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"Well, the idea that men can stand anything if they get used to it, and
the fact that I got a high mark in the psychological examination."
Mrs. Lawrence laughed. Amory was finding it a great relief to be in this
cool house on Riverside Drive, away from more condensed New York and
the sense of people expelling great quantities of breath into a
little space. Mrs. Lawrence reminded him vaguely of Beatrice, not
in temperament, but in her perfect grace and dignity. The house, its
furnishings, the manner in which dinner was served, were in immense
contrast to what he had met in the great places on Long Island, where
the servants were so obtrusive that they had positively to be bumped
out of the way, or even in the houses of more conservative "Union Club"
families. He wondered if this air of symmetrical restraint, this grace,
which he felt was continental, was distilled through Mrs. Lawrence's New
England ancestry or acquired in long residence in Italy and Spain.
Two glasses of sauterne at luncheon loosened his tongue, and he talked,
with what he felt was something of his old charm, of religion and
literature and the menacing phenomena of the social order. Mrs. Lawrence
was ostensibly pleased with him, and her interest was especially in his
mind; he wanted people to like his mind again--after a while it might be
such a nice place in which to live.
"Monsignor Darcy still thinks that you're his reincarnation, that your
faith will eventually clarify."
"Perhaps," he assented. "I'm rather pagan at present. It's just that
religion doesn't seem to have the slightest bearing on life at my age."
When he left her house he walked down Riverside Drive with a feeling
of satisfaction. It was amusing to discuss again such subjects as this
young poet, Stephen Vincent Benet, or the Irish Republic. Between
the rancid accusations of Edward Carson and Justice Cohalan he had
completely tired of the Irish question; yet there had been a time when
his own Celtic traits were pillars of his personal philosophy.
There seemed suddenly to be much left in life, if only this revival
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