Confidence
158 pages
English

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158 pages
English

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Description

Because he's ranked among the most important American writers, many readers shy away from Henry James' work, assuming that it will be arduous and overly challenging. If you're in that camp, you'll be pleasantly surprised by this engaging and accessible Confidence, a tale of romantic entanglements that shift over time but ultimately fall into place.

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Publié par
Date de parution 01 juillet 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781776582877
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0134€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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CONFIDENCE
* * *
HENRY JAMES
 
*
Confidence First published in 1879 Epub ISBN 978-1-77658-287-7 Also available: PDF ISBN 978-1-77658-288-4 © 2013 The Floating Press and its licensors. All rights reserved. While every effort has been used to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in The Floating Press edition of this book, The Floating Press does not assume liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in this book. The Floating Press does not accept responsibility for loss suffered as a result of reliance upon the accuracy or currency of information contained in this book. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Many suitcases look alike. Visit www.thefloatingpress.com
Contents
*
Chapter I Chapter II Chapter III Chapter IV Chapter V Chapter VI Chapter VII Chapter VIII Chapter IX Chapter X Chapter XI Chapter XII Chapter XIII Chapter XIV Chapter XV Chapter XVI Chapter XVII Chapter XVIII Chapter XIX Chapter XX Chapter XXI Chapter XXII Chapter XXIII Chapter XXIV Chapter XXV Chapter XXVI Chapter XXVII Chapter XXVIII Chapter XXIX Chapter XXX
Chapter I
*
It was in the early days of April; Bernard Longueville had been spendingthe winter in Rome. He had travelled northward with the consciousness ofseveral social duties that appealed to him from the further side of theAlps, but he was under the charm of the Italian spring, and he made apretext for lingering. He had spent five days at Siena, where he hadintended to spend but two, and still it was impossible to continue hisjourney. He was a young man of a contemplative and speculative turn, andthis was his first visit to Italy, so that if he dallied by the way heshould not be harshly judged. He had a fancy for sketching, and it wason his conscience to take a few pictorial notes. There were two oldinns at Siena, both of them very shabby and very dirty. The one at whichLongueville had taken up his abode was entered by a dark, pestiferousarch-way, surmounted by a sign which at a distance might have been readby the travellers as the Dantean injunction to renounce all hope. Theother was not far off, and the day after his arrival, as he passedit, he saw two ladies going in who evidently belonged to the largefraternity of Anglo-Saxon tourists, and one of whom was young andcarried herself very well. Longueville had his share—or more than hisshare—of gallantry, and this incident awakened a regret. If he hadgone to the other inn he might have had charming company: at his ownestablishment there was no one but an aesthetic German who smoked badtobacco in the dining-room. He remarked to himself that this was alwayshis luck, and the remark was characteristic of the man; it was chargedwith the feeling of the moment, but it was not absolutely just; it wasthe result of an acute impression made by the particular occasion;but it failed in appreciation of a providence which had sprinkledLongueville's career with happy accidents—accidents, especially, inwhich his characteristic gallantry was not allowed to rust for want ofexercise. He lounged, however, contentedly enough through these bright,still days of a Tuscan April, drawing much entertainment from the highpicturesqueness of the things about him. Siena, a few years since, wasa flawless gift of the Middle Ages to the modern imagination. No otherItalian city could have been more interesting to an observer fondof reconstructing obsolete manners. This was a taste of BernardLongueville's, who had a relish for serious literature, and at one timehad made several lively excursions into mediaeval history. His friendsthought him very clever, and at the same time had an easy feeling abouthim which was a tribute to his freedom from pedantry. He was cleverindeed, and an excellent companion; but the real measure of hisbrilliancy was in the success with which he entertained himself. He wasmuch addicted to conversing with his own wit, and he greatly enjoyed hisown society. Clever as he often was in talking with his friends, I amnot sure that his best things, as the phrase is, were not for hisown ears. And this was not on account of any cynical contempt for theunderstanding of his fellow-creatures: it was simply because what I havecalled his own society was more of a stimulus than that of most otherpeople. And yet he was not for this reason fond of solitude; he was, onthe contrary, a very sociable animal. It must be admitted at the outsetthat he had a nature which seemed at several points to contradictitself, as will probably be perceived in the course of this narration.
He entertained himself greatly with his reflections and meditations uponSienese architecture and early Tuscan art, upon Italian street-life andthe geological idiosyncrasies of the Apennines. If he had only gone tothe other inn, that nice-looking girl whom he had seen passing under thedusky portal with her face turned away from him might have broken breadwith him at this intellectual banquet. Then came a day, however, whenit seemed for a moment that if she were disposed she might gather up thecrumbs of the feast. Longueville, every morning after breakfast, tooka turn in the great square of Siena—the vast piazza, shaped likea horse-shoe, where the market is held beneath the windows of thatcrenellated palace from whose overhanging cornice a tall, straight towersprings up with a movement as light as that of a single plume in thebonnet of a captain. Here he strolled about, watching a brown contadinodisembarrass his donkey, noting the progress of half an hour's chafferover a bundle of carrots, wishing a young girl with eyes like animatedagates would let him sketch her, and gazing up at intervals at thebeautiful, slim tower, as it played at contrasts with the large blueair. After he had spent the greater part of a week in these graveconsiderations, he made up his mind to leave Siena. But he was notcontent with what he had done for his portfolio. Siena was eminentlysketchable, but he had not been industrious. On the last morning of hisvisit, as he stood staring about him in the crowded piazza, and feelingthat, in spite of its picturesqueness, this was an awkward place forsetting up an easel, he bethought himself, by contrast, of a quietcorner in another part of the town, which he had chanced upon in oneof his first walks—an angle of a lonely terrace that abutted upon thecity-wall, where three or four superannuated objects seemed to slumberin the sunshine—the open door of an empty church, with a faded frescoexposed to the air in the arch above it, and an ancient beggar-womansitting beside it on a three-legged stool. The little terrace had anold polished parapet, about as high as a man's breast, above which wasa view of strange, sad-colored hills. Outside, to the left, the wallof the town made an outward bend, and exposed its rugged and rustycomplexion. There was a smooth stone bench set into the wall of thechurch, on which Longueville had rested for an hour, observing thecomposition of the little picture of which I have indicated theelements, and of which the parapet of the terrace would form theforeground. The thing was what painters call a subject, and he hadpromised himself to come back with his utensils. This morning hereturned to the inn and took possession of them, and then he made hisway through a labyrinth of empty streets, lying on the edge of the town,within the wall, like the superfluous folds of a garment whose wearerhas shrunken with old age. He reached his little grass-grown terrace,and found it as sunny and as private as before. The old mendicant wasmumbling petitions, sacred and profane, at the church door; but save forthis the stillness was unbroken. The yellow sunshine warmed the brownsurface of the city-wall, and lighted the hollows of the Etruscan hills.Longueville settled himself on the empty bench, and, arranging hislittle portable apparatus, began to ply his brushes. He worked for sometime smoothly and rapidly, with an agreeable sense of the absence ofobstacles. It seemed almost an interruption when, in the silent air, heheard a distant bell in the town strike noon. Shortly after this, therewas another interruption. The sound of a soft footstep caused him tolook up; whereupon he saw a young woman standing there and bending hereyes upon the graceful artist. A second glance assured him that shewas that nice girl whom he had seen going into the other inn with hermother, and suggested that she had just emerged from the little church.He suspected, however—I hardly know why—that she had been lookingat him for some moments before he perceived her. It would perhaps beimpertinent to inquire what she thought of him; but Longueville, in thespace of an instant, made two or three reflections upon the young lady.One of them was to the effect that she was a handsome creature, butthat she looked rather bold; the burden of the other was that—yes,decidedly—she was a compatriot. She turned away almost as soon as shemet his eyes; he had hardly time to raise his hat, as, after a moment'shesitation, he proceeded to do. She herself appeared to feel a certainhesitation; she glanced back at the church door, as if under the impulseto retrace her steps. She stood there a moment longer—long enough tolet him see that she was a person of easy attitudes—and then she walkedaway slowly to the parapet of the terrace. Here she stationed herself,leaning her arms upon the high stone ledge, presenting her back toLongueville, and gazing at rural Italy. Longueville went on with hissketch, but less attentively than before. He wondered what this younglady was doing there alone, and then it occurred to him that hercompanion—her mother, presumably—was in the church. The two ladies hadbeen in the church when he arrived; women liked to sit in churches; theyhad been there more than half an hour, and the mother had not enough ofit even yet. The young lady, however, at present preferred the view thatLongueville was painting; he became aware that she had

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