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The Beldonald Holbein by Henry James
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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."
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