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AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY
THE DEBUTANTE
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE
YOUNG IRONY
THE SUPERCILIOUS SACRIFICE
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE

your breakfast brought up." 

 

"All right." 

 

"I am feeling very old to-day, Amory," she would sigh, her face a rare 

cameo of pathos, her voice exquisitely modulated, her hands as facile 

as Bernhardt's. "My nerves are on edge--on edge. We must leave this 

terrifying place to-morrow and go searching for sunshine." 

 

Amory's penetrating green eyes would look out through tangled hair at 

his mother. Even at this age he had no illusions about her. 

 

"Amory." 

 

"Oh, _yes_." 

 

"I want you to take a red-hot bath as hot as you can bear it, and just 

relax your nerves. You can read in the tub if you wish." 

 

She fed him sections of the "Fetes Galantes" before he was ten; at 

eleven he could talk glibly, if rather reminiscently, of Brahms and 

Mozart and Beethoven. One afternoon, when left alone in the hotel at 

Hot Springs, he sampled his mother's apricot cordial, and as the taste 

pleased him, he became quite tipsy. This was fun for a while, but 

he essayed a cigarette in his exaltation, and succumbed to a vulgar, 

plebeian reaction. Though this incident horrified Beatrice, it also 

secretly amused her and became part of what in a later generation would 

have been termed her "line." 

 

"This son of mine," he heard her tell a room full of awestruck, admiring 

women one day, "is entirely sophisticated and quite charming--but 

delicate--we're all delicate; _here_, you know." Her hand was radiantly 

outlined against her beautiful bosom; then sinking her voice to a 

whisper, she told them of the apricot cordial. They rejoiced, for she 

was a brave raconteuse, but many were the keys turned in sideboard locks 

that night against the possible defection of little Bobby or Barbara.... 

 

These domestic pilgrimages were invariably in state; two maids, the 

private car, or Mr. Blaine when available, and very often a physician. 

When Amory had the whooping-cough four disgusted specialists glared at 

each other hunched around his bed; when he took scarlet fever the number 

of attendants, including physicians and nurses, totalled fourteen. 


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