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"Pink or blue?"
"Say what it is."
"We're all ears, Amory."
"Smile or swear--or something."
There was a pause... a small crowd of seconds swept by... then he looked
again and another crowd went on into time.
"Blue as the sky, gentlemen...."
What Amory did that year from early September to late in the spring was
so purposeless and inconsecutive that it seems scarcely worth recording.
He was, of course, immediately sorry for what he had lost. His
philosophy of success had tumbled down upon him, and he looked for the
"Your own laziness," said Alec later.
"No--something deeper than that. I've begun to feel that I was meant to
lose this chance."
"They're rather off you at the club, you know; every man that doesn't
come through makes our crowd just so much weaker."
"I hate that point of view."
"Of course, with a little effort you could still stage a comeback."
"No--I'm through--as far as ever being a power in college is concerned."
"But, Amory, honestly, what makes me the angriest isn't the fact that
you won't be chairman of the Prince and on the Senior Council, but just
that you didn't get down and pass that exam."
"Not me," said Amory slowly; "I'm mad at the concrete thing. My own
idleness was quite in accord with my system, but the luck broke."
"Your system broke, you mean."
"Well, what are you going to do? Get a better one quick, or just bum
around for two more years as a has-been?"
"I don't know yet..."
"Oh, Amory, buck up!"
Amory's point of view, though dangerous, was not far from the true one.
If his reactions to his environment could be tabulated, the chart would
have appeared like this, beginning with his earliest years:
1. The fundamental Amory.
2. Amory plus Beatrice.
3. Amory plus Beatrice plus Minneapolis.
Then St. Regis' had pulled him to pieces and started him over again:
4. Amory plus St. Regis'.
5. Amory plus St. Regis' plus Princeton.
That had been his nearest approach to success through conformity. The
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