The excerpt represents the core issue or deciding factor on which you must meditate, and is drawn from The American by Henry James:|
wicked smile--a smile which seemed to Newman to mean, "Go in if you dare!"
She was evidently versed in the current domestic history;
she was placed where she could feel the pulse of the house.
Newman stood a moment, twisting his mustache and looking at her;
then he abruptly turned away. But this was not because he was afraid
to go in--though he doubted whether, if he did so, he should be
able to make his way, unchallenged, into the presence of Madame de
Cintre's relatives. Confidence--excessive confidence, perhaps--quite as
much as timidity prompted his retreat. He was nursing his thunder-bolt;
he loved it; he was unwilling to part with it. He seemed to be holding
it aloft in the rumbling, vaguely-flashing air, directly over the heads