c. 1835: new York city
henry james settles an argument
catherine sat alone by the parlor fire—sat
there for more than an hour, lost in her meditations. she had an immense respect for her
father, and she felt that to displease him would
be a misdemeanor analogous to an act of
profanity in a great temple: but her purpose
had slowly ripened, and she believed that her
prayers had purified it of its violence. The
evening advanced, and the lamp burned dim
without her noticing it; her eyes were fixed
upon her terrible plan. she knew her father
was in his study—that he had been there all
the evening; from time to time she expected to
hear him move. she thought he would perhaps
come, as he sometimes came, into the parlor.
at last the clock struck eleven, and the house
was wrapped in silence; the servants had gone
to bed. catherine got up and went slowly to
the door of the library, where she waited a moment, motionless. Then she knocked, and then
she waited again. her father had answered her,
but she had not the courage to turn the latch.
she heard him move within, and he came and
opened the door for her.
“What is the matter?” asked the doctor.
“You are standing there like a ghost.”
“You told me that if i should have anything
more to say about Mr. townsend you would be
glad to listen to it.”
“exactly, my dear,” said the doctor, not
turning round, but stopping his pen.
catherine wished it would go on, but
she herself continued. “i thought i would tell
you that i have not seen him again, but that i
should like to do so.”