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Additional resources for Henry James: Interviews and Recollections
The text is given in The Complete Plays of Henry James, ed. Leon Edel (New York: Lippincott, 1949). 'The Demoralisation of English Society'* ALICE JAMES Harry came in the other day quite sickened from a conversation he had been listening to which he said gave him a stronger impression of the demoralisation of English society than anything he had ever heard. He • The Diary of Alice James, pp. 153-4. 'THE DEMORALISATION OF ENGLISH SOCIETY' 13 had been calling upon a lady whom he knows very well and who is very well connected; two gentlemen were there, one young, the other old; one of them asked about one of the sons who has just failed in an exam for one of the services, when she said he had just had an offer of a place his opinion of which she would like to have.
While I was with him a message came and he hurried away. I waited and waited but no one came, so at last I started * 'Henry James: a Reminiscence', Horizon, I (February 1940) pp. 76-80. JAMES'S FRIENDSHIPS 23 downstairs. I passed an open bedroom door and saw William lying on the floor and Henry standing over him. As I hurried down I caught an expression of misery and despair on Henry's face that I shall never forget. It has become, in these fierce and bitter days, suspicious to speak of nobility of character but it must be risked when one speaks of Henry James.
The meeting referred to took place on 6 January 1913 and is described thus in Bennett's journal: Henry James. At Pinkers. Very slow talker. Beautiful French. Expressed stupefaction when I said I knew nothing about the middle-class, and said the next time he saw me he would have recovered from the stupefaction, and the discussion might proceed. Said there was too much to say about everythingand that was the first thing most felt by one such as he, not entirely withouter- er- er- er- perceptions.