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Table of contents
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

 

***** 

 

CLARA 

 

She was immemorial.... Amory wasn't good enough for Clara, Clara of 

ripply golden hair, but then no man was. Her goodness was above the 

prosy morals of the husband-seeker, apart from the dull literature of 

female virtue. 

 

Sorrow lay lightly around her, and when Amory found her in Philadelphia 

he thought her steely blue eyes held only happiness; a latent strength, 

a realism, was brought to its fullest development by the facts that 

she was compelled to face. She was alone in the world, with two small 

children, little money, and, worst of all, a host of friends. He saw 

her that winter in Philadelphia entertaining a houseful of men for an 

evening, when he knew she had not a servant in the house except the 

little colored girl guarding the babies overhead. He saw one of the 

greatest libertines in that city, a man who was habitually drunk and 

notorious at home and abroad, sitting opposite her for an evening, 

discussing _girls' boarding-schools_ with a sort of innocent excitement. 

What a twist Clara had to her mind! She could make fascinating and 

almost brilliant conversation out of the thinnest air that ever floated 

through a drawing-room. 

 

The idea that the girl was poverty-stricken had appealed to Amory's 

sense of situation. He arrived in Philadelphia expecting to be told 

that 921 Ark Street was in a miserable lane of hovels. He was even 

disappointed when it proved to be nothing of the sort. It was an old 

house that had been in her husband's family for years. An elderly aunt, 

who objected to having it sold, had put ten years' taxes with a 

lawyer and pranced off to Honolulu, leaving Clara to struggle with the 

heating-problem as best she could. So no wild-haired woman with a hungry 

baby at her breast and a sad Amelia-like look greeted him. Instead, 

Amory would have thought from his reception that she had not a care in 

the world. 

 

A calm virility and a dreamy humor, marked contrasts to her 

level-headedness--into these moods she slipped sometimes as a refuge. 

She could do the most prosy things (though she was wise enough never 


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