Click here to Download The Europeans PDF Book by Henry James Language English having PDF Size 1.5 MB and No of Pages 151.
A narrow grave-yard in the heart of a bustling, indifferent city, seen from the windows of a gloomy-looking inn, is at no time an object of enlivening suggestion; and the spectacle is not at its best when the mouldy tombstones and funereal umbrage have received the ineffectual refreshment of a dull, moist snow-fall.
The Europeans PDF Book by Henry James
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If, while the air is thickened by this frosty drizzle, the calendar should happen to indicate that the blessed vernal season is already six weeks old, it will be admitted that no depressing influence is absent from the scene. This fact was keenly felt on a certain 12th of May, upwards of thirty years since.
By a lady who stood looking out of one of the windows of the best hotel in the ancient city of Boston. She had stood there for half an hour—stood there, that is, at intervals; for from time to time she turned back into the room and measured its length with a restless step.
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In the chimney-place was a redhot fire which emitted a small blue flame; and in front of the fire, at a table, sat a young man who was busily plying a pencil. He had a number of sheets of paper cut into small equal squares, and he was apparently covering them with pictorial designs—strange-looking figures.
He worked rapidly and attentively, sometimes threw back his head and held out his drawing at arm’s-length, and kept up a soft, gay-sounding humming and whistling. The lady brushed past him in her walk; her much-trimmed skirts were voluminous.
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She never dropped her eyes upon his work; she only turned them, occasionally, as she passed, to a mirror suspended above the toilet-table on the other side of the room. Here she paused a moment, gave a pinch to her waist with her two hands, or raised these members—they were very plump and pretty—to the multifold braids of her hair.
With a movement half caressing, half corrective. An attentive observer might have fancied that during these periods of desultory self-inspection her face forgot its melancholy; but as soon as she neared the window again it began to proclaim that she was a very illpleased woman.
And indeed, in what met her eyes there was little to be pleased with. The window-panes were battered by the sleet; the head-stones in the grave-yard beneath seemed to be holding themselves askance to keep it out of their faces. A tall iron railing protected them from the street. The Europeans PDF Book
And on the other side of the railing an assemblage of Bostonians were trampling about in the liquid snow. Many of them were looking up and down; they appeared to be waiting for something. From time to time a strange vehicle drew near to the place where they stood,—such a vehicle as the lady at the window.
In spite of a considerable acquaintance with human inventions, had never seen before: a huge, low omnibus, painted in brilliant colors, and decorated apparently with jangling bells, attached to a species of groove in the pavement, through which it was dragged, with a great deal of rumbling, bouncing and scratching.
By a couple of remarkably small horses. When it reached a certain point the people in front of the grave-yard, of whom much the greater number were women, carrying satchels and parcels, projected themselves upon it in a compact body—a movement suggesting the scramble for places in a life-boat at sea—and were engulfed in its large interior. The Europeans PDF Book
Then the life-boat—or the life-car, as the lady at the window of the hotel vaguely designated it—went bumping and jingling away upon its invisible wheels, with the helmsman (the man at the wheel) guiding its course incongruously from the prow.
This phenomenon was repeated every three minutes, and the supply of eagerly-moving women in cloaks, bearing reticules and bundles, renewed itself in the most liberal manner. On the other side of the grave-yard was a row of small red brick houses, showing a series of homely, domestic-looking backs.
At the end opposite the hotel a tall wooden church-spire, painted white, rose high into the vagueness of the snow-flakes. The lady at the window looked at it for some time; for reasons of her own she thought it the ugliest thing she had ever seen. The Europeans PDF Book
She hated it, she despised it; it threw her into a state of irritation that was quite out of proportion to any sensible motive. She had never known herself to care so much about church-spires. “In Boston, two days ago. At the inn I asked for Mr. Wentworth. He must be your father.
They found out for me where he lived; they seemed often to have heard of him. I determined to come, without ceremony. So, this lovely morning, they set my face in the right direction, and told me to walk straight before me, out of town. I came on foot because I wanted to see the country.
I walked and walked, and here I am! It’s a good many miles.” “It is seven miles and a half,” said Gertrude, softly. Now that this handsome young man was proving himself a reality she found herself vaguely trembling; she was deeply excited. She had never in her life spoken to a foreigner, and she had often thought it would be delightful to do so. The Europeans PDF Book
Here was one who had suddenly been engendered by the Sabbath stillness for her private use; and such a brilliant, polite, smiling one! She found time and means to compose herself, however: to remind herself that she must exercise a sort of official hospitality.
“We are very—very glad to see you,” she said. “Won’t you come into the house?” And she moved toward the open door. “You are not afraid of me, then?” asked the young man again, with his light laugh. She wondered a moment, and then, “We are not afraid— here,” she said. “Ah, comme vous devez avoir raison!”
Cried the young man, looking all round him, appreciatively. It was the first time that Gertrude had heard so many words of French spoken. They gave her something of a sensation. Her companion followed her, watching, with a certain excitement of his own, this tall, interesting-looking girl, dressed in her clear, crisp muslin. The Europeans PDF Book Download
He paused in the hall, where there was a broad white staircase with a white balustrade. “What a pleasant house!” he said. “It’s lighter inside than it is out.” “It’s pleasanter here,” said Gertrude, and she led the way into the parlor,—a high, clean, rather empty-looking room.
Here they stood looking at each other,—the young man smiling more than ever; Gertrude, very serious, trying to smile. “I don’t believe she wants to come and stay in this house,” said Gertrude; Madame Münster, from this time forward, receiving no other designation than the personal pronoun.
Charlotte and Gertrude acquired considerable facility in addressing her, directly, as “Eugenia;” but in speaking of her to each other they rarely called her anything but “she.” “Doesn’t she think it good enough for her?” cried little Lizzie Acton, who was always asking unpractical questions that required. The Europeans PDF Book Download
In strictness, no answer, and to which indeed she expected no other answer than such as she herself invariably furnished in a small, innocently-satirical laugh. “She certainly expressed a willingness to come,” said Mr. Wentworth. “That was only politeness,” Gertrude rejoined.
“Yes, she is very polite—very polite,” said Mr. Wentworth. “She is too polite,” his son declared, in a softly growling tone which was habitual to him, but which was an indication of nothing worse than a vaguely humorous intention. “It is very embarrassing.”
“That is more than can be said of you, sir,” said Lizzie Acton, with her little laugh. “Well, I don’t mean to encourage her,” Clifford went on. “I’m sure I don’t care if you do!” cried Lizzie. “She will not think of you, Clifford,” said Gertrude, gravely. “I hope not!” Clifford exclaimed. “She will think of Robert,” Gertrude continued, in the same tone. The Europeans PDF Book Download
It might perhaps have been feared that after the completion of those graceful domiciliary embellishments which have been mentioned Madame Münster would have found herself confronted with alarming possibilities of ennui. But as yet she had not taken the alarm.
The Baroness was a restless soul, and she projected her restlessness, as it may be said, into any situation that lay before her. Up to a certain point her restlessness might be counted upon to entertain her. She was always expecting something to happen, and, until it was disappointed, expectancy itself was a delicate pleasure.
What the Baroness expected just now it would take some ingenuity to set forth; it is enough that while she looked about her she found something to occupy her imagination. She assured herself that she was enchanted with her new relatives; she professed to herself that, like her brother, she felt it a sacred satisfaction to have found a family. The Europeans PDF Book Download
It is certain that she enjoyed to the utmost the gentleness of her kinsfolk’s deference. She had, first and last, received a great deal of admiration, and her experience of well-turned compliments was very considerable; but she knew that she had never been so real a power.
Never counted for so much, as now when, for the first time, the standard of comparison of her little circle was a prey to vagueness. The sense, indeed, that the good people about her had, as regards her remarkable self, no standard of comparison at all gave her a feeling of almost illimitable power.
It was true, as she said to herself, that if for this reason they would be able to discover nothing against her, so they would perhaps neglect to perceive some of her superior points; but she always wound up her reflections by declaring that she would take care of that. The Europeans PDF Book Download
“Certainly the Lord made it,” replied Felix, laughing, “and he made it very well. But life has been touching up the work. It is a very interesting type of head. It’s delightfully wasted and emaciated. The complexion is wonderfully bleached.” And Felix looked round at the circle, as if to call their attention to these interesting points.
Mr. Wentworth grew visibly paler. “I should like to do you as an old prelate, an old cardinal, or the prior of an order.” “A prelate, a cardinal?” murmured Mr. Wentworth. “Do you refer to the Roman Catholic priesthood?” “I mean an old ecclesiastic who should have led a very pure, abstinent life.
Now I take it that has been the case with you, sir; one sees it in your face,” Felix proceeded. “You have been very—a very moderate. Don’t you think one always sees that in a man’s face?” “You see more in a man’s face than I should think of looking for,” said Mr. Wentworth coldly. The Europeans PDF Book Free
The Baroness rattled her fan, and gave her brilliant laugh. “It is a risk to look so close!” she exclaimed. “My uncle has some peccadilloes on his conscience.” Mr. Wentworth looked at her, painfully at a loss; and in so far as the signs of a pure and abstinent life were visible in his face they were then probably peculiarly manifest.
“You are a beau vieillard, dear uncle,” said Madame Münster, smiling with her foreign eyes. “I think you are paying me a compliment,” said the old man. “Surely, I am not the first woman that ever did so!” cried the Baroness. “A Bohemian?” Gertrude had never heard this term before.
Save as a geographical denomination; and she quite failed to understand the figurative meaning which her companion appeared to attach to it. But it gave her pleasure. Felix had pushed back his chair and risen to his feet; he slowly came toward her, smiling. “I am a sort of adventurer,” he said, looking down at her. The Europeans PDF Book Free
She got up, meeting his smile. “An adventurer?” she repeated. “I should like to hear your adventures.” For an instant she believed that he was going to take her hand; but he dropped his own hands suddenly into the pockets of his painting-jacket. “There is no reason why you shouldn’t,” he said.
“I have been an adventurer, but my adventures have been very innocent. They have all been happy ones; I don’t think there are any I shouldn’t tell. They were very pleasant and very pretty; I should like to go over them in memory. Sit down again, and I will begin,” he added in a moment, with his naturally persuasive smile.
Gertrude sat down again on that day, and she sat down on several other days. Felix, while he plied his brush, told her a great many stories, and she listened with charmed avidity. Her eyes rested upon his lips; she was very serious; sometimes, from her air of wondering gravity, he thought she was displeased. The Europeans PDF Book Free
But Felix never believed for more than a single moment in any displeasure of his own producing. This would have been fatuity if the optimism it expressed had not been much more a hope than a prejudice.