Eugene Pickering

Eugene Pickering

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Eugene Pickering by Henry James

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1874

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Eugene Pickering

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Book Excerpt

ough her features were meagre and her complexion faded, she gave one a sense of sentimental, artificial gracefulness. She was dressed in white muslin very much puffed and filled, but a trifle the worse for wear, relieved here and there by a pale blue ribbon. I used to flatter myself on guessing at people's nationality by their faces, and, as a rule, I guessed aright. This faded, crumpled, vaporous beauty, I conceived, was a German--such a German, somehow, as I had seen imagined in literature. Was she not a friend of poets, a correspondent of philosophers, a muse, a priestess of aesthetics-- something in the way of a Bettina, a Rahel? My conjectures, however, were speedily merged in wonderment as to what my diffident friend was making of her. She caught his eye at last, and raising an ungloved hand, covered altogether with blue-gemmed rings--turquoises, sapphires, and lapis--she beckoned him to come to her. The gesture was executed with a sort of practised coolness, and accompanied with an appealing smi

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