When the possibilities themselves had, accordingly, turned stale, when the secret of the gods had grown faint, had perhaps even quite evaporated, that, and that only, was failure. It wouldn’t have been failure to be bankrupt, dishonoured, pilloried, hanged; it was failure not to be anything.

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in The Complete Tales of Henry James
(New York: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1964), 379.

Notes: expectancy, failure = not accomplishing anything?, false modesty = egotism/pride

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