The Ambassadors HTML version

Chapter I.3
He had told Miss Gostrey he should probably take, for departure with Waymarsh, some
afternoon train, and it thereupon in the morning appeared that this lady had made her
own plan for an earlier one. She had breakfasted when Strether came into the coffee-
room; but, Waymarsh not having yet emerged, he was in time to recall her to the terms
of their understanding and to pronounce her discretion overdone. She was surely not to
break away at the very moment she had created a want. He had met her as she rose
from her little table in a window, where, with the morning papers beside her, she
reminded him, as he let her know, of Major Pendennis breakfasting at his club--a
compliment of which she professed a deep appreciation; and he detained her as
pleadingly as if he had already--and notably under pressure of the visions of the night--
learned to be unable to do without her. She must teach him at all events, before she
went, to order breakfast as breakfast was ordered in Europe, and she must especially
sustain him in the problem of ordering for Waymarsh. The latter had laid upon his friend,
by desperate sounds through the door of his room, dreadful divined responsibilities in
respect to beefsteak and oranges--responsibilities which Miss Gostrey took over with an
alertness of action that matched her quick intelligence. She had before this weaned the
expatriated from traditions compared with which the matutinal beefsteak was but the
creature of an hour, and it was not for her, with some of her memories, to falter in the
path though she freely enough declared, on reflexion, that there was always in such
cases a choice of opposed policies. "There are times when to give them their head, you
They had gone to wait together in the garden for the dressing of the meal, and Strether
found her more suggestive than ever "Well, what?"
"Is to bring about for them such a complexity of relations-unless indeed we call it a
simplicity!--that the situation HAS to wind itself up. They want to go back."
"And you want them to go!" Strether gaily concluded.
"I always want them to go, and I send them as fast as I can.'
"Oh I know--you take them to Liverpool."
"Any port will serve in a storm. I'm--with all my other functions-- an agent for
repatriation. I want to re-people our stricken country. What will become of it else? I want
to discourage others."
The ordered English garden, in the freshness of the day, was delightful to Strether, who
liked the sound, under his feet, of the tight fine gravel, packed with the chronic damp,
and who had the idlest eye for the deep smoothness of turf and the clean curves of
paths. "Other people?"