Mike has forced me to participate in the page-123 meme that’s been going around. So here it is, some lines from the book nearest me, Henry James’s The Golden Bowl, which Matt sent me over a year ago in a nice, smelly old edition, though I still haven’t read it. I’ve started it several times, and the first few pages are intriguing, but it’s just so damned big. Anyway, here goes.

“Why, it has a crack.”

It sounded on his lips so sharp, it had such an authority, that she almost started, while her colour, at the word, rose. It was as if he had been right, though his assurance was wonderful.

“You answer for it without having looked.”

“I did look. I saw the object itself. It told its story. No wonder it’s cheap.”

Obviously I cheated a bit, since it’s really eight sentences, not five. But it’s wonderfully suggestive, no? Surely they are talking about the titular bowl. Why does she seem to want the bowl and he doesn’t? Why does she seem to be so sensitive to his tone? Well, maybe I should find out soon.


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