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Henry James' final novel, The Outcry is a light comedy that will come as a pleasant surprise to readers who associate the author's name with the dense, philosophically inclined fiction of his middle period. Originally written for the stage, the story focuses on one British family's attempt to get out of debt by selling a treasure trove of historically significant artworks to foreign collectors.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 juillet 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781776582679
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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The Outcry First published in 1911 Epub ISBN 978-1-77658-267-9 Also available: PDF ISBN 978-1-77658-268-6 © 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
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"NO, my lord," Banks had replied, "no stranger has yet arrived. ButI'll see if any one has come in—or who has." As he spoke, however, heobserved Lady Sandgate's approach to the hall by the entrance givingupon the great terrace, and addressed her on her passing the threshold."Lord John, my lady." With which, his duty majestically performed, heretired to the quarter—that of the main access to the spacious centreof the house—from which he had ushered the visitor.
This personage, facing Lady Sandgate as she paused there a moment framedby the large doorway to the outer expanses, the small pinkish paper ofa folded telegram in her hand, had partly before him, as an immediateeffect, the high wide interior, still breathing the quiet air and thefair pannelled security of the couple of hushed and stored centuries, inwhich certain of the reputed treasures of Dedborough Place beautifullydisposed themselves; and then, through ample apertures and beyondthe stately stone outworks of the great seated and supportedhouse—uplifting terrace, balanced, balustraded steps and containingbasins where splash and spray were at rest—all the rich composedextension of garden and lawn and park. An ancient, an assured eleganceseemed to reign; pictures and preserved "pieces," cabinets andtapestries, spoke, each for itself, of fine selection and highdistinction; while the originals of the old portraits, in more or lessdeserved salience, hung over the happy scene as the sworn members of agreat guild might have sat, on the beautiful April day, at one of theirannual feasts.
Such was the setting confirmed by generous time, but the handsome womanof considerably more than forty whose entrance had all but coincidedwith that of Lord John either belonged, for the eye, to no suchcomplacent company or enjoyed a relation to it in which the odd twistsand turns of history must have been more frequent than any dull avenueor easy sequence. Lady Sandgate was shiningly modern, and perhaps at nopoint more so than by the effect of her express repudiation of a mundanefuture certain to be more and more offensive to women of real qualityand of formed taste. Clearly, at any rate, in her hands, the clue tothe antique confidence had lost itself, and repose, however founded, hadgiven way to curiosity—that is to speculation—however disguised. Shemight have consented, or even attained, to being but gracefully stupid,but she would presumably have confessed, if put on her trial forrestlessness or for intelligence, that she was , after all, almostclever enough to be vulgar. Unmistakably, moreover, she had still, withher fine stature, her disciplined figure, her cherished complexion, herbright important hair, her kind bold eyes and her large constant smile,the degree of beauty that might pretend to put every other question by.
Lord John addressed her as with a significant manner that he might havehad—that of a lack of need, or even of interest, for any explanationabout herself: it would have been clear that he was apt to discriminatewith sharpness among possible claims on his attention. "I luckily find you at least, Lady Sandgate—they tell me Theign's off somewhere."
She replied as with the general habit, on her side, of blandreassurance; it mostly had easier consequences—for herself—than theperhaps more showy creation of alarm. "Only off in the park—open to-dayfor a school-feast from Dedborough, as you may have made out from theavenue; giving good advice, at the top of his lungs, to four hundred andfifty children."
It was such a scene, and such an aspect of the personage so accountedfor, as Lord John could easily take in, and his recognition familiarlysmiled. "Oh he's so great on such occasions that I'm sorry to be missingit."
"I've had to miss it," Lady Sandgate sighed—"that is to miss theperoration. I've just left them, but he had even then been going on fortwenty minutes, and I dare say that if you care to take a look you'llfind him, poor dear victim of duty, still at it."
"I'll warrant—for, as I often tell him, he makes the idea of one's dutyan awful thing to his friends by the extravagance with which he alwaysoverdoes it." And the image itself appeared in some degree to promptthis particular edified friend to look at his watch and consider. "Ishould like to come in for the grand finale , but I rattled over in agreat measure to meet a party, as he calls himself—and calls, if youplease, even me!—who's motoring down by appointment and whom I think Ishould be here to receive; as well as a little, I confess, in the hopeof a glimpse of Lady Grace: if you can perhaps imagine that! "
"I can imagine it perfectly," said Lady Sandgate, whom evidently noperceptions of that general order ever cost a strain. "It quite sticksout of you, and every one moreover has for some time past been waitingto see. But you haven't then," she added, "come from town?"
"No, I'm for three days at Chanter with my mother; whom, as she kindlylent me her car, I should have rather liked to bring."
Lady Sandgate left the unsaid, in this connection, languish nolonger than was decent. "But whom you doubtless had to leave, by herpreference, just settling down to bridge."
"Oh, to sit down would imply that my mother at some moment of the daygets up—!"
"Which the Duchess never does?"—Lady Sand-gate only asked to be allowedto show how she saw it. "She fights to the last, invincible; gatheringin the spoils and only routing her friends?" She abounded genially inher privileged vision. "Ah yes—we know something of that!"
Lord John, who was a young man of a rambling but not of an idle eye,fixed her an instant with a surprise that was yet not steeped incompassion. "You too then?"
She wouldn't, however, too meanly narrow it down. "Well, in this housegenerally; where I'm so often made welcome, you see, and where—"
"Where," he broke in at once, "your jolly good footing quite sticks outof you , perhaps you'll let me say!"
She clearly didn't mind his seeing her ask herself how she should dealwith so much rather juvenile intelligence; and indeed she could onlydecide to deal quite simply. "You can't say more than I feel—and amproud to feel!—at being of comfort when they're worried."
This but fed the light flame of his easy perception—which lighted forhim, if she would, all the facts equally. "And they're worried now,you imply, because my terrible mother is capable of heavy gains and ofmaking a great noise if she isn't paid? I ought to mind speaking ofthat truth," he went on as with a practised glance in the direction ofdelicacy; "but I think I should like you to know that I myself am not abit ignorant of why it has made such an impression here."
Lady Sandgate forestalled his knowledge. "Because poor Kitty Imber—whoshould either never touch a card or else learn to suffer in silence, asI've had to, goodness knows!—has thrown herself, with her impossiblebig debt, upon her father? whom she thinks herself entitled to 'look to'even more as a lovely young widow with a good jointure than she formerlydid as the mere most beautiful daughter at home."
She had put the picture a shade interrogatively, but this was as nothingto the note of free inquiry in Lord John's reply. "You mean that ourlovely young widows—to say nothing of lovely young wives—ought by thistime to have made out, in predicaments, how to turn round?"
His temporary hostess, even with his eyes on her, appeared to decideafter a moment not wholly to disown his thought. But she smiled for it."Well, in that set—!"
"My mother's set?" However, if she could smile he could laugh. "I'm muchobliged!"
"Oh," she qualified, "I don't criticise her Grace; but the ways andtraditions and tone of this house—"
"Make it"—he took her sense straight from her—"the house in Englandwhere one feels most the false note of a dishevelled and bankrupt elderdaughter breaking in with a list of her gaming debts—to say nothing ofothers!—and wishing to have at least those wiped out in the interest ofher reputation? Exactly so," he went on before she could meet it with adiplomatic ambiguity; "and just that, I assure you, is a large part ofthe reason I like to come here—since I personally don't come with anysuch associations."
"Not the association of bankruptcy—no; as you represent the payee!"
The young man appeared to regard this imputation for a moment almostas a liberty taken. "How do you know so well, Lady Sandgate, what Irepresent?"
She bethought herself—but briefly and bravely. "Well, don't yourepresent, by your own admission, certain fond aspirations? Don'tyou represent the belief—very natural, I grant—that more than one perverse and extravagant flower will be unlikely on such a fine healthyold stem; and, consistently with that, the hope of arranging with ouradmirable host here that he shall lend a helpful hand to your commendingyourself to dear Grace?"
Lord John might, in the light of these words, have felt any latentinfirmity in such a pretension exposed; but as he stood there facinghis chances he would have struck a spectator as resting firmly enough onsome felt residuum of advantage: whether this were cleverness or luc

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