The Point

The Point

Vereker’s secret, my dear man—the general intention of his books: the string the pearls were strung on, the buried treasure, the figure in the carpet.” He began to flush—the numbers on his bumps to come out.  “Vereker’s books had a general intention?”
Henry James, The Figure in the Carpet

The point behind the point
The meaning behind the text
Is not what they say
Not what you think
Like the figure woven in the rug
What did the weaver have in mind
Except to cushion your feet
Delight your eyes
Believe nothing except
That behind the point
Is a question that exhausts you
To surrender

© Bob Schwartz


Note:

From Henry James, The Figure in the Carpet:

“As an older acquaintance of your late wife’s than even you were,” I began, “you must let me say to you something I have on my mind.  I shall be glad to make any terms with you that you see fit to name for the information she must have had from George Corvick—the information you know, that had come to him, poor chap, in one of the happiest hours of his life, straight from Hugh Vereker.”

He looked at me like a dim phrenological bust.  “The information—?”

“Vereker’s secret, my dear man—the general intention of his books: the string the pearls were strung on, the buried treasure, the figure in the carpet.”

He began to flush—the numbers on his bumps to come out.  “Vereker’s books had a general intention?”

I stared in my turn.  “You don’t mean to say you don’t know it?”  I thought for a moment he was playing with me.  “Mrs. Deane knew it; she had it, as I say, straight from Corvick, who had, after infinite search and to Vereker’s own delight, found the very mouth of the cave.  Where is the mouth?  He told after their marriage—and told alone—the person who, when the circumstances were reproduced, must have told you.  Have I been wrong in taking for granted that she admitted you, as one of the highest privileges of the relation in which you stood to her, to the knowledge of which she was after Corvick’s death the sole depositary?  All I know is that that knowledge is infinitely precious, and what I want you to understand is that if you’ll in your turn admit me to it you’ll do me a kindness for which I shall be lastingly grateful.”

He had turned at last very red; I dare say he had begun by thinking I had lost my wits.  Little by little he followed me; on my own side I stared with a livelier surprise.  Then he spoke. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”