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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

Presidents--yet Amory knew that this man had, in his heart, leaned on 

the priest of another religion. 

 

And Monsignor, upon whom a cardinal rested, had moments of strange and 

horrible insecurity--inexplicable in a religion that explained even 

disbelief in terms of its own faith: if you doubted the devil it was the 

devil that made you doubt him. Amory had seen Monsignor go to the houses 

of stolid philistines, read popular novels furiously, saturate himself 

in routine, to escape from that horror. 

 

And this priest, a little wiser, somewhat purer, had been, Amory knew, 

not essentially older than he. 

 

Amory was alone--he had escaped from a small enclosure into a great 

labyrinth. He was where Goethe was when he began "Faust"; he was where 

Conrad was when he wrote "Almayer's Folly." 

 

Amory said to himself that there were essentially two sorts of people 

who through natural clarity or disillusion left the enclosure and 

sought the labyrinth. There were men like Wells and Plato, who had, 

half unconsciously, a strange, hidden orthodoxy, who would accept 

for themselves only what could be accepted for all men--incurable 

romanticists who never, for all their efforts, could enter the labyrinth 

as stark souls; there were on the other hand sword-like pioneering 

personalities, Samuel Butler, Renan, Voltaire, who progressed much 

slower, yet eventually much further, not in the direct pessimistic line 

of speculative philosophy but concerned in the eternal attempt to attach 

a positive value to life.... 

 

Amory stopped. He began for the first time in his life to have a strong 

distrust of all generalities and epigrams. They were too easy, too 

dangerous to the public mind. Yet all thought usually reached the 

public after thirty years in some such form: Benson and Chesterton had 

popularized Huysmans and Newman; Shaw had sugar-coated Nietzsche and 

Ibsen and Schopenhauer. The man in the street heard the conclusions 

of dead genius through some one else's clever paradoxes and didactic 

epigrams. 

 

Life was a damned muddle... a football game with every one off-side and 


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