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Preview — THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY by Henry James
by Henry James
Read between May 19 - June 08, 2019
Isabel was in a situation that gave a value to any change.
She was nevertheless very fond of her only child and had always insisted on his spending three months of the year with her.
England was a revelation to her, and she found herself as diverted as a child at a pantomime.
I always want to know the things one shouldn't do." "So as to do them?" asked her aunt. "So as to choose," said Isabel.
Lord Haycock, was a very good fellow, but unfortunately a horrid Tory; and his wife, like all good English wives, was worse than her husband.
You see they're very luxurious, and these progressive ideas are about their biggest luxury. They make them feel moral and yet don't damage their position.
"Yes, in America. I suppose you know she comes from there. She can't help it, but she does."
I want to see some of the leading minds of the present. I won't say of the future, because I don't believe much in your future."
I don't want to begin life by marrying. There are other things a woman can do."
"When people forget I'm a poor creature I'm often incommoded," he said. "But it's worse when they remember it!"
I don't need the aid of a clever man to teach me how to live. I can find it out for myself."
The finer natures were those that shone at the larger times.
"Well, she'll have more money," said Mr. Touchett. "I've left her a good wife's portion, just as if she had been a good wife."
One can't judge till one's forty; before that we're too eager, too hard, too cruel, and in addition much too ignorant.
having no faults, for your aunt, means that one's never late for dinner—that is for her dinner.
It's a sign that I'm growing old—that I like to talk with younger people.
The love of knowledge coexisted in her mind with the finest capacity for ignorance.
I can't be a doctor; it's a repulsive business. I can't be a clergyman; I haven't got convictions.
I should like to be a diplomatist; but American diplomacy—that's not for gentlemen either.
You must be prepared on many occasions in life to please no one at all—not even yourself."
I am—a dull, obstinate, narrow-minded old woman." "I don't think you're at all dull," Isabel had replied to this.
"You're indolent. For me that's your worst fault." "I'm afraid it's really my best."
I'm perfectly aware, for instance, that you know good society from bad." "Society is all bad."
She was by no means a blank sheet; she had been written over in a variety of hands,
"Lord Warburton's a great radical," Isabel said. "He has very advanced opinions." "He has very advanced stone walls. His park's enclosed by a gigantic iron fence, some thirty miles round,"
She considered, with the presumption of youth, that a morality differing from her own must be inferior to it;
I knew she could play any part; but I understood that she played them one by one. I didn't understand that she would play two at the same time."