“He should never again, as at one or two great moments of the past, be better than himself. The infinite of life had gone, and what was left of the dose was a small glass engraved like a thermometer by the apothecary.“
– Henry James, The Middle Years page 335
I think this portion was a strong way to introduce the theme of the next few pages. It’s later described as something “passing away,” this deep loss of ever having another chance, and how strong and helpless it makes an aging person feel.