Princess Casamassima | Henry James | Literary Fiction | Soundbook | English | 8/13

Princess Casamassima | Henry James | Literary Fiction | Soundbook | English | 8/13



chapter xxviii of the princess Kazama Seema by Henry James this LibriVox recording is in the public domain mr. Betts waited below til lady Aurora should come down and give him the news he was in suspense for his mind was pretty well made up about penny but it seemed to him the night before the death was written in her face and he judged it on the whole a very good moment for her to lay down her earthly burden he had reasons for believing that the future could not be sweet to her as regards hyacinth his mind was far from being at ease for though he was aware in a general way that he had taken up with strange company and though he had flattered himself of old that he should be pleased to see the boy act out his life and solved the problem of his queer inheritance he was worried by the absence of full knowledge he put out his pipe in anticipation of lady Aurora's reappearance and without this consoler he was more accessible still to certain fears that had come to him in consequence of a recent talk or rather an attempt at a talk with mr. pappan it was through the Frenchman that he had gathered the little he knew about the occasion of hyacinths unprecedented excursion his ideas on the subject had been very inferential for hyacinth had made a mystery of his absence to penny merely letting her know that there was a lady in the case and that the best luggage he could muster and the best way his shirts could be done up would still not be good enough Papa had seen godfrey Sholto at the Sun and Moon and it had come to him through hyacinth that there was a remarkable feminine influence in the captain's life mixed up in some way with his presence in Bloomsbury an influence moreover by which hyacinth himself for good or for evil was in peril of being touched sharra was the young man's visible link with the Society for which listened Grove could have no importance in the scheme of the universe but as a shortcut to disagreeable to be frequently used out of Bayswater therefore if hyacinths left town with a new hat and a pair of kid gloves it must have been to move in the direction of that superior circle and in some degree at least at the solicitation of the before-mentioned feminine influence so much is this the Frenchman suggested explicitly enough as his manner was to the old fiddler but his talk had a flavor of other references which excited mr. vetches curiosity much more than they satisfied it they were obscure they evidently were painful to the speaker they were confused and embarrassed and totally wanting in the luminosity which usually characterized the lightest illusions of Monsieur poopoo it was the Fiddler's fancy that his friend had something on his mind which he was not at liberty to impart and that it related to hyacinth and might for those who took an interest in the singular lad constitute a considerable anxiety mr. vetch on his own part nursed this anxiety into a tolerably definite shape he had persuaded himself that the Frenchman had been leading the boy too far in the line of social criticism had given him a push on some crooked paths where a slip would be a likely accident when on a subsequent occasion with Papa he indulged in a hint of this suspicion the bookbinder flushed a good deal and declared that his conscience was pure it was one of his particularity that when his colour rose he looked angry and mr. vetch held that his displeasure was a proof that in spite of his repudiation he had been unwise though before they parted estas gave this sign of softness but he shed tears of emotion of which the reason was not cleared of the fiddler and which appeared in a general way to be dedicated to hyacinth the interview had taken place in listen Grove where Madame Poobah however had not shown herself altogether the old man was a prey to suppositions which led him to feel how much he himself had outlived the Democratic glow of his I'm he had ended by accepting everything though indeed he couldn't swallow the idea that a trick should be played upon hyacinth and even by taking an interest in current politics as to which of old he had held the opinion the same that the pope has held today that they had been invented on purpose to throw dust into the eyes of this interested reformers and a circumvent a social solution he had given up that problem some time ago there was no way to clear it up that didn't seem to make a bigger mess than the actual muddle of human affairs which by the time one had reached 65 had mostly ceased to exasperate mr. vets could still feel a certain sharpness on the subject of the prayer book and the bishops indifferent moments he was a little ashamed of having accepted this world he could reflect that at all events he continued to repudiate every other the idea of great changes however took his place among the dreams of his youth for what was any possible change in the relations of men and women but a new combination of the same elements if the elements could be made different the thing would be worth thinking of but it was not only impossible to introduce any new ones no means had yet been discovered for getting rid of the old the figures on the chessboard were still the passions and jealousies and superstitions and stupidities of man and their position with regard to each other at any given moment could be of interest only to the grim invisible fates who played the game who sat through the ages Moe backed over the table this laxity had come upon the old man with the increase of his measurement round the waist of the little heap of half crowns and half sovereigns that had accumulated in the tin box with a very stiff padlock which he kept under his bed and of the inter woven threads of sentiment and custom that United him to the dressmaker and her foster son if he was no longer pressing about the demands he felt he should have a right to make of society as he had been in the days when his conversation scandalized penny so he was not now pressing for hire since either reflecting that though indeed the constituted powers might have to count with him it would be in better taste for him not to be important –it about his settlement what he had come to fear for him was that he should be precipitated by crude agencies with results in which the deplorable might not exclude the ridiculous it may even be said that mr. vetch had a secret project of settling a little on his behalf lady Aurora peeped into the room very noiselessly nearly half an hour after hyacinth had left it and let the fiddler know that she was called other duties but that the nurse had come back and the doctor had promised to look in at five o'clock she herself would return in the evening and meanwhile hyacinth was with his aunt who had recognized him without a protest indeed seemed intensely happy that he should be near her again and lay there with closed eyes very weak and speechless with his hand and hers her restlessness had passed and her fever abated but he had no pulse to speak of and lady Aurora did not disguise the fact that in her opinion she was rapidly sinking mr. vetch had already accepted it and after her ladyship had quitted him he lighted another philosophic pipe upon it lingering on until the doctor came in the dressmaker's dismal forsaken bower where in past years he had indulged in so many sociable droppings in and hot tumblers the echo of all her little simple surprises and pointless contradictions her gasping reception of contemplatively seemed still to float in the air but the place felt his relinquished and bereaved as if she were already beneath the sod penny had always been a wonderful hand at putting away the litter that testified to her most elaborate efforts was often immense but the reaction in favor of an unspecial carpet was greater still but on the present occasion before taking to her bed she had found strength to sweep and set an order as daintily as if she had been sure that the room would never again know her care even to the old fiddler who had not hyacinth sensibility to the scenery of life it had the cold propriety of a place arranged for an internment after the doctor had seen penny that afternoon there was no doubt left as to its soon being the stage of dismal preliminaries miss Pinson however resisted her maladies for nearly a fortnight more during which hyacinth was constantly in her room he never went back to mr. cook and ins with whose establishment through violent causes his relations seemed indefinitely suspended and in fact for the rest of the time that penny demanded his care he absenting himself but twice from Lomax place for more than a few minutes on one of these occasions he travelled over to orde-lees court and spent an hour there on the other he met Millicent Henning by appointment and took a walk with her on the embankment he tried to find a moment to go and thank Madame Papa for a sympathetic offering many times repeated of teas on concocted after a receipt thought supreme by the couple and listened grove though little appreciated in the neighbourhood generally but he was obliged to acknowledge her kindness only by a respectful letter which he composed with some trouble though much elation in the French tongue peculiarly favorable as he believed two little courtesies of this kind lady Aurora came again and again to the darkened house where she diffused her beneficent influence and nightly watches in the most modern sanity of suggestions in conversations with hyacinth directed with more ingenuity than her fluttered embarrassments might have led one to attribute to her to the purpose of diverting his mind and in T makings there was a great deal of this liquid consumed on the premises during Penny's illness after a system more enlightened than the usual fashion of Pentonville she was the bearer of several messages and of a good deal of medical advice from Rose Miramonte whose interest in the dressmaker's case irritated Hisense by it's fine courage which even that second hand was still inclusive she appeared very nearly as resigned to the troubles of others but she was to her own hyacinth had been seized the day after his return for medley with a sharp desire to do something enterprising and superior on Penny's behalf he felt the pressure of a sort of angry sense that she was dying of her poor career of her unofficial aid him in his boyhood as if he hadn't long ago and indeed at the time forgiving it judging it to have been the highest wisdom of something basically helpless in the attitude of her little circle he wanted to do something which had proved to himself that he had got the best opinion about the invalid that it was possible to have so he insisted that mr. buffer II should consult with the West End doctor if the West End doctor would consent to meet mr. buffer II a physician capable of this condescension was discovered through lady Aurora's agency she had not brought him of her own movement because on the one hand she hesitated to impose on the little household and Lomax place the expense of such a visit and on the other with all her narrow personal economies for the sake of her charities had not the means to meet it herself and in provision of the great man's fee hyacinth applied to mr. Veeck as he had applied before for a loan the great man came there's a wonderfully civil to mr. buffer II whose conduct of the case he pronounced judicious he remained several minutes in the house while he gazed at hyacinth over his spectacles he seemed rather more occupied with hymns and with the patient and almost the whole of the place turned out to stare at his chariot after all he consented to accept no fee he put the question aside with a gesture full of her vanity of course disappointing and displeasing to hyacinth who felt in a manner cheated of the full effective the fine thing he had wished to do for penny so when he said as much or something like it to mr. vet the caustic fiddler greeted the observation with a face of amusement which considering the situation verged upon the unseemly hire since at any rate had done the best he could and the fashionable doctor had left directions which foreshadowed relations with an expensive chemist in Bond Street a prospect by which our young man was to some extent consoled poor Penny's decline however was not arrested and one evening more than a week after his return from medley as he sat with her alone it seemed a high since that her spirit must have already passed away the nurse had gone down to her supper and from the staircase a perceptible odor of fizzling bacon indicated that a more cheerful state of things prevailed in the lower regions hyacinth could not make out where the miss Pinsent were asleep or awake he believed she had not lost consciousness yet for more than an hour she had given no sign of life at last she put out her hand as if she knew he was near her and wished to feel for his and murmured why did she come I didn't want to see her in a moment as she went on he perceived to whom she was alluding her mind had travelled back through all the years to the dreadful day she had described every incident of it to him when mrs. Bower Mac had invaded her quiet life and startled her sensitive conscience with a message from the prison she sat there so long so long she was very large and I was frightened she moaned and moaned and cried too dreadful I couldn't help it I couldn't help it her thought wandered for mrs. Baur back in the discomposed showroom enthroned on the yellow sofa to the tragic creature at Mill Bank whose accents again for the hour lived in her ears and mixed with this mingled vision was still the haunting sense that she herself might have acted differently that had been cleared up in the past so far as highest since intention risk but what was most alive in penny at the present moment was the passion of repentance of still further expiation it's sick and hyacinth that she should believe these things were still necessary and he leaned over her and talked tenderly with words of comfort and reassurance he told her not to think of that dismal far-off time which had ceased long ago to have any consequences for either of them to consider only the future when she should be quite strong again and he would look after her and keep her all to himself and take care of her better far better that he had ever done before he had thought of many things while he sat with penny watching the shadow was made by the night lamp hi imposing shadows of objects low and mean and among them he had followed with an imagination that went further in that direction than ever before the probable consequences of his not having been adopted in his babyhood by the dressmaker the workhouse and the gutter ignorance and cold filth and tatters nights of huddling under bridges and in doorways vermin starvation and blows possibly even the vigorous affair essence of an inherited disposition to crime these things which he saw with unprecedented vividness suggested themselves as his natural portion intimacy's were the princess visits to fine old country houses intelligent consideration even of the best means of inflicting a scare on the classes of privilege would in that case not have been within his compass and that penny should have rescued him from such a destiny and put these luxuries within his reach with an amelioration which really amounted to success if he could only have the magnanimity to regard it so her eyes were open and fixed on him but the sharp ray the little dressmaker used to direct into lomax place as she plied her needle at the window had completely left them not there what should i do there she inquired very softly not with the great the great and her voice failed it's a great what what do you mean you know you know she went on making another effort haven't you been with him haven't they received you ah they won't separate his penny they won't come between us as much as that said I sense kneeling by her med you must be separate that makes me happier I knew they would find you at last poor penny poor penny murmured the young man it was only for that now I'm going she went on if you'll stay with me you needn't fear said hyacinth smiling at her but what would they think ask the dressmaker I like you best sand hyacinth you have had me always now it's their turn they have waited yes indeed they have waited hyacinth exclaimed but they will make it up they will make up everything the invalid panted then she added I couldn't couldn't help it which was the last flicker of her strength she gave no further sign of consciousness and four days later she ceased to breathe hyacinth was with her and lady Aurora but neither of them could recognize the moment hyacinth and mr. vetch carried her beer with the help of estas Koopa and Paula Munim and lady Aurora was at the funeral and Madame poop as well and twenty neighbors from Lomax place but the most distinguished person in appearance at least in the group of mourners with Millicent Henning the grave yet brilliant beauty of whose countenance the high propriety of whose demeanor and the fine taste and general style of whose black costume excited no little attention mr. vetch had his idea he had been nursing it ever since highest has returned from medley and three days after penny had been consigned to the earth he broached it to his young friend the funeral had been on a Friday and hyacinth had mentioned to him that he should return to mr. quickened ins on Monday morning this was Sunday night and hyacinth has been out for a walk neither with Millicent Henning nor with Palmer iment but alone after the manner of days when he came in he found the fiddler waiting for him and burning a tallow candle in the blighted showroom he had three or four little papers in his hand which exhibited some jottings of his pencil and high since guessed what was the truth but not all the truth but he had come to speak to him about business penny had left a little will of which he had appointed her old friend executor this fact had already become known to our hero who thought such an arrangement highly natural mr. Vettes informed him of the purport of this simple and judicious document and mentioned that he had been looking into the dressmaker's affairs they consisted poor Penny's affairs of the furniture of the house and Lomax place of the obligation to pay the remainder of a quarters rent and of a sum of money in the Savings Bank hyacinth was surprised to learn that Penny's economies had produced fruit of this late day things have gone so ill with her in recent years and there had been often such a watt of money in the house until mr. vetch explained to him with eager clearness that he himself had watched over the little hoard accumulated during the period of her comparative prosperity with the stiff determination that it should be sacrificed only in case of desperate necessity work had become scarce with penny but you could still do it when it came and the money was to be kept for the very possible period when she should be helpless mercifully enough she had not lived to see that day and the summoned the bank had survived her though diminished by more than half she had left no debts but the matter of the house and those incurred during her illness of course the fiddler had known he hastened to give his young friend this assurance that penny had she become infirm would have been able to count absolutely upon him for the equivalent in her old age of the protection she had given him in his youth but what of an accident had overtaken hyacinth but if he had incurred some nasty penalty for his revolutionary dabbling which little dangerous as they might be to society were quite capable in the country where authority though good-natured liked occasionally to make an example to put him on the wrong side of a prison wall at any rate for better or worse by pinching and scraping she had saved a little and of that little after everything was paid off a fraction would still be left everything was bequeathed to hyacinth everything but a couple of plaited candlesticks and the old chef an ear which had been so handsome in its day these penny begged mr. vetch to accept in recognition of services beyond all price the furniture everything he didn't want for his own use hyacinth would sell in a lump and with the proceeds he could wipe out old scores the sum of money would remain to him it amounted in its reduced condition to about 37 pounds in mentioning this figure mr. fetch appeared to imply that hyacinth would be master of a very pretty little fortune even to the young man himself in spite of his recent initiations it seemed far from contemptible it represented sudden possibilities of still not returning to old cook and ins it represented them that is till presently he remembered the various advances made him by the fiddler and reflected that by the time these had been repaid there would hardly be 20 pounds left not however was a far larger sum than he had ever had in his pocket at once he thanked the old man for his information and remarked and there was no hypocrisy in the speech that he was very sorry penny had not given herself the benefit of the whole of the little fund in her lifetime to this her executor replied that it a yielded her an interest far beyond any other investment for he was persuaded she believed she should never live to enjoy it and this faith was rich in pictures visions of the effects such a windfall would produce in hyacinths career what effect did she mean do you mean hyacinth inquired as soon as he had spoken he felt that he knew what the old man would say it would be a reference to Penny's belief in his rear union with his relations and the facilities that 37 pounds would afford him for cutting a figure among them and for a moment mr. Betts looked at him as if exactly that response were on his lips at the end of the moment however he replied quite differently she hoped you would go abroad and see the world the fiddler watched its young friend then he added she had a particular wish that you should go to Paris hi since the turn pale at this suggestion and for a moment he said nothing ah Harris he murmured at last she would have liked you even to take a little run down to Italy doubtless that would be pleasant but there is a limit as to what one can do with twenty pounds how do you mean with twenty pounds the old man asked lifting his eyebrows while the wrinkles in his forward made deep shadows in the candlelight that's about what will remain after I have settled my account with you how do you mean your account with me I shall not take any of your money high since eyes wandered over his interlocutor suggestive rustiness I don't want to be ungracious but suppose you should lose your powers My dear boy I shall have one of the resources that was opened a penny I shall look to you to be the support of my old age you may do so with perfect safety except for that danger you've just mentioned of my being imprisoned or hanged it's precisely because I think it will be less if you go abroad that I urge you to take this chance you will see the world and you will like it better you will think society even as it is has some good points said Mr vetch I have never liked it better than the last few months well wait till you see Paris Oh Paris Paris hyacinth repeated vaguely staring into the turbine flame of the candle as if he made out the most brilliant scenes there an attitude accent an expression which the fiddler interpreted both is the vibration of a latent hereditary cord and a symptom of the acute sense of opportunity end of chapter 28 chapter 29 of the princess Kassim a SEMA by Henry James this LibriVox recording is in the public domain the boulevard resolved alive brilliant with illuminations with the variety and gaiety of the crowd the dazzled of shops and cafes seen through uncovered fronts or immense lucid plates the flamboyant porches of theatres and the flashing lamps of carriages the far spreading murmur of stalkers and strollers the uproar of pleasure and prosperity the general magnificence of Paris on a perfect evening in June hyacinths had been walking about all day he had walked from rising till bedtime every day of the week that had elapsed since his arrival and now an extraordinary fatigue which however was not without its delight there was a kind of richness a sweet satiety in it a tremendous lassitude had fallen upon him and he settled himself in a chair beside a little table in front of tor Tony's not so much to rest from it as to enjoy it he had seen so much felt so much learn so much thrilled and throbbed and laughed and sighed so much during the past several days that he was conscious of last of the danger of becoming in coherent to himself of the need of balancing his accounts tonight he came to a full stop he simply sat at the door of the most dandified cafe in Paris and felt his pulse and took stock of his impressions he had been intending to visit the Hyatt eightieth which blazed through intermediate lights and through the thin foliage of trees not favored by the asphalt on the other side of the great Avenue but the impression of Shomo he relinquished that for the present it added to the luxury of a situation to reflect that he should still have plenty of time to see the success usual the same effect proceeded from his determination to order of Maui's when the waiter who's superior shirtfront wisker emerged from the long white cylinder of an apron came to take his commands he knew the decoction was expensive he had learned as much at the moment he happened over here for the first time a mention of it which had been the night before in his place in a stall during an Ontrack in the Comedie Francaise a gentleman beside him a young man in evening dress conversing with an acquaintance in the row behind recommended the latter to refresh himself with the article in question after the play there was nothing like it the speaker remark of a hot evening in the open air when one was thirsty the waiter brought high since the tall glass of champagne in which a pineapple ice was in solution and our hero felt that he had hoped for a sensation no less delicate when he looked for an empty table on tour Tony's Terrace very few tables were empty and it was his belief that the others were occupied by high celebrities at any rate there were just the types he had had a provision of and wanted most to meet when the extraordinary opportunity to come abroad with his pocket full of money it was more extraordinary even than his original meeting with the princess became real to him in lomax place he knew about tore tony's from his study of the french novel and as he sat there he had a vague sense of fraternizing with Balzac and Alfred M you see there were echoes and reminiscences of their works in the air confounding themselves through the indefinable exhalations the strange composite odor half agreeable half impure of the boulevard splendid Paris charming Paris that refrained the fragment of an invocation a beginning without an end hummed itself perpetually in high since ears the only articulate words that got themselves uttered in the hymn of praise which his imagination had been offering to the French capital from the first hour of his stay he recognized he greeted with a thousand palpitations the seat of his maternal ancestors was proud to be associated with so much of the superb so many proof of a civilization that had no visible rough spots he had his perplexities and he had even now and then a revulsion for which he had made no allowance as when it came over him that the most brilliant city in the world was also the most blood-stained but the great sense that he understood and sympathized was preponderant and his comprehension gave him wings appeared to transport him to still wider fields of knowledge still higher sensations in other days in London he had thought again and again of his mother's father the revolutionary watchmaker who had known the ecstasy of the barricade and had paid for it with his life and his reveries had not been sensibly chilled by the fact that he knew next to nothing about him he figured him in his mind had a conviction that he was very short like himself and had curly hair an immense talent for his work and an extraordinary natural eloquence together with many of the most attractive qualities for the French character but he was reckless and a little cracked and probably immoral he had difficulties and debts and irrepressible passions his life had been an incurable fever and it's tragic termination was a matter of course nonetheless it would have been a charm to hear him talk to feel the influence of a gaiety which even political madness could never quench for his grandson had a theory that he spoke the French tongue of an earlier time delightful and sociable and accent and phrase exempt from the Communists of modern slang this vague yet vivid personage became high since constant companion from the day of his arrival he roamed about with Florentines boy hand in hand sat opposite to him at dinner but the small table in the restaurant finished the bottle with him made the bill a little longer and treated him to innumerable revelations and counsels he knew the land secret without being told and looked at him across the diminutive tablecloth where the great tube were bread pushed aside a little left room for his elbow it puzzled I sense that the people of Paris should ever have the fierceness of hunger when the lows were so big gazed at him with eyes of deep kind glowing comprehension and with lips which seemed to murmur that when one was to die tomorrow one was wise to eat and drink today there was nothing venerable no constraint of importance or disapproval in this edifying and impalpable presence the young man considered that Esh vva was of its own time of life and could enter into his pleasures as well as his pains wandering repeatedly where the barricade on which his grandfather fell had been erected he had last satisfied himself but I am unable to trace the process of the induction that it had bristled across the loose and on a very near to the Church of Santo Sh the pair had now roamed together through all the museums and Gardens through the principal churches the Republican martyr was very good natured about this through the passages in arcades up and down the great avenues across all the bridges and above all again and again along the river where the keys were an endless entertainment to hyacinth who lingered by the half-hour beside the boxes of old books on the parapets stuffing his pockets with five penny volumes while the bright industries of the sand flashed and glittered beneath him and on the other bank the glorious louvre stretched either way for half a league our young man took almost the same sort of satisfaction in the louvre as if he had erected it he haunted the museum during all the first days and couldn't look enough at certain pictures nor sufficiently admire the high-polish of the great floors in which the golden frescoed ceilings repeated themselves all Paris struck him as tremendously artistic and decorative he felt as if his ax to he had lived in a dusky frowsy Philistine world in which the taste was the taste of little peddling t'en and the idea of beautiful arrangement had never had an influence in his ancestral City it acta from the first and that was why his quick sensibility responded and he murmured again his constant refrain when the fairness of the great monuments arrested him in the pearly silvery light or he saw them take gray blue delicate tones at the end of stately vistas it seemed to him that Paris expressed herself and did it in the grand style while London remained vague and blurred inarticulate blunt and dim mr. spewpa had given him letters two three or four Democratic friends arne and Voter ease of the social question who had by a miracle either escaped the cruelty of exile or suffered the outrage of pardon and in spite of republican Musha no less infamous than the imperial and the periodical swoops of despotism which had only changed its buttons and postage stamps kept alive the sacred spark which would someday become a consuming flame high since however had not had the thought of delivering these introductions he had accepted them because Papa had had such a solemn Glee in writing them and also because he had not the courage to let the couple and listen grow know that since that terrible night at huffin dollars a change had come over the spirit of his dream he had not grown more concentrated he had grown more relaxed and it was inconsistent with relaxation that he should rummage out poopers friends one of whom lived in the bacchanal and the others in the Faubourg saint-antoine and pretend that he cared for what they cared for in the same way as they cared for it what was supreme in his mind today was not the idea of how the society that surrounded him should be destroyed it was much more the sense of the wonderful precious things that had produced of the brilliant impressive fabric it had raised the destruction was waiting for it there was forcible evidence known to himself and others to show but since this truth had risen before him in its magnitude he had become conscious of a transfer partial if not complete of his sympathies the same revulsion of she had given a sign to the princess and saying that now he pitied the rich those who were regarded as happy while the evening passed therefore as he kept his place at Tor Tony's the emotion that was last to visit him was a compunction for not having put himself in relation with poor poopins friends for having neglected to make the acquaintance of earnest people who in the world if one should come to that was as earnest as he himself or had given a such signal even through secret proofs of it he could lay that function to his soul in spite of his having amused himself cynically spent all his time in theatres galleries walks of pleasure the feeling had not failed him with which he accepted mr. vetches furtherance the sense that since he was destined to perish in his flower he was right to make a dash at the beautiful horrible world that reflection had been natural enough but what was strange was the Fiddler's own impulse his desire to do something pleasant for him to beguile him and ship him off what had been most odd in that was the way mr. vetch appeared to overlook the fact that his young friend had already had that year such an episode of dissipation as we surely rare in the experience of London artisans this was one of the many things highest and thought of he thought of the others in turn and out of turn it was almost the first time he had sat still long enough except of the theater to collect himself a hundred confused reverberations of the recent past crowded upon him and he saw that he had lived more intensely in the previous six months than in all the rest of his existence the succession of events finally straightened itself and he tasted some of the rarest strangest moments over again his last week at medley in a special had already become a kind of fable the echo of a song he could read it over like a story gaze at it as he would have gazed in some exquisite picture his visit there had been perfect to the end and even the three days the captain Sholto sojourn lasted had not broken the spell for the three more that had elapsed before his own departure the princess herself had given him the signal were the most important of all it was then the princess and made it clear to him that she was an earnest was prepared for the last sacrifice she was now his standard of comparison his authority his measure this perpetual reference and then taking possession of his mind to this extent she had completely renewed it she was altogether a new term and now that he was in a foreign country he observed how much her conversation itself so far and had prepared him to understand it in Paris he saw of course a great many women and he noticed almost all of them especially the actresses confronting mentally their movement their speech their manner of dressing with that of its extraordinary friend he judged that she was beyond them in every respect though there were one or two actresses who had the air of trying to copy her the recollection of the last days he had spent with her affected him now like the touch of a tear washed cheek she had shed tears for him and it was his suspicion that her secret idea was to frustrate the redemption of his vow to huffin doll to the immeasurable body that huffin doll represented she pretended to have accepted it and what she said was simply that when he should have played his part she would engage to save him to fling a cloud about him as the goddess mother of the Trojan hero used in Virgil's poem to Eskimo ta Aeneas what she meant was in his view to prevent him from playing his part at all she was earnest for herself not for him the main result of his concentrated intimacy with her had been to make him feel that he was good enough for anything when he had asked her the last day if he might write to her she had said yes but not for two or three weeks he had written after Penny's death and again just before coming abroad and in doing so had taken account of something else she had said in regard to their correspondence that she didn't wish vague phrases protestations or compliments she wanted the realities of his life the smallest most personal details therefore he had treated her to the whole business for the break-up in lomax place including the sale of the rickety furniture he had told her what the transaction had brought a beggarly some but sufficient to help a little to pay debts but he had informed her furthermore that one of the ways mr. vetch had taken to hurry him off to Paris was to offer him a present of 30 pounds out of his curious little hoard to add to the sum already inherited from penny which in a manner that none of hyacinths friends of course could possibly regard as frugal or even as a respectable was now consecrated to a mere excursion he even mentioned that he had ended by accepting 430 pounds adding that he had feared there are something demoralizing in his peculiar situation she would know what he meant by that it disposed one to take what one can get made one at least very tolerant of whims that happen to be munificent what he did not mention to the princess was the manner in which he had been received by Paul Munim aunt and by Millicent Henning on his return for medley Millicent's reception had been the queerest it had been unexpectedly mild she made him no scene of violence and appeared to have given up the line of throwing a blur of recrimination over her own nefarious doings she treated him as if she liked him for having got in with the swells she had an appreciation of success which would lead her to handle him more tenderly now that he was really successful she tried to make him describe the style of life that was led in a house where people were invited to stay like that without having to pay and she surprised him almost as much as she gratified him by not indulging in any of her former digs at the princess she was lavish of ejaculations when he answered certain of her questions ejaculations that save it of Pimlico oh I say and all my stars and he was more than ever struck detestable habit of saying aye that's where it is when he had made some remark to which he wished to give an intelligent and sympathetic assent but she didn't cheer at the princess's private character she stayed her satire in a case where there was such an opening for it hyacinth reflected that this was lucky for her he couldn't have stood it nervous and anxious as he was about penny if she had had the bad taste at such a time as that to be profane and insulting in that case he would have broken with her completely he would have been too disgusted she displeased him enough as it was by her vulgar tricks of speech there were two or three little recurrent irregularities that aggravated him to a degree quite out of proportion to their importance as when she said full up for full sold out for sold or remark to him that she supposed he was now going to chuck up his work an old crook and ins these phrases had fallen upon his ear many a time before but now they seemed almost unpardonable enough to quarrel about not that he had any wish to quarrel for if the question had been pushed he would have admitted that today his intimacy with the princess had caused any rights he might have had upon Millicent – laughs Millicent did not push it however she only it was evident wished to convey to him that it was better for both parties that they should respect each other's liberty a genial understanding on this subject was what miss Henning desired and hyacinth Fermat himself to inquire what you she proposed to make of her freedom during the month that elapsed between Penny's death and his visit to Paris he had seen her several times for the respect for each other's freedom and somehow not implied cessation of intercourse and it was only natural she should have been soft to him in his bereaved condition hyacinth sentiment about penny was deep and Millicent was clever enough to guess it the consequence of which was that on these occasions she was very soft indeed she talked to him almost as if she had been his mother and he a convalescent child called him/her dear and a young rascal and her old boy moralized a good deal abstain from beer until she learned he had inherited a fortune and when he remarked once moralizing a little too that after the death of a person we have loved we are haunted by the memory of our failures of kindness of generosity we joined with a dignity that made the words almost a contribution to philosophy yes that's where it is something in her behavior at this period had even made hyacinth wonder whether there were not some mystical sign in his appearance some subtle betrayal in the very expression of his face of the predicament in which he had been placed by Deidre coffin doll he began to suspect afresh the operation of that beastly art aunt Leigh small he had detected of old and people who had the benefit of Miss pinson's innuendos the compassion Millicent felt for him had never been one of the reasons why he liked her it had fortunately been corrected moreover by his power to make her furious this evening on the boulevard as he watched the interminable successions one of the ideas that came to him was that it was odd he should like her even yet for heaven knew he liked to princess better and he had hitherto supposed that when a sentiment of this kind had the energy of a possession it made a clean sweep of all minor predilections but it was clear to him that Millicent still existed for him that he couldn't feel he had quite done away with her or she with him and that in spite of his having now so many other things to admire there was still the comfort in the recollection of a robust beauty and her primitive passions hyacinth thought of her as some clever young barbarian who an ancient day should have made a pilgrimage to Rome might have thought of a nation or Iberian mistress awaiting his return on the rough provincial Shore if Millicent considered his visit at a halt a proof of the sort of success that was to attend him how he reconciled this with the supposition that she perceived as ghostly irradiation intermingled with his curly hair the Ori Ola of martyrdom he would have had some difficulty in explaining if miss Henning considered on his return from medley that he had taken his place on the winning side it was only consistent of her tomorrow a grandeur from his further travels and indeed by the time he was ready to start she spoke of the plan as if she had invented it herself and had even contributed materially to the funds required it had been her theory from the first that she only liked people of spirit and hyacinth certainly had never so much spirit as when he launched himself into continental adventures he could say to himself quite without bitterness that of course she would profit by his absence to put her relations with Sholto on a comfortable footing yet somehow at this moment as her face came back to him amid the crowd of faces about him it had not that gentleman's romantic shadow across it it was the brilliancy of Paris perhaps that made him see things rosy at any rate he remembered with kindness something that she had said to him the last time he saw her and that had touched him exceedingly at the moment he had happened to observe to her in a friendly way that now Miss Pinsent had gone she was with the exception of mr. vetch the person in his whole circle who had known him longest to this Millicent had replied that mr. vetch wouldn't live forever and then she should have the satisfaction of being his very oldest friend oh well I shan't live forever either said hyacinth which led her to inquire whether by chance he had a weakness of the chest not that I know of but I might get killed in a row and when she broke out into the scorn of his silly notion of turning everything up as if anyone wanted to know what a costermonger would like or any of that low short of the East End he amused himself with asking her if she was satisfied with the condition of society and thought nothing ought to be done for people who at the end of a lifetime of starvation wages and only the reward of the hideous workhouse the paupers grave I shouldn't be satisfied with anything if ever you wish to slip up Millicent Hanson simply looking at him with her beautiful boldness then she added there's one thing I can tell you mr. Robinson that if ever anyone was to do you return and she paused again tossing back the head she carried as if it were surmounted by a tiara while hyacinth inquired what would occur in that contingency well there'd be one left behind who would take it up she announced and in the tone of the declaration there was something brave and genuine it struck hyacinth is a strange fate though not stranger after all in his native circumstances that one's memory should come to be represented by a shopgirl overladen with bracelets of imitation silver but he was reminded that Millicent was a fine specimen of a woman of a type opposed to the whining and that in her free temperament many disparities were reconciled end of chapter 29 chapter 30 of the princess Casa massima by Henry James this LibriVox recording is in the public domain on the other hand the brilliancy of Paris had not much power to transfigure the impression made upon him by such intercourse with Paul minimun Bizzy had enjoyed during the weeks that followed Penny's death an impression considerably more severe than any idea of renunciation or Oblivion that could connect itself with Millicent why it should have had the taste of sadness was not altogether clear from you no man's voice was as distinct as any in the chorus of approbation excited by the news that hyacinth was about to cultivate the most characteristic of the pleasures of gentility a sympathetic unanimity of which the effort was to place his journey to Paris in a light almost ridiculous what had got into them all and did they think he was good for nothing but to amuse himself mr. vetch had been the most zealous but the others clapped him on the back almost exactly the same manner as he had seen his mates in Soho bring their palms down on one of their number when it was disclosed to them that his missus had made him yet once again a father that had been poop a stone and his wife's as well and even portion coal with his everlasting bandage whom he had met and listened Grove appeared to think it necessary to remark that a little run across the Rhine while he was about it would open his eyes to a great many wonders Lupul perish shed tears of joy and the letters which have already been mentioned in which lay day after day on the mantelshelf of the little room our hero occupied in a hotel Gaffney tremendously tall and somewhat lopsided in the huija cob that recommendation proceeded also from listen grove the Gani being kept by a second cousin of Meribah stash these valuable documents have been prepared by the obliging exile many days before his young friend was ready to start it was almost refreshing to hyacinth when old crook ndon the sole outspoken de sentient told him he was a blockhead to waste his money on the bloody French this worthy employer of labour was evidently disgusted at such an innovation if he wanted a little recreation why couldn't he take it as it had been taken him soho from the beginning of time in the shape of a trip to Hampton Court or two or three days of alcoholic torpor all crooked and was right hyacinth conceded freely that he was a blockhead and was only a little uncomfortable that he couldn't explain why he didn't pretend not to me and had a kind of right to that compensatory luxury Paul guessed why of course and smiled approval with a candor which gave high since the strange inexpressible heartache he already knew that his friends view of him was that he was ornamental and adapted to the lighter kinds of socialistic utility constitute has showed that the revolution was not necessarily brutal and illiterate but in the light of the cheerful stoicism with which Munim entreated the sacrifice our hero was committed to the latter had found it necessary to remodel a good deal his original conception of the young chemists nature the result of this process was not that he admired at less but that he felt almost or stricken in the presence of it there had been an element of that sort and his appreciation of muna meant from the first but it had been infinitely deepened by the spectacle of his sublime consistency heissen felt that he himself could never have risen to that point he was competent to make the promise to huff endow and he was equally competent to keep it but he could not have had the same fortitude for another could not have detached himself from personal prejudice so effectually mr. put forward in that way for the terrible job a little chap he liked the Munim had liked him had never occurred to high since turned out and certainly he had all the manner of it today he had never been more good-humoured more placidly talkative he was like an elder brother who knew that the youngster was clever and was rather proud of it even when there was no one there to see that air of suspending their partnership for the moment which had usually marked him but the Sun and Moon was never visible in other places in orderly court he only chaffed hyacinth occasionally for taking him too seriously today his young friend hardly knew just how to take him the episode of which often dog was the central figure had as far as one could see made so little change in his life as a conspirator he was so extraordinarily candid and bitterness and denunciation so rarely sat on his lips It was as if he had been ashamed to complain and indeed for himself as the months went on he had nothing particular to complain of he had had a rise at the chemical works and a plan of getting a larger room for Rosie was under serious consideration on behalf of others he never sounded the pathetic note he thought that sort of thing unbusinesslike and the most that he did in the way of expatriation on the wrongs of humanity with the occasionally to mention certain statistics certain returns in regard to the remuneration of industries applications for employment and the discharge of hands in such matters as these he was deeply versed and he moved in a dry statistical and scientific air in which had cost hyacinth an effort of respiration to accompany him simple and kindly as he was and thoughtful of the woes of beasts attentive and merciful to small insects and addicted even to kissing dirty babies in orderly court he sometimes emitted a short satiric gleam which showed that his esteem for the poor was small and that he had no illusions about the people who had got everything into their hands he had as few about those who had egregiously failed to do so he was tremendously reasonable which was largely why hyacinth admired him having a desire to be so himself but finding it terribly difficult Munim its absence of passion his fresh colored coolness his easy exact knowledge the way he kept himself clean except for the chemical stains on his hands in circumstances of foul contact constituted a group of qualities that had always appeared to high sand singularly enviable most enviable of all was the force that enabled him to sink personal sentiment where a great public good was to be attempted and yet keep up the form of caring for that minor interest it seemed a hyacinth that if he had introduced a young fellow dolphin doll for his purposes and huffin doll had accepted him on such a recommendation and everything had been settled he would have preferred never to look at the young fellow again that was his weakness and Munim and carried it off far otherwise it must be added that he had never made an allusion to their visit to Havana doll so that hyacinth also out of pride held his tongue on the subject if his friend didn't wish to express any sympathy for him he was not going to beg for it especially as he didn't want it by Restless references it had originally been a surprise to him that should be willing to countenance a possible assassination but after all none of his ideas were narrow hyacinth had a sense that they ripened all the while and if a pistol shock would do any good he was not the man to raise pedantic objections it is true that as regards his quiet acceptance of the predicament in which hyacinth might be placed by it our young man had given him the benefit of a certain amount of doubt it had occurred to him that perhaps immune iment had his own reasons for believing that the summons from – God would never really arrive so that he might only be treating himself to the entertainment of judging of a little bookbinders nerve but in this case why did he take an interest in the little bookbinders going to Paris that was a thing he would not have cared for if he inhaled that in fact there was nothing to fear he despised the sight of idleness and in spite of the indulgence he had more than once been good enough to express on the subject of hyacinth epicurean tendencies what he would have been most likely to say at present was go to Paris go to the Dickens haven't you been out in grass long enough for one while didn't you lock enough in the country there with the noble lady and hadn't you better take up your tools again before you forget how to handle them Rosie had said something of that sort into her free familiar way whatever her intention she had been in effect only a little less sarcastic than old quickened in' that mr. Robinson was going in for a life of leisure a life of luxury like herself she must congratulate him on having the means and the time oh the time that was the great thing she can speak with knowledge having always enjoyed these advantages herself and she intimated or was she mistaken that his good fortune emulated hers also in the matter of his having a highborn and beneficent friend such a blessing now he had lost dear miss Vincent who covered him with little attentions Rose Munim and in short had been more exasperated an ever the boulevard became even more brilliant as the evening went on and hyacinth wondered whether he had a right to occupy the same table for so many hours the theater on the other side discharged its multitude the crowd thickened on the wide asphalt on the terrace of the cafe gentlemen accompanied by ladies of whom he knew already how to characterize the type they found a chic past into the portal some Tortoni the nightly emanation of Paris seemed to rise more richly to float and hang in the air to mingle with the universal light and the many voiced sound to resolve itself into a thousand solicitations and opportunities but rest however mainly to those in whose pockets the chink of a little loose gold might respond hyacinth retrospection 'he's had not made him drowsy but quite the reverse he grew restless and excited and a kind of pleasant terror of the place an hour entered into his blood but it was nearly midnight and he got up to walk home taking the line of the boulevard towards the madellaine he passed down the aisle where a comparative stillness reigned and when he reached the place de la Concorde to cross the bridge which faces the coffin ladies latif he found himself almost isolated he had left the human swarm and the obstructed pavements behind at the wide spaces of the splendid square lay quiet under the summer stars the flash of the great fountains was audible and he could almost hear the wind stirred murmur of the little wood of the tree lightly on one side and of the vague expanse of the chanson easy on the other the place itself the plateau he cast the plaster la revolucion had given him a sensible emotion from the day of his arrival he had recognized so quickly it's tremendously historic character he had seen in a rapid vision the guillotine in the middle on the site of the inscrutable obelisk and the tumbrils with waiting victims were stationed around the circle now made majestic by the monuments of the cities of France the great legend of the French Revolution sanguinary and heroic was more real to him here than anywhere else and strangely what was most present was not his turpitude and horror but it's magnificent energy the spirit of life that had been in it not the spirit of death that shadow was effaced by the modern fairness of fountain and statue the stately perspective and composition and as he lingered before crossing the Seine a sudden sense overtook him making his heart sink was a kind of desolation a sense of everything that might hold one to the world of the sweetness of not dying the fascination of great cities the charm of travel and discovery the generosity of admiration the tears rose to his eyes as they had done more than once in the past six months and a question low but poignant broke from his lips ending in nothing how could he how could he it may be explained that he was a reference to Paul Munim and for high since the dreamed of the religion of friendship three weeks after this he found himself in Venice whence he addressed as the princess Casa maxima a letter of which I reproduce the principal passages this is probably the last time I shall write to you before I return to London of course you have been in this place and you will easily understand why here especially here the spirit should move me dear princess what an enchanted city what in effable impressions what a revelation of the exquisite I have a room and a little compo opposite to a small old church which has cracked marble slabs let in to the front and in the cracks grow little wild delicate flowers of which I don't know the name over the door of the church hanks an old battered leather curtain polished and tawny as thick as a mattress and with buttons in it like a sofa and it flops to and fro laborious ly as women and girls with shawls on their heads and their feet in little wooden Jews which have nothing but toes pass in and out in the middle of the compo is a fountain which looks still older than the church it has a primitive barbaric air and I have an idea it was put there by the first settlers those who came to Venice from the mainland from aquileia observe how much historical information I have already absorbed it won't surprise you however for you never wondered at anything after you discovered I knew something of Schopenhauer I assure you I don't think of that musty misogynist in the least today for I bend a genial eye on the women and girls I just spoke up as they glide with a small clatter and with their old copper water jars to the fountain the Venetian girl face is wonderfully sweet and the effect is charming when it's pale said oval they all look underfed is framed and the old faded shawl they also have very fascinating here which never has done curling and they slip along together in couples and threes interlinked by the arms and never meeting quant I so that it's geniality doesn't matter dressed in thin cheap cotton gowns whose limp folds make the same delightful line that everything else in Italy makes the weather is splendid and I roast but I like it apparently I was made to be spitted and done and I discovered that I've been cold all my life even when I thought I was warm I have seen none of the beautiful patricians who sat for the great painters the gorgeous beings whose golden hair was intertwined with pearls but I am studying Italian in order to talk with the shuffling clicking maidens who work in the bean factories I am determined to make one or two of them look at me when they have filled their old water pots of the fountain it is jolly to see them perch them on their heads and patter away over the polished venetian stones it's a charm to be in a country where the women don't wear the hideous British bonnet even in my own class excuse the expression I remember it used to offend you I have never known a young female in London to put her nose out of the door without it than if you had frequented such young females as much as I have you would have learned of what the gradation that dreary necessity is the source the floor of my room was composed of little brick tiles and too fresh in the air in this temperature one sprinkles it as you've no doubt know with water before long if I keep on sprinkling I shall be able to swim about the green shutters are closed and the place makes a very good tank through the chinks the hot light of the compote comes in I smoke cigarettes and in the pauses of this composition recline on a faded magenta divan in the corner convenient to my hand and that attitude are the works of Leopardi and the second-hand dictionary I am very happy happier than I have ever been in my life save it medley and I don't care for anything but the present hour it won't last long for I am spending all my money but I have finished this I shall go forth and wander about in the splendid venetian afternoon and I shall spend the evening in that enchanted square of scent marks which resembles an immense open-air drawing-room listening to music and feeling the sea breeze blow in between those two strange old columns in the Piazza would seem to make a portal for it I can scarcely believe that is of myself that I am telling these fine things I say to myself but dozen times a day that hyacinth Robinson is not in it I pinched my leg to see if I'm not dreaming but a short time hence when I resumed the exercise of my profession in sweet Soho I shall have proof enough that it has been my very self I shall know that by the terrible grind I shall feel my work to be that will mean no doubts that I'm deeply demoralized it won't be for you however in this case to cast the stone at me for my demoralisation began from the moment I first approached you dear princess I may have done you good but you haven't done much I trust you will understand what I mean by that speech I don't think it flippant or impertinent I may have helped you to understand and enter into the misery of the people though I protest I don't know much about it but you have led my imagination into quite another train however I don't mean to pretend that it's all your fault if I have lost sight of the sacred cause almost altogether in my recent adventures it is not that it has not been there to see for that perhaps is the clearest result of extending one's horizon the sense increasing as we go that want and toil and suffering or the constant lot of the immense majority of the human race I have found them everywhere but I haven't minded them excuse the cynical confession what has struck me is the great achievements of which man has been capable in spite of them the splendid accumulations of the happier few to which doubtless the miserable many have also and their degree contributed the face of Europe appears to be covered with them and they have had much the greater part of my attention they seem to me inestimable precious and beautiful and I become conscious more than ever before of how little I understand what in the great rectification you and poop am proposed to do with them dear princess there are things which I shall be sorry to see you touch even with your hands divine and shall I tell you the Fond of my Posse as you used to say I feel myself capable of fighting for them you can't call me a traitor for you know the obligation that I recognize the monuments and treasures of art the great palaces and properties the conquests of learning and taste the general fabric of civilization as we know it based if you will upon all the despotisms the cruelties the exclusions the monopolies and the rapacity 's of the past but thanks to which all the same the world is less impracticable and life more tolerable our friend Hoff and seems to me to hold them too cheap and to wish to substitute for them something in which I can't somehow believe as I do in things with which the aspirations and the tears of generations have been mixed you know how extraordinary I think our Huff endow to speak only of him but if there is one thing that is more clear about him than another it is that he wouldn't have the least feeling for this incomparable abominable old Venice he would cut up the ceilings of the varanasi into strips so that everyone might have a little peace I don't want everyone to have a little piece of anything and I have a great horror of that kind of invidious jealousy which is at the bottom of the idea of a redistribution you will say that I talk of it my ease well in a delicious capital I smoke cigarettes on a magenta divan and I give you leave to scoff at me if it turns out that when I come back to London without a penny in my pocket I don't hold the same language I don't know what it comes from but during the last three months there is crept over me a deep mistrust of that same grudging attitude the intolerance of positions and fortunes that are higher and brighter than once owned the fear moreover that I may in the past have been actuated by such motives and to devote hope that if I am to pass away well I am yet young it may not be with that odious stain upon my soul end of chapter 30 chapter 31 of the princess Kassim a SEMA by Henry James this LibriVox recording is in the public domain hyacinth spent three days after his return to London in a process which he supposed to be the quest of a lodging but in reality he was pulling himself together for the business of his livelihood an effort he found by no means easy or agreeable as he had told the princess he was demoralized and the perspective of mr. crook and ins dirty staircase had never seemed so steep he lingered on the brink before he plunged again at a Soho he wished not to go back to the shop till he should be settled and he delayed to get settled in order not to go back to the shop he saw no one during this interval not even mr. vetch he waited to call upon the fiddler till he should have the appearance of not coming as a beggar or a borrower have recovered his employment and be able to give an address such as he had heard captain salto say he went to South Street not meaning to go in at once but wishing to look at the house and there he had the surprise of receiving a bill of sale in the window of the princess's late residence he had not expected to find her in town he had heard from her the last time three weeks before and then she had said nothing about her prospects but he was puzzled by this indication that she had moved away altogether there was something in this however which he felt at the bottom he had looked for it appeared a proof of the Justice of a certain suspicious uneasy sentiment from which one could never be quite free in once intercourse with the princess a vague apprehension that one might suddenly stretch out one's hand and miss her altogether from one side hyacinth decided to ring at the door and asked for news of her but there was no response to his summons the stillness of an August afternoon the year had come round again from his first visit hung over the place the blinds were down and the caretaker appeared to be absent under these circumstances hyacinth was much at a loss unless indeed he should address a letter to his wonderful friend at medley it would doubtless be forwarded though her short lease of the country house had terminated as he knew several weeks before captain Salter was of course a possible medium of communication but nothing would have been used hyacinth to ask such a service of him he turned away from South Street with a curious sinking of the heart his state of ignorance struck inward as it were had the force of Ave disquieting portent he went to old crook and ins only when he had arrived at his last penny this however was very promptly the case he had disembarked at London Bridge with only 17 pence in his pocket and he had lived on that sum for three days the old fiddler in Lomax place was having a chop before he went to the theatre and he invited hyacinths to share his repast sending out at the same time for another pot of beer he took the youth with him to the play where as at that season there were very few spectators he had no difficulty in finding him a place he seemed to wish to keep hold of him and look at him strangely over his spectacles mr. vetch wore the homely double glass in these latter years when he learned that hyacinth had taken a lodging noting their old familiar quarter but in the unexplored / lives at Westminster what a determined our young man was the fact that from this part of the town the journey was comparatively a short one to Campbell he had suffered so much before Penny's death from being separated by such a distance from his best friends there was a pang in his heart connected with the image of Palmer Lomond but nonetheless the prospect of an evening hour an orderly Court from time to time appeared one of his most definite sources of satisfaction in the future he could have gone straight to Camberwell to live but that would carry him to far from the scene of his profession and in Westminster he was much nearer to old cook and ins than he had been in Lomax place he said to mr. Vettes that if it would give him pleasure he would abandon his lodging and take another impendent bill but the old man replied after a moment that he should be sorry to put that constraint upon him if he were to make such an exaction hyacinth would think he wanted to watch him how do you mean watch me mr. vetch had begun to tune his fiddle and he scraped it a little before answering I mean it as I have always met it surely you know that in Lomax place I had my eyes on you I watched you with a child the edge of a pond watches the little boat he is constructed and set afloat you couldn't discover much you saw after all very little of me eysan said I made what I could have that little it was better than nothing hyacinth laid his hand gently on the old man's arm he had never felt so kindly to him not even when he accepted the 30 pounds before going abroad as at this moment certainly I will come and see you I was much obliged to you for your letters mr. vet remarked without heeding these words and continuing to scrape he had always even to the shabbiness of his old age kept that mark of English good breeding which is composed of some such odd elements that there was a shyness an aversion to possible phrase making in his manner of expressing gratitude for favors and that in spite of this cursory tone his acknowledgment had ever the accent of sincerity hyacinth took with little pleasure in the play which was an inanimate revival he had been at the taya the fal'cie and the tradition of that house was still sufficiently present to him to make any other style of interpretation appear of the clumsiest he sat in one of the front stalls close to the orchestra and while the piece went forward or backward never backward as it seemed to him his thoughts wandered far from the shabby scene of the dusty boards revolving around a question which had come up immensely during the last few hours the princess was a cup each oza that at least was Madame gan donees account of her and was that blank expressionless house in south street a sign that an end had come to the particular Caprice in which he had happened to be involved he had returned to London with an ache of eagerness to be with her again on the same terms as that medley a throbbing sense that unless she had been abominably dishonest he might count upon her this state of mind was by no means complete security but it was so sweet that it mattered little whether it were sound circumstances favored in an extraordinary degree his visit to her and it was by no means clear that they would again be so accommodating or that what had been possible for a few days should be possible with continuity in the midst of the ceremonies and complications of London hyacinth felt poorer than he had ever felt before and as much as he had had money and spent it where is in previous times he had never had it to spend he never for an instant regretted his squandered fortune for he said to himself that he had made a good bargain and become master of a precious equivalent the equivalent was a rich experience an experience which would become richer still as he should talk it over in a low chair close to hers with the all comprehending all suggesting lady of his life this poverty would be no obstacle to their intercourse so long as he should have a pair of legs to carry him to her door for she liked him better shabby's and when he was furbished up when she had given him too many pledges they had taken together too many appointments worked out too many programs to be disconcerted on either side by obstacles that were merely a part of the general conventionality he was to go with her into the slums to introduce her to the worst at London contained he should have precisely to make acquaintance with at first to show her the reality of the horrors of which he dreamed that the world might be purged he had ceased himself to care for the slums and had reasons for not wishing to spend his remnant in the contemplation of foul things but he would go through with his part of the engagement he might be perfunctory but any dreariness would have a gilding that should involve an association with her what if she should have changed have ceased to care what if from a kind of royal insolence which he suspected to lurk somewhere in the side scenes of her nature though he had really not one seen at peep out she should toss back her perfect head with a movement signifying that he was to basically literal and that she knew him no more Hisense imagination represented her this evening in places where a barrier of dazzling light shut her out from access or even from any appeal he saw her with other people in splendid room where the nukes and possession of her smiling satisfied surrounded covered with jewels when this vision grew intense he found a reassurance in reflecting that after all she would be unlikely throw him personally over so long as she should remain mixed up with what was being planned in the dark and that it would not be easy for her to liberate herself from that entanglement she had of course told him more at medley of the manner in which she had already committed herself and he remembered with a strange perverse elation that she had gone very far indeed in the intervals of the foolish play mr. vetch who lingered in his place in the orchestra while his mates descended into the little hole under the stage leaned over the rail and asked his young friend occasional questions carrying his eyes at the same time up about the dingy house but whose smoky ceiling and tarnished galleries he had been staring for so many a year he came back to hyacinth letters and said of course you know they were clever they entertained me immensely but as I read them I thought of poor penny I wished she could have listened to them they would have made her so happy yes poor penny hyacinth murmured while mr. vetch went on I was in Paris in 1848 at a small hotel in the who Mogador I judged everything is changed from your letters does the lumo gargoyle still exist yes everything has changed I dare say it's all much finer but I liked it very much as it was then at all events I am right in supposing am I not that it cheered you up considerably made you really happy why should I have wanted any cheering I was happy enough hyacinth replied the fiddler turned his old white face upon him it had the unhealthy smoothness which denotes a sedentary occupation thirty years spent in a close crowd amid the smoke of lamps and the odor of a stage paint I thought you were sad about penny he remarked when I jumped with that avidity at your proposal that I should take a tour poor old penny hyacinth added well I hope you think a little better of the world we mustn't make up our mind too early in life oh I have made up mine it's an awfully jolly place awfully jolly no but I like it as I like an old pair of shoes I like so much less the idea of putting on the new ones why should I complain hyacinths asked what have I known but kindness people have done such a lot for me oh well of course they have liked you but that's alright murmured mr. betch beginning to scrape again what remained in hyacinths mine from this conversation was the fact that the old man whom he regarded distinctly as cultivated and thought his lettuce clever he only wished that he had made them clever estill he had no doubt of his ability to have done so it may be imagined whether the first hours he spent at old cookin danced after he took up work again were altogether to his taste and what was the nature of the reception given him by his former comrades whom he found exactly in the same attitudes and the same clothes he knew and hated every article they wore and with the same primitive pleasantries on their lips our young man's feelings were mingled the place and the people appeared to him loathe him but there was something delightful in handling his tools he gave a little private groan of relief when he discovered that he still liked his work and that the pleasant swarm of his ideas in the matter of sides and backs returned to him they came in still brighter more suggestive form and he had the satisfaction of feeling that his tasted improved that it had been purified by experience and that the covers of a book might be made to express an astonishing number of high conceptions strange enough it was and a proof surely of our little heroes being a genuine artist that the impressions he had accumulated during the last few months appeared to mingle and confound themselves with the very sources of his craft and to be susceptible of technical representation he had quite determined by this time to carry on his life as if nothing were hanging over him and he had no intention of remaining a little book minder to the end of his days for that medium after all would translate only some of his conceptions yet his trade was a resource and undiminished resource for the present but he had a particular as well as a general motive in attempting new flights the provision of the exquisite work which he was to do during the coming year for the princess and which it was very definite to him he owed her when that debt should have been paid and his other ear ear is made up he proposed to himself to write something he was far from having decided as yet what it should be the only point settled was that it should be very remarkable and should not at least on the face of it have anything to do with a fresh deal of the social pact that was to be his transition into literature to bind the book charming as the process might be was after all much less fundamental than to write it it had occurred to hyacinth more than once that it would be a fine thing to reduce a brilliant death song it is not surprising that among such a reveries as this he should have been conscious of a narrow range in the tone of his old work fellows they had only one idea that he had come into a thousand pounds and had gone to spend them in France with a regular high one he was aware in advance of the diffusion of this legend and it is best to allow for it taking the simplest course which was not to contradict it but to catch the ball as it came and toss it still further enlarging and embroidering humorously until Grogan and Roker and Hodgkin and all the rest who struck him as not having washed since he left them seemed really to begin to understand how it was he could have spent such a rare sum in so short a time the impressiveness of this achievement helped him greatly to slip into his place he could see that though the treatment it received was superficially Reverend the sense that he was very sharp and that the springs of his sharpness was somehow secret gained a good deal of strength from it hyacinth was not incapable of being rather pleased that it should be supposed even by Grogan Roker and Hodgkin that he could get rid of a thousand pounds in less than five months especially as to his own conscience the fact that all together yet to be proved he got off on the whole easily enough to feel a little ashamed and he reflected that the men had crooked ins in any rate showed no symptoms of the social jealousy lying at the bottom of the desire for a fresh deal this was doubtless an accident and not inherent in the fact that they were highly skilled workmen old crook ndon had no others and therefore sure of constant employment for it was impossible to be more skilled in one's own line than Paul Munim aunt was and yet he though not out of jealousy of course went in for the great restitution what struck him most after he had got used again to the sense of his apron and bent his back awhile over his battered table with the simple synthetic patience of the others who had bent their backs and felt the rub of that dirty drapery all the while he was lounging in the halls of medley dawdling through boulevards and museums and admiring the purity of the Venetian girl faced with poopin to be sure his relations were special but the explanations that he owed the sensitive Frenchman were not such as could make him very unhappy once he had determined to resist as much as possible the friction of his remaining days there was moreover more sorrow than anger in poopers face when he learned that his young friend and pupil had failed to cultivate in Paris the rich opportunities he had offered him you are cooling off my child there was something about you have you the weakness to flatter yourself that anything has been done or that humanity suffers a particle less alpha it's between you and your conscience you think I want to get out of it hyacinth asked smiling Vista she's poopers phrases about humanity would used to thrill him so have groan of late strangely hollow and Rococo you owe me no explanations the conscience of the individual is absolute except of course in those classes in which from the very nature of the infamies on which they are founded no conscience can exist speak to me however of my Paris she is always divine puh-pow went on but he showed signs of irritation when hyacinths began to praise to him the Magnificent creations of the Archfiend of December in the presence of this picture he was in a terrible dilemma he was gratified as a Parisian at a patriot but he was disconcerted as a lover of Liberty it cost him a pang to admit that anything in the sacred city was defective yet he saw still less his way to concede that it could Oh any charm to the purge and monster of the second Empire or even to the hypocritical mendacious republicanism of the regime before which the sacred commune had gone down in blood and fire oh yes it's very fine no doubt he remarked at last but it will be finer still when it's ours a speech which caused Hisense to turn back to his work with a slight feeling of sickness everywhere everywhere he saw the ulcer of envy the passion of a party which hung together for the purpose of despoiling another to its advantage in old is – one of the pure this was particularly sad end of chapter 31

One thought on “Princess Casamassima | Henry James | Literary Fiction | Soundbook | English | 8/13

  1. Princess Casamassima | Henry James | Literary Fiction | Soundbook | English | 8/13

    28: [00:00:00] – Book Third Chapter 28

    29: [00:26:52] – Book Fourth Chapter 29

    30: [00:52:22] – Book Fourth Chapter 30

    31: [01:15:11] – Book Fourth Chapter 31

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