Princess Casamassima | Henry James | Literary Fiction | Speaking Book | English | 13/13

Princess Casamassima | Henry James | Literary Fiction | Speaking Book | English | 13/13



chapter xlvii of the princess kasama schema by Henry James this LibriVox recording is in the public domain that the princess had done with him done with him forever remained the most vivid impression that high since been carried away for Madeira Crescent the night before he went home and he flung himself on his narrow bed where the consolation of sleep again descended upon him but he woke up with the earliest dawn and the beginning of a new day was a quick revival of pain he was over past he had become vague he was extinct the things that schulter had said to him came back to him and the compassion of foreknowledge that Madame grand Oni had shown him from the first of palme unum and he only thought to wonder whether he knew an insurmountable desire to do justice to him for the very reason that there might be a temptation to oblique thoughts for Madame to challenge his friend even in imagination he vaguely wondered whether he would ever be superseded but this possibility faded away in a stronger light a kind of dazzling vision of some great tribune ship which swept before him now and again and in which the figure of the princess herself seemed merged and extinguished when full morning came at last and he got up it brought with it in the restlessness which made it impossible to him to remain in his room a return of that beginning of an answer less question after all after all which the princess had planted there the night before when she spoke so bravely in the name of revolution after all after all since nothing else was tried or would apparently ever be tried he had a sense of his mind which had been made up falling to pieces again but that sense in turn lost itself in a shudder which was already familiar the horror of the reappearance on his part of the in brood hands of his mother this loathing of the idea of a repetition had not been sharp strangely enough till his summons came in all his previous meditations to grow his reluctance to act for the party of action had not been the fear of a personal stain but the simple extension of his observation yet now the idea of the personal stain made him horribly sick it seemed by itself to make service impossible it rose before him like a kind of backward accusation of his mother to suffer it to start out in the life of her son was in a manner to place her own forgotten redeemed pollution again in the eye of the world the thought that was most of all with him was that he had time he had time he was grateful for that and saw a kind of delicacy in there having given him a margin not condemned to be pressed by the hours he had another day he had two days he might take three he might take several he knew he should be terribly weary of them before they were over but for that matter they would be over whenever he liked anyhow he went forth again into the streets into the squares into the park solicited by an aimless desire to steep himself yet once again in the great indifferent City which he knew and loved and which had had so many of his smiles and tears and confidences the day was gray and damp though no rain fell and London had never appeared to him to wear more proudly and publicly the stamp of her imperial history he passed slowly to and fro over Westminster Bridge and watched the black barges drift on the great Brown River and look up at the huge fretted palace that Rose there as a fortress of the social order which he liked the young David had been commissioned to attack with a sling and a pebble but last he made his way to some James Park and he strolled about a long time he revolved around it and he went a considerable distance up the thoroughfare that communicates with Pimlico he stopped at a certain point and came back again and then he retraced his steps in the former direction he looked in the windows of shops and he looked in particular into the long glazed expanse of that establishment in which at that hour of the day Millicent Henning discharged superior functions Millicent's image had descended upon him after he came out and now it moved before him as he went it clung to him it refused to quit him he made in truth no effort to drive it away he held fast to it in return and at Mirman strange things in his ear she had been so jolly to him on Sunday she was such a strong obvious simple nature with such a generous breast and such a freedom from the sophistry of civilization all that he had ever liked Tanner came back to him now with the finer air and there was a moment during which he hung over the rail of the bridge that spans the lake in San James Park and mechanically followed the movement of the swans when he asked himself whether at bottom he hadn't liked her better almost than anyone he tried to think he had he wanted to think he had and he seemed to see the look her eyes would have if he should tell her that he had something of that sort had really passed between them on Sunday only the business that had come up since and superseded it now the taste of the vague primitive comfort that his son dee had given him came back to him and he asked himself whether he might not know it a second time after he had thought he couldn't again wish for anything he found himself wishing that he might believe there was something Millicent could do for him might and she helped him might and she even extricate him he was looking into a window not that of her own shop when a vision rose before him of a quick flight with her for an undefined purpose to an undefined spot and he was glad at that moment to have his back turn to the people in the street because his face suddenly grew red to the tips of his ears again and again all the same he indulged in the reflection that spontaneous uncultivated Minds often have inventions inspirations moreover where the Millicent should have any or not he might at least feel her arms around him he didn't exactly know what good it would do him or what we're open but he should like it the sensation was not one he could afford to defer but the nearest moment at which he could enjoy it would be that evening he had thrown over everything but she would be busy all day nevertheless it would be again this would be a kind of foretaste to see her earlier to have three words with her he wrestled with the temptation to go into her habit ashes because he knew she didn't like it he had tried it once of old as the visits of gentlemen even when ostensible purchases there were people watching about who could tell who was who compromised her in the eyes of her employers this was not an ordinary case however and though he hovered about the place a long time undecided embarrassed half ashamed that last he went in as by an irresistible necessity he would just make an appointment with her and a glance of the eye and a single word would suffice he remembered his way through the labyrinth of the shop he knew that her department was on the second floor he walked through the place which was crowded as if he had as good a right to it as anyone else and as he had entertained himself on rising with putting on his holiday garments in which he made such a distinguished little figure he was not suspected of any purpose more nefarious than that of looking for some nice thing to give a lady he ascended the stairs and found himself in a large room where made-up articles were exhibited and where though there were 20 people in it a glance told him he shouldn't find Millicent she was perhaps in the next one into which he passed by a wide opening here also were numerous purchases most of them ladies the men were but three or four and the disposal of the wares was in the hands of neat young women attired in black dresses with long trains at first it appeared to hyacinth that the young woman he sought was even here not within sight and he was turning away to look elsewhere when suddenly he perceived that a tall gentleman standing in the middle of the room was none other than captain's Sholto it next became plain to him that the person standing upright before the captain as still as a lay figure and with her back turned hyacinth was the object of his own quest in spite of her averted face he instantly recognized Millicent he knew her shop attitude the dressing of her hair behind and the long grand lines of her figure draped in the last new thing she was exhibiting this article to the captain and he was lost in contemplation he had been beforehand with hyacinth as a false purchaser but he imitated a real one better than our young man as with his eyes traveling up and down the front of Millicent's person he frowned considering Lea and rubbed his lower lip slowly with his Walkingstick Millicent stood admirably still and the back view of the garment she displayed was magnificent Hisense for a minute stood as still as she at the end of that minute he perceived the shawl who saw him and for an instant he thought he was going to direct Millicent's attention to him but Sholto only looked at him very hard for a few seconds without telling her he was there to enjoy that satisfaction he would wait till the interloper was gone Hisense gazed back at him for the same length of time what these two pairs of eyes said to each other requires perhaps no definite mention and then turned away that evening about nine o'clock the princess casamassina drove in a hansom the hyacinth lodgings in Westminster the door of the house was a little open and a man stood on the steps smoking his big pipe and looking up and down the princess seeing him while she was still at some distance had hoped he was hyacinth but he proved to be a very different figure indeed from her devoted young friend he had not her forbidden countenance but he looked very hard at her as she descended from her handsome and approached the door she was used to being looked at hard and she didn't mind this she supposed he was one of the lodgers in the house he just a way to let her pass and watched her while she endeavored to impart an elasticity of movement to the limp bell pole beside the door he gave no audible response so that she said to him I wish to ask for mr. hyacinth Robinson perhaps you can tell me yes I – the man replied smiling I have come also for that the princess hesitated a moment I think you must be mr. Schinkel I have heard of you you know me by my bad english her interlocutor remarked with a sort of benevolent coquetry your English is remarkably good I wish I spoke German as well only just a hint of an accent and evidently an excellent vocabulary I think I have heard also of you said Schinkel appreciatively yes we know each other in our circle don't we we are all brothers and sisters the princess was anxious she was in a fever but she could still relish the romance of standing in a species of back slum and fraternizing with the personage looking like a very tame horse whose collar galled him then he's at home I hope he is coming down to you she went on that's what I don't know I am waiting have they gone to call him Schinkel looked at her while he puffed his pipe I have called him myself but he will not say how do you mean he will not say his door is locked I have knocked many times I suppose he is out said the princess yes he may be out Schinkel remarked judicially he and the princess stood a moment looking at each other and then she asked have you any doubt of it oh yes consign only the woman of the house told me five minutes ago that he came in well then he probably went out again the princess remark yes but she didn't hear him the princess reflected and was conscious that she was flushing she knew what she knew about their young friends actual situation and she wished to be very clear with him and to induce him to be the same with her she was rather baffled however by the sense that he was cautious and justly cautious he was polite and inscrutable quite like some of the high personages ambassadors and cabinet ministers whom she used to meet in the great world as the woman been here in the house ever since she asked in a moment no she went out for ten minutes half an hour ago surely then he may have gone out again in that time the princess exclaimed that is what I have thought it is also why I have waited here said Schinkel I have nothing to do he added serenely neither have I the princess were joined we can wait together it's a pity you haven't got some room the German suggested no indeed this will do very well we shall see him sooner when he comes back yes but perhaps it won't be for long I don't care for that I will wait I hope you don't object to my company she went on smiling it is good it is good Schinkel responded through his smoke then I will send away my cab she returned to the vehicle and paid the driver who said thank you my lady with expression and drove off you gave him too much observed Schinkel when she came back oh he looked a nice man I'm sure he deserved it it is very expensive Schinkel went on sociably yes and I have no money but it's done was there no one else in the house when the woman was away the princess asked no the people are out she has only single men I asked her that she has a daughter but the daughter has gone to see her cousin the mother went only a hundred yards round the corner there to buy a penny worth of milk she locked his door and put the key in her pocket she stayed at the grocer's where she got the milk to have a little conversation with a friend she met there you know ladies always stop like that nice girl it was half an hour later that I came she told me that he was at home and I went up to his room I got no sound I told you I came down and spoke to her again and she told me what I say then you determined to wait as I have done it said the princess oh yes I want to see him so do I very much the princess said nothing more for a minute then she added I think we want to see him for the same reason thus consign the scan zine so to continue to stand there in the brown evening and they had some further conversation of a desultory an irrelevant kind at the end of ten minutes the princess broke out in a low tone laying her hand on her companions arm mr. Shenker this won't do I'm in tolerably nervous yes that is the nature of ladies the German replied imperturbably I wish to go up to his room the princess pursued you will be so good as to show me where it is it will do you no good if he is not there the princess hesitated I am not sure he is not there well if he won't speak it shows he likes better not to have visitors oh he may like to have me better than he does you the princess exclaimed thus consign dusk online but Schinkel made no movement to introduce her into the house there is nothing tonight you know what I mean the princess remark after looking at him a moment nothing tonight at the Dukes the first party is on Thursday the other is next Tuesday sure I never go to parties said Schinkel neither do I accept that this is a kind of party you and me suggested Schinkel yes and the woman of the house doesn't approve of it the footstep of the personage in question had become audible in the passage through the open door which was presently closed from within with a little reprehensive bang something in this incident appeared to quicken exceedingly the princess's impatience and emotion the menace of exclusion from the house made her wish more even than before to enter it for God's mr. Schenkel take me up there if you won't I will go alone she pleaded her face was white now and it need hardly be added that it was beautiful the German considered it a moment in silence then turned and reopened the door and went in followed closely by his companion there was a light in the lower region which tempered the gloom of the staircase was high that is is the first floor the ascent the rest of the way was so dusky that the pair went slowly and Schinkel led the princess by the hand she gave a suppressed exclamation but she rounded a sharp turn in the second flight good god is that his door with the light yes you can see under it there was a light before us and Schinkel without confusion and why in heaven's name didn't you tell me because I thought it would worry you and it doesn't worry you a little but I don't mind said Schinkel very likely he may have left it he doesn't leave candles the princess returned with vehemence she hurried up the few remaining steps to the door and paused there with her ear against it her hand grasped the handle as she turned it but the door resisted then she murmured panting Lea to her companion we must go in we must go in what will you do when it's locked he inquired you must break it down it is very expensive said Schinkel don't be object cried the princess in the house like this the fastenings are certainly flimsy they will easily yield and if he is not there if he comes back and finds what we have done she looked at him a moment through the darkness which was mitigated only by the small glow proceeding from the chink he is there before God he is there shun shun said her companion as if he felt the contagion of her own dread but was deliberating and meant to remain calm the princess assured him that one or two vigorous thrusts with his shoulder would burst the boat it was sure to be some wretched morsel of ten and she made way for him to come close he did so he even leaned against the door but he gave no violent push and the princess waited with her hand against her heart Schinkel apparently was still deliberating at last he gave a low sigh I know they found him the pistol it is only for that he murmured and the next moment Christina saw him sway sharply to and fro in the gloom she heard a crack and saw that the locking yielded the door collapsed they were in the light they were in a small room which looked full of things the light was that of a single candle on the mantel it was so poor that for a moment she made out nothing definite before the moment was over however her eyes had attached themselves to the small bed there was something on it something black something ambiguous something outstretched Schinkel held her back but only for an instant she saw everything and with a very act she flung herself beside the bed upon her knees hyacinth lay there as if he were asleep but there was a horrible thing a mess of blood on the bed in his side in his heart his arm hung limp beside him downwards off the narrow couch his face was white and his eyes were closed so much Schinkel saw but only for an instant a convulsive movement of the princess bending over the body while a strange low cry came from her lips covered it up he looked about him for the weapon for the pistol but the princess and her rush at the bed had pushed it out of sight with her knees it's a pity they found it if he hadn't had it there he exclaimed to her he had determined to remain calm so that on turning round at the quick advent of the little woman of the house who had hurried up white scared staring at the sound of the crashing door he was able to say very quietly and gravely mr. Robinson has shot himself through the heart he must have done it while you were fetching the milk the princess got up hearing another person in the room and then Schinkel perceived the small revolver lying just under the bed he picked it up and carefully placed it on the mantelshelf keeping equally carefully to himself the reflection that it would certainly have served much better for the Duke end of chapter 47 end of the princess Kazama Seema by Henry James

One thought on “Princess Casamassima | Henry James | Literary Fiction | Speaking Book | English | 13/13

  1. Princess Casamassima | Henry James | Literary Fiction | Speaking Book | English | 13/13

    47: [00:00:00] – Book Fifth Chapter 47

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