An American Politician: A Novel

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Review of Reviews Company, 1884 - 356 pages
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 Mrs. Sam Wyndham was generally at home after five o’clock. The established custom whereby the ladies who live in Beacon Street all receive their friends on Monday afternoon did not seem to her satisfactory. She was willing to conform to the practice, but she reserved the right of seeing people on other days as well.

Mrs. Sam Wyndham was never very popular. That is to say, she was not one of those women who are seemingly never spoken ill of, and are invited as a matter of course, or rather as an element of success, to every dinner, musical party, and dance in the season.

Women did not all regard her with envy, all young men did not think she was capital fun, nor did all old men come and confide to her the weaknesses of their approaching second childhood. She was not invariably quoted as the standard authority on dress, classical music, and Boston literature, and it was not an unpardonable heresy to say that some other women might be, had been, or could be, more amusing in ordinary conversation. Nevertheless, Mrs. Sam Wyndham held a position in Boston which Boston acknowledged, and which Boston insisted that foreigners such as New Yorkers, Philadelphians and the like, should acknowledge also in that spirit of reverence which is justly due to a descent on both sides from several signers of the Declaration of Independence, and to the wife of one of the ruling financial spirits of the aristocratic part of Boston business.

As a matter of fact, Mrs. Wyndham was about forty years of age, as all her friends of course knew; for it is as easy for a Bostonian to conceal a question of age as for a crowned head. In a place where one half of society calls the other half cousin, and went to school with it, every one knows and accurately remembers just how old everybody else is. But Mrs. Wyndham might have passed for younger than she was among the world at large, for she was fresh to look at, and of good figure and complexion. Her black hair showed no signs of turning gray, and her dark eyes were bright and penetrating still. There were lines in her face, those microscopic lines that come so abundantly to American women in middle age, speaking of a certain restless nervousness that belongs to them especially; but on the whole Mrs. Sam Wyndham was fair to see, having a dignity of carriage and a grace of ease about her that at once gave the impression of a woman thoroughly equal to the part she had to play in the world, and not by any means incapable of enjoying it.


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Page 358 - It is a pleasure to have anything so perfect of its kind as this brief and vivid story. ... It is doubly a success, being full of human sympathy, as well as thoroughly artistic in its nice balancing of the unusual with the commonplace, the clever juxtaposition of innocence and guilt, comedy and tragedy, simplicity and intrigue.
Page 331 - you must not think I am losing my head. Let me tell you now — perhaps you will listen to me. God knows, I am not worthy to say such things to you, but I will try to be. It is soon said. I love you — I can no more help loving you than I can help breathing. You have utterly changed me, and saved me, and made a life for me out of what was not life at all. Do not think it is sudden — what is really to last for ever must take some time in growing. I never knew till to-day — I honoured you and...
Page 198 - ... frequently occurred that all the three members of the council simultaneously held seats in the senate, or that one or more were high in office. More than one President since Washington had sat at one time or another in the triumvirate; secretaries of state, orators, lawyers, financiers and philanthropists had given the best years of their lives to the duties of the council; and yet, so perfect was the organization, the tests were so careful, and so...
Page 326 - Xo traveler has ever returned to tell us whether the way is dark and dreary or if stars shine. Yet when the final summons came, and George Lilley knew the end was drawing near, he met that crisis without fear, and as the shadows steal at evening over the earth, softly closing the flowers, touching them to sleep silently and lovingly in the promise of a bright awakening...
Page 354 - APPEAL FOR THE CAUSE OF LIBERTY. JOHN HARRINGTON. I DO not say, elect this candidate or that candidate, I am not canvassing for any candidate. I am canvassing for the cause of liberty against slavery, I am defending the reputation of Union against the slanderous attack of Disunion, against the fearful peril of secession. I appeal to you, as you are men, to act as men in this great crisis; to put your strong hands together and avert the overwhelming disaster that threatens us; to stand side by side,...
Page 348 - There are three to-day: to-morrow there will be five, the next day ten, twenty, a hundred, till every man's hand is against his fellow, and his fellow's against him.
Page 355 - ... the unbending strength of unquestioned right. " I appeal to you to make this day the greatest in your lives, the most memorable in our history as a nation. Lay aside this day the memories of the past, and look forward to the brightness of the future. Throw down the weapons of petty and murderous strife, and join together in perfect harmony of mutual trust. Be neither Republicans, nor Democrats, nor Independents.

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