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The Wings of the Dove

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Pages: 152

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Henry James

Excerpt from book: Merton Densher, who passed the best hours of each night at the office of his newspaper, had at times, during the day, to make up for it, a sense, or at least an appearance, of leisure, in accordance with which he was not infrequently to be met in different parts of the town at moments when men of business are hidden from the public eye. More than once during the present winter's end he had deviated toward three o'clock, or toward four, into Kensington Gardens, where he might for a while, on each occasion, have been observed to demean himself as a person with nothing to do. He made his way indeed, for the most part, with a certain directness over to the north side: but once that ground was reached his behaviour was noticeably wanting in point. He moved, seemingly at random, from alley to alley: he stopped for no reason and remained idly agaze: he sat down in a chair and then changed to a bench: after which he walked about again, only again to repeat both the vagueness and the vivacity. Distinctly he was a man either with nothing at all to do or with ever so much to think about: and it was not to be denied that the impression he might often thus easily make had the effect of causing the burden of proof in certain directions to rest on him. It was a little the fault of his aspect, his personal marks, which made it almost impossible to name his profession. He was a longish, leanish, fairish young Englishman, not unamenable, on certain sides, to classification — as for instance by being a gentleman, by being rather specifically one of the educated, one of the generally sound and generally civil: yet, though to that degree neither extraordinary nor abnormal, he would have failed to play straight into an observer's hands. He was young for the House of Commons, he was loose for the Arm...  

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