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religion, and life as respectively a game or a mystery. The priest
seemed to guess Amory's thoughts before they were clear in his own head,
so closely related were their minds in form and groove.
"Why do I make lists?" Amory asked him one night. "Lists of all sorts of
"Because you're a mediaevalist," Monsignor answered. "We both are. It's
the passion for classifying and finding a type."
"It's a desire to get something definite."
"It's the nucleus of scholastic philosophy."
"I was beginning to think I was growing eccentric till I came up here.
It was a pose, I guess."
"Don't worry about that; for you not posing may be the biggest pose of
"But do the next thing."
After Amory returned to college he received several letters from
Monsignor which gave him more egotistic food for consumption.
I am afraid that I gave you too much assurance of your inevitable
safety, and you must remember that I did that through faith in
your springs of effort; not in the silly conviction that you will
arrive without struggle. Some nuances of character you will have
to take for granted in yourself, though you must be careful in
confessing them to others. You are unsentimental, almost incapable
of affection, astute without being cunning and vain without being
Don't let yourself feel worthless; often through life you will
really be at your worst when you seem to think best of yourself;
and don't worry about losing your "personality," as you persist
in calling it; at fifteen you had the radiance of early morning,
at twenty you will begin to have the melancholy brilliance of
the moon, and when you are my age you will give out, as I do,
the genial golden warmth of 4 P.M.
If you write me letters, please let them be natural ones. Your
last, that dissertation on architecture, was perfectly awful--
so "highbrow" that I picture you living in an intellectual and
emotional vacuum; and beware of trying to classify people too
definitely into types; you will find that all through their youth
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