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"He was--a--quite a fine boy. We were very close."
Amory began to perceive a resemblance between the father and the
dead son and he told himself that there had been all along a sense of
familiarity. Jesse Ferrenby, the man who in college had borne off the
crown that he had aspired to. It was all so far away. What little boys
they had been, working for blue ribbons--
The car slowed up at the entrance to a great estate, ringed around by a
huge hedge and a tall iron fence.
"Won't you come in for lunch?"
Amory shook his head.
"Thank you, Mr. Ferrenby, but I've got to get on."
The big man held out his hand. Amory saw that the fact that he had known
Jesse more than outweighed any disfavor he had created by his opinions.
What ghosts were people with which to work! Even the little man insisted
on shaking hands.
"Good-by!" shouted Mr. Ferrenby, as the car turned the corner and
started up the drive. "Good luck to you and bad luck to your theories."
"Same to you, sir," cried Amory, smiling and waving his hand.
"OUT OF THE FIRE, OUT OF THE LITTLE ROOM"
Eight hours from Princeton Amory sat down by the Jersey roadside and
looked at the frost-bitten country. Nature as a rather coarse phenomenon
composed largely of flowers that, when closely inspected, appeared
moth-eaten, and of ants that endlessly traversed blades of grass, was
always disillusioning; nature represented by skies and waters and far
horizons was more likable. Frost and the promise of winter thrilled him
now, made him think of a wild battle between St. Regis and Groton,
ages ago, seven years ago--and of an autumn day in France twelve months
before when he had lain in tall grass, his platoon flattened down close
around him, waiting to tap the shoulders of a Lewis gunner. He saw the
two pictures together with somewhat the same primitive exaltation--two
games he had played, differing in quality of acerbity, linked in a way
that differed them from Rosalind or the subject of labyrinths which
were, after all, the business of life.
"I am selfish," he thought.
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