Main  Contacts  
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

 

The girl had stolen to the bed and tumbled upon it; lay there listening 

wretchedly to the knocking which had grown gradually to a pounding. Then 

came a man's voice, angry and imperative: 

 

"Open up or we'll break the door in!" 

 

In the silence when this voice ceased Amory realized that there were 

other things in the room besides people... over and around the figure 

crouched on the bed there hung an aura, gossamer as a moonbeam, tainted 

as stale, weak wine, yet a horror, diffusively brooding already over 

the three of them... and over by the window among the stirring curtains 

stood something else, featureless and indistinguishable, yet strangely 

familiar.... Simultaneously two great cases presented themselves side by 

side to Amory; all that took place in his mind, then, occupied in actual 

time less than ten seconds. 

 

The first fact that flashed radiantly on his comprehension was the great 

impersonality of sacrifice--he perceived that what we call love and 

hate, reward and punishment, had no more to do with it than the date 

of the month. He quickly recapitulated the story of a sacrifice he had 

heard of in college: a man had cheated in an examination; his roommate 

in a gust of sentiment had taken the entire blame--due to the shame 

of it the innocent one's entire future seemed shrouded in regret and 

failure, capped by the ingratitude of the real culprit. He had finally 

taken his own life--years afterward the facts had come out. At the time 

the story had both puzzled and worried Amory. Now he realized the truth; 

that sacrifice was no purchase of freedom. It was like a great elective 

office, it was like an inheritance of power--to certain people at 

certain times an essential luxury, carrying with it not a guarantee but 

a responsibility, not a security but an infinite risk. Its very momentum 

might drag him down to ruin--the passing of the emotional wave that made 

it possible might leave the one who made it high and dry forever on an 

island of despair. 

 

... Amory knew that afterward Alec would secretly hate him for having 


Page 4 from 9:  Back   1   2   3  [4]  5   6   7   8   9   Forward