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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

the rattling bang of folding seats inside announced that the ushers were 

at work. 

 

New York seemed not so much awakening as turning over in its bed. Pallid 

men rushed by, pinching together their coat-collars; a great swarm of 

tired, magpie girls from a department-store crowded along with shrieks 

of strident laughter, three to an umbrella; a squad of marching 

policemen passed, already miraculously protected by oilskin capes. 

 

The rain gave Amory a feeling of detachment, and the numerous unpleasant 

aspects of city life without money occurred to him in threatening 

procession. There was the ghastly, stinking crush of the subway--the car 

cards thrusting themselves at one, leering out like dull bores who grab 

your arm with another story; the querulous worry as to whether some one 

isn't leaning on you; a man deciding not to give his seat to a woman, 

hating her for it; the woman hating him for not doing it; at worst a 

squalid phantasmagoria of breath, and old cloth on human bodies and the 

smells of the food men ate--at best just people--too hot or too cold, 

tired, worried. 

 

He pictured the rooms where these people lived--where the patterns of 

the blistered wall-papers were heavy reiterated sunflowers on green and 

yellow backgrounds, where there were tin bathtubs and gloomy hallways 

and verdureless, unnamable spaces in back of the buildings; where even 

love dressed as seduction--a sordid murder around the corner, illicit 

motherhood in the flat above. And always there was the economical 

stuffiness of indoor winter, and the long summers, nightmares of 

perspiration between sticky enveloping walls... dirty restaurants where 

careless, tired people helped themselves to sugar with their own used 

coffee-spoons, leaving hard brown deposits in the bowl. 

 

It was not so bad where there were only men or else only women; it was 

when they were vilely herded that it all seemed so rotten. It was some 

shame that women gave off at having men see them tired and poor--it 

was some disgust that men had for women who were tired and poor. It was 

dirtier than any battle-field he had seen, harder to contemplate than 


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