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Chapter 10

To talk of it thus appeared at last a positive relief to him.
"Yes, there'll be others. But you'll see me through."

She hesitated. "Do you mean if you give in?"

"Oh no. Through my holding out."

Maggie waited again, but when she spoke it had an effect of
abruptness. "Why SHOULD you hold out forever?"

He gave, none the less, no start--and this as from the habit of
taking anything, taking everything, from her as harmonious. But
it was quite written upon him too, for that matter, that holding
out wouldn't be, so very completely, his natural, or at any rate
his acquired, form. His appearance would have testified that he
might have to do so a long time--for a man so greatly beset. This
appearance, that is, spoke but little, as yet, of short
remainders and simplified senses--and all in spite of his being a
small, spare, slightly stale person, deprived of the general
prerogative of presence. It was not by mass or weight or vulgar
immediate quantity that he would in the future, any more than he
had done in the past, insist or resist or prevail. There was even
something in him that made his position, on any occasion, made
his relation to any scene or to any group, a matter of the back
of the stage, of an almost visibly conscious want of affinity
with the footlights. He would have figured less than anything the
stage-manager or the author of the play, who most occupy the
foreground; he might be, at the best, the financial "backer,"
watching his interests from the wing, but in rather confessed
ignorance of the mysteries of mimicry. Barely taller than his
daughter, he pressed at no point on the presumed propriety of his
greater stoutness. He had lost early in life much of his crisp,
closely-curling hair, the fineness of which was repeated in a
small neat beard, too compact to be called "full," though worn
equally, as for a mark where other marks were wanting, on lip and
cheek and chin. His neat, colourless face, provided with the
merely indispensable features, suggested immediately, for a
description, that it was CLEAR, and in this manner somewhat
resembled a small decent room, clean-swept and unencumbered with
furniture, but drawing a particular advantage, as might presently
be noted, from the outlook of a pair of ample and uncurtained
windows. There was something in Adam Verver's eyes that both
admitted the morning and the evening in unusual quantities and
gave the modest area the outward extension of a view that was
"big" even when restricted to stars. Deeply and changeably blue,
though not romantically large, they were yet youthfully, almost
strangely beautiful, with their ambiguity of your scarce knowing
if they most carried their possessor's vision out or most opened
themselves to your own. Whatever you might feel, they stamped the
place with their importance, as the house-agents say; so that, on
one side or the other, you were never out of their range, were
moving about, for possible community, opportunity, the sight of
you scarce knew what, either before them or behind them. If other
importances, not to extend the question, kept themselves down,
they were in no direction less obtruded than in that of our
friend's dress, adopted once for all as with a sort of sumptuary
scruple. He wore every day of the year, whatever the occasion,
the same little black "cut away" coat, of the fashion of his
younger time; he wore the same cool-looking trousers, chequered
in black and white--the proper harmony with which, he
inveterately considered, was a sprigged blue satin necktie; and,
over his concave little stomach, quaintly indifferent to climates
and seasons, a white duck waistcoat. "Should you really," he now
asked, "like me to marry?" He spoke as if, coming from his
daughter herself, it MIGHT be an idea; which, for that matter, he
would be ready to carry out should she definitely say so.

Definite, however, just yet, she was not prepared to be, though
it seemed to come to her with force, as she thought, that there
was a truth, in the connection, to utter. "What I feel is that
there is somehow something that used to be right and that I've
made wrong. It used to be right that you hadn't married, and that
you didn't seem to want to. It used also"--she continued to make
out "to seem easy for the question not to come up. That's what
I've made different. It does come up. It WILL come up."

"You don't think I can keep it down?" Mr. Verver's tone was
cheerfully pensive.

"Well, I've given you, by MY move, all the trouble of having to."

He liked the tenderness of her idea, and it made him, as she sat
near him, pass his arm about her. "I guess I don't feel as if you
had 'moved' very far. You've only moved next door."

"Well," she continued, "I don't feel as if it were fair for me
just to have given you a push and left you so. If I've made the
difference for you, I must think of the difference."

"Then what, darling," he indulgently asked, "DO you think?"

"That's just what I don't yet know. But I must find out. We must
think together--as we've always thought. What I mean," she went
on after a moment, "is that it strikes me that I ought to at
least offer you some alternative. I ought to have worked one out
for you."

"An alternative to what?"

"Well, to your simply missing what you've lost--without anything
being done about it."

"But what HAVE I lost?"

She thought a minute, as if it were difficult to say, yet as if
she more and more saw it. "Well, whatever it was that, BEFORE,
kept us from thinking, and kept you, really, as you might say, in
the market. It was as if you couldn't be in the market when you
were married to me. Or rather as if I kept people off,
innocently, by being married to you. Now that I'm married to some
one else you're, as in consequence, married to nobody. Therefore
you may be married to anybody, to everybody. People don't see why
you shouldn't be married to THEM."

"Isn't it enough of a reason," he mildly inquired, "that I don't
want to be?"

"It's enough of a reason, yes. But to BE enough of a reason it
has to be too much of a trouble. I mean FOR you. It has to be too
much of a fight. You ask me what you've lost," Maggie continued
to explain. "The not having to take the trouble and to make the
fight--that's what you've lost. The advantage, the happiness of
being just as you were--because I was just as _I_ was--that's
what you miss."

"So that you think," her father presently said, "that I had
better get married just in order to be as I was before?"

The detached tone of it--detached as if innocently to amuse her
by showing his desire to accommodate--was so far successful as to
draw from her gravity a short, light laugh. "Well, what I don't
want you to feel is that if you were to I shouldn't understand. I
SHOULD understand. That's all," said the Princess gently.

Her companion turned it pleasantly over. "You don't go so far as
to wish me to take somebody I don't like?"

"Ah, father," she sighed, "you know how far I go--how far I COULD
go. But I only wish that if you ever SHOULD like anybody, you may
never doubt of my feeling how I've brought you to it. You'll
always know that I know that it's my fault."

"You mean," he went on in his contemplative way, "that it will be
you who'll take the consequences?"

Maggie just considered. "I'll leave you all the good ones, but
I'll take the bad."

"Well, that's handsome." He emphasised his sense of it by drawing
her closer and holding her more tenderly. "It's about all I could
expect of you. So far as you've wronged me, therefore, we'll call
it square. I'll let you know in time if I see a prospect of your
having to take it up. But am I to understand meanwhile," he soon
went on, "that, ready as you are to see me through my collapse,
you're not ready, or not AS ready, to see me through my
resistance? I've got to be a regular martyr before you'll be
inspired?"

She demurred at his way of putting it. "Why, if you like it, you
know, it won't BE a collapse."

"Then why talk about seeing me through at all? I shall only
collapse if I do like it. But what I seem to feel is that I don't
WANT to like it. That is," he amended, "unless I feel surer I do
than appears very probable. I don't want to have to THINK I like
it in a case when I really shan't. I've had to do that in some
cases," he confessed--"when it has been a question of other
things. I don't want," he wound up, "to be MADE to make a
mistake."

"Ah, but it's too dreadful," she returned, "that you should even
have to FEAR--or just nervously to dream--that you may be. What
does that show, after all," she asked, "but that you do really,
well within, feel a want? What does it show but that you're truly

susceptible?"

"Well, it may show that"--he defended himself against nothing.
"But it shows also, I think, that charming women are, in the kind
of life we're leading now, numerous and formidable."

Maggie entertained for a moment the proposition; under cover of
which, however, she passed quickly from the general to the
particular. "Do you feel Mrs. Rance to be charming?"

"Well, I feel her to be formidable. When they cast a spell it
comes to the same thing. I think she'd do anything."

"Oh well, I'd help you," the Princess said with decision, "as
against HER--if that's all you require. It's too funny," she went
on before he again spoke, "that Mrs. Rance should be here at all.
But if you talk of the life we lead, much of it is, altogether,
I'm bound to say, too funny. The thing is," Maggie developed
under this impression, "that I don't think we lead, as regards
other people, any life at all. We don't at any rate, it seems to
me, lead half the life we might. And so it seems, I think, to
Amerigo. So it seems also, I'm sure, to Fanny Assingham."

Mr. Verver-as if from due regard for these persons--considered a
little. "What life would they like us to lead?"

"Oh, it's not a question, I think, on which they quite feel
together. SHE thinks, dear Fanny, that we ought to be greater."

"Greater--?" He echoed it vaguely. "And Amerigo too, you say?"

"Ah yes"-her reply was prompt "but Amerigo doesn't mind. He
doesn't care, I mean, what we do. It's for us, he considers, to
see things exactly as we wish. Fanny herself," Maggie pursued,
"thinks he's magnificent. Magnificent, I mean, for taking
everything as it is, for accepting the 'social limitations' of
our life, for not missing what we don't give him."

Mr. Verver attended. "Then if he doesn't miss it his magnificence
is easy."

"It IS easy-that's exactly what I think. If there were things he
DID miss, and if in spite of them he were always sweet, then, no
doubt, he would be a more or less unappreciated hero. He COULD be
a Hero--he WILL be one if it's ever necessary. But it will be
about something better than our dreariness. _I_ know," the
Princess declared, "where he's magnificent." And she rested a
minute on that. She ended, however, as she had begun. "We're not,
all the same, committed to anything stupid. If we ought to be
grander, as Fanny thinks, we CAN be grander. There's nothing to
prevent."

"Is it a strict moral obligation?" Adam Verver inquired.

"No--it's for the amusement."

"For whose? For Fanny's own?"

"For everyone's--though I dare say Fanny's would be a large
part." She hesitated; she had now, it might have appeared,
something more to bring out, which she finally produced. "For
yours in particular, say--if you go into the question." She even
bravely followed it up. "I haven't really, after all, had to
think much to see that much more can be done for you than is
done."

Mr. Verver uttered an odd vague sound. "Don't you think a good
deal is done when you come out and talk to me this way?"

"Ah," said his daughter, smiling at him, "we make too much of
that!" And then to explain: "That's good, and it's natural--but
it isn't great. We forget that we're as free as air."

"Well, THAT'S great," Mr. Verver pleaded. "Great if we act on it.
Not if we don't."

She continued to smile, and he took her smile; wondering again a
little by this time, however; struck more and more by an
intensity in it that belied a light tone. "What do you want," he
demanded, "to do to me?" And he added, as she didn't say: "You've
got something in your mind." It had come to him within the minute
that from the beginning of their session there she had been
keeping something back, and that an impression of this had more
than once, in spite of his general theoretic respect for her
present right to personal reserves and mysteries, almost ceased
to be vague in him. There had been from the first something in
her anxious eyes, in the way she occasionally lost herself, that
it would perfectly explain. He was therefore now quite sure.

"You've got something up your sleeve."

She had a silence that made him right. "Well, when I tell you
you'll understand. It's only up my sleeve in the sense of being
in a letter I got this morning. All day, yes--it HAS been in my
mind. I've been asking myself if it were quite the right moment,
or in any way fair, to ask you if you could stand just now
another woman."

It relieved him a little, yet the beautiful consideration of her
manner made it in a degree portentous. "Stand" one--?"

"Well, mind her coming."

He stared--then he laughed. It depends on who she is."

"There--you see! I've at all events been thinking whether you'd
take this particular person but as a worry the more. Whether,
that is, you'd go so far with her in your notion of having to be
kind."

He gave at this the quickest shake to his foot. How far would she
go in HER notion of it.

"Well," his daughter returned, "you know how far, in a general
way, Charlotte Stant goes."

"Charlotte? Is SHE coming?"

"She writes me, practically, that she'd like to if we're so good
as to ask her."

Mr. Verver continued to gaze, but rather as if waiting for more.
Then, as everything appeared to have come, his expression had a
drop. If this was all it was simple. "Then why in the world not?"

Maggie's face lighted anew, but it was now another light. "It
isn't a want of tact?"

"To ask her?"

"To propose it to you."

"That _I_ should ask her?"

He put the question as an effect of his remnant of vagueness, but
this had also its own effect. Maggie wondered an instant; after
which, as with a flush of recognition, she took it up. "It would
be too beautiful if you WOULD!"

This, clearly, had not been her first idea--the chance of his
words had prompted it. "Do you mean write to her myself?"

"Yes--it would be kind. It would be quite beautiful of you. That
is, of course," said Maggie, "if you sincerely CAN."

He appeared to wonder an instant why he sincerely shouldn't, and
indeed, for that matter, where the question of sincerity came in.
This virtue, between him and his daughter's friend, had surely
been taken for granted. "My dear child," he returned, "I don't
think I'm afraid of Charlotte."

"Well, that's just what it's lovely to have from you. From the
moment you're NOT--the least little bit--I'll immediately invite
her."

"But where in the world is she?" He spoke as if he had not
thought of Charlotte, nor so much as heard her name pronounced,
for a very long time. He quite in fact amicably, almost amusedly,
woke up to her.

"She's in Brittany, at a little bathing-place, with some people I
don't know. She's always with people, poor dear--she rather has
to be; even when, as is sometimes the case; they're people she
doesn't immensely like."

"Well, I guess she likes US," said Adam Verver. "Yes--fortunately
she likes us. And if I wasn't afraid of spoiling it for you,"
Maggie added, "I'd even mention that you're not the one of our
number she likes least."

"Why should that spoil it for me?"

"Oh, my dear, you know. What else have we been talking about? It
costs you so much to be liked. That's why I hesitated to tell you
of my letter."

He stared a moment--as if the subject had suddenly grown out of
recognition. "But Charlotte--on other visits--never used to cost
me anything."

"No--only her 'keep,'" Maggie smiled.

"Then I don't think I mind her keep--if that's all." The
Princess, however, it was clear, wished to be thoroughly
conscientious. "Well, it may not be quite all. If I think of its
being pleasant to have her, it's because she WILL make a
difference."

"Well, what's the harm in that if it's but a difference for the
better?"

"Ah then--there you are!" And the Princess showed in her smile
her small triumphant wisdom. "If you acknowledge a possible
difference for the better we're not, after all, so tremendously
right as we are. I mean we're not--as satisfied and amused. We do
see there are ways of being grander."

"But will Charlotte Stant," her father asked with surprise, "make
us grander?"

Maggie, on this, looking at him well, had a remarkable reply.
"Yes, I think. Really grander."

He thought; for if this was a sudden opening he wished but the
more to meet it. "Because she's so handsome?"

"No, father." And the Princess was almost solemn. "Because she's
so great."

"Great--?"

"Great in nature, in character, in spirit. Great in life."

"So?" Mr. Verver echoed. "What has she done--in life?"

"Well, she has been brave and bright," said Maggie. "That mayn't
sound like much, but she has been so in the face of things that
might well have made it too difficult for many other girls. She
hasn't a creature in the world really--that is nearly--belonging
to her. Only acquaintances who, in all sorts of ways, make use of
her, and distant relations who are so afraid she'll make use of
THEM that they seldom let her look at them."

Mr. Verver was struck--and, as usual, to some purpose. "If we get
her here to improve us don't we too then make use of her?"

It pulled the Princess up, however, but an instant. "We're old,
old friends--we do her good too. I should always, even at the
worst--speaking for myself--admire her still more than I used
her."

"I see. That always does good."

Maggie hesitated. "Certainly--she knows it. She knows, I mean,
how great I think her courage and her cleverness. She's not
afraid--not of anything; and yet she no more ever takes a liberty
with you than if she trembled for her life. And then she's
INTERESTING--which plenty of other people with plenty of other
merits never are a bit." In which fine flicker of vision
the truth widened to the Princess's view. "I myself of course
don't take liberties, but then I do, always, by nature, tremble
for my life. That's the way I live."

"Oh I say, love!" her father vaguely murmured.

"Yes, I live in terror," she insisted. "I'm a small creeping
thing."

"You'll not persuade me that you're not as good as Charlotte
Stant," he still placidly enough remarked.

"I may be as good, but I'm not so great--and that's what we're
talking about. She has a great imagination. She has, in every
way, a great attitude. She has above all a great conscience."
More perhaps than ever in her life before Maggie addressed her
father at this moment with a shade of the absolute in her tone.
She had never come so near telling him what he should take it
from her to believe. "She has only twopence in the world--but
that has nothing to do with it. Or rather indeed"--she quickly
corrected herself--"it has everything. For she doesn't care. I
never saw her do anything but laugh at her poverty. Her life has
been harder than anyone knows."

It was moreover as if, thus unprecedentedly positive, his child
had an effect upon him that Mr. Verver really felt as a new
thing. "Why then haven't you told me about her before?"

"Well, haven't we always known--?"

"I should have thought," he submitted, "that we had already
pretty well sized her up."

"Certainly--we long ago quite took her for granted. But things
change, with time, and I seem to know that, after this interval,
I'm going to like her better than ever. I've lived more myself,
I'm older, and one judges better. Yes, I'm going to see in
Charlotte," said the Princess--and speaking now as with high and
free expectation--"more than I've ever seen."

"Then I'll try to do so too. She WAS"--it came back to Mr. Verver
more--"the one of your friends I thought the best for you."

His companion, however, was so launched in her permitted liberty
of appreciation that she for the moment scarce heard him. She was
lost in the case she made out, the vision of the different ways
in which Charlotte had distinguished herself.

"She would have liked for instance--I'm sure she would have liked
extremely--to marry; and nothing in general is more ridiculous,
even when it has been pathetic, than a woman who has tried and
has not been able."

It had all Mr. Verver's attention. "She has 'tried'--?"

"She has seen cases where she would have liked to."

"But she has not been able?"

"Well, there are more cases, in Europe, in which it doesn't come
to girls who are poor than in which it does come to them.
Especially," said Maggie with her continued competence, "when
they're Americans."

Well, her father now met her, and met her cheerfully, on all
sides. "Unless you mean," he suggested, "that when the girls are
American there are more cases in which it comes to the rich than
to the poor."

She looked at him good-humouredly. "That may be--but I'm not
going to be smothered in MY case. It ought to make me--if I were
in danger of being a fool--all the nicer to people like
Charlotte. It's not hard for ME," she practically explained, "not
to be ridiculous--unless in a very different way. I might easily
be ridiculous, I suppose, by behaving as if I thought I had done
a great thing. Charlotte, at any rate, has done nothing, and
anyone can see it, and see also that it's rather strange; and yet
no one--no one not awfully presumptuous or offensive would like,
or would dare, to treat her, just as she is, as anything but
quite RIGHT. That's what it is to have something about you that
carries things off."

Mr. Verver's silence, on this, could only be a sign that she had
caused her story to interest him; though the sign when he spoke
was perhaps even sharper. "And is it also what you mean by
Charlotte's being 'great'?"

"Well," said Maggie, "it's one of her ways. But she has many."

Again for a little her father considered. "And who is it she has
tried to marry?"

Maggie, on her side as well, waited as if to bring it out with
effect; but she after a minute either renounced or encountered an
obstacle. "I'm afraid I'm not sure."

"Then how do you know?"

"Well, I don't KNOW"--and, qualifying again, she was earnestly
emphatic. "I only make it out for myself."

"But you must make it out about someone in particular."

She had another pause. "I don't think I want even for myself to
put names and times, to pull away any veil. I've an idea there
has been, more than once, somebody I'm not acquainted with--and
needn't be or want to be. In any case it's all over, and, beyond
giving her credit for everything, it's none of my business."

Mr. Verver deferred, yet he discriminated. "I don't see how you
can give credit without knowing the facts."

"Can't I give it--generally--for dignity? Dignity, I mean, in
misfortune."

"You've got to postulate the misfortune first."

"Well," said Maggie, "I can do that. Isn't it always a misfortune
to be--when you're so fine--so wasted? And yet," she went on,
"not to wail about it, not to look even as if you knew it?"

Mr. Verver seemed at first to face this as a large question, and
then, after a little, solicited by another view, to let the
appeal drop. "Well, she mustn't be wasted. We won't at least have
waste."

It produced in Maggie's face another gratitude. "Then, dear sir,
that's all I want."

And it would apparently have settled their question and ended
their talk if her father had not, after a little, shown the
disposition to revert. "How many times are you supposing that she
has tried?"

Once more, at this, and as if she hadn't been, couldn't be, hated
to be, in such delicate matters, literal, she was moved to
attenuate. "Oh, I don't say she absolutely ever TRIED--!"

He looked perplexed. "But if she has so absolutely failed, what
then had she done?"

"She has suffered--she has done that." And the Princess added:
"She has loved--and she has lost."

Mr. Verver, however, still wondered. "But how many times."

Maggie hesitated, but it cleared up. "Once is enough. Enough,
that is, for one to be kind to her."

Her father listened, yet not challenging--only as with a need of
some basis on which, under these new lights, his bounty could be
firm. "But has she told you nothing?"

"Ah, thank goodness, no!"

He stared. "Then don't young women tell?"

"Because, you mean, it's just what they're supposed to do?" She
looked at him, flushed again now; with which, after another
hesitation, "Do young men tell?" she asked.

He gave a short laugh. "How do I know, my dear, what young men
do?"

"Then how do _I_ know, father, what vulgar girls do?"

"I see--I see," he quickly returned.

But she spoke the next moment as if she might, odiously, have
been sharp. "What happens at least is that where there's a great
deal of pride there's a great deal of silence. I don't know, I
admit, what _I_ should do if I were lonely and sore--for what
sorrow, to speak of, have I ever had in my life? I don't know
even if I'm proud--it seems to me the question has never come up
for me."

"Oh, I guess you're proud, Mag," her father cheerfully
interposed. "I mean I guess you're proud enough."

"Well then, I hope I'm humble enough too. I might, at all events,
for all I know, be abject under a blow. How can I tell? Do you
realise, father, that I've never had the least blow?"

He gave her a long, quiet look. "Who SHOULD realise if I don't?"

"Well, you'll realise when I HAVE one!" she exclaimed with a
short laugh that resembled, as for good reasons, his own of a
minute before. "I wouldn't in any case have let her tell me what
would have been dreadful to me. For such wounds and shames are
dreadful: at least," she added, catching herself up, "I suppose
they are; for what, as I say, do I know of them? I don't WANT to
know!"--she spoke quite with vehemence. "There are things that
are sacred whether they're joys or pains. But one can always, for
safety, be kind," she kept on; "one feels when that's right."

She had got up with these last words; she stood there before him
with that particular suggestion in her aspect to which even the
long habit of their life together had not closed his sense, kept
sharp, year after year, by the collation of types and signs, the
comparison of fine object with fine object, of one degree of
finish, of one form of the exquisite with another--the appearance
of some slight, slim draped "antique" of Vatican or Capitoline
halls, late and refined, rare as a note and immortal as a link,
set in motion by the miraculous infusion of a modern impulse and
yet, for all the sudden freedom of folds and footsteps forsaken
after centuries by their pedestal, keeping still the quality, the
perfect felicity, of the statue; the blurred, absent eyes, the
smoothed, elegant, nameless head, the impersonal flit of a
creature lost in an alien age and passing as an image in worn
relief round and round a precious vase. She had always had odd
moments of striking him, daughter of his very own though she was,
as a figure thus simplified, "generalised" in its grace, a figure
with which his human connection was fairly interrupted by some
vague analogy of turn and attitude, something shyly mythological
and nymphlike. The trick, he was not uncomplacently aware, was
mainly of his own mind; it came from his caring for precious
vases only less than for precious daughters. And what was more to
the point still, it often operated while he was quite at the same
time conscious that Maggie had been described, even in her
prettiness, as "prim"--Mrs. Rance herself had enthusiastically
used the word of her; while he remembered that when once she had
been told before him, familiarly, that she resembled a nun, she
had replied that she was delighted to hear it and would certainly
try to; while also, finally, it was present to him that,
discreetly heedless, thanks to her long association with
nobleness in art, to the leaps and bounds of fashion, she brought
her hair down very straight and flat over her temples, in the
constant manner of her mother, who had not been a bit
mythological. Nymphs and nuns were certainly separate types, but
Mr. Verver, when he really amused himself, let consistency go.
The play of vision was at all events so rooted in him that he
could receive impressions of sense even while positively
thinking. He was positively thinking while Maggie stood there,
and it led for him to yet another question--which in its turn led
to others still. "Do you regard the condition as hers then that
you spoke of a minute ago?"

"The condition--?"

"Why that of having loved so intensely that she's, as you say,
'beyond everything'?"

Maggie had scarcely to reflect--her answer was so prompt. "Oh no.
She's beyond nothing. For she has had nothing."

"I see. You must have had things to be them. It's a kind of law
of perspective."

Maggie didn't know about the law, but she continued definite.
"She's not, for example, beyond help."

"Oh well then, she shall have all we can give her. I'll write to
her," he said, "with pleasure."

"Angel!" she answered as she gaily and tenderly looked at him.

True as this might be, however, there was one thing more--he was
an angel with a human curiosity. "Has she told you she likes me
much?"

"Certainly she has told me--but I won't pamper you. Let it be
enough for you it has always been one of my reasons for liking
HER."

"Then she's indeed not beyond everything," Mr. Verver more or
less humorously observed.

"Oh it isn't, thank goodness, that she's in love with you. It's
not, as I told you at first, the sort of thing for you to fear."

He had spoken with cheer, but it appeared to drop before this
reassurance, as if the latter overdid his alarm, and that should
be corrected. "Oh, my dear, I've always thought of her as a
little girl."

"Ah, she's not a little girl," said the Princess.

"Then I'll write to her as a brilliant woman."

"It's exactly what she is."

Mr. Verver had got up as he spoke, and for a little, before
retracing their steps, they stood looking at each other as if
they had really arranged something. They had come out together
for themselves, but it had produced something more. What it had
produced was in fact expressed by the words with which he met his
companion's last emphasis. "Well, she has a famous friend in you,
Princess."

Maggie took this in--it was too plain for a protest. "Do you know
what I'm really thinking of?" she asked.

He wondered, with her eyes on him--eyes of contentment at her
freedom now to talk; and he wasn't such a fool, he presently
showed, as not, suddenly, to arrive at it. "Why, of your finding
her at last yourself a husband."

"Good for YOU!" Maggie smiled. "But it will take," she added,
"some looking."

"Then let me look right here with you," her father said as they
walked on.

Henry James

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