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"I used to come out here alone at night, oh, three months ago, and I
always stopped at that cross-road we just passed. There were the woods
looming up ahead, just as they do now, there were dogs howling and
the shadows and no human sound. Of course, I peopled the woods with
everything ghastly, just like you do; don't you?"
"I do," Amory admitted.
"Well, I began analyzing it--my imagination persisted in sticking
horrors into the dark--so I stuck my imagination into the dark instead,
and let it look out at me--I let it play stray dog or escaped convict
or ghost, and then saw myself coming along the road. That made it all
right--as it always makes everything all right to project yourself
completely into another's place. I knew that if I were the dog or the
convict or the ghost I wouldn't be a menace to Burne Holiday any more
than he was a menace to me. Then I thought of my watch. I'd better go
back and leave it and then essay the woods. No; I decided, it's
better on the whole that I should lose a watch than that I should turn
back--and I did go into them--not only followed the road through them,
but walked into them until I wasn't frightened any more--did it until
one night I sat down and dozed off in there; then I knew I was through
being afraid of the dark."
"Lordy," Amory breathed. "I couldn't have done that. I'd have come out
half-way, and the first time an automobile passed and made the dark
thicker when its lamps disappeared, I'd have come in."
"Well," Burne said suddenly, after a few moments' silence, "we're
half-way through, let's turn back."
On the return he launched into a discussion of will.
"It's the whole thing," he asserted. "It's the one dividing line between
good and evil. I've never met a man who led a rotten life and didn't
have a weak will."
"How about great criminals?"
"They're usually insane. If not, they're weak. There is no such thing as
a strong, sane criminal."
"Burne, I disagree with you altogether; how about the superman?"
"He's evil, I think, yet he's strong and sane."
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