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Nona Vincent by Henry James
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Nona Vincent

by Henry James


"I wondered whether you wouldn't read it to me," said Mrs. Alsager,
as they lingered a little near the fire before he took leave. She
looked down at the fire sideways, drawing her dress away from it and
making her proposal with a shy sincerity that added to her charm.
Her charm was always great for Allan Wayworth, and the whole air of
her house, which was simply a sort of distillation of herself, so
soothing, so beguiling that he always made several false starts
before departure. He had spent some such good hours there, had
forgotten, in her warm, golden drawing-room, so much of the
loneliness and so many of the worries of his life, that it had come
to be the immediate answer to his longings, the cure for his aches,
the harbour of refuge from his storms. His tribulations were not
unprecedented, and some of his advantages, if of a usual kind, were
marked in degree, inasmuch as he was very clever for one so young,
and very independent for one so poor. He was eight-and-twenty, but
he had lived a good deal and was full of ambitions and curiosities
and disappointments. The opportunity to talk of some of these in
Grosvenor Place corrected perceptibly the immense inconvenience of
London. This inconvenience took for him principally the line of
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