The American eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about The American.
cities under my tongue:  Damascus and Bagdad, Medina and Mecca.  I spent a week last month in the company of a returned missionary, who told me I ought to be ashamed to be loafing about Europe when there are such big things to be seen out there.  I do want to explore, but I think I would rather explore over in the Rue de l’Universite.  Do you ever hear from that pretty lady?  If you can get her to promise she will be at home the next time I call, I will go back to Paris straight.  I am more than ever in the state of mind I told you about that evening; I want a first-class wife.  I have kept an eye on all the pretty girls I have come across this summer, but none of them came up to my notion, or anywhere near it.  I should have enjoyed all this a thousand times more if I had had the lady just mentioned by my side.  The nearest approach to her was a Unitarian minister from Boston, who very soon demanded a separation, for incompatibility of temper.  He told me I was low-minded, immoral, a devotee of ’art for art’—­whatever that is:  all of which greatly afflicted me, for he was really a sweet little fellow.  But shortly afterwards I met an Englishman, with whom I struck up an acquaintance which at first seemed to promise well—­a very bright man, who writes in the London papers and knows Paris nearly as well as Tristram.  We knocked about for a week together, but he very soon gave me up in disgust.  I was too virtuous by half; I was too stern a moralist.  He told me, in a friendly way, that I was cursed with a conscience; that I judged things like a Methodist and talked about them like an old lady.  This was rather bewildering.  Which of my two critics was I to believe?  I didn’t worry about it and very soon made up my mind they were both idiots.  But there is one thing in which no one will ever have the impudence to pretend I am wrong, that is, in being your faithful friend,

“C.  N.”

CHAPTER VI

Newman gave up Damascus and Bagdad and returned to Paris before the autumn was over.  He established himself in some rooms selected for him by Tom Tristram, in accordance with the latter’s estimate of what he called his social position.  When Newman learned that his social position was to be taken into account, he professed himself utterly incompetent, and begged Tristram to relieve him of the care.  “I didn’t know I had a social position,” he said, “and if I have, I haven’t the smallest idea what it is.  Isn’t a social position knowing some two or three thousand people and inviting them to dinner?  I know you and your wife and little old Mr. Nioche, who gave me French lessons last spring.  Can I invite you to dinner to meet each other?  If I can, you must come to-morrow.”

“That is not very grateful to me,” said Mrs. Tristram, “who introduced you last year to every creature I know.”

“So you did; I had quite forgotten.  But I thought you wanted me to forget,” said Newman, with that tone of simple deliberateness which frequently marked his utterance, and which an observer would not have known whether to pronounce a somewhat mysteriously humorous affection of ignorance or a modest aspiration to knowledge; “you told me you disliked them all.”

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