“He had had a revelation of his range. What he dreaded was the idea that his reputation should stand on the unfinished. It was not with his past but with his future that it should properly be concerned. Illness and age rose before him like spectres with pitiless eyes: how was he to bribe such fates to give him the second chance? He had had the one chance that all men have – he had had the chance of life.”
-James, Henry. “The Middle Years.” H. James Complete Stories 1892-1898, The Library of America, 1996, page 346.
“‘You’ve made me think it all a delusion.’
‘Not your glory, my friend,’ stammered the young man.
‘Not my glory – what there is of it! It is glory – to have been tested, to have had our little quality and cast our little spell. The thing is to have made somebody care. You happen to be crazy, or course, but that doesn’t affect the law.’
‘You’re a great success!’ said Doctor Hugh, putting into his young voice the ring of a marriage-bell.
Dencombe lay taking this in; then he gathered strength to speak once more. ‘A second chance – that’s the delusion. There never was but one. We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.'”
-James, Henry. “The Middle Years.” H. James Complete Stories 1892-1898, The Library of America, 1996, page 354.