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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

they will persist annoyingly in jumping from class to class, and 

by pasting a supercilious label on every one you meet you are 

merely packing a Jack-in-the-box that will spring up and leer at 

you when you begin to come into really antagonistic contact with 

the world. An idealization of some such a man as Leonardo da 

Vinci would be a more valuable beacon to you at present. 

 

You are bound to go up and down, just as I did in my youth, but 

do keep your clarity of mind, and if fools or sages dare to 

criticise don't blame yourself too much. 

 

You say that convention is all that really keeps you straight in 

this "woman proposition"; but it's more than that, Amory; it's 

the fear that what you begin you can't stop; you would run amuck, 

and I know whereof I speak; it's that half-miraculous sixth sense 

by which you detect evil, it's the half-realized fear of God in 

your heart. 

 

Whatever your metier proves to be--religion, architecture, 

literature--I'm sure you would be much safer anchored to the 

Church, but I won't risk my influence by arguing with you even 

though I am secretly sure that the "black chasm of Romanism" 

yawns beneath you. Do write me soon. 

 

With affectionate regards, THAYER DARCY. 

 

 

Even Amory's reading paled during this period; he delved further into 

the misty side streets of literature: Huysmans, Walter Pater, Theophile 

Gautier, and the racier sections of Rabelais, Boccaccio, Petronius, and 

Suetonius. One week, through general curiosity, he inspected the private 

libraries of his classmates and found Sloane's as typical as any: sets 

of Kipling, O. Henry, John Fox, Jr., and Richard Harding Davis; "What 

Every Middle-Aged Woman Ought to Know," "The Spell of the Yukon"; 

a "gift" copy of James Whitcomb Riley, an assortment of battered, 

annotated schoolbooks, and, finally, to his surprise, one of his own 

late discoveries, the collected poems of Rupert Brooke. 

 

Together with Tom D'Invilliers, he sought among the lights of Princeton 

for some one who might found the Great American Poetic Tradition. 


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