|• Main||• Contacts|
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
Life was a damned muddle... a football game with every one off-side and
Page 10 from 27: Back 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Forward