Go Away Closer, Dayanita Singh.
Again fortune held out her hand—and again mine slipped out of it. Once more I thought: How can I make myself pretty enough for him to notice me? Well—this time I had a new hat; A BEAUTIFUL NEW HAT! I was almost sure it was becoming, and I felt that if he would only tell me so I might at last pluck up courage to blurt out my admiration for “Daisy Miller” and “The Portrait of a Lady.” But he noticed neither the hat nor its wearer—and the second of our meetings fell as flat as the first. When I spoke to him of them years afterward he owned that he could not even remember having seen me on either occasion! And as for the date of the meeting which finally drew us together, without hesitations or preliminaries, we could neither of us ever recall when or where that happened. All we knew was that suddenly it was as if we had always been friends, and were to go on being (as he wrote to me in February 1910) “more and more never apart.”
The explanation, of course, was that in the interval I had found myself, and was no longer afraid to talk to Henry James of the things we both cared about; while he, always so helpful and hospitable to younger writers, at once used his magic faculty of drawing out his interlocutor’s inmost self. Perhaps it was our common sense of fun that first brought about our understanding. The real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humour or irony pitched in exactly the same key, so that their joint glances at any subject cross like interarching search-lights. I have had good friends between whom and myself that bond was lacking, but they were never really intimate friends; and in that sense Henry James was perhaps the most intimate friend I ever had, though in many ways we were so different.