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The Ambassadorsby Henry James.
New York Edition (1909).

Volume I

Preface

Nothing is more easy than to state the subject of "The Ambassadors
which first appeared in twelve numbers of _The North American Review_
(1903) and was published as a whole the same year. The situation
involved is gathered up betimes, that is in the second chapter of
Book Fifth, for the reader's benefit, into as few words as possible-planted
or sunk stiffly and saliently, in the centre of the current,
almost perhaps to the obstruction of traffic. Never can a composition
of this sort have sprung straighter from a dropped grain of suggestion,
and never can that grain, developed, overgrown and smothered, have yet
lurked more in the mass as an independent particle. The whole case,
in fine, is in Lambert Strether's irrepressible outbreak to little Bilham
on the Sunday afternoon in Gloriani's garden, the candour with which he
yields, for his young friend's enlightenment, to the charming admonition
of that crisis. The idea of the tale resides indeed in the very fact
that an hour of such unprecedented ease should have been felt by him AS
a crisis, and he is at pains to express it for us as neatly as we could
desire. The remarks to which he thus gives utterance contain the essence of
The Ambassadors his fingers close, before he has done, round the
stem of the full-blown flower; which, after that fashion, he continues
officiously to present to us. Live all you can; it's a mistake not to.
It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular so long as you
have your life. If you haven't had that what HAVE you had? I'm too
old--too old at any rate for what I see. What one loses one loses;
make no mistake about that. Stillwe have the illusion of freedom;
therefore don'tlike me to-daybe without the memory of that illusion.
I was eitherat the right timetoo stupid or too intelligent to have it
and now I'm a case of reaction against the mistake. Do what you like
so long as you don't make it. For it WAS a mistake. Livelive!"
Such is the gist of Strether's appeal to the impressed youthwhom
he likes and whom he desires to befriend; the word "mistake" occurs
several timesit will be seenin the course of his remarks-which
gives the measure of the signal warning he feels attached
to his case. He has accordingly missed too muchthough perhaps
after all constitutionally qualified for a better partand he wakes up
to it in conditions that press the spring of a terrible question.
WOULD there yet perhaps be time for reparation?--reparationthat is
for the injury done his character; for the affronthe is quite ready to
sayso stupidly put upon it and in which he has even himself had
so clumsy a hand? The answer to which is that he now at all events SEES;
so that the business of my tale and the march of my actionnot to say
the precious moral of everythingis just my demonstration of this
process of vision.

Nothing can exceed the closeness with which the whole fits again
into its germ. That had been given me bodilyas usualby the
spoken wordfor I was to take the image over exactly as I


happened to have met it. A friend had repeated to mewith great
appreciationa thing or two said to him by a man of distinction
much his seniorand to which a sense akin to that of Strether's
melancholy eloquence might be imputed--said as chance would have
and so easily mightin Parisand in a charming old garden
attached to a house of artand on a Sunday afternoon of summer
many persons of great interest being present. The observation
there listened to and gathered up had contained part of the "note"
that I was to recognise on the spot as to my purpose--had contained
in fact the greater part; the rest was in the place and the time
and the scene they sketched: these constituents clustered
and combined to give me further supportto give me what I may
call the note absolute. There it standsaccordinglyfull in the
tideway; driven inwith hard tapslike some strong stake for the
noose of a cablethe swirl of the current roundabout it. What
amplified the hint to more than the bulk of hints in general was
the gift with it of the old Paris gardenfor in that token were
sealed up values infinitely precious. There was of course the seal
to break and each item of the packet to count over and handle and
estimate; but somehowin the light of the hintall the elements
of a situation of the sort most to my taste were there. I could
even remember no occasion on whichso confrontedI had found it
of a livelier interest to take stockin this fashionof
suggested wealth. For I thinkverilythat there are degrees of
merit in subjects--in spite of the fact that to treat even one of
the most ambiguous with due decency we must for the timefor the
feverish and prejudiced hourat least figure its merit and its
dignity as POSSIBLY absolute. What it comes todoubtlessis that
even among the supremely good--since with such alone is it one's
theory of one's honour to be concerned--there is an ideal BEAUTY
of goodness the invoked action of which is to raise the artistic
faith to its maximum. Then trulyI holdone's theme may be said
to shineand that of "The Ambassadors I confess, wore this glow
for me from beginning to end. Fortunately thus I am able to
estimate this as, frankly, quite the best, all round of all my
productions; any failure of that justification would have made
such an extreme of complacency publicly fatuous.

I recall then in this connexion no moment of subjective
intermittence, never one of those alarms as for a suspected hollow
beneath one's feet, a felt ingratitude in the scheme adopted,
under which confidence fails and opportunity seems but to mock.
If the motive of The Wings of the Dove as I have noted, was to
worry me at moments by a sealing-up of its face--though without
prejudice to its again, of a sudden, fairly grimacing with
expression--so in this other business I had absolute conviction
and constant clearness to deal with; it had been a frank
proposition, the whole bunch of data, installed on my premises
like a monotony of fine weather. (The order of composition, in
these things, I may mention, was reversed by the order of
publication; the earlier written of the two books having appeared
as the later.) Even under the weight of my hero's years I could
feel my postulate firm; even under the strain of the difference
between those of Madame de Vionnet and those of Chad Newsome, a
difference liable to be denounced as shocking, I could still feel
it serene. Nothing resisted, nothing betrayed, I seem to make out,
in this full and sound sense of the matter; it shed from any side
I could turn it to the same golden glow. I rejoiced in the promise
of a hero so mature, who would give me thereby the more to bite
into--since it's only into thickened motive and accumulated
character, I think, that the painter of life bites more than a
little. My poor friend should have accumulated character,
certainly; or rather would be quite naturally and handsomely
possessed of it, in the sense that he would have, and would always


have felt he had, imagination galore, and that this yet wouldn't
have wrecked him. It was immeasurable, the opportunity to do" a
man of imaginationfor if THERE mightn't be a chance to "bite
where in the world might it be? This personage of course, so
enriched, wouldn't give me, for his type, imagination in
PREDOMINANCE or as his prime faculty, nor should I, in view of
other matters, have found that convenient. So particular a luxury
--some occasion, that is, for study of the high gift in SUPREME
command of a case or of a career--would still doubtless come on
the day I should be ready to pay for it; and till then might, as
from far back, remain hung up well in view and just out of reach.
The comparative case meanwhile would serve--it was only on the
minor scale that I had treated myself even to comparative cases.

I was to hasten to add however that, happy stopgaps as the minor
scale had thus yielded, the instance in hand should enjoy the
advantage of the full range of the major; since most immediately
to the point was the question of that SUPPLEMENT of situation
logically involved in our gentleman's impulse to deliver himself
in the Paris garden on the Sunday afternoon--or if not involved by
strict logic then all ideally and enchantingly implied in it. (I
say ideally because I need scarce mention that for development,
for expression of its maximum, my glimmering story was, at the
earliest stage, to have nipped the thread of connexion with the
possibilities of the actual reported speaker. HE remains but the
happiest of accidents; his actualities, all too definite,
precluded any range of possibilities; it had only been his
charming office to project upon that wide field of the artist's
vision--which hangs there ever in place like the white sheet
suspended for the figures of a child's magic-lantern--a more
fantastic and more moveable shadow.) No privilege of the teller of
tales and the handler of puppets is more delightful, or has more
of the suspense and the thrill of a game of difficulty
breathlessly played, than just this business of looking for the
unseen and the occult, in a scheme half-grasped, by the light or,
so to speak, by the clinging scent, of the gage already in hand.
No dreadful old pursuit of the hidden slave with bloodhounds and
the rag of association can ever, for excitement I judge, have
bettered it at its best. For the dramatist always, by the very law
of his genius, believes not only in a possible right issue from
the rightly-conceived tight place; he does much more than this--he
believes, irresistibly, in the necessary, the precious tightness"
of the place (whatever the issue) on the strength of any
respectable hint. It being thus the respectable hint that I had
with such avidity picked upwhat would be the story to which it
would most inevitably form the centre? It is part of the charm
attendant on such questions that the "story with the omens true,
as I say, puts on from this stage the authenticity of concrete
existence. It then is, essentially--it begins to be, though it may
more or less obscurely lurk, so that the point is not in the least
what to make of it, but only, very delightfully and very damnably,
where to put one's hand on it.

In which truth resides surely much of the interest of that
admirable mixture for salutary application which we know as art.
Art deals with what we see, it must first contribute full-handed
that ingredient; it plucks its material, otherwise expressed, in
the garden of life--which material elsewhere grown is stale and
uneatable. But it has no sooner done this than it has to take
account of a PROCESS--from which only when it's the basest of the
servants of man, incurring ignominious dismissal with no
character does it, and whether under some muddled pretext of
morality or on any other, pusillanimously edge away. The process,
that of the expression, the literal squeezing-out, of value is


another affair--with which the happy luck of mere finding has
little to do. The joys of finding, at this stage, are pretty well
over; that quest of the subject as a whole by matching as the
ladies say at the shops, the big piece with the snippet, having
ended, we assume, with a capture. The subject is found, and if the
problem is then transferred to the ground of what to do with it
the field opens out for any amount of doing. This is precisely the
infusion that, as I submit, completes the strong mixture. It is on
the other hand the part of the business that can least be likened
to the chase with horn and hound. It's all a sedentary part-involves
as much ciphering, of sorts, as would merit the highest
salary paid to a chief accountant. Not, however, that the chief
accountant hasn't HIS gleams of bliss; for the felicity, or at
least the equilibrium of the artist's state dwells less, surely,
in the further delightful complications he can smuggle in than in
those he succeeds in keeping out. He sows his seed at the risk of
too thick a crop; wherefore yet again, like the gentlemen who
audit ledgers, he must keep his head at any price. In consequence
of all which, for the interest of the matter, I might seem here to
have my choice of narrating my hunt" for Lambert Stretherof
describing the capture of the shadow projected by my friend's
anecdoteor of reporting on the occurrences subsequent to that
triumph. But I had probably best attempt a little to glance in
each direction; since it comes to me again and againover this
licentious recordthat one's bag of adventuresconceived or
conceivablehas been only half-emptied by the mere telling of
one's story. It depends so on what one means by that equivocal
quantity. There is the story of one's heroand thenthanks to
the intimate connexion of thingsthe story of one's story itself.
I blush to confess itbut if one's a dramatist one's a dramatist
and the latter imbroglio is liable on occasion to strike me as
really the more objective of the two.

The philosophy imputed to him in that beautiful outbreakthe hour
thereamid such happy provisionstriking for himwould have
been thenon behalf of my man of imaginationto be logically
andas the artless craft of comedy has itled upto; the
probable course to such a goalthe goal of so conscious a
predicamentwould have in short to be finely calculated. Where
has he come from and why has he comewhat is he doing (as we
Anglo-Saxonsand we onlysayin our foredoomed clutch of exotic
aids to expression) in that galere? To answer these questions
plausiblyto answer them as under cross-examination in the
witness-box by counsel for the prosecutionin other words
satisfactorily to account for Strether and for his "peculiar
tone was to possess myself of the entire fabric. At the same
time the clue to its whereabouts would lie in a certain principle
of probability: he wouldn't have indulged in his peculiar tone
without a reason; it would take a felt predicament or a false
position to give him so ironic an accent. One hadn't been noting
tones" all one's life without recognising when one heard it the
voice of the false position. The dear man in the Paris garden was
then admirably and unmistakeably IN one--which was no small point
gained; what next accordingly concerned us was the determination
of THIS identity. One could only go by probabilitiesbut there
was the advantage that the most general of the probabilities were
virtual certainties. Possessed of our friend's nationalityto
start withthere was a general probability in his narrower
localism; whichfor that matterone had really but to keep under
the lens for an hour to see it give up its secrets. He would have
issuedour rueful worthyfrom the very heart of New England--at
the heels of which matter of course a perfect train of secrets
tumbled for me into the light. They had to be sifted and sorted
and I shall not reproduce the detail of that process; but


unmistakeably they were all thereand it was but a question
auspiciouslyof picking among them. What the "position" would
infallibly beand whyon his handsit had turned "false"--these
inductive steps could only be as rapid as they were distinct. I
accounted for everything--and "everything" had by this time become
the most promising quantity--by the view that he had come to Paris
in some state of mind which was literally undergoingas a result
of new and unexpected assaults and infusionsa change almost from
hour to hour. He had come with a view that might have been figured
by a clear green liquidsayin a neat glass phial; and the
liquidonce poured into the open cup of APPLICATIONonce exposed
to the action of another airhad begun to turn from green to red
or whateverand mightfor all he knewbe on its way to purple
to blackto yellow. At the still wilder extremes represented
perhapsfor all he could say to the contraryby a variability so
violenthe would at firstnaturallybut have gazed in surprise
and alarm; whereby the SITUATION clearly would spring from the
play of wildness and the development of extremes. I saw in a
moment thatshould this development proceed both with force and
logicmy "story" would leave nothing to be desired. There is
alwaysof coursefor the story-tellerthe irresistible
determinant and the incalculable advantage of his interest in the
story AS SUCH; it is everobviouslyoverwhelminglythe prime
and precious thing (as other than this I have never been able to
see it); as to which what makes for itwith whatever headlong
energymay be said to pale before the energy with which it simply
makes for itself. It rejoicesnone the lessat its bestto seem
to offer itself in a lightto seem to knowand with the very
last knowledgewhat it's about--liable as it yet is at moments to
be caught by us with its tongue in its cheek and absolutely no
warrant but its splendid impudence. Let us grant then that the
impudence is always there--thereso to speakfor grace and
effect and ALLURE; thereabove allbecause the Story is just the
spoiled child of artand becauseas we are always disappointed
when the pampered don't "play up we like it, to that extent, to
look all its character. It probably does so, in truth, even when
we most flatter ourselves that we negotiate with it by treaty.

All of which, again, is but to say that the STEPS, for my fable,
placed themselves with a prompt and, as it were, functional
assurance--an air quite as of readiness to have dispensed with
logic had I been in fact too stupid for my clue. Never,
positively, none the less, as the links multiplied, had I felt
less stupid than for the determination of poor Strether's errand
and for the apprehension of his issue. These things continued to
fall together, as by the neat action of their own weight and form,
even while their commentator scratched his head about them; he
easily sees now that they were always well in advance of him. As
the case completed itself he had in fact, from a good way behind,
to catch up with them, breathless and a little flurried, as he
best could. THE false position, for our belated man of the world-belated
because he had endeavoured so long to escape being one,
and now at last had really to face his doom--the false position
for him, I say, was obviously to have presented himself at the
gate of that boundless menagerie primed with a moral scheme of the
most approved pattern which was yet framed to break down on any
approach to vivid facts; that is to any at all liberal
appreciation of them. There would have been of course the case of
the Strether prepared, wherever presenting himself, only to judge
and to feel meanly; but HE would have moved for me, I confess,
enveloped in no legend whatever. The actual man's note, from the
first of our seeing it struck, is the note of discrimination, just
as his drama is to become, under stress, the drama of
discrimination. It would have been his blest imagination, we have


seen, that had already helped him to discriminate; the element
that was for so much of the pleasure of my cutting thick, as I
have intimated, into his intellectual, into his moral substance.
Yet here it was, at the same time, just here, that a shade for a
moment fell across the scene.

There was the dreadful little old tradition, one of the platitudes
of the human comedy, that people's moral scheme DOES break down in
Paris; that nothing is more frequently observed; that hundreds of
thousands of more or less hypocritical or more or less cynical
persons annually visit the place for the sake of the probable
catastrophe, and that I came late in the day to work myself up
about it. There was in fine the TRIVIAL association, one of the
vulgarest in the world; but which give me pause no longer, I
think, simply because its vulgarity is so advertised. The
revolution performed by Strether under the influence of the most
interesting of great cities was to have nothing to do with any
betise of the imputably tempted" state; he was to be thrown
forwardratherthrown quite with violenceupon his lifelong
trick of intense reflexion: which friendly test indeed was to
bring him outthrough winding passagesthrough alternations of
darkness and lightvery much IN Parisbut with the surrounding
scene itself a minor mattera mere symbol for more things than
had been dreamt of in the philosophy of Woollett. Another
surrounding scene would have done as well for our show could it
have represented a place in which Strether's errand was likely to
lie and his crisis to await him. The LIKELY place had the great
merit of sparing me preparations; there would have been too many
involved--not at all impossibilitiesonly rather worrying and
delaying difficulties--in positing elsewhere Chad Newsome's
interesting relationhis so interesting complexity of relations.
Strether's appointed stagein finecould be but Chad's most
luckily selected one. The young man had gone inas they sayfor
circumjacent charm; and where he would have found itby the turn
of his mindmost "authentic was where his earnest friend's analysis
would most find HIM; as well as where, for that matter, the former's
whole analytic faculty would be led such a wonderful dance.

The Ambassadors" had beenall convenientlyarranged for; its
first appearance was from month to monthin the _North American
Review_ during 1903and I had been open from far back to any
pleasant provocation for ingenuity that might reside in one's
actively adopting--so as to make itin its waya small compositional
law--recurrent breaks and resumptions. I had made up my mind here
regularly to exploit and enjoy these often rather rude jolts-having
foundas I believed an admirable way to it; yet every question
of form and pressureI easily rememberpaled in the light of the
major proprietyrecognised as soon as really weighed; that of
employing but one centre and keeping it all within my hero's compass.
The thing was to be so much this worthy's intimate adventure that
even the projection of his consciousness upon it from beginning to end
without intermission or deviation would probably still leave a part of
its value for himand a fortiori for ourselvesunexpressed.
I mighthoweverexpress every grain of it that there would be
room for--on condition of contriving a splendid particular economy.
Other persons in no small number were to people the sceneand each
with his or her axe to grindhis or her situation to treathis or her
coherency not to fail ofhis or her relation to my leading motive
in a wordto establish and carry on. But Strether's sense of these
thingsand Strether's onlyshould avail me for showing them;
I should know them but through his more or less groping knowledge
of themsince his very gropings would figure among his most interesting
motionsand a full observance of the rich rigour I speak of would
give me more of the effect I should be most "after" than all other


possible observances together. It would give me a large unity
and that in turn would crown me with the grace to which the
enlightened story-teller will at any timefor his interest
sacrifice if need be all other graces whatever. I refer of course
to the grace of intensitywhich there are ways of signally achieving
and ways of signally missing--as we see itall round ushelplessly
and woefully missed. Not that it isn'ton the other handa virtue
eminently subject to appreciation--there being no strictno absolute
measure of it; so that one may hear it acclaimed where it has quite
escaped one's perceptionand see it unnoticed where one has gratefully
hailed it. After all of which I am not sureeitherthat the immense
amusement of the whole cluster of difficulties so arrayed may not operate
for the fond fabulistwhen judicious not less than fondas his best of
determinants. That charming principle is always thereat all events
to keep interest fresh: it is a principlewe rememberessentially
ravenouswithout scruple and without mercyappeased with no cheap
nor easy nourishment. It enjoys the costly sacrifice and rejoices
thereby in the very odour of difficulty--even as ogreswith their
Fee-faw-fum!rejoice in the smell of the blood of Englishmen.

Thus it wasat all eventsthat the ultimatethough after all so
speedydefinition of my gentleman's job--his coming outall
solemnly appointed and deputedto "save" Chadand his then
finding the young man so disobligingly andat firstso
bewilderingly not lost that a new issue altogetherin the
connexionprodigiously faces themwhich has to be dealt with in
a new light--promised as many calls on ingenuity and on the higher
branches of the compositional art as one could possibly desire.
Again and yet againasfrom book to bookI proceed with my
surveyI find no source of interest equal to this verification
after the factas I may call itand the more in detail the
betterof the scheme of consistency "gone in" for. As always-since
the charm never fails--the retracing of the process from
point to point brings back the old illusion. The old intentions
bloom again and flower--in spite of all the blossoms they were to
have dropped by the way. This is the charmas I sayof adventure
TRANSPOSED--the thrilling ups and downsthe intricate ins and
outs of the compositional problemmade after such a fashion
admirably objectivebecoming the question at issue and keeping
the author's heart in his mouth. Such an elementfor instanceas
his intention that Mrs. Newsomeaway off with her finger on the
pulse of Massachusettsshould yet be no less intensely than
circuitously present through the whole thingshould be no less
felt as to be reckoned with than the most direct exhibitionthe
finest portrayal at first hand could make hersuch a sign of
artistic good faithI sayonce it's unmistakeably theretakes
on again an actuality not too much impaired by the comparative
dimness of the particular success. Cherished intention too
inevitably acts and operatesin the bookabout fifty times as
little as I had fondly dreamt it might; but that scarce spoils for
me the pleasure of recognising the fifty ways in which I had
sought to provide for it. The mere charm of seeing such an idea
constituentin its degree; the fineness of the measures taken--a
real extensionif successfulof the very terms and possibilities
of representation and figuration--such things alone wereafter
this fashioninspiringsuch things alone were a gage of the
probable success of that dissimulated calculation with which the
whole effort was to square. But oh the cares begottennone the
lessof that same "judicious" sacrifice to a particular form of
interest! One's work should have compositionbecause composition
alone is positive beauty; but all the while--apart from one's
inevitable consciousness too of the dire paucity of readers ever
recognising or ever missing positive beauty--howas to the cheap
and easyat every turnhowas to immediacy and facilityand


even as to the commoner vivacitypositive beauty might have to be
sweated for and paid for! Once achieved and installed it may
always be trusted to make the poor seeker feel he would have
blushed to the roots of his hair for failing of it; yethowas
its virtue can be essentially but the virtue of the wholethe
wayside traps set in the interest of muddlement and pleading but
the cause of the momentof the particular bit in itselfhave to
be kicked out of the path! All the sophistications in lifefor
examplemight have appeared to muster on behalf of the menace-the
menace to a bright variety--involved in Strether's having all
the subjective "say as it were, to himself.

Had I, meanwhile, made him at once hero and historian, endowed him
with the romantic privilege of the first person"--the darkest
abyss of romance thisinveteratelywhen enjoyed on the grand
scale--varietyand many other queer matters as wellmight have
been smuggled in by a back door. Suffice itto be briefthat the
first personin the long pieceis a form foredoomed to looseness
and that loosenessnever much my affairhad never been so little
so as on this particular occasion. All of which reflexions flocked
to the standard from the moment--a very early one--the question of
how to keep my form amusing while sticking so close to my central
figure and constantly taking its pattern from him had to be faced.
He arrives (arrives at Chester) as for the dreadful purpose of
giving his creator "no end" to tell about him--before which
rigorous mission the serenest of creators might well have quailed.
I was far from the serenest; I was more than agitated enough to
reflect thatgrimly deprived of one alternative or one substitute
for "telling I must address myself tooth and nail to another. I
couldn't, save by implication, make other persons tell EACH OTHER
about him--blest resource, blest necessity, of the drama, which
reaches its effects of unity, all remarkably, by paths absolutely
opposite to the paths of the novel: with other persons, save as
they were primarily HIS persons (not he primarily but one of
theirs), I had simply nothing to do. I had relations for him none
the less, by the mercy of Providence, quite as much as if my
exhibition was to be a muddle; if I could only by implication and
a show of consequence make other persons tell each other about
him, I could at least make him tell THEM whatever in the world he
must; and could so, by the same token--which was a further luxury
thrown in--see straight into the deep differences between what
that could do for me, or at all events for HIM, and the large ease
of autobiography." It may be asked whyif one so keeps to one's
heroone shouldn't make a single mouthful of "method shouldn't
throw the reins on his neck and, letting them flap there as free
as in Gil Blas" or in "David Copperfield equip him with the
double privilege of subject and object--a course that has at
least the merit of brushing away questions at a sweep. The answer
to which is, I think, that one makes that surrender only if one is
prepared NOT to make certain precious discriminations.

The first person" thenso employedis addressed by the author
directly to ourselveshis possible readerswhom he has to reckon
withat the bestby our English traditionso loosely and
vaguely after allso little respectfullyon so scant a
presumption of exposure to criticism. Stretheron the other hand
encaged and provided for as "The Ambassadors" encages and
provideshas to keep in view proprieties much stiffer and more
salutary than any our straight and credulous gape are likely to
bring home to himhas exhibitional conditions to meetin a word
that forbid the terrible FLUIDITY of self-revelation. I may seem
not to better the case for my discrimination if I say thatfor my
first careI had thus inevitably to set him up a confidant or
twoto wave away with energy the custom of the seated mass of


explanation after the factthe inserted block of merely
referential narrativewhich flourishes soto the shame of the
modern impatienceon the serried page of Balzacbut which seems
simply to appal our actualour general weakerdigestion.
Harking back to make uptook at any rate more doingas the
phrase isnot only than the reader of to-day demandsbut than he
will tolerate at any price any call upon him either to understand
or remotely to measure; and for the beauty of the thing when done
the current editorial mind in particular appears wholly without
sense. It is nothoweverprimarily for either of these reasons
whatever their weightthat Strether's friend Waymarsh is so
keenly clutched aton the threshold of the bookor that no less
a pounce is made on Maria Gostrey--without even the pretext
eitherof HER beingin essenceStrether's friend. She is the
reader's friend much rather--in consequence of dispositions that
make him so eminently require one; and she acts in that capacity
and REALLY in that capacity alonewith exemplary devotion from
beginning to and of the book. She is an enrolleda directaid to
lucidity; she is in fineto tear off her maskthe most
unmitigated and abandoned of ficelles. Half the dramatist's art
as we well know--since if we don't it's not the fault of the
proofs that lie scattered about us--is in the use of ficelles; by
which I mean in a deep dissimulation of his dependence on them.
Waymarsh only to a slighter degree belongsin the whole business
less to my subject than to my treatment of it; the interesting
proofin these connexionsbeing that one has but to take one's
subject for the stuff of drama to interweave with enthusiasm as
many Gostreys as need be.

The material of "The Ambassadors conforming in this respect
exactly to that of The Wings of the Dove published just before
it, is taken absolutely for the stuff of drama; so that, availing
myself of the opportunity given me by this edition for some
prefatory remarks on the latter work, I had mainly to make on its
behalf the point of its scenic consistency. It disguises that
virtue, in the oddest way in the world, by just LOOKING, as we
turn its pages, as little scenic as possible; but it sharply
divides itself, just as the composition before us does, into the
parts that prepare, that tend in fact to over-prepare, for scenes,
and the parts, or otherwise into the scenes, that justify and
crown the preparation. It may definitely be said, I think, that
everything in it that is not scene (not, I of course mean,
complete and functional scene, treating ALL the submitted matter,
as by logical start, logical turn, and logical finish) is
discriminated preparation, is the fusion and synthesis of picture.
These alternations propose themselves all recogniseably, I think,
from an early stage, as the very form and figure of The
Ambassadors"; so thatto repeatsuch an agent as Miss Gostrey
pre-engaged at a high salarybut waits in the draughty wing with
her shawl and her smelling-salts. Her function speaks at once for
itselfand by the time she has dined with Strether in London and
gone to a play with him her intervention as a ficelle isI hold
expertly justified. Thanks to it we have treated scenicallyand
scenically alonethe whole lumpish question of Strether's "past
which has seen us more happily on the way than anything else could
have done; we have strained to a high lucidity and vivacity (or at
least we hope we have) certain indispensable facts; we have seen
our two or three immediate friends all conveniently and profitably
in action"; to say nothing of our beginning to descry othersof
a remoter intensitygetting into motioneven if a bit vaguely as
yetfor our further enrichment. Let my first point be here that
the scene in questionthat in which the whole situation at
Woollett and the complex forces that have propelled my hero to
where this lively extractor of his value and distiller of his


essence awaits himis normal and entireis really an excellent
STANDARD scene; copiouscomprehensiveand accordingly never
shortbut with its office as definite as that of the hammer on
the gong of the clockthe office of expressing ALL THAT IS IN the
hour.

The "ficelle" character of the subordinate party is as artfully
dissimulatedthroughoutas may beand to that extent thatwith
the seams or joints of Maria Gostrey's ostensible connectedness
taken particular care ofduly smoothed overthat isand
anxiously kept from showing as "pieced on;" this figure doubtless
achievesafter a fashionsomething of the dignity of a prime
idea: which circumstance but shows us afresh how many quite
incalculable but none the less clear sources of enjoyment for the
infatuated artisthow many copious springs of our never-to-be-slighted
funfor the reader and critic susceptible of contagionmay
sound their incidental plash as soon as an artistic process begins
to enjoy free development. Exquisite--in illustration of this-the
mere interest and amusement of such at once "creative" and
critical questions as how and where and why to make Miss Gostrey's
false connexion carry itselfunder a due high polishas a real one.
Nowhere is it more of an artful expedient for mere consistency
of formto mention a casethan in the last "scene" of the book
where its function is to give or to add nothing whatever
but only to express as vividly as possible certain things quite
other than itself and that are of the already fixed and appointed
measure. Sincehoweverall art is EXPRESSIONand is thereby
vividnessone was to find the door open here to any amount of
delightful dissimulation. These verily are the refinements and
ecstasies of method--amid whichor certainly under the influence
of any exhilarated demonstration of whichone must keep one's head
and not lose one's way. To cultivate an adequate intelligence
for them and to make that sense operative is positively to find
a charm in any produced ambiguity of appearance that is not
by the same strokeand all helplesslyan ambiguity of sense.
To project imaginativelyfor my heroa relation that has
nothing to do with the matter (the matter of my subject) but has
everything to do with the manner (the manner of my presentation
of the same) and yet to treat itat close quarters and for fully
economic expression's possible sakeas if it were important and
essential--to do that sort of thing and yet muddle nothing may
easily becomeas one goesa signally attaching proposition;
even though it all remains but part and parcelI hasten to
recogniseof the merely general and related question of expressional
curiosity and expressional decency.

I am moved to add after so much insistence on the scenic side of
my labour that I have found the steps of re-perusal almost as much
waylaid here by quite another style of effort in the same signal
interest--or have in other words not failed to note howeven so
associated and so discriminatedthe finest proprieties and charms
of the non-scenic mayunder the right hand for themstill keep
their intelligibility and assert their office. Infinitely
suggestive such an observation as this last on the whole
delightful headwhere representation is concernedof possible
varietyof effective expressional change and contrast. One would
likeat such an hour as thisfor critical licenceto go into
the matter of the noted inevitable deviation (from too fond an
original vision) that the exquisite treachery even of the
straightest execution may ever be trusted to inflict even on the
most mature plan--the case being thatthough one's last
reconsidered production always seems to bristle with that
particular evidenceThe Ambassadorswould place a flood of such
light at my service. I must attach to my final remark here a


different import; noting in the other connexion I just glanced at
that such passages as that of my hero's first encounter with Chad
Newsomeabsolute attestations of the non-scenic form though they
beyet lay the firmest hand too--so far at least as intention
goes--on representational effect. To report at all closely and
completely of what "passes" on a given occasion is inevitably to
become more or less scenic; and yet in the instance I allude to
WITH the conveyanceexpressional curiosity and expressional
decency are sought and arrived at under quite another law. The
true inwardness of this may be at bottom but that one of the
suffered treacheries has consisted preciselyfor Chad's whole
figure and presenceof a direct presentability diminished and
compromised--despoiledthat isof its PROPORTIONAL advantage;
so thatin a wordthe whole economy of his author's relation
to him has at important points to be redetermined. The book
howevercritically viewedis touchingly full of these disguised
and repaired lossesthese insidious recoveriesthese intensely
redemptive consistencies. The pages in which Mamie Pocock gives
her appointed andI can't but thinkduly felt lift to the whole
action by the so inscrutably-applied side-stroke or short-cut of
our just watching and as quite at an angle of vision as yet
untriedher single hour of suspense in the hotel salonin our
partaking of her concentrated study of the sense of matters
bearing on her own caseall the bright warm Paris afternoonfrom
the balcony that overlooks the Tuileries garden--these are as
marked an example of the representational virtue that insists here
and there on beingfor the charm of opposition and renewalother
than the scenic. It wouldn't take much to make me further argue
that from an equal play of such oppositions the book gathers an
intensity that fairly adds to the dramatic--though the latter is
supposed to be the sum of all intensities; or that has at any rate
nothing to fear from juxtaposition with it. I consciously fail to
shrink in fact from that extravagance--I risk it ratherfor the
sake of the moral involved; which is not that the particular
production before us exhausts the interesting questions it raises
but that the Novel remains stillunder the right persuasionthe
most independentmost elasticmost prodigious of literary forms.

HENRY JAMES.

Book First

Strether's first questionwhen he reached the hotelwas about his
friend; yet on his learning that Waymarsh was apparently not to
arrive till evening he was not wholly disconcerted. A telegram from
him bespeaking a room "only if not noisy reply paid, was produced
for the enquirer at the office, so that the understanding they
should meet at Chester rather than at Liverpool remained to that
extent sound. The same secret principle, however, that had prompted
Strether not absolutely to desire Waymarsh's presence at the dock,
that had led him thus to postpone for a few hours his enjoyment of
it, now operated to make him feel he could still wait without
disappointment. They would dine together at the worst, and, with


all respect to dear old Waymarsh--if not even, for that matter, to
himself--there was little fear that in the sequel they shouldn't
see enough of each other. The principle I have just mentioned as
operating had been, with the most newly disembarked of the two men,
wholly instinctive--the fruit of a sharp sense that, delightful as
it would be to find himself looking, after so much separation, into
his comrade's face, his business would be a trifle bungled should
he simply arrange for this countenance to present itself to the
nearing steamer as the first note of Europe. Mixed with
everything was the apprehension, already, on Strether's part, that
it would, at best, throughout, prove the note of Europe in quite a
sufficient degree.

That note had been meanwhile--since the previous afternoon, thanks
to this happier device--such a consciousness of personal freedom as
he hadn't known for years; such a deep taste of change and of
having above all for the moment nobody and nothing to consider, as
promised already, if headlong hope were not too foolish, to colour
his adventure with cool success. There were people on the ship with
whom he had easily consorted--so far as ease could up to now be
imputed to him--and who for the most part plunged straight into the
current that set from the landing-stage to London; there were
others who had invited him to a tryst at the inn and had even
invoked his aid for a look round" at the beauties of Liverpool;
but he had stolen away from every one alikehad kept no
appointment and renewed no acquaintancehad been indifferently
aware of the number of persons who esteemed themselves fortunate in
beingunlike himselfmet,and had even independently
unsociablyalonewithout encounter or relapse and by mere quiet
evasiongiven his afternoon and evening to the immediate and the
sensible. They formed a qualified draught of European afternoon
and an evening on the banks of the Merseybut such as it was he
took his potion at least undiluted. He winced a littletrulyat
the thought that Waymarsh might be already at Chester; he reflected
thatshould he have to describe himself there as having "got in"
so earlyit would be difficult to make the interval look
particularly eager; but he was like a man whoelatedly finding in
his pocket more money than usualhandles it a while and idly and
pleasantly chinks it before addressing himself to the business of
spending. That he was prepared to be vague to Waymarsh about the
hour of the ship's touchingand that he both wanted extremely to
see him and enjoyed extremely the duration of delay--these things
it is to be conceivedwere early signs in him that his relation to
his actual errand might prove none of the simplest. He was
burdenedpoor Strether--it had better be confessed at the outset-with
the oddity of a double consciousness. There was detachment in
his zeal and curiosity in his indifference.

After the young woman in the glass cage had held up to him across
her counter the pale-pink leaflet bearing his friend's namewhich
she neatly pronouncedhe turned away to find himselfin the hall
facing a lady who met his eyes as with an intention suddenly
determinedand whose features--not freshly youngnot markedly
finebut on happy terms with each other--came back to him as from
a recent vision. For a moment they stood confronted; then the
moment placed her: he had noticed her the day beforenoticed her
at his previous innwhere--again in the hall--she had been briefly
engaged with some people of his own ship's company. Nothing had
actually passed between themand he would as little have been able
to say what had been the sign of her face for him on the first
occasion as to name the ground of his present recognition.
Recognition at any rate appeared to prevail on her own side as
well--which would only have added to the mystery. All she now began
by saying to him nevertheless was thathaving chanced to catch his


enquiryshe was moved to askby his leaveif it were possibly a
question of Mr. Waymarsh of Milrose Connecticut--Mr. Waymarsh the
American lawyer.

Oh yes,he repliedmy very well-known friend. He's to meet me
here, coming up from Malvern, and I supposed he'd already have
arrived. But he doesn't come till later, and I'm relieved not to
have kept him. Do you know him?Strether wound up.

It wasn't till after he had spoken that he became aware of how much
there had been in him of response; when the tone of her own
rejoinderas well as the play of something more in her face-something
morethat isthan its apparently usual restless light-seemed
to notify him. "I've met him at Milrose--where I used
sometimesa good while agoto stay; I had friends there who were
friends of hisand I've been at his house. I won't answer for it
that he would know me Strether's new acquaintance pursued; but I
should be delighted to see him. Perhaps she added, I shall--for
I'm staying over." She paused while our friend took in these
thingsand it was as if a good deal of talk had already passed.
They even vaguely smiled at itand Strether presently observed
that Mr. Waymarsh wouldno doubtbe easily to be seen. This
howeverappeared to affect the lady as if she might have advanced
too far. She appeared to have no reserves about anything. "Oh she
said, he won't care!"--and she immediately thereupon remarked that
she believed Strether knew the Munsters; the Munsters being the
people he had seen her with at Liverpool.

But he didn'tit happenedknow the Munsters well enough to give
the case much of a lift; so that they were left together as if over
the mere laid table of conversation. Her qualification of the
mentioned connexion had rather removed than placed a dishand
there seemed nothing else to serve. Their attitude remainednone
the lessthat of not forsaking the board; and the effect of this
in turn was to give them the appearance of having accepted each
other with an absence of preliminaries practically complete. They
moved along the hall togetherand Strether's companion threw off
that the hotel had the advantage of a garden. He was aware by this
time of his strange inconsequence: he had shirked the intimacies of
the steamer and had muffled the shock of Waymarsh only to find
himself forsakenin this sudden caseboth of avoidance and of
caution. He passedunder this unsought protection and before he
had so much as gone up to his roominto the garden of the hotel
and at the end of ten minutes had agreed to meet there againas
soon as he should have made himself tidythe dispenser of such
good assurances. He wanted to look at the townand they would
forthwith look together. It was almost as if she had been in
possession and received him as a guest. Her acquaintance with the
place presented her in a manner as a hostessand Strether had a
rueful glance for the lady in the glass cage. It was as if this
personage had seen herself instantly superseded.

When in a quarter of an hour he came downwhat his hostess saw
what she might have taken in with a vision kindly adjustedwas the
leanthe slightly loose figure of a man of the middle height and
something more perhaps than the middle age--a man of five-and-fifty
whose most immediate signs were a marked bloodless brownness of face
a thick dark moustacheof characteristically American cut
growing strong and falling lowa head of hair still abundant
but irregularly streaked with greyand a nose of bold free
prominencethe even linethe high finishas it might have been
calledof whichhad a certain effect of mitigation. A perpetual
pair of glasses astride of this fine ridgeand a lineunusually
deep and drawnthe prolonged pen-stroke of timeaccompanying the


curve of the moustache from nostril to chindid something to
complete the facial furniture that an attentive observer would have
seen cataloguedon the spotin the vision of the other party to
Strether's appointment. She waited for him in the gardenthe other
partydrawing on a pair of singularly fresh soft and elastic light
gloves and presenting herself with a superficial readiness which
as he approached her over the small smooth lawn and in the watery
English sunshinehe mightwith his rougher preparationhave
marked as the model for such an occasion. She hadthis ladya
perfect plain proprietyan expensive subdued suitabilitythat her
companion was not free to analysebut that struck himso that his
consciousness of it was instantly acuteas a quality quite new to
him. Before reaching her he stopped on the grass and went through
the form of feeling for somethingpossibly forgottenin the light
overcoat he carried on his arm; yet the essence of the act was no
more than the impulse to gain time. Nothing could have been odder
than Strether's sense of himself as at that moment launched in
something of which the sense would be quite disconnected from the
sense of his past and which was literally beginning there and then.
It had begun in fact already upstairs and before the dressing glass
that struck him as blocking furtherso strangelythe dimness of
the window of his dull bedroom; begun with a sharper survey of the
elements of Appearance than he had for a long time been moved to
make. He had during those moments felt these elements to be not so
much to his hand as he should have likedand then had fallen back
on the thought that they were precisely a matter as to which help
was supposed to come from what he was about to do. He was about to
go up to Londonso that hat and necktie might wait. What had come
as straight to him as a ball in a well-played game--and caught
moreover not less neatly--was just the airin the person of his
friendof having seen and chosenthe air of achieved possession
of those vague qualities and quantities that collectively figured
to him as the advantage snatched from lucky chances. Without pomp
or circumstancecertainlyas her original address to himequally
with his own responsehad beenhe would have sketched to himself
his impression of her as: "Wellshe's more thoroughly civilized--!"
If "More thoroughly than WHOM?" would not have been for him a
sequel to this remarkthat was just by reason of his deep
consciousness of the bearing of his comparison.

The amusementat all eventsof a civilisation intenser was what-familiar
compatriot as she waswith the full tone of the
compatriot and the rattling link not with mystery but only with
dear dyspeptic Waymarsh--she appeared distinctly to promise. His
pause while he felt in his overcoat was positively the pause of
confidenceand it enabled his eyes to make out as much of a case
for herin proportionas her own made out for himself. She
affected him as almost insolently young; but an easily carried
five-and-thirty could still do that. She washoweverlike himself
marked and wan; only it naturally couldn't have been known to him
how much a spectator looking from one to the other might have
discerned that they had in common. It wouldn't for such a spectator
have been altogether insupposable thateach so finely brown and so
sharply spareeach confessing so to dents of surface and aids to
sightto a disproportionate nose and a head delicately or grossly
grizzledthey might have been brother and sister. On this ground
indeed there would have been a residuum of difference; such a
sister having surely known in respect to such a brother the
extremity of separationand such a brother now feeling in respect
to such a sister the extremity of surprise. Surpriseit was true
was not on the other hand what the eyes of Strether's friend most
showed him while she gave himstroking her gloves smootherthe
time he appreciated. They had taken hold of him straightway
measuring him up and down as if they knew how; as if he were human


material they had already in some sort handled. Their possessor was
in truthit may be communicatedthe mistress of a hundred cases
or categoriesreceptacles of the mindsubdivisions for
conveniencein whichfrom a full experienceshe pigeon-holed her
fellow mortals with a hand as free as that of a compositor
scattering type. She was as equipped in this particular as Strether
was the reverseand it made an opposition between them which he
might well have shrunk from submitting to if he had fully suspected
it. So far as he did suspect it he was on the contraryafter a
short shake of his consciousnessas pleasantly passive as might
be. He really had a sort of sense of what she knew. He had quite
the sense that she knew things he didn'tand though this was a
concession that in general he found not easy to make to womenhe
made it now as good-humouredly as if it lifted a burden. His eyes
were so quiet behind his eternal nippers that they might almost
have been absent without changing his facewhich took its
expression mainlyand not least its stamp of sensibilityfrom
other sourcessurface and grain and form. He joined his guide in
an instantand then felt she had profited still better than he by
his having been for the moments just mentionedso at the disposal
of her intelligence. She knew even intimate things about him that
he hadn't yet told her and perhaps never would. He wasn't unaware
that he had told her rather remarkably many for the timebut these
were not the real ones. Some of the real oneshoweverprecisely
were what she knew.

They were to pass again through the hall of the inn to get into the
streetand it was here she presently checked him with a question.
Have you looked up my name?

He could only stop with a laugh. "Have you looked up mine?"

Oh dear, yes--as soon as you left me. I went to the office and
asked. Hadn't YOU better do the same?

He wondered. "Find out who you are?--after the uplifted young woman
there has seen us thus scrape acquaintance!"

She laughed on her side now at the shade of alarm in his amusement.
Isn't it a reason the more? If what you're afraid of is the injury
for me--my being seen to walk off with a gentleman who has to ask
who I am--l assure you I don't in the least mind. Here, however,
she continuedis my card, and as I find there's something else
again I have to say at the office, you can just study it during the
moment I leave you.

She left him after he had taken from her the small pasteboard she
had extracted from her pocket-bookand he had extracted another
from his ownto exchange with itbefore she came back. He read
thus the simple designation "Maria Gostrey to which was attached,
in a corner of the card, with a number, the name of a street,
presumably in Paris, without other appreciable identity than its
foreignness. He put the card into his waistcoat pocket, keeping his
own meanwhile in evidence; and as he leaned against the door-post
he met with the smile of a straying thought what the expanse before
the hotel offered to his view. It was positively droll to him that
he should already have Maria Gostrey, whoever she was--of which he
hadn't really the least idea--in a place of safe keeping. He had
somehow an assurance that he should carefully preserve the little
token he had just tucked in. He gazed with unseeing lingering eyes
as he followed some of the implications of his act, asking himself
if he really felt admonished to qualify it as disloyal. It was
prompt, it was possibly even premature, and there was little doubt
of the expression of face the sight of it would have produced in a


certain person. But if it was wrong"--why then he had better not
have come out at all. At thispoor manhad he already--and even
before meeting Waymarsh--arrived. He had believed he had a limit
but the limit had been transcended within thirty-six hours. By how
long a space on the plane of manners or even of moralsmoreover
he felt still more sharply after Maria Gostrey had come back to him
and with a gay decisive "So now--!" led him forth into the world.
This countedit struck him as he walked beside her with his
overcoat on an armhis umbrella under another and his personal
pasteboard a little stiffly retained between forefinger and thumb
this struck him as reallyin comparison his introduction to
things. It hadn't been "Europe" at Liverpool no--not even in the
dreadful delightful impressive streets the night before--to the
extent his present companion made it so. She hadn't yet done that
so much as whenafter their walk had lasted a few minutes and he
had had time to wonder if a couple of sidelong glances from her
meant that he had best have put on gloves she almost pulled him up
with an amused challenge. "But why--fondly as it's so easy to
imagine your clinging to it--don't you put it away? Or if it's an
inconvenience to you to carry itone's often glad to have one's
card back. The fortune one spends in them!"

Then he saw both that his way of marching with his own prepared
tribute had affected her as a deviation in one of those directions
he couldn't yet measureand that she supposed this emblem to be
still the one he had received from her. He accordingly handed her
the card as if in restitutionbut as soon as she had it she felt
the difference andwith her eyes on itstopped short for apology.
I like,she observedyour name.

Oh,he answeredyou won't have heard of it!Yet he had his
reasons for not being sure but that she perhaps might.

Ah it was but too visible! She read it over again as one who had
never seen it. "'Mr. Lewis Lambert Strether'"--she sounded it
almost as freely as for any stranger. She repeated however that she
liked it--"particularly the Lewis Lambert. It's the name of a novel
of Balzac's."

Oh I know that!said Strether.

But the novel's an awfully bad one.

I know that too,Strether smiled. To which he added with an
irrelevance that was only superficial: "I come from Woollett
Massachusetts." It made her for some reason--the irrelevance or
whatever--laugh. Balzac had described many citiesbut hadn't
described Woollett Massachusetts. "You say that she returned,
as if you wanted one immediately to know the worst."

Oh I think it's a thing,he saidthat you must already have
made out. I feel it so that I certainly must look it, speak it,
and, as people say there, 'act' it. It sticks out of me, and you
knew surely for yourself as soon as you looked at me.

The worst, you mean?

Well, the fact of where I come from. There at any rate it IS; so
that you won't be able, if anything happens, to say I've not been
straight with you.

I see--and Miss Gostrey looked really interested in the point he
had made. "But what do you think of as happening?"


Though he wasn't shy--which was rather anomalous--Strether gazed
about without meeting her eyes; a motion that was frequent with him
in talkyet of which his words often seemed not at all the effect.
Why that you should find me too hopeless.With which they walked
on again together while she answeredas they wentthat the most
hopelessof her countryfolk were in general precisely those she
liked best. All sorts of other pleasant small things-small things
that were yet large for him--flowered in the air of the occasion
but the bearing of the occasion itself on matters still remote
concerns us too closely to permit us to multiply our illustrations.
Two or threehoweverin truthwe should perhaps regret to lose.
The tortuous wall--girdlelong since snappedof the little
swollen cityhalf held in place by careful civic hands--wanders in
narrow file between parapets smoothed by peaceful generations
pausing here and there for a dismantled gate or a bridged gapwith
rises and dropssteps up and steps downqueer twistsqueer
contactspeeps into homely streets and under the brows of gables
views of cathedral tower and waterside fieldsof huddled English
town and ordered English country. Too deep almost for words was the
delight of these things to Strether; yet as deeply mixed with it
were certain images of his inward picture. He had trod this walks
in the far-off timeat twenty-five; but thatinstead of spoiling
itonly enriched it for present feeling and marked his renewal as
a thing substantial enough to share. It was with Waymarsh he should
have shared it. and he was now accordingly taking from him
something that was his due. He looked repeatedly at his watchand
when he had done so for the fifth time Miss Gostrey took him up.

You're doing something that you think not right.

It so touched the place that he quite changed colour and his laugh
grew almost awkward. "Am I enjoying it as much as THAT?"

You're not enjoying it, I think, so much as you ought.

I see--he appeared thoughtfully to agree. "Great is my privilege."

Oh it's not your privilege! It has nothing to do with me. It has
to do with yourself. Your failure's general.

Ah there you are!he laughed. "It's the failure of Woollett.
THAT'S general."

The failure to enjoy,Miss Gostrey explainedis what I mean.

Precisely. Woollett isn't sure it ought to enjoy. If it were it
would. But it hasn't, poor thing,Strether continuedany one to
show it how. It's not like me. I have somebody.

They had stoppedin the afternoon sunshine--constantly pausingin
their strollfor the sharper sense of what they saw--and Strether
rested on one of the high sides of the old stony groove of the
little rampart. He leaned back on this support with his face to the
tower of the cathedralnow admirably commanded by their station
the high red-brown masssquare and subordinately spired and
crocketedretouched and restoredbut charming to his long-sealed
eyes and with the first swallows of the year weaving their flight
all round it. Miss Gostrey lingered near himfull of an airto
which she more and more justified her rightof understanding the
effect of things. She quite concurred. "You've indeed somebody."
And she added: "I wish you WOULD let me show you how!"

Oh I'm afraid of you!he cheerfully pleaded.


She kept on him a momentthrough her glasses and through his own
a certain pleasant pointedness. "Ah noyou're not! You're not in
the leastthank goodness! If you had been we shouldn't so soon
have found ourselves here together. I think she comfortably
concluded, you trust me."

I think I do!--but that's exactly what I'm afraid of. I shouldn't
mind if I didn't. It's falling thus in twenty minutes so utterly
into your hands. I dare say,Strether continuedit's a sort of
thing you're thoroughly familiar with; but nothing more
extraordinary has ever happened to me.

She watched him with all her kindness. "That means simply that
you've recognised me--which IS rather beautiful and rare. You see
what I am." As on thishoweverhe protestedwith a good-humoured
headshakea resignation of any such claimshe had a moment of
explanation. "If you'll only come on further as you HAVE come
you'll at any rate make out. My own fate has been too many for me
and I've succumbed to it. I'm a general guide--to 'Europe' don't
you know? I wait for people--l put them through. I pick them up-I
set them down. I'm a sort of superior 'courier-maid.' I'm a
companion at large. I take peopleas I've told youabout. I never
sought it--it has come to me. It has been my fateand one's fate
one accepts. It's a dreadful thing to have to sayin so wicked a
worldbut I verily believe thatsuch as you see methere's
nothing I don't know. I know all the shops and the prices--but I
know worse things still. I bear on my back the huge load of our
national consciousnessorin other words--for it comes to that-of
our nation itself. Of what is our nation composed but of the men
and women individually on my shoulders? I don't do ityou know
for any particular advantage. I don't do itfor instance--some
people doyou know--for money."

Strether could only listen and wonder and weigh his chance. "And
yetaffected as you are then to so many of your clientsyou can
scarcely be said to do it for love." He waited a moment. "How do we
reward you?"

She had her own hesitationbut "You don't!" she finally returned
setting him again in motion. They went onbut in a few minutes
though while still thinking over what she had saidhe once more
took out his watch; mechanicallyunconsciously and as if made
nervous by the mere exhilaration of what struck him as her strange
and cynical wit. He looked at the hour without seeing itand then
on something again said by his companionhad another pause.
You're really in terror of him.

He smiled a smile that he almost felt to be sickly. "Now you can
see why I'm afraid of you."

Because I've such illuminations? Why they're all for your help!
It's what I told you,she addedjust now. You feel as if this
were wrong.

He fell back once moresettling himself against the parapet as if
to hear more about it. "Then get me out!"

Her face fairly brightened for the joy of the appealbutas if it
were a question of immediate actionshe visibly considered. "Out
of waiting for him?--of seeing him at all?"

Oh no--not that,said poor Stretherlooking grave. "I've got to
wait for him--and I want very much to see him. But out of the
terror. You did put your finger on it a few minutes ago. It's


generalbut it avails itself of particular occasions. That's what
it's doing for me now. I'm always considering something else;
something elseI meanthan the thing of the moment. The obsession
of the other thing is the terror. I'm considering at present for
instance something else than YOU."

She listened with charming earnestness. "Oh you oughtn't to do
that!"

It's what I admit. Make it then impossible.

She continued to think. "Is it really an 'order' from you?--that I
shall take the job? WILL you give yourself up?"

Poor Strether heaved his sigh. "If I only could! But that's the
deuce of it--that I never can. No--I can't."

She wasn'thoweverdiscouraged. "But you want to at least?"

Oh unspeakably!

Ah then, if you'll try!--and she took over the jobas she had
called iton the spot. "Trust me!" she exclaimedand the action
of thisas they retraced their stepswas presently to make him
pass his hand into her arm in the manner of a benign dependent
paternal old person who wishes to be "nice" to a younger one. If he
drew it out again indeed as they approached the inn this may have
been becauseafter more talk had passed between themthe relation
of ageor at least of experience--whichfor that matterhad
already played to and fro with some freedom--affected him as
incurring a readjustment. It was at all events perhaps lucky that
they arrived in sufficiently separate fashion within range of the
hotel-door. The young lady they had left in the glass cage watched
as if she had come to await them on the threshold. At her side
stood a person equally interestedby his attitudein their
returnand the effect of the sight of whom was instantly to
determine for Strether another of those responsive arrests that we
have had so repeatedly to note. He left it to Miss Gostrey to name
with the fine full bravado as it almost struck himof her
Mr. Waymarsh!what was to have beenwhat--he more than ever felt
as his short stare of suspended welcome took things in--would have
beenbut for herselfhis doom. It was already upon him even at
that distance--Mr. Waymarsh was for HIS part joyless.

He had none the less to confess to this friend that evening that he
knew almost nothing about herand it was a deficiency that
Waymarsheven with his memory refreshed by contactby her own
prompt and lucid allusions and enquiriesby their having publicly
partaken of dinner in her companyand by another strollto which
she was not a strangerout into the town to look at the cathedral
by moonlight--it was a blank that the resident of Milrosethough
admitting acquaintance with the Munstersprofessed himself unable
to fill. He had no recollection of Miss Gostreyand two or three
questions that she put to him about those members of his circle
hadto Strether's observationthe same effect he himself had
already more directly felt--the effect of appearing to place all
knowledgefor the timeon this original woman's side. It
interested him indeed to mark the limits of any such relation for
her with his friend as there could possibly be a question ofand


it particularly struck him that they were to be marked altogether
in Waymarsh's quarter. This added to his own sense of having gone
far with her-gave him an early illustration of a much shorter
course. There was a certitude he immediately grasped--a conviction
that Waymarsh would quite failas it wereand on whatever degree
of acquaintances to profit by her.

There had been after the first interchange among the three a talk
of some five minutes in the halland then the two men had
adjourned to the gardenMiss Gostrey for the time disappearing.
Strether in due course accompanied his friend to the room he had
bespoken and hadbefore going outscrupulously visited; where at
the end of another half-hour he had no less discreetly left him.
On leaving him he repaired straight to his own roombut with the
prompt effect of feeling the compass of that chamber resented by
his condition. There he enjoyed at once the first consequence of
their reunion. A place was too small for him after it that had
seemed large enough before. He had awaited it with something he
would have been sorryhave been almost ashamed not to recognise as
emotionyet with a tacit assumption at the same time that emotion
would in the event find itself relieved. The actual oddity was that
he was only more excited; and his excitement-to which indeed he
would have found it difficult instantly to give a name--brought him
once more downstairs and caused him for some minutes vaguely to
wander. He went once more to the garden; he looked into the public
roomfound Miss Gostrey writing letters and backed out; he roamed
fidgeted and wasted time; but he was to have his more intimate
session with his friend before the evening closed.

It was late--not till Strether had spent an hour upstairs with him-that
this subject consented to betake himself to doubtful rest.
Dinner and the subsequent stroll by moonlight--a dreamon
Strether's partof romantic effects rather prosaically merged in a
mere missing of thicker coats--had measurably intervenedand this
midnight conference was the result of Waymarsh's having (when they
were freeas he put itof their fashionable friend) found the
smoking-room not quite what he wantedand yet bed what he wanted
less. His most frequent form of words was that he knew himselfand
they were applied on this occasion to his certainty of not
sleeping. He knew himself well enough to know that he should have a
night of prowling unless he should succeedas a preliminaryin
getting prodigiously tired. If the effort directed to this end
involved till a late hour the presence of Strether--consisted
that isin the detention of the latter for full discourse--there
was yet an impression of minor discipline involved for our friend
in the picture Waymarsh made as he sat in trousers and shirt on the
edge of his couch. With his long legs extended and his large back
much benthe nursed alternatelyfor an almost incredible time
his elbows and his beard. He struck his visitor as extremelyas
almost wilfully uncomfortable; yet what had this been for Strether
from that first glimpse of him disconcerted in the porch of the
hotelbut the predominant notes. The discomfort was in a manner
contagiousas well as also in a manner inconsequent and unfounded;
the visitor felt that unless he should get used to it--or unless
Waymarsh himself should--it would constitute a menace for his own
preparedhis own already confirmedconsciousness of the
agreeable. On their first going up together to the room Strether
had selected for him Waymarsh had looked it over in silence and
with a sigh that represented for his companionif not the habit of
disapprobationat least the despair of felicity; and this look had
recurred to Strether as the key of much he had since observed.
Europe,he had begun to gather from these thingshad up to now
rather failed of its message to him; he hadn't got into tune with
it and had at the end of three months almost renounced any such


expectation.

He really appeared at present to insist on that by just perching
there with the gas in his eyes. This of itself somehow conveyed the
futility of single rectifications in a multiform failure. He had a
large handsome head and a large sallow seamed face--a striking
significant physiognomic totalthe upper range of whichthe great
political browthe thick loose hairthe dark fuliginous eyes
recalled even to a generation whose standard had dreadfully
deviated the impressive imagefamiliar by engravings and bustsof
some great national worthy of the earlier part of the mid-century.
He was of the personal type--and it was an element in the power and
promise that in their early time Strether had found in him--of the
American statesmanthe statesman trained in "Congressional halls
of an elder day. The legend had been in later years that as the
lower part of his face, which was weak, and slightly crooked,
spoiled the likeness, this was the real reason for the growth of
his beard, which might have seemed to spoil it for those not in the
secret. He shook his mane; he fixed, with his admirable eyes, his
auditor or his observer; he wore no glasses and had a way, partly
formidable, yet also partly encouraging, as from a representative
to a constituent, of looking very hard at those who approached him.
He met you as if you had knocked and he had bidden you enter.
Strether, who hadn't seen him for so long an interval, apprehended
him now with a freshness of taste, and had perhaps never done him
such ideal justice. The head was bigger, the eyes finer, than they
need have been for the career; but that only meant, after all, that
the career was itself expressive. What it expressed at midnight in
the gas-glaring bedroom at Chester was that the subject of it had,
at the end of years, barely escaped, by flight in time, a general
nervous collapse. But this very proof of the full life, as the full
life was understood at Milrose, would have made to Strether's
imagination an element in which Waymarsh could have floated easily
had he only consented to float. Alas nothing so little resembled
floating as the rigour with which, on the edge of his bed, he
hugged his posture of prolonged impermanence. It suggested to his
comrade something that always, when kept up, worried him--a person
established in a railway-coach with a forward inclination. It
represented the angle at which poor Waymarsh was to sit through the
ordeal of Europe.

Thanks to the stress of occupation, the strain of professions, the
absorption and embarrassment of each, they had not, at home, during
years before this sudden brief and almost bewildering reign of
comparative ease, found so much as a day for a meeting; a fact that
was in some degree an explanation of the sharpness with which most
of his friend's features stood out to Strether. Those he had lost
sight of since the early time came back to him; others that it was
never possible to forget struck him now as sitting, clustered and
expectant, like a somewhat defiant family-group, on the doorstep of
their residence. The room was narrow for its length, and the
occupant of the bed thrust so far a pair of slippered feet that the
visitor had almost to step over them in his recurrent rebounds from
his chair to fidget back and forth. There were marks the friends
made on things to talk about, and on things not to, and one of the
latter in particular fell like the tap of chalk on the blackboard.
Married at thirty, Waymarsh had not lived with his wife for fifteen
years, and it came up vividly between them in the glare of the gas
that Strether wasn't to ask about her. He knew they were still
separate and that she lived at hotels, travelled in Europe, painted
her face and wrote her husband abusive letters, of not one of
which, to a certainty, that sufferer spared himself the perusal;
but he respected without difficulty the cold twilight that had
settled on this side of his companion's life. It was a province in


which mystery reigned and as to which Waymarsh had never spoken the
informing word. Strether, who wanted to do him the highest justice
wherever he COULD do it, singularly admired him for the dignity of
this reserve, and even counted it as one of the grounds--grounds
all handled and numbered--for ranking him, in the range of their
acquaintance, as a success. He WAS a success, Waymarsh, in spite of
overwork, or prostration, of sensible shrinkage, of his wife's
letters and of his not liking Europe. Strether would have reckoned
his own career less futile had he been able to put into it anything
so handsome as so much fine silence. One might one's self easily
have left Mrs. Waymarsh; and one would assuredly have paid one's
tribute to the ideal in covering with that attitude the derision of
having been left by her. Her husband had held his tongue and had
made a large income; and these were in especial the achievements as
to which Strether envied him. Our friend had had indeed on his side
too a subject for silence, which he fully appreciated; but it was a
matter of a different sort, and the figure of the income he had
arrived at had never been high enough to look any one in the face.

I don't know as I quite see what you require it for. You don't
appear sick to speak of." It was of Europe Waymarsh thus finally
spoke.

Well,said Stretherwho fell as much as possible into stepI
guess I don't FEEL sick now that I've started. But I had pretty
well run down before I did start.

Waymarsh raised his melancholy look. "Ain't you about up to your
usual average?"

It was not quite pointedly scepticalbut it seemed somehow a plea
for the purest veracityand it thereby affected our friend as the
very voice of Milrose. He had long since made a mental distinction-though
never in truth daring to betray it--between the voice of
Milrose and the voice even of Woollett. It was the former he felt
that was most in the real tradition. There had been occasions in
his past when the sound of it had reduced him to temporary
confusionand the presentfor some reasonsuddenly became such
another. It was nevertheless no light matter that the very effect
of his confusion should be to make him again prevaricate. "That
description hardly does justice to a man to whom it has done such a
lot of good to see YOU."

Waymarsh fixed on his washing-stand the silent detached stare with
which Milrose in personas it weremight have marked the
unexpectedness of a compliment from Woollettand Strether for his
partfelt once more like Woollett in person. "I mean his friend
presently continued, that your appearance isn't as bad as I've
seen it: it compares favourably with what it was when I last
noticed it." On this appearance Waymarsh's eyes yet failed to rest;
it was almost as if they obeyed an instinct of proprietyand the
effect was still stronger whenalways considering the basin and
jughe added: "You've filled out some since then."

I'm afraid I have,Strether laughed: "one does fill out some with
all one takes inand I've taken inI dare saymore than I've
natural room for. I was dog-tired when I sailed." It had the oddest
sound of cheerfulness.

I was dog-tired,his companion returnedwhen I arrived, and it's
this wild hunt for rest that takes all the life out of me. The fact
is, Strether--and it's a comfort to have you here at last to say it to;
though I don't know, after all, that I've really waited; I've told
it to people I've met in the cars--the fact is, such a country as this


ain't my KIND of country anyway. There ain't a country I've seen over
here that DOES seem my kind. Oh I don't say but what there are plenty
of pretty places and remarkable old things; but the trouble is that I
don't seem to feel anywhere in tune. That's one of the reasons why I
suppose I've gained so little. I haven't had the first sign of that
lift I was led to expect.With this he broke out more earnestly.
Look here--I want to go back.

His eyes were all attached to Strether's nowfor he was one of the
men who fully face you when they talk of themselves. This enabled
his friend to look at him hard and immediately to appear to the
highest advantage in his eyes by doing so. "That's a genial thing
to say to a fellow who has come out on purpose to meet you!"

Nothing could have been fineron thisthan Waymarsh's sombre
glow. "HAVE you come out on purpose?"

Well--very largely.

I thought from the way you wrote there was something back of it.

Strether hesitated. "Back of my desire to be with you?"

Back of your prostration.

Stretherwith a smile made more dim by a certain consciousness
shook his head. "There are all the causes of it!"

And no particular cause that seemed most to drive you?

Our friend could at last conscientiously answer. "Yes. One. There
IS a matter that has had much to do with my coming out."

Waymarsh waited a little. "Too private to mention?"

No, not too private--for YOU. Only rather complicated.

Well,said Waymarshwho had waited againI MAY lose my mind
over here, but I don't know as I've done so yet.

Oh you shall have the whole thing. But not tonight.

Waymarsh seemed to sit stiffer and to hold his elbows tighter. "Why
not--if I can't sleep?"

Because, my dear man, I CAN!

Then where's your prostration?

Just in that--that I can put in eight hours.And Strether brought
it out that if Waymarsh didn't "gain" it was because he didn't go
to bed: the result of which wasin its orderthatto do the
latter justicehe permitted his friend to insist on his really
getting settled. Stretherwith a kind coercive hand for it
assisted him to this consummationand again found his own part in
their relation auspiciously enlarged by the smaller touches of
lowering the lamp and seeing to a sufficiency of blanket. It
somehow ministered for him to indulgence to feel Waymarshwho
looked unnaturally big and black in bedas much tucked in as a
patient in a hospital andwith his covering up to his chinas
much simplified by it He hovered in vague pityto be briefwhile
his companion challenged him out of the bedclothes. "Is she really
after you? Is that what's behind?"


Strether felt an uneasiness at the direction taken by his
companion's insightbut he played a little at uncertainty. "Behind
my coming out?"

Behind your prostration or whatever. It's generally felt, you
know, that she follows you up pretty close.

Strether's candour was never very far off. "Oh it has occurred to
you that I'm literally running away from Mrs. Newsome?"

Well, I haven't KNOWN but what you are. You're a very attractive
man, Strether. You've seen for yourself,said Waymarsh "what that
lady downstairs makes of it. Unless indeed he rambled on with an
effect between the ironic and the anxious, it's you who are after
HER. IS Mrs. Newsome OVER here?" He spoke as with a droll dread of
her.

It made his friend--though rather dimly--smile. "Dear no she's
safethank goodness--as I think I more and more feel--at home. She
thought of comingbut she gave it up. I've come in a manner
instead of her; and come to that extent--for you're right in your
inference--on her business. So you see there IS plenty of
connexion."

Waymarsh continued to see at least all there was. "Involving
accordingly the particular one I've referred to?"

Strether took another turn about the roomgiving a twitch to his
companion's blanket and finally gaining the door. His feeling was
that of a nurse who had earned personal rest by having made
everything straight. "Involving more things than I can think of
breaking ground on now. But don't be afraid--you shall have them
from me: you'll probably find yourself having quite as much of them
as you can do with. I shall--if we keep together--very much depend
on your impression of some of them."

Waymarsh's acknowledgement of this tribute was characteristically
indirect. "You mean to say you don't believe we WILL keep
together?"

I only glance at the danger,Strether paternally saidbecause
when I hear you wail to go back I seem to see you open up such
possibilities of folly.

Waymarsh took it--silent a little--like a large snubbed child "What
are you going to do with me?"

It was the very question Strether himself had put to Miss Gostrey
and he wondered if he had sounded like that. But HE at least could
be more definite. "I'm going to take you right down to London."

Oh I've been down to London!Waymarsh more softly moaned. "I've
no useStretherfor anything down there."

Well,said Strethergood-humouredlyI guess you've some use
for me.

So I've got to go?

Oh you've got to go further yet.

Well,Waymarsh sigheddo your damnedest! Only you WILL tell me
before you lead me on all the way--?


Our friend had again so lost himselfboth for amusement and for
contritionin the wonder of whether he had madein his own
challenge that afternoonsuch another figurethat he for an
instant missed the thread. "Tell you--?"

Why what you've got on hand.

Strether hesitated. "Why it's such a matter as that even if I
positively wanted I shouldn't be able to keep it from you."

Waymarsh gloomily gazed. "What does that mean then but that your
trip is just FOR her?"

For Mrs. Newsome? Oh it certainly is, as I say. Very much.

Then why do you also say it's for me?

Stretherin impatienceviolently played with his latch. "It's
simple enough. It's for both of you."

Waymarsh at last turned over with a groan. "WellI won't marry
you!"

Neither, when it comes to that--!But the visitor had already
laughed and escaped.

He had told Miss Gostrey he should probably takefor departure
with Waymarshsome afternoon trainand it thereupon in the
morning appeared that this lady had made her own plan for an
earlier one. She had breakfasted when Strether came into the
coffee-room; butWaymarsh not having yet emergedhe was in time
to recall her to the terms of their understanding and to pronounce
her discretion overdone. She was surely not to break away at the
very moment she had created a want. He had met her as she rose
from her little table in a windowwherewith the morning papers
beside hershe reminded himas he let her knowof Major
Pendennis breakfasting at his club--a compliment of which she
professed a deep appreciation; and he detained her as pleadingly
as if he had already--and notably under pressure of the visions of
the night--learned to be unable to do without her. She must teach
him at all eventsbefore she wentto order breakfast as
breakfast was ordered in Europeand she must especially sustain
him in the problem of ordering for Waymarsh. The latter had laid
upon his friendby desperate sounds through the door of his room
dreadful divined responsibilities in respect to beefsteak and
oranges--responsibilities which Miss Gostrey took over with an
alertness of action that matched her quick intelligence. She had
before this weaned the expatriated from traditions compared with
which the matutinal beefsteak was but the creature of an hourand
it was not for herwith some of her memoriesto falter in the
path though she freely enough declaredon reflexionthat there
was always in such cases a choice of opposed policies. "There are
times when to give them their headyou know--!"

They had gone to wait together in the garden for the dressing of
the mealand Strether found her more suggestive than ever "Well
what?"

Is to bring about for them such a complexity of relations-unless


indeed we call it a simplicity!--that the situation HAS to wind
itself up. They want to go back.

And you want them to go!Strether gaily concluded.

I always want them to go, and I send them as fast as I can.'

Oh I know--you take them to Liverpool."

Any port will serve in a storm. I'm--with all my other functions-an
agent for repatriation. I want to re-people our stricken
country. What will become of it else? I want to discourage others.

The ordered English gardenin the freshness of the daywas
delightful to Stretherwho liked the soundunder his feetof
the tight fine gravelpacked with the chronic dampand who had
the idlest eye for the deep smoothness of turf and the clean
curves of paths. "Other people?"

Other countries. Other people--yes. I want to encourage our own.

Strether wondered. "Not to come? Why then do you 'meet' them-since
it doesn't appear to be to stop them?"

Oh that they shouldn't come is as yet too much to ask. What I
attend to is that they come quickly and return still more so. I
meet them to help it to be over as soon as possible, and though I
don't stop them I've my way of putting them through. That's my
little system; and, if you want to know,said Maria Gostrey
it's my real secret, my innermost mission and use. I only seem,
you see, to beguile and approve; but I've thought it all out and
I'm working all the while underground. I can't perhaps quite give
you my formula, but I think that practically I succeed. I send you
back spent. So you stay back. Passed through my hands--

We don't turn up again?The further she went the further he
always saw himself able to follow. "I don't want your formula--I
feel quite enoughas I hinted yesterdayyour abysses. Spent!" he
echoed. "If that's how you're arranging so subtly to send me I
thank you for the warning."

For a minuteamid the pleasantness--poetry in tariffed itemsbut
all the morefor guests already convicteda challenge to
consumption--they smiled at each other in confirmed fellowship. "Do
you call it subtly? It's a plain poor tale. Besidesyou're a
special case."

Oh special cases--that's weak!She was weak enoughfurther
stillto defer her journey and agree to accompany the gentlemen on
their ownmight a separate carriage mark her independence; though
it was in spite of this to befall after luncheon that she went off
alone and thatwith a tryst taken for a day of her company in
Londonthey lingered another night. She hadduring the morning-spent
in a way that he was to remember later on as the very climax
of his foretasteas warm with presentimentswith what he would
have called collapses--had all sorts of things out with Strether;
and among them the fact that though there was never a moment of her
life when she wasn't "due" somewherethere was yet scarce a
perfidy to others of which she wasn't capable for his sake. She
explained moreover that wherever she happened to be she found a
dropped thread to pick upa ragged edge to repairsome familiar
appetite in ambushjumping out as she approachedyet appeasable
with a temporary biscuit. It becameon her taking the risk of the
deviation imposed on him by her insidious arrangement of his


morning meala point of honour for her not to fail with Waymarsh
of the larger success too; and her subsequent boast to Strether was
that she had made their friend fare--and quite without his knowing
what was the matter--as Major Pendennis would have fared at the
Megatherium. She had made him breakfast like a gentlemanand it
was nothingshe forcibly assertedto what she would yet make him
do. She made him participate in the slow reiterated ramble with
whichfor Stretherthe new day amply filled itself; and it was by
her art that he somehow had the airon the ramparts and in the
Rowsof carrying a point of his own.

The three strolled and stared and gossipedor at least the
two did; the case really yielding for their comradeif analysed
but the element of stricken silence. This element indeed affected
Strether as charged with audible rumblingsbut he was conscious of
the care of taking it explicitly as a sign of pleasant peace. He
wouldn't appeal too muchfor that provoked stiffness; yet he
wouldn't be too freely tacitfor that suggested giving up.
Waymarsh himself adhered to an ambiguous dumbness that might have
represented either the growth of a perception or the despair of
one; and at times and in places--where the low-browed galleries
were darkestthe opposite gables queerestthe solicitations of
every kind densest--the others caught him fixing hard some object
of minor interestfixing even at moments nothing discernibleas
if he were indulging it with a truce. When he met Strether's eye on
such occasions he looked guilty and furtivefell the next minute
into some attitude of retractation. Our friend couldn't show him
the right things for fear of provoking some total renouncementand
was tempted even to show him the wrong in order to make him differ
with triumph. There were moments when he himself felt shy of
professing the full sweetness of the taste of leisureand there
were others when he found himself feeling as if his passages of
interchange with the lady at his side might fall upon the third
member of their party very much as Mr. Burchellat Dr. Primrose's
firesidewas influenced by the high flights of the visitors from
London. The smallest things so arrested and amused him that he
repeatedly almost apologised--brought up afresh in explanation his
plea of a previous grind. He was aware at the same time that his
grind had been as nothing to Waymarsh'sand he repeatedly
confessed thatto cover his frivolityhe was doing his best for
his previous virtue. Do what he mightin any casehis previous
virtue was still thereand it seemed fairly to stare at him out of
the windows of shops that were not as the shops of Woollettfairly
to make him want things that he shouldn't know what to do with. It
was by the oddestthe least admissible of laws demoralising him
now; and the way it boldly took was to make him want more wants.
These first walks in Europe were in fact a kind of finely lurid
intimation of what one might find at the end of that process. Had
he come back after long yearsin something already so like the
evening of lifeonly to be exposed to it? It was at all events
over the shop-windows that he madewith Waymarshmost free;
though it would have been easier had not the latter most sensibly
yielded to the appeal of the merely useful trades. He pierced with
his sombre detachment the plate-glass of ironmongers and saddlers
while Strether flaunted an affinity with the dealers in stamped
letter-paper and in smart neckties. Strether was in fact
recurrently shameless in the presence of the tailorsthough it was
just over the heads of the tailors that his countryman most loftily
looked. This gave Miss Gostrey a grasped opportunity to back up
Waymarsh at his expense. The weary lawyer--it was unmistakeable-had
a conception of dress; but thatin view of some of the
features of the effect producedwas just what made the danger of
insistence on it. Strether wondered if he by this time thought Miss
Gostrey less fashionable or Lambert Strether more so; and it


appeared probable that most of the remarks exchanged between this
latter pair about passersfiguresfacespersonal types
exemplified in their degree the disposition to talk as "society"
talked.

Was what was happening to himself thenwas what already HAD
happenedreally that a woman of fashion was floating him into
society and that an old friend deserted on the brink was watching
the force of the current? When the woman of fashion permitted
Strether--as she permitted him at the most--the purchase of a pair
of glovesthe terms she made about itthe prohibition of neckties
and other items till she should be able to guide him through the
Burlington Arcadewere such as to fall upon a sensitive ear as a
challenge to just imputations. Miss Gostrey was such a woman of
fashion as could make without a symptom of vulgar blinking an
appointment for the Burlington Arcade. Mere discriminations about a
pair of gloves could thus at any rate represent--always for such
sensitive ears as were in question--possibilities of something that
Strether could make a mark against only as the peril of apparent
wantonness. He had quite the consciousness of his new friendfor
their companionthat he might have had of a Jesuit in petticoats
a representative of the recruiting interests of the Catholic
Church. The Catholic Churchfor Waymarsh-that was to say the
enemythe monster of bulging eyes and far-reaching quivering
groping tentacles--was exactly societyexactly the multiplication
of shibbolethsexactly the discrimination of types and tones
exactly the wicked old Rows of Chesterrank with feudalism;
exactly in short Europe.

There was light for observationhoweverin an incident that
occurred just before they turned back to luncheon. Waymarsh had
been for a quarter of an hour exceptionally mute and distantand
somethingor other--Strether was never to make out exactly what-proved
as it weretoo much for him after his comrades had stood
for three minutes taking inwhile they leaned on an old balustrade
that guarded the edge of the Rowa particularly crooked and
huddled street-view. "He thinks us sophisticatedhe thinks us
worldlyhe thinks us wickedhe thinks us all sorts of queer
things Strether reflected; for wondrous were the vague quantities
our friend had within a couple of short days acquired the habit of
conveniently and conclusively lumping together. There seemed
moreover a direct connexion between some such inference and a
sudden grim dash taken by Waymarsh to the opposite side. This
movement was startlingly sudden, and his companions at first
supposed him to have espied, to be pursuing, the glimpse of an
acquaintance. They next made out, however, that an open door had
instantly received him, and they then recognised him as engulfed in
the establishment of a jeweller, behind whose glittering front he
was lost to view. The fact had somehow the note of a demonstration,
and it left each of the others to show a face almost of fear. But
Miss Gostrey broke into a laugh. What's the matter with him?"

Well,said Stretherhe can't stand it.

But can't stand what?

Anything. Europe.

Then how will that jeweller help him?

Strether seemed to make it outfrom their positionbetween the
interstices of arrayed watchesof close-hung dangling gewgaws.
You'll see.


Ah that's just what--if he buys anything--I'm afraid of: that I
shall see something rather dreadful.


Strether studied the finer appearances. "He may buy everything."


Then don't you think we ought to follow him?


Not for worlds. Besides we can't. We're paralysed. We exchange a
long scared look, we publicly tremble. The thing is, you see, we
'realise.' He has struck for freedom.


She wondered but she laughed. "Ah what a price to pay! And I was
preparing some for him so cheap."


No, no,Strether went onfrankly amused now; "don't call it
that: the kind of freedom you deal in is dear." Then as to justify
himself: "Am I not in MY way trying it? It's this."


Being here, you mean, with me?''


Yesand talking to you as I do. I've known you a few hoursand
I've known HIM all my life; so that if the ease I thus take with
you about him isn't magnificent"--and the thought of it held him a
moment--"why it's rather base."


It's magnificent!said Miss Gostrey to make an end of it. "And
you should hear she added, the ease I take--and I above all
intend to take--with Mr. Waymarsh."


Strether thought. "About ME? Ah that's no equivalent.
The equivalent would be Waymarsh's himself serving me up--
his remorseless analysis of me. And he'll never do that"--
he was sadly clear. "He'll never remorselessly analyse me."
He quite held her with the authority of this. "He'll never
say a word to you about me."


She took it in; she did it justice; yet after an instant her
reasonher restless ironydisposed of it. "Of course he won't.
For what do you take peoplethat they're able to say words about
anythingable remorselessly to analyse? There are not many like
you and me. It will be only because he's too stupid."


It stirred in her friend a sceptical echo which was at the same
time the protest of the faith of years. "Waymarsh stupid?"


Compared with you.


Strether had still his eyes on the jeweller's frontand he waited
a moment to answer. "He's a success of a kind that I haven't
approached."


Do you mean he has made money?


He makes it--to my belief. And I,said Stretherthough with a
back quite as bent, have never made anything. I'm a perfectly
equipped failure.


He feared an instant she'd ask him if he meant he was poor; and he
was glad she didn'tfor he really didn't know to what the truth on
this unpleasant point mightn't have prompted her. She only
howeverconfirmed his assertion. "Thank goodness you're a failure--
it's why I so distinguish you! Anything else to-day is too
hideous. Look about you--look at the successes. Would you BE one
on your honour? Lookmoreover she continued, at me."



For a little accordingly their eyes met. "I see Strether
returned. You too are out of it."

The superiority you discern in me,she concurredannounces my
futility. If you knew,she sighedthe dreams of my youth! But
our realities are what has brought us together. We're beaten
brothers in arms.

He smiled at her kindly enoughbut he shook his head. "It doesn't
alter the fact that you're expensive. You've cost me already--!"

But he had hung fire. "Cost you what?"

Well, my past--in one great lump. But no matter,he laughed:
I'll pay with my last penny.

Her attention had unfortunately now been engaged by their comrade's
returnfor Waymarsh met their view as he came out of his shop. "I
hope he hasn't paid she said, with HIS last; though I'm
convinced he has been splendidand has been so for you."

Ah no--not that!

Then for me?

Quite as little.Waymarsh was by this time near enough to show
signs his friend could readthough he seemed to look almost
carefully at nothing in particular.

Then for himself?

For nobody. For nothing. For freedom.

But what has freedom to do with it?

Strether's answer was indirect. "To be as good as you and me. But
different."

She had had time to take in their companion's face; and with itas
such things were easy for hershe took in all. "Different--yes.
But better!"

If Waymarsh was sombre he was also indeed almost sublime. He told
them nothingleft his absence unexplainedand though they were
convinced he had made some extraordinary purchase they were never
to learn its nature. He only glowered grandly at the tops of the
old gables. "It's the sacred rage Strether had had further time
to say; and this sacred rage was to become between them, for
convenient comprehension, the description of one of his periodical
necessities. It was Strether who eventually contended that it did
make him better than they. But by that time Miss Gostrey was
convinced that she didn't want to be better than Strether.

Book Second


Those occasions on which Strether was, in association with the
exile from Milrose, to see the sacred rage glimmer through would
doubtless have their due periodicity; but our friend had meanwhile
to find names for many other matters. On no evening of his life
perhaps, as he reflected, had he had to supply so many as on the
third of his short stay in London; an evening spent by Miss
Gostrey's side at one of the theatres, to which he had found
himself transported, without his own hand raised, on the mere
expression of a conscientious wonder. She knew her theatre, she
knew her play, as she had triumphantly known, three days running,
everything else, and the moment filled to the brim, for her
companion, that apprehension of the interesting which, whether or
no the interesting happened to filter through his guide, strained
now to its limits his brief opportunity. Waymarsh hadn't come with
them; he had seen plays enough, he signified, before Strether had
joined him--an affirmation that had its full force when his friend
ascertained by questions that he had seen two and a circus.
Questions as to what he had seen had on him indeed an effect only
less favourable than questions as to what he hadn't. He liked the
former to be discriminated; but how could it be done, Strether
asked of their constant counsellor, without discriminating the
latter?

Miss Gostrey had dined with him at his hotel, face to face over a
small table on which the lighted candles had rose-coloured shades;
and the rose-coloured shades and the small table and the soft
fragrance of the lady--had anything to his mere sense ever been so
soft?--were so many touches in he scarce knew what positive high
picture. He had been to the theatre, even to the opera, in Boston,
with Mrs. Newsome, more than once acting as her only escort; but
there had been no little confronted dinner, no pink lights, no
whiff of vague sweetness, as a preliminary: one of the results of
which was that at present, mildly rueful, though with a sharpish
accent, he actually asked himself WHY there hadn't. There was much
the same difference in his impression of the noticed state of his
companion, whose dress was cut down as he believed the term to
be, in respect to shoulders and bosom, in a manner quite other than
Mrs. Newsome's, and who wore round her throat a broad red velvet
band with an antique jewel--he was rather complacently sure it was
antique--attached to it in front. Mrs. Newsome's dress was never in
any degree cut down and she never wore round her throat a broad
red velvet band: if she had, moreover, would it ever have served so
to carry on and complicate, as he now almost felt, his vision?

It would have been absurd of him to trace into ramifications the
effect of the ribbon from which Miss Gostrey's trinket depended,
had he not for the hour, at the best, been so given over to
uncontrolled perceptions. What was it but an uncontrolled
perception that his friend's velvet band somehow added, in her
appearance, to the value of every other item--to that of her smile
and of the way she carried her head, to that of her complexion, of
her lips, her teeth, her eyes, her hair? What, certainly, had a man
conscious of a man's work in the world to do with red velvet bands?
He wouldn't for anything have so exposed himself as to tell Miss
Gostrey how much he liked hers, yet he HAD none the less not only
caught himself in the act--frivolous, no doubt, idiotic, and above
all unexpected--of liking it: he had in addition taken it as a
starting-point for fresh backward, fresh forward, fresh lateral
flights. The manner in which Mrs. Newsome's throat WAS encircled
suddenly represented for him, in an alien order, almost as many
things as the manner in which Miss Gostrey's was. Mrs. Newsome
wore, at operatic hours, a black silk dress--very handsome, he knew


it was handsome"--and an ornament that his memory was able further
to identify as a ruche. He had his association indeed with the
ruchebut it was rather imperfectly romantic. He had once said to
the wearer--and it was as "free" a remark as he had ever made to
her--that she lookedwith her ruff and other matterslike Queen
Elizabeth; and it had after this in truth been his fancy thatas a
consequence of that tenderness and an acceptance of the ideathe
form of this special tribute to the "frill" had grown slightly more
marked. The connexionas he sat there and let his imagination
roamwas to strike him as vaguely pathetic; but there it all was
and pathetic was doubtless in the conditions the best thing it
could possibly be. It had assuredly existed at any rate; for it
seemed now to come over him that no gentleman of his age at
Woollett could everto a lady of Mrs. Newsome'swhich was not
much less than hishave embarked on such a simile.

All sorts of things in fact now seemed to come over him
comparatively few of which his chronicler can hope for space to
mention. It came over him for instance that Miss Gostrey looked
perhaps like Mary Stuart: Lambert Strether had a candour of fancy
which could rest for an instant gratified in such an antithesis. It
came over him that never before--noliterally never--had a lady
dined with him at a public place before going to the play. The
publicity of the place was justin the matterfor Stretherthe
rare strange thing; it affected him almost as the achievement of
privacy might have affected a man of a different experience. He had
marriedin the far-away yearsso young as to have missed the time
natural in Boston for taking girls to the Museum; and it was
absolutely true of hint that--even after the close of the period of
conscious detachment occupying the centre of his lifethe grey
middle desert of the two deathsthat of his wife and thatten
years laterof his boy--he had never taken any one anywhere. It
came over him in especial--though the monition hadas happened
already soundedfitfully gleamedin other forms--that the
business he had come out on hadn't yet been so brought home to him
as by the sight of the people about him. She gave him the
impressionhis friendat firstmore straight than he got it for
himself--gave it simply by saying with off-hand illumination: "Oh
yesthey're types!"--but after he had taken it he made to the full
his own use of it; both while he kept silence for the four acts and
while he talked in the intervals. It was an eveningit was a world
of typesand this was a connexion above all in which the figures
and faces in the stalls were interchangeable with those on the
stage.

He felt as if the play itself penetrated him with the naked elbow
of his neighboura great stripped handsome red-haired lady who
conversed with a gentleman on her other side in stray dissyllables
which had for his earin the oddest way in the worldso much
sound that he wondered they hadn't more sense; and he recognised by
the same lawbeyond the footlightswhat he was pleased to take
for the very flush of English life. He had distracted drops in
which he couldn't have said if it were actors or auditors who were
most trueand the upshot of whicheach timewas the consciousness
of new contacts. However he viewed his job it was "types" he should
have to tackle. Those before him and around him were not as the
types of Woollettwherefor that matterit had begun to seem to
him that there must only have been the male and the female.
These made two exactlyeven with the individual varieties. Here
on the other handapart from the personal and the sexual range-which
might be greater or less--a series of strong stamps had been
appliedas it werefrom without; stamps that his observation
played with asbefore a glass case on a tableit might have
passed from medal to medal and from copper to gold. It befell that


in the drama precisely there was a bad woman in a yellow frock who
made a pleasant weak good-looking young man in perpetual evening
dress do the most dreadful things. Strether felt himself on the
whole not afraid of the yellow frockbut he was vaguely anxious
over a certain kindness into which he found himself drifting for
its victim. He hadn't come outhe reminded himselfto be too
kindor indeed to be kind at allto Chadwick Newsome. Would Chad
also be in perpetual evening dress? He somehow rather hoped it--it
seemed so to add to THIS young man's general amenability; though he
wondered too ifto fight him with his own weaponshe himself (a
thought almost startling) would have likewise to be. This young man
furthermore would have been much more easy to handle--at least for
HIM--than appeared probable in respect to Chad.

It came up for him with Miss Gostrey that there were things of
which she would really perhaps after all have heardand she admitted
when a little pressed that she was never quite sure of what she
heard as distinguished from things such ason occasions like
the presentshe only extravagantly guessed. "I seem with this
freedomyou seeto have guessed Mr. Chad. He's a young man on
whose head high hopes are placed at Woollett; a young man a wicked
woman has got hold of and whom his family over there have sent you
out to rescue. You've accepted the mission of separating him from
the wicked woman. Are you quite sure she's very bad for him?"

Something in his manner showed it as quite pulling him up. "Of
course we are. Wouldn't YOU be?"

Oh I don't know. One never does--does one?--beforehand. One can
only judge on the facts. Yours are quite new to me; I'm really not
in the least, as you see, in possession of them: so it will be
awfully interesting to have them from you. If you're satisfied,
that's all that's required. I mean if you're sure you ARE sure:
sure it won't do.

That he should lead such a life? Rather!

Oh but I don't know, you see, about his life; you've not told me
about his life. She may be charming--his life!

Charming?--Strether stared before him. "She's basevenal-out of
the streets."

I see. And HE--?

Chad, wretched boy?

Of what type and temper is he?she went on as Strether had
lapsed.

Well--the obstinate.It was as if for a moment he had been going
to say more and had then controlled himself.

That was scarce what she wished. "Do you like him?"

This time he was prompt. "No. How CAN I?"

Do you mean because of your being so saddled with him?

I'm thinking of his mother,said Strether after a moment. "He has
darkened her admirable life." He spoke with austerity. "He has
worried her half to death."

Oh that's of course odious.She had a pause as if for renewed


emphasis of this truthbut it ended on another note. "Is her life
very admirable?"

Extraordinarily.

There was so much in the tone that Miss Gostrey had to devote
another pause to the appreciation of it. "And has he only HER?

I
don't mean the bad woman in Paris she quickly added--for I
assure you I shouldn't even at the best be disposed to allow him
more than one. But has he only his mother?"

He has also a sister, older than himself and married; and they're
both remarkably fine women.


Very handsome, you mean?


This promptitude--almostas he might have thoughtthis
precipitationgave him a brief drop; but he came up again.
Mrs. Newsome, I think, is handsome, though she's not of course,
with a son of twenty-eight and a daughter of thirty, in her very
first youth. She married, however, extremely young.


And is wonderful,Miss Gostrey askedfor her age?


Strether seemed to feel with a certain disquiet the pressure of it.
I don't say she's wonderful. Or rather,he went on the next moment
I do say it. It's exactly what she IS--wonderful. But I wasn't
thinking of her appearance,he explained--"striking as that doubtless
is. I was thinking--wellof many other things." He seemed to look at
these as if to mention some of them; then tookpulling himself up
another turn. "About Mrs. Pocock people may differ."


Is that the daughter's name--'Pocock'?


That's the daughter's name,Strether sturdily confessed.


And people may differ, you mean, about HER beauty?


About everything.


But YOU admire her?


He gave his friend a glance as to show how he could bear this "I'm
perhaps a little afraid of her."


Oh,said Miss GostreyI see her from here! You may say then I
see very fast and very far, but I've already shown you I do. The
young man and the two ladies,she went onare at any rate all
the family?


Quite all. His father has been dead ten years, and there's no
brother, nor any other sister. They'd do,said Stretheranything
in the world for him.


And you'd do anything in the world for THEM?


He shifted again; she had made it perhaps just a shade too affirmative
for his nerves. "Oh I don't know!"


You'd do at any rate this, and the 'anything' they'd do is
represented by their MAKING you do it.


Ah they couldn't have come--either of them. They're very busy
people and Mrs. Newsome in particular has a large full life. She's



moreover highly nervous--and not at all strong.

You mean she's an American invalid?

He carefully distinguished. "There's nothing she likes less than to
be called onebut she would consent to be one of those thingsI
think he laughed, if it were the only way to be the other."

Consent to be an American in order to be an invalid?

No,said Stretherthe other way round. She's at any rate
delicate sensitive high-strung. She puts so much of herself into
everything--

Ah Maria knew these things! "That she has nothing left for anything
else? Of course she hasn't. To whom do you say it? High-strung?
Don't I spend my lifefor themjamming down the pedal? I see
moreover how it has told on you."

Strether took this more lightly. "Oh I jam down the pedal too!"

Well,she lucidly returnedwe must from this moment bear on it
together with all our might.And she forged ahead. "Have they
money?"

But it was as ifwhile her energetic image still held himher
enquiry fell short. "Mrs. Newsome he wished further to explain,
hasn't moreover your courage on the question of contact. If she
had come it would have been to see the person herself."

The woman? Ah but that's courage.

No--it's exaltation, which is a very different thing. Courage,
hehoweveraccommodatingly threw outis what YOU have.

She shook her head. "You say that only to patch me up--to cover the
nudity of my want of exaltation. I've neither the one nor the
other. I've mere battered indifference. I see that what you mean
Miss Gostrey pursued, is that if your friend HAD come she would
take great viewsand the great viewsto put it simplywould be
too much for her."

Strether looked amused at her notion of the simplebut he adopted
her formula. "Everything's too much for her."

Ah then such a service as this of yours--

Is more for her than anything else? Yes--far more. But so long as
it isn't too much for ME--!

Her condition doesn't matter? Surely not; we leave her condition
out; we take it, that is, for granted. I see it, her condition, as
behind and beneath you; yet at the same time I see it as bearing
you up.

Oh it does bear me up!Strether laughed.

Well then as yours bears ME nothing more's needed.With which she
put again her question. "Has Mrs. Newsome money?"

This time he heeded. "Oh plenty. That's the root of the evil.
There's moneyto very large amountsin the concern. Chad has had
the free use of a great deal. But if he'll pull himself together
and come homeall the samehe'll find his account in it."


She had listened with all her interest. "And I hope to goodness
you'll find yours!"

He'll take up his definite material reward,said Strether without
acknowledgement of this. "He's at the parting of the ways. He can
come into the business now--he can't come later."

Is there a business?

Lord, yes--a big brave bouncing business. A roaring trade.

A great shop?

Yes--a workshop; a great production, a great industry. The
concern's a manufacture--and a manufacture that, if it's only
properly looked after, may well be on the way to become a monopoly.
It's a little thing they make--make better, it appears, than other
people can, or than other people, at any rate, do. Mr. Newsome,
being a man of ideas, at least in that particular line,Strether
explainedput them on it with great effect, and gave the place
altogether, in his time, an immense lift.

It's a place in itself?

Well, quite a number of buildings; almost a little industrial
colony. But above all it's a thing. The article produced.

And what IS the article produced?

Strether looked about him as in slight reluctance to say; then the
curtainwhich he saw about to risecame to his aid. "I'll tell
you next time." But when the next time came he only said he'd tell
her later on--after they should have left the theatre; for she had
immediately reverted to their topicand even for himself the
picture of the stage was now overlaid with another image. His
postponementshowevermade her wonder--wonder if the article
referred to were anything bad. And she explained that she meant
improper or ridiculous or wrong. But Stretherso far as that went
could satisfy her. "Unmentionable? Oh nowe constantly talk of it;
we are quite familiar and brazen about it. Onlyas a small
trivialrather ridiculous object of the commonest domestic use
it's just wanting in-what shall I say? Welldignityor the least
approach to distinction. Right here thereforewith everything
about us so grand--!" In short he shrank.

It's a false note?

Sadly. It's vulgar.

But surely not vulgarer than this.Then on his wondering as she
herself had done: "Than everything about us." She seemed a trifle
irritated. "What do you take this for?"

Why for--comparatively--divine!

This dreadful London theatre? It's impossible, if you really want
to know.

Oh then,laughed StretherI DON'T really want to know!

It made between them a pausewhich shehoweverstill fascinated
by the mystery of the production at Woollettpresently broke.
'Rather ridiculous'? Clothes-pins? Saleratus? Shoe-polish?


It brought him round. "No--you don't even 'burn.' I don't think
you knowyou'll guess it."

How then can I judge how vulgar it is?

You'll judge when I do tell you--and he persuaded her to
patience. But it may even now frankly be mentioned that he in the
sequel never WAS to tell her. He actually never did soand it
moreover oddly occurred that by the lawwithin herof the
incalculableher desire for the information dropped and her
attitude to the question converted itself into a positive
cultivation of ignorance. In ignorance she could humour her fancy
and that proved a useful freedom. She could treat the little
nameless object as indeed unnameable--she could make their
abstention enormously definite. There might indeed have been for
Strether the portent of this in what she next said.

Is it perhaps then because it's so bad--because your industry as
you call it, IS so vulgar--that Mr. Chad won't come back? Does he
feel the taint? Is he staying away not to be mixed up in it?

Oh,Strether laughedit wouldn't appear--would it?--that he
feels 'taints'! He's glad enough of the money from it, and the
money's his whole basis. There's appreciation in that--I mean as to
the allowance his mother has hitherto made him. She has of course
the resource of cutting this allowance off; but even then he has
unfortunately, and on no small scale, his independent supply--money
left him by his grandfather, her own father.

Wouldn't the fact you mention then,Miss Gostrey askedmake it
just more easy for him to be particular? Isn't he conceivable as
fastidious about the source--the apparent and public source--of his
income?

Strether was able quite good-humouredly to entertain the
proposition. "The source of his grandfather's wealth--and thereby
of his own share in it--was not particularly noble."

And what source was it?

Strether cast about. "Well--practices."

In business? Infamies? He was an old swindler?

Oh,he said with more emphasis than spiritI shan't describe
HIM nor narrate his exploits.

Lord, what abysses! And the late Mr. Newsome then?

Well, what about him?

Was he like the grandfather?

No--he was on the other side of the house. And he was different.

Miss Gostrey kept it up. "Better?"

Her friend for a moment hung fire. "No."

Her comment on his hesitation was scarce the less marked for being
mute. "Thank you. NOW don't you see she went on, why the boy
doesn't come home? He's drowning his shame."


His shame? What shame?

What shame? Comment donc? THE shame.

But where and when,Strether askedis 'THE shame'--where is any
shame--to-day? The men I speak of--they did as every one does; and
(besides being ancient history) it was all a matter of appreciation.

She showed how she understood. "Mrs. Newsome has appreciated?"

Ah I can't speak for HER!

In the midst of such doings--and, as I understand you, profiting
by them, she at least has remained exquisite?

Oh I can't talk of her!Strether said.

I thought she was just what you COULD talk of. You DON'T trust
me,Miss Gostrey after a moment declared.

It had its effect. "Wellher money is spenther life conceived
and carried on with a large beneficence--"

That's a kind of expiation of wrongs? Gracious,she added before
he could speakhow intensely you make me see her!

If you see her,Strether droppedit's all that's necessary.

She really seemed to have her. "I feel that. She ISin spite of
everythinghandsome."

This at least enlivened him. "What do you mean by everything?"

Well, I mean YOU.With which she had one of her swift changes of
ground. "You say the concern needs looking after; but doesn't
Mrs. Newsome look after it?"

So far as possible. She's wonderfully able, but it's not her
affair, and her life's a good deal overcharged. She has many,
many things.

And you also?

Oh yes--I've many too, if you will.

I see. But what I mean is,Miss Gostrey amendeddo you also
look after the business?

Oh no, I don't touch the business.

Only everything else?

Well, yes--some things.

As for instance--?

Strether obligingly thought. "Wellthe Review."

The Review?--you have a Review?

Certainly. Woollett has a Review--which Mrs. Newsome, for the
most part, magnificently pays for and which I, not at all
magnificently, edit. My name's on the cover,Strether pursued
and I'm really rather disappointed and hurt that you seem never


to have heard of it.

She neglected for a moment this grievance. "And what kind of a
Review is it?"

His serenity was now completely restored. "Wellit's green."

Do you mean in political colour as they say here--in thought?

No; I mean the cover's green--of the most lovely shade.

And with Mrs. Newsome's name on it too?

He waited a little. "Oh as for that you must judge if she peeps
out. She's behind the whole thing; but she's of a delicacy and a
discretion--!"

Miss Gostrey took it all. "I'm sure. She WOULD be. I don't
underrate her. She must be rather a swell."

Oh yes, she's rather a swell!

A Woollett swell--bon! I like the idea of a Woollett swell. And
you must be rather one too, to be so mixed up with her.

Ah no,said Stretherthat's not the way it works.

But she had already taken him up. "The way it works--you needn't
tell me!--is of course that you efface yourself."

With my name on the cover?he lucidly objected.

Ah but you don't put it on for yourself.

I beg your pardon--that's exactly what I do put it on for. It's
exactly the thing that I'm reduced to doing for myself. It seems
to rescue a little, you see, from the wreck of hopes and ambitions,
the refuse-heap of disappointments and failures, my one presentable
little scrap of an identity.

On this she looked at him as to say many thingsbut what she at
last simply said was: "She likes to see it there. You're the
bigger swell of the two she immediately continued, because you
think you're not one. She thinks she IS one. However Miss
Gostrey added, she thinks you're one too. You're at all events
the biggest she can get hold of." She embroideredshe abounded.
I don't say it to interfere between you, but on the day she gets
hold of a bigger one--!Strether had thrown back his head as in
silent mirth over something that struck him in her audacity or
felicityand her flight meanwhile was already higher. "Therefore
close with her--!"

Close with her?he asked as she seemed to hang poised.

Before you lose your chance.

Their eyes met over it. "What do you mean by closing?"

And what do I mean by your chance? I'll tell you when you tell me
all the things YOU don't. Is it her GREATEST fad?she briskly
pursued.

The Review?He seemed to wonder how he could best describe it.
This resulted however but in a sketch. "It's her tribute to the


ideal."

I see. You go in for tremendous things.

We go in for the unpopular side--that is so far as we dare.

And how far DO you dare?

Well, she very far. I much less. I don't begin to have her faith.
She provides,said Stretherthree fourths of that. And she
provides, as I've confided to you, ALL the money.

It evoked somehow a vision of gold that held for a little Miss
Gostrey's eyesand she looked as if she heard the bright dollars
shovelled in. "I hope then you make a good thing--"

I NEVER made a good thing!he at once returned.

She just waited. "Don't you call it a good thing to be loved?"

Oh we're not loved. We're not even hated. We're only just sweetly
ignored.

She had another pause. "You don't trust me!" she once more repeated.

Don't I when I lift the last veil?--tell you the very secret of
the prison-house?

Again she met his eyesbut to the result that after an instant
her own turned away with impatience. "You don't sell? Oh I'm glad
of THAT!" After which howeverand before he could protestshe was
off again. "She's just a MORAL swell."

He accepted gaily enough the definition. "Yes--I really think that
describes her."

But it had for his friend the oddest connexion. "How does she do
her hair?"

He laughed out. "Beautifully!"

Ah that doesn't tell me. However, it doesn't matter--I know. It's
tremendously neat--a real reproach; quite remarkably thick and
without, as yet, a single strand of white. There!

He blushed for her realismbut gaped at her truth. "You're the
very deuce."

What else SHOULD I be? It was as the very deuce I pounced on you.
But don't let it trouble you, for everything but the very deuce-at
our age--is a bore and a delusion, and even he himself, after all,
but half a joy.With whichon a single sweep of her wingshe
resumed. "You assist her to expiate--which is rather hard when
you've yourself not sinned."

It's she who hasn't sinned,Strether replied. "I've sinned the
most."

Ah,Miss Gostrey cynically laughedwhat a picture of HER!
Have you robbed the widow and the orphan?

I've sinned enough,said Strether.

Enough for whom? Enough for what?


Well, to be where I am.

Thank you!They were disturbed at this moment by the passage
between their knees and the back of the seats before them of a
gentleman who had been absent during a part of the performance and
who now returned for the close; but the interruption left Miss
Gostrey timebefore the subsequent hushto express as a sharp
finality her sense of the moral of all their talk. "I knew you had
something up your sleeve!" This finalityhoweverleft them in its
turnat the end of the playas disposed to hang back as if they
had still much to say; so that they easily agreed to let every one
go before them--they found an interest in waiting. They made out
from the lobby that the night had turned to rain; yet Miss Gostrey
let her friend know that he wasn't to see her home. He was simply
to put herby herselfinto a four-wheeler; she liked so in
Londonof wet nights after wild pleasuresthinking things over
on the returnin lonely four-wheelers. This was her great time
she intimatedfor pulling herself together. The delays caused by
the weatherthe struggle for vehicles at the doorgave them
occasion to subside on a divan at the back of the vestibule and
just beyond the reach of the fresh damp gusts from the street. Here
Strether's comrade resumed that free handling of the subject to
which his own imagination of it already owed so much. "Does your
young friend in Paris like you?"

It had almostafter the intervalstartled him. "Oh I hope not!
Why SHOULD he?"

Why shouldn't he?Miss Gostrey asked. "That you're coming down on
him need have nothing to do with it."

You see more in it,he presently returnedthan I.

Of course I see you in it.

Well then you see more in 'me'!

Than you see in yourself? Very likely. That's always one's right.
What I was thinking of,she explainedis the possible particular
effect on him of his milieu.

Oh his milieu--!Strether really felt he could imagine it better
now than three hours before.

Do you mean it can only have been so lowering?

Why that's my very starting-point.

Yes, but you start so far back. What do his letters say?

Nothing. He practically ignores us--or spares us. He doesn't
write.

I see. But there are all the same,she went ontwo quite
distinct things that--given the wonderful place he's in--may have
happened to him. One is that he may have got brutalised. The other
is that he may have got refined.

Strether stared--this WAS a novelty. "Refined?"

Oh,she said quietlythere ARE refinements.

The way of it made himafter looking at herbreak into a laugh.


YOU have them!

As one of the signs,she continued in the same tonethey
constitute perhaps the worst.

He thought it over and his gravity returned. "Is it a refinement
not to answer his mother's letters?"

She appeared to have a scruplebut she brought it out. "Oh I
should say the greatest of all."

Well,said StretherI'M quite content to let it, as one of the
signs, pass for the worst that I know he believes he can do what he
likes with me.

This appeared to strike her. "How do you know it?"

Oh I'm sure of it. I feel it in my bones.

Feel he CAN do it?

Feel that he believes he can. It may come to the same thing!
Strether laughed.

She wouldn'thoweverhave this. "Nothing for you will ever come
to the same thing as anything else." And she understood what she
meantit seemedsufficiently to go straight on. "You say that if
he does break he'll come in for things at home?"

Quite positively. He'll come in for a particular chance--a chance
that any properly constituted young man would jump at. The
business has so developed that an opening scarcely apparent three
years ago, but which his father's will took account of as in
certain conditions possible and which, under that will, attaches
to Chad's availing himself of it a large contingent advantage-this
opening, the conditions having come about, now simply awaits
him. His mother has kept it for him, holding out against strong
pressure, till the last possible moment. It requires, naturally,
as it carries with it a handsome 'part,' a large share in profits,
his being on the spot and making a big effort for a big result.
That's what I mean by his chance. If he misses it he comes in, as
you say, for nothing. And to see that he doesn't miss it is, in a
word, what I've come out for.

She let it all sink in. "What you've come out for then is simply
to render him an immense service."

Wellpoor Strether was willing to take it so. "Ah if you like."

He stands, as they say, if you succeed with him, to gain--

Oh a lot of advantages.Strether had them clearly at his
fingers' ends.

By which you mean of course a lot of money.

Well, not only. I'm acting with a sense for him of other things
too. Consideration and comfort and security--the general safety of
being anchored by a strong chain. He wants, as I see him, to be
protected. Protected I mean from life.

Ah voila!--her thought fitted with a click. "From life. What you
REALLY want to get him home for is to marry him."


Well, that's about the size of it.

Of course,she saidit's rudimentary. But to any one in
particular?

He smiled at thislooking a little more conscious. "You get
everything out."

For a moment again their eyes met. "You put everything in!"

He acknowledged the tribute by telling her. "To Mamie Pocock."

She wondered; then gravelyeven exquisitelyas if to make the
oddity also fit: "His own niece?"

Oh you must yourself find a name for the relation. His
brother-in-law's sister. Mrs. Jim's sister-in-law.

It seemed to have on Miss Gostrey a certain hardening effect. "And
who in the world's Mrs. Jim?"

Chad's sister--who was Sarah Newsome. She's married--didn't I
mention it?--to Jim Pocock.

Ah yes,she tacitly replied; but he had mentioned things--!
Thenhoweverwith all the sound it could haveWho in the
world's Jim Pocock?she asked.

Why Sally's husband. That's the only way we distinguish people at
Woollett,he good-humoredly explained.

And is it a great distinction--being Sally's husband?

He considered. "I think there can be scarcely a greater--unless it
may become onein the futureto be Chad's wife."

Then how do they distinguish YOU?

They DON'T--except, as I've told you, by the green cover.

Once more their eyes met on itand she held him an instant. "The
green cover won't--nor will ANY cover--avail you with ME. You're
of a depth of duplicity!" Stillshe could in her own large grasp
of the real condone it. "Is Mamie a great parti?"

Oh the greatest we have--our prettiest brightest girl.

Miss Gostrey seemed to fix the poor child. "I know what they CAN
be. And with money?"

Not perhaps with a great deal of that--but with so much of
everything else that we don't miss it. We DON'T miss money much,
you know,Strether addedin general, in America, in pretty
girls.

No,she conceded; "but I know also what you do sometimes miss.
And do you she asked, yourself admire her?"

It was a questionhe indicatedthat there might be several ways
of taking; but he decided after an instant for the humorous.
Haven't I sufficiently showed you how I admire ANY pretty girl?';

Her interest in his problem was by this time such that it scarce
left her freedom, and she kept close to the facts. I supposed


that at Woollett you wanted them--what shall I call it?-blameless.
I mean your young men for your pretty girls."

So did I!Strether confessed. "But you strike there a curious
fact--the fact that Woollett too accommodates itself to the spirit
of the age and the increasing mildness of manners. Everything
changesand I hold that our situation precisely marks a date. We
SHOULD prefer them blamelessbut we have to make the best of them
as we find them. Since the spirit of the age and the increasing
mildness send them so much more to Paris--"

You've to take them back as they come. When they DO come. Bon!
Once more she embraced it allbut she had a moment of thought.
Poor Chad!

Ah,said Strether cheerfully "Mamie will save him!"

She was looking awaystill in her visionand she spoke with
impatience and almost as if he hadn't understood her. "YOU'LL save
him. That's who'll save him."

Oh but with Mamie's aid. Unless indeed you mean,he addedthat
I shall effect so much more with yours!

It made her at last again look at him. "You'll do more--as you're
so much better--than all of us put together."

I think I'm only better since I've known YOU!Strether bravely
returned.

The depletion of the placethe shrinkage of the crowd and now
comparatively quiet withdrawal of its last elements had already
brought them nearer the door and put them in relation with a
messenger of whom he bespoke Miss Gostrey's cab. But this left
them a few minutes morewhich she was clearly in no mood not to
use. "You've spoken to me of what--by your success--Mr. Chad
stands to gain. But you've not spoken to me of what you do."

Oh I've nothing more to gain,said Strether very simply.

She took it as even quite too simple. "You mean you've got it all
'down'? You've been paid in advance?"

Ah don't talk about payment!he groaned.

Something in the tone of it pulled her upbut as their messenger
still delayed she had another chance and she put it in another
way. "What--by failure--do you stand to lose?"

He stillhoweverwouldn't have it. "Nothing!" he exclaimedand
on the messenger's at this instant reappearing he was able to sink
the subject in their responsive advance. Whena few steps up the
streetunder a lamphe had put her into her four-wheeler and she
had asked him if the man had called for him no second conveyance
he replied before the door was closed. "You won't take me with
you?"

Not for the world.

Then I shall walk.

In the rain?

I like the rain,said Strether. "Good-night!"


She kept him a momentwhile his hand was on the doorby not
answering; after which she answered by repeating her question.
What do you stand to lose?

Why the question now affected him as other he couldn't have said;
he could only this time meet it otherwise. "Everything."

So I thought. Then you shall succeed. And to that end I'm yours--

Ah, dear lady!he kindly breathed.

Till death!said Maria Gostrey. "Good-night."

Strether calledhis second morning in Parison the bankers of
the Rue Scribe to whom his letter of credit was addressedand he
made this visit attended by Waymarshin whose company he had
crossed from London two days before. They had hastened to the Rue
Scribe on the morrow of their arrivalbut Strether had not then
found the letters the hope of which prompted this errand. He had
had as yet none at all; hadn't expected them in Londonbut had
counted on several in Parisanddisconcerted nowhad presently
strolled back to the Boulevard with a sense of injury that he felt
himself taking for as good a start as any other. It would serve
this spur to his spirithe reflectedaspausing at the top of
the streethe looked up and down the great foreign avenueit
would serve to begin business with. His idea was to begin business
immediatelyand it did much for him the rest of his day that the
beginning of business awaited him. He did little else till night
but ask himself what he should do if he hadn't fortunately had so
much to do; but he put himself the question in many different
situations and connexions. What carried him hither and yon was an
admirable theory that nothing he could do wouldn't be in some
manner related to what he fundamentally had on handor WOULD be-should
he happen to have a scruple--wasted for it. He did happen
to have a scruple--a scruple about taking no definite step till he
should get letters; but this reasoning carried it off. A single
day to feel his feet--he had felt them as yet only at Chester and
in London--was he could considernone too much; and havingas he
had often privately expressed itParis to reckon withhe threw
these hours of freshness consciously into the reckoning. They made
it continually greaterbut that was what it had best be if it was
to be anything at alland he gave himself up till far into the
eveningat the theatre and on the returnafter the theatre
along the bright congested Boulevardto feeling it grow. Waymarsh
had accompanied him this time to the playand the two men had
walked togetheras a first stagefrom the Gymnase to the Cafe
Richeinto the crowded "terrace" of which establishment--the
nightor rather the morningfor midnight had struckbeing bland
and populous--they had wedged themselves for refreshment.
Waymarshas a result of some discussion with his friendhad made
a marked virtue of his having now let himself go; and there had
been elements of impression in their half-hour over their watered
beer-glasses that gave him his occasion for conveying that he held
this compromise with his stiffer self to have become extreme. He
conveyed it--for it was stillafter allhis stiffer self who
gloomed out of the glare of the terrace--in solemn silence; and
there was indeed a great deal of critical silenceevery way
between the companionseven till they gained the Place de l'Opera


as to the character of their nocturnal progress.

This morning there WERE letters--letters which had reached London
apparently all togetherthe day of Strether's journeyand had
taken their time to follow him; so thatafter a controlled
impulse to go into them in the reception-room of the bankwhich
reminding him of the post-office at Woollettaffected him as the
abutment of some transatlantic bridgehe slipped them into the
pocket of his loose grey overcoat with a sense of the felicity of
carrying them off. Waymarshwho had had letters yesterdayhad
had them again to-dayand Waymarsh suggested in this particular
no controlled impulses. The last one he was at all events likely
to be observed to struggle with was clearly that of bringing to a
premature close any visit to the Rue Scribe. Strether had left him
there yesterday; he wanted to see the papersand he had spentby
what his friend could make outa succession of hours with the
papers. He spoke of the establishmentwith emphasisas a post of
superior observation; just as he spoke generally of his actual
damnable doom as a device for hiding from him what was going on.
Europe was best describedto his mindas an elaborate engine for
dissociating the confined American from that indispensable
knowledgeand was accordingly only rendered bearable by these
occasional stations of relieftraps for the arrest of wandering
western airs. Stretheron his sideset himself to walk again--he
had his relief in his pocket; and indeedmuch as he had desired
his budgetthe growth of restlessness might have been marked in
him from the moment he had assured himself of the superscription
of most of the missives it contained. This restlessness became
therefore his temporary law; he knew he should recognise as soon
as see it the best place of all for settling down with his chief
correspondent. He had for the next hour an accidental air of
looking for it in the windows of shops; he came down the Rue de la
Paix in the sun andpassing across the Tuileries and the river
indulged more than once--as if on finding himself determined--in a
sudden pause before the book-stalls of the opposite quay. In the
garden of the Tuileries he had lingeredon two or three spotsto
look; it was as if the wonderful Paris spring had stayed him as he
roamed. The prompt Paris morning struck its cheerful notes--in a
soft breeze and a sprinkled smellin the light flitover the
garden-floorof bareheaded girls with the buckled strap of oblong
boxesin the type of ancient thrifty persons basking betimes
where terrace-walls were warmin the blue-frocked brass-labelled
officialism of humble rakers and scrapersin the deep references
of a straight-pacing priest or the sharp ones of a white-gaitered
red-legged soldier. He watched little brisk figuresfigures whose
movement was as the tick of the great Paris clocktake their
smooth diagonal from point to point; the air had a taste as of
something mixed with artsomething that presented nature as a
white-capped master-chef. The palace was goneStrether remembered
the palace; and when he gazed into the irremediable void of its
site the historic sense in him might have been freely at play--the
play under which in Paris indeed it so often winces like a touched
nerve. He filled out spaces with dim symbols of scenes; he caught
the gleam of white statues at the base of whichwith his letters
outhe could tilt back a straw-bottomed chair. But his drift was
for reasonsto the other sideand it floated him unspent up the
Rue de Seine and as far as the Luxembourg. In the Luxembourg
Gardens he pulled up; here at last he found his nookand hereon
a penny chair from which terracesalleysvistasfountains
little trees in green tubslittle women in white caps and shrill
little girls at play all sunnily "composed" togetherhe passed an
hour in which the cup of his impressions seemed truly to overflow.
But a week had elapsed since he quitted the shipand there were
more things in his mind than so few days could account for. More


than onceduring the timehe had regarded himself as admonished;
but the admonition this morning was formidably sharp. It took as
it hadn't done yet the form of a question--the question of what he
was doing with such an extraordinary sense of escape. This sense
was sharpest after he had read his lettersbut that was also
precisely why the question pressed. Four of the letters were from
Mrs. Newsome and none of them short; she had lost no timehad
followed on his heels while he movedso expressing herself that
he now could measure the probable frequency with which he should
hear. They would arriveit would seemher communicationsat the
rate of several a week; he should be able to countit might even
proveon more than one by each mail. If he had begun yesterday
with a small grievance he had therefore an opportunity to begin
to-day with its opposite. He read the letters successively and
slowlyputting others back into his pocket but keeping these for
a long time afterwards gathered in his lap. He held them there
lost in thoughtas if to prolong the presence of what they gave
him; or as if at the least to assure them their part in the
constitution of some lucidity. His friend wrote admirablyand her
tone was even more in her style than in her voice--he might
almostfor the hourhave had to come this distance to get its
full carrying quality; yet the plentitude of his consciousness of
difference consorted perfectly with the deepened intensity of the
connexion. It was the differencethe difference of being just
where he was and AS he wasthat formed the escape--this
difference was so much greater than he had dreamed it would be;
and what he finally sat there turning over was the strange logic
of his finding himself so free. He felt it in a manner his duty to
think out his stateto approve the processand when he came in
fact to trace the steps and add up the items they sufficiently
accounted for the sum. He had never expected--that was the truth
of it--again to find himself youngand all the years and other
things it had taken to make him so were exactly his present
arithmetic. He had to make sure of them to put his scruple to
rest.

It all sprang at bottom from the beauty of Mrs. Newsome's desire
that he should be worried with nothing that was not of the essence
of his task; by insisting that he should thoroughly intermit and
break she had so provided for his freedom that she wouldas it
werehave only herself to thank. Strether could not at this point
indeed have completed his thought by the image of what she might
have to thank herself FOR: the imageat bestof his own
likeness-poor Lambert Strether washed up on the sunny strand by
the waves of a single daypoor Lambert Strether thankful for
breathing-time and stiffening himself while he gasped. There he
wasand with nothing in his aspect or his posture to scandalise:
it was only true that if he had seen Mrs. Newsome coming he would
instinctively have jumped up to walk away a little. He would have
come round and back to her bravelybut he would have had first to
pull himself together. She abounded in news of the situation at
homeproved to him how perfectly she was arranging for his
absencetold him who would take up this and who take up that
exactly where he had left itgave him in fact chapter and verse
for the moral that nothing would suffer. It filled for himthis
tone of hersall the air; yet it struck him at the same time as
the hum of vain things. This latter effect was what he tried to
justify--and with the success thatgrave though the appearance
he at last lighted on a form that was happy. He arrived at it by
the inevitable recognition of his having been a fortnight before
one of the weariest of men. If ever a man had come off tired
Lambert Strether was that man; and hadn't it been distinctly on
the ground of his fatigue that his wonderful friend at home had so
felt for him and so contrived? It seemed to him somehow at these


instants thatcould he only maintain with sufficient firmness his
grasp of that truthit might become in a manner his compass and
his helm. What he wanted most was some idea that would simplify
and nothing would do this so much as the fact that he was done for
and finished. If it had been in such a light that he had just
detected in his cup the dregs of youththat was a mere flaw of
the surface of his scheme. He was so distinctly fagged-out that it
must serve precisely as his convenienceand if he could but
consistently be good for little enough he might do everything he
wanted.

Everything he wanted was comprised moreover in a single boon--the
common unattainable art of taking things as they came. He appeared
to himself to have given his best years to an active appreciation
of the way they didn't come; but perhaps--as they would seemingly
here be things quite other--this long ache might at last drop to
rest. He could easily see that from the moment he should accept
the notion of his foredoomed collapse the last thing he would lack
would be reasons and memories. Oh if he SHOULD do the sum no slate
would hold the figures! The fact that he had failedas he
consideredin everythingin each relation and in half a dozen
tradesas he liked luxuriously to put itmight have mademight
still makefor an empty present; but it stood solidly for a
crowded past. It had not beenso much achievement misseda light
yoke nor a short load.[sic] It was at present as if the backward
picture had hung therethe long crooked coursegrey in the
shadow of his solitude. It had been a dreadful cheerful sociable
solitudea solitude of life or choiceof community; but though
there had been people enough all round it there had been but three
or four persons IN it. Waymarsh was one of theseand the fact
struck him just now as marking the record. Mrs. Newsome was
anotherand Miss Gostrey had of a sudden shown signs of becoming
a third. Beyondbehind them was the pale figure of his real
youthwhich held against its breast the two presences paler than
itself--the young wife he had early lost and the young son he had
stupidly sacrificed. He had again and again made out for himself
that he might have kept his little boyhis little dull boy who
had died at school of rapid diphtheriaif he had not in those
years so insanely given himself to merely missing the mother. It
was the soreness of his remorse that the child had in all
likelihood not really been dull--had been dullas he had been
banished and neglectedmainly because the father had been
unwittingly selfish. This was doubtless but the secret habit of
sorrowwhich had slowly given way to time; yet there remained an
ache sharp enough to make the spiritat the sight now and again
of some fair young man just growing upwince with the thought of
an opportunity lost. Had ever a manhe had finally fallen into
the way of asking himselflost so much and even done so much for
so little? There had been particular reasons why all yesterday
beyond other dayshe should have had in one ear this cold
enquiry. His name on the green coverwhere he had put it for Mrs.
Newsomeexpressed him doubtless just enough to make the world-the
world as distinguishedboth for more and for lessfrom
Woollett--ask who he was. He had incurred the ridicule of having
to have his explanation explained. He was Lambert Strether because
he was on the coverwhereas it should have beenfor anything
like glorythat he was on the cover because he was Lambert
Strether. He would have done anything for Mrs. Newsomehave been
still more ridiculous--as he mightfor that matterhave occasion
to be yet; which came to saying that this acceptance of fate was
all he had to show at fifty-five.

He judged the quantity as small because it WAS smalland all the
more egregiously since it couldn'tas he saw the caseso much as


thinkably have been larger. He hadn't had the gift of making the
most of what he triedand if he had tried and tried again--no one
but himself knew how often--it appeared to have been that he might
demonstrate what elsein default of thatCOULD be made. Old
ghosts of experiments came back to himold drudgeries and
delusionsand disgustsold recoveries with their relapsesold
fevers with their chillsbroken moments of good faithothers of
still better doubt; adventuresfor the most partof the sort
qualified as lessons. The special spring that had constantly
played for him the day before was the recognition--frequent enough
to surprise him--of the promises to himself that he had after his
other visit never kept. The reminiscence to-day most quickened for
him was that of the vow taken in the course of the pilgrimage
thatnewly-marriedwith the War just overand helplessly young
in spite of ithe had recklessly made with the creature who was
so much younger still. It had been a bold dashfor which they had
taken money set apart for necessitiesbut kept sacred at the
moment in a hundred waysand in none more so than by this private
pledge of his own to treat the occasion as a relation formed with
the higher culture and see thatas they said at Woollettit
should bear a good harvest. He had believedsailing home again
that he had gained something greatand his theory--with an
elaborate innocent plan of readingdigestingcoming back even
every few years--had then been to preservecherish and extend it.
As such plans as these had come to nothinghoweverin respect to
acquisitions still more preciousit was doubtless little enough
of a marvel that he should have lost account of that handful of
seed. Buried for long years in dark corners at any rate these few
germs had sprouted again under forty-eight hours of Paris. The
process of yesterday had really been the process of feeling the
general stirred life of connexions long since individually
dropped. Strether had become acquainted even on this ground with
short gusts of speculation--sudden flights of fancy in Louvre
gallerieshungry gazes through clear plates behind which
lemon-coloured volumes were as fresh as fruit on the tree.

There were instants at which he could ask whethersince there had
been fundamentally so little question of his keeping anythingthe
fate after all decreed for him hadn't been only to BE kept. Kept
for somethingin that eventthat he didn't pretenddidn't
possibly dare as yet to divine; something that made him hover and
wonder and laugh and sighmade him advance and retreatfeeling
half ashamed of his impulse to plunge and more than half afraid of
his impulse to wait. He remembered for instance how he had gone
back in the sixties with lemon-coloured volumes in general on the
brain as well as with a dozen--selected for his wife too--in his
trunk; and nothing had at the moment shown more confidence than
this invocation of the finer taste. They were still somewhere at
homethe dozen--stale and soiled and never sent to the binder;
but what had become of the sharp initiation they represented? They
represented now the mere sallow paint on the door of the temple of
taste that he had dreamed of raising up--a structure he had
practically never carried further. Strether's present highest
flights were perhaps those in which this particular lapse figured
to him as a symbola symbol of his long grind and his want of odd
momentshis want moreover of moneyof opportunityof positive
dignity. That the memory of the vow of his youth shouldin order
to throb againhave had to wait for this lastas he felt itof
all his accidents--that was surely proof enough of how his
conscience had been encumbered. If any further proof were needed
it would have been to be found in the fact thatas he perfectly
now sawhe had ceased even to measure his meagrenessa
meagreness that sprawledin this retrospectvague and
comprehensivestretching back like some unmapped Hinterland from


a rough coast-settlement. His conscience had been amusing itself
for the forty-eight hours by forbidding him the purchase of a
book; he held off from thatheld off from everything; from the
moment he didn't yet call on Chad he wouldn't for the world have
taken any other step. On this evidencehoweverof the way they
actually affected him he glared at the lemon-coloured covers in
confession of the subconsciousness thatall the samein the
great desert of the yearshe must have had of them. The green
covers at home comprisedby the law of their purposeno tribute
to letters; it was of a mere rich kernel of economicspolitics
ethics thatglazed andas Mrs. Newsome maintained rather against
HIS viewpre-eminently pleasant to touchthey formed the
specious shell. Without therefore any needed instinctive knowledge
of what was coming outin Parison the bright highwayhe struck
himself at present as having more than once flushed with a
suspicion: he couldn't otherwise at present be feeling so many
fears confirmed. There were "movements" he was too late for:
weren't theywith the fun of themalready spent? There were
sequences he had missed and great gaps in the procession: he might
have been watching it all recede in a golden cloud of dust. If the
playhouse wasn't closed his seat had at least fallen to somebody
else. He had had an uneasy feeling the night before that if he was
at the theatre at all--though he indeed justified the theatrein
the specific senseand with a grotesqueness to which his
imagination did all honouras something he owed poor Waymarsh--he
should have been there withand as might have been saidFOR
Chad.

This suggested the question of whether he could properly have
taken him to such a playand what effect--it was a point that
suddenly rose--his peculiar responsibility might be held in
general to have on his choice of entertainment. It had literally
been present to him at the Gymnase--where one was held moreover
comparatively safe--that having his young friend at his side would
have been an odd feature of the work of redemption; and this quite
in spite of the fact that the picture presented might well
confronted with Chad's own private stagehave seemed the pattern
of propriety. He clearly hadn't come out in the name of propriety
but to visit unattended equivocal performances; yet still less had
he done so to undermine his authority by sharing them with the
graceless youth. Was he to renounce all amusement for the sweet
sake of that authority? and WOULD such renouncement give him for
Chad a moral glamour? The little problem bristled the more by
reason of poor Strether's fairly open sense of the irony of
things. Were there then sides on which his predicament threatened
to look rather droll to him? Should he have to pretend to believe-either
to himself or the wretched boy--that there was anything
that could make the latter worse? Wasn't some such pretence on the
other hand involved in the assumption of possible processes that
would make him better? His greatest uneasiness seemed to peep at
him out of the imminent impression that almost any acceptance of
Paris might give one's authority away. It hung before him this
morningthe vast bright Babylonlike some huge iridescent
objecta jewel brilliant and hardin which parts were not to be
discriminated nor differences comfortably marked. It twinkled and
trembled and melted togetherand what seemed all surface one
moment seemed all depth the next. It was a place of which
unmistakeablyChad was fond; wherefore if heStrethershould
like it too muchwhat on earthwith such a bondwould become of
either of them? It all depended of course--which was a gleam of
light--on how the "too much" was measured; though indeed our
friend fairly feltwhile he prolonged the meditation I describe
that for himself even already a certain measure had been reached.
It will have been sufficiently seen that he was not a man to


neglect any good chance for reflexion. Was it at all possible for
instance to like Paris enough without liking it too much? He
luckily however hadn't promised Mrs. Newsome not to like it at
all. He was ready to recognise at this stage that such an
engagement WOULD have tied his hands. The Luxembourg Gardens were
incontestably just so adorable at this hour by reason--in addition
to their intrinsic charm--of his not having taken it. The only
engagement he had takenwhen he looked the thing in the facewas
to do what he reasonably could.

It upset him a little none the less and after a while to find
himself at last remembering on what current of association he had
been floated so far. Old imaginations of the Latin Quarter had
played their part for himand he had duly recalled its having
been with this scene of rather ominous legend thatlike so many
young men in fiction as well as in factChad had begun. He was
now quite out of itwith his "home as Strether figured the
place, in the Boulevard Malesherbes; which was perhaps why,
repairing, not to fail of justice either, to the elder
neighbourhood, our friend had felt he could allow for the element
of the usual, the immemorial, without courting perturbation. He
was not at least in danger of seeing the youth and the particular
Person flaunt by together; and yet he was in the very air of
which--just to feel what the early natural note must have been--he
wished most to take counsel. It became at once vivid to him that
he had originally had, for a few days, an almost envious vision of
the boy's romantic privilege. Melancholy Murger, with Francine and
Musette and Rodolphe, at home, in the company of the tattered,
one--if he not in his single self two or three--of the unbound,
the paper-covered dozen on the shelf; and when Chad had written,
five years ago, after a sojourn then already prolonged to six
months, that he had decided to go in for economy and the real
thing, Strether's fancy had quite fondly accompanied him in this
migration, which was to convey him, as they somewhat confusedly
learned at Woollett, across the bridges and up the Montagne
Sainte-Genevieve. This was the region--Chad had been quite
distinct about it--in which the best French, and many other
things, were to be learned at least cost, and in which all sorts
of clever fellows, compatriots there for a purpose, formed an
awfully pleasant set. The clever fellows, the friendly countrymen
were mainly young painters, sculptors, architects, medical
students; but they were, Chad sagely opined, a much more
profitable lot to be with--even on the footing of not being quite
one of them--than the terrible toughs" (Strether remembered the
edifying discrimination) of the American bars and banks
roundabout the Opera. Chad had thrown outin the communications
following this one--for at that time he did once in a while
communicate--that several members of a band of earnest workers
under one of the great artists had taken him right inmaking him
dine every nightalmost for nothingat their placeand even
pressing him not to neglect the hypothesis of there being as much
in himas in any of them. There had been literally a moment at
which it appeared there might be something in him; there had been
at any rate a moment at which he had written that he didn't know
but what a month or two more might see him enrolled in some
atelier. The season had been one at which Mrs. Newsome was moved
to gratitude for small mercies; it had broken on them all as a
blessing that their absentee HAD perhaps a conscience--that he was
sated in fine with idlenesswas ambitious of variety. The
exhibition was doubtless as yet not brilliantbut Strether
himselfeven by that time much enlisted and immersedhad
determinedon the part of the two ladiesa temperate approval
and in factas he now recollecteda certain austere enthusiasm.


But the very next thing that happened had been a dark drop of the
curtain. The son and brother had not browsed long on the Montagne
Sainte-Genevieve--his effective little use of the name of which
like his allusion to the best Frenchappeared to have been but
one of the notes of his rough cunning. The light refreshment of
these vain appearances had not accordingly carried any of them
very far. On the other hand it had gained Chad time; it had given
him a chanceuncheckedto strike his rootshad paved the way
for initiations more direct and more deep. It was Strether's
belief that he had been comparatively innocent before this first
migrationand even that the first effects of the migration would
not have beenwithout some particular bad accidentto have been
deplored. There had been three months--he had sufficiently figured
it out--in which Chad had wanted to try. He HAD triedthough not
very hard--he had had his little hour of good faith. The weakness
of this principle in him was that almost any accident attestedly
bad enough was stronger. Such had at any rate markedly been the
case for the precipitation of a special series of impressions.
They had provedsuccessivelythese impressions--all of Musette
and Francinebut Musette and Francine vulgarised by the larger
evolution of the type--irresistibly sharp: he had "taken up by
what was at the time to be shrinkingly gathered, as it was scantly
mentioned, with one ferociously interested" little person after
another. Strether had read somewhere of a Latin mottoa
description of the hoursobserved on a clock by a traveller in
Spain; and he had been led to apply it in thought to Chad's number
onenumber twonumber three. Omnes vulnerantultima necat--they
had all morally woundedthe last had morally killed. The last had
been longest in possession--in possessionthat isof whatever
was left of the poor boy's finer mortality. And it hadn't been
sheit had been one of her early predecessorswho had determined
the second migrationthe expensive return and relapsethe
exchange againas was fairly to be presumedof the vaunted best
French for some special variety of the worst.

He pulled himself then at last together for his own progress back;
not with the feeling that he had taken his walk in vain. He
prolonged it a littlein the immediate neighbourhoodafter he
had quitted his chair; and the upshot of the whole morning for him
was that his campaign had begun. He had wanted to put himself in
relationand he would be hanged if he were NOT in relation. He
was that at no moment so much as whileunder the old arches of
the Odeonhe lingered before the charming open-air array of
literature classic and casual. He found the effect of tone and
tintin the long charged tables and shelvesdelicate and
appetising; the impression--substituting one kind of low-priced
consommation for another--might have been that of one of the
pleasant cafes that overlappedunder an awningto the pavement;
but he edged alonggrazing the tableswith his hands firmly
behind him. He wasn't there to dipto consume--he was there to
reconstruct. He wasn't there for his own profit--notthat isthe
direct; he was there on some chance of feeling the brush of the
wing of the stray spirit of youth. He felt it in facthe had it
beside him; the old arcade indeedas his inner sense listened
gave out the faint soundas from far offof the wild waving of
wings. They were folded now over the breasts of buried generations;
but a flutter or two lived again in the turned page of shock-headed
slouch-hatted loiterers whose young intensity of typein the direction
of pale acutenessdeepened his visionand even his appreciation
of racial differencesand whose manipulation of the uncut volume was
too oftenhoweverbut a listening at closed doors. He reconstructed
a possible groping Chad of three or four years beforea Chad who had
after allsimply--for that was the only way to see it--been too vulgar
for his privilege. Surely it WAS a privilege to have been young and


happy just there. Wellthe best thing Strether knew of him was that
he had had such a dream.

But his own actual business half an hour later was with a third
floor on the Boulevard Malesherbes--so much as that was definite;
and the fact of the enjoyment by the third-floor windows of a
continuous balconyto which he was helped by this knowledgehad
perhaps something to do with his lingering for five minutes on the
opposite side of the street. There were points as to which he had
quite made up his mindand one of these bore precisely on the
wisdom of the abruptness to which events had finally committed him
a policy that he was pleased to find not at all shaken as he now
looked at his watch and wondered. He HAD announced himself--six
months before; had written out at least that Chad wasn't to be
surprised should he see him some day turn up. Chad had thereupon
in a few words of rather carefully colourless answeroffered him a
general welcome; and Stretherruefully reflecting that he might
have understood the warning as a hint to hospitalitya bid for an
invitationhad fallen back upon silence as the corrective most to
his own taste. He had asked Mrs. Newsome moreover not to announce
him again; he had so distinct an opinion on his attacking his job
should he attack it at allin his own way. Not the least of this
lady's high merits for him was that he could absolutely rest on her
word. She was the only woman he had knowneven at Woollettas to
whom his conviction was positive that to lie was beyond her art.
Sarah Pocockfor instanceher own daughterthough with social
idealsas they saidin some respects different--Sarah who WASin
her wayaesthetichad never refused to human commerce that
mitigation of rigour; there were occasions when he had distinctly
seen her apply it. Sinceaccordinglyat all eventshe had had it
from Mrs. Newsome that she hadat whatever cost to her more
strenuous viewconformedin the matter of preparing Chadwholly
to his restrictionshe now looked up at the fine continuous
balcony with a safe sense that if the case had been bungled the
mistake was at least his property. Was there perhaps just a
suspicion of that in his present pause on the edge of the Boulevard
and well in the pleasant light?

Many things came over him hereand one of them was that he should
doubtless presently know whether he had been shallow or sharp.
Another was that the balcony in question didn't somehow show as a
convenience easy to surrender. Poor Strether had at this very
moment to recognise the truth that wherever one paused in Paris the
imagination reacted before one could stop it. This perpetual
reaction put a priceif one wouldon pauses; but it piled up
consequences till there was scarce room to pick one's steps among
them. What call had heat such a juncturefor exampleto like
Chad's very house? High broad clear--he was expert enough to make
out in a moment that it was admirably built--it fairly embarrassed
our friend by the quality thatas he would have saidit "sprang"
on him. He had struck off the fancy that it mightas a
preliminarybe of service to him to be seenby a happy accident
from the third-story windowswhich took all the March sunbut of
what service was it to find himself making out after a moment that
the quality "sprung the quality produced by measure and balance,
the fine relation of part to part and space to space, was probably-aided
by the presence of ornament as positive as it was discreet,
and by the complexion of the stone, a cold fair grey, warmed and
polished a little by life--neither more nor less than a case of
distinction, such a case as he could only feel unexpectedly as a
sort of delivered challenge? Meanwhile, however, the chance he had
allowed for--the chance of being seen in time from the balcony--had
become a fact. Two or three of the windows stood open to the violet
air; and, before Strether had cut the knot by crossing, a young man


had come out and looked about him, had lighted a cigarette and
tossed the match over, and then, resting on the rail, had given
himself up to watching the life below while he smoked. His arrival
contributed, in its order, to keeping Strether in position; the
result of which in turn was that Strether soon felt himself
noticed. The young man began to look at him as in acknowledgement
of his being himself in observation.

This was interesting so far as it went, but the interest was
affected by the young man's not being Chad. Strether wondered at
first if he were perhaps Chad altered, and then saw that this was
asking too much of alteration. The young man was light bright and
alert--with an air too pleasant to have been arrived at by
patching. Strether had conceived Chad as patched, but not beyond
recognition. He was in presence, he felt, of amendments enough as
they stood; it was a sufficient amendment that the gentleman up
there should be Chad's friend. He was young too then, the gentleman
up there--he was very young; young enough apparently to be amused
at an elderly watcher, to be curious even to see what the elderly
watcher would do on finding himself watched. There was youth in
that, there was youth in the surrender to the balcony, there was
youth for Strether at this moment in everything but his own
business; and Chad's thus pronounced association with youth had
given the next instant an extraordinary quick lift to the issue.
The balcony, the distinguished front, testified suddenly, for
Strether's fancy, to something that was up and up; they placed the
whole case materially, and as by an admirable image, on a level
that he found himself at the end of another moment rejoicing to
think he might reach. The young man looked at him still, he looked
at the young man; and the issue, by a rapid process, was that this
knowledge of a perched privacy appeared to him the last of
luxuries. To him too the perched privacy was open, and he saw it
now but in one light--that of the only domicile, the only fireside,
in the great ironic city, on which he had the shadow of a claim.
Miss Gostrey had a fireside; she had told him of it, and it was
something that doubtless awaited him; but Miss Gostrey hadn't yet
arrived--she mightn't arrive for days; and the sole attenuation of
his excluded state was his vision of the small, the admittedly
secondary hotel in the bye-street from the Rue de la Paix, in which
her solicitude for his purse had placed him, which affected him
somehow as all indoor chill, glass-roofed court and slippery
staircase, and which, by the same token, expressed the presence of
Waymarsh even at times when Waymarsh might have been certain to be
round at the bank. It came to pass before he moved that Waymarsh,
and Waymarsh alone, Waymarsh not only undiluted but positively
strengthened, struck him as the present alternative to the young
man in the balcony. When he did move it was fairly to escape that
alternative. Taking his way over the street at last and passing
through the porte-cochere of the house was like consciously leaving
Waymarsh out. However, he would tell him all about it.

Book Third

Strether told Waymarsh all about it that very evening, on their


dining together at the hotel; which needn't have happened, he was
all the while aware, hadn't he chosen to sacrifice to this occasion
a rarer opportunity. The mention to his companion of the sacrifice
was moreover exactly what introduced his recital--or, as he would
have called it with more confidence in his interlocutor, his
confession. His confession was that he had been captured and that
one of the features of the affair had just failed to be his
engaging himself on the spot to dinner. As by such a freedom
Waymarsh would have lost him he had obeyed his scruple; and he had
likewise obeyed another scruple--which bore on the question of his
himself bringing a guest.

Waymarsh looked gravely ardent, over the finished soup, at this
array of scruples; Strether hadn't yet got quite used to being so
unprepared for the consequences of the impression he produced. It
was comparatively easy to explain, however, that he hadn't felt
sure his guest would please. The person was a young man whose
acquaintance he had made but that afternoon in the course of rather
a hindered enquiry for another person--an enquiry his new friend
had just prevented in fact from being vain. Oh said Strether,
I've all sorts of things to tell you!"--and he put it in a way
that was a virtual hint to Waymarsh to help him to enjoy the
telling. He waited for his fishhe drank of his winehe wiped his
long moustachehe leaned back in his chairhe took in the two
English ladies who had just creaked past them and whom he would
even have articulately greeted if they hadn't rather chilled the
impulse; so that all he could do was--by way of doing something--to
say "MerciFrancois!" out quite loud when his fish was brought.
Everything was there that he wantedeverything that could make the
moment an occasionthat would do beautifully--everything but what
Waymarsh might give. The little waxed salle-a-manger was sallow and
sociable; Francoisdancing over itall smileswas a man and a
brother; the high-shouldered patronnewith her high-held
much-rubbed handsseemed always assenting exuberantly to something
unsaid; the Paris evening in short wasfor Stretherin the very
taste of the soupin the goodnessas he was innocently pleased to
think itof the winein the pleasant coarse texture of the napkin
and the crunch of the thick-crusted bread. These all were things
congruous with his confessionand his confession was that he HAD-it
would come out properly just there if Waymarsh would only take
it properly--agreed to breakfast outat twelve literallythe next
day. He didn't quite know where; the delicacy of the case came
straight up in the remembrance of his new friend's "We'll see; I'll
take you somewhere!"--for it had required little more than that
after allto let him right in. He was affected after a minute
face to face with his actual comradeby the impulse to overcolour.
There had already been things in respect to which he knew himself
tempted by this perversity. If Waymarsh thought them bad he should
at least have his reason for his discomfort; so Strether showed
them as worse. Stillhe was nowin his waysincerely perplexed.

Chad had been absent from the Boulevard Malesherbes--was absent
from Paris altogether; he had learned that from the conciergebut
had nevertheless gone upand gone up--there were no two ways about
it--from an uncontrollablea reallyif one woulddepraved
curiosity. The concierge had mentioned to him that a friend of the
tenant of the troisieme was for the time in possession; and this
had been Strether's pretext for a further enquiryan experiment
carried onunder Chad's roofwithout his knowledge. "I found his
friend in fact there keeping the place warmas he called itfor
him; Chad himself beingas appearsin the south. He went a month
ago to Cannes and though his return begins to be looked for it
can't be for some days. I mightyou seeperfectly have waited a
week; might have beaten a retreat as soon as I got this essential


knowledge. But I beat no retreat; I did the opposite; I stayedI
dawdledI trifled; above all I looked round. I sawin fine; and-I
don't know what to call it--I sniffed. It's a detailbut it's as
if there were something--something very good--TO sniff."

Waymarsh's face had shown his friend an attention apparently so
remote that the latter was slightly surprised to find it at this
point abreast with him. "Do you mean a smell? What of?"

A charming scent. But I don't know.

Waymarsh gave an inferential grunt. "Does he live there with a
woman?"

I don't know.

Waymarsh waited an instant for morethen resumed. "Has he taken
her off with him?"

And will he bring her back?--Strether fell into the enquiry. But
he wound it up as before. "I don't know."

The way he wound it upaccompanied as this was with another drop
backanother degustation of the Leovilleanother wipe of his
moustache and another good word for Francoisseemed to produce in
his companion a slight irritation. "Then what the devil DO you
know?"

Well,said Strether almost gailyI guess I don't know anything!
His gaiety might have been a tribute to the fact that the state he
had been reduced to did for him again what had been done by his talk
of the matter with Miss Gostrey at the London theatre. It was somehow
enlarging; and the air of that amplitude was now doubtless more or
less--and all for Waymarsh to feel--in his further response. "That's
what I found out from the young man."

But I thought you said you found out nothing.

Nothing but that--that I don't know anything.

And what good does that do you?

It's just,said Stretherwhat I've come to you to help me to
discover. I mean anything about anything over here. I FELT that, up
there. It regularly rose before me in its might. The young man
moreover--Chad's friend--as good as told me so.

As good as told you you know nothing about anything?Waymarsh
appeared to look at some one who might have as good as told HIM.
How old is he?

Well, I guess not thirty.

Yet you had to take that from him?

Oh I took a good deal more--since, as I tell you, I took an
invitation to dejeuner.

And are you GOING to that unholy meal?

If you'll come with me. He wants you too, you know. I told him
about you. He gave me his card,Strether pursuedand his name's
rather funny. It's John Little Bilham, and he says his two surnames
are, on account of his being small, inevitably used together.


Well,Waymarsh asked with due detachment from these details
what's he doing up there?

His account of himself is that he's 'only a little artist-man.'
That seemed to me perfectly to describe him. But he's yet in the
phase of study; this, you know, is the great art-school--to pass a
certain number of years in which he came over. And he's a great
friend of Chad's, and occupying Chad's rooms just now because
they're so pleasant. HE'S very pleasant and curious too,Strether
added--"though he's not from Boston."

Waymarsh looked already rather sick of him. "Where is he from?"

Strether thought. "I don't know thateither. But he's
'notoriously' as he put it himselfnot from Boston."

Well,Waymarsh moralised from dry depthsevery one can't
notoriously be from Boston. Why,he continuedis he curious?

Perhaps just for THAT--for one thing! But really,Strether added
for everything. When you meet him you'll see.

Oh I don't want to meet him,Waymarsh impatiently growled. "Why
don't he go home?"

Strether hesitated. "Wellbecause he likes it over here."

This appeared in particular more than Waymarsh could bear. "He
ought then to be ashamed of himselfandas you admit that you
think so toowhy drag him in?"

Strether's reply again took time. "Perhaps I do think so myself-though
I don't quite yet admit it. I'm not a bit sure--it's again
one of the things I want to find out. I liked himand CAN you like
people--? But no matter." He pulled himself up. "There's no doubt I
want you to come down on me and squash me."

Waymarsh helped himself to the next coursewhichhowever proving
not the dish he had just noted as supplied to the English ladies
had the effect of causing his imagination temporarily to wander.
But it presently broke out at a softer spot. "Have they got a
handsome place up there?"

Oh a charming place; full of beautiful and valuable things. I
never saw such a place--and Strether's thought went back to it.
For a little artist-man--!He could in fact scarce express it.

But his companionwho appeared now to have a viewinsisted.
Well?

Well, life can hold nothing better. Besides, they're things of
which he's in charge.

So that he does doorkeeper for your precious pair? Can life,
Waymarsh enquiredhold nothing better than THAT?Then as
Strethersilentseemed even yet to wonderDoesn't he know what
SHE is?he went on.

I don't know. I didn't ask him. I couldn't. It was impossible. You
wouldn't either. Besides I didn't want to. No more would you.
Strether in short explained it at a stroke. "You can't make out
over here what people do know."


Then what did you come over for?

Well, I suppose exactly to see for myself--without their aid.

Then what do you want mine for?

Oh,Strether laughedyou're not one of THEM! I do know what you
know.

Ashoweverthis last assertion caused Waymarsh again to look at
him hard--such being the latter's doubt of its implications--he
felt his justification lame. Which was still more the case when
Waymarsh presently said: "Look hereStrether. Quit this."

Our friend smiled with a doubt of his own. "Do you mean my tone?"

No--damn your tone. I mean your nosing round. Quit the whole job.
Let them stew in their juice. You're being used for a thing you
ain't fit for. People don't take a fine-tooth comb to groom a
horse.

Am I a fine-tooth comb?Strether laughed. "It's something I never
called myself!"

It's what you are, all the same. You ain't so young as you were,
but you've kept your teeth.

He acknowledged his friend's humour. "Take care I don't get them
into YOU! You'd like themmy friends at homeWaymarsh he
declared; you'd really particularly like them. And I know"--it was
slightly irrelevantbut he gave it sudden and singular force--"I
know they'd like you!"

Oh don't work them off on ME!Waymarsh groaned.

Yet Strether still lingered with his hands in his pockets. "It's
really quite as indispensable as I say that Chad should be got
back."

Indispensable to whom? To you?

Yes,Strether presently said.

Because if you get him you also get Mrs. Newsome?

Strether faced it. "Yes."

And if you don't get him you don't get her?

It might be mercilessbut he continued not to flinch. "I think it
might have some effect on our personal understanding. Chad's of
real importance--or can easily become so if he will--to the
business."

And the business is of real importance to his mother's husband?

Well, I naturally want what my future wife wants. And the thing
will be much better if we have our own man in it.

If you have your own man in it, in other words,Waymarsh said
you'll marry--you personally--more money. She's already rich, as I
understand you, but she'll be richer still if the business can be
made to boom on certain lines that you've laid down.


I haven't laid them down,Strether promptly returned. "Mr. Newsome
--who knew extraordinarily well what he was about--laid them down
ten years ago."

Oh wellWaymarsh seemed to indicate with a shake of his maneTHAT
didn't matter! "You're fierce for the boom anyway."

His friend weighed a moment in silence the justice of the charge.
I can scarcely be called fierce, I think, when I so freely take my
chance of the possibility, the danger, of being influenced in a
sense counter to Mrs. Newsome's own feelings.

Waymarsh gave this proposition a long hard look. "I see. You're
afraid yourself of being squared. But you're a humbug he added,
all the same.

Oh!Strether quickly protested.

Yes, you ask me for protection--which makes you very interesting;
and then you won't take it. You say you want to be squashed--

Ah but not so easily! Don't you see,Strether demanded "where my
interestas already shown youlies? It lies in my not being
squared. If I'm squared where's my marriage? If I miss my errand I
miss that; and if I miss that I miss everything--I'm nowhere."

Waymarsh--but all relentlessly--took this in. "What do I care where
you are if you're spoiled?"

Their eyes met on it an instant. "Thank you awfully Strether at
last said. But don't you think HER judgement of that--?"

Ought to content me? No.

It kept them again face to faceand the end of this was that
Strether again laughed. "You do her injustice. You really MUST know
her. Good-night."

He breakfasted with Mr. Bilham on the morrowandas
inconsequently befellwith Waymarsh massively of the party. The
latter announcedat the eleventh hour and much to his friend's
surprisethatdamn ithe would as soon join him as do anything
else; on which they proceeded togetherstrolling in a state of
detachment practically luxurious for them to the Boulevard
Malesherbesa couple engaged that day with the sharp spell of
Paris as confessedlyit might have been seenas any couple
among the daily thousands so compromised. They walkedwandered
wondered anda littlelost themselves; Strether hadn't had for
years so rich a consciousness of time--a bag of gold into which
he constantly dipped for a handful. It was present to him that
when the little business with Mr. Bilham should be over he would
still have shining hours to use absolutely as he liked. There was
no great pulse of haste yet in this process of saving Chad; nor
was that effect a bit more marked as he sathalf an hour later
with his legs under Chad's mahoganywith Mr. Bilham on one side
with a friend of Mr. Bilham's on the otherwith Waymarsh
stupendously oppositeand with the great hum of Paris coming up
in softnessvagueness-for Strether himself indeed already
positive sweetness--through the sunny windows toward whichthe
day beforehis curiosity had raised its wings from below. The
feeling strongest with him at that moment had borne fruit almost
faster than he could taste itand Strether literally felt at the
present hour that there was a precipitation in his fate. He had
known nothing and nobody as he stood in the street; but hadn't


his view now taken a bound in the direction of every one and of
every thing?

What's he up to, what's he up to?--something like that was at
the back of his head all the while in respect to little Bilham;
but meanwhiletill he should make outevery one and every thing
were as good as represented for him by the combination of his
host and the lady on his left. The lady on his leftthe lady
thus promptly and ingeniously invited to "meet" Mr. Strether and
Mr. Waymarsh--it was the way she herself expressed her case--was
a very marked persona person who had much to do with our
friend's asking himself if the occasion weren't in its essence
the most baitedthe most gilded of traps. Baited it could
properly be called when the repast was of so wise a savourand
gilded surrounding objects seemed inevitably to need to be when
Miss Barrace--which was the lady's name--looked at them with
convex Parisian eyes and through a glass with a remarkably long
tortoise-shell handle. Why Miss Barracemature meagre erect and
eminently gayhighly adornedperfectly familiarfreely
contradictions and reminding him of some last-century portrait of
a clever head without powder--why Miss Barrace should have been
in particular the note of a "trap" Strether couldn't on the spot
have explained; he blinked in the light of a conviction that he
should know later onand know well--as it came over himfor
that matterwith forcethat he should need to. He wondered what
he was to think exactly of either of his new friends; since the
young manChad's intimate and deputyhadin thus constituting
the scenepractised so much more subtly than he had been
prepared forand since in especial Miss Barracesurrounded
clearly by every considerationhadn't scrupled to figure as a
familiar object. It was interesting to him to feel that he was in
the presence of new measuresother standardsa different scale
of relationsand that evidently here were a happy pair who
didn't think of things at all as he and Waymarsh thought. Nothing
was less to have been calculated in the business than that it
should now be for him as if he and Waymarsh were comparatively
quite at one.

The latter was magnificent--this at least was an assurance
privately given him by Miss Barrace. "Oh your friend's a type
the grand old American--what shall one call it? The Hebrew
prophetEzekielJeremiahwho used when I was a little girl in
the Rue Montaigne to come to see my father and who was usually
the American Minister to the Tuileries or some other court. I
haven't seen one these ever so many years; the sight of it warms
my poor old chilled heart; this specimen is wonderful; in the
right quarteryou knowhe'll have a succes fou." Strether
hadn't failed to ask what the right quarter might bemuch as he
required his presence of mind to meet such a change in their
scheme. "Oh the artist-quarter and that kind of thing; HERE
alreadyfor instanceas you see." He had been on the point of
echoing "'Here'?--is THIS the artist-quarter?" but she had
already disposed of the question with a wave of all her tortoise-shell
and an easy "Bring him to ME!" He knew on the spot how little he
should be able to bring himfor the very air was by this time
to his sensethick and hot with poor Waymarsh's judgement of it.
He was in the trap still more than his companion andunlike
his companionnot making the best of it; which was precisely what
doubtless gave him his admirable sombre glow. Little did Miss Barrace
know that what was behind it was his grave estimate of her own laxity.
The general assumption with which our two friends had arrived had been
that of finding Mr. Bilham ready to conduct them to one or other of
those resorts of the earnestthe aesthetic fraternity which were shown
among the sights of Paris. In this character it would have justified


them in a proper insistence on discharging their score. Waymarsh's
only proviso at the last had been that nobody should pay for him;
but he found himselfas the occasion developedpaid for on a
scale as to which Strether privately made out that he already
nursed retribution. Strether was conscious across the table of
what worked in himconscious when they passed back to the small
salon to whichthe previous eveninghe himself had made so rich
a reference; conscious most of all as they stepped out to the
balcony in which one would have had to be an ogre not to
recognise the perfect place for easy aftertastes. These things
were enhanced for Miss Barrace by a succession of excellent
cigarettes--acknowledgedacclaimedas a part of the wonderful
supply left behind him by Chad--in an almost equal absorption of
which Strether found himself blindlyalmost wildly pushing
forward. He might perish by the sword as well as by famineand
he knew that his having abetted the lady by an excess that was
rare with him would count for little in the sum--as Waymarsh
might so easily add it up--of her licence. Waymarsh had smoked of
oldsmoked hugely; but Waymarsh did nothing nowand that gave
him his advantage over people who took things up lightly just
when others had laid them heavily down. Strether had never
smokedand he felt as if he flaunted at his friend that this had
been only because of a reason. The reasonit now began to appear
even to himselfwas that he had never had a lady to smoke with.

It was this lady's being there at allhoweverthat was the
strange free thing; perhapssince she WAS thereher smoking was
the least of her freedoms. If Strether had been sure at each
juncture of what--with Bilham in especial--she talked abouthe
might have traced others and winced at them and felt Waymarsh
wince; but he was in fact so often at sea that his sense of the
range of reference was merely general and that he on several
different occasions guessed and interpreted only to doubt. He
wondered what they meantbut there were things he scarce thought
they could be supposed to meanand "Oh no--not THAT!" was at the
end of most of his ventures. This was the very beginning with him
of a condition as to whichlater onit will be seenhe found
cause to pull himself up; and he was to remember the moment duly
as the first step in a process. The central fact of the place was
neither more nor lesswhen analysed--and a pressure superficial
sufficed--than the fundamental impropriety of Chad's situation
round about which they thus seemed cynically clustered.
Accordinglysince they took it for grantedthey took for
granted all that was in connexion with it taken for granted at
Woollett--matters as to whichverilyhe had been reduced with
Mrs. Newsome to the last intensity of silence. That was the
consequence of their being too bad to be talked aboutand was
the accompanimentby the same tokenof a deep conception of
their badness. It befell therefore that when poor Strether put it
to himself that their badness was ultimatelyor perhaps even
insolentlywhat such a scene as the one before him wasso to
speakbuilt uponhe could scarce shirk the dilemma of reading a
roundabout echo of them into almost anything that came up. This
he was well awarewas a dreadful necessity; but such was the
stern logiche could only gatherof a relation to the irregular
life.

It was the way the irregular life sat upon Bilham and Miss
Barrace that was the insidiousthe delicate marvel. He was eager
to concede that their relation to it was all indirectfor
anything else in him would have shown the grossness of bad
manners; but the indirectness was none the less consonant--THAT
was striking-with a grateful enjoyment of everything that was
Chad's. They spoke of him repeatedlyinvoking his good name and


good natureand the worst confusion of mind for Strether was
that all their mention of him was of a kind to do him honour.
They commended his munificence and approved his tasteand in
doing so sat downas it seemed to Stretherin the very soil out
of which these things flowered. Our friend's final predicament
was that he himself was sitting downfor the timeWITH them
and there was a supreme moment at whichcompared with his
collapseWaymarsh's erectness affected him as really high. One
thing was certain--he saw he must make up his mind. He must
approach Chadmust wait for himdeal with himmaster himbut
he mustn't dispossess himself of the faculty of seeing things as
they were. He must bring him to HIM--not go himselfas it were
so much of the way. He must at any rate be clearer as to what-should
he continue to do that for convenience--he was still
condoning. It was on the detail of this quantity--and what could
the fact be but mystifying?-that Bilham and Miss Barrace threw so
little light. So there they were.

When Miss Gostrey arrivedat the end of a weekshe made him a
sign; he went immediately to see herand it wasn't till then
that he could again close his grasp on the idea of a corrective.
This idea however was luckily all before him again from the
moment he crossed the threshold of the little entresol of the
Quartier Marboeuf into which she had gatheredas she said
picking them up in a thousand flights and funny little passionate
pouncesthe makings of a final nest. He recognised in an instant
that there reallythere onlyhe should find the boon with the
vision of which he had first mounted Chad's stairs. He might have
been a little scared at the picture of how much morein this
placehe should know himself "in" hadn't his friend been on the
spot to measure the amount to his appetite. Her compact and
crowded little chambersalmost duskyas they at first struck
himwith accumulationsrepresented a supreme general adjustment
to opportunities and conditions. Wherever he looked he saw an old
ivory or an old brocadeand he scarce knew where to sit for fear
of a misappliance. The life of the occupant struck him of a
sudden as more charged with possession even than Chad's or than
Miss Barrace's; wide as his glimpse had lately become of the
empire of "things what was before him still enlarged it; the
lust of the eyes and the pride of life had indeed thus their
temple. It was the innermost nook of the shrine--as brown as a
pirate's cave. In the brownness were glints of gold; patches of
purple were in the gloom; objects all that caught, through the
muslin, with their high rarity, the light of the low windows.
Nothing was clear about them but that they were precious, and
they brushed his ignorance with their contempt as a flower, in a
liberty taken with him, might have been whisked under his nose.
But after a full look at his hostess he knew none the less what
most concerned him. The circle in which they stood together was
warm with life, and every question between them would live there
as nowhere else. A question came up as soon as they had spoken,
for his answer, with a laugh, was quickly: Wellthey've got
hold of me!" Much of their talk on this first occasion was his
development of that truth. He was extraordinarily glad to see
herexpressing to her frankly what she most showed himthat one
might live for years without a blessing unsuspectedbut that to
know it at last for no more than three days was to need it or
miss it for ever. She was the blessing that had now become his
needand what could prove it better than that without her he had


lost himself?

What do you mean?she asked with an absence of alarm that
correcting him as if he had mistaken the "period" of one of her
piecesgave him afresh a sense of her easy movement through the
maze he had but begun to tread. "What in the name of all the
Pococks have you managed to do?"

Why exactly the wrong thing. I've made a frantic friend of
little Bilham.

Ah that sort of thing was of the essence of your case and to
have been allowed for from the first.And it was only after this
thatquite as a minor mattershe asked who in the world little
Bilham might be. When she learned that he was a friend of Chad's
and living for the time in Chad's rooms in Chad's absencequite
as if acting in Chad's spirit and serving Chad's causeshe
showedhowevermore interest. "Should you mind my seeing him?
Only onceyou know she added.

Oh the oftener the better: he's amusing--he's original."

He doesn't shock you?Miss Gostrey threw out.

Never in the world! We escape that with a perfection--! I feel
it to be largely, no doubt, because I don't half-understand him;
but our modus vivendi isn't spoiled even by that. You must dine
with me to meet him,Strether went on. "Then you'll see.'

Are you giving dinners?

Yes--there I am. That's what I mean.

All her kindness wondered. "That you're spending too much money?"

Dear no--they seem to cost so little. But that I do it to THEM.
I ought to hold off.

She thought again--she laughed. "The money you must be spending
to think it cheap! But I must be out of it--to the naked eye."

He looked for a moment as if she were really failing him. "Then
you won't meet them?" It was almost as if she had developed an
unexpected personal prudence.

She hesitated. "Who are they--first?"

Why little Bilham to begin with.He kept back for the moment
Miss Barrace. "And Chad--when he comes--you must absolutely see."

When then does he come?

When Bilham has had time to write him, and hear from him about
me. Bilham, however,he pursuedwill report favourably-favourably
for Chad. That will make him not afraid to come. I
want you the more therefore, you see, for my bluff.

Oh you'll do yourself for your bluff.She was perfectly easy.
At the rate you've gone I'm quiet.

Ah but I haven't,said Strethermade one protest.

She turned it over. "Haven't you been seeing what there's to
protest about?"


He let herwith thishowever ruefullyhave the whole truth. "I
haven't yet found a single thing."

Isn't there any one WITH him then?

Of the sort I came out about?Strether took a moment. "How do I
know? And what do I care?"

Oh oh!--and her laughter spread. He was struck in fact by the
effect on her of his joke. He saw now how he meant it as a joke.
SHE sawhoweverstill other thingsthough in an instant she
had hidden them. "You've got at no facts at all?"

He tried to muster them. "Wellhe has a lovely home."

Ah that, in Paris,she quickly returnedproves nothing. That
is rather it DISproves nothing. They may very well, you see, the
people your mission is concerned with, have done it FOR him.

Exactly. And it was on the scene of their doings then that
Waymarsh and I sat guzzling.

Oh if you forbore to guzzle here on scenes of doings,she
repliedyou might easily die of starvation.With which she
smiled at him. "You've worse before you."

Ah I've EVERYTHING before me. But on our hypothesis, you know,
they must be wonderful.

They ARE!said Miss Gostrey. "You're not thereforeyou see
she added, wholly without facts. They've BEENin effect
wonderful."

To have got at something comparatively definite appeared at last a
little to help--a wave by which moreoverthe next moment
recollection was washed. "My young man does admit furthermore that
they're our friend's great interest."

Is that the expression he uses?

Strether more exactly recalled. "No--not quite."

Something more vivid? Less?

He had bentwith neared glassesover a group of articles on a
small stand; and at this he came up. "It was a mere allusionbut
on the lookout as I wasit struck me. 'Awfulyou knowas Chad
is'--those were Bilham's words."

'Awful, you know'--? Oh!--and Miss Gostrey turned them over. She
seemedhoweversatisfied. "Wellwhat more do you want?"

He glanced once more at a bibelot or twoand everything sent him
back. "But it is all the same as if they wished to let me have it
between the eyes."

She wondered. "Quoi donc?"

Why what I speak of. The amenity. They can stun you with that as
well as with anything else.

Oh,she answeredyou'll come round! I must see them each,she
went onfor myself. I mean Mr. Bilham and Mr. Newsome--Mr.


Bilham naturally first. Once only--once for each; that will do.
But face to face--for half an hour. What's Mr. Chad,she
immediately pursueddoing at Cannes? Decent men don't go to
Cannes with the--well, with the kind of ladies you mean.

Don't they?Strether asked with an interest in decent men that
amused her.

No, elsewhere, but not to Cannes. Cannes is different. Cannes is
better. Cannes is best. I mean it's all people you know--when you
do know them. And if HE does, why that's different too. He must
have gone alone. She can't be with him.

I haven't,Strether confessed in his weaknessthe least
idea.There seemed much in what she saidbut he was able after a
little to help her to a nearer impression. The meeting with little
Bilham took placeby easy arrangementin the great gallery of
the Louvre; and whenstanding with his fellow visitor before one
of the splendid Titians--the overwhelming portrait of the young
man with the strangely-shaped glove and the blue-grey eyes--he
turned to see the third member of their party advance from the end
of the waxed and gilded vistahe had a sense of having at last
taken hold. He had agreed with Miss Gostrey--it dated even from
Chester--for a morning at the Louvreand he had embraced
independently the same idea as thrown out by little Bilhamwhom
he had already accompanied to the museum of the Luxembourg. The
fusion of these schemes presented no difficultyand it was to
strike him again that in little Bilham's company contrarieties in
general dropped.

Oh he's all right--he's one of US!Miss Gostreyafter the first
exchangesoon found a chance to murmur to her companion; and
Stretheras they proceeded and paused and while a quick unanimity
between the two appeared to have phrased itself in half a dozen
remarks--Strether knew that he knew almost immediately what she
meantand took it as still another sign that he had got his job
in hand. This was the more grateful to him that he could think of
the intelligence now serving him as an acquisition positively new.
He wouldn't have known even the day before what she meant--that
is if she meantwhat he assumedthat they were intense Americans
together. He had just worked round--and with a sharper turn of the
screw than any yet--to the conception of an American intense as
little Bilham was intense. The young man was his first specimen;
the specimen had profoundly perplexed him; at present however
there was light. It was by little Bilham's amazing serenity that
he had at first been affectedbut he had inevitablyin his
circumspectionfelt it as the trail of the serpentthe
corruptionas he might conveniently have saidof Europe; whereas
the promptness with which it came up for Miss Gostrey but as a
special little form of the oldest thing they knew justified it at
once to his own vision as well. He wanted to be able to like his
specimen with a clear good conscienceand this fully permitted
it. What had muddled him was precisely the small artist-man's way
--it was so complete--of being more American than anybody. But it
now for the time put Strether vastly at his ease to have this view
of a new way.

The amiable youth then looked outas it had first struck
Stretherat a world in respect to which he hadn't a prejudice.
The one our friend most instantly missed was the usual one in
favour of an occupation accepted. Little Bilham had an occupation
but it was only an occupation declined; and it was by his general
exemption from alarmanxiety or remorse on this score that the
impression of his serenity was made. He had come out to Paris to


paint--to fathomthat isat largethat mystery; but study had
been fatal to him so far as anything COULD be fataland his
productive power faltered in proportion as his knowledge grew.
Strether had gathered from him that at the moment of his finding
him in Chad's rooms he hadn't saved from his shipwreck a scrap of
anything but his beautiful intelligence and his confirmed habit of
Paris. He referred to these things with an equal fond familiarity
and it was sufficiently clear thatas an outfitthey still
served him. They were charming to Strether through the hour spent
at the Louvrewhere indeed they figured for him as an unseparated
part of the charged iridescent airthe glamour of the namethe
splendour of the spacethe colour of the masters. Yet they were
present too wherever the young man ledand the day after the
visit to the Louvre they hungin a different walkabout the
steps of our party. He had invited his companions to cross the
river with himoffering to show them his own poor place; and his
own poor placewhich was very poorgave to his idiosyncrasies
for Strether--the small sublime indifference and independences
that had struck the latter as fresh--an odd and engaging dignity.
He lived at the end of an alley that went out of an old short
cobbled streeta street that went in turn out of a new long
smooth avenue--street and avenue and alley havinghoweverin
common a sort of social shabbiness; and he introduced them to the
rather cold and blank little studio which he had lent to a comrade
for the term of his elegant absence. The comrade was another
ingenuous compatriotto whom he had wired that tea was to await
them "regardless and this reckless repast, and the second
ingenuous compatriot, and the faraway makeshift life, with its
jokes and its gaps, its delicate daubs and its three or four
chairs, its overflow of taste and conviction and its lack of
nearly all else--these things wove round the occasion a spell to
which our hero unreservedly surrendered.

He liked the ingenuous compatriots--for two or three others soon
gathered; he liked the delicate daubs and the free
discriminations--involving references indeed, involving
enthusiasms and execrations that made him, as they said, sit up;
he liked above all the legend of good-humoured poverty, of mutual
accommodation fairly raised to the romantic, that he soon read
into the scene. The ingenuous compatriots showed a candour, he
thought, surpassing even the candour of Woollett; they were
red-haired and long-legged, they were quaint and queer and dear
and droll; they made the place resound with the vernacular, which
he had never known so marked as when figuring for the chosen
language, he must suppose, of contemporary art. They twanged with
a vengeance the aesthetic lyre--they drew from it wonderful airs.
This aspect of their life had an admirable innocence; and he
looked on occasion at Maria Gostrey to see to what extent that
element reached her. She gave him however for the hour, as she had
given him the previous day, no further sign than to show how she
dealt with boys; meeting them with the air of old Parisian
practice that she had for every one, for everything, in turn.
Wonderful about the delicate daubs, masterful about the way to
make tea, trustful about the legs of chairs and familiarly
reminiscent of those, in the other time, the named, the numbered
or the caricatured, who had flourished or failed, disappeared or
arrived, she had accepted with the best grace her second course of
little Bilham, and had said to Strether, the previous afternoon on
his leaving them, that, since her impression was to be renewed,
she would reserve judgement till after the new evidence.

The new evidence was to come, as it proved, in a day or two. He
soon had from Maria a message to the effect that an excellent box at
the Francais had been lent her for the following night; it seeming


on such occasions not the least of her merits that she was subject
to such approaches. The sense of how she was always paying for
something in advance was equalled on Strether's part only by the
sense of how she was always being paid; all of which made for his
consciousness, in the larger air, of a lively bustling traffic,
the exchange of such values as were not for him to handle. She
hated, he knew, at the French play, anything but a box--just as
she hated at the English anything but a stall; and a box was what
he was already in this phase girding himself to press upon her.
But she had for that matter her community with little Bilham: she
too always, on the great issues, showed as having known in time.
It made her constantly beforehand with him and gave him mainly the
chance to ask himself how on the day of their settlement their
account would stand. He endeavoured even now to keep it a little
straight by arranging that if he accepted her invitation she
should dine with him first; but the upshot of this scruple was
that at eight o'clock on the morrow he awaited her with Waymarsh
under the pillared portico. She hadn't dined with him, and it was
characteristic of their relation that she had made him embrace her
refusal without in the least understanding it. She ever caused her
rearrangements to affect him as her tenderest touches. It was on
that principle for instance that, giving him the opportunity to be
amiable again to little Bilham, she had suggested his offering the
young man a seat in their box. Strether had dispatched for this
purpose a small blue missive to the Boulevard Malesherbes, but up
to the moment of their passing into the theatre he had received no
response to his message. He held, however, even after they had
been for some time conveniently seated, that their friend, who
knew his way about, would come in at his own right moment. His
temporary absence moreover seemed, as never yet, to make the right
moment for Miss Gostrey. Strether had been waiting till tonight to
get back from her in some mirrored form her impressions and
conclusions. She had elected, as they said, to see little Bilham
once; but now she had seen him twice and had nevertheless not said
more than a word.

Waymarsh meanwhile sat opposite him with their hostess between;
and Miss Gostrey spoke of herself as an instructor of youth
introducing her little charges to a work that was one of the
glories of literature. The glory was happily unobjectionable, and
the little charges were candid; for herself she had travelled that
road and she merely waited on their innocence. But she referred in
due time to their absent friend, whom it was clear they should
have to give up. He either won't have got your note she said,
or you won't have got his: he has had some kind of hindrance
andof coursefor that matteryou knowa man never writes
about coming to a box." She spoke as ifwith her lookit might
have been Waymarsh who had written to the youthand the latter's
face showed a mixture of austerity and anguish. She went on
however as if to meet this. "He's far and awayyou knowthe best
of them."

The best of whom, ma'am?

Why of all the long procession--the boys, the girls, or the old
men and old women as they sometimes really are; the hope, as one
may say, of our country. They've all passed, year after year; but
there has been no one in particular I've ever wanted to stop. I
feel--don't YOU?--that I want to stop little Bilham; he's so
exactly right as he is.She continued to talk to Waymarsh. "He's
too delightful. If he'll only not spoil it! But they always WILL;
they always do; they always have."

I don't think Waymarsh knows,Strether said after a moment


quite what it's open to Bilham to spoil.

It can't be a good American,Waymarsh lucidly enough replied;
for it didn't strike me the young man had developed much in THAT
shape.

Ah,Miss Gostrey sighedthe name of the good American is as
easily given as taken away! What IS it, to begin with, to BE one,
and what's the extraordinary hurry? Surely nothing that's so
pressing was ever so little defined. It's such an order, really,
that before we cook you the dish we must at least have your
receipt. Besides the poor chicks have time! What I've seen so
often spoiled,she pursuedis the happy attitude itself, the
state of faith and--what shall I call it?--the sense of beauty.
You're right about him--she now took in Strether; "little Bilham
has them to a charmwe must keep little Bilham along." Then she
was all again for Waymarsh. "The others have all wanted so
dreadfully to do somethingand they've gone and done it in too
many cases indeed. It leaves them never the same afterwards; the
charm's always somehow broken. Now HEI thinkyou knowreally
won't. He won't do the least dreadful little thing. We shall
continue to enjoy him just as he is. No--he's quite beautiful. He
sees everything. He isn't a bit ashamed. He has every scrap of
the courage of it that one could ask. Only think what he MIGHT do.
One wants really--for fear of some accident--to keep him in view.
At this very moment perhaps what mayn't he be up to? I've had my
disappointments--the poor things are never really safe; or only at
least when you have them under your eye. One can never completely
trust them. One's uneasyand I think that's why I most miss him
now."

She had wound up with a laugh of enjoyment over her embroidery of
her idea--an enjoyment that her face communicated to Stretherwho
almost wished none the less at this moment that she would let poor
Waymarsh alone. HE knew more or less what she meant; but the fact
wasn't a reason for her not pretending to Waymarsh that he
didn't. It was craven of him perhapsbut he wouldfor the high
amenity of the occasionhave liked Waymarsh not to be so sure of
his wit. Her recognition of it gave him away andbefore she had
done with him or with that articlewould give him worse. What was
heall the sameto do? He looked across the box at his friend;
their eyes met; something queer and stiffsomething that bore on
the situation but that it was better not to touchpassed in
silence between them. Wellthe effect of it for Strether was an
abrupt reactiona final impatience of his own tendency to
temporise. Where was that taking him anyway? It was one of the
quiet instants that sometimes settle more matters than the
outbreaks dear to the historic muse. The only qualification of the
quietness was the synthetic "Oh hang it!" into which Strether's
share of the silence soundlessly flowered. It representedthis
mute ejaculationa final impulse to burn his ships. These ships
to the historic musemay seem of course mere cocklesbut when he
presently spoke to Miss Gostrey it was with the sense at least of
applying the torch. "Is it then a conspiracy?"

Between the two young men? Well, I don't pretend to be a seer or
a prophetess,she presently replied; "but if I'm simply a woman
of sense he's working for you to-night. I don't quite know how-but
it's in my bones." And she looked at him at last as iflittle
material as she yet gave himhe'd really understand. "For an
opinion THAT'S my opinion. He makes you out too well not to."

Not to work for me to-night?Strether wondered. "Then I hope he
isn't doing anything very bad."


They've got you,she portentously answered.

Do you mean he IS--?

They've got you,she merely repeated. Though she disclaimed the
prophetic vision she was at this instant the nearest approach he
had ever met to the priestess of the oracle. The light was in her
eyes. "You must face it now."

He faced it on the spot. "They HAD arranged--?"

Every move in the game. And they've been arranging ever since. He
has had every day his little telegram from Cannes.

It made Strether open his eyes. "Do you KNOW that?"

I do better. I see it. This was, before I met him, what I
wondered whether I WAS to see. But as soon as I met him I ceased
to wonder, and our second meeting made me sure. I took him all in.
He was acting--he is still--on his daily instructions.

So that Chad has done the whole thing?

Oh no--not the whole. WE'VE done some of it. You and I and
'Europe.'

Europe--yes,Strether mused.

Dear old Paris,she seemed to explain. But there was moreand
with one of her turnsshe risked it. "And dear old Waymarsh.
You she declared, have been a good bit of it."

He sat massive. "A good bit of whatma'am?"

Why of the wonderful consciousness of our friend here. You've
helped too in your way to float him to where he is.

And where the devil IS he?

She passed it on with a laugh. "Where the devilStretherare
you?"

He spoke as if he had just been thinking it out. "Wellquite
already in Chad's handsit would seem." And he had had with this
another thought. "Will that be--just all through Bilham--the way
he's going to work it? It would befor himyou knowan idea.
And Chad with an idea--!"

Well?she asked while the image held him.

Well, is Chad--what shall I say?--monstrous?

Oh as much as you like! But the idea you speak of,she said
won't have been his best. He'll have a better. It won't be all
through little Bilham that he'll work it.

This already sounded almost like a hope destroyed. "Through whom
else then?"

That's what we shall see!But quite as she spoke she turnedand
Strether turned; for the door of the box had openedwith the
click of the ouvreusefrom the lobbyand a gentlemana stranger
to themhad come in with a quick step. The door closed behind


himandthough their faces showed him his mistakehis air
which was strikingwas all good confidence. The curtain had just
again arisenandin the hush of the general attention
Strether's challenge was tacitas was also the greetingwith a
quickly deprecating hand and smileof the unannounced visitor. He
discreetly signed that he would waitwould standand these
things and his faceone look from which she had caughthad
suddenly worked for Miss Gostrey. She fitted to them all an answer
for Strether's last question. The solid stranger was simply the
answer--as she nowturning to her friendindicated. She brought
it straight out for him--it presented the intruder. "Whythrough
this gentleman!" The gentleman indeedat the same timethough
sounding for Strether a very short namedid practically as much
to explain. Strether gasped the name back--then only had he seen
Miss Gostrey had said more than she knew. They were in presence of
Chad himself.

Our friend was to go over it afterwards again and again--he was
going over it much of the time that they were togetherand they
were together constantly for three or four days: the note had been
so strongly struck during that first half-hour that everything
happening since was comparatively a minor development. The fact
was that his perception of the young man's identity--so absolutely
checked for a minute--had been quite one of the sensations that
count in life; he certainly had never known one that had actedas
he might have saidwith more of a crowded rush. And the rush
though both vague and multitudinoushad lasted a long time
protectedas it wereyet at the same time aggravatedby the
circumstance of its coinciding with a stretch of decorous silence.
They couldn't talk without disturbing the spectators in the part
of the balcony just below them; and itfor that mattercame to
Strether--being a thing of the sort that did come to him--that
these were the accidents of a high civilisation; the imposed
tribute to proprietythe frequent exposure to conditionsusually
brilliantin which relief has to await its time. Relief was never
quite near at hand for kingsqueenscomedians and other such
peopleand though you might be yourself not exactly one of those
you could yetin leading the life of high pressureguess a
little how they sometimes felt. It was truly the life of high
pressure that Strether had seemed to feel himself lead while he
sat thereclose to Chadduring the long tension of the act. He
was in presence of a fact that occupied his whole mindthat
occupied for the half-hour his senses themselves all together; but
he couldn't without inconvenience show anything--which moreover
might count really as luck. What he might have shownhad he shown
at allwas exactly the kind of emotion--the emotion of
bewilderment--that he had proposed to himself from the first
whatever should occurto show least. The phenomenon that had
suddenly sat down there with him was a phenomenon of change so
complete that his imaginationwhich had worked so beforehand
felt itselfin the connexionwithout margin or allowance. It had
faced every contingency but that Chad should not BE Chadand this
was what it now had to face with a mere strained smile and an
uncomfortable flush.

He asked himself ifby any chancebefore he should have in some
way to commit himselfhe might feel his mind settled to the new
visionmight habituate itso to speakto the remarkable truth.
But oh it was too remarkablethe truth; for what could be more
remarkable than this sharp rupture of an identity? You could deal
with a man as himself--you couldn't deal with him as somebody
else. It was a small source of peace moreover to be reduced to
wondering how little he might know in such an event what a sum he
was setting you. He couldn't absolutely not knowfor you couldn't


absolutely not let him. It was a CASE then simplya strong
caseas people nowadays called such things' a case of
transformation unsurpassedand the hope was but in the general
law that strong cases were liable to control from without. Perhaps
heStrether himselfwas the only person after all aware of it.
Even Miss Gostreywith all her sciencewouldn't bewould she?
--and he had never seen any one less aware of anything than
Waymarsh as he glowered at Chad. The social sightlessness of his
old friend's survey marked for him afreshand almost in an
humiliating waythe inevitable limits of direct aid from this
source. He was not certainhoweverof not drawing a shade of
compensation from the privilegeas yet untastedof knowing more
about something in particular than Miss Gostrey did. His situation
too was a casefor that matterand he was now so interested
quite so privately agogabout itthat he had already an eye to
the fun it would be to open up to her afterwards. He derived
during his half-hour no assistance from herand just this fact of
her not meeting his eyes played a littleit must be confessed
into his predicament.

He had introduced Chadin the first minutesunder his breath
and there was never the primness in her of the person
unacquainted; but she had none the less betrayed at first no
vision but of the stagewhere she occasionally found a pretext
for an appreciative moment that she invited Waymarsh to share. The
latter's faculty of participation had never hadall roundsuch
an assault to meet; the pressure on him being the sharper for this
chosen attitude in heras Strether judged itof isolatingfor
their natural intercourseChad and himself. This intercourse was
meanwhile restricted to a frank friendly look from the young man
something markedly like a smilebut falling far short of a grin
and to the vivacity of Strether's private speculation as to
whether HE carried himself like a fool. He didn't quite see how
he could so feel as one without somehow showing as one. The worst
of that question moreover was that he knew it as a symptom the
sense of which annoyed him. "If I'm going to be odiously conscious
of how I may strike the fellow he reflected, it was so little
what I came out for that I may as well stop before I begin." This
sage consideration toodistinctlyseemed to leave untouched the
fact that he WAS going to be conscious. He was conscious of
everything but of what would have served him.

He was to know afterwardsin the watches of the nightthat
nothing would have been more open to him than after a minute or
two to propose to Chad to seek with him the refuge of the lobby.
He hadn't only not proposed itbut had lacked even the presence
of mind to see it as possible. He had stuck there like a schoolboy
wishing not to miss a minute of the show; though for that portion
of the show then presented he hadn't had an instant's real
attention. He couldn't when the curtain fell have given the
slightest account of what had happened. He had thereforefurther
not at that moment acknowledged the amenity added by this
acceptance of his awkwardness to Chad's general patience. Hadn't
he none the less known at the very time--known it stupidly and
without reaction--that the boy was accepting something? He was
modestly benevolentthe boy--that was at least what he had been
capable of the superiority of making out his chance to be; and one
had one's self literally not had the gumption to get in ahead of
him. If we should go into all that occupied our friend in the
watches of the night we should have to mend our pen; but an
instance or two may mark for us the vividness with which he could
remember. He remembered the two absurdities thatif his presence
of mind HAD failedwere the things that had had most to do with
it. He had never in his life seen a young man come into a box at


ten o'clock at nightand wouldif challenged on the question in
advancehave scarce been ready to pronounce as to different ways
of doing so. But it was in spite of this definite to him that Chad
had had a way that was wonderful: a fact carrying with it an
implication thatas one might imagine ithe knewhe had
learnedhow.

Here already then were abounding results; he had on the spot and
without the least trouble of intention taught Strether that even
in so small a thing as that there were different ways. He had
done in the same line still more than this; had by a mere shake or
two of the head made his old friend observe that the change in him
was perhaps more than anything elsefor the eyea matter of the
marked streaks of greyextraordinary at his agein his thick
black hair; as well as that this new feature was curiously
becoming to himdid something for himas characterisationalso
even--of all things in the world--as refinementthat had been a
good deal wanted. Strether felthoweverhe would have had to
confessthat it wouldn't have been easy just nowon this and
other countsin the presence of what had been suppliedto be
quite clear as to what had been missed. A reflexion a candid
critic might have made of oldfor instancewas that it would
have been happier for the son to look more like the mother; but
this was a reflexion that at present would never occur. The ground
had quite fallen away from ityet no resemblance whatever to the
mother had supervened. It would have been hard for a young man's
face and air to disconnect themselves more completely than Chad's
at this juncture from any discernedfrom any imaginable aspect of
a New England female parent. That of course was no more than had
been on the cards; but it produced in Strether none the less one
of those frequent phenomena of mental reference with which all
judgement in him was actually beset.

Again and again as the days passed he had had a sense of the
pertinence of communicating quickly with Woollett--communicating
with a quickness with which telegraphy alone would rhyme; the
fruit really of a fine fancy in him for keeping things straight
for the happy forestalment of error. No one could explain better
when needfulnor put more conscience into an account or a report;
which burden of conscience is perhaps exactly the reason why his
heart always sank when the clouds of explanation gathered. His
highest ingenuity was in keeping the sky of life clear of them.
Whether or no he had a grand idea of the lucidhe held that nothing
ever was in fact--for any one else--explained. One went through
the vain motionsbut it was mostly a waste of life. A personal
relation was a relation only so long as people either perfectly
understood orbetter stilldidn't care if they didn't. From
the moment they cared if they didn't it was living by the sweat
of one's brow; and the sweat of one's brow was just what one
might buy one's self off from by keeping the ground free of the
wild weed of delusion. It easily grew too fastand the Atlantic
cable now alone could race with it. That agency would each day
have testified for him to something that was not what Woollett had
argued. He was not at this moment absolutely sure that the effect
of the morrow's--or rather of the night's--appreciation of the
crisis wouldn't be to determine some brief missive. "Have at last
seen himbut oh dear!"--some temporary relief of that sort seemed
to hover before him. It hovered somehow as preparing them all--yet
preparing them for what? If he might do so more luminously and
cheaply he would tick out in four words: "Awfully old--grey hair."
To this particular item in Chad's appearance he constantlyduring
their mute half-hourreverted; as if so very much more than he
could have said had been involved in it. The most he could have
said would have been: "If he's going to make me feel young--!"


which indeedhowevercarried with it quite enough. If Strether
was to feel youngthat isit would be because Chad was to feel
old; and an aged and hoary sinner had been no part of the scheme.

The question of Chadwick's true time of life wasdoubtlesswhat
came up quickest after the adjournment of the twowhen the play
was overto a cafe in the Avenue de l'Opera. Miss Gostrey had in
due course been perfect for such a step; she had known exactly
what they wanted--to go straight somewhere and talk; and Strether
had even felt she had known what he wished to say and that he was
arranging immediately to begin. She hadn't pretended thisas she
HAD pretended on the other handto have divined Waymarsh's wish
to extend to her an independent protection homeward; but Strether
nevertheless found howafter he had Chad opposite to him at a
small table in the brilliant halls that his companion straightway
selectedsharply and easily discriminated from othersit was
quiteto his mindas if she heard him speak; as ifsitting up
a mile awayin the little apartment he knewshe would listen
hard enough to catch. He found too that he liked that ideaand he
wished thatby the same tokenMrs. Newsome might have caught as
well. For what had above all been determined in him as a necessity
of the first order was not to lose another hournor a fraction of
one; was to advanceto overwhelmwith a rush. This was how he
would anticipate--by a night-attackas might be--any forced
maturity that a crammed consciousness of Paris was likely to take
upon itself to assert on behalf of the boy. He knew to the full
on what he had just extracted from Miss GostreyChad's marks of
alertness; but they were a reason the more for not dawdling. If he
was himself moreover to be treated as young he wouldn't at all
events be so treated before he should have struck out at least
once. His arms might be pinioned afterwardsbut it would have
been left on record that he was fifty. The importance of this he
had indeed begun to feel before they left the theatre; it had
become a wild unresturging him to seize his chance. He could
scarcely wait for it as they went; he was on the verge of the
indecency of bringing up the question in the street; he fairly
caught himself going on--so he afterwards invidiously named it--as
if there would be for him no second chance should the present be
lost. Not tillon the purple divan before the perfunctory bock
he had brought out the words themselveswas he surefor that
matterthat the present would be saved.

Book Fourth

I've come, you know, to make you break with everything, neither
more nor less, and take you straight home; so you'll be so good as
immediately and favourably to consider it!--Stretherface to
face with Chad after the playhad sounded these words almost
breathlesslyand with an effect at first positively disconcerting
to himself alone. For Chad's receptive attitude was that of a
person who had been gracefully quiet while the messenger at last
reaching him has run a mile through the dust. During some seconds
after he had spoken Strether felt as if HE had made some such
exertion; he was not even certain that the perspiration wasn't on


his brow. It was the kind of consciousness for which he had to
thank the look thatwhile the strain lastedthe young man's eyes
gave him. They reflected--and the deuce of the thing was that they
reflected really with a sort of shyness of kindness--his
momentarily disordered state; which fact brought on in its turn
for our friend the dawn of a fear that Chad might simply "take it
out"--take everything out--in being sorry for him. Such a fear
any fearwas unpleasant. But everything was unpleasant; it was
odd how everything had suddenly turned so. This however was no
reason for letting the least thing go. Strether had the next
minute proceeded as roundly as if with an advantage to follow up.
Of course I'm a busybody, if you want to fight the case to the
death; but after all mainly in the sense of having known you and
having given you such attention as you kindly permitted when you
were in jackets and knickerbockers. Yes--it was knickerbockers,
I'm busybody enough to remember that; and that you had, for your
age--I speak of the first far-away time--tremendously stout legs.
Well, we want you to break. Your mother's heart's passionately set
upon it, but she has above and beyond that excellent arguments and
reasons. I've not put them into her head--I needn't remind you how
little she's a person who needs that. But they exist--you must
take it from me as a friend both of hers and yours--for myself as
well. I didn't invent them, I didn't originally work them out; but
I understand them, I think I can explain them--by which I mean
make you actively do them justice; and that's why you see me here.
You had better know the worst at once. It's a question of an
immediate rupture and an immediate return. I've been conceited
enough to dream I can sugar that pill. I take at any rate the
greatest interest in the question. I took it already before I left
home, and I don't mind telling you that, altered as you are, I
take it still more now that I've seen you. You're older and--I
don't know what to call it!--more of a handful; but you're by so
much the more, I seem to make out, to our purpose.

Do I strike you as improved?Strether was to recall that Chad
had at this point enquired.

He was likewise to recall--and it had to count for some time as
his greatest comfort--that it had been "given" himas they said
at Woollettto reply with some presence of mind: "I haven't the
least idea." He was really for a while to like thinking he had
been positively hard. On the point of conceding that Chad had
improved in appearancebut that to the question of appearance the
remark must be confinedhe checked even that compromise and left
his reservation bare. Not only his moralbut alsoas it were
his aesthetic sense had a little to pay for thisChad being
unmistakeably--and wasn't it a matter of the confounded grey hair
again?--handsomer than he had ever promised. That however fell in
perfectly with what Strether had said. They had no desire to keep
down his proper expansionand he wouldn't be less to their
purpose for not lookingas he had too often done of oldonly
bold and wild. There was indeed a signal particular in which he
would distinctly be more so. Strether didn'tas he talked
absolutely follow himself; he only knew he was clutching his
thread and that he held it from moment to moment a little tighter;
his mere uninterruptedness during the few minutes helped him to do
that. He had frequently for a monthturned over what he should
say on this very occasionand he seemed at last to have said
nothing he had thought of--everything was so totally different.

But in spite of all he had put the flag at the window. This was
what he had doneand there was a minute during which he affected
himself as having shaken it hardflapped it with a mighty
flutterstraight in front of his companion's nose. It gave him


really almost the sense of having already acted his part. The
momentary relief--as if from the knowledge that nothing of THAT
at least could be undone--sprang from a particular causethe
cause that had flashed into operationin Miss Gostrey's boxwith
direct apprehensionwith amazed recognitionand that had been
concerned since then in every throb of his consciousness. What it
came to was that with an absolutely new quantity to deal with one
simply couldn't know. The new quantity was represented by the fact
that Chad had been made over. That was all; whatever it was it was
everything. Strether had never seen the thing so done before--it
was perhaps a speciality of Paris. If one had been present at the
process one might little by little have mastered the result; but
he was face to faceas matters stoodwith the finished business.
It had freely been noted for him that he might be received as a
dog among skittlesbut that was on the basis of the old quantity.
He had originally thought of lines and tones as things to be
takenbut these possibilities had now quite melted away. There
was no computing at all what the young man before him would think
or feel or say on any subject whatever. This intelligence Strether
had afterwardsto account for his nervousnessreconstituted as
he mightjust as he had also reconstituted the promptness with
which Chad had corrected his uncertainty. An extraordinarily short
time had been required for the correctionand there had ceased to
be anything negative in his companion's face and air as soon as it
was made. "Your engagement to my mother has become then what they
call here a fait accompli?"--it had consistedthe determinant
touchin nothing more than that.

Wellthat was enoughStrether had felt while his answer hung
fire. He had felt at the same timehoweverthat nothing could
less become him than that it should hang fire too long. "Yes he
said brightly, it was on the happy settlement of the question
that I started. You see therefore to what tune I'm in your family.
Moreover he added, I've been supposing you'd suppose it."

Oh I've been supposing it for a long time, and what you tell me
helps me to understand that you should want to do something. To do
something, I mean,said Chadto commemorate an event so--what
do they call it?--so auspicious. I see you make out, and not
unnaturally,he continuedthat bringing me home in triumph as a
sort of wedding-present to Mother would commemorate it better than
anything else. You want to make a bonfire in fact,he laughed
and you pitch me on. Thank you, thank you!he laughed again.

He was altogether easy about itand this made Strether now see
how at bottomand in spite of the shade of shyness that really
cost him nothinghe had from the first moment been easy about
everything. The shade of shyness was mere good taste. People with
manners formed could apparently haveas one of their best cards
the shade of shyness too. He had leaned a little forward to speak;
his elbows were on the table; and the inscrutable new face that he
had got somewhere and somehow was brought by the movement nearer
to his critics There was a fascination for that critic in its not
beingthis ripe physiognomythe face thatunder observation at
leasthe had originally carried away from Woollett. Strether
found a certain freedom on his own side in defining it as that of
a man of the world--a formula that indeed seemed to come now in
some degree to his relief; that of a man to whom things had
happened and were variously known. In gleamsin glancesthe past
did perhaps peep out of it; but such lights were faint and
instantly merged. Chad was brown and thick and strongand of old
Chad had been rough. Was all the difference therefore that he was
actually smooth? Possibly; for that he WAS smooth was as marked as
in the taste of a sauce or in the rub of a hand. The effect of it


was general--it had retouched his featuresdrawn them with a
cleaner line. It had cleared his eyes and settled his colour and
polished his fine square teeth--the main ornament of his face; and
at the same time that it had given him a form and a surface
almost a designit had toned his voiceestablished his accent
encouraged his smile to more play and his other motions to less.
He had formerlywith a great deal of actionexpressed very
little; and he now expressed whatever was necessary with almost
none at all. It was as if in short he had reallycopious perhaps
but shapelessbeen put into a firm mould and turned successfully
out. The phenomenon--Strether kept eyeing it as a phenomenonan
eminent case--was marked enough to be touched by the finger. He
finally put his hand across the table and laid it on Chad's arm.
If you'll promise me--here on the spot and giving me your word of
honour--to break straight off, you'll make the future the real
right thing for all of us alike. You'll ease off the strain of
this decent but none the less acute suspense in which I've for so
many days been waiting for you, and let me turn in to rest. I
shall leave you with my blessing and go to bed in peace.

Chad again fell back at this andhis hands pocketedsettled
himself a little; in which posture he lookedthough he rather
anxiously smiledonly the more earnest. Then Strether seemed to
see that he was really nervousand he took that as what he would
have called a wholesome sign. The only mark of it hitherto had
been his more than once taking off and putting on his wide-brimmed
crush hat. He had at this moment made the motion again to remove
itthen had only pushed it backso that it hung informally on
his strong young grizzled crop. It was a touch that gave the note
of the familiar--the intimate and the belated--to their quiet
colloquy; and it was indeed by some such trivial aid that Strether
became aware at the same moment of something else. The observation
was at any rate determined in him by some light too fine to
distinguish from so many othersbut it was none the less sharply
determined. Chad looked unmistakeably during these instants-well
as Strether put it to himselfall he was worth. Our friend
had a sudden apprehension of what that would on certain sides be.
He saw him in a flash as the young man marked out by women; and
for a concentrated minute the dignitythe comparative austerity
as he funnily fancied itof this character affected him almost
with awe. There was an experience on his interlocutor's part that
looked out at him from under the displaced hatand that looked
out moreover by a force of its ownthe deep fact of its quantity
and qualityand not through Chad's intending bravado or swagger.
That was then the way men marked out by women WERE--and also the
men by whom the women were doubtless in turn sufficiently
distinguished. It affected Strether for thirty seconds as a
relevant trutha truth whichhoweverthe next minutehad
fallen into its relation. "Can't you imagine there being some
questions Chad asked, that a fellow--however much impressed by
your charming way of stating things--would like to put to you
first?"

Oh yes--easily. I'm here to answer everything. I think I can even
tell you things, of the greatest interest to you, that you won't
know enough to ask me. We'll take as many days to it as you like.
But I want,Strether wound upto go to bed now.

Really?

Chad had spoken in such surprise that he was amused. "Can't you
believe it?--with what you put me through?"

The young man seemed to consider. "Oh I haven't put you through


much--yet."

Do you mean there's so much more to come?Strether laughed. "All
the more reason then that I should gird myself." And as if to mark
what he felt he could by this time count on he was already on his
feet.

Chadstill seatedstayed himwith a hand against himas he
passed between their table and the next. "Oh we shall get on!"

The tone wasas who should sayeverything Strether could have
desired; and quite as good the expression of face with which the
speaker had looked up at him and kindly held him. All these things
lacked was their not showing quite so much as the fruit of
experience. Yesexperience was what Chad did play on himif he
didn't play any grossness of defiance. Of course experience was in
a manner defiance; but it wasn'tat any rate--rather indeed quite
the contrary!--grossness; which was so much gained. He fairly grew
olderStrether thoughtwhile he himself so reasoned. Then with
his mature pat of his visitor's arm he also got up; and there had
been enough of it all by this time to make the visitor feel that
something WAS settled. Wasn't it settled that he had at least the
testimony of Chad's own belief in a settlement? Strether found
himself treating Chad's profession that they would get on as a
sufficient basis for going to bed. He hadn't nevertheless after
this gone to bed directly; for when they had again passed out
together into the mild bright night a check had virtually sprung
from nothing more than a small circumstance which might have acted
only as confirming quiescence. There were peopleexpressive
soundprojected lightstill abroadand after they had taken in
for a momentthrough everythingthe great clear architectural
streetthey turned off in tacit union to the quarter of
Strether's hotel. "Of course Chad here abruptly began, of
course Mother's making things out with you about me has been
natural--and of course also you've had a good deal to go upon.
Stillyou must have filled out."

He had stoppedleaving his friend to wonder a little what point
he wished to make; and this it was that enabled Strether meanwhile
to make one. "Oh we've never pretended to go into detail. We
weren't in the least bound to THAT. It was 'filling out' enough to
miss you as we did."

But Chad rather oddly insistedthough under the high lamp at
their cornerwhere they pausedhe had at first looked as if
touched by Strether's allusion to the long senseat homeof his
absence. "What I mean is you must have imagined."

Imagined what?

Well--horrors.

It affected Strether: horrors were so little--superficially at
least--in this robust and reasoning image. But he was none the
less there to be veracious. "YesI dare say we HAVE imagined
horrors. But where's the harm if we haven't been wrong?"

Chad raised his face to the lampand it was one of the moments at
which he hadin his extraordinary waymost his air of designedly
showing himself. It was as if at these instants he just presented
himselfhis identity so rounded offhis palpable presence and
his massive young manhoodas such a link in the chain as might
practically amount to a kind of demonstration. It was as if--and
how but anomalously?--he couldn't after all help thinking


sufficiently well of these things to let them go for what they
were worth. What could there be in this for Strether but the hint
of some self-respectsome sense of poweroddly perverted;
something latent and beyond accessominous and perhaps enviable?
The intimation had the next thingin a flashtaken on a name--a
name on which our friend seized as he asked himself if he weren't
perhaps really dealing with an irreducible young Pagan. This
description--he quite jumped at it--had a sound that gratified his
mental earso that of a sudden he had already adopted it. Pagan-yes
that waswasn't it? what Chad WOULD logically be. It was
what he must be. It was what he was. The idea was a clue and
instead of darkening the prospectprojected a certain clearness.
Strether made out in this quick ray that a Pagan was perhapsat
the pass they had come tothe thing most wanted at Woollett.
They'd be able to do with one--a good one; he'd find an opening-yes;
and Strether's imagination even now prefigured and
accompanied the first appearance there of the rousing personage.
He had only the slight discomfort of feelingas the young man
turned away from the lampthat his thought had in the momentary
silence possibly been guessed. "WellI've no doubt said Chad,
you've come near enough. The detailsas you saydon't matter.
It HAS been generally the case that I've let myself go. But I'm
coming round--I'm not so bad now." With which they walked on again
to Strether's hotel.

Do you mean,the latter asked as they approached the doorthat
there isn't any woman with you now?

But pray what has that to do with it?

Why it's the whole question.

Of my going home?Chad was clearly surprised. "Oh not much! Do
you think that when I want to go any one will have any power--"

To keep you--Strether took him straight up--"from carrying out
your wish? Wellour idea has been that somebody has hitherto--or
a good many persons perhaps--kept you pretty well from 'wanting.'
That's what--if you're in anybody's hands--may again happen. You
don't answer my question"--he kept it up; "but if you aren't in
anybody's hands so much the better. There's nothing then but what
makes for your going."

Chad turned this over. "I don't answer your question?" He spoke
quite without resenting it. "Wellsuch questions have always a
rather exaggerated side. One doesn't know quite what you mean by
being in women's 'hands.' It's all so vague. One is when one
isn't. One isn't when one is. And then one can't quite give people
away." He seemed kindly to explain. "I've NEVER got stuck--so
very hard; andas against anything at any time really betterI
don't think I've ever been afraid." There was something in it that
held Strether to wonderand this gave him time to go on. He broke
out as with a more helpful thought. "Don't you know how I like
Paris itself?"

The upshot was indeed to make our friend marvel. "Oh if THAT'S all
that's the matter with you--!" It was HE who almost showed
resentment.

Chad's smile of a truth more than met it. "But isn't that enough?"

Strether hesitatedbut it came out. "Not enough for your mother!"
Spokenhoweverit sounded a trifle odd--the effect of which was
that Chad broke into a laugh. Stretherat thissuccumbed as


wellthough with extreme brevity. "Permit us to have still our
theory. But if you ARE so free and so strong you're inexcusable.
I'll write in the morning he added with decision. I'll say I've
got you."

This appeared to open for Chad a new interest. "How often do you
write?"

Oh perpetually.

And at great length?

Strether had become a little impatient. "I hope it's not found too
great."

Oh I'm sure not. And you hear as often?

Again Strether paused. "As often as I deserve."

Mother writes,said Chada lovely letter.

Stretherbefore the closed porte-cocherefixed him a moment.
It's more, my boy, than YOU do! But our suppositions don't
matter,he addedif you're actually not entangled.

Chad's pride seemed none the less a little touched. "I never WAS
that--let me insist. I always had my own way." With which he
pursued: "And I have it at present."

Then what are you here for? What has kept you,Strether asked
if you HAVE been able to leave?

It made Chadafter a starethrow himself back. "Do you think
one's kept only by women?" His surprise and his verbal emphasis
rang out so clear in the still street that Strether winced till he
remembered the safety of their English speech. "Is that the
young man demanded, what they think at Woollett?" At the good
faith in the question Strether had changed colourfeeling that
as he would have saidhe had put his foot in it. He had appeared
stupidly to misrepresent what they thought at Woollett; but before
he had time to rectify Chad again was upon him. "I must say then
you show a low mind!"

It so fell inunhappily for Stretherwith that reflexion of his
own prompted in him by the pleasant air of the Boulevard
Malesherbesthat its disconcerting force was rather unfairly
great. It was a dig thatadministered by himself--and
administered even to poor Mrs. Newsome--was no more than salutary;
but administered by Chad--and quite logically--it came nearer
drawing blood. They HADn't a low mind--nor any approach to one;
yet incontestably they had workedand with a certain smugnesson
a basis that might be turned against them. Chad had at any rate
pulled his visitor up; he had even pulled up his admirable mother;
he had absolutelyby a turn of the wrist and a jerk of the far-flung
noosepulled upin a bunchWoollett browsing in its pride. There
was no doubt Woollett HAD insisted on his coarseness; and what
he at present stood there for in the sleeping street wasby his
manner of striking the other noteto make of such insistence a
preoccupation compromising to the insisters. It was exactly as
if they had imputed to him a vulgarity that he had by a mere
gesture caused to fall from him. The devil of the case was that
Strether felt itby the same strokeas falling straight upon
himself. He had been wondering a minute ago if the boy weren't a
Paganand he found himself wondering now if he weren't by chance


a gentleman. It didn't in the leaston the spotspring up
helpfully for him that a person couldn't at the same time be both.
There was nothing at this moment in the air to challenge the
combination; there was everything to give it on the contrary
something of a flourish. It struck Strether into the bargain as
doing something to meet the most difficult of the questions;
though perhaps indeed only by substituting another. Wouldn't it be
precisely by having learned to be a gentleman that he had mastered
the consequent trick of looking so well that one could scarce
speak to him straight? But what in the world was the clue to such
a prime producing cause? There were too many clues then that
Strether still lackedand these clues to clues were among them.
What it accordingly amounted to for him was that he had to take
full in the face a fresh attribution of ignorance. He had grown
used by this time to remindersespecially from his own lipsof
what he didn't know; but he had borne them because in the first
place they were private and because in the second they practically
conveyed a tribute. He didn't know what was badand--as others
didn't know how little he knew it--he could put up with his state.
But if he didn't knowin so important a particularwhat was
goodChad at least was now aware he didn't; and thatfor some
reasonaffected our friend as curiously public. It was in fact an
exposed condition that the young man left him in long enough for
him to feel its chill--till he saw fitin a wordgenerously
again to cover him. This last was in truth what Chad quite
gracefully did. But he did it as with a simple thought that met
the whole of the case. "Oh I'm all right!" It was what Strether
had rather bewilderedly to go to bed on.

It really looked true moreover from the way Chad was to behave
after this. He was full of attentions to his mother's ambassador;
in spite of whichall the whilethe latter's other relations
rather remarkably contrived to assert themselves. Strether's
sittings pen in hand with Mrs. Newsome up in his own room were
brokenyet they were richer; and they were more than ever
interspersed with the hours in which he reported himselfin a
different fashionbut with scarce less earnestness and fulness
to Maria Gostrey. Now thatas he would have expressed ithe had
really something to talk about he found himselfin respect to any
oddity that might reside for him in the double connexionat once
more aware and more indifferent. He had been fine to Mrs. Newsome
about his useful friendbut it had begun to haunt his imagination
that Chadtaking up again for her benefit a pen too long disused
might possibly be finer. It wouldn't at all dohe sawthat
anything should come up for him at Chad's hand but what
specifically was to have come; the greatest divergence from which
would be precisely the element of any lubrication of their
intercourse by levity It was accordingly to forestall such an
accident that he frankly put before the young man the several
factsjust as they had occurredof his funny alliance. He spoke
of these factspleasantly and obliginglyas "the whole story
and felt that he might qualify the alliance as funny if he
remained sufficiently grave about it. He flattered himself that he
even exaggerated the wild freedom of his original encounter with
the wonderful lady; he was scrupulously definite about the absurd
conditions in which they had made acquaintance--their having
picked each other up almost in the street; and he had (finest
inspiration of all!) a conception of carrying the war into the
enemy's country by showing surprise at the enemy's ignorance.


He had always had a notion that this last was the grand style of
fighting; the greater therefore the reason for it, as he couldn't
remember that he had ever before fought in the grand style. Every
one, according to this, knew Miss Gostrey: how came it Chad didn't
know her? The difficulty, the impossibility, was really to escape
it; Strether put on him, by what he took for granted, the burden
of proof of the contrary. This tone was so far successful as that
Chad quite appeared to recognise her as a person whose fame had
reached him, but against his acquaintance with whom much mischance
had worked. He made the point at the same time that his social
relations, such as they could be called, were perhaps not to the
extent Strether supposed with the rising flood of their
compatriots. He hinted at his having more and more given way to a
different principle of selection; the moral of which seemed to be
that he went about little in the colony." For the moment
certainly he had quite another interest. It was deepwhat he
understoodand Stretherfor himselfcould only so observe it.
He couldn't see as yet how deep. Might he not all too soon! For
there was really too much of their question that Chad had already
committed himself to liking. He likedto begin withhis
prospective stepfather; which was distinctly what had not been on
the cards. His hating him was the untowardness for which Strether
had been best prepared; he hadn't expected the boy's actual form
to give him more to do than his imputed. It gave him more through
suggesting that he must somehow make up to himself for not being
sure he was sufficiently disagreeable. That had really been
present to him as his only way to be sure he was sufficiently
thorough. The point was that if Chad's tolerance of his
thoroughness were insincerewere but the best of devices for
gaining timeit none the less did treat everything as tacitly
concluded.

That seemed at the end of ten days the upshot of the abundantthe
recurrent talk through which Strether poured into him all it
concerned him to knowput him in full possession of facts and
figures. Never cutting these colloquies short by a minuteChad
behavedlooked and spoke as if he were rather heavilyperhaps
even a trifle gloomilybut none the less fundamentally and
comfortably free. He made no crude profession of eagerness to
yieldbut he asked the most intelligent questionsprobedat
momentsabruptlyeven deeper than his friend's layer of
informationjustified by these touches the native estimate of his
latent stuffand had in every way the air of trying to live
reflectivelyinto the square bright picture. He walked up and
down in front of this productionsociably took Strether's arm at
the points at which he stoppedsurveyed it repeatedly from the
right and from the leftinclined a critical head to either
quarterandwhile he puffed a still more critical cigarette
animadverted to his companion on this passage and that. Strether
sought relief--there were hours when he required it--in repeating
himself; it was in truth not to be blinked that Chad had a way.
The main question as yet was of what it was a way TO. It made
vulgar questions no more easy; but that was unimportant when all
questions save those of his own asking had dropped. That he was
free was answer enoughand it wasn't quite ridiculous that this
freedom should end by presenting itself as what was difficult to
move. His changed statehis lovely homehis beautiful things
his easy talkhis very appetite for Stretherinsatiable and
when all was saidflattering--what were such marked matters all
but the notes of his freedom? He had the effect of making a
sacrifice of it just in these handsome forms to his visitor; which
was mainly the reason the visitor was privatelyfor the timea
little out of countenance. Strether was at this period again and


again thrown back on a felt need to remodel somehow his plan. He
fairly caught himself shooting rueful glancesshy looks of
pursuittoward the embodied influencethe definite adversarywho
had by a stroke of her own failed him and on a fond theory of
whose palpable presence he hadunder Mrs. Newsome's inspiration
altogether proceeded. He had once or twicein secretliterally
expressed the irritated wish that SHE would come out and find her.

He couldn't quite yet force it upon Woollett that such a career
such a perverted young lifeshowed after all a certain plausible
sideDID in the case before them flaunt something like an
impunity for the social man; but he could at least treat himself
to the statement that would prepare him for the sharpest echo.
This echo--as distinct over there in the dry thin air as some
shrill "heading" above a column of print--seemed to reach him even
as he wrote. "He says there's no woman he could hear Mrs.
Newsome report, in capitals almost of newspaper size, to Mrs.
Pocock; and he could focus in Mrs. Pocock the response of the
reader of the journal. He could see in the younger lady's face the
earnestness of her attention and catch the full scepticism of her
but slightly delayed What is there then?" Just so he could again
as little miss the mother's clear decision: "There's plenty of
dispositionno doubtto pretend there isn't." Strether had
after posting his letterthe whole scene out; and it was a scene
during whichcoming and goingas befellhe kept his eye not
least upon the daughter. He had his fine sense of the conviction
Mrs. Pocock would take occasion to reaffirm--a conviction bearing
as he had from the first deeply divined it to bearon Mr.
Strether's essential inaptitude. She had looked him in his
conscious eyes even before he sailedand that she didn't believe
HE would find the woman had been written in her book. [sic]
Hadn't she at the best but a scant faith in his ability to find women?
It wasn't even as if he had found her mother--so much moreto her
discriminationhad her mother performed the finding. Her mother
hadin a case her private judgement of which remained educative
of Mrs. Pocock's critical sensefound the man. The man owed his
unchallenged statein generalto the fact that Mrs. Newsome's
discoveries were accepted at Woollett; but he knew in his bones
our friend didhow almost irresistibly Mrs. Pocock would now be
moved to show what she thought of his own. Give HER a free hand
would be the moraland the woman would soon be found.

His impression of Miss Gostrey after her introduction to Chad was
meanwhile an impression of a person almost unnaturally on her
guard. He struck himself as at first unable to extract from her
what he wished; though indeed OF what he wished at this special
juncture he would doubtless have contrived to make but a crude
statement. It sifted and settled nothing to put to hertout
betementas she often saidDo you like him, eh?--thanks to his
feeling it actually the least of his needs to heap up the evidence
in the young man's favour. He repeatedly knocked at her door to
let her have it afresh that Chad's case--whatever else of minor
interest it might yield--was first and foremost a miracle almost
monstrous. It was the alteration of the entire manand was so
signal an instance that nothing elsefor the intelligent
observercould--COULD it?--signify. "It's a plot he declared-
there's more in it than meets the eye." He gave the rein to his
fancy. "It's a plant!"

His fancy seemed to please her. "Whose then?"

Well, the party responsible is, I suppose, the fate that waits
for one, the dark doom that rides. What I mean is that with such
elements one can't count. I've but my poor individual, my modest


human means. It isn't playing the game to turn on the uncanny. All
one's energy goes to facing it, to tracking it. One wants, confound
it, don't you see?he confessed with a queer face--"one wants to
enjoy anything so rare. Call it then life"--he puzzled it out-"
call it poor dear old life simply that springs the surprise.
Nothing alters the fact that the surprise is paralysingor at any
rate engrossing--allpracticallyhang itthat one seesthat
one CAN see."

Her silences were never barrennor even dull. "Is that what
you've written home?"

He tossed it off. "Oh dearyes!"

She had another pause whileacross her carpetshe had another
walk. "If you don't look out you'll have them straight over."

Oh but I've said he'll go back.

And WILL he?Miss Gostrey asked.

The special tone of it made himpulling uplook at her long.
What's that but just the question I've spent treasures of
patience and ingenuity in giving you, by the sight of him--after
everything had led up--every facility to answer? What is it but
just the thing I came here to-day to get out of you? Will he?

No--he won't,she said at last. "He's not free."

The air of it held him. "Then you've all the while known--?"

I've known nothing but what I've seen; and I wonder,she
declared with some impatiencethat you didn't see as much. It was
enough to be with him there--"

In the box? Yes,he rather blankly urged.

Well--to feel sure.

Sure of what?

She got up from her chairat thiswith a nearer approach than
she had ever yet shown to dismay at his dimness. She evenfairly
pausing for itspoke with a shade of pity. "Guess!"

It was a shadefairlythat brought a flush into his face; so
that for a momentas they waited togethertheir difference was
between them. "You mean that just your hour with him told you so
much of his story? Very good; I'm not such a foolon my sideas
that I don't understand youor as that I didn't in some degree
understand HIM. That he has done what he liked most isn'tamong
any of usa matter the least in dispute. There's equally little
question at this time of day of what it is he does like most. But
I'm not talking he reasonably explained, of any mere wretch he
may still pick up. I'm talking of some person who in his present
situation may have held her ownmay really have counted."

That's exactly what I am!said Miss Gostrey. But she as quickly
made her point. "I thought you thought--or that they think at
Woollett--that that's what mere wretches necessarily do. Mere
wretches necessarily DON'T!" she declared with spirit. "There
mustbehind every appearance to the contrarystill be somebody-somebody
who's not a mere wretchsince we accept the miracle.
What else but such a somebody can such a miracle be?"


He took it in. "Because the fact itself IS the woman?"

A woman. Some woman or other. It's one of the things that HAVE to
be.

But you mean then at least a good one.

A good woman?She threw up her arms with a laugh. "I should call
her excellent!"

Then why does he deny her?

Miss Gostrey thought a moment. "Because she's too good to admit!
Don't you see she went on, how she accounts for him?"

Strether clearlymore and moredid see; yet it made him also see
other things. "But isn't what we want that he shall account for
HER?"

Well, he does. What you have before you is his way. You must
forgive him if it isn't quite outspoken. In Paris such debts are
tacit.

Strether could imagine; but still--! "Even when the woman's good?"

Again she laughed out. "Yesand even when the man is! There's
always a caution in such cases she more seriously explained-
for what it may seem to show. There's nothing that's taken as
showing so much here as sudden unnatural goodness."

Ah then you're speaking now,Strether saidof people who are
NOT nice.

I delight,she repliedin your classifications. But do you
want me,she askedto give you in the matter, on this ground,
the wisest advice I'm capable of? Don't consider her, don't judge
her at all in herself. Consider her and judge her only in Chad.

He had the courage at least of his companion's logic. "Because
then I shall like her?" He almost lookedwith his quick imagination
as if he already didthough seeing at once also the full extent
of how little it would suit his book. "But is that what I came
out for?"

She had to confess indeed that it wasn't. But there was something
else. "Don't make up your mind. There are all sorts of things. You
haven't seen him all."

This on his side Strether recognised; but his acuteness none the
less showed him the danger. "Yesbut if the more I see the better
he seems?"

Wellshe found something. "That may be--but his disavowal of her
isn'tall the samepure consideration. There's a hitch." She
made it out. "It's the effort to sink her."

Strether winced at the image. "To 'sink'--?"

Well, I mean there's a struggle, and a part of it is just what he
hides. Take time--that's the only way not to make some mistake
that you'll regret. Then you'll see. He does really want to shake
her off.


Our friend had by this time so got into the vision that he almost
gasped. "After all she has done for him?"

Miss Gostrey gave him a look which broke the next moment into a
wonderful smile. "He's not so good as you think!"

They remained with himthese wordspromising himin their
character of warningconsiderable help; but the support he tried
to draw from them found itself on each renewal of contact with
Chad defeated by something else. What could it bethis
disconcerting forcehe asked himselfbut the senseconstantly
renewedthat Chad WAS--quite in fact insisted on being--as good
as he thought? It seemed somehow as if he couldn't BUT be as good
from the moment he wasn't as bad. There was a succession of days
at all events when contact with him--and in its immediate effect
as if it could produce no other--elbowed out of Strether's
consciousness everything but itself. Little Bilham once more
pervaded the scenebut little Bilham became even in a higher
degree than he had originally been one of the numerous forms of
the inclusive relation; a consequence promotedto our friend's
senseby two or three incidents with which we have yet to make
acquaintance. Waymarsh himselffor the occasionwas drawn into
the eddy; it absolutelythough but temporarilyswallowed him
downand there were days when Strether seemed to bump against him
as a sinking swimmer might brush a submarine object. The
fathomless medium held them--Chad's manner was the fathomless
medium; and our friend felt as if they passed each otherin their
deep immersionwith the round impersonal eye of silent fish. It
was practically produced between them that Waymarsh was giving him
then his chance; and the shade of discomfort that Strether drew
from the allowance resembled not a little the embarrassment he had
known at schoolas a boywhen members of his family had been
present at exhibitions. He could perform before strangersbut
relatives were fataland it was now as ifcomparatively
Waymarsh were a relative. He seemed to hear him say "Strike up
then!" and to enjoy a foretaste of conscientious domestic
criticism. He HAD struck upso far as he actually could; Chad
knew by this time in profusion what he wanted; and what vulgar
violence did his fellow pilgrim expect of him when he had really
emptied his mind? It went somehow to and fro that what poor
Waymarsh meant was "I told you so--that you'd lose your immortal
soul!" but it was also fairly explicit that Strether had his own
challenge and thatsince they must go to the bottom of thingshe
wasted no more virtue in watching Chad than Chad wasted in
watching him. His dip for duty's sake--where was it worse than
Waymarsh's own? For HE needn't have stopped resisting and
refusingneedn't have parleyedat that ratewith the foe.

The strolls over Paris to see something or call somewhere were
accordingly inevitable and naturaland the late sessions in the
wondrous troisiemethe lovely homewhen men dropped in and the
picture composed more suggestively through the haze of tobaccoof
music more or less good and of talk more or less polyglotwere on
a principle not to be distinguished from that of the mornings and
the afternoons. NothingStrether had to recognise as he leaned
back and smokedcould well less resemble a scene of violence than
even the liveliest of these occasions. They were occasions of
discussionnone the lessand Strether had never in his life
heard so many opinions on so many subjects. There were opinions at
Woollettbut only on three or four. The differences were there to
match; if they were doubtless deepthough fewthey were quiet-they
wereas might be saidalmost as shy as if people had been
ashamed of them. People showed little diffidence about such
thingson the other handin the Boulevard Malesherbesand were


so far from being ashamed of them--or indeed of anything else-that
they often seemed to have invented them to avert those
agreements that destroy the taste of talk. No one had ever done that
at Woollettthough Strether could remember times when he himself had
been tempted to it without quite knowing why. He saw why at present
--he had but wanted to promote intercourse.

Thesehoweverwere but parenthetic memoriesand the turn taken
by his affair on the whole was positively that if his nerves were
on the stretch it was because he missed violence. When he asked
himself if none would thenin connexion with itever come at
allhe might almost have passed as wondering how to provoke it.
It would be too absurd if such a vision as THAT should have to be
invoked for relief; it was already marked enough as absurd that he
should actually have begun with flutters and dignities on the
score of a single accepted meal. What sort of a brute had he
expected Chad to beanyway?--Strether had occasion to make the
enquiry but was careful to make it in private. He could himself
comparatively recent as it was--it was truly but the fact of a few
days since--focus his primal crudity; but he would on the
approach of an observeras if handling an illicit possession
have slipped the reminiscence out of sight. There were echoes of
it still in Mrs. Newsome's lettersand there were moments when
these echoes made him exclaim on her want of tact. He blushed of
courseat oncestill more for the explanation than for the
ground of it: it came to him in time to save his manners that she
couldn't at the best become tactful as quickly as he. Her tact had
to reckon with the Atlantic Oceanthe General Post-Office and the
extravagant curve of the globe. Chad had one day offered tea at
the Boulevard Malesherbes to a chosen fewa group again including
the unobscured Miss Barrace; and Strether had on coming out walked
away with the acquaintance whom in his letters to Mrs. Newsome he
always spoke of as the little artist-man. He had had full occasion
to mention him as the other partyso oddlyto the only close
personal alliance observation had as yet detected in Chad's
existence. Little Bilham's way this afternoon was not Strether's
but he had none the less kindly come with himand it was somehow
a part of his kindness that as it had sadly begun to rain they
suddenly found themselves seated for conversation at a cafe in
which they had taken refuge. He had passed no more crowded hour in
Chad's society than the one just ended; he had talked with Miss
Barracewho had reproached him with not having come to see her
and he had above all hit on a happy thought for causing Waymarsh's
tension to relax. Something might possibly be extracted for the
latter from the idea of his success with that ladywhose quick
apprehension of what might amuse her had given Strether a free
hand. What had she meant if not to ask whether she couldn't help
him with his splendid encumbranceand mightn't the sacred rage at
any rate be kept a little in abeyance by thus creating for his
comrade's mind even in a world of irrelevance the possibility of a
relation? What was it but a relation to be regarded as so
decorative andin especialon the strength of itto be whirled
awayamid flounces and feathersin a coupe linedby what
Strether could make outwith dark blue brocade? He himself had
never been whirled away--never at least in a coupe and behind a
footman; he had driven with Miss Gostrey in cabswith Mrs.
Pococka few timesin an open buggywith Mrs. Newsome in a
four-seated cart andoccasionally up at the mountainson a
buckboard; but his friend's actual adventure transcended his
personal experience. He now showed his companion soon enough
indeed how inadequateas a general monitorthis last queer
quantity could once more feel itself.

What game under the sun is he playing?He signified the next


moment that his allusion was not to the fat gentleman immersed in
dominoes on whom his eyes had begun by restingbut to their host
of the previous houras to whomthere on the velvet benchwith
a final collapse of all consistencyhe treated himself to the
comfort of indiscretion. "Where do you see him come out?"

Little Bilhamin meditationlooked at him with a kindness almost
paternal. "Don't you like it over here?"

Strether laughed out--for the tone was indeed droll; he let
himself go. "What has that to do with it? The only thing I've any
business to like is to feel that I'm moving him. That's why I ask
you whether you believe I AM? Is the creature"--and he did his
best to show that he simply wished to ascertain--"honest?"

His companion looked responsiblebut looked it through a small
dim smile. "What creature do you mean?"

It was on this that they did have for a little a mute interchange.
Is it untrue that he's free? How then,Strether asked wondering
does he arrange his life?

Is the creature you mean Chad himself?little Bilham said.

Strether herewith a rising hopejust thoughtWe must take one
of them at a time.But his coherence lapsed. "IS there some
woman? Of whom he's really afraid of course I mean--or who does
with him what she likes."

It's awfully charming of you,Bilham presently remarkednot to
have asked me that before.

Oh I'm not fit for my job!

The exclamation had escaped our friendbut it made little Bilham
more deliberate. "Chad's a rare case!" he luminously observed.
He's awfully changed,he added.

Then you see it too?

The way he has improved? Oh yes--I think every one must see it.
But I'm not sure,said little Bilhamthat I didn't like him
about as well in his other state.

Then this IS really a new state altogether?

Well,the young man after a moment returnedI'm not sure he
was really meant by nature to be quite so good. It's like the new
edition of an old book that one has been fond of--revised and
amended, brought up to date, but not quite the thing one knew and
loved. However that may be at all events,he pursuedI don't
think, you know, that he's really playing, as you call it, any
game. I believe he really wants to go back and take up a career.
He's capable of one, you know, that will improve and enlarge him
still more. He won't then,little Bilham continued to remarkbe
my pleasant well-rubbed old-fashioned volume at all. But of course
I'm beastly immoral. I'm afraid it would be a funny world
altogether--a world with things the way I like them. I ought, I
dare say, to go home and go into business myself. Only I'd simply
rather die--simply. And I've not the least difficulty in making
up my mind not to, and in knowing exactly why, and in defending my
ground against all comers. All the same,he wound upI assure
you I don't say a word against it--for himself, I mean--to Chad. I
seem to see it as much the best thing for him. You see he's not


happy.

DO I?--Strether stared. "I've been supposing I see just the
opposite--an extraordinary case of the equilibrium arrived at and
assured."

Oh there's a lot behind it.

Ah there you are!Strether exclaimed. "That's just what I want
to get at. You speak of your familiar volume altered out of
recognition. Wellwho's the editor?"

Little Bilham looked before him a minute in silence. "He ought to
get married. THAT would do it. And he wants to."

Wants to marry her?

Again little Bilham waitedandwith a sense that he had
informationStrether scarce knew what was coming. "He wants to be
free. He isn't usedyou see the young man explained in his
lucid way, to being so good."

Strether hesitated. "Then I may take it from you that he IS good?"

His companion matched his pausebut making it up with a quiet
fulness. "DO take it from me."

Well then why isn't he free? He swears to me he is, but meanwhile
does nothing--except of course that he's so kind to me--to prove
it; and couldn't really act much otherwise if he weren't. My
question to you just now was exactly on this queer impression of
his diplomacy: as if instead of really giving ground his line were
to keep me on here and set me a bad example.

As the half-hour meanwhile had ebbed Strether paid his scoreand
the waiter was presently in the act of counting out change. Our
friend pushed back to him a fraction of itwith whichafter an
emphatic recognitionthe personage in question retreated. "You
give too much little Bilham permitted himself benevolently to
observe.

Oh I always give too much!" Strether helplessly sighed. "But you
don't he went on as if to get quickly away from the contemplation
of that doom, answer my question. Why isn't he free?"

Little Bilham had got up as if the transaction with the waiter had
been a signaland had already edged out between the table and the
divan. The effect of this was that a minute later they had quitted
the placethe gratified waiter alert again at the open door.
Strether had found himself deferring to his companion's abruptness
as to a hint that he should be answered as soon as they were more
isolated. This happened when after a few steps in the outer air
they had turned the next comer. There our friend had kept it up.
Why isn't he free if he's good?

Little Bilham looked him full in the face. "Because it's a
virtuous attachment."

This had settled the question so effectually for the time--that is
for the next few days--that it had given Strether almost a new
lease of life. It must be added however thatthanks to his
constant habit of shaking the bottle in which life handed him the
wine of experiencehe presently found the taste of the lees
rising as usual into his draught. His imagination had in other


words already dealt with his young friend's assertion; of which it
had made something that sufficiently came out on the very next
occasion of his seeing Maria Gostrey. This occasion moreover had
been determined promptly by a new circumstance--a circumstance he
was the last man to leave her for a day in ignorance of. "When I
said to him last night he immediately began, that without some
definite word from him now that will enable me to speak to them
over there of our sailing--or at least of minegiving them some
sort of date--my responsibility becomes uncomfortable and my
situation awkward; when I said that to him what do you think was
his reply?" And then as she this time gave it up: "Why that he has
two particular friendstwo ladiesmother and daughterabout to
arrive in Paris--coming back from an absence; and that he wants
me so furiously to meet themknow them and like themthat I
shall oblige him by kindly not bringing our business to a crisis
till he has had a chance to see them again himself. Is that
Strether enquired, the way he's going to try to get off? These
are the people he explained, that he must have gone down to see
before I arrived. They're the best friends he has in the world
and they take more interest than any one else in what concerns
him. As I'm his next best he sees a thousand reasons why we should
comfortably meet. He hasn't broached the question sooner because
their return was uncertain--seemed in fact for the present
impossible. But he more than intimates that--if you can believe
it--their desire to make my acquaintance has had to do with their
surmounting difficulties."

They're dying to see you?Miss Gostrey asked.

Dying. Of course,said Stretherthey're the virtuous attachment.
He had already told her about that--had seen her the day after
his talk with little Bilham; and they had then threshed out
together the bearing of the revelation. She had helped him to put
into it the logic in which little Bilham had left it slightly
deficient Strether hadn't pressed him as to the object of the
preference so unexpectedly described; feeling in the presence of
itwith one of his irrepressible scruplesa delicacy from which
he had in the quest of the quite other article worked himself
sufficiently free. He had held offas on a small principle of
pridefrom permitting his young friend to mention a name; wishing
to make with this the great point that Chad's virtuous attachments
were none of his business. He had wanted from the first not to
think too much of his dignitybut that was no reason for not
allowing it any little benefit that might turn up. He had often
enough wondered to what degree his interference might pass for
interested; so that there was no want of luxury in letting it be
seen whenever he could that he didn't interfere. That had of
course at the same time not deprived him of the further luxury of
much private astonishment; which however he had reduced to some
order before communicating his knowledge. When he had done this at
last it was with the remark thatsurprised as Miss Gostrey might
like himselfat first beshe would probably agree with him on
reflexion that such an account of the matter did after all fit the
confirmed appearances. Nothing certainlyon all the indications
could have been a greater change for him than a virtuous
attachmentand since they had been in search of the "word" as the
French called itof that changelittle Bilham's announcement-though
so long and so oddly delayed--would serve as well as
another. She had assured Strether in fact after a pause that the
more she thought of it the more it did serve; and yet her
assurance hadn't so weighed with him as that before they parted he
hadn't ventured to challenge her sincerity. Didn't she believe the
attachment was virtuous?--he had made sure of her again with the
aid of that question. The tidings he brought her on this second


occasion were moreover such as would help him to make surer still.

She showed at first none the less as only amused. "You say there
are two? An attachment to them both then wouldI supposealmost
necessarily be innocent."

Our friend took the pointbut he had his clue. "Mayn't he be
still in the stage of not quite knowing which of themmother or
daughterhe likes best?"

She gave it more thought. "Oh it must be the daughter--at his
age."

Possibly. Yet what do we know,Strether askedabout hers? She
may be old enough.

Old enough for what?

Why to marry Chad. That may be, you know, what they want. And if
Chad wants it too, and little Bilham wants it, and even we, at a
pinch, could do with it--that is if she doesn't prevent repatriation
--why it may be plain sailing yet.

It was always the case for him in these counsels that each of his
remarksas it cameseemed to drop into a deeper well. He had at
all events to wait a moment to hear the slight splash of this one.
I don't see why if Mr. Newsome wants to marry the young lady he
hasn't already done it or hasn't been prepared with some statement
to you about it. And if he both wants to marry her and is on good
terms with them why isn't he 'free'?

Stretherresponsivelywondered indeed. "Perhaps the girl herself
doesn't like him."

Then why does he speak of them to you as he does?

Strether's mind echoed the questionbut also again met it. "Perhaps
it's with the mother he's on good terms."

As against the daughter?

Well, if she's trying to persuade the daughter to consent to him,
what could make him like the mother more? Only,Strether threw
outwhy shouldn't the daughter consent to him?

Oh,said Miss Gostreymayn't it be that every one else isn't
quite so struck with him as you?

Doesn't regard him you mean as such an 'eligible' young man? Is
that what I've come to?he audibly and rather gravely sought to
know. "However he went on, his marriage is what his mother most
desires--that is if it will help. And oughtn't ANY marriage to
help? They must want him"--he had already worked it out--"to be
better off. Almost any girl he may marry will have a direct
interest in his taking up his chances. It won't suit HER at least
that he shall miss them."

Miss Gostrey cast about. "No--you reason well! But of course on
the other hand there's always dear old Woollett itself."

Oh yes,he mused--"there's always dear old Woollett itself."

She waited a moment. "The young lady mayn't find herself able to
swallow THAT quantity. She may think it's paying too much; she may


weigh one thing against another."

Stretherever restless in such debatestook a vague turn "It
will all depend on who she is. That of course--the proved ability
to deal with dear old Woollettsince I'm sure she does deal with
it--is what makes so strongly for Mamie."

Mamie?

He stopped shortat her tonebefore her; thenthough seeing
that it represented not vaguenessbut a momentary embarrassed
fulnesslet his exclamation come. "You surely haven't forgotten
about Mamie!"

No, I haven't forgotten about Mamie,she smiled. "There's no
doubt whatever that there's ever so much to be said for her.
Mamie's MY girl!" she roundly declared.

Strether resumed for a minute his walk. "She's really perfectly
lovelyyou know. Far prettier than any girl I've seen over here
yet."

That's precisely on what I perhaps most build.And she mused a
moment in her friend's way. "I should positively like to take her
in hand!"

He humoured the fancythough indeed finally to deprecate it. "Oh
but don'tin your zealgo over to her! I need you most and
can'tyou knowbe left."

But she kept it up. "I wish they'd send her out to me!"

If they knew you,he returnedthey would

Ah but don't they?--after all that, as I've understood you you've
told them about me?

He had paused before her againbut he continued his course "They
WILL--beforeas you sayI've done." Then he came out with the
point he had wished after all most to make. "It seems to give away
now his game. This is what he has been doing--keeping me along
for. He has been waiting for them."

Miss Gostrey drew in her lips. "You see a good deal in it!"

I doubt if I see as much as you. Do you pretend,he went on
that you don't see--?

Well, what?--she pressed him as he paused.

Why that there must be a lot between them--and that it has been
going on from the first; even from before I came.

She took a minute to answer. "Who are they then--if it's so
grave?"

It mayn't be grave--it may be gay. But at any rate it's marked.
Only I don't know,Strether had to confessanything about them.
Their name for instance was a thing that, after little Bilham's
information, I found it a kind of refreshment not to feel obliged
to follow up.

Oh,she returnedif you think you've got off--!


Her laugh produced in him a momentary gloom. "I don't think I've
got off. I only think I'm breathing for about five minutes. I dare
say I SHALL haveat the beststill to get on." A lookover it
allpassed between themand the next minute he had come back to
good humour. "I don't meanwhile take the smallest interest in
their name."

Nor in their nationality?--American, French, English, Polish?

I don't care the least little 'hang,'he smiledfor their
nationality. It would be nice if they're Polish!he almost
immediately added.

Very nice indeed.The transition kept up her spirits. "So you
see you do care."

He did this contention a modified justice. "I think I should if
they WERE Polish. Yes he thought--there might be joy in THAT."

Let us then hope for it.But she came after this nearer to the
question. "If the girl's of the right age of course the mother
can't be. I mean for the virtuous attachment. If the girl's
twenty--and she can't be less--the mother must be at least forty.
So it puts the mother out. SHE'S too old for him."

Stretherarrested againconsidered and demurred. "Do you think
so? Do you think any one would be too old for him? I'M eightyand
I'm too young. But perhaps the girl he continued, ISn't twenty.
Perhaps she's only ten--but such a little dear that Chad finds
himself counting her in as an attraction of the acquaintance.
Perhaps she's only five. Perhaps the mother's but five-and-twenty
--a charming young widow."

Miss Gostrey entertained the suggestion. "She IS a widow then?"

I haven't the least idea!They once morein spite of this
vaguenessexchanged a look--a look that was perhaps the longest
yet. It seemed in factthe next thingto require to explain
itself; which it did as it could. "I only feel what I've told you
--that he has some reason."

Miss Gostrey's imagination had taken its own flight. "Perhaps
she's NOT a widow."

Strether seemed to accept the possibility with reserve. Still he
accepted it. "Then that's why the attachment--if it's to her--is
virtuous."

But she looked as if she scarce followed. "Why is it virtuous if-since
she's free--there's nothing to impose on it any condition?"

He laughed at her question. "Oh I perhaps don't mean as virtuous
as THAT! Your idea is that it can be virtuous--in any sense worthy
of the name--only if she's NOT free? But what does it become
then he asked, for HER?"

Ah that's another matter.He said nothing for a momentand she
soon went on. "I dare say you're rightat any rateabout
Mr. Newsome's little plan. He HAS been trying you--has been
reporting on you to these friends."

Strether meanwhile had had time to think more. "Then where's his
straightness?"


Well, as we say, it's struggling up, breaking out, asserting itself
as it can. We can be on the side, you see, of his straightness.
We can help him. But he has made out,said Miss Gostreythat
you'll do.

Do for what?

Why, for THEM--for ces dames. He has watched you, studied you,
liked you--and recognised that THEY must. It's a great compliment
to you, my dear man; for I'm sure they're particular. You came out
for a success. Well,she gaily declaredyou're having it!

He took it from her with momentary patience and then turned
abruptly away. It was always convenient to him that there were so
many fine things in her room to look at. But the examination of
two or three of them appeared soon to have determined a speech
that had little to do with them. "You don't believe in it!"

In what?

In the character of the attachment. In its innocence.

But she defended herself. "I don't pretend to know anything about
it. Everything's possible. We must see."

See?he echoed with a groan. "Haven't we seen enough?"

I haven't,she smiled.

But do you suppose then little Bilham has lied?

You must find out.

It made him almost turn pale. "Find out any MORE?"

He had dropped on a sofa for dismay; but she seemedas she stood
over himto have the last word. "Wasn't what you came out for to
find out ALL?"

Book Fifth

The Sunday of the next week was a wonderful dayand Chad Newsome
had let his friend know in advance that he had provided for it.
There had already been a question of his taking him to see the
great Glorianiwho was at home on Sunday afternoons and at whose
housefor the most partfewer bores were to be met than
elsewhere; but the projectthrough some accidenthad not had
instant effectand now revived in happier conditions. Chad had
made the point that the celebrated sculptor had a queer old
gardenfor which the weather--spring at last frank and fair--was
propitious; and two or three of his other allusions had confirmed
for Strether the expectation of something special. He had by this
timefor all introductions and adventureslet himself recklessly
gocherishing the sense that whatever the young man showed him he


was showing at least himself. He could have wished indeedso far
as this wentthat Chad were less of a mere cicerone; for he was
not without the impression--now that the vision of his gamehis
planhis deep diplomacydid recurrently assert itself--of his
taking refuge from the realities of their intercourse in profusely
dispensingas our friend mentally phrased et panem et circenses.
Our friend continued to feel rather smothered in flowersthough
he made in his other moments the almost angry inference that this
was only because of his odious ascetic suspicion of any form of
beauty. He periodically assured himself--for his reactions were
sharp--that he shouldn't reach the truth of anything till he had
at least got rid of that.

He had known beforehand that Madame de Vionnet and her daughter
would probably be on viewan intimation to that effect having
constituted the only reference again made by Chad to his good
friends from the south. The effect of Strether's talk about them
with Miss Gostrey had been quite to consecrate his reluctance to
pry; something in the very air of Chad's silence--judged in the
light of that talk--offered it to him as a reserve he could
markedly match. It shrouded them about with he scarce knew whata
considerationa distinction; he was in presence at any rate--so
far as it placed him there--of ladies; and the one thing that was
definite for him was that they themselves should beto the extent
of his responsibilityin presence of a gentleman. Was it because
they were very beautifulvery cleveror even very good--was it
for one of these reasons that Chad wasso to speaknursing his
effect? Did he wish to spring themin the Woollett phrasewith a
fuller force--to confound his criticslight though as yet the
criticismwith some form of merit exquisitely incalculable? The
most the critic had at all events asked was whether the persons in
question were French; and that enquiry had been but a proper
comment on the sound of their name. "Yes. That is no!" had been
Chad's reply; but he had immediately added that their English was
the most charming in the worldso that if Strether were wanting
an excuse for not getting on with them he wouldn't in the least
find one. Never in fact had Strether--in the mood into which the
place had quickly launched him--feltfor himselfless the need
of an excuse. Those he might have found would have beenat the
worstall for the othersthe people before himin whose liberty
to be as they were he was aware that he positively rejoiced. His
fellow guests were multiplyingand these thingstheir liberty
their intensitytheir varietytheir conditions at largewere in
fusion in the admirable medium of the scene.

The place itself was a great impression--a small pavilionclear-faced
and sequesteredan effect of polished parquetof fine white panel
and spare sallow giltof decoration delicate and rarein the heart
of the Faubourg Saint-Germain and on the edge of a cluster of gardens
attached to old noble houses. Far back from streets and unsuspected
by crowdsreached by a long passage and a quiet court
it was as striking to the unprepared mindhe immediately saw
as a treasure dug up; giving him toomore than anything yet
the note of the range of the immeasurable town and sweeping away
as by a last brave brushhis usual landmarks and terms.
It was in the gardena spacious cherished remnantout of
which a dozen persons had already passedthat Chad's host
presently met them while the tall bird-haunted treesall of a twitter
with the spring and the weatherand the high party-walls
on the other side of which grave hotels stood off for privacy
spoke of survivaltransmissionassociationa strong indifferent
persistent order. The day was so soft that the little party had
practically adjourned to the open air but the open air was in such
conditions all a chamber of state. Strether had presently the


sense of a great conventa convent of missionsfamous for he
scarce knew whata nursery of young priestsof scattered shade
of straight alleys and chapel-bellsthat spread its mass in one
quarter; he had the sense of names in the airof ghosts at the
windowsof signs and tokensa whole range of expressionall
about himtoo thick for prompt discrimination.

This assault of images became for a momentin the address of the
distinguished sculptoralmost formidable: Gloriani showed him
in such perfect confidenceon Chad's introduction of hima fine
worn handsome facea face that was like an open letter in a
foreign tongue. With his genius in his eyeshis manners on his
lipshis long career behind him and his honours and rewards all
roundthe great artistin the course of a single sustained look
and a few words of delight at receiving himaffected our friend
as a dazzling prodigy of type. Strether had seen in museums--in
the Luxembourg as well asmore reverentlylater onin the New
York of the billionaires--the work of his hand; knowing too that
after an earlier time in his native Rome he had migratedin
mid-careerto Pariswherewith a personal lustre almost violent
he shone in a constellation: all of which was more than enough
to crown himfor his guestwith the lightwith the romance
of glory. Stretherin contact with that element as he had never
yet so intimately beenhad the consciousness of opening to it
for the happy instantall the windows of his mindof letting this
rather grey interior drink in for once the sun of a clime not
marked in his old geography. He was to remember again repeatedly
the medal-like Italian facein which every line was an artist's
ownin which time told only as tone and consecration; and he was
to recall in especialas the penetrating radianceas the
communication of the illustrious spirit itselfthe manner in
whichwhile they stood brieflyin welcome and responseface to
facehe was held by the sculptor's eyes. He wasn't soon to forget
themwas to think of themall unconsciousunintending
preoccupied though they wereas the source of the deepest
intellectual sounding to which he had ever been exposed. He was in
fact quite to cherish his vision of itto play with it in idle
hours; only speaking of it to no one and quite aware he couldn't
have spoken without appearing to talk nonsense. Was what it had
told him or what it had asked him the greater of the mysteries?
Was it the most special flareunequalledsupremeof the
aesthetic torchlighting that wondrous world for everor was it
above all the long straight shaft sunk by a personal acuteness
that life had seasoned to steel? Nothing on earth could have been
stranger and no one doubtless more surprised than the artist
himselfbut it was for all the world to Strether just then as if
in the matter of his accepted duty he had positively been on trial.
The deep human expertness in Gloriani's charming smile--oh the
terrible life behind it!--was flashed upon him as a test of his stuff.

Chad meanwhileafter having easily named his companionhad still
more easily turned away and was already greeting other persons present.
He was as easyclever Chadwith the great artist as with his obscure
compatriotand as easy with every one else as with either:
this fell into its place for Strether and made almost a new light
giving himas a concatenationsomething more he could enjoy.
He liked Glorianibut should never see him again; of that he was
sufficiently sure. Chad accordinglywho was wonderful with both
of themwas a kind of link for hopeless fancyan implication of
possibilities--oh if everything had been different! Strether noted
at all events that he was thus on terms with illustrious spirits
and also that--yesdistinctly--he hadn't in the least swaggered
about it. Our friend hadn't come there only for this figure of Abel
Newsome's sonbut that presence threatened to affect the observant


mind as positively central. Gloriani indeedremembering something
and excusing himselfpursued Chad to speak to himand Strether was
left musing on many things. One of them was the question of whether
since he had been testedhe had passed. Did the artist drop him
from having made out that he wouldn't do? He really felt just to-day
that he might do better than usual. Hadn't he done well enough
so far as that wentin being exactly so dazzled? and in not having
tooas he almost believedwholly hidden from his host that he felt
the latter's plummet? Suddenlyacross the gardenhe saw little
Bilham approachand it was a part of the fit that was on him that
as their eyes met he guessed also HIS knowledge. If he had said to
him on the instant what was uppermost he would have said: "HAVE I
passed?--for of course I know one has to pass here." Little Bilham
would have reassured himhave told him that he exaggeratedand
have adduced happily enough the argument of little Bilham's own
very presence; whichin truthhe could seewas as easy a one as
Gloriani's own or as Chad's. He himself would perhaps then after a
while cease to be frightenedwould get the point of view for some
of the faces--types tremendously alienalien to Woollett--that he
had already begun to take in. Who were they allthe dispersed
groups and couplesthe ladies even more unlike those of Woollett
than the gentlemen?--this was the enquiry thatwhen his young
friend had greeted himhe did find himself making.

Oh they're every one--all sorts and sizes; of course I mean
within limits, though limits down perhaps rather more than limits
up. There are always artists--he's beautiful and inimitable to the
cher confrere; and then gros bonnets of many kinds--ambassadors,
cabinet ministers, bankers, generals, what do I know? even Jews.
Above all always some awfully nice women--and not too many;
sometimes an actress, an artist, a great performer--but only when
they're not monsters; and in particular the right femmes du monde.
You can fancy his history on that side--I believe it's fabulous:
they NEVER give him up. Yet he keeps them down: no one knows how
he manages; it's too beautiful and bland. Never too many--and a
mighty good thing too; just a perfect choice. But there are not in
any way many bores; it has always been so; he has some secret.
It's extraordinary. And you don't find it out. He's the same to
every one. He doesn't ask questions.'

Ah doesn't he?" Strether laughed.

Bilham met it with all his candour. "How then should I be here?

Oh for what you tell me. You're part of the perfect choice.

Wellthe young man took in the scene. "It seems rather good to-day."

Strether followed the direction of his eyes. "Are they allthis
timefemmes du monde?"

Little Bilham showed his competence. "Pretty well."

This was a category our friend had a feeling for; a light
romantic and mysteriouson the feminine elementin which he
enjoyed for a little watching it. "Are there any Poles?"

His companion considered. "I think I make out a 'Portuguee.' But
I've seen Turks."

Strether wondereddesiring justice. "They seem--all the women-very
harmonious."

Oh in closer quarters they come out!And thenwhile Strether


was aware of fearing closer quartersthough giving himself again
to the harmoniesWell,little Bilham went onit IS at the
worst rather good, you know. If you like it, you feel it, this
way, that shows you're not in the least out But you always know
things,he handsomely addedimmediately.

Strether liked it and felt it only too much; so "I saydon't lay
traps for me!" he rather helplessly murmured.

Well,his companion returnedhe's wonderfully kind to us.

To us Americans you mean?

Oh no--he doesn't know anything about THAT. That's half the
battle here--that you can never hear politics. We don't talk them.
I mean to poor young wretches of all sorts. And yet it's always as
charming as this; it's as if, by something in the air, our squalor
didn't show. It puts us all back--into the last century.

I'm afraid,Strether saidamusedthat it puts me rather
forward: oh ever so far!

Into the next? But isn't that only,little Bilham asked
because you're really of the century before?

The century before the last? Thank you!Strether laughed. "If I
ask you about some of the ladies it can't be then that I may hope
as such a specimen of the rococoto please them."

On the contrary they adore--we all adore here--the rococo, and
where is there a better setting for it than the whole thing, the
pavilion and the garden, together? There are lots of people with
collections,little Bilham smiled as he glanced round. "You'll be
secured!"

It made Strether for a moment give himself again to contemplation.
There were faces he scarce knew what to make of. Were they
charming or were they only strange? He mightn't talk politicsyet
he suspected a Pole or two. The upshot was the question at the
back of his head from the moment his friend had joined him. "Have
Madame de Vionnet and her daughter arrived?"

I haven't seen them yet, but Miss Gostrey has come. She's in the
pavilion looking at objects. One can see SHE'S a collector,
little Bilham added without offence.

Oh yes, she's a collector, and I knew she was to come. Is Madame
de Vionnet a collector?Strether went on.

Rather, I believe; almost celebrated.The young man meton it
a littlehis friend's eyes. "I happen to know--from Chadwhom I
saw last night--that they've come back; but only yesterday.
He wasn't sure--up to the last. Thisaccordingly little Bilham
went on, will be--if they ARE here--their first appearance after
their return."

Strethervery quicklyturned these things over. "Chad told you
last night? To meon our way herehe said nothing about it."

But did you ask him?

Strether did him the justice. "I dare say not."

Well,said little Bilhamyou're not a person to whom it's easy


to tell things you don't want to know. Though it is easy, I admit-it's
quite beautiful,he benevolently addedwhen you do want to.

Strether looked at him with an indulgence that matched his
intelligence. "Is that the deep reasoning on which--about these
ladies--you've been yourself so silent?"

Little Bilham considered the depth of his reasoning. "I haven't
been silent. I spoke of them to you the other daythe day we sat
together after Chad's tea-party."

Strether came round to it. "They then are the virtuous attachment?"

I can only tell you that it's what they pass for. But isn't that
enough? What more than a vain appearance does the wisest of us
know? I commend you,the young man declared with a pleasant
emphasisthe vain appearance.

Strether looked more widely roundand what he sawfrom face to face
deepened the effect of his young friend's words. "Is it so good?"

Magnificent.

Strether had a pause. "The husband's dead?"

Dear no. Alive.

Oh!said Strether. After whichas his companion laughed:
How then can it be so good?

You'll see for yourself. One does see.

Chad's in love with the daughter?

That's what I mean.

Strether wondered. "Then where's the difficulty?"

Why, aren't you and I--with our grander bolder ideas?

Oh mine--!Strether said rather strangely. But then as if to
attenuate: "You mean they won't hear of Woollett?"

Little Bilham smiled. "Isn't that just what you must see about?"

It had brought themas she caught the last wordsinto relation
with Miss Barracewhom Strether had already observed--as he had
never before seen a lady at a party--moving about alone. Coming
within sound of them she had already spokenand she took again
through her long-handled glassall her amused and amusing
possession. "How muchpoor Mr. Stretheryou seem to have to see
about! But you can't say she gaily declared, that I don't do
what I can to help you. Mr. Waymarsh is placed. I've left him in
the house with Miss Gostrey."

The way,little Bilham exclaimedMr. Strether gets the ladies
to work for him! He's just preparing to draw in another; to
pounce--don't you see him?--on Madame de Vionnet.

Madame de Vionnet? Oh, oh, oh!Miss Barrace cried in a wonderful
crescendo. There was more in itour friend made outthan met the
ear. Was it after all a joke that he should be serious about
anything? He envied Miss Barrace at any rate her power of not
being. She seemedwith little cries and protests and quick


recognitionsmovements like the darts of some fine high-feathered
free-pecking birdto stand before life as before some full
shop-window. You could fairly hearas she selected and pointed
the tap of her tortoise-shell against the glass. "It's certain that
we do need seeing about; only I'm glad it's not I who have to do it.
One doesno doubtbegin that way; then suddenly one finds that
one has given it up. It's too muchit's too difficult. You're
wonderfulyou people she continued to Strether, for not feeling
those things--by which I mean impossibilities. You never feel them.
You face them with a fortitude that makes it a lesson to watch you."

Ah but--little Bilham put it with discouragement--"what do we
achieve after all? We see about you and report--when we even go so
far as reporting. But nothing's done."

Oh you, Mr. Bilham,she replied as with an impatient rap on the
glassyou're not worth sixpence! You come over to convert the
savages--for I know you verily did, I remember you--and the
savages simply convert YOU.

Not even!the young man woefully confessed: "they haven't gone
through that form. They've simply--the cannibals!--eaten me;
converted me if you likebut converted me into food. I'm but the
bleached bones of a Christian."

Well then there we are! Only--and Miss Barrace appealed again to
Strether--"don't let it discourage you. You'll break down soon
enoughbut you'll meanwhile have had your moments. Il faut en
avoir. I always like to see you while you last. And I'll tell you
who WILL last."

Waymarsh?--he had already taken her up.

She laughed out as at the alarm of it. "He'll resist even Miss
Gostrey: so grand is it not to understand. He's wonderful."

He is indeed,Strether conceded. "He wouldn't tell me of this
affair--only said he had an engagement; but with such a gloomyou
must let me insistas if it had been an engagement to be hanged.
Then silently and secretly he turns up here with you. Do you call
THAT 'lasting'?"

Oh I hope it's lasting!Miss Barrace said. "But he onlyat the
bestbears with me. He doesn't understand--not one little scrap.
He's delightful. He's wonderful she repeated.

Michelangelesque!"--little Bilham completed her meaning. "He IS
a success. Moseson the ceilingbrought down to the floor;
overwhelmingcolossalbut somehow portable."

Certainly, if you mean by portable,she returnedlooking so
well in one's carriage. He's too funny beside me in his comer; he
looks like somebody, somebody foreign and famous, en exil; so that
people wonder--it's very amusing--whom I'm taking about. I show
him Paris, show him everything, and he never turns a hair. He's
like the Indian chief one reads about, who, when he comes up to
Washington to see the Great Father, stands wrapt in his blanket
and gives no sign. I might be the Great Father--from the way he
takes everything.She was delighted at this hit of her identity
with that personage--it fitted so her character; she declared it
was the title she meant henceforth to adopt. "And the way he sits
tooin the corner of my roomonly looking at my visitors very
hard and as if he wanted to start something! They wonder what he
does want to start. But he's wonderful Miss Barrace once more


insisted. He has never started anything yet."


It presented him none the lessin truthto her actual friends
who looked at each other in intelligencewith frank amusement on
Bilham's part and a shade of sadness on Strether's. Strether's
sadness sprang--for the image had its grandeur--from his thinking
how little he himself was wrapt in his blankethow littlein
marble hallsall too oblivious of the Great Fatherhe resembled
a really majestic aboriginal. But he had also another reflexion.
You've all of you here so much visual sense that you've somehow
all 'run' to it. There are moments when it strikes one that you
haven't any other.


Any moral,little Bilham explainedwatching serenelyacross
the gardenthe several femmes du monde. "But Miss Barrace has a
moral distinction he kindly continued; speaking as if for Strether's
benefit not less than for her own.


HAVE you?" Stretherscarce knowing what he was aboutasked of
her almost eagerly.


Oh not a distinction--she was mightily amused at his tone--"Mr. Bilham's
too good. But I think I may say a sufficiency. Yesa sufficiency.
Have you supposed strange things of me?"--and she fixed him again
through all her tortoise-shellwith the droll interest of it.
You ARE all indeed wonderful. I should awfully disappoint you.
I do take my stand on my sufficiency. But I know, I confess,
she went onstrange people. I don't know how it happens;
I don't do it on purpose; it seems to be my doom--as if I were
always one of their habits: it's wonderful! I dare say moreover,
she pursued with an interested gravitythat I do, that we all
do here, run too much to mere eye. But how can it be helped?
We're all looking at each other--and in the light of Paris one
sees what things resemble. That's what the light of Paris seems
always to show. It's the fault of the light of Paris--dear old light!


Dear old Paris!little Bilham echoed.


Everything, every one shows,Miss Barrace went on.


But for what they really are?Strether asked.


Oh I like your Boston 'reallys'! But sometimes--yes.


Dear old Paris then!Strether resignedly sighed while for a
moment they looked at each other. Then he broke out: "Does
Madame de Vionnet do that? I mean really show for what she is?"


Her answer was prompt. "She's charming. She's perfect."


Then why did you a minute ago say 'Oh, oh, oh!' at her name?


She easily remembered. "Why just because--! She's wonderful."


Ah she too?--Strether had almost a groan.


But Miss Barrace had meanwhile perceived relief. "Why not put your
question straight to the person who can answer it best?"


No,said little Bilham; "don't put any question; waitrather--
it will be much more fun--to judge for yourself. He has come to
take you to her."



On which Strether saw that Chad was again at handand he
afterwards scarce knewabsurd as it may seemwhat had then
quickly occurred. The moment concerned himhe feltmore deeply
than he could have explainedand he had a subsequent passage of
speculation as to whetheron walking off with Chadhe hadn't
looked either pale or red. The only thing he was clear about was
thatluckilynothing indiscreet had in fact been said and that
Chad himself was more than everin Miss Barrace's great sense
wonderful. It was one of the connexions--though really why it
should beafter allwas none so apparent--in which the whole
change in him came out as most striking. Strether recalled as they
approached the house that he had impressed him that first night as
knowing how to enter a box. Wellhe impressed him scarce less now
as knowing how to make a presentation. It did something for
Strether's own quality--marked it as estimated; so that our poor
friendconscious and passivereally seemed to feel himself quite
handed over and delivered; absolutelyas he would have saidmade
a present ofgiven away. As they reached the house a young woman
about to come forthappearedunaccompaniedon the steps; at the
exchange with whom of a word on Chad's part Strether immediately
perceived thatobliginglykindlyshe was there to meet them.
Chad had left her in the housebut she had afterwards come
halfway and then the next moment had joined them in the garden.
Her air of youthfor Stretherwas at first almost disconcerting
while his second impression wasnot less sharplya degree of
relief at there not having just beenwith the othersany freedom
used about her. It was upon him at a touch that she was no subject
for thatand meanwhileon Chad's introducing himshe had spoken
to himvery simply and gentlyin an English clearly of the
easiest to heryet unlike any other he had ever heard. It wasn't
as if she tried; nothinghe could see after they had been a few
minutes togetherwas as if she tried; but her speechcharming
correct and oddwas like a precaution against her passing for a
Pole. There were precautionshe seemed indeed to seeonly when
there were really dangers.

Later on he was to feel many more of thembut by that time he was
to feel other things besides. She was dressed in blackbut in
black that struck him as light and transparent; she was
exceedingly fairandthough she was as markedly slimher face
had a roundnesswith eyes far apart and a little strange.
Her smile was natural and dim; her hat not extravagant; he had only
perhaps a sense of the clinkbeneath her fine black sleevesof
more gold bracelets and bangles than he had ever seen a lady wear.
Chad was excellently free and light about their encounter; it was
one of the occasions on which Strether most wished he himself
might have arrived at such ease and such humour: "Here you are
thenface to face at last; you're made for each other--vous allez
voir; and I bless your union." It was indeedafter he had gone
offas if he had been partly serious too. This latter motion had
been determined by an enquiry from him about "Jeanne"; to which
her mother had replied that she was probably still in the house
with Miss Gostreyto whom she had lately committed her. "Ah but
you know the young man had rejoined, he must see her"; with
whichwhile Strether pricked up his earshe had started as if to
bring herleaving the other objects of his interest together.
Strether wondered to find Miss Gostrey already involvedfeeling
that he missed a link; but feeling alsowith small delayhow
much he should like to talk with her of Madame de Vionnet on this
basis of evidence.


The evidence as yet in truth was meagre; whichfor that matter
was perhaps a little why his expectation had had a drop. There was
somehow not quite a wealth in her; and a wealth was all thatin
his simplicityhe had definitely prefigured. Stillit was too
much to be sure already that there was but a poverty. They moved
away from the houseandwith eyes on a bench at some distance
he proposed that they should sit down. "I've heard a great deal
about you she said as they went; but he had an answer to it that
made her stop short. Wellabout YOUMadame de VionnetI've
heardI'm bound to sayalmost nothing"--those struck him as the
only words he himself could utter with any lucidity; conscious as
he wasand as with more reasonof the determination to be in
respect to the rest of his business perfectly plain and go
perfectly straight. It hadn't at any rate been in the least his
idea to spy on Chad's proper freedom. It was possiblyhoweverat
this very instant and under the impression of Madame de Vionnet's
pausethat going straight began to announce itself as a matter
for care. She had only after all to smile at him ever so gently in
order to make him ask himself if he weren't already going crooked.
It might be going crooked to find it of a sudden just only clear
that she intended very definitely to be what he would have called
nice to him. This was what passed between them whilefor another
instantthey stood still; he couldn't at least remember
afterwards what else it might have been. The thing indeed really
unmistakeable was its rolling over him as a wave that he had been
in conditions incalculable and unimaginablea subject of
discussion. He had beenon some ground that concerned her
answered for; which gave her an advantage he should never be able
to match.

Hasn't Miss Gostrey,she askedsaid a good word for me?

What had struck him first was the way he was bracketed with that
lady; and he wondered what account Chad would have given of their
acquaintance. Something not as yet traceableat all events. had
obviously happened. "I didn't even know of her knowing you."

Well, now she'll tell you all. I'm so glad you're in relation
with her.

This was one of the things--the "all" Miss Gostrey would now tell
him--thatwith every deference to present preoccupationwas
uppermost for Strether after they had taken their seat. One of the
others wasat the end of five minutesthat she--oh incontestably
yes--DIFFERED less; differedthat isscarcely at all--well
superficially speakingfrom Mrs. Newsome or even from Mrs. Pocock.
She was ever so much younger than the one and not so young as the other;
but what WAS there in herif anythingthat would have made it
impossible he should meet her at Woollett? And wherein was her talk
during their moments on the bench together not the same as would have been
found adequate for a Woollett garden-party?--unless perhaps truly in
not being quite so bright. She observed to him that Mr. Newsome hadto
her knowledgetaken extraordinary pleasure in his visit; but there was
no good lady at Woollett who wouldn't have been at least up to that.
Was there in Chadby chanceafter alldeep downa principle of
aboriginal loyalty that had made himfor sentimental endsattach
himself to elementshappily encounteredthat would remind him most
of the old air and the old soil? Why accordingly be in a flutter--
Strether could even put it that way--about this unfamiliar
phenomenon of the femme du monde? On these terms Mrs. Newsome
herself was as much of one. Little Bilham verily had testified
that they came outthe ladies of the typein close quarters; but
it was just in these quarters--now comparatively close--that he


felt Madame de Vionnet's common humanity. She did come outand
certainly to his reliefbut she came out as the usual thing.
There might be motives behindbut so could there often be even at
Woollett. The only thing was that if she showed him she wished to
like him--as the motives behind might conceivably prompt--it
would possibly have been more thrilling for him that she should
have shown as more vividly alien. Ah she was neither Turk nor
Pole!--which would be indeed flat once more for Mrs. Newsome and
Mrs. Pocock. A lady and two gentlemen had meanwhilehowever
approached their benchand this accident stayed for the time
further developments.

They presently addressed his companionthe brilliant strangers;
she rose to speak to themand Strether noted how the escorted
ladythough mature and by no means beautifulhad more of the
bold high lookthe range of expensive referencethat he hadas
might have been saidmade his plans for. Madame de Vionnet
greeted her as "Duchesse" and was greeted in turnwhile talk
started in Frenchas "Ma toute-belle"; little facts that had
their duetheir vivid interest for Strether. Madame de Vionnet
didn'tnone the lessintroduce him--a note he was conscious of
as false to the Woollett scale and the Woollett humanity; though
it didn't prevent the Duchesswho struck him as confident and
freevery much what he had obscurely supposed duchessesfrom
looking at him as straight and as hard--for it WAS hard--as if she
would have likedall the sameto know him. "Oh yesmy dear
it's all rightit's ME; and who are YOUwith your interesting
wrinkles and your most effective (is it the handsomestis it the
ugliest?) of noses?"--some such loose handful of bright flowers
she seemedfragrantly enoughto fling at him. Strether almost
wondered--at such a pace was he going--if some divination of the
influence of either party were what determined Madame de Vionnet's
abstention. One of the gentlemenin any casesucceeded in
placing himself in close relation with our friend's companion; a
gentleman rather stout and importantly shortin a hat with a
wonderful wide curl to its brim and a frock coat buttoned with an
effect of superlative decision. His French had quickly turned to
equal Englishand it occurred to Strether that he might well be
one of the ambassadors. His design was evidently to assert a claim
to Madame de Vionnet's undivided countenanceand he made it good
in the course of a minute--led her away with a trick of three
words; a trick played with a social art of which Stretherlooking
after them as the fourwhose backs were now all turnedmoved
offfelt himself no master.

He sank again upon his bench andwhile his eyes followed the
partyreflectedas he had done beforeon Chad's strange
communities. He sat there alone for five minuteswith plenty to
think of; above all with his sense of having suddenly been dropped
by a charming woman overlaid now by other impressions and in fact
quite cleared and indifferent. He hadn't yet had so quiet a
surrender; he didn't in the least care if nobody spoke to him
more. He might have beenby his attitudein for something of a
march so broad that the want of ceremony with which he had just
been used could fall into its place as but a minor incident of the
procession. Besidesthere would be incidents enoughas he felt
when this term of contemplation was closed by the reappearance of
little Bilhamwho stood before him a moment with a suggestive
Well?in which he saw himself reflected as disorganisedas
possibly floored. He replied with a "Well!" intended to show that
he wasn't floored in the least. No indeed; he gave it outas the
young man sat down beside himthat ifat the worsthe had been
overturned at allhe had been overturned into the upper airthe
sublimer element with which he had an affinity and in which he


might be trusted a while to float. It wasn't a descent to earth to
say after an instant and in sustained response to the reference:
You're quite sure her husband's living?

Oh dear, yes.

Ah then--!

Ah then what?

Strether had after all to think. "WellI'm sorry for them." But
it didn't for the moment matter more than that. He assured his
young friend he was quite content. They wouldn't stir; were all
right as they were. He didn't want to be introduced; had been
introduced already about as far as he could go. He had seen
moreover an immensity; liked Glorianiwhoas Miss Barrace kept
sayingwas wonderful; had made outhe was surethe half-dozen
other 'men who were distinguishedthe artiststhe critics and oh
the great dramatist--HIM it was easy to spot; but wanted--no
thanksreally--to talk with none of them; having nothing at all
to say and finding it would do beautifully as it was; do
beautifully because what it was--wellwas just simply too late.
And when after this little Bilhamsubmissive and responsivebut
with an eye to the consolation nearesteasily threw off some
Better late than never!all he got in return for it was a sharp
Better early than late!This note indeed the next thing
overflowed for Strether into a quiet stream of demonstration that
as soon as he had let himself go he felt as the real relief. It
had consciously gathered to a headbut the reservoir had filled
sooner than he knewand his companion's touch was to make the
waters spread. There were some things that had to come in time if
they were to come at all. If they didn't come in time they were
lost for ever. It was the general sense of them that had
overwhelmed him with its long slow rush.

It's not too late for YOU, on any side, and you don't strike me
as in danger of missing the train; besides which people can be in
general pretty well trusted, of course--with the clock of their
freedom ticking as loud as it seems to do here--to keep an eye on
the fleeting hour. All the same don't forget that you're young-blessedly
young; be glad of it on the contrary and live up to it.
Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter
what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you
haven't had that what HAVE you had? This place and these
impressions--mild as you may find them to wind a man up so; all my
impressions of Chad and of people I've seen at HIS place--well,
have had their abundant message for me, have just dropped THAT
into my mind. I see it now. I haven't done so enough before-and
now I'm old; too old at any rate for what I see. Oh I DO see,
at least; and more than you'd believe or I can express. It's too late.
And it's as if the train had fairly waited at the station for me
without my having had the gumption to know it was there.
Now I hear its faint receding whistle miles and miles down the line.
What one loses one loses; make no mistake about that. The affair-I
mean the affair of life--couldn't, no doubt, have been different
for me; for it's at the best a tin mould, either fluted and embossed,
with ornamental excrescences, or else smooth and dreadfully plain,
into which, a helpless jelly, one's consciousness is poured-so
that one 'takes' the form as the great cook says, and is more
or less compactly held by it: one lives in fine as one can.
Still, one has the illusion of freedom; therefore don't be, like me,
without the memory of that illusion. I was either, at the right time,
too stupid or too intelligent to have it; I don't quite know which.
Of course at present I'm a case of reaction against the mistake;


and the voice of reaction should, no doubt, always be taken with
an allowance. But that doesn't affect the point that the right time
is now yours. The right time is ANY time that one is still so lucky
as to have. You've plenty; that's the great thing; you're, as I say,
damn you, so happily and hatefully young. Don't at any rate miss things
out of stupidity. Of course I don't take you for a fool, or I
shouldn't be addressing you thus awfully. Do what you like so long
as you don't make MY mistake. For it was a mistake. Live!. . .
Slowly and sociablywith full pauses and straight dashes
Strether had so delivered himself; holding little Bilham
from step to step deeply and gravely attentive. The end of all was
that the young man had turned quite solemnand that this was a
contradiction of the innocent gaiety the speaker had wished to
promote. He watched for a moment the consequence of his words
and thenlaying a hand on his listener's knee and as if to end
with the proper joke: "And now for the eye I shall keep on you!"

Oh but I don't know that I want to be, at your age, too different
from you!

Ah prepare while you're about it,said Stretherto be more
amusing.

Little Bilham continued to thinkbut at last had a smile. "Well
you ARE amusing--to ME."

Impayable, as you say, no doubt. But what am I to myself?
Strether had risen with thisgiving his attention now to an
encounter thatin the middle of the gardenwas in the act of
taking place between their host and the lady at whose side Madame
de Vionnet had quitted him. This ladywho appeared within a few
minutes to have left her friendsawaited Gloriani's eager
approach with words on her lips that Strether couldn't catchbut
of which her interesting witty face seemed to give him the echo.
He was sure she was prompt and finebut also that she had met her
matchand he liked--in the light of what he was quite sure was
the Duchess's latent insolence--the good humour with which the
great artist asserted equal resources. Were theythis pairof
the "great world"?--and was he himselffor the moment and thus
related to them by his observationIN it? Then there was
something in the great world covertly tigerishwhich came to him
across the lawn and in the charming air as a waft from the jungle.
Yet it made him admire most of the twomade him envythe glossy
male tigermagnificently marked. These absurdities of the stirred
sensefruits of suggestion ripening on the instantwere all
reflected in his next words to little Bilham. "I know--if we talk
of that--whom I should enjoy being like!"

Little Bilham followed his eyes; but then as with a shade of knowing
surprise: "Gloriani?"

Our friend had in fact already hesitatedthough not on the hint
of his companion's doubtin which there were depths of critical
reserve. He had just made outin the now full picturesomething
and somebody else; another impression had been superimposed. A
young girl in a white dress and a softly plumed white hat had
suddenly come into viewand what was presently clear was that her
course was toward them. What was clearer still was that the
handsome young man at her side was Chad Newsomeand what was
clearest of all was that she was therefore Mademoiselle de Vionnet
that she was unmistakeably pretty--bright gentle shy happy
wonderful--and that Chad nowwith a consummate calculation
of effectwas about to present her to his old friend's vision.
What was clearest of all indeed was something much more than this


something at the single stroke of which--and wasn't it simply
juxtaposition?--all vagueness vanished. It was the click of a
spring--he saw the truth. He had by this time also met Chad's
look; there was more of it in that; and the truthaccordinglyso
far as Bilham's enquiry was concernedhad thrust in the answer.
Oh Chad!--it was that rare youth he should have enjoyed being
like.The virtuous attachment would be all there before him; the
virtuous attachment would be in the very act of appeal for his blessing;
Jeanne de Vionnetthis charming creaturewould be exquisitely
intensely now--the object of it. Chad brought her straight up to him
and Chad wasoh yesat this moment--for the glory of Woollett or
whatever--better still even than Gloriani. He had plucked this
blossom; he had kept it over-night in water; and at last as he held
it up to wonder he did enjoy his effect. That was why Strether had
felt at first the breath of calculation--and why moreoveras he
now knewhis look at the girl would befor the young mana sign
of the latter's success. What young man had ever paraded about that
waywithout a reasona maiden in her flower? And there was
nothing in his reason at present obscure. Her type sufficiently
told of it--they wouldn'tthey couldn'twant her to go to
Woollett. Poor Woollettand what it might miss!--though brave Chad
indeed tooand what it might gain! Brave Chad however had just
excellently spoken. "This is a good little friend of mine who knows
all about you and has moreover a message for you. And thismy
dear"--he had turned to the child herself--"is the best man in the
worldwho has it in his power to do a great deal for us and whom I
want you to like and revere as nearly as possible as much as I do."

She stood there quite pinka little frightenedprettier and
prettier and not a bit like her mother. There was in this last
particular no resemblance but that of youth to youth; and here was
in fact suddenly Strether's sharpest impression. It went wondering
dazedembarrassedback to the woman he had just been talking
with; it was a revelation in the light of which he already saw she
would become more interesting. So slim and fresh and fairshe had
yet put forth this perfection; so that for really believing it of
herfor seeing her to any such developed degree as a mother
comparison would be urgent. Wellwhat was it now but fairly thrust
upon him? "Mamma wishes me to tell you before we go the girl
said, that she hopes very much you'll come to see us very soon.
She has something important to say to you."

She quite reproaches herself,Chad helpfully explained: "you were
interesting her so much when she accidentally suffered you to be
interrupted."

Ah don't mention it!Strether murmuredlooking kindly from one
to the other and wondering at many things.

And I'm to ask you for myself,Jeanne continued with her hands
clasped together as if in some small learnt prayer--"I'm to ask you
for myself if you won't positively come."

Leave it to me, dear--I'll take care of it!Chad genially
declared in answer to thiswhile Strether himself almost held his
breath. What was in the girl was indeed too softtoo unknown for
direct dealing; so that one could only gaze at it as at a picture
quite staying one's own hand. But with Chad he was now on ground--
Chad he could meet; so pleasant a confidence in that and in
everything did the young man freely exhale. There was the whole of
a story in his tone to his companionand he spoke indeed as if
already of the family. It made Strether guess the more quickly what
it might be about which Madame de Vionnet was so urgent. Having
seen him then she had found him easy; she wished to have it out


with him that some way for the young people must be discovered
some way that would not impose as a condition the transplantation
of her daughter. He already saw himself discussing with this lady
the attractions of Woollett as a residence for Chad's companion.
Was that youth going now to trust her with the affair--so that it
would be after all with one of his "lady-friends" that his mother's
missionary should be condemned to deal? It was quite as if for an
instant the two men looked at each other on this question. But
there was no mistaking at last Chad's pride in the display of such
a connexion. This was what had made him so carry himself while
three minutes beforehe was bringing it into view; what had caused
his friendfirst catching sight of himto be so struck with his
air. It wasin a wordjust when he thus finally felt Chad putting
things straight off on him that he envied himas he had mentioned
to little Bilhammost. The whole exhibition however was but a
matter of three or four minutesand the author of it had soon
explained thatas Madame de Vionnet was immediately going "on
this could be for Jeanne but a snatch. They would all meet again
soon, and Strether was meanwhile to stay and amuse himself--I'll
pick you up again in plenty of time." He took the girl off as he
had brought herand Stretherwith the faint sweet foreignness of
her "Au revoirmonsieur!" in his ears as a note almost
unprecedentedwatched them recede side by side and felt howonce
moreher companion's relation to her got an accent from it. They
disappeared among the others and apparently into the house;
whereupon our friend turned round to give out to little Bilham the
conviction of which he was full. But there was no little Bilham any
more; little Bilham had within the few momentsfor reasons of his
ownproceeded further: a circumstance by whichin its order
Strether was also sensibly affected.

Chad was not in fact on this occasion to keep his promise of coming
back; but Miss Gostrey had soon presented herself with an
explanation of his failure. There had been reasons at the last for
his going off with ces dames; and he had asked her with much
instance to come out and take charge of their friend. She did so
Strether felt as she took her place beside himin a manner that
left nothing to desire. He had dropped back on his benchalone
again for a timeand the more conscious for little Bilham's
defection of his unexpressed thought; in respect to which however
this next converser was a still more capacious vessel. "It's the
child!" he had exclaimed to her almost as soon as she appeared; and
though her direct response was for some time delayed he could feel
in her meanwhile the working of this truth. It might have been
simplyas she waitedthat they were now in presence altogether of
truth spreading like a flood and not for the moment to be offered
her in the mere cupful; inasmuch as who should ces dames prove to
be but persons about whom--once thus face to face with them--she
found she might from the first have told him almost everything?
This would have freely come had he taken the simple precaution of
giving her their name. There could be no better example--and she
appeared to note it with high amusement--than the waymaking
things out already so much for himselfhe was at last throwing
precautions to the winds. They were neither more nor lessshe and
the child's motherthan old school-friends--friends who had
scarcely met for years but whom this unlooked-for chance had
brought together with a rush. It was a reliefMiss Gostrey hinted
to feel herself no longer groping; she was unaccustomed to grope
and as a general thinghe might well have seenmade straight


enough for her clue. With the one she had now picked up in her
hands there need be at least no waste of wonder. "She's coming to
see me--that's for YOU Strether's counsellor continued; but I
don't require it to know where I am."

The waste of wonder might be proscribed; but Strether
characteristicallywas even by this time in the immensity of
space. "By which you mean that you know where SHE is?"

She just hesitated. "I mean that if she comes to see me I shall-now
that I've pulled myself round a bit after the shock--not be at
home."

Strether hung poised. "You call it--your recognition--a shock?"

She gave one of her rare flickers of impatience. "It was a
surprisean emotion. Don't be so literal. I wash my hands of her."

Poor Strether's face lengthened. "She's impossible--?"

She's even more charming than I remembered her.

Then what's the matter?

She had to think how to put it. "WellI'M impossible. It's
impossible. Everything's impossible."

He looked at her an instant. "I see where you're coming out.
Everything's possible." Their eyes had on it in fact an exchange of
some duration; after which he pursued: "Isn't it that beautiful
child?" Then as she still said nothing: "Why don't you mean to
receive her?"

Her answer in an instant rang clear. "Because I wish to keep out of
the business."

It provoked in him a weak wail. "You're going to abandon me NOW?"

No, I'm only going to abandon HER. She'll want me to help her with
you. And I won't.

You'll only help me with her? Well then--!Most of the persons
previously gathered hadin the interest of teapassed into the
houseand they had the gardens mainly to themselves. The shadows
were longthe last call of the birdswho had made a home of their
own in the noble interspaced quartersounded from the high trees
in the other gardens as wellthose of the old convent and of the
old hotels; it was as if our friends had waited for the full charm
to come out. Strether's impressions were still present; it was as
if something had happened that "nailed" themmade them more
intense; but he was to ask himself soon afterwardsthat evening
what really HAD happened--conscious as he could after all remain
that for a gentleman takenand taken the first timeinto the
great world,the world of ambassadors and duchessesthe items
made a meagre total. It was nothing new to himhoweveras we
knowthat a man might have--at all events such a man as he--an
amount of experience out of any proportion to his adventures; so
thatthough it was doubtless no great adventure to sit on there
with Miss Gostrey and hear about Madame de Vionnetthe hourthe
picturethe immediatethe recentthe possible--as well as the
communication itselfnot a note of which failed to reverberate-only
gave the moments more of the taste of history.

It was historyto begin withthat Jeanne's mother had been


three-and-twenty years beforeat Genevaschoolmate and good
girlfriend to Maria Gostreywho had moreover enjoyed since then
though interruptedly and above all with a long recent drop
other glimpses of her. Twenty-three years put them both on
no doubt; and Madame de Vionnet--though she had married straight
after school--couldn't be today an hour less than thirty-eight.
This made her ten years older than Chad--though ten yearsalsoif
Strether likedolder than she looked; the leastat any ratethat
a prospective mother-in-law could be expected to do with. She would
be of all mothers-in-law the most charming; unless indeedthrough
some perversity as yet insupposeableshe should utterly belie herself
in that relation. There was none surely in whichas Maria remembered
hershe mustn't be charming; and this frankly in spite of the stigma
of failure in the tie where failure always most showed. It was no test
there--when indeed WAS it a test there?--for Monsieur de Vionnet
had been a brute. She had lived for years apart from him--which was
of course always a horrid position; but Miss Gostrey's impression
of the matter had been that she could scarce have made a better
thing of it had she done it on purpose to show she was amiable. She
was so amiable that nobody had had a word to say; which was luckily
not the case for her husband. He was so impossible that she had the
advantage of all her merits.

It was still history for Strether that the Comte de Vionnet--it
being also history that the lady in question was a Countess--should
nowunder Miss Gostrey's sharp touchrise before him as a high
distinguished polished impertinent reprobatethe product of a
mysterious order; it was historyfurtherthat the charming girl
so freely sketched by his companion should have been married out of
hand by a motheranother figure of striking outlinefull of dark
personal motive; it was perhaps history most of all that this
company wasas a matter of coursegoverned by such considerations
as put divorce out of the question. "Ces gens-la don't divorceyou
knowany more than they emigrate or abjure--they think it impious
and vulgar"; a fact in the light of which they seemed but the more
richly special. It was all special; it was allfor Strether's
imaginationmore or less rich. The girl at the Genevese schoolan
isolated interesting attaching creaturethen both sensitive and
violentaudacious but always forgivenwas the daughter of a
French father and an English mother whoearly left a widowhad
married again--tried afresh with a foreigner; in her career with
whom she had apparently given her child no example of comfort. All
these people--the people of the English mother's side--had been of
condition more or less eminent; yet with oddities and disparities
that had often since made Mariathinking them overwonder what
they really quite rhymed to. It was in any case her belief that the
motherinterested and prone to adventurehad been without
consciencehad only thought of ridding herself most quickly of a
possiblean actual encumbrance. The fatherby her impressiona
Frenchman with a name one knewhad been a different matter
leaving his childshe clearly recalleda memory all fondnessas
well as an assured little fortune which was unluckily to make her
more or less of a prey later on. She had been in particularat
schooldazzlinglythough quite booklesslyclever; as polyglot
as a little Jewess (which she wasn'toh no!) and chattering French
EnglishGermanItaliananything one wouldin a way that made a
clean sweepif not of prizes and parchmentsat least of every
part,whether memorised or improvisedin the curtained costumed
school repertoryand in especial of all mysteries of race and
vagueness of referenceall swagger about "home among their
variegated mates.

It would doubtless be difficult to-day, as between French and
English, to name her and place her; she would certainly show, on


knowledge, Miss Gostrey felt, as one of those convenient types who
don't keep you explaining--minds with doors as numerous as the
many-tongued cluster of confessionals at Saint Peter's. You might
confess to her with confidence in Roumelian, and even Roumelian
sins. Therefore--! But Strether's narrator covered her implication
with a laugh; a laugh by which his betrayal of a sense of the lurid
in the picture was also perhaps sufficiently protected. He had a
moment of wondering, while his friend went on, what sins might be
especially Roumelian. She went on at all events to the mention of
her having met the young thing--again by some Swiss lake--in her
first married state, which had appeared for the few intermediate
years not at least violently disturbed. She had been lovely at that
moment, delightful to HER, full of responsive emotion, of amused
recognitions and amusing reminders, and then once more, much later,
after a long interval, equally but differently charming--touching
and rather mystifying for the five minutes of an encounter at a
railway-station en province, during which it had come out that her
life was all changed. Miss Gostrey had understood enough to see,
essentially, what had happened, and yet had beautifully dreamed
that she was herself faultless. There were doubtless depths in her,
but she was all right; Strether would see if she wasn't. She was
another person however--that had been promptly marked--from the
small child of nature at the Geneva school, a little person quite
made over (as foreign women WERE, compared with American) by
marriage. Her situation too had evidently cleared itself up; there
would have been--all that was possible--a judicial separation. She
had settled in Paris, brought up her daughter, steered her boat. It
was no very pleasant boat--especially there--to be in; but Marie de
Vionnet would have headed straight. She would have friends,
certainly--and very good ones. There she was at all events--and it
was very interesting. Her knowing Mr. Chad didn't in the least
prove she hadn't friends; what it proved was what good ones HE had.
I saw that said Miss Gostrey, that night at the Francais; it
came out for me in three minutes. I saw HER--or somebody like her.
And so she immediately added, did you."

Oh no--not anybody like her!Strether laughed. "But you mean he
as promptly went on, that she has had such an influence on him?"

Miss Gostrey was on her feet; it was time for them to go. "She has
brought him up for her daughter."

Their eyesas so oftenin candid conferencethrough their
settled glassesmet over it long; after which Strether's again
took in the whole place. They were quite alone there now. "Mustn't
she rather--in the time then--have rushed it?"

Ah she won't of course have lost an hour. But that's just the good
mother--the good French one. You must remember that of her--that as
a mother she's French, and that for them there's a special
providence. It precisely however--that she mayn't have been able to
begin as far back as she'd have liked--makes her grateful for aid.

Strether took this in as they slowly moved to the house on their
way out. "She counts on me then to put the thing through?"

Yes--she counts on you. Oh and first of all of course,Miss
Gostrey addedon her--well, convincing you.

Ah,her friend returnedshe caught Chad young!

Yes, but there are women who are for all your 'times of life.'
They're the most wonderful sort.


She had laughed the words outbut they brought her companionthe
next thingto a stand. "Is what you mean that she'll try to make a
fool of me?"

Well, I'm wondering what she WILL--with an opportunity--make.

What do you call,Strether askedan opportunity? My going to
see her?

Ah you must go to see her--Miss Gostrey was a trifle evasive.
You can't not do that. You'd have gone to see the other woman. I
mean if there had been one--a different sort. It's what you came
out for.

It might be; but Strether distinguished. "I didn't come out to see
THIS sort."

She had a wonderful look at him now. "Are you disappointed she
isn't worse?"

He for a moment entertained the questionthen found for it the
frankest of answers. "Yes. If she were worse she'd be better for
our purpose. It would be simpler."

Perhaps,she admitted. "But won't this be pleasanter?"

Ah you know,he promptly repliedI didn't come out--wasn't that
just what you originally reproached me with?--for the pleasant.

Precisely. Therefore I say again what I said at first. You must
take things as they come. Besides,Miss Gostrey addedI'm not
afraid for myself.

For yourself--?

Of your seeing her. I trust her. There's nothing she'll say about
me. In fact there's nothing she CAN.

Strether wondered--little as he had thought of this. Then he broke
out. "Oh you women!"

There was something in it at which she flushed. "Yes--there we are.
We're abysses." At last she smiled. "But I risk her!"

He gave himself a shake. "Well then so do I!" But he added as they
passed into the house that he would see Chad the first thing in the
morning.

This was the next day the more easily effected that the young man
as it happenedeven before he was downturned up at his hotel.
Strether took his coffeeby habitin the public room; but on his
descending for this purpose Chad instantly proposed an adjournment
to what he called greater privacy. He had himself as yet had
nothing--they would sit down somewhere together; and when after a
few steps and a turn into the Boulevard they hadfor their greater
privacysat down among twenty othersour friend saw in his
companion's move a fear of the advent of Waymarsh. It was the first
time Chad had to that extent given this personage "away"; and
Strether found himself wondering of what it was symptomatic. He
made out in a moment that the youth was in earnest as he hadn't yet
seen him; which in its turn threw a ray perhaps a trifle startling
on what they had each up to that time been treating as earnestness.
It was sufficiently flattering however that the real thing--if
this WAS at last the real thing--should have been determinedas


appearedprecisely by an accretion of Strether's importance. For
this was what it quickly enough came to--that Chadrising with the
larkhad rushed down to let him know while his morning
consciousness was yet young that he had literally made the
afternoon before a tremendous impression. Madame de Vionnet
wouldn'tcouldn't rest till she should have some assurance from
him that he WOULD consent again to see her. The announcement was
madeacross their marble-topped tablewhile the foam of the hot
milk was in their cups and its plash still in the airwith the
smile of Chad's easiest urbanity; and this expression of his face
caused our friend's doubts to gather on the spot into a challenge
of the lips. "See here"--that was all; he only for the moment said
again "See here." Chad met it with all his air of straight
intelligencewhile Strether remembered again that fancy of the
first impression of himthe happy young Paganhandsome and hard
but oddly indulgentwhose mysterious measure he had under the
street-lamp tried mentally to take. The young Paganwhile a long
look passed between themsufficiently understood. Strether scarce
needed at last to say the rest--"I want to know where I am." But he
said itadding before any answer something more. "Are you engaged
to be married--is that your secret?--to the young lady?"

Chad shook his head with the slow amenity that was one of his ways
of conveying that there was time for everything. "I have no secret-though
I may have secrets! I haven't at any rate that one. We're
not engaged. No."

Then where's the hitch?

Do you mean why I haven't already started with you?Chad
beginning his coffee and buttering his rollwas quite ready to
explain. "Nothing would have induced me--nothing will still induce
me--not to try to keep you here as long as you can be made to stay.
It's too visibly good for you." Strether had himself plenty to say
about thisbut it was amusing also to measure the march of Chad's
tone. He had never been more a man of the worldand it was always
in his company present to our friend that one was seeing how in
successive connexions a man of the world acquitted himself. Chad
kept it up beautifully. "My idea--voyons!--is simply that you
should let Madame de Vionnet know yousimply that you should
consent to know HER. I don't in the least mind telling you that
clever and charming as she isshe's ever so much in my confidence.
All I ask of you is to let her talk to you. You've asked me about
what you call my hitchand so far as it goes she'll explain it to
you. She's herself my hitchhang it--if you must really have it
all out. But in a sense he hastened in the most wonderful manner
to add, that you'll quite make out for yourself. She's too good a
friendconfound her. Too goodI meanfor me to leave without-without--"
It was his first hesitation.

Without what?

Well, without my arranging somehow or other the damnable terms of
my sacrifice.

It WILL be a sacrifice then?

It will be the greatest loss I ever suffered. I owe her so much.

It was beautifulthe way Chad said these thingsand his plea was
now confessedly--oh quite flagrantly and publicly--interesting. The
moment really took on for Strether an intensity. Chad owed Madame
de Vionnet so much? What DID that do then but clear up the whole
mystery? He was indebted for alterationsand she was thereby in a


position to have sent in her bill for expenses incurred in
reconstruction. What was this at bottom but what had been to be
arrived at? Strether sat there arriving at it while he munched
toast and stirred his second cup. To do this with the aid of Chad's
pleasant earnest face was also to do more besides. Nonever before
had he been so ready to take him as he was. What was it that had
suddenly so cleared up? It was just everybody's character; that is
everybody's but--in a measure--his own. Strether felt HIS character
receive for the instant a smutch from all the wrong things he had
suspected or believed. The person to whom Chad owed it that he
could positively turn out such a comfort to other persons--such a
person was sufficiently raised above any "breath" by the nature of
her work and the young man's steady light. All of which was vivid
enough to come and go quickly; though indeed in the midst of it
Strether could utter a question. "Have I your word of honour that
if I surrender myself to Madame de Vionnet you'll surrender
yourself to me?"

Chad laid his hand firmly on his friend's. "My dear manyou have
it."

There was finally something in his felicity almost embarrassing and
oppressive--Strether had begun to fidget under it for the open air
and the erect posture. He had signed to the waiter that he wished
to payand this transaction took some momentsduring which he
thoroughly feltwhile he put down money and pretended--it was
quite hollow--to estimate changethat Chad's higher spirithis
youthhis practicehis paganismhis felicityhis assurancehis
impudencewhatever it might behad consciously scored a success.
Wellthat was all right so far as it went; his sense of the thing
in question covered our friend for a minute like a veil through
which--as if he had been muffled--he heard his interlocutor ask him
if he mightn't take him over about five. "Over" was over the river
and over the river was where Madame de Vionnet livedand five was
that very afternoon. They got at last out of the place--got out
before he answered. He lightedin the streeta cigarettewhich
again gave him more time. But it was already sharp for him that
there was no use in time. "What does she propose to do to me?" he
had presently demanded.

Chad had no delays. "Are you afraid of her?"

Oh immensely. Don't you see it?

Well,said Chadshe won't do anything worse to you than make
you like her.

It's just of that I'm afraid.

Then it's not fair to me.

Strether cast about. "It's fair to your mother."

Oh,said Chadare you afraid of HER?

Scarcely less. Or perhaps even more. But is this lady against your
interests at home?Strether went on.

Not directly, no doubt; but she's greatly in favour of them here.

And what--'here'--does she consider them to be?

Well, good relations!


With herself?

With herself.

And what is it that makes them so good?

What? Well, that's exactly what you'll make out if you'll only go,
as I'm supplicating you, to see her.

Strether stared at him with a little of the wannessno doubtthat
the vision of more to "make out" could scarce help producing. "I
mean HOW good are they?"

Oh awfully good.

Again Strether had falteredbut it was brief. It was all very
wellbut there was nothing now he wouldn't risk. "Excuse mebut I
must really--as I began by telling you--know where I am. Is she
bad?"

'Bad'?--Chad echoed itbut without a shock. "Is that what's
implied--?"

When relations are good?Strether felt a little sillyand was
even conscious of a foolish laughat having it imposed on him to
have appeared to speak so. What indeed was he talking about? His
stare had relaxed; he looked now all round him. But something in
him brought him backthough he still didn't know quite how to turn
it. The two or three ways he thought ofand one of them in
particularwereeven with scruples dismissedtoo ugly. He none
the less at last found something. "Is her life without reproach?"

It struck himdirectly he had found itas pompous and priggish;
so much so that he was thankful to Chad for taking it only in the
right spirit. The young man spoke so immensely to the point that
the effect was practically of positive blandness. "Absolutely
without reproach. A beautiful life. Allez donc voir!"

These last words werein the liberality of their confidenceso
imperative that Strether went through no form of assent; but before
they separated it had been confirmed that he should be picked up at
a quarter to five.

Book Sixth

It was quite by half-past five--after the two men had been together
in Madame de Vionnet's drawing-room not more than a dozen minutes-that
Chadwith a look at his watch and then another at their
hostesssaid geniallygaily: "I've an engagementand I know you
won't complain if I leave him with you. He'll interest you
immensely; and as for her he declared to Strether, I assure you
if you're at all nervousshe's perfectly safe."

He had left them to be embarrassed or not by this guaranteeas


they could best manageand embarrassment was a thing that Strether
wasn't at first sure Madame de Vionnet escaped. He escaped it
himselfto his surprise; but he had grown used by this time to
thinking of himself as brazen. She occupiedhis hostessin the
Rue de Bellechassethe first floor of an old house to which our
visitors had had access from an old clean court. The court was
large and openfull of revelationsfor our friendof the habit
of privacythe peace of intervalsthe dignity of distances and
approaches; the houseto his restless sensewas in the high
homely style of an elder dayand the ancient Paris that he was
always looking for--sometimes intensely feltsometimes more
acutely missed--was in the immemorial polish of the wide waxed
staircase and in the fine boiseriesthe medallionsmouldings
mirrorsgreat clear spacesof the greyish-white salon into which
he had been shown. He seemed at the very outset to see her in the
midst of possessions not vulgarly numerousbut hereditary
cherished charming. While his eyes turned after a little from those
of his hostess and Chad freely talked--not in the least about HIM
but about other peoplepeople he didn't knowand quite as if he
did know them--he found himself making outas a background of the
occupantsome glorysome prosperity of the First Empiresome
Napoleonic glamoursome dim lustre of the great legend; elements
clinging still to all the consular chairs and mythological brasses
and sphinxes' heads and faded surfaces of satin striped with
alternate silk.

The place itself went further back--that he guessedand how old
Paris continued in a manner to echo there; but the post-revolutionary
periodthe world he vaguely thought of as the world of Chateaubriand
of Madame de Staeleven of the young Lamartinehad left its stamp of
harps and urns and torchesa stamp impressed on sundry small objects
ornaments and relics. He had never beforeto his knowledgehad
present to him relicsof any special dignityof a private order-little
old miniaturesmedallionspicturesbooks; books in leather
bindingspinkish and greenishwith gilt garlands on the backranged
together with other promiscuous propertiesunder the glass of
brass-mounted cabinets. His attention took them all tenderly into account.
They were among the matters that marked Madame de Vionnet's
apartment as something quite different from Miss Gostrey's little museum
of bargains and from Chad's lovely home; he recognised it as founded
much more on old accumulations that had possibly from time to time
shrunken than on any contemporary method of acquisition or form of
curiosity. Chad and Miss Gostrey had rummaged and purchased and picked
up and exchangedsiftingselectingcomparing; whereas the mistress of
the scene before himbeautifully passive under the spell of
transmission--transmission from her father's linehe quite made up
his mind--had only receivedaccepted and been quiet. When she
hadn't been quiet she had been moved at the most to some occult
charity for some fallen fortune. There had been objects she or her
predecessors might even conceivably have parted with under need
but Strether couldn't suspect them of having sold old pieces to get
betterones. They would have felt no difference as to better or
worse. He could but imagine their having felt--perhaps in
emigrationin proscriptionfor his sketch was slight and
confused--the pressure of want or the obligation of sacrifice.

The pressure of want--whatever might be the case with the other
force--washoweverpresumably not active nowfor the tokens of a
chastened ease still abounded after allmany marks of a taste
whose discriminations might perhaps have been called eccentric. He
guessed at intense little preferences and sharp little exclusions
a deep suspicion of the vulgar and a personal view of the right.
The general result of this was something for which he had no name
on the spot quite readybut something he would have come nearest


to naming in speaking of it as the air of supreme respectability
the consciousnesssmallstillreservedbut none the less
distinct and diffusedof private honour. The air of supreme
respectability--that was a strange blank wall for his adventure to
have brought him to break his nose against. It had in factas he
was now awarefilled all the approacheshovered in the court as
he passedhung on the staircase as he mountedsounded in the
grave rumble of the old bellas little electric as possibleof
which Chadat the doorhad pulled the ancient but neatly-kept
tassel; it formed in short the clearest medium of its particular
kind that he had ever breathed. He would have answered for it at
the end of a quarter of an hour that some of the glass cases
contained swords and epaulettes of ancient colonels and generals;
medals and orders once pinned over hearts that had long since
ceased to beat; snuff-boxes bestowed on ministers and envoys;
copies of works presentedwith inscriptionsby authors now
classic. At bottom of it all for him was the sense of her rare
unlikeness to the women he had known. This sense had grownsince
the day beforethe more he recalled herand had been above all
singularly fed by his talk with Chad in the morning. Everything in
fine made her immeasurably newand nothing so new as the old house
and the old objects. There were bookstwo or threeon a small
table near his chairbut they hadn't the lemon-coloured covers
with which his eye had begun to dally from the hour of his arrival
and to the opportunity of a further acquaintance with which he had
for a fortnight now altogether succumbed. On another tableacross
the roomhe made out the great _Revue_; but even that familiar face
conspicuous in Mrs. Newsome's parloursscarce counted here as a
modern note. He was sure on the spot--and he afterwards knew he was
right--that this was a touch of Chad's own hand. What would Mrs.
Newsome say to the circumstance that Chad's interested "influence"
kept her paper-knife in the _Revue_? The interested influence at any
rate hadas we saygone straight to the point--had in fact soon
left it quite behind.

She was seatednear the fireon a small stuffed and fringed chair
one of the few modern articles in the roomand she leaned back in
it with her hands clasped in her lap and no movementin all her
personbut the fine prompt play of her deep young face. The fire
under the low white marbleundraped and academichad burnt down
to the silver ashes of light woodone of the windowsat a
distancestood open to the mildness and stillnessout of which
in the short pausescame the faint soundpleasant and homely
almost rusticof a plash and a clatter of sabots from some
coach-house on the other side of the court. Madame de Vionnet
while Strether sat therewasn't to shift her posture by an inch.
I don't think you seriously believe in what you're doing,she
said; "but all the sameyou knowI'm going to treat you quite as
if I did."

By which you mean,Strether directly repliedquite as if you
didn't! I assure you it won't make the least difference with me how
you treat me.

Well,she saidtaking that menace bravely and
philosophically enoughthe only thing that really matters is that
you shall get on with me.

Ah but I don't!he immediately returned.

It gave her another pause; whichhowevershe happily enough shook
off. "Will you consent to go on with me a little--provisionally-as
if you did?"


Then it was that he saw how she had decidedly come all the way; and
there accompanied it an extraordinary sense of her raising from
somewhere below him her beautiful suppliant eyes. He might have
been perched at his door-step or at his window and she standing in
the road. For a moment he let her stand and couldn't moreover have
spoken. It had been sadof a suddenwith a sadness that was like
a cold breath in his face. "What can I do he finally asked, but
listen to you as I promised Chadwick?"

Ah but what I'm asking you,she quickly saidisn't what Mr.
Newsome had in mind.She spoke at presenthe sawas if to take
courageously ALL her risk. "This is my own idea and a different
thing."

It gave poor Strether in truth--uneasy as it made him too-something
of the thrill of a bold perception justified. "Well he
answered kindly enough, I was sure a moment since that some idea
of your own had come to you."

She seemed still to look up at himbut now more serenely. "I made
out you were sure--and that helped it to come. So you see she
continued, we do get on."

Oh but it appears to me I don't at all meet your request. How can
I when I don't understand it?

It isn't at all necessary you should understand; it will do quite
well enough if you simply remember it. Only feel I trust you--and
for nothing so tremendous after all. Just,she said with a
wonderful smilefor common civility.

Strether had a long pause while they sat again face to faceas
they had satscarce less consciousbefore the poor lady had
crossed the stream. She was the poor lady for Strether now because
clearly she had some troubleand her appeal to him could only mean
that her trouble was deep. He couldn't help it; it wasn't his
fault; he had done nothing; but by a turn of the hand she had
somehow made their encounter a relation. And the relation profited
by a mass of things that were not strictly in it or of it; by the
very air in which they satby the high cold delicate roomby the
world outside and the little plash in the courtby the First
Empire and the relics in the stiff cabinetsby matters as far off
as those and by others as near as the unbroken clasp of her hands
in her lap and the look her expression had of being most natural
when her eyes were most fixed. "You count upon me of course for
something really much greater than it sounds."

Oh it sounds great enough too!she laughed at this.

He found himself in time on the point of telling her that she was
as Miss Barrace called itwonderful; butcatching himself uphe
said something else instead. "What was it Chad's idea then that you
should say to me?"

Ah his idea was simply what a man's idea always is--to put every
effort off on the woman.

The 'woman'--?Strether slowly echoed.

The woman he likes--and just in proportion as he likes her. In
proportion too--for shifting the trouble--as she likes HIM.

Strether followed it; then with an abruptness of his own:
How much do you like Chad?


Just as much as THAT--to take all, with you, on myself.But she
got at once again away from this. "I've been trembling as if we
were to stand or fall by what you may think of me; and I'm even
now she went on wonderfully, drawing a long breath--andyes
truly taking a great courage--from the hope that I don't in fact
strike you as impossible."

That's at all events, clearly,he observed after an instantthe
way I don't strike YOU.

Well,she so far assentedas you haven't yet said you WON'T
have the little patience with me I ask for--

You draw splendid conclusions? Perfectly. But I don't understand
them,Strether pursued. "You seem to me to ask for much more than
you need. Whatat the worst for youwhat at the best for myself
can I after all do? I can use no pressure that I haven't used. You
come really late with your request. I've already done all that for
myself the case admits of. I've said my sayand here I am."

Yes, here you are, fortunately!Madame de Vionnet laughed. "Mrs.
Newsome she added in another tone, didn't think you can do so
little."

He had an hesitationbut he brought the words out. "Wellshe
thinks so now."

Do you mean by that--?But she also hung fire.

Do I mean what?

She still rather faltered. "Pardon me if I touch on itbut if I'm
saying extraordinary thingswhyperhapsmayn't I? Besides
doesn't it properly concern us to know?"

To know what?he insisted as after thus beating about the bush
she had again dropped.

She made the effort. "Has she given you up?"

He was amazed afterwards to think how simply and quietly he had met
it. "Not yet." It was almost as if he were a trifle disappointed-had
expected still more of her freedom. But he went straight on.
Is that what Chad has told you will happen to me?

She was evidently charmed with the way he took it. "If you mean if
we've talked of it--most certainly. And the question's not what has
had least to do with my wishing to see you."

To judge if I'm the sort of man a woman CAN--?

Precisely,she exclaimed--"you wonderful gentleman! I do judge--I
HAVE judged. A woman can't. You're safe--with every right to be.
You'd be much happier if you'd only believe it."

Strether was silent a little; then he found himself speaking with a
cynicism of confidence of which even at the moment the sources were
strange to him. "I try to believe it. But it's a marvel he
exclaimed, how YOU already get at it!"

Oh she was able to say. "Remember how much I was on the way to it
through Mr. Newsome--before I saw you. He thinks everything of your
strength."


Well, I can bear almost anything!our friend briskly interrupted.
Deep and beautiful on this her smile came backand with the effect
of making him hear what he had said just as she had heard it. He
easily enough felt that it gave him awaybut what in truth had
everything done but that? It had been all very well to think at
moments that he was holding her nose down and that he had coerced
her: what had he by this time done but let her practically see that
he accepted their relation? What was their relation moreover-though
light and brief enough in form as yet--but whatever she
might choose to make it? Nothing could prevent her--certainly he
couldn't--from making it pleasant. At the back of his headbehind
everythingwas the sense that she was--therebefore himclose to
himin vivid imperative form--one of the rare women he had so
often heard ofread ofthought ofbut never metwhose very
presencelookvoicethe mere contemporaneous FACT of whomfrom
the moment it was at all presentedmade a relation of mere
recognition. That was not the kind of woman he had ever found Mrs.
Newsomea contemporaneous fact who had been distinctly slow to
establish herself; and at presentconfronted with Madame de
Vionnethe felt the simplicity of his original impression of Miss
Gostrey. She certainly had been a fact of rapid growth; but the
world was wideeach day was more and more a new lesson. There were
at any rate even among the stranger ones relations and relations.
Of course I suit Chad's grand way,he quickly added. "He hasn't
had much difficulty in working me in."

She seemed to deny a littleon the young man's behalfby the rise
of her eyebrowsan intention of any process at all inconsiderate.
You must know how grieved he'd be if you were to lose anything. He
believes you can keep his mother patient.

Strether wondered with his eyes on her. "I see. THAT'S then what
you really want of me. And how am I to do it? Perhaps you'll tell
me that."

Simply tell her the truth.

And what do you call the truth?

Well, any truth--about us all--that you see yourself. I leave it
to you.

Thank you very much. I like,Strether laughed with a slight
harshnessthe way you leave things!

But she insisted kindlygentlyas if it wasn't so bad. "Be
perfectly honest. Tell her all."

All?he oddly echoed.

Tell her the simple truth,Madame de Vionnet again pleaded.

But what is the simple truth? The simple truth is exactly what I'm
trying to discover.

She looked about a whilebut presently she came back to him. "Tell
herfully and clearlyabout US."

Strether meanwhile had been staring. "You and your daughter?"

Yes--little Jeanne and me. Tell her,she just slightly quavered
you like us.


And what good will that do me? Or rather--he caught himself up-"
what good will it do YOU?"

She looked graver. "Noneyou believereally?"

Strether debated. "She didn't send me out to 'like' you."

Oh,she charmingly contendedshe sent you out to face the
facts.

He admitted after an instant that there was something in that. "But
how can I face them till I know what they are? Do you want him he
then braced himself to ask, to marry your daughter?"

She gave a headshake as noble as it was prompt. "No--not that."

And he really doesn't want to himself?

She repeated the movementbut now with a strange light in her
face. "He likes her too much."

Strether wondered. "To be willing to consideryou meanthe
question of taking her to America?"

To be willing to do anything with her but be immensely kind and
nice--really tender of her. We watch over her, and you must help
us. You must see her again.

Strether felt awkward. "Ah with pleasure--she's so remarkably
attractive."

The mother's eagerness with which Madame de Vionnet jumped at this
was to come back to him later as beautiful in its grace. "The dear
thing DID please you?" Then as he met it with the largest "Oh!" of
enthusiasm: "She's perfect. She's my joy."

Well, I'm sure that--if one were near her and saw more of her-she'd
be mine.

Then,said Madame de Vionnettell Mrs. Newsome that!

He wondered the more. "What good will that do you?" As she appeared
unable at once to sayhoweverhe brought out something else. "Is
your daughter in love with our friend?"

Ah,she rather startlingly answeredI wish you'd find out!

He showed his surprise. "I? A stranger?"

Oh you won't be a stranger--presently. You shall see her quite, I
assure you, as if you weren't.

It remained for him none the less an extraordinary notion. "It
seems to me surely that if her mother can't--"

Ah little girls and their mothers to-day!she rather inconsequently
broke in. But she checked herself with something she seemed to give
out as after all more to the point. "Tell her I've been good for
him. Don't you think I have?"

It had its effect on him--more than at the moment he quite measured.
Yet he was consciously enough touched. "Oh if it's all you--!"

Well, it may not be 'all,'she interruptedbut it's to a great


extent. Really and truly,she added in a tone that was to take its
place with him among things remembered.

Then it's very wonderful.He smiled at her from a face that he
felt as strainedand her own face for a moment kept him so. At
last she also got up. "Welldon't you think that for that--"

I ought to save you?So it was that the way to meet her--and the
wayas wellin a mannerto get off--came over him. He heard
himself use the exorbitant wordthe very sound of which helped to
determine his flight. "I'll save you if I can."

In Chad's lovely homehoweverone evening ten days laterhe felt
himself present at the collapse of the question of Jeanne de Vionnet's
shy secret. He had been dining there in the company of that young
lady and her motheras well as of other personsand he had gone
into the petit salonat Chad's requeston purpose to talk with her.
The young man had put this to him as a favour--"I should like so
awfully to know what you think of her. It will really be a chance
for you he had said, to see the jeune fille--I mean the type--as she
actually isand I don't think thatas an observer of manners
it's a thing you ought to miss. It will be an impression that-whatever
else you take--you can carry home with youwhere you'll
find again so much to compare it with."

Strether knew well enough with what Chad wished him to compare it
and though he entirely assented he hadn't yet somehow been so
deeply reminded that he was beingas he constantly though mutely
expressed itused. He was as far as ever from making out exactly
to what end; but he was none the less constantly accompanied by a
sense of the service he rendered. He conceived only that this
service was highly agreeable to those who profited by it; and he
was indeed still waiting for the moment at which he should catch it
in the act of proving disagreeableproving in some degree
intolerableto himself. He failed quite to see how his situation
could clear up at all logically except by some turn of events that
would give him the pretext of disgust. He was building from day to
day on the possibility of disgustbut each day brought forth
meanwhile a new and more engaging bend of the road. That
possibility was now ever so much further from sight than on the eve
of his arrivaland he perfectly felt thatshould it come at all
it would have to be at best inconsequent and violent. He struck
himself as a little nearer to it only when he asked himself what
servicein such a life of utilityhe was after all rendering
Mrs. Newsome. When he wished to help himself to believe that he was
still all right he reflected--and in fact with wonder--on the
unimpaired frequency of their correspondence; in relation to which
what was after all more natural than that it should become more
frequent just in proportion as their problem became more complicated?

Certain it is at any rate that he now often brought himself balm by
the questionwith the rich consciousness of yesterday's letter
Well, what can I do more than that--what can I do more than tell
her everything?To persuade himself that he did tell herhad told
hereverythinghe used to try to think of particular things he
hadn't told her. When at rare moments and in the watches of the
night he pounced on one it generally showed itself to be--to a
deeper scrutiny--not quite truly of the essence. When anything new
struck him as coming upor anything already noted as reappearing


he always immediately wroteas if for fear that if he didn't he
would miss something; and also that he might be able to say to
himself from time to time "She knows it NOW--even while I worry."
It was a great comfort to him in general not to have left past
things to be dragged to light and explained; not to have to produce
at so late a stage anything not producedor anything even veiled
and attenuatedat the moment. She knew it now: that was what he
said to himself to-night in relation to the fresh fact of Chad's
acquaintance with the two ladies--not to speak of the fresher one
of his own. Mrs. Newsome knew in other words that very night at
Woollett that he himself knew Madame de Vionnet and that he had
conscientiously been to see her; also that he had found her
remarkably attractive and that there would probably be a good deal
more to tell. But she further knewor would know very soonthat
again conscientiouslyhe hadn't repeated his visit; and that when
Chad had asked him on the Countess's behalf--Strether made her out
vividlywith a thought at the back of his heada Countess--if he
wouldn't name a day for dining with herhe had replied lucidly:
Thank you very much--impossible.He had begged the young man
would present his excuses and had trusted him to understand that it
couldn't really strike one as quite the straight thing. He hadn't
reported to Mrs. Newsome that he had promised to "save" Madame de
Vionnet; butso far as he was concerned with that reminiscencehe
hadn't at any rate promised to haunt her house. What Chad had
understood could onlyin truthbe inferred from Chad's behaviour
which had been in this connexion as easy as in every other. He was
easyalwayswhen he understood; he was easier stillif possible
when he didn't; he had replied that he would make it all right; and
he had proceeded to do this by substituting the present occasion-as
he was ready to substitute others--for anyfor every occasion
as to which his old friend should have a funny scruple.

Oh but I'm not a little foreign girl; I'm just as English as I can be,
Jeanne de Vionnet had said to him as soon asin the petit salon
he sankshyly enough on his own sideinto the place near her
vacated by Madame Gloriani at his approach. Madame Gloriani
who was in black velvetwith white lace and powdered hairand
whose somewhat massive majesty meltedat any contactinto the
graciousness of some incomprehensible tonguemoved away to make
room for the vague gentlemanafter benevolent greetings to him
which embodiedas he believedin baffling accentssome
recognition of his face from a couple of Sundays before. Then he
had remarked--making the most of the advantage of his years--that
it frightened him quite enough to find himself dedicated to the
entertainment of a little foreign girl. There were girls he wasn't
afraid of--he was quite bold with little Americans. Thus it was
that she had defended herself to the end--"Oh but I'm almost
American too. That's what mamma has wanted me to be--I mean LIKE
that; for she has wanted me to have lots of freedom. She has known
such good results from it."

She was fairly beautiful to him--a faint pastel in an oval frame:
he thought of her already as of some lurking image in a long
gallerythe portrait of a small old-time princess of whom nothing
was known but that she had died young. Little Jeanne wasn't
doubtlessto die youngbut one couldn'tall the samebear on
her lightly enough. It was bearing hardit was bearing as HEin
any casewouldn't bearto concern himselfin relation to her
with the question of a young man. Odious really the question of a
young man; one didn't treat such a person as a maid-servant
suspected of a "follower." And then young menyoung men--wellthe
thing was their business simplyor was at all events hers. She was
flutteredfairly fevered--to the point of a little glitter that
came and went in her eyes and a pair of pink spots that stayed in


her cheeks--with the great adventure of dining out and with the
greater one stillpossiblyof finding a gentleman whom she must
think of as veryvery olda gentleman with eye-glasseswrinkles
a long grizzled moustache. She spoke the prettiest Englishour
friend thoughtthat he had ever heard spokenjust as he had
believed her a few minutes before to be speaking the prettiest
French. He wondered almost wistfully if such a sweep of the lyre
didn't react on the spirit itself; and his fancy had in fact
before he knew itbegun so to stray and embroider that he finally
found himselfabsent and extravagantsitting with the child in a
friendly silence. Only by this time he felt her flutter to have
fortunately dropped and that she was more at her ease. She trusted
himliked himand it was to come back to him afterwards that she
had told him things. She had dipped into the waiting medium at last
and found neither surge nor chill--nothing but the small splash she
could herself make in the pleasant warmthnothing but the safety
of dipping and dipping again. At the end of the ten minutes he was
to spend with her his impression--with all it had thrown off and
all it had taken in--was complete. She had been freeas she knew
freedompartly to show him thatunlike other little persons she
knewshe had imbibed that ideal. She was delightfully quaint about
herselfbut the vision of what she had imbibed was what most held
him. It really consistedhe was soon enough to feelin just one
great little matterthe fact thatwhatever her natureshe was
thoroughly--he had to cast about for the wordbut it came--bred.
He couldn't of course on so short an acquaintance speak for her
naturebut the idea of breeding was what she had meanwhile dropped
into his mind. He had never yet known it so sharply presented. Her
mother gave itno doubt; but her motherto make that less sensible
gave so much else besidesand on neither of the two previous occasions
extraordinary womanStrether feltanything like what she was giving
tonight. Little Jeanne was a casean exquisite case of education;
whereas the Countesswhom it so amused him to think of by that
denominationwas a casealso exquisiteof--wellhe didn't know what.

He has wonderful taste, notre jeune homme: this was what Gloriani
said to him on turning away from the inspection of a small picture
suspended near the door of the room. The high celebrity in question
had just come inapparently in search of Mademoiselle de Vionnet
but while Strether had got up from beside her their fellow guest
with his eye sharply caughthad paused for a long look. The thing
was a landscapeof no sizebut of the French schoolas our
friend was glad to feel he knewand also of a quality--which he
liked to think he should also have guessed; its frame was large out
of proportion to the canvasand he had never seen a person look at
anythinghe thoughtjust as Glorianiwith his nose very near and
quick movements of the head from side to side and bottom to top
examined this feature of Chad's collection. The artist used that
word the next moment smiling courteouslywiping his nippers and
looking round him further--paying the place in short by the very
manner of his presence and by something Strether fancied he could
make out in this particular glancesuch a tribute asto the
latter's sensesettled many things once for all. Strether was
conscious at this instantfor that matteras he hadn't yet been
of howround about himquite without himthey WERE consistently
settled. Gloriani's smiledeeply Italianhe consideredand
finely inscrutablehad had for himduring dinnerat which they
were not neighboursan indefinite greeting; but the quality in it
was gone that had appeared on the other occasion to turn him inside
out; it was as if even the momentary link supplied by the doubt
between them had snapped. He was conscious now of the final
realitywhich was that there wasn't so much a doubt as a
difference altogether; all the more that over the difference the
famous sculptor seemed to signal almost condolinglyyet oh how


vacantly! as across some great flat sheet of water. He threw out
the bridge of a charming hollow civility on which Strether wouldn't
have trusted his own full weight a moment. That ideaeven though
but transient and perhaps belatedhad performed the office of
putting Strether more at his easeand the blurred picture had
already dropped--dropped with the sound of something else said and
with his becoming awareby another quick turnthat Gloriani was
now on the sofa talking with Jeannewhile he himself had in his
ears again the familiar friendliness and the elusive meaning of the
Oh, oh, oh!that had made hima fortnight beforechallenge Miss
Barrace in vain. She had always the airthis picturesque and
original ladywho struck himso oddlyas both antique and
modern--she had always the air of taking up some joke that one had
already had out with her. The point itselfno doubtwas what was
antiqueand the use she made of it what was modern. He felt just
now that her good-natured irony did bear on somethingand it
troubled him a little that she wouldn't be more explicit only
assuring himwith the pleasure of observation so visible in her
that she wouldn't tell him more for the world. He could take refuge
but in asking her what she had done with Waymarshthough it must
be added that he felt himself a little on the way to a clue after
she had answered that this personage wasin the other room
engaged in conversation with Madame de Vionnet. He stared a moment
at the image of such a conjunction; thenfor Miss Barrace's
benefithe wondered. "Is she too then under the charm--?"

No, not a bit--Miss Barrace was prompt. "She makes nothing of him.
She's bored. She won't help you with him."

Oh,Strether laughedshe can't do everything.

Of course not--wonderful as she is. Besideshe makes nothing of
HER. She won't take him from me--though she wouldn'tno doubt
having other affairs in handeven if she could. I've never said
Miss Barrace, seen her fail with any one before. And to-night
when she's so magnificentit would seem to her strange--if she
minded. So at any rate I have him all. Je suis tranquille!''

Strether understoodso far as that went; but he was feeling for
his clue. "She strikes you to-night as particularly magnificent?"

Surely. Almost as I've never seen her. Doesn't she you?
Why it's FOR you.

He persisted in his candour. "'For' me--?"

Oh, oh, oh!cried Miss Barracewho persisted in the opposite of
that quality.

Well,he acutely admittedshe IS different. She's gay.

She's gay!Miss Barrace laughed. "And she has beautiful
shoulders--though there's nothing different in that."

No,said Stretherone was sure of her shoulders.
It isn't her shoulders.

His companionwith renewed mirth and the finest sensebetween
the puffs of her cigaretteof the drollery of thingsappeared to
find their conversation highly delightful. "Yesit isn't
her shoulders ."

What then is it?Strether earnestly enquired.


Why, it's SHE--simply. It's her mood. It's her charm.

Of course it's her charm, but we're speaking of the difference.
Well,Miss Barrace explainedshe's just brilliant, as we used
to say. That's all. She's various. She's fifty women.

Ah but only one--Strether kept it clear--"at a time."

Perhaps. But in fifty times--!

Oh we shan't come to that,our friend declared; and the next
moment he had moved in another direction. "Will you answer me a
plain question? Will she ever divorce?"

Miss Barrace looked at him through all her tortoise-shell. "Why
should she?"

It wasn't what he had asked forhe signified; but he met it well
enough. "To marry Chad."

Why should she marry Chad?

Because I'm convinced she's very fond of him. She has done wonders
for him.

Well then, how could she do more? Marrying a man, or woman
either,Miss Barrace sagely went onis never the wonder for any
Jack and Jill can bring THAT off. The wonder is their doing such
things without marrying.

Strether considered a moment this proposition. "You mean it's so
beautiful for our friends simply to go on so?"

But whatever he said made her laugh. "Beautiful."

He nevertheless insisted. "And THAT because it's disinterested?"

She was nowhoweversuddenly tired of the question. "Yes then-call
it that. Besidesshe'll never divorce. Don'tmoreover she
added, believe everything you hear about her husband."

He's not then Strether asked, a wretch?"

Oh yes. But charming.

Do you know him?

I've met him. He's bien aimable.

To every one but his wife?

Oh for all I know, to her too--to any, to every woman. I hope you
at any rate,she pursued with a quick changeappreciate the care
I take of Mr. Waymarsh.

Oh immensely.But Strether was not yet in line. "At all events
he roundly brought out, the attachment's an innocent one."

Mine and his? Ah,she laugheddon't rob it of ALL interest!

I mean our friend's here--to the lady we've been speaking of.
That was what he had settled to as an indirect but none the less
closely involved consequence of his impression of Jeanne. That was
where he meant to stay. "It's innocent he repeated--I see the


whole thing."

Mystified by his abrupt declarationshe had glanced over at
Gloriani as at the unnamed subject of his allusionbut the next
moment she had understood; though indeed not before Strether had
noticed her momentary mistake and wondered what might possibly be
behind that too. He already knew that the sculptor admired Madame
de Vionnet; but did this admiration also represent an attachment of
which the innocence was discussable? He was moving verily in a
strange air and on ground not of the firmest. He looked hard for an
instant at Miss Barracebut she had already gone on. "All right
with Mr. Newsome? Why of course she is!"--and she got gaily back
to the question of her own good friend. "I dare say you're
surprised that I'm not worn out with all I see--it being so much!-of
Sitting Bull. But I'm notyou know--I don't mind him; I bear
upand we get on beautifully. I'm very strange; I'm like that; and
often I can't explain. There are people who are supposed
interesting or remarkable or whateverand who bore me to death;
and then there are others as to whom nobody can understand what
anybody sees in them--in whom I see no end of things." Then after
she had smoked a momentHe's touching, you know,she said.

'Know'?Strether echoed--"don't Iindeed? We must move you
almost to tears."

Oh but I don't mean YOU!she laughed.

You ought to then, for the worst sign of all--as I must have it
for you--is that you can't help me. That's when a woman pities.

Ah but I do help you!she cheerfully insisted.

Again he looked at her hardand then after a pause: "No you
don't!"

Her tortoise-shellon its long chainrattled down. "I help you
with Sitting Bull. That's a good deal."

Oh that, yes.But Strether hesitated. "Do you mean he talks of
me?"

So that I have to defend you? No, never.'

I see Strether mused. It's too deep."

That's his only fault,she returned--"that everythingwith him
is too deep. He has depths of silence--which he breaks only at the
longest intervals by a remark. And when the remark comes it's
always something he has seen or felt for himself--never a bit banal
THAT would be what one might have feared and what would kill me But
never." She smoked again as she thuswith amused complacency
appreciated her acquisition. "And never about you. We keep clear of
you. We're wonderful. But I'll tell you what he does do she
continued: he tries to make me presents."

Presents?poor Strether echoedconscious with a pang that HE
hadn't yet tried that in any quarter.

Why you see,she explainedhe's as fine as ever in the
victoria; so that when I leave him, as I often do almost for hours
--he likes it so--at the doors of shops, the sight of him there
helps me, when I come out, to know my carriage away off in the
rank. But sometimes, for a change, he goes with me into the shops,
and then I've all I can do to prevent his buying me things.


He wants to 'treat' you?Strether almost gasped at all he himself
hadn't thought of. He had a sense of admiration. "Oh he's much more
in the real tradition than I. Yes he mused, it's the sacred rage."

The sacred rage, exactly!--and Miss Barracewho hadn't before
heard this term appliedrecognised its bearing with a clap of her
gemmed hands. "Now I do know why he's not banal. But I do prevent
him all the same--and if you saw what he sometimes selects--from
buying. I save him hundreds and hundreds. I only take flowers."

Flowers?Strether echoed again with a rueful reflexion. How many
nosegays had her present converser sent?

Innocent flowers,she pursuedas much as he likes. And he sends
me splendours; he knows all the best places--he has found them for
himself; he's wonderful.

He hasn't told them to me,her friend smiledhe has a life of
his own.But Strether had swung back to the consciousness that for
himself after all it never would have done. Waymarsh hadn't Mrs.
Waymarsh in the least to considerwhereas Lambert Strether had
constantlyin the inmost honour of his thoughtsto consider Mrs.
Newsome. He liked moreover to feel how much his friend was in the
real tradition. Yet he had his conclusion. "WHAT a rage it is!"
He had worked it out. "It's an opposition."

She followedbut at a distance. "That's what I feel. Yet to what?"

Well, he thinks, you know, that I'VE a life of my own. And I haven't!

You haven't?She showed doubtand her laugh confirmed it.
Oh, oh, oh!

No--not for myself. I seem to have a life only for other people.

Ah for them and WITH them! Just now for instance with--

Well, with whom?he asked before she had had time to say.

His tone had the effect of making her hesitate and evenas he
guessedspeak with a difference. "Say with Miss Gostrey. What do
you do for HER?" It really made him wonder. "Nothing at all!"

Madame de Vionnethaving meanwhile come inwas at present
close to themand Miss Barrace hereuponinstead of risking a
rejoinderbecame again with a look that measured her from top to
toe all mere long-handled appreciative tortoise-shell. She had
struck our friendfrom the first of her appearingas dressed for
a great occasionand she met still more than on either of the
others the conception reawakened in him at their garden-partythe
idea of the femme du monde in her habit as she lived. Her bare
shoulders and arms were white and beautiful; the materials of her
dressa mixtureas he supposedof silk and crapewere of a
silvery grey so artfully composed as to give an impression of warm
splendour; and round her neck she wore a collar of large old
emeraldsthe green note of which was more dimly repeatedat other
points of her apparelin embroideryin enamelin satinin
substances and textures vaguely rich. Her headextremely fair and


exquisitely festalwas like a happy fancya notion of the
antiqueon an old precious medalsome silver coin of the
Renaissance; while her slim lightness and brightnessher gaiety
her expressionher decisioncontributed to an effect that might
have been felt by a poet as half mythological and half conventional.
He could have compared her to a goddess still partly engaged
in a morning cloudor to a sea-nymph waist-high in the summer surge.
Above all she suggested to him the reflexion that the femme du monde-in
these finest developments of the type--waslike Cleopatra
in the playindeed various and multifold. She had aspectscharacters
daysnights--or had them at leastshowed them by a mysterious law
of her ownwhen in addition to everything she happened also to be
a woman of genius. She was an obscure persona muffled person one day
and a showy personan uncovered person the next. He thought of
Madame de Vionnet to-night as showy and uncoveredthough he felt
the formula roughbecausethanks to one of the short-cuts of genius
she had taken all his categories by surprise. Twice during dinner
he had met Chad's eyes in a longish look; but these communications
had in truth only stirred up again old ambiguities--so little was it
clear from them whether they were an appeal or an admonition.
You see how I'm fixed,was what they appeared to convey; yet how
he was fixed was exactly what Strether didn't see. Howeverperhaps
he should see now.

Are you capable of the very great kindness of going to relieve
Newsome, for a few minutes, of the rather crushing responsibility
of Madame Gloriani, while I say a word, if he'll allow me, to
Mr. Strether, of whom I've a question to ask? Our host ought to talk
a bit to those other ladies, and I'll come back in a minute to your
rescue.She made this proposal to Miss Barrace as if her
consciousness of a special duty had just flickered-upbut that
lady's recognition of Strether's little start at it--as at a
betrayal on the speaker's part of a domesticated state--was as mute
as his own comment; and after an instantwhen their fellow guest
had good-naturedly left themhe had been given something else to
think of. "Why has Maria so suddenly gone? Do you know?" That was
the question Madame de Vionnet had brought with her.

I'm afraid I've no reason to give you but the simple reason I've
had from her in a note--the sudden obligation to join in the south
a sick friend who has got worse.

Ah then she has been writing you?

Not since she went--I had only a brief explanatory word before she
started. I went to see her,Strether explained--"it was the day
after I called on you--but she was already on her wayand her
concierge told me that in case of my coming I was to be informed
she had written to me. I found her note when I got home."

Madame de Vionnet listened with interest and with her eyes on
Strether's face; then her delicately decorated head had a small
melancholy motion. "She didn't write to ME. I went to see her she
added, almost immediately after I had seen youand as I assured
her I would do when I met her at Gloriani's. She hadn't then told
me she was to be absentand I felt at her door as if I understood.
She's absent--with all respect to her sick friendthough I know
indeed she has plenty--so that I may not see her. She doesn't want
to meet me again. Well she continued with a beautiful conscious
mildness, I liked and admired her beyond every one in the old
timeand she knew it--perhaps that's precisely what has made her go-and
I dare say I haven't lost her for ever." Strether still said
nothing; he had a horroras he now thought of himselfof being
in question between women--was in fact already quite enough on his


way to thatand there was moreoveras it came to himperceptibly
something behind these allusions and professions thatshould he
take it inwould square but ill with his present resolve to simplify.
It was as iffor himall the sameher softness and sadness
were sincere. He felt that not less when she soon went on:
I'm extremely glad of her happiness.But it also left him mute-sharp
and fine though the imputation it conveyed. What it conveyed
was that HE was Maria Gostrey's happinessand for the least little
instant he had the impulse to challenge the thought. He could have
done so however only by saying "What then do you suppose to be
between us?" and he was wonderfully glad a moment later not to have
spoken. He would rather seem stupid any day than fatuousand he
drew back as wellwith a smothered inward shudderfrom the
consideration of what women--of highly-developed type in particular-might
think of each other. Whatever he had come out for he hadn't
come to go into that; so that he absolutely took up nothing his
interlocutress had now let drop. Yetthough he had kept away from her
for dayshad laid wholly on herself the burden of their meeting again
she hadn't a gleam of irritation to show him. "Wellabout Jeanne now?"
she smiled--it had the gaiety with which she had originally come in.
He felt it on the instant to represent her motive and real errand.
But he had been schooling her of a truth to say much in proportion to
his little. "Do you make out that she has a sentiment? I mean for
Mr. Newsome."

Almost resentfulStrether could at last be prompt. "How can I make
out such things?"

She remained perfectly good-natured. "Ah but they're beautiful
little thingsand you make out--don't pretend--everything in the
world. Haven't you she asked, been talking with her?"

Yes, but not about Chad. At least not much.

Oh you don't require 'much'!she reassuringly declared. But she
immediately changed her ground. "I hope you remember your promise
of the other day."

To 'save' you, as you called it?

I call it so still. You WILL?she insisted. "You haven't repented?"

He wondered. "No--but I've been thinking what I meant."

She kept it up. "And nota littlewhat I did?"

No--that's not necessary. It will be enough if I know what I
meant myself.

And don't you know,she askedby this time?

Again he had a pause. "I think you ought to leave it to me.
But how long he added, do you give me?"

It seems to me much more a question of how long you give ME.
Doesn't our friend here himself, at any rate,she went on
perpetually make me present to you?

Not,Strether repliedby ever speaking of you to me.

He never does that?

Never.


She consideredandif the fact was disconcerting to her
effectually concealed it. The next minute indeed she had recovered.
No, he wouldn't. But do you NEED that?

Her emphasis was wonderfuland though his eyes had been wandering
he looked at her longer now. "I see what you mean."

Of course you see what I mean.

Her triumph was gentleand she really had tones to make justice
weep. "I've before me what he owes you."

Admit then that that's something,she saidyet still with the
same discretion in her pride.

He took in this note but went straight on. "You've made of him what
I seebut what I don't see is how in the world you've done it."

Ah that's another question!she smiled. "The point is of what use
is your declining to know me when to know Mr. Newsome--as you do me
the honour to find him--IS just to know me."

I see,he musedstill with his eyes on her. "I shouldn't have
met you to-night."

She raised and dropped her linked hands. "It doesn't matter. If I
trust you why can't you a little trust me too? And why can't you
also she asked in another tone, trust yourself?" But she gave
him no time to reply. "Oh I shall be so easy for you! And I'm glad
at any rate you've seen my child."

I'm glad too,he said; "but she does you no good."

No good?--Madame de Vionnet had a clear stare. "Why she's an
angel of light."

That's precisely the reason. Leave her alone. Don't try to find
out. I mean,he explainedabout what you spoke to me of-the
way she feels.

His companion wondered. "Because one really won't?"

Well, because I ask you, as a favour to myself, not to. She's the
most charming creature I've ever seen. Therefore don't touch her.
Don't know--don't want to know. And moreover--yes--you won't.

It was an appealof a suddenand she took it in. "As a favour to you?"

Well--since you ask me.

Anything, everything you ask,she smiled. "I shan't know then--never.
Thank you she added with peculiar gentleness as she turned away.

The sound of it lingered with him, making him fairly feel as if he
had been tripped up and had a fall. In the very act of arranging
with her for his independence he had, under pressure from a
particular perception, inconsistently, quite stupidly, committed
himself, and, with her subtlety sensitive on the spot to an
advantage, she had driven in by a single word a little golden nail,
the sharp intention of which he signally felt. He hadn't detached,
he had more closely connected himself, and his eyes, as he
considered with some intensity this circumstance, met another pair
which had just come within their range and which struck him as
reflecting his sense of what he had done. He recognised them at the


same moment as those of little Bilham, who had apparently drawn
near on purpose to speak to him, and little Bilham wasn't, in the
conditions, the person to whom his heart would be most closed.
They were seated together a minute later at the angle of the room
obliquely opposite the corner in which Gloriani was still engaged
with Jeanne de Vionnet, to whom at first and in silence their
attention had been benevolently given. I can't see for my life
Strether had then observed, how a young fellow of any spirit--such
a one as you for instance--can be admitted to the sight of that
young lady without being hard hit. Why don't you go inlittle
Bilham?" He remembered the tone into which he had been betrayed on
the garden-bench at the sculptor's receptionand this might make
up for that by being much more the right sort of thing to say to a
young man worthy of any advice at all. "There WOULD be some
reason."

Some reason for what?

Why for hanging on here.

To offer my hand and fortune to Mademoiselle de Vionnet?

Well,Strether askedto what lovelier apparition COULD you
offer them? She's the sweetest little thing I've ever seen.

She's certainly immense. I mean she's the real thing. I believe
the pale pink petals are folded up there for some wondrous
efflorescence in time; to open, that is, to some great golden sun.
I'M unfortunately but a small farthing candle. What chance in such
a field for a poor little painter-man?

Oh you're good enough,Strether threw out.

Certainly I'm good enough. We're good enough, I consider, nous
autres, for anything. But she's TOO good. There's the difference.
They wouldn't look at me.

Stretherlounging on his divan and still charmed by the young
girlwhose eyes had consciously strayed to himhe fanciedwith a
vague smile--Stretherenjoying the whole occasion as with dormant
pulses at last awake and in spite of new material thrust upon him
thought over his companion's words. "Whom do you mean by 'they'?
She and her mother?"

She and her mother. And she has a father too, who, whatever else
he may be, certainly can't be indifferent to the possibilities she
represents. Besides, there's Chad.

Strether was silent a little. "Ah but he doesn't care for her--not
I meanit appearsafter allin the sense I'm speaking of. He's
NOT in love with her."

No--but he's her best friend; after her mother. He's very fond
of her. He has his ideas about what can be done for her.

Well, it's very strange!Strether presently remarked with a
sighing sense of fulness.

Very strange indeed. That's just the beauty of it. Isn't it very
much the kind of beauty you had in mind,little Bilham went on
when you were so wonderful and so inspiring to me the other day?
Didn't you adjure me, in accents I shall never forget, to see,
while I've a chance, everything I can?--and REALLY to see, for it
must have been that only you meant. Well, you did me no end of


good, and I'm doing my best. I DO make it out a situation.

So do I!Strether went on after a moment. But he had the next minute
an inconsequent question. "How comes Chad so mixed upanyway?"

Ah, ah, ah!--and little Bilham fell back on his cushions.

It reminded our friend of Miss Barraceand he felt again the brush
of his sense of moving in a maze of mystic closed allusions. Yet he
kept hold of his thread. "Of course I understand really; only the
general transformation makes me occasionally gasp. Chad with such a
voice in the settlement of the future of a little countess--no
he declared, it takes more time! You say moreover he resumed, that
we're inevitablypeople like you and meout of the running. The
curious fact remains that Chad himself isn't. The situation doesn't
make for itbut in a different one he could have her if he would."

Yes, but that's only because he's rich and because there's a
possibility of his being richer. They won't think of anything but a
great name or a great fortune.

Well,said Stretherhe'll have no great fortune on THESE lines.
He must stir his stumps.

Is that,little Bilham enquiredwhat you were saying to
Madame de Vionnet?

No--I don't say much to her. Of course, however,Strether
continuedhe can make sacrifices if he likes.

Little Bilham had a pause. "Oh he's not keen for sacrifices; or
thinksthat ispossiblythat he has made enough."

Well, it IS virtuous,his companion observed with some decision.

That's exactly,the young man dropped after a momentwhat I mean.

It kept Strether himself silent a little. "I've made it out for
myself he then went on; I've reallywithin the last half-hour
got hold of it. I understand it in short at last; which at first-when
you originally spoke to me--I didn't. Nor when Chad originally
spoke to me either."

Oh,said little BilhamI don't think that at that time you
believed me.

Yes--I did; and I believed Chad too. It would have been odious and
unmannerly--as well as quite perverse--if I hadn't. What interest
have you in deceiving me?

The young man cast about. "What interest have I?"

Yes. Chad MIGHT have. But you?

Ah, ah, ah!little Bilham exclaimed.

It mighton repetitionas a mystificationhave irritated our
friend a littlebut he knewonce moreas we have seenwhere he
wasand his being proof against everything was only another
attestation that he meant to stay there. "I couldn'twithout my
own impressionrealise. She's a tremendously clever brilliant
capable womanand with an extraordinary charm on top of it all-the
charm we surely all of us this evening know what to think of.
It isn't every clever brilliant capable woman that has it. In fact


it's rare with any woman. So there you are Strether proceeded as
if not for little Bilham's benefit alone. I understand what a
relation with such a woman--what such a high fine friendship-may
be. It can't be vulgar or coarseanyway--and that's the point."

Yes, that's the point,said little Bilham. "It can't be vulgar or
coarse. Andbless us and save usit ISn't! It'supon my word
the very finest thing I ever saw in my lifeand the most
distinguished."

Stretherfrom beside him and leaning back with him as he leaned
dropped on him a momentary look which filled a short interval and
of which he took no notice. He only gazed before him with intent
participation. "Of course what it has done for him Strether at
all events presently pursued, of course what it has done for him-that
is as to HOW it has so wonderfully worked--isn't a thing I
pretend to understand. I've to take it as I find it. There he is."

There he is!little Bilham echoed. "And it's really and truly
she. I don't understand eithereven with my longer and closer
opportunity. But I'm like you he added; I can admire and rejoice
even when I'm a little in the dark. You see I've watched it for
some three yearsand especially for this last. He wasn't so bad
before it as I seem to have made out that you think--"

Oh I don't think anything now!Strether impatiently broke in:
that is but what I DO think! I mean that originally, for her to
have cared for him--

There must have been stuff in him? Oh yes, there was stuff indeed,
and much more of it than ever showed, I dare say, at home. Still,
you know,the young man in all fairness developedthere was room
for her, and that's where she came in. She saw her chance and took
it. That's what strikes me as having been so fine. But of course,
he wound uphe liked her first.

Naturally,said Strether.

I mean that they first met somehow and somewhere--I believe in
some American house--and she, without in the least then intending
it, made her impression. Then with time and opportunity he made
his; and after THAT she was as bad as he.

Strether vaguely took it up. "As 'bad'?"

She began, that is, to care--to care very much. Alone, and in her
horrid position, she found it, when once she had started, an
interest. It was, it is, an interest, and it did--it continues to
do--a lot for herself as well. So she still cares. She cares in
fact,said little Bilham thoughtfully "more."

Strether's theory that it was none of his business was somehow not
damaged by the way he took this. "Moreyou meanthan he?" On
which his companion looked round at himand now for an instant
their eyes met. "More than he?" he repeated.

Little Bilhamfor as longhung fire. "Will you never tell any
one?"

Strether thought. "Whom should I tell?"

Why I supposed you reported regularly--

To people at home?--Strether took him up. "WellI won't tell


them this."


The young man at last looked away. "Then she does now care more
than he."


Oh!Strether oddly exclaimed.


But his companion immediately met it. "Haven't you after all had
your impression of it? That's how you've got hold of him."


Ah but I haven't got hold of him!


Oh I say!But it was all little Bilham said.


It's at any rate none of my business. I mean,Strether explained
nothing else than getting hold of him is.It appearedhowever
to strike him as his business to add: "The fact remains
nevertheless that she has saved him."


Little Bilham just waited. "I thought that was what you were to do."


But Strether had his answer ready. "I'm speaking--in connexion with
her--of his manners and moralshis character and life. I'm
speaking of him as a person to deal with and talk with and live
with--speaking of him as a social animal."


And isn't it as a social animal that you also want him?


Certainly; so that it's as if she had saved him FOR us.


It strikes you accordingly then,the young man threw outas for
you all to save HER?


Oh for us 'all'--!Strether could but laugh at that. It brought
him backhoweverto the point he had really wished to make.
They've accepted their situation--hard as it is. They're not free
--at least she's not; but they take what's left to them. It's a
friendship, of a beautiful sort; and that's what makes them so
strong. They're straight, they feel; and they keep each other up.
It's doubtless she, however, who, as you yourself have hinted,
feels it most.


Little Bilham appeared to wonder what he had hinted. "Feels most
that they're straight?"


Well, feels that SHE is, and the strength that comes from it. She
keeps HIM up--she keeps the whole thing up. When people are able to
it's fine. She's wonderful, wonderful, as Miss Barrace says; and he
is, in his way, too; however, as a mere man, he may sometimes rebel
and not feel that he finds his account in it. She has simply given
him an immense moral lift, and what that can explain is prodigious.
That's why I speak of it as a situation. It IS one, if there ever
was.And Stretherwith his head back and his eyes on the ceiling
seemed to lose himself in the vision of it.


His companion attended deeply. "You state it much better than I
could."
Oh you see it doesn't concern you.


Little Bilham considered. "I thought you said just now that it
doesn't concern you either."


Well, it doesn't a bit as Madame de Vionnet's affair. But as we
were again saying just now, what did I come out for but to save



him?

Yes--to remove him.

To save him by removal; to win him over to HIMSELF thinking it
best he shall take up business--thinking he must immediately do
therefore what's necessary to that end.

Well,said little Bilham after a momentyou HAVE won him over.
He does think it best. He has within a day or two again said to me
as much.

And that,Strether askedis why you consider that he cares less
than she?

Cares less for her than she for him? Yes, that's one of the reasons.
But other things too have given me the impression. A man, don't
you think?little Bilham presently pursuedCAN'T, in such
conditions, care so much as a woman. It takes different conditions
to make him, and then perhaps he cares more. Chad,he wound up
has his possible future before him.

Are you speaking of his business future?

No--on the contrary; of the other, the future of what you so
justly call their situation. M. de Vionnet may live for ever.

So that they can't marry?

The young man waited a moment. "Not being able to marry is all
they've with any confidence to look forward to. A woman--a
particular woman--may stand that strain. But can a man?" he
propounded.

Strether's answer was as prompt as if he had alreadyfor himself
worked it out. "Not without a very high ideal of conduct. But
that's just what we're attributing to Chad. And howfor that
matter he mused, does his going to America diminish the
particular strain? Wouldn't it seem rather to add to it?"

Out of sight out of mind!his companion laughed. Then more
bravely: "Wouldn't distance lessen the torment?" But before
Strether could replyThe thing is, you see, Chad ought to marry!
he wound up.

Stretherfor a littleappeared to think of it. "If you talk of
torments you don't diminish mine!" he then broke out. The next
moment he was on his feet with a question. "He ought to marry
whom?"

Little Bilham rose more slowly. "Wellsome one he CAN--some
thoroughly nice girl "

Strether's eyesas they stood togetherturned again to Jeanne.
Do you mean HER?

His friend made a sudden strange face. "After being in love with
her mother? No."

But isn't it exactly your idea that he ISn't in love with her
mother?

His friend once more had a pause. "Wellhe isn't at any rate in
love with Jeanne."


I dare say not.

How CAN he be with any other woman?

Oh that I admit. But being in love isn't, you know, here--little
Bilham spoke in friendly reminder--"thought necessaryin strictness
for marriage."

And what torment--to call a torment--can there ever possibly be
with a woman like that?As if from the interest of his own
question Strether had gone on without hearing. "Is it for her to
have turned a man out so wonderfullytooonly for somebody else?"
He appeared to make a point of thisand little Bilham looked at
him now. "When it's for each other that people give things up they
don't miss them." Then he threw off as with an extravagance of
which he was conscious: "Let them face the future together!"

Little Bilham looked at him indeed. "You mean that after all he
shouldn't go back?"

I mean that if he gives her up--!

Yes?

Well, he ought to be ashamed of himself.But Strether spoke with
a sound that might have passed for a laugh.

Volume II

Book Seventh

It wasn't the first time Strether had sat alone in the great dim
church--still less was it the first of his giving himself upso
far as conditions permittedto its beneficent action on his
nerves. He had been to Notre Dame with Waymarshhe had been there
with Miss Gostreyhe had been there with Chad Newsomeand had
found the placeeven in companysuch a refuge from the obsession
of his problem thatwith renewed pressure from that sourcehe had
not unnaturally recurred to a remedy meeting the casefor the
momentso indirectlyno doubtbut so relievingly. He was
conscious enough that it was only for the momentbut good moments-if
he could call them good--still had their value for a man who by
this time struck himself as living almost disgracefully from hand
to mouth. Having so well learnt the wayhe had lately made the
pilgrimage more than once by himself--had quite stolen offtaking
an unnoticed chance and making no point of speaking of the
adventure when restored to his friends.

His great friendfor that matterwas still absentas well as
remarkably silent; even at the end of three weeks Miss Gostrey
hadn't come back. She wrote to him from Mentoneadmitting that he
must judge her grossly inconsequent--perhaps in fact for the time
odiously faithless; but asking for patiencefor a deferred


sentencethrowing herself in short on his generosity. For her too
she could assure himlife was complicated--more complicated than
he could have guessed; she had moreover made certain of him-certain
of not wholly missing him on her return--before her
disappearance. If furthermore she didn't burden him with letters it
was frankly because of her sense of the other great commerce he had
to carry on. He himselfat the end of a fortnighthad written
twiceto show how his generosity could be trusted; but he reminded
himself in each case of Mrs. Newsome's epistolary manner at the
times when Mrs. Newsome kept off delicate ground. He sank his
problemhe talked of Waymarsh and Miss Barraceof little Bilham
and the set over the riverwith whom he had again had teaand he
was easyfor convenienceabout Chad and Madame de Vionnet and
Jeanne. He admitted that he continued to see themhe was decidedly
so confirmed a haunter of Chad's premises and that young man's
practical intimacy with them was so undeniably great; but he had
his reason for not attempting to render for Miss Gostrey's benefit
the impression of these last days. That would be to tell her too
much about himself--it being at present just from himself he was
trying to escape.

This small struggle sprang not a littlein its wayfrom the same
impulse that had now carried him across to Notre Dame; the impulse
to let things beto give them time to justify themselves or at
least to pass. He was aware of having no errand in such a place but
the desire not to befor the hourin certain other places; a
sense of safetyof simplificationwhich each time he yielded to
it he amused himself by thinking of as a private concession to
cowardice. The great church had no altar for his worshipno direct
voice for his soul; but it was none the less soothing even to
sanctity; for he could feel while there what he couldn't elsewhere
that he was a plain tired man taking the holiday he had earned. He
was tiredbut he wasn't plain--that was the pity and the trouble
of it; he was ablehoweverto drop his problem at the door very
much as if it had been the copper piece that he depositedon the
thresholdin the receptacle of the inveterate blind beggar. He
trod the long dim navesat in the splendid choirpaused before
the cluttered chapels of the east endand the mighty monument laid
upon him its spell. He might have been a student under the charm of
a museum--which was exactly whatin a foreign townin the
afternoon of lifehe would have liked to be free to be. This form
of sacrifice did at any rate for the occasion as well as another;
it made him quite sufficiently understand howwithin the precinct
for the real refugeethe things of the world could fall into
abeyance. That was the cowardiceprobably--to dodge themto beg
the questionnot to deal with it in the hard outer light; but his
own oblivions were too brieftoo vainto hurt any one but
himselfand he had a vague and fanciful kindness for certain
persons whom he metfigures of mystery and anxietyand whomwith
observation for his pastimehe ranked as those who were fleeing
from justice. Justice was outsidein the hard lightand injustice
too; but one was as absent as the other from the air of the long
aisles and the brightness of the many altars.

Thus it was at all events thatone morning some dozen days after
the dinner in the Boulevard Malesherbes at which Madame de Vionnet
had been present with her daughterhe was called upon to play his
part in an encounter that deeply stirred his imagination. He had
the habitin these contemplationsof watching a fellow visitant
here and therefrom a respectable distanceremarking some note of
behaviourof penitenceof prostrationof the absolvedrelieved
state; this was the manner in which his vague tenderness took its
coursethe degree of demonstration to which it naturally had to
confine itself. It hadn't indeed so felt its responsibility as when


on this occasion he suddenly measured the suggestive effect of a
lady whose supreme stillnessin the shade of one of the chapels
he had two or three times noticed as he madeand made once more
his slow circuit. She wasn't prostrate--not in any degree bowed
but she was strangely fixedand her prolonged immobility showed
herwhile he passed and pausedas wholly given up to the need
whatever it wasthat had brought her there. She only sat and gazed
before heras he himself often sat; but she had placed herselfas
he never didwithin the focus of the shrineand she had lost
herselfhe could easily seeas he would only have liked to do.
She was not a wandering alienkeeping back more than she gavebut
one of the familiarthe intimatethe fortunatefor whom these
dealings had a method and a meaning. She reminded our friend--since
it was the way of nine tenths of his current impressions to act as
recalls of things imagined--of some fine firm concentrated heroine
of an old storysomething he had heardreadsomething thathad
he had a hand for dramahe might himself have writtenrenewing
her couragerenewing her clearnessin splendidly-protected
meditation. Her backas she satwas turned to himbut his
impression absolutely required that she should be young and
interestingand she carried her head moreovereven in the sacred
shadewith a discernible faith in herselfa kind of implied
conviction of consistencysecurityimpunity. But what had such a
woman come for if she hadn't come to pray? Strether's reading of
such matters wasit must be ownedconfused; but he wondered if
her attitude were some congruous fruit of absolutionof
indulgence.He knew but dimly what indulgencein such a place
might mean; yet he hadas with a soft sweepa vision of how it
might indeed add to the zest of active rites. All this was a good
deal to have been denoted by a mere lurking figure who was nothing
to him; butthe last thing before leaving the churchhe had the
surprise of a still deeper quickening.

He had dropped upon a seat halfway down the nave andagain in the
museum moodwas trying with head thrown back and eyes aloft
to reconstitute a pastto reduce it in fact to the convenient terms
of Victor Hugowhoma few days beforegiving the rein for once
in a way to the joy of lifehe had purchased in seventy bound volumes
a miracle of cheapnessparted withhe was assured by the shopman
at the price of the red-and-gold alone. He lookeddoubtlesswhile he
played his eternal nippers over Gothic gloomssufficiently rapt in
reverence; but what his thought had finally bumped against was the
question of whereamong packed accumulationsso multiform a wedge
would be able to enter. Were seventy volumes in red-and-gold to be
perhaps what he should most substantially have to show at Woollett
as the fruit of his mission? It was a possibility that held him a
minute--held him till he happened to feel that some oneunnoticed
had approached him and paused. Turninghe saw that a lady stood
there as for a greetingand he sprang up as he next took her
securelyfor Madame de Vionnetwho appeared to have recognised
him as she passed near him on her way to the door. She checked
quickly and gailya certain confusion in himcame to meet it
turned it backby an art of her own; the confusion having
threatened him as he knew her for the person he had lately been
observing. She was the lurking figure of the dim chapel; she had
occupied him more than she guessed; but it came to him in time
luckilythat he needn't tell her and that no harmafter allhad
been done. She herselffor that matterstraightway showing she
felt their encounter as the happiest of accidentshad for him a
You come here too?that despoiled surprise of every awkwardness.

I come often,she said. "I love this placebut I'm terriblein
generalfor churches. The old women who live in them all know me;
in fact I'm already myself one of the old women. It's like thatat


all eventsthat I foresee I shall end." Looking about for a chair
so that he instantly pulled one nearershe sat down with him again
to the sound of an "OhI like so much your also being fond--!"

He confessed the extent of his feelingthough she left the object
vague; and he was struck with the tactthe taste of her vagueness
which simply took for granted in him a sense of beautiful things.
He was conscious of how much it was affectedthis senseby
something subdued and discreet in the way she had arranged herself
for her special object and her morning walk--he believed her to
have come on foot; the way her slightly thicker veil was drawn--a
mere touchbut everything; the composed gravity of her dressin
whichhere and therea dull wine-colour seemed to gleam faintly
through black; the charming discretion of her small compact head;
the quiet noteas she satof her foldedgrey-gloved hands. It
wasto Strether's mindas if she sat on her own groundthe light
honours of whichat an open gateshe thus easily did himwhile
all the vastness and mystery of the domain stretched off behind.
When people were so completely in possession they could be
extraordinarily civil; and our friend had indeed at this hour a
kind of revelation of her heritage. She was romantic for him far
beyond what she could have guessedand again he found his small
comfort in the conviction thatsubtle though she washis
impression must remain a secret from her. The thing thatonce
moremade him uneasy for secrets in general was this particular
patience she could have with his own want of colour; albeit that on
the other hand his uneasiness pretty well dropped after he had been
for ten minutes as colourless as possible and at the same time as
responsive.

The moments had alreadyfor that matterdrawn their deepest tinge
from the special interest excited in him by his vision of his
companion's identity with the person whose attitude before the
glimmering altar had so impressed him. This attitude fitted
admirably into the stand he had privately taken about her connexion
with Chad on the last occasion of his seeing them together. It
helped him to stick fast at the point he had then reached; it was
there he had resolved that he WOULD stickand at no moment since
had it seemed as easy to do so. Unassailably innocent was a
relation that could make one of the parties to it so carry herself.
If it wasn't innocent why did she haunt the churches?--into which
given the woman he could believe he made outshe would never have
come to flaunt an insolence of guilt. She haunted them for
continued helpfor strengthfor peace--sublime support whichif
one were able to look at it soshe found from day to day. They
talkedin low easy tones and with lifted lingering looksabout
the great monument and its history and its beauty--all of which
Madame de Vionnet professedcame to her most in the otherthe
outer view. "We'll presentlyafter we go she said, walk round
it again if you like. I'm not in a particular hurryand it will be
pleasant to look at it well with you." He had spoken of the great
romancer and the great romanceand of whatto his imagination
they had done for the wholementioning to her moreover the
exorbitance of his purchasethe seventy blazing volumes that were
so out of proportion.

Out of proportion to what?

Well, to any other plunge.Yet he felt even as he spoke how at
that instant he was plunging. He had made up his mind and was
impatient to get into the air; for his purpose was a purpose to be
uttered outsideand he had a fear that it might with delay still
slip away from him. She however took her time; she drew out their
quiet gossip as if she had wished to profit by their meetingand


this confirmed precisely an interpretation of her mannerof her
mystery. While she roseas he would have called itto the
question of Victor Hugoher voice itselfthe light low quaver of
her deference to the solemnity about themseemed to make her words
mean something that they didn't mean openly. Helpstrengthpeace
a sublime support--she hadn't found so much of these things as that
the amount wouldn't be sensibly greater for any scrap his
appearance of faith in her might enable her to feel in her hand.
Every littlein a long strainhelpedand if he happened to
affect her as a firm object she could hold on byhe wouldn't jerk
himself out of her reach. People in difficulties held on by what
was nearestand he was perhaps after all not further off than
sources of comfort more abstract. It was as to this he had made up
his mind; he had made it upthat isto give her a sign. The sign
would be that--though it was her own affair--he understood; the
sign would be that--though it was her own affair--she was free to
clutch. Since she took him for a firm object--much as he might to
his own sense appear at times to rock--he would do his best to BE one.

The end of it was that half an hour later they were seated together
for an early luncheon at a wonderfula delightful house of
entertainment on the left bank--a place of pilgrimage for the
knowingthey were both awarethe knowing who camefor its great
renownthe homage of restless daysfrom the other end of the
town. Strether had already been there three times--first with Miss
Gostreythen with Chadthen with Chad again and with Waymarsh and
little Bilhamall of whom he had himself sagaciously entertained;
and his pleasure was deep now on learning that Madame de Vionnet
hadn't yet been initiated. When he had said as they strolled round
the churchby the riveracting at last on whatwithinhe had
made up his mind toWill you, if you have time, come to dejeuner
with me somewhere? For instance, if you know it, over there on the
other side, which is so easy a walk--and then had named the
place; when he had done this she stopped short as for quick
intensityand yet deep difficultyof response. She took in the
proposal as if it were almost too charming to be true; and there
had perhaps never yet been for her companion so unexpected a moment
of pride--so fineso odd a caseat any rateas his finding
himself thus able to offer to a person in such universal possession
a newa rare amusement. She had heard of the happy spotbut she
asked him in reply to a further question how in the world he could
suppose her to have been there. He supposed himself to have
supposed that Chad might have taken herand she guessed this the
next moment to his no small discomfort.

Ah, let me explain,she smiledthat I don't go about with him
in public; I never have such chances--not having them otherwise-and
it's just the sort of thing that, as a quiet creature living in
my hole, I adore.It was more than kind of him to have thought of
it--thoughfranklyif he asked whether she had time she hadn't a
single minute. That however made no difference--she'd throw
everything over. Every duty at homedomesticmaternalsocial
awaited her; but it was a case for a high line. Her affairs would
go to smashbut hadn't one a right to one's snatch of scandal when
one was prepared to pay? It was on this pleasant basis of costly
disorderconsequentlythat they eventually seated themselveson
either side of a small tableat a window adjusted to the busy quay
and the shining barge-burdened Seine; wherefor an hourin the
matter of letting himself goof diving deepStrether was to feel
he had touched bottom. He was to feel many things on this occasion
and one of the first of them was that he had travelled far since
that evening in Londonbefore the theatrewhen his dinner with
Maria Gostreybetween the pink-shaded candleshad struck him as
requiring so many explanations. He had at that time gathered them


inthe explanations--he had stored them up; but it was at present
as if he had either soared above or sunk below them--he couldn't
tell which; he could somehow think of none that didn't seem to
leave the appearance of collapse and cynicism easier for him than
lucidity. How could he wish it to be lucid for othersfor any one
that hefor the hoursaw reasons enough in the mere way the
bright clean ordered water-side life came in at the open window?-the
mere way Madame de Vionnetopposite him over their intensely
white table-linentheir omelette aux tomatestheir bottle of
straw-coloured Chablisthanked him for everything almost with the
smile of a childwhile her grey eyes moved in and out of their
talkback to the quarter of the warm spring airin which early
summer had already begun to throband then back again to his face
and their human questions.

Their human questions became many before they had done--many more
as one after the other came upthan our friend's free fancy had at
all foreseen. The sense he had had beforethe sense he had had
repeatedlythe sense that the situation was running away with him
had never been so sharp as now; and all the more that he could
perfectly put his finger on the moment it had taken the bit in its
teeth. That accident had definitely occurredthe other evening
after Chad's dinner; it had occurredas he fully knewat the
moment when he interposed between this lady and her childwhen he
suffered himself so to discuss with her a matter closely concerning
them that her own subtletymarked by its significant "Thank you!"
instantly sealed the occasion in her favour. Again he had held off
for ten daysbut the situation had continued out of hand in spite
of that; the fact that it was running so fast being indeed just WHY
he had held off. What had come over him as he recognised her in the
nave of the church was that holding off could be but a losing game
from the instant she was worked for not only by her subtletybut
by the hand of fate itself. If all the accidents were to fight on
her side--and by the actual showing they loomed large--he could
only give himself up. This was what he had done in privately
deciding then and there to propose she should breakfast with him.
What did the success of his proposal in fact resemble but the smash
in which a regular runaway properly ends? The smash was their walk
their dejeunertheir omelettethe Chablisthe placethe view
their present talk and his present pleasure in it--to say nothing
wonder of wondersof her own. To this tune and nothing less
accordinglywas his surrender made good. It sufficiently lighted
up at least the folly of holding off. Ancient proverbs soundedfor
his memoryin the tone of their words and the clink of their
glassesin the hum of the town and the plash of the river. It WAS
clearly better to suffer as a sheep than as a lamb. One might as
well perish by the sword as by famine.

Maria's still away?--that was the first thing she had asked him;
and when he had found the frankness to be cheerful about it in
spite of the meaning he knew her to attach to Miss Gostrey's
absenceshe had gone on to enquire if he didn't tremendously miss
her. There were reasons that made him by no means sureyet he
nevertheless answered "Tremendously"; which she took in as if it
were all she had wished to prove. ThenA man in trouble MUST be
possessed somehow of a woman,she said; "if she doesn't come in
one way she comes in another."

Why do you call me a man in trouble?

Ah because that's the way you strike me.She spoke ever so gently
and as if with all fear of wounding him while she sat partaking of
his bounty. "AREn't you in trouble?"


He felt himself colour at the questionand then hated that--hated
to pass for anything so idiotic as woundable. Woundable by Chad's
ladyin respect to whom he had come out with such a fund of
indifference--was he already at that point? Perverselynone the
lesshis pause gave a strange air of truth to her supposition; and
what was he in fact but disconcerted at having struck her just in
the way he had most dreamed of not doing? "I'm not in trouble yet
he at last smiled. I'm not in trouble now."

Well, I'm always so. But that you sufficiently know.She was a
woman whobetween coursescould be graceful with her elbows
on the table. It was a posture unknown to Mrs. Newsomebut it was
easy for a femme du monde. "Yes--I am 'now'!"

There was a question you put to me,he presently returnedthe
night of Chad's dinner. I didn't answer it then, and it has been
very handsome of you not to have sought an occasion for pressing me
about it since.

She was instantly all there. "Of course I know what you allude to.
I asked you what you had meant by sayingthe day you came to see
mejust before you left methat you'd save me. And you then said
--at our friend's--that you'd have really to wait to seefor
yourselfwhat you did mean."

Yes, I asked for time,said Strether. "And it sounds nowas you
put itlike a very ridiculous speech."

Oh!she murmured--she was full of attenuation. But she had
another thought. "If it does sound ridiculous why do you deny that
you're in trouble?"

Ah if I were,he repliedit wouldn't be the trouble of fearing
ridicule. I don't fear it.

What then do you?

Nothing--now.And he leaned back in his chair.

I like your 'now'!she laughed across at him.

Well, it's precisely that it fully comes to me at present that
I've kept you long enough. I know by this time, at any rate, what I
meant by my speech; and I really knew it the night of Chad's
dinner.

Then why didn't you tell me?

Because it was difficult at the moment. I had already at that
moment done something for you, in the sense of what I had said the
day I went to see you; but I wasn't then sure of the importance I
might represent this as having.

She was all eagerness. "And you're sure now?"

Yes; I see that, practically, I've done for you--had done for you
when you put me your question--all that it's as yet possible to me
to do. I feel now,he went onthat it may go further than I
thought. What I did after my visit to you,he explainedwas to
write straight off to Mrs. Newsome about you, and I'm at last, from
one day to the other, expecting her answer. It's this answer that
will represent, as I believe, the consequences.

Patient and beautiful was her interest. "I see--the consequences of


your speaking for me." And she waited as if not to hustle him.

He acknowledged it by immediately going on. "The questionyou
understandwas HOW I should save you. WellI'm trying it by thus
letting her know that I consider you worth saving."

I see--I see.Her eagerness broke through.

How can I thank you enough?He couldn't tell her thathowever
and she quickly pursued. "You do reallyfor yourselfconsider
it?"

His only answer at first was to help her to the dish that had been
freshly put before them. "I've written to her again since then-I've
left her in no doubt of what I think. I've told her all about
you."

Thanks--not so much. 'All about' me,she went on--"yes."

All it seems to me you've done for him.

Ah and you might have added all it seems to ME!She laughed
againwhile she took up her knife and forkas in the cheer of
these assurances. "But you're not sure how she'll take it."

No, I'll not pretend I'm sure.

Voila.And she waited a moment. "I wish you'd tell me about her."

Oh,said Strether with a slightly strained smileall that
need concern you about her is that she's really a grand person.

Madame de Vionnet seemed to demur. "Is that all that need concern
me about her?"

But Strether neglected the question. "Hasn't Chad talked to you?"

Of his mother? Yes, a great deal--immensely. But not from your
point of view.

He can't,our friend returnedhave said any ill of her.

Not the least bit. He has given me, like you, the assurance that
she's really grand. But her being really grand is somehow just what
hasn't seemed to simplify our case. Nothing,she continuedis
further from me than to wish to say a word against her; but of
course I feel how little she can like being told of her owing me
anything. No woman ever enjoys such an obligation to another
woman.

This was a proposition Strether couldn't contradict. "And yet what
other way could I have expressed to her what I felt? It's what
there was most to say about you."

Do you mean then that she WILL be good to me?

It's what I'm waiting to see. But I've little doubt she would,he
addedif she could comfortably see you.

It seemed to strike her as a happya beneficent thought. "Oh then
couldn't that be managed? Wouldn't she come out? Wouldn't she if
you so put it to her? DID you by any possibility?" she faintly
quavered.


Oh no--he was prompt. "Not that. It would bemuch moreto give
an account of you that--since there's no question of YOUR paying
the visit--I should go home first."

It instantly made her graver. "And are you thinking of that?"

Oh all the while, naturally.

Stay with us--stay with us!she exclaimed on this. "That's your
only way to make sure."

To make sure of what?

Why that he doesn't break up. You didn't come out to do that to
him.

Doesn't it depend,Strether returned after a momenton what you
mean by breaking up?

Oh you know well enough what I mean!

His silence seemed again for a little to denote an understanding.
You take for granted remarkable things.

Yes, I do--to the extent that I don't take for granted vulgar
ones. You're perfectly capable of seeing that what you came out for
wasn't really at all to do what you'd now have to do.

Ah it's perfectly simple,Strether good-humouredly pleaded. "I've
had but one thing to do--to put our case before him. To put it as
it could only be put here on the spot--by personal pressure. My
dear lady he lucidly pursued, my workyou seeis really done
and my reasons for staying on even another day are none of the
best. Chad's in possession of our case and professes to do it full
justice. What remains is with himself. I've had my restmy
amusement and refreshment; I've hadas we say at Woolletta
lovely time. Nothing in it has been more lovely than this happy
meeting with you--in these fantastic conditions to which you've so
delightfully consented. I've a sense of success. It's what I
wanted. My getting all this good is what Chad has waited forand I
gather that if I'm ready to go he's the same."

She shook her head with a finer deeper wisdom. "You're not ready.
If you're ready why did you write to Mrs. Newsome in the sense
you've mentioned to me?"

Strether considered. "I shan't go before I hear from her. You're
too much afraid of her he added.

It produced between them a long look from which neither shrank. I
don't think you believe that--believe I've not really reason to
fear her."

She's capable of great generosity,Strether presently stated.

Well then let her trust me a little. That's all I ask. Let her
recognise in spite of everything what I've done.

Ah remember,our friend repliedthat she can't effectually
recognise it without seeing it for herself. Let Chad go over and
show her what you've done, and let him plead with her there for it
and, as it were, for YOU.

She measured the depth of this suggestion. "Do you give me your


word of honour that if she once has him there she won't do her best
to marry him?"

It made her companionthis enquirylook again a while out at the
view; after which he spoke without sharpness. "When she sees for
herself what he is--"

But she had already broken in. "It's when she sees for herself what
he is that she'll want to marry him most."

Strether's attitudethat of due deference to what she said
permitted him to attend for a minute to his luncheon. "I doubt if
that will come off. It won't be easy to make it."

It will be easy if he remains there--and he'll remain for the
money. The money appears to be, as a probability, so hideously
much.

Well,Strether presently concludednothing COULD really hurt
you but his marrying.

She gave a strange light laugh. "Putting aside what may really hurt
HIM."

But her friend looked at her as if he had thought of that too.
The question will come up, of course, of the future that you
yourself offer him.

She was leaning back nowbut she fully faced him. "Welllet it
come up!"

The point is that it's for Chad to make of it what he can. His
being proof against marriage will show what he does make.

If he IS proof, yes--she accepted the proposition. "But for
myself she added, the question is what YOU make."

Ah I make nothing. It's not my affair.

I beg your pardon. It's just there that, since you've taken it up
and are committed to it, it most intensely becomes yours. You're
not saving me, I take it, for your interest in myself, but for your
interest in our friend. The one's at any rate wholly dependent on
the other. You can't in honour not see me through,she wound up
because you can't in honour not see HIM.

Strange and beautiful to him was her quiet soft acuteness. The thing
that most moved him was really that she was so deeply serious. She had
none of the portentous forms of itbut he had never come in contact
it struck himwith a force brought to so fine a head. Mrs. Newsome
goodness knewwas serious; but it was nothing to this. He took it
all inhe saw it all together. "No he mused, I can't in honour
not see him."

Her face affected him as with an exquisite light. "You WILL then?"

I will.

At this she pushed back her chair and was the next moment on her
feet. "Thank you!" she said with her hand held out to him across
the table and with no less a meaning in the words than her lips had
so particularly given them after Chad's dinner. The golden nail she
had then driven in pierced a good inch deeper. Yet he reflected
that he himself had only meanwhile done what he had made up his mind to


on the same occasion. So far as the essence of the matter went he had
simply stood fast on the spot on which he had then planted his feet.

He received three days after this a communication from Americain
the form of a scrap of blue paper folded and gummednot reaching
him through his bankersbut delivered at his hotel by a small boy
in uniformwhounder instructions from the conciergeapproached
him as he slowly paced the little court. It was the evening hour
but daylight was long now and Paris more than ever penetrating. The
scent of flowers was in the streetshe had the whiff of violets
perpetually in his nose; and he had attached himself to sounds and
suggestionsvibrations of the airhuman and dramatiche
imaginedas they were not in other placesthat came out for him
more and more as the mild afternoons deepened--a far-off huma
sharp near click on the asphalta voice callingreplying
somewhere and as full of tone as an actor's in a play. He was to
dine at homeas usualwith Waymarsh--they had settled to that for
thrift and simplicity; and he now hung about before his friend came
down.

He read his telegram in the courtstanding still a long time where
he had opened it and giving five minutes afterwards to the renewed
study of it. At lastquicklyhe crumpled it up as if to get it
out of the way; in spite of whichhoweverhe kept it there-still
kept it whenat the end of another turnhe had dropped into
a chair placed near a small table. Herewith his scrap of paper
compressed in his fist and further concealed by his folding his
arms tighthe sat for some time in thoughtgazed before him so
straight that Waymarsh appeared and approached him without catching
his eye. The latter in factstruck with his appearancelooked at
him hard for a single instant and thenas if determined to that
course by some special vividness in itdropped back into the salon
de lecture without addressing him. But the pilgrim from Milrose
permitted himself still to observe the scene from behind the clear
glass plate of that retreat. Strether endedas he satby a fresh
scrutiny of his compressed missivewhich he smoothed out carefully
again as he placed it on his table. There it remained for some
minutesuntilat last looking uphe saw Waymarsh watching him
from within. It was on this that their eyes met--met for a moment
during which neither moved. But Strether then got upfolding his
telegram more carefully and putting it into his waistcoat pocket

A few minutes later the friends were seated together at dinner; but
Strether had meanwhile said nothing about itand they eventually
partedafter coffee in the courtwith nothing said on either
side. Our friend had moreover the consciousness that even less than
usual was on this occasion said between themso that it was almost
as if each had been waiting for something from the other. Waymarsh
had always more or less the air of sitting at the door of his tent
and silenceafter so many weekshad come to play its part in
their concert. This note indeedto Strether's sensehad lately
taken a fuller toneand it was his fancy to-night that they had
never quite so drawn it out. Yet it befellnone the less that he
closed the door to confidence when his companion finally asked him
if there were anything particular the matter with him. "Nothing
he replied, more than usual."

On the morrowhoweverat an early hourhe found occasion to give
an answer more in consonance with the facts. What was the matter


had continued to be so all the previous eveningthe first hours of
whichafter dinnerin his roomhe had devoted to the copious
composition of a letter. He had quitted Waymarsh for this purpose
leaving him to his own resources with less ceremony than their
wontbut finally coming down again with his letter unconcluded and
going forth into the streets without enquiry for his comrade. He
had taken a long vague walkand one o'clock had struck before his
return and his re-ascent to his room by the aid of the glimmering
candle-end left for him on the shelf outside the porter's lodge. He
had possessed himselfon closing his doorof the numerous loose
sheets of his unfinished compositionand thenwithout reading
them overhad torn them into small pieces. He had thereupon slept-as
if it had been in some measure thanks to that sacrifice--the
sleep of the justand had prolonged his rest considerably beyond
his custom. Thus it was that whenbetween nine and tenthe tap of
the knob of a walking-stick sounded on his doorhe had not yet
made himself altogether presentable. Chad Newsome's bright deep
voice determined quickly enough none the less the admission of the
visitor. The little blue paper of the evening beforeplainly an
object the more precious for its escape from premature destruction
now lay on the sill of the open windowsmoothed out afresh and
kept from blowing away by the superincumbent weight of his watch.
Chadlooking about with careless and competent criticismas he
looked wherever he went immediately espied it and permitted himself
to fix it for a moment rather hard. After which he turned his eyes
to his host. "It has come then at last?"

Strether paused in the act of pinning his necktie. "Then you know--?
You've had one too?"

No, I've had nothing, and I only know what I see. I see that thing
and I guess. Well,he addedit comes as pat as in a play, for
I've precisely turned up this morning--as I would have done
yesterday, but it was impossible--to take you.

To take me?Strether had turned again to his glass.

Back, at last, as I promised. I'm ready--I've really been ready
this month. I've only been waiting for you--as was perfectly right.
But you're better now; you're safe--I see that for myself; you've
got all your good. You're looking, this morning, as fit as a flea.

Stretherat his glassfinished dressing; consulting that witness
moreover on this last opinion. WAS he looking preternaturally fit?
There was something in it perhaps for Chad's wonderful eyebut he
had felt himself for hours rather in pieces. Such a judgement
howeverwas after all but a contribution to his resolve; it
testified unwittingly to his wisdom. He was still firmer
apparently--since it shone in him as a light--than he had flattered
himself. His firmness indeed was slightly compromisedas he faced
about to his friendby the way this very personage looked--though
the case would of course have been worse hadn't the secret of
personal magnificence been at every hour Chad's unfailing
possession. There he was in all the pleasant morning freshness of
it--strong and sleek and gayeasy and fragrant and fathomless
with happy health in his colourand pleasant silver in his thick
young hairand the right word for everything on the lips that his
clear brownness caused to show as red. He had never struck Strether
as personally such a success; it was as if nowfor his definite
surrenderhe had gathered himself vividly together. Thissharply
and rather strangelywas the form in which he was to be presented
to Woollett. Our friend took him in again--he was always taking him
in and yet finding that parts of him still remained out; though
even thus his image showed through a mist of other things. "I've


had a cable Strether said, from your mother."

I dare say, my dear man. I hope she's well.

Strether hesitated. "No--she's not wellI'm sorry to have to tell
you."

Ah,said ChadI must have had the instinct of it. All the more
reason then that we should start straight off.

Strether had now got together hatgloves and stickbut Chad had
dropped on the sofa as if to show where he wished to make his
point. He kept observing his companion's things; he might have been
judging how quickly they could be packed. He might even have wished
to hint that he'd send his own servant to assist. "What do you
mean Strether enquired, by 'straight off'?"

Oh by one of next week's boats. Everything at this season goes out
so light that berths will be easy anywhere.

Strether had in his hand his telegramwhich he had kept there
after attaching his watchand he now offered it to Chadwho
howeverwith an odd movementdeclined to take it. "ThanksI'd
rather not. Your correspondence with Mother's your own affair. I'm
only WITH you both on itwhatever it is." Stretherat thiswhile
their eyes metslowly folded the missive and put it in his pocket;
after whichbefore he had spoken againChad broke fresh ground.
Has Miss Gostrey come back?

But when Strether presently spoke it wasn't in answer. "It's notI
gatherthat your mother's physically ill; her healthon the
wholethis springseems to have been better than usual. But she's
worriedshe's anxiousand it appears to have risen within the
last few days to a climax. We've tired outbetween usher
patience."

Oh it isn't YOU!Chad generously protested.

I beg your pardon--it IS me.Strether was mild and melancholy
but firm. He saw it far away and over his companion's head. "It's
very particularly me."

Well then all the more reason. Marchons, marchons!said the young
man gaily. His hosthoweverat thisbut continued to stand
agaze; and he had the next thing repeated his question of a moment
before. "Has Miss Gostrey come back?"

Yes, two days ago.

Then you've seen her?

No--I'm to see her to-day.But Strether wouldn't linger now on
Miss Gostrey. "Your mother sends me an ultimatum. If I can't bring
you I'm to leave you; I'm to come at any rate myself."

Ah but you CAN bring me now,Chadfrom his sofareassuringly
replied.

Strether had a pause. "I don't think I understand you. Why was it
thatmore than a month agoyou put it to me so urgently to let
Madame de Vionnet speak for you?"

'Why'?Chad consideredbut he had it at his fingers' ends. "Why
but because I knew how well she'd do it? It was the way to keep you


quiet andto that extentdo you good. Besides he happily and
comfortably explained, I wanted you really to know her and to get
the impression of her--and you see the good that HAS done you."

Well,said Stretherthe way she has spoken for you, all the
same--so far as I've given her a chance--has only made me feel how
much she wishes to keep you. If you make nothing of that I don't
see why you wanted me to listen to her.

Why my dear man,Chad exclaimedI make everything of it! How
can you doubt--?

I doubt only because you come to me this morning with your signal
to start.

Chad staredthen gave a laugh. "And isn't my signal to start just
what you've been waiting for?"

Strether debated; he took another turn. "This last month I've been
awaitingI thinkmore than anything elsethe message I have
here."

You mean you've been afraid of it?

Well, I was doing my business in my own way. And I suppose your
present announcement,Strether went onisn't merely the result
of your sense of what I've expected. Otherwise you wouldn't have
put me in relation--But he pausedpulling up.

At this Chad rose. "Ah HER wanting me not to go has nothing to do
with it! It's only because she's afraid--afraid of the way that
over thereI may get caught. But her fear's groundless."

He had met again his companion's sufficiently searching look. "Are
you tired of her?"

Chad gave him in reply to thiswith a movement of the headthe
strangest slow smile he had ever had from him. "Never."

It had immediatelyon Strether's imaginationso deep and soft an
effect that our friend could only for the moment keep it before
him. "Never?"

Never,Chad obligingly and serenely repeated.

It made his companion take several more steps. "Then YOU'RE not
afraid."

Afraid to go?

Strether pulled up again. "Afraid to stay."

The young man looked brightly amazed. "You want me now to 'stay'?"

If I don't immediately sail the Pococks will immediately come out.
That's what I mean,said Stretherby your mother's ultimatum .

Chad showed a still livelierbut not an alarmed interest. "She has
turned on Sarah and Jim?"

Strether joined him for an instant in the vision. "Oh and you may
be sure Mamie. THAT'S whom she's turning on."

This also Chad saw--he laughed out. "Mamie--to corrupt me?"


Ah,said Strethershe's very charming.

So you've already more than once told me. I should like to see
her.

Something happy and easysomething above all unconsciousin the
way he said thisbrought home again to his companion the facility
of his attitude and the enviability of his state. "See her then by
all means. And consider too Strether went on, that you really
give your sister a lift in letting her come to you. You give her a
couple of months of Pariswhich she hasn't seenif I'm not
mistakensince just after she was marriedand which I'm sure she
wants but the pretext to visit."

Chad listenedbut with all his own knowledge of the world. "She
has had itthe pretextthese several yearsyet she has never
taken it."

Do you mean YOU?Strether after an instant enquired.

Certainly--the lone exile. And whom do you mean?said Chad.

Oh I mean ME. I'm her pretext. That is--for it comes to the same
thing--I'm your mother's.

Then why,Chad askeddoesn't Mother come herself?

His friend gave him a long look. "Should you like her to?" And as
he for the moment said nothing: "It's perfectly open to you to
cable for her."

Chad continued to think. "Will she come if I do?"

Quite possibly. But try, and you'll see.

Why don't YOU try?Chad after a moment asked.

Because I don't want to.

Chad thought. "Don't desire her presence here?"

Strether faced the questionand his answer was the more emphatic.
Don't put it off, my dear boy, on ME!

Well--I see what you mean. I'm sure you'd behave beautifully but you
DON'T want to see her. So I won't play you that trick.'

Ah Strether declared, I shouldn't call it a trick. You've a
perfect rightand it would be perfectly straight of you." Then he
added in a different tone: "You'd have moreoverin the person of
Madame de Vionneta very interesting relation prepared for her."

Their eyeson this propositioncontinued to meetbut Chad's
pleasant and boldnever flinched for a moment. He got up at last
and he said something with which Strether was struck. "She wouldn't
understand herbut that makes no difference. Madame de Vionnet
would like to see her. She'd like to be charming to her. She
believes she could work it."

Strether thought a momentaffected by thisbut finally turning
away. "She couldn't!"

You're quite sure?Chad asked.


Well, risk it if you like!

Stretherwho uttered this with serenityhad urged a plea for their
now getting into the air; but the young man still waited. "Have you
sent your answer?"

No, I've done nothing yet.

Were you waiting to see me?

No, not that.

Only waiting--and Chadwith thishad a smile for him--"to see
Miss Gostrey?"

No--not even Miss Gostrey. I wasn't waiting to see any one. I had
only waited, till now, to make up my mind--in complete solitude;
and, since I of course absolutely owe you the information, was on
the point of going out with it quite made up. Have therefore a
little more patience with me. Remember,Strether went onthat
that's what you originally asked ME to have. I've had it, you see,
and you see what has come of it. Stay on with me.

Chad looked grave. "How much longer?"

Well, till I make you a sign. I can't myself, you know, at the
best, or at the worst, stay for ever. Let the Pococks come,
Strether repeated.

Because it gains you time?

Yes--it gains me time.

Chadas if it still puzzled himwaited a minute. "You don't want
to get back to Mother?"

Not just yet. I'm not ready.

You feel,Chad asked in a tone of his ownthe charm of life
over here?

Immensely.Strether faced it. "You've helped me so to feel it
that that surely needn't surprise you."

No, it doesn't surprise me, and I'm delighted. But what, my dear
man,Chad went on with conscious queernessdoes it all lead to
for you?

The change of position and of relationfor eachwas so oddly
betrayed in the question that Chad laughed out as soon as he had
uttered it--which made Strether also laugh. "Wellto my having a
certitude that has been tested--that has passed through the fire.
But oh he couldn't help breaking out, if within my first month
here you had been willing to move with me--!"

Well?said Chadwhile he broke down as for weight of thought.

Well, we should have been over there by now.

Ah but you wouldn't have had your fun!

I should have had a month of it; and I'm having now, if you want
to know,Strether continuedenough to last me for the rest of my


days.

Chad looked amused and interestedyet still somewhat in the dark;
partly perhaps because Strether's estimate of fun had required of
him from the first a good deal of elucidation. "It wouldn't do if
I left you--?"

Left me?--Strether remained blank.

Only for a month or two--time to go and come. Madame de Vionnet,
Chad smiledwould look after you in the interval.

To go back by yourself, I remaining here?Again for an instant
their eyes had the question out; after which Strether said:
Grotesque!

But I want to see Mother,Chad presently returned. "Remember how
long it is since I've seen Mother."

Long indeed; and that's exactly why I was originally so keen for
moving you. Hadn't you shown us enough how beautifully you could do
without it?

Oh but,said Chad wonderfullyI'm better now.

There was an easy triumph in it that made his friend laugh out
again. "Oh if you were worse I SHOULD know what to do with you. In
that case I believe I'd have you gagged and strapped downcarried
on board resistingkicking. How MUCH Strether asked, do you
want to see Mother?"

How much?--Chad seemed to find it in fact difficult to say.

How much.

Why as much as you've made me. I'd give anything to see her. And
you've left me,Chad went onin little enough doubt as to how
much SHE wants it.

Strether thought a minute. "Well then if those things are really
your motive catch the French steamer and sail to-morrow. Of course
when it comes to thatyou're absolutely free to do as you choose.
From the moment you can't hold yourself I can only accept your
flight."

I'll fly in a minute then,said Chadif you'll stay here.

I'll stay here till the next steamer--then I'll follow you.

And do you call that,Chad askedaccepting my flight?

Certainly--it's the only thing to call it. The only way to keep me
here, accordingly,Strether explainedis by staying yourself.

Chad took it in. "All the more that I've really dished youeh?"

Dished me?Strether echoed as inexpressively as possible.

Why if she sends out the Pococks it will be that she doesn't trust
you, and if she doesn't trust you, that bears upon--well, you know
what.

Strether decided after a moment that he did know whatand in
consonance with this he spoke. "You see then all the more what you


owe me."

Well, if I do see, how can I pay?

By not deserting me. By standing by me.

Oh I say--!But Chadas they went downstairsclapped a firm
handin the manner of a pledgeupon his shoulder. They descended
slowly together and hadin the court of the hotelsome further
talkof which the upshot was that they presently separated. Chad
Newsome departedand Stretherleft alonelooked aboutsuperficially
for Waymarsh. But Waymarsh hadn't yetit appearedcome downand
our friend finally went forth without sight of him.

At four o'clock that afternoon he had still not seen himbut he
was thenas to make up for thisengaged in talk about him with
Miss Gostrey. Strether had kept away from home all daygiven
himself up to the town and to his thoughtswandered and mused
been at once restless and absorbed--and all with the present climax
of a rich little welcome in the Quartier Marboeuf. "Waymarsh has
been'unbeknown' to meI'm convinced"--for Miss Gostrey had
enquired--"in communication with Woollett: the consequence of which
waslast nightthe loudest possible call for me."

Do you mean a letter to bring you home?

No--a cable, which I have at this moment in my pocket: a 'Come
back by the first ship.'

Strether's hostessit might have been made outjust escaped
changing colour. Reflexion arrived but in time and established a
provisional serenity. It was perhaps exactly this that enabled her
to say with duplicity: "And you're going--?"

You almost deserve it when you abandon me so.

She shook her head as if this were not worth taking up. "My absence
has helped you--as I've only to look at you to see. It was my
calculationand I'm justified. You're not where you were. And the
thing she smiled, was for me not to be there either. You can go
of yourself."

Oh but I feel to-day,he comfortably declaredthat I shall want
you yet.

She took him all in again. "WellI promise you not again to leave
youbut it will only be to follow you. You've got your momentum
and can toddle alone."

He intelligently accepted it. "Yes--I suppose I can toddle. It's
the sight of that in fact that has upset Waymarsh. He can bear it-the
way I strike him as going--no longer. That's only the climax
of his original feeling. He wants me to quit; and he must have
written to Woollett that I'm in peril of perdition."

Ah good!she murmured. "But is it only your supposition?"

I make it out--it explains.


Then he denies?--or you haven't asked him?

I've not had time,Strether said; "I made it out but last night
putting various things togetherand I've not been since then face
to face with him."

She wondered. "Because you're too disgusted? You can't trust
yourself?"

He settled his glasses on his nose. "Do I look in a great rage?"

You look divine!

There's nothing,he went onto be angry about. He has done me
on the contrary a service.

She made it out. "By bringing things to a head?"

How well you understand!he almost groaned. "Waymarsh won't in
the leastat any ratewhen I have it out with himdeny or
extenuate. He has acted from the deepest convictionwith the best
conscience and after wakeful nights. He'll recognise that he's
fully responsibleand will consider that he has been highly
successful; so that any discussion we may have will bring us quite
together again--bridge the dark stream that has kept us so
thoroughly apart. We shall have at lastin the consequences of his
actsomething we can definitely talk about."

She was silent a little. "How wonderfully you take it! But you're
always wonderful."

He had a pause that matched her own; then he hadwith an adequate
spirita complete admission. "It's quite true. I'm extremely
wonderful just now. I dare say in fact I'm quite fantasticand I
shouldn't be at all surprised if I were mad."

Then tell me!she earnestly pressed. As hehoweverfor the time
answered nothingonly returning the look with which she watched
himshe presented herself where it was easier to meet her. "What
will Mr. Waymarsh exactly have done?"

Simply have written a letter. One will have been quite enough. He
has told them I want looking after.

And DO you?--she was all interest.

Immensely. And I shall get it.

By which you mean you don't budge?

I don't budge.

You've cabled?

No--I've made Chad do it.

That you decline to come?

That HE declines. We had it out this morning and I brought him
round. He had come in, before I was down, to tell me he was ready-ready,
I mean, to return. And he went off, after ten minutes with
me, to say he wouldn't.

Miss Gostrey followed with intensity. "Then you've STOPPED him?"


Strether settled himself afresh in his chair. "I've stopped him.
That is for the time. That"--he gave it to her more vividly--"is
where I am."

I see, I see. But where's Mr. Newsome? He was ready,she asked
to go?

All ready.

And sincerely--believing YOU'D be?

Perfectly, I think; so that he was amazed to find the hand I had
laid on him to pull him over suddenly converted into an engine for
keeping him still.

It was an account of the matter Miss Gostrey could weigh. "Does he
think the conversion sudden?"

Well,said StretherI'm not altogether sure what he thinks. I'm
not sure of anything that concerns him, except that the more I've
seen of him the less I've found him what I originally expected.
He's obscure, and that's why I'm waiting.

She wondered. "But for what in particular?"

For the answer to his cable.

And what was his cable?

I don't know,Strether replied; "it was to bewhen he left me
according to his own taste. I simply said to him: 'I want to stay
and the only way for me to do so is for you to.' That I wanted to
stay seemed to interest himand he acted on that."

Miss Gostrey turned it over. "He wants then himself to stay."

He half wants it. That is he half wants to go. My original appeal
has to that extent worked in him. Nevertheless,Strether pursued
he won't go. Not, at least, so long as I'm here.

But you can't,his companion suggestedstay here always. I wish
you could.

By no means. Still, I want to see him a little further. He's not
in the least the case I supposed, he's quite another case. And it's
as such that he interests me.It was almost as if for his own
intelligence thatdeliberate and lucidour friend thus expressed
the matter. "I don't want to give him up."

Miss Gostrey but desired to help his lucidity. She had however to
be light and tactful. "Upyou mean--a--to his mother?"

Well, I'm not thinking of his mother now. I'm thinking of the plan
of which I was the mouthpiece, which, as soon as we met, I put
before him as persuasively as I knew how, and which was drawn up,
as it were, in complete ignorance of all that, in this last long
period, has been happening to him. It took no account whatever of
the impression I was here on the spot immediately to begin to
receive from him--impressions of which I feel sure I'm far from
having had the last.

Miss Gostrey had a smile of the most genial criticism. "So your
idea is--more or less--to stay out of curiosity?"


Call it what you like! I don't care what it's called--

So long as you do stay? Certainly not then. I call it, all the
same, immense fun,Maria Gostrey declared; "and to see you work it
out will be one of the sensations of my life. It IS clear you can
toddle alone!"

He received this tribute without elation. "I shan't be alone when
the Pococks have come."

Her eyebrows went up. "The Pococks are coming?"

That, I mean, is what will happen--and happen as quickly as
possible--in consequence of Chad's cable. They'll simply embark.
Sarah will come to speak for her mother--with an effect different
from MY muddle.

Miss Gostrey more gravely wondered. "SHE then will take him back?"

Very possibly--and we shall see. She must at any rate have the
chance, and she may be trusted to do all she can.

And do you WANT that?

Of course,said StretherI want it. I want to play fair

But she had lost for a moment the thread. "If it devolves on the
Pococks why do you stay?"

Just to see that I DO play fair--and a little also, no doubt, that
they do.Strether was luminous as he had never been. "I came out
to find myself in presence of new facts--facts that have kept
striking me as less and less met by our old reasons. The matter's
perfectly simple. New reasons--reasons as new as the facts
themselves--are wanted; and of this our friends at Woollett--Chad's
and mine--were at the earliest moment definitely notified. If any
are producible Mrs. Pocock will produce them; she'll bring over the
whole collection. They'll be he added with a pensive smile a
part of the 'fun' you speak of."

She was quite in the current now and floating by his side. "It's
Mamie--so far as I've had it from you--who'll be their great card."
And then as his contemplative silence wasn't a denial she
significantly added: "I think I'm sorry for her."

I think I am!--and Strether sprang upmoving about a little as
her eyes followed him. "But it can't be helped."

You mean her coming out can't be?

He explained after another turn what he meant. "The only way for
her not to come is for me to go home--as I believe that on the spot
I could prevent it. But the difficulty as to that is that if I do
go home--"

I see, I see--she had easily understood. "Mr. Newsome will do the
sameand that's not"--she laughed out now--"to be thought of."

Strether had no laugh; he had only a quiet comparatively placid
look that might have shown him as proof against ridicule. "Strange
isn't it?"

They hadin the matter that so much interested themcome so far


as this without sounding another name--to which however their
present momentary silence was full of a conscious reference.
Strether's question was a sufficient implication of the weight it
had gained with him during the absence of his hostess; and just for
that reason a single gesture from her could pass for him as a vivid
answer. Yet he was answered still better when she said in a moment:
Will Mr. Newsome introduce his sister--?

To Madame de Vionnet?Strether spoke the name at last. "I shall
be greatly surprised if he doesn't."

She seemed to gaze at the possibility. "You mean you've thought of
it and you're prepared."

I've thought of it and I'm prepared.

It was to her visitor now that she applied her consideration. "Bon!
You ARE magnificent!"

Well,he answered after a pause and a little wearilybut still
standing there before her--"wellthat's whatjust once in all my
dull daysI think I shall like to have been!"

Two days later he had news from Chad of a communication from
Woollett in response to their determinant telegramthis missive
being addressed to Chad himself and announcing the immediate
departure for France of Sarah and Jim and Mamie. Strether had
meanwhile on his own side cabled; he had but delayed that act till
after his visit to Miss Gostreyan interview by whichas so often
beforehe felt his sense of things cleared up and settled. His
message to Mrs. Newsomein answer to her ownhad consisted of the
words: "Judge best to take another monthbut with full
appreciation of all re-enforcements." He had added that he was
writingbut he was of course always writing; it was a practice
that continuedoddly enoughto relieve himto make him come
nearer than anything else to the consciousness of doing something:
so that he often wondered if he hadn't reallyunder his recent
stressacquired some hollow trickone of the specious arts of
make-believe. Wouldn't the pages he still so freely dispatched by
the American post have been worthy of a showy journalistsome
master of the great new science of beating the sense out of words?
Wasn't he writing against timeand mainly to show he was kind?-since
it had become quite his habit not to like to read himself
over. On those lines he could still be liberalyet it was at best
a sort of whistling in the dark. It was unmistakeable moreover that
the sense of being in the dark now pressed on him more sharply-creating
thereby the need for a louder and livelier whistle. He
whistled long and hard after sending his message; he whistled again
and again in celebration of Chad's news; there was an interval of a
fortnight in which this exercise helped him. He had no great notion
of whaton the spotSarah Pocock would have to saythough he had
indeed confused premonitions; but it shouldn't be in her power to
say--it shouldn't be in any one's anywhere to say--that he was
neglecting her mother. He might have written before more freely
but he had never written more copiously; and he frankly gave for a
reason at Woollett that he wished to fill the void created there by
Sarah's departure.

The increase of his darknesshoweverand the quickeningas I
have called itof his tuneresided in the fact that he was
hearing almost nothing. He had for some time been aware that he was
hearing less than beforeand he was now clearly following a
process by which Mrs. Newsome's letters could but logically stop.
He hadn't had a line for many daysand he needed no proof--though


he wasin timeto have plenty--that she wouldn't have put pen to
paper after receiving the hint that had determined her telegram.
She wouldn't write till Sarah should have seen him and reported on
him. It was strangethough it might well be less so than his own
behaviour appeared at Woollett. It was at any rate significantand
what WAS remarkable was the way his friend's nature and manner put
on for himthrough this very drop of demonstrationa greater
intensity. It struck him really that he had never so lived with her
as during this period of her silence; the silence was a sacred
husha finer clearer mediumin which her idiosyncrasies showed.
He walked about with hersat with herdrove with her and dined
face-to-face with her--a rare treat "in his life as he could
perhaps have scarce escaped phrasing it; and if he had never seen
her so soundless he had never, on the other hand, felt her so
highly, so almost austerely, herself: pure and by the vulgar
estimate cold but deep devoted delicate sensitive noble. Her
vividness in these respects became for him, in the special
conditions, almost an obsession; and though the obsession sharpened
his pulses, adding really to the excitement of life, there were
hours at which, to be less on the stretch, he directly sought
forgetfulness. He knew it for the queerest of adventures--a
circumstance capable of playing such a part only for Lambert
Strether--that in Paris itself, of all places, he should find this
ghost of the lady of Woollett more importunate than any other
presence.

When he went back to Maria Gostrey it was for the change to
something else. And yet after all the change scarcely operated for
he talked to her of Mrs. Newsome in these days as he had never
talked before. He had hitherto observed in that particular a
discretion and a law; considerations that at present broke down
quite as if relations had altered. They hadn't REALLY altered, he
said to himself, so much as that came to; for if what had occurred
was of course that Mrs. Newsome had ceased to trust him, there was
nothing on the other hand to prove that he shouldn't win back her
confidence. It was quite his present theory that he would leave no
stone unturned to do so; and in fact if he now told Maria things
about her that he had never told before this was largely because it
kept before him the idea of the honour of such a woman's esteem.
His relation with Maria as well was, strangely enough, no longer
quite the same; this truth--though not too disconcertingly--had
come up between them on the renewal of their meetings. It was all
contained in what she had then almost immediately said to him; it
was represented by the remark she had needed but ten minutes to
make and that he hadn't been disposed to gainsay. He could toddle
alone, and the difference that showed was extraordinary. The turn
taken by their talk had promptly confirmed this difference; his
larger confidence on the score of Mrs. Newsome did the rest; and
the time seemed already far off when he had held out his small
thirsty cup to the spout of her pail. Her pail was scarce touched
now, and other fountains had flowed for him; she fell into her
place as but one of his tributaries; and there was a strange
sweetness--a melancholy mildness that touched him--in her
acceptance of the altered order.

It marked for himself the flight of time, or at any rate what he
was pleased to think of with irony and pity as the rush of experience;
it having been but the day before yesterday that he sat at her feet
and held on by her garment and was fed by her hand. It was the
proportions that were changed, and the proportions were at all
times, he philosophised, the very conditions of perception, the
terms of thought. It was as if, with her effective little entresol and
and her wide acquaintance, her activities, varieties, promiscuities,
the duties and devotions that took up nine tenths of her time and


of which he got, guardedly, but the side-wind--it was as if she had
shrunk to a secondary element and had consented to the shrinkage
with the perfection of tact. This perfection had never failed
her; it had originally been greater than his prime measure for it;
it had kept him quite apart, kept him out of the shop, as she
called her huge general acquaintance, made their commerce as
quiet, as much a thing of the home alone--the opposite of the
shop--as if she had never another customer. She had been wonderful
to him at first, with the memory of her little entresol, the image
to which, on most mornings at that time, his eyes directly opened;
but now she mainly figured for him as but part of the bristling
total--though of course always as a person to whom he should never
cease to be indebted. It would never be given to him certainly
to inspire a greater kindness. She had decked him out for others,
and he saw at this point at least nothing she would ever ask for.
She only wondered and questioned and listened, rendering him the
homage of a wistful speculation. She expressed it repeatedly;
he was already far beyond her, and she must prepare herself to
lose him. There was but one little chance for her.

Often as she had said it he met it--for it was a touch he liked-each
time the same way. My coming to grief?"

Yes--then I might patch you up.

Oh for my real smash, if it takes place, there will be no
patching.

But you surely don't mean it will kill you.

No--worse. It will make me old.

Ah nothing can do that! The wonderful and special thing about you
is that you ARE, at this time of day, youth.Then she always made
furtherone of those remarks that she had completely ceased to
adorn with hesitations or apologiesand that hadby the same
tokenin spite of their extreme straightnessceased to produce in
Strether the least embarrassment. She made him believe themand
they became thereby as impersonal as truth itself. "It's just your
particular charm."

His answer too was always the same. "Of course I'm youth--youth
for the trip to Europe. I began to be youngor at least to get the
benefit of itthe moment I met you at Chesterand that's what has
been taking place ever since. I never had the benefit at the proper
time--which comes to saying that I never had the thing itself. I'm
having the benefit at this moment; I had it the other day when I
said to Chad 'Wait'; I shall have it still again when Sarah Pocock
arrives. It's a benefit that would make a poor show for many
people; and I don't know who else but you and Ifranklycould
begin to see in it what I feel. I don't get drunk; I don't pursue
the ladies; I don't spend money; I don't even write sonnets. But
nevertheless I'm making up late for what I didn't have early. I
cultivate my little benefit in my own little way. It amuses me more
than anything that has happened to me in all my life. They may say
what they like--it's my surrenderit's my tributeto youth. One
puts that in where one can--it has to come in somewhereif only
out of the livesthe conditionsthe feelings of other persons.
Chad gives me the sense of itfor all his grey hairswhich merely
make it solid in him and safe and serene; and SHE does the same
for all her being older than hefor all her marriageable daughter
her separated husbandher agitated history. Though they're young
enoughmy pairI don't say they'rein the freshest waytheir
own absolutely prime adolescence; for that has nothing to do with


it. The point is that they're mine. Yesthey're my youth; since
somehow at the right time nothing else ever was. What I meant just
now therefore is that it would all go--go before doing its work--
if they were to fail me."


On whichjust hereMiss Gostrey inveterately questioned. "What do
youin particularcall its work?"


Well, to see me through.


But through what?--she liked to get it all out of him.


Why through this experience.That was all that would come.


It regularly gave her none the less the last word. "Don't you
remember how in those first days of our meeting it was I who was to
see you through?"


Remember? Tenderly, deeply--he always rose to it. "You're just
doing your part in letting me maunder to you thus."


Ah don't speak as if my part were small; since whatever else fails
you--


YOU won't, ever, ever, ever?--he thus took her up. "Oh I beg your
pardon; you necessarilyyou inevitably WILL. Your conditions--that's
what I mean--won't allow me anything to do for you."


Let alone--I see what you mean--that I'm drearily dreadfully old.
I AM, but there's a service--possible for you to render--that I know,
all the same, I shall think of.


And what will it be?


Thisin finehowevershe would never tell him. "You shall hear
only if your smash takes place. As that's really out of the
questionI won't expose myself''--a point at whichfor reasons of
his ownStrether ceased to press.


He came roundfor publicity--it was the easiest thing--to the idea
that his smash WAS out of the questionand this rendered idle the
discussion of what might follow it. He attached an added
importanceas the days elapsedto the arrival of the Pococks; he
had even a shameful sense of waiting for it insincerely and
incorrectly. He accused himself of making believe to his own mind
that Sarah's presenceher impressionher judgement would simplify
and harmonisehe accused himself of being so afraid of what they
MIGHT do that he sought refugeto beg the whole questionin a
vain fury. He had abundantly seen at home what they were in the
habit of doingand he had not at present the smallest ground. His
clearest vision was when he made out that what he most desired was
an account more full and free of Mrs. Newsome's state of mind than
any he felt he could now expect from herself; that calculation at
least went hand in hand with the sharp consciousness of wishing to
prove to himself that he was not afraid to look his behaviour in
the face. If he was by an inexorable logic to pay for it he was
literally impatient to know the costand he held himself ready to
pay in instalments. The first instalment would be precisely this
entertainment of Sarah; as a consequence of which moreover. he
should know vastly better how he stood.



Book Eighth

Strether rambled alone during these few daysthe effect of the
incident of the previous week having been to simplify in a marked
fashion his mixed relations with Waymarsh. Nothing had passed
between them in reference to Mrs. Newsome's summons but that our
friend had mentioned to his own the departure of the deputation
actually at sea--giving him thus an opportunity to confess to the
occult intervention he imputed to him. Waymarsh however in the
event confessed to nothing; and though this falsified in some
degree Strether's forecast the latter amusedly saw in it the same
depth of good conscience out of which the dear man's impertinence
had originally sprung. He was patient with the dear man now and
delighted to observe how unmistakeably he had put on flesh; he felt
his own holiday so successfully large and free that he was full of
allowances and charities in respect to those cabined and confined'
his instinct toward a spirit so strapped down as Waymarsh's was to
walk round it on tiptoe for fear of waking it up to a sense of
losses by this time irretrievable. It was all very funny he knew
and but the differenceas he often said to himselfof tweedledum
and tweedledee--an emancipation so purely comparative that it was
like the advance of the door-mat on the scraper; yet the present
crisis was happily to profit by it and the pilgrim from Milrose to
know himself more than ever in the right.

Strether felt that when he heard of the approach of the Pococks the
impulse of pity quite sprang up in him beside the impulse of
triumph. That was exactly why Waymarsh had looked at him with eyes
in which the heat of justice was measured and shaded. He had looked
very hardas if affectionately sorry for the friend--the friend of
fifty-five--whose frivolity had had thus to be recorded; becoming
howeverbut obscurely sententious and leaving his companion to
formulate a charge. It was in this general attitude that he had of
late altogether taken refuge; with the drop of discussion they were
solemnly sadly superficial; Strether recognised in him the mere
portentous rumination to which Miss Barrace had so good-humouredly
described herself as assigning a corner of her salon. It was quite
as if he knew his surreptitious step had been divinedand it was
also as if he missed the chance to explain the purity of his
motive; but this privation of relief should be precisely his small
penance: it was not amiss for Strether that he should find himself
to that degree uneasy. If he had been challenged or accused
rebuked for meddling or otherwise pulled uphe would probably have
shownon his own systemall the height of his consistencyall
the depth of his good faith. Explicit resentment of his course
would have made him take the floorand the thump of his fist on
the table would have affirmed him as consciously incorruptible. Had
what now really prevailed with Strether been but a dread of that
thump--a dread of wincing a little painfully at what it might
invidiously demonstrate? However this might beat any rateone of
the marks of the crisis was a visiblea studied lapsein
Waymarshof betrayed concern. As if to make up to his comrade for
the stroke by which he had played providence he now conspicuously
ignored his movementswithdrew himself from the pretension to
share themstiffened up his sensibility to neglectandclasping
his large empty hands and swinging his large restless footclearly
looked to another quarter for justice.


This made for independence on Strether's partand he had in truth
at no moment of his stay been so free to go and come. The early
summer brushed the picture over and blurred everything but the
near; it made a vast warm fragrant medium in which the elements
floated together on the best of termsin which rewards were
immediate and reckonings postponed. Chad was out of town againfor
the first time since his visitor's first view of him; he had
explained this necessity--without detailyet also without
embarrassmentthe circumstance was one of those whichin the
young man's lifetestified to the variety of his ties. Strether
wasn't otherwise concerned with it than for its so testifying--a
pleasant multitudinous image in which he took comfort. He took
comfortby the same strokein the swing of Chad's pendulum back
from that other swingthe sharp jerk towards Woollettso stayed
by his own hand. He had the entertainment of thinking that if he
had for that moment stopped the clock it was to promote the next
minute this still livelier motion. He himself did what he hadn't
done before; he took two or three times whole days off-irrespective
of othersof two or three taken with Miss Gostrey
two or three taken with little Bilham: he went to Chartres and
cultivatedbefore the front of the cathedrala general easy
beatitude; he went to Fontainebleau and imagined himself on the way
to Italy; he went to Rouen with a little handbag and inordinately
spent the night.

One afternoon he did something quite different; finding himself in
the neighbourhood of a fine old house across the riverhe passed
under the great arch of its doorway and asked at the porter's lodge
for Madame de Vionnet. He had already hovered more than once about
that possibilitybeen aware of itin the course of ostensible
strollsas lurking but round the corner. Only it had perversely
happenedafter his morning at Notre Damethat his consistencyas
he considered and intended ithad come back to him; whereby he had
reflected that the encounter in question had been none of his
making; clinging again intensely to the strength of his position
which was precisely that there was nothing in it for himself. From
the moment he actively pursued the charming associate of his
adventurefrom that moment his position weakenedfor he was then
acting in an interested way. It was only within a few days that he
had fixed himself a limit: he promised himself his consistency
should end with Sarah's arrival. It was arguing correctly to feel
the title to a free hand conferred on him by this event. If he
wasn't to be let alone he should be merely a dupe to act with
delicacy. If he wasn't to be trusted he could at least take his
ease. If he was to be placed under control he gained leave to try
what his position MIGHT agreeably give him. An ideal rigour would
perhaps postpone the trial till after the Pococks had shown their
spirit; and it was to an ideal rigour that he had quite promised
himself to conform.

Suddenlyhoweveron this particular dayhe felt a particular
fear under which everything collapsed. He knew abruptly that he was
afraid of himself--and yet not in relation to the effect on his
sensibilities of another hour of Madame de Vionnet. What he dreaded
was the effect of a single hour of Sarah Pocockas to whom he was
visitedin troubled nightswith fantastic waking dreams. She
loomed at him larger than life; she increased in volume as she drew
nearer; she so met his eyes thathis imagination takingafter the
first stepalland more than allthe strideshe already felt
her come down on himalready burnedunder her reprobationwith
the blush of guiltalready consentedby way of penanceto the
instant forfeiture of everything. He saw himselfunder her
directionrecommitted to Woollett as juvenile offenders are


committed to reformatories. It wasn't of course that Woollett was
really a place of discipline; but he knew in advance that Sarah's
salon at the hotel would be. His dangerat any ratein such moods
of alarmwas some concessionon this groundthat would involve a
sharp rupture with the actual; therefore if he waited to take leave
of that actual he might wholly miss his chance. It was represented
with supreme vividness by Madame de Vionnetand that is whyin a
wordhe waited no longer. He had seen in a flash that he must
anticipate Mrs. Pocock. He was accordingly much disappointed on now
learning from the portress that the lady of his quest was not in
Paris. She had gone for some days to the country. There was nothing
in this accident but what was natural; yet it produced for poor
Strether a drop of all confidence. It was suddenly as if he should
never see her againand as if moreover he had brought it on
himself by not having been quite kind to her.

It was the advantage of his having let his fancy lose itself for a
little in the gloom thatas by reactionthe prospect began really
to brighten from the moment the deputation from Woollett alighted
on the platform of the station. They had come straight from Havre
having sailed from New York to that portand having alsothanks
to a happy voyagemade land with a promptitude that left Chad
Newsomewho had meant to meet them at the dockbelated. He had
received their telegramwith the announcement of their immediate
further advancejust as he was taking the train for Havreso that
nothing had remained for him but to await them in Paris. He hastily
picked up Stretherat the hotelfor this purposeand he even
with easy pleasantrysuggested the attendance of Waymarsh as well--
Waymarshat the moment his cab rattled upbeing engagedunder
Strether's contemplative rangein a grave perambulation of the
familiar court. Waymarsh had learned from his companionwho had
already had a notedelivered by handfrom Chadthat the Pococks
were dueand had ambiguouslythoughas alwaysimpressively
glowered at him over the circumstance; carrying himself in a manner
in which Strether was now expert enough to recognise his uncertainty
in the premisesas to the best tone. The only tone he aimed at with
confidence was a full tone--which was necessarily difficult in the
absence of a full knowledge. The Pococks were a quantity as yet
unmeasuredandas he had practically brought them overso this
witness had to that extent exposed himself. He wanted to feel right
about itbut could onlyat the bestfor the timefeel vague.
I shall look to you, you know, immensely,our friend had said
to help me with them,and he had been quite conscious of the
effect of the remarkand of others of the same sorton his
comrade's sombre sensibility. He had insisted on the fact that
Waymarsh would quite like Mrs. Pocock--one could be certain he
would: he would be with her about everythingand she would also be
with HIMand Miss Barrace's nosein shortwould find itself out
of joint.

Strether had woven this web of cheerfulness while they waited in
the court for Chad; he had sat smoking cigarettes to keep himself
quiet whilecaged and leoninehis fellow traveller paced and
turned before him. Chad Newsome was doubtless to be struckwhen he
arrivedwith the sharpness of their opposition at this particular
hour; he was to rememberas a part of ithow Waymarsh came with
him and with Strether to the street and stood there with a face
half-wistful and half-rueful. They talked of himthe two othersas
they droveand Strether put Chad in possession of much of his own
strained sense of things. He had alreadya few days beforenamed
to him the wire he was convinced their friend had pulled--a
confidence that had made on the young man's part quite hugely for
curiosity and diversion. The action of the mattermoreover
Strether could seewas to penetrate; he saw that ishow Chad


judged a system of influence in which Waymarsh had served as a
determinant--an impression just now quickened again; with the whole
bearing of such a fact on the youth's view of his relatives. As it
came up between them that they might now take their friend for a
feature of the control of these latter now sought to be exerted
from WoollettStrether felt indeed how it would be stamped all
over himhalf an hour later for Sarah Pocock's eyesthat he was
as much on Chad's "side" as Waymarsh had probably described him. He
was letting himself at presentgo; there was no denying it; it
might be desperationit might be confidence; he should offer
himself to the arriving travellers bristling with all the lucidity
he had cultivated.

He repeated to Chad what he had been saying in the court to
Waymarsh; how there was no doubt whatever that his sister would
find the latter a kindred spiritno doubt of the alliancebased
on an exchange of viewsthat the pair would successfully strike
up. They would become as thick as thieves--which moreover was but a
development of what Strether remembered to have said in one of his
first discussions with his matestruck as he had then already been
with the elements of affinity between that personage and Mrs.
Newsome herself. "I told himone daywhen he had questioned me on
your motherthat she was a person whowhen he should know her
would rouse in himI was surea special enthusiasm; and that
hangs together with the conviction we now feel--this certitude that
Mrs. Pocock will take him into her boat. For it's your mother's own
boat that she's pulling."

Ah,said ChadMother's worth fifty of Sally!

A thousand; but when you presently meet her, all the same you'll
be meeting your mother's representative--just as I shall. I feel
like the outgoing ambassador,said Stretherdoing honour to his
appointed successor.A moment after speaking as he had just done
he felt he had inadvertently rather cheapened Mrs. Newsome to her
son; an impression audibly reflectedas at first seenin Chad's
prompt protest. He had recently rather failed of apprehension of
the young man's attitude and temper--remaining principally
conscious of how little worryat the worsthe wastedand he
studied him at this critical hour with renewed interest. Chad had
done exactly what he had promised him a fortnight previous--had
accepted without another question his plea for delay. He was
waiting cheerfully and handsomelybut also inscrutably and with a
slight increase perhaps of the hardness originally involved in his
acquired high polish. He was neither excited nor depressed; was
easy and acute and deliberate--unhurried unflurried unworriedonly
at most a little less amused than usual. Strether felt him more
than ever a justification of the extraordinary process of which his
own absurd spirit had been the arena; he knew as their cab rolled
alongknew as he hadn't even yet knownthat nothing else than
what Chad had done and had been would have led to his present
showing. They had made himthese thingswhat he wasand the
business hadn't been easy; it had taken time and troubleit had
costabove alla price. The result at any rate was now to be
offered to Sally; which Stretherso far as that was concernedwas
glad to be there to witness. Would she in the least make it out or
take it inthe resultor would she in the least care for it if
she did? He scratched his chin as he asked himself by what name
when challenged--as he was sure he should be--he could call it for
her. Oh those were determinations she must herself arrive at; since
she wanted so much to seelet her see then and welcome. She had
come out in the pride of her competenceyet it hummed in
Strether's inner sense that she practically wouldn't see.


That this was moreover what Chad shrewdly suspected was clear from
a word that next dropped from him. "They're children; they play at
life!"--and the exclamation was significant and reassuring. It
implied that he hadn't thenfor his companion's sensibility
appeared to give Mrs. Newsome away; and it facilitated our friend's
presently asking him if it were his idea that Mrs. Pocock and
Madame de Vionnet should become acquainted. Strether was still more
sharply struckhereuponwith Chad's lucidity. "Whyisn't that
exactly--to get a sight of the company I keep--what she has come
out for?"

Yes--I'm afraid it is,Strether unguardedly replied.

Chad's quick rejoinder lighted his precipitation. "Why do you say
you're afraid?"

Well, because I feel a certain responsibility. It's my testimony,
I imagine, that will have been at the bottom of Mrs. Pocock's
curiosity. My letters, as I've supposed you to understand from the
beginning, have spoken freely. I've certainly said my little say
about Madame de Vionnet.

All thatfor Chadwas beautifully obvious. "Yesbut you've only
spoken handsomely."

Never more handsomely of any woman. But it's just that tone--!

That tone,said Chadthat has fetched her? I dare say; but I've
no quarrel with you about it. And no more has Madame de Vionnet.
Don't you know by this time how she likes you?

Oh!--and Strether hadwith his groana real pang of melancholy.
For all I've done for her!

Ah you've done a great deal.

Chad's urbanity fairly shamed himand he was at this moment
absolutely impatient to see the face Sarah Pocock would present to
a sort of thingas he synthetically phrased it to himselfwith no
adequate forecast of whichdespite his admonitionsshe would
certainly arrive. "I've done THIS!"

Well, this is all right. She likes,Chad comfortably remarked
to be liked.

It gave his companion a moment's thought. "And she's sure Mrs.
Pocock WILL--?"

No, I say that for you. She likes your liking her; it's so much,
as it were,Chad laughedto the good. However, she doesn't
despair of Sarah either, and is prepared, on her own side, to go
all lengths.

In the way of appreciation?

Yes, and of everything else. In the way of general amiability,
hospitality and welcome. She's under arms,Chad laughed again;
she's prepared.

Strether took it in; then as if an echo of Miss Barrace were in the
air: "She's wonderful."

You don't begin to know HOW wonderful!


There was a depth in itto Strether's earof confirmed luxury-almost
a kind of unconscious insolence of proprietorship; but the
effect of the glimpse was not at this moment to foster speculation:
there was something so conclusive in so much graceful and generous
assurance. It was in fact a fresh evocation; and the evocation had
before many minutes another consequence. "WellI shall see her
oftener now. I shall see her as much as I like--by your leave;
which is what I hitherto haven't done."

It has been,said Chadbut without reproachonly your own
fault. I tried to bring you together, and SHE, my dear fellow--I
never saw her more charming to any man. But you've got your
extraordinary ideas.

Well, I DID have,Strether murmuredwhile he felt both how they
had possessed him and how they had now lost their authority. He
couldn't have traced the sequence to the endbut it was all
because of Mrs. Pocock. Mrs. Pocock might be because of Mrs. Newsome
but that was still to be proved. What came over him was the sense
of having stupidly failed to profit where profit would have been
precious. It had been open to him to see so much more of herand
he had but let the good days pass. Fierce in him almost was the
resolve to lose no more of themand he whimsically reflected
while at Chad's side he drew nearer to his destinationthat it
was after all Sarah who would have quickened his chance. What
her visit of inquisition might achieve in other directions was
as yet all obscure--only not obscure that it would do supremely
much to bring two earnest persons together. He had but to listen
to Chad at this moment to feel it; for Chad was in the act of
remarking to him that they of course both counted on him--he
himself and the other earnest person--for cheer and support. It was
brave to Strether to hear him talk as if the line of wisdom they
had struck out was to make things ravishing to the Pococks. Noif
Madame de Vionnet compassed THATcompassed the ravishment of the
PococksMadame de Vionnet would be prodigious. It would be a
beautiful plan if it succeededand it all came to the question of
Sarah's being really bribeable. The precedent of his own case
helped Strether perhaps but little to consider she might prove so;
it being distinct that her character would rather make for every
possible difference. This idea of his own bribeability set him
apart for himself; with the further mark in fact that his case was
absolutely proved. He liked alwayswhere Lambert Strether was
concernedto know the worstand what he now seemed to know was
not only that he was bribeablebut that he had been effectually
bribed. The only difficulty was that he couldn't quite have said
with what. It was as if he had sold himselfbut hadn't somehow got
the cash. Thathoweverwas whatcharacteristicallyWOULD happen
to him. It would naturally be his kind of traffic. While he thought
of these things he reminded Chad of the truth they mustn't lose
sight of--the truth thatwith all deference to her susceptibility
to new interestsSarah would have come out with a high firm
definite purpose. "She hasn't come outyou knowto be bamboozled.
We may all be ravishing--nothing perhaps can be more easy for us;
but she hasn't come out to be ravished. She has come out just
simply to take you home."

Oh well, with HER I'll go,said Chad good-humouredly. "I suppose
you'll allow THAT." And then as for a minute Strether said nothing:
Or is your idea that when I've seen her I shan't want to go?As
this questionhoweveragain left his friend silent he presently went
on: "My own idea at any rate is that they shall have while they're here
the best sort of time."

It was at this that Strether spoke. "Ah there you are! I think if


you really wanted to go--!"

Well?said Chad to bring it out.

Well, you wouldn't trouble about our good time. You wouldn't care
what sort of a time we have.

Chad could always take in the easiest way in the world any
ingenious suggestion. "I see. But can I help it? I'm too decent."

Yes, you're too decent!Strether heavily sighed. And he felt for
the moment as if it were the preposterous end of his mission.

It ministered for the time to this temporary effect that Chad made
no rejoinder. But he spoke again as they came in sight of the
station. "Do you mean to introduce her to Miss Gostrey?"

As to this Strether was ready. "No."

But haven't you told me they know about her?

I think I've told you your mother knows.

And won't she have told Sally?

That's one of the things I want to see.

And if you find she HAS--?

Will I then, you mean, bring them together?

Yes,said Chad with his pleasant promptness: "to show her there's
nothing in it."

Strether hesitated. "I don't know that I care very much what she
may think there's in it."

Not if it represents what Mother thinks?

Ah what DOES your mother think?There was in this some sound of
bewilderment.

But they were just driving upand helpof a sortmight after all
be quite at hand. "Isn't thatmy dear manwhat we're both just
going to make out?"

Strether quitted the station half an hour later in different
company. Chad had taken chargefor the journey to the hotelof
SarahMamiethe maid and the luggageall spaciously installed
and conveyed; and it was only after the four had rolled away that
his companion got into a cab with Jim. A strange new feeling had
come over Stretherin consequence of which his spirits had risen;
it was as if what had occurred on the alighting of his critics had
been something other than his fearthough his fear had vet not
been of an instant scene of violence. His impression had been
nothing but what was inevitable--he said that to himself; yet
relief and reassurance had softly dropped upon him. Nothing could


be so odd as to be indebted for these things to the look of faces
and the sound of voices that had been with him to satietyas he
might have saidfor years; but he now knewall the samehow
uneasy he had felt; that was brought home to him by his present
sense of a respite. It had come moreover in the flash of an eyeit
had come in the smile with which Sarahwhomat the window of her
compartmentthey had effusively greeted from the platformrustled
down to them a moment laterfresh and handsome from her cool June
progress through the charming land. It was only a signbut enough:
she was going to be gracious and unallusiveshe was going to play
the larger game--which was still more apparentafter she had
emerged from Chad's armsin her direct greeting to the valued
friend of her family.

Strether WAS then as much as ever the valued friend of her family
it was something he could at all events go on with; and the manner
of his response to it expressed even for himself how little he had
enjoyed the prospect of ceasing to figure in that likeness. He had
always seen Sarah gracious--had in fact rarely seen her shy or dry
her marked thin-lipped smileintense without brightness and as
prompt to act as the scrape of a safety-match; the protrusion of
her rather remarkably long chinwhich in her case represented
invitation and urbanityand notas in most otherspugnacity and
defiance; the penetration of her voice to a distancethe general
encouragement and approval of her mannerwere all elements with
which intercourse had made him familiarbut which he noted today
almost as if she had been a new acquaintance. This first glimpse of
her had given a brief but vivid accent to her resemblance to her
mother; he could have taken her for Mrs. Newsome while she met his
eyes as the train rolled into the station. It was an impression
that quickly dropped; Mrs. Newsome was much handsomerand while
Sarah inclined to the massive her mother hadat an agestill the
girdle of a maid; also the latter's chin was rather shortthan
longand her smileby good fortunemuch moreoh ever so much
moremercifully vague. Strether had seen Mrs. Newsome reserved; he
had literally heard her silentthough he had never known her
unpleasant. It was the case with Mrs. Pocock that he had known HER
unpleasanteven though he had never known her not affable. She had
forms of affability that were in a high degree assertive; nothing
for instance had ever been more striking than that she was affable
to Jim.

What had told in any case at the window of the train was her high
clear foreheadthat forehead which her friendsfor some reason
always thought of as a "brow"; the long reach of her eyes--it came
out at this juncture in such a manner as to remind himoddly
enoughalso of that of Waymarsh's; and the unusual gloss of her
dark hairdressed and hattedafter her mother's refined example
with such an avoidance of extremes that it was always spoken of at
Woollett as "their own." Though this analogy dropped as soon as she
was on the platform it had lasted long enough to make him feel all
the advantageas it wereof his relief. The woman at homethe
woman to whom he was attachedwas before him just long enough to
give him again the measure of the wretchednessin fact really of
the shameof their having to recognise the formationbetween
themof a "split." He had taken this measure in solitude and
meditation: but the catastropheas Sarah steamed uplooked for
its seconds unprecedentedly dreadful--or provedmore exactly
altogether unthinkable; so that his finding something free and
familiar to respond to brought with it an instant renewal of his
loyalty. He had suddenly sounded the whole depthhad gasped at
what he might have lost.

Wellhe could nowfor the quarter of an hour of their detention


hover about the travellers as soothingly as if their direct message
to him was that he had lost nothing. He wasn't going to have Sarah
write to her mother that night that he was in any way altered or
strange. There had been times enough for a month when it had seemed
to him that he was strangethat he was alteredin every way; but
that was a matter for himself; he knew at least whose business it
was not; it was not at all events such a circumstance as Sarah's
own unaided lights would help her to. Even if she had come out to
flash those lights more than yet appeared she wouldn't make much
headway against mere pleasantness. He counted on being able to be
merely pleasant to the endand if only from incapacity moreover to
formulate anything different. He couldn't even formulate to himself
his being changed and queer; it had taken placethe process
somewhere deep down; Maria Gostrey had caught glimpses of it; but
how was he to fish it upeven if he desiredfor Mrs. Pocock? This
was then the spirit in which he hoveredand with the easier throb
in it much indebted furthermore to the impression of high and
established adequacy as a pretty girl promptly produced in him by
Mamie. He had wondered vaguely--turning over many things in the
fidget of his thoughts--if Mamie WERE as pretty as Woollett
published her; as to which issue seeing her now again was to be so
swept away by Woollett's opinion that this consequence really let
loose for the imagination an avalanche of others. There were
positively five minutes in which the last word seemed of necessity
to abide with a Woollett represented by a Mamie. This was the sort
of truth the place itself would feel; it would send her forth in
confidence; it would point to her with triumph; it would take its
stand on her with assurance; it would be conscious of no
requirements she didn't meetof no question she couldn't answer.

Wellit was rightStrether slipped smoothly enough into the
cheerfulness of saying: granted that a community MIGHT be best
represented by a young lady of twenty-twoMamie perfectly played
the partplayed it as if she were used to itand looked and spoke
and dressed the character. He wondered if she mightn'tin the high
light of Parisa cool full studio-lightbecoming yet treacherous
show as too conscious of these matters; but the next moment he felt
satisfied that her consciousness was after all empty for its size
rather too simple than too mixedand that the kind way with her
would be not to take many things out of itbut to put as many as
possible in. She was robust and conveniently tall; just a trifle
too bloodlessly fair perhapsbut with a pleasant public familiar
radiance that affirmed her vitality. She might have been
receivingfor Woollettwherever she found herselfand there was
something in her mannerher toneher motionher pretty blue
eyesher pretty perfect teeth and her very smalltoo smallnose
that immediately placed herto the fancybetween the windows of a
hot bright room in which voices were high--up at that end to which
people were brought to be "presented." They were there to
congratulatethese imagesand Strether's renewed visionon this
hintcompleted the idea. What Mamie was like was the happy bride
the bride after the church and just before going away. She wasn't
the mere maidenand yet was only as much married as that quantity
came to. She was in the brilliant acclaimed festal stage. Well
might it last her long!

Strether rejoiced in these things for Chadwho was all genial
attention to the needs of his friendsbesides having arranged that
his servant should reinforce him; the ladies were certainly
pleasant to seeand Mamie would be at any time and anywhere
pleasant to exhibit. She would look extraordinarily like his young
wife--the wife of a honeymoonshould he go about with her; but
that was his own affair--or perhaps it was hers; it was at any rate
something she couldn't help. Strether remembered how he had seen


him come up with Jeanne de Vionnet in Gloriani's gardenand the
fancy he had had about that--the fancy obscured nowthickly
overlaid with others; the recollection was during these minutes his
only note of trouble. He had oftenin spite of himselfwondered
if Chad but too probably were not with Jeanne the object of a still
and shaded flame. It was on the cards that the child MIGHT be
tremulously in loveand this conviction now flickered up not a bit
the less for his disliking to think of itfor its beingin a
complicated situationa complication the moreand for something
indescribable in Mamiesomething at all events straightway lent
her by his own mindsomething that gave her valuegave her
intensity and purposeas the symbol of an opposition. Little
Jeanne wasn't really at all in question--how COULD she be?--yet
from the moment Miss Pocock had shaken her skirts on the platform
touched up the immense bows of her hat and settled properly over
her shoulder the strap of her morocco-and-gilt travelling-satchel
from that moment little Jeanne was opposed.

It was in the cab with Jim that impressions really crowded on
Strethergiving him the strangest sense of length of absence from
people among whom he had lived for years. Having them thus come out
to him was as if he had returned to find them: and the droll
promptitude of Jim's mental reaction threw his own initiation far
back into the past. Whoever might or mightn't be suited by what was
going on among themJimfor onewould certainly be: his instant
recognition--frank and whimsical--of what the affair was for HIM
gave Strether a glow of pleasure. "I sayyou knowthis IS about
my shapeand if it hadn't been for YOU--!" so he broke out as the
charming streets met his healthy appetite; and he wound upafter
an expressive nudgewith a clap of his companion's knee and an "Oh
youyou--you ARE doing it!" that was charged with rich meaning.
Strether felt in it the intention of homagebutwith a curiosity
otherwise occupiedpostponed taking it up. What he was asking
himself for the time was how Sarah Pocockin the opportunity
already given herhad judged her brother--from whom he himselfas
they finallyat the stationseparated for their different
conveyanceshad had a look into which he could read more than one
message. However Sarah was judging her brotherChad's conclusion
about his sisterand about her husband and her husband's sister
was at the least on the way not to fail of confidence. Strether
felt the confidenceand thatas the look between them was an
exchangewhat he himself gave back was relatively vague. This
comparison of notes however could wait; everything struck him as
depending on the effect produced by Chad. Neither Sarah nor Mamie
had in any wayat the station--where they had had after all ample
time--broken out about it; whichto make up for thiswas what our
friend had expected of Jim as soon as they should find themselves
together.

It was queer to him that he had that noiseless brush with Chad; an
ironic intelligence with this youth on the subject of his
relativesan intelligence carried on under their nose andas
might be saidat their expense--such a matter marked again for him
strongly the number of stages he had come; albeit that if the
number seemed great the time taken for the final one was but the
turn of a hand. He had before this had many moments of wondering if
he himself weren't perhaps changed even as Chad was changed. Only
what in Chad was conspicuous improvement--wellhe had no name
ready for the workingin his own organismof his own more timid
dose. He should have to see first what this action would amount to.
And for his occult passage with the young manafter allthe
directness of it had no greater oddity than the fact that the young
man's way with the three travellers should have been so happy a
manifestation. Strether liked him for iton the spotas he hadn't


yet liked him; it affected him while it lasted as he might have
been affected by some light pleasant perfect work of art: to that
degree that he wondered if they were really worthy of ittook it
in and did it justice; to that degree that it would have been
scarce a miracle ifthere in the luggage-roomwhile they waited
for their thingsSarah had pulled his sleeve and drawn him aside.
You're right; we haven't quite known what you mean, Mother and I,
but now we see. Chad's magnificent; what can one want more? If THIS
is the kind of thing--!On which they mightas it werehave
embraced and begun to work together.

Ah how muchas it wasfor all her bridling brightness--which was
merely general and noticed nothing--WOULD they work together?
Strether knew he was unreasonable; he set it down to his being
nervous: people couldn't notice everything and speak of everything
in a quarter of an hour. Possiblyno doubtalsohe made too much
of Chad's display. Yetnone the lesswhenat the end of five
minutesin the cabJim Pocock had said nothing either--hadn't
saidthat iswhat Strether wantedthough he had said much else-it
all suddenly bounced back to their being either stupid or
wilful. It was more probably on the whole the former; so that that
would be the drawback of the bridling brightness. Yesthey would
bridle and be bright; they would make the best of what was before
thembut their observation would fail; it would be beyond them;
they simply wouldn't understand. Of what use would it be then that
they had come?--if they weren't to be intelligent up to THAT point:
unless indeed he himself were utterly deluded and extravagant? Was
heon this question of Chad's improvementfantastic and away from
the truth? Did he live in a false worlda world that had grown
simply to suit himand was his present slight irritation--in the
face now of Jim's silence in particular--but the alarm of the vain
thing menaced by the touch of the real? Was this contribution of
the real possibly the mission of the Pococks?--had they come to
make the work of observationas HE had practised observation
crack and crumbleand to reduce Chad to the plain terms in which
honest minds could deal with him? Had they come in short to be sane
where Strether was destined to feel that he himself had only been
silly?

He glanced at such a contingencybut it failed to hold him long
when once he had reflected that he would have been sillyin this
casewith Maria Gostrey and little Bilhamwith Madame de Vionnet
and little Jeannewith Lambert Stretherin fineand above all
with Chad Newsome himself. Wouldn't it be found to have made more
for reality to be silly with these persons than sane with Sarah and
Jim? Jim in facthe presently made up his mindwas individually
out of it; Jim didn't care; Jim hadn't come out either for Chad or
for him; Jim in short left the moral side to Sally and indeed
simply availed himself nowfor the sense of recreationof the
fact that he left almost everything to Sally. He was nothing
compared to Sallyand not so much by reason of Sally's temper and
will as by that of her more developed type and greater acquaintance
with the world. He quite frankly and serenely confessedas he sat
there with Stretherthat he felt his type hang far in the rear of
his wife's and still furtherif possiblein the rear of his
sister's. Their typeshe well knewwere recognised and acclaimed;
whereas the most a leading Woollett business-man could hope to
achieve sociallyand for that matter industriallywas a certain
freedom to play into this general glamour.

The impression he made on our friend was another of the things that
marked our friend's road. It was a strange impressionespecially
as so soon produced; Strether had received ithe judgedall in
the twenty minutes; it struck him at least as but in a minor degree


the work of the long Woollett years. Pocock was normally and
consentingly though not quite wittingly out of the question. It was
despite his being normal; it was despite his being cheerful; it was
despite his being a leading Woollett business-man; and the
determination of his fate left him thus perfectly usual--as
everything else about it was clearlyto his sensenot less so. He
seemed to say that there was a whole side of life on which the
perfectly usual WAS for leading Woollett business-men to be out of
the question. He made no more of it than thatand Stretherso far
as Jim was concerneddesired to make no more. Only Strether's
imaginationas alwaysworkedand he asked himself if this side
of life were not somehow connectedfor those who figured on it
with the fact of marriage. Would HIS relation to ithad he married
ten years beforehave become now the same as Pocock's? Might it
even become the same should he marry in a few months? Should he
ever know himself as much out of the question for Mrs. Newsome as
Jim knew himself--in a dim way--for Mrs. Jim?

To turn his eyes in that direction was to be personally reassured;
he was different from Pocock; he had affirmed himself differently
and was held after all in higher esteem. What none the less came
home to himhoweverat this hourwas that the society over
therethat of which Sarah and Mamie--andin a more eminent way
Mrs. Newsome herself--were specimenswas essentially a society of
womenand that poor Jim wasn't in it. He himself Lambert Strether
WAS as yet in some degree--which was an odd situation for a man;
but it kept coming back to him in a whimsical way that he should
perhaps find his marriage had cost him his place. This occasion
indeedwhatever that fancy representedwas not a time of sensible
exclusion for Jimwho was in a state of manifest response to the
charm of his adventure. Small and fat and constantly facetious
straw-coloured and destitute of markshe would have been
practically indistinguishable hadn't his constant preference for
light-grey clothesfor white hatsfor very big cigars and very
little storiesdone what it could for his identity. There were
signs in himthough none of them plaintiveof always paying for
others; and the principal one perhaps was just this failure of
type. It was with this that he paidrather than with fatigue or
waste; and also doubtless a little with the effort of humour--never
irrelevant to the conditionsto the relationswith which he was
acquainted.

He gurgled his joy as they rolled through the happy streets; he
declared that his trip was a regular windfalland that he wasn't
therehe was eager to remarkto hang back from anything: he
didn't know quite what Sally had come forbut HE had come for a
good time. Strether indulged him even while wondering if what Sally
wanted her brother to go back for was to become like her husband.
He trusted that a good time was to beout and outthe programme
for all of them; and he assented liberally to Jim's proposal that
disencumbered and irresponsible--his things were in the omnibus
with those of the others--they should take a further turn round
before going to the hotel. It wasn't for HIM to tackle Chad--it was
Sally's job; and as it would be like herhe feltto open fire on
the spotit wouldn't be amiss of them to hold off and give her
time. Stretheron his sideonly asked to give her time; so he
jogged with his companion along boulevards and avenuestrying to
extract from meagre material some forecast of his catastrophe. He
was quick enough to see that Jim Pocock declined judgementhad
hovered quite round the outer edge of discussion and anxiety
leaving all analysis of their question to the ladies alone and now
only feeling his way toward some small droll cynicism. It broke out
afreshthe cynicism--it had already shown a flicker--in a but
slightly deferred: "Wellhanged if I would if I were he!"


You mean you wouldn't in Chad's place--?

Give up this to go back and boss the advertising!Poor Jimwith
his arms folded and his little legs out in the open fiacredrank
in the sparkling Paris noon and carried his eyes from one side of
their vista to the other. "Why I want to come right out and live
here myself. And I want to live while I AM here too. I feel with
YOU--oh you've been grandold manand I've twigged--that it ain't
right to worry Chad. I don't mean to persecute him; I couldn't in
conscience. It's thanks to you at any rate that I'm hereand I'm
sure I'm much obliged. You're a lovely pair."

There were things in this speech that Strether let pass for the
time. "Don't you then think it important the advertising should be
thoroughly taken in hand? Chad WILL beso far as capacity is
concerned he went on, the man to do it."

Where did he get his capacity,Jim askedover here?

He didn't get it over here, and the wonderful thing is that over
here he hasn't inevitably lost it. He has a natural turn for
business, an extraordinary head. He comes by that,Strether
explainedhonestly enough. He's in that respect his father's son,
and also--for she's wonderful in her way too--his mother's. He has
other tastes and other tendencies; but Mrs. Newsome and your wife
are quite right about his having that. He's very remarkable.

Well, I guess he is!Jim Pocock comfortably sighed. "But if
you've believed so in his making us humwhy have you so prolonged
the discussion? Don't you know we've been quite anxious about you?"

These questions were not informed with earnestnessbut Strether
saw he must none the less make a choice and take a line. "Because
you seeI've greatly liked it. I've liked my ParisI dare say
I've liked it too much."

Oh you old wretch!Jim gaily exclaimed.

But nothing's concluded,Strether went on. "The case is more
complex than it looks from Woollett."

Oh well, it looks bad enough from Woollett!Jim declared.

Even after all I've written?

Jim bethought himself. "Isn't it what you've written that has made
Mrs. Newsome pack us off? That at least and Chad's not turning up?"

Strether made a reflexion of his own. "I see. That she should do
something wasno doubtinevitableand your wife has therefore of
course come out to act."

Oh yes,Jim concurred--"to act. But Sally comes out to actyou
know he lucidly added, every time she leaves the house. She
never comes out but she DOES act. She's acting moreover now for her
motherand that fixes the scale." Then he wound upopening all
his senses to itwith a renewed embrace of pleasant Paris. "We
haven't all the same at Woollett got anything like this."

Strether continued to consider. "I'm bound to say for you all that
you strike me as having arrived in a very mild and reasonable frame
of mind. You don't show your claws. I felt just now in Mrs. Pocock
no symptom of that. She isn't fierce he went on. I'm such a


nervous idiot that I thought she might be."

Oh don't you know her well enough,Pocock askedto have noticed
that she never gives herself away, any more than her mother ever
does? They ain't fierce, either of 'em; they let you come quite
close. They wear their fur the smooth side out--the warm side in.
Do you know what they are?Jim pursued as he looked about him
giving the questionas Strether feltbut half his care--"do you
know what they are? They're about as intense as they can live."

Yes--and Strether's concurrence had a positive precipitation;
they're about as intense as they can live.

They don't lash about and shake the cage,said Jimwho seemed
pleased with his analogy; "and it's at feeding-time that they're
quietest. But they always get there."

They do indeed--they always get there!Strether replied with a
laugh that justified his confession of nervousness. He disliked to
be talking sincerely of Mrs. Newsome with Pocock; he could have
talked insincerely. But there was something he wanted to knowa
need created in him by her recent intermissionby his having
given from the first so muchas now more than ever appeared to
himand got so little. It was as if a queer truth in his
companion's metaphor had rolled over him with a rush. She HAD been
quiet at feeding-time; she had fedand Sarah had fed with her
out of the big bowl of all his recent free communicationhis
vividness and pleasantnesshis ingenuity and even his eloquence
while the current of her response had steadily run thin. Jim
meanwhile howeverit was trueslipped characteristically into
shallowness from the moment he ceased to speak out of the
experience of a husband.

But of course Chad has now the advantage of being there before
her. If he doesn't work that for all it's worth--!He sighed with
contingent pity at his brother-in-law's possible want of resource.
He has worked it on YOU, pretty well, eh?and he asked the next
moment if there were anything new at the Varietieswhich he
pronounced in the American manner. They talked about the
Varieties--Strether confessing to a knowledge which produced again
on Pocock's part a play of innuendo as vague as a nursery-rhyme
yet as aggressive as an elbow in his side; and they finished their
drive under the protection of easy themes. Strether waited to the
endbut still in vainfor any show that Jim had seen Chad as
different; and he could scarce have explained the discouragement
he drew from the absence of this testimony. It was what he had
taken his own stand onso far as he had taken a stand; and if
they were all only going to see nothing he had only wasted his
time. He gave his friend till the very last momenttill they had
come into sight of the hotel; and when poor Pocock only continued
cheerful and envious and funny he fairly grew to dislike himto
feel him extravagantly common. If they were ALL going to see
nothing!--Strether knewas this came back to himthat he was
also letting Pocock represent for him what Mrs. Newsome wouldn't
see. He went on dislikingin the light of Jim's commonnessto
talk to him about that lady; yet just before the cab pulled up he
knew the extent of his desire for the real word from Woollett.

Has Mrs. Newsome at all given way--?

'Given way'?--Jim echoed it with the practical derision of his
sense of a long past.

Under the strain, I mean, of hope deferred, of disappointment


repeated and thereby intensified.

Oh is she prostrate, you mean?--he had his categories in hand.
Why yes, she's prostrate--just as Sally is. But they're never so
lively, you know, as when they're prostrate.

Ah Sarah's prostrate?Strether vaguely murmured.

It's when they're prostrate that they most sit up.

And Mrs. Newsome's sitting up?

All night, my boy--for YOU!And Jim fetched himwith a vulgar
little guffawa thrust that gave relief to the picture. But he
had got what he wanted. He felt on the spot that this WAS the real
word from Woollett. "So don't you go home!" Jim added while he
alighted and while his friendletting him profusely pay the
cabmansat on in a momentary muse. Strether wondered if that
were the real word too.

As the door of Mrs. Pocock's salon was pushed open for himthe
next daywell before noonhe was reached by a voice with a
charming sound that made him just falter before crossing the
threshold. Madame de Vionnet was already on the fieldand this
gave the drama a quicker pace than he felt it as yet--though his
suspense had increased--in the power of any act of his own to do.
He had spent the previous evening with all his old friends
together yet he would still have described himself as quite in the
dark in respect to a forecast of their influence on his situation.
It was strange nownone the lessthat in the light of this
unexpected note of her presence he felt Madame de Vionnet a part
of that situation as she hadn't even yet been. She was alonehe
found himself assumingwith Sarahand there was a bearing in
that--somehow beyond his control--on his personal fate. Yet she
was only saying something quite easy and independent--the thing
she had comeas a good friend of Chad'son purpose to say.
There isn't anything at all--? I should be so delighted.

It was clear enoughwhen they were there before himhow she had
been received. He saw thisas Sarah got up to greet himfrom
something fairly hectic in Sarah's face. He saw furthermore that
they weren'tas had first come to himalone together; he was at
no loss as to the identity of the broad high back presented to
him in the embrasure of the window furthest from the door.
Waymarshwhom he had to-day not yet seenwhom he only knew to
have left the hotel before himand who had taken partthe night
previouson Mrs. Pocock's kind invitationconveyed by Chadin
the entertainmentinformal but cordialpromptly offered by that
lady--Waymarsh had anticipated him even as Madame de Vionnet had
doneandwith his hands in his pockets and his attitude
unaffected by Strether's entrancewas looking outin marked
detachmentat the Rue de Rivoli. The latter felt it in the air-it
was immense how Waymarsh could mark things---that he had remained
deeply dissociated from the overture to their hostess that we have
recorded on Madame de Vionnet's side. He hadconspicuouslytact
besides a stiff general view; and this was why he had left Mrs.
Pocock to struggle alone. He would outstay the visitor; he would
unmistakeably wait; to what had he been doomed for months past but
waiting? Therefore she was to feel that she had him in reserve.


What support she drew from this was still to be seenforalthough
Sarah was vividly brightshe had given herself up for the moment
to an ambiguous flushed formalism. She had had to reckon more
quickly than she expected; but it concerned her first of all to
signify that she was not to be taken unawares. Strether arrived
precisely in time for her showing it. "Oh you're too good; but I
don't think I feel quite helpless. I have my brother--and these
American friends. And then you know I've been to Paris. I KNOW
Paris said Sally Pocock in a tone that breathed a certain chill
on Strether's heart.

Ah but a womanin this tiresome place where everything's always
changinga woman of good will Madame de Vionnet threw off, can
always help a woman. I'm sure you 'know'--but we know perhaps
different things." She toovisiblywished to make no mistake; but
it was a fear of a different order and more kept out of sight. She
smiled in welcome at Strether; she greeted him more familiarly than
Mrs. Pocock; she put out her hand to him without moving from her
place; and it came to him in the course of a minute and in the
oddest way that--yespositively--she was giving him over to ruin.
She was all kindness and easebut she couldn't help so giving him;
she was exquisiteand her being just as she was poured for Sarah a
sudden rush of meaning into his own equivocations. How could she
know how she was hurting him? She wanted to show as simple and
humble--in the degree compatible with operative charm; but it was
just this that seemed to put him on her side. She struck him as
dressedas arrangedas prepared infinitely to conciliate--with
the very poetry of good taste in her view of the conditions of her
early call. She was ready to advise about dressmakers and shops;
she held herself wholly at the disposition of Chad's family.
Strether noticed her card on the table--her coronet and her
Comtesse--and the imagination was sharp in him of certain private
adjustments in Sarah's mind. She had neverhe was suresat with a
Comtessebeforeand such was the specimen of that class he had
been keeping to play on her. She had crossed the sea very
particularly for a look at her; but he read in Madame de Vionnet's
own eyes that this curiosity hadn't been so successfully met as
that she herself wouldn't now have more than ever need of him. She
looked much as she had looked to him that morning at Notre Dame; he
noted in fact the suggestive sameness of her discreet and delicate
dress. It seemed to speak--perhaps a little prematurely or too
finely--of the sense in which she would help Mrs. Pocock with the
shops. The way that lady took her inmoreoveradded depth to his
impression of what Miss Gostreyby their common wisdomhad
escaped. He winced as he saw himself but for that timely prudence
ushering in Maria as a guide and an example. There was however a
touch of relief for him in his glimpseso far as he had got itof
Sarah's line. She "knew Paris." Madame de Vionnet hadfor that
matterlightly taken this up. "Ah then you've a turn for thatan
affinity that belongs to your family. Your brotherthough his long
experience makes a differenceI admithas become one of us in a
marvellous way." And she appealed to Strether in the manner of a
woman who could always glide off with smoothness into another
subject. Wasn't HE struck with the way Mr. Newsome had made the
place his ownand hadn't he been in a position to profit by his
friend's wondrous expertness?

Strether felt the braveryat the leastof her presenting herself
so promptly to sound that noteand yet asked himself what other
noteafter allshe COULD strike from the moment she presented
herself at all. She could meet Mrs. Pocock only on the ground of
the obviousand what feature of Chad's situation was more eminent
than the fact that he had created for himself a new set of
circumstances? Unless she hid herself altogether she could show but


as one of thesean illustration of his domiciled and indeed of his
confirmed condition. And the consciousness of all this in her
charming eyes was so clear and fine that as she thus publicly drew
him into her boat she produced in him such a silent agitation as he
was not to fail afterwards to denounce as pusillanimous. "Ah don't
be so charming to me!--for it makes us intimateand after all what
IS between us when I've been so tremendously on my guard and have
seen you but half a dozen times?" He recognised once more the
perverse law that so inveterately governed his poor personal
aspects: it would be exactly LIKE the way things always turned out
for him that he should affect Mrs. Pocock and Waymarsh as launched
in a relation in which he had really never been launched at all.
They were at this very moment--they could only be--attributing to
him the full licence of itand all by the operation of her own
tone with him; whereas his sole licence had been to cling with
intensity to the brinknot to dip so much as a toe into the flood.
But the flicker of his fear on this occasion was notas may be
addedto repeat itself; it sprang upfor its momentonly to die
down and then go out for ever. To meet his fellow visitor's
invocation andwith Sarah's brilliant eyes on himanswerWAS
quite sufficiently to step into her boat. During the rest of the
time her visit lasted he felt himself proceed to each of the proper
officessuccessivelyfor helping to keep the adventurous skiff
afloat. It rocked beneath himbut he settled himself in his place.
He took up an oar andsince he was to have the credit of pulling
pulled.

That will make it all the pleasanter if it so happens that we DO
meet,Madame de Vionnet had further observed in reference to Mrs.
Pocock's mention of her initiated state; and she had immediately
added thatafter allher hostess couldn't be in need with the
good offices of Mr. Strether so close at hand. "It's heI gather
who has learnt to know his Parisand to love itbetter than any
one ever before in so short a time; so that between him and your
brotherwhen it comes to the pointhow can you possibly want for
good guidance? The great thingMr. Strether will show you she
smiled, is just to let one's self go."

Oh I've not let myself go very far,Strether answeredfeeling
quite as if he had been called upon to hint to Mrs. Pocock how
Parisians could talk. "I'm only afraid of showing I haven't let
myself go far enough. I've taken a good deal of timebut I must
quite have had the air of not budging from one spot." He looked at
Sarah in a manner that he thought she might take as engagingand
he madeunder Madame de Vionnet's protectionas it werehis
first personal point. "What has really happened has been thatall
the whileI've done what I came out for."

Yet it only at first gave Madame de Vionnet a chance immediately to
take him up. "You've renewed acquaintance with your friend--you've
learnt to know him again." She spoke with such cheerful helpfulness
that they mightin a common causehave been calling together and
pledged to mutual aid.

Waymarshat thisas if he had been in questionstraightway
turned from the window. "Oh yesCountess--he has renewed
acquaintance with MEand he HASI guesslearnt something about
methough I don't know how much he has liked it. It's for Strether
himself to say whether he has felt it justifies his course."

Oh but YOU,said the Countess gailyare not in the least what
he came out for--is he really, Strether? and I hadn't you at all in
my mind. I was thinking of Mr. Newsome, of whom we think so much
and with whom, precisely, Mrs. Pocock has given herself the


opportunity to take up threads. What a pleasure for you both!
Madame de Vionnetwith her eyes on Sarahbravely continued.

Mrs. Pocock met her handsomelybut Strether quickly saw she meant
to accept no version of her movements or plans from any other lips.
She required no patronage and no supportwhich were but other
names for a false position; she would show in her own way what she
chose to showand this she expressed with a dry glitter that
recalled to him a fine Woollett winter morning. "I've never wanted
for opportunities to see my brother. We've many things to think of
at homeand great responsibilities and occupationsand our home's
not an impossible place. We've plenty of reasons Sarah continued
a little piercingly, for everything we do"--and in short she
wouldn't give herself the least little scrap away. But she added as
one who was always bland and who could afford a concession: "I've
come because--wellbecause we do come."

Ah then fortunately!--Madame de Vionnet breathed it to the air.
Five minutes later they were on their feet for her to take leave
standing together in an affability that had succeeded in surviving
a further exchange of remarks; only with the emphasised appearance
on Waymarsh's part of a tendency to revertin a ruminating manner
and as with an instinctive or a precautionary lightening of his
treadto an open window and his point of vantage. The glazed and
gilded roomall red damaskormolumirrorsclockslooked south
and the shutters were bowed upon the summer morning; but the
Tuileries garden and what was beyond itover which the whole place
hungwere things visible through gaps; so that the far-spreading
presence of Paris came up in coolnessdimness and invitationin
the twinkle of gilt-tipped palingsthe crunch of gravelthe click
of hoofsthe crack of whipsthings that suggested some parade of
the circus. "I think it probable said Mrs. Pocock, that I shall
have the opportunity of going to my brother's I've no doubt it's
very pleasant indeed." She spoke as to Stretherbut her face was
turned with an intensity of brightness to Madame de Vionnetand
there was a moment during whichwhile she thus fronted herour
friend expected to hear her add: "I'm much obliged to youI'm
surefor inviting me there." He guessed that for five seconds
these words were on the point of coming; he heard them as clearly
as if they had been spoken; but he presently knew they had just
failed--knew it by a glancequick and finefrom Madame de
Vionnetwhich told him that she too had felt them in the airbut
that the point had luckily not been made in any manner requiring
notice. This left her free to reply only to what had been said.

That the Boulevard Malesherbes may be common ground for us offers
me the best prospect I see for the pleasure of meeting you again.

Oh I shall come to see you, since you've been so good: and Mrs.
Pocock looked her invader well in the eyes. The flush in Sarah's
cheeks had by this time settled to a small definite crimson spot
that was not without its own bravery; she held her head a good deal
upand it came to Strether that of the twoat this momentshe
was the one who most carried out the idea of a Countess. He quite
took inhoweverthat she would really return her visitor's
civility: she wouldn't report again at Woollett without at least so
much producible history as that in her pocket.

I want extremely to be able to show you my little daughter.
Madame de Vionnet went on; "and I should have brought her with me
if I hadn't wished first to ask your leave. I was in hopes I should
perhaps find Miss Pocockof whose being with you I've heard from
Mr. Newsome and whose acquaintance I should so much like my child
to make. If I have the pleasure of seeing her and you do permit it


I shall venture to ask her to be kind to Jeanne. Mr. Strether will
tell you"--she beautifully kept it up--"that my poor girl is gentle
and good and rather lonely. They've made friendshe and sheever
so happilyand he doesn'tI believethink ill of her. As for
Jeanne herself he has had the same success with her that I know he
has had here wherever he has turned." She seemed to ask him for
permission to say these thingsor seemed rather to take itsoftly
and happilywith the ease of intimacyfor grantedand he had
quite the consciousness now that not to meet her at any point more
than halfway would be odiouslybasely to abandon her. Yeshe was
WITH herandopposed even in this covertthis semi-safe fashion
to those who were nothe feltstrangely and confusedlybut
excitedlyinspiringlyhow much and how far. It was as if he had
positively waited in suspense for something from her that would let
him in deeperso that he might show her how he could take it. And
what did in fact come as she drew out a little her farewell served
sufficiently the purpose. "As his success is a matter that I'm sure
he'll never mention for himselfI feelyou seethe less scruple;
which it's very good of me to sayyou knowby the way she added
as she addressed herself to him; considering how little direct
advantage I've gained from your triumphs with ME. When does one
ever see you? I wait at home and I languish. You'll have rendered
me the serviceMrs. Pocockat least she wound up, of giving me
one of my much-too-rare glimpses of this gentleman."

I certainly should be sorry to deprive you of anything that seems
so much, as you describe it, your natural due. Mr. Strether and I
are very old friends,Sarah allowedbut the privilege of his
society isn't a thing I shall quarrel about with any one.

And yet, dear Sarah,he freely broke inI feel, when I hear you
say that, that you don't quite do justice to the important truth of
the extent to which--as you're also mine--I'm your natural due. I
should like much better,he laughedto see you fight for me.

She met himMrs. Pocockon thiswith an arrest of speech--with a
certain breathlessnessas he immediately fanciedon the score of
a freedom for which she wasn't quite prepared. It had flared up-for
all the harm he had intended by it--becauseconfoundedlyhe
didn't want any more to be afraid about her than he wanted to be
afraid about Madame de Vionnet. He had nevernaturallycalled her
anything but Sarah at homeand though he had perhaps never quite
so markedly invoked her as his "dear that was somehow partly
because no occasion had hitherto laid so effective a trap for it.
But something admonished him now that it was too late--unless
indeed it were possibly too early; and that he at any rate
shouldn't have pleased Mrs. Pocock the more by it. WellMr.
Strether--!" she murmured with vaguenessyet with sharpnesswhile
her crimson spot burned a trifle brighter and he was aware that
this must be for the present the limit of her response. Madame de
Vionnet had alreadyhowevercome to his aidand Waymarshas if
for further participationmoved again back to them. It was true
that the aid rendered by Madame de Vionnet was questionable; it was
a sign thatfor all one might confess to with herand for all she
might complain of not enjoyingshe could still insidiously show
how much of the material of conversation had accumulated between
them.

The real truth is, you know, that you sacrifice one without mercy
to dear old Maria. She leaves no room in your life for anybody
else. Do you know,she enquired of Mrs. Pocockabout dear old
Maria? The worst is that Miss Gostrey is really a wonderful woman.

Oh yes indeed,Strether answered for herMrs. Pocock knows


about Miss Gostrey. Your mother, Sarah, must have told you about
her; your mother knows everything,he sturdily pursued. "And I
cordially admit he added with his conscious gaiety of courage,
that she's as wonderful a woman as you like."

Ah it isn't I who 'like,' dear Mr. Strether, anything to do with
the matter!Sarah Pocock promptly protested; "and I'm by no means
sure I have--from my mother or from any one else--a notion of whom
you're talking about."

Well, he won't let you see her, you know,Madame de Vionnet
sympathetically threw in. "He never lets me--old friends as we are:
I mean as I am with Maria. He reserves her for his best hours;
keeps her consummately to himself; only gives us others the crumbs
of the feast."

Well, Countess, I'VE had some of the crumbs,Waymarsh observed
with weight and covering her with his large look; which led her to
break in before he could go on.

Comment donc, he shares her with YOU?she exclaimed in droll
stupefaction. "Take care you don't havebefore you go much
furtherrather more of all ces dames than you may know what to do
with!"

But he only continued in his massive way. "I can post you about the
ladyMrs. Pocockso far as you may care to hear. I've seen her
quite a number of timesand I was practically present when they
made acquaintance. I've kept my eye on her right alongbut I don't
know as there's any real harm in her."

'Harm'?Madame de Vionnet quickly echoed. "Why she's the dearest
and cleverest of all the clever and dear."

Well, you run her pretty close, Countess,Waymarsh returned with
spirit; "though there's no doubt she's pretty well up in things.
She knows her way round Europe. Above all there's no doubt she does
love Strether."

Ah but we all do that--we all love Strether: it isn't a merit!
their fellow visitor laughedkeeping to her idea with a good
conscience at which our friend was aware that he marvelledthough
he trusted also for itas he met her exquisitely expressive eyes
to some later light.

The prime effect of her tonehowever--and it was a truth which his
own eyes gave back to her in sad ironic play--could only be to make
him feel thatto say such things to a man in publica woman must
practically think of him as ninety years old. He had turned
awkwardlyresponsively redhe knewat her mention of Maria
Gostrey; Sarah Pocock's presence--the particular quality of it--had
made this inevitable; and then he had grown still redder in
proportion as he hated to have shown anything at all. He felt
indeed that he was showing muchasuncomfortably and almost in
painhe offered up his redness to Waymarshwhostrangely enough
seemed now to be looking at him with a certain explanatory
yearning. Something deep--something built on their old old
relation--passedin this complexitybetween them; he got the
side-wind of a loyalty that stood behind all actual queer
questions. Waymarsh's dry bare humour--as it gave itself to be
taken--gloomed out to demand justice. "Wellif you talk of Miss
Barrace I've MY chance too it appeared stiffly to nod, and it
granted that it was giving him away, but struggled to add that it
did so only to save him. The sombre glow stared it at him till it


fairly sounded out--to save youpoor old manto save you; to
save you in spite of yourself." Yet it was somehow just this
communication that showed him to himself as more than ever lost.
Still another result of it was to put before him as never yet that
between his comrade and the interest represented by Sarah there was
already a basis. Beyond all question nowyes: Waymarsh had been in
occult relation with Mrs. Newsome--outout it all came in the very
effort of his face. "Yesyou're feeling my hand"--he as good as
proclaimed it; "but only because this at least I SHALL have got out
of the damned Old World: that I shall have picked up the pieces
into which it has caused you to crumble." It was as if in short
after an instantStrether had not only had it from himbut had
recognised that so far as this went the instant had cleared the
air. Our friend understood and approved; he had the sense that they
wouldn't otherwise speak of it. This would be alland it would
mark in himself a kind of intelligent generosity. It was with grim
Sarah then--Sarah grim for all her grace--that Waymarsh had begun
at ten o'clock in the morning to save him. Well--if he COULDpoor
dear manwith his big bleak kindness! The upshot of which crowded
perception was that Stretheron his own sidestill showed no more
than he absolutely had to. He showed the least possible by saying
to Mrs. Pocock after an interval much briefer than our glance at
the picture reflected in him: "Oh it's as true as they please!--
There's no Miss Gostrey for any one but me--not the least little
peep. I keep her to myself."

Well, it's very good of you to notify me,Sarah replied without
looking at him and thrown for a moment by this discriminationas
the direction of her eyes showedupon a dimly desperate little
community with Madame de Vionnet. "But I hope I shan't miss her too
much."

Madame de Vionnet instantly rallied. "And you know--though it might
occur to one--it isn't in the least that he's ashamed of her.
She's really--in a way--extremely good-looking."

Ah but extremely!Strether laughed while he wondered at the odd
part he found thus imposed on him.

It continued to be so by every touch from Madame de Vionnet. "Well
as I sayyou knowI wish you would keep ME a little more to
yourself. Couldn't you name some day for mesome hour--and better
soon than late? I'll be at home whenever it best suits you.
There--I can't say fairer."

Strether thought a moment while Waymarsh and Mrs. Pocock affected
him as standing attentive. "I did lately call on you. Last week-while
Chad was out of town."

Yes--and I was away, as it happened, too. You choose your moments
well. But don't wait for my next absence, for I shan't make
another,Madame de Vionnet declaredwhile Mrs. Pocock's here.

That vow needn't keep you long, fortunately,Sarah observed with
reasserted suavity. "I shall be at present but a short time in
Paris. I have my plans for other countries. I meet a number of
charming friends"--and her voice seemed to caress that description
of these persons.

Ah then,her visitor cheerfully repliedall the more reason!
To-morrow, for instance, or next day?she continued to Strether.
Tuesday would do for me beautifully.

Tuesday then with pleasure.


And at half-past five?--or at six?

It was ridiculousbut Mrs. Pocock and Waymarsh struck him as
fairly waiting for his answer. It was indeed as if they were
arrangedgathered for a performancethe performance of "Europe"
by his confederate and himself. Wellthe performance could only
go on. "Say five forty-five."

Five forty-five--good.And now at last Madame de Vionnet must
leave themthough it carriedfor herselfthe performance a
little further. "I DID hope so much also to see Miss Pocock.
Mayn't I still?"

Sarah hesitatedbut she rose equal. "She'll return your visit with
me. She's at present out with Mr. Pocock and my brother."

I see--of course Mr. Newsome has everything to show them. He has
told me so much about her. My great desire's to give my daughter
the opportunity of making her acquaintance. I'm always on the
lookout for such chances for her. If I didn't bring her to-day it
was only to make sure first that you'd let me.After which the
charming woman risked a more intense appeal. "It wouldn't suit you
also to mention some near timeso that we shall be sure not to
lose you?" Strether on his side waitedfor Sarah likewise had
after allto perform; and it occupied him to have been thus
reminded that she had stayed at home--and on her first morning of
Paris--while Chad led the others forth. Oh she was up to her eyes;
if she had stayed at home she had stayed by an understanding
arrived at the evening beforethat Waymarsh would come and find
her alone. This was beginning well--for a first day in Paris; and
the thing might be amusing yet. But Madame de Vionnet's earnestness
was meanwhile beautiful. "You may think me indiscreetbut I've
SUCH a desire my Jeanne shall know an American girl of the really
delightful kind. You see I throw myself for it on your charity."

The manner of this speech gave Strether such a sense of depths
below it and behind it as he hadn't yet had--ministered in a way
that almost frightened him to his dim divinations of reasons; but
if Sarah stillin spite of itfalteredthis was why he had time
for a sign of sympathy with her petitioner. "Let me say thendear
ladyto back your pleathat Miss Mamie is of the most delightful
kind of all--is charming among the charming."

Even Waymarshthough with more to produce on the subjectcould
get into motion in time. "YesCountessthe American girl's a
thing that your country must at least allow ours the privilege to
say we CAN show you. But her full beauty is only for those who know
how to make use of her."

Ah then,smiled Madame de Vionnetthat's exactly what I want to
do. I'm sure she has much to teach us.

It was wonderfulbut what was scarce less so was that Strether
found himselfby the quick effect of itmoved another way. "Oh
that may be! But don't speak of your own exquisite daughteryou
knowas if she weren't pure perfection. I at least won't take that
from you. Mademoiselle de Vionnet he explained, in considerable
form, to Mrs. Pocock, IS pure perfection. Mademoiselle de Vionnet
IS exquisite."

It had been perhaps a little portentousbut "Ah?" Sarah simply
glittered.


Waymarsh himselffor that matterapparently recognisedin
respect to the factsthe need of a larger justiceand he had with
it an inclination to Sarah. "Miss Jane's strikingly handsome-in
the regular French style."

It somehow made both Strether and Madame de Vionnet laugh out
though at the very moment he caught in Sarah's eyesas glancing at
the speakera vague but unmistakeable "You too?" It made Waymarsh
in fact look consciously over her head. Madame de Vionnet
meanwhilehowevermade her point in her own way. "I wish indeed I
could offer you my poor child as a dazzling attraction: it would
make one's position simple enough! She's as good as she can bebut
of course she's differentand the question is now--in the light of
the way things seem to go--if she isn't after all TOO different:
too different I mean from the splendid type every one is so agreed
that your wonderful country produces. On the other hand of course
Mr. Newsomewho knows it so wellhasas a good frienddear kind
man that he isdone everything he can--to keep us from fatal
benightedness--for my small shy creature. Well she wound up after
Mrs. Pocock had signified, in a murmur still a little stiff, that
she would speak to her own young charge on the question--wellwe
shall sitmy child and Iand wait and wait and wait for you." But
her last fine turn was for Strether. "Do speak of us in such a way--!"

As that something can't but come of it? Oh something SHALL come of
it! I take a great interest!he further declared; and in proof of
itthe next momenthe had gone with her down to her carriage.

Book Ninth

The difficulty is,Strether said to Madame de Vionnet a couple of
days laterthat I can't surprise them into the smallest sign of
his not being the same old Chad they've been for the last three
years glowering at across the sea. They simply won't give any, and
as a policy, you know--what you call a parti pris, a deep game-that's
positively remarkable.

It was so remarkable that our friend had pulled up before his
hostess with the vision of it; he had risen from his chair at the
end of ten minutes and begunas a help not to worryto move about
before her quite as he moved before Maria. He had kept his
appointment with her to the minute and had been intensely impatient
though divided in truth between the sense of having everything
to tell her and the sense of having nothing at all. The short
interval hadin the face of their complicationmultiplied his
impressions--it being meanwhile to be notedmoreoverthat he
already franklyalready almost publiclyviewed the complication
as common to them. If Madame de Vionnetunder Sarah's eyeshad
pulled him into her boatthere was by this time no doubt whatever
that he had remained in it and that what he had really most been
conscious of for many hours together was the movement of the vessel
itself. They were in it together this moment as they hadn't yet
beenand he hadn't at present uttered the least of the words of
alarm or remonstrance that had died on his lips at the hotel. He


had other things to say to her than that she had put him in a
position; so quickly had his position grown to affect him as quite
excitinglyaltogether richlyinevitable. That the outlook
however--given the point of exposure--hadn't cleared up half so
much as he had reckoned was the first warning she received from him
on his arrival. She had replied with indulgence that he was in too
great a hurryand had remarked soothingly that if she knew how to
be patient surely HE might be. He felt her presenceon the spot
he felt her tone and everything about heras an aid to that effort;
and it was perhaps one of the proofs of her success with him
that he seemed so much to take his ease while they talked.
By the time he had explained to her why his impressionsthough
multipliedstill baffled himit was as if he had been familiarly
talking for hours. They baffled him because Sarah--wellSarah was
deepdeeper than she had ever yet had a chance to show herself.
He didn't say that this was partly the effect of her opening so
straight downas it wereinto her motherand thatgiven
Mrs. Newsome's profunditythe shaft thus sunk might well have a reach;
but he wasn't without a resigned apprehension thatat such a rate
of confidence between the two womenhe was likely soon to be moved
to show how alreadyat momentsit had been for him as if he were
dealing directly with Mrs. Newsome. Sarahto a certaintywould
have begun herself to feel it in him--and this naturally put it in
her power to torment him the more. From the moment she knew he
COULD be tormented--!

But WHY can you be?--his companion was surprised at his use of
the word.

Because I'm made so--I think of everything.

Ah one must never do that,she smiled. "One must think of as few
things as possible."

Then,he answeredone must pick them out right. But all I mean
is--for I express myself with violence--that she's in a position to
watch me. There's an element of suspense for me, and she can see me
wriggle. But my wriggling doesn't matter,he pursued. "I can bear
it. BesidesI shall wriggle out."

The picture at any rate stirred in her an appreciation that he felt
to be sincere. "I don't see how a man can be kinder to a woman than
you are to me."

Wellkind was what he wanted to be; yet even while her charming
eyes rested on him with the truth of this he none the less had his
humour of honesty. "When I say suspense I meanyou know he
laughed, suspense about my own case too!"

Oh yes--about your own case too!It diminished his magnanimity
but she only looked at him the more tenderly.

Not, however,he went onthat I want to talk to you about that.
It's my own little affair, and I mentioned it simply as part of
Mrs. Pocock's advantage.Nono; though there was a queer present
temptation in itand his suspense was so real that to fidget was a
reliefhe wouldn't talk to her about Mrs. Newsomewouldn't work
off on her the anxiety produced in him by Sarah's calculated
omissions of reference. The effect she produced of representing her
mother had been produced--and that was just the immensethe
uncanny part of it--without her having so much as mentioned that
lady. She had brought no messagehad alluded to no questionhad
only answered his enquiries with hopeless limited propriety. She
had invented a way of meeting them--as if he had been a polite


perfunctory poor relationof distant degree--that made them almost
ridiculous in him. He couldn't moreover on his own side ask much
without appearing to publish how he had lately lacked news;
a circumstance of which it was Sarah's profound policy not to betray
a suspicion. These thingsall the samehe wouldn't breathe to
Madame de Vionnet--much as they might make him walk up and down.
And what he didn't say--as well as what SHE didn'tfor she had
also her high decencies--enhanced the effect of his being there
with her at the end of ten minutes more intimately on the basis of
saving her than he had yet had occasion to be. It ended in fact by
being quite beautiful between themthe number of things they had a
manifest consciousness of not saying. He would have liked to turn
hercriticallyto the subject of Mrs. Pocockbut he so stuck to
the line he felt to be the point of honour and of delicacy that he
scarce even asked her what her personal impression had been.
He knew itfor that matterwithout putting her to trouble:
that she wondered howwith such elementsSarah could still have
no charmwas one of the principal things she held her tongue about.
Strether would have been interested in her estimate of the elements-indubitably
theresome of themand to be appraised according to
taste--but he denied himself even the luxury of this diversion. The
way Madame de Vionnet affected him to-day was in itself a kind of
demonstration of the happy employment of gifts. How could a woman
think Sarah had charm who struck one as having arrived at it
herself by such different roads? On the other hand of course Sarah
wasn't obliged to have it. He felt as if somehow Madame de Vionnet
WAS. The great question meanwhile was what Chad thought of his
sister; which was naturally ushered in by that of Sarah's
apprehension of Chad. THAT they could talk ofand with a freedom
purchased by their discretion in other senses. The difficulty
however was that they were reduced as yet to conjecture. He had
given them in the day or two as little of a lead as Sarahand
Madame de Vionnet mentioned that she hadn't seen him since his
sister's arrival.

And does that strike you as such an age?

She met it in all honesty. "Oh I won't pretend I don't miss him.
Sometimes I see him every day. Our friendship's like that. Make
what you will of it!" she whimsically smiled; a little flicker of
the kindoccasional in herthat had more than once moved him to
wonder what he might best make of HER. "But he's perfectly right
she hastened to add, and I wouldn't have him fail in any way at
present for the world. I'd sooner not see him for three months.
I begged him to be beautiful to themand he fully feels it for
himself."

Strether turned away under his quick perception; she was so odd a
mixture of lucidity and mystery. She fell in at moments with the
theory about her he most cherishedand she seemed at others to
blow it into air. She spoke now as if her art were all an
innocenceand then again as if her innocence were all an art.
Oh he's giving himself up, and he'll do so to the end. How can he
but want, now that it's within reach, his full impression?--which is
much more important, you know, than either yours or mine. But he's
just soaking,Strether said as he came back; "he's going in
conscientiously for a saturation. I'm bound to say he IS very good."

Ah,she quietly repliedto whom do you say it?And then more
quietly still: "He's capable of anything."

Strether more than reaffirmed--"Oh he's excellent. I more and more
like he insisted, to see him with them;" though the oddity of
this tone between them grew sharper for him even while they spoke.


It placed the young man so before them as the result of her
interest and the product of her geniusacknowledged so her part in
the phenomenon and made the phenomenon so rarethat more than ever
yet he might have been on the very point of asking her for some
more detailed account of the whole business than he had yet
received from her. The occasion almost forced upon him some
question as to how she had managed and as to the appearance such
miracles presented from her own singularly close place of survey.
The moment in fact however passedgiving way to more present
historyand he continued simply to mark his appreciation of the
happy truth. "It's a tremendous comfort to feel how one can trust
him." And then again while for a little she said nothing--as if
after all to HER trust there might be a special limit: "I mean for
making a good show to them."


Yes,she thoughtfully returned--"but if they shut their eyes
to it!"


Strether for an instant had his own thought. "Well perhaps that
won't matter!"


You mean because he probably--do what they will--won't like them?


Oh 'do what they will'--! They won't do much; especially if Sarah
hasn't more--well, more than one has yet made out--to give.


Madame de Vionnet weighed it. "Ah she has all her grace!" It was a
statement over whichfor a littlethey could look at each other
sufficiently straightand though it produced no protest from
Strether the effect was somehow as if he had treated it as a joke.
She may be persuasive and caressing with him; she may be eloquent
beyond words. She may get hold of him,she wound up--"wellas
neither you nor I have."


Yes, she MAY--and now Strether smiled. "But he has spent all his
time each day with Jim. He's still showing Jim round."


She visibly wondered. "Then how about Jim?"


Strether took a turn before he answered. "Hasn't he given you Jim?
Hasn't he before this 'done' him for you?" He was a little at a
loss. "Doesn't he tell you things?"


She hesitated. "No"--and their eyes once more gave and took.
Not as you do. You somehow make me see them--or at least feel them.
And I haven't asked too much,she added; "I've of late wanted so
not to worry him."


Ah for that, so have I,he said with encouraging assent; so that--
as if she had answered everything--they were briefly sociable on it.
It threw him back on his other thoughtwith which he took another
turn; stopping againhoweverpresently with something of a glow.
You see Jim's really immense. I think it will be Jim who'll do it.


She wondered. "Get hold of him?"


No--just the other thing. Counteract Sarah's spell.And he
showed nowour friendhow far he had worked it out. "Jim's
intensely cynical."


Oh dear Jim!Madame de Vionnet vaguely smiled.


Yes, literally--dear Jim! He's awful. What HE wants, heaven
forgive him, is to help us.



You mean--she was eager--"help ME?"

Well, Chad and me in the first place. But he throws you in too,
though without as yet seeing you much. Only, so far as he does see
you--if you don't mind--he sees you as awful.

'Awful'?--she wanted it all.

A regular bad one--though of course of a tremendously superior kind.
Dreadful, delightful, irresistible.

Ah dear Jim! I should like to know him. I MUST.

Yes, naturally. But will it do? You may, you know,Strether
suggesteddisappoint him.

She was droll and humble about it. "I can but try. But my
wickedness then she went on, is my recommendation for him?"

Your wickedness and the charms with which, in such a degree as
yours, he associates it. He understands, you see, that Chad and I
have above all wanted to have a good time, and his view is simple
and sharp. Nothing will persuade him--in the light, that is, of my
behaviour--that I really didn't, quite as much as Chad, come over
to have one before it was too late. He wouldn't have expected it of
me; but men of my age, at Woollett--and especially the least likely
ones--have been noted as liable to strange outbreaks, belated
uncanny clutches at the unusual, the ideal. It's an effect that a
lifetime of Woollett has quite been observed as having; and I thus
give it to you, in Jim's view, for what it's worth. Now his wife
and his mother-in-law,Strether continued to explainhave, as in
honour bound, no patience with such phenomena, late or early--which
puts Jim, as against his relatives, on the other side. Besides,he
addedI don't think he really wants Chad back. If Chad doesn't
come--

He'll have--Madame de Vionnet quite apprehended--"more of the
free hand?"

Well, Chad's the bigger man.

So he'll work now, en dessous, to keep him quiet?

No--he won't 'work' at all, and he won't do anything en dessous.
He's very decent and won't be a traitor in the camp. But he'll be
amused with his own little view of our duplicity, he'll sniff up
what he supposes to be Paris from morning till night, and he'll be,
as to the rest, for Chad--well, just what he is.

She thought it over. "A warning?"

He met it almost with glee. "You ARE as wonderful as everybody
says!" And then to explain all he meant: "I drove him about for his
first hourand do you know what--all beautifully unconscious--he
most put before me? Why that something like THAT is at bottomas
an improvement to his present stateas in fact the real redemption
of itwhat they think it may not be too late to make of our
friend." With whichastaking it inshe seemedin her recurrent
alarmbravely to gaze at the possibilityhe completed his
statement. "But it IS too late. Thanks to you!"

It drew from her again one of her indefinite reflexions. "Oh 'me'-after
all!"


He stood before her so exhilarated by his demonstration that he
could fairly be jocular. "Everything's comparative. You're better
than THAT."

You--she could but answer him--"are better than anything." But
she had another thought. "WILL Mrs. Pocock come to me?"

Oh yes--she'll do that. As soon, that is, as my friend Waymarsh-HER
friend now--leaves her leisure.

She showed an interest. "Is he so much her friend as that?"

Why, didn't you see it all at the hotel?

Oh--she was amused--"'all' is a good deal to say. I don't know-I
forget. I lost myself in HER."

You were splendid,Strether returned--"but 'all' isn't a good
deal to say: it's only a little. Yet it's charming so far as it
goes. She wants a man to herself."

And hasn't she got you?

Do you think she looked at me--or even at you--as if she had?
Strether easily dismissed that irony. "Every oneyou seemust
strike her as having somebody. You've got Chad--and Chad has
got you."

I see--she made of it what she could. "And you've got Maria."

Wellhe on his side accepted that. "I've got Maria. And Maria has
got me. So it goes."

But Mr. Jim--whom has he got?

Oh he has got--or it's as IF he had--the whole place.

But for Mr. Waymarsh--she recalled--"isn't Miss Barrace before
any one else?"

He shook his head. "Miss Barrace is a raffineeand her amusement
won't lose by Mrs. Pocock. It will gain rather--especially if Sarah
triumphs and she comes in for a view of it."

How well you know us!Madame de Vionnetat thisfrankly sighed.

No--it seems to me it's we that I know. I know Sarah--it's perhaps
on that ground only that my feet are firm. Waymarsh will take her
round while Chad takes Jim--and I shall be, I assure you delighted
for both of them. Sarah will have had what she requires--she will
have paid her tribute to the ideal; and he will have done about the
same. In Paris it's in the air--so what can one do less? If there's
a point that, beyond any other, Sarah wants to make, it's that she
didn't come out to be narrow. We shall feel at least that.

Oh,she sighedthe quantity we seem likely to 'feel'! But what
becomes, in these conditions, of the girl?

Of Mamie--if we're all provided? Ah for that,said Strether
you can trust Chad.

To be, you mean, all right to her?


To pay her every attention as soon as he has polished off Jim.
He wants what Jim can give him--and what Jim really won't--though he
has had it all, and more than all, from me. He wants in short his
own personal impression, and he'll get it--strong. But as soon as
he has got it Mamie won't suffer.


Oh Mamie mustn't SUFFER!Madame de Vionnet soothingly emphasised.


But Strether could reassure her. "Don't fear. As soon as he has
done with JimJim will fall to me. And then you'll see."


It was as if in a moment she saw already; yet she still waited.
Then "Is she really quite charming?" she asked.


He had got up with his last words and gathered in his hat and gloves.
I don't know; I'm watching. I'm studying the case, as it were--
and I dare say I shall be able to tell you.


She wondered. "Is it a case?"


Yes--I think so. At any rate I shall see.'


But haven't you known her before?"


Yes,he smiled--"but somehow at home she wasn't a case.
She has become one since." It was as if he made it out for himself.
She has become one here.


So very very soon?


He measured itlaughing. "Not sooner than I did."


And you became one--?


Very very soon. The day I arrived.


Her intelligent eyes showed her thought of it. "Ah but the day you
arrived you met Maria. Whom has Miss Pocock met?"


He paused againbut he brought it out. "Hasn't she met Chad?"


Certainly--but not for the first time. He's an old friend.At
which Strether had a slow amused significant headshake that made
her go on: "You mean that for HER at least he's a new person--
that she sees him as different?"


She sees him as different.


And how does she see him?


Strether gave it up. "How can one tell how a deep little girl sees
a deep young man?"


Is every one so deep? Is she too?


So it strikes me deeper than I thought. But wait a little--between
us we'll make it out. You'll judge for that matter yourself.


Madame de Vionnet looked for the moment fairly bent on the chance.
Then she WILL come with her?--I mean Mamie with Mrs. Pocock?


Certainly. Her curiosity, if nothing else, will in any case work
that. But leave it all to Chad.



Ah,wailed Madame de Vionnetturning away a little wearilythe
things I leave to Chad!

The tone of it made him look at her with a kindness that showed his
vision of her suspense. But he fell back on his confidence.
Oh well--trust him. Trust him all the way.He had indeed no sooner
so spoken than the queer displacement of his point of view appeared
again to come up for him in the very soundwhich drew from him a
short laughimmediately checked. He became still more advisory.
When they do come give them plenty of Miss Jeanne. Let Mamie see
her well.

She looked for a moment as if she placed them face to face.
For Mamie to hate her?

He had another of his corrective headshakes. "Mamie won't.
Trust THEM."

She looked at him hardand then as if it were what she must always
come back to: "It's you I trust. But I was sincere she said, at
the hotel. I didI dowant my child--"

Well?--Strether waited with deference while she appeared to hesitate
as to how to put it.

Well, to do what she can for me.

Strether for a little met her eyes on it; after which something
that might have been unexpected to her came from him. "Poor little
duck!"

Not more expected for himself indeed might well have been her echo
of it. "Poor little duck! But she immensely wants herself she
said, to see our friend's cousin."

Is that what she thinks her?

It's what we call the young lady.

He thought again; then with a laugh: "Wellyour daughter will
help you."

And now at last he took leave of heras he had been intending for
five minutes. But she went part of the way with himaccompanying
him out of the room and into the next and the next. Her noble old
apartment offered a succession of threethe first two of which
indeedon enteringsmaller than the lastbut each with its faded
and formal airenlarged the office of the antechamber and enriched
the sense of approach. Strether fancied themliked themand
passing through them with her more slowly nowmet a sharp renewal
of his original impression. He stoppedhe looked back; the whole
thing made a vistawhich he found high melancholy and sweet--full
once moreof dim historic shadesof the faint faraway cannon-roar
of the great Empire. It was doubtless half the projection of his
mindbut his mind was a thing thatamong old waxed parquetspale
shades of pink and greenpseudo-classic candelabrahe had always
needfully to reckon with. They could easily make him irrelevant.
The odditythe originalitythe poetry--he didn't know what to
call it--of Chad's connexion reaffirmed for him its romantic side.
They ought to see this, you know. They MUST.

The Pococks?--she looked about in deprecation; she seemed to see
gaps he didn't.


Mamie and Sarah--Mamie in particular.

My shabby old place? But THEIR things--!

Oh their things! You were talking of what will do something for
you--

So that it strikes you,she broke inthat my poor place may?
Oh,she ruefully musedthat WOULD be desperate!

Do you know what I wish?he went on. "I wish Mrs. Newsome herself
could have a look."

She staredmissing a little his logic. "It would make a
difference?"

Her tone was so earnest that as he continued to look about he
laughed. "It might!"

But you've told her, you tell me--

All about you? Yes, a wonderful story. But there's all the
indescribable--what one gets only on the spot.

Thank you!she charmingly and sadly smiled.

It's all about me here,he freely continued. "Mrs. Newsome feels
things."

But she seemed doomed always to come back to doubt. "No one feels
so much as YOU. No--not any one."

So much the worse then for every one. It's very easy.

They were by this time in the antechamberstill alone togetheras
she hadn't rung for a servant. The antechamber was high and square
grave and suggestive tooa little cold and slippery even in
summerand with a few old prints that were preciousStrether
divinedon the walls. He stood in the middleslightly lingering
vaguely directing his glasseswhileleaning against the door-post
of the roomshe gently pressed her cheek to the side of the
recess. "YOU would have been a friend."

I?--it startled him a little.

For the reason you say. You're not stupid.And then abruptlyas
if bringing it out were somehow founded on that fact:
We're marrying Jeanne.

It affected him on the spot as a move in a gameand he was even
then not without the sense that that wasn't the way Jeanne should
be married. But he quickly showed his interestthough--as quickly
afterwards struck him--with an absurd confusion of mind. "'You'?
You and--a--not Chad?" Of course it was the child's father who made
the 'we' but to the child's father it would have cost him an
effort to allude. Yet didn't it seem the next minute that Monsieur
de Vionnet was after all not in question?--since she had gone on to
say that it was indeed to Chad she referred and that he had been in
the whole matter kindness itself.

If I must tell you all, it is he himself who has put us in the
way. I mean in the way of an opportunity that, so far as I can yet
see, is all I could possibly have dreamed of. For all the trouble
Monsieur de Vionnet will ever take!It was the first time she had


spoken to him of her husbandand he couldn't have expressed how
much more intimate with her it suddenly made him feel. It wasn't
muchin truth--there were other things in what she was saying that
were far more; but it was as ifwhile they stood there together so
easily in these cold chambers of the pastthe single touch had
shown the reach of her confidence. "But our friend she asked,
hasn't then told you?"

He has told me nothing.

Well, it has come with rather a rush--all in a very few days; and
hasn't moreover yet taken a form that permits an announcement. It's
only for you--absolutely you alone--that I speak; I so want you to
know.The sense he had so often hadsince the first hour of his
disembarkmentof being further and further "in treated him again
at this moment to another twinge; but in this wonderful way of her
putting him in there continued to be something exquisitely
remorseless. Monsieur de Vionnet will accept what he MUST accept.
He has proposed half a dozen things--each one more impossible than
the other; and he wouldn't have found this if he lives to a hundred.
Chad found it she continued with her lighted, faintly flushed,
her conscious confidential face, in the quietest way in the world.
Or rather it found HIM--for everything finds him; I mean finds
him right. You'll think we do such things strangely--but at my age
she smiled, one has to accept one's conditions. Our young man's people
had seen her; one of his sistersa charming woman--we know all
about them--had observed her somewhere with me. She had spoken
to her brother--turned him on; and we were again observedpoor Jeanne
and Iwithout our in the least knowing it. It was at the beginning
of the winter; it went on for some time; it outlasted our absence; it
began again on our return; and it luckily seems all right. The
young man had met Chadand he got a friend to approach him--as
having a decent interest in us. Mr. Newsome looked well before he
leaped; he kept beautifully quiet and satisfied himself fully; then
only he spoke. It's what has for some time past occupied us. It
seems as if it were what would do; reallyreally all one could
wish. There are only two or three points to be settled--they depend
on her father. But this time I think we're safe."

Stretherconsciously gaping a littlehad fairly hung upon her
lips. "I hope so with all my heart." And then he permitted himself:
Does nothing depend on HER?

Ah naturally; everything did. But she's pleased comme tout. She
has been perfectly free; and he--our young friend--is really a
combination. I quite adore him.

Strether just made sure. "You mean your future son-in-law?"

Future if we all bring it off.

Ah well,said Strether decorouslyI heartily hope you may.
There seemed little else for him to saythough her communication
had the oddest effect on him. Vaguely and confusedly he was
troubled by it; feeling as if he had even himself been concerned in
something deep and dim. He had allowed for depthsbut these were
greater: and it was as ifoppressively--indeed absurdly--he was
responsible for what they had now thrown up to the surface. It was-through
something ancient and cold in it--what he would have
called the real thing. In short his hostess's newsthough he
couldn't have explained whywas a sensible shockand his
oppression a weight he felt he must somehow or other immediately
get rid of. There were too many connexions missing to make it
tolerable he should do anything else. He was prepared to suffer-



before his own inner tribunal--for Chad; he was prepared to suffer
even for Madame de Vionnet. But he wasn't prepared to suffer for
the little girl So now having said the proper thinghe wanted to
get away. She held him an instanthoweverwith another appeal.

Do I seem to you very awful?

Awful? Why so?But he called it to himselfeven as he spokehis
biggest insincerity yet.

Our arrangements are so different from yours.

Mine?Oh he could dismiss that too! "I haven't any arrangements."

Then you must accept mine; all the more that they're excellent.
They're founded on a vieille sagesse. There will be much more, if
all goes well, for you to hear and to know, and everything, believe
me, for you to like. Don't be afraid; you'll be satisfied.Thus
she could talk to him of whatof her innermost life--for that was
what it came to--he must "accept"; thus she could extraordinarily
speak as if in such an affair his being satisfied had an
importance. It was all a wonder and made the whole case larger. He
had struck himself at the hotelbefore Sarah and Waymarshas
being in her boat; but where on earth was he now? This question was
in the air till her own lips quenched it with another. "And do you
suppose HE--who loves her so--would do anything reckless or cruel?"

He wondered what he supposed. "Do you mean your young man--?"

I mean yours. I mean Mr. Newsome.It flashed for Strether the
next moment a finer lightand the light deepened as she went on.
He takes, thank God, the truest tenderest interest in her.

It deepened indeed. "Oh I'm sure of that!"

You were talking,she saidabout one's trusting him. You see
then how I do.

He waited a moment--it all came. "I see--I see." He felt he really
did see.

He wouldn't hurt her for the world, nor--assuming she marries at
all--risk anything that might make against her happiness. And-willingly,
at least--he would never hurt ME.

Her facewith what he had by this time graspedtold him more than
her words; whether something had come into itor whether he only read
clearerher whole story--what at least he then took for such--reached
out to him from it. With the initiative she now attributed to Chad
it all made a senseand this sense--a lighta leadwas what had
abruptly risen before him. He wantedonce moreto get off with
these things; which was at last made easya servant havingfor
his assistanceon hearing voices in the halljust come forward.
All that Strether had made out waswhile the man opened the door
and impersonally waitedsummed up in his last word. "I don't
thinkyou knowChad will tell me anything."

No--perhaps not yet.

And I won't as yet speak to him.

Ah that's as you'll think best. You must judge.

She had finally given him her handwhich he held a moment. "How


MUCH I have to judge!"


Everything,said Madame de Vionnet: a remark that was indeed--
with the refined disguised suppressed passion of her face--what he
most carried away.


So far as a direct approach was concerned Sarah had neglected him
for the week now about to endwith a civil consistency of chill
thatgiving him a higher idea of her social resourcethrew him
back on the general reflexion that a woman could always be amazing.
It indeed helped a little to console him that he felt sure she had
for the same period also left Chad's curiosity hanging; though on
the other handfor his personal reliefChad could at least go
through the various motions--and he made them extraordinarily
numerous--of seeing she had a good time. There wasn't a motion on
whichin her presencepoor Strether could so much as ventureand
all he could do when he was out of it was to walk over for a talk
with Maria. He walked over of course much less than usualbut he
found a special compensation in a certain half-hour during which
toward the close of a crowded empty expensive dayhis several
companions seemed to him so disposed of as to give his forms and
usages a rest. He had been with them in the morning and had
nevertheless called on the Pococks in the afternoon; but their
whole grouphe then foundhad dispersed after a fashion of which
it would amuse Miss Gostrey to hear. He was sorry againgratefully
sorry she was so out of it--she who had really put him in; but she
had fortunately always her appetite for news. The pure flame of the
disinterested burned in her cave of treasures as a lamp in a
Byzantine vault. It was just nowas happenedthat for so fine a
sense as hers a near view would have begun to pay. Within three
dayspreciselythe situation on which he was to report had shown
signs of an equilibrium; the effect of his look in at the hotel was
to confirm this appearance. If the equilibrium might only prevail!
Sarah was out with WaymarshMamie was out with Chadand Jim was
out alone. Later on indeed he himself was booked to Jimwas to
take him that evening to the Varieties--which Strether was careful
to pronounce as Jim pronounced them.


Miss Gostrey drank it in. "What then to-night do the others do?"


Well, it has been arranged. Waymarsh takes Sarah to dine at
Bignons.


She wondered. And what do they do after? They can't come straight
home."


No, they can't come straight home--at least Sarah can't.
It's their secret, but I think I've guessed it.Then as she waited:
The circus.


It made her stare a moment longerthen laugh almost to
extravagance. "There's no one like you!"


Like ME?--he only wanted to understand.


Like all of you together--like all of us: Woollett, Milrose and
their products. We're abysmal--but may we never be less so!
Mr. Newsome,she continuedmeanwhile takes Miss Pocock--?



Precisely--to the Francais: to see what you took Waymarsh and me
to, a family-bill.

Ah then may Mr. Chad enjoy it as I did!But she saw so much in
things. "Do they spend their eveningsyour young peoplelike
thatalone together?"

Well, they're young people--but they're old friends.

I see, I see. And do THEY dine--for a difference--at Brebant's?

Oh where they dine is their secret too. But I've my idea that it
will be, very quietly, at Chad's own place.

She'll come to him there alone?

They looked at each other a moment. "He has known her from a child.
Besides said Strether with emphasis, Mamie's remarkable. She's
splendid."

She wondered. "Do you mean she expects to bring it off?"

Getting hold of him? No--I think not.

She doesn't want him enough?--or doesn't believe in her power?
On which as he said nothing she continued: "She finds she doesn't
care for him?"

No--I think she finds she does. But that's what I mean by so
describing her. It's IF she does that she's splendid. But we'll
see,he wound upwhere she comes out.

You seem to show me sufficiently,Miss Gostrey laughedwhere
she goes in! But is her childhood's friend,she askedpermitting
himself recklessly to flirt with her?

No--not that. Chad's also splendid. They're ALL splendid!he
declared with a sudden strange sound of wistfulness and envy.
They're at least HAPPY.

Happy?--it appearedwith their various difficultiesto surprise
her.

Well--I seem to myself among them the only one who isn't.

She demurred. "With your constant tribute to the ideal?"

He had a laugh at his tribute to the idealbut he explained after
a moment his impression. "I mean they're living. They're rushing
about. I've already had my rushing. I'm waiting."

But aren't you,she asked by way of cheerwaiting with ME?

He looked at her in all kindness. "Yes--if it weren't for that!"

And you help me to wait,she said. "However she went on, I've
really something for you that will help you to wait and which you
shall have in a minute. Only there's something more I want from you
first. I revel in Sarah."

So do I. If it weren't,he again amusedly sighedfor THAT--!

Well, you owe more to women than any man I ever saw. We do seem to
keep you going. Yet Sarah, as I see her, must be great,


She IS Strether fully assented: "great! Whatever happensshe
won'twith these unforgettable dayshave lived in vain."

Miss Gostrey had a pause. "You mean she has fallen in love?"

I mean she wonders if she hasn't--and it serves all her purpose.

It has indeed,Maria laughedserved women's purposes before!

Yes--for giving in. But I doubt if the idea--as an idea--has ever
up to now answered so well for holding out. That's HER tribute to
the ideal--we each have our own. It's her romance--and it seems to
me better on the whole than mine. To have it in Paris too,he
explained--"on this classic groundin this charged infectious air
with so sudden an intensity: wellit's more than she expected. She
has had in short to recognise the breaking out for her of a real
affinity--and with everything to enhance the drama."

Miss Gostrey followed. "Jim for instance?"

Jim. Jim hugely enhances. Jim was made to enhance. And then
Mr. Waymarsh. It's the crowning touch--it supplies the colour.
He's positively separated.

And she herself unfortunately isn't--that supplies the colour
too.Miss Gostrey was all there. But somehow--! "Is HE in love?"

Strether looked at her a long time; then looked all about the room;
then came a little nearer. "Will you never tell any one in the
world as long as ever you live?"

Never.It was charming.

He thinks Sarah really is. But he has no fear,Strether hastened
to add.

Of her being affected by it?

Of HIS being. He likes it, but he knows she can hold out. He's
helping her, he's floating her over, by kindness.

Maria rather funnily considered it. "Floating her over in
champagne? The kindness of dining hernose to noseat the hour
when all Paris is crowding to profane delightsand in the--well
in the great templeas one hears of itof pleasure?"

That's just IT, for both of them,Strether insisted--"and all of
a supreme innocence. The Parisian placethe feverish hourthe

putting before her of a hundred francs' worth of food and drink
which they'll scarcely touch--all that's the dear man's own
romance; the expensive kindexpensive in francs and centimesin
which he abounds. And the circus afterwards--which is cheaperbut
which he'll find some means of making as dear as possible--that's
also HIS tribute to the ideal. It does for him. He'll see her
through. They won't talk of anything worse than you and me."

Well, we're bad enough perhaps, thank heaven,she laughed. "to
upset them! Mr. Waymarsh at any rate is a hideous old coquette."
And the next moment she had dropped everything for a different
pursuit. "What you don't appear to know is that Jeanne de Vionnet
has become engaged. She's to marry--it has been definitely
arranged--young Monsieur de Montbron."


He fairly blushed. "Then--if you know it--it's 'out'?"

Don't I often know things that are NOT out? However,she said
this will be out to-morrow. But I see I've counted too much on
your possible ignorance. You've been before me, and I don't make
you jump as I hoped.

He gave a gasp at her insight. "You never fail! I've HAD my jump.
I had it when I first heard."

Then if you knew why didn't you tell me as soon as you came in?

Because I had it from her as a thing not yet to be spoken of.

Miss Gostrey wondered. "From Madame de Vionnet herself?"

As a probability--not quite a certainty: a good cause in which
Chad has been working. So I've waited.

You need wait no longer,she returned. "It reached me yesterday-roundabout
and accidentalbut by a person who had had it from one
of the young man's own people--as a thing quite settled. I was only
keeping it for you."

You thought Chad wouldn't have told me?

She hesitated. "Wellif he hasn't--"

He hasn't. And yet the thing appears to have been practically his
doing. So there we are.

There we are!Maria candidly echoed.

That's why I jumped. I jumped,he continued to explainbecause
it means, this disposition of the daughter, that there's now
nothing else: nothing else but him and the mother.

Still--it simplifies.

It simplifies--he fully concurred. "But that's precisely where we
are. It marks a stage in his relation. The act is his answer to
Mrs. Newsome's demonstration."

It tells,Maria askedthe worst?

The worst.

But is the worst what he wants Sarah to know?

He doesn't care for Sarah.

At which Miss Gostrey's eyebrows went up. "You mean she has already
dished herself?"

Strether took a turn about; he had thought it out again and again
before thisto the end; but the vista seemed each time longer. "He
wants his good friend to know the best. I mean the measure of his
attachment. She asked for a signand he thought of that one. There
it is."

A concession to her jealousy?

Strether pulled up. "Yes--call it that. Make it lurid--for that


makes my problem richer."

Certainly, let us have it lurid--for I quite agree with you that
we want none of our problems poor. But let us also have it clear.
Can he, in the midst of such a preoccupation, or on the heels of
it, have seriously cared for Jeanne?--cared, I mean, as a young man
at liberty would have cared?

WellStrether had mastered it. "I think he can have thought it
would be charming if he COULD care. It would be nicer."

Nicer than being tied up to Marie?

Yes--than the discomfort of an attachment to a person he can never
hope, short of a catastrophe, to marry. And he was quite right,
said Strether. "It would certainly have been nicer. Even when a
thing's already nice there mostly is some other thing that would
have been nicer--or as to which we wonder if it wouldn't. But his
question was all the same a dream. He COULDn't care in that way. He
IS tied up to Marie. The relation is too special and has gone too
far. It's the very basisand his recent lively contribution toward
establishing Jeanne in life has been his definite and final
acknowledgement to Madame de Vionnet that he has ceased squirming.
I doubt meanwhile he went on, if Sarah has at all directly
attacked him."

His companion brooded. "But won't he wish for his own satisfaction
to make his ground good to her?"

No--he'll leave it to me, he'll leave everything to me. I 'sort
of' feel--he worked it out--"that the whole thing will come upon
me. YesI shall have every inch and every ounce of it. I shall be
USED for it--!" And Strether lost himself in the prospect. Then he
fancifully expressed the issue. "To the last drop of my blood."

Mariahoweverroundly protested. "Ah you'll please keep a drop
for ME. I shall have a use for it!"--which she didn't however
follow up. She had come back the next moment to another matter.
Mrs. Pocock, with her brother, is trusting only to her general
charm?

So it would seem.

And the charm's not working?

WellStrether put it otherwiseShe's sounding the note of home-which
is the very best thing she can do.

The best for Madame de Vionnet?

The best for home itself. The natural one; the right one.

Right,Maria askedwhen it fails?

Strether had a pause. "The difficulty's Jim. Jim's the note of
home."

She debated. "Ah surely not the note of Mrs. Newsome."

But he had it all. "The note of the home for which Mrs. Newsome
wants him--the home of the business. Jim standswith his little
legs apartat the door of THAT tent; and Jim isfrankly speaking
extremely awful."


Maria stared. "And you inyou poor thingfor your evening with
him?"

Oh he's all right for ME!Strether laughed. "Any one's good
enough for ME. But Sarah shouldn'tall the samehave brought him.
She doesn't appreciate him."

His friend was amused with this statement of it. "Doesn't knowyou
meanhow bad he is?"

Strether shook his head with decision. "Not really."

She wondered. "Then doesn't Mrs. Newsome?"

It made him frankly do the same. "Wellno--since you ask me."

Maria rubbed it in. "Not really either?"

Not at all. She rates him rather high.With which indeed
immediatelyhe took himself up. "Wellhe IS good tooin his way.
It depends on what you want him for."

Miss Gostreyhoweverwouldn't let it depend on anything--wouldn't
have itand wouldn't want himat any price. "It suits my book
she said, that he should be impossible; and it suits it still
better she more imaginatively added, that Mrs. Newsome doesn't
know he is."

Stretherin consequencehad to take it from herbut he fell back
on something else. "I'll tell you who does really know."

Mr. Waymarsh? Never!

Never indeed. I'm not ALWAYS thinking of Mr. Waymarsh; in fact I
find now I never am.Then he mentioned the person as if there were
a good deal in it. "Mamie."

His own sister?Oddly enough it but let her down. "What good will
that do?"

None perhaps. But there--as usual--we are!

There they were yet againaccordinglyfor two days more; when
Stretheron beingat Mrs. Pocock's hotelushered into that
lady's salonfound himself at first assuming a mistake on the part
of the servant who had introduced him and retired. The occupants
hadn't come infor the room looked empty as only a room can look
in Parisof a fine afternoon when the faint murmur of the huge
collective lifecarried on out of doorsstrays among scattered
objects even as a summer air idles in a lonely garden. Our friend
looked about and hesitated; observedon the evidence of a table
charged with purchases and other mattersthat Sarah had become
possessed--by no aid from HIM--of the last number of the
salmon-coloured Revue; noted further that Mamie appeared to have
received a present of Fromentin's "Maitres d'Autrefois" from Chad
who had written her name on the cover; and pulled up at the sight of
a heavy letter addressed in a hand he knew. This letterforwarded
by a banker and arriving in Mrs. Pocock's absencehad been placed
in evidenceand it drew from the fact of its being unopened a sudden


queer power to intensify the reach of its author. It brought home
to him the scale on which Mrs. Newsome--for she had been copious
indeed this time--was writing to her daughter while she kept HIM in
durance; and it had altogether such an effect upon him as made him
for a few minutes stand still and breathe low. In his own roomat
his own hotelhe had dozens of well-filled envelopes superscribed
in that character; and there was actually something in the renewal
of his interrupted vision of the character that played straight
into the so frequent question of whether he weren't already
disinherited beyond appeal. It was such an assurance as the sharp
downstrokes of her pen hadn't yet had occasion to give him; but
they somehow at the present crisis stood for a probable
absoluteness in any decree of the writer. He looked at Sarah's name
and addressin shortas if he had been looking hard into her
mother's faceand then turned from it as if the face had declined
to relax. But since it was in a manner as if Mrs. Newsome were
thereby all the moreinstead of the lessin the roomand were
conscioussharply and sorely consciousof himselfso he felt
both held and hushedsummoned to stay at least and take his
punishment. By stayingaccordinglyhe took it--creeping softly
and vaguely about and waiting for Sarah to come in. She WOULD come
in if he stayed long enoughand he had now more than ever the
sense of her success in leaving him a prey to anxiety. It wasn't to
be denied that she had had a happy instinctfrom the point of view
of Woollettin placing him thus at the mercy of her own initiative.
It was very well to try to say he didn't care--that she might
break ground when she wouldmight never break it at all if she
wouldn'tand that he had no confession whatever to wait upon her
with: he breathed from day to day an air that damnably required
clearingand there were moments when he quite ached to precipitate
that process. He couldn't doubt thatshould she only oblige him by
surprising him just as he then wasa clarifying scene of some sort
would result from the concussion.

He humbly circulated in this spirit till he suddenly had a fresh
arrest. Both the windows of the room stood open to the balconybut
it was only now thatin the glass of the leaf of one of them
folded backhe caught a reflexion quickly recognised as the colour
of a lady's dress. Somebody had been then all the while on the
balconyand the personwhoever it might bewas so placed between
the windows as to be hidden from him; while on the other hand the
many sounds of the street had covered his own entrance and
movements. If the person were Sarah he might on the spot therefore
be served to his taste. He might lead her by a move or two up to
the remedy for his vain tension; as to whichshould he get nothing
else from ithe would at least have the relief of pulling down the
roof on their heads. There was fortunately no one at hand to
observe--in respect to his valour--that even on this completed
reasoning he still hung fire. He had been waiting for Mrs. Pocock
and the sound of the oracle; but he had to gird himself afresh-which
he did in the embrasure of the windowneither advancing nor
retreating--before provoking the revelation. It was apparently for
Sarah to come more into view; he was in that case there at her
service. She did howeveras meanwhile happenedcome more into
view; only she luckily came at the last minute as a contradiction
of Sarah. The occupant of the balcony was after all quite another
persona person presentedon a second lookby a charming back
and a slight shift of her positionas beautiful brilliant
unconscious Mamie--Mamie alone at homeMamie passing her time in
her own innocent wayMamie in short rather shabbily usedbut
Mamie absorbed interested and interesting. With her arms on the
balustrade and her attention dropped to the street she allowed
Strether to watch herto consider several thingswithout her
turning round.


But the oddity was that when he HAD so watched and considered he
simply stepped back into the room without following up his
advantage. He revolved there again for several minutesquite as
with something new to think of and as if the bearings of the
possibility of Sarah had been superseded. For franklyyesit HAD
bearings thus to find the girl in solitary possession. There was
something in it that touched him to a point not to have been
reckoned beforehandsomething that softly but quite pressingly
spoke to himand that spoke the more each time he paused again at
the edge of the balcony and saw her still unaware. Her companions
were plainly scattered; Sarah would be off somewhere with Waymarsh
and Chad off somewhere with Jim. Strether didn't at all mentally
impute to Chad that he was with his "good friend"; he gave him the
benefit of supposing him involved in appearances thathad he had
to describe them--for instance to Maria--he would have conveniently
qualified as more subtle. It came to him indeed the next thing that
there was perhaps almost an excess of refinement in having left
Mamie in such weather up there alone; however she might in fact
have extemporisedunder the charm of the Rue de Rivolia little
makeshift Paris of wonder arid fancy. Our friend in any case now
recognised--and it was as if at the recognition Mrs. Newsome's
fixed intensity had suddenlywith a deep audible gaspgrown thin
and vague--that day after day he had been conscious in respect to
his young lady of something odd and ambiguousyet something into
which he could at last read a meaning. It had been at the most
this mysteryan obsession--oh an obsession agreeable; and it had
just now fallen into its place as at the touch of a spring. It had
represented the possibility between them of some communication
baffled by accident and delay--the possibility even of some
relation as yet unacknowledged.

There was always their old relationthe fruit of the Woollett
years; but that--and it was what was strangest--had nothing
whatever in common with what was now in the air. As a childas a
bud,and then again as a flower of expansionMamie had bloomed
for himfreelyin the almost incessantly open doorways of home;
where he remembered her as first very forwardas then very
backward--for he had carried on at one periodin Mrs. Newsome's
parlours (oh Mrs. Newsome's phases and his own!) a course of
English Literature re-enforced by exams and teas--and once more
finallyas very much in advance. But he had kept no great sense of
points of contact; it not being in the nature of things at Woollett
that the freshest of the buds should find herself in the same
basket with the most withered of the winter apples. The child had
given sharpnessabove allto his sense of the flight of time; it
was but the day before yesterday that he had tripped up on her
hoopyet his experience of remarkable women--destinedit would
seemremarkably to grow--felt itself ready this afternoonquite
braced itselfto include her. She had in fine more to say to him
than he had ever dreamed the pretty girl of the moment COULD have;
and the proof of the circumstance was thatvisiblyunmistakeably
she had been able to say it to no one else. It was something she
could mention neither to her brotherto her sister-in-law nor to
Chad; though he could just imagine that had she still been at home
she might have brought it outas a supreme tribute to age
authority and attitudefor Mrs. Newsome. It was moreover something
in which they all took an interest; the strength of their interest
was in truth just the reason of her prudence. All this thenfor
five minuteswas vivid to Stretherand it put before him that
poor childshe had now but her prudence to amuse her. Thatfor a
pretty girl in Parisstruck himwith a rushas a sorry state; so
that under the impression he went out to her with a step as
hypocritically alerthe was well awareas if he had just come


into the room. She turned with a start at his voice; preoccupied
with him though she might beshe was just a scrap disappointed.
Oh I thought you were Mr. Bilham!

The remark had been at first surprising and our friend's private
thoughtunder the influence of ittemporarily blighted; yet we
are able to add that he presently recovered his inward tone and
that many a fresh flower of fancy was to bloom in the same air.
Little Bilham--since little Bilham wassomewhat incongruously
expected--appeared behindhand; a circumstance by which Strether was
to profit. They came back into the room together after a little
the couple on the balconyand amid its crimson-and-gold elegance
with the others still absentStrether passed forty minutes that he
appraised even at the time as farin the whole queer connexion
from his idlest. Yes indeedsince he had the other day so agreed
with Maria about the inspiration of the luridhere was something
for his problem that surely didn't make it shrink and that was
floated in upon him as part of a sudden flood. He was doubtless not
to know till afterwardson turning them over in thoughtof how
many elements his impression was composed; but he none the less
feltas he sat with the charming girlthe signal growth of a
confidence. For she WAS charmingwhen all was said--and none the
less so for the visible habit and practice of freedom and fluency.
She was charminghe was awarein spite of the fact that if he
hadn't found her so he would have found her something he should
have been in peril of expressing as "funny." Yesshe was funny
wonderful Mamieand without dreaming it; she was blandshe was
bridal--with neverthat he could make out as yeta bridegroom to
support it; she was handsome and portly and easy and chattysoft
and sweet and almost disconcertingly reassuring. She was dressed
if we might so far discriminateless as a young lady than as an
old one--had an old one been supposable to Strether as so committed
to vanity; the complexities of her hair missed moreover also the
looseness of youth; and she had a mature manner of bending a
littleas to encourage and rewardwhile she held neatly together
in front of her a pair of strikingly polished hands: the
combination of all of which kept up about her the glamour of her
receiving,placed her again perpetually between the windows and
within sound of the ice-cream platessuggested the enumeration of
all the namesall the Mr. Brookses and Mr. Snooksesgregarious
specimens of a single type. she was happy to "meet." But if all
this was where she was funnyand if what was funnier than the rest
was the contrast between her beautiful benevolent patronage--such a
hint of the polysyllabic as might make her something of a bore
toward middle age--and her rather flat little voicethe voice
naturallyunaffectedly yetof a girl of fifteen; so Strether
none the lessat the end of ten minutesfelt in her a quiet
dignity that pulled things bravely together. If quiet dignity
almost more than matronlywith voluminoustoo voluminous clothes
was the effect she proposed to producethat was an ideal one could
like in her when once one had got into relation. The great thing
now for her visitor was that this was exactly what he had done; it
made so extraordinary a mixture of the brief and crowded hour. It
was the mark of a relation that he had begun so quickly to find
himself sure she wasof all peopleas might have been saidon
the side and of the party of Mrs. Newsome's original ambassador.
She was in HIS interest and not in Sarah'sand some sign of that
was precisely what he had been feeling in herthese last daysas
imminent. Finally placedin Parisin immediate presence of the
situation and of the hero of it--by whom Strether was incapable of
meaning any one but Chad--she had accomplishedand really in a
manner all unexpected to herselfa change of base; deep still
things had come to pass within herand by the time she had grown
sure of them Strether had become aware of the little drama. When


she knew where she wasin shorthe had made it out; and he made
it out at present still better; though with never a direct word
passing between them all the while on the subject of his own
predicament. There had been at firstas he sat there with hera
moment during which he wondered if she meant to break ground in
respect to his prime undertaking. That door stood so strangely ajar
that he was half-prepared to be consciousat any junctureof her
havingof any one's havingquite bounced in. Butfriendly
familiarlight of touch and happy of tactshe exquisitely stayed
out; so that it was for all the world as if to show she could deal
with him without being reduced to--wellscarcely anything.

It fully came up for them thenby means of their talking of
everything BUT Chadthat Mamieunlike Sarahunlike Jimknew
perfectly what had become of him. It fully came up that she had
taken to the last fraction of an inch the measure of the change in
himand that she wanted Strether to know what a secret she
proposed to make of it. They talked most conveniently--as if they
had had no chance yet--about Woollett; and that had virtually the
effect of their keeping the secret more close. The hour took on for
Stretherlittle by littlea queer sad sweetness of qualityhe
had such a revulsion in Mamie's favour and on behalf of her social
value as might have come from remorse at some early injustice. She
made himas under the breath of some vague western whiffhomesick
and freshly restless; he could really for the time have fancied
himself stranded with her on a far shoreduring an ominous calm
in a quaint community of shipwreck. Their little interview was like
a picnic on a coral strand; they passed each otherwith melancholy
smiles and looks sufficiently allusivesuch cupfuls of water as
they had saved. Especially sharp in Strether meanwhile was the
conviction that his companion really knewas we have hintedwhere
she had come out. It was at a very particular place--only THAT she
would never tell him; it would be above all what he should have to
puzzle for himself. This was what he hoped forbecause his interest
in the girl wouldn't be complete without it. No more would the
appreciation to which she was entitled--so assured was he that
the more he saw of her process the more he should see of her pride.
She sawherselfeverything; but she knew what she didn't want
and that it was that had helped her. What didn't she want?--there
was a pleasure lost for her old friend in not yet knowingas there
would doubtless be a thrill in getting a glimpse. Gently and
sociably she kept that dark to himand it was as if she soothed
and beguiled him in other ways to make up for it. She came out with
her impression of Madame de Vionnet--of whom she had "heard so
much"; she came out with her impression of Jeannewhom she had
been "dying to see": she brought it out with a blandness by which
her auditor was really stirred that she had been with Sarah early
that very afternoonand after dreadful delays caused by all sorts
of thingsmainlyeternallyby the purchase of clothes--clothes
that unfortunately wouldn't be themselves eternal--to call in the
Rue de Bellechasse.

At the sound of these names Strether almost blushed to feel that he
couldn't have sounded them first--and yet couldn't either have
justified his squeamishness. Mamie made them easy as he couldn't
have begun to doand yet it could only have cost her more than he
should ever have had to spend. It was as friends of Chad'sfriends
specialdistinguisheddesirableenviablethat she spoke of
themand she beautifully carried it off that much as she had heard
of them--though she didn't say how or wherewhich was a touch of
her own--she had found them beyond her supposition. She abounded in
praise of themand after the manner of Woollett--which made the
manner of Woollett a loveable thing again to Strether. He had never
so felt the true inwardness of it as when his blooming companion


pronounced the elder of the ladies of the Rue de Bellechasse too
fascinating for words and declared of the younger that she was
perfectly ideala real little monster of charm. "Nothing she said
of Jeanne, ought ever to happen to her--she's so awfully right as
she is. Another touch will spoil her--so she oughtn't to BE touched."

Ah but things, here in Paris,Strether observeddo happen to
little girls.And then for the joke's and the occasion's sake:
Haven't you found that yourself?

That things happen--? Oh I'm not a little girl. I'm a big
battered blowsy one. I don't care,Mamie laughedWHAT happens.

Strether had a pause while he wondered if it mightn't happen that
he should give her the pleasure of learning that he found her nicer
than he had really dreamed--a pause that ended when he had said to
himself thatso far as it at all mattered for hershe had in fact
perhaps already made this out. He risked accordingly a different
question--though consciousas soon as he had spokenthat he
seemed to place it in relation to her last speech. "But that
Mademoiselle de Vionnet is to be married--I suppose you've heard of
THAT."
For allhe then foundhe need fear! "Dearyes; the gentleman
was there: Monsieur de Montbronwhom Madame de Vionnet
presented to us."

And was he nice?

Mamie bloomed and bridled with her best reception manner. "Any
man's nice when he's in love."

It made Strether laugh. "But is Monsieur de Montbron in love-already--
with YOU?"

Oh that's not necessary--it's so much better he should be so with
HER: which, thank goodness, I lost no time in discovering for
myself. He's perfectly gone--and I couldn't have borne it for her
if he hadn't been. She's just too sweet.

Strether hesitated. "And through being in love too?"

On which with a smile that struck him as wonderful Mamie had a
wonderful answer. "She doesn't know if she is or not."

It made him again laugh out. "Oh but YOU do!"

She was willing to take it that way. "Oh yesI know everything."
And as she sat there rubbing her polished hands and making the best
of it--only holding her elbows perhaps a little too much out--the
momentary effect for Strether was that every one elsein all their
affairseemed stupid.

Know that poor little Jeanne doesn't know what's the matter with
her?

It was as near as they came to saying that she was probably in love
with Chad; but it was quite near enough for what Strether wanted;
which was to be confirmed in his certitude thatwhether in love or
notshe appealed to something large and easy in the girl before
him. Mamie would be fattoo fatat thirty; but she would always
be the person whoat the present sharp hourhad been
disinterestedly tender. "If I see a little more of heras I hope
I shallI think she'll like me enough--for she seemed to like me
to-day--to want me to tell her."


And SHALL you?

Perfectly. I shall tell her the matter with her is that she wants
only too much to do right. To do right for her, naturally,said
Mamieis to please.

Her mother, do you mean?

Her mother first.

Strether waited. "And then?"

Well, 'then'--Mr. Newsome.

There was something really grand for him in the serenity of this
reference. "And last only Monsieur de Montbron?"

Last only--she good-humouredly kept it up.

Strether considered. "So that every one after all then will be
suited?"

She had one of her few hesitationsbut it was a question only of a
moment; and it was her nearest approach to being explicit with him
about what was between them. "I think I can speak for myself. I
shall be."

It said indeed so muchtold such a story of her being ready to
help himso committed to him that truthin shortfor such use as
he might make of it toward those ends of his own with which
patiently and trustfullyshe had nothing to do--it so fully
achieved all this that he appeared to himself simply to meet it in
its own spirit by the last frankness of admiration. Admiration was
of itself almost accusatorybut nothing less would serve to show
her how nearly he understood. He put out his hand for good-bye
with a "Splendidsplendidsplendid!" And he left herin her
splendourstill waiting for little Bilham.

Book Tenth

Strether occupied beside little Bilhamthree evenings after his
interview with Mamie Pocockthe same deep divan they had enjoyed
together on the first occasion of our friend's meeting Madame de
Vionnet and her daughter in the apartment of the Boulevard
Malesherbeswhere his position affirmed itself again as ministering
to an easy exchange of impressions. The present evening had a
different stamp; if the company was much more numerousso
inevitablywere the ideas set in motion. It was on the other
handhowevernow strongly marked that the talkers moved
in respect to such mattersround an innera protected circle.
They knew at any rate what really concerned them to-nightand
Strether had begun by keeping his companion close to it.
Only a few of Chad's guests had dined--that is fifteen or twenty


a few compared with the large concourse offered to sight by eleven
o'clock; but number and massquantity and qualitylight
fragrancesoundthe overflow of hospitality meeting the high tide
of responsehad all from the first pressed upon Strether's
consciousnessand he felt himself somehow part and parcel of the
most festive sceneas the term wasin which he had ever in his
life been engaged. He had perhaps seenon Fourths of July and on
dear old domestic Commencementsmore people assembledbut he had
never seen so many in proportion to the spaceor had at all events
never known so great a promiscuity to show so markedly as picked.
Numerous as was the companyit had still been made so by
selectionand what was above all rare for Strether was thatby no
fault of his ownhe was in the secret of the principle that had
worked. He hadn't enquiredhe had averted his headbut Chad had
put him a pair of questions that themselves smoothed the ground.
He hadn't answered the questionshe had replied that they were
the young man's own affair; and he had then seen perfectly that the
latter's direction was already settled.

Chad had applied for counsel only by way of intimating that he knew
what to do; and he had clearly never known it better than in now
presenting to his sister the whole circle of his society. This was
all in the sense and the spirit of the note struck by him on that
lady's arrival; he had taken at the station itself a line that led
him without a breakand that enabled him to lead the Pococks-though
dazed a littleno doubtbreathlessno doubtand
bewildered--to the uttermost end of the passage accepted by them
perforce as pleasant. He had made it for them violently pleasant
and mercilessly full; the upshot of which wasto Strether's
visionthat they had come all the way without discovering it to be
really no passage at all. It was a brave blind alleywhere to
pass was impossible and whereunless they stuck fastthey would
have--which was always awkward--publicly to back out. They were
touching bottom assuredly tonight; the whole scene represented the
terminus of the cul-de-sac. So could things go when there was a
hand to keep them consistent--a hand that pulled the wire with a
skill at which the elder man more and more marvelled. The elder
man felt responsiblebut he also felt successfulsince what had
taken place was simply the issue of his own contentionsix weeks
beforethat they properly should wait to see what their friends
would have really to say. He had determined Chad to waithe had
determined him to see; he was therefore not to quarrel with the
time given up to the business. As much as everaccordinglynow
that a fortnight had elapsedthe situation created for Sarahand
against which she had raised no protestwas that of her having
accommodated herself to her adventure as to a pleasure-party
surrendered perhaps even somewhat in excess to bustle and to
pace.If her brother had been at any point the least bit open to
criticism it might have been on the ground of his spicing the
draught too highly and pouring the cup too full. Frankly treating
the whole occasion of the presence of his relatives as an
opportunity for amusementhe left itno doubtbut scant margin
as an opportunity for anything else. He suggestedinvented
abounded--yet all the while with the loosest easiest rein.
Stretherduring his own weekshad gained a sense of knowing
Paris; but he saw it afreshand with fresh emotionin the form of
the knowledge offered to his colleague.

A thousand unuttered thoughts hummed for him in the air of these
observations; not the least frequent of which was that Sarah might
well of a truth not quite know whither she was drifting. She was
in no position not to appear to expect that Chad should treat her
handsomely; yet she struck our friend as privately stiffening a
little each time she missed the chance of marking the great nuance.


The great nuance was in brief that of course her brother must treat
her handsomely--she should like to see him not; but that treating
her handsomelynone the lesswasn't all in all--treating her
handsomely buttered no parsnips; and that in fine there were
moments when she felt the fixed eyes of their admirable absent
mother fairly screw into the flat of her back. Stretherwatching
after his habitand overscoring with thoughtpositively had
moments of his own in which he found himself sorry for her-occasions
on which she affected him as a person seated in a runaway
vehicle and turning over the question of a possible jump. WOULD
she jumpcould shewould THAT be a safe placed--this questionat
such instantssat for him in her lapse into pallorher tight
lipsher conscious eyes. It came back to the main point at issue:
would she beafter allto be squared? He believed on the whole
she would jump; yet his alternations on this subject were the more
especial stuff of his suspense. One thing remained well before
him--a conviction that was in fact to gain sharpness from the
impressions of this evening: that if she SHOULD gather in her
skirtsclose her eyes and quit the carriage while in motionhe
would promptly enough become aware. She would alight from her
headlong course more or less directly upon him; it would be
appointed to himunquestionablyto receive her entire weight.
Signs and portents of the experience thus in reserve for him had as
it happenedmultiplied even through the dazzle of Chad's party.
It was partly under the nervous consciousness of such a prospect
thatleaving almost every one in the two other roomsleaving
those of the guests already known to him as well as a mass of
brilliant strangers of both sexes and of several varieties of
speechhe had desired five quiet minutes with little Bilhamwhom
he always found soothing and even a little inspiringand to whom
he had actually moreover something distinct and important to say.

He had felt of old--for it already seemed long ago--rather
humiliated at discovering he could learn in talk with a personage
so much his junior the lesson of a certain moral ease; but he had
now got used to that--whether or no the mixture of the fact with
other humiliations had made it indistinctwhether or no directly
from little Bilham's examplethe example of his being contentedly
just the obscure and acute little Bilham he was. It worked so for
himStrether seemed to see; and our friend had at private hours a
wan smile over the fact that he himselfafter so many more years
was still in search of something that would work. Howeveras we
have saidit worked just now for them equally to have found a
corner a little apart. What particularly kept it apart was the
circumstance that the music in the salon was admirablewith two or
three such singers as it was a privilege to hear in private. Their
presence gave a distinction to Chad's entertainmentand the
interest of calculating their effect on Sarah was actually so sharp
as to be almost painful. Unmistakeablyin her single personthe
motive of the composition and dressed in a splendour of crimson
which affected Strether as the sound of a fall through a skylight
she would now be in the forefront of the listening circle and
committed by it up to her eyes. Those eyes during the wonderful
dinner itself he hadn't once met; having confessedly--perhaps a
little pusillanimously--arranged with Chad that he should be on the
same side of the table. But there was no use in having arrived now
with little Bilham at an unprecedented point of intimacy unless he
could pitch everything into the pot. "You who sat where you could
see herwhat does she make of it all? By which I mean on what
terms does she take it?"

Oh she takes it, I judge, as proving that the claim of his family
is more than ever justified


She isn't then pleased with what he has to show?

On the contrary; she's pleased with it as with his capacity to do
this kind of thing--more than she has been pleased with anything
for a long time. But she wants him to show it THERE. He has no
right to waste it on the likes of us.

Strether wondered. "She wants him to move the whole thing over?"

The whole thing--with an important exception. Everything he has
'picked up'--and the way he knows how. She sees no difficulty in
that. She'd run the show herself, and she'll make the handsome
concession that Woollett would be on the whole in some ways the
better for it. Not that it wouldn't be also in some ways the
better for Woollett. The people there are just as good.

Just as good as you and these others? Ah that may be. But such
an occasion as this, whether or no,Strether saidisn't the
people. It's what has made the people possible.

Well then,his friend repliedthere you are; I give you my
impression for what it's worth. Mrs. Pocock has SEEN, and that's
to-night how she sits there. If you were to have a glimpse of her
face you'd understand me. She has made up her mind--to the sound
of expensive music.

Strether took it freely in. "Ah then I shall have news of her."

I don't want to frighten you, but I think that likely. However,

little Bilham continuedif I'm of the least use to you to hold on
by--!

You're not of the least!--and Strether laid an appreciative hand
on him to say it. "No one's of the least." With whichto mark how
gaily he could take ithe patted his companion's knee. "I must
meet my fate aloneand I SHALL--oh you'll see! And yet he
pursued the next moment, you CAN help me too. You once said to
me"--he followed this further--"that you held Chad should marry.
I didn't see then so well as I know now that you meant he should
marry Miss Pocock. Do you still consider that he should? Because
if you do"--he kept it up--"I want you immediately to change your
mind. You can help me that way."

Help you by thinking he should NOT marry?

Not marry at all events Mamie.

And who then?

Ah,Strether returnedthat I'm not obliged to say. But Madame
de Vionnet--I suggest--when he can.'

Oh!" said little Bilham with some sharpness.

Oh precisely! But he needn't marry at all--I'm at any rate not
obliged to provide for it. Whereas in your case I rather feel that
I AM.

Little Bilham was amused. "Obliged to provide for my marrying?"

Yes--after all I've done to you!

The young man weighed it. "Have you done as much as that?"


Well,said Stretherthus challengedof course I must remember
what you've also done to ME. We may perhaps call it square. But
all the same,he went onI wish awfully you'd marry Mamie Pocock
yourself.


Little Bilham laughed out. "Why it was only the other nightin
this very placethat you were proposing to me a different union
altogether."


''Mademoiselle de Vionnet?" WellStrether easily confessed it.
That, I admit, was a vain image. THIS is practical politics.
I want to do something good for both of you--I wish you each so well;
and you can see in a moment the trouble it will save me to polish
you off by the same stroke. She likes you, you know. You console
her. And she's splendid.


Little Bilham stared as a delicate appetite stares at an overheaped
plate. "What do I console her for?"


It just made his friend impatient. "Oh comeyou knows"


And what proves for you that she likes me?


Why the fact that I found her three days ago stopping at home
alone all the golden afternoon on the mere chance that you'd come
to her, and hanging over her balcony on that of seeing your cab
drive up. I don't know what you want more.


Little Bilham after a moment found it. "Only just to know what
proves to you that I like HER."


Oh if what I've just mentioned isn't enough to make you do it,
you're a stony-hearted little fiend. Besides--Strether encouraged
his fancy's flight--"you showed your inclination in the way you
kept her waitingkept her on purpose to see if she cared enough
for you."


His companion paid his ingenuity the deference of a pause. "I didn't
keep her waiting. I came at the hour. I wouldn't have kept her
waiting for the world the young man honourably declared.


Better still--then there you are!" And Strethercharmedheld
him the faster. "Even if you didn't do her justicemoreover he
continued, I should insist on your immediately coming round to it.
I want awfully to have worked it. I want"--and our friend spoke
now with a yearning that was really earnest--"at least to have done
THAT."


To have married me off--without a penny?


Well, I shan't live long; and I give you my word, now and here,
that I'll leave you every penny of my own. I haven't many,
unfortunately, but you shall have them all. And Miss Pocock, I
think, has a few. I want,Strether went onto have been at
least to that extent constructive even expiatory. I've been
sacrificing so to strange gods that I feel I want to put on record,
somehow, my fidelity--fundamentally unchanged after all--to our
own. I feel as if my hands were embrued with the blood of
monstrous alien altars--of another faith altogether. There it is--
it's done.And then he further explained. "It took hold of me
because the idea of getting her quite out of the way for Chad
helps to clear my ground."



The young manat thisbounced aboutand it brought them face to
face in admitted amusement. "You want me to marry as a convenience
to Chad?"

No,Strether debated--"HE doesn't care whether you marry or not.
It's as a convenience simply to my own plan FOR him."

'Simply'!--and little Bilham's concurrence was in itself a lively
comment. "Thank you. But I thought he continued, you had
exactly NO plan 'for' him."

Well then call it my plan for myself--which may be well, as you
say, to have none. His situation, don't you see? is reduced now to
the bare facts one has to recognise. Mamie doesn't want him, and
he doesn't want Mamie: so much as that these days have made
clear. It's a thread we can wind up and tuck in.

But little Bilham still questioned. "YOU can--since you seem so
much to want to. But why should I?"

Poor Strether thought it overbut was obliged of course to admit
that his demonstration did superficially fail. "Seriouslythere
is no reason. It's my affair--I must do it alone. I've only my
fantastic need of making my dose stiff."

Little Bilham wondered. "What do you call your dose?"

Why what I have to swallow. I want my conditions unmitigated.

He had spoken in the tone of talk for talk's sakeand yet with an
obscure truth lurking in the loose folds; a circumstance presently
not without its effect on his young friend. Little Bilham's eyes
rested on him a moment with some intensity; then suddenlyas if
everything had cleared uphe gave a happy laugh. It seemed to say
that if pretendingor even tryingor still even hopingto be
able to care for Mamie would be of usehe was all there for the
job. "I'll do anything in the world for you!"

Well,Strether smiledanything in the world is all I want. I
don't know anything that pleased me in her more,he went onthan
the way that, on my finding her up there all alone, coming on her
unawares and feeling greatly for her being so out of it, she
knocked down my tall house of cards with her instant and cheerful
allusion to the next young man. It was somehow so the note I
needed--her staying at home to receive him.

It was Chad of course,said little Bilhamwho asked the next
young man--I like your name for me!--to call.

So I supposed--all of which, thank God, is in our innocent and
natural manners. But do you know,Strether askedif Chad
knows--?And then as this interlocutor seemed at a loss:
Why where she has come out.

Little Bilhamat thismet his face with a conscious look--it was
as ifmore than anything yetthe allusion had penetrated. "Do
you know yourself?"

Strether lightly shook his head. "There I stop. Ohodd as it may
appear to youthere ARE things I don't know. I only got the sense
from her of something very sharpand yet very deep downthat she
was keeping all to herself. That is I had begun with the belief
that she HAD kept it to herself; but face to face with her there
I soon made out that there was a person with whom she would have


shared it. I had thought she possibly might with ME--but I saw
then that I was only half in her confidence. Whenturning to me
to greet me--for she was on the balcony and I had come in without
her knowing it--she showed me she had been expecting YOU and was
proportionately disappointedI got hold of the tail of my
conviction. Half an hour later I was in possession of all the rest
of it. You know what has happened." He looked at his young friend
hard--then he felt sure. "For all you sayyou're up to your eyes.
So there you are."

Little Bilham after an instant pulled half round. "I assure you
she hasn't told me anything."

Of course she hasn't. For what do you suggest that I suppose her
to take you? But you've been with her every day, you've seen her
freely, you've liked her greatly--I stick to that--and you've made
your profit of it. You know what she has been through as well as
you know that she has dined here to-night--which must have put her,
by the way, through a good deal more.

The young man faced this blast; after which he pulled round the
rest of the way. "I haven't in the least said she hasn't been
nice to me. But she's proud."

And quite properly. But not too proud for that.

It's just her pride that has made her. Chad,little Bilham
loyally went onhas really been as kind to her as possible.
It's awkward for a man when a girl's in love with him.

Ah but she isn't--now.

Little Bilham sat staring before him; then he sprang up as if his
friend's penetrationrecurrent and insistentmade him really
after all too nervous. "No--she isn't now. It isn't in the
least he went on, Chad's fault. He's really all right. I mean
he would have been willing. But she came over with ideas. Those
she had got at home. They had been her motive and support in
joining her brother and his wife. She was to SAVE our friend."

Ah like me, poor thing?Strether also got to his feet.

Exactly--she had a bad moment. It was very soon distinct to her,
to pull her up, to let her down, that, alas, he was, he IS, saved.
There's nothing left for her to do.

Not even to love him?

She would have loved him better as she originally believed him.

Strether wondered "Of course one asks one's self what notion a
little girl formswhere a young man's in questionof such a
history and such a state."

Well, this little girl saw them, no doubt, as obscure, but she saw
them practically as wrong. The wrong for her WAS the obscure.
Chad turns out at any rate right and good and disconcerting, while
what she was all prepared for, primed and girded and wound up for,
was to deal with him as the general opposite.

Yet wasn't her whole point--Strether weighed it--"that he was to
bethat he COULD bemade betterredeemed?"

Little Bilham fixed it all a momentand then with a small


headshake that diffused a tenderness: "She's too late. Too late
for the miracle."

Yes--his companion saw enough. "Stillif the worst fault of his
condition is that it may be all there for her to profit by--?"

Oh she doesn't want to 'profit,' in that flat way. She doesn't
want to profit by another woman's work--she wants the miracle to
have been her own miracle. THAT'S what she's too late for.

Strether quite felt how it all fittedyet there seemed one loose
piece. "I'm bound to sayyou knowthat she strikes oneon these
linesas fastidious--what you call here difficile."

Little Bilham tossed up his chin. "Of course she's difficile--on
any lines! What else in the world ARE our Mamies--the realthe
right ones?"

I see, I see,our friend repeatedcharmed by the responsive
wisdom he had ended by so richly extracting. "Mamie is one of the
real and the right."

The very thing itself.

And what it comes to then,Strether went onis that poor awful
Chad is simply too good for her.

Ah too good was what he was after all to be; but it was she
herself, and she herself only, who was to have made him so.

It hung beautifully togetherbut with still a loose end. "Wouldn't
he do for her even if he should after all break--"

With his actual influence?Oh little Bilham had for this
enquiry the sharpest of all his controls. "How can he 'do'--on any
terms whatever--when he's flagrantly spoiled?"

Strether could only meet the question with his passivehis
receptive pleasure. "Wellthank goodnessYOU'RE not! You
remain for her to saveand I come backon so beautiful and full a
demonstrationto my contention of just now--that of your showing
distinct signs of her having already begun."

The most he could further say to himself--as his young friend turned
away--was that the charge encountered for the moment no renewed
denial. Little Bilhamtaking his course back to the musiconly
shook his good-natured ears an instantin the manner of a terrier
who has got wet; while Strether relapsed into the sense--which had
for him in these days most of comfort--that he was free to believe
in anything that from hour to hour kept him going. He had
positively motions and flutters of this conscious hour-to-hour
kindtemporary surrenders to ironyto fancyfrequent instinctive
snatches at the growing rose of observationconstantly stronger
for himas he feltin scent and colourand in which he could
bury his nose even to wantonness. This last resource was offered
himfor that matterin the very form of his next clear
perception--the vision of a prompt meetingin the doorway of the
roombetween little Bilham and brilliant Miss Barracewho was
entering as Bilham withdrew. She had apparently put him a
questionto which he had replied by turning to indicate his late
interlocutor; toward whomafter an interrogation further aided by
a resort to that optical machinery which seemedlike her other
ornamentscurious and archaicthe genial ladysuggesting more
than ever for her fellow guest the old French printthe historic


portraitdirected herself with an intention that Strether
instantly met. He knew in advance the first note she would sound
and took in as she approached all her need of sounding it. Nothing
yet had been so "wonderful" between them as the present occasion;
and it was her special sense of this quality in occasions that she
was thereas she was in most placesto feed. That sense had
already been so well fed by the situation about them that she had
quitted the other roomforsaken the musicdropped out of the
playabandonedin a wordthe stage itselfthat she might stand
a minute behind the scenes with Strether and so perhaps figure as
one of the famous augurs replyingbehind the oracleto the wink
of the other. Seated near him presently where little Bilham had
satshe replied in truth to many things; beginning as soon as he
had said to her--what he hoped he said without fatuity--"All you
ladies are extraordinarily kind to me."

She played her long handlewhich shifted her observation; she saw
in an instant all the absences that left them free. "How can we be
anything else? But isn't that exactly your plight? 'We ladies'-oh
we're niceand you must be having enough of us! As one of us
you knowI don't pretend I'm crazy about us. But Miss Gostrey at
least to-night has left you alonehasn't she?" With which she
again looked about as if Maria might still lurk.

Oh yes,said Strether; "she's only sitting up for me at home."
And then as this elicited from his companion her gay "Ohohoh!"
he explained that he meant sitting up in suspense and prayer. "We
thought it on the whole better she shouldn't be present; and
either way of course it's a terrible worry for her." He abounded in
the sense of his appeal to the ladiesand they might take their
choice of his doing so from humility or from pride. "Yet she
inclines to believe I shall come out."

Oh I incline to believe too you'll come out!--Miss Barracewith
her laughwas not to be behind. "Only the question's about WHERE
isn't it? However she happily continued, if it's anywhere at
all it must be very far onmustn't it? To do us justiceI
thinkyou know she laughed, we doamong us allwant you
rather far on. Yesyes she repeated in her quick droll way;
we want you veryVERY far on!" After which she wished to know
why he had thought it better Maria shouldn't be present.

Oh,he repliedit was really her own idea. I should have
wished it. But she dreads responsibility.

And isn't that a new thing for her?

To dread it? No doubt--no doubt. But her nerve has given way.

Miss Barrace looked at him a moment. "She has too much at stake."
Then less gravely: "Mineluckily for meholds out."

Luckily for me too--Strether came back to that. "My own isn't
so firmMY appetite for responsibility isn't so sharpas that I
haven't felt the very principle of this occasion to be 'the more
the merrier.' If we ARE so merry it's because Chad has understood
so well."

He has understood amazingly,said Miss Barrace.

It's wonderful--Strether anticipated for her.

It's wonderful!" sheto meet itintensified; so thatface to
face over itthey largely and recklessly laughed. But she


presently added: "Oh I see the principle. If one didn't one
would be lost. But when once one has got hold of it--"

It's as simple as twice two! From the moment he had to do
something--

A crowd--she took him straight up--"was the only thing? Rather
rather: a rumpus of sound she laughed, or nothing. Mrs.
Pocock's built inor built out--whichever you call it; she's
packed so tight she can't move. She's in splendid isolation"-Miss
Barrace embroidered the theme.

Strether followedbut scrupulous of justice. "Yet with every one
in the place successively introduced to her."

Wonderfully--but just so that it does build her out. She's
bricked up, she's buried alive!

Strether seemed for a moment to look at it; but it brought him to
a sigh. "Oh but she's not dead! It will take more than this to
kill her."

His companion had a pause that might have been for pity. "NoI
can't pretend I think she's finished--or that it's for more than
to-night." She remained pensive as if with the same compunction.
It's only up to her chin.Then again for the fun of it: "She
can breathe."

She can breathe!--he echoed it in the same spirit. "And do you
know he went on, what's really all this time happening to me?-through
the beauty of musicthe gaiety of voicesthe uproar in
short of our revel and the felicity of your wit? The sound of
Mrs. Pocock's respiration drowns for meI assure youevery other.
It's literally all I hear."

She focussed him with her clink of chains. "Well--!" she breathed
ever so kindly.

Well, what?

She IS free from her chin up,she mused; "and that WILL be enough
for her."

It will be enough for me!Strether ruefully laughed. "Waymarsh
has really he then asked, brought her to see you?"

Yes--but that's the worst of it. I could do you no good. And yet
I tried hard.

Strether wondered. "And how did you try?"

Why I didn't speak of you.

I see. That was better.

Then what would have been worse? For speaking or silent,she
lightly wailedI somehow 'compromise.' And it has never been any
one but you.

That shows--he was magnanimous--"that it's something not in you
but in one's self. It's MY fault."

She was silent a little. "Noit's Mr. Waymarsh's. It's the fault
of his having brought her."


Ah then,said Strether good-naturedlywhy DID he bring her?

He couldn't afford not to.

Oh you were a trophy--one of the spoils of conquest? But why in
that case, since you do 'compromise'--

Don't I compromise HIM as well? I do compromise him as well,
Miss Barrace smiled. "I compromise him as hard as I can. But for
Mr. Waymarsh it isn't fatal. It's--so far as his wonderful
relation with Mrs. Pocock is concerned--favourable." And thenas
he still seemed slightly at sea: "The man who had succeeded with
MEdon't you see? For her to get him from me was such an added
incentive."

Strether sawbut as if his path was still strewn with surprises.
It's 'from' you then that she has got him?

She was amused at his momentary muddle. "You can fancy my fight!
She believes in her triumph. I think it has been part of her joy.

Oh her joy!Strether sceptically murmured.

Well, she thinks she has had her own way. And what's to-night for
her but a kind of apotheosis? Her frock's really good.

Good enough to go to heaven in? For after a real apotheosis,
Strether went onthere's nothing BUT heaven. For Sarah there's
only to-morrow.

And you mean that she won't find to-morrow heavenly?

Well, I mean that I somehow feel to-night--on her behalf--too good
to be true. She has had her cake; that is she's in the act now of
having it, of swallowing the largest and sweetest piece. There
won't be another left for her. Certainly I haven't one. It can
only, at the best, be Chad.He continued to make it out as for
their common entertainment. "He may have oneas it were. up his
sleeve; yet it's borne in upon me that if he had--"

He wouldn't--she quite understood--"have taken all THIS trouble?
I dare say notandif I may be quite free and dreadfulI very
much hope he won't take any more. Of course I won't pretend now
she added, not to know what it's a question of."

Oh every one must know now,poor Strether thoughtfully admitted;
and it's strange enough and funny enough that one should feel
everybody here at this very moment to be knowing and watching and
waiting.

Yes--isn't it indeed funny?Miss Barrace quite rose to it.
That's the way we ARE in Paris.She was always pleased with a new
contribution to that queerness. "It's wonderful! Butyou know
she declared, it all depends on you. I don't want to turn the
knife in your vitalsbut that's naturally what you just now meant
by our all being on top of you. We know you as the hero of the
dramaand we're gathered to see what you'll do."

Strether looked at her a moment with a light perhaps slightly
obscured. "I think that must be why the hero has taken refuge in
this corner. He's scared at his heroism--he shrinks from his
part."


Ah but we nevertheless believe he'll play it. That's why,
Miss Barrace kindly went onwe take such an interest in you.
We feel you'll come up to the scratch.And then as he seemed
perhaps not quite to take fire: "Don't let him do it."

Don't let Chad go?

Yes, keep hold of him. With all this--and she indicated the
general tribute--"he has done enough. We love him here-he's
charming."

It's beautiful,said Stretherthe way you all can simplify
when you will.

But she gave it to him back. "It's nothing to the way you will
when you must."

He winced at it as at the very voice of prophecyand it kept him
a moment quiet. He detained herhoweveron her appearing about
to leave him alone in the rather cold clearance their talk had
made. "There positively isn't a sign of a hero to-night; the
hero's dodging and shirkingthe hero's ashamed. Thereforeyou
knowI thinkwhat you must all REALLY be occupied with is the
heroine."

Miss Barrace took a minute. "The heroine?"

The heroine. I've treated her,said Strethernot a bit like a
hero. Oh,he sighedI don't do it well!

She eased him off. "You do it as you can." And then after another
hesitation: "I think she's satisfied."

But he remained compunctious. "I haven't been near her. I haven't
looked at her."

Ah then you've lost a good deal!

He showed he knew it. "She's more wonderful than ever?"

Than ever. With Mr. Pocock.

Strether wondered. "Madame de Vionnet--with Jim?"

Madame de Vionnet--with 'Jim.' Miss Barrace was historic.

And what's she doing with him?

Ah you must ask HIM!

Strether's face lighted again at the prospect. "It WILL be amusing
to do so." Yet he continued to wonder. "But she must have some
idea."

Of course she has--she has twenty ideas. She has in the first
place,said Miss Barraceswinging a little her tortoise-shell
that of doing her part. Her part is to help YOU.

It came out as nothing had come yet; links were missing and
connexions unnamedbut it was suddenly as if they were at the
heart of their subject. "Yes; how much more she does it Strether
gravely reflected, than I help HER!" It all came over him as with
the near presence of the beautythe gracethe intense
dissimulated spirit with which he hadas he saidbeen putting off


contact. "SHE has courage."

Ah she has courage!Miss Barrace quite agreed; and it was as if
for a moment they saw the quantity in each other's face.

But indeed the whole thing was present. "How much she must care!"

Ah there it is. She does care. But it isn't, is it,Miss
Barrace considerately addedas if you had ever had any doubt of
that?

Strether seemed suddenly to like to feel that he really never had.
Why of course it's the whole point.

Voila!Miss Barrace smiled.

It's why one came out,Strether went on. "And it's why one has
stayed so long. And it's also"--he abounded--"why one's going
home. It's whyit's why--"

It's why everything!she concurred. "It's why she might be
to-night--for all she looks and showsand for all your friend 'Jim'
does--about twenty years old. That's another of her ideas; to be
for himand to be quite easily and charminglyas young as a
little girl."

Strether assisted at his distance. "'For him'? For Chad--?"

For Chad, in a manner, naturally, always. But in particular
to-night for Mr. Pocock.And then as her friend still stared:
Yes, it IS of a bravery But that's what she has: her high sense
of duty.It was more than sufficiently before them. "When Mr.
Newsome has his hands so embarrassed with his sister--"

It's quite the least--Strether filled it out--"that she should
take his sister's husband? Certainly--quite the least. So she has
taken him."

She has taken him.It was all Miss Barrace had meant.

Still it remained enough. "It must be funny."

Oh it IS funny.That of course essentially went with it.

But it brought them back. "How indeed then she must cared In
answer to which Strether's entertainer dropped a comprehensive
Ah!expressive perhaps of some impatience for the time he took to
get used to it. She herself had got used to it long before.

When one morning within the week he perceived the whole thing to be
really at last upon him Strether's immediate feeling was all
relief. He had known this morning that something was about to
happen--known itin a momentby Waymarsh's manner when Waymarsh
appeared before him during his brief consumption of coffee and a
roll in the small slippery salle-a-manger so associated with rich
rumination. Strether had taken there of late various lonely and
absent-minded meals; he communed thereeven at the end of June
with a suspected chillthe air of old shivers mixed with old
savoursthe air in which so many of his impressions had perversely


matured; the place meanwhile renewing its message to him by the
very circumstance of his single state. He now sat therefor the
most partto sigh softlywhile he vaguely tilted his carafeover
the vision of how much better Waymarsh was occupied. That was
really his success by the common measure--to have led this
companion so on and on. He remembered how at first there had been
scarce a squatting-place he could beguile him into passing;
the actual outcome of which at last was that there was scarce one
that could arrest him in his rush. His rush--as Strether vividly and
amusedly figured it--continued to be all with Sarahand contained
perhaps moreover the word of the whole enigmawhipping up in its
fine full-flavoured froth the very principlefor good or for ill
of his ownof Strether's destiny. It might after allto the end
only be that they had united to save himand indeedso far as
Waymarsh was concernedthat HAD to be the spring of action.
Strether was glad at all eventsin connexion with the casethat
the saving he required was not more scant; so constituted a luxury
was it in certain lights just to lurk there out of the full glare.
He had moments of quite seriously wondering whether Waymarsh wouldn't
in factthanks to old friendship and a conceivable indulgence
make about as good terms for him as he might make for himself.
They wouldn't be the same terms of course; but they might have the
advantage that he himself probably should be able to make none at
all.

He was never in the morning very latebut Waymarsh had already
been outandafter a peep into the dim refectoryhe presented
himself with much less than usual of his large looseness. He had
made surethrough the expanse of glass exposed to the courtthat
they would be alone; and there was now in fact that about him that
pretty well took up the room. He was dressed in the garments of
summer; and save that his white waistcoat was redundant and bulging
these things favouredthey determinedhis expression. He wore a
straw hat such as his friend hadn't yet seen in Parisand he
showed a buttonhole freshly adorned with a magnificent rose.
Strether read on the instant his story--howastir for the previous
hourthe sprinkled newness of the dayso pleasant at that season
in Parishe was fairly panting with the pulse of adventure and had
been with Mrs. Pocockunmistakeablyto the Marche aux Fleurs.
Strether really knew in this vision of him a joy that was akin to
envy; so reversed as he stood there did their old positions seem;
so comparatively doleful now showedby the sharp turn of the
wheelthe posture of the pilgrim from Woollett. He wonderedthis
pilgrimif he had originally looked to Waymarsh so brave and well
so remarkably launchedas it was at present the latter's privilege
to appear. He recalled that his friend had remarked to him even at
Chester that his aspect belied his plea of prostration; but there
certainly couldn't have beenfor an issuean aspect less
concerned than Waymarsh's with the menace of decay. Strether had
at any rate never resembled a Southern planter of the great days-which
was the image picturesquely suggested by the happy relation
between the fuliginous face and the wide panama of his visitor.
This typeit further amused him to guesshad beenon Waymarsh's
partthe object of Sarah's care; he was convinced that her taste
had not been a stranger to the conception and purchase of the hat
any more than her fine fingers had been guiltless of the bestowal
of the rose. It came to him in the current of thoughtas things
so oddly did comethat HE had never risen with the lark to attend
a brilliant woman to the Marche aux Fleurs; this could be fastened
on him in connexion neither with Miss Gostrey nor with Madame de
Vionnet; the practice of getting up early for adventures could
indeed in no manner be fastened on him. It came to him in fact
that just here was his usual case: he was for ever missing things
through his general genius for missing themwhile others were for


ever picking them up through a contrary bent. And it was others
who looked abstemious and he who looked greedy; it was he somehow
who finally paidand it was others who mainly partook. Yeshe
should go to the scaffold yet for he wouldn't know quite whom. He
almostfor that matterfelt on the scaffold now and really quite
enjoying it. It worked out as BECAUSE he was anxious there--it
worked out as for this reason that Waymarsh was so blooming. It
was HIS trip for healthfor a changethat proved the success-which
was just what Stretherplanning and exerting himselfhad
desired it should be. That truth already sat full-blown on his
companion's lips; benevolence breathed from them as with the warmth
of active exerciseand also a little as with the bustle of haste.

Mrs. Pocock, whom I left a quarter of an hour ago at her hotel,
has asked me to mention to you that she would like to find you at
home here in about another hour. She wants to see you; she has
something to say--or considers, I believe, that you may have: so
that I asked her myself why she shouldn't come right round. She
hasn't BEEN round yet--to see our place; and I took upon myself to
say that I was sure you'd be glad to have her. The thing's
therefore, you see, to keep right here till she comes.

The announcement was sociablyeven thoughafter Waymarsh's wont
somewhat solemnly made; but Strether quickly felt other things in
it than these light features. It was the first approachfrom that
quarterto admitted consciousness; it quickened his pulse; it
simply meant at last that he should have but himself to thank if he
didn't know where he was. He had finished his breakfast; he
pushed it away and was on his feet. There were plenty of elements
of surprisebut only one of doubt. "The thing's for YOU to keep
here too?" Waymarsh had been slightly ambiguous.

He wasn't ambiguoushoweverafter this enquiry; and Strether's
understanding had probably never before opened so wide and
effective a mouth as it was to open during the next five minutes.
It was no part of his friend's wishas appearedto help to
receive Mrs. Pocock; he quite understood the spirit in which she
was to present herselfbut his connexion with her visit was
limited to his having--wellas he might say--perhaps a little
promoted it. He had thoughtand had let her know itthat
Strether possibly would think she might have been round before. At
any rateas turned outshe had been wanting herselfquite a
whileto come. "I told her said Waymarsh, that it would have
been a bright idea if she had only carried it out before."

Strether pronounced it so bright as to be almost dazzling. "But
why HASn't she carried it out before? She has seen me every day-she
had only to name her hour. I've been waiting and waiting."

Well, I told her you had. And she has been waiting too.It was
in the oddest way in the worldon the showing of this tonea
genial new pressing coaxing Waymarsh; a Waymarsh conscious with a
different consciousness from any he had yet betrayedand actually
rendered by it almost insinuating. He lacked only time for full
persuasionand Strether was to see in a moment why. Meantime
howeverour friend perceivedhe was announcing a step of some
magnanimity on Mrs. Pocock's partso that he could deprecate a
sharp question. It was his own high purpose in fact to have
smoothed sharp questions to rest. He looked his old comrade very
straight in the eyesand he had never conveyed to him in so mute a
manner so much kind confidence and so much good advice. Everything
that was between them was again in his facebut matured and
shelved and finally disposed of. "At any rate he added, she's
coming now."


Considering how many pieces had to fit themselvesit all fellin
Strether's braininto a close rapid order. He saw on the spot
what had happenedand what probably would yet; and it was all
funny enough. It was perhaps just this freedom of appreciation
that wound him up to his flare of high spirits. "What is she
coming FOR?--to kill me?"

She's coming to be very VERY kind to you, and you must let me say
that I greatly hope you'll not be less so to herself.

This was spoken by Waymarsh with much gravity of admonitionand as
Strether stood there he knew he had but to make a movement to take
the attitude of a man gracefully receiving a present. The present
was that of the opportunity dear old Waymarsh had flattered himself
he had divined in him the slight soreness of not having yet
thoroughly enjoyed; so he had brought it to him thusas on a
little silver breakfast-trayfamiliarly though delicately--without
oppressive pomp; and he was to bend and smile and acknowledgewas
to take and use and be grateful. He was not--that was the beauty
of it--to be asked to deflect too much from his dignity. No wonder
the old boy bloomed in this bland air of his own distillation.
Strether felt for a moment as if Sarah were actually walking up and
down outside. Wasn't she hanging about the porte-cochere while
her friend thus summarily opened a way? Strether would meet her
but to take itand everything would be for the best in the best of
possible worlds. He had never so much known what any one meant as
in the light of this demonstrationhe knew what Mrs. Newsome did.
It had reached Waymarsh from Sarahbut it had reached Sarah from
her motherand there was no break in the chain by which it reached
HIM. "Has anything particular happened he asked after a minute-
so suddenly to determine her? Has she heard anything unexpected
from home?"

Waymarshon thisit seemed to himlooked at him harder than
ever. "'Unexpected'?" He had a brief hesitation; thenhowever
he was firm. "We're leaving Paris."

Leaving? That IS sudden.

Waymarsh showed a different opinion. "Less so than it may seem.
The purpose of Mrs. Pocock's visit is to explain to you in fact
that it's NOT."

Strether didn't at all know if he had really an advantage-anything
that would practically count as one; but he enjoyed for
the moment--as for the first time in his life--the sense of so
carrying it off. He wondered--it was amusing--if he felt as the
impudent feel. "I shall take great pleasureI assure youin any
explanation. I shall be delighted to receive Sarah."

The sombre glow just darkened in his comrade's eyes; but he was
struck with the way it died out again. It was too mixed with
another consciousness--it was too smotheredas might be saidin
flowers. He really for the time regretted it--poor dear old sombre
glow! Something straight and simplesomething heavy and emptyhad
been eclipsed in its company; something by which he had best known
his friend. Waymarsh wouldn't BE his friendsomehowwithout the
occasional ornament of the sacred rageand the right to the sacred
rage--inestimably precious for Strether's charity--he also seemed
in a mannerand at Mrs. Pocock's elbowto have forfeited.
Strether remembered the occasion early in their stay when on that
very spot he had come out with his earnesthis ominous "Quit it!"-and
so rememberingfelt it hang by a hair that he didn't


himself now utter the same note. Waymarsh was having a good time-this
was the truth that was embarrassing for himand he was having
it then and therehe was having it in Europehe was having it
under the very protection of circumstances of which he didn't in
the least approve; all of which placed him in a false position
with no issue possible--none at least by the grand manner. It was
practically in the manner of any one--it was all but in poor
Strether's own--that instead of taking anything up he merely made
the most of having to be himself explanatory. "I'm not leaving for
the United States direct. Mr. and Mrs. Pocock and Miss Mamie are
thinking of a little trip before their own returnand we've been
talking for some days past of our joining forces. We've settled it
that we do join and that we sail together the end of next month.
But we start to-morrow for Switzerland. Mrs. Pocock wants some
scenery. She hasn't had much yet."

He was brave in his way tookeeping nothing backconfessing all
there wasand only leaving Strether to make certain connexions.
Is what Mrs. Newsome had cabled her daughter an injunction to
break off short?

The grand manner indeed at this just raised its head a little.
I know nothing about Mrs. Newsome's cables.

Their eyes met on it with some intensity--during the few seconds of
which something happened quite out of proportion to the time.
It happened that Stretherlooking thus at his frienddidn't take
his answer for truth--and that something more again occurred in
consequence of THAT. Yes--Waymarsh just DID know about
Mrs. Newsome's cables: to what other end than that had they dined
together at Bignon's? Strether almost felt for the instant that it
was to Mrs. Newsome herself the dinner had been given; andfor
that matterquite felt how she must have known about it andas he
might thinkprotected and consecrated it. He had a quick blurred
view of daily cablesquestionsanswerssignals: clear enough
was his vision of the expense thatwhen so wound upthe lady at
home was prepared to incur. Vivid not less was his memory of what
during his long observation of hersome of her attainments of that
high pitch had cost her. Distinctly she was at the highest now
and Waymarshwho imagined himself an independent performerwas
reallyforcing his fine old natural voicean overstrained
accompanist. The whole reference of his errand seemed to mark her
for Strether as by this time consentingly familiar to himand
nothing yet had so despoiled her of a special shade of
consideration. "You don't know he asked, whether Sarah has been
directed from home to try me on the matter of my also going to
Switzerland?"

I know,said Waymarsh as manfully as possiblenothing whatever
about her private affairs; though I believe her to be acting in
conformity with things that have my highest respect.It was as
manful as possiblebut it was still the false note--as it had to
be to convey so sorry a statement. He knew everythingStrether
more and more feltthat he thus disclaimedand his little
punishment was just in this doom to a second fib. What falser
position--given the man--could the most vindictive mind impose?
He ended by squeezing through a passage in which three months before
he would certainly have stuck fast. "Mrs Pocock will probably be
ready herself to answer any enquiry you may put to her. But
he continued, BUT--!" He faltered on it.

But what? Don't put her too many?

Waymarsh looked largebut the harm was done; he couldn'tdo what


he wouldhelp looking rosy. "Don't do anything you'll be sorry for."

It was an attenuationStrether guessedof something else that had
been on his lips; it was a sudden drop to directnessand was
thereby the voice of sincerity. He had fallen to the supplicating
noteand that immediatelyfor our friendmade a difference and
reinstated him. They were in communication as they had beenthat
first morningin Sarah's salon and in her presence and Madame de
Vionnet's; and the same recognition of a great good will was again
after allpossible. Only the amount of response Waymarsh had then
taken for granted was doubleddecupled now. This came out when he
presently said: "Of course I needn't assure you I hope you'll
come with us." Then it was that his implications and expectations
loomed up for Strether as almost pathetically gross.

The latter patted his shoulder while he thanked himgiving the
go-by to the question of joining the Pococks; he expressed the joy he
felt at seeing him go forth again so brave and freeand he in fact
almost took leave of him on the spot. "I shall see you again of
course before you go; but I'm meanwhile much obliged to you for
arranging so conveniently for what you've told me. I shall walk up
and down in the court there--dear little old court which we've each
bepaced sothis last couple of monthsto the tune of our flights
and our dropsour hesitations and our plunges: I shall hang about
thereall impatience and excitementplease let Sarah knowtill
she graciously presents herself. Leave me with her without fear
he laughed; I assure you I shan't hurt her. I don't think either
she'll hurt ME: I'm in a situation in which damage was some time
ago discounted. BesidesTHAT isn't what worries you--but don't
don't explain! We're all right as we are: which was the degree of
success our adventure was pledged to for each of us. We weren't
it seemedall right as we were before; and we've got over the
groundall things consideredquickly. I hope you'll have a
lovely time in the Alps."

Waymarsh fairly looked up at him as from the foot of them. "I
don't know as I OUGHT really to go."

It was the conscience of Milrose in the very voice of Milrosebut
oh it was feeble and flat! Strether suddenly felt quite ashamed for
him; he breathed a greater boldness. "LET yourselfon the
contrarygo--in all agreeable directions. These are precious
hours--at our age they mayn't recur. Don't have it to say to
yourself at Milrosenext winterthat you hadn't courage for
them." And then as his comrade queerly stared: "Live up to Mrs.
Pocock."

Live up to her?

You're a great help to her.

Waymarsh looked at it as at one of the uncomfortable things that
were certainly true and that it was yet ironical to say. "It's
more then than you are."

That's exactly your own chance and advantage. Besides,said
StretherI do in my way contribute. I know what I'm about.

Waymarsh had kept on his great panamaandas he now stood nearer
the doorhis last look beneath the shade of it had turned again to
darkness and warning. "So do I! See hereStrether."

I know what you're going to say. 'Quit this'?


Quit this!But it lacked its old intensity; nothing of it
remained; it went out of the room with him.

Almost the first thingstrangely enoughthatabout an hour
laterStrether found himself doing in Sarah's presence was to
remark articulately on this failurein their friendof what had
been superficially his great distinction. It was as if--he alluded
of course to the grand manner--the dear man had sacrificed it to
some other advantage; which would be of course only for himself to
measure. It might be simply that he was physically so much more
sound than on his first coming out; this was all prosaic
comparatively cheerful and vulgar. And fortunatelyif one came to
thathis improvement in health was really itself grander than any
manner it could be conceived as having cost him. "You yourself
alonedear Sarah"--Strether took the plunge--"have done himit
strikes mein these three weeksas much good as all the rest of
his time together."

It was a plunge because somehow the range of reference wasin the
conditionsfunny,and made funnier still by Sarah's attitudeby
the turn the occasion hadwith her appearanceso sensibly taken.
Her appearance was really indeed funnier than anything else--the
spirit in which he felt her to be there as soon as she was there
the shade of obscurity that cleared up for him as soon as he was
seated with her in the small salon de lecture that hadfor the
most partin all the weekswitnessed the wane of his early
vivacity of discussion with Waymarsh. It was an immense thing
quite a tremendous thingfor her to have come: this truth opened
out to him in spite of his having already arrived for himself at a
fairly vivid view of it. He had done exactly what he had given
Waymarsh his word for--had walked and re-walked the court while he
awaited her advent; acquiring in this exercise an amount of light
that affected him at the time as flooding the scene. She had
decided upon the step in order to give him the benefit of a doubt
in order to be able to say to her mother that she hadeven to
abjectnesssmoothed the way for him. The doubt had been as to
whether he mightn't take her as not having smoothed it--and the
admonition had possibly come from Waymarsh's more detached spirit.
Waymarsh had at any ratecertainlythrown his weight into the
scale--he had pointed to the importance of depriving their friend
of a grievance. She had done justice to the pleaand it was to
set herself right with a high ideal that she actually sat there in
her state. Her calculation was sharp in the immobility with which
she held her tall parasol-stick upright and at arm's lengthquite
as if she had struck the place to plant her flag; in the separate
precautions she took not to show as nervous; in the aggressive
repose in which she did quite nothing but wait for him. Doubt
ceased to be possible from the moment he had taken in that she had
arrived with no proposal whatever; that her concern was simply to
show what she had come to receive. She had come to receive his
submissionand Waymarsh was to have made it plain to him that she
would expect nothing less. He saw fifty thingsher hostat this
convenient stage; but one of those he most saw was that their
anxious friend hadn't quite had the hand required of him.
Waymarsh HADhoweveruttered the request that she might find him
mildand while hanging about the court before her arrival he had
turned over with zeal the different ways in which he could be so.
The difficulty was that if he was mild he wasn'tfor her purpose
conscious. If she wished him conscious--as everything about her


cried aloud that she did--she must accordingly be at costs to make
him so. Conscious he wasfor himself--but only of too many
things; so she must choose the one she required.

Practicallyhoweverit at last got itself namedand when once
that had happened they were quite at the centre of their situation.
One thing had really done as well as another; when Strether had
spoken of Waymarsh's leaving himand that had necessarily brought
on a reference to Mrs. Pocock's similar intentionthe jump was but
short to supreme lucidity. Light became indeed after that so
intense that Strether would doubtless have but half made outin
the prodigious glareby which of the two the issue had been in
fact precipitated. It wasin their contracted quartersas much
there between them as if it had been something suddenly spilled
with a crash and a splash on the floor. The form of his submission
was to be an engagement to acquit himself within the twenty-four
hours. "He'll go in a moment if you give him the word--he assures
me on his honour he'll do that": this came in its orderout of
its orderin respect to Chadafter the crash had occurred. It
came repeatedly during the time taken by Strether to feel that he
was even more fixed in his rigour than he had supposed--the time he
was not above adding to a little by telling her that such a way of
putting it on her brother's part left him sufficiently surprised.
She wasn't at all funny at last--she was really fine; and he felt
easily where she was strong--strong for herself. It hadn't yet so
come home to him that she was nobly and appointedly officious.
She was acting in interests grander and clearer than that of her
poor little personalpoor little Parisian equilibriumand all his
consciousness of her mother's moral pressure profited by this proof
of its sustaining force. She would be held up; she would be
strengthened; he needn't in the least be anxious for her.
What would once more have been distinct to him had he tried to
make it so was thatas Mrs. Newsome was essentially all moral pressure
the presence of this element was almost identical with her own presence.
It wasn't perhaps that he felt he was dealing with her straight
but it was certainly as if she had been dealing straight with HIM.
She was reaching him somehow by the lengthened arm of the spirit
and he was having to that extent to take her into account;
but he wasn't reaching her in turnnot making her take HIM;
he was only reaching Sarahwho appeared to take so little of him.
Something has clearly passed between you and Chad,he presently said
that I think I ought to know something more about. Does he put it all,
he smiledon me?

Did you come out,she askedto put it all on HIM?

But he replied to this no further thanafter an instantby
saying: "Oh it's all right. Chad I mean's all right in having
said to you--well anything he may have said. I'll TAKE it all-what
he does put on me. Only I must see him before I see you
again."

She hesitatedbut she brought it out. "Is it absolutely necessary
you should see me again?"

Certainly, if I'm to give you any definite word about anything.

Is it your idea then,she returnedthat I shall keep on meeting
you only to be exposed to fresh humiliation?

He fixed her a longer time. "Are your instructions from
Mrs. Newsome that you shalleven at the worstabsolutely and
irretrievably break with me?"


My instructions from Mrs. Newsome are, if you please, my affair.
You know perfectly what your own were, and you can judge for
yourself of what it can do for you to have made what you have of
them. You can perfectly see, at any rate, I'll go so far as to
say, that if I wish not to expose myself I must wish still less to
expose HER.She had already said more than she had quite
expected; butthough she had also pulled upthe colour in her
face showed him he should from one moment to the other have it all.
He now indeed felt the high importance of his having it. "What is
your conduct she broke out as if to explain--what is your
conduct but an outrage to women like US? I mean your acting as if
there can be a doubt--as between us and such another--of his duty?"

He thought a moment. It was rather much to deal with at once; not
only the question itselfbut the sore abysses it revealed.
Of course they're totally different kinds of duty.

And do you pretend that he has any at all--to such another?

Do you mean to Madame de Vionnet?He uttered the name not to
affront herbut yet again to gain time--time that he needed for
taking in something still other and larger than her demand of a
moment before. It wasn't at once that he could see all that was
in her actual challenge; but when he did he found himself just
checking a low vague sounda sound which was perhaps the nearest
approach his vocal chords had ever known to a growl. Everything
Mrs. Pocock had failed to give a sign of recognising in Chad as a
particular part of a transformation--everything that had lent
intention to this particular failure--affected him as gathered into
a large loose bundle and thrownin her wordsinto his face. The
missile made him to that extent catch his breath; which however he
presently recovered. "Why when a woman's at once so charming and
so beneficent--"

You can sacrifice mothers and sisters to her without a blush and
can make them cross the ocean on purpose to feel the more and take
from you the straighter, HOW you do it?

Yesshe had taken him up as short and as sharply as thatbut he
tried not to flounder in her grasp. "I don't think there's
anything I've done in any such calculated way as you describe.
Everything has come as a sort of indistinguishable part of
everything else. Your coming out belonged closely to my having
come before youand my having come was a result of our general
state of mind. Our general state of mind had proceededon its
sidefrom our queer ignoranceour queer misconceptions and
confusions--from whichsince thenan inexorable tide of light
seems to have floated us into our perhaps still queerer knowledge.
Don't you LIKE your brother as he is he went on, and haven't
you given your mother an intelligible account of all that that
comes to?"

It put to her alsodoubtlesshis own tonetoo many thingsthis
at least would have been the case hadn't his final challenge
directly helped her. Everythingat the stage they had reached
directly helped herbecause everything betrayed in him such a
basis of intention. He saw--the odd way things came out!--that he
would have been held less monstrous had he only been a little
wilder. What exposed him was just his poor old trick of quiet
inwardnesswhat exposed him was his THINKING such offence. He hadn't
in the least however the desire to irritate that Sarah imputed to him
and he could only at last temporisefor the momentwith her
indignant view. She was altogether more inflamed than he had
expectedand he would probably understand this better when he


should learn what had occurred for her with Chad. Till then her
view of his particular blacknessher clear surprise at his not
clutching the pole she held outmust pass as extravagant. "I
leave you to flatter yourself she returned, that what you speak
of is what YOU'VE beautifully done. When a thing has been already
described in such a lovely way--!" But she caught herself upand
her comment on his description rang out sufficiently loud. "Do you
consider her even an apology for a decent woman?"

Ah there it was at last! She put the matter more crudely thanfor
his own mixed purposeshe had yet had to do; but essentially it
was all one matter. It was so much--so much; and she treated it
poor ladyas so little. He grew consciousas he was now apt to
doof a strange smileand the next moment he found himself
talking like Miss Barrace. "She has struck me from the first as
wonderful. I've been thinking too moreover thatafter allshe
would probably have represented even for yourself something rather
new and rather good."

He was to have given Mrs. Pocock with thishoweverbut her best
opportunity for a sound of derision. "Rather new? I hope so with
all my heart!"

I mean,he explainedthat she might have affected you by her
exquisite amiability--a real revelation, it has seemed to myself;
her high rarity, her distinction of every sort.

He had beenwith these wordsconsciously a little "precious"; but
he had had to be--he couldn't give her the truth of the case
without them; and it seemed to him moreover now that he didn't
care. He had at all events not served his causefor she sprang at
its exposed side. "A 'revelation'--to ME: I've come to such a
woman for a revelation? You talk to me about 'distinction'-YOU
you who've had your privilege?--when the most distinguished woman
we shall either of us have seen in this world sits there insulted
in her lonelinessby your incredible comparison!"

Strether forborewith an effortfrom straying; but he looked all
about him. "Does your mother herself make the point that she
sits insulted?"

Sarah's answer came so straightso "pat as might have been said,
that he felt on the instant its origin. She has confided to my
judgement and my tenderness the expression of her personal sense of
everythingand the assertion of her personal dignity."

They were the very words of the lady of Woollett--he would have
known them in a thousand; her parting charge to her child. Mrs.
Pocock accordingly spoke to this extent by bookand the fact
immensely moved him. "If she does really feel as you say it's of
course very very dreadful. I've given sufficient proofone would
have thought he added, of my deep admiration for Mrs. Newsome."

And pray what proof would one have thought you'd CALL sufficient?
That of thinking this person here so far superior to her?

He wondered again; he waited. "Ah dear Sarahyou must LEAVE me
this person here!"

In his desire to avoid all vulgar retortsto show howeven
perverselyhe clung to his rag of reasonhe had softly almost
wailed this plea. Yet he knew it to be perhaps the most positive
declaration he had ever made in his lifeand his visitor's
reception of it virtually gave it that importance. "That's exactly


what I'm delighted to do. God knows WE don't want her! You take
good care not to meet she observed in a still higher key,
my question about their life. If you do consider it a thing
one can even SPEAK ofI congratulate you on your taste!"

The life she alluded to was of course Chad's and Madame de Vionnet's
which she thus bracketed together in a way that made him wince
a little; there being nothing for him but to take home her
full intention. It was none the less his inconsequence that while
he had himself been enjoying for weeks the view of the brilliant
woman's specific actionhe just suffered from any characterisation
of it by other lips. "I think tremendously well of herat the
same time that I seem to feel her 'life' to be really none of my
business. It's my businessthat isonly so far as Chad's own
life is affected by it; and what has happeneddon't you see? is
that Chad's has been affected so beautifully. The proof of the
pudding's in the eating"--he triedwith no great successto help
it out with a touch of pleasantrywhile she let him go on as if to
sink and sink. He went on however well enoughas well as he could
do without fresh counsel; he indeed shouldn't stand quite firmhe
felttill he should have re-established his communications with
Chad. Stillhe could always speak for the woman he had so
definitely promised to "save." This wasn't quite for her the air
of salvation; but as that chill fairly deepened what did it become
but a reminder that one might at the worst perish WITH her? And it
was simple enough--it was rudimentary: notnot to give her away.
I find in her more merits than you would probably have patience
with my counting over. And do you know,he enquiredthe effect
you produce on me by alluding to her in such terms? It's as if you
had some motive in not recognising all she has done for your
brother, and so shut your eyes to each side of the matter, in
order, whichever side comes up, to get rid of the other. I don't,
you must allow me to say, see how you can with any pretence to
candour get rid of the side nearest you.

Near me--THAT sort of thing?And Sarah gave a jerk back of her
head that well might have nullified any active proximity.

It kept her friend himself at his distanceand he respected for a
moment the interval. Then with a last persuasive effort he bridged
it. "You don'ton your honourappreciate Chad's fortunate
development?"

Fortunate?she echoed again. And indeed she was prepared.
I call it hideous.

Her departure had been for some minutes marked as imminentand she
was already at the door that stood open to the courtfrom the
threshold of which she delivered herself of this judgement. It
rang out so loud as to produce for the time the hush of everything
else. Strether quiteas an effect of itbreathed less bravely;
he could acknowledge itbut simply enough. "Oh if you think THAT--!"

Then all's at an end? So much the better. I do think that!She
passed out as she spoke and took her way straight across the court
beyond whichseparated from them by the deep arch of the
porte-cochere the low victoria that had conveyed her from her own hotel
was drawn up. She made for it with decisionand the manner of her
breakthe sharp shaft of her rejoinderhad an intensity by which
Strether was at first kept in arrest. She had let fly at him as
from a stretched cordand it took him a minute to recover from the
sense of being pierced. It was not the penetration of surprise;
it was thatmuch moreof certainty; his case being put for him as
he had as yet only put it to himself. She was away at any rate;


she had distanced him--with rather a grand springan effect of pride
and easeafter all; she had got into her carriage before he could
overtake herand the vehicle was already in motion. He stopped
halfway; he stood there in the court only seeing her go and noting
that she gave him no other look. The way he had put it to himself
was that all quite MIGHT be at an end. Each of her movements
in this resolute rupturereaffirmedre-enforced that idea.
Sarah passed out of sight in the sunny street whileplanted there
in the centre of the comparatively grey courthe continued merely
to look before him. It probably WAS all at an end.

Book Eleventh

[Note: In the 1909 New York Edition the following two chapters were placed
in the reverse of the order appearing below. Since 1950most scholars have
agreedbecause of the internal evidence of the two chaptersthat an
editorial error caused them to be printed in reverse order. This Etext
like other editions of the past four decadescorrects the apparent error.

-- Richard D. Hathawaypreparer of this electronic text]

He went late that evening to the Boulevard Malesherbeshaving his
impression that it would be vain to go earlyand having alsomore
than once in the course of the daymade enquiries of the concierge.
Chad hadn't come in and had left no intimation; he had affairs
apparentlyat this juncture--as it occurred to Strether he so well
might have--that kept him long abroad. Our friend asked once for
him at the hotel in the Rue de Rivolibut the only contribution
offered there was the fact that every one was out. It was with
the idea that he would have to come home to sleep that Strether
went up to his roomsfrom which however he was still absentthough
from the balconya few moments laterhis visitor heard eleven
o'clock strike. Chad's servant had by this time answered for his
reappearance; he HADthe visitor learnedcome quickly in to dress
for dinner and vanish again. Strether spent an hour in waiting
for him--an hour full of strange suggestionspersuasionsrecognitions;
one of those that he was to recallat the end of his adventureas
the particular handful that most had counted. The mellowest lamplight
and the easiest chair had been placed at his disposal by Baptiste
subtlest of servants; the novel half-uncutthe novel lemon-coloured
and tenderwith the ivory knife athwart it like the dagger in a
contadina's hairhad been pushed within the soft circle--a circle
whichfor some reasonaffected Strether as softer still after
the same Baptiste had remarked that in the absence of a further need
of anything by Monsieur he would betake himself to bed. The night
was hot and heavy and the single lamp sufficient; the great flare
of the lighted cityrising highspending itself afarplayed up
from the Boulevard andthrough the vague vista of the successive
roomsbrought objects into view and added to their dignity.
Strether found himself in possession as he never yet had been;
he had been there alonehad turned over books and prints
had invokedin Chad's absencethe spirit of the place
but never at the witching hour and never with a relish quite
so like a pang.


He spent a long time on the balcony; he hung over it as he had seen
little Bilham hang the day of his first approachas he had seen
Mamie hang over her own the day little Bilham himself might have
seen her from below; he passed back into the roomsthe three that
occupied the front and that communicated by wide doors; andwhile
he circulated and restedtried to recover the impression that they
had made on him three months beforeto catch again the voice in
which they had seemed then to speak to him. That voicehe had to
notefailed audibly to sound; which he took as the proof of all
the change in himself. He had heardof oldonly what he COULD
then hear; what he could do now was to think of three months ago as
a point in the far past. All voices had grown thicker and meant
more things; they crowded on him as he moved about--it was the way
they sounded together that wouldn't let him be still. He felt
strangelyas sad as if he had come for some wrongand yet as
excited as if he had come for some freedom. But the freedom was
what was most in the place and the hourit was the freedom that
most brought him round again to the youth of his own that he had
long ago missed. He could have explained little enough to-day
either why he had missed it or whyafter years and yearshe
should care that he had; the main truth of the actual appeal of
everything was none the less that everything represented the
substance of his loss put it within reachwithin touchmade it
to a degree it had never beenan affair of the senses. That was
what it became for him at this singular timethe youth he had long
ago missed--a queer concrete presencefull of mysteryyet full of
realitywhich he could handletastesmellthe deep breathing of
which he could positively hear. It was in the outside air as well
as within; it was in the long watchfrom the balconyin the
summer nightof the wide late life of Paristhe unceasing soft
quick rumblebelowof the little lighted carriages thatin the
pressalways suggested the gamblers he had seen of old at Monte
Carlo pushing up to the tables. This image was before him when he
at last became aware that Chad was behind.

She tells me you put it all on ME--he had arrived after this
promptly enough at that information; which expressed the case
however quite as the young man appeared willing for the moment to
leave it. Other thingswith this advantage of their virtually
having the night before themcame up for themand hadas well
the odd effect of making the occasioninstead of hurried and
feverishone of the largestloosest and easiest to which
Strether's whole adventure was to have treated him. He had been
pursuing Chad from an early hour and had overtaken him only now;
but now the delay was repaired by their being so exceptionally
confronted. They had foregathered enough of course in all the
various times; they had again and againsince that first night at
the theatrebeen face to face over their question; but they had
never been so alone together as they were actually alone--their
talk hadn't yet been so supremely for themselves. And if many
things moreover passed before themnone passed more distinctly for
Strether than that striking truth about Chad of which he had been
so often moved to take note: the truth that everything came
happily back with him to his knowing how to live. It had been
seated in his pleased smile--a smile that pleased exactly in the
right degree--as his visitor turned roundon the balconyto greet
his advent; his visitor in fact felt on the spot that there was
nothing their meeting would so much do as bear witness to that
facility. He surrendered himself accordingly to so approved a
gift; for what was the meaning of the facility but that others DID
surrender themselves? He didn't wantluckilyto prevent Chad
from living; but he was quite aware that even if he had he would
himself have thoroughly gone to pieces. It was in truth
essentially by bringing down his personal life to a function all


subsidiary to the young man's own that he held together. And the
great pointabove allthe sign of how completely Chad possessed
the knowledge in questionwas that one thus becamenot only with
a proper cheerfulnessbut with wild native impulsesthe feeder of
his stream. Their talk had accordingly not lasted three minutes
without Strether's feeling basis enough for the excitement in which
he had waited. This overflow fairly deepenedwastefully abounded
as he observed the smallness of anything corresponding to it on the
part of his friend. That was exactly this friend's happy case; he
put outhis excitementor whatever other emotion the matter
involvedas he put out his washing; than which no arrangement
could make more for domestic order. It was quite for Strether
himself in short to feel a personal analogy with the laundress
bringing home the triumphs of the mangle.

When he had reported on Sarah's visitwhich he did very fully
Chad answered his question with perfect candour. "I positively
referred her to you--told her she must absolutely see you. This was
last nightand it all took place in ten minutes. It was our first
free talk--really the first time she had tackled me. She knew I
also knew what her line had been with yourself; knew moreover how
little you had been doing to make anything difficult for her.
So I spoke for you frankly--assured her you were all at her service.
I assured her I was too the young man continued; and I pointed out
how she could perfectlyat any timehave got at me. Her difficulty
has been simply her not finding the moment she fancied."

Her difficulty,Strether returnedhas been simply that she
finds she's afraid of you. She's not afraid of ME, Sarah, one
little scrap; and it was just because she has seen how I can fidget
when I give my mind to it that she has felt her best chance,
rightly enough to be in making me as uneasy as possible. I think
she's at bottom as pleased to HAVE you put it on me as you yourself
can possibly be to put it.

But what in the world, my dear man,Chad enquired in objection to
this luminosityhave I done to make Sally afraid?

You've been 'wonderful, wonderful,' as we say--we poor people who
watch the play from the pit; and that's what has, admirably, made
her. Made her all the more effectually that she could see you didn't
set about it on purpose--I mean set about affecting her as with fear.

Chad cast a pleasant backward glance over his possibilities of
motive. "I've only wanted to be kind and friendlyto be decent
and attentive--and I still only want to be."

Strether smiled at his comfortable clearness. "Wellthere can
certainly be no way for it better than by my taking the onus. It
reduces your personal friction and your personal offence to almost
nothing."

Ah but Chadwith his completer conception of the friendlywouldn't
quite have this! They had remained on the balconywhereafter their
day of great and premature heatthe midnight air was delicious;
and they leaned back in turn against the balustradeall in harmony with
the chairs and the flower-potsthe cigarettes and the starlight.
The onus isn't REALLY yours--after our agreeing so to wait together
and judge together. That was all my answer to Sally,Chad pursued-"
that we have beenthat we arejust judging together."

I'm not afraid of the burden,Strether explained; "I haven't
come in the least that you should take it off me. I've come very
muchit seems to meto double up my fore legs in the manner of


the camel when he gets down on his knees to make his back convenient.
But I've supposed you all this while to have been doing a lot of
special and private judging--about which I haven't troubled you;
and I've only wished to have your conclusion first from you.
I don't ask more than that; I'm quite ready to take it as it has come."

Chad turned up his face to the sky with a slow puff of his smoke.
Well, I've seen.

Strether waited a little. "I've left you wholly alone; haven'tI
think I may saysince the first hour or two--when I merely
preached patience--so much as breathed on you."

Oh you've been awfully good!

We've both been good then--we've played the game. We've given
them the most liberal conditions.

Ah,said Chadsplendid conditions! It was open to them, open
to them--he seemed to make it outas he smokedwith his eyes
still on the stars. He might in quiet sport have been reading
their horoscope. Strether wondered meanwhile what had been open to
themand he finally let him have it. "It was open to them simply
to let me alone; to have made up their mindson really seeing me
for themselvesthat I could go on well enough as I was."

Strether assented to this proposition with full lucidityhis
companion's plural pronounwhich stood all for Mrs. Newsome and
her daughterhaving no ambiguity for him. There was nothing
apparentlyto stand for Mamie and Jim; and this added to our
friend's sense of Chad's knowing what he thought. "But they've made
up their minds to the opposite--that you CAN'T go on as you are."

No,Chad continued in the same way; "they won't have it for a minute."

Strether on his side also reflectively smoked. It was as if their
high place really represented some moral elevation from which they
could look down on their recent past. "There never was the
smallest chancedo you knowthat they WOULD have it for a moment."

Of course not--no real chance. But if they were willing to think
there was--!

They weren't willing.Strether had worked it all out. "It wasn't
for you they came outbut for me. It wasn't to see for themselves
what you're doingbut what I'm doing. The first branch of their
curiosity was inevitably destinedunder my culpable delayto give way
to the second; and it's on the second thatif I may use the expression
and you don't mind my marking the invidious factthey've been of late
exclusively perched. When Sarah sailed it was mein other words
they were after."

Chad took it in both with intelligence and with indulgence. "It IS
rather a business then--what I've let you in for!"

Strether had again a brief pause; which ended in a reply that
seemed to dispose once for all of this element of compunction.
Chad was to treat itat any rateso far as they were again
togetheras having done so. "I was 'in' when you found me."

Ah but it was you,the young man laughedwho found ME.

I only found you out. It was you who found me in. It was all in
the day's work for them, at all events, that they should come. And


they've greatly enjoyed it,Strether declared.

Well, I've tried to make them,said Chad.

His companion did himself presently the same justice. "So have I.
I tried even this very morning--while Mrs. Pocock was with me. She
enjoys for instancealmost as much as anything elsenot beingas
I've saidafraid of me; and I think I gave her help in that."

Chad took a deeper interest. "Was she very very nasty?"

Strether debated. "Wellshe was the most important thing--she was
definite. She was--at last--crystalline. And I felt no remorse.
I saw that they must have come."

Oh I wanted to see them for myself; so that if it were only for
THAT--!Chad's own remorse was as small.

This appeared almost all Strether wanted. "Isn't your having seen
them for yourself then THE thingbeyond all othersthat has come
of their visit?"

Chad looked as if he thought it nice of his old friend to put it
so. "Don't you count it as anything that you're dished--if you ARE
dished? Are youmy dear mandished?"

It sounded as if he were asking if he had caught cold or hurt his
footand Strether for a minute but smoked and smoked. "I want to
see her again. I must see her."

Of course you must.Then Chad hesitated. "Do you mean--a--Mother
herself?"

Oh your mother--that will depend.

It was as if Mrs. Newsome had somehow been placed by the words
very far off. Chad however endeavoured in spite of this to reach
the place. "What do you mean it will depend on?"

Stretherfor all answergave him a longish look. "I was speaking
of Sarah. I must positively--though she quite cast me off--see HER
again. I can't part with her that way."

Then she was awfully unpleasant?

Again Strether exhaled. "She was what she had to be. I mean that
from the moment they're not delighted they can only be--well what I
admit she was. We gave them he went on, their chance to be
delightedand they've walked up to itand looked all round it
and not taken it."

You can bring a horse to water--!Chad suggested.

Precisely. And the tune to which this morning Sarah wasn't
delighted--the tune to which, to adopt your metaphor, she refused
to drink--leaves us on that side nothing more to hope.

Chad had a pauseand then as if consolingly: "It was never of
course really the least on the cards that they would be 'delighted.'"

Well, I don't know, after all,Strether mused. "I've had to come
as far round. However"--he shook it off--"it's doubtless MY
performance that's absurd."


There are certainly moments,said Chadwhen you seem to me too
good to be true. Yet if you are true,he addedthat seems to be
all that need concern me.

I'm true, but I'm incredible. I'm fantastic and ridiculous-I
don't explain myself even TO myself. How can they then,
Strether askedunderstand me? So I don't quarrel with them.

I see. They quarrel,said Chad rather comfortablywith US.
Strether noted once more the comfortbut his young friend had
already gone on. "I should feel greatly ashamedall the same
if I didn't put it before you again that you ought to think
after alltremendously well. I mean before giving up beyond recall--"
With which insistenceas from a certain delicacydropped.

Ah but Strether wanted it. "Say it allsay it all."

Well, at your age, and with what--when all's said and done--
Mother might do for you and be for you.

Chad had said it allfrom his natural scrupleonly to that
extent; so that Strether after an instant himself took a hand.
My absence of an assured future. The little I have to show toward
the power to take care of myself. The way, the wonderful way,
she would certainly take care of me. Her fortune, her kindness,
and the constant miracle of her having been disposed to go even so far.
Of course, of course--he summed it up. "There are those sharp facts."

Chad had meanwhile thought of another still. "And don't you really
care--?"

His friend slowly turned round to him. "Will you go?"

I'll go if you'll say you now consider I should. You know,he
went onI was ready six weeks ago.

Ah,said Stretherthat was when you didn't know I wasn't!
You're ready at present because you do know it.

That may be,Chad returned; "but all the same I'm sincere. You
talk about taking the whole thing on your shouldersbut in what
light do you regard me that you think me capable of letting you
pay?" Strether patted his armas they stood together against the
parapetreassuringly--seeming to wish to contend that he HAD the
wherewithal; but it was again round this question of purchase and
price that the young man's sense of fairness continued to hover.
What it literally comes to for you, if you'll pardon my putting it
so, is that you give up money. Possibly a good deal of money.

Oh,Strether laughedif it were only just enough you'd still be
justified in putting it so! But I've on my side to remind you too
that YOU give up money; and more than 'possibly'--quite certainly,
as I should suppose--a good deal.

True enough; but I've got a certain quantity,Chad returned after
a moment. "Whereas youmy dear manyou--"

I can't be at all said--Strether took him up--"to have a 'quantity'
certain or uncertain? Very true. StillI shan't starve."

Oh you mustn't STARVE!Chad pacifically emphasised; and soin
the pleasant conditionsthey continued to talk; though there was
for that mattera pause in which the younger companion might have
been taken as weighing again the delicacy of his then and there


promising the elder some provision against the possibility just
mentioned. Thishoweverhe presumably thought best not to do
for at the end of another minute they had moved in quite a different
direction. Strether had broken in by returning to the subject of
Chad's passage with Sarah and enquiring if they had arrivedin the
eventat anything in the nature of a "scene." To this Chad replied
that they had on the contrary kept tremendously polite; adding moreover
that Sally was after all not the woman to have made the mistake of
not being. "Her hands are a good deal tiedyou see. I got so
from the first he sagaciously observed, the start of her."

You mean she has taken so much from you?

Well, I couldn't of course in common decency give less: only she
hadn't expected, I think, that I'd give her nearly so much. And
she began to take it before she knew it.

And she began to like it,said Stretheras soon as she began to
take it!

Yes, she has liked it--also more than she expected.After which
Chad observed: "But she doesn't like ME. In fact she hates me."

Strether's interest grew. "Then why does she want you at home?"

Because when you hate you want to triumph, and if she should get
me neatly stuck there she WOULD triumph.

Strether followed afreshbut looking as he went. "Certainly--in a
manner. But it would scarce be a triumph worth having ifonce
entangledfeeling her dislike and possibly conscious in time of a
certain quantity of your ownyou should on the spot make yourself
unpleasant to her."

Ah,said Chadshe can bear ME--could bear me at least at home.
It's my being there that would be her triumph. She hates me in Paris.

She hates in other words--

Yes, THAT'S it!--Chad had quickly understood this understanding;
which formed on the part of each as near an approach as they had
yet made to naming Madame de Vionnet. The limitations of their
distinctness didn'thoweverprevent its fairly lingering in the
air that it was this lady Mrs. Pocock hated. It added one more
touch moreover to their established recognition of the rare intimacy
of Chad's association with her. He had never yet more twitched away
the last light veil from this phenomenon than in presenting himself
as confounded and submerged in the feeling she had created at Woollett.
And I'll tell you who hates me too,he immediately went on.

Strether knew as immediately whom he meantbut with as prompt a
protest. "Ah no! Mamie doesn't hate--well he caught himself in
time--anybody at all. Mamie's beautiful."

Chad shook his head. "That's just why I mind it. She certainly
doesn't like me."

How much do you mind it? What would you do for her?

Well, I'd like her if she'd like me. Really, really,Chad declared.

It gave his companion a moment's pause. "You asked me just now if
I don'tas you said'care' about a certain person. You rather
tempt me therefore to put the question in my turn. Don't YOU care


about a certain other person?"

Chad looked at him hard in the lamplight of the window. "The
difference is that I don't want to."

Strether wondered. "'Don't want' to?"

I try not to--that is I HAVE tried. I've done my best. You can't
be surprised,the young man easily went onwhen you yourself set
me on it. I was indeed,he addedalready on it a little; but you
set me harder. It was six weeks ago that I thought I had come out.

Strether took it well in. "But you haven't come out!"

I don't know--it's what I WANT to know,said Chad. "And if I
could have sufficiently wanted--by myself--to go backI think I
might have found out."

Possibly--Strether considered. "But all you were able to achieve
was to want to want to! And even then he pursued, only till our
friends there came. Do you want to want to still?" As with a
sound half-doloroushalf-droll and all vague and equivocalChad
buried his face for a little in his handsrubbing it in a
whimsical way that amounted to an evasionhe brought it out more
sharply: "DO you?"

Chad kept for a time his attitudebut at last he looked upand
then abruptlyJim IS a damned dose!he declared.

Oh I don't ask you to abuse or describe or in any way pronounce on
your relatives; I simply put it to you once more whether you're NOW
ready. You say you've 'seen.' Is what you've seen that you can't
resist?

Chad gave him a strange smile--the nearest approach he had ever
shown to a troubled one. "Can't you make me NOT resist?"

What it comes to,Strether went on very gravely now and as if he
hadn't heard himwhat it comes to is that more has been done for
you, I think, than I've ever seen done--attempted perhaps, but
never so successfully done--by one human being for another.

Oh an immense deal certainly--Chad did it full justice. "And you
yourself are adding to it."

It was without heeding this either that his visitor continued.
And our friends there won't have it.

No, they simply won't.

They demand you on the basis, as it were, of repudiation and
ingratitude; and what has been the matter with me,Strether went
onis that I haven't seen my way to working with you for
repudiation.

Chad appreciated this. "Then as you haven't seen yours you
naturally haven't seen mine. There it is." After which he
proceededwith a certain abruptnessto a sharp interrogation.
NOW do you say she doesn't hate me?

Strether hesitated. "'She'--?"

Yes--Mother. We called it Sarah, but it comes to the same thing.


Ah,Strether objectednot to the same thing as her hating YOU.

On which--though as if for an instant it had hung fire--Chad
remarkably replied: "Wellif they hate my good friendTHAT comes
to the same thing." It had a note of inevitable truth that made
Strether take it as enoughfeel he wanted nothing more. The young
man spoke in it for his "good friend" more than he had ever yet
directly spokenconfessed to such deep identities between them as
he might play with the idea of working free frombut which at a
given moment could still draw him down like a whirlpool. And
meanwhile he had gone on. "Their hating you too moreover--that
also comes to a good deal."

Ah,said Stretheryour mother doesn't.

Chadhoweverloyally stuck to it--loyallythat isto Strether.
She will if you don't look out.

Well, I do look out. I am, after all, looking out. That's just
why,our friend explainedI want to see her again.

It drew from Chad again the same question. "To see Mother?"

To see--for the present--Sarah.

Ah then there you are! And what I don't for the life of me make
out,Chad pursued with resigned perplexityis what you GAIN by it.

Oh it would have taken his companion too long to say! "That's
because you haveI verily believeno imagination. You've other
qualities. But no imaginationdon't you see? at all."

I dare say. I do see.It was an idea in which Chad showed
interest. "But haven't you yourself rather too much?"

Oh RATHER--!So that after an instantunder this reproach and
as if it were at last a fact really to escape fromStrether made
his move for departure.

One of the features of the restless afternoon passed by him after
Mrs. Pocock's visit was an hour spentshortly before dinnerwith
Maria Gostreywhom of latein spite of so sustained a call on his
attention from other quartershe had by no means neglected. And
that he was still not neglecting her will appear from the fact that
he was with her again at the same hour on the very morrow--with no
less fine a consciousness moreover of being able to hold her ear.
It continued inveterately to occurfor that matterthat whenever
he had taken one of his greater turns he came back to where she so
faithfully awaited him. None of these excursions had on the whole
been livelier than the pair of incidents--the fruit of the short
interval since his previous visit--on which he had now to report to
her. He had seen Chad Newsome late the night beforeand he had
had that morningas a sequel to this conversationa second
interview with Sarah. "But they're all off he said, at last."

It puzzled her a moment. "All?--Mr. Newsome with them?"

Ah not yet! Sarah and Jim and Mamie. But Waymarsh with them-for
Sarah. It's too beautiful,Strether continued; "I find I don't


get over that--it's always a fresh joy. But it's a fresh joy too
he added, that--wellwhat do you think? Little Bilham also goes.
But he of course goes for Mamie."

Miss Gostrey wondered. "'For' her? Do you mean they're already
engaged?"

Well,said Strethersay then for ME. He'll do anything for me;
just as I will, for that matter--anything I can--for him. Or for
Mamie either. SHE'LL do anything for me.

Miss Gostrey gave a comprehensive sigh. "The way you reduce people
to subjection!"

It's certainly, on one side, wonderful. But it's quite equalled,
on another, by the way I don't. I haven't reduced Sarah, since
yesterday; though I've succeeded in seeing her again, as I'll
presently tell you. The others however are really all right.
Mamie, by that blessed law of ours, absolutely must have a young
man.

But what must poor Mr. Bilham have? Do you mean they'll MARRY
for you?

I mean that, by the same blessed law, it won't matter a grain if
they don't--I shan't have in the least to worry.

She saw as usual what he meant. "And Mr. Jim?--who goes for him?"

Oh,Strether had to admitI couldn't manage THAT. He's
thrown, as usual, on the world; the world which, after all, by his
account--for he has prodigious adventures--seems very good to him.
He fortunately--'over here,' as he says--finds the world
everywhere; and his most prodigious adventure of all,he went on
has been of course of the last few days.

Miss Gostreyalready knowinginstantly made the connexion. "He
has seen Marie de Vionnet again?"

He went, all by himself, the day after Chad's party--didn't I
tell you?--to tea with her. By her invitation--all alone.

Quite like yourself!Maria smiled.

Oh but he's more wonderful about her than I am!And then as his
friend showed how she could believe itfilling it outfitting it
on to old memories of the wonderful woman: "What I should have
liked to manage would have been HER going."

To Switzerland with the party?

For Jim--and for symmetry. If it had been workable moreover for
a fortnight she'd have gone. She's ready--he followed up his
renewed vision of her--"for anything."

Miss Gostrey went with him a minute. "She's too perfect!"

She WILL, I think,he pursuedgo to-night to the station.

To see him off?

With Chad--marvellously--as part of their general attention. And
she does it--it kept before him--"with a lightlight gracea
freefree gaietythat may well softly bewilder Mr. Pocock."


It kept her so before him that his companion had after an instant a
friendly comment. "As in short it has softly bewildered a saner
man. Are you really in love with her?" Maria threw off.

It's of no importance I should know,he replied. "It matters so
little--has nothing to dopracticallywith either of us."

All the same--Maria continued to smile--"they gothe fiveas I
understand youand you and Madame de Vionnet stay."

Oh and Chad.To which Strether added: "And you."

Ah 'me'!--she gave a small impatient wail againin which
something of the unreconciled seemed suddenly to break out. "I
don't stayit somehow seems to memuch to my advantage. In the
presence of all you cause to pass before me I've a tremendous sense
of privation."

Strether hesitated. "But your privationyour keeping out of
everythinghas been--hasn't it?--by your own choice."

Oh yes; it has been necessary--that is it has been better for you.
What I mean is only that I seem to have ceased to serve you.

How can you tell that?he asked. "You don't know how you serve me.
When you cease--"

Well?she said as he dropped.

Well, I'll LET you know. Be quiet till then.

She thought a moment. "Then you positively like me to stay?"

Don't I treat you as if I did?

You're certainly very kind to me. But that,said Mariais for
myself. It's getting late, as you see, and Paris turning rather
hot and dusty. People are scattering, and some of them, in other
places want me. But if you want me here--!

She had spoken as resigned to his wordbut he had of a sudden a
still sharper sense than he would have expected of desiring not to
lose her. "I want you here."

She took it as if the words were all she had wished; as if they
brought hergave her something that was the compensation of her
case. "Thank you she simply answered. And then as he looked at
her a little harder, Thank you very much she repeated.

It had broken as with a slight arrest into the current of their
talk, and it held him a moment longer. Whytwo monthsor
whatever the time wasagodid you so suddenly dash off? The
reason you afterwards gave me for having kept away three weeks wasn't
the real one."

She recalled. "I never supposed you believed it was. Yet she
continued, if you didn't guess it that was just what helped you."

He looked away from her on this; he indulgedso far as space
permittedin one of his slow absences. "I've often thought of it
but never to feel that I could guess it. And you see the
consideration with which I've treated you in never asking till now."


Now then why DO you ask?

To show you how I miss you when you're not here, and what it does
for me.

It doesn't seem to have done,she laughedall it might!
However,she addedif you've really never guessed the truth I'll
tell it you.

I've never guessed it,Strether declared.

Never?

Never.

Well then I dashed off, as you say, so as not to have the
confusion of being there if Marie de Vionnet should tell you
anything to my detriment.

He looked as if he considerably doubted. "You even then would have
had to face it on your return."

Oh if I had found reason to believe it something very bad I'd have
left you altogether.

So then,he continuedit was only on guessing she had been on
the whole merciful that you ventured back?

Maria kept it together. "I owe her thanks. Whatever her temptation
she didn't separate us. That's one of my reasons she went on
for admiring her so."

Let it pass then,said Stretherfor one of mine as well. But
what would have been her temptation?

What are ever the temptations of women?

He thought--but hadn'tnaturallyto think too long. "Men?"

She would have had you, with it, more for herself. But she saw
she could have you without it.

Oh 'have' me!Strether a trifle ambiguously sighed. "YOU he
handsomely declared, would have had me at any rate WITH it."

Oh 'have' you!--she echoed it as he had done. "I do have you
however she less ironically said, from the moment you express a
wish."

He stopped before herfull of the disposition. "I'll express fifty."

Which indeed begot in herwith a certain inconsequencea return
of her small wail. "Ah there you are!"

Thereif it were sohe continued for the rest of the time to be
and it was as if to show her how she could still serve him that
coming back to the departure of the Pocockshe gave her the view
vivid with a hundred more touches than we can reproduceof what
had happened for him that morning. He had had ten minutes with
Sarah at her hotelten minutes reconqueredby irresistible pressure
from the time over which he had already described her to Miss Gostrey
as havingat the end of their interview on his own premisespassed
the great sponge of the future. He had caught her by not announcing
himselfhad found her in her sitting-room with a dressmaker and a


lingere whose accounts she appeared to have been more or less
ingenuously settling and who soon withdrew. Then he had explained
to her how he had succeededlate the night beforein keeping
his promise of seeing Chad. "I told her I'd take it all."


You'd 'take' it?


Why if he doesn't go.


Maria waited. "And who takes it if he does?" she enquired with a
certain grimness of gaiety.


Well,said StretherI think I take, in any event, everything.


By which I suppose you mean,his companion brought out after a
momentthat you definitely understand you now lose everything.


He stood before her again. "It does come perhaps to the same
thing. But Chadnow that he has seendoesn't really want it."


She could believe thatbut she madeas alwaysfor clearness.
Still, what, after all, HAS he seen?


What they want of him. And it's enough.


It contrasts so unfavourably with what Madame de Vionnet wants?


It contrasts--just so; all round, and tremendously.


Therefore, perhaps, most of all with what YOU want?


Oh,said Stretherwhat I want is a thing I've ceased to measure
or even to understand.


But his friend none the less went on. "Do you want Mrs. Newsome--
after such a way of treating you?"


It was a straighter mode of dealing with this lady than they had as
yet--such was their high form--permitted themselves; but it seemed
not wholly for this that he delayed a moment. "I dare say it has
beenafter allthe only way she could have imagined."


And does that make you want her any more?


I've tremendously disappointed her,Strether thought it worth
while to mention.


Of course you have. That's rudimentary; that was plain to us long
ago. But isn't it almost as plain,Maria went onthat you've
even yet your straight remedy? Really drag him away, as I believe
you still can, and you'd cease to have to count with her
disappointment.


Ah then,he laughedI should have to count with yours!


But this barely struck her now. "Whatin that caseshould you
call counting? You haven't come out where you areI thinkto
please ME."


Oh,he insistedthat too, you know, has been part of it.
I can't separate--it's all one; and that's perhaps why, as I say,
I don't understand.But he was ready to declare again that this
didn't in the least matter; all the more thatas he affirmed
he HADn't really as yet "come out." "She gives me after allon



its coming to the pincha last mercyanother chance. They don't
sailyou seefor five or six weeks moreand they haven't--she
admits that--expected Chad would take part in their tour. It's
still open to him to join themat the lastat Liverpool."

Miss Gostrey considered. "How in the world is it 'open' unless you
open it? How can he join them at Liverpool if he but sinks deeper
into his situation here?"

He has given her--as I explained to you that she let me know
yesterday--his word of honour to do as I say.

Maria stared. "But if you say nothing!"

Wellhe as usual walked about on it. "I did say something this
morning. I gave her my answer--the word I had promised her after
hearing from himself what HE had promised. What she demanded of
me yesterdayyou'll rememberwas the engagement then and there to
make him take up this vow."

Well then,Miss Gostrey enquiredwas the purpose of your visit
to her only to decline?

No; it was to ask, odd as that may seem to you, for another delay.

Ah that's weak!

Precisely!She had spoken with impatiencebutso far as that
at leasthe knew where he was. "If I AM weak I want to find it
out. If I don't find it out I shall have the comfortthe little
gloryof thinking I'm strong."

It's all the comfort, I judge,she returnedthat you WILL have!

At any rate,he saidit will have been a month more. Paris may
grow, from day to day, hot and dusty, as you say; but there are
other things that are hotter and dustier. I'm not afraid to stay
on; the summer here must be amusing in a wild--if it isn't a tame-way
of its own; the place at no time more picturesque. I think I
shall like it. And then,he benevolently smiled for herthere
will be always you.

Oh,she objectedit won't be as a part of the picturesqueness
that I shall stay, for I shall be the plainest thing about you.
You may, you see, at any rate,she pursuedhave nobody else.
Madame de Vionnet may very well be going off, mayn't she?--and
Mr. Newsome by the same stroke: unless indeed you've had an assurance
from them to the contrary. So that if your idea's to stay for them-it
was her duty to suggest it--"you may be left in the lurch.
Of course if they do stay"--she kept it up--"they would be part of
the picturesqueness. Or else indeed you might join them somewhere."

Strether seemed to face it as if it were a happy thought; but the
next moment he spoke more critically. "Do you mean that they'll
probably go off together?"

She just considered. "I think it will be treating you quite
without ceremony if they do; though after all she added, it
would be difficult to see now quite what degree of ceremony properly
meets your case."

Of course,Strether concededmy attitude toward them is extraordinary.

Just so; so that one may ask one's self what style of proceeding


on their own part can altogether match it. The attitude of their
own that won't pale in its light they've doubtless still to work
out. The really handsome thing perhaps,she presently threw off
WOULD be for them to withdraw into more secluded conditions,
offering at the same time to share them with you.He looked at
heron thisas if some generous irritation--all in his interest--
had suddenly again flickered in her; and what she next said indeed
half-explained it. "Don't really be afraid to tell me if what now
holds you IS the pleasant prospect of the empty townwith plenty
of seats in the shadecool drinksdeserted museumsdrives to the
Bois in the eveningand our wonderful woman all to yourself." And
she kept it up still more. "The handsomest thing of ALLwhen one
makes it outwouldI dare saybe that Mr. Chad should for a
while go off by himself. It's a pityfrom that point of view
she wound up, that he doesn't pay his mother a visit. It would
at least occupy your interval." The thought in fact held her a
moment. "Why doesn't he pay his mother a visit? Even a weekat
this good momentwould do."


My dear lady,Strether replied--and he had it even to himself
surprisingly ready--"my dear ladyhis mother has paid HIM a visit.
Mrs. Newsome has been with himthis monthwith an intensity that
I'm sure he has thoroughly felt; he has lavishly entertained her
and she has let him have her thanks. Do you suggest he shall go
back for more of them?"


Wellshe succeeded after a little in shaking it off. "I see.
It's what you don't suggest--what you haven't suggested.
And you know."


So would you, my dear,he kindly saidif you had so much as
seen her.


As seen Mrs. Newsome?


No, Sarah--which, both for Chad and for myself, has served all
the purpose.


And served it in a manner,she responsively musedso extraordinary!


Well, you see,he partly explainedwhat it comes to is that she's
all cold thought--which Sarah could serve to us cold without its
really losing anything. So it is that we know what she thinks of us.


Maria had followedbut she had an arrest. "What I've never made
outif you come to thatis what you think--I mean you personally--
of HER. Don't you so muchwhen all's saidas care a little?"


That,he answered with no loss of promptnessis what even Chad
himself asked me last night. He asked me if I don't mind the loss--
well, the loss of an opulent future. Which moreover,he hastened
to addwas a perfectly natural question.


I call your attention, all the same,said Miss Gostreyto the
fact that I don't ask it. What I venture to ask is whether it's to
Mrs. Newsome herself that you're indifferent.


I haven't been so--he spoke with all assurance. "I've been the
very opposite. I've beenfrom the first momentpreoccupied with
the impression everything might be making on her--quite oppressed
hauntedtormented by it. I've been interested ONLY in her seeing
what I've seen. And I've been as disappointed in her refusal to
see it as she has been in what has appeared to her the perversity
of my insistence."



Do you mean that she has shocked you as you've shocked her?

Strether weighed it. "I'm probably not so shockable. But on the
other hand I've gone much further to meet her. Sheon her side
hasn't budged an inch."

So that you're now at last--Maria pointed the moral--"in the sad
stage of recriminations."

No--it's only to you I speak. I've been like a lamb to Sarah.
I've only put my back to the wall. It's to THAT one naturally
staggers when one has been violently pushed there.

She watched him a moment. "Thrown over?"

Well, as I feel I've landed somewhere I think I must have been thrown.

She turned it overbut as hoping to clarify much rather than to
harmonise. "The thing is that I suppose you've been disappointing--"

Quite from the very first of my arrival? I dare say. I admit I
was surprising even to myself.

And then of course,Maria went onI had much to do with it.

With my being surprising--?

That will do,she laughedif you're too delicate to call it MY
being! Naturally,she addedyou came over more or less for
surprises.

Naturally!--he valued the reminder.

But they were to have been all for you--she continued to piece it
out--"and none of them for HER."

Once more he stopped before her as if she had touched the point.
That's just her difficulty--that she doesn't admit surprises.
It's a fact that, I think, describes and represents her; and it
falls in with what I tell you--that she's all, as I've called it,
fine cold thought. She had, to her own mind, worked the whole
thing out in advance, and worked it out for me as well as for
herself. Whenever she has done that, you see, there's no room
left; no margin, as it were, for any alteration. She's filled as
full, packed as tight, as she'll hold and if you wish to get
anything more or different either out or in--

You've got to make over altogether the woman herself?

What it comes to,said Stretheris that you've got morally and
intellectually to get rid of her.

Which would appear,Maria returnedto be practically what
you've done.

But her friend threw back his head. "I haven't touched her. She
won't BE touched. I see it now as I've never done; and she hangs
together with a perfection of her own he went on, that does
suggest a kind of wrong in ANY change of her composition. It was
at any rate he wound up, the woman herselfas you call her the
whole moral and intellectual being or blockthat Sarah brought me
over to take or to leave."


It turned Miss Gostrey to deeper thought. "Fancy having to take at the
point of the bayonet a whole moral and intellectual being or block!"


It was in fact,said Stretherwhat, at home, I HAD done.
But somehow over there I didn't quite know it.


One never does, I suppose,Miss Gostrey concurredrealise in
advance, in such a case, the size, as you may say, of the block.
Little by little it looms up. It has been looming for you more and
more till at last you see it all.


I see it all,he absently echoedwhile his eyes might have been
fixing some particularly large iceberg in a cool blue northern sea.
It's magnificent!he then rather oddly exclaimed.


But his friendwho was used to this kind of inconsequence in him
kept the thread. "There's nothing so magnificent--for making
others feel you--as to have no imagination."


It brought him straight round. "Ah there you are! It's what I said
last night to Chad. That he himselfI meanhas none."


Then it would appear,Maria suggestedthat he has, after all,
something in common with his mother.


He has in common that he makes one, as you say, 'feel' him. And
yet,he addedas if the question were interestingone feels
others too, even when they have plenty.


Miss Gostrey continued suggestive. "Madame de Vionnet?"


SHE has plenty.


Certainly--she had quantities of old. But there are different
ways of making one's self felt.


Yes, it comes, no doubt, to that. You now--'


He was benevolently going on, but she wouldn't have it.
Oh I DON'T make myself felt; so my quantity needn't be settled.
Yoursyou know she said, is monstrous. No one has ever had so much."


It struck him for a moment. "That's what Chad also thinks."


There YOU are then--though it isn't for him to complain of it!


Oh he doesn't complain of it,said Strether.


That's all that would be wanting! But apropos of what,Maria went
ondid the question come up?


Well, of his asking me what it is I gain.


She had a pause. "Then as I've asked you too it settles my case.
Oh you HAVE she repeated, treasures of imagination."


But he had been for an instant thinking away from thisand he came
up in another place. "And yet Mrs. Newsome--it's a thing to
remember--HAS imagineddidthat isimagineand apparently still
doeshorrors about what I should have found. I was bookedby her
vision--extraordinarily intenseafter all--to find them; and that
I didn'tthat I couldn'tthatas she evidently feltI wouldn't--
this evidently didn't at allas they say'suit' her book.
It was more than she could bear. That was her disappointment."



You mean you were to have found Chad himself horrible?

I was to have found the woman.

Horrible?

Found her as she imagined her.And Strether paused as if for his
own expression of it he could add no touch to that picture.

His companion had meanwhile thought. "She imagined stupidly--so it
comes to the same thing."

Stupidly? Oh!said Strether.

But she insisted. "She imagined meanly."

He had ithoweverbetter. "It couldn't but be ignorantly."

Well, intensity with ignorance--what do you want worse?

This question might have held himbut he let it pass. "Sarah
isn't ignorant--now; she keeps up the theory of the horrible."

Ah but she's intense--and that by itself will do sometimes as
well. If it doesn't do, in this case, at any rate, to deny that
Marie's charming, it will do at least to deny that she's good.

What I claim is that she's good for Chad.

You don't claim--she seemed to like it clear--"that she's good
for YOU."

But he continued without heeding. "That's what I wanted them to
come out for--to see for themselves if she's bad for him."

And now that they've done so they won't admit that she's good even
for anything?

They do think,Strether presently admittedthat she's on the
whole about as bad for me. But they're consistent of course,
inasmuch as they've their clear view of what's good for both of us.

For you, to begin with--Mariaall responsiveconfined the
question for the moment--"to eliminate from your existence and if
possible even from your memory the dreadful creature that I must
gruesomely shadow forth for themeven more than to eliminate the
distincter evil--thereby a little less portentous--of the person
whose confederate you've suffered yourself to become. However
that's comparatively simple. You can easilyat the worstafter
allgive me up."

I can easily at the worst, after all, give you up.The irony was
so obvious that it needed no care. "I can easily at the worst
after alleven forget you."

Call that then workable. But Mr. Newsome has much more to forget.
How can HE do it?

Ah there again we are! That's just what I was to have made him do;
just where I was to have worked with him and helped.

She took it in silence and without attenuation--as if perhaps from
very familiarity with the facts; and her thought made a connexion


without showing the links. "Do you remember how we used to talk at
Chester and in London about my seeing you through?" She spoke as
of far-off things and as if they had spent weeks at the places
she named.

It's just what you ARE doing.

Ah but the worst--since you've left such a margin--may be still
to come. You may yet break down.

Yes, I may yet break down. But will you take me--?

He had hesitatedand she waited. "Take you?"

For as long as I can bear it.

She also debated "Mr. Newsome and Madame de Vionnet mayas we were
sayingleave town. How long do you think you can bear it without them?"

Strether's reply to this was at first another question. "Do you mean
in order to get away from me?"

Her answer had an abruptness. "Don't find me rude if I say I should
think they'd want to!"

He looked at her hard again--seemed even for an instant to have an
intensity of thought under which his colour changed. But he
smiled. "You mean after what they've done to me?"

After what SHE has.

At thishoweverwith a laughhe was all right again. "Ah but
she hasn't done it yet!"

He had taken the train a few days after this from a station-as
well as to a station--selected almost at random; such days
whatever should happenwere numberedand he had gone forth under
the impulse--artless enoughno doubt--to give the whole of one of
them to that French ruralismwith its cool special greeninto
which he had hitherto looked only through the little oblong window
of the picture-frame. It had been as yet for the most part but a
land of fancy for him--the background of fictionthe medium of
artthe nursery of letters; practically as distant as Greecebut
practically also well-nigh as consecrated. Romance could weave
itselffor Strether's senseout of elements mild enough; and even
after what he hadas he feltlately "been through he could
thrill a little at the chance of seeing something somewhere that
would remind him of a certain small Lambinet that had charmed him,
long years before, at a Boston dealer's and that he had quite
absurdly never forgotten. It had been offered, he remembered, at a
price he had been instructed to believe the lowest ever named for a
Lambinet, a price he had never felt so poor as on having to recognise,
all the same, as beyond a dream of possibility. He had dreamed-had
turned and twisted possibilities for an hour: it had been
the only adventure of his life in connexion with the purchase
of a work of art. The adventure, it will be perceived, was modest;
but the memory, beyond all reason and by some accident of
association, was sweet. The little Lambinet abode with him as the
picture he WOULD have bought--the particular production that had


made him for the moment overstep the modesty of nature. He was
quite aware that if he were to see it again he should perhaps have
a drop or a shock, and he never found himself wishing that the
wheel of time would turn it up again, just as he had seen it in the
maroon-coloured, sky-lighted inner shrine of Tremont Street.
It would be a different thing, however, to see the remembered mixture
resolved back into its elements--to assist at the restoration to
nature of the whole far-away hour: the dusty day in Boston, the
background of the Fitchburg Depot, of the maroon-coloured sanctum,
the special-green vision, the ridiculous price, the poplars, the
willows, the rushes, the river, the sunny silvery sky, the shady
woody horizon.

He observed in respect to his train almost no condition save that
it should stop a few times after getting out of the banlieue;
he threw himself on the general amiability of the day for the hint of
where to alight. His theory of his excursion was that he could
alight anywhere--not nearer Paris than an hour's run--on catching a
suggestion of the particular note required. It made its sign, the
suggestion--weather, air, light, colour and his mood all favouring-at
the end of some eighty minutes; the train pulled up just at the
right spot, and he found himself getting out as securely as if to
keep an appointment. It will be felt of him that he could amuse
himself, at his age, with very small things if it be again noted
that his appointment was only with a superseded Boston fashion. He
hadn't gone far without the quick confidence that it would be
quite sufficiently kept. The oblong gilt frame disposed its
enclosing lines; the poplars and willows, the reeds and river-a
river of which he didn't know, and didn't want to know, the name-fell
into a composition, full of felicity, within them; the sky
was silver and turquoise and varnish; the village on the left was
white and the church on the right was grey; it was all there, in
short--it was what he wanted: it was Tremont Street, it was France,
it was Lambinet. Moreover he was freely walking about in it.
He did this last, for an hour, to his heart's content, making
for the shady woody horizon and boring so deep into his impression
and his idleness that he might fairly have got through them again
and reached the maroon-coloured wall. It was a wonder, no doubt,
that the taste of idleness for him shouldn't need more time to
sweeten; but it had in fact taken the few previous days; it had
been sweetening in truth ever since the retreat of the Pococks.
He walked and walked as if to show himself how little he had now to do;
he had nothing to do but turn off to some hillside where he might
stretch himself and hear the poplars rustle, and whence--in the
course of an afternoon so spent, an afternoon richly suffused too
with the sense of a book in his pocket--he should sufficiently
command the scene to be able to pick out just the right little
rustic inn for an experiment in respect to dinner. There was a
train back to Paris at 9.20, and he saw himself partaking, at the
close of the day, with the enhancements of a coarse white cloth and
a sanded door, of something fried and felicitous, washed down with
authentic wine; after which he might, as he liked, either stroll
back to his station in the gloaming or propose for the local
carriole and converse with his driver, a driver who naturally wouldn't
fail of a stiff clean blouse, of a knitted nightcap and of the genius
of response--who, in fine, would sit on the shafts, tell him what
the French people were thinking, and remind him, as indeed the whole
episode would incidentally do, of Maupassant. Strether heard his lips,
for the first time in French air, as this vision assumed consistency,
emit sounds of expressive intention without fear of his company.
He had been afraid of Chad and of Maria and of Madame de Vionnet;
he had been most of all afraid of Waymarsh, in whose presence,
so far as they had mixed together in the light of the town, he had
never without somehow paying for it aired either his vocabulary


or his accent. He usually paid for it by meeting immediately
afterwards Waymarsh's eye.

Such were the liberties with which his fancy played after he had
turned off to the hillside that did really and truly, as well as
most amiably, await him beneath the poplars, the hillside that made
him feel, for a murmurous couple of hours, how happy had been his
thought. He had the sense of success, of a finer harmony in
things; nothing but what had turned out as yet according to his plan.
It most of all came home to him, as he lay on his back on the grass,
that Sarah had really gone, that his tension was really relaxed;
the peace diffused in these ideas might be delusive, but it hung about
him none the less for the time. It fairly, for half an hour,
sent him to sleep; he pulled his straw hat over his eyes-he
had bought it the day before with a reminiscence of Waymarsh's-and
lost himself anew in Lambinet. It was as if he had found out
he was tired--tired not from his walk, but from that inward
exercise which had known, on the whole, for three months, so little
intermission. That was it--when once they were off he had dropped;
this moreover was what he had dropped to, and now he was touching
bottom. He was kept luxuriously quiet, soothed and amused by the
consciousness of what he had found at the end of his descent. It
was very much what he had told Maria Gostrey he should like to stay
on for, the hugely-distributed Paris of summer, alternately
dazzling and dusky, with a weight lifted for him off its columns
and cornices and with shade and air in the flutter of awnings as
wide as avenues. It was present to him without attenuation that,
reaching out, the day after making the remark, for some proof of
his freedom, he had gone that very afternoon to see Madame de Vionnet.
He had gone again the next day but one, and the effect of the two
visits, the after-sense of the couple of hours spent with her,
was almost that of fulness and frequency. The brave intention of
frequency, so great with him from the moment of his finding himself
unjustly suspected at Woollett, had remained rather theoretic,
and one of the things he could muse about under his poplars was
the source of the special shyness that had still made him careful.
He had surely got rid of it now, this special shyness; what had become
of it if it hadn't precisely, within the week, rubbed off?

It struck him now in fact as sufficiently plain that if he had
still been careful he had been so for a reason. He had really
feared, in his behaviour, a lapse from good faith; if there was a
danger of one's liking such a woman too much one's best safety was
in waiting at least till one had the right to do so. In the light
of the last few days the danger was fairly vivid; so that it was
proportionately fortunate that the right was likewise established.
It seemed to our friend that he had on each occasion profited to
the utmost by the latter: how could he have done so more, he at
all events asked himself, than in having immediately let her know
that, if it was all the same to her, he preferred not to talk about
anything tiresome? He had never in his life so sacrificed an
armful of high interests as in that remark; he had never so prepared
the way for the comparatively frivolous as in addressing it to
Madame de Vionnet's intelligence. It hadn't been till later that
he quite recalled how in conjuring away everything but the pleasant
he had conjured away almost all they had hitherto talked about;
it was not till later even that he remembered how, with their new tone,
they hadn't so much as mentioned the name of Chad himself.
One of the things that most lingered with him on his hillside was
this delightful facility, with such a woman, of arriving at a new tone;
he thought, as he lay on his back, of all the tones she might make
possible if one were to try her, and at any rate of the probability
that one could trust her to fit them to occasions. He had wanted her
to feel that, as he was disinterested now, so she herself should be,


and she had showed she felt it, and he had showed he was grateful,
and it had been for all the world as if he were calling for
the first time. They had had other, but irrelevant, meetings;
it was quite as if, had they sooner known how much they REALLY
had in common, there were quantities of comparatively dull matters
they might have skipped. Well, they were skipping them now,
even to graceful gratitude, even to handsome Don't mention it!"-and
it was amazing what could still come up without reference to
what had been going on between them. It might have beenon analysis
nothing more than Shakespeare and the musical glasses; but it had
served all the purpose of his appearing to have said to her:
Don't like me, if it's a question of liking me, for anything obvious
and clumsy that I've, as they call it, 'done' for you: like me-well,
like me, hang it, for anything else you choose. So, by
the same propriety, don't be for me simply the person I've come to know
through my awkward connexion with Chad--was ever anything, by the way,
MORE awkward? Be for me, please, with all your admirable tact and trust,
just whatever I may show you it's a present pleasure to me to think you.
It had been a large indication to meet; but if she hadn't met it
what HAD she doneand how had their time together slipped along
so smoothlymild but not slowand meltingliquefyinginto his
happy illusion of idleness? He could recognise on the other hand
that he had probably not been without reasonin his priorhis
restricted statefor keeping an eye on his liability to lapse
from good faith.

He really continued in the picture--that being for himself his
situation--all the rest of this rambling day; so that the charm was
stillwas indeed more than ever upon him whentoward six o'clock
he found himself amicably engaged with a stout white-capped
deep-voiced woman at the door of the auberge of the biggest village
a village that affected him as a thing of whitenessblueness and
crookednessset in coppery greenand that had the river flowing
behind or before it--one couldn't say which; at the bottomin
particularof the inn-garden. He had had other adventures before this;
had kept along the heightafter shaking off slumber; had admired
had almost covetedanother small old churchall steep roof and
dim slate-colour without and all whitewash and paper flowers within;
had lost his way and had found it again; had conversed with rustics
who struck him perhaps a little more as men of the world than he had
expected; had acquired at a bound a fearless facility in French;
had hadas the afternoon waneda watery bockall pale and Parisian
in the cafe of the furthest villagewhich was not the biggest;
and had meanwhile not once overstepped the oblong gilt frame.
The frame had drawn itself out for himas much as you please;
but that was just his luck. He had finally come down again to the
valleyto keep within touch of stations and trainsturning his face
to the quarter from which he had started; and thus it was that he had
at last pulled up before the hostess of the Cheval Blancwho met him
with a rough readiness that was like the clatter of sabots over stones
on their common ground of a cotelette de veau a l'oseille and a
subsequent lift. He had walked many miles and didn't know he was tired;
but he still knew he was amusedand even thatthough he had been
alone all dayhe had never yet so struck himself as engaged with
others and in midstream of his drama. It might have passed for
finished his dramawith its catastrophe all but reached: it had
howevernone the less been vivid again for him as he thus gave it
its fuller chance. He had only had to be at last well out of it to
feel itoddly enoughstill going on.

For this had been all day at bottom the spell of the picture--that
it was essentially more than anything else a scene and a stage
that the very air of the play was in the rustle of the willows and
the tone of the sky. The play and the characters hadwithout his


knowing it till nowpeopled all his space for himand it seemed
somehow quite happy that they should offer themselvesin the
conditions so suppliedwith a kind of inevitability. It was as if
the conditions made them not only inevitablebut so much more
nearly natural and right as that they were at least easier
pleasanterto put up with. The conditions had nowhere so asserted
their difference from those of Woollett as they appeared to him to
assert it in the little court of the Cheval Blanc while he arranged
with his hostess for a comfortable climax. They were few and
simplescant and humblebut they were THE THINGas he would have
called iteven to a greater degree than Madame de Vionnet's old
high salon where the ghost of the Empire walked. "The" thing was
the thing that implied the greatest number of other things of the
sort he had had to tackle; and it was queer of coursebut so it
was--the implication here was complete. Not a single one of his
observations but somehow fell into a place in it; not a breath of
the cooler evening that wasn't somehow a syllable of the text.
The text was simplywhen condensedthat in THESE places such
things wereand that if it was in them one elected to move about
one had to make one's account with what one lighted on. Meanwhile
at all events it was enough that they did affect one--so far as the
village aspect was concerned--as whitenesscrookedness and
blueness set in coppery green; there being positivelyfor that
matteran outer wall of the White Horse that was painted the most
improbable shade. That was part of the amusement--as if to show
that the fun was harmless; just as it was enoughfurtherthat the
picture and the play seemed supremely to melt together in the good
woman's broad sketch of what she could do for her visitor's
appetite. He felt in short a confidenceand it was generaland
it was all he wanted to feel. It suffered no shock even on her
mentioning that she had in fact just laid the cloth for two persons
whounlike Monsieurhad arrived by the river--in a boat of their
own; who had asked herhalf an hour beforewhat she could do for
themand had then paddled away to look at something a little
further up--from which promenade they would presently return.
Monsieur might meanwhileif he likedpass into the gardensuch
as it waswhere she would serve himshould he wish it--for there
were tables and benches in plenty--a "bitter" before his repast.
Here she would also report to him on the possibility of a
conveyance to his stationand here at any rate he would have the
agrement of the river .

It may be mentioned without delay that Monsieur had the agrement of
everythingand in particularfor the next twenty minutes
of a small and primitive pavilion thatat the garden's edgealmost
overhung the watertestifyingin its somewhat battered stateto
much fond frequentation. It consisted of little more than a
platformslightly raisedwith a couple of benches and a tablea
protecting rail and a projecting roof; but it raked the full
grey-blue streamwhichtaking a turn a short distance above
passed out of sight to reappear much higher up; and it was clearly
in esteemed requisition for Sundays and other feasts. Strether sat
there andthough hungryfelt at peace; the confidence that had so
gathered for him deepened with the lap of the waterthe ripple of
the surfacethe rustle of the reeds on the opposite bankthe
faint diffused coolness and the slight rock of a couple of small
boats attached to a rough landing-place hard by. The valley on the
further side was all copper-green level and glazed pearly skya
sky hatched across with screens of trimmed treeswhich looked
flatlike espaliers; and though the rest of the village straggled
away in the near quarter the view had an emptiness that made one of
the boats suggestive. Such a river set one afloat almost before
one could take up the oars--the idle play of which would be
moreover the aid to the full impression. This perception went so


far as to bring him to his feet; but that movementin turnmade
him feel afresh that he was tiredand while he leaned against a
post and continued to look out he saw something that gave him a
sharper arrest.

What he saw was exactly the right thing--a boat advancing round the
bend and containing a man who held the paddles and a ladyat the
sternwith a pink parasol. It was suddenly as if these figures
or something like themhad been wanted in the picturehad been
wanted more or less all dayand had now drifted into sightwith
the slow currenton purpose to fill up the measure. They came
slowlyfloating downevidently directed to the landing-place near
their spectator and presenting themselves to him not less clearly
as the two persons for whom his hostess was already preparing a
meal. For two very happy persons he found himself straightway
taking them--a young man in shirt-sleevesa young woman easy and
fairwho had pulled pleasantly up from some other place andbeing
acquainted with the neighbourhoodhad known what this particular
retreat could offer them. The air quite thickenedat their
approachwith further intimations; the intimation that they were
expertfamiliarfrequent--that this wouldn't at all events be
the first time. They knew how to do ithe vaguely felt--and it
made them but the more idyllicthough at the very moment
of the impressionas happenedtheir boat seemed to have begun to
drift widethe oarsman letting it go. It had by this time none
the less come much nearer--near enough for Strether to dream the
lady in the stern had for some reason taken account of his being
there to watch them. She had remarked on it sharplyyet her
companion hadn't turned round; it was in fact almost as if our
friend had felt her bid him keep still. She had taken in something
as a result of which their course had waveredand it continued to
waver while they just stood off. This little effect was sudden and
rapidso rapid that Strether's sense of it was separate only for
an instant from a sharp start of his own. He too had within the
minute taken in somethingtaken in that he knew the lady whose
parasolshifting as if to hide her facemade so fine a pink point
in the shining scene. It was too prodigiousa chance in a million
butif he knew the ladythe gentlemanwho still presented his back
and kept offthe gentlemanthe coatless hero of the idyll
who had responded to her startwasto match the marvelnone other
than Chad.

Chad and Madame de Vionnet were then like himself taking a day in
the country--though it was as queer as fictionas farcethat
their country could happen to be exactly his; and she had been the
first at recognitionthe first to feelacross the waterthe shock-for
it appeared to come to that--of their wonderful accident.
Strether became awarewith thisof what was taking place-that
her recognition had been even stranger for the pair in the boat
that her immediate impulse had been to control itand that she was
quickly and intensely debating with Chad the risk of betrayal.
He saw they would show nothing if they could feel sure he hadn't
made them out; so that he had before him for a few seconds his
own hesitation. It was a sharp fantastic crisis that had popped up
as if in a dreamand it had had only to last the few seconds to
make him feel it as quite horrible. They were thuson either side
TRYING the other sideand all for some reason that broke the stillness
like some unprovoked harsh note. It seemed to him againwithin the
limitthat he had but one thing to do--to settle their common question


by some sign of surprise and joy. He hereupon gave large play to
these thingsagitating his hat and his stick and loudly calling out-a
demonstration that brought him relief as soon as he had seen it
answered. The boatin mid-streamstill went a little wild-which
seemed naturalhoweverwhile Chad turned roundhalf
springing up; and his good friendafter blankness and wonder
began gaily to wave her parasol. Chad dropped afresh to his paddles
and the boat headed roundamazement and pleasantry filling the air
meanwhileand reliefas Strether continued to fancysuperseding
mere violence. Our friend went down to the water under this odd
impression as of violence averted--the violence of their having
cuthimout there in the eye of natureon the assumption that
he wouldn't know it. He awaited them with a face from which he
was conscious of not being able quite to banish this idea that they
would have gone onnot seeing and not knowingmissing their dinner
and disappointing their hostesshad he himself taken a line to match.
That at least was what darkened his vision for the moment. Afterwards
after they had bumped at the landing-place and he had assisted their
getting ashoreeverything found itself sponged over by the mere
miracle of the encounter.

They could so much better at laston either sidetreat it as a
wild extravagance of hazardthat the situation was made elastic by
the amount of explanation called into play. Why indeed--apart from
oddity--the situation should have been really stiff was a question
naturally not practical at the momentand in factso far as we
are concerneda question tackledlater on and in privateonly by
Strether himself. He was to reflect later on and in private that
it was mainly HE who had explained--as he had had moreover
comparatively little difficulty in doing. He was to have at all
events meanwhile the worrying thought of their perhaps secretly
suspecting him of having plotted this coincidencetaking such
pains as might be to give it the semblance of an accident. That
possibility--as their imputation--didn't of course bear looking
into for an instant; yet the whole incident was so manifestly
arrange it as they wouldan awkward onethat he could scarce keep
disclaimers in respect to his own presence from rising to his lips.
Disclaimers of intention would have been as tactless as his
presence was practically gross; and the narrowest escape they
either of them had was his lucky escapein the eventfrom making
any. Nothing of the sortso far as surface and sound were
involvedwas even in question; surface and sound all made for
their common ridiculous good fortunefor the general
invraisemblance of the occasionfor the charming chance that they
hadthe othersin passingordered some food to be readythe
charming chance that he had himself not eatenthe charming chance
even morethat their little planstheir hourstheir trainin
shortfrom la-baswould all match for their return together to
Paris. The chance that was most charming of allthe chance that
drew from Madame de Vionnet her clearestgayest "Comme cela se
trouve!" was the announcement made to Strether after they were
seated at tablethe word given him by their hostess in respect to
his carriage for the stationon which he might now count. It
settled the matter for his friends as well; the conveyance-it
WAS all too lucky!--would serve for them; and nothing was more
delightful than his being in a position to make the train so definite.
It might have beenfor themselves--to hear Madame de Vionnet-almost
unnaturally vaguea detail left to be fixed; though Strether
indeed was afterwards to remember that Chad had promptly enough
intervened to forestall this appearancelaughing at his companion's
flightiness and making the point that he had after allin spite of
the bedazzlement of a day out with herknown what he was about.

Strether was to remember afterwards further that this had had for


him the effect of forming Chad's almost sole intervention; and
indeed he was to remember further stillin subsequent meditation
many things thatas it werefitted together. Another of them was
for instance that the wonderful woman's overflow of surprise and
amusement was wholly into Frenchwhich she struck him as speaking
with an unprecedented command of idiomatic turnsbut in which she
gotas he might have saidsomewhat away from himtaking all at
once little brilliant jumps that he could but lamely match. The
question of his own French had never come up for them; it was the
one thing she wouldn't have permitted--it belongedfor a person
who had been through muchto mere boredom; but the present result
was oddfairly veiling her identityshifting her back into a mere
voluble class or race to the intense audibility of which he was by
this time inured. When she spoke the charming slightly strange
English he best knew her by he seemed to feel her as a creature
among all the millionswith a language quite to herselfthe real
monopoly of a special shade of speechbeautifully easy for her
yet of a colour and a cadence that were both inimitable and matters
of accident. She came back to these things after they had shaken
down in the inn-parlour and knewas it werewhat was to become of
them; it was inevitable that loud ejaculation over the prodigy of
their convergence should at last wear itself out. Then it was that
his impression took fuller form--the impressiondestined only to
deepento complete itselfthat they had something to put a face
uponto carry off and make the best ofand that it was she who
admirably on the wholewas doing this. It was familiar to him of
course that they had something to put a face upon; their
friendshiptheir connexiontook any amount of explaining--that
would have been made familiar by his twenty minutes with Mrs. Pocock
if it hadn't already been so. Yet his theoryas we knowhad
bountifully been that the facts were specifically none of his
businessand wereover and aboveso far as one had to do with
themintrinsically beautiful; and this might have prepared him for
anythingas well as rendered him proof against mystification.
When he reached home that nighthoweverhe knew he had beenat
bottomneither prepared nor proof; and since we have spoken of
what he wasafter his returnto recall and interpretit may as
well immediately be said that his real experience of these few
hours put onin that belated vision--for he scarce went to bed
till morning--the aspect that is most to our purpose.

He then knew more or less how he had been affected--he but half
knew at the time. There had been plenty to affect him even after
as has been saidthey had shaken down; for his consciousness
though muffledhad its sharpest moments during this passagea
marked drop into innocent friendly Bohemia. They then had put
their elbows on the tabledeploring the premature end of their two
or three dishes; which they had tried to make up with another
bottle while Chad joked a little spasmodicallyperhaps even a
little irrelevantlywith the hostess. What it all came to had
been that fiction and fable WEREinevitablyin the airand not
as a simple term of comparisonbut as a result of things said;
also that they were blinking itall roundand that they yet needn't
so much as thathave blinked it--though indeed if they hadn't
Strether didn't quite see what else they could have done.
Strether didn't quite see THAT even at an hour or two past midnight
even when he hadat his hotelfor a long timewithout a light
and without undressingsat back on his bedroom sofa and stared
straight before him. He wasat that point of vantagein full
possessionto make of it all what he could. He kept making of it
that there had been simply a LIE in the charming affair--a lie
on which one could nowdetached and deliberateperfectly put
one's finger. It was with the lie that they had eaten and drunk
and talked and laughedthat they had waited for their carriole


rather impatientlyand had then got into the vehicle andsensibly
subsidingdriven their three or four miles through the darkening
summer night. The eating and drinkingwhich had been a resource
had had the effect of having served its turn; the talk and laughter
had done as much; and it was during their somewhat tedious progress
to the stationduring the waits therethe further delaystheir
submission to fatiguetheir silences in the dim compartment of the
much-stopping trainthat he prepared himself for reflexions to come.
It had been a performanceMadame de Vionnet's mannerand though
it had to that degree faltered toward the endas through her ceasing
to believe in itas if she had asked herselfor Chad had found
a moment surreptitiously to ask herwhat after all was the use
a performance it had none the less quite handsomely remained
with the final fact about it that it was on the whole easier to
keep up than to abandon.

From the point of view of presence of mind it had been very
wonderful indeedwonderful for readinessfor beautiful assurance
for the way her decision was taken on the spotwithout time to
confer with Chadwithout time for anything. Their only conference
could have been the brief instants in the boat before they confessed
to recognising the spectator on the bankfor they hadn't been alone
together a moment since and must have communicated all in silence.
It was a part of the deep impression for Stretherand not the least
of the deep interestthat they COULD so communicate--that Chad
in particular could let her know he left it to her. He habitually
left things to othersas Strether was so well awareand it in fact
came over our friend in these meditations that there had been as yet
no such vivid illustration of his famous knowing how to live.
It was as if he had humoured her to the extent of letting her lie
without correction--almost as ifreallyhe would be coming round
in the morning to set the matteras between Strether and himself
right. Of course he couldn't quite come; it was a case in which
a man was obliged to accept the woman's versioneven when fantastic;
if she hadwith more flurry than she cared to showelected
as the phrase wasto represent that they had left Paris that morning
and with no design but of getting back within the day--if she had
so sized-upin the Woollett phrasetheir necessityshe knew best
her own measure. There were thingsall the sameit was impossible
to blink and which made this measure an odd one--the too evident fact
for instance that she hadn't started out for the day dressed and hatted
and shodand evenfor that matterpink parasol'das she had been
in the boat. From what did the drop in her assurance proceed as the
tension increased--from what did this slightly baffled ingenuity spring
but from her consciousness of not presentingas night closed in
with not so much as a shawl to wrap her roundan appearance that
matched her story? She admitted that she was coldbut only to
blame her imprudence which Chad suffered her to give such account
of as she might. Her shawl and Chad's overcoat and her other
garmentsand histhose they had each worn the day beforewere at
the placebest known to themselves--a quiet retreat enoughno
doubt--at which they had been spending the twenty-four hoursto
which they had fully meant to return that eveningfrom which they
had so remarkably swum into Strether's kenand the tacit
repudiation of which had been thus the essence of her comedy.
Strether saw how she had perceived in a flash that they couldn't
quite look to going back there under his nose; thoughhonestly
as he gouged deeper into the matterhe was somewhat surprisedas
Chad likewise had perhaps beenat the uprising of this scruple.
He seemed even to divine that she had entertained it rather for
Chad than for herselfand thatas the young man had lacked the
chance to enlighten hershe had had to go on with ithe meanwhile
mistaking her motive.


He was rather gladnone the lessthat they had in point of fact
not parted at the Cheval Blancthat he hadn't been reduced to
giving them his blessing for an idyllic retreat down the river.
He had had in the actual case to make-believe more than he liked
but this was nothingit struck himto what the other event
would have required. Could heliterallyquite have faced the
other event? Would he have been capable of making the best of it
with them? This was what he was trying to do now; but with the
advantage of his being able to give more time to it a good deal
counteracted by his sense of whatover and above the central fact
itselfhe had to swallow. It was the quantity of make-believe
involved and so vividly exemplified that most disagreed with his
spiritual stomach. He movedhoweverfrom the consideration of
that quantity--to say nothing of the consciousness of that organ-back
to the other feature of the showthe deepdeep truth of
the intimacy revealed. That was whatin his vain vigilhe oftenest
reverted to: intimacyat such a pointwas LIKE that--and what in
the world else would one have wished it to be like? It was all
very well for him to feel the pity of its being so much like lying;
he almost blushedin the darkfor the way he had dressed the
possibility in vaguenessas a little girl might have dressed her doll.
He had made them--and by no fault of their own--momentarily pull it for
himthe possibilityout of this vagueness; and must he not therefore
take it now as they had had simplywith whatever thin attenuations
to give it to him? The very questionit may be addedmade him feel
lonely and cold. There was the element of the awkward all roundbut
Chad and Madame de Vionnet had at least the comfort that they could talk
it over together. With whom could HE talk of such things?--unless
indeed alwaysat almost any stagewith Maria? He foresaw that
Miss Gostrey would come again into requisition on the morrow;
though it wasn't to be denied that he was already a little afraid
of her "What on earth--that's what I want to know now--had you
then supposed?" He recognised at last that he had really been trying
all along to suppose nothing. Verilyverilyhis labour had been lost.
He found himself supposing innumerable and wonderful things.

Book Twelfth

Strether couldn't have said he had during the previous hours
definitely expected it; yet when. later onthat morning--though
no later indeed than for his coming forth at ten o'clock--he saw
the concierge produceon his approacha petit bleu delivered
since his letters had been sent uphe recognised the appearance as
the first symptom of a sequel. He then knew he had been thinking
of some early sign from Chad as more likelyafter allthan not;
and this would be precisely the early sign. He took it so for
granted that he opened the petit bleu just where he had stoppedin
the pleasant cool draught of the porte-cochere--only curious to see
where the young man wouldat such a juncturebreak out. His
curiosityhoweverwas more than gratified; the small missive
whose gummed edge he had detached without attention to the address
not being from the young man at allbut from the person whom the
case gave him on the spot as still more worth while. Worth while
or nothe went round to the nearest telegraph-officethe big one


on the Boulevardwith a directness that almost confessed to a fear
of the danger of delay. He might have been thinking that if he didn't
go before he could think he wouldn't perhaps go at all. He at
any rate keptin the lower side-pocket of his morning coata very
deliberate hand on his blue missivecrumpling it up rather tenderly
than harshly. He wrote a replyon the Boulevardalso in the form
of a petit bleu--which was quickly doneunder pressure of the place
inasmuch aslike Madame de Vionnet's own communicationit consisted
of the fewest words. She had asked him if he could do her the very
great kindness of coming to see her that evening at half-past nine
and he answeredas if nothing were easierthat he would present
himself at the hour she named. She had added a line of postscript
to the effect that she would come to him elsewhere and at his own hour
if he preferred; but he took no notice of thisfeeling that if he
saw her at all half the value of it would be in seeing her where he
had already seen her best. He mightn't see her at all; that was
one of the reflexions he made after writing and before he dropped
his closed card into the box; he mightn't see any one at all
any more at all; he might make an end as well now as ever
leaving things as they weresince he was doubtless not to leave
them betterand taking his way home so far as should appear that
a home remained to him. This alternative was for a few minutes
so sharp that if he at last did deposit his missive it was perhaps
because the pressure of the place had an effect.

There was none otherhoweverthan the common and constant pressure
familiar to our friend under the rubric of Postes et Telegraphes-the
something in the air of these establishments; the vibration of
the vast strange life of the townthe influence of the types
the performers concocting their messages; the little prompt Paris women
arrangingpretexting goodness knew whatdriving the dreadful
needle-pointed public pen at the dreadful sand-strewn public table:
implements that symbolised for Strether's too interpretative innocence
something more acute in mannersmore sinister in moralsmore fierce
in the national life. After he had put in his paper he had ranged
himselfhe was really amused to thinkon the side of the fierce
the sinisterthe acute. He was carrying on a correspondence
across the great cityquite in the key of the Postes et Telegraphes
in general; and it was fairly as if the acceptance of that fact had
come from something in his state that sorted with the occupation of
his neighbours. He was mixed up with the typical tale of Parisand so
were theypoor things--how could they all together help being?
They were no worse than hein shortand he no worse than they-if
queerly enoughno better; and at all events he had settled his
hashso that he went out to beginfrom that momenthis day of
waiting. The great settlement wasas he feltin his preference
for seeing his correspondent in her own best conditions. THAT was
part of the typical talethe part most significant in respect to
himself. He liked the place she lived inthe picture that each
time squared itselflarge and high and cleararound her: every
occasion of seeing it was a pleasure of a different shade. Yet
what precisely was he doing with shades of pleasure nowand why
hadn't he properly and logically compelled her to commit herself
to whatever of disadvantage and penalty the situation might throw
up? He might have proposedas for Sarah Pocockthe cold
hospitality of his own salon de lecturein which the chill of
Sarah's visit seemed still to abide and shades of pleasure were
dim; he might have suggested a stone bench in the dusty Tuileries
or a penny chair at the back part of the Champs Elysees. These
things would have been a trifle sternand sternness alone now
wouldn't be sinister. An instinct in him cast about for some form
of discipline in which they might meet--some awkwardness they would
suffer fromsome dangeror at least some grave inconvenience
they would incur. This would give a sense--which the spirit


requiredrather ached and sighed in the absence of--that somebody
was paying something somewhere and somehowthat they were at least
not all floating together on the silver stream of impunity. Just
instead of that to go and see her late in the eveningas iffor
all the world--wellas if he were as much in the swim as anybody
else: this had as little as possible in common with the penal form.

Even when he had felt that objection melt awayhoweverthe
practical difference was small; the long stretch of his interval
took the colour it wouldand if he lived on thus with the sinister
from hour to hour it proved an easier thing than one might have
supposed in advance. He reverted in thought to his old tradition
the one he had been brought up on and which even so many years of
life had but little worn away; the notion that the state of the
wrongdoeror at least this person's happinesspresented some
special difficulty. What struck him now rather was the ease of it-for
nothing in truth appeared easier. It was an ease he himself
fairly tasted of for the rest of the day; giving himself quite up;
not so much as trying to dress it outin any particular whatever
as a difficulty; not after all going to see Maria--which would have
been in a manner a result of such dressing; only idlinglounging
smokingsitting in the shadedrinking lemonade and consuming
ices. The day had turned to heat and eventual thunderand he now
and again went back to his hotel to find that Chad hadn't been
there. He hadn't yet struck himselfsince leaving Woollettso
much as a loaferthough there had been times when he believed
himself touching bottom. This was a deeper depth than anyand
with no foresightscarcely with a careas to what he should bring
up. He almost wondered if he didn't LOOK demoralised and
disreputable; he had the fanciful visionas he sat and smoked
of some accidentalsome motivedreturn of the Pocockswho would
be passing along the Boulevard and would catch this view of him.
They would have distinctlyon his appearanceevery ground for scandal.
But fate failed to administer even that sternness; the Pococks never
passed and Chad made no sign. Strether meanwhile continued to hold off
from Miss Gostreykeeping her till to-morrow; so that by evening
his irresponsibilityhis impunityhis luxuryhad become--there was
no other word for them--immense.

Between nine and tenat lastin the high clear picture--he was
moving in these daysas in a galleryfrom clever canvas to clever
canvas--he drew a long breath: it was so presented to him from the
first that the spell of his luxury wouldn't be broken. He wouldn't
havethat isto become responsible--this was admirably in the air:
she had sent for him precisely to let him feel itso that he
might go on with the comfort (comfort already establishedhadn't
it been?) of regarding his ordealthe ordeal of the weeks of
Sarah's stay and of their climaxas safely traversed and left
behind him. Didn't she just wish to assure him that SHE now took
it all and so kept it; that he was absolutely not to worry any
morewas only to rest on his laurels and continue generously to
help her? The light in her beautiful formal room was dimthough
it would doas everything would always do; the hot night had kept
out lampsbut there was a pair of clusters of candles that
glimmered over the chimney-piece like the tall tapers of an altar.
The windows were all opentheir redundant hangings swaying a
littleand he heard once morefrom the empty courtthe small
plash of the fountain. From beyond thisand as from a great
distance--beyond the courtbeyond the corps de logis forming the
front--cameas if excited and excitingthe vague voice of Paris.
Strether had all along been subject to sudden gusts of fancy in
connexion with such matters as these--odd starts of the historic
sensesuppositions and divinations with no warrant but their
intensity. Thus and soon the eve of the great recorded dates


the days and nights of revolutionthe sounds had come inthe
omensthe beginnings broken out. They were the smell of
revolutionthe smell of the public temper--or perhaps simply the
smell of blood.

It was at present queer beyond wordssubtle,he would have
risked sayingthat such suggestions should keep crossing the
scene; but it was doubtless the effect of the thunder in the air
which had hung about all day without release. His hostess was
dressed as for thunderous timesand it fell in with the kind of
imagination we have just attributed to him that she should be in
simplest coolest whiteof a character so old-fashionedif he were
not mistakenthat Madame Roland must on the scaffold have worn
something like it. This effect was enhanced by a small black fichu
or scarfof crape or gauzedisposed quaintly round her bosom and
now completing as by a mystic touch the patheticthe noble analogy.
Poor Strether in fact scarce knew what analogy was evoked for him
as the charming womanreceiving him and making himas she could do
such thingsat once familiarly and gravely welcomemoved over her
great room with her image almost repeated in its polished floor
which had been fully bared for summer. The associations of the place
all felt again; the gleam here and therein the subdued light
of glass and gilt and parquetwith the quietness of her own note
as the centre--these things were at first as delicate as if they
had been ghostlyand he was sure in a moment thatwhatever he should
find he had come forit wouldn't be for an impression that had
previously failed him. That conviction held him from the outset
andseeming singularly to simplifycertified to him that the objects
about would help himwould really help them both. Nohe might
never see them again--this was only too probably the last time;
and he should certainly see nothing in the least degree like them.
He should soon be going to where such things were notand it would be
a small mercy for memoryfor fancyto havein that stress
a loaf on the shelf. He knew in advance he should look back on the
perception actually sharpest with him as on the view of something
oldoldoldthe oldest thing he had ever personally touched;
and he also kneweven while he took his companion in as the feature
among featuresthat memory and fancy couldn't help being enlisted
for her. She might intend what she wouldbut this was beyond anything
she could intendwith things from far back--tyrannies of history
facts of typevaluesas the painters saidof expression-all
working for her and giving her the supreme chancethe chance
of the happythe really luxurious fewthe chanceon a great
occasionto be natural and simple. She had neverwith him
been more so; or if it was the perfection of art it would never-and
that came to the same thing--be proved against her.

What was truly wonderful was her way of differing so from time to
time without detriment to her simplicity. Capriceshe was sure
she feltwere before anything else bad mannersand that judgement
in her was by itself a thing making more for safety of intercourse
than anything that in his various own past intercourses he had had
to reckon on. If therefore her presence was now quite other than
the one she had shown him the night beforethere was nothing of
violence in the change--it was all harmony and reason. It gave him
a mild deep personwhereas he had had on the occasion to which
their interview was a direct reference a person committed to
movement and surface and abounding in them; but she was in either
character more remarkable for nothing than for her bridging of
intervalsand this now fell in with what he understood he was to
leave to her. The only thing was thatif he was to leave it ALL
to herwhy exactly had she sent for him? He had hadvaguelyin
advancehis explanationhis view of the probability of her
wishing to set something rightto deal in some way with the fraud


so lately practised on his presumed credulity. Would she attempt
to carry it further or would she blot it out? Would she throw over
it some more or less happy colour; or would she do nothing about it
at all? He perceived soon enough at least thathowever reasonable
she might beshe wasn't vulgarly confusedand it herewith
pressed upon him that their eminent "lie Chad's and hers, was
simply after all such an inevitable tribute to good taste as he
couldn't have wished them not to render. Away from them, during
his vigil, he had seemed to wince at the amount of comedy involved;
whereas in his present posture he could only ask himself how he
should enjoy any attempt from her to take the comedy back. He
shouldn't enjoy it at all; but, once more and yet once more, he
could trust her. That is he could trust her to make deception
right. As she presented things the ugliness--goodness knew why-went
out of them; none the less too that she could present them,
with an art of her own, by not so much as touching them. She let
the matter, at all events, lie where it was--where the previous
twenty-four hours had placed it; appearing merely to circle about
it respectfully, tenderly, almost piously, while she took up
another question.

She knew she hadn't really thrown dust in his eyes; this, the
previous night, before they separated, had practically passed
between them; and, as she had sent for him to see what the
difference thus made for him might amount to, so he was conscious
at the end of five minutes that he had been tried and tested. She
had settled with Chad after he left them that she would, for her
satisfaction, assure herself of this quantity, and Chad had, as
usual, let her have her way. Chad was always letting people have
their way when he felt that it would somehow turn his wheel for
him; it somehow always did turn his wheel. Strether felt, oddly
enough, before these facts, freshly and consentingly passive; they
again so rubbed it into him that the couple thus fixing his
attention were intimate, that his intervention had absolutely aided
and intensified their intimacy, and that in fine he must accept the
consequence of that. He had absolutely become, himself, with his
perceptions and his mistakes, his concessions and his reserves, the
droll mixture, as it must seem to them, of his braveries and his
fears, the general spectacle of his art and his innocence, almost
an added link and certainly a common priceless ground for them to
meet upon. It was as if he had been hearing their very tone when
she brought out a reference that was comparatively straight.
The last twice that you've been hereyou knowI never asked you
she said with an abrupt transition--they had been pretending before
this to talk simply of the charm of yesterday and of the interest
of the country they had seen. The effort was confessedly vain; not
for such talk had she invited him; and her impatient reminder was
of their having done for it all the needful on his coming to her
after Sarah's flight. What she hadn't asked him then was to state
to her where and how he stood for her; she had been resting on
Chad's report of their midnight hour together in the Boulevard
Malesherbes. The thing therefore she at present desired was
ushered in by this recall of the two occasions on which,
disinterested and merciful, she hadn't worried him. To-night
truly she WOULD worry him, and this was her appeal to him to let
her risk it. He wasn't to mind if she bored him a little:
she had behaved, after all--hadn't she?--so awfully, awfully well.

Ohyou're all rightyou're all right he almost impatiently


declared; his impatience being moreover not for her pressure, but
for her scruple. More and more distinct to him was the tune to
which she would have had the matter out with Chad: more and more
vivid for him the idea that she had been nervous as to what he
might be able to stand." Yesit had been a question if he had
stoodwhat the scene on the river had given himandthough the
young man had doubtless opined in favour of his recuperationher
own last word must have been that she should feel easier in seeing
for herself. That was itunmistakeably; she WAS seeing for
herself. What he could stand was thusin these momentsin the
balance for Stretherwho reflectedas he became fully aware of
itthat he must properly brace himself. He wanted fully to appear
to stand all he might; and there was a certain command of the
situation for him in this very wish not to look too much at sea.
She was ready with everythingbut sosufficientlywas he; that
is he was at one point the more prepared of the twoinasmuch as
for all her clevernessshe couldn't produce on the spot--and it
was surprising--an account of the motive of her note. He had the
advantage that his pronouncing her "all right" gave him for an
enquiry. "May I askdelighted as I've been to comeif you've
wished to say something special?" He spoke as if she might have
seen he had been waiting for it--not indeed with discomfortbut
with natural interest. Then he saw that she was a little taken
abackwas even surprised herself at the detail she had neglected-the
only one ever yet; having somehow assumed he would knowwould
recognisewould leave some things not to be said. She looked at
himhoweveran instant as if to convey that if he wanted them
ALL--!

Selfish and vulgar--that's what I must seem to you. You've done
everything for me, and here I am as if I were asking for more. But
it isn't,she went onbecause I'm afraid--though I AM of course
afraid, as a woman in my position always is. I mean it isn't
because one lives in terror--it isn't because of that one is
selfish, for I'm ready to give you my word to-night that I don't
care; don't care what still may happen and what I may lose. I don't
ask you to raise your little finger for me again, nor do I wish
so much as to mention to you what we've talked of before, either
my danger or my safety, or his mother, or his sister, or the girl
he may marry, or the fortune he may make or miss, or the right
or the wrong, of any kind, he may do. If after the help one has
had from you one can't either take care of one's self or simply
hold one's tongue, one must renounce all claim to be an object of
interest. It's in the name of what I DO care about that I've tried
still to keep hold of you. How can I be indifferent,she asked
to how I appear to you?And as he found himself unable
immediately to say: "Whyif you're goingNEED youafter all?
Is it impossible you should stay on--so that one mayn't lose you?"

Impossible I should live with you here instead of going home?

Not 'with' us, if you object to that, but near enough to us,
somewhere, for us to see you--well,she beautifully brought out
when we feel we MUST. How shall we not sometimes feel it? I've
wanted to see you often when I couldn't,she pursuedall these
last weeks. How shan't I then miss you now, with the sense of your
being gone forever?Then as if the straightness of this appeal
taking him unpreparedhad visibly left him wondering: "Where IS
your 'home' moreover now--what has become of it? I've made a
change in your lifeI know I have; I've upset everything in your
mind as well; in your sense of--what shall I call it?--all the
decencies and possibilities. It gives me a kind of detestation--"
She pulled up short.


Oh but he wanted to hear. "Detestation of what?"

Of everything--of life.

Ah that's too much,he laughed--"or too little!"

Too little, precisely--she was eager. "What I hate is myself-when
I think that one has to take so muchto be happyout of the
lives of othersand that one isn't happy even then. One does it
to cheat one's self and to stop one's mouth--but that's only at the
best for a little. The wretched self is always therealways
making one somehow a fresh anxiety. What it comes to is that it's
notthat it's nevera happinessany happiness at allto TAKE.
The only safe thing is to give. It's what plays you least false."
Interestingtouchingstrikingly sincere as she let these things
come from hershe yet puzzled and troubled him--so fine was the
quaver of her quietness. He felt what he had felt before with her
that there was always more behind what she showedand more and
more again behind that. "You know soat least she added, where
you are!"

YOU ought to know it indeed then; for isn't what you've been
giving exactly what has brought us together this way? You've been
making, as I've so fully let you know I've felt,Strether said
the most precious present I've ever seen made, and if you can't
sit down peacefully on that performance you ARE, no doubt, born to
torment yourself. But you ought,he wound upto be easy.

And not trouble you any more, no doubt--not thrust on you even the
wonder and the beauty of what I've done; only let you regard our
business as over, and well over, and see you depart in a peace that
matches my own? No doubt, no doubt, no doubt,she nervously
repeated--"all the more that I don't really pretend I believe you
couldn'tfor yourselfNOT have done what you have. I don't
pretend you feel yourself victimisedfor this evidently is the way
you liveand it's what--we're agreed--is the best way. Yesas
you say she continued after a moment, I ought to be easy and
rest on my work. Well then here am I doing so. I AM easy. You'll
have it for your last impression. When is it you say you go?" she
asked with a quick change.

He took some time to reply--his last impression was more and more
so mixed a one. It produced in him a vague disappointmenta drop
that was deeper even than the fall of his elation the previous
night. The good of what he had doneif he had done so muchwasn't
there to enliven him quite to the point that would have been ideal
for a grand gay finale. Women were thus endlessly absorbentand
to deal with them was to walk on water. What was at bottom the matter
with herembroider as she might and disclaim as she might-what
was at bottom the matter with her was simply Chad himself.
It was of Chad she was after all renewedly afraid; the strange
strength of her passion was the very strength of her fear; she clung
to HIMLambert Stretheras to a source of safety she had tested
andgenerous graceful truthful as she might try to beexquisite
as she wasshe dreaded the term of his being within reach.
With this sharpest perception yetit was like a chill in the air
to himit was almost appallingthat a creature so fine could be
by mysterious forcesa creature so exploited. For at the end
of all things they WERE mysterious: she had but made Chad what
he was--so why could she think she had made him infinite?
She had made him bettershe had made him bestshe had made him
anything one would; but it came to our friend with supreme
queerness that he was none the less only Chad. Strether had the
sense that HEa littlehad made him too; his high appreciation


had as it wereconsecrated her work The workhowever admirable
was nevertheless of the strict human orderand in short it was
marvellous that the companion of mere earthly joysof comforts
aberrations (however one classed them) within the common experience
should be so transcendently prized. It might have made Strether
hot or shyas such secrets of others brought home sometimes do
make us; but he was held there by something so hard that it was
fairly grim. This was not the discomposure of last night; that had
quite passed--such discomposures were a detail; the real coercion
was to see a man ineffably adored. There it was again--it took
womenit took women; if to deal with them was to walk on water
what wonder that the water rose? And it had never surely risen
higher than round this woman. He presently found himself taking a
long look from herand the next thing he knew he had uttered all
his thought. "You're afraid for your life!"

It drew out her long lookand he soon enough saw why. A spasm
came into her facethe tears she had already been unable to hide
overflowed at first in silenceand thenas the sound suddenly
comes from a childquickened to gaspsto sobs. She sat and
covered her face with her handsgiving up all attempt at a manner.
It's how you see me, it's how you see me--she caught her breath
with it--"and it's as I AMand as I must take myselfand of
course it's no matter." Her emotion was at first so incoherent that
he could only stand there at a lossstand with his sense of having
upset herthough of having done it by the truth. He had to listen
to her in a silence that he made no immediate effort to attenuate
feeling her doubly woeful amid all her dim diffused elegance;
consenting to it as he had consented to the restand even
conscious of some vague inward irony in the presence of such a fine
free range of bliss and bale. He couldn't say it was NOT no
matter; for he was serving her to the endhe now knewanyway-quite
as if what he thought of her had nothing to do with it.
It was actually moreover as if he didn't think of her at all
as if he could think of nothing but the passionmatureabysmal
pitifulshe representedand the possibilities she betrayed.
She was older for him to-nightvisibly less exempt from the
touch of time; but she was as much as ever the finest and
subtlest creaturethe happiest apparitionit had been given him
in all his yearsto meet; and yet he could see her there as
vulgarly troubledin very truthas a maidservant crying for
her young man. The only thing was that she judged herself as
the maidservant wouldn't; the weakness of which wisdom too
the dishonour of which judgementseemed but to sink her lower.
Her collapsehoweverno doubtwas briefer and she had in a
manner recovered herself before he intervened. "Of course
I'm afraid for my life. But that's nothing. It isn't that."

He was silent a little longeras if thinking what it might be.
There's something I have in mind that I can still do.

But she threw off at lastwith a sharp sad headshakedrying her
eyeswhat he could still do. "I don't care for that. Of course
as I've saidyou're actingin your wonderful wayfor yourself;
and what's for yourself is no more my business--though I may reach
out unholy hands so clumsily to touch it--than if it were something
in Timbuctoo. It's only that you don't snub meas you've had
fifty chances to do--it's only your beautiful patience that makes
one forget one's manners. In spite of your patienceall the
same she went on, you'd do anything rather than be with us here
even if that were possible. You'd do everything for us but be
mixed up with us--which is a statement you can easily answer to the
advantage of your own manners. You can say 'What's the use of
talking of things that at the best are impossible?' What IS of


course the use? It's only my little madness. You'd talk if you
were tormented. And I don't mean now about HIM. Oh for him--!"
Positivelystrangelybitterlyas it seemed to Strethershe gave
him,for the momentaway. "You don't care what I think of you;
but I happen to care what you think of me. And what you MIGHT
she added. What you perhaps even did."

He gained time. "What I did--?"

Did think before. Before this. DIDn't you think--?

But he had already stopped her. "I didn't think anything. I
never think a step further than I'm obliged to."

That's perfectly false, I believe,she returned--"except that you
mayno doubtoften pull up when things become TOO ugly; or even
I'll sayto save you a protesttoo beautiful. At any rateeven
so far as it's truewe've thrust on you appearances that you've
had to take in and that have therefore made your obligation. Ugly
or beautiful--it doesn't matter what we call them--you were
getting on without themand that's where we're detestable. We
bore you--that's where we are. And we may well--for what we've
cost you. All you can do NOW is not to think at all. And I who
should have liked to seem to you--wellsublime!"

He could only after a moment re-echo Miss Barrace. "You're
wonderful!"

I'm old and abject and hideous--she went on as without hearing
him. "Abject above all. Or old above all. It's when one's old
that it's worst. I don't care what becomes of it--let what WILL;
there it is. It's a doom--I know it; you can't see it more than I
do myself. Things have to happen as they will." With which she
came back again to whatface to face with himhad so quite broken
down. "Of course you wouldn'teven if possibleand no matter
what may happen to yoube near us. But think of methink of me--!"
She exhaled it into air.

He took refuge in repeating something he had already said and that
she had made nothing of. "There's something I believe I can still
do." And he put his hand out for good-bye.

She again made nothing of it; she went on with her insistence.
That won't help you. There's nothing to help you.

Well, it may help YOU,he said.

She shook her head. "There's not a grain of certainty in my
future--for the only certainty is that I shall be the loser in the
end."

She hadn't taken his handbut she moved with him to the door.
That's cheerful,he laughedfor your benefactor!

What's cheerful for ME,she repliedis that we might, you and
I, have been friends. That's it--that's it. You see how, as I
say, I want everything. I've wanted you too.

Ah but you've HAD me!he declaredat the doorwith an emphasis
that made an end.


His purpose had been to see Chad the next dayand he had prefigured
seeing him by an early call; having in general never stood on ceremony
in respect to visits at the Boulevard Malesherbes. It had been
more often natural for him to go there than for Chad to come to the
small hotelthe attractions of which were scant; yet it nevertheless
just nowat the eleventh hourdid suggest itself to Strether to begin
by giving the young man a chance. It struck him thatin the
inevitable courseChad would be "round as Waymarsh used to say--
Waymarsh who already, somehow, seemed long ago. He hadn't come the
day before, because it had been arranged between them that Madame de Vionnet
should see their friend first; but now that this passage had taken place
he would present himself, and their friend wouldn't have long to wait.
Strether assumed, he became aware, on this reasoning, that the
interesting parties to the arrangement would have met betimes, and
that the more interesting of the two--as she was after all--would
have communicated to the other the issue of her appeal. Chad would
know without delay that his mother's messenger had been with her,
and, though it was perhaps not quite easy to see how she could
qualify what had occurred, he would at least have been sufficiently
advised to feel he could go on. The day, however, brought, early
or late, no word from him, and Strether felt, as a result of this,
that a change had practically come over their intercourse. It was
perhaps a premature judgement; or it only meant perhaps--how could
he tell?--that the wonderful pair he protected had taken up again
together the excursion he had accidentally checked. They might
have gone back to the country, and gone back but with a long breath drawn;
that indeed would best mark Chad's sense that reprobation hadn't
rewarded Madame de Vionnet's request for an interview. At the end of
the twenty-four hours, at the end of the forty-eight, there was still
no overture; so that Strether filled up the time, as he had so often
filled it before, by going to see Miss Gostrey.

He proposed amusements to her; he felt expert now in proposing
amusements; and he had thus, for several days, an odd sense of
leading her about Paris, of driving her in the Bois, of showing her
the penny steamboats--those from which the breeze of the Seine was
to be best enjoyed--that might have belonged to a kindly uncle
doing the honours of the capital to an Intelligent niece from the
country. He found means even to take her to shops she didn't
know, or that she pretended she didn't; while she, on her side,
was, like the country maiden, all passive modest and grateful-going
in fact so far as to emulate rusticity in occasional fatigues
and bewilderments. Strether described these vague proceedings to
himself, described them even to her, as a happy interlude; the sign
of which was that the companions said for the time no further word
about the matter they had talked of to satiety. He proclaimed
satiety at the outset, and she quickly took the hint; as docile
both in this and in everything else as the intelligent obedient
niece. He told her as yet nothing of his late adventure--for as
an adventure it now ranked with him; he pushed the whole business
temporarily aside and found his interest in the fact of her
beautiful assent. She left questions unasked--she who for so long
had been all questions; she gave herself up to him with an
understanding of which mere mute gentleness might have seemed the
sufficient expression. She knew his sense of his situation had
taken still another step--of that he was quite aware; but she
conveyed that, whatever had thus happened for him, it was thrown
into the shade by what was happening for herself. This--though it
mightn't to a detached spirit have seemed much--was the major
interest, and she met it with a new directness of response,
measuring it from hour to hour with her grave hush of acceptance.
Touched as he had so often been by her before, he was, for his part


too, touched afresh; all the more that though he could be duly
aware of the principle of his own mood he couldn't be equally so
of the principle of hers. He knew, that is, in a manner--knew
roughly and resignedly--what he himself was hatching; whereas he
had to take the chance of what he called to himself Maria's
calculations. It was all he needed that she liked him enough for
what they were doing, and even should they do a good deal more
would still like him enough for that; the essential freshness of a
relation so simple was a cool bath to the soreness produced by
other relations. These others appeared to him now horribly
complex; they bristled with fine points, points all unimaginable
beforehand, points that pricked and drew blood; a fact that gave to
an hour with his present friend on a bateau-mouche, or in the
afternoon shade of the Champs Elysees, something of the innocent
pleasure of handling rounded ivory. His relation with Chad
personally--from the moment he had got his point of view--had been
of the simplest; yet this also struck him as bristling, after a
third and a fourth blank day had passed. It was as if at last
however his care for such indications had dropped; there came a
fifth blank day and he ceased to enquire or to heed.

They now took on to his fancy, Miss Gostrey and he, the image of
the Babes in the Wood; they could trust the merciful elements to
let them continue at peace. He had been great already, as he knew,
at postponements; but he had only to get afresh into the rhythm of
one to feel its fine attraction. It amused him to say to himself
that he might for all the world have been going to die--die resignedly;
the scene was filled for him with so deep a death-bed hush, so
melancholy a charm. That meant the postponement of everything else-which
made so for the quiet lapse of life; and the postponement
in especial of the reckoning to come--unless indeed the reckoning
to come were to be one and the same thing with extinction. It faced
him, the reckoning, over the shoulder of much interposing experience-which
also faced him; and one would float to it doubtless duly
through these caverns of Kubla Khan. It was really behind everything;
it hadn't merged in what he had done; his final appreciation of what
he had done--his appreciation on the spot--would provide it with
its main sharpness. The spot so focussed was of course Woollett,
and he was to see, at the best, what Woollett would be with everything
there changed for him. Wouldn't THAT revelation practically amount to
the wind-up of his career? Well, the summer's end would show;
his suspense had meanwhile exactly the sweetness of vain delay;
and he had with it, we should mention, other pastimes than Maria's
company--plenty of separate musings in which his luxury failed him
but at one point. He was well in port, the outer sea behind him,
and it was only a matter of getting ashore. There was a question
that came and went for him, however, as he rested against the
side of his ship, and it was a little to get rid of the obsession
that he prolonged his hours with Miss Gostrey. It was a question
about himself, but it could only be settled by seeing Chad again;
it was indeed his principal reason for wanting to see Chad.
After that it wouldn't signify--it was a ghost that certain words
would easily lay to rest. Only the young man must be there to
take the words. Once they were taken he wouldn't have a question left;
none, that is, in connexion with this particular affair. It wouldn't
then matter even to himself that he might now have been guilty of
speaking BECAUSE of what he had forfeited. That was the refinement
of his supreme scruple--he wished so to leave what he had forfeited
out of account. He wished not to do anything because he had missed
something else, because he was sore or sorry or impoverished,
because he was maltreated or desperate; he wished to do everything
because he was lucid and quiet, just the same for himself on all
essential points as he had ever been. Thus it was that while he
virtually hung about for Chad he kept mutely putting it: You've


been chuckedold boy; but what has that to do with it?" It would
have sickened him to feel vindictive.

These tints of feeling indeed were doubtless but the iridescence of
his idlenessand they were presently lost in a new light from
Maria. She had a fresh fact for him before the week was outand
she practically met him with it on his appearing one night. He hadn't
on this day seen herbut had planned presenting himself in due course
to ask her to dine with him somewhere out of doorson one of the
terracesin one of the gardensof which the Paris of summer was
profuse. It had then come on to rainso thatdisconcertedhe changed
his mind; dining alone at homea little stuffily and stupidlyand
waiting on her afterwards to make up his loss. He was sure within a
minute that something had happened; it was so in the air of the rich
little room that he had scarcely to name his thought. Softly lighted
the whole colour of the placewith its vague valueswas in cool
fusion--an effect that made the visitor stand for a little agaze. It
was as if in doing so now he had felt a recent presence--his recognition
of the passage of which his hostess in turn divined. She had scarcely
to say it--"Yesshe has been hereand this time I received her." It
wasn't till a minute later that she added: "There beingas I
understand youno reason NOW--!"

None for your refusing?

No--if you've done what you've had to do.

I've certainly so far done it,Strether saidas that you needn't
fear the effect, or the appearance of coming between us. There's
nothing between us now but what we ourselves have put there, and
not an inch of room for anything else whatever. Therefore you're
only beautifully WITH us as always--though doubtless now, if she
has talked to you, rather more with us than less. Of course if
she came,he addedit was to talk to you.

It was to talk to me,Maria returned; on which he was further
sure that she was practically in possession of what he himself hadn't
yet told her. He was even sure she was in possession of things
he himself couldn't have told; for the consciousness of them was
now all in her face and accompanied there with a shade of sadness
that marked in her the close of all uncertainties. It came out for
him more than ever yet that she had had from the first a knowledge
she believed him not to have hada knowledge the sharp acquisition
of which might be destined to make a difference for him. The
difference for him might not inconceivably be an arrest of his
independence and a change in his attitude--in other words a
revulsion in favour of the principles of Woollett. She had really
prefigured the possibility of a shock that would send him swinging
back to Mrs. Newsome. He hadn'tit was trueweek after week
shown signs of receiving itbut the possibility had been none the
less in the air. What Maria accordingly had had now to take in was
that the shock had descended and that he hadn'tall the same
swung back. He had grown clearin a flashon a point long since
settled for herself; but no reapproximation to Mrs. Newsome had
occurred in consequence. Madame de Vionnet had by her visit held
up the torch to these truthsand what now lingered in poor Maria's
face was the somewhat smoky light of the scene between them.
If the light however wasn'tas we have hintedthe glow of joy
the reasons for this also were perhaps discernible to Strether even
through the blur cast over them by his natural modesty. She had
held herself for months with a firm hand; she hadn't interfered on
any chance--and chances were specious enough--that she might
interfere to her profit. She had turned her back on the dream that
Mrs. Newsome's rupturetheir friend's forfeiture--the engagement


the relation itselfbroken beyond all mending--might furnish forth
her advantage; andto stay her hand from promoting these things
she had on privatedifficultbut rigidlinesplayed strictly
fair. She couldn't therefore but feel thatthoughas the end of
allthe facts in question had been stoutly confirmedher ground
for personalfor what might have been called interestedelation
remained rather vague. Strether might easily have made out that
she had been asking herselfin the hours she had just sat through
if there were still for heror were only nota fair shade of
uncertainty. Let us hasten to addhoweverthat what he at first
made out on this occasion he also at first kept to himself. He
only asked what in particular Madame de Vionnet had come for
and as to this his companion was ready.

She wants tidings of Mr. Newsome, whom she appears not to have
seen for some days.

Then she hasn't been away with him again?

She seemed to think,Maria answeredthat he might have gone
away with YOU.

And did you tell her I know nothing of him?

She had her indulgent headshake. "I've known nothing of what you
know. I could only tell her I'd ask you."

Then I've not seen him for a week--and of course I've wondered.
His wonderment showed at this moment as sharperbut he presently
went on. "StillI dare say I can put my hand on him. Did she
strike you he asked, as anxious?"

She's always anxious.

After all I've done for her?And he had one of the last flickers
of his occasional mild mirth. "To think that was just what I came
out to prevent!"

She took it up but to reply. "You don't regard him then as safe?"

I was just going to ask you how in that respect you regard Madame
de Vionnet.

She looked at him a little. "What woman was EVER safe? She told
me she added--and it was as if at the touch of the connexion-
of your extraordinary meeting in the country. After that a quoi
se fier?"

It was, as an accident, in all the possible or impossible chapter,
Strether concededamazing enough. But still, but still--!

But still she didn't mind?

She doesn't mind anything.

Well, then, as you don't either, we may all sink to rest!

He appeared to agree with herbut he had his reservation.
I do mind Chad's disappearance.

Oh you'll get him back. But now you know,she saidwhy I went
to Mentone.He had sufficiently let her see that he had by this
time gathered things togetherbut there was nature in her wish to
make them clearer still. "I didn't want you to put it to me."


To put it to you--?

The question of what you were at last--a week ago--to see for
yourself. I didn't want to have to lie for her. I felt that to
be too much for me. A man of course is always expected to do it-to
do it, I mean, for a woman; but not a woman for another woman;
unless perhaps on the tit-for-tat principle, as an indirect way of
protecting herself. I don't need protection, so that I was free to
'funk' you--simply to dodge your test. The responsibility was too
much for me. I gained time, and when I came back the need of a
test had blown over.

Strether thought of it serenely. "Yes; when you came back little
Bilham had shown me what's expected of a gentleman. Little Bilham
had lied like one."

And like what you believed him?

Well,said Stretherit was but a technical lie--he classed the
attachment as virtuous. That was a view for which there was much
to be said--and the virtue came out for me hugely There was of
course a great deal of it. I got it full in the face, and I haven't,
you see, done with it yet.

What I see, what I saw,Maria returnedis that you dressed up
even the virtue. You were wonderful--you were beautiful, as I've
had the honour of telling you before; but, if you wish really to
know,she sadly confessedI never quite knew WHERE you were.
There were moments,she explainedwhen you struck me as grandly
cynical; there were others when you struck me as grandly vague.

Her friend considered. "I had phases. I had flights."

Yes, but things must have a basis.

A basis seemed to me just what her beauty supplied.

Her beauty of person?

Well, her beauty of everything. The impression she makes. She
has such variety and yet such harmony.

She considered him with one of her deep returns of indulgence-returns
out of all proportion to the irritations they flooded over.
You're complete.

You're always too personal,he good-humouredly said; "but that's
precisely how I wondered and wandered."

If you mean,she went onthat she was from the first for you
the most charming woman in the world, nothing's more simple. Only
that was an odd foundation.

For what I reared on it?

For what you didn't!

Well, it was all not a fixed quantity. And it had for me--it has
still--such elements of strangeness. Her greater age than his, her
different world, traditions, association; her other opportunities,
liabilities, standards.

His friend listened with respect to his enumeration of these


disparities; then she disposed of them at a stroke. "Those things
are nothing when a woman's hit. It's very awful. She was hit."

Stretheron his sidedid justice to that plea. "Oh of course I
saw she was hit. That she was hit was what we were busy with; that
she was hit was our great affair. But somehow I couldn't think of
her as down in the dust. And as put there by OUR little Chad!"

Yet wasn't 'your' little Chad just your miracle?

Strether admitted it. "Of course I moved among miracles. It was
all phantasmagoric. But the great fact was that so much of it was
none of my business--as I saw my business. It isn't even now."

His companion turned away on thisand it might well have been yet
again with the sharpness of a fear of how little his philosophy
could bring her personally. "I wish SHE could hear you!"

Mrs. Newsome?

No--not Mrs. Newsome; since I understand you that it doesn't
matter now what Mrs. Newsome hears. Hasn't she heard
everything?

Practically--yes.He had thought a momentbut he went on. "You
wish Madame de Vionnet could hear me?"

Madame de Vionnet.She had come back to him. "She thinks just
the contrary of what you say. That you distinctly judge her."

He turned over the scene as the two women thus placed together for
him seemed to give it. "She might have known--!"

Might have known you don't?Miss Gostrey asked as he let it drop.
She was sure of it at first,she pursued as he said nothing; "she
took it for grantedat leastas any woman in her position would.
But after that she changed her mind; she believed you believed--"

Well?--he was curious.

Why in her sublimity. And that belief had remained with her, I
make out, till the accident of the other day opened your eyes. For
that it did,said Mariaopen them--

She can't help--he had taken it up--"being aware? No he mused;
I suppose she thinks of that even yet."

Then they WERE closed? There you are! However, if you see her as
the most charming woman in the world it comes to the same thing.
And if you'd like me to tell her that you do still so see her--!
Miss Gostreyin shortoffered herself for service to the end.

It was an offer he could temporarily entertain; but he decided.
She knows perfectly how I see her.

Not favourably enough, she mentioned to me, to wish ever to see
her again. She told me you had taken a final leave of her. She
says you've done with her.

So I have.

Maria had a pause; then she spoke as if for conscience. "She
wouldn't have done with YOU. She feels she has lost you-yet
that she might have been better for you."


Oh she has been quite good enough!Strether laughed.

She thinks you and she might at any rate have been friends.

We might certainly. That's just--he continued to laugh-"
why I'm going."

It was as if Maria could feel with this then at last that she had
done her best for each. But she had still an idea. "Shall I tell
her that?"

No. Tell her nothing.

Very well then.To which in the next breath Miss Gostrey added:
Poor dear thing!

Her friend wondered; then with raised eyebrows: "Me?"

Oh no. Marie de Vionnet.

He accepted the correctionbut he wondered still. "Are you so
sorry for her as that?"

It made her think a moment--made her even speak with a smile. But
she didn't really retract. "I'm sorry for us all!"

He was to delay no longer to re-establish communication with Chad
and we have just seen that he had spoken to Miss Gostrey of this
intention on hearing from her of the young man's absence. It was
not moreover only the assurance so given that prompted him; it was
the need of causing his conduct to square with another profession
still--the motive he had described to her as his sharpest for now
getting away. If he was to get away because of some of the
relations involved in stayingthe cold attitude toward them might
look pedantic in the light of lingering on. He must do both
things; he must see Chadbut he must go. The more he thought of
the former of these duties the more he felt himself make a subject
of insistence of the latter. They were alike intensely present to
him as he sat in front of a quiet little cafe into which he had
dropped on quitting Maria's entresol. The rain that had spoiled
his evening with her was over; for it was still to him as if his
evening HAD been spoiled--though it mightn't have been wholly the
rain. It was late when he left the cafeyet not too late; he
couldn't in any case go straight to bedand he would walk round
by the Boulevard Malesherbes--rather far round--on his way home.
Present enough always was the small circumstance that had
originally pressed for him the spring of so big a difference--the
accident of little Bilham's appearance on the balcony of the mystic
troisieme at the moment of his first visitand the effect of it on
his sense of what was then before him. He recalled his watchhis
waitand the recognition that had proceeded from the young
strangerthat had played frankly into the air and had presently
brought him up--things smoothing the way for his first straight
step. He had since had occasiona few timesto pass the house
without going in; but he had never passed it without again feeling
how it had then spoken to him. He stopped short to-night on coming
to sight of it: it was as if his last day were oddly copying his
first. The windows of Chad's apartment were open to the balcony-a
pair of them lighted; and a figure that had come out and taken up


little Bilham's attitudea figure whose cigarette-spark he could
see leaned on the rail and looked down at him. It denoted however
no reappearance of his younger friend; it quickly defined itself in
the tempered darkness as Chad's more solid shape; so that Chad's
was the attention that after he had stepped forward into the street
and signalledhe easily engaged; Chad's was the voice that
sounding into the night with promptness and seemingly with joy
greeted him and called him up.

That the young man had been visible there just in this position
expressed somehow for Strether thatas Maria Gostrey had reported
he had been absent and silent; and our friend drew breath on each
landing--the liftat that hourhaving ceased to work--before the
implications of the fact. He had been for a week intensely away
away to a distance and alone; but he was more back than everand
the attitude in which Strether had surprised him was something more
than a return--it was clearly a conscious surrender. He had
arrived but an hour beforefrom Londonfrom Lucernefrom Homburg
from no matter where--though the visitor's fancyon the staircase
liked to fill it out; and after a batha talk with Baptiste and a
supper of light cold clever French thingswhich one could see the
remains of there in the circle of the lamppretty and ultra-Parisian
he had come into the air again for a smokewas occupied at the moment
of Strether's approach in what might have been called taking up
his life afresh. His lifehis life!--Strether paused anewon
the last flightat this final rather breathless sense of what
Chad's life was doing with Chad's mother's emissary. It was
dragging himat strange hoursup the staircases of the rich;
it was keeping him out of bed at the end of long hot days;
it was transforming beyond recognition the simplesubtle
conveniently uniform thing that had anciently passed with him for a
life of his own. Why should it concern him that Chad was to be
fortified in the pleasant practice of smoking on balconiesof
supping on saladsof feeling his special conditions agreeably
reaffirm themselvesof finding reassurance in comparisons and
contrasts? There was no answer to such a question but that he was
still practically committed--he had perhaps never yet so much known it.
It made him feel oldand he would buy his railway-ticket--feeling
no doubtolder--the next day; but he had meanwhile come up four
flightscounting the entresolat midnight and without a liftfor
Chad's life. The young manhearing him by this timeand with
Baptiste sent to restwas already at the door; so that Strether
had before him in full visibility the cause in which he was labouring
and evenwith the troisieme fairly gainedpanting a little.

Chad offered himas alwaysa welcome in which the cordial and the
formal--so far as the formal was the respectful--handsomely met;
and after he had expressed a hope that he would let him put him up
for the night Strether was in full possession of the keyas it
might have been calledto what had lately happened. If he had
just thought of himself as old Chad was at sight of him thinking of
him as older: he wanted to put him up for the night just because
he was ancient and weary. It could never be said the tenant of
these quarters wasn't nice to him; a tenant whoif he might
indeed now keep himwas probably prepared to work it all still
more thoroughly. Our friend had in fact the impression that with
the minimum of encouragement Chad would propose to keep him
indefinitely; an impression in the lap of which one of his own
possibilities seemed to sit. Madame de Vionnet had wished him to
stay--so why didn't that happily fit? He could enshrine himself
for the rest of his days in his young host's chambre d'ami and draw
out these days at his young host's expense: there could scarce be
greater logical expression of the countenance he had been moved to
give. There was literally a minute--it was strange enough--during


which he grasped the idea that as he WAS actingas he could only
acthe was inconsistent. The sign that the inward forces he had
obeyed really hung together would be that--in default always of
another career--he should promote the good cause by mounting guard
on it. These thingsduring his first minutescame and went; but
they were after all practically disposed of as soon as he had
mentioned his errand. He had come to say good-bye--yet that was
only a part; so that from the moment Chad accepted his farewell the
question of a more ideal affirmation gave way to something else.
He proceeded with the rest of his business. "You'll be a bruteyou
know--you'll be guilty of the last infamy--if you ever forsake her."

Thatuttered there at the solemn houruttered in the place that
was full of her influencewas the rest of his business; and when
once he had heard himself say it he felt that his message had never
before been spoken. It placed his present call immediately on
solid groundand the effect of it was to enable him quite to play
with what we have called the key. Chad showed no shade of
embarrassmentbut had none the less been troubled for him after
their meeting in the country; had had fears and doubts on the
subject of his comfort. He was disturbedas it wereonly FOR
himand had positively gone away to ease him offto let him down-if
it wasn't indeed rather to screw him up--the more gently.
Seeing him now fairly jaded he had comewith characteristic good
humourall the way to meet himand what Strether thereupon
supremely made out was that he would abound for him to the end in
conscientious assurances. This was what was between them while the
visitor remained; so far from having to go over old ground he found
his entertainer keen to agree to everything. It couldn't be put
too strongly for him that he'd be a brute. "Oh rather!--if I should
do anything of THAT sort. I hope you believe I really feel it."

I want it,said Stretherto be my last word of all to you.
I can't say more, you know; and I don't see how I can do more,
in every way, than I've done.

Chad took thisalmost artlesslyas a direct allusion. "You've
seen her?"

Oh yes--to say good-bye. And if I had doubted the truth of what I
tell you--

She'd have cleared up your doubt?Chad understood--"rather"-again!
It even kept him briefly silent. But he made that up.
She must have been wonderful.

She WAS,Strether candidly admitted--all of which practically
told as a reference to the conditions created by the accident of
the previous week.

They appeared for a little to be looking back at it; and that came
out still more in what Chad next said. "I don't know what you've
really thoughtall along; I never did know--for anythingwith
youseemed to be possible. But of course--of course--" Without
confusionquite with nothing but indulgencehe broke downhe
pulled up. "After allyou understand. I spoke to you originally
only as I HAD to speak. There's only one way--isn't there?--about
such things. However he smiled with a final philosophy, I see
it's all right."

Strether met his eyes with a sense of multiplying thoughts. What
was it that made him at presentlate at night and after journeys
so renewedlyso substantially young? Strether saw in a moment
what it was--it was that he was younger again than Madame de Vionnet.


He himself said immediately none of the things that he was thinking;
he said something quite different. "You HAVE really been to a distance?"

I've been to England.Chad spoke cheerfully and promptlybut gave
no further account of it than to say: "One must sometimes get off."

Strether wanted no more facts--he only wanted to justifyas it
werehis question. "Of course you do as you're free to do. But I
hopethis timethat you didn't go for ME."

For very shame at bothering you really too much? My dear man,
Chad laughedwhat WOULDn't I do for you?

Strether's easy answer for this was that it was a disposition he
had exactly come to profit by. "Even at the risk of being in your
way I've waited onyou knowfor a definite reason."

Chad took it in. "Oh yes--for us to make if possible a still
better impression." And he stood there happily exhaling his full
general consciousness. "I'm delighted to gather that you feel
we've made it."

There was a pleasant irony in the wordswhich his guest
preoccupied and keeping to the pointdidn't take up. "If I had
my sense of wanting the rest of the time--the time of their being
still on this side he continued to explain--I know now why I
wanted it."

He was as graveas distinctas a demonstrator before a
blackboardand Chad continued to face him like an intelligent
pupil. "You wanted to have been put through the whole thing."

Strether againfor a momentsaid nothing; he turned his eyes
awayand they lost themselvesthrough the open windowin the
dusky outer air. "I shall learn from the Bank here where they're
now having their lettersand my last wordwhich I shall write in
the morning and which they're expecting as my ultimatumwill so
immediately reach them." The light of his plural pronoun was
sufficiently reflected in his companion's face as he again met it;
and he completed his demonstration. He pursued indeed as if for
himself. "Of course I've first to justify what I shall do."

You're justifying it beautifully!Chad declared.

It's not a question of advising you not to go,Strether saidbut
of absolutely preventing you, if possible, from so much as thinking
of it. Let me accordingly appeal to you by all you hold sacred.

Chad showed a surprise. "What makes you think me capable--?"

You'd not only be, as I say, a brute; you'd be,his companion
went on in the same waya criminal of the deepest dye.

Chad gave a sharper lookas if to gauge a possible suspicion.
I don't know what should make you think I'm tired of her.

Strether didn't quite know eitherand such impressionsfor the
imaginative mindwere always too finetoo floatingto produce on
the spot their warrant. There was none the less for himin the
very manner of his host's allusion to satiety as a thinkable
motivea slight breath of the ominous. "I feel how much more she
can do for you. She hasn't done it all yet. Stay with her at
least till she has."


And leave her THEN?

Chad had kept smilingbut its effect in Strether was a shade of
dryness. "Don't leave her BEFORE. When you've got all that can be
got--I don't say he added a trifle grimly. That will be the
proper time. But asfor youfrom such a womanthere will always
be something to be gotmy remark's not a wrong to her." Chad let
him go onshowing every decent deferenceshowing perhaps also a
candid curiosity for this sharper accent. "I remember youyou
knowas you were."

An awful ass, wasn't I?

The response was as prompt as if he had pressed a spring; it had a
ready abundance at which he even winced; so that he took a moment
to meet it. "You certainly then wouldn't have seemed worth all
you've let me in for. You've defined yourself better. Your value
has quintupled."

Well then, wouldn't that be enough--?

Chad had risked it jocoselybut Strether remained blank. "Enough?"

If one SHOULD wish to live on one's accumulations?After which
howeveras his friend appeared cold to the jokethe young man as
easily dropped it. "Of course I really never forgetnight or day
what I owe her. I owe her everything. I give you my word of
honour he frankly rang out, that I'm not a bit tired of her."
Strether at this only gave him a stare: the way youth could
express itself was again and again a wonder. He meant no harm
though he might after all be capable of much; yet he spoke of being
tiredof her almost as he might have spoken of being tired of
roast mutton for dinner. "She has never for a moment yet bored me-never
been wantingas the cleverest women sometimes arein tact.
She has never talked about her tact--as even they too sometimes talk;
but she has always had it. She has never had it more"--he handsomely
made the point--"than just lately." And he scrupulously went further.
She has never been anything I could call a burden.

Strether for a moment said nothing; then he spoke gravelywith his
shade of dryness deepened. "Oh if you didn't do her justice--!"

I SHOULD be a beast, eh?

Strether devoted no time to saying what he would be; THATvisibly
would take them far. If there was nothing for it but to repeat
howeverrepetition was no mistake. "You owe her everything--very
much more than she can ever owe you. You've in other words duties
to herof the most positive sort; and I don't see what other
duties--as the others are presented to you--can be held to go
before them."

Chad looked at him with a smile. "And you know of course about the
otherseh?--since it's you yourself who have done the presenting."

Much of it--yes--and to the best of my ability. But not all--from
the moment your sister took my place.

She didn't,Chad returned. "Sally took a placecertainly; but
it was neverI saw from the first momentto be yours. No one-with
us--will ever take yours. It wouldn't be possible."

Ah of course,sighed StretherI knew it. I believe you're
right. No one in the world, I imagine, was ever so portentously


solemn. There I am,he added with another sighas if weary
enoughon occasionof this truth. "I was made so."

Chad appeared for a little to consider the way he was made;
he might for this purpose have measured him up and down.
His conclusion favoured the fact. "YOU have never needed any one
to make you better. There has never been any one good enough.
They couldn't the young man declared.

His friend hesitated. I beg your pardon. They HAVE."

Chad showednot without amusementhis doubt. "Who then?"

Strether--though a little dimly--smiled at him. "Women--too."

'Two'?--Chad stared and laughed. "Oh I don't believefor such
workin any more than one! So you're proving too much. And what
IS beastlyat all events he added, is losing you."

Strether had set himself in motion for departurebut at this he
paused. "Are you afraid?"

Afraid--?

Of doing wrong. I mean away from my eye.Before Chad could
speakhoweverhe had taken himself up. "I AMcertainly he
laughed, prodigious."

Yes, you spoil us for all the stupid--!This might have beenon
Chad's partin its extreme emphasisalmost too freely
extravagant; but it was fullplainly enoughof the intention of
comfortit carried with it a protest against doubt and a promise
positivelyof performance. Picking up a hat in the vestibule he
came out with his friendcame downstairstook his arm
affectionatelyas to help and guide himtreating him if not
exactly as aged and infirmyet as a noble eccentric who appealed
to tendernessand keeping on with himwhile they walkedto the
next corner and the next. "You needn't tell meyou needn't tell
me!"--this again as they proceededhe wished to make Strether
feel. What he needn't tell him was now at lastin the geniality
of separationanything at all it concerned him to know. He knew
up to the hilt--that really came over Chad; he understoodfelt
recorded his vow; and they lingered on it as they had lingered in
their walk to Strether's hotel the night of their first meeting.
The latter tookat this hourall he could get; he had given all
he had had to give; he was as depleted as if he had spent his last
sou. But there was just one thing for whichbefore they broke
offChad seemed disposed slightly to bargain. His companion needn't
as he saidtell himbut he might himself mention that he had been
getting some news of the art of advertisement. He came out quite
suddenly with this announcement while Strether wondered if his revived
interest were what had taken himwith strange inconsequenceover
to London. He appeared at all events to have been looking into the
question and had encountered a revelation. Advertising scientifically
worked presented itself thus as the great new force. "It really
does the thingyou know."

They were face to face under the street-lamp as they had been the
first nightand Stretherno doubtlooked blank. "Affectsyou
meanthe sale of the object advertised?"

Yes--but affects it extraordinarily; really beyond what one had
supposed. I mean of course when it's done as one makes out that in
our roaring age, it CAN be done. I've been finding out a little,


though it doubtless doesn't amount to much more than what you
originally, so awfully vividly--and all, very nearly, that first
night--put before me. It's an art like another, and infinite like
all the arts.He went on as if for the joke of it--almost as if
his friend's face amused him. "In the handsnaturallyof a master.
The right man must take hold. With the right man to work it
c'est un monde."

Strether had watched him quite as ifthere on the pavement without
a pretexthe had begun to dance a fancy step. "Is what you're
thinking of that you yourselfin the case you have in mindwould
be the right man?"

Chad had thrown back his light coat and thrust each of his thumbs
into an armhole of his waistcoat; in which position his fingers
played up and down. "Whywhat is he but what you yourselfas I
saytook me for when you first came out?"

Strether felt a little faintbut he coerced his attention. "Oh
yesand there's no doubt thatwith your natural partsyou'd have
much in common with him. Advertising is clearly at this time of
day the secret of trade. It's quite possible it will be open to you-giving
the whole of your mind to it--to make the whole place hum
with you. Your mother's appeal is to the whole of your mindand
that's exactly the strength of her case."

Chad's fingers continued to twiddlebut he had something of a drop.
Ah we've been through my mother's case!

So I thought. Why then do you speak of the matter?

Only because it was part of our original discussion. To wind up
where we began, my interest's purely platonic. There at any rate
the fact is--the fact of the possible. I mean the money in it.

Oh damn the money in it!said Strether. And then as the young
man's fixed smile seemed to shine out more strange: "Shall you
give your friend up for the money in it?"

Chad preserved his handsome grimace as well as the rest of his
attitude. "You're not altogether--in your so great 'solemnity'-kind.
Haven't I been drinking you in--showing you all I feel
you're worth to me? What have I donewhat am I doingbut cleave
to her to the death? The only thing is he good-humouredly
explained, that one can't but have it before onein the cleaving-the
point where the death comes in. Don't be afraid for THAT.
It's pleasant to a fellow's feelings he developed, to 'size-up'
the bribe he applies his foot to."

Oh then if all you want's a kickable surface the bribe's enormous.

Good. Then there it goes!Chad administered his kick with fantastic
force and sent an imaginary object flying. It was accordingly as if
they were once more rid of the question and could come back to what
really concerned him. "Of course I shall see you tomorrow."

But Strether scarce heeded the plan proposed for this; he had still
the impression--not the slighter for the simulated kick--of an
irrelevant hornpipe or jig. "You're restless."

Ah,returned Chad as they partedyou're exciting.


He hadhoweverwithin two daysanother separation to face.
He had sent Maria Gostrey a word earlyby handto ask if he might
come to breakfast; in consequence of whichat noonshe awaited
him in the cool shade of her little Dutch-looking dining-room.
This retreat was at the back of the housewith a view of a scrap
of old garden that had been saved from modern ravage; and though he
had on more than one other occasion had his legs under its small
and peculiarly polished table of hospitalitythe place had never
before struck him as so sacred to pleasant knowledgeto intimate
charmto antique orderto a neatness that was almost august.
To sit there wasas he had told his hostess beforeto see life
reflected for the time in ideally kept pewter; which was somehow
becomingimproving to lifeso that one's eyes were held and
comforted. Strether's were comforted at all events now--and the
more that it was the last time--with the charming effecton the
board bare of a cloth and proud of its perfect surfaceof the
small old crockery and old silvermatched by the more substantial
pieces happily disposed about the room. The specimens of vivid
Delfin particular had the dignity of family portraits; and it was
in the midst of them that our friend resignedly expressed himself.
He spoke even with a certain philosophic humour. "There's nothing
more to wait for; I seem to have done a good day's work. I've let
them have it all round. I've seen Chadwho has been to London and
come back. He tells me I'm 'exciting' and I seem indeed pretty
well to have upset every one. I've at any rate excited HIM. He's
distinctly restless."

You've excited ME,Miss Gostrey smiled. "I'M distinctly restless."

Oh you were that when I found you. It seems to me I've rather got
you out of it. What's this,he asked as he looked about himbut
a haunt of ancient peace?

I wish with all my heart,she presently repliedI could make
you treat it as a haven of rest.On which they fronted each other
across the tableas if things unuttered were in the air.

Strether seemedin his waywhen he next spoketo take some of
them up. "It wouldn't give me--that would be the trouble--what it
willno doubtstill give you. I'm not he explained, leaning
back in his chair, but with his eyes on a small ripe round melon-
in real harmony with what surrounds me. You ARE. I take it too hard.
You DON'T. It makes--that's what it comes to in the end--a fool of me."
Then at a tangentWhat has he been doing in London?he demanded.

Ah one may go to London,Maria laughed. "You know I did."

Yes--he took the reminder. "And you brought ME back." He brooded
there opposite to herbut without gloom. "Whom has Chad brought?
He's full of ideas. And I wrote to Sarah he added, the first
thing this morning. So I'm square. I'm ready for them."

She neglected certain parts of this speech in the interest of
others. "Marie said to me the other day that she felt him to have
the makings of an immense man of business."

There it is. He's the son of his father!

But SUCH a father!

Ah just the right one from that point of view! But it isn't his


father in him,Strether addedthat troubles me.

What is it then?He came back to his breakfast; he partook
presently of the charming melonwhich she liberally cut for him;
and it was only after this that he met her question. Then moreover
it was but to remark that he'd answer her presently. She waited
she watchedshe served him and amused himand it was perhaps with
this last idea that she soon reminded him of his having never even
yet named to her the article produced at Woollett. "Do you
remember our talking of it in London--that night at the play?"
Before he could say yeshowevershe had put it to him for other
matters. Did he rememberdid he remember--this and that of their
first days? He remembered everythingbringing up with humour
even things of which she professed no recollectionthings she
vehemently denied; and falling back above all on the great
interest of their early timethe curiosity felt by both of them
as to where he would "come out." They had so assumed it was to be
in some wonderful place--they had thought of it as so very MUCH
out. Wellthat was doubtless what it had been--since he had come
out just there. He was outin truthas far as it was possible
to beand must now rather bethink himself of getting in again.
He found on the spot the image of his recent history; he was like
one of the figures of the old clock at Berne. THEY came outon
one sideat their hourjigged along their little course in the
public eyeand went in on the other side. He too had jigged his
little course--him too a modest retreat awaited. He offered now
should she really like to knowto name the great product of
Woollett. It would be a great commentary on everything. At this
she stopped him off; she not only had no wish to knowbut she
wouldn't know for the world. She had done with the products of
Woollett--for all the good she had got from them. She desired no
further news of themand she mentioned that Madame de Vionnet
herself hadto her knowledgelived exempt from the information
he was ready to supply. She had never consented to receive it
though she would have taken itunder stressfrom Mrs. Pocock.
But it was a matter about which Mrs. Pocock appeared to have had
little to say--never sounding the word--and it didn't signify
now. There was nothing clearly for Maria Gostrey that signified
now--save one sharp pointthat isto which she came in time.
I don't know whether it's before you as a possibility that,
left to himself, Mr. Chad may after all go back. I judge that it
IS more or less so before you, from what you just now said of him.

Her guest had his eyes on herkindly but attentivelyas if
foreseeing what was to follow this. "I don't think it will be for
the money." And then as she seemed uncertain: "I mean I don't
believe it will be for that he'll give her up."

Then he WILL give her up?

Strether waited a momentrather slow and deliberate nowdrawing
out a little this last soft stagepleading with her in various
suggestive and unspoken ways for patience and understanding.
What were you just about to ask me?

Is there anything he can do that would make you patch it up?

With Mrs. Newsome?

Her assentas if she had had a delicacy about sounding the name
was only in her face; but she added with it: "Or is there
anything he can do that would make HER try it?"

To patch it up with me?His answer came at last in a conclusive


headshake. "There's nothing any one can do. It's over. Over for
both of us."


Maria wonderedseemed a little to doubt. "Are you so sure for her?"


Oh yes--sure now. Too much has happened. I'm different for her.


She took it in thendrawing a deeper breath. "I see. So that as
she's different for YOU--"


Ah but,he interruptedshe's not.And as Miss Gostrey wondered
again: "She's the same. She's more than ever the same.
But I do what I didn't before--I SEE her."


He spoke gravely and as if responsibly--since he had to pronounce;
and the effect of it was slightly solemnso that she simply exclaimed
Oh!Satisfied and gratefulhowevershe showed in her own next
words an acceptance of his statement. "What then do you go home to?"


He had pushed his plate a little awayoccupied with another side
of the matter; taking refuge verily in that side and feeling so
moved that he soon found himself on his feet. He was affected in
advance by what he believed might come from herand he would have
liked to forestall it and deal with it tenderly; yet in the
presence of it he wished still more to be--though as smoothly as
possible--deterrent and conclusive. He put her question by for
the moment; he told her more about Chad. "It would have been
impossible to meet me more than he did last night on the question
of the infamy of not sticking to her."


Is that what you called it for him--'infamy'?


Oh rather! I described to him in detail the base creature he'd
be, and he quite agrees with me about it.


So that it's really as if you had nailed him?


Quite really as if--! I told him I should curse him.


Oh,she smiledyou HAVE done it.And then having thought again:
You CAN'T after that propose--!Yet she scanned his face.


Propose again to Mrs. Newsome?


She hesitated afreshbut she brought it out. "I've never believed
you knowthat you did propose. I always believed it was really she--
andso far as that goesI can understand it. What I mean is
she explained, that with such a spirit--the spirit of curses!--
your breach is past mending. She has only to know what you've done
to him never again to raise a finger."


I've done,said Stretherwhat I could--one can't do more.
He protests his devotion and his horror. But I'm not sure I've
saved him. He protests too much. He asks how one can dream of
his being tired. But he has all life before him.


Maria saw what he meant. "He's formed to please."


And it's our friend who has formed him.Strether felt in it the
strange irony.


So it's scarcely his fault!


It's at any rate his danger. I mean,said Stretherit's hers.



But she knows it.


Yes, she knows it. And is your idea,Miss Gostrey askedthat
there was some other woman in London?


Yes. No. That is I HAVE no ideas. I'm afraid of them.
I've done with them.And he put out his hand to her. "Good-bye."


It brought her back to her unanswered question. "To what do you go
home?"


I don't know. There will always be something.


To a great difference,she said as she kept his hand.


A great difference--no doubt. Yet I shall see what I can make of it.


Shall you make anything so good--?Butas if remembering what
Mrs. Newsome had doneit was as far as she went.


He had sufficiently understood. "So good as this place at this
moment? So good as what YOU make of everything you touch?"
He took a moment to sayforreally and trulywhat stood about him
there in her offer--which was as the offer of exquisite serviceof
lightened carefor the rest of his days--might well have tempted.
It built him softly roundit roofed him warmly overit rested
all so firmon selection. And what ruled selection was beauty and
knowledge. It was awkwardit was almost stupidnot to seem to
prize such things; yetnone the lessso far as they made his
opportunity they made it only for a moment. She'd moreover
understand--she always understood.


That indeed might bebut meanwhile she was going on.
There's nothing, you know, I wouldn't do for you.


Oh yes--I know.


There's nothing,she repeatedin all the world.


I know. I know. But all the same I must go.He had got it at last.
To be right.


To be right?


She had echoed it in vague deprecationbut he felt it already
clear for her. "Thatyou seeis my only logic.
Notout of the whole affairto have got anything for myself."


She thought. "But with your wonderful impressions you'll have
got a great deal."


A great deal--he agreed. "But nothing like YOU. It's you who
would make me wrong!"


Honest and fineshe couldn't greatly pretend she didn't see it.
Still she could pretend just a little. "But why should you be so
dreadfully right?"


That's the way that--if I must go--you yourself would be the first
to want me. And I can't do anything else.


So then she had to take itthough still with her defeated protest.
It isn't so much your BEING 'right'--it's your horrible sharp eye
for what makes you so.



Oh but you're just as bad yourself. You can't resist me when I
point that out.

She sighed it at last all comicallyall tragicallyaway.
I can't indeed resist you.

Then there we are!said Strether.