3d pan white

The private life


Did you ever see him alone?”

I tried to remember. “Oh, yes; he has been to see me.”

“Ah, then he wasn’t alone.”

“And I’ve been to see him, in his study.”

“Did he know you were there?”

“Naturally – I was announced.”

Blanche Adney glanced at me like a lovely conspirator. “You mustn’t be announced!” With this she walked on.

I rejoined her, breathless. “Do you mean one must come upon him when he doesn’t know it?”

“You must take him unawares. You must go to his room – that’s what you must do.”

If I was elated by the way our mystery opened out, I was also, pardonably, a little confused. “When I know he’s not there?”

“When you know he is.”

“And what shall I see?”

“You won’t see anything!” Mrs Adney cried as we turned round.


from Henry James, "The Private Life" (1893)

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Taken on March 29, 2008