Today at work I found a stash of books, most of which are about investing or sales, though I did find a little fiction. So, tonight on my way home I started reading Henry James’ Washington Square, which begins in mid-1800s New York. I was on an express train, so I didn’t get very far before transferring to the local track. Already, though, I like it, and certain passages have already stuck:
“Our friend, however, escaped criticism: that is, he escaped all criticism but his own, which was much the most competent and most formidable.”
“Once, when the girl was about twelve years old, he had said to her —
‘Try and make a clever woman of her, Lavinia; I should like her to be a clever woman.’
Mrs. Penniman, at this, looked thoughtful a moment. ‘My dear Austin,’ she then inquired, ‘do you think it is better to be clever than to be good?’
‘Good for what?’ asked the Doctor. ‘You are good for nothing unless you are clever.’ “
Unprovoked, my cough returned with renewed and nasty vigor last night.
This is a tough and dirty city, despite all the good and potential it holds.