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Greville Fane
Henry James

Page 1 of 33


Greville Fane 

by Henry James 

Coming in to dress for dinner, I found a telegram: "Mrs.  Stormer
dying; can you give us half a column for to-morrow evening? Let her
off easy, but not too easy." I was late; I was in a hurry; I had
very little time to think, but at a venture I dispatched a reply:
"Will do what I can." It was not till I had dressed and was rolling
away to dinner that, in the hansom, I bethought myself of the
difficulty of the condition attached.  The difficulty was not of
course in letting her off easy but in qualifying that indulgence.  "I
simply won't qualify it," I said to myself.  I didn't admire her, but
I liked her, and I had known her so long that I almost felt heartless
in sitting down at such an hour to a feast of indifference.  I must
have seemed abstracted, for the early years of my acquaintance with
her came back to me.  I spoke of her to the lady I had taken down,
hut the lady I had taken down had never heard of Greville Fane.  I
tried my other neighbour, who pronounced her books "too vile." I had

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