There was a general impression that Mr. James was much beset by the attention of ladies. One story dates fromt he days when domestic electric lighting was not yet fully under control. The first of the great London establishments to install the new luxury was, if I remember, Grosvenor House. At the subsequent evening party when the scene was at its most brilliant, suddenly the lights went out. As suddenly they came on, to discover--so the story went--thirteen ladies clinging to Mr. James.Henry, one presumes, was discomfited but polite. William, on the other hand, would surely have been visibly delighted.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Henry James, beset by ladies!
Having spent last weekend reading, with great pleasure, Colm Toibin's astonishingly good novel of Henry James, The Master, and looking forward to getting a copy of Michael Gorra's brand-new book, Portrait of a Novel, about James and the writing of The Portrait of a Lady, tonight I'll simply share one of the countless entertaining anecdotes from Simon Nowell-Smith's 1948 volume of recollections of James, The Legend of the Master. This one comes from Elizabeth Robins and seems to date to the early 1890s: