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XXV, 26 vols. Rowe , John Carlos and Eric Haralson , eds. American Studies Journal. Comptes rendus. Haut de page. His wife looked at him, the good dry man, as if now at last he was merely vulgar. The thing that, before any other, will be wise and right. The thing that will best give her her chance to be magnificent. He slowly emitted his smoke.

But stupidity pushed to a certain point IS, you know, immorality. Just so what is morality but high intelligence? He HAD apparently meant some particular kind. I came back for this. Not really for anything else.

It would be as much, however, as she should be able to make it. The multitudinous green of the Park had been deepened, and a wholesome smell of irrigation, purging the place of dust and of odours less acceptable, rose from the earth. Charlotte had looked about her, with expression, from the first of their coming in, quite as if for a deep greeting, for general recognition: the day was, even in the heart of London, of a rich, low-browed, weatherwashed English type.

It was as if it had been waiting for her, as if she knew it, placed it, loved it, as if it were in fact a part of what she had come back for. The Prince had, by half-past ten—as also by definite appointment—called in Cadogan Place for Mrs. The understanding to this end had taken its place, after a couple of days, as inevitably consequent on the appeal made by the girl during those first moments in Mrs.

Who was there, for that matter, to raise one, from the moment Mrs. This the young man had asked himself—with a very sufficient sense of what would have made him ridiculous.


The Golden Bowl, by Henry James

Even had fear at first been sharp in him, moreover, it would already, not a little, have dropped; so happy, all round, so propitious, he quite might have called it, had been the effect of this rapid interval. The exceptional minute, a mere snatch, at the tail of the others, on the huge Portland Place staircase had sufficiently enabled the girl to remind him—so ready she assumed him to be—of what they were to do.

Time pressed if they were to do it at all. Everyone had brought gifts; his relations had brought wonders—how did they still have, where did they still find, such treasures? She would do what she could, and he was, unknown to Maggie, he must remember, to give her his aid. He had prolonged the minute so far as to take time to hesitate, for a reason, and then to risk bringing his reason out. The risk was because he might hurt her—hurt her pride, if she had that particular sort. So his slight resistance, while they lingered, had been just easy enough not to be impossible.

She had stood a stair or two below him; where, while she looked up at him beneath the high, domed light of the hall, she rubbed with her palm the polished mahogany of the balustrade, which was mounted on fine ironwork, eighteenth-century English.

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Mine is to be the offering of the poor—something, precisely, that—no rich person COULD ever give her, and that, being herself too rich ever to buy it, she would therefore never have. Hunting in London, besides, is amusing in itself. He recalled even how he had been struck with her word. You were splendid for beating down. There are bargains in London in August. We can make it amusing. If he had hesitated again it was because the point permitted. That, definitely, with ten words more, was what had passed—he feeling all the while how any sort of begging-off would only magnify it.

He might get on with things as they were, but he must do anything rather than magnify. Besides which it was pitiful to make her beg of him. That was accordingly, in fine, how they had come to where they were: he was engaged, as hard as possible, in the policy of not magnifying. He had kept this up even on her making a point—and as if it were almost the whole point—that Maggie of course was not to have an idea.

There had been something, frankly, a little disconcerting in such an appeal at such an hour, on the very eve of his nuptials: it was one thing to have met the girl casually at Mrs. He had immediately told Maggie, the same evening, of the minutes that had passed between them in Cadogan Place—though not mentioning those of Mrs.

But what had briefly checked his assent to any present, to any positive making of mystery—what had made him, while they stood at the top of the stairs, demur just long enough for her to notice it—was the sense of the resemblance of the little plan before him to occasions, of the past, from which he was quite disconnected, from which he could only desire to be.

This was like beginning something over, which was the last thing he wanted. The strength, the beauty of his actual position was in its being wholly a fresh start, was that what it began would be new altogether. These items of his consciousness had clustered so quickly that by the time Charlotte read them in his face he was in presence of what they amounted to.


This principle was simply to be, with the girl, always simple—and with the very last simplicity. That would cover everything. It had covered, then and there, certainly, his immediate submission to the sight of what was clearest. This was, really, that what she asked was little compared to what she gave. What she gave touched him, as she faced him, for it was the full tune of her renouncing.

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She really renounced—renounced everything, and without even insisting now on what it had all been for her. Her only insistence was her insistence on the small matter of their keeping their appointment to themselves. He let himself accordingly be guided; he so soon assented, for enlightened indulgence, to any particular turn she might wish the occasion to take, that the stamp of her preference had been well applied to it even while they were still in the Park. The application in fact presently required that they should sit down a little, really to see where they were; in obedience to which propriety they had some ten minutes, of a quality quite distinct, in a couple of penny-chairs under one of the larger trees.

They had taken, for their walk, to the cropped, rain-freshened grass, after finding it already dry; and the chairs, turned away from the broad alley, the main drive and the aspect of Park Lane, looked across the wide reaches of green which seemed in a manner to refine upon their freedom. They helped Charlotte thus to make her position—her temporary position—still more clear, and it was for this purpose, obviously, that, abruptly, on seeing her opportunity, she sat down.

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He stood for a little before her, as if to mark the importance of not wasting time, the importance she herself had previously insisted on; but after she had said a few words it was impossible for him not to resort again to good-nature. He had consequently—in all consistency—to treat it as amusing that she reaffirmed, and reaffirmed again, the truth that was HER truth.

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This is different. This is what I wanted. This is what I shall always have. I wanted you, that is, to hear. But that I was here with you where we are and as we are—I just saying this. Giving myself, in other words, away—and perfectly willing to do it for nothing.

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She paused as if her demonstration was complete—yet, for the moment, without moving; as if in fact to give it a few minutes to sink in; into the listening air, into the watching space, into the conscious hospitality of nature, so far as nature was, all Londonised, all vulgarised, with them there; or even, for that matter, into her own open ears, rather than into the attention of her passive and prudent friend. He clutched, however, at what he could best clutch at—the fact that she let him off, definitely let him off.

She let him off, it seemed, even from so much as answering; so that while he smiled back at her in return for her information he felt his lips remain closed to the successive vaguenesses of rejoinder, of objection, that rose for him from within. He was glad when, finally—the point she had wished to make seeming established to her satisfaction—they brought to what might pass for a close the moment of his life at which he had had least to say. Movement and progress, after this, with more impersonal talk, were naturally a relief; so that he was not again, during their excursion, at a loss for the right word.

The air had been, as it were, cleared; they had their errand itself to discuss, and the opportunities of London, the sense of the wonderful place, the pleasures of prowling there, the question of shops, of possibilities, of particular objects, noticed by each in previous prowls. He had rather prized his own possession, the guidance he could really often give a cabman; it was a whim of his own, a part of his Anglomania, and congruous with that feature, which had, after all, so much more surface than depth.

It was a fresh light on Charlotte and on her curious world-quality, of which, in Rome, he had had his due sense, but which clearly would show larger on the big London stage. Rome was, in comparison, a village, a family-party, a little old-world spinnet for the fingers of one hand. By the time they reached the Marble Arch it was almost as if she were showing him a new side, and that, in fact, gave amusement a new and a firmer basis.