The Beldonald Holbein by Henry James


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Beldonald Holbein, by Henry James

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Beldonald Holbein

Author: Henry James

Release Date: May 8, 2005 [eBook #2366]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1922 Macmillan and Co. edition by David Price, email Proofing by Andy and his wife.

by Henry James


Mrs. Munden had not yet been to my studio on so good a pretext as when
she first intimated that it would be quite open to me--should I only
care, as she called it, to throw the handkerchief--to paint her beautiful
sister-in-law. I needn't go here more than is essential into the
question of Mrs. Munden, who would really, by the way, be a story in
herself. She has a manner of her own of putting things, and some of
those she has put to me--! Her implication was that Lady Beldonald
hadn't only seen and admired certain examples of my work, but had
literally been prepossessed in favour of the painter's "personality." Had
I been struck with this sketch I might easily have imagined her ladyship
was throwing me the handkerchief. "She hasn't done," my visitor said,
"what she ought."

"Do you mean she has done what she oughtn't?"

"Nothing horrid--ah dear no." And something in Mrs. Munden's tone, with
the way she appeared to muse a moment, even suggested to me that what she
"oughtn't" was perhaps what Lady Beldonald had too much neglected. "She
hasn't got on."

"What's the matter with her?"

"Well, to begin with, she's American."

"But I thought that was the way of ways to get on."

"It's one of them. But it's one of the ways of being awfully out of it
too. There are so many!"

"So many Americans?" I asked.

"Yes, plenty of _them_," Mrs. Munden sighed. "So many ways, I mean, of
being one."

"But if your sister-in-law's way is to be beautiful--?"

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