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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
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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