The Europeans - Henry James - Страница 1 из 222

by Henry James
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. 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. In the
chimney-place was a red-hot 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. She never

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