Friday, August 25, 2006

Starts and Stops; or, Notes towards an Autobiography

N. was not wholly disconcerted, when he reached the hotel, to learn that his friend was not to arrive till evening. They would dine together at the worst, and tomorrow if not tonight. Meanwhile, the note of his arrival had been such a consciousness of personal freedom as he hadn't known in years, such a deep taste of change and of having if only for the moment nobody and nothing to consider, as promised to colour his adventure with cool success. And the city, still strange enough to promise, if not pleasure, then at least that interest of discovery that for some can be taken as a form of pleasure, was also wide enough, crowded enough, that he could safely indulge the subtle satisfaction of declining the possible company of the new acquaintances he had made on his journey. Had he told anyone his real name? For a few hours, for even a few days, he could half wear, half shrug off this new cloak of anonymity. His friend would arrive that evening, said the note he had opened at the desk. But N.'s objects of luggage were few.


Anonymous said...

Is this a Strether that I see before me, its Lambert towards my hand?

Nicholas Laughlin said...

He didn't reply; he only smiled, and turned towards the bookcase.