The American eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 514 pages of information about The American.
rummaged it over.  He had seen and done a great deal, enjoyed and observed a great deal; he felt older, and yet he felt younger too.  He remembered Mr. Babcock and his desire to form conclusions, and he remembered also that he had profited very little by his friend’s exhortation to cultivate the same respectable habit.  Could he not scrape together a few conclusions?  Baden-Baden was the prettiest place he had seen yet, and orchestral music in the evening, under the stars, was decidedly a great institution.  This was one of his conclusions!  But he went on to reflect that he had done very wisely to pull up stakes and come abroad; this seeing of the world was a very interesting thing.  He had learned a great deal; he couldn’t say just what, but he had it there under his hat-band.  He had done what he wanted; he had seen the great things, and he had given his mind a chance to “improve,” if it would.  He cheerfully believed that it had improved.  Yes, this seeing of the world was very pleasant, and he would willingly do a little more of it.  Thirty-six years old as he was, he had a handsome stretch of life before him yet, and he need not begin to count his weeks.  Where should he take the world next?  I have said he remembered the eyes of the lady whom he had found standing in Mrs. Tristram’s drawing-room; four months had elapsed, and he had not forgotten them yet.  He had looked—­he had made a point of looking—­into a great many other eyes in the interval, but the only ones he thought of now were Madame de Cintre’s.  If he wanted to see more of the world, should he find it in Madame de Cintre’s eyes?  He would certainly find something there, call it this world or the next.  Throughout these rather formless meditations he sometimes thought of his past life and the long array of years (they had begun so early) during which he had had nothing in his head but “enterprise.”  They seemed far away now, for his present attitude was more than a holiday, it was almost a rupture.  He had told Tristram that the pendulum was swinging back and it appeared that the backward swing had not yet ended.  Still “enterprise,” which was over in the other quarter wore to his mind a different aspect at different hours.  In its train a thousand forgotten episodes came trooping back into his memory.  Some of them he looked complacently enough in the face; from some he averted his head.  They were old efforts, old exploits, antiquated examples of “smartness” and sharpness.  Some of them, as he looked at them, he felt decidedly proud of; he admired himself as if he had been looking at another man.  And, in fact, many of the qualities that make a great deed were there:  the decision, the resolution, the courage, the celerity, the clear eye, and the strong hand.  Of certain other achievements it would be going too far to say that he was ashamed of them for Newman had never had a stomach for dirty work.  He was blessed with a natural impulse to disfigure with a direct, unreasoning blow the comely visage
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The American from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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