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Pandora by Henry James
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by Henry James


It has long been the custom of the North German Lloyd steamers,
which convey passengers from Bremen to New York, to anchor for
several hours in the pleasant port of Southampton, where their human
cargo receives many additions. An intelligent young German, Count
Otto Vogelstein, hardly knew a few years ago whether to condemn this
custom or approve it. He leaned over the bulwarks of the Donau as
the American passengers crossed the plank--the travellers who embark
at Southampton are mainly of that nationality--and curiously,
indifferently, vaguely, through the smoke of his cigar, saw them
absorbed in the huge capacity of the ship, where he had the
agreeable consciousness that his own nest was comfortably made. To
watch from such a point of vantage the struggles of those less
fortunate than ourselves--of the uninformed, the unprovided, the
belated, the bewildered--is an occupation not devoid of sweetness,
and there was nothing to mitigate the complacency with which our
young friend gave himself up to it; nothing, that is, save a natural
benevolence which had not yet been extinguished by the consciousness
of official greatness. For Count Vogelstein was official, as I
think you would have seen from the straightness of his back, the