Wednesday March 17th, 2010

A Selection

From The Bostonians by Henry James:

She knew him because she had met him in society; but she didn’t know him—well, because she didn’t want to. If he should come and speak to her—and he looked as if he were going to work round that way—she should just say to him, “Yes, sir,” or “No, sir,” very coldly. She couldn’t help it if he did think her dry; if he were a little more dry, it might be better for him. What was the matter with him? Oh, she thought she had mentioned that; he was a mesmeric healer, he made miraculous cures. She didn’t believe in his system or disbelieve in it, one way or the other; she only knew that she had been called to see ladies he had worked on, and she found that he had made them lose a lot of valuable time. He talked to them—well, as if he didn’t know what he was saying. She guessed he was quite ignorant of physiology, and she didn’t think he ought to go round taking responsibilities. She didn’t want to be narrow, but she thought a person ought to know something.