Roderick Hudson


TIIK NEW YORK KDITION of the liction of Henry Jaincs is tin* , luiiori- tative edition of his fiction, with pre- faces composed by the author after he had, in many instances. ie vised his novels and tales. It has been long un- available. Scribners plans to reissue the set at the rate of two volumes a season. It was originally published in 24 volumes 1907-0*), Two posthu- mous volumes were brought out in 1918, uniform with the original set.

James himself was pleased by the New York Hdition. UI am delighted with the appc.irnnee, beauty, and dig- nity of the book,11 he wrote Scribners in 1 907 on receiving his copy of Roderick Hudson, "am in short ridic- ulously proud of it. The whole is a perfect felicity, so let us go on re- joicing."

No effort lias been spared to rsrake



Roderick Hudson*

kansas city, missouri

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;•; 1961'


New York 'Edition VOLUME I







A-8.6r [MH]




"RODERICK HUDSON" was begun in Florence in the spring of 1874, designed from the first for serial publication in "The Atlantic Monthly," where it opened in January 1875 and persisted through the year. I yield to the pleasure of placing these circumstances on record, as I shall place others, and as I have yielded to the need of renewing ac- quaintance with the book after a quarter of a century. This revival of an all but extinct relation with an early work may often produce for an artist, I think, more kinds of interest and emotion than he shall find it easy to express, and yet will light not a little, to his eyes, that veiled face of his Muse which he is condemned for ever and all anxiously to study. The art of representation bristles with questions the very terms of which are difficult to apply and to appreciate; but whatever makes it arduous makes it, for our refresh- ment, infinite, causes the practice of it, with experience, to spread round us in a widening, not in a narrowing circle. Therefore it is that experience has to organise, for con- venience and cheer, some system of observation for fear, in the admirable immensity, of losing its way. We see it as pausing from time to time to consult its notes, to measure, for guidance, as many aspects and distances as possible, as many steps taken and obstacles mastered and fruits gathered and beauties enjoyed. Everything counts, nothing is super- fluous in such a survey; the explorer's note-book strikes me here as endlessly receptive. This accordingly is what I mean by the contributive value or put it simply as, to one's own sense, the beguiling charm of the accessory facts in a given artistic case. This is why, as one looks back, the private history of any sincere work, however modest its pre- tensions, looms with its own completeness in the rich, am- biguous aesthetic air, and seems at once to borrow a dignity


and to mark, so to say, a station. This is why, reading over, for revision, correction and republication, the volumes here in hand, I find myself, all attentively, in presence of some such recording scroll or engraved commemorative table from which the "private" character, moreover, quite insists on dropping out. These notes represent, over a considerable course, the continuity of an artist's endeavour, the growth of his whole operative consciousness and, best of all, perhaps, their own tendency to multiply, with the implication, thereby, of a memory much enriched. Addicted to "stones" and inclined to retrospect, he fondly takes, under this backward view, his whole unfolding, his process of production, for a thrilling tale, almost for a wondrous adventure, only asking himself at what stage of remembrance the mark of the relevant will begin to fail. He frankly proposes to take this mark everywhere for granted.

"Roderick Hudson" was my first attempt at a novel, a long fiction with a "complicated" subject, and I recall again the quite uplifted sense with which my idea, such as it was, permitted me at last to put quite out to sea. I had but hugged the shore on sundry previous small occasions; bumping about, to acquire skill, in the shallow waters and sandy coves of the "short story" and master as yet of no vessel constructed to carry a sail. The subject of "Rod- erick" figured to me vividly this employment of canvas, and I have not forgotten, even after long years, how the blue southern sea seemed to spread immediately before me and the breath of the spice-islands to be already in the breeze. Yet it must even then have begun for me too, the ache of fear, that was to become so familiar, of being un- duly tempted and led on by "developments'* ; which is but the desperate discipline of the question involved in them. They are of the very essence of the novelist's process, and it is by their aid, fundamentally, that his idea takes form and lives; but they impose on him, through the principle of continuity that rides them, a proportionate anxiety* They are the very condition of interest, which languishes arid drops without them; the painter's subject consisting ever,



obviously, of the related state, to each other, of certain fig- ures and things. To exhibit these relations, once they have all been recognised, is to "treat* J his idea, which involves neglecting none of those that directly minister to interest; the degree of that directness remaining meanwhile a matter of highly difficult appreciation, and one on which felicity of form and composition, as a part of the total effect, merci- lessly rests. Up to what point is such and such a develop- ment indispensable to the interest? What is the point be- yond which it ceases to be rigorously so? Where, for the complete expression of one's subject, does a particular rela- tion stop giving way to some other not concerned in that expression ?

Really, universally, relations stop nowhere, and the ex- quisite problem of the artist is eternally but to draw, by a geometry of his own, the circle within which they shall happily appear to do so. He is in the perpetual predicament that the continuity of things is the whole matter, for him, of comedy and tragedy; that this continuity is never, by the space of an instant or an inch, broken, and that, to do anything at all, he has at once intensely to consult and in- tensely to ignore it. All of which will perhaps pass but for a supersubtle way of pointing the plain moral that a young embroiderer of the canvas of life soon began to work in terror, fairly, of the vast expanse of that surface, of the boundless number of its distinct perforations for the needle, and of the tendency inherent in his many-coloured flow- ers and figures to cover and consume as many as possible of the little holes. The development of the flower, of the figure, involved thus an immense counting of holes and a careful selection among them. That would have been, it seemed to him, a brave enough process, were it not the very nature of the holes so to invite, to solicit, to persuade, to practise positively a thousand lures and deceits. The prime effect of so sustained a system, so prepared a sur- face, is to lead on and on; while the fascination of fol- lowing resides, by the same token, in the presumability somewhere of a convenient, of a visibly-appointed stopping-



place. Art would be easy indeed if, by a fond power dis- posed to "patronise" it, such conveniences, such simpli- fications, had been provided. We have, as the case stands, to invent and establish them, to arrive at them by a diffi- cult, dire process of selection and comparison, of surrender and sacrifice. The very meaning of expertness is acquired courage to brace one's self for the cruel crisis from the moment one sees it grimly loom.

"Roderick Hudson*' was further, was earnestly pursued during a summer partly spent in the Black Forest and (as I had returned to America early in September) during three months passed near Boston. It is one of the silver threads of the recoverable texture of that embarrassed phase, how- ever, that the book was not finished when it had to begin appearing in monthly fragments : a fact in the light of which I find myself live over again, and quite with wonderment and tenderness, so intimate an experience of difficulty and delay. To have "liked" so much writing it, to have worked out with such conviction the pale embroidery, and yet not, at the end of so many months, to have come through, was clearly still to have fallen short of any facility and any confidence : though the long-drawn process now most ap- peals to memory, I confess, by this very quality of shy and groping duration. One fact about it indeed outlives all others; the fact that, as the loved Italy was the scene of my fiction so much more loved than one has ever been able, even after fifty efforts, to say! and as having had to leave it persisted as an inward ache, so there was soreness in still contriving, after a fashion, to hang about it and in prolonging, from month to month, the illusion of the golden air. Little enough of that medium may the novel, read over to-day, seem to supply; yet half the actual interest lurks for me in the earnest, baffled intention of making it felt, A whole side of the old consciousness, under this mild pressure, flushes up and prevails again; a reminder, ever so penetrating, of the quantity of "evocation" involved in my plan, and of the quantity I must even have supposed my- self to achieve. I take the lingering perception of all this,



I may add that is of the various admonitions of the whole reminiscence for a signal instance of the way a work of art, however small, if but sufficiently sincere, may vivify and even dignify the accidents and incidents of its growth. I must that winter (which I again like to put on record that I spent in New York) have brought up my last instal- ments in due time, for I recall no haunting anxiety: what I do recall perfectly is the felt pleasure, during those months and in East Twenty-fifth Street! of trying, on the other side of the world, still to surround with the appropriate local glow the characters that had combined, to my vision, the previous year in Florence, A benediction, a great ad- vantage, as seemed to me, had so from the first rested on them, and to nurse them along was really to sit again in the high, charming, shabby old room which had originally over- arched them and which, in the hot May and June, had looked out, through the slits of cooling shutters, at the rather dusty but ever-romantic glare of Piazza Santa Maria Novella. The house formed the corner (I delight to spec- ify) of Via della Scala, and I fear that what the early chapters of the book most "render" to me to-day is not the umbrageous air of their New England town, but the view of the small cab-stand sleepily disposed long before the days of strident electric cars round the rococo obelisk of the Piazza, which is supported on its pedestal, if I re- member rightly, by four delightful little elephants. (That, at any rate, is how the object in question, deprecating veri- fication, comes back to me with the clatter of the horse- pails, the discussions, in the intervals of repose under well- drawn hoods, of the unbuttoned cocchieri, sons of the most garrulous of races, and the occasional stillness as of the noonday desert.)

Pathetic, as we say, on the other hand, no doubt, to re- perusal, the manner in which the evocation, so far as at- tempted, of the small New England town of my first two chapters, fails of intensity if intensity, in such a connex- ion, had been indeed to be looked for. Could I verily, by the terms of my little plan, have "gone in" for it at the



that I should so have failed perhaps of a pretext for my present insistence.

Since I do insist, at all events, I find this ghostly interest perhaps even more reasserted for me by the questions be- gotten within the very covers of the book, those that wan- der and idle there as in some sweet old overtangled walled garden, a safe paradise of self-criticism. Here it is that if there be air for it to breathe at all, the critical question swarms, and here it is, in particular, that one of the happy hours of the painter's long day may strike. I speak of the painter in general and of his relation to the old picture, the work of his hand, that has been lost to sight and that, when found again, is put back on the easel for measure of what time and the weather may, in the interval, have done to it, Has it too fatally faded, has it blackened or "sunk," or otherwise abdicated, or has it only, blest thought, strength- ened, for its allotted duration, and taken up, in its degree, poor dear brave thing, some shade of the all appreciable, yet all indescribable grace that we know as pictorial "tone"? The anxious artist has to wipe it over, in the first place, to see; he has to "clean it up," say, or to varnish it anew, or at the least to place it in a light, for any right judgement of its aspect or its worth. But the very uncertainties them- selves yield a thrill, and if subject and treatment, working together, have had their felicity, the artist, the prime creator, may find a strange charm in this stage of the connexion. It helps him to live back into a forgotten state, into con- victions, credulities too early spent perhaps, it breathes upon the dead reasons of things, buried as they are in the texture of the work, and makes them revive, so that the actual appearances and the old motives fall together once more, and a lesson and a moral and a consecrating final light are somehow disengaged.

All this, I mean of course, if the case will wonderfully take any such pressure, if the work does n't break down under even such mild overhauling. The author knows well enough how easily that may happen which he in fact frequently enough sees it do. The old reasons then are too



dead to revive; they were not, it is plain, good enough reasons to live. The only possible relation of the present mind to the thing is to dismiss it altogether. On the other hand, when it is not dismissed as the only detachment is the detachment of aversion the creative intimacy is re- affirmed, and appreciation, critical apprehension, insists on becoming as active as it can. Who shall say, granted this, where it shall not begin and where it shall consent to end? The painter who passes over his old sunk canvas the wet sponge that shows him what may still come out again makes his criticism essentially active. When having seen, while his momentary glaze remains, that the canvas has kept a few buried secrets, he proceeds to repeat the process with due care and with a bottle of varnish and a brush, he is "living back," as I say, to the top of his bent, is taking up the old relation, so workable apparently, yet, and there is nothing logically to stay him from following it all the way. I have felt myself then, on looking over past productions, the painter making use again and again of the tentative wet sponge. The sunk surface has here and there, beyond doubt, refused to respond: the buried secrets, the inten- tions, are buried too deep to rise again, and were indeed, it would appear, not much worth the burying. Not so, how- ever, when the moistened canvas does obscurely flush and when resort to the varnish-bottle is thereby immediately indicated. The simplest figure for my revision of this pres- ent array of earlier, later, larger, smaller, canvases, is to say that I have achieved it by the very aid of the varnish-bottle. It is true of them throughout that, in words I have had oc- casion to use in another connexion (where too I had revised with a view to "possible amendment of form and enhance- ment of meaning")* I have "nowhere scrupled to re-write a sentence or a passage on judging it susceptible of a better turn."

To re-read "Roderick Hudson" was to find one remark so promptly and so urgently prescribed that I could at once only take it as pointing almost too stern a moral. It stared me in the face that the time-scheme of the story is quite



inadequate, and positively to that degree that the fault but just fails to wreck it. The thing escapes, I conceive, with its life: the effect sought is fortunately more achieved than missed, since the interest of the subject bears down, auspi- ciously dissimulates, this particular flaw in the treatment. Everything occurs, none the less, too punctually and moves too fast: Roderick's disintegration, a gradual process, and of which the exhibitional interest is exactly that it is grad- ual and occasional, and thereby traceable and watchable, swallows two years in a mouthful, proceeds quite not by years, but by weeks and months, and thus renders the whole view the disservice of appearing to present him as a morbidly special case. The very claim of the fable is naturally that he is special, that his great gift makes and keeps him highly exceptional; but that is not for a moment supposed to pre- clude his appearing typical (of the general type) as well; for the fictive hero successfully appeals to us only as an eminent instance, as eminent as we like, of our own conscious kind. My mistake on Roderick's behalf and not in the least of conception, but of composition and expression is that, at the rate at which he falls to pieces, he seems to place him- self beyond our understanding and our sympathy. These are not our rates, we say; we ourselves certainly, under like pressure, for what is it after all? would make more of a fight. We conceive going to pieces— nothing is easier, since we see people do it, one way or another, all round us; but this young man must either have had less of the principle of development to have had so much of the prin- ciple of collapse, or less of the principle of collapse to have had so much of the principle of development. "On the basis of so great a weakness," one hears the reader say, "where was your idea of the interest? On the basis of so great an interest, where is the provision for so much weak- ness?" One feels indeed, in the light of this challenge, cm how much too scantly projected and suggested a field poor Roderick and his large capacity for ruin are made to turn round. It has all begun too soon, as I say, and too simply, and the determinant function attributed to Christina Light,



the character of well-nigh sole agent of his catastrophe that this unfortunate young woman has forced upon her, fails to commend itself to our sense of truth and proportion.

It was not, however, that I was at ease on this score even in the first fond good faith of composition; I felt too, all the while, how many more ups and downs, how many more adventures and complications my young man would have had to know, how much more experience it would have taken, in short, either to make him go under or to make him triumph* The greater complexity, the superior truth, was all more or less present to me; only the question was, too dreadfully, how make it present to the reader? How boil down so many facts in the alembic, so that the distilled result, the produced appearance, should have intensity, lucid- ity, brevity, beauty, all the merits required for my effect? How, when it was already so difficult, as I found, to pro- ceed even as I was proceeding? It did n't help, alas, it only maddened, to remember that Balzac would have known how, and would have yet asked no additional credit for it. Ail the difficulty I could dodge still struck me, at any rate, as leaving more than enough; and yet I was already con- sciously in presence, here, of the most interesting question the artist has to consider. To give the image and the sense of certain things while still keeping them subordinate to his plan, keeping them in relation to matters more immediate and apparent, to give all the sense, in a word, without all the substance or all the surface, and so to summarise and foreshorten, so to make values both rich and sharp, that the mere procession of items and profiles is not only, for the occasion, superseded, but is, for essential quality, almost "compromised" such a case of delicacy proposes itself at every turn to the painter of life who wishes both to treat his chosen subject and to confine his necessary picture. It is only by doing such things that art becomes exquisite, and it is only by positively becoming exquisite that it keeps clear of becoming vulgar, repudiates the coarse industries that masquerade in its name. This eternal time-question is accordingly, for the novelist, always there and always for-



midable ; always insisting on the effect of the. great lapse and passage, of the "dark backward and abysm," by the terms of truth, and on the effect of compression, of composition and form, by the terms of literary arrangement. It is really a business to terrify all but stout hearts into abject omission and mutilation, though the terror would indeed be more general were the general consciousness of the difficulty greater. It is not by consciousness of difficulty, in truth, that the story-teller is mostly ridden ; so prodigious a num- ber of stories would otherwise scarce get themselves (shall it be called?) "told." None was ever very well told, I think, under the law of mere elimination inordinately as that device appears in many quarters to be depended on. I remember doing my best not to be reduced to it for "Roderick," at the same time that I did so helplessly and consciously beg a thousand questions. What I clung to as my principle of simplification was the precious truth that I was dealing, after all, essentially with an Action, and that no action, further, was ever made historically vivid without a certain factitious compactness; though this logic indeed opened up horizons and abysses of its own. But into these we must plunge on some other occasion.

It was at any rate under an admonition or two fished out of their depths that I must have tightened my hold of the remedy afforded, such as it was, for the absence of those more adequate illustrations of Roderick's character and his- tory. Since one was dealing with an Action one might borrow a scrap of the Dramatist's all-in-all, his intensity which the novelist so often ruefully envies him as a for- tune in itself. The amount of illustration I could allow to the grounds of my young man's disaster was unquestionably meagre, but I might perhaps make it lively; I might pro- duce illusion if I should be able to achieve intensity* It was for that I must have tried, I now see, with such art as I could command; but I make out in another quarter above all what really saved me. My subject, all blissfully) m face of difficulties, had defined itself and this in spite of the title of the book as not directly, in the least, my young sculp-



tor's adventure. This it had been but indirectly, being all the while in essence and in final effect another man's, his friend's and patron's, view and experience of him. One's luck was to have felt one's subject right whether instinct or calculation, in those dim days, most served; and the cir- cumstance even amounts perhaps to a little lesson that when this has happily occurred faults may show, faults may dis- figure, and yet not upset the work. It remains in equilib- rium by having found its centre, the point of command of all the rest. From this centre the subject has been treated, from this centre the interest has spread, and so, whatever else it may do or may not do, the thing has acknowledged a principle of composition and contrives at least to hang to- gether. We see in such a case why it should so hang; we escape that dreariest displeasure it is open to experiments in this general order to inflict, the sense of any hanging- together precluded as by the very terms of the case.

The centre of interest throughout "Roderick" is in Rowland Mallet's consciousness, and the drama is the very drama of that consciousness which I had of course to make sufficiently acute in order to enable it, like a set and lighted scene, to hold the play. By making it acute, mean- while, one made its own movement or rather, strictly, its movement in the particular connexion interesting; this movement really being quite the stuff of one's thesis. It had, naturally, Rowland's consciousness, not to be too acute which would have disconnected it and make it superhuman: the beautiful little problem was to keep it connected, connected intimately, with the general human exposure, and thereby bedimmed and befooled and bewil- dered, anxious, restless, fallible, and yet to endow it with such intelligence that the appearances reflected in it, and constituting together there the situation and the "story," should become by that fact intelligible. Discernible from the first the joy of such a "job" as this making of his re- lation to everything involved a sufficiently limited, a suffi- ciently pathetic, tragic, comic, ironic, personal state to be thoroughly natural, and yet at the same time a sufficiently



clear medium to represent a whole. This whole was to be the sum of what "happened" to him, or in other words his total adventure ; but as what happened to him was above all to feel certain things happening to others, to Roderick, to Christina, to Mary Garland, to Mrs. Hudson, to the Cavaliere, to the Prince, so the beauty of the constructional game was to preserve in everything its especial value for him. The ironic effect of his having fallen in love with the girl who is herself in love with Roderick, though he is unwitting, at the time, of that secret the conception of this last irony, I must add, has remained happier than my execution of it; which should logically have involved the reader's being put into position to take more closely home the impression made by Mary Garland, The ground has not been laid for it, and when that is the case one builds all vainly in the air: one patches up one's superstructure, one paints it in the prettiest colours, one hangs fine old tapestry and rare brocade over its window-sills, one flies emblazoned banners from its roof the building none the less totters and refuses to stand square.

It is not really worked-in that Roderick himself could have pledged his faith in such a quarter, much more at such a crisis, before leaving America: and that weakness, clearly > produces a limp in the whole march of the fable, Just so, though there was no reason on earth (unless I except one, presently to be mentioned) why Rowland should no/, at Northampton, have conceived a passion, or as near an ap- proach to one as he was capable of, for a remarkable young woman there suddenly dawning on his sight, a particular fundamental care was required for the vivification of that possibility. The care, unfortunately, has not been skilfully enough taken, in spite of the later patching-up of the girl's figure. We fail to accept it, on the actual showing, as that of a young person irresistible at any moment, and above all irresistible at a moment of the liveliest other preoccupation, as that of the weaver of (even the highly conditioned) spell that the narrative imputes to her. The spell of attraction is cast upon young men by young women in all sorts of



ways, and the novel has no more constant office than to remind us of that. But Mary Garland's way does n't, in- dubitably, convince us; any more than we are truly con- vinced, I think, that Rowland's destiny, or say his nature, would have made him accessible at the same hour to two quite distinct commotions, each a very deep one, of his whole personal economy. Rigidly viewed, each of these upheavals of his sensibility must have been exclusive of other upheavals, yet the reader is asked to accept them as working together. They are different vibrations, but the whole sense of the situation depicted is that they should each have been of the strongest, too strong to walk hand in hand. Therefore it is that when, on the ship, under the stars, Roderick suddenly takes his friend into the confidence of his engagement, we instinctively disallow the friend's title to discomfiture. The whole picture presents him as for the time on the mounting wave, exposed highly enough, no doubt, to a hundred discomfitures, but least exposed to that one. The damage to verisimilitude is deep.

The difficulty had been from the first that I required my antithesis my antithesis to Christina Light, one of the main terms of the subject. One is ridden by the law that antitheses, to be efficient, shall be both direct and complete. Directness seemed to fail unless Mary should be, so to speak, "plain," Christina being essentially so "coloured"; and completeness seemed to fail unless she too should have her potency. She could moreover, by which I mean the antithetic young woman could, perfectly have had it; only success would have been then in the narrator's art to attest it. Christina's own presence and action are, on the other hand, I think, all firm ground; the truth probably being that the ideal antithesis rarely does "come off," and that it has to content itself for the most part with a strong term and a weak term, and even then to feel itself lucky. If one of the terms is strong, that perhaps may pass, in the most difficult of the arts, for a triumph. I remember at all events feeling, toward the end of "Roderick," that the Princess Casamassima had been launched, that, wound-up with the



right silver key, she would go on a certain time by the mo- tion communicated; thanks to which I knew the pity, the real pang of losing sight of her, I desired as in no other such case I can recall to preserve, to recover the vision; and I have seemed to myself in re-reading the book quite to understand why. The multiplication of touches had produced even more life than the subject required, and that life, in other conditions, in some other prime relation, would still have somehow to be spent. Thus one would watch for her and waylay her at some turn of the road to come- all that was to be needed was to give her time. This I did in fact, meeting her again and taking her up later on.




ROWLAND MALLET had made his arrangements to sail for Europe on the 5th of September, and having in the interval a fortnight to spare, he determined to spend it with his cousin Cecilia, the widow of a nephew of his father. He was urged by the reflexion that an affectionate farewell might help to exoner- ate him from the charge of neglect frequently pre- ferred by this lady. It was not that the young man disliked her; he regarded her, on the contrary, with a tender admiration and had not forgotten how when his cousin brought her home on her marriage he seemed to feel the upward sweep of the empty bough from which the golden fruit had been plucked. He then and there, for himself, accepted the pro- spect of bachelorhood. The truth was that, as it will be part of the entertainment of this narrative to exhibit, Rowland Mallet had an uncomfortably sen- sitive conscience, and that, in spite of the seeming paradox, his visits to Cecilia were rare because she and her misfortunes were often uppermost in it. Her misfortunes were three in number: first, she had lost her husband; second, she had lost her money, or the greater part of it; and third, she lived at Northampton, Massachusetts. Mallet's compas- sion was really wasted, because Cecilia was a very



clever woman and a skilful counter-plotter to ad- versity. She had made herself a charming home, her economies were not obtrusive, and there was always a cheerful flutter in the folds of her crape. It was the consciousness of all this that pir/yJed Mallet whenever he felt tempted to put in his oar. He had money and he had time, but he never could decide just how to place these gifts gracefully at Cecilia's service. He was no longer at all in the humour to marry her; that fancy had in these eight years died a very nat- ural death. And yet her extreme cleverness seemed somehow to make charity difficult and patronage impossible. He would rather have chopped off his hand than offer her a cheque, a piece of useful fur- niture or a black silk dress; and yet there was pity for him in seeing such a bright proud woman live in such a small dull way, Cecilia had moreover a turn for sarcasm, and her smile, which was her pretty feature, was never so pretty as when her sprightly phrase had a lurking scratch in it. Row- land remembered that for him she was all smiles, and suspected awkwardly that he ministered not a little to her sense of the irony of things. And in truth, with his means, his leisure and his opportunities, what had he done ? He had a lively suspicion of his uselessness. Cecilia meanwhile cut out her own dresses, and was personally giving her little girl the education of a princess.

This time, however, he presented himself bravely enough; for in the way of activity it was something definite at least to be going to Europe and to be meaning to spend the winter in Rome. Cecilia met



him in the early dusk at the gate of her little garden, amid a studied combination of horticultural odours. A rosy widow of twenty-eight, half-cousin, half- hostess, doing the honours of a fragrant cottage on a midsummer evening, was a phenomenon to which all the young man's senses were able to rise. Cecilia was always gracious, but this evening she was posi- tively in spirits. She was in a happy mood, and Mallet imagined there was a private reason for it a reason quite distinct from her pleasure in re- ceiving her honoured kinsman. The next day he flattered himself he was on the way to discover it.

For the present, after tea, as they sat on the rose- framed porch, while Rowland held his younger cousin between his knees, and she, enjoying her situ- ation, listened timorously for the stroke of bedtime, Cecilia insisted on talking more about her visitor than about herself. "What is it you mean to do in Europe ?" she asked lightly, giving a turn to the frill of her sleeve— just such a turn as seemed to Mallet to bring out all the latent difficulties of the question.

"Why, very much what I do here/' he answered. "No great harm!"

"Is it true/' Cecilia asked, "that here you do no great harm ? Isn't a man like you doing a certain harm when he is n't doing some positive good ?"

"Isn't that compliment rather ambiguous?" he inquired in return.

"No," she answered, "you know what I think of you. You have a turn for doing nice things and behaving yourself properly. You have it, in the first



place, in your character. You mean, if you will pardon my putting it so, thoroughly well. Ask Bessie if you don't hold her more gently and comfortably than any of her other admirers."

"He holds me more comfortably than Mr, Hudson," Bessie declared roundly.

Rowlanc}, not knowing Mr. Hudson, could but half appreciate the eulogy, and Cecilia went on to develop her idea, "Your circumstances, in the second place, suggest the idea of some sort of social useful- ness. You 're intelligent and are well informed, and your benevolence, if one may call it benevolence, would be discriminating. You 're rich and unoccu- pied, so that it might be abundant. Therefore I say you 're a man to do something on a large scale- Bestir yourself, dear Rowland, or we may be taught to think that Virtue herself is setting a bad example/*

"Heaven forbid," cried Rowland, "that I should set the examples of virtue! Pm quite willing to follow them, however, and if I don't do something on the grand scale it is that my genius is altogether imita- tive and that I've not recently encountered any very striking models of grandeur. Pray, what shall 1 do ? Found an orphan asylum or build a dormitory for Harvard College ? I *m not rich enough to do cither in an ideally handsome way, and 1 confess that yet a while I feel too young to strike my grand coup. I 'm holding myself ready for inspiration, 1 'm waiting till something takes my fancy irresistibly* If inspiration comes at forty it will be a hundred pities to have tied up my money-bag at thirty."

"Well, of course I give you decent time," said



Cecilia. "It '$ only a word to the wise a notifica- tion that you 're expected not to run your course without having done something handsome for your fellow men/'

Nine o'clock sounded, and Bessie with each stroke courted a closer embrace. But a single winged word from her mother overleaped her successive intrench- ments. She turned and kissed her cousin, deposit- ing an irrepressible tear on his moustache. Then she went and said her prayers to her mother; it was evident she was being admirably brought up. Rowland, with the permission of his hostess, lighted a cigar and puffed it a while in silence. Cecilia's interest in his career seemed very agreeable. That Mallet was without vanity I by no means intend to affirm; but there had been times when, seeing him accept with scarce less deference advice even more peremptory than this lady's, you might have asked yourself what had become of his proper pride. Now, in the sweet-smelling starlight, he felt gently wooed to egotism. There was a project connected with his going abroad which it was on his tongue's end to communicate. It had no relation to hospitals or dormitories, and yet it would have sounded very gen- erous. But it was not because it would have sounded generous that poor Mallet at last puffed it away in the fumes of his cigar. Useful though it might be, it expressed too imperfectly the young man's own personal conception of usefulness. He was extremely jfond of all the arts and had an almost passionate enjoyment of pictures. He had seen a great many and judged them sagaciously. It had occurred to



him some time before that it would be the work of a good citizen to go abroad and with all expedition and secrecy purchase certain valuable specimens of the Dutch and Italian schools, as to which he had received private proposals, and then present his treasures out of hand to an American city, riot unknown to aesthetic fame, in which at that time there prevailed a good deal of fruitless aspiration toward an art-museum. He had seen himself in imagination, more than once, in the mouldy old saloon of a Florentine palace, turning toward the deep embrasure of the window some scarcely-faded Ghirlandaio or Botticelli while a host in reduced circumstances pointed out the lovely drawing of a hand. But he imparted none of these visions to Cecilia, and he suddenly swept them away with the declaration that he was of course an idle useless creature and that he should probably be even more so in Europe than at home. "The only thing is,n he said, "that there I shall seem to be doing some- thing. I shall be better beguiled, and shall be there- fore, I suppose, in a better humour with life. You may say that that '$ just the humour a useless man should keep out of. He should cultivate humility and depression. I did a good many things when 1 was in Europe before, but I spent no winter in Rome* Every one assures me that this is a peculiar refine- ment of bliss; you must have noticed the almost priggish ecstasy with which those who have enjoyed it talk about it. It's evidently a sort of glorified loafing: a passive life there, thanks to the number and the quality of one's impressions, takes on a respectable



likeness to an active pursuit. It 's always lotus-eat- ing, only you sit down at table and the lotuses are served up on rococo china. It 's all very well, but I have a distinct prevision of this that if Roman life does n't do something substantial to make you happier it must contribute rather to unhinge or upset you. It seems to me a rash thing for a sensi- tive soul deliberately to cultivate its sensibilities by rambling too often among the