The Ambassadors HTML version

Chapter IV.2
It really looked true moreover from the way Chad was to behave after this. He was full
of attentions to his mother's ambassador; in spite of which, all the while, the latter's
other relations rather remarkably contrived to assert themselves. Strether's sittings pen
in hand with Mrs. Newsome up in his own room were broken, yet they were richer; and
they were more than ever interspersed with the hours in which he reported himself, in a
different fashion, but with scarce less earnestness and fulness, to Maria Gostrey. Now
that, as he would have expressed it, he had really something to talk about he found
himself, in respect to any oddity that might reside for him in the double connexion, at
once more aware and more indifferent. He had been fine to Mrs. Newsome about his
useful friend, but it had begun to haunt his imagination that Chad, taking up again for
her benefit a pen too long disused, might possibly be finer. It wouldn't at all do, he saw,
that anything should come up for him at Chad's hand but what specifically was to have
come; the greatest divergence from which would be precisely the element of any
lubrication of their intercourse by levity It was accordingly to forestall such an accident
that he frankly put before the young man the several facts, just as they had occurred, of
his funny alliance. He spoke of these facts, pleasantly and obligingly, as "the whole
story," and felt that he might qualify the alliance as funny if he remained sufficiently
grave about it. He flattered himself that he even exaggerated the wild freedom of his
original encounter with the wonderful lady; he was scrupulously definite about the
absurd conditions in which they had made acquaintance--their having picked each other
up almost in the street; and he had (finest inspiration of all!) a conception of carrying the
war into the enemy's country by showing surprise at the enemy's ignorance.
He had always had a notion that this last was the grand style of fighting; the greater
therefore the reason for it, as he couldn't remember that he had ever before fought in
the grand style. Every one, according to this, knew Miss Gostrey: how came it Chad
didn't know her? The difficulty, the impossibility, was really to escape it; Strether put on
him, by what he took for granted, the burden of proof of the contrary. This tone was so
far successful as that Chad quite appeared to recognise her as a person whose fame
had reached him, but against his acquaintance with whom much mischance had
worked. He made the point at the same time that his social relations, such as they could
be called, were perhaps not to the extent Strether supposed with the rising flood of their
compatriots. He hinted at his having more and more given way to a different principle of
selection; the moral of which seemed to be that he went about little in the "colony." For
the moment certainly he had quite another interest. It was deep, what he understood,
and Strether, for himself, could only so observe it. He couldn't see as yet how deep.
Might he not all too soon! For there was really too much of their question that Chad had
already committed himself to liking. He liked, to begin with, his prospective stepfather;
which was distinctly what had not been on the cards. His hating him was the
untowardness for which Strether had been best prepared; he hadn't expected the boy's
actual form to give him more to do than his imputed. It gave him more through
suggesting that he must somehow make up to himself for not being sure he was
sufficiently disagreeable. That had really been present to him as his only way to be sure