Archive for March, 2013

‘Beautiful’ — Golden Bowl / 27

March 28, 2013

Book TWO Part 4 Chapter 27

Six other guests only, in addition to the host and the hostess of Matcham, made up the company, and each of these persons had for Maggie the interest of an attested connection with the Easter revels at that visionary house. Their common memory of an occasion that had clearly left behind it an ineffaceable charm—this air of beatific reference, less subdued in the others than in Amerigo and Charlotte, lent them, together, an inscrutable comradeship against which the young woman’s imagination broke in a small vain wave.

[Maggie of Lady Castledean] Her ladyship’s assumption was that she kept, at every moment of her life, every advantage—it made her beautifully soft, very nearly generous; so she didn’t distinguish the little protuberant eyes of smaller social insects, often endowed with such a range, from the other decorative spots on their bodies and wings.

[Adam] He brought it out straight, made it bravely and beautifully irrelevant, save for the plea of what they should lose by breaking the charm: “I guess we won’t go down there after all, will we, Mag?—just when it’s getting so pleasant here.” That was all, with nothing to lead up to it; but it was done for her at a stroke, and done, not less, more rather, for Amerigo and Charlotte, on whom the immediate effect, as she secretly, as she almost breathlessly measured it, was prodigious.

[The prince]. He KNEW HOW to resort to it—he could be, on occasion, as she had lately more than ever learned, so munificent a lover: all of which was, precisely, a part of the character she had never ceased to regard in him as princely, a part of his large and beautiful ease, his genius for charm, for intercourse, for expression, for life. She should have but to lay her head back on his shoulder with a certain movement to make it definite for him that she didn’t resist.

[Maggie to the prince]“It’s as if we had been missing each other, had got a little apart—though going on so side by side. But the good moments, if one only waits for them,” she hastened to add, “come round of themselves. Moreover you’ve seen for yourself, since you’ve made it up so to father; feeling, for yourself, in your beautiful way, every difference, every air that blows; not having to be told or pushed, only being perfect to live with, through your habit of kindness and your exquisite instincts.

[Maggie to the prince]“Your taking the child down yourself, those days, and your coming, each time, to bring him away—nothing in the world, nothing you could have invented, would have kept father more under the charm. Besides, you know how you’ve always suited him, and how you’ve always so beautifully let it seem to him that he suits you. Only it has been, these last weeks, as if you wished—just in order to please him—to remind him of it afresh.”

[Maggie and prince]“And would you like to be here alone with her for a month?”
“I could do with it beautifully. Or we might even,” she said quite gaily, “go together down to Fawns.”
“You could be so very content without me?” the Prince presently inquired.

[Maggie and prince]“We shall simply go on as we are.”
“Well, we’re going on beautifully,” he answered—though by no means with the effect it would have had if their mute transaction, that of attempted capture and achieved escape, had not taken place. As Maggie said nothing, none the less, to gainsay his remark, it was open to him to find himself the next moment conscious of still another idea.

‘Beautiful’ — Golden Bowl / 28

March 28, 2013

Book TWO Part 4 Chapter 28

[‘Young friend’ =Maggie] The perception of this high result caused Mrs. Assingham fairly to flush with responsive joy; she glittered at her young friend, from moment to moment, quite feverishly; it was positively as if her young friend had, in some marvellous, sudden, supersubtle way, become a source of succour to herself, become beautifully, divinely retributive.

[Maggie wanting to say this to Adam] She was powerless, however, was only more utterly hushed, when the interrupting flash came, when she would have been all ready to say to him, “Yes, this is by every appearance the best time we’ve had yet; but don’t you see, all the same, how they must be working together for it, and how my very success, my success in shifting our beautiful harmony to a new basis, comes round to being their success, above all; their cleverness, their amiability, their power to hold out, their complete possession, in short, of our life?”

[Maggie wanting to say this to Prince] She couldn’t—and he knew it—say what was true: “Oh, you ‘use’ her, and I use her, if you will, yes; but we use her ever so differently and separately—not at all in the same way or degree. There’s nobody we really use together but ourselves, don’t you see?—by which I mean that where our interests are the same I can so beautifully, so exquisitely serve you for everything, and you can so beautifully, so exquisitely serve me. The only person either of us needs is the other of us; so why, as a matter of course, in such a case as this, drag in Charlotte?”

[Maggie, Prince] She couldn’t so challenge him, because it would have been—and there she was paralysed—the NOTE. It would have translated itself on the spot, for his ear, into jealousy; and, from reverberation to repercussion, would have reached her father’s exactly in the form of a cry piercing the stillness of peaceful sleep. It had been for many days almost as difficult for her to catch a quiet twenty minutes with her father as it had formerly been easy; there had been in fact, of old—the time, so strangely, seemed already far away—an inevitability in her longer passages with him, a sort of domesticated beauty in the calculability, round about them, of everything.

[Maggie and Father] They had never availed themselves of any given quarter-of-an-hour to gossip about fundamentals; they moved slowly through large still spaces; they could be silent together, at any time, beautifully, with much more comfort than hurriedly expressive. It appeared indeed to have become true that their common appeal measured itself, for vividness, just by this economy of sound; they might have been talking “at” each other when they talked with their companions, but these latter, assuredly, were not in any directer way to gain light on the current phase of their relation.

[Principino] She saw, of a sudden, everything she might say or do in the light of that undertaking, established connections from it with any number of remote matters, struck herself, for instance, as acting all in its interest when she proposed their going out, in the exercise of their freedom and in homage to the season, for a turn in the Regent’s Park. This resort was close at hand, at the top of Portland Place, and the Principino, beautifully better, had already proceeded there under high attendance: all of which considerations were defensive for Maggie, all of which became, to her mind, part of the business of cultivating continuity.

[Maggie of Father] She groaned to herself, while the vain imagination lasted, “WHY did he marry? ah, why DID he?” and then it came up to her more than ever that nothing could have been more beautiful than the way in which, till Charlotte came so much more closely into their life, Amerigo hadn’t interfered.

‘Beautiful’ – Golden Bowl / 29

March 27, 2013

Book TWO Part 4 Chapter 29

[Maggie and Father]. It had made him think indeed a little longer than she had meant; but he came up again, as she might have said, smiling. “Well, I don’t know. We get nothing but the fun, do we?”
“No,” she had hastened to declare; “we certainly get nothing but the fun.”
“We do it all,” he had remarked, “so beautifully.”
“We do it all so beautifully.” She hadn’t denied this for a moment. “I see what you mean.”
“Well, I mean too,” he had gone on, “that we haven’t, no doubt, enough, the sense of difficulty.”
“Enough? Enough for what?”
“Enough not to be selfish.”
“I don’t think YOU are selfish,” she had returned—and had managed not to wail it.
“I don’t say that it’s me particularly—or that it’s you or Charlotte or Amerigo. But we’re selfish together—we move as a selfish mass. You see we want always the same thing,” he had gone on—”and that holds us, that binds us, together. We want each other,” he had further explained; “only wanting it, each time, FOR each other. That’s what I call the happy spell; but it’s also, a little, possibly, the immorality.”

But the beauty of it is, at the same time, that we ARE doing; we’re doing, that is, after all, what we went in for. We’re working it, our life, our chance, whatever you may call it, as we saw it, as we felt it, from the first. We HAVE worked it, and what more can you do than that?

He had hesitated, but only a moment. “I never told you so.”
“Well, Charlotte herself soon enough told me.”
“But I never told HER,” her father had answered.
“Are you very sure?” she had presently asked.
“Well, I like to think how thoroughly I was taken with her, and how right I was, and how fortunate, to have that for my basis. I told her all the good I thought of her.”
“Then that,” Maggie had returned, “was precisely part of the good. I mean it was precisely part of it that she could so beautifully understand.”
“Yes—understand everything.”

‘Beautiful’ – Golden Bowl / 30

March 27, 2013

Book TWO Part 4 Chapter 30

[Maggie] There was a blankness in her blandness, assuredly, and very nearly an extravagance in her generalising gaiety; a precipitation of cheer particularly marked whenever they met again after short separations: meetings during the first flush of which Maggie sometimes felt reminded of other looks in other faces; of two strangely unobliterated impressions above all, the physiognomic light that had played out in her husband at the shock—she had come at last to talk to herself of the “shock”—of his first vision of her on his return from Matcham and Gloucester, and the wonder of Charlotte’s beautiful bold wavering gaze when, the next morning in Eaton Square, this old friend had turned from the window to begin to deal with her.

[Maggie] If she had dared to think of it so crudely she would have said that Fanny was afraid of her, afraid of something she might say or do, even as, for their few brief seconds, Amerigo and Charlotte had been—which made, exactly, an expressive element common to the three. The difference however was that this look had in the dear woman its oddity of a constant renewal, whereas it had never for the least little instant again peeped out of the others. Other looks, other lights, radiant and steady, with the others, had taken its place, reaching a climax so short a time ago, that morning of the appearance of the pair on the balcony of her house to overlook what she had been doing with her father; when their general interested brightness and beauty, attuned to the outbreak of summer, had seemed to shed down warmth and welcome and the promise of protection.

[What Maggie might say to Father with respect to Charlotte] This last advantage for her, was, however, too sadly out of the question; her sole strength lay in her being able to see that if Charlotte wouldn’t “want” the Assinghams it would be because that sentiment too would have motives and grounds. She had all the while command of one way of meeting any objection, any complaint, on his wife’s part, reported to her by her father; it would be open to her to retort to his possible “What are your reasons, my dear?” by a lucidly-produced “What are hers, love, please?—isn’t that what we had better know? Mayn’t her reasons be a dislike, beautifully founded, of the presence, and thereby of the observation, of persons who perhaps know about her things it’s inconvenient to her they should know?” That hideous card she might in mere logic play—being by this time, at her still swifter private pace, intimately familiar with all the fingered pasteboard in her pack.

[Maggie, Mrs. Assingham] For a minute after this they remained face to face; Maggie had sprung up while her friend sat enthroned, and, after moving to and fro in her intensity, now paused to receive the light she had invoked. It had accumulated, considerably, by this time, round Mrs. Assingham’s ample presence, and it made, even to our young woman’s own sense, a medium in which she could at last take a deeper breath. “I’ve affected you, these months—and these last weeks in especial—as quiet and natural and easy?”
But it was a question that took, not imperceptibly, some answering. “You’ve never affected me, from the first hour I beheld you, as anything but—in a way all your own—absolutely good and sweet and beautiful. In a way, as I say,” Mrs. Assingham almost caressingly repeated, “just all your very own—nobody else’s at all. I’ve never thought of you but as OUTSIDE of ugly things, so ignorant of any falsity or cruelty or vulgarity as never to have to be touched by them or to touch them. I’ve never mixed you up with them; there would have been time enough for that if they had seemed to be near you. But they haven’t—if that’s what you want to know.”

‘Beautiful’ – Golden Bowl / 31

March 26, 2013

Book TWO Part 4 Chapter 31

[Assinghams] This, on each occasion, put the matter so at the worst that repetition even scarce controlled the hot flush with which she was compelled to see the parts of the whole history, all its ugly consistency and its temporary gloss, hang together. She enjoyed, invariably, the sense of making her danger present, of making it real, to her husband, and of his almost turning pale, when their eyes met, at this possibility of their compromised state and their shared discredit. The beauty was that, as under a touch of one of the ivory notes at the left of the keyboard, he sounded out with the short sharpness of the dear fond stupid uneasy man. “Conspiring—so far as YOU were concerned—to what end?”

[Assinghams] “Down even to the facility of your minding everything so little—from your own point of view—as to have supplied him with the enjoyment of TWO beautiful women.”
“Down even to THAT—to the monstrosity of my folly. But not,” Mrs. Assingham added, “‘two’ of anything. One beautiful woman—and one beautiful fortune. That’s what a creature of pure virtue exposes herself to when she suffers her pure virtue, suffers her sympathy, her disinterestedness, her exquisite sense for the lives of others, to carry her too far. Voila.”
“I see. It’s the way the Ververs have you.”
“It’s the way the Ververs ‘have’ me. It’s in other words the way they would be able to make such a show to each other of having me—if Maggie weren’t so divine.”

{Fanny of Maggie] If I’ll keep them quiet, in a word, it will enable her to gain time—time as against any idea of her father’s—and so, somehow, come out. If I’ll take care of Charlotte, in particular, she’ll take care of the Prince; and it’s beautiful and wonderful, really pathetic and exquisite, to see what she feels that time may do for her.”

{Fanny of Charlotte and the Prince] “There must be people in possession of it? Ah, it isn’t all,” she always remembered, “up and down London. Some of it must connect them—I mean,” she musingly added, “it naturally WOULD—with other places; with who knows what strange adventures, opportunities, dissimulations? But whatever there may have been, it will also all have been buried on the spot. Oh, they’ve known HOW—too beautifully! But nothing, all the same, is likely to find its way to Maggie of itself.”

‘Beautiful’ – Golden Bowl / 32

March 26, 2013

Book TWO Part 4 Chapter 32

[Maggie] If Charlotte, while she was about it, could only have been WORSE!—that idea Maggie fell to invoking instead of the idea that she might desirably have been better. For, exceedingly odd as it was to feel in such ways, she believed she mightn’t have worried so much if she didn’t somehow make her stepmother out, under the beautiful trees and among the dear old gardens, as lavish of fifty kinds of confidence and twenty kinds, at least, of gentleness.

{Maggie and Prince] He might tell her only what he wanted, only what would work upon her by the beauty of his appeal; and the result of the direct appeal of ANY beauty in him would be her helpless submission to his terms. All her temporary safety, her hand-to-mouth success, accordingly, was in his neither perceiving nor divining this, thanks to such means as she could take to prevent him; take, literally from hour to hour, during these days of more unbroken exposure. From hour to hour she fairly expected some sign of his having decided on a jump. “Ah yes, it HAS been as you think; I’ve strayed away, I’ve fancied myself free, given myself in other quantities, with larger generosities, because I thought you were different—different from what I now see. But it was only, only, because I didn’t know—and you must admit that you gave me scarce reason enough. Reason enough, I mean, to keep clear of my mistake; to which I confess, for which I’ll do exquisite penance, which you can help me now, I too beautifully feel, to get completely over.

More and more magnificent now in her blameless egoism, Maggie asked no questions of her, and thus only signified the greatness of the opportunity she gave her. She didn’t care for what devotions, what dinners of their own the Assinghams might have been “booked”; that was a detail, and she could think without wincing of the ruptures and rearrangements to which her service condemned them. It all fell in beautifully, moreover; so that, as hard, at this time, in spite of her fever, as a little pointed diamond, the Princess showed something of the glitter of consciously possessing the constructive, the creative hand.

‘Beautiful’ – Golden Bowl / 33

March 26, 2013

Book TWO Part 4 Chapter 33

[Maggie] There could perhaps have been no stronger mark than this sense of well-nigh romantic opportunity—no livelier sign of the impression made on her, and always so long retained, so watchfully nursed, by any observation of Charlotte’s, however lightly thrown off. And then she had felt, somehow, more at her ease than for months and months before; she didn’t know why, but her time at the Museum, oddly, had done it; it was as if she hadn’t come into so many noble and beautiful associations, nor secured them also for her boy, secured them even for her father, only to see them turn to vanity and doubt, turn possibly to something still worse.

[Fanny, ‘her companion’= Maggie] She was reminded of the terms on which she was let off—her quantity of release having made its sufficient show in that recall of her relation to Charlotte’s old reappearance; and deep within the whole impression glowed—ah, so inspiringly when it came to that! her steady view, clear from the first, of the beauty of her companion’s motive.

[Maggie of Prince] “It’s quite as if he had an instinct—something that has warned him off or made him uneasy. He doesn’t quite know, naturally, what has happened, but guesses, with his beautiful cleverness, that something has, and isn’t in a hurry to be confronted with it. So, in his vague fear, he keeps off.”

“Not, at any rate, to care for me as you cared for Amerigo and for Charlotte. They were much more interesting—it was perfectly natural. How couldn’t you like Amerigo?” Maggie continued.
Mrs. Assingham gave it up. “How couldn’t I, how couldn’t I?” Then, with a fine freedom, she went all her way. “How CAN’T I, how can’t I?”
It fixed afresh Maggie’s wide eyes on her. “I see—I see. Well, it’s beautiful for you to be able to. And of course,” she added, “you wanted to help Charlotte.”
“Yes”—Fanny considered it—”I wanted to help Charlotte. But I wanted also, you see, to help you—by not digging up a past that I believed, with so much on top of it, solidly buried. I wanted, as I still want,” she richly declared, “to help every one.”

Fanny Assingham met it as she could. “You’ve been only too perfect. You’ve thought only too much.”
But the Princess had already caught at the words. “Yes—I’ve thought only too much!” Yet she appeared to continue, for the minute, full of that fault. She had it in fact, by this prompted thought, all before her. “Of him, dear man, of HIM—!”
Her friend, able to take in thus directly her vision of her father, watched her with a new suspense. THAT way might safety lie—it was like a wider chink of light. “He believed—with a beauty!—in Charlotte.”
“Yes, and it was I who had made him believe. I didn’t mean to, at the time, so much; for I had no idea then of what was coming. But I did it, I did it!” the Princess declared.
“With a beauty—ah, with a beauty, you too!” Mrs. Assingham insisted.

‘Beautiful’ — Golden Bowl / 34

March 26, 2013

Book TWO Part 4 Chapter 34

[Maggie and Prince] He had, not unnaturally, failed to see this occurrence represented by the three fragments of an object apparently valuable which lay there on the floor and which, even across the width of the room, his kept interval, reminded him, unmistakably though confusedly, of something known, some other unforgotten image. That was a mere shock, that was a pain—as if Fanny’s violence had been a violence redoubled and acting beyond its intention, a violence calling up the hot blood as a blow across the mouth might have called it. Maggie knew as she turned away from him that she didn’t want his pain; what she wanted was her own simple certainty—not the red mark of conviction flaming there in his beauty. If she could have gone on with bandaged eyes she would have liked that best; if it were a question of saying what she now, apparently, should have to, and of taking from him what he would say, any blindness that might wrap it would be the nearest approach to a boon.

[Of the broken golden bowl] It was shown me, and I was struck with it and took it—knowing nothing about it at the time. What I now know I’ve learned since—I learned this afternoon, a couple of hours ago; receiving from it naturally a great impression. So there it is—in its three pieces. You can handle them—don’t be afraid—if you want to make sure the thing is the thing you and Charlotte saw together. Its having come apart makes an unfortunate difference for its beauty, its artistic value, but none for anything else. Its other value is just the same—I mean that of its having given me so much of the truth about you. I don’t therefore so much care what becomes of it now—unless perhaps you may yourself, when you come to think, have some good use for it. In that case,” Maggie wound up, “we can easily take the pieces with us to Fawns.”

Amerigo was at any rate having the sensation of a particular ugliness to avoid, a particular difficulty to count with, that practically found him as unprepared as if he had been, like his wife, an abjectly simple person. And she meanwhile, however abjectly simple, was further discerning, for herself, that, whatever he might have to take from her—she being, on her side, beautifully free—he would absolutely not be able, for any qualifying purpose, to name Charlotte either.

[Maggie and Prince] “Oh, I’m far from wanting it back—I feel so that I’m getting its worth.” With which, before he could reply, she had a quick transition. “The great fact about the day we’re talking of seems to me to have been, quite remarkably, that no present was then made me. If your undertaking had been for that, that was not at least what came of it.”
“You received then nothing at all?” The Prince looked vague and grave, almost retrospectively concerned.
“Nothing but an apology for empty hands and empty pockets; which was made me—as if it mattered a mite!—ever so frankly, ever so beautifully and touchingly.”

‘Beautiful’ – Golden Bowl / 35

March 25, 2013

Book TWO Part 5 Chapter 35

[‘Her’= Maggie] There was no one to help her with it—not even Fanny Assingham now; this good friend’s presence having become, inevitably, with that climax of their last interview in Portland Place, a severely simplified function. She had her use, oh yes, a thousand times; but it could only consist henceforth in her quite conspicuously touching at no point whatever—assuredly, at least with Maggie—the matter they had discussed. She was there, inordinately, as a value, but as a value only for the clear negation of everything. She was their general sign, precisely, of unimpaired beatitude—and she was to live up to that somewhat arduous character, poor thing, as she might. She might privately lapse from it, if she must, with Amerigo or with Charlotte—only not, of course, ever, so much as for the wink of an eye, with the master of the house.

[Merchant who sold bowl, Maggie.] That the partner of her bargain had yearned to see her again, that he had plainly jumped at a pretext for it, this also she had frankly expressed herself to the Prince as having, in no snubbing, no scandalised, but rather in a positively appreciative and indebted spirit, not delayed to make out. He had wished, ever so seriously, to return her a part of her money, and she had wholly declined to receive it; and then he had uttered his hope that she had not, at all events, already devoted the crystal cup to the beautiful purpose she had, so kindly and so fortunately, named to him. It wasn’t a thing for a present to a person she was fond of, for she wouldn’t wish to give a present that would bring ill luck. That had come to him—so that he couldn’t rest, and he should feel better now that he had told her. His having led her to act in ignorance was what he should have been ashamed of; and, if she would pardon, gracious lady as she was, all the liberties he had taken, she might make of the bowl any use in life but that one.

During those of Maggie’s vigils in which that view loomed largest, the image of her husband that it thus presented to her gave out a beauty for the revelation of which she struck herself as paying, if anything, all too little. To make sure of it—to make sure of the beauty shining out of the humility, and of the humility lurking in all the pride of his presence—she would have gone the length of paying more yet, of paying with difficulties and anxieties compared to which those actually before her might have been as superficial as headaches or rainy days.

‘Beautiful’ – Golden Bowl / 36

March 25, 2013

Book TWO Part 5 Chapter 36

[Maggie] Nothing in fact was stranger than the way in which, when she had remained there a little, her companions, watched by her through one of the windows, actually struck her as almost consciously and gratefully safer. They might have been—really charming as they showed in the beautiful room, and Charlotte certainly, as always, magnificently handsome and supremely distinguished—they might have been figures rehearsing some play of which she herself was the author; they might even, for the happy appearance they continued to present, have been such figures as would, by the strong note of character in each, fill any author with the certitude of success, especially of their own histrionic.

Such a glimpse of her conceivable idea, which would be founded on reasons all her own, reasons of experience and assurance, impenetrable to others, but intimately familiar to herself—such a glimpse opened out wide as soon as it had come into view; for if so much as this was still firm ground between the elder pair, if the beauty of appearances had been so consistently preserved, it was only the golden bowl as Maggie herself knew it that had been broken. The breakage stood not for any wrought discomposure among the triumphant three—it stood merely for the dire deformity of her attitude toward them.

Charlotte had marched straight in, dragging her rich train; she rose there beautiful and free, with her whole aspect and action attuned to the firmness of her speech. Maggie had kept the shawl she had taken out with her, and, clutching it tight in her nervousness, drew it round her as if huddling in it for shelter, covering herself with it for humility.

[Maggie] “You must take it from me that your anxiety rests quite on a misconception. You must take it from me that I’ve never at any moment fancied I could suffer by you.” And, marvellously, she kept it up—not only kept it up, but improved on it. “You must take it from me that I’ve never thought of you but as beautiful, wonderful and good. Which is all, I think, that you can possibly ask.”

‘Beautiful’ – Golden Bowl / 37

March 24, 2013

Book TWO Part 5 Chapter 37

[Adam, Maggie] It was positively as if, in short, the inward felicity of their being once more, perhaps only for half-an-hour, simply daughter and father had glimmered out for them, and they had picked up the pretext that would make it easiest. They were husband and wife—oh, so immensely!—as regards other persons; but after they had dropped again on their old bench, conscious that the party on the terrace, augmented, as in the past, by neighbours, would do beautifully without them, it was wonderfully like their having got together into some boat and paddled off from the shore where husbands and wives, luxuriant complications, made the air too tropical.

[Adam, Maggie]Her father listened to this declaration as if the precautions of her general mercy could still, as they betrayed themselves, have surprises for him—to say nothing of a charm of delicacy and beauty; he might have been wishing to see how far she could go and where she would, all touchingly to him, arrive.

[Adam, Maggie] “No, we’re not proud,” she answered after a moment. “I’m not sure that we’re quite proud enough.” Yet she changed the next instant that subject too. She could only do so, however, by harking back—as if it had been a fascination. She might have been wishing, under this renewed, this still more suggestive visitation, to keep him with her for remounting the stream of time and dipping again, for the softness of the water, into the contracted basin of the past. “We talked about it—we talked about it; you don’t remember so well as I. You too didn’t know—and it was beautiful of you; like Kitty and Dotty you too thought we had a position, and were surprised when I thought we ought to have told them we weren’t doing for them what they supposed. In fact,” Maggie pursued, “we’re not doing it now. We’re not, you see, really introducing them. I mean not to the people they want.”

“Well, you admitted”—Maggie kept it up—”that that was a good difficulty. You confessed that our life did seem to be beautiful.”
He thought a moment. “Yes—I may very well have confessed it, for so it did seem to me.” But he guarded himself with his dim, his easier smile. “What do you want to put on me now?”
“Only that we used to wonder—that we were wondering then—if our life wasn’t perhaps a little selfish.” This also for a time, much at his leisure, Adam Verver retrospectively fixed. “Because Fanny Assingham thought so?”

Besides, who but himself really knew what he, after all, hadn’t, or even had, gained? The beauty of her condition was keeping him, at any rate, as he might feel, in sight of the sea, where, though his personal dips were over, the whole thing could shine at him, and the air and the plash and the play become for him too a sensation.

[Maggie, Adam] With which, his glasses still fixed on her, his hands in his pockets, his hat pushed back, his legs a little apart, he seemed to plant or to square himself for a kind of assurance it had occurred to him he might as well treat her to, in default of other things, before they changed their subject. It had the effect, for her, of a reminder—a reminder of all he was, of all he had done, of all, above and beyond his being her perfect little father, she might take him as representing, take him as having, quite eminently, in the eyes of two hemispheres, been capable of, and as therefore wishing, not—was it?—illegitimately, to call her attention to. The “successful,” beneficent person, the beautiful, bountiful, original, dauntlessly wilful great citizen, the consummate collector and infallible high authority he had been and still was—these things struck her, on the spot, as making up for him, in a wonderful way, a character she must take into account in dealing with him either for pity or for envy.