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Chapter 12

The summer arrived and the dense air of the Paris theatres became in
fact a still more complicated mixture; yet the occasions were not few on
which Sherringham, having placed a box near the stage (most often a
stuffy, dusky _baignoire_) at the disposal of Mrs. Rooth and her
daughter, found time just to look in, as he said, to spend a part of the
evening with them and point the moral of the performance. The pieces,
the successes of the winter, had entered the automatic phase: they went
on by the force of the impetus acquired, deriving little fresh life from
the interpretation, and in ordinary conditions their strong points, as
rendered by the actors, would have been as wearisome to this student as
an importunate repetition of a good story. But it was not long before he
became aware that the conditions couldn't be taken for ordinary. There
was a new infusion in his consciousness--an element in his life which
altered the relations of things. He was not easy till he had found the
right name for it--a name the more satisfactory that it was simple,
comprehensive, and plausible. A new "distraction," in the French sense,
was what he flattered himself he had discovered; he could recognise that
as freely as possible without being obliged to classify the agreeable
resource as a new entanglement. He was neither too much nor too little
diverted; he had all his usual attention to give to his work: he had
only an employment for his odd hours which, without being imperative,
had over various others the advantage of a certain continuity.

And yet, I hasten to add, he was not so well pleased with it but that
among his friends he maintained for the present a rich reserve about it.
He had no irresistible impulse to describe generally how he had
disinterred a strange, handsome girl whom he was bringing up for the
theatre. She had been seen by several of his associates at his rooms,
but was not soon to be seen there again. His reserve might by the
ill-natured have been termed dissimulation, inasmuch as when asked by
the ladies of the embassy what had become of the young person who had
amused them that day so cleverly he gave it out that her whereabouts was
uncertain and her destiny probably obscure; he let it be supposed in a
word that his benevolence had scarcely survived an accidental, a
charitable occasion. As he went about his customary business, and
perhaps even put a little more conscience into the transaction of it,
there was nothing to suggest to others that he was engaged in a private
speculation of an absorbing kind. It was perhaps his weakness that he
carried the apprehension of ridicule too far; but his excuse may have
dwelt in his holding it unpardonable for a man publicly enrolled in the
service of his country to be markedly ridiculous. It was of course not
out of all order that such functionaries, their private situation
permitting, should enjoy a personal acquaintance with stars of the
dramatic, the lyric, or even the choregraphic stage: high diplomatists
had indeed not rarely, and not invisibly, cultivated this privilege
without its proving the sepulchre of their reputation. That a gentleman
who was not a fool should consent a little to become one for the sake of
a celebrated actress or singer--_cela s'était vu_, though it was not
perhaps to be recommended. It was not a tendency that was encouraged at
headquarters, where even the most rising young men were not incited to
believe they could never fall. Still, it might pass if kept in its
place; and there were ancient worthies yet in the profession--though not
those whom the tradition had helped to go furthest--who held that
something of the sort was a graceful ornament of the diplomatic
character. Sherringham was aware he was very "rising"; but Miriam Rooth
was not yet a celebrated actress. She was only a young artist in
conscientious process of formation and encumbered with a mother still
more conscientious than herself. She was a _jeune Anglaise_--a "lady"
withal--very earnest about artistic, about remunerative problems. He had
accepted the office of a formative influence; and that was precisely
what might provoke derision. He was a ministering angel--his patience
and good nature really entitled him to the epithet and his rewards would
doubtless some day define themselves; but meanwhile other promotions
were in precarious prospect, for the failure of which these would not
even in their abundance, be a compensation. He kept an unembarrassed eye
on Downing Street, and while it may frankly be said for him that he was
neither a pedant nor a prig he remembered that the last impression he
ought to wish to produce there was that of a futile estheticism.

He felt the case sufficiently important, however, when he sat behind
Miriam at the play and looked over her shoulder at the stage; her
observation being so keen and her comments so unexpected in their
vivacity that his curiosity was refreshed and his attention stretched
beyond its wont. If the exhibition before the footlights had now lost
much of its annual brilliancy the fashion in which she followed it was
perhaps exhibition enough. The attendance of the little party was,
moreover, in most cases at the Théâtre Français; and it has been
sufficiently indicated that our friend, though the child of a sceptical
age and the votary of a cynical science, was still candid enough to take
the serious, the religious view of that establishment the view of M.
Sarcey and of the unregenerate provincial mind. "In the trade I follow
we see things too much in the hard light of reason, of calculation," he
once remarked to his young charge; "but it's good for the mind to keep
up a superstition or two; it leaves a margin--like having a second horse
to your brougham for night-work. The arts, the amusements, the esthetic
part of life, are night-work, if I may say so without suggesting that
they're illicit. At any rate you want your second horse--your
superstition that stays at home when the sun's high--to go your rounds
with. The Français is my second horse."

Miriam's appetite for this interest showed him vividly enough how rarely
in the past it had been within her reach; and she pleased him at first
by liking everything, seeing almost no differences and taking her deep
draught undiluted. She leaned on the edge of the box with bright
voracity; tasting to the core, yet relishing the surface, watching each
movement of each actor, attending to the way each thing was said or done
as if it were the most important thing, and emitting from time to time
applausive or restrictive sounds. It was a charming show of the critical
spirit in ecstasy. Sherringham had his wonder about it, as a part of the
attraction exerted by this young lady was that she caused him to have
his wonder about everything she did. Was it in fact a conscious show, a
line taken for effect, so that at the Comédie her own display should be
the most successful of all? That question danced attendance on the
liberal intercourse of these young people and fortunately as yet did
little to embitter Sherringham's share of it. His general sense that she
was personating had its especial moments of suspense and perplexity, and
added variety and even occasionally a degree of excitement to their
commerce. At the theatre, for the most part, she was really flushed with
eagerness; and with the spectators who turned an admiring eye into the
dim compartment of which she pervaded the front she might have passed
for a romantic or at least an insatiable young woman from the country.

Mrs. Rooth took a more general view, but attended immensely to the
story, in respect to which she manifested a patient good faith which had
its surprises and its comicalities for her daughter's patron. She found
no play too tedious, no _entr'acte_ too long, no _baignoire_ too hot, no
tissue of incidents too complicated, no situation too unnatural and no
sentiments too sublime. She gave him the measure of her power to sit and
sit--an accomplishment to which she owed in the struggle for existence
such superiority as she might be said to have achieved. She could
out-sit everybody and everything; looking as if she had acquired the
practice in repeated years of small frugality combined with large
leisure--periods when she had nothing but hours and days and years to
spend and had learned to calculate in any situation how long she could
stay. "Staying" was so often a saving--a saving of candles, of fire and
even (as it sometimes implied a scheme for stray refection) of food.
Peter saw soon enough how bravely her shreds and patches of gentility
and equanimity hung together, with the aid of whatever casual pins and
other makeshifts, and if he had been addicted to studying the human
mixture in its different combinations would have found in her an
interesting compendium of some of the infatuations that survive a hard
discipline. He made indeed without difficulty the reflexion that her
life might have taught her something of the real, at the same time that
he could scarce help thinking it clever of her to have so persistently
declined the lesson. She appeared to have put it by with a deprecating,
ladylike smile--a plea of being too soft and bland for experience.

She took the refined, sentimental, tender view of the universe,
beginning with her own history and feelings. She believed in everything
high and pure, disinterested and orthodox, and even at the Hôtel de la
Garonne was unconscious of the shabby or the ugly side of the world. She
never despaired: otherwise what would have been the use of being a
Neville-Nugent? Only not to have been one--that would have been
discouraging. She delighted in novels, poems, perversions,
misrepresentations, and evasions, and had a capacity for smooth,
superfluous falsification which made our young man think her sometimes
an amusing and sometimes a tedious inventor. But she wasn't dangerous
even if you believed her; she wasn't even a warning if you didn't. It
was harsh to call her a hypocrite, since you never could have resolved
her back into her character, there being no reverse at all to her
blazonry. She built in the air and was not less amiable than she
pretended, only that was a pretension too. She moved altogether in a
world of elegant fable and fancy, and Sherringham had to live there with
her for Miriam's sake, live there in sociable, vulgar assent and despite
his feeling it rather a low neighbourhood. He was at a loss how to take
what she said--she talked sweetly and discursively of so many
things--till he simply noted that he could only take it always for
untrue. When Miriam laughed at her he was rather disagreeably affected:
"dear mamma's fine stories" was a sufficiently cynical reference to the
immemorial infirmity of a parent. But when the girl backed her up, as
he phrased it to himself, he liked that even less.

Mrs. Rooth was very fond of a moral and had never lost her taste for
edification. She delighted in a beautiful character and was gratified to
find so many more than she had supposed represented in the contemporary
French drama. She never failed to direct Miriam's attention to them and
to remind her that there is nothing in life so grand as a sublime act,
above all when sublimely explained. Peter made much of the difference
between the mother and the daughter, thinking it singularly marked--the
way one took everything for the sense, or behaved as if she did, caring
only for the plot and the romance, the triumph or defeat of virtue and
the moral comfort of it all, and the way the other was alive but to the
manner and the art of it, the intensity of truth to appearances. Mrs.
Rooth abounded in impressive evocations, and yet he saw no link between
her facile genius and that of which Miriam gave symptoms. The poor lady
never could have been accused of successful deceit, whereas the triumph
of fraud was exactly what her clever child achieved. She made even the
true seem fictive, while Miriam's effort was to make the fictive true.
Sherringham thought it an odd unpromising stock (that of the
Neville-Nugents) for a dramatic talent to have sprung from, till he
reflected that the evolution was after all natural: the figurative
impulse in the mother had become conscious, and therefore higher,
through finding an aim, which was beauty, in the daughter. Likely enough
the Hebraic Mr. Rooth, with his love of old pots and Christian
altar-cloths, had supplied in the girl's composition the esthetic
element, the sense of colour and form. In their visits to the theatre
there was nothing Mrs. Rooth more insisted on than the unprofitableness
of deceit, as shown by the most distinguished authors--the folly and
degradation, the corrosive effect on the spirit, of tortuous ways. Their
companion soon gave up the futile task of piecing together her
incongruous references to her early life and her family in England. He
renounced even the doctrine that there was a residuum of truth in her
claim of great relationships, since, existent or not, he cared equally
little for her ramifications. The principle of this indifference was at
bottom a certain desire to disconnect and isolate Miriam; for it was
disagreeable not to be independent in dealing with her, and he could be
fully so only if she herself were.

The early weeks of that summer--they went on indeed into August--were
destined to establish themselves in his memory as a season of pleasant
things. The ambassador went away and Peter had to wait for his own
holiday, which he did during the hot days contentedly enough--waited in
spacious halls and a vast, dim, bird-haunted garden. The official world
and most other worlds withdrew from Paris, and the Place de la Concorde,
a larger, whiter desert than ever, became by a reversal of custom
explorable with safety. The Champs Elysées were dusty and rural, with
little creaking booths and exhibitions that made a noise like
grasshoppers; the Arc de Triomphe threw its cool, thick shadow for a
mile; the Palais de l'Industrie glittered in the light of the long days;
the cabmen, in their red waistcoats, dozed inside their boxes, while
Sherringham permitted himself a "pot" hat and rarely met a friend. Thus
was Miriam as islanded as the chained Andromeda, and thus was it
possible to deal with her, even Perseus-like, in deep detachment. The
theatres on the boulevard closed for the most part, but the great temple
of the Rue de Richelieu, with an esthetic responsibility, continued
imperturbably to dispense examples of style. Madame Carré was going to
Vichy, but had not yet taken flight, which was a great advantage for
Miriam, who could now solicit her attention with the consciousness that
she had no engagements _en ville_.

"I make her listen to me--I make her tell me," said the ardent girl, who
was always climbing the slope of the Rue de Constantinople on the shady
side, where of July mornings a smell of violets came from the moist
flower-stands of fat, white-capped _bouquetières_ in the angles of
doorways. Miriam liked the Paris of the summer mornings, the clever
freshness of all the little trades and the open-air life, the cries, the
talk from door to door, which reminded her of the south, where, in the
multiplicity of her habitations, she had lived; and most of all, the
great amusement, or nearly, of her walk, the enviable baskets of the
laundress piled up with frilled and fluted whiteness--the certain
luxury, she felt while she passed with quick prevision, of her own dawn
of glory. The greatest amusement perhaps was to recognise the pretty
sentiment of earliness, the particular congruity with the hour, in the
studied, selected dress of the little tripping women who were taking the
day, for important advantages, while it was tender. At any rate she
mostly brought with her from her passage through the town good humour
enough--with the penny bunch of violets she always stuck in the front of
her dress--for whatever awaited her at Madame Carré's. She declared to
her friend that her dear mistress was terribly severe, giving her the
most difficult, the most exhausting exercises, showing a kind of rage
for breaking her in.

"So much the better," Sherringham duly answered; but he asked no
questions and was glad to let the preceptress and the pupil fight it out
together. He wanted for the moment to know as little as possible about
their ways together: he had been over-dosed with that knowledge while
attending at their second interview. He would send Madame Carré her
money--she was really most obliging--and in the meantime was certain
Miriam could take care of herself. Sometimes he remarked to her that she
needn't always talk "shop" to him: there were times when he was mortally
tired of shop--of hers. Moreover, he frankly admitted that he was tired
of his own, so that the restriction was not brutal. When she replied,
staring, "Why, I thought you considered it as such a beautiful,
interesting art!" he had no rejoinder more philosophic than "Well, I do;
but there are moments when I'm quite sick of it all the same," At other
times he put it: "Oh yes, the results, the finished thing, the dish
perfectly seasoned and served: not the mess of preparation--at least not
always--not the experiments that spoil the material."

"I supposed you to feel just these questions of study, of the artistic
education, as you've called it to me, so fascinating," the girl
persisted. She was sometimes so flatly lucid.

"Well, after all, I'm not an actor myself," he could but impatiently

"You might be one if you were serious," she would imperturbably say. To
this her friend replied that Mr. Gabriel Nash ought to hear this; which
made her promise with a certain grimness that she would settle _him_ and
his theories some day. Not to seem too inconsistent--for it was cruel to
bewilder her when he had taken her up to enlighten--Peter repeated over
that for a man like himself the interest of the whole thing depended on
its being considered in a large, liberal way and with an intelligence
that lifted it out of the question of the little tricks of the trade,
gave it beauty and elevation. But she hereupon let him know that Madame
Carré held there were no _little_ tricks, that everything had its
importance as a means to a great end, and that if you were not willing
to try to _approfondir_ the reason why, in a given situation, you should
scratch your nose with your left hand rather than with your right, you
were not worthy to tread any stage that respected itself.

"That's very well, but if I must go into details read me a little
Shelley," groaned the young man in the spirit of a high _raffiné_.

"You're worse than Madame Carré; you don't know what to invent; between
you you'll kill me!" the girl declared. "I think there's a secret league
between you to spoil my voice, or at least to weaken my _souffle_,
before I get it. But _à la guerre comme à la guerre_! How can I read
Shelley, however, when I don't understand him?"

"That's just what I want to make you do. It's a part of your general
training. You may do without that of course--without culture and taste
and perception; but in that case you'll be nothing but a vulgar
_cabotine_, and nothing will be of any consequence." He had a theory
that the great lyric poets--he induced her to read, and recite as well,
long passages of Wordsworth and Swinburne--would teach her many of the
secrets of the large utterance, the mysteries of rhythm, the
communicableness of style, the latent music of the language and the art
of "composing" copious speeches and of retaining her stores of free
breath. He held in perfect sincerity that there was a general sense of
things, things of the mind, which would be of the highest importance to
her and to which it was by good fortune just in his power to contribute.
She would do better in proportion as she had more knowledge--even
knowledge that might superficially show but a remote connexion with her
business. The actor's talent was essentially a gift, a thing by itself,
implanted, instinctive, accidental, equally unconnected with intellect
and with virtue--Sherringham was completely of that opinion; but it
struck him as no _bêtise_ to believe at the same time that
intellect--leaving virtue for the moment out of the question--might be
brought into fruitful relation with it. It would be a bigger thing if a
better mind were projected upon it--projected without sacrificing the
mind. So he lent his young friend books she never read--she was on
almost irreconcilable terms with the printed page save for spouting
it--and in the long summer days, when he had leisure, took her to the
Louvre to admire the great works of painting and sculpture. Here, as on
all occasions, he was struck with the queer jumble of her taste, her
mixture of intelligence and puerility. He saw she never read what he
gave her, though she sometimes would shamelessly have liked him to
suppose so; but in the presence of famous pictures and statues she had
remarkable flashes of perception. She felt these things, she liked them,
though it was always because she had an idea she could use them. The
belief was often presumptuous, but it showed what an eye she had to her
business. "I could look just like that if I tried." "That's the dress I
mean to wear when I do Portia." Such were the observations apt to drop
from her under the suggestion of antique marbles or when she stood
before a Titian or a Bronzino.

When she uttered them, and many others besides, the effect was sometimes
irritating to her adviser, who had to bethink himself a little that she
was no more egotistical than the histrionic conscience required. He
wondered if there were necessarily something vulgar in the histrionic
conscience--something condemned only to feel the tricky, personal
question. Wasn't it better to be perfectly stupid than to have only one
eye open and wear for ever in the great face of the world the expression
of a knowing wink? At the theatre, on the numerous July evenings when
the Comédie Française exhibited the repertory by the aid of exponents
determined the more sparse and provincial audience should have a taste
of the tradition, her appreciation was tremendously technical and showed
it was not for nothing she was now in and out of Madame Carré's
innermost counsels. But there were moments when even her very acuteness
seemed to him to drag the matter down, to see it in a small and
superficial sense. What he flattered himself he was trying to do for
her--and through her for the stage of his time, since she was the
instrument, and incontestably a fine one, that had come to his hand--was
precisely to lift it up, make it rare, keep it in the region of
distinction and breadth. However, she was doubtless right and he was
wrong, he eventually reasoned: you could afford to be vague only if you
hadn't a responsibility. He had fine ideas, but she was to act them out,
that is to apply them, and not he; and application was of necessity a
vulgarisation, a smaller thing than theory. If she should some day put
forth the great art it wasn't purely fanciful to forecast for her, the
matter would doubtless be by that fact sufficiently transfigured and it
wouldn't signify that some of the onward steps should have been lame.

This was clear to him on several occasions when she recited or motioned
or even merely looked something for him better than usual; then she
quite carried him away, making him wish to ask no more questions, but
only let her disembroil herself in her own strong fashion. In these
hours she gave him forcibly if fitfully that impression of beauty which
was to be her justification. It was too soon for any general estimate of
her progress; Madame Carré had at last given her a fine understanding as
well as a sore, personal, an almost physical, sense of how bad she was.
She had therefore begun on a new basis, had returned to the alphabet and
the drill. It was a phase of awkwardness, the splashing of a young
swimmer, but buoyancy would certainly come out of it. For the present
there was mainly no great alteration of the fact that when she did
things according to her own idea they were not, as yet and seriously
judged, worth the devil, as Madame Carré said, and when she did them
according to that of her instructress were too apt to be a gross parody
of that lady's intention. None the less she gave glimpses, and her
glimpses made him feel not only that she was not a fool--this was small
relief--but that he himself was not.

He made her stick to her English and read Shakespeare aloud to him. Mrs.
Rooth had recognised the importance of apartments in which they should
be able to receive so beneficent a visitor, and was now mistress of a
small salon with a balcony and a rickety flower-stand--to say nothing of
a view of many roofs and chimneys--a very uneven waxed floor, an empire
clock, an _armoire à glace_, highly convenient for Miriam's posturings,
and several cupboard doors covered over, allowing for treacherous gaps,
with the faded magenta paper of the wall. The thing had been easily
done, for Sherringham had said: "Oh we must have a sitting-room for our
studies, you know, and I'll settle it with the landlady," Mrs. Rooth had
liked his "we"--indeed she liked everything about him--and he saw in
this way that she heaved with no violence under pecuniary obligations so
long as they were distinctly understood to be temporary. That he should
have his money back with interest as soon as Miriam was launched was a
comfort so deeply implied that it only added to intimacy. The window
stood open on the little balcony, and when the sun had left it Peter and
Miriam could linger there, leaning on the rail and talking above the
great hum of Paris, with nothing but the neighbouring tiles and tall
tubes to take account of. Mrs. Rooth, in limp garments much ungirdled,
was on the sofa with a novel, making good her frequent assertion that
she could put up with any life that would yield her these two
conveniences. There were romantic works Peter had never read and as to
which he had vaguely wondered to what class they were addressed--the
earlier productions of M. Eugène Sue, the once-fashionable compositions
of Madame Sophie Gay--with which Mrs. Rooth was familiar and which she
was ready to enjoy once more if she could get nothing fresher. She had
always a greasy volume tucked under her while her nose was bent upon the
pages in hand. She scarcely looked up even when Miriam lifted her voice
to show their benefactor what she could do. These tragic or pathetic
notes all went out of the window and mingled with the undecipherable
concert of Paris, so that no neighbour was disturbed by them. The girl
shrieked and wailed when the occasion required it, and Mrs. Rooth only
turned her page, showing in this way a great esthetic as well as a great
personal trust.

She rather annoyed their visitor by the serenity of her confidence--for
a reason he fully understood only later--save when Miriam caught an
effect or a tone so well that she made him in the pleasure of it forget
her parent's contiguity. He continued to object to the girl's English,
with its foreign patches that might pass in prose but were offensive in
the recitation of verse, and he wanted to know why she couldn't speak
like her mother. He had justly to acknowledge the charm of Mrs. Rooth's
voice and tone, which gave a richness even to the foolish things she
said. They were of an excellent insular tradition, full both of natural
and of cultivated sweetness, and they puzzled him when other indications
seemed to betray her--to refer her to more common air. They were like
the reverberation of some far-off tutored circle.

The connexion between the development of Miriam's genius and the
necessity of an occasional excursion to the country--the charming
country that lies in so many directions beyond the Parisian
_banlieue_--would not have been immediately apparent to a superficial
observer; but a day, and then another, at Versailles, a day at
Fontainebleau and a trip, particularly harmonious and happy, to
Rambouillet, took their places in our young man's plan as a part of the
indirect but contributive culture, an agency in the formation of taste.
Intimations of the grand manner for instance would proceed in abundance
from the symmetrical palace and gardens of Louis XIV. Peter "adored"
Versailles and wandered there more than once with the ladies of the
Hôtel de la Garonne. They chose quiet hours, when the fountains were
dry; and Mrs. Rooth took an armful of novels and sat on a bench in the
park, flanked by clipped hedges and old statues, while her young
companions strolled away, walked to the Trianon, explored the long,
straight vistas of the woods. Rambouillet was vague and vivid and sweet;
they felt that they found a hundred wise voices there; and indeed there
was an old white chateau which contained nothing but ghostly sounds.
They found at any rate a long luncheon, and in the landscape the very
spirit of silvery summer and of the French pictorial brush.

I have said that in these days Sherringham wondered about many things,
and by the time his leave of absence came this practice had produced a
particular speculation. He was surprised that he shouldn't be in love
with Miriam Rooth and considered at moments of leisure the causes of his
exemption. He had felt from the first that she was a "nature," and each
time she met his eyes it seemed to come to him straighter that her
beauty was rare. You had to get the good view of her face, but when
you did so it was a splendid mobile mask. And the wearer of this
high ornament had frankness and courage and variety--no end of the
unusual and the unexpected. She had qualities that seldom went
together--impulses and shynesses, audacities and lapses, something
coarse, popular, and strong all intermingled with disdains and languors
and nerves. And then above all she was _there_, was accessible, almost
belonged to him. He reflected ingeniously that he owed his escape to a
peculiar cause--to the fact that they had together a positive outside
object. Objective, as it were, was all their communion; not personal and
selfish, but a matter of art and business and discussion. Discussion had
saved him and would save him further, for they would always have
something to quarrel about. Sherringham, who was not a diplomatist for
nothing, who had his reasons for steering straight and wished neither to
deprive the British public of a rising star nor to exchange his actual
situation for that of a yoked _impresario_, blessed the beneficence, the
salubrity, the pure exorcism of art. At the same time, rather
inconsistently and feeling that he had a completer vision than before of
that oddest of animals the artist who happens to have been born a woman,
he felt warned against a serious connexion--he made a great point of the
"serious"--with so slippery and ticklish a creature. The two ladies had
only to stay in Paris, save their candle-ends and, as Madame Carré had
enjoined, practise their scales: there were apparently no autumn visits
to English country-houses in prospect for Mrs. Rooth. Peter parted with
them on the understanding that in London he would look as thoroughly as
possible into the question of an engagement. The day before he began his
holiday he went to see Madame Carré, who said to him, "_Vous devriez
bien nous la laisser_."

"She _has_ something then----?"

"She has most things. She'll go far. It's the first time in my life of
my beginning with a mistake. But don't tell her so. I don't flatter her.
She'll be too puffed up."

"Is she very conceited?" Sherringham asked.

"_Mauvais sujet!_" said Madame Carré.

It was on the journey to London that he indulged in some of those
questionings of his state that I have mentioned; but I must add that by
the time he reached Charing Cross--he smoked a cigar deferred till after
the Channel in a compartment by himself--it had suddenly come over him
that they were futile. Now that he had left the girl a subversive,
unpremeditated heart-beat told him--it made him hold his breath a minute
in the carriage--that he had after all not escaped. He _was_ in love
with her: he had been in love with her from the first hour.

Henry James