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Nevertheless, even though it might not yield a cent for the next three
years, Amory decided with a vague sentimentality that for the present,
at any rate, he would not sell the house.
This particular day on which he announced his ennui to Tom had been
quite typical. He had risen at noon, lunched with Mrs. Lawrence, and
then ridden abstractedly homeward atop one of his beloved buses.
"Why shouldn't you be bored," yawned Tom. "Isn't that the conventional
frame of mind for the young man of your age and condition?"
"Yes," said Amory speculatively, "but I'm more than bored; I am
"Love and war did for you."
"Well," Amory considered, "I'm not sure that the war itself had any
great effect on either you or me--but it certainly ruined the old
backgrounds, sort of killed individualism out of our generation."
Tom looked up in surprise.
"Yes it did," insisted Amory. "I'm not sure it didn't kill it out of the
whole world. Oh, Lord, what a pleasure it used to be to dream I might be
a really great dictator or writer or religious or political leader--and
now even a Leonardo da Vinci or Lorenzo de Medici couldn't be a real
old-fashioned bolt in the world. Life is too huge and complex. The world
is so overgrown that it can't lift its own fingers, and I was planning
to be such an important finger--"
"I don't agree with you," Tom interrupted. "There never were men placed
in such egotistic positions since--oh, since the French Revolution."
Amory disagreed violently.
"You're mistaking this period when every nut is an individualist for
a period of individualism. Wilson has only been powerful when he has
represented; he's had to compromise over and over again. Just as soon
as Trotsky and Lenin take a definite, consistent stand they'll become
merely two-minute figures like Kerensky. Even Foch hasn't half
the significance of Stonewall Jackson. War used to be the most
individualistic pursuit of man, and yet the popular heroes of the war
had neither authority nor responsibility: Guynemer and Sergeant York.
How could a schoolboy make a hero of Pershing? A big man has no time
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