October 6, 2015

Henry and friends



We talked of London face to face with a great bristling primeval glacier. The hour and the scene were one of those impressions that make up a little in Switzerland for the modern indignity of travel -- the promiscuities and vulgarities, the station and the hotel, the gregarious patience, the struggle for a scrappy attention, the reduction to a numbered state. ... The balconied inn stood on the very neck of the sweetest pass in the Oberland, and for a week we had had company and weather.  This was felt to be great luck, for one would have made up for the other had either been bad.
      We were of the same general communion, chalk-marked for recognition by signs from the same alphabet. ... I think all of us, even the ladies, 'did' something, though we pretended we didn't when it was mentioned. Such things aren't mentioned indeed in London, but it was our innocent pleasure to be different here. There had to be some way to show the difference, inasmuch as we were under the impression that this was our annual holiday. ... We were frank about this, we talked about it; it was what we were talking about as we looked at the flushing glacier, just as someone called attention to the prolonged absence of Lord Mellifont and Mrs. Adney.

from 'The  Private Life.' by Henry James (1891)

Things that made my day today ... Trolloping with friends, and a little Henry on the bus ride home. Last weekend's ghost story fizzled, but I am always willing to give him another go, even more so because this story is set in Switzerland {and I'm starting to really look forward to my holiday}, and it would also be nice to get more from my impulsive investment of $3.27 in a Kindle book-ful. I haven't gotten to anything remotely ghostly, but this one is delightful so far.
The remark about the absence of our two companions was not taken up, not even by Lady Mellifont, not even by little Adney, the fond composer; for it had been dropped only in the briefest intermission of Clare Vawdrey's talk. ... He asked the company whether, candidly, everyone hadn't been tempted to say to everyone else:  'I had no idea you were really so nice.'

{the painting is Group with Parasols, by Henry's friend John Singer Sargent}


2 comments:

JoAnn said...

Trolloping with friends made my day, too! Henry is always a joy... even when he's not ;-) And I ove how you've created a new verb here!

Terra said...

Trolloping with friends, what a happy phrase. I do that on Facebook with the Anthony Trollope Society.