The American

a short excerpt from Chapter II (Newman in the Louvre)

At this moment, however, his attention was attracted by a gentleman who had come from another part of the room and whose manner was that of a stranger to the gallery, though he was equipped neither with guide-book nor with opera-glass. He carried a white sun-umbrella lined with blue silk, and he strolled in front of the great picture, vaguely looking at it but much too near to see anything but the grain of the canvas. Opposite Christopher Newman he paused and turned, and then our friend, who had been observing him, had a chance to verify a suspicion roused by an imperfect view of his face. The result of the larger scrutiny was that he presently sprang to his feet, strode across the room and, with an outstretched hand, arrested this blank spectator. The gaping gentleman gaped afresh, smooth and pink, with the air of a successfully potted plant, and though his countenance, ornamented with a beautiful flaxen beard carefully divided in the middle and brushed outward at the sides, was not remarkable for intensity of expression, it was exclusive only in the degree of the open door of an hotel– it would have been closed to the undesirable. It was for Newman in fact as if at first he had been but invited to “register.”


auth=James, Henry
pub=1891