted?” “Never in public. the inn. uttering his thoughts. and seek it in the arms of death!” “It seems decidedly passionate. in his consciousness. and betrayed no sense of this being a confession that he had taken his plunge and was floating with the current. I had received the day before so strong an impression of a sort of spiritual fastidiousness in my friend’s nature. He was preoccupied. He only remembered that I had spoken slightingly of the lady.” Pickering’s unworldly life had not been of a sort to sharpen his perception of the ridiculous. but it seemed to me an unmistakable sign of his being under the charm. I said to myself that it had certainly taken a delicate hand to wind up that fine machine. he was irresponsive to my experimental observations on vulgar topics—the hot weather. and 315 . Pickering and I conformed. He seemed to have quite forgotten our long talk in the Hartwaldt.

“You are 316 .Eugene Pickering when we were seated under the trees. I never saw a gaming table in my life before.” “That’s a polite way of calling me a fool. “to me every one seems eccentric. You will know her. and her own venerable mother originally taught her the rules of the game. as one counts on a musical instrument that is perfectly in tune. yet a while. “I don’t know whether she is eccentric or not. says Madame Blumenthal. “might be the loveliest woman in the world.” he said.” “Madame Blumenthal. I have never been in the habit of thinking positive beauty the most excellent thing in a woman. and yet what I should most envy you would be. to measure people by my narrow precedents. It is a recognised source of subsistence for decent people with small means. and you the object of her choicest favours. smiling. what reaches the observer—the admirer—is simply a sort of fragrant emanation of intelligence and sympathy. and supposed that a gambler was of necessity some dusky villain with an evil eye. I have always said to myself that if my heart were ever to be captured it would be by a sort of general grace—a sweetness of motion and tone—on which one could count for soothing impressions.” said Pickering. and culture has done everything for each. not your peerless friend. people play at roulette as they play at billiards. With her eager nature and her innumerable accomplishments nothing would be easier than that she should seem restless and aggressive. and it seems the more perfect that it keeps order and harmony in a character really passionately ardent and active. What goes on in her mind I of course can’t say. but your beautiful imagination. Madame Blumenthal has it—this grace that soothes and satisfies. and yet make them harmonious and beautiful.” I said. and I leave you to judge whether she does seem so! She has every gift. But I confess Madame Blumenthal might do worse things than play at roulette. and it’s not for me. he began to expatiate on his friend’s merits. In Germany.

and I think it possible I may have made her listen to a great deal of nonsense. and now she understands!” “She told you. I have.” Pickering answered.” I surmised.” he went on.” he added in a moment. For after the first few words I exchanged with her I was conscious of an extraordinary evaporation of all my old diffidence.” “You will make the journey fast if you travel by express trains. but I felt the wiser and the stronger. Very likely I poured them all out.” “Exactly so—the greatest! She has felt and suffered. on the contrary. and declared that Madame Blumenthal’s eyes had something in them that he had never seen in any others. a cynic. for having fired off all my guns—they could hurt nobody now if they hit— and I imagine I might have gone far without finding another woman in whom such an exhibition would have provoked so little of mere cold amusement.Henry James a sceptic. Last evening.” And here.” “Madame Blumenthal. that she understood you as if she had made you. if I remember rightly. “It was a jumble of crudities and inanities. I imagine. philosopher. like fog-lamps at sea. I have a sense of having enshrouded myself in a sort of mist of talk. have you ventured to intimate to Madame Blumenthal your high opinion of her?” “I don’t know what I may have said. after a pause. “owing to my peculiar circumstances. “they must have seemed to her great rubbish.” “She spoke to me. and of seeing her lovely eyes shining through it opposite to me. “entered into your situation with warmth. Pickering broke off into an ardent parenthesis. a great accumulated fund of unuttered things of all sorts to get rid of. they came swarming to my lips. But pray tell me. I suppose. “as I had 317 . a satirist! I hope I shall be a long time coming to that. somehow. and friend. She listens even better than she talks. sitting there before that charming woman. and she offered to be your guide. in truth.

I tried to say something. to make it bright and fine. though we met at the Kursaal and strolled occasionally in the park. formally. I might have been disarmed by Pickering’s assurance. and gave me in a dozen ways an impression of increased self-confidence and maturity.Eugene Pickering never been spoken to before. I asked myself what experience could really do. His mind was admirably active. and always. I suppose. in fact. Afterwards she kindly offered to read German aloud with me. And she let me take it to look it over.” “Meanwhile she had dropped her tragedy into your pocket!” “Not at all. all the offices of a woman’s friendship. in especial. and she offered me. but I couldn’t. of which Madame Blumenthal had constituted herself the agent. very much excited. and held up the book. that Madame Blumenthal wished to know me and expected him to introduce me. For some days I saw little of him.” “Which you as formally accepted?” “To you the scene sounds absurd. two or three times a week. that innocence had not done. and at last I bolted out of the room. were some generous words in my praise. before we parted. ‘What shall we begin with?’ she asked. I had seen it on the table before she came in. after a quarter of an hour’s talk with him. for I wished to let Pickering work out his destiny alone. Among the foolish things which. ‘With this!’ I said. for the signs and portents of the world’s action upon him—of that portion of the world. I was. I watched.” I was neither a cynic nor a satirist. but I begged that the introduction should not be immediate. I confess I was curious to see her. he had uttered. “I was very much moved. but even if I had been. in spite of my desire to let him alone. to which she had civilly replied. for the accent. according to his own account. I was 318 . He seemed very happy. but now I stammered and bungled. I had had plenty to say before. but allow me to say I don’t care!” Pickering spoke with an air of genial defiance which was the most inoffensive thing in the world.

I was forced to admit to myself. an awakening. its light and shade—and with the infinite freedom with which he felt he could go and come and rove and linger and observe it all. and continued to admire her. a coming to moral manhood. It was an expansion. she must be a very superior woman. that if she were really the ruling star of this happy season. its picturesqueness. Each time I met him he spoke a little less of Madame Blumenthal. in spite of preconceptions.Henry James struck with his deep enjoyment of the whole spectacle of foreign life—its novelty. Pickering had the air of an ingenuous young philosopher sitting at the feet of an austere muse. and not of a sentimental spendthrift dangling about some supreme incarnation of levity. but he let me know generally that he saw her often. 319 .

Recognition and mutual greetings followed. looking extremely pretty. leaning forward. his eyes were following her covert indications. but on looking round when it fell for the entr’acte. to have abjured the Kursaal. she was unable to see how he looked. slowly moving her fan to and fro and letting her eye wander over the house. was an interesting study. he looked intensely serious. but Pickering was not laughing. She reappeared. and after the rising of the curtain I was occupied with the stage. one evening at the opera. I saw that the authoress of “Cleopatra” had been joined by her young admirer. It seemed the proper moment to present myself and make her my bow. however. and I never caught a glimpse of her. Her young friend. He was sitting a little behind her. came to occupy the next chair. apparently. where from my chair I perceived her in a box. as it always was when he was interested. having her back to him. Adelina Patti was singing. looking over her shoulder and listening. for the time. whom in a moment I perceived to be an old acquaintance. I was glad that. but just as I was about to leave my place a gentleman. No doubt she was saying sharp things. for it very soon occurred to me that Niedermeyer would be just the man to give me a fair prose version of Pickering’s 320 . and I was forced to postpone my visit to Madame Blumenthal. his mouth was half open. was apparently talking of this person and that. and the studious mind prefers seclusion. at last. while she.Eugene Pickering CHAPTER II MADAME BLUMENTHAL SEEMED. I was not sorry.

you will tell me what she is. and about some people everything. But some women are never at their ease till they have given some damnable twist or other to their position before the world. She looks wonderfully well. It’s extraordinary how those women last!” “You don’t mean. he knew a little something about every one. after a week. My friend there has known her a week. I take it. with the young man sitting behind her. from here. I had once spent three rainy days with him in the house of an English friend in the country. and he spoke the language almost without accent.” I said. and after looking a while. for duration. in a certain infusion of respectability?” “Yes and no. “I am afraid your friend is a little—what do you call it?—a little ‘soft. “Do tell me. Be introduced. The atmosphere that surrounds her is entirely of her own making. it’s easily done. like sitting too straight in a fauteuil. He was a sharp observer.Henry James lyric tributes to his friend. and a good deal of a gossip.’ that Madame Blumenthal is not embalmed. and I don’t think he is yet able to give a coherent account of her. as we stood looking round the house. minute. it was copious.” “Who?” he answered. when you talk about ‘those women.’ Poor fellow! he’s not the first.” He raised his glass again. “Madame Blumenthal! What! It would take long to say. Don’t ask me for 321 .” “Perhaps I should not. exhaustive. The attitude of upright virtue is unbecoming. His knowledge on social matters generally had the quality of all German science. you will find her charming. and had formerly lived about Europe a great deal in a series of small diplomatic posts. dropping his glass. Then. There is no reason in her antecedents that people should drop their voice when they speak of her. England especially he had often visited. I have never known this lady that she has not had some eligible youth hovering about in some such attitude as that. undergoing the softening process. He was an Austrian by birth. “who and what is the lady in white.

She’s very clever. in fact. She has been a widow these six or eight years. but I am afraid he had less than was nominated in the bond. she drove her shuttle. She tossed her head. and formally announced that she had embraced an ‘intellectual’ life. Madame Blumenthal is Prussian. and her principles were an insufficient dowry for Anastasia. I remember her mother. giving little suppers to the artistic rabble there. declared that at last she could breathe the sacred air of freedom. I suppose she is some six or eight and thirty years of age. I imagine. He was supposed to have money. In winter one hears of her in Berlin. in the George Sand manner—beating the drum to Madame Sand’s trumpet. Her talk is much better than her writing. But she has been admired also by a great many really clever men. A year after her marriage she published a novel. in summer one often sees her across the green table at Ems and Wiesbaden. from the conversion of Lola Montez to the Hegelian philosophy. She was poor. or else that his pretty young wife spent it very fast. Hegelian philosophers and Hungarian pianists. Blumenthal was an old beast. No doubt she was very unhappy. and her cleverness has spoiled her. in rather a hand-to-mouth fashion. with her views on matrimony. This meant unlimited camaraderie with scribblers and daubers.Eugene Pickering opinions. with principles marshalled out like Frederick the Great’s grenadiers. 322 . however. and very well born. Since then she has published a lot of literature—novels and poems and pamphlets on every conceivable theme. there was a time. twice her own age. when she turned a head as well set on its shoulders as this one!” And Niedermeyer tapped his forehead. content yourself with a few facts and with an anecdote. and when she came to the end of her yarn she found that society had turned its back. however. an old Westphalian Grafin. She had a taste for spinning fine phrases. who was married very young to a vicious Jew. and has lived. Her conjugophobia—I can’t call it by any other name—made people think lightly of her at a time when her rebellion against marriage was probably only theoretic.

and. Yet for all that. grave. but he knew by hearsay that Madame Blumenthal’s literature. or next door to it! Every day that he called he found her scribbling away at a little ormolu table on a lot of half-sheets of note-paper. a man every way firm in the faith of his fathers. simply. I am not going near her box. but not an anecdote. “and giving me an opinion. I believe. she’s radiant. and it was promised to a publisher. It’s not that. it is that there is something sinister about the woman. Her imagination is lodged where her heart should be! So long as you amuse it. and her outward charm is only the mask of a dangerous discontent. but there have been two or three. Be323 . who have almost broken their necks in the fall. if she does me the honour to observe the omission. he took a great fancy to Madame Blumenthal. was the name of the injured heroine. and though he was no longer a young man. I am not going to speak to her. was subversive of several respectable institutions. she confided to him. I am going to leave her to say. and had never been what is called a susceptible one. she was writing a novel. but I am good-natured enough for it to pain me. She used to bid him sit down and hold his tongue for a quarter of an hour. she is capable of dropping you without a pang. But the moment you let it flag. Her quarrel with society has brought her no happiness. had never read a work of fiction in his life. literally. a trifle severe.” I said. But the major was in love. when put forth in pink covers. well and good.Henry James “She has a great charm.” “You are reversing your promise. A year ago a friend of mine made her acquaintance in Berlin. Clorinda. He’s a major in the Prussian artillery—grizzled. I imagine. I am too old for it to frighten me. till she had finished her chapter. I know no harm of her.” “This is my anecdote. The major. that I too have gone over to the Philistines. It’s a proof of Anastasia’s charm that such a man should have got into the habit of going to see her every day of his life. If you land on your feet you are so much the wiser.

But it never opened. he was in love with her and that he ventured to believe she had a kindness for his years and his honours. You call my poor efforts coquetry. A woman was clever enough when she could guess her husband’s wishes. and not the world’s more or less flattering attention to it!’ And seizing the history of Clorinda she thrust it into the fire. And yet she was not such a woman as he could easily ask to marry him. and the major assured me it made her look uncommonly pretty. by way of congratulating her. and the first thing he knows she is sweeping him a great curtsey and bidding him farewell for ever. and from that day to the day three months 324 . They say that women like to be snubbed by military men. was mingled with Anastasia’s wrath. and it irritated him to see this inky goddess correcting proof-sheets under his nose—irritated him the more that. however. I can prove to you that it is the quiet labour itself I care for. one day.’ she says. Madame Blumenthal flung down her pen and announced in triumph that she had finished her novel. the desire to produce a sensation. declared that her novel was immoral rubbish. ‘I have told you before. The major. He added. Left alone and recovering his wits. that he loved her in spite of her follies. Clorinda had expired in the arms of—some one else than her husband. vanity. I don’t know. I’m sure. and learned enough when she could read him the newspapers. he fishes out Clorinda from the embers. ‘that I write from an inner need. on this occasion. But her wrath was very quiet. The major stands staring. I don’t know how much pleasure. and that her love of vicious paradoxes was only a peculiarly depraved form of coquetry. At last. The result of all this was that he fell into the way of railing at her intellectual pursuits and saying he should like to run his sword through her pile of papers. to satisfy my conscience. and then proceeds to thump vigorously at the lady’s door. he didn’t believe in women knowing how to write at all. as I say.Eugene Pickering sides. and that if she would formally abjure them he would as formally offer her his hand. I write to unburden my heart.

” Even Adelina Patti’s singing. First (what I was careful not to tell my friend). it’s a striking story. and that her allowing him to force an interview upon her again is only a question of time. and adore!” Nothing could have been more gracious than the lady’s greeting. “Ay. every two or three pages the narrative was adorned with a portentous blank. is simply Clorinda renamed by the baptism of fire. and found Clorinda tumbled upon the floor. more frightened than hurt. that her prettiness lost nothing on a nearer view. of course.’ by Madame Blumenthal. Glancing through it. a good deal scorched. His glowing smile seemed to say to me. Unter den Linden.” “By Jove. and sends her to the printer. Wherever the flames had burnt a hole she swings a constellation! But if the major is prepared to drop a penitent tear over the ashes of Clorinda. second. “This is another anecdote.” I said. he had not beheld her again. brushes her off. I observed an extraordinary abuse of asterisks. “Sophronia. and I found. but. I saw on a bookseller’s counter a little pink-covered romance— ’Sophronia. what does it prove?” “Several things. She picks her up.” “And last?” I asked. crossed with a row of stars. As soon as the curtain had fallen again I repaired to her box and was ushered in by Pickering with zealous hospitality. Her eyes indeed were the 325 . “But the question is. I shall not whisper to him that the urn is empty. as Niedermeyer paused. The fair author came back.” “Well. that he cares for her more than ever. but half availed to divert me from my quickened curiosity to behold Madame Blumenthal face to face. on the whole. that the performance was a master-stroke. The other day. that Madame Blumenthal cared for him a trifle more than he supposed. my dear fellow.Henry James ago when he told me the tale. for the next half-hour. look for yourself. but poor Clorinda?” I objected. third. somewhat to my surprise.

as if to make you take her meaning in a certain very particular and superfine sense. and I repented. She looked at you very hard with her radiant gray eyes. rather affected little gestures. “Really?” she suddenly said. and. and exaggerate a little. and asked if she had learnt it in England. I was born in the lap of feudalism. I wondered whether after a while this might not fatigue one’s attention. I am a daughter of the crusaders. She was very clever.Eugene Pickering finest I have ever seen—the softest. the deepest. In spite of something faded and jaded in her physiognomy. the most intensely responsive. turning short round upon Pickering. I told her. “Is that the way you talk about me?” He blushed to his eyes. her movements. had an almost girlish frankness and spontaneity. and in a little while I complimented her on her excellent English. and she indulged while she talked in a superabundance of restless. of the fine things I had heard about her from my friend. I said. I should never get on with the—” I wondered what she was going to say. letting me go on some time. then meeting her charming eyes. We talked after this of various matters. and looking at him in the same way. the fogs. “with the aristocracy! I am a fierce democrat—I am not ashamed of it. She suddenly began to laugh. as Pickering had said. it was then I observed how sweet her voice was in laughter. she spoke English admirably. who stood behind us. especially when she laughed. as I took my seat beside her. and the tone of her voice. with her fine eyes fixed full upon me. I should like to see the wonderful spectacle of a great people free 326 . the smoke. and she listened. or whist with sixpenny stakes?—”I should never get on. I hold opinions which would make my ancestors turn in their graves. her smile. But I am a revolutionist! I have a passion for freedom—my idea of happiness is to die on a great barricade! It’s to your great country I should like to go. “I have never been there and wish never to go.” she said. “Heaven forbid!” she cried. Not for a long time.

“I should like to see the country which produced that wonderful young man. he’s not a bit interesting. but I cannot answer for it. made an absorbing harmony. even to an excellent cause. There is something painful in the spectacle of absolute enthralment. “You can’t be a great artist without a great passion!” Madame Blumenthal was affirming. for in the midst of the explanation the curtain rose again. and I think them over for a week. “True!” she went on.” was obliged to confess that she could see no charm in it. Madame Blumenthal. no matter!” she cried. that. as became a “revolutionist. nodding at him. if a young man is innocent he’s a fool. But Mr. “I think for myself!” And she began with a great many flourishes of her fan to explain what it was she thought.” she said. it was trivial. “You must know that in music. after all. and she turned quickly about and shook her fan with a dramatic gesture at Pickering. “I call them inspired solecisms. both our freedom and our good conduct had their limits. it was meagre. He looked at me with eyes that seemed to say. but made some remark upon the charm of Adelina Patti’s singing. I gave no response to Pickering’s challenge. I was prompted to believe that he was in a state of beatific exaltation which weighed Madame Blumenthal’s smiles and frowns in an equal balance. they were links alike in the golden chain. it lacked soul. he has no brains. Remember that when I next laugh at you!” Glancing at Pickering. 327 . “No matter. and after I have laughed five minutes at their freshness it suddenly occurs to me that they are very wise. Remarkable things. too.Henry James to do everything it chooses. her gestures. modestly. doubtless. I think of it as a sort of Arcadia—a land of the golden age. He’s so delightfully innocent! In this stupid old Germany. and I treasure them up. and yet never doing anything wrong!” I replied. her voice and glance. “Did you ever hear such wit? Did you ever see such grace?” It seemed to me that he was but vaguely conscious of the meaning of her words. Pickering says the freshest things. They were equally hers.

I wondered afterwards whether the speech had seemed rude. give me that art. “Isn’t she wonderful?” he asked. I promised to come and compare notes with her. but that she was sure I was not half so sincere. as the theatre was emptying itself. and even to cer328 . Pickering left us together a moment while he went to hail the vehicle. and rained down its silver notes. as she said. If he were really in love. well and good! For although. They have misled me more than once!” And she gave a little tragic shudder. “I want to ask you many things. and inferred that it had not on receiving a friendly nod from the lady. but you see my sympathies are so intense.Eugene Pickering Before I had time to assent Madame Patti’s voice rose wheeling like a skylark. I had not taken many steps before I became aware that I was beside a man in the very extremity of love. walking up and down the long glazed gallery of the Kursaal. she should not walk home. “Ah. and we bade her farewell at her carriage door.” I whispered. “and I will leave you your passion!” And I departed for my own place in the orchestra. to beg me to be so very kind as to come and see her. She looked at me a moment with that extraordinary gaze of hers which seemed so absolutely audacious in its candour. He interests me. in the lobby. now that I had seen her. that I don’t trust my own impressions. Distances are short in Homburg. It was for a particular reason! It was reason enough for me. and my companion seized the opportunity. “But it’s about him I want to talk. She was on Pickering’s arm. but the night was rainy.” she said. with an implicit confidence in my sympathy which it cost me some ingenuity to elude. and rejoined that I paid more compliments than our young friend there. I answered. and he was taking her to her carriage. my imagination is so lively. of course. I want you to tell me all about him. Pickering and I remained a while. though but a penniless widow. and Madame Blumenthal exhibited a very pretty satin-shod foot as a reason why. I stood ready to confess to large possibilities of fascination on Madame Blumenthal’s part. that she had given me leave.

When I listen to her reminiscences. about the days passing like hours. on the edge of the plunging wall. He had a great deal to say about his happiness. and the former of these alternatives seemed to me the simpler. like me! She has lived in the tumult of life. “I suppose you know. but I desired to know before we separated what he had done with that troublesome conscience of his. If you could only hear her when she tells her adventures!” “Adventures?” I inquired. “that you are simply in love.” he said. the hours like minutes.” I said. That’s what they happen to call your state of mind. “Has she had adventures?” “Of the most wonderful sort!” cried Pickering. She listened to me.” He replied with a brightening eye. I stood there and made a speech. “we drove to Konigstein. “nothing to what she sometimes is in the way of brilliancy— in the way of repartee. We scrambled up into the heart of the ruin and sat for an hour in one of the crumbling old courts. At last she got up 329 .Henry James tain possibilities of sincerity of which my appreciation was vague. as if he were delighted to hear it—”So Madame Blumenthal told me only this morning!” And seeing. looking at me. that I was slightly puzzled. “She hasn’t vegetated. “ I went to drive with her. I suppose. and while she sat on an ivied stone. my dear fellow. I resolved to hold my tongue and let him run his course. It was on his fundamental simplicity that I counted for a happy termination of his experiment. Something in the solemn stillness of the place unloosed my tongue. with rapture.” he continued.” “She was nothing to-night. it’s like hearing the opening tumult of one of Beethoven’s symphonies as it loses itself in a triumphant harmony of beauty and faith!” I could only lift my eyebrows. and about Madame Blumenthal being a “revelation. yet it seemed to me less ominous that he should be simply smitten than that his admiration should pique itself on being discriminating. to see the old castle. breaking off little bits of stone and letting them drop down into the valley.

Eugene Pickering and nodded at me two or three times silently. ‘It’s a perfect case!’ And for some time she said nothing more. more innocent. The purpose of my visit was not to admire Madame Blumenthal on my own account.’ she said. such people as sincere impostors. I thought her better than she really was. many of which I saw at a glance were French. certain characters who cultivate fictitious emotions in perfect good faith. in some agitation of thought. more ignorant. I must compare her with other women— women younger. ‘You are in love. she should care more for his welfare than for her own entertainment. But before we left the place she told me that she owed me an answer to my speech. She had impugned my sincerity the 330 . surmounted by a jar full of white roses. I had known few women. Even if this clever lady enjoyed poor Pickering’s bedazzlement. I told her that I was not afraid of preferring any woman in the world to her. I was too easily pleased. ‘Happy man. I must know her longer and find them out. she would listen to me again. They perfumed the air. taking vanity and charity together. She thanked me heartily. you are in love!’” I called upon Madame Blumenthal a couple of days later. happy man! you are in love. and then if I still did her the honour to think well of her. but to ascertain how far I might safely leave her to work her will upon my friend. It has been proved that there are. Buried in an arm-chair. but she was afraid that if she took me at my word she would be taking advantage of my inexperience. the object of this devotion was reading the Revue des Deux Mondes. as if she were applauding me for a solo on the violin. and her offer to abide by the result of hazardous comparison with other women was a finer stroke than her reputation had led me to expect. She had great faults. here and there. in the world. simpler. it was conceivable that. She received me in a shabby little sitting-room littered with uncut books and newspapers. and then she repeated. with a smile. One side of it was occupied by an open piano. they seemed to me to exhale the pure aroma of Pickering’s devotion.

She was certainly a wonderful woman. to tell the perfect truth. I was punished for my rash attempt to surprise her by a temporary eclipse of my own perspicacity. had lodged her imagination in the place of her heart than were dreamt of in my philosophy. so perceptive. so generous. It is needless to narrate our interview in detail. and showing me only one hand at once.” she answered. on that half-hour. “I know you are his confidant. She had said she wished me to tell her everything about our friend. I felt like a very competent philosopher. as if he were holding something behind him. and his character. He has told me certainly a great many things. in memory. that I was quite ready at the end of half an hour to subscribe to the most comprehensive of Pickering’s rhapsodies. All this was natural in a woman who had received a passionate declaration of love. Yet. He seems often to be hovering on the edge of a secret. indeed. his fortune. I have had several friendships in my life—thank Heaven! but I have had none 331 . and that until we met at Homburg I had not seen him since he was a boy. so genial. if I had not had one ready made. a radiant confidence that there was really no mistake about his being a most distinguished young man. and she questioned me as to his family. as Niedermeyer said. his antecedents. She sat there so questioning. I told her that she really knew Pickering better than I did. The result of it was to prove that there were many more things in the composition of a woman who. and that if I chose to be explicit. and not to place her on her guard against my penetration. as I sat there stroking my hat and balancing the account between nature and art in my affable hostess. I have never liked to linger. which might have almost provoked me to invent a good opinion. but I always feel as if he were keeping something back. and I was careful on this occasion to abstain from compliments. “But he talks to you freely. and it was expressed with an air of charmed solicitude.Henry James evening of the opera. I might deepen her conviction to disinterested ecstasy. and so pretty withal.

when I had finished it there was a faint flush of excitement in each of her cheeks. I said that my friend had. and uttering little German cries of 332 . and that perhaps I might do him a good turn by putting her in possession of it. Poor me! If he only knew what a plain good soul I am. people would have said it was absurdly improbable. In as few words as possible I told her that Pickering stood pledged by filial piety to marry a young lady at Smyrna. after some hesitation. a substantial secret. smiling to herself. of course. and. Madame Blumenthal’s professions seemed a virtual promise to agree with me. no wonder he wished to put off the day of submission. She listened intently to my story. in fact. strange. it was a marvellous story.Eugene Pickering more dear to me than this one. and if she had invented it herself. “What a wonderful tale—what a romantic situation! No wonder poor Mr. she would ask nothing indiscreet! Yes. I could not rid myself of the suspicion that in going further Pickering might fare much worse. of his thinking me terrible. and how I only want to know him and befriend him!” These words were full of a plaintive magnanimity which made mistrust seem cruel.” She left her seat and took several turns about the room. Yet in the midst of it I have the painful sense of my friend being half afraid of me. Pickering seemed restless and unsatisfied. did I think Mr. perhaps a trifle out of my wits. How much better I might play providence over Pickering’s experiments with life if I could engage the fine instincts of this charming woman on the providential side! Pickering’s secret was. Pickering would show it to her? But never fear. it was natural enough that he should have been unable to bring himself to talk of it to Madame Blumenthal. The simple sweetness of this young girl’s face had not faded from my memory. his engagement to Miss Vernor. And the poor little girl at Smyrna. waiting there for the young Western prince like the heroine of an Eastern tale! She would give the world to see her photograph. She broke out into a dozen exclamations of admiration and compassion.

as far as pity was concerned. “Of course you know what I wished in telling you this. Very late. rising. But more than once the next day I repented of my zeal. I care for nothing.” She had taken one of the roses from the vase and was arranging it in the front of her dress. I looked for Pickering. I have insisted that it’s simple torture for me to wait with this idle view of loving her less. looking up. Suddenly. I saw him arrive—with no small satisfaction. she pitied the young girl at Smyrna more than the young man at Homburg. but I was indisposed to leave her without obtaining some definite assurance that. But he straightway passed his arm through my own and led me off towards the gardens. Suddenly she stopped before the piano and broke into a little laugh. “I have told her everything. the next moment she buried her face in the great bouquet of roses.Henry James wonderment. leave it to me!” she cried. as I was turning away. “I am deeply interested!” And with this I had to content myself. It’s well enough for her to ask it. but I feel strong enough now to override her reluctance. and I reflected that my revelation had not as yet. I wished to interest you in that view of it. I have cast off the millstone from round my neck. but that I love her with every pulse of my being—and that everything else has been a hideous 333 . for I had determined to let him know immediately in what way I had attempted to serve him. but he was not visible. “I have burnt my ships!” he cried. I saw that he was too excited to allow me to speak first. at the Kursaal. “She is evidently a charming creature. seemed to Madame Blumenthal a reason for prescribing a cooling-term to his passion. when we were out of earshot of the crowd. at any rate. “I am interested!” And with her little bluegemmed hand she tapped her forehead. I know nothing. “Leave it to me. It was time I should go. In the evening.” I said. and wondered whether a providence with a white rose in her bosom might not turn out a trifle too human. and the best thing he can do is to marry her.

But he paused a moment. which oppressed me in the midst of my love. I have broken utterly with the past. “She tells me that 334 . my option—all this is but a month old! Ah. “It’s not a brilliant offer for such a woman. Pickering was too much in love for false shame. I have a right to be free.” “So much the better!” cried Pickering. and took off his hat and fanned himself. I am bound to let you know I told her.” he went on. from which she may wake me into blissful morning with a single word!” I held him off at arm’s-length and looked at him gravely. but it can’t frighten me now.” “Call it four! She has known your secret since this morning. I feel that it would be brutal to press her. “if you knew the difference it makes—this having chosen and broken and spoken! I am twice the man I was yesterday! Yesterday I was afraid of her. But now I am afraid of nothing but of being too happy!” I stood silent. to let him spend his eloquence. “Let me perfectly understand.” I said at last. my mind. “You have told her. I myself. It was not I who promised—I was not born then.Eugene Pickering dream. of your engagement to Miss Vernor?” “The whole story! I have given it up—I have thrown it to the winds. without apparent resentment or surprise. I have a right not to bury myself alive.” “What does she say to your breaking your promise?” I asked in a moment. “You have asked Madame Blumenthal to be your wife?” “The wife of my intelligent choice!” “And does she consent?” “She asks three days to decide. It may rise in its grave and give me its curse. there was a kind of mocking mystery of knowledge and cleverness about her. my soul. I have a right to be happy. you mean. and in spite of what I have at stake.

” He knocked away his ashes.” I said. and he was puffing it in silence. “to be chiefly occupied in sending flowers to Madame Blumenthal. I had left a card. I have a sequel to the history of Clorinda. “By the way.” I cried. and. “I will not tell you.Henry James she loves me too much to find courage to condemn me. “Since when?” “These three days.” I had handed my visitor a cigar. but his softness seems to have served him. But the matter now was quite out of my hands. and all I could do was to bid my companion not work himself into a fever over either fortune.” “I can assure you it was.” said Niedermeyer. What I claim is simply freedom to try to be!” Of course I was puzzled. He has a rival. “and even if you had not told me. I ask no exemption from the common law. inquired what I thought of her. after our talk at the opera. and at last he said suddenly. He has offered her everything. if you will.” “And what is he doing?” “He seems.” he said. with a laugh. eyeing me askance. That is. She agrees with me that I have a right to be happy. We gossiped a while. “or you’ll call ME soft. But I advise the major not to build upon that. I hope it was received. it was not in that fashion that I had expected Madame Blumenthal to make use of my information. At last he abruptly asked if I had been introduced to Madame Blumenthal. and nothing would suit him but a small haystack of white roses. “I have noticed your friend about.” “Do you mean the soft young man of the other night?” “Pickering is soft. The next day I had a visit from Niedermeyer. “I saw the lady fairly nestling her head in it. The major is at Homburg!” “Indeed!” said I. I went with him the morning of his arrival to choose a nosegay. on my affirmative. and she has not yet refused it. on whom. I 335 .

Give me your good wishes. and then. It so happened that. “if she does. when he least expects it.” I cried. as you would that of a man who has inadvertently come into a drawing-room in his overshoes.” One of the diversions of Homburg for new-comers is to dine in rotation at the different tables d’hote. she will toss it into the dusty limbo of her other romances. my dear fellow. She will let him dangle. but the lady has no taste for daylight. Niedermeyer took pot-luck at my hotel. It was a note from Pickering. He evidently is as amiable as the morning. but. P.” I said. with heat. or a natural child. she will be a very unprincipled little creature!” Niedermeyer shrugged his shoulders. “I never said she was a saint!” Shrewd as I felt Niedermeyer to be. After he has left his adored. and it ran as follows:— “My Dear Friend—I have every hope of being happy.Eugene Pickering should have known he was in love. and she allows me to accompany her. there it is! Has he not some story or other? Isn’t he an orphan. and secured a seat beside my own. and close the book very tenderly and smooth down the cover. or consumptive. or contingent heir to great estates? She will read his little story to the end. E. You say he has offered our friend everything. and in the evening I received a communication which fortified my doubts. and more than once I have felt like touching his elbow. you shall hear of the result. “Ah. Madame Blumenthal goes thither this afternoon to spend a few days. his face wears for the rest of the day the expression with which he has risen from her feet. As we took our places I found a letter on my 336 . but she will let him drop!” “Upon my word. he has not everything to offer her.” “I assure you Pickering is a very interesting fellow. but I am to go to Wiesbaden to learn my fate. a couple of days later. I was not prepared to take his simple word for this event.

but with the alacrity of all felicitous confutation. and his silence was possibly an indication that it had been clouded.” “And has the major. as my next resource. P. on his side. and drink to the triumph of virtue. There I learned that he had indeed just telegraphed from Cologne for his luggage. I lost no time in opening it. stroking down his beard gravely. “with this document in my hand I am bound to reserve my judgment. I repaired to his former lodging at Homburg. as the days went by. where I thought it possible he had left property which he would sooner or later send for. and. To Cologne I immediately despatched a line of inquiry as to his prosperity and the cause of his silence. folding the note and handing it back. I lost no time. The next day I received three words in answer—a simple uncommented request that I would come to him. At last I wrote to his hotel at Wiesbaden.Henry James plate. “Has your friend mentioned Madame Blumenthal’s errand at Wiesbaden?” he asked. dropped you a line?” “He is not a letter-writer. He looked at it much longer than was needful to read it. I can hardly believe it’s your poor friend. pocketing my letter. He went by the next train. It contained but three lines—”I am happy—I am accepted— an hour ago. as it was postmarked Wiesbaden. and reached him in the course 337 .” For a whole week more I heard nothing from Pickering—somewhat to my surprise. At last. I had expected that his bliss would continue to overflow in brief bulletins.” said I. whereupon. but received no answer. not exactly in triumph. not a little to my discomposure.” I placed the note before Niedermeyer. and I felt it was not so easy to confute a pupil of the school of Metternich.” “Well. I give it up!” said I. We will have a bottle of Johannisberg. and. “You look very wise. E. “She is gone there to make the major follow her.

by a naked refusal to see him. I accepted tacitly his tacit confession of distress. as he rose on my entrance. and I certainly know something I didn’t a month ago. and had gone forth in his rapture and roamed about till nearly morning in the gardens of the Conversation-house. he had tasted of the cup of life! I was anxious to know what had turned it so suddenly to bitterness.” And herewith. The servant handed him a three-cornered note. while I slowly paced the length of the dusky room. and I found him sitting over a smouldering fire in a vast dingy chamber which looked as if it had grown gray with watching the ennui of ten generations of travellers. as explicitly as his imagination could desire. He was pale and haggard. I saw that he was in extreme tribulation. as if dismay had worn itself out. to his amazement. it contained these words: “Leave me alone to-day. It was dark when I arrived. I am sure. Now. he evidently never was to gush as freely again as he had done during the prosperity of his suit. calmly and succinctly enough. and we made for a while a feeble effort to discuss the picturesqueness of Cologne. Pickering had stumbled. “It is worth it all. can ever know it but once. at least. as I came back.Eugene Pickering of a few hours. He had strode about for a couple of hours—in another mood—and then had returned to the charge. and let him take his time. he related the history of the foregoing days. No man. I will give you ten min338 . “to have been wound up for an hour to that celestial pitch. on a certain musty old Mainzerhof. in all conscience. “Well!” he said. but I spared him all importunate curiosity.” he said. and the city was sheeted in a cold autumnal rain.” The next morning he had repaired to Madame Blumenthal’s lodging and had been met. “I wanted knowledge. with an indifference which was itself a symptom of distress. Looking at him. his face was five years older. taking the stars and the perfumes of the summer night into his confidence. He had been accepted one evening. almost. He touched lightly on details. At last he rose and stood a long time looking into the fire.

there she stood with her mask in her hand. I wanted to make you commit yourself unmistakably. Almost before she spoke there had come to him a sense of the depth of his folly in supposing he knew her. I should have preferred not to bring you to this place.Henry James utes to-morrow evening. “You led me on. but your good-humour wouldn’t last. Well. We will close the book and be good friends. after a pause— ”her face was horrible!” … “I give you ten minutes. Of course I can’t marry you. sometimes they bored me fearfully. in season and out! Sometimes they were very entertaining. it’s one of the stock phrases of romance. You are dismissed—have you nothing to say?” He had stammered some frantic demand for an explanation. “It’s not a joke. “it’s dead earnest. till I knew you. You have thought wonders of me for a month. thank your fate for it.” he had gasped out. that I determined to take good and bad together. till I saw how far you would go. “Make your scene. pointing to the clock. brandish your dagger!” And she had sat down and folded her arms. we have reached the denoument. I can do better. you are too young and too foolish. But you were such a very curious case of—what shall I call it?—of sincerity. if you will. “I have done with you!” she said. I received your visits.” she cried. It 339 . but there are excellent reasons why it should come to an end. tear your hair. but that too was necessary. But now the story’s finished.” “To see how far I would go?” he had repeated. and evidently more excited than she wished him to see.” Of the next thirty-six hours he could give no coherent account. let us have it over. and she had risen and come near him. “you never cared for me?” “Yes. Her face.” he said. meaning all the while to do this!” “I led you on. but at the appointed time Madame Blumenthal had received him. “you ought to have done with me! It has all been delightful.” she had said. very pale. then. So can you. with a smile.” “You have been playing a part. I am too old and too wise. “One has heard all one’s days. for that matter. looking at him from head to feet. “of people removing the mask.” he went on gravely.

He turned away in dumb amazement. The next day I came down the Rhine. even on reflection. ‘Have you nothing. I came ashore. ‘It means that. and that his 340 . ‘That’s a confession of stupidity. I was sickened. and. nothing to say?’ she cried.’ she answered. when you get home?’ ‘I think not. have uttered a syllable. But I couldn’t. I will make every allowance!” Pickering listened to all this intently enough to perceive that. you will never understand the philosophy of my conduct. ‘You will write to me then. Abuse me. curse me. as if she were disappointed. the ground had broken away at his feet. And I went my way.’ she went on. you will come and see me!’ ‘Never!’ said I. “I don’t know how I seemed to be taking it. “but she seemed really to desire— I don’t know why—something in the way of reproach and vituperation. I have not slept at night—and yet it has been a week of rest!” It seemed to me that he was in a fair way to recover. you have nothing to complain of. ‘Your passion was an affair of the head.’ ‘I only wish you had told me sooner that you considered it so!’ I exclaimed. but circumstances have forced my hand.Eugene Pickering seems to me that I have been very good to you. I have entertained you to the top of your bent. I was in a kind of ague of terror. while I stood with my hand on the door. I sat all day on the boat. as if by some sudden natural cataclysm. if you like. I fancy.” he said. I would have let you down more gently if I could have taken another month to it. At last I saw the cathedral towers here looming over the city. not knowing where I was going. I wanted to get away into the air—to shake her off and come to my senses.’ said I. ‘Haven’t I treated you to talk enough?’ I believed I answered. it seemed to me I had seen something infernal.’ The word ‘philosophy’ seemed so strange that I verily believe I smiled. in that way. except perhaps that I am a little brusque just now. and that he must recoil. where to get off. nothing. They seemed to say something to me. I have been here a week. ‘I have given you all that you gave me. and when the boat stopped. ‘Six months hence.

” he answered. and she got tired of the game first. Her needs were the more superficial. in front of a gorgeous window. as we were about to separate for the night. “You were using her intellectually. later. to see if he would remember. I found him in his gloomy chamber at the inn.” He frowned and turned uneasily away. if left to take its time. I did my friends injustice. was adequate to the occasion. But he seemed to have forgotten it. that he had a claim to make upon me.” I said. without your knowing it.” 341 .” I said. and. but he had gone. and all the while. hovering about and seeing me looking for Pickering. placed it silently on his knee. “Suffer me to say that there was some truth in her account of your relations. After his story was once told I referred to his grievance but once—that evening. I drew forth from where it had lain untouched for a month the letter he had given me to keep. “Evidently. He was flushed. Half an hour later I returned to the same place. and one of the sacristans. went into the cathedral. before long. before we parted. It was diamond cut diamond. excited. with a mixture of assent and humility. But before he had spoken I laid my hand on his shoulder and looked at him with a significant smile. He sat down beside a pillar near a chapel. a trifle irritated. but without contradicting me. Pickering said little. and of course. When I came back I saw he had something to say. I wandered through the church.” “It is proper I should tell you what is in it. I waited a few moments. leaving him to his meditations. but his actual aspect surprised me. she was using you.Henry James own philosophy. I should doubtless have been at a loss to say just what effect I expected the letter from Smyrna to produce. said he thought he had left the church. He slowly bent his head and dropped his eyes. pacing slowly up and down. and left him to deal with it alone. “When I gave it to you a month ago. he seemed intent upon his own thoughts. The next day we strolled about the picturesque old city. “you have read your letter.

He adds that he will not aggravate such regret as I may do him the honour to entertain. It’s a very polite letter.’ After accepting her duties cut and dried all her life. I had been given to believe that she was stupidly submissive.’ He reminds me in a postscript that.” Polite as the letter was. Vernor. He can promise me at least a friendly reception. informed for the first time a week before of what had been expected of her. for the comfort of all concerned. The young lady considers the arrangement ‘horrible. and lets me know that the young lady’s attitude has been a great shock to his nerves. she pretends at last to have a taste of her own.Eugene Pickering “You called it a ‘summons. She had been given a week to reflect. the son of his most valued friend will always be a welcome visitor at his house. Vernor condoles with me handsomely. Mr. She has insisted on my being formally dismissed. by any allusions to his daughter’s charms and to the magnitude of my loss. and had spent it in inconsolable tears. he observes. Not a bit of it.” “I was a great fool! It’s a release!” “From your engagement?” “From everything! The letter. Should my wanderings lead me to the East.’ I remember. writes Mr. and her father intimates that in case of noncompliance she threatens him with an attack of brain fever. is from Mr. of course. and would remain so to the end of the chapter. and he concludes with the hope that. I am free. he naturally shrinks. He desires to let me know at the earliest moment that his daughter. Vernor. She had resisted every form of persuasion! from compulsion. positively refuses to be bound by the contract or to assent to my being bound. he hopes that no false embarrassment will deter me from presenting myself at Smyrna. I have my life before me. he recommends an extensive course of travel. I confess I am surprised. I may already have amused my fancy with other ‘views. in spite of this painful occurrence. Pickering seemed to find no great exhilaration in having this famous burden so handsomely lifted from his 342 .

and had gone through the form of breaking Mr. If it would be any comfort to him. there was no impulsive voice to reverse the formula and declare the news was good. “I have no right to keep it!” And before I could ask for another glimpse of it. that if he had not been so stiffly certain of the matter a month before. turning about. Mr. My part is to forget her.” he said. now that its contents proved to be in flat contradiction to his foreboding. he might have escaped the purgatory of Madame Blumenthal’s sub-acid blandishments. he had the embarrassed look 343 . Pickering assented without enthusiasm. he had thrust it into the fire. “The coast is clear. I would go with him on his way. But don’t you think. I declared. I saw him looking at the young lady’s photograph. He began to brood over his liberation in a manner which you might have deemed proper to a renewed sense of bondage. now. of course. as the phrase is. and yet. it has been rather a cruel pushing about?” Cruel indeed. and he certainly had the right to demand a clean page on the book of fate and a fresh start.” I observed after a while.” he answered.” he had called his letter originally. “Of course. “but I shouldn’t wonder if Miss Vernor were a charming creature. the amendment to my friend’s career had been less happy than the rough draught.” “Go and find out. “Bad news. Presently. gloomily. My thoughts. “I am sorry to be saying it just now. I was saying to myself that if to those gentle graces of which her young visage had offered to my fancy the blooming promise. It was an obvious reflection.Henry James spirit. moreover. But I left him to moralise in private. I had no desire. Miss Vernor added in this striking measure the capacity for magnanimous action. “It ought not to be hard. Vernor’s seal.” he presently added. “that for a poor fellow who asked nothing of fortune but leave to sit down in a quiet corner. The wings of impulse in the poor fellow had of late been terribly clipped. Vernor’s advice was sound. to rub it in. were following another train. he should amuse himself with a long journey.” he went on suddenly.

We started on our journey. We made our way down to Italy and spent a fortnight at Venice. He recovered in a measure the generous eloquence with which he had fanned his flame at Homburg. the pendulum had swung right and left in a manner rather trying to the machine. and talked about things with something of the same passionate freshness. We had passed the day at Torcello. One evening. Pickering was as fine a fellow as need be. One day when I was laid up at the inn at Bruges with a lame foot. but now. “I was not thinking of Madame Blumenthal!” After this I gave another construction to his melancholy. because I fancied they always left him a trifle more alert and resolute. at last. and after a fortnight spent among pictures and monuments and antiquities. having gone to some cost to make a good appearance in a drawing-room. He looked up. Taking him with his hopes and fears. and came floating back in the glow 344 . however. but I let them come and go without remonstrance. which seemed to me sounder sense than his compliments to Madame Blumenthal. he came home and treated me to a rhapsody about a certain meek-faced virgin of Hans Memling. and that he owed it to himself to banish that woman for ever from his thoughts. There something happened which I had been confidently expecting. He was too capable of enjoying fine things to remain permanently irresponsive. He had his dull days and his sombre moods—hours of irresistible retrospect. it was working back to an even. he sat hanging his head in so doleful a fashion that I took the bull by the horns and told him he had by this time surely paid his debt to penitence. should find the door suddenly slammed in his face. natural beat. and then he had had a chill. and little by little his enthusiasm returned. I had said to myself that it was merely a question of time. at the end of six weeks of active observation and keen sensation.Eugene Pickering of a man who. staring. I felt that I was seeing him for the first time in his best and healthiest mood. He had had a fever. however. and then with a deep blush—”That woman?” he said.

consciously. Where? His answer was delayed by our getting into the Piazzetta. I stepped ashore first and then turned to help him. and it came. As he took my hand he met my eyes.” Pickering said. and six months afterwards he wrote me that I was right.Henry James of the sunset. with measured oar-strokes. “I think I will go!” We had not spoken for an hour. “To Smyrna!” A couple of days later he started. “I am well on the way. and I naturally asked him. I had risked the conjecture that Miss Vernor was a charming creature. 345 .

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