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The Jolly Corner - Henry James

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The Jolly Corner

by Henry James

CHAPTER I



"Every one asks me what I 'think' of everything," said Spencer
Brydon; "and I make answer as I can - begging or dodging the
question, putting them off with any nonsense.  It wouldn't matter
to any of them really," he went on, "for, even were it possible to
meet in that stand-and-deliver way so silly a demand on so big a
subject, my 'thoughts' would still be almost altogether about
something that concerns only myself."  He was talking to Miss
Staverton, with whom for a couple of months now he had availed
himself of every possible occasion to talk; this disposition and
this resource, this comfort and support, as the situation in fact
presented itself, having promptly enough taken the first place in
the considerable array of rather unattenuated surprises attending
his so strangely belated return to America.  Everything was somehow
a surprise; and that might be natural when one had so long and so
consistently neglected everything, taken pains to give surprises so
much margin for play.  He had given them more than thirty years -
thirty-three, to be exact; and they now seemed to him to have
organised their performance quite on the scale of that licence.  He
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