The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives


A pair of grey handknit colorwork fingerless gloves, with mending in diverse colors

Risible mending.

The whole question of fashion, slow or fast or pedestrian, reminds me of something Henry James puts into the mouth of Mme Merle:

…you will see that every human being has his shell, and that you must take the shell into account. By the shell I mean the whole envelope of circumstances. There is no such thing as an isolated man or woman; we are each of us made up of a cluster of appurtenances. What do you call one’s self? Where does it begin? where does it end? It overflows into everything that belongs to us—and then it flows back again. I know that a large part of myself is in the dresses I choose to wear. I have a great respect for things! One’s self—for other people—is one’s expression of one’s self; and one’s house, one’s clothes, the book one reads, the company one keeps—these things are all expressive.

This strikes me as being both true and clever – but one must keep in mind that, ultimately, Mme Merle is not a very kind person. By which I mean to say – yes, things are important , but only as association copies: clothes, books, &c., can only speak of the person, if the person is there to be spoken of – and like all gossipers, they often say things the subject would not care to hear.


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