Tag Archives: self-pity

Commonplace 2

He stood before her still—her question kept him motionless.  He took it in, so much there was of it; and indeed his not otherwise meeting it testified to that.  “I know at least what I am,” he simply went on; “the other side of the medal’s clear enough.  I’ve not been edifying—I believe I’m thought in a hundred quarters to have been barely decent.  I’ve followed strange paths and worshipped strange gods; it must have come to you again and again—in fact you’ve admitted to me as much—that I was leading, at any time these thirty years, a selfish frivolous scandalous life.  And you see what it has made of me.”

She just waited, smiling at him.  “You see what it has made of me.”

-Henry James (The Jolly Corner )