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While she accompanied them (Kerry had invited her to supper) she said
nothing which could discountenance such a belief.
"She prefers her native dishes," said Alec gravely to the waiter, "but
any coarse food will do."
All through supper he addressed her in the most respectful language,
while Kerry made idiotic love to her on the other side, and she giggled
and grinned. Amory was content to sit and watch the by-play, thinking
what a light touch Kerry had, and how he could transform the barest
incident into a thing of curve and contour. They all seemed to have
the spirit of it more or less, and it was a relaxation to be with them.
Amory usually liked men individually, yet feared them in crowds unless
the crowd was around him. He wondered how much each one contributed to
the party, for there was somewhat of a spiritual tax levied. Alec and
Kerry were the life of it, but not quite the centre. Somehow the quiet
Humbird, and Sloane, with his impatient superciliousness, were the
Dick Humbird had, ever since freshman year, seemed to Amory a perfect
type of aristocrat. He was slender but well-built--black curly hair,
straight features, and rather a dark skin. Everything he said sounded
intangibly appropriate. He possessed infinite courage, an averagely good
mind, and a sense of honor with a clear charm and _noblesse oblige_
that varied it from righteousness. He could dissipate without going to
pieces, and even his most bohemian adventures never seemed "running it
out." People dressed like him, tried to talk as he did.... Amory decided
that he probably held the world back, but he wouldn't have changed him.
He differed from the healthy type that was essentially middle class--he
never seemed to perspire. Some people couldn't be familiar with a
chauffeur without having it returned; Humbird could have lunched at
Sherry's with a colored man, yet people would have somehow known that
it was all right. He was not a snob, though he knew only half his class.
His friends ranged from the highest to the lowest, but it was impossible
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