Tea with James and Isabel

Tea Henry James IsabelShop the dream

I had tea with James and his Isabel yesterday. The latter merely said a few short, vague sentences throughout. She looked like she was thinking of the whole world but of what we were discussing, which wasn’t much really, we were simply enjoying the ritual of afternoon tea.

We were at a public tea room,

sitting under a gold encrusted chandelier hanging from a ceiling stained with pink tones and draped with damask. Isabel and I were donning midi dresses, she in her heels looking distant, probably thinking of how her story turned out and I in my smoking slippers, holding the tea cup close to my mouth.

“She is off in her world,” James said, looking admiringly at her while he said it. “You should have seen her yesterday, she was walking along the promenade, feeding off the weak warmth of the winter sun and suddenly she looked back at me and smiled.

She was generous with her smile,

she was letting me know she loved the direction I went for, I think, I hope. She wouldn’t parade such a smile to simply anyone, I would know, I created her. I will have to say goodbye to her eventually, but not today.”

“Who says you have to darling? Why else do we create characters and worlds but so they stay with us? Oh, speaking of worlds, have you written to H.G. lately? He’s always intrigued by your letters. Did I tell you what the man did to me?”

He shook his head and leaning towards me, while Isabel remained distant, I told him the story of when H.G. tried to teach me how to ride a bike.

Story credits: Henry James’ The Portrait of a lady; Elle Moss – Flickr for the image.

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