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The American by Henry James
page 2 of 484 (00%)
affixed in those formidable pages of fine print in his Badeker; his
attention had been strained and his eyes dazzled, and he had sat down
with an aesthetic headache. He had looked, moreover, not only at all the
pictures, but at all the copies that were going forward around them, in
the hands of those innumerable young women in irreproachable toilets who
devote themselves, in France, to the propagation of masterpieces, and if
the truth must be told, he had often admired the copy much more than the
original. His physiognomy would have sufficiently indicated that he was
a shrewd and capable fellow, and in truth he had often sat up all night
over a bristling bundle of accounts, and heard the cock crow without a
yawn. But Raphael and Titian and Rubens were a new kind of arithmetic,
and they inspired our friend, for the first time in his life, with a
vague self-mistrust.

An observer with anything of an eye for national types would have had
no difficulty in determining the local origin of this undeveloped
connoisseur, and indeed such an observer might have felt a certain
humorous relish of the almost ideal completeness with which he filled
out the national mould. The gentleman on the divan was a powerful
specimen of an American. But he was not only a fine American; he was
in the first place, physically, a fine man. He appeared to possess that
kind of health and strength which, when found in perfection, are the
most impressive--the physical capital which the owner does nothing to
"keep up." If he was a muscular Christian, it was quite without knowing
it. If it was necessary to walk to a remote spot, he walked, but he had
never known himself to "exercise." He had no theory with regard to
cold bathing or the use of Indian clubs; he was neither an oarsman, a
rifleman, nor a fencer--he had never had time for these amusements--and
he was quite unaware that the saddle is recommended for certain forms
of indigestion. He was by inclination a temperate man; but he had supped