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The Beast in the Jungle Henry James

Chapter II

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John Marcher faintly smiled. "It's heroic?"

"Certainly--call it that."

It was what he would have liked indeed to call it. "I AM then a man of courage?"

"That's what you were to show me."

He still, however, wondered. "But doesn't the man of courage know what he's afraid of--or not afraid of? I don't know THAT, you see. I don't focus it. I can't name it. I only know I'm exposed."

"Yes, but exposed--how shall I say?--so directly. So intimately. That's surely enough."

"Enough to make you feel then--as what we may call the end and the upshot of our watch--that I'm not afraid?"

"You're not afraid. But it isn't," she said, "the end of our watch. That is it isn't the end of yours. You've everything still to see."

"Then why haven't you?" he asked. He had had, all along, to-day, the sense of her keeping something back, and he still had it. As this was his first impression of that it quite made a date. The case was the more marked as she didn't at first answer; which in turn made him go on. "You know something I don't." Then his voice, for that of a man of courage, trembled a little. "You know what's to happen." Her silence, with the face she showed, was almost a confession--it made him sure. "You know, and you're afraid to tell me. It's so bad that you're afraid I'll find out."

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All this might be true, for she did look as if, unexpectedly to her, he had crossed some mystic line that she had secretly drawn round her. Yet she might, after all, not have worried; and the real climax was that he himself, at all events, needn't. "You'll never find out."

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The Beast in the Jungle
Henry James

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