The Beast in the Jungle

“It had not taken them many minutes, after all , to put down on the table, like the cards of a pack, those that constituted their respective hands; only what came out was that the pack was unfortunately not perfect-that the past, invoked, invited, encouraged, could give them, naturally, no more than it had.”

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays (New York: Library of America, 1999), 448.

This passage screams modern as it has an uncanny resemblance to the idiom of showing one’s hand, and has been used in everything from novels to movies, and is still being used today.  The hand that’s shown is saying to each other exactly what they remember of each other.

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