‘Beautiful’ – Golden Bowl / 31

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.”

%d bloggers like this: