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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

acted alike as questioner and answerer: 

 

Question.--Well--what's the situation? 

 

Answer.--That I have about twenty-four dollars to my name. 

 

Q.--You have the Lake Geneva estate. 

 

A.--But I intend to keep it. 

 

Q.--Can you live? 

 

A.--I can't imagine not being able to. People make money in books and 

I've found that I can always do the things that people do in books. 

Really they are the only things I can do. 

 

Q.--Be definite. 

 

A.--I don't know what I'll do--nor have I much curiosity. To-morrow I'm 

going to leave New York for good. It's a bad town unless you're on top 

of it. 

 

Q.--Do you want a lot of money? 

 

A.--No. I am merely afraid of being poor. 

 

Q.--Very afraid? 

 

A.--Just passively afraid. 

 

Q.--Where are you drifting? 

 

A.--Don't ask _me!_ 

 

Q.--Don't you care? 

 

A.--Rather. I don't want to commit moral suicide. 

 

Q.--Have you no interests left? 

 

A.--None. I've no more virtue to lose. Just as a cooling pot gives 

off heat, so all through youth and adolescence we give off calories of 

virtue. That's what's called ingenuousness. 

 

Q.--An interesting idea. 

 

A.--That's why a "good man going wrong" attracts people. They stand 

around and literally _warm themselves_ at the calories of virtue he 

gives off. Sarah makes an unsophisticated remark and the faces simper in 

delight--"How _innocent_ the poor child is!" They're warming themselves 

at her virtue. But Sarah sees the simper and never makes that remark 

again. Only she feels a little colder after that. 

 

Q.--All your calories gone? 

 

A.--All of them. I'm beginning to warm myself at other people's virtue. 

 

Q.--Are you corrupt? 

 

A.--I think so. I'm not sure. I'm not sure about good and evil at all 

any more. 

 

Q.--Is that a bad sign in itself? 

 

A.--Not necessarily. 

 

Q.--What would be the test of corruption? 

 

A.--Becoming really insincere--calling myself "not such a bad fellow," 

thinking I regretted my lost youth when I only envy the delights of 

losing it. Youth is like having a big plate of candy. Sentimentalists 

think they want to be in the pure, simple state they were in before they 


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