Presented to the
LIBRARY of the
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
SIDE OF PARADISE
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
AUTHOR OF "FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS"
. . . Well this side of Paradise! . . .
There's little comfort in the wise.
Experience is the name so many people
give to their mistakes. _ Oscaf
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
COPTBIGHT, 1920, BT
CHARLES SCRIBNEB'S SONS
Published April. 1920
Reprinted twice in April, 1920
Reprinted May. June, July, August, September, 1920
October, 1920; February, 1921
BOOK ONE: THE ROMANTIC EGOTIST
I. AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 3
H. SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 41
HE. THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 99
IV. NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 131
[INTERLUDE: MAY, 1917 FEBRUARY, 1919.]
BOOK TWO: THE EDUCATION OF A PERSONAGE
I. THE DEBUTANTE 179
n. EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 212
HI. YOUNG IRONY 238
IV. THE SUPERCILIOUS SACRIFICE 261
V. THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE .... 273
THE ROMANTIC EGOTIST
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE
AMORY ELAINE inherited from his mother every trait,
except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth
while. His father, an ineffectual, inarticulate man with
a taste for Byron and a habit of drowsing over the
Encyclopedia, Britannica, grew wealthy at thirty through
the death of two elder brothers, successful Chicago
brokers, and in the first flush of feeling that the world
was his, went to Bar Harbor and met Beatrice O'Hara.
In consequence, Stephen Blaine handed down to pos-
terity his height of just under six feet and his tendency
to waver at crucial moments, these two abstractions
appearing in his son Amory. For many years he hov-
ered in the background of his family's life, an unasser-
tive figure with a face half-obliterated by lifeless, silky
hair, continually occupied in "taking care" of his wife,
continually harassed by the idea that he didn't and
couldn't understand her.
But Beatrice Blaine! There was a woman! Early
pictures taken on her father's estate at Lake Geneva,
Wisconsin, or in Rome at the Sacred Heart Convent
an educational extravagance that in her youth was only
for the daughters of the exceptionally wealthy showed
the exquisite delicacy of her features, the consummate
art and simplicity of her clothes. A brilliant education
she had her youth passed in renaissance glory, she
was versed in the latest gossip of the Older Roman
Families; known by name as a fabulously wealthy Amer-
4 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
ican girl to Cardinal Vitori and Queen Margherita and
more subtle celebrities that one must have had some
culture even to have heard of. She learned in England
to prefer whiskey and soda to wine, and her small talk
was broadened in two senses during a winter in Vienna.
All in all Beatrice O'Hara absorbed the sort of educa-
tion that will be quite impossible ever again; a tutelage
measured by the number of things and people one could
be contemptuous of and charming about; a culture rich
in all arts and traditions, barren of all ideas, in the last
of those days when the great gardener clipped the in-
ferior roses to produce one perfect bud.
In her less important moments she returned to Amer-
ica, met Stephen Elaine and married him this almost
entirely because she was a little bit weary, a little bit
sad. Her only child was carried through a tiresome
season and brought into the world on a spring day in
When Amory was five he was already a delightful
companion for her. He was an auburn-haired boy, with
great, handsome eyes which he would grow up to in
time, a facile imaginative mind and a taste for fancy
dress. From his fourth to his tenth year he did the
country with his mother in her father's private car, from
Coronado, where his mother became so bored that she
had a nervous breakdown in a fashionable hotel, down
to Mexico City, where she took a mild, almost epidemic
consumption. This trouble pleased her, and later she
made use of it as an intrinsic part of her atmosphere
especially after several astounding bracers.
So, while more or less fortunate little rich boys were
defying governesses on the beach at Newport, or being
spanked or tutored or read to from "Do and Dare," or
"Frank on the Mississippi," Amory was biting acqui-
escent bell-boys in the Waldorf, outgrowing a natural
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 5
repugnance to chamber music and symphonies, and
deriving a highly specialized education from his mother.
"Yes, Beatrice." (Such a quaint name for his mother;
she encouraged it.)
"Dear, don't think of getting out of bed yet. I've
always suspected that early rising in early life makes
one nervous. Clothilde is having your breakfast brought
"I am feeling very old to-day, Amory," she would
sigh, her face a rare cameo of pathos, her voice exquis-
itely modulated, her hands as facile as Bernhardt's.
"My nerves are on edge on edge. We must leave this
terrifying place to-morrow and go searching for sun-
Amory's penetrating green eyes would look out
through tangled hair at his mother. Even at this age
he had no illusions about her.
"I want you to take a red-hot bath as hot as you
can bear it, and just relax your nerves. You can read
in the tub if you wish."
She fed him sections of the "Ftes Galantes" before
he, was ten; at eleven he could talk glibly, if rather
reminiscently, of Brahms and Mozart and Beethoven.
One afternoon, when left alone in the hotel at Hot
Springs, he sampled his mother's apricot cordial, and as
the taste pleased him, he became quite tipsy. This was
fun for a while, but he essayed a cigarette in his exalta-
tion, and succumbed to a vulgar, plebeian reaction.
Though this incident horrified Beatrice, it also secretly
amused her and became part of what in a later genera-
tion would have been termed her "line."
6 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"This son of mine," he heard her tell a room full of
awe-struck, admiring women one day, "is entirely sophis-
ticated and quite charming but delicate we're all
delicate; here, you know." Her hand was radiantly
outlined against her beautiful bosom; then sinking her
voice to a whisper, she told them of the apricot cordiaL
They rejoiced, for she was a brave raconteuse, but many
were the keys turned in sideboard locks that night
against the possible defection of little Bobby or Bar-
bara. . . .
These domestic pilgrimages were invariably in state;
two maids, the private car, or Mr. Blaine when available,
and very often a physician. When Amory had the
whooping-cough four disgusted specialists glared at each
other hunched around his bed; when he took scarlet
fever the number of attendants, including physicians
and nurses, totalled fourteen. However, blood being
thicker than broth, he was pulled through.
The Blaines were attached to no city. They were the
Blaines of Lake Geneva; they had quite enough rela-
tives to serve in place of friends, and an enviable stand-
ing from Pasadena to Cape Cod. But Beatrice grew
more and more prone to like only new acquaintances, as
there were certain stories, such as the history of her
constitution and its many amendments, memories of
her years abroad, that it was necessary for her to repeat
at regular intervals. Like Freudian dreams, they must
be thrown off, else they would sweep in and lay siege
to her nerves. But Beatrice was critical about American
women, especially the floating population of ex- West-
"They have accents, my dear," she told Amory, "not
Southern accents or Boston accents, not an accent
attached to any locality, just an accent" she became
dreamy. "They pick up old, moth-eaten London ac-
cents that are down on their luck and have to be used
by some one. They talk as an English butler might
after several years in a Chicago grand-opera company."
She became almost incoherent "Suppose time in
every Western woman's life she feels her husband is
prosperous enough for her to have accent they try to
impress me, my dear "
Though she thought of her body as a mass of frailties,
she considered her soul quite as ill, and therefore im-
portant in her life. She had once been a Catholic, but
discovering that priests were infinitely more attentive
when she was in process of losing or regaining faith in
Mother Church, she maintained an enchantingly waver-
ing attitude. Often she deplored the bourgeois quality
of the American Catholic clergy, and was quite sure
that had she lived in the shadow of the great Continental
cathedrals her soul would still be a thin flame on the
mighty altar of Rome. Still, next to doctors, priests
were her favorite sport.
"Ah, Bishop Wiston," she would declare, "I do not
want to talk of myself. I can imagine the stream of
hysterical women fluttering at your doors, beseeching
you to be sunpatico" then after an interlude filled by
the clergyman "but my mood is oddly dissimilar."
Only to bishops and above did she divulge her clerical
romance. When she had first returned to her country
there had been a pagan, Swinburnian young man in
Ashville, for whose passionate kisses and unsentimental
conversations she had taken a decided penchant they
had discussed the matter pro and con with an intellec-
tual romancing quite devoid of soppiness. Eventually
she had decided to marry for background, and the
young pagan from Asheville had gone through a spiritual
crisis, joined the Catholic Church, and was now Mon-
8 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Indeed, Mrs. Elaine, he is still delightful company
quite the cardinal's right-hand man."
"Amory will go to him one day, I know," breathed
the beautiful lady, "and Monsignor Darcy will under-
stand him as he understood me."
Amory became thirteen, rather tall and slender, and
more than ever on to his Celtic mother. He had tutored
occasionally the idea being that he was to "keep up,"
at each place "taking up the work where he left off,"
yet as no tutor ever found the place he left off, his mind
was still in very good shape. What a few more years
of this life would have made of him is problematical.
However, four hours out from land, Italy bound, with
Beatrice, his appendix burst, probably from too many
meals in bed, and after a series of frantic telegrams to
Europe and America, to the amazement of the passen-
gers the great ship slowly wheeled around and returned
to New York to deposit Amory at the pier. You will
admit that if it was not life it was magnificent
After the operation Beatrice had a nervous breakdown
that bore a suspicious resemblance to delirium tremens,
and Amory was left in Minneapolis, destined to spend
the ensuing two years with his aunt and uncle. There
the crude, vulgar air of Western civilization first catches
him in his underwear, so to speak.
A Kiss FOR AMORY
His lip curled when he read it.
"/ am going to have a bobbing party" it said, "on Thursday,
December the seventeenth, at five o'clock, and I would like it very
much if you could come.
R.S.V.P. Myra St. Claire."
He had been two months in Minneapolis, and his
chief struggle had been the concealing from "the other
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 9
guys at school" how particularly superior he felt him-
self to be, yet this conviction was built upon shifting
sands. He had shown off one day in French class (he
was in senior French class) to the utter confusion of
Mr. Reardon, whose accent Amory damned contemp-
tuously, and to the delight of the class. Mr. Reardon,
who had spent several weeks in Paris ten years before,
took his revenge on the verbs, whenever he had his book
open. But another time Amory showed off in history
class, with quite disastrous results, for the boys there
were his own age, and they shrilled innuendoes at each
other all the following week:
"Aw I b'lieve, doncherknow, the Umuricun revolu-
tion was laivgdy an affair of the middul dowses" or
"Washington came of very good blood aw, quite
good I b'lieve."
Amory ingeniously tried to retrieve himself by blun-
dering on purpose. Two years before he had commenced
a history of the United States which, though it only got
as far as the Colonial Wars, had been pronounced by
his mother completely enchanting.
His chief disadvantage lay in athletics, but as soon
as he discovered that it was the touchstone of power
and popularity at school, he began to make furious, per-
sistent efforts to excel in the winter sports, and with his
ankles aching and bending in spite of his efforts, he
skated valiantly around the Lorelie rink every after-
noon, wondering how soon he would be able to carry a
hockey-stick without getting it inexplicably tangled in
The invitation to Miss Myra St Claire's bobbing
party spent the morning in his coat pocket, where it
had an intense physical affair with a dusty piece of
peanut brittle. During the afternoon he brought it to
light with a sigh, and after some consideration and a
io THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
preliminary draft in the back of Collar and Daniel's
"First- Year Latin," composed an answer:
My dear Miss Si, Claire:
Your truly charming envitation for the evening of next Thursday
evening was truly delightful to recieve this morning. I will be
charm end inchanted indeed to present my compliments on next
Thursday evening. _, . ,
On Thursday, therefore, he walked pensively along
the slippery, shovel-scraped sidewalks, and came in
sight of Myra's house, on the half-hour after five, a late-
ness which he fancied his mother would have favored.
He waited on the door-step with his eyes nonchalantly
half-closed, and planned his entrance with precision.
He would cross the floor, not too hastily, to Mrs. St.
Claire, and say with exactly the correct modulation:
"My dear Mrs. St. Claire, I'm frightfully sorry to be
late, but my maid" he paused there and realized he
would be quoting "but my uncle and I had to see a
iella Yes, I've met your enchanting daughter at
Then he would shake hands, using that slight, half-
foreign bow, with all the starchy little females, and nod
to the fellas who would be standing 'round, paralyzed
into rigid groups for mutual protection.
A butler (one of the three in Minneapolis) swung open
the door. Amory stepped inside and divested himself
of cap and coat He was mildly surprised not to hear
the shrill squawk of conversation from the next room,
and he decided it must be quite formal. He approved
of that as he approved of the butler.
"Miss Myra," he said.
To his surprise the butler grinned horribly.
"Oh, yeah," he declared, "she's here." He was un-
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE n
aware that his failure to be cockney was ruining his
standing. Amory considered him coldly.
"But," continued the butler, his voice rising unnec-
essarily, "she's the only one what is here. The party's
Amory gasped in sudden horror.
"She's been waitin' for Amory Elaine. That's you,
ain't it? Her mother says that if you showed up by
five- thirty you two was to go after 'em in the Packard."
Amory's despair was crystallized by the appearance of
Myra herself, bundled to the ears in a polo coat, her
face plainly sulky, her voice pleasant Tonly with diffi-
"'Lo, Myra." He had described the state of his
"Well you got here, anyways."
"Well I'll tell you. I guess you don't know about
the auto accident," he romanced.
Myra's eyes opened wide.
"Who was it to?"
"Well," he continued desperately, "uncle 'n aunt 'n I."
"Was any one killed?"
Amory paused and then nodded.
"Your uncle ? " alarm.
"Oh, no just a horse a sorta gray horse."
At this point the Erse butler snickered.
"Probably killed the engine," he suggested. Amory
would have put him on the rack without a scruple.
" We'll go now," said Myra coolly. "You see, Amory,
the bobs were ordered for five and everybody was here,
so we couldn't wait "
"Well, I couldn't help it, could I?"
" So mama said for me to wait till ha'past five. We'll
12 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
catch the bob before it gets to the Minnehaha Club,
Amory's shredded poise dropped from him. He pic-
tured the happy party jingling along snowy streets, the
appearance of the limousine, the horrible public descent
of him and Myra before sixty reproachful eyes, his
apology a real one this time. He sighed aloud.
"What?" inquired Myra.
"Nothing. I was just yawning. Are we going to
surely catch up with 'em before they get there?" He
was encouraging a faint hope that they might slip into
the Minnehaha Club and meet the others there, be
found in blase seclusion before the fire and quite regain
his lost attitude.
"Oh, sure Mike, we'll catch 'em all right let's hurry."
He became conscious of his stomach. As they stepped
into the machine he hurriedly slapped the paint of
diplomacy over a rather box-like plan he had conceived.
It was based upon some "trade-lasts" gleaned at danc-
ing-school, to the effect that he was "awful good-looking
and English, sort of."
"Myra," he said, lowering his voice and choosing his
words carefully, "I beg a thousand pardons. Can you
ever forgive me? "
She regarded him gravely, his intent green eyes, his
mouth, that to her thirteen-year-old, arrow-collar taste
was the quintessence of romance. Yes, Myra could for-
give him very easily.
" Why yes sure."
He looked at her again, and then dropped his eyes.
He had lashes.
"I'm awful," he said sadly. "I'm diff'runt I don't
know why I make faux pas. 'Cause I don't care, I
s'pose." Then, recklessly: "I been smoking too much.
I've got t'bacca heart."
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 13
Myra pictured an all-night tobacco debauch, with
Amory pale and reeling from the effect of nicotined
lungs. She gave a little gasp.
' ' Oh, A mory, don' t smoke. You'll stunt your growth I ' '
"I don't care," he persisted gloomily. "I gotta. I
got the habit. I've done a lot of things that if my
fambly knew" he hesitated, giving her imagination
time to picture dark horrors "I went to the burlesque
show last week."
Myra was quite overcome. He turned the green eyes
on her again.
"You're the only girl in town I like much," he ex-
claimed in a rush of sentiment. "You're simpatico."
Myra was not sure that she was, but it sounded stylish
though vaguely improper.
Thick dusk had descended outside, and as the limou-
sine made a sudden turn she was jolted against him;
their hands touched.
"You shouldn't smoke, Amory," she whispered.
"Don't you know that?"
He shook his head.
Something stirred within Amory.
" Oh, yes, you do ! You got a crush on Froggy Parker.
I guess everybody knows that."
"No, I havei 't," very slowly.
A silence, while Amory thrilled. There was some-
thing fascinating about Myra, shut away here cosily
from the dim, chill air. Myra, a little bundle of clothes,
with strands of yellow hair curling out from under her
'"'Because I've got a crush, too " He paused, for
he heard in the distance the sound of young laughter,
i 4 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
and, peering through the frosted glass along the lamp-lit
street, he made out the dark outline of the bobbing
party. He must act quickly. He reached over with a
violent, jerky effort, and clutched Myra's hand her
thumb, to be exact.
"Tell him to go to the Minnehaha straight," he whis-
pered. "I wanta talk to you I got to talk to you."
Myra made out the party ahead, had an instant
vision of her mother, and then alas for convention
glanced into the eyes beside.
"Turn down this side street, Richard, and drive
straight to the Minnehaha Club ! " she cried through the
speaking tube. Amory sank back against the cushions
with a sigh of relief.
"I can kiss her," he thought "I'll bet I can. I'll
bet I can!"
Overhead the sky was half crystalline, half misty,
and the night around was chill and vibrant with rich
tension. From the Country Club steps the roads
stretched away, dark creases on the white blanket; huge
heaps of snow lining the sides like the tracks of giant
moles. They lingered for a moment on the steps, and
watched the white holiday moon.
"Pale moons like that one" Amory made a vague
gesture "make people mysterieuse. You look like a
young witch with her cap off and her hair sorta mussed"
her hands clutched at her hair "Oh, leave it, it
They drifted up the stairs and Myra led the way into
the little den of his dreams, where a cosy fire was burn-
ing before a big sink-down couch. A few years later
this was to be a great stage for Amory, a cradle for many
an emotional crisis. Now they talked for a moment
about bobbing parties.
"There's always a bunch of shy fellas," he com-
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 15
mented, "sitting at the tail of the bob, sorta lurkin' an*
whisperin' an' pushin' each other off. Then there's
always some crazy cross-eyed girl" he gave a terrify-
ing imitation "she's always talkin' hard, sorta, to the
"You're such a funny boy," puzzled Myra.
"How d'y' mean?" Amory gave immediate atten-
tion, on his own ground at last.
"Oh always talking about crazy things. Why don't
you come ski-ing with Marylyn and I to-morrow?"
"I don't hike girls in the daytime," he said shortly,
and then, thinking this a bit- abrupt, he added: "But I
like you." He cleared his throat. "I like you first and
second and third."
Myra's eyes became dreamy. What a story this
would make to tell Marylyn ! Here on the couch with
this wonderful-looking boy the little fire the sense
that they were alone in the great building
Myra capitulated. The atmosphere was too appro-
"I like you the first twenty-five," she confessed, her
voice trembling, "and Froggy Parker twenty-sixth."
Froggy had fallen twenty-five places in one hour. As
yet he had not even noticed it.
But Amory, being on the spot, leaned over quickly
and kissed Myra's cheek. He had never kissed a girl
before, and he tasted his lips curiously, as if he had
munched some new fruit. Then their lips brushed like
young wild flowers in the wind.
"We're awful," rejoiced Myra gently. She slipped
her hand into his, her head drooped against his shoulder.
Sudden revulsion seized Amory, disgust, loathing for
the whole incident. He desired frantically to be away,
never to see Myra again, never to kiss any one; he be-
came conscious of his face and hers, of their clinging
16 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
hands, and he wanted to creep out of his body and hide
somewhere safe out of sight, up in the corner of his
"Kiss me again." Her voice came out of a great
"I don t want to," he heard himself saying. There
was another pause.
" I don't want to !" he repeated passionately.
Myra sprang up, her cheeks pink with bruised vanity,
the great bow on the back of her head trembling sym-
"I hate you!" she cried. "Don't you ever dare. to
speak to me again ! "
"What?" stammered Amory.
"I'll tell mama you kissed me! I wfll too! I will
too! I'll tell mama, and she won't let me play with
Amory rose and stared at her helplessly, as though
she were a new animal of whose presence on the earth
he had not heretofore been aware.
The door opened suddenly, and Myra's mother ap-
peared on the threshold, fumbling with her lorgnette.
"Well," she began, adjusting it benignantly, "the
man at the desk told me you two children were up here
How do you do, Amory."
Amory watched Myra and waited for the crash but
none came. The pout faded, the high pink subsided,
and Myra's voice was placid as a summer lake when
she answered her mother.
"Oh, we started so late, mama, that I thought we
might as well "
He heard from below the shrieks of laughter, and
smelled the vapid odor of hot chocolate and tea-cakes as
he silently followed mother and daughter down-stairs.
The sound of the graphophone mingled with the voices
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 17
of many girls humming the air, and a faint glow was
born and spread over him:
"Casey- Jones mounted to the cab-un
Casey-Jones 'th his orders in his hand.
Casey-Jones mounted to the cab-un
Took his farewell journey to the prom-ised land."
SNAPSHOTS OF THE YOUNG EGOTIST
Amory spent nearly two years in Minneapolis. The
first winter he wore moccasins that were born yellow,
but after many applications of oil and dirt assumed their
mature color, a dirty, greenish brown; he wore a gray
plaid mackinaw coat, and a red toboggan cap. His
dog, Count Del Monte, ate the red cap, so his uncle
gave him a gray one that pulled down over his face.
The trouble with this one was that you breathed into it
and your breath froze; one day the darn thing froze his
cheek. He rubbed snow on his cheek, but it turned
bluish-black just the same.
The Count Del Monte ate a box of bluing once, but
it didn't hurt him. Later, however, he lost his mind
and ran madly up the street, bumping into fences, roll-
ing in gutters, and pursuing his eccentric course out of
Amory's life. Amory cried on his bed.
"Poor little Count," he cried. "Oh, poor little
After several months he suspected Count of a fine
piece of emotional acting.
Amory and Frog Parker considered that the greatest
line in literature occurred in Act III of "Arsene Lu-
i8 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
They sat in the first row at the Wednesday and Satur-
day matinees. The line was:
"If one can't be a great artist or a great soldier, the
next best thing is to be a great criminal."
Arnory fell in love again, and wrote a poem. This
"Marylyn and Sallee,
Those are the girls for me.
Marylyn stands above
Sa.Hee in that sweet, deep love."
He was interested in whether McGovern of Minne-
sota would make the first or second Ail-American, how
to do the card-pass, how to do the coin-pass, chameleon
ties, how babies were born, and whether Three-fingered
Brown was really a better pitcher than Christie Mathew-
Among other things he read: "For the Honor of the
School," "Little Women" (twice), "The Common
Law," "Sapho," "Dangerous Dan McGrew," "The
Broad Highway" (three times), "The Fall of the House
of Usher," "Three Weeks," "Mary Ware, the Little
Colonel's Chum," "Gunga Dhin," The Police Gazette,
and Jim- Jam Jems.
He had all the Henty biasses in history, and was par-
ticularly fond of the cheerful murder stories of Mary
School ruined his French and gave him a distaste for
standard authors. His masters considered him idle,
unreliable and superficially clever.
He collected locks of hair from many girls. He wore
the rings of several. Finally he could borrow no more
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 19
rings, owing to his nervous habit of chewing them out
of shape. This, it seemed, usually aroused the jealous
suspicions of the next borrower.
All through the summer months Amory and Frog
Parker went each week to the Stock Company. After-
ward they would stroll home in the balmy air of August
night, dreaming along Hennepin and Nicollet Avenues,
through the gay crowd. Amory wondered how people
could fail to notice that he was a boy marked for glory,
and when faces of the throng turned toward him and
ambiguous eyes stared into his, he assumed the most
romantic of expressions and walked on the air cushions
that lie on the asphalts of fourteen.
Always, after he was in bed, there were voices
indefinite, fading, enchanting just outside his window,
and before he fell asleep he would dream one of his
favorite waking dreams, the one about becoming a
great half-back, or the one about the Japanese invasion,
when he was rewarded by being made the youngest
general in the world. It was always the becoming he
dreamed of, never the being. This, too, was quite char-
acteristic of Amory.
CODE OF THE YOUNG EGOTIST
Before he was summoned back to Lake Geneva, he
had appeared, shy but inwardly glowing, in his first long
trousers, set off by a purple accordion tie and a "Bel-
mont" collar with the edges unassailably meeting, pur-
ple socks, and handkerchief with a purple border peep-
ing from his breast pocket. But more than that, he
had formulated his first philosophy, a code to live by,
which, as near as it can be named, was a sort of aristo-
20 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
He had realized that his best interests were bound
up with those of a certain variant, changing person,
whose label, in order that his past might always be
identified with him, was Amory Elaine. Amory marked
himself a fortunate youth, capable of infinite expansion
for good or evil. He did not consider himself a "strong
char'c'ter," but relied on his facility (learn things sorta
quick) and his superior mentality (read a lotta deep
books). He was proud of the fact that he could never
become a mechanical or scientific genius. From no
other heights was he debarred.
Physically. Amory thought that he was exceedingly
handsome. He was. He fancied himself an athlete of
possibilities and a supple dancer.
Socially. Here his condition was, perhaps, most dan-
gerous. He granted himself personality, charm, mag-
netism, poise, the power of dominating all contemporary
males, the gift of fascinating all women.
Mentally. Complete, unquestioned superiority.
Now a confession will have to be made. Amory had
rather a Puritan conscience. Not that he yielded to it
later in life he almost completely slew it but at fif-
teen it made him consider himseLf a great deal worse
than other boys . . . unscrupulousness . . . the desire
to influence people in almost every way, even for evil
... a certain coldness and lack of affection, amounting
sometimes to cruelty ... a shifting sense of honor
... an unholy selfishness ... a puzzled, furtive in-
terest in everything concerning sex.
There was, also, a curious strain of weakness running
crosswise through his make-up ... a harsh phrase
from the lips of an older boy '(older boys usually detested
him) was liable to sweep him off his poise into surly sen-
sitiveness, or timid stupidity ... he was a slave to his
own moods and he felt that though he was capable of
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 21
recklessness and audacity, he possessed neither courage,
perseverance, nor self-respect.
Vanity, tempered with self-suspicion if not self-
knowledge, a sense of people as automatons to his will,
a desire to "pass" as many boys as possible and get to
a vague top of the world . . . with this background
did Amory drift into adolescence.
PREPARATORY TO THE GREAT ADVENTURE
The train slowed up with midsummer languor at
Lake Geneva, and Amory caught sight of his mother
waiting in her electric on the gravelled station drive.
It was an ancient electric, one of the early types, and
painted gray. The sight of her sitting there, slenderly
erect, and of her face, where beauty and dignity com-
bined, melting to a dreamy recollected smile, filled him
with a sudden great pride of her. As they kissed coolly
and he stepped into the electric, he felt a quick fear
lest he had lost the requisite charm to measure up to
"Dear boy you're so tall . . . look behind and see
if there's anything coming . . ."
She looked left and right, she slipped cautiously into
a speed of two miles an hour, beseeching Amory to act
as sentinel; and at one busy crossing she made him get
out and run ahead to signal her forward like a traffic
policeman. Beatrice was what might be termed a care-
"You are tall but you're still very handsome you've
skipped the awkward age, or is that sixteen; perhaps
it's fourteen or fifteen; I can never remember; but
you've skipped it"
"Don't embarrass me," murmured Amory.
"But, my dear boy, what odd clothes! They look
22 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
as if they were a set don't they? Is your underwear
Amory grunted impolitely.
"You must go to Brooks' and get some really nice
suits. Oh, we'll have a talk to-night or perhaps to-
morrow night. I want to tell you about your heart
you've probably been neglecting your heart and you
Amory thought how superficial was the recent over-
lay of his own generation. Aside from a minute shy-
ness, he felt that the old cynical kinship with his mother
had not been one bit broken. Yet for the first few
days he wandered about the gardens and along the
shore in a state of superloneliness, finding a lethargic
content in smoking "Bull" at the garage with one of
The sixty acres of the estate were dotted with old and
new summer houses and many fountains and white
benches that came suddenly into sight from foKage-
hung hiding-places; there was a great and constantly
increasing family of white cats that prowled the many
flower-beds and were silhouetted suddenly at night
against the darkening trees. It was on one of the
shadowy paths that Beatrice at last captured Amory,
after Mr. Elaine had, as usual, retired for the evening
to his private library. After reproving him for avoid-
ing her, she took him for a long tte-a-tete in the moon-
light He could not reconcile himself to her beauty,
that was mother to his own, the exquisite neck and
shoulders, the grace of a fortunate woman of thirty.
"Amory, dear," she crooned softly, "I had such a
strange, weird time after I left you."
"Did you, Beatrice?"
"When I had my last breakdown" she spoke of it
as a sturdy, gallant feat.
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 23
"The doctors told me" her voice sang on a confi-
dential note "that if any man alive had done the con-
sistent drinking that I have, he would have been physi-
cally shattered, my dear, and in his grave long in his
Amory winced, and wondered how this would have
sounded to Froggy Parker.
"Yes," continued Beatrice tragically, "I had dreams
wonderful visions." She pressed the palms of her
hands into her eyes. "I saw bronze rivers lapping mar-
ble shores, and great birds that soared through the air,
parti-colored birds with iridescent plumage. I heard
strange music and the flare of barbaric trumpets
Amory had snickered.
"I said go on, Beatrice."
"That was all it merely recurred and recurred
gardens that flaunted coloring against which this would
be quite dull, moons that whirled and swayed, paler than
winter moons, more golden than harvest moons "
"Are you quite well now, Beatrice?"
"Quite well as well as I will ever be. I am not
understood, Amory. I know that can't express it to
you, Amory, but I am not understood."
Amory was quite moved. He put his arm around his
mother, rubbing his head gently against her shoulder.
"Poor Beatrice poor Beatrice."
"Tell me about you, Amory. Did you have two
Amory considered lying, and then decided against it.
"No, Beatrice. I enjoyed them. I adapted myself
to the bourgeoisie. I became conventional." He sur-
prised himself by saying that, and he pictured how
Froggy would have gaped.
24 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Beatrice," he said suddenly, "I want to go away to
school. Everybody in Minneapolis is going to go away
Beatrice showed some alarm.
"But you're only fifteen."
"Yes, but everybody goes away to school at fifteen,
and I want to, Beatrice."
On Beatrice's suggestion the subject was dropped for
the rest of the walk, but a week later she delighted him
"Amory, I have decided to let you have your way.
If you still want to, you can go to school."
"To St. Regis's in Connecticut."
Amory felt a quick excitement;
"It's being arranged," continued Beatrice. "It's bet-
ter that you should go away. I'd have preferred you
to have gone to Eton, and then to Christ Church, Ox-
ford, but it seems impracticable now and for the pres-
ent we'll let the university question take care of itself."
"What are you going to do, Beatrice?"
"Heaven knows. It seems my fate to fret away my
years in this country. Not for a second do I regret
being American indeed, I think that a regret typical
of very vulgar people, and I feel sure we are the great
coming nation yet" and she sighed "I feel my life
should have drowsed away close to an older, mellower
civilization, a land of greens and autumnal browns "
Amory did not answer, so his mother continued:
"My regret is that you haven't been abroad, but still,
as you are a man, it's better that you should grow up
here under the snarling eagle is that the right term?"
Amory agreed that it was. She would not have ap-
preciated the Japanese invasion.
"When do I go to school?"
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 25
"Next month. You'll have to start East a little
early to take your examinations. After that you'll
have a free week, so I want you to go up the Hudson
and pay a visit."
"To Monsignor Darcy, Amory. He wants to see
you. He went to Harrow and then to Yale became a
Catholic. I want him to talk to you I feel he can be
such a help " She stroked his auburn hair gently.
"Dear Amory, dear Amory "
So early in September Amory, provided with "six
suits summer underwear, six suits winter underwear,
one sweater or T shirt, one jersey, one overcoat, winter,
etc.," set out for New England, the land of schools.
There were Andover and Exeter with their memories
of New England dead large, college-like democracies;
St. Mark's, Groton, St. Regis' recruited from Boston
and the Knickerbocker families of New York; St. Paul's,
with its great rinks; Pomfret and St. George's, prosper-
ous and well-dressed; Taft and Hotchkiss, which pre-
pared the wealth of the Middle West for social success
at Yale; Pawling, Westminster, Choate, Kent, and a
hundred others; all milling out their well-set-up, conven-
tional, impressive type, year after year; then* mental
stimulus the college entrance exams; their vague pur-
pose set forth in a hundred circulars as "To impart a
Thorough Mental, Moral, and Physical Training as a
Christian Gentleman, to fit the boy for meeting the prob-
lems of his day and generation, and to give a solid foun-
dation in the Arts and Sciences."
At St. Regis' Amory stayed three days and took his
exams with a scoffing confidence, then doubling back
to New York to pay his tutelary visit The metropolis,
26 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
barely glimpsed, made little impression on him, except
for the sense of cleanliness he drew from the tall white
buildings seen from a Hudson River steamboat in the
early morning. Indeed, his mind was so crowded with
dreams of athletic prowess at school that he considered
this visit only as a rather tiresome prelude to the great
adventure. This, however, it did not prove to be.
Monsignor Darcy's house was an ancient, rambling
structure set on a hill overlooking the river, and there
lived its owner, between his trips to all parts of the
Roman-Catholic world, rather like an exiled Stuart
king waiting to be called to the rule of his land. Mon-
signor was forty-four then, and bustling a trifle too
stout for symmetry, with hair the color of spun gold,
and a brilliant, enveloping personality. When he came
into a room clad in his full purple regalia from thatch
to toe, he resembled a Turner sunset, and attracted
both admiration and attention. He had written two
novels: one of them violently anti-Catholic, just before
his conversion, and five years later another, in which
he had attempted to turn all his clever jibes against
Catholics into even cleverer innuendoes against Epis-
copalians. He was intensely ritualistic, startlingly dra-
matic, loved the idea of God enough to be a celibate,
and rather liked his neighbor.
Children adored him because he was like a child;
youth revelled in his company because he was still a
youth, and couldn't be shocked. In the proper land
and century he might have been a Richelieu at present
he was a very moral, very religious (if not particularly
pious) clergyman, making a great mystery about pulling
rusty wires, and appreciating life to the fullest, if not
entirely enjoying it.
He and Amory took to each other at first sight the
jovial, impressive prelate who could dazzle an embassy
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 27
ball, and the green-eyed, intent youth, in his first long
trousers, accepted in their own minds a relation of
father and son within a half-hour's conversation.
"My dear boy, I've been waiting to see you for years.
Take a big chair and we'll have a chat."
"I've just come from school St. Regis's, you know."
"So your mother says a remarkable woman; have a
cigarette I'm sure you smoke. Well, if you're like me,
you loathe all science and mathematics "
Amory nodded vehemently.
"Hate 'em all. Like English and history."
"Of course. You'll hate school for a while, too, but
I'm glad you're going to St. Regis's."
"Because it's a gentleman's school, and democracy
won't hit you so early. You'll find plenty of that in
"I want to go to Princeton," said Amory. "I don't
know why, but I think of all Harvard men as sissies,
like I used to be, and all Yale men as wearing big blue
sweaters and smoking pipes."
"I'm one, you know."
"Oh, you're different I think of Princeton as being
lazy and good-looking and aristocratic you know, like
a spring day. Harvard seems sort of indoors "
"And Yale is November, crisp and energetic," fin-
They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which
they never recovered.
"I was for Bonnie Prince Charlie," announced Amory.
"Of course you were and for Hannibal "
"Yes, and for the Southern Confederacy." He was
rather sceptical about being an Irish patriot he sus-
28 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
pected that being Irish was being somewhat common
but Monsignor assured him that Ireland was a romantic
lost cause and Irish people quite charming, and that it
should, by all means, be one of his principal biasses.
After a crowded hour which included several more
cigarettes, and during which Monsignor learned, to his
surprise but not to his horror, that Amory had not
been brought up a Catholic, he announced that he had
another guest. This turned out to be the Honorable
Thornton Hancock, of Boston, ex-minister to The
Hague, author of an erudite history of the Middle Ages
and the last of a distinguished, patriotic, and brilliant
"He comes here for a rest," said Monsignor confiden-
tially, treating Amory as a contemporary. "I act as
an escape from the weariness of agnosticism, and I think
I'm the only man who knows how his staid old mind is
really at sea and longs for a sturdy spar like the Church
to cling to."
Then* first luncheon was one of the memorable events
of Amory's early life. He was quite radiant and gave
off a peculiar brightness and charm. Monsignor called
out the best that he had thought by question and sug-
gestion, and Amory talked with an ingenious brilliance
of a thousand impulses and desires and repulsions and
faiths and fears. He and Monsignor held the floor, and
the older man, with his less receptive, less accepting,
yet certainly not colder mentality, seemed content to
listen and bask in the mellow sunshine that played be-
tween these two. Monsignor gave the effect of sun-
light to many people; Amory gave it in his youth and,
to some extent, when he was very much older, but never
again was it quite so mutually spontaneous.
"He's a radiant boy," thought Thornton Hancock,
who had seen the splendor of two continents and talked
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 29
with Parnell and Gladstone and Bismarck and after-
ward he added to Monsignor: "But his education ought
not to be intrusted to a school or college."
But for the next four years the best of Amory's intel-
lect was concentrated on matters of popularity, the in-
tricacies of a university social system and American
Society as represented by Biltmore Teas and Hot Springs
... In all, a wonderful week, that saw Amory's
mind turned inside out, a hundred of his theories con-
firmed, and his joy of life crystallized to a thousand am-
bitions. Not that the conversation was scholastic
heaven forbid! Amory had only the vaguest idea as
to what Bernard Shaw was but Monsignor made quite
as much out of "The Beloved Vagabond" and "Sir
Nigel," taking good care that Amory never once felt
out of his depthi
But the trumpets were sounding for Amory's prelimi-
nary skirmish with his own generation.
"You're not sorry to go, of course. With people like
us our home is where we are not," said Monsignor.
"I am sorry "
"No, you're not. No one person in the world is
necessary to you or to me."
Amory's two years at St. Regis', though in turn pain-
ful and triumphant, had as little real significance in his
own life as the American "prep" school, crushed as it
is under the heel of the universities, has to American life
in general. We have no Eton to create the self-con-
sciousness of a governing class; we have, instead, clean,
flaccid and innocuous preparatory schools.
30 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
He went all wrong at the start, was generally consid-
ered both conceited and arrogant, and universally de-
tested. He played football intensely, alternating a
reckless brilliancy with a tendency to keep himself as
safe from hazard as decency would permit. In a wild
panic he backed out of a fight with a boy his own size,
to a chorus of scorn, and a week later, in desperation,
picked a battle with another boy very much bigger, from
which he emerged badly beaten, but rather proud of
He was resentful against all those in authority over
him, and this, combined with a lazy indifference toward
his work, exasperated every master in school. He grew
discouraged and imagined himself a pariah; took to
sulking in corners and reading after lights. With a
dread of being alone he attached a few friends, but since
they were not among the elite of the school, he used
them simply as mirrors of himself, audiences before
which he might do that posing absolutely essential
to him. He was unbearably lonely, desperately un-
There were some few grains of comfort. Whenever
Amory was submerged, his vanity was the last part to
go below the surface, so he could still enjoy a comfort-
able glow when "Wookey-wookey," the deaf old house-
keeper, told him that he was the best-looking boy she
had ever seen. It had pleased him to be the lightest
and youngest man on the first football squad; it pleased
him when Doctor Dougall told him at the end of a
heated conference that he could, if he wished, get the
best marks in school. But Doctor Dougall was wrong.
It was temperamentally impossible for Amory to get
the best marks in schooL
Miserable, confined to bounds, unpopular with both
faculty and students that was Amory's first term.
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 31
But at Christmas he had returned to Minneapolis,
tight-lipped and strangely jubilant.
"Oh, I was sort of fresh at first," he told Frog Parker
patronizingly, "but I got along fine lightest man on
the squad. You ought to go away to school, Froggy.
It's great stun*."
INCIDENT OF TEE WELL-MEANING PROFESSOR
On the last night of his first term, Mr. Margotson, the
senior master, sent word to study hall that Amory was
to come to his room at nine. Amory suspected that
advice was forthcoming, but he determined to be courte-
ous, because this Mr. Margotson had been kindly dis-
posed toward him.
His summoner received him gravely, and motioned
him to a chair. He hemmed several times and looked
consciously kind, as a man will when he knows he's on
"Amory," he began. "I've sent for you on a per-
"I've noticed you this year and I I like you. I
think you have in you the makings of a a very good
"Yes, sir," Amory managed to articulate. He hated
having people talk as if he were an admitted failure.
"But I've noticed," continued the older man blindly,
"that you're not very popular with the boys."
"No, sir." Amory licked his lips.
"Ah I thought you might not understand exactly
what it was they ah objected to. I'm going to tell
you, because I believe ah that when a boy knows his
difficulties he's better able to cope with them to con-
form to what others expect of him." He a-hemmed
32 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
again with delicate reticence, and continued: "They
seem to think that you're ah rather too fresh
Amory could stand no more. He rose from his chair,
scarcely controlling his voice when he spoke.
"I know oh, don't you s'pose I know." His voice
rose. "I know what they think; do you s'pose you
have to tell me!" He paused. "I'm I've got to go
back now hope I'm not rude "
He left the room hurriedly. In the cool air outside,
as he walked to his house, he exulted in his refusal to be
"That damn old fool!" he cried wildly. "As if I
He decided, however, that this was a good excuse not
to go back to study hall that night, so, comfortably
couched up in his room, he munched nabiscos and
finished "The White Company."
INCIDENT OF THE WONDERFUL GIRL
There was a bright star in February. New York
burst upon hi on Washington's Birthday with the bril-
liance of a long-anticipated event. His glimpse of it
as a vivid whiteness against a deep-blue sky had left a
picture of splendor that rivalled the dream cities in
the Arabian Nights; but this time he saw it by elec-
tric light, and romance gleamed from the chariot-race
sign on Broadway and from the women's eyes at the
Astor, where he and young Paskert from St. Regis'
had dinner. When they walked down the aisle of the
theatre, greeted by the nervous twanging and discord
of untuned violins and the sensuous, heavy fragrance
of paint and powder, he moved in a sphere of epicurean
delight. Everything enchanted him. The play was
"The Little Millionaire," with George M. Cohan, and
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 33
there was one stunning young brunette who made him
sit with brimming eyes in the ecstasy of watching her
"Oh you wonderful girl,
What a wonderful girl you are "
sang the tenor, and Amory agreed silently, but passion-
"All your wonderful words
Thrill me through "
The violins swelled and quavered on the last notes, the
girl sank to a crumpled butterfly on the stage, a great
burst of clapping filled the house. Oh, to fall in love
like that, to the languorous magic melody of such a
The last scene was laid on a roof-garden, and the
'cellos sighed to the musical moon, while light adventure
and facile froth-like comedy flitted back and forth in the
calcium. Amory was on fire to be an habitue of roof-
gardens, to meet a girl who should look like that bet-
ter, that very girl; whose hair would be drenched with
golden moonlight, while at his elbow sparkling wine was
poured by an unintelligible waiter. When the curtain
fell for the last time he gave such a long sigh that the
people in front of him twisted around and stared and
said loud enough for him to hear:
"What a remarkable-looking boy!"
This took his mind off the play, and he wondered if
he really did seem handsome to the population of New
Paskert and he walked in silence toward their hotel.
The former was the first to speak. His uncertain fif-
teen-year-old voice broke in in a melancholy strain on
'Td marry that girl to-night."
34 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
There was no need to ask what girl he referred to.
"I'd be proud to take her home and introduce her to
my people," continued Paskert.
Amory was distinctly impressed. He wished he had
said it instead of Paskert. It sounded so mature.
"I wonder about actresses; are they all pretty bad?"
"No, sir, not by a darn sight," said the worldly youth
with emphasis, "and I know that girl's as good as gold.
I can tell."
They wandered on, mixing in the Broadway crowd,
dreaming on the music that eddied out of the cafes.
New faces flashed on and off like myriad lights, pale or
rouged faces, tired, yet sustained by a weary excitement.
Amory watched them in fascination. He was planning
his life. He was going to live in New York, and be
known at every restaurant and cafe, wearing a dress-
suit from early evening to early morning, sleeping away
the dull hours of the forenoon.
"Yes, sir, I'd marry that girl to-night!"
HEROIC IN GENERAL TONE
October of his second and last year at St. Regis' was
a high point in Amory's memory. The game with Gro-
ton was played from three of a snappy, exhilarating
afternoon far into the crisp autumnal twilight, and
Amory at quarter-back, exhorting in wild despair, mak-
ing impossible tackles, calling signals in a voke that
had diminished to a hoarse, furious whisper, yet found
time to revel in the blood-stained bandage around his
head, and the straining, glorious heroism of plunging,
crashing bodies and aching limbs. For those minutes
courage flowed like wine out of the November dusk,
and he was the eternal hero, one with the sea-rover on
the prow of a Norse galley, one with Roland and Hora-
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 35
tius, Sir Nigel and Ted Coy, scraped and stripped into
trim and then flung by his own will into the breach,
beating back the tide, hearing from afar the thunder of
cheers . . . finally bruised and weary, but still elusive,
circling an end, twisting, changing pace, straight-arm-
ing . . . falling behind the Groton goal with two men
on his legs, in the only touchdown of the game.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE SLICKER
From the scoffing superiority of sixth-form year and
success Amory looked back with cynical wonder on his
status of the year before. He was changed as com-
pletely as Amory Elaine could ever be changed. Amory
plus Beatrice plus two years in Minneapolis these had
been his ingredients when he entered St. Regis'. But
the Minneapolis years were not a thick enough overlay
to conceal the "Amory plus Beatrice" from the ferret-
ing eyes of a boarding-school, so St. Regis' had very
painfully drilled Beatrice out of him, and begun to lay
down new and more conventional planking on the fun-
damental Amory. But both St. Regis' and Amory were
unconscious of the fact that this fundamental Amory
had not in himself changed. Those qualities for which
he had suffered, his moodiness, his tendency to pose, his
laziness, and his love of playing the fool, were now taken
as a matter of course, recognized eccentricities in a star
quarter-back, a clever actor, and the editor of the
St. Regis Tattler: it puzzled him to see impressionable
small boys imitating the very vanities that had not long
ago been contemptible weaknesses.
After the football season he slumped into dreamy
content. The night of the pre-holiday dance he slipped
away and went early to bed for the pleasure of hearing
the violin music cross the grass and come surging in at
36 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
his window. Many nights he lay there dreaming awake
of secret cafes in Mont Martre, where ivory women
delved in romantic mysteries with diplomats and soldiers
of fortune, while orchestras played Hungarian waltzes
and the air was thick and exotic with intrigue and
moonlight and adventure. In the spring he read
"L' Allegro," by request, and was inspired to lyrical
outpourings on the subject of Arcady and the pipes of
Pan. He moved his bed so that the sun would wake
him at dawn that he might dress and go out to the
archaic swing that hung from an apple-tree near the
sixth-form house. Seating himself in this he would
pump higher and higher until he got the effect of swing-
ing into the wide air, into a fairy-land of piping satyrs
and nymphs with the faces of fair-haired girls he passed
in the streets of Eastchester. As the swing reached its
highest point, Arcady really lay just over the brow of a
certain hill, where the brown road dwindled out of sight
in a golden dot.
He read voluminously all spring, the beginning of
his eighteenth year: "The Gentleman from Indiana,"
"TheJSTew Arabian Nights," "The Morals of Marcus
Ordeyne," "The Man Who Was Thursday," which he
liked without understanding; "Stover at Yale," that
became somewhat of a text-book; "Dombey and Son,"
because he thought he really should read better stuff;
Robert Chambers, David Graham Phillips, and E.
Phillips Oppenheim complete, and a scattering of Tenny-
son and Kipling. Of all his class work only "L' Allegro"
and some quality of rigid clarity in solid geometry stirred
his languid interest.
As June drew near, he felt the need of conversation to
formulate his own ideas, and, to his surprise, found a
co-philosopher in Rahill, the president of the sixth form.
In many a talk, on the highroad or lying belly-down
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE 37
along the edge of the baseball diamond, or late at night
with their cigarettes glowing in the dark, they threshed
out the questions of school, and there was developed the
"Got tobacco?" whispered Rahill one night, putting
his head inside the door five minutes after lights.
"I'm coming in."
"Take a couple of pillows and lie in the window-seat,
why don't you."
Amory sat up in bed and lit a cigarette while Rahill
settled for a conversation. RahilTs favorite subject
was the respective futures of the sixth form, and Amory
never tired of outlining them for his benefit.
"Ted Converse? 'At's easy. He'll fail his exams,
tutor all summer at Harstrum's, get into Sheff with
about four conditions, and flunk out in the middle of
the freshman year. Then he'll go back West and raise
hell for a year or so; finally his father will make him go
into the paint business. He'll marry and have four
sons, all bone heads. He'll always think St. Regis's
spoiled him, so he'll send his sons to day school in Port-
land. He'll die of locomotor ataxia when he's forty-
one, and his wife will give a baptizing stand or whatever
you call it to the Presbyterian Church, with his name
on it "
"Hold up, Amory. That's too darned gloomy. How
"I'm in a superior class. You are, too. We're phil-
"Sure you are. You've got a darn good head on
you." But Amory knew that nothing in the abstract,
no theory or generality, ever moved Rahill until he
stubbed his toe upon the concrete minutiae of it
38 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Haven't," insisted Rahill. "I let people impose on
me here and don't get anything out of it I'm the prey
of my friends, damn it do their lessons, get 'em out of
trouble, pay 'em stupid summer visits, and always en-
tertain their kid sisters; keep my temper when they
get selfish and then they think they pay me back by
voting for me and telling me I'm the 'big man' of St.
Regis's. I want to get where everybody does their own
work and I can tell people where to go. I'm tired of
being nice to every poor fish in school."
"You're not a slicker," said Amory suddenly.
"What the devil's that?"
"Well, it's something that that there's a lot of
them. You're not one, and neither am I, though I am
more than you are."
"Who is one? What makes you one?"
"Why why, I suppose that the sign of it is when a
fellow slicks his hair back with water."
"Yes sure. He's a slicker."
They spent two evenings getting an exact definition.
The slicker was good-looking or clean-locking', he had
brains, social brains, that is, and he used all means on
the broad path of honesty to get ahead, be popular, ad-
mired, and never in trouble. He dressed well, was par-
ticularly neat in appearance, and derived his name
from the fact that his hair was inevitably worn short,
soaked in water or tonic, parted in the middle, and
slicked back as the current of fashion dictated. The
slickers of that year had adopted tortoise-shell specta-
cles as badges of their slickerhood, and this made them
so easy to recognize that Amory and Rahill never missed
AMORY, SON QF BEATRICE
one. The slicker seemed distributed through school, al-
ways a little wiser and shrewder than his contempo-
raries, managing some team or other, and keeping his
cleverness carefully concealed.
Amory found the slicker a most valuable classification
until his junior year in college, when the outline became
so blurred and indeterminate that it had to be subdivided
many times, and became only a quality. Amory's secret
ideal had all the slicker qualifications, but, in addition,
courage and tremendous brains and talents also Amory
conceded him a bizarre streak that was quite irreconcila-
ble to the slicker proper.
This was a first real break from the hypocrisy of school
tradition. The slicker was a definite element of suc-
cess, differing intrinsically from the prep school "big
i. Clever sense of social values.
Dresses well. Pretends that
dress is superficial but
knows that it isn't.
Goes into such activities as
he can shine in.
Gets to college and is, in a
worldly way, successful.
5. Hair slicked.
"THE BIG MAN"
1. Inclined to stupidity and
unconscious of social val-
2. Thinks dress is superficial,
and is inclined to be care-
less about it.
3. Goes out for everything
from a sense of duty.
4. Gets to college and has
a problematical future.
Feels lost without his cir-
cle, and always says that
school days were happiest,
after all. Goes back to
school and makes speeches
about what St. Regis's
boys are doing.
<;. Hair not slicked.
Amory had decided definitely on Princeton, even
though he would be the only boy entering that year
40 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
from St. Regis'. Yale had a romance and glamour from
the tales of Minneapolis, and St. Regis' men who had
been "tapped for Skull and Bones," but Princeton drew
him most, with its atmosphere of bright colors and its
alluring reputation as the pleasantest country club in
America. Dwarfed by the menacing college exams,
Amory's school days drifted into the past. Years after-
ward, when he went back to St. Regis', he seemed to
have forgotten the successes of sixth-form year, and to
be able to picture himself only as the unadjustable boy
who had hurried down corridors, jeered at by his rabid
contemporaries mad with common sense.
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES
AT first Amory noticed only the wealth of sunshine
creeping across the long, green swards, dancing on the
leaded window-panes, and swimming around the tops
of spires and towers and battlemented walls. Gradually
he realized that he was really walking up University
Place, self-conscious about his suitcase, developing a
new tendency to glare straight ahead when he passed
any one. Several times he could have sworn that men
turned to look at him critically. He wondered vaguely
if there was something the matter with his clothes, and
wished he had shaved that morning on the train. He
felt unnecessarily stiff and awkward among these white-
flannelled, bareheaded youths, who must be juniors and
seniors, judging from the savoir faire with which they
He found that 12 University Place was a large, dilapi-
dated mansion, at present apparently uninhabited,
though he knew it housed usually a dozen freshmen.
After a hurried skirmish with his landlady he sallied out
on a tour of exploration, but he had gone scarcely a block
when he became horribly conscious that he must be the
only man in town who was wearing a hat. He returned
hurriedly to 12 University, left his derby, and, emerging
bareheaded, loitered down Nassau Street, stopping to
investigate a display of athletic photographs in a store
window, including a large one of Allenby, the football
captain, and next attracted by the sign "Jigger Shop"
over a confectionary window. This sounded familiar,
so he sauntered in and took a seat on a high stool.
42 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Chocolate sundae," he told a colored person.
"Double chocolate jiggah? Anything else?"
He munched four of these, finding them of pleasing
savor, and then consumed another double-chocolate
jigger before ease descended upon him. After a cursory
inspection of the pillow-cases, leather pennants, and
Gibson Girls that lined the walls, he left, and continued
along Nassau Street with his hands in his pockets.
Gradually he was learning to distinguish between upper
classmen and entering men, even though the freshman
cap would not appear until the following Monday.
Those who were too obviously, too nervously at home
were freshmen, for as each train brought a new contin-
gent it was immediately absorbed into the hatless,
white-shod, book-laden throng, whose function seemed
to be to drift endlessly up and down the street, emitting
great clouds of smoke from brand-new pipes. By after-
noon Amory realized that now the newest arrivals were
taking him for an upper classman, and he tried conscien-
tiously to look both pleasantly blase and casually criti-
cal, which was as near as he could analyze the preva-
lent facial expression.
At five o'clock he felt the need of hearing his own
voice, so he retreated to his house to see if any one else
had arrived. Having climbed the rickety stairs he scru-
tinized his room resignedly, concluding that it was hope-
less to attempt any more inspired decoration than class
banners and tiger pictures. There was a tap at the
A slim face with gray eyes and a humorous smile
appeared in the doorway.
"Got a hammer?"
"No sorry. Maybe Mrs. Twelve, or whatever she
goes by, has one."
The stranger advanced into the room.
"You an inmate of this asylum?"
"Awful barn for the rent we pay."
Amory had to agree that it was.
"I thought of the campus," he said, "but they say
there's so few freshmen that they're lost. Have to sit
around and study for something to do."
The gray-eyed man decided to introduce himself.
"My name's Holiday."
"Elaine's my name."
They shook hands with the fashionable low swoop.
"Where'd you prep?"
"Andover where did you?"
"Oh, did you? I had a cousin there."
They discussed the cousin thoroughly, and then Holi-
day announced that he was to meet his brother for
dinner at six.
"Come along and have a bite with us."
At the Kenilworth Amory met Burne Holiday he of
the gray eyes was Kerry and during a limpid meal of
thin soup and anaemic vegetables they stared at the
other freshmen, who sat either in small groups looking
very ill at ease, or in large groups seeming very much
"I hear Commons is pretty bad," said Amory.
"That's the rumor. But you've got to eat there or
44 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Oh, at Princeton you've got to swallow everything
the first year. It's like a damned prep school."
"Lot of pep, though," he insisted. "I wouldn't have
gone to Yale for a million."
"You going out for anything?" inquired Amory of
the elder brother.
"Not me Burne here is going out for the Prince
the Daily Princetonian, you know."
"Yes, I know."
"You going out for anything?"
"Why yes. I'm going to take a whack at freshman
"Play at St. Regis's?"
"Some," admitted Amory depreciatingly, "but I'm
getting so damned thin."
"You're not thin."
"Well, I used to be stocky last fall."
After supper they attended the movies, where Amory
was fascinated by the glib comments of a man in front
of him, as well as by the wild yelling and shouting.
"Oh, honey-baby you're so big and strong, but oh, so
"Kiss her, kiss 'at lady, quick f"
A group began whistling "By the Sea," and the audi-
ence took it up noisily. This was followed by an indis-
tinguishable song that included much stamping and
then by an endless, incoherent dirge.
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 45
She works in a Jam Factoree
But you can't-fool-me
For I know DAMN WELL
That she DONT-make- jam-all-night !
As they pushed out, giving and receiving curious inv
personal glances, Amory decided that he liked the mov-
ies, wanted to enjoy them as the row of upper classmen in
front had enjoyed them, with their arms along the backs
of the seats, their comments Gaelic and caustic, their at-
titude a mixture of critical wit and tolerant amusement.
"Want a sundae I mean a jigger?" asked Kerry.
They suppered heavily and then, still sauntering,
eased back to 12.
"It's a whiz."
"You men going to unpack?"
"Guess so. Come on, Burne."
Amory decided to sit for a while on the front steps, so
he bade them good night.
The great tapestries of trees had darkened to ghosts
back at the last edge of twilight. The early moon had
drenched the arches with pale blue, and, weaving over
the night, in and out of the gossamer rifts of moon,
swept a song, a song with more than a hint of sadness,
infinitely transient, infinitely regretful.
He remembered that an alumnus of the nineties had
told him of one of Booth Tarkington's amusements:
standing in mid-campus in the small hours and singing
tenor songs to the stars, arousing mingled emotions in
the couched undergraduates according to the sentiment
of their moods.
46 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Now, far down the shadowy line of University Place a
white-dad phalanx broke the gloom, and marching fig-
ures, white-shirted, white-trousered, swung rhythmically
up the street, with linked arms and heads thrown back:
"Going back going back,
Going back to Nas-sau Hall,
Going back going back
To the Best Old Place of All.
Going back going back,
From all this earth-ly ball,
We'll clear the track as we go back
Going back to Nas-sau Hall !"
Amory dosed his eyes as the ghostly procession drew
near. The song soared so high that all dropped out
except the tenors, who bore the melody triumphantly
past the danger-point and relinquished it to the fantastic
chorus. Then Amory opened his eyes, half afraid that
sight would spoil the rich illusion of harmony.
He sighed eagerly. There at the head of the white
platoon marched Allenby, the football captain, slim and
defiant, as if aware that this year the hopes of the col-
lege rested on him, that his hundred-and-sixty pounds
were expected to dodge to victory through the heavy
blue and crimson lines.
Fascinated, Amory watched each rank of linked arms
as it came abreast, the faces indistinct above the polo
shirts, the voices blent in a paean of triumph and then
the procession passed through shadowy Campbell Arch,
and the vokes grew fainter as it wound eastward over
The minutes passed and Amory sat there very quietly.
He regretted the rule that would forbid freshmen to be
outdoors after curfew, for he wanted to ramble through
the shadowy scented lanes, where Witherspoon brooded
like a dark mother over Whig and Clio, her Attic chil-
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 47
dren, where the black Gothic snake of Little curled down
to Cwyler and Patton, these in turn flinging the mystery
out over the placid slope rolling to the lake.
Princeton of the daytime filtered slowly into his con-
sciousness West and Reunion, redolent of the sixties,
Seventy-nine Hall, brick-red and arrogant, Upper and
Lower Pyne, aristocratic Elizabethan ladies not quite
content to live among shopkeepers, and, topping all,
climbing with clear blue aspiration, the great dreaming
spires of Holder and Cleveland towers.
From the first he loved Princeton its lazy beauty,
its half-grasped significance, the wild moonlight revel of
the rushes, the handsome, prosperous big-game crowds,
and under it all the air of struggle that pervaded his
class. From the day when, wild-eyed and exhausted,
the jerseyed freshmen sat in the gymnasium and elected
some one from Hill School class president, a Lawrence-
ville celebrity vice-president, a hockey star from St!
Paul's secretary, up until the end of sophomore year it
never ceased, that breathless social system, that wor-
ship, seldom named, never really admitted, of the bogey
First it was schools, and Amory, alone from St. Regis',
watched the crowds form and widen and form again;
St. Paul's, Hill, Pomfret, eating at certain tacitly re-
served tables in Commons, dressing in their own corners
of the gymnasium, and drawing unconsciously about
them a barrier of the slightly less important but socially
ambitious to protect them from the friendly, rather puz-
zled high-school element. From the moment he realized
this Amory resented social barriers as artificial distinc-
tions mad by the strong to bolster up their weak retain-
ers and keep out the almost strong.
Having decided to be one of the gods of the class, he
48 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
reported for freshman football practice, but in the sec-
ond week, playing quarter-back, already paragraphed in
corners of the Princetonian, he wrenched his knee seri-
ously enough to put him out for the rest of the season.
This forced him to retire and consider the situation.
11 1 2 Univee" housed a dozen miscellaneous question-
marks. There were three or four inconspicuous and
quite startled boys from Lawrenceville, two amateur
wild men from a New York private school (Kerry Holi-
day christened them the "plebeian drunks"), a Jewish
youth, also from New York, and, as compensation for
Amory, the two Holidays, to whom he took an instant
The Holidays were rumored twins, but really the
dark-haired one, Kerry, was a year older than his blond
brother, Burne. Kerry was tall, with humorous gray
eyes, and a sudden, attractive smile; he became at once
the mentor of the house, reaper of ears that grew too
high, censor of conceit, vendor of rare, satirical humor.
Amory spread the table of their future friendship with
all his ideas of what college should and did mean.
Kerry, not inclined as yet to take things seriously, chided
him gently for being curious at this inopportune time
about the intricacies of the social system, but liked him
and was both interested and amused.
Burne, fair-haired, silent, and intent, appeared in the
house only as a busy apparition, gliding in quietly at
night and off again in the early morning to get up his
work in the library he was out for the Princetonian,
competing furiously against forty others for the coveted
first place. In December he came down with diphtheria,
and some one else won the competition, but, returning
to college in February, he dauntlessly went after the
prize again. Necessarily, Amory's acquaintance with
him was in the way of three-minute chats, walking to
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 49
and from lectures, so he failed to penetrate Burne's one
absorbing interest and find what lay beneath it.
Amory was far from contented. He missed the place
he had won at St. Regis', the being known and admired,
yet Princeton stimulated him, and there were many
things ahead calculated to arouse the Machiavelli latent
in him, could he but insert a wedge. The upper-class
clubs, concerning which he had pumped a reluctant
graduate during the previous summer, excited his curi-
osity: Ivy, detached and breathlessly aristocratic; Cot-
tage, an impressive melange of brilliant adventurers and
well-dressed philanderers; Tiger Inn, broad-shouldered
and athletic, vitalized by an honest elaboration of prep-
school standards; Cap and Gown, anti-alcoholic, faintly
religious and politically powerful; flambuoyant Col-
onial; literary Quadrangle; and the dozen others, vary-
ing in age and position.
Anything which brought an under classman into too
glaring a light was labelled with the damning brand of
"running it out." The movies thrived on caustic com-
ments, but the men who made them were generally run-
ning it out; talking of clubs was running it out; standing
for anything very strongly, as, for instance, drinking
parties or teto tailing, was running it out; in short, being
personally conspicuous was not tolerated, and the influ-
ential man was the non-committal man, until at club
elections in sophomore year every one should be sewed
up in some bag for the rest of his college career.
Amory found that writing for the Nassau Literary
Magazine would get him nothing, but that being on the
board of the Daily Princetonian would get any one a
good deal. His vague desire to do immortal acting with
the English Dramatic Association faded out when he
found that the most ingenious brains and talents were
concentrated upon the Triangle Club, a musical comedy
5 o THIS SIDE OF PARASIDE
organization that every year took a great Christmas
trip. In the meanwhile, feeling strangely alone and
restless in Commons, with new desires and ambitions
stirring in his mind, he let the first term go by between
an envy of the embryo successes and a puzzled fretting
with Kerry as to why they were not accepted immedi-
ately among the elite of the class.
Many afternoons they lounged in the windows of 12
Univee and watched the class pass to and from Com-
mons, noting satellites already attaching themselves to
the more prominent, watching the lonely grind with his
hurried step and downcast eye, envying the happy se-
curity of the big school groups.
"We're the damned middle class, that's what!" he
complained to Kerry one day as he lay stretched out on
the sofa, consuming a family of Fatimas with contem-
"Well, why not? We came to Princeton so we could
feel that way toward the small colleges have it on 'em,
more self-confidence, dress better, cut a swathe "
"Oh, it isn't that I mind the glittering caste system/'
admitted Amory. "I like having a bunch of hot cats
on top, but gosh, Kerry, I've got to be one of them."
"But just now, Amory, you're only a sweaty bour-
Amory lay for a moment without speaking.
"I won't be long," he said finally. "But I hate to
get anywhere by working for it I'll show the marks,
don't you know."
"Honorable scars." Kerry craned his neck suddenly
at the street. "There's Langueduc, if you want to see
what he looks like and Humbird just behind."
Amory rose dynamically and sought the windows.
"Oh," he said, scrutinizing these worthies, "Humbird
looks like a knockout, but this Langueduc he's the
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 51
rugged type, isn't he? I distrust that sort All dia-
monds look big in the rough."
"Well," said Kerry, as the excitement subsided,
" you're a literary genius. It's up to you."
"I wonder" Amory paused "if I could be. I hon-
estly think so sometimes. That sounds like the devil,
and I wouldn't say it to anybody except you."
"Well go ahead. Let your hair grow and write
poems like this guy D'Invilliers in the Lit."
Amory reached lazily at a pile of magazines on the
"Read his latest effort?"
"Never miss 'em. They're rare."
Amory glanced through the issue.
"Hello!" he said in surprise, "he's a freshman, isn't
"Listen to this ! My God !
"'A serving lady speaks:
Black velvet trails its folds over the day,
White tapers, prisoned in their silver frames,
Wave their thin flames like shadows in the vrini,
Pia, Pompia, come come away '
"Now, what the devil does that mean?"
"It's a pantry scene."
"* Her toes are stiffened like a stork's in flight;
She's laid upon her bed, on the white sheets,
Her hands pressed on her smooth bust like a saint,
Bella Cunizza, come into the light!'
"My gosh, Kerry, what in hell is it all about? I
swear I don't get him at all, and I'm a literary bird
"It's pretty tricky," said Kerry, "only you've got
52 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
to think of hearses and stale milk when you read it.
That isn't as pash as some of them."
Amory tossed the magazine on the table.
"Well," he sighed, "I sure am up in the air. I know
I'm not a regular fellow, yet I loathe anybody else that
isn't. I can't decide whether to cultivate my mind and
be a great dramatist, or to thumb my nose at the Golden
Treasury and be a Princeton slicker."
"Why decide?" suggested Kerry. "Better drift, like
me. I'm going to sail into prominence on Burne's coat-
"I can't drift I want to be interested. I want to
pull strings, even for somebody else, or be Princetonian
chairman or Triangle president. I want to be admired,
"You're thinking too much about yourself."
Amory sat up at this.
"No. I'm thinking about you, too. We've got to
get out and mix around the class right now, when it's
fun to be a snob. I'd like to bring a sardine to the prom
in June, for instance, but I wouldn't do it unless I could
be damn debonaire about it introduce her to all the
prize parlor-snakes, and the football captain, and all
that simple stuff."
"Amory," said Kerry impatiently, "you're just going
around in a circle. If you want to be prominent, get
out and try for something; if you don't, just take it
easy." He yawned. "Come on, let's let the smoke
drift off. We'll go down and watch football practice."
Amory gradually accepted this point of view, decided
that next fall would inaugurate his career, and relin-
quished himself to watching Kerry extract joy from
They filled the Jewish youth's bed with lemon pie;
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 51
they put out the gas all over the house every night by
blowing into the jet in Amory's room, to the bewilder-^
ment of Mrs. Twelve and the local plumber; they set up
the effects of the plebeian drunks pictures, books, and
furniture in the bathroom, to the confusion of the pair,
who hazily discovered the transposition on their return
from a Trenton spree; they were disappointed beyond
measure when the plebeian drunks decided to take it as
a joke; they played red-dog and twenty-one and jack-
pot from cQiiner to dawn, and on the occasion of one
man's birthday persuaded htm to buy sufficient cham-
pagne for a hilarious celebration. The donor of the
party having remained sober, Kerry and Amory acci-
dentiy dropped him down two flights of stairs and
called, shame-faced and penitent, at the infirmary all
the following week.
"Say, who are all these women?" demanded Kerry
one day, protesting at the size of Amory's mail. "I've
been looking at the postmarks lately Farmington and
Dobbs and Westover and Dana Hall what's the idea? "
"All from the Twin Cities." He named them off.
"There's Marylyn De Witt she's pretty, got a car of
her own and that's damn convenient; there's Sally
Weatherby she's getting too fat; there's Myra St.
Cla^e, she's an old flame, easy to kiss if you like
"What line do you throw 'em?" demanded Kerry.
"I've tried everything, and the mad wags aren't even
afraid of me."
"You're the 'nice boy* type," suggested Amory.
"That's just it. Mother always feels the girl is safe
if she's with me. Honestly, it's annoying. If I start
to hold somebody's hand, they laugh at me, and let me,
just as if it wasn't part of them. As soon as I get hold
54 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
of a hand they sort of disconnect it from the rest of
"Sulk," suggested Amory. "Tell 'em you're wild
and have 'em reform you go home furious come back
in half an hour startle 'em."
Kerry shook his head.
"No chance. I wrote a St. Timothy girl a really
loving letter last year. In one place I got rattled and
said: 'My God, how I love you !' She took a nail scis-
sors, clipped out the 'My God' and showed the rest of
the letter all over school. Doesn't work at all. I'm
just 'good old Kerry' and all that rot."
Amory smiled and tried to picture himself as "good
old Amory." He failed completely.
February dripped snow and rain, the cyclonic fresh-
man mid-years passed, and life in 12 Univee con-
tinued interesting if not purposeful. Once a day Amory
indulged in a club sandwich, cornflakes, and Julienne
potatoes at "Joe's," accompawed usually by Kerry or
Alec Connage. The latter was a quiet, rather aloof
slicker from Hotchkiss, who lived next door and shared
the same enforced singleness as Amory, due to the fact
that his entire class had gone to Yale. "Joe's" was
unaesthetic and faintly unsanitary, but a limitless charge
account could be opened there, a convenience that
Amory appreciated. His father had been experin nt-
ing with mining stocks and, in consequence, his allow-
ance, while liberal, was not at all what he had expected.
"Joe's" had the additional advantage of seclusion
from curious upper-class eyes, so at four each afternoon
Amory, accompanied by friend or book, went up to
experiment with his digestion. One day in March, find-
ing that all the tables were occupied, he slipped into a
chair opposite a freshman who bent intently over a
book at the last table. They nodded briefly. For
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 55
twenty minutes Amory sat consuming bacon buns and
reading "Mrs. Warren's Profession" (he had discovered
Shaw quite by accident whfle browsing in the library
during mid-years); the other freshman, also intent on
his volume, meanwhile did away with a trio of choco-
late malted milks.
By and by Amory's eyes wandered curiously to his
fellow-luncher's book. He spelled out the name and
title upside down "Marpessa," by Stephen Phillips.
This meant nothing to him, his metrical education hav-
ing been confined to such Sunday classics as " Come into
the Garden, Maude," and what morsels of Shakespeare
and Milton had been recently forced upon him.
Moved to address his vis-a-vis, he simulated interest
in his book for a moment, and then exclaimed aloud as
"Ha! Great stuff!"
The other freshman looked up and Amory registered
"Are you referring to your bacon buns?" His
cracked, kindly voice went well with the large spectacles
and the impression of a voluminous keenness that he
" No," Amory answered. " I was referring to B ernard
Shaw." He turned the book around in explanation.
"I've never read any Shaw. I've always meant to."
The boy paused and then continued: "Did you ever read
Stephen Phillips, or do you like poetry?"
"Yes, indeed," Amory affirmed eagerly. "I've never
read much of Phillips, though." (He had never heard
of any Phillips except the late David Graham.)
" It's pretty fair, I think. Of course he's a Victorian."
They sallied into a discussion of poetry, in the course of
which they introduced themselves, and Amory's com-
panion proved to be none other than " that awful high-
56 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
brow, Thomas Parke DTnvilliers," who signed the pas-
sionate love-poems in the Lit. He was, perhaps, nine-
teen, with stooped shoulders, pale blue eyes, and, as
Amory could tell from his general appearance, without
much conception of social competition and such phe-
nomena of absorbing interest. Still, he liked books, and
it seemed forever since Amory had met any one who
did; if only that St. Paul's crowd at the next table would
not mistake him for a bird, too, he would enjoy the
encounter tremendously. They didn't seem to be notic-
ing, so he let himself go, discussed books by the dozens
books he had read, read about, books he had never
heard of, rattling off lists of titles with the facility of a
Brentano's clerk. D'Invilliers was partially taken in
and wholly delighted. In a good-natured way he had
almost decided that Princeton was one part deadly Phi-
listines and one part deadly grinds, and to find a person
who could mention Keats without stammering, yet evi-
dently washed his hands, was rather a treat.
"Ever read any Oscar Wilde?" he asked.
"No. Who wrote it?"
"It's a man don't you know?"
"Oh, surely." A faint chord was struck in Amory's
memory. "Wasn't the comic opera, 'Patience,' written
"Yes, that's the fella. I've just finished a book of
his, 'The Picture of Dorian Gray,' and I certainly wish
you'd read it. You'd like it You can borrow it if you
"Why, I'd like it a lot thanks."
"Don't you want to come up to the room? I've got
a few other books."
Amory hesitated, glanced at the St. Paul's group
one of them was the magnificent, exquisite Humbird
and he considered how determinate the addition of this
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 57
friend would be. He never got to the stage of making
them and getting rid of them he was not hard enough
for that so he measured Thomas Parke D'Invilliers'
undoubted attractions and value against the menace of
cold eyes behind tortoise-rimmed spectacles that he fan-
cied glared from the next table.
"Yes, I'll go."
So he found "Dorian Gray" and the "Mystic and
Somber Dolores" and the "Belle Dame sans Merci"; for
a month was keen on naught else. The world became
pale and interesting, and he tried hard to look at Prince-
ton through the satiated eyes of Oscar Wilde and Swin-
burneor "Fingal O'Flaherty " and "Algernon Charles,"
as he called them in precieuse jest. He read enormously
every night Shaw, Chesterton, Barrie, Pinero, Yeats,
Synge, Ernest Dowson, Arthur Symons, Keats, Suder-
mann, Robert Hugh Benson, the Savoy Operas just a
heterogeneous mixture, for he suddenly discovered that
he had read nothing for years.
Tom DTnvilliers became at first an occasion rather
than a friend. Amory saw him about once a week, and
together they gilded the ceiling of Tom's room and deco-
rated the walls with imitation tapestry, bought at an
auction, tall candlesticks and figured curtains. Amory
liked him for being clever and literary without effemi-
nacy or affectation. In fact, Amory did most of the
strutting and tried painfully to make every remark an
epigram, than which, if one is content with ostensible
epigrams, there are many feats harder. 12 Univee was
amused. Kerry read "Dorian Gray" and simulated
Lord Henry, following Amory about, addressing him
as "Dorian" and pretending to encourage in him
wicked fancies and attenuated tendencies to ennui.
When he carried it into commons, to the amazement
of the others at table, Amory became furiously embar'
58 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
rassed, and after that made epigrams only before D'ln-
villiers or a convenient mirror.
One day Tom and Amory tried reciting their own and
Lord Dunsany's poems to the music of Kerry's grapho-
" Chant ! " cried Tom. "Don't recite ! Chant I "
Amory, who was performing, looked annoyed, and
claimed that he needed a record with less piano in it.
Kerry thereupon rolled on the floor in stifled laughter.
"Put on 'Hearts and Flowers'!" he howled. "Oh,
my Lord, I'm going to cast a kitten."
"Shut off the damn graphophone," Amory cried,
rather red in the face. "I'm not giving an exhibition."
In the meanwhile Amory delicately kept trying to
awaken a sense of the social system in D'Invilliers, for
he knew that this poet was really more conventional
than he, and needed merely watered hair, a smaller range
of conversation, and a darker brown hat to become oolite
regular. But the liturgy of Livingstone collars and
dark ties fell on heedless ears; in fact D'lnvilliers faintly
resented his efforts; so Amory confined himself to calls
once a week, and brought him occasionally to 12 Uni-
vee. This caused mfld titters among the other fresh-
men, who called them "Doctor Johnson and Boswell."
Alec Connage, another frequent visitor, liked him in
a vague way, but was afraid of h"n as a highbrow.
Kerry, who saw through his poetic patter to the solid,
almost respectable depths within, was immensely
amused and would have him recite poetry by the hour,
while he lay with closed eyes on Amory's sofa and lis-
" Asleep or waking is it? for her neck
Kissed over close, wears yet a purple speck
Wherein the pained blood falters and goes out ;
Soft and stung softly fairer for a fleck ..."
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 59
"That's good," Kerry would say softly. "It pleases
the elder Holiday. That's a great poet, I guess." Tom,
delighted at an audience, would ramble through the
"Poems and Ballades" until Kerry and Amory knew
them almost as well as he.
Amory took to writing poetry on spring afternoons,
in the gardens of the big estates near Princeton, while
swans made effective atmosphere in the artificial pools,
and slow clouds sailed harmoniously above the willows.
May came too soon, and suddenly unable to bear walls,
he wandered the campus at all hours through starlight
A DAMP SYMBOLIC INTERLUDE
The night mist fell. From the moon it rolled, clus-
tered about the spires and towers, and then settled
below them, so that the dreaming peaks were still in
lofty aspiration toward the sky. Figures that dotted
the day like ants now brushed along as shadowy ghosts,
in and out of the foreground. The Gothic halls and
cloisters were infinitely more mysterious as they loomed
suddenly out of the darkness, outlined each by myriad
faint squares of yellow light. Indefinitely from some-
where a bell boomed the quarter-hour, and Amory,
pausing by the sun-dial, stretched himself out full length
on the damp grass. The cool bathed his eyes and
slowed the flight of time time that had crept so insidi-
ously through the lazy April afternoons, seemed so in-
tangible in the long spring twilights. Evening after
evening the senior singing had drifted over the campus
in melancholy beauty, and through the shell of his
undergraduate consciousness had broken a deep and
reverent devotion to the gray walls and Gothic peaks
and all they symbolized as warehouses of dead ages.
The tower that in view of his window sprang upward,
60 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
grew into a spire, yearning higher until its uppermost
tip was half invisible against the morning skies, gave
him the first sense of the transiency and unimportance
of the campus figures except as holders of the apostolic
succession. He liked knowing that Gothic architecture,
with its upward trend, was peculiarly appropriate to
universities, and the idea became personal to him. The
silent stretches of green, the quiet halls with an occa-
sional late-burning scholastic light held his imagination
in a strong grasp, and the chastity of the spire became
a symbol of this perception.
"Damn it all," he whispered aloud, wetting his hands
in the damp and running them through his hair. "Next
year I work !" Yet he knew that where now the spirit
of spires and towers made him dreamily acquiescent, it
would then overawe him. Where now he realized only
his own inconsequence, effort would make him aware
of his own impotency and insufficiency.
The college dreamed on awake. He felt a nervous
excitement that might have been the very throb of its
slow heart. It was a stream where he was to throw a
stone whose faint ripple would be vanishing almost as
it left his hand. As yet he had given nothing, he had
A belated freshman, his oilskin slicker rasping loudly,
slushed along the soft path. A voice from somewhere
called the inevitable formula, "Stick out your head!"
below an unseen window. A hundred little sounds of
the current drifting on under the fog pressed in finally
on his consciousness.
"Oh, God!" he cried suddenly, and started at the
sound of his voice in the stillness. The rain dripped
on. A minute longer he lay without moving, his hands
clinched. Then he sprang to his feet and gave his
clothes a tentative pat.
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 61
"I'm very damn wet!" he said aloud to the sun-
The war began in the summer following his freshman
year. Beyond a sporting interest in the German dash
for Paris the whole affair failed either to thrill or interest
him. With the attitude he might have held toward an
'amusing melodrama he hoped it would be long and
bloody. If it had not continued he would have felt like
an irate ticket-holder at a prize-fight where the princi-
pals refused to mix it up.
That was his total reaction.
"All right, ponies/"
"Shake it up!"
"Hey, ponies how about easing up on that crap
game and shaking a mean hip?"
The coach fumed helplessly, the Triangle Club presi-
dent, glowering with anxiety, varied between furious
bursts of authority and fits of temperamental lassitude,
when he sat spiritless and wondered how the devil the
show was ever going on tour by Christmas.
"All right. We'll take the pirate song."
The ponies took last drags at their cigarettes and
slumped into place; the leading lady rushed into the
foreground, setting his hands and feet in an atmospheric
mince; and as the coach clapped and stamped and
tumped and da-da'd, they hashed out a dance.
A great, seething ant-hill was the Triangle Club. It
gave a musical comedy every year, travelling with cast,
chorus, orchestra, and scenery all through Christmas
62 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
vacation. The play and music were the work of under-
graduates, and the club itself was the most influential of
institutions, over three hundred men competing for it
Amory, after an easy victory in the first sopho-
more Princetonian competition, stepped into a vacancy
of the cast as Boiling Oil, a Pirate Lieutenant. Every
night for the last week they had rehearsed "Ha-Ha
Hortense!" in the Casino, from two in the afternoon
until eight in the morning, sustained by dark and pow-
erful coffee, and sleeping in lectures through the interim.
A rare scene, the Casino. A big, barnlike auditorium,
dotted with boys as girls, boys as pirates, boys as babies;
the scenery in course of being violently set up; the spot-
light man rehearsing by throwing weird shafts into
angry eyes; over all the constant tuning of the orchestra
or the cheerful tumpty-tump of a Triangle tune. The
boy who writes the lyrics stands in the corner, biting a
pencil, with twenty minutes to think of an encore; the
business manager argues with the secretary as to how
much money can be spent on "those damn milkmaid
costumes"; the old graduate, president in ninety-eight,
perches on a box and thinks how much simpler it was
in his day.
How a Triangle show ever got off was a mystery, but
it was a riotous mystery, anyway, whether or not one
did enough service to wear a little gold Triangle on his
watch-chain. "Ha-Ha Hortense !" was written over six
times and had the names of nine collaborators on the
programme. All Triangle shows started by being
"something different not just a regular musical com-
edy," but when the several authors, the president, the
coach and the faculty committee finished with it, there
remained just the old reliable Triangle show with the
old reliable jokes and the star comedian who got ex-
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 63
pelled or sick or something just before the trip, and the
dark- whiskered man in the pony-ballet, who " absolutely
won't shave twice a day, dog-gone it ! "
There was one brilliant place in "Ha-Ha Hortense!"
It is a Princeton tradition that whenever a Yale man
who is a member of the widely advertised "Skull and
Bones" hears the sacred name mentioned, he must leave
the room. It is also a tradition that the members are
invariably successful in later life, amassing fortunes or
votes or coupons or whatever they choose to amass.
Therefore, at each performance of "Ha-Ha Hortense!"
half-a-dozen seats were kept from sale and occupied by
six of the worst-looking vagabonds that could be hired
from the streets, further touched up by the Triangle
make-up man. At the moment in the show where
Firebrand, the Pirate ChieJ, pointed at his black flag and
said, "I am a Yale graduate note my Skull and Bones ! "
at this very moment the six vagabonds were instructed
to rise conspicuously and leave the theatre with looks of
deep melancholy and an injured dignity. It was claimed
though never proved that on one occasion the hired
Elis were swelled by one of the real thing.
They played through vacation to the fashionable of
eight cities. Amory liked Louisville and Memphis best:
these knew how to meet strangers, furnished extraordi-
nary punch, and flaunted an astonishing array of femi-
nine beauty. Chicago he approved for a certain verve
that transcended its loud accent however, it was a
Yale town, and as the Yale Glee Club was expected
in a week the Triangle received only divided homage.
In Baltimore, Princeton was at home, and every one fell
in love. There was a proper consumption of strong
waters all along the line; one man invariably went on
the stage iiighly stimulated, claiming that his particular
interpretation of the part required it. There were three
64 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
private cars; however, no one slept except in the third
car, which was called the "animal car," and where were
herded the spectacled wind-jammers of the orchestra.
Everything was so hurried that there was no time to be
bored, but when they arrived in Philadelphia, with vaca-
tion nearly over, there was rest in getting out of the
heavy atmosphere of flowers and grease-paint, and the
ponies took off their corsets with abdominal pains and
sighs of relief.
When the disbanding came, Amory set out post-
haste for Minneapolis, for Sally Weatherby's cousin,
Isabelle Borge, was coming to spend the winter in Min-
neapolis while her parents went abroad. He remem-
bered Isabelle only as a little girl with whom he had
played sometimes when he first went to Minneapolis.
She had gone to Baltimore to live but since then she
had developed a past
Amory was in full stride, confident, nervous, and
jubilant. Scurrying back to Minneapolis to see a girl
he had known as a child seemed the interesting and
romantic thing to do, so without compunction he wired
his mother not to expect him . . . sat in the train, and
thought about himself for thirty-six hours.
On the Triangle trip Amory had come into constant
contact with that great current American phenomenon,
the "petting party."
None of the Victorian mothers and most of the
mothers were Victorian had any idea how casually
their daughters were accustomed to be kissed. "Servant-
girls are that way," says Mrs. Huston-Carmelite to her
popular daughter. "They are kissed first and proposed
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 65
But the Popular Daughter becomes engaged every
six months between sixteen and twenty-two, when she
arranges a match with young Hambell, of Cambell &
Hambell, who fatuously considers himself her first love,
and between engagements the P. D. (she is selected by
the cut-in system at dances, which favors the survival
of the fittest) has other sentimental last kisses in the
moonlight, or the firelight, or the outer darkness.
Amory saw girls doing things that even in his mem-
ory would have been impossible: eating three-o'clock,
after-dance suppers in impossible cafes, talking of every
side of life with an air half of earnestness, half of mock-
ery, yet with a furtive excitement that Amory consid-
ered stood for a real moral let-down. But he never
realized how wide-spread it was until he saw the cities
between New York and Chicago as one vast juvenile
Afternoon at the Plaza, with winter twilight hovering
outside and faint drums down-stairs . . . they strut and
fret in the lobby, taking another cocktail, scrupulously
attired and waiting. Then the swinging doors revolve
and three bundles of fur mince in. The theatre comes
afterward; then a table at the Midnight Frolic of
course, mother will be along there, but she will serve
only to make things more secretive and brilliant as she
sits in solitary state at the deserted table and thinks
such entertainments as this are not half so bad as they
are painted, only rather wearying. But the P. D. is in
love again ... it was odd, wasn't it? that though
there was so much room left in the taxi the P. D. and
the boy from Williams were somehow crowded out and
had to go in a separate car. Odd ! Didn't you notice
how flushed the P. D. was when she arrived just seven
minutes late? But the P. D. "gets away with it."
The "belle" had become the "flirt," the "flirt" had
66 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
become the "baby vamp." The "belle" had five or
six callers every afternoon. If the P. D., by some
strange accident, has two, it is made pretty uncomfort-
able for the one who hasn't a date with her. The
"belle" was surrounded by a dozen men in the in-
termissions between dances. Try to find the P. D.
between dances, just try to find her.
The same girl . . . deep in an atmosphere of jungle
music and the questioning of moral codes. Amory found
it rather fascinating to feel that any popular girl he met
before eight he might quite possibly kiss before twelve.
"Why on earth are we here?" he asked the girl with
the green combs one night as they sat in some one's
limousine, outside the Country Club in Louisville.
"I don't know. I'm just full of the devil."
"Let's be frank we'll never see each other again.
I wanted to come out here with you because I thought
you were the best-looking girl in sight. You really
don't care whether you ever see me again, do you?"
"No but is this your line for every girl? What
have I done to deserve it? "
"And you didn't feel tired dancing or want a cigarette
or any of the things you said? You just wanted to
"Oh, let's go in," she interrupted, "if you want to
analyze. Let's not talk about it."
When the hand-knit, sleeveless jerseys were stylish,
Amory, in a burst of inspiration, named them "petting
shirts." The name travelled from coast to coast on the
lips of parlor-snakes and P. D.'s.
Amory was now eighteen years old, just under six
feet tall and exceptionally, but not conventionally,
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 67
handsome. He had rather a young face, the ingenuous-
ness of which was marred by the penetrating green eyes,
fringed with long dark eyelashes. He lacked somehow
that intense animal magnetism that so often accom-
panies beauty in men or women; his personality seemed
rather a mental thing, and it was not in his power to
turn it on and off like a water-faucet. But people never
forgot his face.
She paused at the top of the staircase. The sensa-
tions attributed to divers on spring-boards, leading
ladies on opening nights, and lumpy, husky young men
on the day of the Big Game, crowded through her. She
should have descended to a burst of drums or a dis-
cordant blend of themes from "Thais" and " Carmen."
She had never been so curious about her appearance,
she had never been so satisfied with it. She had been
sixteen years old for six months.
"Isabelle!" called her cousin Sally from the doorway
of the dressing-room.
"I'm ready." She caught a slight lump of nervous-
ness in her throat.
"I had to send back to the house for another pair of
slippers. It'll be just a minute."
Isabelle started toward the dressing-room for a last
peek in the mirror, but something decided her to stand
there and gaze down the broad stairs of the Minnehaha
Club. They curved tantalizingly, and she could catch
just a glimpse of two pairs of masculine feet in the hall
below. Pump-shod in uniform black, they gave no hint
of identity, but she wondered eagerly if one pair were
attached to Amory Elaine. This .young man, not as
yet encountered, had nevertheless taken up a consider-
able part of her day the first day of her arrival. Com-
68 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE-
ing up in the machine from the station, Sally had volun-
teered, amid a rain of question, comment, revelation,
"You remember Amory Elaine, of course. Well, he's
simply mad to see you again. He's stayed over a day
from college, and he's coming to-night. He's heard so
much about you says he remembers your eyes."
This had pleased Isabelle. It put them on equal
terms, although she was quite capable of staging her
own romances, with or without advance advertising.
But following her happy tremble of anticipation, came
a sinking sensation that made her ask:
"How do you mean he's heard about me? What
sort of things?"
Sally smiled. She felt rather in the capacity of a
showman with her more exotic cousin.
"He knows you're you're considered beautiful and
all that" she paused "and I guess he knows you've
At this Isabelle's tfttle fist had clinched suddenly
under the fur robe. She was accustomed to be thus fol-
lowed by her desperate past, and it never failed to rouse
in her the same feeling of resentment; yet in a strange
town it was an advantageous reputation. She was a
"Speed," was she? Well let them find out.
Out of the window Isabelle watched the snow glide
by irf the frosty morning. It was ever so much colder
here than in Baltimore; she had not remembered; the
glass of the side door was iced, the windows were shirred
with snow in the corners. Her mind played still with
one subject. Did he dress like that boy there, who
walked calmly down a bustling business street, in moc-
casins and winter-carnival costume? How very West-
ern ! Of course he wasn't that way: he went to Prince-
ton, was a sophomore or. something. Really she had no
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 69
distinct idea of him. An ancient snap-shot she had pre-
served in an old kodak book had impressed her by the
big eyes (which he had probably grown up to by now).
However, in the last month, when her winter visit to
Sally had been decided on, he had assumed the pro-
portions of a worthy adversary. Children, most astute
of match-makers, plot thek campaigns quickly, and Sally
had played a clever correspondence sonata to Isabelle's
excitable temperament. Isabelle had been for some
time capable of very strong, if very transient emo-
tions. . . .
They drew up at a spreading, white-stone building,
set back from the snowy street. Mrs. Weatherby
greeted her warmly and her various younger cousins
were produced from the corners where they skulked
.politely. Isabelle met them tactfully. At her best she
allied all with whom she came in contact except older
girls and some women. All the impressions she made
were conscious. The half-dozen girls she renewed ac-
quaintance with that morning were all rather impressed
and as much by her direct personality as by her reputa-
tion. Amory Elaine was an open subject. Evidently
a bit light of love, neither popular nor unpopular every
girl there seemed to have had an affair with him at
some time or other, but no one volunteered any really
useful information. He was going to fall for her. . . .
Sally had published that information to her young set
and they were retailing it back to Sally as fast as they
set eyes on Isabelle. Isabelle resolved secretly that she
would, if necessary, force herself to like him she owed
it to Sally. Suppose she were terribly disappointed.
Sally had painted him in such glowing colors he was
good-looking, "sort of distinguished, when he wants t
be," had a line, and was properly inconstant. In fact,
he summed up all the romance that her age and environ-
70 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
ment led her to desire. She wondered if those were
his dancing-shoes that fox-trotted tentatively around
the soft rug below.
All impressions and, in fact, all ideas were extremely
kaleidoscopic to Isabelle. She had that curious mixture
of the social and the artistic temperaments found often
in two classes, society women and actresses. Her edu-
cation or, rather, her sophistication, had been absorbed
from the boys who had dangled on her favor; her tact
was instinctive, and her capacity for love-affairs was
limited only by the number of the susceptible within
telephone distance. Flirt smiled from her large black-
brown eyes and shone through her intense physical
So she waited at the head of the stairs that evening
while slippers were fetched. Just as she was growing
impatient, Sally came out of the dressing-room, beaming
with her accustomed good nature and high spirits, and
together they descended to the floor below, while the
shifting search-light of Isabelle's mind flashed on two
ideas: she was glad she had high color to-night, and
she wondered if he danced well.
Down-stairs, in the dub's great room, she was sur-
rounded for a moment by the girls she had met in the
afternoon, then she heard Sally's voice repeating a
cycle of names, and found herself bowing to a sextet of
black and white, terribly stiff, vaguely familiar figures.
The name Elaine figured somewhere, but at first she
could not place him. A very confused, very juvenile
moment of awkward backings and bumpings followed,
and every one found himself talking to the person he
least desired to. Isabelle manoeuvred herself and
Froggy Parker, freshman at Harvard, with whom she
had once played hop-scotch, to a seat on the stairs. A
humorous reference to the past was all she needed. The
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 71
things Isabeile could do socially with one idea were
remarkable. First, she repeated it rapturously in an
enthusiastic contralto with a soupjon of Southern accent;
then she held it off at a distance and smiled at it her
wonderful smile; then she delivered it in variations and
played a sort of mental catch with it, all this in the
nominal form of dialogue. Froggy was fascinated and
quite unconscious that this was being done, not for him,
but for the green eyes that glistened under the shining
carefully watered hair, a little to her left, for Isabeile
had discovered Amory. As an actress even in the full-
est flush of her own conscious magnetism gets a deep
impression of most of the people in the front row, so
Isabeile sized up her antagonist First, he had auburn
hair, and from her feeling of disappointment she knew
that she had expected him to be dark and of garter-
advertisement slenderness. . . . For the rest, a faint
flush and a straight, romantic profile; the effect set off
by a close-fitting dress suit and a silk ruffled shirt of the
kind that women still delight to see men wear, but men
were just beginning to get tired of.
During this inspection Amory was quietly watch-
"Don't you think so?" she said suddenly, turning to
There was a stir, and Sally led the way over to their ;
table. Amory struggled to Isabelle's side, and whis- ,
"You're my dinner partner, you know. We're all
coached for each other."
Isabeile gasped this was rather right in line. But
really she felt as if a good speech had been taken from
the star and given to a minor character. . . . She
mustn't lose the leadership a bit. The dinner- table
glittered with laughter at the confusion of getting places,
72 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
and then curious eyes were turned on her, sitting near the
head. She was enjoying this immensely, and Froggy
Parker was so engrossed with the added sparkle of her
rising color that he forgot to pull out Sally's chair, and
fell into a dim confusion. Amory was on the other
side, full of confidence and vanity, gazing at her in open
admiration. He began directly, and so did Froggy:
"I've heard a lot about you since you wore braids
"Wasn't it funny this afternoon "
Both stopped. Isabelle turned to Amory shyly. Her
face was always enough answer for any one, but she
decided to speak.
"How from whom ? "
"From everybody for all the years since you've been
away." She blushed appropriately. On her right Frog-
gy was hors de combat already, although he hadn't
quite realized it.
"I'll tell you what I remembered about you all these
years," Amory continued. She leaned slightly toward
him and looked modestly at the celery before her.
Froggy sighed he knew Amory, and the situations that
Amory seemed born to handle. He turned to Sally and
asked her if she was going away to school next year.
Amory opened with grape-shot.
"I've got an adjective that just fits you." This was
one of his favorite starts he seldom had a word in
mind, but it was a curiosity provoker, and he could
always produce something complimentary if he got in a
"Oh what?" Isabelle's face was a study in enrap-
Amory shook his head.
"I don't know you very well yet."
"Will you tell me afterward?" she half whispered.
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 73
"We'll sit out"
"Did any one ever tell you, you have keen eyes? " she
Amory attempted to make them look even keener.
He fancied, but he was not sure, that her foot had just
touched his under the table. But it might possibly have
been only the table leg. It was so hard to tell. Still it
thrilled him. He wondered quickly if there would be
any difficulty in securing the little den up-stairs.
BABES IN THE WOODS
Isabelle and Amory were distinctly not innocent, nor
were they particularly brazen. Moreover, amateur
standing had very little value in the game they were
playing, a game that would presumably be her principal
study for years to come. She had begun as he had,
with good looks and an excitable temperament, and the
rest was the result of accessible popular novels and
dressing-room conversation culled from a slightly older
set. Isabelle had walked with an artificial gait at nine
and a half, and when her eyes, wide and starry, pro-
claimed the ingenue most. Amory was proportionately
less deceived. He waited for the mask to drop off, but
at the same time he did not question her right to wear
it. She, on her part, was not impressed by his studied
air of blase sophistication. She had lived in a larger
city and had slightly an advantage in range. But she
accepted his pose it was one of the dozen little conven-
tions of this kind of affair. He was aware that he was
getting this particular favor now because she had been
coached; he knew that he stood for merely the best
game in sight, and that he would have to improve his
opportunity before he lost his advantage. So they pro 1
74 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
ceeded with an infinite guile that would have horrified
After the dinner the dance began . . . smoothly.
Smoothly? boys cut in on Isabelle every few feet and
then squabbled in the corners with: "You might let me
get more than an inch ! " and " She didn't like it either
she told me so next time I cut in." It was true she
told every one so, and gave every hand a parting pres-
sure that said: "You know that your dances are making
But time passed, two nours of it, and the less subtle
beaux had better learned to focus their pseudo-passionate
glances elsewhere, for eleven o'clock found Isabelle and
Amory sitting on the couch in the little den off the
reading-room up-stairs. She was conscious that they
were a handsome pair, and seemed to belong distinctively
in this seclusion, while lesser lights fluttered and chat-
Boys who passed the door looked in enviously girls
who passed only laughed and frowned and grew wise
They had now reached a very definite stage. They
had traded accounts of their progress since they had
met last, and she had listened to much she had heard
before. He was a sophomore, was on the Princetonian
board, hoped to be chairman in senior year. He learned
that some of the boys she went with in Baltimore were
"terrible speeds" and came to dances in states of arti-
ficial stimulation; -most of them were twenty or so, and
drove alluring red Stutzes. A good half seemed to have
already flunked out of various schools and colleges, but
some of them bore athletic names that made him look
at her admiringly. As a matter of fact, Isabelle's closer
acquaintance with the universities was just commencing.
She had bowing acquaintance with a lot of young men
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 75
who thought she was a "pretty kid worth keeping an
eye on." But Isabelle strung the names into a fabrica-
tion of gayety that would have dazzled a Viennese noble-
man. Such is the power of young contralto voices on
He asked her if she thought he was conceited. She
said there was a difference between conceit and self-
confidence. She adored self-confidence in men.
"Is Froggy a good friend of yours?" she asked.
"He's a bum dancer."
"He dances as if the girl were on his back instead of
in his arms."
She appreciated this.
"You're awfully good at sizing people up."
Amory denied this painfully. However, he sized up
several people for her. Then they talked about hands.
"You've got awfully nice hands," she said. "They
look as if you played the piano. Do you?"
I have said they had reached a very definite stage
nay, more, a very critical stage. Amory had stayed over
a day to see her, and his train left at twelve-eighteen that
night. His trunk and suitcase awaited him at the station;
his watch was beginning to hang heavy in his pocket.
"Isabelle," he said suddenly, "I want to tell you
something." They had been talking lightly about " that
funny look in her eyes," and Isabelle knew from the
change in his manner what was coming indeed, she
had been wondering how soon it would come. Amory
reached above their heads and turned out the electric
light, so that they were in the dark, except for the red
glow that fell through the door from the reading-room
lamps. Then he began:
"I don't know whether or not you know what you
76 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
what I'm going to say. Lordy, Isabelle this sounds
like a line, but it isn't."
"I know," said Isabelle softly.
"Maybe we'll never meet again like this I have
darned hard luck sometimes." He was leaning away
from her on the other arm of the lounge, but she could
see his eyes plainly in the dark.
"You'll meet me again silly." There was just the
slightest emphasis on the last word so that it became
almost a term of endearment. He continued a bit hus-
"I've fallen for a lot of people girls and I guess
you have, too boys, I mean, but, honestly, you " he
broke off suddenly and leaned forward, chin on his
hands: "Oh, what's the use you'll go your way and I
suppose I'll go mine."
Silence for a moment. Isabelle was quite stirred; she
wound her handkerchief into a tight ball, and by the
faint light that streamed over her, dropped it delib-
erately on the floor. Their hands touched for an in-
stant, but neither spoke. Silences were becoming more
frequent and more delicious. Outside another stray
couple had come up and were experimenting on the
piano in the next room. After the usual preliminary of
"chopsticks," one of them started "Babes in the Woods"
and a light tenor carried the words into the den:
"Give me your hand
We're off to slumberland."
Isabelle hummed it softly and trembled as she felt
Amory's hand close over hers.
"Isabelle," he whispered. "You know I'm mad about
you. You do give a darn about me."
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 77
"How much do you care do you like any one better ? "
"No." He could scarcely hear her, although he
bent so near that he felt her breath against his cheek.
"Isabelle, I'm going back to college for six long
months, and why shouldn't we if I could only just
have one thing to remember you by "
"Close the door. . . ." Her voice had just stirred so
that he half wondered whether she had spoken at all.
As he swung the door softly shut, the music seemed
quivering just outside.
"Moonlight is bright,
Kiss me good night"
What a wonderful song, she thought everything was
wonderful to-night, most of all this romantic scene in
the den, with their hands clinging and the inevitable
looming charmingly close. The future vkta of her life
seemed an unending succession of scenes like this: under
moonlight and pale starlight, and in the backs of warm
limousines and in low, cosey roadsters stopped under
sheltering trees only the boy might change, and this
one was so nice. He took her hand softly. With a
sudden movement he turned it and, holding it to his
lips, kissed the palm.
"Isabelle!" His whisper blended in the music, and
they seemed to float nearer together. Her breath came
faster. "Can't I kiss you, Isabelle Isabelle?" Lips
half parted, she turned her head to him in the dark.
Suddenly the ring of voices, the sound of running foot-
steps surged toward them. Quick as a flash Amory
reached up and turned on the light, and when the door
opened and three boys, the wrathy and dance-craving
Froggy among them, rushed in, he was turning over the
magazines on the table, while she sat without moving,
serene and unembarrassed, and even greeted them with
78 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
a welcoming smile. But her heart was beating wildly,
and she felt somehow as if she had been deprived.
It was evidently over. There was a clamor for a
dance, there was a glance that passed between them
on his side despair, on hers regret, and then the evening
went on, with the reassured beaux and the eternal cut-
At quarter to twelve Amory shook hands with her
gravely, in the midst of a small crowd assembled to
wish him good-speed. For an instant he lost his poise,
and she felt a bit rattled when a satirical voice from
a concealed wit cried:
"Take her outside, Amory!" As he took her hand
he pressed it a little, and she returned the pressure as
she had done to twenty hands that evening that was
At two o'clock back at the Weatherbys' Sally asked
her if she and Amory had had a "time" in the den.
Isabelle turned to her quietly. In her eyes was the
light of the idealist, the inviolate dreamer of Joan-like
"No," she answered. "I don't do that sort of thing
any more; he asked me to, but I said no."
As she crept in bed she wondered what he'd say in
his special delivery to-morrow. He had such a good-
looking mouth would she ever ?
"Fourteen angels were watching o'er them," sang
Sally sleepily from the next room.
"Damn !" muttered Isabelle, punching the pillow into
a luxurious lump and exploring the cold sheets cautiously.
Amory, by way of the Princetonian, had arrived.
The minor snobs, finely balanced thermometers of sue-
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 79
cess, wanned to him as the club elections grew nigh,
and he and Tom were visited by groups of upper class-
men who arrived awkwardly, balanced on the edge of
the furniture and talked of all subjects except the one
of absorbing interest. Amory was amused at the intent
eyes upon him, and, in case the visitors represented
some club in which he was not interested, took great
pleasure in shocking them with unorthodox remarks.
"Oh, let me see " he said one night to a flabber-
gasted delegation, "what club do you represent?"
With visitors from Ivy and Cottage and Tiger Inn he
played the "nice, unspoilt, ingenuous boy" very much
at ease and quite unaware of the object of the call.
When the fatal morning arrived, early in March, and
the campus became a document in hysteria, he slid
smoothly into Cottage with Alec Connage and watched
his suddenly neurotic class with much wonder.
There were fickle groups that jumped from club to
club; there were friends of two or three days who an-
nounced tearfully and wildly that they must join the
same club, nothing should separate them; there were
snarling disclosures of long-hidden grudges as the Sud-
denly Prominent remembered snubs of freshman year.
Unknown men were elevated into importance when they
received certain coveted bids; others who were con-
sidered "all set" found that they had made unexpected
enemies, felt themselves stranded and deserted, talked
wildly of leaving college.
In his own crowd Amory saw men kept out for wear-
ing green hats, for being "a damn tailor's dummy," for
having "too much pull in heaven," for getting drunk
one night "not like a gentleman, by God," or for un-
fathomable secret reasons known to no one but the
wielders of the black balls.
This orgy of sociability culminated in a gigantic
So THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
party at the Nassau Inn, where punch was dispensed from
immense bowls, and the whole down-stairs became a de-
lirious, circulating, shouting pattern of faces and voices.
"Hi, Dibby 'gratulations ! "
"Goo* boy, Tom, you got a good bunch in Cap."
"Say, Kerry "
"Oh, Kerry I hear you went Tiger with aD the
weight-lifters ! "
"Well, I didn't go Cottage the parlor-snakes' de-
"They say Overton fainted when he got his Ivy bid
Did he sign up the first day? oh, no. Tore over to
Murray-Dodge on a bicycle afraid it was a mistake."
"How'd you get into Cap you old roue?"
" 'Gratulations yourself. Hear you got a good crowd."
When the bar closed, the party broke up into gjroups
and streamed, singing, over the snow-clad campus, in a
weird delusion that snobbishness and strain were over
at last, and that they could do what they pleased for
the next two years.
Long afterward Amory thought of sophomore spring
as the happiest time of his life. His ideas were in tune
with life as he found it; he wanted no more than to drift
and dream and enjoy a dozen new-found friendships
through the April afternoons.
Alec Connage came into his room one morning and
woke him up into the sunshine and peculiar glory of
Campbell Hall shining in the window.
"Wake up, Original Sin, and scrape yourself together.
Be in front of Renwick's in half an hour. Somebody's
got a car." He took the bureau cover and carefully
deposited it, with its load of small articles, upon the bed.
"Where'd you get the car?" demanded Amory cyni-
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 8r
"Sacred trust, but don't be a critical goopher or you
"I think I'll sleep," Amory said calmly, resettling
himself and reaching beside the bed for a cigarette.
"Why not? I've got a class at eleven- thirty."
"You damned gloom! Of course, if you don't want
to go to the coast "
With a bound Amory was out of bed, scattering the
bureau cover's burden on the floor. The coast ... he
hadn't seen it for years, since he and his mother were
on their pilgrimage.
"Who's going?" he demanded as he wriggled into
his B. V. D.'s.
"Oh, Dick Humbird and Kerry Holiday and Jesse
Ferrenby and oh about five or six. Speed it up, kid ! "
In ten minutes Amory was devouring cornflakes in
Renwick's, and at nine-thirty they bowled happily out
of town, headed for the sands of Deal Beach.
"You see," said Kerry, "the car belongs down
there. In fact, it was stolen from Asbury Park by per-
sons unknown, who deserted it in Princeton and left
for the West Heartless Humbird here got permission
from the city council to deliver it."
"Anybody got any money?" suggested Ferrenby,
turning around from the front seat.
There was an emphatic negative chorus.
"That makes it interesting."
"Money what's money? We can sell the car."
"Charge him salvage or something."
"How're we going to get food?" asked Amory.
"Honestly," answered Kerry, eying him reprovingly,
"do you doubt Kerry's ability for three short days?
Some people have lived on nothing for years at a time.
Read the Boy Scout Monthly."
82 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Three days," Amory mused, "and I've got classes."
"One of the days is the Sabbath."
"Just the same, I can only cut six more classes, with
over a month and a half to go."
"Throw him out!"
"It's a long walk back."
"Amory, you're running it out, if I may coin a new
"Hadn't you better get some dope on yourself,
Amory subsided resignedly and drooped into a con-
templation of the scenery. Swinburne seemed to fit in
"Oh, winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the seasons of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover,
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
" The full streams feed on flower of-
" What's the matter, Amory? Amory's thinking
about poetry, about the pretty birds and flowers. I
can see it in his eye."
"No, I'm not," he lied. "I'm thinking about the
Princetonian. I ought to make up to-night; but I can
telephone back, I suppose."
"Oh," said Kerry respectfully, "these important
Amory flushed and it seemed to him that Ferrenby, a
defeated competitor, winced a little. Of course, Kerry
was only kidding, but he really mustn't mention the
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 83
It was a halcyon day, and as they neared the shore
and the salt breezes scurried by, he began to picture the
ocean and long, level stretches of sand and red roofs
over blue sea. Then they hurried through the little
town and it all flashed upon his consciousness to a
mighty paean of emotion. . . .
"Oh, good Lord ! Look at it ! " he cried.
"Let me out, quick I haven't seen it for eight years !
Oh, gentlefolk, stop the car ! "
"What an odd child!" remarked Alec.
"I do believe he's a bit eccentric."
The car was obligingly drawn up at a curb, and Amory
ran for the boardwalk. First, he realized that the sea
was blue and that there was an enormous quantity of
it, and that it roared and roared really all the banali-
ties about the ocean that one could realize, but if any
one had told him then that these things were banalities,
he would have gaped in wonder.
"Now we'll get lunch," ordered Kerry, wandering up
with the crowd. "Come on, Amory, tear yourself
away and get practical."
"We'll try the best hotel first," he went on, "and
thence and so forth."
They strolled along the boardwalk to the most im-
posing hostelry in sight, and, entering the dining-room,
scattered about a table.
"Eight Bronxes," commanded Alec, "and a club
sandwich and Juliennes. The food for one. Hand the
Amory ate little, having seized a chair where he could
watch the sea and feel the rock of it. When luncheon
was over they sat and smoked quietly.
"What's the bill?"
Some one scanned it.
84 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Rotten overcharge. We'll give them two dollars
and one for the waiter. Kerry, collect the small change. "
The waiter approached, and Kerry gravely handed
him a dollar, tossed two dollars on the check, and
turned away. They sauntered leisurely toward the
door, pursued in a moment by the suspicious Gany-
"Some mistake, sir."
Kerry took the bill and examined it critically.
"No mistake !" he said, shaking his head gravdy, and,
tearing it into four pieces, he handed the scraps to the
waiter, who was so dumfounded that he stood motion-
less and expressionless while they walked out.
"Won't he send after us?"
"No," said Kerry; "for a minute he'll think we're the
proprietor's sons or something; then he'll look at the
check again and call the manager, and in the mean-
They left the car at Asbury and street-car'd to Allen-
hurst, where they investigated the crowded pavilions for
beauty. At four there were refreshments in a lunch-
room, and this time they paid an even smaller per cent
on the total cost; something about the appearance and
savoir-faire of the crowd made the thing go, and they
were not pursued.
"You see, Amory, we're Marxian Socialists," ex-
plained Kerry. "We don't believe in property and
we're putting it to the great test."
"Night will descend," Amory suggested.
"Watch, and put your trust in Holiday."
They became jovial about five-thirty and, linking
arms, strolled up and down the boardwalk in a row,
chanting a monotonous ditty about the sad sea waves.
Then Kerry saw a face in the crowd that attracted him
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 85
and, rushing off, reappeared in a moment with one of
the homeliest girls Amory had ever set eyes on. Her
pale mouth extended from ear to ear, her teeth projected
in a solid wedge, and she had little, squinty eyes that
peeped ingratiatingly over the side sweep of her nose.
Kerry presented them formally.
"Name of Kaluka, Hawaiian queen! Let me pre-
sent Messrs. Connage, Sloane, Humbird, Ferrenby, and
The girl bobbed courtesies all around. Poor creature;
Amory supposed she had never before been noticed in
her life possibly she was half-witted. While she ac-
companied them (Kerry had invited her to supper) she
said nothing which could discountenance such a belief.
" She prefers her native dishes," said Alec gravely to
the waiter, "but any coarse food will do."
All through supper he addressed her in the most
respectful language, while Kerry made idiotic love to
her on the other side, and she giggled and grinned.
Amory was content to sit and watch the by-play, think-
ing what a light touch Kerry had, and how he could
transform the barest incident into a thing of curve and
contour. They all seemed to have the spirit of it more
or less, and it was a relaxation to be with them. Amory
usually liked men individually, yet feared them in
crowds unless the crowd was around him. He wondered
how much each one contributed to the party, for there
was somewhat of a spiritual tax levied. Atec and Kerry
were the life of it, but not quite the centre. Somehow
the quiet Humbird, and Sloane, with his impatient super-
ciliousness, were the centre.
Dick Humbird had, ever since freshman year, seemed
to Amory a perfect type of aristocrat. He was slender
but well-built black curly hair, straight features, and
rather a dark skin. Everything he said sounded intan-
86 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
gibly appropriate. He possessed infinite courage, an
averagely good mind, and a sense of honor with a clear
charm and noblesse oblige that varied it from righteous-
ness. He could dissipate without going to pieces, and
even his most bohemian adventures never seemed "run-
ning it out." People dressed like him, tried to talk as
he did. . . . Amory decided that he probably held
the world back, but he wouldn't have changed him. . . .
He differed from the healthy type that was essentially
middle-class he never seemed to perspire. Some peo-
ple couldn't be familiar with a chauffeur without having
it returned; Humbird could have lunched at Sherry's
with a colored man, yet people would have somehow
known that it was all right. He was not a snob, though
he knew only half his class. His friends ranged from
the highest to the lowest, but it was impossible to "cul-
tivate" him. Servants worshipped him, and treated
him like a god. He seemed the eternal example of
what the upper class tries to be.
"He's like those pictures in the Illustrated London
News of the English officers who have been killed,"
Amory had said to Alec.
"Well," Alec had answered, "if you want to know the
shocking truth, his father was a grocery clerk who made
a fortune in Tacoma real estate and came to New York
ten years ago."
Amory had felt a curious sinking sensation.
This present type of party was made possible by the
surging together of the class after club elections as if
to make a last desperate attempt to know itself, to keep
together, to fight off the tightening spirit of the dubs.
It was a let-down from the conventional heights they
had all walked so rigidly.
After supper they saw Kaluka to the boardwalk, and
then strolled back along the beach to Asbury. The
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 87
evening sea was a new sensation, for all its color and mel-
low age was gone, and it seemed the bleak waste that
made the Norse sagas sad; Amory thought of Kipling's
"Beaches of Luhanon before the sealers came"
It was still a music, though, infinitely sorrowful.
Ten o'clock found them penniless. They had sup-
pered greatly on their last eleven cents and, singing,
strolled up through the casinos and lighted arches on
the boardwalk, stopping to listen approvingly to all
band concerts. In one place Kerry took up a collection
for the French War Orphans which netted a dollar and
twenty cents, and with this they bought some brandy
in case they caught cold in the night. They finished
the day in a moving-picture show and went into solemn
systematic roars of laughter at an ancient comedy, to
the startled annoyance of the rest of the audience.
Their entrance was distinctly strategic, for each man
as he entered pointed reproachfully at the one just
behind him. Sloane, bringing up the rear, disclaimed
all knowledge and responsibility as soon as the others
were scattered inside; then as the irate ticket-taker
rushed in he followed nonchalantly.
They reassembled later by the Casino and made
arrangements for the night. Kerry wormed permission
from the watchman to sleep on the platform and, hav-
ing collected a huge pile of rugs from the booths to serve
as mattresses and blankets, they talked until midnight,
and then fell into a dreamless sleep, though Amory tried
hard to stay awake and watch that marvellous moon
settle on the sea.
So they progressed for two happy days, up and down
the shore by street-car or machine, or by shoe-leather on
the crowded boardwalk; sometimes eating with the
88 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
wealthy, more frequently dining frugally at the expense
of an unsuspecting restaurateur. They had their photos
taken, eight poses, in a quick-development store. Kerry
insisted on grouping them as a "varsity" football team,
and then as a tough gang from the East Side, with their
coats inside out, and himself sitting in the middle on a
cardboard moon. The photographer probably has them
yet at least, they never called for them. The weather
was perfect, and again they slept outside, and again
Amory fell unwillingly asleep.
Sunday broke stolid and respectable, and even the
sea seemed to mumble and complain, so they returned
to Princeton via the Fords of transient farmers, and
broke up with colds in their heads, but otherwise none
the worse for wandering.
Even more than in the year before, Amory neglected
his work, not deliberately but lazily and through a mul-
titude of other interests. Co-ordinate geometry and the
melancholy hexameters of Corneille and Racine held
forth small allurements, and even psychology, which he
had eagerly awaited, proved to be a dull subject full of
muscular reactions and biological phrases rather than
the study of personality and influence. That was a
noon class, and it always sent him dozing. Having
found that "subjective and objective, sir," answered
most of the questions, he used the phrase on all occa-
sions, and it became the class joke when, on a query
being levelled at him, he was nudged awake by Fer-
renby or Sk>ane to gasp it out.
Mostly there were parties to Orange or the Shore,
more rarely to New York and Philadelphia, though one
night they marshalled fourteen waitresses out of Childs'
and took them to ride down Fifth Avenue on top of an
auto bus. They all cut more classes than were allowed,
which meant an additional course the following year,
but spring was too rare to let anything interfere with
AND GARGOYLES 89
their colorful ramblings. In May Amory was elected
to the Sophomore Prom Committee, and when after a
long evening's discussion with Alec they made out a
tentative list of class probabilities for the senior council,
they placed themselves among the surest. The senior
council was composed presumably of the eighteen most
representative seniors, and in view of Alec's footiball
managership and Amory's chance of nosing out Burne
Holiday as Princetonian chairman, they seemed fairly
justified in this presumption. Oddly enough, they both
placed D'Invilliers as among the possibilities, a guess
that a year before the class would have gaped at.
All through the spring Amory had kept up an intermit-
tent correspondence with Isabelle Borge, punctuated by
violent squabbles and chiefly enlivened by his attempts
to find new words for love. He discovered Isabelle to
be discreetly and aggravatingly unsentimental in let-
ters, but he hoped against hope that she would prove
not too exotic a bloom to fit the large spaces of spring as
she had fitted the den in the Minnehaha Club. During
May he wrote thirty-page documents almost nightly,
and sent them to her in bulky envelopes exteriorly
labelled "Part I" and "Part II."
"Oh, Alec, I believe I'm tired of college," he said
sadly, as they walked the dusk together.
"I think I am, too, in a way."
"All I'd like would be a little home in the country,
some warm country, and a wife, and just enough to do
to keep from rotting."
"I'd like to quit."
"What does your girl say?"
"Oh!" Amory gasped in horror. "She wouldn't
think of marrying . . . that is, not now. I mean the
future, you know."
"My girl would. I'm engaged."
90 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Are you really?"
"Yes. Don't say a word to anybody, please, but I
am. I may not come back next year."
"But you're only twenty ! Give up college?"
"Why, Amory, you were saying a minute ago "
"Yes," Amory interrupted, "but I was just wishing.
I wouldn't think of leaving college. It's just that I feel
so sad these wonderful nights. I sort of feel they're
never coming again, and I'm not really getting all I
could out of them. I wish my girl lived here. But
marry not a chance. Especially as father says the
money isn't forthcoming as it used to be."
"What a waste these nights are!" agreed Alec.
But Amory sighed and made use of the nights. He
had a snap-shot of Isabelle, enshrined in an old watch,
and at eight almost every night he would turn off all the
lights except the desk lamp and, sitting by the open
windows with the picture before him, write her raptur-
. . . Oh, it's so hard to write you what I really fed when I
think about you so much; you've gotten to mean to me a dream
that I can't put on paper any more. Your last letter came and
it was wonderful! I read it over about six times, especially
the last part, but I do wish, sometimes, you'd be more frank
and tell me what you really do think of me, yet your last letter
was too good to be true, and I can hardly wait until June ! Be
sure and be able to come to the prom. It'll be fine, I think, and
I want to bring you just at the end of a wonderful year. I often
think over what you said on that night and wonder how much
you meant. If it were any one but you but you see I thought
you were fickle the first time I saw you and you are so popular
and everything that I can't imagine your really liking me best.
Oh, Isabelle, dear it's a wonderful night. Somebody is play-
ing "Love Moon" on a mandolin far across the campus, and
the music seems to bring you into the window. Now he's play-
ing "Good-by, Boys, I'm Through," and how well it suits me.
For I am through with everything. I have decided never to
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 91
take a cocktail again, and I know I'll never again fall in love
I couldn't you've been too much a part of my days and nights
to ever let me think of another girl. I meet them all the time
and they don't interest me. I'm not pretending to be blase,
because it's not that. It's just that I'm in love. Oh, dearest
Isabefle (somehow I can't call you just Isabelle, and I'm afraid
I'll come out with the "dearest" before your family this June),
you've got to come to the prom, and then I'll come up to your
house for a day and everything'll be perfect. . . .
And so on in an eternal monotone that seemed to
both of them infinitely charming, infinitely new.
June came and the days grew so hot and lazy that
they could not worry even about exams, but spent
dreamy evenings on the court of Cottage, talking of long
subjects until the sweep of country toward Stony Brook
became a blue haze and the lilacs were white around
tennis-courts, and words gave way to silent cigarettes.
. . . Then down deserted Prospect and along McCosh
with song everywhere around them, up to the hot jovial-
ity of Nassau Street.
Tom D'Invilliers and Amory walked late in those
days. A gambling fever swept through the sophomore
class and they bent over the bones till three o'clock
many a sultry night. After one session they came out
of Sloane's room to find the dew fallen and the stars
old in the sky.
"Let's borrow bicycles and take a ride," Amory sug-
"All right. I'm not a bit tired and this is almost the
last night of the year, really, because the prom stuff
They found two unlocked bicycles in Holder Court
and rode out about half-past three along the Lawrence-
"What are you going to do this summer, Amory?"
92 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"T>on't ask me same old things, I suppose. A
month or two in Lake Geneva I'm counting on you to
be there in July, you know then there'll be Minneapo-
lis, and that means hundreds of summer hops, parlor-
snaking, getting bored But oh, Tom," he added
suddenly, "hasn't this year been slid: !"
"No/' declared Tom emphatically, a new Tom,
clothed by Brooks, shod by Franks, "I've won this
game, but I fed as if I never want to play another.
You're all right you're a rubber ball, and somehow it
suits you, but I'm sick of adapting myself to the local
snobbishness of this corner of the world. I want to go
where people aren't barred because of the color of their
neckties and the roll of their coats."
"You can't, Tom," argued Amory, as they rolled
along through the scattering night; "wherever you go
now you'll always unconsciously apply these standards
of 'having it' or 'lacking it.' For better or worse we've
stamped you; you're a Princeton type!"
"Well, then," complained Tom, his cracked voice ris-
ing plaintively, "why do I have to come back at all?
I've learned all that Princeton has to offer. Two years
more of mere pedantry and lying around a club aren't
going to help. They're just going to disorganize me,
conventionalize me completely. Even now I'm so
spineless that I wonder how I get away with it."
"Oh, but you're missing the real point, Tom," Amory
interrupted. "You've just had your eyes opened to
the snobbishness of the world in a rather abrupt man-
ner. Princeton invariably gives the thoughtful man a
"You consider you taught me that, don't you?" he
asked quizzically, eying Amory in the half dark.
Amory laughed quietly.
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 93
"Sometimes," he said slowly, "I think you're my
bad angel. I might have been a pretty fair poet."
"Come on, that's rather hard. You chose to come
to an Eastern college. Either your eyes were opened
to the mean scrambling quality of people, or you'd have
gone through blind, and you'd hate to have done that
been like Marty Kaye."
"Yes," he agreed, "you're right. I wouldn't have
liked it. Still, it's hard to be made a cynic at twenty."
" I was born one," Amory murmured. " I'm a cynical
idealist." He paused and wondered if that meant any-
They reached the sleeping school of Lawrenceville,
and turned to ride back.
"It's good, this ride, isn't it?" Tom said presently.
"Yes; it's a good finish, it's knock-out; everything's
good to-night. Oh, for a hot, languorous summer and
"Oh, you and your Isabelle! I'll bet she's a simple
one . . . let's say some poetry."
So Amory declaimed "The Ode to a Nightingale" to
the bashes they passed.
"I'D never be a poet," said Amory as he finished.
"I'm not enough of a sensualist really; there are only a
few obvious things that I notice as primarily beautiful:
women, spring evenings, music at night, the sea; I don't
catch the subtle things like 'silver-snarling trumpets.'
I may turn out an intellectual, but I'll never write any-
thing but mediocre poetry."
They rode into Princeton as the sun was making col-
ored maps of the sky behind the graduate school, and
hurried to the refreshment of a shower that would have
to serve in place of sleep. By noon the bright-costumed
alumni crowded the streets with their bands and cho-
ruses, and in the tents there was great reunion under the
94 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
orange-and-black banners that curled and strained in
the wind. Amory looked long at one house which bore
the legend "Sixty-nine." There a few gray-haired men
sat and talked quietly while the classes swept by in
panorama of life.
UNDER THE ARC-LIGHT
Then tragedy's emerald eyes glared suddenly at
Amory over the edge of June. On the night after his
ride to Lawrenceville a crowd sallied to New York in
quest of adventure, and started back to Princeton about
twelve o'clock in two machines. It had been a gay
party and different stages of sobriety were represented.
Amory was in the car behind; they had taken the wrong
road and lost the way, and so were hurrying to catch up.
It was a clear night and the exhilaration of the road
went to Amory's head. He had the ghost of two stanzas
of a poem forming in his mind. . . .
So the gray car crept nightward in the dark and there was no
life stirred as it went by. . . . As the still ocean paths before the
shark in starred and glittering waterways, beauty-high, the moon-
swathed trees divided, pair on pair, while flapping nightbirds cried
across the air. . . .
A moment by an inn of lamps and shades, a yellow inn under
a yellow moon then silence, where crescendo laughter fades . . .
the car swung out again to the winds of June, mellowed the shadows
where the distance grew, then crushed the yellow shadows into
blue. . . .
They jolted to a stop, and Amory peered up, startled.
A woman was standing beside the road, talking to Alec
at the wheel. Afterward he remembered the harpy
effect that her old kimono gave her, and the cracked
hollowness of her voice as she spoke:
"You Princeton boys?"
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 95
"Well, there's one of you killed here, and two others
"Look!" She pointed and they gazed in horror.
Under the full light of a roadside arc-light lay a form,
face downward in a widening circle of blood.
They sprang from the car. Amory thought of the
back of that head that hair that hair . . . and then
they turned the form over.
"It's Dick Dick Humbird!"
"Feel his heart!"
Then the insistent voice of the old crone in a sort of
"He's quite dead, all right. The car turned over.
Two of the men that weren't hurt just carried the others
in, but this one's no use."
Amory rushed into the house and the rest followed
with a limp mass that they laid on the sofa in the shoddy
little front parlor. Sloane, with his shoulder punctured,
was on another lounge. He was half delirious, and kept
calling something about a chemistry lecture at 8:10.
"I don't know what happened," said Ferrenby in a
strained voice. "Dick was driving and he wouldn't
give up the wheel; we told him he'd been drinking too
much then there was this damn curve oh, my
God! ..." He threw himself face downward on the
floor and broke into dry sobs.
The doctor had arrived, and Amory went over to the
couch, where some one handed him a sheet to put over
the body. With a sudden hardness, he raised one of
the hands and let it fall back inertly. The brow was
cold but the face not expressionless. He looked at the
shoe-laces Dick had tied them that morning. He had
tied them and now he was this heavy white mass.
96 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
All that remained of the charm and personality of the
Dick Humbird he had known oh, it was all so horrible
and unaristocratic and close to the earth. All tragedy
has that strain of the grotesque and squalid so useless,
futile . . . the way animals die. . . . Amory was re-
minded of a cat that had lain horribly mangled in some
alley of his childhood.
"Some one go to Princeton with Ferrenby."
Amory stepped outside the door and shivered slightly
at the late night wind a wind that stirred a broken
fender on the mass of bent metal to a plaintive, tinny
Next day, by -a merciful chance, passed in a whirl.
When Amory was by himself his thoughts zigzagged
inevitably to the picture of that red mouth yawning
incongruously in the white face, but with a determined
effort he piled present excitement upon the memory of
it and shut it coldly away from his mind.
IsabeBe and her mother drove into town at four, and
they rode up smiling Prospect Avenue, through the gay
crowd, to have tea at Cottage. The dubs had their
annual dinners that night, so at seven he loaned her to
a freshman and arranged to meet her in the gymnasium
at eleven, when the upper classmen were admitted to
the freshman dance. She was all he had expected, and
he was happy and eager to make that night the centre
of every dream. At nine the upper classes stood in
front of the clubs as the freshman torchlight parade
rioted past, and Amory wondered if the dress-suited
groups against the dark, stately backgrounds and under
the flare of the torches made the night as brilliant to
the staring, cheering freshmen as it had been to him the
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES 97
The next day was another whirl. They lunched in a
gay party of six in a private dining-room at the dub,
while Isabelle and Amory looked at each other tenderly
over the fried chicken and knew that their love was to
be eternal. They danced away the prom until five,
and the stags cut in on Isabelle with joyous abandon,
which grew more and more enthusiastic as the hour
grew late, and their wines, stored in overcoat pockets
in the coat room, made old weariness wait until another
day. The stag line is a most homogeneous mass of
men. It fairly sways with a single soul. A dark-haired
beauty dances by and there is a half-gasping sound as
the ripple surges forward and some one sleeker than the
rest darts out and cuts in. Then when the six-foot girl
(brought by Kaye in your class, and to whom he has
been trying to introduce you all evening) gallops by,
the line surges back and the groups face about and be-
come intent on far corners of the hall, for Kaye, anxious
and perspiring, appears elbowing through the crowd in
search of familiar faces.
"I say, old man, I've got an awfully nice
"Sorry, Kaye, but I'm set for this one. I've got to
cut in on a fella."
"Well, the next one?"
"What ah er I swear I've got to go cut in look
me up when she's got a dance free."
It delighted Amory when Isabelle suggested that they
leave for a while and drive around in her car. For a
delicious hour that passed too soon they glided the
silent roads about Princeton and talked from the sur-
face of their hearts in shy excitement. Amory felt
strangely ingenuous and made no attempt to kiss her.
Next day they rode up through the Jersey country,
had luncheon in New York, and in the afternoon went
to see a problem play at which Isabelle wept all through
98 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
the second act, rather to Amory's embarrassment
though it filled him with tenderness to watch her. He
was tempted to lean over and kiss away her tears, and
she slipped her hand into his under cover of darkness
to be pressed softly.
Then at six they arrived at the Borges' summer place
on Long Island, and Amory rushed up-stairs to change
into a dinner coat. As he put in his studs he realized
that he was enjoying life as he would probably never
enjoy it again. Everything was hallowed by the haze
of his own youth. He had arrived, abreast of the best
in his generation at Princeton. He was in love and his
love was returned. Turning on all the lights, he looked
at himself in the mirror, trying to find in his own face
the qualities that made him see clearer than the great
crowd of people, that made him decide firmly, and able
to influence and follow his own will. There was little
in his life now that he would have changed. . . . Ox-
ford might have been a bigger field.
Silently he admired himself. How conveniently well
he looked, and how well a dinner coat became him. He
stepped into the hall and then waited at the top of the
stairs, for he heard footsteps coming. It was Isabelle,
and from the top of her shining hair to her little golden
slippers she had never seemed so beautiful.
"Isabelle!" he cried, half involuntarily, and held out
his arms. As in the story-books, she ran into them,
and on that half-minute, as their lips first touched,
rested the high point of vanity, the crest of his young
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS
"Oucn! Let me go!"
He dropped his arms to his sides.
"What's the matter?"
" Your shirt stud it hurt me look ! " She was look-
ing down at her neck, where a little blue spot about
the size of a pea marred its pallor.
"Oh, Isabelle," he reproached himself, "I'm a goo-
pher. Really, I'm sorry I shouldn't have held you so
She looked up impatiently.
"Oh, Amory, of course you couldn't help it, and it
didn't hurt much; but what are we going to do about
"Do about it?" he asked. "Oh that spot; it'll dis-
appear in a second."
"It isn't," she said, after a moment of concentrated
gazing, "it's still there and it looks like Old Nick oh,
Amory, what'll we do ! It's just the height of your
"Massage it," he suggested, repressing the faintest
inclination to laugh.
She rubbed it delicately with the tips of her fingers,
and then a tear gathered in the corner of her eye, and
slid down her cheek.
"Oh, Amory," she said despairingly, lifting up a most
pathetic face, "I'll just make my whole neck flame if I
rub it. What'll I do?"
ioo THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
A quotation sailed into his head and he couldn't resist
repeating it aloud.
"All the perfumes of Arabia will not whiten this little hand."
She looked up and the sparkle of the tear in her eye
was like ice.
"You're not very sympathetic."
Amory mistook her meaning.
"Isabelle, darling, I think it'll " v
"Don't touch me!" she cried. "Haven't I enough
on my mind and you stand there and laugh!"
Then he slipped again.
"Well, it is funny, Isabelle, and we were talking the
other day about a sense of humor being
She was looking at him with something that was not
a smile, rather the faint, mirthless echo of a smile, in the
corners of her mouth.
"Oh, shut up!" she cried suddenly, and fled down
the hallway toward her room. Amory stood there,
covered with remorseful confusion.
When Isabelle reappeared she had thrown a light
wrap about her shoulders, and they descended the stairs
in a silence that endured through dinner.
"Isabelle," he began rather testily, as they arranged
themselves in the car, bound for a dance at the ,Green-
wich Country Club, "you're angry, and I'll be, too, in
a minute. Let's kiss and make up."
Isabelle considered glumly.
"I hate to be laughed at," she said finally.
"I won't laugh any more. I'm not laughing now,
"Oh, don't be so darned feminine."
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 101
Her lips curled slightly.
"FU be anything I want"
Amory kept his temper with difficulty. He became
aware that he had not an ounce of real affection for Isa-
belle, but her coldness piqued him. He wanted to kiss
her, kiss her a lot, because then he knew he could leave
in the morning and not care. On the contrary, if he
didn't kiss her, it would worry him. ... It would in-
terfere vaguely with his idea of himself as a conqueror.
It wasn't dignified to come off second best, pleading, with
a doughty warrior like IsabeUe.
Perhaps she suspected this. At any rate, Amory
watched the night that should have been the consum-
mation of romance glide by with great moths overhead
and the heavy fragrance of roadside gardens, but with-
out those broken words, those little sighs. . . .
Afterward they suppered on ginger ale and devil's
food in the pantry, and Amory announced a decision.
"I'm leaving early in the morning."
"Why not?" he countered.
"There's no need."
"However, I'm going."
"Well, if you insist on being ridiculous "
"Oh, don't put it that way," he objected.
" just because I won't let you kiss me. Do you
"Now, Isabelle," he interrupted, "you know it's not
that even suppose it is. We've reached the stage
where we either ought to kiss or or nothing. It
isn't as if you were refusing on moral grounds."
"I really don't know what to think about you/' she
began, in a feeble, perverse attempt at conciliation.
"You're so funny."
102 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Well, I thought you had a lot of self-confidence and
all that; remember you told me the other day that you
could do anything you wanted, or get anything you
Amory flushed. He had told her a lot of things.
"Well, you didn't seem to feel so self-confident to-
night. Maybe you're just plain conceited."
"No, I'm not," he hesitated. "At Princeton^"
"Oh, you and Princeton! You'd think that was the
world, the way you talk ! Perhaps you can write better
than anybody else on your old Princetonian; maybe the
freshmen do think you're important '
"You don't understand "
"Yes, I do," she interrupted. "I do, because you're
always talking about yourself and I used to like it;
now I don't"
"Have I to-night?"
"That's just the point," insisted Isabelle. "You got
all upset to-night. You just sat and watched my eyes.
Besides, I have to think all the time I'm talking to you
you're so critical."
"I make you think, do I?" Amory repeated with a
touch of vanity.
"You're a nervous strain" this emphatically "and
when you analyze every little emotion and instinct I
Just don't have 'em."
"I know." Amory admitted her point and shook his
"Let's go." She stood up.
He rose abstractedly and they walked to the foot of
"What train can I get?"
"There's one about 9:11 if you really must go."
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 103
"Yes, I've got to go, really. Good night."
They were at the head of the stairs, and as Amory
turned into his room he thought he caught just the faint-
est cloud of discontent in her face. He lay awake in the
darkness and wondered how much he cared how much
of his sudden unhappiness was hurt vanity whether he
was, after all, temperamentally unfitted for romance.
When he awoke, it was with a glad flood of conscious-
ness. The early wind stirred the chintz curtains at the
windows and he was idly puzzled not to be in his room
at Princeton with his school football picture over the
bureau and the Triangle Club on the wall opposite.
Then the grandfather's clock in the hall outside struck
eight, and the memory of the night before came to him.
He was out of bed, dressing, like the wind; he must get
out of the house before he saw Isabelle. What had
seemed a melancholy happening, now seemed a tiresome
anticlimax. He was dressed at half past, so he sat
down by the window; felt that the sinews of his heart
were twisted somewhat more than he had thought.
What an ironic mockery the morning seemed! bright
and sunny, and full of the smell of the garden; hearing
Mrs. Borge's voice in the sun-parlor below, he won-
dered where was Isabelle.
There was a knock at the door.
"The car will be around at ten minutes of nine, sir."
He returned to his contemplation of the outdoors,
and began repeating over and over, mechanically, a
verse from Browning, which he had once quoted to
Isabelle in a letter:
"Each life unfulfilled, you see,
It hangs still, patchy and scrappy;
We have not sighed deep, laughed free,
Starved, feasted, despaired been happy."
104 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
But his life would not be unfulfilled. He took a som-
bre satisfaction in thinking that perhaps all along she
had been nothing except what he had read into her; that
this was her high point, that no one else would ever
make her think. Yet that was what she had objected
to in him; and Amory was suddenly tired of thinking,
"Damn her!" he said bitterly, "she's spoiled my
THE SUPERMAN GROWS CARELESS
On a dusty day in September Amory arrived in
Princeton and joined the sweltering crowd of condi-
tioned men who thronged the streets. It seemed a
stupid way to commence his upper-class years, to spend
four hours a morning in the stuffy room of a tutoring
school, imbibing the infinite boredom of conic sections.
Mr. Rooney, pander to the dull, conducted the class
and smoked innumerable Pall Malls as he drew dia-
grams and worked equations from six in the morning
"Now, Langueduc, if I used that formula, where
would my A point be ? "
Langueduc lazily shifts his six-foot-three of football
material and tries to concentrate.
"Oh ah I'm damned if I know, Mr. Rooney."
"Oh, why of course, of course you can't use that
formula. That's what I wanted you to say."
"Why, sure, of course."
"Do you see why?"
"You bet I suppose so."
"If you don't see, tell me. I'm here to show you."
"Well, Mr. Rooney, if you don't mind, I wish you'd
go over that again."
"Gladly. Now here's ',4' . . ."
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 105
The room was a study in stupidity two huge stands
for paper, Mr. Rooney in his shirt-sleeves in front of
them, and slouched around on chairs, a dozen men:
Fred Sloane, the pitcher, who absolutely had to get
eligible; "Slim" Langueduc, who would beat Yale this
fall, if only he could master a poor fifty per cent; Mc-
Dowell, gay young sophomore, who thought it was
quite a sporting thing to be tutoring here with all these
"Those poor birds who haven't a cent to tutor, and
have to study during the term are the ones I pity," he
announced to Amory one day, with a flaccid camaraderie
in the droop of the cigarette from his pale lips. "I
should think it would be such a bore, there's so much
else to do in New York during the term. I suppose
they don't know what they miss, anyhow." There was
such an air of "you and I" about Mr. McDowell that
Amory very nearly pushed him out of the open window
when he said this. . . . Next February his mother
would wonder why he didn't make a club and increase
his allowance . . . simple little nut. . . .
Through the smoke and the air of solemn, dense
earnestness that filled the room would come the inevita-
ble helpless cry:
"I don't get it ! Repeat that, Mr. Rooney ! " Most
of them were so stupid or careless that they wouldn't
admit when they didn't understand, and Amory was
of the latter. He found it impossible to study conic
sections; something in their calm and tantalizing respec-
tability breathing defiantly through Mr. Rooney's fetid
parlors distorted their equations into insoluble ana-
grams. He made a last night's effort with the prover-
bial wet towel, and then blissfully took the exam, won-
dering unhappily why all the color and ambition of the
spring before had faded out. SomehoWj with the de-
106 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
fection of Isabelle the idea of undergraduate success
had loosed its grasp on his imagination, and he con-
templated a possible failure to pass off his condition
with equanimity, even though it would arbitrarily mean
his removal from the Princeionian board and the slaugh-
ter of his chances for the Senior Council.
There was always his luck.
He yawned, scribbled his honor pledge on the cover,
and sauntered from the room.
"If you don't pass it," said the newly arrived Alec
as they sat on the window-seat of Amory's room and
mused upon a scheme of wall decoration, "you're the
world's worst goopher. Your stock will go down like
an elevator at the club and on the campus."
"Oh, hell, I know it. Why rub it in ? "
"'Cause you deserve it. Anybody that'd risk what
you were in line for ought to be ineligible for Princetonian
"Oh, drop the subject," Amory protested. "Watch
and wait and shut up. I don't want every one at the
club asking me about it, as if I were a prize potato being
fattened for a vegetable show."
One evening a week later Amory stopped below his
own window on the way to Renwick's, and, seeing a
light, called up:
"Oh, Tom, any mail?"
Alec's head appeared against the yellow square of light.
"Yes, your result's here."
His heart clamored violently.
"What is it, .blue or pink ? "
"Don't know. Better come up."
He walked into the room and straight over to the
table, and then suddenly noticed that there were other
people in the room.
'Lo, Kerry." He was most polite. "Ah, men of
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 107
Princeton." They seemed to be mostly friends, so he
picked up the envelope marked "Registrar's Office,"
and weighed it nervously.
"We have here quite a slip of paper."
"Open it, Amory."
"Just to be dramatic, I'll let you know that if it's
blue, my name is withdrawn from the editorial board
of the Prince, and my short career is over."
He paused, and then saw for the first time Ferrenby's
eyes, wearing a hungry look and watching him eagerly.
Amory returned the gaze pointedly.
"Watch my face, gentlemen, for the primitive emo-
He tore it open and held the slip up to the light.
"Pink or blue?"
"Say what it is."
"We're all ears, Amory."
"Smile or swear or something."
There was a pause ... a small crowd of seconds
swept by ... then he looked again and another crowd
went on into time.
"Blue as the sky, gentlemen. . . ."
What Amory did that year from early September to
late in the spring was so purposeless and inconsecutive
that it seems scarcely worth recording. He was, of
course, immediately sorry for what he had lost. His
philosophy of success had tumbled down upon him, and
he looked for the reasons. '
"Your own laziness," said Alec later.
"No something deeper than that. I've begun to
feel that I was meant to lose this chance."
io8 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"They're rather off you at the club, you know; every
man that doesn't come through makes our crowd jus*
so much weaker."
"I hate that point of view."
"Of course, with a little effort you could still stage a
"No I'm through as far as ever being a power in
college is concerned."
"But, Amory, honestly, what makes me the angriest
isn't the fact that you won't be chairman of the Prince
and on the Senior Council, but just that you didn't get
down and pass that exam."
"Not me," said Amory slowly; "I'm mad at the con-
crete thing. My own idleness was quite in accord with
my system, but the luck broke."
"Your system broke, you mean."
"Well, what are you going to do? Get a better one
quick, or just bum around for two more years as a has-
"I don't know yet . . ."
'Oh, Amory, buck up !"
Amory's point of view, though dangerous, was not
far from the true one. If his reactions to his environ-
ment could be tabulated, the chart would have appeared
like this, beginning with his earliest years:
1. The fundamental Amory.
2. Amory plus Beatrice.
3. Amory plus Beatrice plus Minneapolis.
Then St. Regis' had pulled him to pieces and started
him over again:
4. Amory plus St. Regis'.
5. Ainory plus St. Regis' plus Princeton.
That had been his nearest approach to success through
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 109
conformity. The fundamental Amory, idle, imagina-
tive, rebellious, had been nearly snowed under. He
had conformed, he had succeeded, but as his imagina-
tion was neither satisfied nor grasped by his own success,
he had listlessly, half-accidentally chucked the whole
thing and become again:
. 6. The fundamental Amory.
His father died quietly and inconspicuously at Thanks-
giving. The incongruity of death with either the beau-
ties of Lake Geneva or with his mother's dignified, reti-
cent attitude diverted him, and he looked at the funeral
with an amused tolerance. He decided that burial was
after all preferable to cremation, and he smiled at his
old boyhood choice, slow oxidation in the top of a tree.
The day after the ceremony he was amusing himself in
the great library by sinking back on a couch in graceful
mortuary attitudes, trying to determine whether he
would, when his day came, be found with his arms
crossed piously over his chest (Monsignor Darcy had
once advocated this posture as being the most distin-
guished), or with his hands clasped behind his head, a
more pagan and Byronic attitude.
What interested him much more than the final de-
parture of his father from things mundane was a tri-
cornered conversation between Beatrice, Mr. Barton,
of Barton and Krogman, their lawyers, and himself,
that took place several days after the funeral. For the
first time he came into actual cognizance of the family
finances, and realized what a tidy fortune had once
been under his father's management. He took a ledger
labelled "1906" and ran through it rather carefully.
The total expenditure that year had come to something
no THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
over one hundred and ten thousand dollars. Forty
thousand of this had been Beatrice's own income, and
there had been no attempt to account for it: it was all
under the heading, "Drafts, checks, and letters of credit
forwarded to Beatrice Blaine." The dispersal of the
rest was rather minutely itemized: the taxes and im-
provements on the Lake Geneva estate had come to
almost nine thousand dollars; the general up-keep, in-
cluding Beatrice's electric and a French car, bought that
year, was over thirty-five thousand dollars. The rest
was fully taken care of, and there were invariably items
which failed to balance on the right side of the ledger.
In the volume for 1912 Amory was shocked to dis-
cover the decrease in the number of bond holdings and
the great drop in the income. In the case of Beatrice's
money this was not so pronounced, but it was obvious
that his father had devoted the previous year to several
unfortunate gambles in oil. Very little of the oil had
been burned, but Stephen Blaine had been rather badly
singed. The next year and the next and the next
showed similar decreases, and Beatrice had for the first
time begun using her own money for keeping up the
house. Yet her doctor's bill for 1913 had been over
nine thousand dollars.
About the exact state of things Mr. Barton was
quite vague and confused. There had been recent in-
vestments, the outcome of which was for the present
problematical, and he had an idea there were further
speculations and exchanges concerning which he had
not been consulted.
It was not for several months that Beatrice wrote
Amory the full situation. The entire residue of the
Blaine and O'Hara fortunes consisted of the place at
Lake Geneva and approximately a half million dollars,
invested now in fairly conservative six-per-cent hold-
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS in
Ings. In fact, Beatrice wrote that she was putting the
money into railroad and street-car bonds as fast as she
could conveniently transfer it.
"I am quite sure," she wrote to Amory, "that if there is one
thing we can be positive of, it is that people will not stay in one
place. This Ford person has certainly made the most of that
idea. So I am instructing Mr. Barton to specialize on such
things as Northern Pacific and these Rapid Transit Companies,
as they call the street-cars. I shall never forgive myself for not
buying Bethlehem Steel. I've heard the most fascinating stories.
You must go into finance, Amory. I'm sure you would revel
in it. You start as a messenger or a teller, I believe, and from
that you go up almost indefinitely. I'm sure if I were a man
I'd love the handling of money; it has become quite a senile
passion with me. Before I get any farther I want to discuss
something. A Mrs. Bispam, an overcordial little lady whom
I met at a tea the other day, told me that her son, he is at Yale,
wrote her that all the boys there wore their summer underwear
all during the winter, and also went about with their heads wet
and in low shoes on the coldest days. Now, Amory, I don't
know whether that is a fad at Princeton too, but I don't want
you to be so foolish. It not only inclines a young man to
pneumonia and infantile paralysis, but to all forms of lung
trouble, to which you are particularly inclined. You cannot
experiment with your health. I have found that out. I will
not make myself ridiculous as some mothers no doubt do, by
insisting that you wear overshoes, though I remember one Christ-
mas you wore them around constantly without a single buckle
latched, making such a curious swishing sound, and you refused
to buckle them because it was not the thing to do. The very
next Christmas you would not wear even rubbers, though I
begged you. You are nearly twenty years old now, dear, and
I can't be with you constantly to find whether you are doing the
" This has been a very practical letter. I warned you in my
last that the lack of money to do the things one wants to makes
one quite prosy and domestic, but there is still plenty for every-
thing if we are not too extravagant. Take care of yourself, my
dear boy, and do try to write at least once a week, because I
imagine all sorts of horrible things if I don't hear from you.
ii2 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE TERM "PERSONAGE"
Monsignor Darcy invited Amory up to the Stuart
palace on the Hudson for a week at Christmas, and they
had enormous conversations around the open fire. Mon-
signor was growing a trifle stouter and his personality
had expanded even with that, and Amory felt both rest
and security in sinking into a squat, cushioned chair
and joining him in the middle-aged sanity of a cigar.
"I've felt like leaving college, Monsigno*r."
"All my career's gone up in smoke; you think it's
petty and all that, but "
"Not at all petty. I think it's most important. I
want to hear the whole thing. Everything you've been
doing since I saw you last."
Amory talked; he went thoroughly into the destruc-
tion of his egotistic highways, and in a half-hour the
listless quality had left his voice.
"What would you do if you left college?" asked
"Don't know. I'd like to travel, but of course this
tiresome war prevents that. Anyways, mother would
hate not having me graduate. I'm just at sea. Kerry
Holiday wants me to go over with him and join the La-
"You know you wouldn't like to go."
"Sometimes I would to-night I'd go in a second."
"Well, you'd have to be very much more tired of life
than I think you are. I know you."
"I'm afraid you do," agreed Amory reluctantly. "It
just seemed an easy way out of everything when I
think of another useless, draggy year."
"Yes, I know; but to tell you the truth, I'm not wor-
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 113
ried about you; you seem to me to be progressing per-
"No," Amory objected. "I've lost half my person-
ality in a year."
"Not a bit of it!" scoffed Monsignor. "You've lost
a great amount of vanity and that's all."
"Lordy! I feel, anyway, as if I'd gone through
another fifth form at St. Regis's."
"No." Monsignor shook his head. "That was a
misfortune; this has been a good thing. Whatever
worth while comes to you, won't be through the
channels you were searching last year."
"What could be more unprofitable than my present
lack of pep?"
"Perhaps in itself . . . but you're developing. This
has given you time to think and you're casting off a lot
of your old luggage about success and the superman
and all. People like us can't adopt whole theories, as
you (fid. If we can do the next thing, and have an
hour a day to think in, we can accomplish marvels, but
as far as any high-handed scheme of blind dominance is
concerned we'd just make asses of ourselves."
"But, Monsignor, I can't do the next thing."
"Amory, between you and me, I have only just learned
to do it myself. I can do the one hundred things be-
yond the next thing, but I stub my toe on that, just as
you stubbed your toe on mathematics this fall."
"Why do we have to do the next thing? It never
seems the sort of thing I should do."
"We have to do it because we're not personalities,
"That's a good line what do you mean?"
"A personality is what you thought you were, what
this Kerry and Sloane you tell me of evidently are. Per-
sonality is a physical matter almost entirely; it lowers
ii4 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
the people it acts on I've seen it vanish in a long sick-
ness. But while a personality is active, it overrides
'the next thing.' Now a personage, on the other hand,
gathers. He is never thought of apart from what he's
done. He's a bar on which a thousand things have been
hung glittering things sometimes, as ours are; but he
uses those things with a cold mentality back of them."
"And several of my most glittering possessions had
fallen off when I needed them." Amory continued the
"Yes, that's it; when you feel that your garnered
prestige and talents and all that are hung out, you need
never bother about anybody; you can cope with them
"But, on the other hand, if I haven't my possessions,
"That's certainly an idea."
"Now you've a clean start a start Kerry or Sloane
can constitutionally never have. You brushed three or
four ornaments down, and, in a fit of pique, knocked off
the rest of them. The thing new is to collect some new
ones, and the farther you look ahead in the collecting
the better. But remember, do the next thing ! "
"How clear you can make things!"
So they talked, often about themselves, sometimes of
philosophy and religion, and life as respectively a game
or a mystery. The priest seemed to guess Amory's
thoughts before they were clear in his own head, so
closely related were their minds in form and groove.
"Why do I make lists?" Amory asked him one night.
"Lists of all sorts of things?"
"Because you're a mediaevalist," Monsignor answered.
"We both are. It's the passion for classifying and find-
ing a type."
"It's a desire to get something definite."
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 115
"It's the nucleus of scholastic philosophy."
"I was beginning to think I was growing eccentric till
I came up here. It was a pose, I guess."
"Don't worry about that; for you not posing may be
the biggest pose of all. Pose "
"But do the next thing."
After Amory returned to college he received several
letters from Monsignor which gave him more egotistic
food for consumption.
I am afraid that I gave you too much assurance of your
inevitable safety, and you must remember that I did that
through faith in your springs of effort; not in the silly conviction
that you will arrive without struggle. Some nuances of char-
acter you will have to take for granted in yourself, though you
must be careful in confessing them to others. You are unsen-
timental, almost incapable of affection, astute without being
cunning and vain without being proud.
Don't let yourself feel worthless; often through life you will
really be at your worst when you seem to think best of yourself;
and don't worry about losing your "personality," as you per-
sist in calling it; at fifteen you had the radiance of early morn-
ing, at twenty you will begin to have the melancholy brilliance
of the moon, and when you are my age you will give out, as I
do, the genial golden warmth of 4 P. M.
If you write me letters, please let them be natural ones.
Your last, that dissertation on architecture, was perfectly awful
so "highbrow" that I picture you living in an intellectual and
emotional vacuum; and beware of trying to classify people too
definitely into types; you will find that all through their youth
they will persist annoyingly in jumping from class to class, and
by pasting a supercilious label on every one you meet you are
merely packing a Jack-in-the-box that will spring up and leer
at you when you begin to come into really antagonistic contact
with the world. An idealization of some such a man as Leonardo
da Vinci would be a more valuable beacon to you at present.
You are bound to go up and down, just as I did in my youth,
but do keep your clarity of mind, and if fools or sages dare to
criticise don't blame yourself too much.
You say that convention is all that really keeps you straight
n6 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
in this "woman proposition"; but it's more than that, Amory;
it's the fear that what you begin you can't stop; you would run
amuck, and I know whereof I speak; it's that half-miraculous
sixth sense by which you detect evil, it's the half-realized fear
of God in your heart.
Whatever your metier proves to be religion, architecture, lit-
erature I'm sure you would be much safer anchored to the
Churcb, but I won't risk my influence by arguing with you
even though I am secretly sure that the "black chasm of Ro-
manism" yawns beneath you. Do write me soon.
With affectionate regards,
Even Amory's reading paled during this period; he
delved further into the misty side streets of literature:
Huysmans, Walter Pater, Theophile Gautier, and the
racier sections of Rabelais, Boccaccio, Petronius, and
Suetonius. One week, through general curiosity, he in-
spected the private libraries of his classmates and found
Sloane's as typical as any: sets of Kipling, O. Henry,
John Fox, Jr.. and Richard Harding Davis; "What
Every Middle- Aged Woman Ought to Know," "The
Spell of the Yukon"; a "gift" copy of James Whitcomb
Riley, an assortment of battered, annotated school-
books, and, finally, to his surprise, one of his own late
discoveries, the collected poems of Rupert Brooke.
Together with Tom D'Invilliers, he sought among the
lights of Princeton for some one who might found the
Great American Poetic Tradition.
The undergraduate body itself was rather more inter-
esting that year than had been the entirely Philistine
Princeton of two years before. Things had livened sur-
prisingly, though at the sacrifice of much of the sponta-
neous charm of freshman year. In the old Princeton
they would never have discovered Tanaduke Wylie.
Tanaduke was a sophomore, with tremendous ears and
a way of saying, "The earth swirls down through the
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 117
ominous moons of preconsidered generations!" that
made them vaguely wonder why it did not sound quite
clear, but never question that it was the utterance of a
supersoul. At least so Tom and Amory took him.
They told him in all earnestness that he had a mind like
Shelley's, and featured his ultrafree free verse and
prose poetry in the Nassau Literary Magazine. But
Tanaduke's genius absorbed the many colors of the age,
and he took to the Bohemian life, to their great disap-
pointment. He talked of Greenwich Village now in-
stead of "noon-swirled moons," and met winter muses,
unacademic, and cloistered by Forty-second Street and
Broadway, instead of the Shelleyan dream-children with
whom he had regaled their expectant appreciation. So
they surrendered Tanaduke to the futurists, deciding
that he and his flaming ties would do better there. Tom
gave him the final advice that he should stop writing
for two years and read the complete works of Alexander
Pope four times, but on Amory's suggestion that Pope
for Tanaduke was like foot-ease for stomach trouble,
they withdrew in laughter, and called it a coin's toss
whether this genius was too big or too petty for them.
Amory rather scornfully avoided the popular profes-
sors who dispensed easy epigrams and thimblefuls of
Chartreuse to groups of admirers every night. He was
disappointed, too, at the air of general uncertainty on
every subject that seemed linked with the pedantic tem-
perament; his opinions took shape in a miniature satire
called "In a Lecture-Room," which he persuaded Tom
to print in the Nassau Lit,
"Good-morning, Fool . . .
Three times a week
You hold us helpless while you speak,
Teasing our thirsty souls with the
Sleek 'yeas' of your philosophy . . .
n8 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Well, here we are, your hundred sheep,
Tune up, play on, pour forth ... we sleep .
You are a student, so they say;
You hammered out the other day
A syllabus, from what we know
Of some forgotten folio;
You'd sniffled through an era's must,
Filling your nostrils up with dust,
And then, arising from your knees,
Published, in one gigantic sneeze . . .
But here's a neighbor on my right,
An Eager Ass, considered bright;
Asker of questions. . . . How he'll stand.
With earnest air and fidgy hand,
After this hour, telling you
He sat all night and burrowed through
Your book. . . . Oh, you'll be coy and he
Will simulate precosity,
And pedants both, you'll smile and smirk,
And leer, and hasten back to work. . . .
Twas this day week, sir, you returned
A theme of mine, from which I learned
(Through various comment on the side
Which you had scrawled) that I defied
The highest rules of criticism
For cheap and careless witticism. . . .
'Are you quite sure that this could be?'
'Shaw is no authority!'
But Eager Ass, with what he's sent,
Plays havoc with your best per cent.
Still still I meet you here and there . . .
When Shakespeare's played you hold a chair,
And some defunct, moth-eaten star
Enchants the mental prig you are . . .
A radical comes down and shocks
The atheistic orthodox ?
You're representing Common Sense,
Mouth open, in the audience.
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 119
And, sometimes, even chapel lures
That conscious tolerance of yours,
That broad and beaming view of truth
(Including Kant and General Booth . . .)
And so from shock to shock you live,
A hollow, pale affirmative . . .
The hour's up ... and roused from rest
One hundred children of the blest
Cheat you a word or two with feet
That down the noisy aisle-ways beat . . .
Forget on narrow-minded earth
The Mighty Yawn that gave you birth."
In April, Kerry Holiday left college and sailed for
France to enroll in the Lafayette Esquadrille. Amory's
envy and admiration of this step was drowned in an
experience of his own to which he never succeeded in
giving an appropriate value, but which, nevertheless,
haunted him for three years afterward.
Healy's they left at twelve and taxied to Bistolary's.
There were Axia Marlowe and Phcebe Column, from the
Summer Garden show, Fred Sloane and Amory. The
evening was so very young that they felt ridiculous with
surplus energy, and burst into the cafe like Dionysian
"Table for four in the middle of the floor," yelled
Phoebe. "Hurry, old dear, tell 'em we're here! "
"Tell 'em to play 'Admiration'!" shouted Sloane.
"You two order; Phcebe and I are going to shake a
wicked calf," and they sailed off in the muddled crowd.
Axia and Amory, acquaintances of an hour, jostled
behind a waiter to a table at a point of vantage; there
they took seats and watched.
120 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"There's Findle Margotson, from New Haven! " she
cried above the uproar. "'Lo, Findle! Whoo-ee!"
"Oh, Axia !" he shouted in salutation. "C'mon over
to our table."
"No !" Amory whispered.
"Can't do it, Findle; I'm with somebody else! Call
me up to-morrow about one o'clock ! "
Findle, a nondescript man-about-Bisty's, answered
incoherently and turned back to the brilliant blonde
whom he was endeavoring to steer around the room.
"There's a natural damn fool," commented Amory.
"Oh, he's all right. Here's the old jitney waiter. If
you ask me, I want a double Daiquiri."
"Make it four."
The crowd whirled and changed and shifted. They
were mostly from the colleges, with a scattering of the
male refuse of Broadway, and women of two types, the
higher of which was the chorus girl. On the whole it
was a typical crowd, and their party as typical as any.
About three-fourths of the whole business was for effect
and therefore harmless, ended at the door of the cafe,
soon enough for the five-o'clock train back to Yale or
Princeton; about one-fourth continued on into the dim-
mer hours and gathered strange dust from strange places.
Their party was scheduled to be one of the harmless
kind. Fred Sloane and Phoebe Column were old friends;
Axia and Amory new ones. But strange things are pre-
pared even in the dead of night, and the unusual, which
lurks least in the cafe, home of the prosaic and inevita-
ble, was preparing to spoil for him the waning romance
of Broadway. The way it took was so inexpressibly
terrible, so unbelievable, that afterward he never
thought of it as experience; but it was a scene from a
misty tragedy, played far behind the veil, and that it
meant something definite he knew.
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 121
About one o'clock they moved to Maxim's, and two
found them in Deviniere's. Sloane had been drinking
consecutively and was in a state of unsteady exhilara-
tion, but Amory was quite tiresomely sober; they had
run across none of those ancient, corrupt buyers of
champagne who usually assisted their New York parties.
They were just through dancing and were making
their way back to their chairs when Amory became
aware that some one at a near-by table was looking at
him. He turned and glanced casually ... a middle-
aged man dressed in a brown sack suit, it was, sitting a
little apart at a table by himself and watching their
party intently. At Amory's glance he smiled faintly.
Amory turned to Fred, who was just sitting down.
"Who's that pale fool watching us?" he complained
" Where?" cried Sloane. "We'll have him thrown
out ! " He rose to his feet and swayed back and forth,
clinging to his chair. "Where is he?"
Axia and Phoebe suddenly leaned and whispered to
each other across the table, and before Amory reafized
it they found themselves on their way to the door.
"Up to tke flat," suggested Phoebe. "We've got
brandy and fizz and everything's slow down here to-
Amory considered quickly. He hadn't been drink-
ing, and decided that if he took no more, it would be
reasonably discreet for him to trot along in the party.
In fact, it would be, perhaps, the thing to do in order to
keep an eye on Sloane, who was not in a state to do his
own thinking. So he took Axia's arm and, piling inti-
mately into a taxicab, they drove out over the hundreds
and drew up at a tall, white-stone apartment-house.
. . . Never would he forget that street. ... It was
122 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
a broad street, lined on both sides with just such tall,
white-stone buildings, dotted with dark windows; they
stretched along as far as the eye could see, flooded with
a bright moonlight that gave them a calcium pallor.
He imagined each one to have an elevator and a colored
hall-boy and a key-rack; each one to be eight stories
high and full of three and four room suites. He was
rather glad to walk into the cheeriness of Phoebe's liv-
ing-room and sink onto a sofa, while the girls went rum-
maging for food.
"Phoebe's great stuff," confided Sloane, sotto voce.
"I'm only going to stay half an hour," Amory said
sternly. He wondered if it sounded priggish.
"Hell y' say," protested Sloane. "We're here now
don't le's rush."
"I don't like this place," Amory said sulkily, "and I
don't want any food."
Phoebe reappeared with sandwiches, brandy bottle,
siphon, and four glasses.
"Amory, pour 'em out," she said, "and we'll drink
to Fred Sloane, who has a rare, distinguished edge."
"Yes," said Axia, coming in, "and Amory. I like
Amory." She sat down beside him and laid her yellow
head on his shoulder.
"I'll pour," said Sloane; "you use siphon, Phoebe."
They filled the tray with glasses.
"Ready, here she goes ! "
Amory hesitated, glass in hand.
There was a minute while temptation crept over him
like a warm wind, and his imagination turned to fire,
and he took the glass from Phoebe's hand. That was
all; for at the second that his decision came, he looked
up and saw, ten yards from him, the man who had been
in the cafe, and with his jump of astonishment the glass
fell from his upMfted hand. There the man half sat,
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 123
half leaned against a pile of pillows on the corner divan.
His face was cast in the same yellow wax as in the cafe,
neither the dull, pasty color of a dead man rather a
sort of virile pallor nor unhealthy, you'd have called
it; but like a strong man who'd worked in a mine or
done night shifts in a damp climate. Amory looked
him over carefully and later he could have drawn him
after a fashion, down to the merest details. His mouth
was the kind that is called frank, and he had steady
gray eyes that moved slowly from one to the other of
their group, with just the shade of a questioning ex-
pression. Amory noticed his hands; they weren't fine
at all, but they had versatility and a tenuous strength
. . . they were nervous hands that sat lightly along the
cushions and moved constantly with little jerky open-
ings and closings. Then, suddenly, Amory perceived
the feet, and with a rush of blood to the head he realized
he was afraid. The feet were all wrong . . . with a
sort of wrongness that he felt rather than knew. . . .
It was like weakness in a good woman, or blood on
satin; one of those terrible incongruities that shake lit-
tle things in the back ot tne Drain. He wore no shoes,
but, instead, a sort of half moccasin, pointed, though,
like the shoes they wore in the fourteenth century, and
with the little ends curling up. They were a darkish
brown and his toes seemed to fill them to the end. . . ,
They were unutterably terrible. . . .
He must have said something, or looked something,
for Axia's voice came out of the void with a strange
"Well, look at Amory! Poor old Amory 's sick old
head going 'round?"
"Look at that man!" cried Amory, pointing toward
the corner divan.
"You mean that purple zebra!" shrieked Axia face-
124 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
tiously. "Ooo-ee! Amory's got a purple zebra watch-
ing him ! "
Sloane laughed vacantly.
"Ole zebra gotcha, Amory?"
There was a silence. . . . The man regarded Amory
quizzically. . . . Then the human voices fell faintly
on his ear:
"Thought you weren't drinking/' remarked Axia sar-
donically, but her voice was good to hear; the whole
divan that held the man was alive; alive like heat waves
over asphalt, like wriggling worms. . . .
" Come back ! Come back ! " Axia's arm fell on his.
"Amory, dear, you aren't going, Amory!" He was
half-way to the door.
"Come on, Amory, stick 'th us !"
"Sick, are you?"
"Sit down a second!"
"Take some water."
"Take a little brandy. . . ."
The elevator was close, and the colored boy was half
asleep, paled to a livid bronze . . . Axia's beseeching
voice floated down the shaft. Those feet . . . those
feet . . .
As they settled to the lower floor the feet came into
view in the sickly electric light of the paved hall.
IN THE ALLEY
Down the long street came the moon, and Amory
turned his back on it and walked. Ten, fifteen steps
away sounded the footsteps. They were like a slow
dripping, with just the slightest insistence in their fall.
Amory's shadow lay, perhaps, ten feet ahead of him,
and soft shoes was presumably that far behind. With
the instinct of a child Amory edged in under the blue
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 125
darkness of the white buildings, cleaving the moonlight
for haggard seconds, once bursting into a slow run with
clumsy stumblings. After that he stopped suddenly; he
must keep hold, he thought. His lips were dry and he
If he met any one good were there any good people
left in the world or did they all live in white apartment-
houses now ? Was every one followed in the moonlight ?
But if he met some one good who'd know what he meant
and hear this damned scuffle . . . then the scuffling
grew suddenly nearer, and a black cloud settled over
the moon. When again the pale sheen skimmed the
cornices, it was almost beside him, and Amory thought
he heard a quiet breathing. Suddenly he realized that
the footsteps were not behind, had never been behind,
they were ahead and he was not eluding but following
. . . following. He began to run, blindly, his heart
knocking heavily, his hands clinched. Far ahead a
black dot showed itself, resolved slowly into a human
shape. But Amory was beyond that now; he turned
off tke street and darted into an alley, narrow and dark
and smelling of old rottenness. He twisted down a
long, sinuous blackness, where the moonlight was shut
away except for tiny glints and patches . . . then sud-
denly sank panting into a corner by a fence, exhausted.
The steps ahead stopped, and he could hear them shift
slightly with a continuous motion, like waves around a
He put his face in his hands and covered eyes and
ears as well as he could. During all this time it never
occurred to him that he was delirious or drunk. He had
a sense of reality such as material things could never
give him. His intellectual content seemed to submit
passively to it, and it fitted like a glove everything that
had ever preceded it in his life. It did not muddle hinic
i26 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
It was like a problem whose answer he knew on paper,
yet whose solution he was unable to grasp. He was far
beyond horror. He had sunk through the thin surface
of that, now moved in a region where the feet and the
fear of white walls were real, living things, things he
must accept. Only far inside his soul a little fire leaped
and cried that something was pulling him down, trying
to get him inside a door and slam it behind him. After
that door was slammed there would be only footfalls
and white buildings in the moonlight, and perhaps he
would be one of the footfalls.
During the five or ten minutes he waited in the shadow
of the fence, there was somehow this fire . . . that was
as near as he could name it afterward. He remembered
" I want some one stupid. Oh, send some one stupid ! "
This to the black fence opposite him, in whose shadows
the footsteps shuffled . . . shuffled. He supposed " stu-
pid" and "good" had become somehow intermingled
through previous association. When he called thus it
was not an act of will at all will had turned him away
from the moving figure in the street; it was almost in-
stinct that called, just the pile on pile of inherent tra-
dition or some wild prayer from way over the night.
Then something clanged like a low gong struck at a dis-
tance, and before his eyes a face flashed over the two
feet, a face pale and distorted with a sort of infinite evil
that twisted it like flame in the wind; but he knew, for
the half instant that tJte gong tanged and hummed, that it
was the face of Dick Humbird.
Minutes later he sprang to his feet, realizing dimly
that there was no more sound, and that he was alone in
the graying alley. It was cold, and he started on a
steady run for the light that showed the street at the
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 127
AT THE WINDOW
It was late morning when he woke and found the tele-
phone beside his bed in the hotel tolling frantically, and
remembered that he had left word to be called at eleven.
Sloane was snoring heavily, his clothes in a pile by his
bed. They dressed and ate breakfast in silence, and
then sauntered out to get some air. Amory's mind was
working slowly, trying to assimilate what had happened
and separate from the chaotic imagery that stacked his
memory the bare shreds of truth. If the morning had
been cold and gray he could have grasped the reins of
the past in an instant, but it was one of those days that
New York gets sometimes in May, when the air on
Fifth Avenue is a soft, light wine. How much or how
little Sloane remembered Amory did not care to know;
he apparently had none of the nervous tension that was
gripping Amory and forcing his mind back and forth
like a shrieking saw.
Then Broadway broke upon them, and with the babel
of noise and the painted faces a sudden sickness rushed
"For God's sake, let's go back ! Let's get off of this
Sloane looked at him in amazement.
"What do you mean?"
"This street, it's ghastly! Come on! let's get back
to the Avenue ! "
"Do you mean to say," said Sloane stolidly, "that
'cause you had some sort of indigestion that made you
act like a maniac last night, you're never coming on
Simultaneously Amory classed him with the crowd,
and he seemed no longer Sloane of the debonair humor
128 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
and the Lappy personality, but only one of the evil
faces that whirled along the turbid stream.
"Man!" he shouted so loud that the people on the
corner turned and followed them with their eyes, "it's
filthy, and if you can't see it, you're filthy, too !"
"I can't help it," said Sloane doggedly. "What's the
matter with you? Old remorse getting you? You'd
be in a fine state if you'd gone through with our little
"I'm going, Fred," said Amory slowly. His knees
were shaking under him, and he knew that if he stayed
another minute on this street he would keel over where
he stood. "I'll be at the Vanderbilt for lunch." And
he strode rapidly off and turned over to Fifth Avenue.
Back at the hotel he felt better, but as he walked into
the barber-shop, intending to get a head massage, the
smell of the powders and tonics brought back Axia's
sidelong, suggestive smile, and he left hurriedly. In
the doorway of his room a sudden blackness flowed
around him like a divided river.
When he came to himself he knew that several hours
had passed. He pitched onto the bed and rolled over
on his face with a deadly fear that he was going mad.
He wanted people, people, some one sane and stupid
and good. He lay for he knew not how long without
moving. He could feel the little hot veins on his fore-
head standing out, and his terror had hardened on him
like plaster. He felt he was passing up again through
the thin crust of horror, and now only could he distin-
guish the shadowy twilight he was leaving. He must
have fallen asleep again, for when he next recollected
himself he had paid the hotel bill and was stepping into
a taxi at the door. It was raining torrents.
On the train for Princeton he saw no one he knew,
only a crowd of fagged-looking Philadelphians. The
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS 129
presence of a painted woman across the aisle filled him
with a fresh burst of sickness and he changed to another
car, tried to concentrate on an article in a popular mag-
azine. He found himself reading the same paragraphs
over and over, so he abandoned this attempt and lean-
ing over wearily pressed his hot forehead against the
damp window-pane. The car, a smoker, was hot and
stuffy with most of the smells of the state's alien popu-
lation; he opened a window and shivered against the
cloud of fog that drifted in over him. The two hours'
ride were like days, and he nearly cried aloud with joy
when the towers of Princeton loomed up beside him
and the yellow squares of light filtered through the blue
Tom was standing in the centre of the room, pensively
relighting a cigar-stub. Amory fancied he looked rather
relieved oh seeing him.
"Had a hell of a dream about you last night," came
in the cracked voice through the cigar smoke. "I had
an idea you were in some trouble."
"Don't tell me about it!" Amory almost shrieked.
"Don't say a word; I'm tired and pepped out."
Tom looked at him queerly and then sank into a chair
and opened his Italian note-book. Amory threw his
coat and hat on the floor, loosened his collar, and took
a Wells novel at random from the shelf. "Wells is
sane," he thought, "and if he won't do I'll read Rupert
Half an hour passed. Outside the wind came up, and
Amory started as the wet branches moved and clawed
with their finger-nails at the window-pane. Tom was
deep in his work, and inside the room only the occasional
scratch of a match or the rustle of leather as they shifted
in their chairs broke the stillness. Then like a zigzag
of lightning came the change. Amory sat bolt upright,
130 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
frozen cold in his chair. Tom was looking at him with
his mouth drooping, eyes fixed.
" God help us ! " Amory cried.
"Oh, my heavens!" shouted Tom, "look behind!"
Quick as a flash Amory whirled around. He saw noth-
ing but the dark window-pane.
"It's gone now," came Tom's voice after a second in
a still terror. "Something was looking at you."
Trembling violently, Amory dropped into his chair
"I've got to tell you," he said. "I've had one hell of
an experience. I think IVe I've seen the devil or
something like him. What face did you just see? or
no," he added quickly, "don't tell me!"
And he gave Tom the story. It was midnight when
he finished, and after that, with all lights burning, two
sleepy, shivering boys rea'd to each other from "The
New Machiavelli," until dawn came up out of Wither-
spoon Hall, and the Princetonian fell against the door,
and the May birds hailed the sun on last night's rain.
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY
DURING Princeton's transition period, that is, during
Amory's last two years there, while he saw it change
and broaden and live up to its Gothic beauty by better
means than night parades, certain individuals arrived
who stirred it to its plethoric depths. Some of them
had been freshmen, and wild freshmen, with Amory;
some were in the class below; and it was in the beginning
of his last year and around small tables at the Nassau
Inn that they began questioning aloud the institutions
that Amory and countless others before him had ques-
tioned so long in secret. First, and partly by accident,
they struck on certain books, a definite type of biograph-
ical novel that Amory christened "quest" books. In
the "quest" book the hero set off in life armed with the
best weapons and avowedly intending to use them as
such weapons are usually used, to push their possessors
ahead as selfishly and blindly as possible, but the heroes
of the "quest" books discovered that there might be a
more magnificent use for them. "None Other Gods,"
"Sinister Street," and "The Research Magnificent"
were examples of such books; it was the latter of these
three that gripped Burne Holiday and made him won-
der in the beginning of senior year how much it was
worth while being a diplomatic autocrat around his
club on Prospect Avenue and basking in the high lights
of class office. It was distinctly through the channels
of aristocracy that Burne found his way. Amory,
through Kerry, had had a vague drifting acquaintance
132 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
with him, but not until January of senior year did their
"Heard the latest?" said Tom, coming in late one
drizzly evening with that triumphant air he always wore
after a successful conversational bout.
"No. Somebody flunked out? Or another ship
"Worse than that. About one- third of the junior
class are going to resign from their clubs."
"Spirit of reform and all that. Burne Holiday is be-
hind it. The club presidents are holding a meeting to-
night to see if they can find a joint means of combat-
"Well, what's the idea of the thing?"
"Oh, clubs injurious to Princeton democracy; cost a
lot; draw social lines, take time; the regular line you
get sometimes from disappointed sophomores. Wood-
row thought they should be abolished and all that."
"But this is the real thing?"
"Absolutely. I think it'll go through."
"For Pete's sake, tell me more about it."
"Well," began Tom, "it seems that the idea developed
simultaneously in several heads. I was talking to
Burne awhile ago, and he claims that it's a logical result
if an intelligent person thinks long enough about the
social system. They had a 'discussion crowd' and the
point of abolishing the clubs was brought up by some
one everybody there leaped at it it had been in each
one's mind, more or less, and it just needed a spark to
bring it out."
"Fine! I swear I think it'll be most entertaining.
How do they feel up at Cap and Gown?"
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 133
"Wild, of course. Every one's been sitting and argu-
ing and swearing and getting mad and getting senti-
mental and getting brutal. It's the same at all the
clubs; I've been the rounds. . They get one of the radi-
cals in the corner and fire questions at him."
"How do the radicals stand up?"
"Oh, moderately well. Burne's a damn good talker,
and so obviously sincere that you can't get anywhere
with him. It's so evident that resigning from his club
means so much more to him than preventing it does to
us that I felt futile when I argued; finally took a posi-
tion that was brilliantly neutral. In fact, I believe
Burne thought for a while that he'd converted me."
"And you say almost a third of the junior class are
going to resign ? "
"Call it a fourth and be safe."
"Lord who'd have thought it possible!"
There was a brisk knock at the door, and Burne him-
self came in.
"Hello, Amory hello, Tom."
"'Evening, Burne. Don't mind if I seem to rush;
I'm going to Renwick's."
Burne turned to him quickly.
"You probably know what I want to talk to Tom
about, and it isn't a bit private. I wish you'd stay."
"I'd be glad to." Amory sat down again, and as
Burne perched on a table and launched into argument
with Tom, he looked at this revolutionary more carefully
than he ever had before. Broad-browed and strong-
chinned, with a fineness in the honest gray eyes that
were like Kerry's, Burne was a man who gave an imme-
diate impression of bigness and security stubborn, that
was evident, but his stubbornness wore no stolidity,
and when he had talked for five minutes Amory knew
134 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
that this keen enthusiasm had in it no quality of dilet-
The intense power Amory felt later in Burne Holiday
differed from the admiration he had had for Humbird.
This time it began as purely a mental interest. With
other men of whom he had thought as primarily first-
class, he had been attracted first by their personalities,
and in Burne he missed that immediate magnetism to
which he usually swore allegiance. But that night
Amory was struck by Burne's intense earnestness, a
quality he was accustomed to associate only with the
dread stupidity, and by the great enthusiasm that
struck dead chords in his heart. Burne stood vaguely
for a land Amory hoped he was drifting toward and it
was almost time that land was in sight. Tom and Amory
and Alec had reached an impasse; never did they seem
to have new experiences in common, for Tom and Alec
had been as blindly busy with their committees and
boards as Amory had been blindly idling, and the things
they had for dissection college, contemporary person-
ality and the like they had hashed and rehashed for
many a frugal conversational meal.
That night they discussed the dubs until twelve, and,
in the main, they agreed with Burne. To the room-
mates it did not seem such a vital subject as it had in
the two years before, but the logic of Burne's objections
to the social system dovetailed so completely with
everything they had thought, that they questioned
rather than argued, and envied the sanity that enabled
this man to stand out so against all traditions.
Then Amory branched off and found that Burne was
deep in other things as well. Economics had interested
him and he was turning socialist. Pacifism played in
the back of his mind, and he read the Masses and Lyoff
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 135
"How about religion?" Amory asked him.
"Don't know. I'm in a muddle about a lot of things
I've just discovered that I've a mind, and I'm start- ,
ing to read."
"Everything. I have to pick and choose, of course,
but mostly things to make me think. I'm reading the
four gospels now, and the 'Varieties of Religious Experi-
"What chiefly started you?"
"Wells, I guess, and Tolstoi, and a man named
Edward Carpenter. I've been reading for over & year
now on a few lines, on what I consider the essential
"Well, frankly, not what you call poetry, or for your
reasons you two write, of course, and look at things
differently. Whitman is the man that attracts me."
"Yes; he's a definite ethical force."
"Well, I'm ashamed to say that I'm a blank on the
subject of Whitman. How about you, Tom?"
Tom nodded sheepishly.
"Well," continued Burne, "you may strike a few
poems that are tiresome, but I mean the mass of his
work. He's tremendous like Tolstoi. They both look
things in the face, and, somehow, different as they are,
stand for somewhat the same things."
"You have me stumped, Burne," Amory admitted.
"I've read 'Anna Kar6nina' and the 'Kreutzer Sonata*
of course, but Tolstoi is mostly in the original Russian
as far as I'm concerned."
"He's the greatest man in hundreds of years," cried
Burne enthusiastically. "Did you ever see a picture of
that shaggy old head of his?"
136 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
They talked until three, from biology to organized
religion, and when Amory crept shivering into bed it
was with his mind aglow with ideas and a sense of shock
that some one else had discovered the path he might
have followed. Burne Holiday was so evidently devel-
oping and Amory had considered that he was doing
the same. He had fallen into a deep cynicism over
what had crossed his path, plotted the imperfectability
of man and read Shaw and Chesterton enough to keep
his mind from the edges of decadence now suddenly
all his mental processes of the last year and a half seemed
stale and futile a petty consummation of himself . . .
and like a sombre background lay that incident of the
spring before, that filled half his nights with a dreary
terror and made him unable to pray. He was not even
a Catholic, yet that was the only ghost of a code that
he had, the gaudy, ritualistic, paradoxical Catholicism
whose prophet was Chesterton, whose claqueurs were
such reformed rakes of literature as Huysmans and
Bourget, whose American sponsor was Ralph Adams
Cram, with his adulation of thirteenth-century cathe-
drals a Catholicism which Amory found convenient
and ready-made, without priest or sacraments or sac-
He could not sleep, so he turned on his reading-lamp
and, taking down the "Kreutzer Sonata," searched it
carefully for the germs of Burne's enthusiasm. Being
Burne was suddenly so much realler than being clever.
Yet he sighed . . . here were other possible clay feet.
He thought back through two years, of Burne as a
hurried, nervous freshman, quite submerged in his
brother's personality. Then he remembered an incident
of sophomore year, in which Burne had been suspected
of the leading role.
Dean Hollister had been heard by a large group argu-
ing with a taxi-driver, who had driven him from the
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 137
junction. In the course of the altercation the dean
remarked that he "might as well buy the taxicab." He
paid and walked off, but next morning he entered his
private office to find the taxicab itself in the space usu-
ally occupied by his desk, bearing a sign which read
"Property of Dean Hollister. Bought and Paid for."
... It took two expert mechanics half a day to dis-
semble it into its minutest parts and remove it, which
only goes to prove the rare energy of sophomore humor
under efficient leadership.
Then again, that very fall, Burne had caused a sensa-
tion. A certain Phyllis Styles, an intercollegiate prom-
trotter, had failed to get her yearly invitation to the
Jesse Ferrenby had brought her to a smaller game a
few weeks before, and had pressed Burne into service
to the ruination of the latter's misogyny.
"Are you coming to the Harvard game?" Burne had
asked indiscreetly, merely to make conversation.
"If you ask me," cried Phyllis quickly.
"Of course I do," said Burne feebly. He was un-
versed in the arts of Phyllis, and was sure that this was
merely a vapid form of kidding. Before an hour had
passed he knew that he was indeed involved. Phyllis
had pinned him down and served him up, informed him
the train she was arriving by, and depressed him thor-
oughly. Aside from loathing Phyllis, he had particu-
larly wanted to stag that game and entertain some Har-
"She'll see," he informed a delegation who arrived in
his room to josh him. "This will be the last game she
ever persuades any young innocent to take her to ! "
" But, Burne why did you invite her if you didn't
"Burne, you know you're secretly mad about her
that's the real trouble."
138 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"What can you do, Burne? What can you do against
But Burne only shook his head and muttered threats
which consisted largely of the phrase: "She'll see, she'll
The blithesome Phyllis bore her twenty-five summers
gayly from the train, but on the platform a ghastly sight
met her eyes. There were Burne and Fred Sloane
arrayed to the last dot like the lurid figures on college
posters. They had bought flaring suits with huge peg-
top trousers and gigantic padded shoulders. On their
heads were rakish college hats, pinned up in front and
sporting bright orange-and-black bands, while from
their celluloid collars blossomed flaming orange ties.
They wore black arm-bands with orange "P's," and
carried canes flying Princeton pennants, the effect com-
pleted by socks and peeping handkerchiefs in the same
color motifs. On a clanking chain they led a large,
angry tom-cat, painted to represent a tiger.
A good hah 7 of the station crowd was already staring
at them, torn between horrified pity and riotous mirth,
and as Phyllis, with her svelte jaw dropping, approached,
the pair bent over and emitted a college cheer in
loud, far-carrying voices, thoughtfully adding the name
"Phyllis" to the end. She was vociferously greeted and
escorted enthusiastically across the campus, followed by
half a hundred village urchins to the stifled laughter
of hundreds of alumni and visitors, half of whom had
no idea that this was a practical joke, but thought that
Burne and Fred were two varsity sports showing their
girl a collegiate time.
Phyllis's feelings as she was paraded by the Harvard
and Princeton stands, where sat dozens of her former
devotees, can be imagined. She tried to walk a little
ahead, she tried to walk a little behind but they
stayed close, that there should be no doubt whom she
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 139
was with, talking in loud voices of their friends on the
football team, until she could almost hear her ac-
"Phyllis Styles must be awfully hard up to have to
come with those two."
That had been Burne, dynamically humorous, funda-
mentally serious. From that root had blossomed the
energy that he was now trying to orient with prog-
ress. . . .
So the weeks passed and March came and the clay
feet that Amory looked for failed to appear. About a
hundred juniors and seniors resigned from their clubs
in a final fury of righteousness, and the clubs in helpless-
ness turned upon Burne their finest weapon: ridicule.
Every one who knew him liked him but what he stood
for (and he began to stand for more all the time) came
under the lash of many tongues, until a frailer man than
he would have been snowed under.
"Don't you mind losing prestige?" asked Amory one
night. They had taken to exchanging calls several
time a week.
"Of course I don't. What's prestige, at best?"
"Some people say that you're just a rather original
He roared with laughter.
"That's what Fred Sloane told me to-day. I suppose
I have it coming."
One afternoon they dipped into a subject that had
interested Amory for a long time the matter of the
bearing of physical attributes on a man's make-up.
Burne had gone into the biology of this, and then:
"Of course health counts a healthy man has twice
the chance of being good," he said.
"I don't agree with you I don't believe in 'muscular
"I do I believe Christ had great physical vigor."
140 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Oh, no," Amory protested. "He worked too hard
for that. I imagine that when he died he was a broken-
down man and the great saints haven't been strong."
"Half of them have."
"Well, even granting that, I don't think health has
anything to do with goodness; of course, it's valuable to a
great saint to be able to stand enormous strains, but
this fad of popular preachers rising on their toes in
simulated virility, bellowing that calisthenics will save
the world no, Burne, I can't go that."
"Well, let's waive it we won't get anywhere, and be-
sides I haven't quite made up my mind about it myself.
Now, here's something I do know personal appearance
has a lot to do with it."
"Coloring?" Amory asked eagerly.
"That's what Tom and I figured," Amory agreed.
"We took the year-books for the last ten years and
looked at the pictures of the senior council. I know you
don't think much of that august body, but it does repre-
sent success here in a general way. Well, I suppose
only about thirty-five per cent of every class here are
blonds, are really light yet two-thirds of every senior
council are light. We looked at pictures of ten years of
them, mind you; that means that out of every fifteen
light-haired men in the senior class one is on the senior
council, and of the dark-haired men it's only one in fifty ."
"It's true," Burne agreed. "The light-haired man is
a higher type, generally speaking. I worked the thing
out with the Presidents of the United States once, and
found that way over half of them were light-haired
yet tHnk of the preponderant number of brunettes in
"People unconsciously admit it," said Amory.
"You'll notice a blond person is expected to talk. If a
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 141
blond girl doesn't talk we call her a 'doll'; if a light-
haired man is silent he's considered stupid. Yet the
world is full of 'dark silent men' and 'languorous bru-
nettes ' who haven't a brain in their heads, but somehow
are never accused of the dearth."
"And the large mouth and broad chin and rather big
nose undoubtedly make the superior face."
"I'm not so sure." Amory was all for classical fea-
"Oh, yes I'll show you," and Burne pulled out of
his desk a photographic collection of heavily bearded,
shaggy celebrities Tolstoi, Whitman, Carpenter, and
" Aren't they wonderful?"
Amory tried politely to appreciate them, and gave up
"Burne, I think they're the ugliest-looking crowd I
ever came across. They look like an old man's home."
"Oh, Amory, look at that forehead on Emerson; look
at Tolstoi's eyes." His tone was reproachful.
Amory shook his head.
" No ! Call them remarkable-looking or anything you
want but ugly they certainly are."
Unabashed, Burne ran his hand lovingly across the
spacious foreheads, and piling up the pictures put them
back in his desk.
Walking at night was one of his favorite pursuits, and
one night he persuaded Amory to accompany him.
"I hate the dark," Amory objected. "I didn't use
to except when I was particularly imaginative, but
now, I really do I'm a regular fool about it"
"That's useless, you know."
"We'll go east," Burne suggested, "and down that
string of roads through the woods."
1 4 2 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Doesn't sound very appealing to me," admitted
Amory reluctantly, "but let's go."
They set off at a good gait, and for an hour swung
along in a brisk argument until the lights of Princeton
were luminous white blots behind them.
"Any person with any imagination is bound to be
afraid," said Burne earnestly. "And this very walking
at night is one of the things I was afraid about. I'm
going to tell you why I can walk anywhere now and
not be afraid."
"Go on," Amory urged eagerly. They were striding
toward the woods, Burne's nervous, enthusiastic voice
warming to his subject.
"I used to come out here alone at night, oh, three
months ago, and I always stopped at that cross-road we
just passed. There were the woods looming up ahead,
just as they do now, there were dogs howling and
the shadows and no human sound. Of course, I peopled
the woods with everything ghastly, just like you do;
"I do," Amory admitted.
"Well, I began analyzing it my imagination per-
sisted in sticking horrors into the dark so I stuck my
imagination into the dark instead, and let it look out
at me I let it play stray dog or escaped convict or
ghost, and then saw myself coming along the road.
That made it all right as it always makes everything
all right to project yourself completely into another's
place. I knew that if I were the dog or the convict or
the ghost I wouldn't be a menace to Burne Holiday any
more than he was a menace to me. Then I thought of
my watch. I'd better go back and leave it and then
essay the woods. No; I decided, it's better on the whole
that I should lose a watch than that I should turn back
and I did go into them not only followed the road
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 143
through them, but walked into them until I wasn't
frightened any more did it until one night I sat down
and dozed off in there; then I knew I was through being
afraid of the dark."
"Lordy," Amory breathed. "I couldn't have done
that. I'd have come out half-way, and the first time an
automobile passed and made the dark thicker when its
lamps disappeared, I'd have come in."
"Well," Burne said suddenly, after a few moments'
silence, "we're half-way through, let's turn back."
On the return he launched into a discussion of will.
"It's the whole thing," he asserted. "It's the one
dividing line between good and evil. I've never met a
man who led a rotten life and didn't have a weak will."
"How about great criminals?"
"They're usually insane. If not, they're weak.
There is no such thihg as a strong, sane criminal."
"Burne, I disagree with you altogether; how about
"He's evil, I think, yet he's strong and sane."
"I've never met him. I'll bet, though, that he's stupid
"I've met him over and over and he's neither. That's
why I think you're wrong."
"I'm sure I'm not and so I don't believe in impris-
onment except for the insane."
On this point Amory could not agree. It seemed to
him that lif e and history were rife with the strong crim-
inal, keen, but often self-deluding; in politics and busi-
ness one found him and among the old statesmen and
kings and generals; but Burne never agreed and their
courses began to split on that point.
Burne was drawing farther and farther away from the
world about him. He resigned the vice-presidency of the
144 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
senior class and took to reading and walking as almost
his only pursuits. He voluntarily attended graduate
lectures in philosophy and biology, and sat in all of them
with a rather pathetically intent look in his eyes, as if
waiting for something the lecturer would never quite
come to. Sometimes Amory would see him squirm in
his seat; and his face would light up; he was on fire to
debate a point.
He grew more abstracted on the street and was even
accused of becoming a snob, but Amory knew it was
nothing of the sort, and once when Burne passed him
four feet off, absolutely unseeingly, his mind a thousand
miles away, Amory almost choked with the romantic
joy of watching him. Burne seemed to be climbing
heights where others would be forever unable to get a
"I tell you," Amory declared to Tom, "he's the first
contemporary I've ever met whom I'll admit is my
superior in mental capacity."
"It's a bad time to achnit it people are beginning
to think he's odd."
"He's way over their heads you know you think so
yourself when you talk to him Good Lord, Tom, you
used to stand out against 'people.' Success has com-
pletely conventionalized you."
Tom grew rather annoyed.
"What's he trying to do be excessively holy?"
"No! not like anybody you've ever seen. Never
enters the Philadelphian Society. He has no faith in
that rot He doesn't believe that public swimming-
pools and a kind word in time will right the wrongs of
the world; moreover, he takes a drink whenever he feels
"He certainly is getting in wrong."
"Have you talked to him lately?"
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 145
"Then you haven't any conception of him."
The argument ended nowhere, but Amory noticed
more than ever how the sentiment toward Burne had
changed on the campus.
"It's odd," Amory said to Tom one night when they
had grown more amicable on the subject, "that the
people who violently disapprove of Burne's radicalism
are distinctly the Pharisee class I mean they're the
best-educated men in college the editors of the papers,
like yourself and Ferrenby, the younger professors. . . .
The illiterate athletes like Langueduc think he's getting
eccentric, but they just say, 'Good old Burne has got
some queer ideas in his head/ and pass on the Pharisee
class Gee ! they ridicule him unmercifully."
The next morning he met Burne hurrying along
McCosh walk after a recitation.
"Whither bound, Tsar?"
"Over to the Prince office to see Ferrenby," he waved
a copy of the morning's Princetonian at Amory. "He
wrote this editorial."
"Going to flay him alive?"
"No but he's got me all balled up. Either I've
misjudged him, or he's suddenly become the world's
Burne hurried on, and it was several days before
Amory heard an account of the ensuing conversation.
Burne had come into the editor's sanctum displaying
the paper cheerfully.
"Hello there, Savonarola."
"I just read your editorial."
"Good boy didn't know you stooped that low."
"Jesse, you startled me."
146 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Aren't you afraid the faculty'll get after you if you
pull this irreligious stuff?"
"Like this morning."
"What the devil that editorial was on the coaching
"Yes, but that quotation "
Jesse sat up.
"You know: 'He who is not with me is against me.' "
"Well what about it?"
Jesse was puzzled but not alarmed.
"Well, you say here let me see." Burne opened the
paper and read: " 'He who is not with me is against me,
as that gentleman said who was notoriously capable of
only coarse distinctions and puerile generalities.' "
"What of it?" Ferrenby began to look alarmed.
" Oliver Cromwell said it, didin't he? or was it Washing-
ton, or one of the saints? Good Lord, I've forgotten."
Burne roared with laughter.
"Oh, Jesse, oh, good, kind Jesse."
"Who said it, for Pete's sake?"
"Well," said Burne, recovering his voice, "St. Mat-
thew attributes it to Christ."
"My God !" cried Jesse, and collapsed backward into
AMORY WRITES A POEM
The weeks tore by. Amory wandered occasionally to
New York on the chance of finding a new shining green
auto-bus, that its stick-of-candy glamour might pene-
trate his disposition. One day he ventured into a stock-
company revival of a play whose name was faintly
familiar. The curtain rose he watched casually as a
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 147
girl entered. A few phrases rang in his ear and touched
a faint chord of memory. Where ? When ?
Then he seemed to hear a voice whispering beside
him, a very soft, vibrant voice: "Oh, I'm such a poor
little fool; do tell me when I do wrong."
The solution came in a flash and he had a quick, glad
memory of Isabelle.
He found a blank space on his programme, and began
to scribble rapidly:
"Here in the figured dark I watch once more,
There, with the curtain, roll the years away;
Two years of years there was an idle day
Of ours, when happy endings didn't bore
Our unfermented souls; I could adore
Your eager face beside me, wide-eyed, gay,
Smiling a repertoire while the poor play
Reached me as a faint ripple reaches shore.
Yawning and wondering an evening through,
I watch alone . . . and chatterings, of course,
Spoil the one scene which, somehow, did have charms;
You wept a bit, and I grew sad for you
Right here ! Where Mr. X defends divorce
And What's-Her-Name falls fainting in his arms."
"Ghosts are such dumb things," said Alec, "they're
slow-witted. I can always outguess a 'ghost."
"How?" asked Tom.
"Well, it depends where. Take a bedroom, for ex-
ample. If you use any discretion a ghost can never get
you in a bedroom."
"Go on, s'pose you think there's maybe a ghost in
your bedroom what measures do you take on getting
home at night?" demanded Amory, interested.
"Take a stick," answered Alec, with ponderous rever-
148 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
ence, "one about the length of a broom-handle. Now,
the first thing to do is to get the room cleared to do
this you rush with your eyes closed into your study and
turn on the lights next, approaching the closet, care-
fully run the stick in the door three or four times. Then,
if nothing happens, you can look in. Always, always
run the stick in viciously first never look first ! "
"Of course, that's the ancient Celtic school," said
"Yes but they usually pray first. Anyway, you use
this method to clear the closets and also for behind all
"And the bed," Amory suggested.
"Oh, Amory, no!" cried Alec in horror. "That isn't
the way the bed requires different tactics let the bed
alone, as you value your reason if there is a ghost in
the room and that's only about a third of the time, it
is almost always under the bed."
"Well" Amory began.
Alec waved him into silence.
"Of course you never look. You stand in the middle
of the floor and before he knows what you're going to
do make a sudden leap for the bed never walk near
the bed; to a ghost your ankle is your most vulnerable
part once in bed, you're safe; he may fie around un-
der the bed all night, but you're safe as daylight. If
you still have doubts pull the blanket over your head."
"All that's very interesting, Tom."
"Isn't it?" Alec beamed proudly. "All my own, too
the Sir Oliver Lodge of the new world."
Amory was enjoying college immensely again. The
sense of going forward in a direct, determined line had
come back; youth was stirring and shaking out a few
new feathers. He had even stored enough surplus en-
ergy to sally into a new pose.
NARCISSUS" OFF DUTY 140
"What's the idea of all this 'distracted ' stuff, Amory ? "
asked Alec one day, and then as Amory pretended to be
cramped over his book in a daze: "Oh, don't try to act
Burne, the mystic, to me."
Amory looked up innocently.
"What?" mimicked Alec. "Are you trying to read
yourself into a rhapsody with let's see the book."
He snatched it; regarded it derisively.
"Well?" said Amory a little stiffly.
" 'The Life of St. Teresa/ " read Alec aloud. "Oh,
"Does it bother you?"
"Does what bother me?"
"My acting dazed and all that?"
"Why, no of course it doesn't bother me."
"Well, then, don't spoil it. If I enjoy going around
telling people guilelessly that I think I'm a genius, let
me do it."
"You're getting a reputation for being eccentric,"
said Alec, laughing, "if that's what you mean."
Amory finally prevailed, and Alec agreed to accept
his face value in the presence of others if he was al-
lowed rest periods when they were alone; so Amory
"ran it out" at a great rate, bringing the most eccentric
characters to dinner, wild-eyed grad students, pre-
ceptors with strange theories of God and government,
to the cynical amazement of the supercilious Cottage
As February became slashed by sun and moved
cheerfully into March, Amory went several times to
spend week-ends with Monsignor; once he took Burne,
with great success, for he took equal pride and delight
ISO THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
in displaying them to each other. Monsignor took him
several times to see Thornton Hancock, and once or twice
to the house of a Mrs. Lawrence, a type of Rome-
haunting American whom Amory liked immediately.
Then one day came a letter from Monsignor, which
appended an interesting P. S.:
"Do you know," it ran, "that your third cousin, Clara Page,
widowed six months and very poor, is living in Philadelphia?
I don't think you've ever met her, but I wish, as a favor to me,
you'd go to see her. To my mind, she's rather a remarkable
woman, and just about your age."
Amory sighed and decided to go, as a favor. . . .
She was immemorial. . . . Amory wasn't good
enough for Clara, Clara of ripply golden hair, but then
no man was. Her goodness was above the prosy morals
of the husband-seeker, apart from the dull literature of
Sorrow lay lightly around her, and when Amory found
her in Philadelphia he thought her steely blue eyes held
only happiness; a latent strength, a realism, was brought
to its fullest development by the facts that she was
compelled to face. She was alone in the world, with
two small children, little money, and, worst of all, a host
of friends. He saw her that winter in Philadelphia
entertaining a houseful of men for an evening, when he
knew she had not a servant in the house except the lit-
tle colored girl guarding the babies overhead. He saw
one of the greatest libertines in that city, a man who
was habitually drunk and notorious at home and
abroad, sitting opposite her for an evening, discussing
girls' boarding-schools with a sort of innocent excite-
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 151
ment. What a twist Clara had to her mind ! She could
make fascinating and almost brilliant conversation out
of the thinnest air that ever floated through a drawing-
The- idea that the girl was poverty-stricken had ap-
pealed to Amory's sense of situation. He arrived in
Philadelphia expecting to be told that 921 Ark Street
was in a miserable lane of hovels. He was even disap-
pointed when it proved to be nothing of the sort. It
was an old house that had been in her husband's fam-
ily for years. An elderly aunt, who objected to having
it sold, had put ten years' taxes with a lawyer and
pranced off to Honolulu, leaving Clara to struggle with
the heating-problem as best she could. So no wild-
haired woman with a hungry baby at her breast and a
sad Amelia-like look greeted him. Instead, Amory
would have thought from his reception that she had not
a care in the world.
A calm virility and a dreamy humor, marked con-
trasts to her level-headedness into these moods she
slipped sometimes as a refuge. She could do the most
prosy things (though she was wise enough never to
stultify herself with such "household arts" as knitting
and embroidery}, yet immediately afterward pick up a
book and let her imagination rove as a formless cloud
with the wind. Deepest of all in her personality was
the golden radiance that she diffused around her. As
an open fire in a dark room throws romance and pathos
into the quiet faces at its edge, so she cast her lights
and shadows around the rooms that held her, until she
made of her prosy old unc j e a man of quaint and
meditative charm, metamorphosed the stray telegraph
boy into a Puck-like creature of delightful originality.
At first this quality of hers somehow irritated Amory.
He considered his own uniqueness sufficient, and it
152 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
rather embarrassed him when she tried to read new
interests into him for the benefit of what other adorers
were present. He felt as if a polite but insistent stage-
manager were attempting to make him give a new in-
terpretation of a part he had conned for years.
But Clara talking, Clara telling a slender tale of a hat-
pin and an inebriated man and herself. . . . People
tried afterward to repeat her anecdotes but for the life
of them they could make them sound like nothing
whatever. They gave her a sort of innocent attention
and the best smiles many of them had smiled for long;
there were few tears in Clara, but people smiled misty-
eyed at her.
Very occasionally Amory stayed for little half-hours
after the rest of the court had gone, and they would
have bread and jam and tea late in the afternoon or
"maple-sugar lunches," as she called them, at night.
"You are remarkable, aren't you!" Amory was be-
coming trite from where he perched in the centre of the
dining-room table one six o'clock.
"Not a bit," she answered. She was searching out
napkins in the sideboard. "I'm really most humdrum
and commonplace. One of those people who have no
interest in anything but their children."
"Tell that to somebody else," scoffed Amory. "You
know you're perfectly effulgent." He asked her the
one thing that he knew might embarrass her. It was the
remark that the first bore made to Adam.
"Tell me about yourself." And she gave the answer
that Adam must have given.
"There's nothing to tell."
But eventually Adam probably told the bore all the
things he thought about at night when the locusts sang
in the sandy grass, and he must have remarked patroniz-
ingly how different he was from Eve, forgetting how dif-
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 153
ferent she was from him ... at any rate, Clara told
Amory much about herself that evening. She had had a
harried life from sixteen on, and her education had
stopped sharply with her leisure. Browsing in her li-
brary, Amory found a tattered gray book out of which
fell a yellow sheet that he impudently opened. It was
a poem that she had written at school about a gray
convent wall on a gray day, and a girl with her cloak
blown by the wind sitting atop of it and thinking about
the many-colored world. As a rule such sentiment
bored him, but this was done with so much simplicity
and atmosphere, that it brought a picture of Clara to
his mind, of Clara on such a cool, gray day with her
keen blue eyes staring out, trying to see her tragedies
come marching over the gardens outside. He envied
that poem. How he would have loved to have come
along and seen her on the wall and talked nonsense or
romance to her, perched above him in the air. He be-
gan to be frightfully jealous of everything about Clara:
of her past, of her babies, of the men and women who
flocked to drink deep of her cool kindness and rest their
tired minds as at an absorbing play.
"Nobody seems to bore you," he objected.
"About half the world do," she admitted, "but I
think that's a pretty good average, don't you?" and
she turned to find something in Browning that bore on
the subject. She was the only person he ever met who
could look up passages and quotations to show him in
the middle of the conversation, and yet not be irritat-
ing to distraction. She did it constantly, with such a
serious enthusiasm that he grew fond of watching her
golden hair bent over a book, brow wrinkled ever so
little at hunting her sentence.
Through early March he took to going to Philade.-
phia for week-ends. Almost always there was some one
154 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
else there and she seemed not anxious to see him alone,
for many occasions presented themselves when a word
from he"r would have given him another delicious half-
hour of adoration. But he fell gradually in love and
began to speculate wildly on marriage. Though this
design flowed through his brain even to his lips, still he
knew afterward that the desire had not been deeply
rooted. Once he dreamt that it had come true and
woke up in a cold panic, for in his dream she had been a
silly, flaxen Clara, with the gold gone out of her hair
and platitudes falling insipidly from her changeling
tongue. But she was the first fine woman he ever knew
and one of the few good people who ever interested him.
She made her goodness such an asset. Amory had de-
cided that most good people either dragged theirs after
them as a liability, or else distorted it to artificial genial-
ity, and of course there were the ever-present prig and
Pharisee (but Amory never included them as being
among the saved).
"Over her gray and velvet dress,
Under her molten, beaten hair,
Color of rose in mock distress
Flushes and jades and makes her fair ;
Fills the air from her to him
With light and languor and little sighs,
Just so subtly he scarcely knows . . .
Laughing lightning, color of rose"
"Do you like me?"
"Of course I do," said Clara seriously.
"Well, we have some qualities in common. Things
that are spontaneous in each of us or were originally."
"You're implying that I haven't used myself very
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 155
"Well, I can't judge. A man, of course, has to go
through a lot more, and I've been sheltered."
"Oh, don't stall, please, Clara," Amory interrupted;
"but do talk about me a little, won't you?"
"Surely, I'd adore to." She didn't smile.
"That's sweet of you. First answer some questions.
Am I painfully conceited?"
"Well no, you have tremendous vanity, but it'll
amuse the people who notice its preponderance."
"You're really humble at heart. You sink to the
third hell of depression when you think you've beem
slighted. In fact, you haven't much self-respect."
"Centre of target twice, Clara. How do you do it?
You never let me say a word."
"Of course not I can never judge a man while he's
talking. But I'm not through; the reason you have so
little real self-confidence, even though you gravely an-
nounce to the occasional philistine that you think you're
a genius, is that you've attributed all sorts of atrocious
faults to yourself and are trying to live up to them. For
instance, you're always saying that you are a slave to
"But I am, potentially."
"And you say you're a weak character, that you've
"Not a bit of will I'm a slave to my emotions, to
my likes, to my hatred of boredom, to most of my de-
"You are not!" She brought one little fist down
onto the other. "You're a slave, a bound helpless slave
to one thing in the world, your imagination."
"You certainly interest me. If this isn't boring you,
156 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"I notice that when you want to stay over an extra
day from college you go about it in a sure way. You
never decide at first while the merits of going or stay-
ing are fairly clear in your mind. You let your imagina-
tion shinny on the side of your desires for a few hours,
and then you decide. Naturally your imagination,
after a little freedom, thinks up a million reasons why
you should stay, so your decision when it comes isn't
true. It's biassed."
"Yes," objected Amory, "but isn't it lack of will-
power to let my imagination shinny on the wrong side ? "
"My dear boy, there's your big mistake. This has
nothing to do with will-power; that's a crazy, useless
word, anyway; you lack judgment the judgment to
decide at once when you know your imagination will
play you false, given half a chance."
"Well, I'll be darned !" exclaimed Amory in surprise,
"that's the last thing I expected."
Clara didn't gloat. She changed the subject im-
mediately. But she had started him thinking and he
believed she was partly right. He felt like a factory-
owner who after accusing a clerk of dishonesty finds
that his own son, in the office, is changing the books
once a week. His poor, mistreated will that he had been
holding up to the scorn of himself and his friends, stood
before him innocent, and his judgment walked off to
prison with the unconfinable imp, imagination, danc-
ing in mocking glee beside him. Clara's was the only
advice he ever asked without dictating the answer him-
self except, perhaps, in his talks with Monsignor
How he loved to do any sort of thing with Clara!
Shopping with her was a rare, epicurean dream. In
every store where she had ever traded she was whispered
about as the beautiful Mrs. Page.
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 157
"I'll bet she won't stay single long."
"Well, don't scream it out. She ain't lookin' for no
"Ain't she beautiful!"
(Enter a floor-walker silence till he moves for-
"Society person, ain't she?"
"Yeah, but poor now, I guess; so they say."
"Gee! girls, ain't she some kid !"
And Clara beamed on all alike. Amory believed that
tradespeople gave her discounts, sometimes to her
knowledge and sometimes without it. He knew she
dressed very well, had always the best of everything in
the house, and was inevitably waited upon by the head
floor-walker at the very least.
Sometimes they would go to church together on Sun-
day and he would walk beside her and revel in her
cheeks moist from the soft water in the new air. She
was very devout, always had been, and God knows
what heights she attained and what strength she drew
down to herself when she knelt and bent her golden hair
into the stained-glass light.
"St. Cecelia," he cried aloud one day, quite invol-
untarily, and the people turned and peered, and the
priest paused in his sermon and Clara and Amory turned
to fiery red.
That was the last Sunday they had, for he spoiled it
all that night. He couldn't help it.
They were walking through the March twilight where
it was as warm as June, and the joy of youth nlkd his
soul so that he felt he must speak.
"I think," he said and his voice trembled, "that if I
lost faith in you I'd lose faith in God."
She looked at him with such a startled face that he
asked her the matter.
158 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Nothing," she said slowly, "only this: five men have
said that to me before, and it frightens me."
"Oh, Clara, is that your fate!"
She did not answer.
"I suppose love to you is " he began.
She turned like a flash.
"I have never been in love."
They walked along, and he realized slowly how much
she had told him . . . never in love. . . . She seemed
suddenly a daughter of light alone. His entity dropped
out of her plane and he longed only to touch her dress
with almost the realization that Joseph must have had
of Mary's eternal significance. But quite mechanic-
ally he heard himself saying:
"And I love you any latent greatness that I've got
is ... oh, I can't talk, but Clara, if I come back in
two years in a position to marry you "
She shook her head.
"No," she said; "I'd never marry again. I've got
my two children and I want myself for them. I like
you I like all clever men, you more than any but
you know me well enough to know that I'd never marry
a clever man " She broke off suddenly.
"You're not in love with me. You never wanted to
marry me, did you?"
"It was the twilight," he said wonderingly. "I
didn't feel as though I were speaking aloud. But I
love you or adore you or worship you
"There you go running through your catalogue of
emotions in five seconds."
He smiled unwillingly.
"Don't make me but such a light-weight, Clara; you
are depressing sometimes."
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 159
"You're not a light-weight, of all things," she said
intently, taking his arm and opening wide her eyes
he could see their kindliness in the fading dusk. "A
light-weight is an eternal nay."
"There's so much spring in the air there's so much
lazy sweetness in your heart."
She dropped his arm.
"You're all fine now, and I feel glorious. Give me a
cigarette. You've never seen me smoke, have you ?
Well, I do, about once a month."
And then that wonderful girl and Amory raced to the
corner like two mad children gone wild with pale-blue
"I'm going to the country for to-morrow," she an-
nounced, as she stood panting, safe beyond the flare of
the corner lamp-post. "These days are too magnificent
to miss, though perhaps I feel them more in the city."
"Oh, Clara!" Amory said; "what a devil you could
have been if the Lord had just bent your soul a little
the other way ! "
"Maybe," she answered; "but I think not. I'm never
really wild and never have been. That little outburst
was pure spring."
"And you are, too," said he.
They were walking along now.
"No you're wrong again, how can a person of your
own self-reputed brains be so constantly wrong about
me? I'm the opposite of everything spring ever stood
for. It's unfortunate, if I happen to look like what
pleased some soppy old Greek sculptor, but I assure
you that if it weren't for my face I'd be a quiet nun in
the convent without" then she broke into a run
and her raised voice floated back to him as he followed
"my precious babies, which I must go back and see."
She was the only girl he ever knew with whom he
160 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
could understand how another man might be preferred.
Often Amory met wives whom he had known as debu-
tantes, and looking intently at them imagined that he
found something in their faces which said:
"Oh, if I could only have gotten youl" Oh, the
enormous conceit of the man*!
But that night seemed a night of stars and singing
and Clara's bright soul still gleamed on the ways they
"Golden, golden is the air " he chanted to the little
pools of water. . . . "Golden is the air, golden notes from
golden mandolins, golden frets of golden violins, fair, oh,
wearily fair. . . . Skeins from braided basket, mortals
may not hold; oh, what young extravagant God, who would
know or ask it? . . . who could give suck gold . . ."
AMORY is RESENTFUL
Slowly and inevitably, yet with a sudden surge at the
last, while Amory talked and dreamed, war rolled swiftly
up the beach and washed the sands where Princeton
played. Every night the gymnasium echoed as platoon
after platoon swept over the floor and shuffled out the
basket-ball markings. When Amory went to Wash-
ington the next week-end he caught some of the spirit
of crisis which changed to repulsion in the Pullman car
coming back, for the berths across from him were oc-
cupied by stinking aliens Greeks, he guessed, or
Russians. He thought how much easier patriotism had
been to a homogeneous race, how much easier it would
have been to fight as the Colonies fought, or as the Con-
federacy fought. And he did no sleeping that night,
but listened to the aliens guffaw and snore while they
filled the car with the heavy scent of latest America.
In Princeton every one bantered in public and told
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 161
themselves privately that their deaths at least would be
heroic. The literary students read Rupert Brooke
passionately; the lounge-lizards worried over whether
the government would permit the English-cut uniform
for officers; a few of the hopelessly lazy wrote to the
obscure branches of the War Department, seeking an
easy commission and a soft berth.
Then, after a week, Amory saw Burne and knew at
once that argument would be futile Burne had come
out as a pacifist. The socialist magazines, a great smat-
tering of Tolstoi, and his own intense longing for a
cause that would bring out whatever strength lay in
him, had finally decided him to preach peace as a sub-
"When the German army entered Belgium," he be-
gan, "if the inhabitants had gone peaceably about their
business, the German army would have been disor-
ganized in "
"I know," Amory interrupted, "I've heard it all.
But I'm not going to talk propaganda with you. There's
a chance that you're right but even so we're hundreds
of years before the time when non-resistance can touch
us as a reality."
"But, Amory, listen "
"Burne, we'd just argue "
"Just one thing I don't ask you to think of your
family or friends, because I know they don't count a
picayune with you beside your sense of duty but,
Burne, how do you know that the magazines you read
and the societies you join and these idealists you meet
aren't just plain German?"
"Some of them are, of course."
"How do you know they aren't all pro-German
just a lot of weak ones with German- Jewish names."
162 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"That's the chance, of course," he said slowly. "How
much or how little I'm taking this stand because of
propaganda I've heard, I don't know; naturally I think
that it's my most innermost conviction it seems a path
spread before me just now."
Amory's heart sank.
"But think of the cheapness of it no one's really
going to martyr you for being a pacifist it's just going
to throw you in with the worst "
"I doubt it," he interrupted.
"Well, it all smells of Bohemian New York to me."
"I know what you mean, and that's why I'm not sure
"You're one man, Burne going to talk to people
who won't listen with all God's given you."
"That's what Stephen must have thought many years
ago. But he preached his sermon and they killed him.
He probably thought as he was dying what a waste it
all was. But you see, I've always felt that Stephen's
death was the thing that occurred to Paul on the road
to Damascus, and sent him to preach the word of Christ
all over the world."
"That's all this is my particular duty. Even if
right now I'm just a pawn just sacrificed. God!
Amory you don't think / like the Germans ! "
"Well, I can't say anything else I get to the end of
all the logic about non-resistance, and there, like an
excluded middle, stands the huge spectre of man as he
is and always will be. And this spectre stands right
beside the one logical necessity of Tolstoi's, and the
other logical necessity of Nietzsche's " Amory broke
off suddenly. "When are you going?"
"I'm, going next week."
"I'll see you, of course."
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 163
As he walked away it seemed to Amory that the look
in his face bore a great resemblance to that in Kerry's
when he had said good-by under Blair Arch two years
before. Amory wondered unhappily why he could never
go into anything with the primal honesty of those two.
"Burne's a fanatic," he said to Tom, "and he's dead
wrong and, I'm inclined to think, just an unconscious
pawn in the hands of anarchistic publishers and Ger-
man-paid rag wavers but he haunts me just leaving
every thing worth while "
Burne left in a quietly dramatic manner a week later.
He sold all his possessions and came down to the room
to say good-by, with a battered old bicycle, on which he
intended to ride to his home in Pennsylvania.
"Peter the Hermit bidding farewell to Cardinal
Richelieu," suggested Alec, who was lounging in the
window-seat as Burne and Amory shook hands.
But Amory was not in a mood for that, and as he saw
Burne's long legs propel his ridiculous bicycle out of
sight beyond Alexander Hall, he knew he was going to
have a bad week. Not that he doubted the war Ger-
many stood for everything repugnant to him ; for ma-
terialism and the direction of tremendous licentious
force; it was just that Burne's face stayed in his mem-
ory and he was sick of the hysteria he was beginning to
"What on earth is the use of suddenly running down
Goethe," he declared to Alec and Tom. "Why write
books to prove he started the war or that that stupid,
overestimated Schiller is a demon in disguise?"
"Have you ever read anything of theirs?" asked Tom
"No," Amory admitted.
"Neither have I," he said laughing.
"People will shout," said Alec quietly, "but Goethe's
164 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
on his same old shelf in the library to bore any one
that wants to read him ! "
Amory subsided, and the subject dropped.
"What are you going to do, Amory?"
"Infantry or aviation, I can't make up my mind I
hate mechanics, but then of course aviation's the thing
for me "
"I feel as Amory does," said Tom. "Infantry or
aviation aviation sounds like the romantic side of the
war, of course like cavalry used to be, you know; but
like Amory I don't know a horse-power from a piston-
Somehow Amory's dissatisfaction with his lack of
enthusiasm culminated in an attempt to put the blame
for the whole war on the ancestors of his generation . . .
all the people who cheered for Germany in 1870. . . .
All the materialists rampant, all the idolizers of German
science and efficiency. So he sat one day in an Eng-
lish lecture and heard "Locksley Hall" quoted and fell
into a brown study with contempt for Tennyson and all
he stood for for he took him as a representative of the
" Victorians, Victorians, who never learned to weep
Who sowed the bitter harvest that your children go to reap "
scribbled Amory in his note-book. The lecturer was
saying something about Tennyson's solidity and fifty
heads were bent to take notes. Amory turned over to
a fresh page and began scrawling again.
" They shuddered when they found what Mr. Darwin WAS about,
They shuddered when the waltz came in and Newman hurried
But the waltz came in much earlier; he crossed that
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 165
"And entitled A Song in the Time of Order" came the
professor's voice, droning far away. "Time of Order"
Good Lord! Everything crammed in the box and
the Victorians sitting on the lid smiling serenely. . . .
With Browning in his Italian villa crying bravely:
"All's for the best." Amory scribbled again.
" You knelt up in the temple and he bent to hear you pray,
You thanked him for your 'glorious gains' reproached him for
Why could he never get more than a couplet at a time ?
Now he needed something to rhyme with:
" You would keep Him straight with science, tho He had gone wrong
Well, anyway. . . .
" You met your children in your home ' I've fixed it up t ' you cried,
Took your fifty years of Europe, and then virtuously died."
"That was to a great extent Tennyson's idea," came
the lecturer's voice. "Swinburne's Song in the Time of
Order might well have been Tennyson's title. He ideal-
ized order against chaos, against waste."
At last Amory had it. He turned over another page
and scrawled vigorously for the twenty minutes that
was left of the hour. Then he walked up to the desk
and deposited a page torn out of his note-book.
"Here's a poem to the Victorians, sir," he said coldly.
The professor picked it up curiously while Amory
backed rapidly through the door.
Here is what he had written:
"Songs in the time of order
You left for us to sing,
Proofs with excluded middles,
Answers to life in rhyme,
166 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Keys of the prison warder
And ancient bells to ring,
Time was the end of riddles,
We were the end of time . . . ,
Here were domestic oceans
And a sky that we might reach,
Guns and a guarded border,
Gantlets but not to fling,
Thousands of old emotions
And a platitude for each,
Songs in the time of order
And tongues, that we might sing."
THE END OF MANY THINGS
Early April slipped by in a haze a haze of long eve-
nings on the club veranda with the graphophone play-
ing "Poor Butterfly" inside ... for "Poor Butterfly"
had been the song of that last year. The war seemed
scarcely to touch them and it might have been one of
the senior springs of the past, except for the drilling
every other afternoon, yet Amory realized poignantly
that this was the last spring under the old regime.
"This is the great protest against the superman,"
"I suppose so," Alec agreed.
"He's absolutely irreconcilable with any Utopia. As
long as he occurs, there's trouble and all the latent evil
^ that makes a crowd list and sway when he talks."
"And of course all that he is is a gifted man with-
out a moral sense."
"That's all. I think the worst thing to contemplate
is this it's all happened before, how soon will it happen
again? Fifty years after Waterloo Napoleon was as
much a hero to English school children as Wellington.
How do we know our grandchildren won't idolize Von
Hindenburg the same way?"
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY 167
"What brings it about?"
"Time, damn it, and the historian. If we could only
learn to look on evil as evil, whether it's clothed in filth
or monotony or magnificence."
"God ! Haven't we raked the universe over the coals
for four years?"
Then the night came that was to be the last. Tom
and Amory, bound in the morning for different training-
camps, paced the shadowy walks as usual and seemed
still to see around them the faces of the men they knew.
"The grass is full of ghosts to-night."
"The whole campus is alive with them."
They paused by Little and watched the moon rise, to
make silver of the slate roof of Dodd and blue the rus-
"You know," whispered Tom, "what we feel now is
the sense of all the gorgeous youth that has rioted
through here in two hundred years.
A last burst of singing flooded up from Blair Arch
broken voices for some long parting.
"And what we leave here is more than this class; it's
the whole heritage of youth. We're just one genera-
tion we're breaking all the links that seemed to bind
us here to top-booted and high-stocked generations.
We've walked arm and arm with Burr and Light-Horse
Harry Lee through half these deep-blue nights."
"That's what they are," Tom tangented off, "deep
blue a bit of color would spoil them, make them
exotic. Spires, against a sky that's a promise of dawn,
and blue light on the slate roofs it hurts . . .
"Good-by, Aaron Burr," Amory called toward de-
serted Nassau Hall, "you and I knew strange corners of
His voice echoed in the stillness.
i68 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"The torches are out," whispered Tom. "Ah, Mes-
salina, the long shadows are building minarets on the
For an instant the voices of freshman year surged
around them and then they looked at each other with
faint tears in their eyes.
The last light fades and drifts across the land' the low,
long land, the sunny land of spires; the ghosts of evening
tune again their lyres and wander singing in a plaintive
band down the long corridors of trees; pale fires echo the
night from tower top to tower: Oh, sleep that dreams, and
dream that never tires, press from the petals of the lotus
flower something of this to keep, the essence of an hour.
No more to wait the twilight of the moon in this se-
questered vale of star and spire, for one eternal morning
of desire fosses to time and earthy afternoon. Here,
Heraclitus, did you find in fire and shifting things the
prophecy you hurled down the dead years; this midnight
my desire will see, shadowed among the embers, furled in
flame, the splendor and the sadness of the world.
MAY, 1917 FEBRUARY, 1919
A letter dated January, 1918, written by Monsignor Darcy
to Amory, who is a second lieutenant in the 17 is/
Infantry, Port of Embarkation, Camp Mills, Long
MY DEAR BOY:
All you need tell me of yourself is that you still are; for the
rest I merely search back in a restive memory, a thermometer
that records only fevers, and match you with what I was at your
age. But men will chatter and you and I will still shout our
futilities to each other across the stage until the last silly curtain
falls plump! upon our bobbing heads. But you are starting the
spluttering magic-lantern show of life with much the same ar-
ray of slides as I had, so I need to write you if only to shriek
the colossal stupidity of people. . . .
This is the end of one thing: for better or worse you will
never again be quite the Amory Blaine that I knew, never again
will we meet as we have met, because your generation is growing
hard, much harder than mine ever grew, nourished as they were
on the stuff of the nineties.
Amory, lately I reread ^Eschylus and there in the divine
irony of the " Agamemnon" I find the only answer to this bitter
age all the world tumbled about our ears, and the closest
parallel ages back in that hopeless resignation. There are times
when I think of the men out there as Roman legionaries, miles
from their corrupt city, stemming back the hordes . . . hordes a
little more menacing, after all, than the corrupt city . . . an-
other blind blow at the race, furies that we passed with ovations
years ago, over whose corpses we bleated triumphantly all
through the Victorian era. . . .
And afterward an out-and-out materialistic world and the
Catholic Church. I wonder where you'll fit in. Of one thing
I'm sure Celtic you'll live and Celtic you'll die; so if you don't
use heaven as a continual referendum for your ideas you'll find
earth a continual recall to your ambitions.
Amory, I've discovered suddenly that I'm an old man. Like
all old men, I've had dreams sometimes and I'm going to tell
you of them. I've enjoyed imagining that you were my son,
172 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
that perhaps when I was young I went into a state of coma and
begat you, and when I came to, had no recollection of it ...
it's the paternal instinct, Amory celibacy goes deeper than the
flesh. . . .
Sometimes I think that the explanation of our deep resem-
blance is some common ancestor, and I find that the only blood
that the Darcys and the O'Haras have in common is that of the
O'Donahues . . . Stephen was his name, I think. . . .
When the lightning strikes one of us it strikes both: you had
hardly arrived at the port of embarkation when I got my papers
to start for Rome, and I am waiting every moment to be told
where to take ship. Even before you get this letter I shall be
on the ocean; then will come your turn. You went to war as a
gentleman should, just as you went to school and college, be-
cause it was the thing to do. It's better to leave the blustering
and tremulo-heroism to the middle classes; they do it so much
Do you remember that week-end last March when you
brought Burne Holiday from Princeton to see me? What a
magnificent boy he is ! It gave me a frightful shock afterward
when you wrote that he thought me splendid; how could he be
so deceived? Splendid is the one thing that neither you nor I
are. We are many other things we're extraordinary, we're
clever, we could be said, I suppose, to be brilliant. We can at-
tract people, we can make atmosphere, we can almost lose our
Celtic souls in Celtic subtleties, we can almost always have our
own way; but splendid rather not!
I am going to Rome with a wonderful dossier and letters of
introduction that cover every capital in Europe, and there will
be "no small stir" when I get there. How I wish you were
with me! This sounds like a rather cynical paragraph, not at
all the sort of thing that a middle-aged clergyman should write
to a youth about to depart for the war; the only excuse is that
the middle-aged clergyman is talking to himself. There are
deep things in us and you know what they are as well as I do.
We have great faith, though yours at present is uncrystallized;
we have a terrible honesty that all our sophistry cannot destroy
and, above all, a childlike simplicity that keeps us from ever
being really malicious.
I have written a keen for you which follows. I am sorry
your cheeks are not up to the description I have written of
them, but you will smoke and read all night
At any rate here it is:
A Lament for a Foster Son, and He going to Ike War Against the
King of Foreign.
He is gone from me the son of my mind
And he in his golden youth like Angus Oge
Angus of the bright birds
And his mind strong and subtle like the mind of Cuchulin oa
His brow is as white as the milk of the cows of Maeve
And his cheeks like the cherries of the tree
And it bending down to Mary and she feeding the Son of God.
His hair is like the golden collar of the Kings at Tara
And his eyes like the four gray seas of Erin.
And they swept with the mists of rain.
Mavrone go Gudyo
He to be in the joyful and red battle
Amongst the chieftains and they doing great deeds of valor
His life to go from him
It is the chords of my own soul would be loosed.
A Vich Deelish
My heart is in the heart of my son
And my life is in his life surely
A man can be twice young
In the life of his sons only.
Jia du Vaha Alanav
May the Son of God be above him and beneath him, before him
and behind him
May the King of the elements cast a mist over the eyes of the
King of Foreign,
May the Queen of the Graces lead him by the hand the way he
can go through the midst of his enemies and they not see-
174 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
May Patrick of the Gael and Collumb of the Churches and
the five thousand Saints of Erin be better than a shield to
And he go into the fight.
Amory Amory I feel, somehow, that this is all; one or
both of us is not going to last out this war. ... I've been
trying to tell you how much this reincarnation of myself in you
has meant in the last few years . . . curiously alike we are
. . . curiously unlike.
Good-by, dear boy, and God be with you.
EMBARKING AT NIGHT
Amory moved forward on the deck until he found a
stool under an electric light. He searched in his pocket
for note-book and pencil and then began to write,
"We leave to-night . . .
Silent, we filled the still, deserted street,
A column of dim gray,
And ghosts rose startled at the muffled beat
Along the moonless way;
The shadowy shipyards echoed to the feet
That turned from night and day.
And so we linger on the windless decks,
See on the spectre shore
Shades of a thousand days, poor gray-ribbed wrecks . . .
Oh, shall we then deplore
Those futile year si
See how the sea is white!
The clouds have broken and the heavens burn
To hollow highways, paved with gravelled light
The churning of the waves about the stern
Rises to one voluminous nocturne,
. . . We leave to-night."
A letter from Amory, headed "Brest, March nth, 1919,"
to Lieutenant T. P. D'lnvilliers, Camp Gordon. Ga.
We meet in Manhattan on the 3oth of this very mo.; we
then proceed to take a very sporty apartment, you and I and
Alec, who is at me elbow as I write. I don't know what I'm
going to do but I have a vague dream of going into politics.
Why is it that the pick of the young Englishmen from Oxford
and Cambridge go into politics and in the U. S. A. we leave it
to the muckers? raised hi the ward, educated in the assembly
and sent to Congress, fat-paunched bundles of corruption, de-
void of "both ideas and ideals" as the debaters used to say.
Even forty years ago we had good men in politics, but we, we
are brought up to pile up a million and "show what we are
made of." Sometimes I wish I'd been an Englishman; American
life is so damned dumb and stupid and healthy.
Since poor Beatrice died I'll probably have a little money,
but very darn little. I can forgive mother almost everything
except the fact that in a sudden burst of religiosity toward the
end, she left half of what remained to be spent in stained-glass
windows and seminary endowments. Mr. Barton, my lawyer,
writes me that my thousands are mostly in street railways
and that the said Street R.R.s are losing money because of
the five-cent fares. Imagine a salary list that gives $350 a
month to a man that can't read and write ! yet I believe in it,
even though I've seen what was once a sizable fortune melt
away between speculation, extravagance, the democratic ad-
ministration, and the income tax modern, that's me all over,
At any rate we'll have really knock-out rooms you can get
a job on some fashion magazine, and Alec can go into the Zinc
Company or whatever it is that his people own he's looking
over my shoulder and he says it's a brass company, but I don't
think it matters much, do you? There's probably as much cor-
ruption hi zinc-made money as brass-made money. As for the
well-known Amory, he would write immortal literature if he
were sure enough about anything to risk telling any one else
about it. There is no more dangerous gift to posterity than a
few cleverly turned platitudes.
Tom, why don't you become a Catholic? Of course to be a
good one you'd have to give up those violent intrigues you used
176 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
to tell me about, but you'd write better poetry if you were
linked up to tall golden candlesticks and long, even chants,
and even if the American priests are rather burgeois, as Bea-
trice used to say, still you need only go to the sporty churches,
and I'll introduce you to Monsignor Darcy who really is a
Kerry's death was a blow, so was Jesse's to a certain extent.
And I have a great curiosity to know what queer comer of the
world has swallowed Burne. Do you suppose he's in prison
under some false name? I confess that the war instead of
making me orthodox, which is the correct reaction, has made
me a passionate agnostic. The Catholic Church has had its
wings (dipped so often lately that its part was timidly negligible,
and they haven't any good writers any more. I'm sick of
I've only discovered one soldier who passed through the
much-advertised spiritual crisis, like this fellow, Donald Han-
key, and the one I knew was already studying for the ministry,
so he was ripe for it. I honestly think that's all pretty much
rot, though it seemed to give sentimental comfort to those at
home; and may make fathers and mothers appreciate their
children. This crisis-inspired religion is rather valueless and
fleeting at best. I think four men have discovered Paris to one
that discovered God.
But us you and me and Alec oh, we'll get a Jap butler
and dress for dinner and have wine on the table and lead a
contemplative, emotionless life until we decide to use machine-
guns with the property owners or throw bombs with the Bol-
shevik. God ! Tom, I hope something happens. I'm restless
as the devil and have a horror of getting fat or falling in love
and growing domestic.
The place at Lake Geneva is now for rent but when I land
I'm going West to see Mr. Barton and get some details.
Write me care of the Blackstone, Chicago.
S'ever, dear Boswell,
THE EDUCATION OF A PERSONAGE
The time is February. The place is a large, dainty bed-
room in the Connage house on Sixty-eighth Street, New
York. A girl's room: pink walls and curtains and
a pink bedspread on a cream-colored bed. Pink and
cream are the motifs of the room, but the only article
of furniture in full mew is a luxurious dressing-table
with a glass top and a three-sided mirror. On the walls
there is an expensive print of "Cherry Ripe" a few
polite dogs by Landseer, and the "King of the Black
Isles" by Maxfield Parrish.
Great disorder consisting of the following items: (i) seven
or eight empty cardboard boxes, with tissue-paper
tongues hanging panting from their mouths; (2) an
assortment of street dresses mingled with their sisters
of the evening, all upon the table, all evidently new;
(3) a roll of tulle, which has lost its dignity and wound
itself tortuously around everything in sight, and (4)
upon the two small chairs, a collection of lingerie that
beggars description. One would enjoy seeing the bill
called forth by the finery displayed and one is pos-
sessed by a desire to see the princess for whose bene-
fit Look! There's some one! Disappointment!
This is only a maid hunting for something she lifts
a heap from a chair Not there; another heap, the
dressing-table, the chiffonier drawers. She brings to
light several beautiful chemises and an amazing pajama
but this does not satisfy her she goes out.
An indistinguishable mumble from the next room.
i8o . THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Now, we are getting warm. This is Alec's mother, Mrs.
Connage, ample, dignified, rouged to the dowager
point and quite worn out. Her lips move significantly
as she looks for IT. Her search is less thorough than
the maid's but there is a touch of fury in it, that quite
makes up for its sketchiness. She stumbles on the
tulle and her "damn" is quite audible. She re-
More chatter outside and a girl's voice, a very spoiled
voice, says: "Of all the stupid people "
After a pause a third seeker enters, not she of the spoiled
voice, but a younger edition. This is Cecelia Con-
nage, sixteen, pretty, shrewd, and constitutionally good-
humored. She is dressed for the evening in a gown
the obvious simplicity of which probably bores her.
She goes to the nearest pile, selects a small pink gar-
ment and holds it up appraisingly.
ROSALIND: (Outside) Yes!
CECELIA: Very snappy?
CECELIA: I've got it !
(She sees herself in the mirror of the dressing-table
and commences to shimmy enthusiastically.)
ROSALIND : (Outside) What are you doing trying it on ?
(CECELIA ceases and goes out carrying the garment
at the right shoulder.
From the other door, enters ALEC CONNAGE. He
looks around quickly and in a huge voice shouts:
Mama ! There is a chorus of protest from next
door and encouraged he starts toward it, but is
repelled by another chorus.)
ALEC: So that's where you all are! Amory Elaine is
THE DEBUTANTE 181
CECELIA: (Quickly) Take him down-stairs.
ALEC: Oh, he is down-stairs.
MRS. CONNAGE: Well, you can show him where his
room is. Tell him I'm sorry that I can't meet him now.
ALEC: He's heard a lot about you all. I wish you'd
hurry. Father's telling him all about the war and he's
restless. He's sort of temperamental.
(This last suffices to draw CECELIA into the room.)
CECELIA: (Seating herself high upon lingerie) How
do you mean temperamental? You used to say that
about him in letters.
ALEC: Oh, he writes stuff.
CECELIA: Does he play the piano?
ALEC: Don't think so.
CECELIA: (Speculatively) Drink?
ALEC: Yes nothing queer about him.
ALEC: Good Lord ask him, he used to have a lot,
and he's got some income now.
(MRS. CONNAGE appears)
MRS. CONNAGE: Alec, of course we're glad to have
any friend of yours
ALEC: You certainly ought to meet Amory.
MRS. CONNAGE: Of course, I want to. But I think
it's so childish of you to leave a perfectly good home to
go and live with two other boys in some impossible
apartment. I hope it isn't in order that you can all
drink as much as you want. (She pauses) He'll be a
little neglected to-night. This is Rosalind's week, you
see. When a girl comes out, she needs all the attention.-
ROSALIND: (Outside) Well, then, prove it by coming
here and hooking me.
(MRS. CONNAGE goes.)
ALEC: Rosalind hasn't changed a bit.
CECELIA: (In a lower tone] She's awfully spoiled.
182 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
ALEC: She'll meet her match to-night.
CECELIA: Who Mr. Amory Elaine?
CECELIA: Well, Rosalind has still to meet the man
she can't outdistance. Honestly, Alec, she treats men
terribly. She abuses them and cuts them and breaks
dates with them and yawns in their faces and they
come back for more.
ALEC: They love it.
CECELIA: They hate it. She's a she's a sort of vam-
pire, I think and she can make girls do what she wants
usually only she hates girls.
ALEC: Personality runs in our family.
CECELIA: (Resignedly) I guess it ran out before it got
ALEC: Does Rosalind behave herself?
CECELIA: Not particularly well. Oh, she's average
smokes sometimes, drinks punch, frequently kissed
Oh, yes common knowledge one of the effects of the
war, you know.
(Emerges MRS. CONNAGE.)
MRS. CONNAGE: Rosalind's almost finished so I can
go down and meet your friend.
(ALEC and his mother go out)
ROSALIND: (Outside) Oh, mother
CECELIA: Mother's gone down.
(And now ROSALIND enters. ROSALIND is utterly
ROSALIND. She is one of those girls who need
never make the slightest effort to have men fall in
love with them. Two types of men seldom do:
dull men are usually afraid of her cleverness and
intellectual men are usually afraid of her beauty.
All others are hers by natural prerogative.
If ROSALIND could be spoiled the process would have
been complete by this time, and as a matter of
THE DEBUTANTE 183
fact, her disposition is not all it should be; she
wants -what she wants when she wants it and she
is prone to make every one around her pretty
miserable when she doesn't get it but in the true
sense she is not spoiled. Her fresh enthusiasm^
her will to grow and learn, her endless faith in
the inexhaustibility of romance, her courage and
fundamental honesty these things are not spoiled.
There are long periods when she cordially loathes
her whole family. She is quite unprincipled;
her philosophy is carpe diem for herself and
laissez fairefor others. She loves shocking stories :
she has that coarse streak that usually goes with
natures that are both fine and big. She wants
people to like her, but if they do not it never
worries her or changes her.
She is by no means a model character.
The education of all beautiful women is the knowl-
edge of men. ROSALIND had been disappointed
in man after man as individuals, but she had
great faith in man as a sex. Women she detested.
They represented qualities that she felt and de-
spised in herself incipient meanness, conceit,
cowardice, and petty dishonesty. She once told a
roomful of her mother's friends that the only ex-
cuse for women was the necessity for a disturb-
ing element among men. She danced excep-
tionally well, drew cleverly but hastily, and had a
startling facility with words, which she used only
But all criticism of ROSALIND ends in her beauty.
There was that shade of glorious yellow hair, the
desire to imitate which supports the dye industry.
There was the eternal kissable mouth, small,
slightly sensual, and utterly disturbing. There
184 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
were gray eyes and an unimpeachable skin with
two spots of vanishing color. She was slender and
athletic, without underdevelopment, and it was
a delight to watch her move about a room, walk
along a street, swing a golf club, or turn a "cart-
A last qualification her vivid, instant personality
escaped that conscious, theatrical quality that
AMORY had found in ISABELLE. MONSIGNOR
DARCY would have been quite up a tree whether
to call her a personality or a personage. She
was perhaps the delicious, inexpressible, once-in-
On the night of her debut she is, for all her strange,
stray wisdom, quite like a happy little girl. Her
mother's maid has just done her hair, but she has
decided impatiently that she can do a better job
herself. She is too nervous just now to stay in one
place. To that we owe her presence in this lit-
tered room. She is going to speak. ISABELLE'S
alto tones had been like a violin, but if you could
hear ROSALIND, you would say her voice was
musical as a waterfall.
ROSALIND: Honestly, there are only two costumes in
the world that I really enjoy being in (Combing her
hair at the dressing-table.) One's a hoop skirt with panta-
loons; the other's a one-piece bathing-suit. I'm quite
charming in both of them.
CECELIA: Glad you're coming out?
ROSALIND: Yes; aren't you?
CECELIA: (Cynically) You're glad so you can get
married and live on Long Island with the fast younger
married set. You want life to be a chain of flirtation
with a man for every link.
THE DEBUTANTE 185
ROSALIND: Want it to be one ! You mean I've found
ROSALIND: Cecelia, darling, you don't know what a
trial it is to be like me. I've got to keep my face
like steel in the street to keep men from winking at me.
If I laugh hard from a front row in the theatre, the
comedian plays to me for the rest of the evening. If I
drop my voice, my eyes, my handkerchief at a dance,
my partner calls me up on the 'phone every day for a
CECELIA: It must be an awful strain.
ROSALIND: The unfortunate part is that the only men
who interest me at all are the totally ineligible ones.
Now if I were poor I'd go on the stage.
CECELIA: Yes, you might as well get paid for the
amount of acting you do.
ROSALIND: Sometimes when I've felt particularly
radiant I've thought, why should this be wasted on one
CECELIA: Often when you're particularly sulky, I've
wondered why it should all be wasted on just one family.
(Getting up.} I think I'll go down and meet Mr. Amory
Elaine. I like temperamental men.
ROSALIND: There aren't any. Men don't know how
to be really angry or really happy and the ones that
do, go to pieces.
CECELIA: Well, I'm glad I don't have all your worries.
ROSALIND: (With a scornful smile) Engaged? Why,
you little lunatic ! If mother heard you talking like that
she'd send you off to boarding-school, where you belong.
CECELIA: You won't tell her, though, because I know
things I could tell and you're too selfish !
ROSALIND (A little annoyed] Run along, little girl !
Who are you engaged to, the iceman? the man that
keeps the candy-store?
CECELIA: Cheap wit good-by, darling, I'll see you
ROSALIND: Oh, be sure and do that you're such a
(Exit CECELIA. ROSALIND finished her hair and
rises, humming. She goes up to the mirror and
starts to dance in front of it on the soft carpet.
She watches not her feet, but her eyes never casu-
ally but always intently, even when she smiles.
The door suddenly opens and then slams behind
AMORY, very cool and handsome as usual. He
melts into instant confusion.)
HE: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought
SHE: (Smiling radiantly) Oh, you're Amory Elaine,
aren't you ?
HE: (Regarding her closely) And you're Rosalind?
SHE: I'm going to call you Amory oh, come in it's
all right mother'll be right in (under her breath) un-
HE: (Gazing around) This is sort of a new wrinkle for
SHE: This is No Man's Land.
HE: This is where you you (pause)
SHE: Yes all those things. (She crosses to the bureau.)
See, here's my rouge eye pencils.
HE: I didn't know you were that way.
SHE: What did you expect?
HE: I thought you'd be sort of sort of sexless, you
know, swim and play golf.
SHE: Oh, I do but not in business hours.
SHE: Six to two strictly.
THE DEBUTANTE 187
HE: I'd like to have some stock in the corporation.
SHE: Oh, it's not a corporation it's just "Rosalind,
Unlimited." Fifty-one shares, name, good- will, and
everything goes at $25,000 a year.
HE: (Disapprovingly) Sort of a chilly proposition.
SHE: Well, Amory, you don't mind do you? When
I meet a man that doesn't bore me to death after two
weeks, perhaps it'll be different.
HE: Odd, you have the same point of view on men
that I have on women.
SHE: I'm not really feminine, you know in my mind.
HE: (Interested) Go on.
SHE: No, you you go on you've made me talk
about myself. That's against the rules.
SHE: My own rules but you Oh, Amory, I hear
you're brilliant. The family expects so much of you.
HE: How encouraging!
SHE: Alec said you'd taught him to think. Did you?
I didn't believe any one could.
HE: No. I'm really quite dull.
(He evidently doesn't intend this to be taken seri-
HE: I'm I'm religious I'm literary. I've I've
even written poems.
SHE: Vers libre splendid! (She declaims.)
"The trees are green,
The birds are singing in the trees,
The girl sips her poison
The bird flies away the girl dies."
HE: (Laughing) No, not that kind.
SHE: (Suddenly) I Like you.
i88 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
SHE: Modest too
HE: I'm afraid of you. I'm always afraid of a girl
until I've kissed her.
SHE: (Emphatically) My dear boy, the war is over.
HE: So I'll always be afraid of you.
SHE: (Rather sadly) I suppose you will.
(A slight hesitation on both their parts.)
HE: (After due consideration) Listen. This is a fright-
ful thing to ask.
SHE: (Knowing what's coming) After five minutes.
HE: But will you kiss me? Or are you afraid?
SHE: I'm never afraid but your reasons are so poor.
HE: Rosalind, I really want to kiss you.
SHE: So do I.
(They kiss definitely and thoroughly.)
HE: (After a breathless second) Well, is your curiosity
SHE: Is yours?
HE: No, it's only aroused.
(He looks it.)
SHE: (Dreamily) I've kissed dozens of men. I sup-
pose I'll kiss dozens more.
HE: (Abstractedly) Yes, I suppose you could like
SHE: Most people like the way I kiss.
HE: (Remembering himself) Good Lord, yes. Kiss me
once more, Rosalind.
SHE: No my curiosity is generally satisfied at one.
HE (Discouraged) Is that a rule?
SHE: I make rules to fit the cases.
HE: You and I are somewhat alike except that I'm
years older in experience.
SHE: How old are you?
HE: Almost twenty- three. You?
SHE: Nineteen just.
THE DEBUTANTE 189
HE: I suppose you're the product of a fashionable
SHE: No Fm fairly raw material. I was expelled
from Spence I've forgotten why.
HE: What's your general trend?
SHE: Oh, I'm bright, quite selfish, emotional when
aroused, fond of admiration
HE: (Suddenly} I don't want to fall in love with
SHE: (Raising her eyebrows) Nobody asked you to.
HE: (Continuing coldly) But I probably will. I love
SHE: Hush ! Please don't fall in love with my mouth
hair, eyes, shoulders, slippers but not my mouth.
Everybody falls in love with my mouth.
HE: It's quite beautiful.
SHE: It's too small.
HE: No it isn't let's see.
(He kisses her again with the same thoroughness.)
SHE: (Rather moved] Say something sweet.
HE: (Frightened) Lord help me.
SHE: (Drawing away) Well, don't if it's so hard.
HE: Shall we pretend? So soon?
SHE: We haven't the same standards of time as other
HE: Already it's other people.
SHE: Let's pretend.
HE: No I can't it's sentiment
SHE: You're not sentimental?
HE: No, I'm romantic a sentimental person thinks
things will last a romantic person hopes against hope
that they won't. Sentiment is emotional.
SHE: And you're not? (With her eyes half -dosed.)
You probably flatter yourself that that's a superior at-
ipo THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
HE: Well Rosalind, Rosalind, don't argue kiss me
SHE: (Quite chilly now) No I have no desire to kiss
HE: (Openly taken aback} You wanted to kiss me a
SHE: This is now.
HE: I'd better go.
SHE: I suppose so.
(He goes toward the door.}
SHE: (Laughing) Score Home Team: One hundred
(He starts back}
SHE: (Quickly) Rain no game.
(He goes out.}
(She goes quietly to the chiffonier, takes out a
cigarette-case and hides it in the side drawer of a
desk. Her mother enters, note-book in hand}
MRS. CONNAGE: Good I've been wanting to speak
to you alone before we go down-stairs.
ROSALIND : Heavens ! you frighten me !
MRS. CONNAGE: Rosalind, you've been a very ex-
ROSALIND: (Resignedly} Yes.
MRS. CONNAGE: And you know your father hasn't
what he once had.
ROSALIND: (Making a wry face} Oh, please don't talk
MRS. CONNAGE: You can't do anything without it.
This is our last year in this house and unless things
change Cecelia won't have the advantages you've had.
ROSALIND: (Impatiently) Well what is it?
MRS. CONNAGE: So I ask you to please mind me in
THE DEBUTANTE 191
several things I've put down in my note-book. The first
one is: don't disappear with young men. There may be
a time when it's valuable, but at present I want you on
the dance-floor where I can find you. There are certain
men I want to have you meet and I don't like finding
you in some corner of the conservatory exchanging silli-
ness with any one or listening to it.
ROSALIND: (Sarcastically) Yes, listening to it is bet-
MRS. CONNAGE: And don't waste a lot of time with
the college set little boys nineteen and twenty years
old. I don't mind a prom or a football game, but stay-
ing away from advantageous parties to eat in little cafes
down-town with Tom, Dick, and Harry
ROSALIND: (Offering her code, which is, in its way,
quite as high as her mother's) Mother, it's done you
can't run everything now the way you did in the early
MRS. CONNAGE: (Paying no attention) There are sev-
eral bachelor friends of your father's that I want you to
meet to-night youngish men.
ROSALIND: (Nodding wisely) About forty-five?
MRS. CONNAGE: (Sharply) Why not?
ROSALIND : Oh, quite all right they know lif e and are
so adorably tired looking (shakes her head) but they will
MRS. CONNAGE: I haven't met Mr. Elaine but I
don't think you'll care for him. He doesn't sound like
ROSALIND: Mother, I never think about money.
MRS. CONNAGE: You never keep it long enough to
think about it
ROSALIND : (Sighs) Yes, I suppose some day I'll marry
a ton of it out of sheer boredom.
MRS. CONNAGE: (Referring to note-book) I had a wire
i 9 2 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
from Hartford. Dawson Ryder is coming up. Now
there's a young man I like, and he's floating in money.
It seems to me that since you seem tired of Howard
Gillespie you might give Mr. Ryder some encourage-
ment. This is the third time he's been up in a month.
ROSALIND: How did you know I was tired of Howard
MRS. CONNAGE: The poor boy looks so miserable
every time he comes.
ROSALIND: That was one of those romantic, pre-
battle affairs. They're all wrong.
MRS. CONNAGE: (Her say said) At any rate, make us
proud of you to-night.
ROSALIND: Don't you think I'm beautiful?
MRS. CONNAGE: You know you are.
(From down-stairs is heard the moan of a violin
being tuned, the roll of a drum. MBS. CONNAGE
turns quickly to her daughter.)
MRS. CONNAGE: Come!
ROSALIND: One minute !
(Her mother leaves. ROSALIND goes to the glass
where she gazes at herself with great satisfaction.
She kisses her hand and touches her mirrored
mouth with it. Then she turns out the lights and
leaves the room. Silence for a moment. A few
chords from the piano, the discreet patter of faint
drums, the rustle of new silk, all blend on the
staircase outside and drift in through the partly
opened door. Bundled figures pass in the
lighted hall. The laughter heard below becomes
doubled and multiplied. Then some one comes
in, closes the door, and switches on the lights.
It is CECELIA. She goes to tfie chiffonier, looks
in the drawers, hesitates then to the desk whence
she takes the cigarette-case and extracts one. She
THE DEBUTANTE 193
lights it and then, puffing and blowing, -walks
toward the mirror.)
CECELIA: (In tremendously sophisticated accents) Oh,
yes, coming out is such a farce nowadays, you know.
One really plays around so much before one is seven-
teen, that it's positively anticlimax. (Shaking hands
with a visionary middle-aged nobleman.) Yes, your
grace I b'lieve I've heard my sister speak of you.
Have a puff they're very good. They're they're
Coronas. You don't smoke? What a pity! The king
doesn't allow it, I suppose. Yes, I'll dance.
(So she dances around the room to a tune from
down-stairs, her arms outstretched to an imagi-
nary partner, the cigarette waving in her hand.)
SEVERAL HOURS LATER
The corner of a den down-stairs, filled by a very comfort-
able leather lounge. A small light is on each side
above, and in the middle, over the couch hangs a paint-
ing of a very old, very dignified gentleman, period
1860. Outside the music is heard in a fox-trot.
ROSALIND is seated on the lounge and on her left is HOWARD
GTT.T.KSPIE, a vapid youth of about twenty-four. He
is obviously very unhappy, and she is quite bored.
GILLESPIE: (Feebly) What do you mean I've changed.
I feel the same toward you.
ROSALIND: But you don't look the same to me.
GILLESPIE: Three weeks ago you used to say that you
liked me because I was so blas6, so indifferent I still am.
ROSALIND: But not about me. I used to like you be-
cause you had brown eyes and thin legs.
GILLESPIE: (Helplessly) They're still thin and brown.
You're a vampire, that's all.
ROSALIND: The only thing I know about vamping is
i 9 4 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
what's on the piano score. What confuses men is that
I'm perfectly natural. I used to think you were never
jealous. Now you follow me with your eyes wherever
GILLESPIE: I love you.
ROSALIND: (Coldly) I know it.
GILLESPIE: And you haven't kissed me for two weeks.
I had an idea that after a girl was kissed she was was
ROSALIND: Those days are over. I have to be won all
over again every time you see me.
GILLESPIE: Are you serious?
ROSALIND: About as usual. There used to be two
i kinds of kisses: First when girls were kissed and de-
jserted; second, when they were engaged. Now there's
;a third kind, where the man is kissed and deserted. If
Mr. Jones of the nineties bragged he'd kissed a girl,
every one knew he was through with her. If Mr. Jones
of 1919 brags the same every one knows it's because he
can't kiss her any more. Given a decent start any girl
can beat a man nowadays.
GILLESPIE: Then why do you play with men?
ROSALIND: (Leaning forward confidentially} For that
first moment, when he's interested. There is a moment
Oh, just before the first kiss, a whispered word some-
thing that makes it worth while.
GILLESPIE: And then?
ROSALIND: Then after that you make him talk about
himself. Pretty soon he thinks of nothing but being
alone with you he sulks, he won't fight, he doesn't want
to play Victory !
(Enter DAWSON RYDER, twenty-six, handsome,
wealthy, faithful to his own, a bore perhaps, but
steady and sure of success,)
RYDER: I believe this is my dance, Rosalind.
THE DEBUTANTE 195
ROSALIND: Well, Dawson, so you recognize me. Now
I know I haven't got too much paint on. Mr. Ryder,
this is Mr. Gillespie.
(They shake hands and GILLESPIE leaves, tremen-
dously downcast.} *
RYDER: Your party is certainly a success.
ROSALIND: Is it I haven't seen it lately. I'm
weary Do you mind sitting out a minute?
RYDER: Mind I'm delighted. You know I loathe
this "rushing" idea. See a girl yesterday, to-day, to-
ROSALIND: I wonder if you know you love me.
RYDER: (Startled) What Oh you know you're re-
ROSALIND: Because you know I'm an awful proposi-
tion. Any one who marries me will have his hands full.
I'm mean mighty mean.
RYDER: Oh, I wouldn't say that.
ROSALIND: Oh, yes, I am especially to the people
nearest to me. (She rises.) Come, let's go. I've
changed my mind and I want to dance. Mother is prob-
ably having a fit.
(Exeunt. Enter ALEC and CECELIA.)
CECELIA: Just my luck to get my own brother for an
ALEC: (Gloomily) I'll go if you want me to.
CECELIA: Good heavens, no with whom would I be-
gin the next dance? (Sighs.) There's no color in a
dance since the French officers went back.
ALEC: (Thoughtfully) I don't want Amory to fall in
love with Rosalind.
CECELIA: Why, I had an idea that that was just what
you did want.
196 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
ALEC: I did, but since seeing these girls I don't
know. I'm awfully attached to Amory. He's sensitive
and I don't want him to break his heart over somebody
who doesn't care about him.
CECELIA: He's very good looking.
ALEC: (Still thoughtfully) She won't marry him, but a
girl doesn't have to marry a man to break his heart.
CECELIA: What does it? I wish I knew the secret.
ALEC: Why, you cold-blooded little kitty. It's lucky
for some that the Lord gave you a pug nose.
(Enter MRS. CONNAGE.)
MRS. CONNAGE: Where on earth is Rosalind?
ALEC: (Brilliantly) Of course you've come to the best
people to find out. She'd naturally be with us.
MRS. CONNAGE: Her father has marshalled eight
bachelor millionaires to meet her.
ALEC: You might form a squad and march through
MRS. CONNAGE: I'm perfectly serious for all I know
she may be at the Cocoanut Grove with some football
player on the night of her debut. You look left and
ALEC: (Flippantly) Hadn't you better send the butler
through the cellar?
MRS. CONNAGE: (Perfectly serious) Oh, you don't
think she'd be there?
CECELIA: He's only joking, mother.
ALEC: Mother had a picture of her tapping a keg of
beer with some high hurdler.
MRS. CONNAGE: Let's look right away.
(They go out. ROSALIND comes in with GILLESPIE.)
GILLESPIE: Rosalind Once more I ask you. Don't
you care a blessed thing about me?
(AMORY walks in briskly.)
AMORY: My dance.
THE DEBUTANTE 197
ROSALIND: Mr. Gillespie, this is Mr. Elaine.
GILLESPIE: I've met Mr. Elaine. From Lake Geneva,
aren't you ?
GILLESPIE: (Desperately} Fve been there. It's in the
the Middle West, isn't it?
AMORY: (Spicily) Approximately. But I always felt
that I'd rather be provincial hot-tamale than soup with-
AMORY: Oh, no ofiense.
(GILLESPIE bows and leaves.)
ROSALIND: He's too much people.
AMORY: I was in love with a people once.
AMORY: Oh, yes her name was Isabelle nothing at
all to her except what I read into her.
ROSALIND: What happened?
AMORY: Finally I convinced her that she was smarter
than I was then she threw me over. Said I was crit-
ical and impractical, you know.
ROSALIND: What do you mean impractical?
AMORY: Oh drive a car, but can't change a tire.
ROSALIND: What are you going to do?
AMORY: Can't say run for President, write
ROSALIND: Greenwich Village?
AMORY: Good heavens, no I said write not drink.
ROSALIND: I like business men. Clever men are
usually so homely.
AMORY: I feel as if I'd known you for ages.
ROSALIND: Oh, are you going to commence the
AMORY: No I was going to make it French. I was
Louis XIV and you were one of my my (Changing
his tone.) Suppose we fell in love.
198 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
ROSALIND: I've suggested pretending.
AMORY: If we did it would be very big.
AMORY: Because selfish people are in a way terribly
capable of great loves.
ROSALIND: (Turning her lips up) Pretend.
(Very deliberately they kiss.)
AMORY: I can't say sweet things. But you are beau-
ROSALIND: Not that.
AMORY: What then?
ROSALIND: (Sadly) Oh, nothing only I want senti-
ment, real sentiment and I never find it.
AMORY: I never find anything else in the world and
I loathe it.
ROSALIND: It's so hard to find a male to gratify one's
(Some one has opened a door and the music of a
waltz surges into the room. ROSALIND rises.)
ROSALIND: Listen ! they're playing "Kiss Me Again."
(He looks at her.)
AMORY: (Softly the battle lost) I love you.
ROSALIND: I love you now.
* AMORY: Oh, God, what have I done?
ROSALIND: Nothing. Oh, don't talk. Kiss me again.
/ AMORY: I don't know why or how, but I love you
from the moment I saw you.
ROSALIND: Me too I I oh, to-njght's to-night.
(Her brother strolls in, starts and then in a loud voice
says: "Oh, excuse me," and goes)
ROSALIND: (Her lips scarcely stirring) Don't let me
go I don't care who knows what I do.
THE DEBUTANTE 199
AMORY: Say it!
ROSALIND: I love you now. (They part.} Oh I
am very youthful, thank God and rather beautiful,
thank God and happy, thank God, thank God
(She pauses and then, in an odd burst of prophecy, adds)
Poor Amory !
(He kisses her again.)
Within two weeks Amory and Rosalind were deeply
and passionately in love. The critical qualities which
had spoiled for each of them a dozen romances were
dulled by the great wave of emotion that washed over
"It may be an insane love-affair," she told her anxious
mother, "but it's not inane."
The wave swept Amory into an advertising agency
early in March, where he alternated between astonish-
ing bursts of rather exceptional work and wild dreams of
becoming suddenly rich and touring Italy with Rosalind.
They were together constantly, for lunch, for dinner,
and nearly every evening always in a sort of breathless
hush, as if they feared that any minute the spell would
break and drop them out of this paradise of rose and
flame. But the spell became a trance, seemed to increase
from day to day; they began to talk of marrying in
July in June. All life was transmitted into terms of
their love, all experience, all desires, all ambitions, were
nullified their senses of humor crawled into corners to
sleep; their former love-affairs seemed faintly laughable
and scarcely regretted juvenalia.
For the second time in his life Amory had had a
complete bouleversement and was hurrying into line
with his generation.
200 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
A LITTLE INTERLUDE
Amory wandered slowly up the avenue and thought
of the night as inevitably his the pageantry and car-
nival of rich dusk and dim streets ... it seemed that
he had closed the book of fading harmonies at .last and
stepped into the sensuous vibrant walks of life. Every-
where these countless lights, this promise of a night of
streets and singing he moved in a half-dream through
the crowd as if expecting to meet Rosalind hurrying
toward him with eager feet from every corner. . . .
How the unforgetable faces of dusk would blend to
her, the myriad footsteps, a thousand overtures, would
blend to her footsteps; and there would be more drunken-
ness than wine in the softness of her eyes on his. Even
his dreams now were faint violins drifting like summer
sounds upon the summer air.
The room was in darkness except for the faint glow of
Tom's cigarette where he lounged by the open window.
As the door shut behind him, Amory stood a moment
with his back against it.
"Hello, Benvenuto Elaine. How went the advertising
Amory sprawled on a couch.
"I loathed it as usual ! " The momentary vision of the
bustling agency was displaced quickly by another picture.
" My God ! She's wonderful ! "
"I can't tell you," repeated Amory, "just how won-
derful she is. I don't want you to know. I don't want
any one to know."
Another sigh came from the window quite a re-
"She's life and hope and happiness, my whole world
THE DEBUTANTE 201
He felt the quiver of a tear on his eyelid.
"Oh, Golly, Tom!"
"Sit like we do," she whispered.
He sat in the big chair and held out his arms so that
she could nestle inside them.
"I knew you'd come to-night," she said softly, "like
summer, just when I needed you most . . . darling
. . . darling ..."
His lips moved lazily over her face.
"You taste so good," he sighed.
"How do you mean, lover?"
"Oh,, just sweet, just sweet . . ."he held her closer.
"Amory," she whispered, "when you're ready for me
I'll marry you."
"We won't have much at first."
"Don't!" she cried. "It hurts when you reproach
yourself for what you can't give me. I've^got your pre-
cious self and that's enough for me."
"Tell me . . ."
"You know, don't you? Oh, you know."
"Yes, but I want to hear you say it."
"I love you, Amory, with all my heart. 1 *
"Always, will you?"
."All my life Oh, Amory "
"I want to belong to you. I want your people to be
my people. I want to have your babies."
"But I haven't any people."
"Don't laugh at me, Amory. Just kiss me."
"I'll do what you want," he said.
"No, I'll do what you want. We're you not me.
Oh, you're so much a part, so much all of me ..."
202 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
He closed his eyes.
"I'm so happy that I'm frightened. Wouldn't it be
awful if this was was the high point? ..."
She looked at him dreamily.
"Beauty and love pass, I know. . . . Oh, there's
sadness, too. I suppose all great happiness is a little
sad. Beauty means the scent of roses and then the
death of roses "
"Beauty means the agony of sacrifice and the end of
"And, Amory, we're beautiful, I know. I'm sure God
loves us "
"He loves you. You're his most precious posses-
"I'm not his, I'm yours. Amory, I belong to you.
For the first time I regret all the other kisses; now I
know how much a kiss can mean."
Then they would smoke and he would tell her about
his day at the office and where they might live. Some-
times, when he was particularly loquacious, she went to
sleep in his arms, but he loved that Rosalind all
Rosalinds as he had never in the world loved any one
else. Intangibly fleeting, unrememberable hours.
One day Amory and Howard Gillespie meeting by
accident down-town took lunch together, and Amory
heard a story that deKghted him. Gillespie after several
cocktails was in a talkative mood; he began by telling
Amory that he was sure Rosalind was slightly eccentric.
He had gone with her on a swimming party up in
Westchester County, and some one mentioned that An-
nette Kellerman had been there one day on a visit
and had dived from the top of a rickety, thirty-foot
THE DEBUTANTE 203
summer-house. Immediately Rosalind insisted that
Howard should climb up with her to see what it looked
A minute later, as he sat and dangled his feet on the
edge, a form shot by him; Rosalind, her arms spread in
a beautiful swan dive, had sailed through the air into
the clear water.
"Of course 7 had to go, after that and I nearly killed
myself. I thought I was pretty good to even try it.
Nobody else in the party tried it. Well, afterward
Rosalind had the nerve to ask me why I stooped over
when I dove. 'It didn't make it any easier,' she said,
'it just took all the courage out of it.' I ask you, what
can a man do with a girl like that ? Unnecessary, I call
Gillespie failed to understand why Amory was smil-
ing delightedly all through lunch. He thought perhaps
he was one of these hollow optimists.
FIVE WEEKS LATER
Again the library of the Connage house. ROSALIND is
alone, sitting on the lounge staring very moodily and
unhappily at nothing. She has changed perceptibly
she is a trifle thinner for one thing; the light in her
eyes is not so bright; she looks easily a year older.
Her mother comes in, muffled in an opera-cloak. She
takes in ROSALIND with a nervous glance.
MRS. CONNAGE: Who is coming to-night?
(ROSALIND fails to hear her, at least takes no
MRS. CONNAGE: Alec is coming up to take me to this
Barrie play, "Et tu, Brutus." (She perceives that she is
talking to tierself.) Rosalind ! I asked you who is com-
204 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
ROSALIND: (Starting) Oh what oh Amory
MRS. CONNAGE: (Sarcastically) You have so many
admirers lately that I couldn't imagine which one.
(ROSALIND doesn't answer.) Dawson Ryder is more pa-
tient than I thought he'd be. You haven't given him
an evening this week.
ROSALIND: (With a very weary expression that is quite
new to her face.) Mother please
MRS. CONNAGE: Oh, / won't interfere. You've al-
ready wasted over two months on a theoretical genius
who hasn't a penny to his name, but go ahead, waste
your life on him. 7 won't interfere.
ROSALIND: (As if repeating a tiresome lesson) You
know he has a little income and you know he's earning
thirty-five dollars a week in advertising
MRS. CONNAGE: And it wouldn't buy your clothes.
(She pauses but ROSALIND makes no reply.) I have your
best interests at heart when I tell you not to take a step
you'll spend your days regretting. It's not as if your
father could help you. Things have been hard for him
lately and he's an old man. You'd be dependent abso-
lutely on a dreamer, a nice, well-born boy, but a dreamer
merely clever. (She implies that this quality in itself is
ROSALIND: For heaven's sake, mother
(A maid appears, announces Mr. Elaine who fol-
lows immediately. AMORY'S friends have been
telling him for ten days that he "looks like the
wrath of God" and he does. As a matter of fact
he has not been able to eat a mouthful in the last
AMORY: Good evening, Mrs. Connage.
MRS. CONNAGE: (Not unkindly) Good evening, Amory.
(AMORY and ROSALIND exchange glances and
ALEC comes in. ALEC'S attitude throughout has
THE DEBUTANTE 205
been neutral. He believes in his heart that the
marriage would make AMORY mediocre and
ROSALIND miserable, but he feels a great sym-
pathy for both of them.)
ALEC: Hi, Amory !
AMORY: Hi, Alec! Tom said he'd meet you at the
ALEC: Yeah, just saw him. How's the advertising
to-day? Write some brilliant copy?
AMORY: Oh, it's about the same. I got a raise
(Every one looks at him rather eagerly) of two dollars a
week. (General collapse.)
MRS. CONNAGE: Come, Alec, I hear the car.
(A good night, rather chilly in sections. After MRS.
CONNAGE and ALEC go out there is a pause.
ROSALIND still stares moodily at the fireplace.
AMORY goes to her and puts his arm around her.)
AMORY: Darling girl.
(They kiss. Another pause and then she seizes his
hand, covers it with kisses and holds it to her
ROSALIND: (Sadly) I love your hands, more than any-
thing. I see them often when you're away from me so
tired; I know every line of them. Dear hands!
(Their eyes meet for a second and then she begins to
cry a tearless sobbing.)
' AMORY: Rosalind !
ROSALIND : Oh, we're so darned pitiful !
ROSALIND : Oh, I want to die !
AMORY: Rosalind, another night of this and I'll go to
pieces. You've been this way four days now. You've
got to be more encouraging or I can't work or eat or
sleep. (He looks around helplessly as if searching for new
"words to clothe an old, shop-worn phrase.) We'll have to
206 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
make a start. I like having to make a start together.
(His forced hopefulness fades as he sees her unresponsive.}
What's the matter? (He gets up suddenly and starts to
pace the floor.} It's Dawson Ryder, that's what it is.
He's been working on your nerves. You've been with
him every afternoon for a week. People come and tell
me they've seen you together, and I have to smile and
nod and pretend it hasn't the slightest significance for
me. And you won't tell me anything as it develops.
ROSALIND: Amory, if you don't sit down I'll scream.
AMORY: (Sitting down suddenly beside her} Oh, Lord.
ROSALIND: (Taking his hand gently} You know I love
you, don't you?
ROSALIND: You know I'll always love you
AMORY: Don't talk that way; you frighten me. It
sounds as if we weren't going to have each other. (She
cries a little and rising from the couch goes to the armchair.}
I've felt all afternoon that things were worse. I nearly
went wild down at the office couldn't write a. line.
Tell me everything.
ROSALIND: There's nothing to tell, I say. I'm just
AMORY: Rosalind, you're playing with the idea of
marrying Dawson Ryder.
ROSALIND: (After a pause} He's been asking me to all
AMORY: Well, he's got his nerve!
ROSALIND: (After another pause} I like him.
AMORY: Don't say that. It hurts me.
ROSALIND: Don't be a silly idiot. You know you're
the only man I've ever loved, ever will love.
AMORY: (Quickly) Rosalind, let's get married next
ROSALIND: We can't.
THE 3EBUTANTE 207
AMORY: Why not?
ROSALIND: Oh, we can't. I'd be your squaw in some
AMORY: We'll have two hundred and seventy-five
dollars a month all told.
ROSALIND: Darling, I don't even do my own hair,
AMORY: I'll do it for you.
ROSALIND: (Between a laugh and a sob} Thanks.
AMORY: Rosalind, you can't be thinking of marrying
some one else. Tell me ! You leave me in the dark. I
can help you fight it out if you'll only tell me.
ROSALIND: It's just us. We're pitiful, that's all.
The very qualities I love you for are the ones that will
always make you a failure.
AMORY: (Grimly) Go on.
ROSALIND: Oh it is Dawson Ryder. He's so re-
liable, I almost feel that he'd be a a background.
AMORY: You don't love him.
ROSALIND: I know, but I respect him, and he's a
good man and a strong one.
AMORY: (Grudgingly) Yes he's that.
ROSALIND: Well here's one little thing. There was
a little poor boy we met in Rye Tuesday afternoon
and, oh, Dawson took him on his lap and talked to him
and promised him an Indian suit and next day he re-
membered and bought it and, oh, it was so sweet and
I couldn't help thinking he'd be so nice to to our chil-
dren take care of them and I wouldn't have to worry.
AMORY: (In despair) Rosalind! Rosalind!
1 ROSALIND: (With a faint roguishness) Don't look so
AMORY: What power we have of hurting each other!
ROSALIND: (Commencing to sob again) It's been so
perfect you and I. So like a dream that I'd longed for
208 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
and never thought I'd find. The first real unselfishness
I've ever felt in my life. And I can't see it fade out in a
colorless atmosphere !
AMORY: It won't it won't!
ROSALIND: I'd rather keep it as a beautiful memory
tucked away in my heart.
AMORY: Yes, women can do that but not men. I'd
remember always, not the beauty of it while it lasted,
but just the bitterness, the long bitterness.
AMORY: All the years never to see you, never to kiss
you, just a gate shut and barred you don't dare be
ROSALIND: No no I'm taking the hardest course,
the strongest course. Marrying you would be a failure
and I never fail if you don't stop walking up and down
(Again he sinks despairingly onto the lounge.)
AMORY: Come over here and kiss me.
AMORY: Don't you want to kiss me?
ROSALIND: To-night I want you to love me calmly
AMORY: The beginning of the end.
ROSALIND: (With a burst of insight) Arnory, you're
young. I'm young. People excuse us now for our poses
and vanities, for treating people like Sancho and yet
getting away with it. They excuse us now. But you've
got a lot of knocks coming to you
AMORY: And you're afraid to take them with me.
ROSALIND: No, not that. There was a poem I read
somewhere you'll say Ella Wheeler Wilcox and laugh
"For this is wisdom to love and live,
To take what fate or the gods may give,
THE DEBUTANTE 209
To ask no question, to make no prayer,
To kiss the lips and caress the hair,
Speed passion's ebb as we greet its flow,
To have and to hold, and, in time let go."
AMORY: But we haven't had.
ROSALIND: Amory, I'm yours you know it. There
have been times in the last month I'd have been com-
pletely yours if you'd said so. But I can't marry you
and ruin both our lives.
AMORY: We've got to take our chance for happiness.
ROSALIND: Dawson says I'd learn to love him.
(AMORY with his head sunk in his hands does not
move. The life seems suddenly gone out of him.)
ROSALIND: Lover ! Lover ! I can't do with you, and
I can't imagine life without you.
AMORY: Rosalind, we're on each other's nerves. It's
just that we're both high-strung, and this week
(His voice is curiously old. She crosses to him and
taking his face in her hands, kisses him.}
ROSALIND: I can't, Amory. I can't be shut away
from the trees and flowers, cooped up in a little flat,
waiting for you. You'd hate me in a narrow atmosphere.
I'd make you hate me.
(Again she is blinded by sudden uncontrolled tears.}
ROSALIND: Oh, darling, go Don't make it harder!
I 'can't stand it
AMORY (His face drawn, his voice strained} Do you
know what you're saying? Do you mean forever?
(There is a difference somehow in the quality of their
ROSALIND: Can't you see
AMORY: I'm afraid I can't if you love me. You're
afraid of taking two years' knocks with me.
ROSALIND : I wouldn't be the Rosalind you love.
210 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
AMORY: (A little hysterically) I can't give you up ! I
can't, that's all ! I've got to have you !
ROSALIND: (A hard note in her voice) You're being a
AMORY: (Wildly) I don't care! You're spoiling our
ROSALIND: I'm doing the wise thing, the only thing.
AMORY: Are you going to marry Dawson Ryder?
ROSALIND: Oh, don't ask me. You know I'm old in
some ways in others well, I'm .just a little girl. I
like sunshine and pretty things and cheerfulness and I
dread responsibility. I don't want to think about pots
and kitchens and brooms. I want to worry whether my
legs will get slick and browi: when I swim in the summer.
AMORY: And you love me.
ROSALIND: That's just why it has to end. Drifting
hurts too much. We can't have any more scenes like
(She draws his ring from her finger and hands it to
him. Their eyes blind again with tears.)
AMORY: (His lips against her wet cheek) Don't! Keep
it, please oh, don't break my heart !
(She presses the ring softly into his hand.)
ROSALIND (Brokenly) You'd better go.
(She looks at him once more, with infinite longing,
ROSALIND: Don't ever forget me, Amory
(He goes to the door, fumbles for the knob, finds it
she sees him throw back his head and he is gone.
Gone she half starts from the lounge and then
sinks forward on her face into the pillows.)
ROSALIND : Oh, God, I want to die ! (After a moment
she rises and with her eyes closed feels her way to the door.
THE DEBUTANTE 211
Then she turns and looks once more at the room. Here they
had sat and dreamed: that tray she had so often filled with
matches far him; that shade that they had discreetly low-
ered one long Sunday afternoon. Misty-eyed she stands
and remembers; she speaks aloud.) Oh, Amory, what have
I done to you?
(And deep under the aching sadness that will pass
in time, Rosalind feels that she has lost some-
thing, she knows not what, she knows not why.)
THE Knickerbocker Bar, beamed upon by Maxfield
Parrish's jovial, colorful "Old King Cole," was well
crowded. Amory stopped in the entrance and looked at
his wrist-watch; he wanted particularly to know the
time, for something in his mind that catalogued and
classified liked to chip things off cleanly. Later it would
satisfy him in a vague way to be able to think "that
thing ended at exactly twenty minutes after eight on
Thursday, June 10, 1919." This was allowing for the
walk from her house a walk concerning which he had
afterward not the faintest recollection.
He was in rather grotesque condition: two days of
worry and nervousness, of sleepless nights, of untouched
meals, culminating in the emotional crisis and Rosa-
lind's abrupt decision the strain of it had drugged the
foreground of his mind into a merciful coma. As he
fumbled clumsily with the olives at the free-lunch table,
a man approached and spoke to him, and the olives
dropped from his nervous hands.
"Well, Amory ..."
It was some one he had known at Princeton; he had
no idea of the name.
"Hello, old boy " he heard himself saying.
"Name's Jim Wilson you've forgotten/'
"Sure, you bet, Jim. I remember."
"Going to reunion?"
"You know!" Simultaneously he realized that he
was not going to reunion.
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 213
Amory nodded, his eyes staring oddly. Stepping
back to let some one pass, he knocked the dish of olives
to a crash on the floor.
"Too bad," he muttered. "Have a drink?"
Wilson, ponderously diplomatic, reached over and
slapped him on the back.
"You've had plenty, old boy."
Amory eyed him dumbly until Wilson grew em-
barrassed under the scrutiny.
"Plenty, hell ! " said Amory finally. "I haven't had a
Wilson looked incredulous.
"Have a drink or not?" cried Amory rudely.
Together they sought the bar.
"I'll just take a Bronx."
Wilson had another; Amory had several more. They
decided to sit down. At ten o'clock Wilson was dis-
placed by Carling, class of '15. Amory, his head
spinning gorgeously, layer upon layer of soft satisfac-
tion setting over the bruised spots of his spirit, was dis-
coursing volubly on the war.
" 'S a mental was'e," he insisted with owl-like wis-
dom. "Two years my life spent inalleshual vacuity.
Los' idealism, got be physcal anmal," he shook his fist
expressively at Old King Cole, "got be Prussian 'bout
ev'thing, women 'specially. Use' be straight 'bout
women college. Now don'givadam." He expressed his
lack of principle by sweeping a seltzer bottle with a
broad gesture to noisy extinction on the floor, but this
did not interrupt his speech. "Seek pleasure where find
it for to-morrow die. 'At's philos'phy for me now on."
Carling yawned, but Amory, waxing brilliant, con-
"Use* wonder 'bout things people satisfied com-
2i 4 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
promise, fif'y-fif'y att'tude on life. Now don' wonder,
don' wonder " He became so emphatic in impressing
on Carling the fact that he didn't wonder that he lost
the thread of his discourse and concluded by announcing
to the bar at large that he was a "physcal anmal."
"What are you celebrating, Amory?"
Amory leaned forward confidentially.
"Cel'brating blowmylife. Great moment blow my
life. Can't tell you 'bout it "
He heard Carling addressing a remark to the bar-
"Give him a bromo-seltzer."
Amory shook his head indignantly.
"None that stuff!"
"But listen, Amory, you're making yourself sick.
You're white as a ghost."
Amory considered the question. He tried to look at
himself in the mirror but even by squinting up one eye
could only see as far as the row of bottles behind the bar.
"Like som'n solid. We go get some some salad."
He settled his coat with an attempt at nonchalance,
but letting go of the bar was too much for him, and he
slumped against a chair.
"We'll go over to Shanley's," suggested Carling, of-
fering an elbow.
With this assistance Amory managed to get his legs in
motion enough to propel him across Forty-second Street.
Shanley's was very dim. He was conscious that he
was talking in a loud voice, very succinctly and con-
vincingly, he thought, about a desire to crush people
under his heel. He consumed three club sandwiches,
devouring each as though it were no larger than a choco-
late-drop. Then Rosalind began popping into his mind
again, and he found his lips forming her name over and
over. Next he was sleepy, and he had a hazy, listless
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 215
sense of people in dress suits, probably waiters, gathering
around the table. . . .
... He was in a room and Carling was saying some-
thing about a knot in his shoe-lace.
"Nemmine," he managed to articulate drowsily.
"Sleep in 'em. . . ."
He awoke laughing and his eyes lazily roamed his
surroundings, evidently a bedroom and bath in a good
hotel. His head was whirring and picture after picture
was forming and blurring and melting before his eyes,
but beyond the desire to laugh he had no entirely con-
scious reaction. He reached for the 'phone beside his
"Hello what hotel is this?
"Knickerbocker? All right, send up two rye high-
He lay for a moment and wondered idly whether they'd
send up a bottle or just two of those little glass con-
tainers. Then, with an effort, he struggled out of bed
and ambled into the bathroom.
When he emerged, rubbing himself lazily with a
towel, he found the bar boy with the drinks and had a
sudden desire to kid him. On reflection he decided that
this- would be undignified, so he waved him away.
As the new alcohol tumbled into his stomach and
warmed him, the isolated pictures began slowly to form
a cinema reel of the day before. Again he saw Rosalind
curled weeping among the pillows, again he felt her
tears against his cheek. Her words began ringing in
his ears: "Don't ever forget me, Amory don't ever
forget me "
"Hell!" he faltered aloud, and then he choked and
2i6 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
collapsed on the bed in a shaken spasm of grief. After
a minute he opened his eyes and regarded the ceiling.
"Damned fool !" he exclaimed in disgust, and with a
voluminous sigh rose and approached the bottle. After
another glass he gave way loosely to the luxury of tears.
Purposely he called up into his mind little incidents of
the vanished spring, phrased to himself emotions that
would make him react even more strongly to sorrow.
"We were so happy," he intoned dramatically, "so
very happy." Then he gave way again and knelt be-
side the bed, his head half -buried in the pillow.
"My own girl my own Oh "
He clinched his teeth so that the tears streamed in a
flood from his eyes.
"Oh . . . my baby girl, all I had, all I wanted ! . . .
Oh, my girl, come back, come back ! I need you . . .
need you . . . we're so pitiful . . . just misery we
brought each other. . . . She'll be shut away from me.
... I can't see her; I can't be her friend. It's got to be
that way it's got to be "
And then again:
"We've been so happy, so very happy. ..."
He rose to his feet and threw himself on the bed in an
ecstasy of sentiment, and then lay exhausted while he
realized slowly that he had been very drunk the night
before, and that his head was spinning again wildly.
He laughed, rose, and crossed again to Lethe. . . .
At noon he ran into a crowd in the Biltmore bar, and
the riot began again. He had a vague recollection after-
ward of discussing French poetry with a British officer
who was introduced to him as "Captain Corn, of his
Majesty's Foot," and he remembered attempting to re-
cite " Clair de Lune" at luncheon; then he slept in a big,
soft chair until almost five o'clock when another crowd
found and woke him; there followed an alcoholic dress-
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 217
ing of several temperaments for the ordeal of dinner.
They selected theatre tickets at Tyson's for a play that
had a four-drink programme -a play with two monoto-
nous voices, with turbid, gloomy scenes, and lighting
effects that were hard to follow when his eyes behaved so
amazingly. He imagined afterward that it must have
been "The Jest." . . .
. . . Then the Cocoanut Grove, where Amory slept
again on a little balcony outside. Out in Shanley's,
Yonkers, he became almost logical, and by a careful
control of the number of high-balls he drank, grew quite
lucid and garrulous. He found that the party con-
sisted of five men, two of whom he knew slightly; he
became righteous about paying his share of the expense
and insisted in a loud voice on arranging everything
then and there to the amusement of the tables around
him. . . .
Some one mentioned that a famous cabaret star was
at the next table, so Amory rose and, approaching gal-
lantly, introduced himself . . . this involved him in an
argument, first with her escort and then with the head-
waiter Amory's attitude being a lofty and exaggerated
courte&y ... he consented, after being confronted with
irrefutable logic, to being led back to his own table.
"Decided to commit suicide," he announced sud-
"When? Next year?"
"Now. To-morrow morning. Going to take a room
at the Commodore, get into a hot bath and open a
"He's getting morbid !"
"You need another rye, old boy!"
"We'll all talk it over to-morrow."
But Amory was not to be dissuaded, from argument at
2i8 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Did you ever get that way?" he demanded con-
"My chronic state."
This provoked discussion. One man said that he got
so depressed sometimes that he seriously considered it.
Another agreed that there was nothing to live for.
"Captain Corn," who had somehow rejoined the party,
said that in his opinion it was when one's health was
bad that one felt that way most. Amory's suggestion
was that they should each order a Bronx, mix broken
glass in it, and drink it off. To his relief no one ap-
plauded the idea, so having finished his high-ball, he
balanced his chin in his hand and his elbow on the
table a most delicate, scarcely noticeable sleeping
position, he assured himself and went into a deep
stupor. . . .
He was awakened by a woman dinging to him, a
pretty woman, with brown, disarranged hair and dark
"Take me home!" she cried.
"Hello!" said Amory, blinking.
"I like you," she announced tenderly.
"I like you too."
He noticed that there was a noisy man in the back-
ground and that one of his party was arguing with him.
"Fella I was with's a damn fool," confided the blue-
eyed woman. "I hate him. I want to go home with
"You drunk?" queried Amory with intense wisdom.
She nodded coyly.
"Go home with him," he advised gravely. "He
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 219
At this point the noisy man in the background broke
away from his detainers and approached.
"Say!" he said fiercely. "I brought this girl out
here and you're butting in ! "
Amory regarded him coldly, while the girl clung to
"You let go that girl !" cried the noisy man.
Amory tried to make his eyes threatening.
"You go to hell !" he directed finally, and turned his
attention to the girl.
"Love first sight," he suggested.
"I love you," she breathed and nestled close to him.
She did have beautiful eyes.
Some one leaned over and spoke in Amory's ear.
"That's just Margaret Diamond. She's drunk and
this fellow here brought her. Better let her go."
"Let him take care of her, then!" shouted Amory
furiously. "I'm no W. Y. C. A. worker, am I ? am I ? "
"Let her go!"
"It's her hanging on, damn it! Let her hang!"
The crowd around the table thickened. For an in-
stant a brawl threatened, but a sleek waiter bent back
Margaret Diamond's fingers until she released her hold
on Amory, whereupon she slapped the waiter furiously
in the face and flung her arms about her raging original
"Oh, Lord!" cried Amory.
"Come on, the taxis are getting scarce!"
"C'mon, Amory. Your romance is over."
"You don't know how true you spoke. No idea.
'At's the whole trouble."
220 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
AMORY ON THE LABOR QUESTION
Two mornings later he knocked at the president's
door at Bascome and Barlow's advertising agency.
Amory entered unsteadily.
" 'Morning, Mr. Barlow."
Mr. Barlow brought his glasses to the inspection and
set his mouth slightly ajar that he might better listen.
"Well, Mr. Blaine. We haven't seen you for several
"No," said Amory. "I'm quitting."
"Well well this is "
"I don't like it here."
"I'm sorry. I thought our relations had been qufte
ah pleasant. You seemed to be a hard worker a
little inclined perhaps to write fancy copy
"I just got tired of it," interrupted Amory rudely.
"It didn't matter a damn to me whether Harebell's
flour was any better than any one else's. In fact, I never
ate any of it. So I got tired of telling people about it
oh, I know I've been drinking "
Mr. Barlow's face steeled by several ingots of ex-
"You asked for a position "
Amory waved him to silence.
"And I think I was rottenly underpaid. Thirty-five
dollars a week less than a good carpenter."
"You had just started. You'd never worked before,"
said Mr. Barlow coolly.
"But it took about ten thousand dollars to educate
me where I could write your darned stuff for you.
Anyway, as far as length of service goes, you've got
stenographers here you've paid fifteen a week for five
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 221
"I'm not going to argue with you, sir," said Mr.
"Neither am I. I just wanted to tell you I'm quit-
They stood for a moment looking at each other im-
passively and then Amory turned and left the office.
A LITTLE LULL
Four days after that he returned at last to the apart-
ment. Tom was engaged on a book review for The New
Democracy on the staff of which he was employed. They
regarded each other for a moment in silence.
"Good Lord, Amory, where'd you get the black eye
and the jaw?"
"That's a mere nothing."
He peeled off his coat and bared his shoulders.
Tom emitted a low whistle.
"What hit you?"
Amory laughed again.
"Oh, a lot of people. I got beaten up. Fact." He
slowly replaced his shirt. "It was bound to come sooner
or later and I wouldn't have missed it for anything."
"Who was it?"
"Well, there were some waiters and a couple of sailors
and a few stray pedestrians, I guess. It's the strangest
feeling. You ought to get beaten up just for the experi-
ence of it. You fall down after a while and everybody
sort of slashes in at you before you hit the ground then
they kick you."
Tom lighted a cigarette.
222 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"I spent a day chasing you all over town, Amory.
But you always kept a little ahead of me. I'd say you've
been on some party."
Amory tumbled into a chair and asked for a ciga-
"You sober now?" asked Tom quizzically.
"Pretty sober. Why?"
"Well, Alec has left. His family had been after him
to go home and live, so he "
A spasm of pain shook Amory.
"Yes, it is too bad. We'll have to get some one else
if we're going to stay here. The rent's going up."
"Sure. Get anybody. I'll leave it to you, Tom."
Amory walked into his bedroom. The first thing that
met his glance was a photograph of Rosalind that he
had intended to have framed, propped up against a
mirror on his dresser. He looked at it unmoved. After
the vivid mental pictures of her that were his portion
at present, the portrait was curiously unreal. He went
back into the study.
"Got a cardboard box?"
"No," answered Tom, puzzled. "Why should I
have? Oh, yes there may be one in Alec's room."
Eventually Amory found what he was looking for and,
returning to his dresser, opened a drawer full of letters,
notes, part of a chain, two little handkerchiefs, and some
snap-shots. As he transferred them carefully to the
box his mind wandered to some place hi a book where
the hero, after preserving for a year a cake of his lost
love's soap, finally washed his hands with it. He laughed
and began to hum "After you've gone" . . . ceased
abruptly. . .
The string broke twice, and then he managed to se-
cure it, dropped the package into the bottom x>f his
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 223
trunk, and having slammed the lid returned to the
"Going out?" Tom's voice held an undertone of
"Couldn't say, old keed."
"Let's have dinner together."
"Sorry. I told Sukey Brett I'd eat with him."
Amory crossed the street and had a high-ball; then he
walked to Washington Square and found a top seat on
a bus. He disembarked at Forty-third Street and
strolled to the Biltmore bar.
"What'll you have?"
The advent of prohibition with the "thirsty-first"
put a sudden stop to the submerging of Amory 's sor-
rows, and when he awoke one morning to find that the
old bar-to-bar days were over, he had neither remorse
for the past three weeks nor regret that their repetition
was impossible. He had taken the most violent, if the
weakest, method to shield himself from the stabs of
memory, and while it was not a course he would have
prescribed for others, he found in the end that it had
done its business: he was over the first flush of pain.
Don't misunderstand! Amory had loved Rosalind
as he would never love another living person. She had
taken the first flush of his youth and brought from his
unplumbed depths tenderness that had surprised him,
224 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
gentleness and unselfishness that he had never given to
another creature. He had later love-affairs, but of a
different sort: in those he went back to that, perhaps,
more typical frame of mind, in which the girl became
the mirror of a mood in him. Rosalind had drawn out
what was more than passionate admiration; he had a
deep, undying affection for Rosalind.
But there had been, near the end, so much dramatic
tragedy, culminating in the arabesque nightmare of his
three weeks' spree, that he was emotionally worn out.
The people and surroundings that he remembered as
being cool or delicately artificial, seemed to promise him
a refuge. He wrote a cynical story which featured his
father's funeral and despatched it to a magazine, re-
ceiving in return a check for sixty dollars and a request
for more of the same tone. This tickled his vanity, but
inspired him to no further effort.
He read enormously. He was puzzled and depressed
by "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"; in-
tensely interested by "Joan and Peter" and "The Un-
dying Fire," and rather surprised by his discovery
through a critic named Mencken of several excellent
American novels: "Vandover and the Brute," "The
Damnation of Theron Ware," and "Jennie Gerhardt."
Mackenzie, Chesterton, Galsworthy, Bennet, had sunk
in his appreciation from sagacious, life-saturated geniuses
to merely diverting contemporaries. Shaw's aloof
clarity and brilliant consistency and the gloriously in-
toxicated efforts of H. G. Wells to fit the key of romantic
symmetry into the elusive lock of truth, alone won his
He wanted to see Monsignor Darcy, to whom he had
written when he landed, but he had not heard from
him; besides he knew that a visit to Monsignor would
entail the story of Rosalind, and the thought of repeat-
ing it turned him cold with horror.
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 225
In his search for cool people he remembered Mrs.
Lawrence, a very intelligent, very dignified lady, a
convert to the church, and a great devotee of Mon-
He called her on the 'phone one day. Yes, she re-
membered him perfectly; no, Monsignor wasn't in town,
was in Boston she thought; he'd promised to come to
dinner when he returned. Couldn't Amory take luncheon
"I thought I'd better catch up, Mrs. Lawrence," he
said rather ambiguously when he arrived.
""Monsignor was here just last week," said Mrs.
Lawrence regretfully. "He was very anxious to see
you, but he'd left your address at home."
"Did he think I'd plunged into Bolshevism?" asked
"Oh, he's having a frightful time."
"About the Irish Republic. He thinks it lacks dig-
"He went to Boston when the Irish President arrived
and he was greatly distressed because the receiving
committee, when they rode in an automobile, would put
their arms around the President."
"I don't blame him."
"Well, what impressed you more than anything while
you were hi the army? You look a great deal older."
"That's from another, more disastrous battle," he
answered, smiling in spite of himself. "But the army-
let me see well, I discovered that physical courage de-
pends to a great extent on the physical shape a man is
in. I found that I was as brave as the next man it used
to worry me before."
"Well, the idea that men can stand anything if they
226 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
get used to it, and the fact that I got a high mark in the
Mrs. Lawrence laughed. Amory was finding it a
great relief to be in this cool house on Riverside Drive,
away from more condensed New York and the sense of
people expelling great quantities of breath into a little
space. Mrs. Lawrence reminded him vaguely of Bea-
trice, not in temperament, but in her perfect grace and
dignity. The house, its furnishings, the manner in
which dinner was served, were in immense contrast to
what he had met in the great places on Long Island,
where the servants were so obtrusive that they had
positively to be bumped out of the way, or even in the
houses of more conservative "Union Club" families.
He wondered if this air of symmetrical restraint, this
grace, which he felt was continental, was distilled through
Mrs. Lawrence's New England ancestry or acquired in
long residence in Italy and Spain.
Two glasses of sauterne at luncheon loosened his
tongue, and he talked, with what he felt was something
of his old charm, of religion and literature and the
menacing phenomena of the social order. Mrs. Lawrence
was ostensibly pleased with him, and her interest was
especially in his mind; he wanted people to like his
mind again after a while it might be such a nice place
in which to live.
"Monsignor Darcy still thinks that you're his re-
incarnation, that your faith will eventually clarify."
"Perhaps," he assented. "I'm rather pagan at pres-
ent. It's just that religion doesn't seem to have the
slightest bearing on life at my age."
When he left her house he walked down Riverside
Drive with a feeling of satisfaction. It was amusing
to discuss again such subjects as this young poet,
Stephen Vincent Bene"t, or the Irish Republic. Between
the rancid accusations of Edward Carson and Justice
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 227
Cohalan he had completely tired of the Irish question;
yet there had been a time when his own Celtic traits
were pillars of his personal philosophy.
There seemed suddenly to be much left in life, if only
this revival of old interests did not mean that he was
backing away from it again backing away from life
"I'm tres old and tres bored, Tom," said Amory one
day, stretching himself at ease in the comfortable win-
dow-seat. He always felt most natural in a recumbent
"You used to be entertaining before you started to
write," he continued. "Now you save any idea that
you think would do to print."
Existence had settled back to an ambitionless normal-
ity. They had decided that with economy they could
still afford the apartment, which Tom, with the domes-
ticity of an elderly cat, had grown fond of. The old
English hunting prints on the wall were Tom's, and the
large tapestry by courtesy, a relic of decadent days in
college, and the great profusion of orphaned candle-
sticks and the carved Louis XV chair in which no one
could sit more than a minute without acute spinal dis-
orders Tom claimed that this was because one was
sitting in the lap of Montespan's wraith at any rate,
it was Tom's furniture that decided them to stay.
They went out very little: to an occasional play, or to
dinner at the Ritz or the Princeton Club. With pro-
hibition the great rendevouz had received their death
wounds; no longer could one wander to the Biltmore
bar at twelve or five and find congenial spirits, and both
Torn and Amory had outgrown the passion for dancing
with mid-Western or New Jersey debbies at the Club-
de-Vingt (surnamed the "Club de Gink") or the Plaza,
228 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Rose Room besides even that required several cock-
tails "to come down to the intellectual level of the
women present," as Amory had once put it to a horrified
Amory had lately received several alarming letters
from Mr. Barton the Lake Geneva house was too large
to be easily rented; the best rent obtainable at present
would serve this year to little more than pay for the taxes
and necessary improvements; in fact, the lawyer sug-
gested that the whole property was simply a white ele-
phant on Amory's hands. Nevertheless, even though it
might not yield a cent for the next three years, Amory
decided with a vague sentimentality that for the present,
at any rate, he would not sell the house.
This particular day on which he announced his ennui
to Tom had been quite typical. He had risen at noon,
lunched with Mrs. Lawrence, and then ridden abstract-
edly homeward atop one of his beloved buses.
"Why shouldn't you be bored," yawned Tom. "Isn't
that the conventional frame of mind for the young man
of your age and condition?"
"Yes," said Amory speculatively, "but I'm more
than bored; I am restless." -
"Love and war did for you."
"Well," Amory considered, "I'm not sure that the
war itself had any great effect on either you or me
but it certainly ruined the old backgrounds, sort of
killed individualism out of our generation."
Tom looked up in surprise.
"Yes it did," insisted Amory. "I'm not sure it
didn't kill it out of the whole world. Oh, Lord, what a
pleasure it used to be to dream I might be a really great
dictator or writer or religious or political leader and
now even a Leonardo da Vinci or Lorenzo de Medici
couldn't be a real old-fashioned bolt -in the world. Life
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 229
is too huge and complex. The world is so overgrown
that it can't lift its own fingers, and I was planning to
be such an important finger "
"I don't agree with you," Tom interrupted. "There
never were men placed in such egotistic positions since
oh, since the French Revolution."
Amory disagreed violently.
"You're mistaking this period when every nut is an
individualist for a period of individualism. Wilson has
only been powerful when he has represented; he's had to
compromise over and over again. Just as soon as Trot-
sky and Lenine take a definite, consistent stand they'll
become merely two-minute figures like Kerensky. Even
Foch hasn't half the significance of Stonewall Jackson.
War used to be the most individualistic pursuit of man,
and yet the popular heroes of the war had neither
authority nor responsibility: Guynemer and Sergeant
York. How could a schoolboy make a hero of Pershing?
A big man has no time really to do anything but just sit
and be big."
"Then you don't think there will be any more per-
manent world heroes?"
"Yes in history not in life. Carlyle would have
difficulty getting material for a new chapter on 'The
Hero as a Big Man.'"
"Go on. I'm a good listener to-day."
."People try so hard to believe in leaders now, piti-
fully hard. But we no sooner get a popular reformer or
politician or soldier or writer or philosopher a Roose-
velt, a Tolstoi, a Wood, a Shaw, a Nietzsche, than
the cross-currents of criticism wash him away. My
Lord, no man can stand prominence these days. It's
the surest path to obscurity. People get sick of hearing
the same name over and over."
"Then you blame it on the press?"
230 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Absolutely. Look at you; you're on The New De-
mocracy, considered the most brilliant weekly in the
country, read by the men who do things and all that.
What's your business ? Why, to be as clever, as interest-
ing, and as brilliantly cynical as possible about every
man, doctrine, book, or policy that is assigned you to deal
with. The more strong lights, the more spiritual scandal
you can throw on the matter, the more money they pay
you, the more the people buy the issue. You, Tom
d'Invilliers, a blighted Shelley, changing, shifting, clever,
unscrupulous, represent the critical consciousness of the
race Oh, don't protest, I know the stuff. I used
to write book reviews in college; I considered it rare
sport to refer to the latest honest, conscientious effort
to propound a theory or a remedy as a 'welcome ad-
dition to our light summer reading.' Come on now, ad-
Tom laughed, and Amory continued triumphantly.
"We want to believe. Young students try to believe
in older authors, constituents try to believe in their
Congressmen, countries try to believe in their states-
men, but they can't. Too many voices, too much scat-
tered, illogical, ill-considered criticism. It's worse in
the case of newspapers. Any rich, unprogressive old
party with that particularly grasping, acquisitive form
of mentality known as financial genius can own a
paper that is the intellectual meat and drink of thou-
sands of tired, hurried men, men too involved in the
business of modern living to swallow anything but
predigested food. For two cents the voter buys his
politics, prejudices, and philosophy. A year later there
is a new political ring or a change in the paper's owner-
ship, consequence: more confusion, more contradiction,
a rudden inrush of new ideas, their tempering, their dis-
tillation, the reaction against them "
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 231
He paused only to get his breath.
"And that is why I have sworn not to put pen to
paper until my ideas either clarify or depart entirely;
I have quite enough sins on my soul without putting
dangerous, shallow epigrams into people's heads; I
might cause a poor, inoffensive capitalist to have a vul-
gar liaison with a bomb, or get some innocent little
Bolshevik tangled up with a machine-gun bullet "
Tom was growing restless under this lampooning of
his connection with The New Democracy.
"What's all this got to do with your being bored?"
Amory considered that it had much to do with it.
"How 5 !! I fit in?" he demanded. "What am I for?
To propagate the race? According to the American
novels we are led to believe that the 'healthy American
boy' from nineteen to twenty-five is an entirely sexless
animal. As a matter of fact, the healthier he is the less
that's true. The only alternative to letting it get you
is some violent interest. Well, the war is over; I believe
too much in the responsibilities of authorship to write
just now; and business, well, business speaks for itself.
It has no connection with anything in the world that
I've ever been interested in, except a slim, utilitarian
connection with economics. What I'd see of it, lost in a
clerkship, for the next and best ten years of my life would
have the intellectual content of an industrial movie."
"Try fiction," suggested Tom.
"Trouble is I get distracted when I start to write
stories get afraid I'm doing it instead of living get
thinking maybe life is waiting for me in the Japanese
gardens at the Ritz or at Atlantic City or on the lower
"Anyway," he continued, "I haven't the vital urge.
I wanted to be a regular human being but the girl
couldn't see it that way."
232 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"You'll find another."
"God! Banish the thought. Why don't you tell me
that 'if the girl had been worth having she'd have
waited for you'? No, sir, the girl really worth having
won't wait for anybody. If I thought there'd be an-
other I'd lose my remaining faith in human nature.
Maybe I'll play but Rosalind was the only girl in the
wide world that could have held me."
"Well," yawned Tom, "I've played confidant a good
hour by the clock. Still, I'm glad to see you're begin-
ning to have violent views again on something."
"I am," agreed Amory reluctantly. "Yet when I see
a happy family it makes me sick at my stomach
"Happy families try to make people feel that way,"
said Tom cynically.
TOM THE CENSOR
There were days when Amory listened. These were
when Tom, wreathed in smoke, indulged in the slaughter
of American literature. Words failed him.
"Fifty thousand dollars a year," he would cry. "My
God! Look at them, look at them Edna Ferber,
Gouverneur Morris, Fanny Hurst, Mary Roberts Rine-
hart not producing among 'em one story or novel that
will last ten years. This man Cobb I don't think he's
either clever or amusing and what's more, I don't think
very many people do, except the editors. He's just
groggy with advertising. And oh Harold Bell Wright
oh Zone Grey "
"No, they don't even try. Some of them can write,
but they won't sit down and do one honest novel.
Most of them can't write, I'll admit. I believe Rupert
Hughes tries to give a real, comprehensive picture of
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 233
American fife, but his style and perspective are bar-
barous. Ernest Poole and Dorothy Canfield try but
they're hindered by their absolute lack of any sense of
humor; but at least they crowd their work instead of
spreading it thin. Every author ought to write every
book as if he were going to be beheaded the day he
"Is that double entente?"
"Don't slow me up ! Now there's a few of 'em that
seem to have some cultural background, some intelli-
gence and a good deal of literary felicity but they just
simply won't write honestly; they'd all claim there was
no public for good stuff. Then why the devil is it that
Wells, Conrad, Galsworthy, Shaw, Bennett, and the rest
depend on America for over half their sales?"
"How does little Tommy like the poets?"
Tom was overcome. He dropped his arms until they
swung loosely beside the chair and emitted faint grunts.
"I'm writing a satire on 'em now, calling it 'Boston
Bards and Hearst Reviewers.' '
"Let's hear it," said Amory eagerly.
"I've only got the last few lines done."
"That's very modern. Let's hear 'em, if they're
Tom produced a folded paper from his pocket and
read aloud, pausing at intervals so that Amory could
see that it was free verse:
234 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
I place your names here
So that you may live
If only as names,
Sinuous, mauve-colored names,
In the Juvenalia
Of my collected editions."
"You win the iron pansy. I'll buy you a meal on the
arrogance of the last two lines."
Amory did not entirely agree with Tom's sweeping
damnation of American novelists and poets. He en-
joyed both Vachel Lindsay and Booth Tarkington, and
admired the conscientious, if slender, artistry of Edgar
"What I hate is this idiotic drivel about 'I am God
I am man I ride the winds I look through the smoke
I am the life sense.' '
"And I wish American novelists would give up trying
to make business romantically interesting. Nobody
wants to read about it, unless it's crooked business. If
it was an entertaining subject they'd buy the life of
James J. Hill and not one of these long office tragedies
that harp along on the significance of smoke
"And gloom," said Tom. "That's another favorite,
though I'll admit the Russians have the monopoly.
Our specialty is stories about little girls who break their
spines and get adopted by grouchy old men because
they smile so much. You'd think we were a race of
cheerful cripples and that the common end of the
Russian peasant was suicide "
"Six o'clock," said Amory, glancing at his wrist-
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 235
watch. "I'll buy you a grea' big dinner on the strength
of the Juvenalia of your collected editions."
July sweltered out with a last hot week, and Amory
in another surge of unrest realized that it was just five
months since he and Rosalind had met. Yet it was
already hard for him to visualize the heart-whole boy
who had stepped off the transport, passionately desiring
the adventure of life. One night while the heat, over-
powering and enervating, poured into the windows of
his room he struggled for several hours in a vague ef-
fort to immortalize the poignancy of that time.
The February streets, wind-washed by night, blow full of
strange half-intermittent damps, bearing on wasted walks
in shining sight wet snow plashed into gleams under the
lamps, like golden oil from some divine machine, in an
hour of thaw and stars.
Strange damps -full of the eyes of many men, crowded
with life borne in upon a lull. . . . Oh, I was young, for
I could turn again to you, most finite and most beautiful,
and taste the stuff of half-remembered dreams, sweet and
new on your mouth.
. . . There was a tanging in the midnight air silence
was dead and sound not yet awoken Life cracked like
ice!' one brilliant note and there, radiant and pale, you
stood . . . and spring had broken. (The icicles were
short upon the roofs and the changeling city swooned.)
Our thoughts were frosty mist along the eaves; our two
ghosts kissed, high on the long, mazed wires eerie half-
laughter echoes here and leaves only a fatuous sigh for young
desires; regret has followed after things she loved, leaving
the great husk.
236 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
In mid-August came a letter from Monsignor Darcy,
who had evidently just stumbled on his address:
MY DEAR BOY:
Your last letter "was quite enough to make me worry about
you. It was not a bit like yourself. Reading between the lines
I should imagine that your engagement to this girl is making
you rather unhappy, and I see you have lost all the feeling of
romance that you had before the war. You make a great mis-
take if you think you can be romantic without religion. Some-
times I think that with both of us the secret of success, when
we find it, is the mystical element in us: something flows into
us that enlarges our personalities, and when it ebbs out our
personalities shrink; I should call your last two letters rather
shrivelled. Beware of losing yourself in the personality of an-
other being, man or woman.
His Eminence Cardinal O'Neill and the Bishop of Boston
are staying with me at present, so it is hard for me to get a
moment to write, but I wish you would come up here later if
only for a week-end. I go to Washington this week.
What I shall do in the future is hanging in the balance.
Absolutely between ourselves I should not be surprised to see
the red hat of a cardinal descend upon my unworthy head within
the next eight months. In any event, I should like to have a
house in New York or Washington where you could drop in for
Amory, I'm very glad we're both alive; this war could easily
have been the end of a brilliant family. But in regard to matri-
mony, you are now at the most dangerous period of your life.
You might marry in haste and repent at leisure, but I think you
won't. From what you write me about the present calamitous
state of your finances, what you want is naturally impossible.
However, if I judge you by the means I usually choose, I should
say that there will be something of an emotional crisis within
the next year.
Do write me. I feel annOyingly out of date on you.
With greatest affection,
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE 237
Within a week after the receipt of this letter their
little household fell precipitously to pieces. The im-
mediate cause was the serious and probably chronic
illness of Tom's mother. So they stored the furniture,
gave instructions to sublet and shook hands gloomily
in the Pennsylvania Station. Amory and Tom seemed
always to be saying good-by.
Feeling very much alone, Amory yielded to an im-
pulse and set off southward, intending to join Monsignor
in Washington. They missed connections by two hours,
and, deciding to spend a few days with an ancient, re-
membered uncle, Amory journeyed up through the luxu-
riant fields of Maryland into Ramilly County. But in-
stead of two days his stay lasted from mid- August nearly
through September, for in Maryland he met Eleanor.
FOR years afterward when Amory thought of Eleanor
he seemed still to hear the wind sobbing around him
and sending little chills into the places beside his heart.
The night when they rode up the slope and watched the
cold moon float through the clouds, he lost a further
part of him that nothing could restore; and when he
lost it he lost also the power of regretting it. Eleanor
was, say, the last time that evil crept close to Amory
under the mask of beauty, the last weird mystery
that held him with wild fascination and pounded his
soul to flakes.
With her his imagination ran riot and that is why they
rode to the highest hill and watched an evil moon ride
high, for they knew then that they could ^see the devil
in each other. But Eleanor did Amory dream her?
Afterward their ghosts played, yet both of them hoped
from their souls never to meet. Was it the infinite
sadness of her eyes that drew him or the mirror of him-
self that he found in the gorgeous clarity of her mind ?
She will have no other adventure like Amory, and if she
reads this she will say:
"And Amory will have no other adventure like me."
Nor will she sigh, any more than he would sigh.
Eleanor tried to put it on paper once:
"The fading things we only know
We'll have forgotten . . .
Put away . . .
Desires that melted with the snow,
YOUNG IRONY 239
And dreams begotten
The sudden dawns we laughed to greet,
That all could see, that none could share,
Will be but dawns . . . and if we meet
We shall not care.
Dear . . . not one tear will rise for this . . .
A little while hence
Wfll stir for a remembered kiss
Not even silence,
When we've met,
Wifl give old ghosts a waste to roam,
Or stir the surface of the sea . . .
If gray shapes drift beneath the foam
We shall not see."
They quarrelled dangerously because Amory main-
tained that sea and see couldn't possibly be used as a
rhyme. And then Eleanor had part of another verse
that she couldn't find a beginning for:
"... But wisdom passes . . . still the years
Will feed us wisdom. . . . Age will go
Back to the old For all our tears
We shall not know."
Eleanor hated Maryland passionately. She belonged
to the oldest of the old families of Ramilly County and
lived in a big, gloomy house with her grandfather. She
had been born and brought up hi France. ... I see I
am starting wrong. Let me begin again.
Amory was bored, as he usually was in the country.
He used to go for far walks by himself and wander
along reciting "Ulalume" to the corn-fields, and con-
gratulating Poe for drinking himself to death in that at-
mosphere of smiling complacency. One afternoon he had
strolled for several miles along a road that was new to
240 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
him, and then through a wood on bad advice from a
colored woman . . . losing himself entirely. A passing
storm decided to break out, and to his great impatience
the sky grew black as pitch and the rain began to splatter
down through the trees, become suddenly furtive and
ghostly. Thunder rolled with menacing crashes up the
valley and scattered through the woods in intermittent
batteries. He stumbled blindly on, hunting for a way
out, and finally, through webs of twisted branches,
caught sight of a rift in the trees where the unbroken
lightning showed open country. He rushed to the edge
of the woods and then hesitated whether or not to cross
the fields and try to reach the shelter of the little house
marked by a light far down the valley. It was only
half past five, but he could see scarcely ten steps be-
fore him, except when the lightning made everything
vivid and grotesque for great sweeps around.
Suddenly a strange sound fell on his ears. It was a
song, in a low, husky voice, a girl's voice, and whoever
was singing was very close to him. A year before he
might have laughed, or trembled; but in his restless
mood he only stood and listened while the words sank
into his consciousness:
"Les sanglots longs
Blessent mon ceur
The lightning split the sky, but the song went on
without a quaver. The girl was evidently in the field
and the voice seemed to come vaguely from a haystack
about twenty feet in front of him.
Then it ceased; ceased and began again in a weird
YOUNG IRONY 241
chant that soared and hung and fell and blended with
El U&ne qwnd
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
"Who the devil is there in Ramilly County," mut-
tered Amory aloud, "who would deliver Verlaine in an
extemporaneous tune to a soaking haystack?"
"Somebody's there!" cried the voice unalarmed.
"Who are you? Manfred, St. Christopher, or Queen
"I'm Don Juan!" Amory shouted on impulse, raising
his voice above the noise of the rain and the wind.
A delighted shriek came from the haystack.
"I know who you are you're the blond boy that
likes 'Ulalume' I recognize your voice."
"How do I get up ? " he cried from the foot of the hay-
stack, whither he had arrived, dripping wet A head
appeared over the edge it was so dark that Amory
could just make out a patch of damp hair and two eyes
that gleamed like a cat's.
"Run back!" came the voice, "and jump and I'll
catch your hand no, not there on the other side."
He followed directions and as he sprawled up the
side, knee-deep in hay, a small, white hand reached
out, gripped his, and helped him onto the top.
"Here you are, Juan," cried she of the damp hair.
"Do you mind if I drop the Don?"
"You've got a thumb like mine!" he exclaimed.
"And you're holding my hand, which is dangerous
without seeing my face." He dropped it quickly.
As if in answer to his prayers came a flash of light-
242 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
ning and he looked eagerly at her who stood beside him
on the soggy haystack, ten feet above the ground. But
she had covered her face and he saw nothing but a
slender figure, dark, damp, bobbed hair, and the small
white hands with the thumbs that bent back like his.
"Sit down," she suggested politely, as the dark closed
in on them. "If you'll sit opposite me in this hollow
you can have half of the raincoat, which I was using as
a water-proof tent until you so rudely interrupted me."
"I was asked," Amory said joyfully; "you asked
me you know you did."
"Don Juan always manages that," she said, laughing,
"but I shan't call you that any more, because you've
got reddish hair. Instead you can recite 'Ulalume' and
I'll be Psyche, your soul."
Amory flushed, happily invisible under the curtain of
wind and rain. They were sitting opposite each other
in a slight hollow in the hay with the raincoat spread
over most of them, and the rain doing for the rest.
Amory was trying desperately to see Psyche, but the
lightning refused to flash again, and he waited im-
patiently. Good Lord ! supposing she wasn't beautiful
supposing she was forty and pedantic heavens!
Suppose, only suppose, she was mad. But he knew the
last was unworthy. Here had Providence sent a girl
to amuse him just as it sent Benvenuto Cellini men to
murder, and he was wondering if she was mad, just be-
cause she exactly filled his mood.
"I'm not," she said.
"Not mad. I didn't think you were mad when I
first saw you, so it isn't fair that you should think so
"How on earth "
As long as they knew each other Eleanor and Amory
YOUNG IRONY 243
could be "on a subject" and stop talking with the defin-
ite thought of it in their heads, yet ten minutes later
speak aloud and find that their minds had followed the
same channels and led them each to a parallel idea, an
idea that others would have found absolutely uncon-
nected with the first.
"Tell me," he demanded, leaning forward eagerly,
"how do you know about ' Ulalume* how did you know
the color of my hair? What's your name? What were
you doing here? Tell me all at once!"
Suddenly the lightning flashed in with a leap of over-
reaching light and he saw Eleanor, and looked for the
first time into those eyes of hers. Oh, she was mag-
nificent pale skin, the color of marble in starlight,
slender brows, and eyes that glittered green as emer-
alds in the blinding glare. She was a witch, of perhaps
nineteen, he judged, alert and dreamy and with the
tell-tale white line over her upper lip that was a weak-
ness and a delight. He sank back with a gasp against
the wall of hay.
"Now you've seen me," she said calmly, "and I sup-
pose you're about to say that my green eyes are burning
into your brain."
"What color is your hair?" he asked intently. "It's
bobbed, isn't it?"
"Yes, it's bobbed. I don't know what color it is,"
she answered, musing, "so many men have asked me.
It's medium, I suppose No one ever looks long at
my hair. I've got beautiful eyes, though, haven't I.
I don't care what you say, I have beautiful eyes."
"Answer my question, Madeline."
"Don't remember them all besides my name isn't
Madeline, it's Eleanor."
"I might have guessed it. You look like Eleanor
you have that Eleanor look. You know what I mean."
244 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
There was a silence as they listened to the rain.
"It's going down my neck, fellow lunatic," she of-
"Answer my questions."
"Well name of Savage, Eleanor; live in big old
house mile down road; nearest living relation to be
notified, grandfather Ramilly Savage; height, five feet
four inches; number on watch-case, 3077 W; nose, deli-
cate aquiline; temperament, uncanny- "
"And me," Amory interrupted, "where did you see
"Oh, you're one of those men," she answered haught-
ily, "must lug old self into conversation. Well, my boy,
I was behind a hedge sunning myself one day last week,
and along comes a man saying in a pleasant, conceited
way of talking:
" 'And now when the night was senescent'
' And the star dials pointed to morn
At the end of the path a liquescent'
'And nebulous lustre was born.'
So I poked my eyes up over the hedge, but you had
started to run, for some unknown reason, and so I saw
but the back of your beautiful head. 'Oh I' says I,
' there's a man for whom many of us might sigh/ and I
continued in my best Irish "
"All right," Amory interrupted. "Now go back to
' ' Well, I will. I'm one of those people who go through
the world giving other people thrills, but getting few
myself except those I read into men on such nights as
these. I have the social courage to go on the stage,
but not the energy; I haven't the patience to write
YOUNG IRONY 245
books; and I never met a man I'd marry. However,
I'm only eighteen."
The storm was dying down softly and only the wind
kept up its ghostly surge and made the stack lean and
gravely settle from side to side. Amory was in a trance.
He felt that every moment was precious. He had never
met a girl like this before she would never seem quite
the same again. He didn't at all feel like a character
in a play, the appropriate feeling in an unconven-
tional situation instead, he had a sense of coming
"I have just made a great decision," said Eleanor
after another pause, "and that is why I'm here, to an-
swer another of your questions. I have just decided
that I don't believe in immortality."
"Really! how banal!"
"Frightfully so," she answered, "but depressing with
a stale, sickly depression, nevertheless. I came out here
to get wet like a wet hen; wet hens always have great
clarity of mind," she concluded.
"Go on," Amory said politely.
"Well I'm not afraid of the dark, so I put on my
slkker and rubber boots and came out. You see I was
always afraid, before, to say I didn't believe in God
because the lightning might strike me but here I am
and it hasn't, of course, but the main point is that this
time I wasn't any more afraid of it than I had been when
I was a Christian Scientist, like I was last year. So
now I know I'm a materialist and I was fraternizing
with the hay when you came out and stood by the^woods,
'scared to death."
"Why, you little wretch " cried Amory indignantly.
"Scared of what?"
"Yourself!" she shouted, and he jumped. She clapped
her hands and laughed. "See see! Conscience kill
246 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
it like me ! Eleanor Savage, materiologist no jumping,
no starting, come early '
"But I have to have a soul," he objected. "I can't
be rational and I won't be molecular."
She leaned toward him, her burning eyes never leav-
ing his own and whispered with a sort of romantic
"I thought so, Juan, I feared so you're sentimental.
You're not like me. I'm a romantic little materialist."
"I'm not sentimental I'm as romantic as you are.
The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person
thinks things will last the romantic person has a
desperate confidence that they won't." (This was an
ancient distinction of Amory's.)
"Epigrams. I'm going home," she said sadly. "Let's
get off the haystack and walk to the cross-roads."
They slowly descended from their perch. She would
not let him help her down and motioning him away
arrived in a graceful lump in the soft mud where she
sat for an instant, laughing at herself. Then she jumped
to her feet and slipped her hand into his, and they tip-
toed across the fields, jumping and swinging from dry
spot to dry spot. A transcendent delight seemed to,
sparkle in every pool of water, for the moon had risen
and the storm had scurried away into western Mary-
land. When Eleanor's arm touched his he felt his
hands grow cold with deadly fear lest he should lose the
shadow brush with which his imagination was painting
wonders of her. He watched her from the corners of
his eyes as ever he did when he walked with her she
was a feast and a folly and he wished it had been his des-
tiny to sit forever on a haystack and see life through her
green eyes. His paganism soared that night and when
she faded out like a gray ghost down the road, a deep
singing came out of the fields and filled his way home-
YOUNG IRONY 247
ward. All night the summer moths flitted in and out of
Amory's window; all night large looming sounds swayed
in mystic revery through the silver grain and he lay
awake in the clear darkness.
Amory selected a blade of grass and nibbled at it
"I never fall in love in August or September," he
"Christmas or Easter. I'm a liturgist"
"Easter!" She turned up her nose. "Huh! Spring
"Easter would bore spring, wouldn't she? Easter has
her hair braided, wears a tailored suit."
" Bind on thy sandals, oh, thou most fleet.
Over the splendor and speed of thy feet "
quoted Eleanor softly, and then added: "I suppose
Hallowe'en is a better day for autumn than Thanks-
"Much better and Christmas eve does very well
for winter, but summer ..."
"Summer has no day," she said. "We can't possibly
have a summer love. So many people have tried that
the name's become proverbial. Summer is only the
unfulfilled promise of spring, a charlatan in place of the
warm balmy nights I dream of in April. It's a sad
season of life without growth. ... It has no day."
"Fourth of July," Amory suggested facetiously.
"Don't be funny!" she said, raking him with her
"Well, what could fulfil the promise of spring?"
248 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
She thought a moment.
"Oh, I suppose heaven would, if there was one," she
said finally, "a sort of pagan heaven you ought to be
a materialist," she continued irrelevantly.
"Because you look a good deal like the pictures of
To some extent Amory tried to play Rupert Brooke
as long as he knew Eleanor. What he said, his attitude
toward life, toward her, toward himself, were all re-
flexes of the dead Englishman's literary moods. Often
she sat in the grass, a lazy wind playing with her short
hair, her voice husky as she ran up and down the scale
from Grantchester to Waikiki. There was something
most passionate in Eleanor's reading aloud. They
seemed nearer, not only mentally, but physically, when
they read, than when she was in his arms, and this was
often, for they fell half into love almost from the first.
Yet was Amory capable of love now? He could, as
always, run through the emotions in a half hour, but
even while they revelled in their imaginations, he knew
that neither of them could care as he had cared once
before I suppose that was why they turned to Brooke,
and Swinburne, and Shelley. Their chance was to make
everything fine and finished and rich and imaginative;
they must bend tiny golden tentacles from his imagina-
tion to hers, that would take the place of the great,
deep love that was never so near, yet never so much of a
One poem they read over and over; Swinburne's
"Triumph of Time," and four lines of it rang in his
memory afterward on warm nights when he saw the
fireflies among dusky tree trunks and heard the low
drone of many frogs. Then Eleanor seemed to come
out of the night and stand by him, and he heard her
YOUNG IRONY 249
throaty voice, with its tone of a fleecy-headed drum,
"Is it worth a tear, is it worth an hour,
To think of things that are well outworn;
Of fruitless husk and fugitive flower,
The dream foregone and the deed foreborne ? "
They were formally introduced two days later, and
his aunt told him her history. The Ramillys were two :
old Mr. Ramilly and his granddaughter, Eleanor. She
had lived in France with a restless mother whom Amory
imagined to have been very like his own, on whose
death she had come to America, to live in Maryland.
She had gone to Baltimore first to stay with a bachelor
uncle, and there she insisted on being a debutante at
the age of seventeen. She had a wild winter and ar-
rived in the country in March, having quarrelled fran-
tically with all her Baltimore relatives, and shocked
them into fiery protest. A rather fast crowd had come
out, who drank cocktails in limousines and were pro-
miscuously condescending and patronizing toward older
people, and Eleanor with an esprit that hinted strongly
of the boulevards, led many innocents still redolent of
St. Timothy's and Farmington, into paths of Bohemian
naughtiness. When the story came to her uncle, a
forgetful cavalier of a more hypocritical era, there was
a scene, from which Eleanor emerged, subdued but re-
bellious and indignant, to seek haven with her grand-
father who hovered in the country on the near side of
senility. That's as far as her story went; she told him
the rest herself, but that was later.
Often they swam and as Amory floated lazily in the
water he shut his mind to all thoughts except those of
hazy soap-bubble lands where the sun splattered through
wind-drunk trees. How could any one possibly think
250 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
or worry, or do anything except splash and dive and
loll there on the edge of time while the flower months
failed. Let the days move over sadness and memory
and pain recurred outside, and here, once more, before
he went on to meet them he wanted to drift and be
There were days when Amory resented that life had
changed from an even progress along a road stretching
ever in sight, with the scenery merging and blending,
into a succession of quick, unrelated scenes two years
of sweat and blood, that sudden absurd instinct for pa-
ternity that Rosalind had stirred; the half-sensual, half-
neurotic quality of this autumn with Eleanor. He felt
that it would take all time, more than he could ever
spare, to glue these strange cumbersome pictures into
the scrap-book of his life. It was all like a banquet
where he sat for this half-hour of his youth and tried
to enjoy brilliant epicurean courses.
Dimly he promised himself a time where all should be
welded together. For months it seemed that he had
alternated between being borne along a stream of love
or fascination, or left in an eddy, and in the eddies he
had not desired to think, rather to be picked up on a
wave's top and swept along again.
"The despairing, dying autumn and our love how
well they harmonize ! " said Eleanor sadly one day as
they lay dripping by the water.
"The Indian summer of our hearts " he ceased.
"Tell me," she said finally, "was she light or dark?"
"Was she more beautiful than I am?"
"I don't know," said Amory shortly.
One night they walked while the moon rose and
poured a great burden of glory over the garden until it
YOUNG IRONY 251
seemed fairy-land with Amory and Eleanor, dim phan-
tasmal shapes, expressing eternal beauty in curious
elfin love moods. Then they turned out of the moon-
light into the trellised darkness of a vine-hung pagoda,
where there were scents so plaintive as to be nearly
"Light a match," she whispered. "I want to see
Scratch ! Flare !
The night and the scarred trees were like scenery in a
play, and to be there with Eleanor, shadowy and unreal,
seemed somehow oddly familiar. Amory thought how
it was only the past that ever seemed strange and unbe-
lievable. The match went out.
"It's black as pitch."
"We're just voices now," murmured Eleanor, "little
lonesome voices. Light another."
"That was my last match."
Suddenly he caught her in his arms.
"You are mine you know you're mine!" he cried
wildly . . . the moonlight twisted in through the vines
and listened . . . the fireflies hung upon their whispers
as if to win his glance from the glory of their eyes.
THE END OF SUMMER
"No wind is stirring in the grass; not one wind stirs
. . . the water in the hidden pools, as glass, fronts the
full moon and so inters the golden token in its icy mass,"
chanted Eleanor to the trees that skeletoned the body
of the night. "Isn't it ghostly here? If you can hold
your horse's feet up, let's cut through the woods and
find the hidden pools."
"It's after one, and you'll get the devil," he objected,
252 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"and I don't know enough about horses to put one away
in the pitch dark."
"Shut up, you old fool," she whispered irrelevantly,
and, leaning over, she patted him lazily with her riding-
crop. "You can leave your old plug in our stable and
I'll send him over to-morrow."
"But my uncle has got to drive me to the station
with this old plug at seven o'clock."
"Don't be a spoil-sport remember, you have a
tendency toward wavering that prevents you from being
the entire light of my life."
Amory drew his horse up close beside, and, leaning
toward her, grasped her hand.
" Say I am quick, or I'll pull you over and make you
ride behind me."
She looked up and smiled and shook her head ex-
"Oh, do ! or rather, don't ! Why are all the exciting
things so uncomfortable, like fighting and exploring and
ski-ing in Canada ? By the way, we're going to ride up
Harper's Hill. I think that comes in our programme
about five o'clock."
"You little devil," Amory growled. "You're going to
make me stay up all night and sleep in the train like an
immigrant all day to-morrow, going back to New York."
"Hush ! some one's coming along the road let's go !
Whoo-ee-oopt" And with a shout that probably gave
the belated traveller a series of shivers, she turned her
horse into the woods and Amory followed slowly, as he
had followed her all day for three weeks.
The summer was over, but he had spent the days in
watching Eleanor, a graceful, facile Manfred, build
herself intellectual and imaginative pyramids while she
revelled in the artificialities of .the temperamental teens
and they wrote poetry at the dinner-table.
YOUNG IRONY 253
When Vanity kissed Vanity, a hundred happy Junes ago, he
pondered o'er her breathlessly, and, that all men might ever
know, he rhymed her eyes with life and death:
"Thru Time I'll save my love!" he said . . . yet Beauty
vanished with his breath, and, with her lovers, she was dead . . .
Ever his wit and not her eyes, ever his art and not her hair:
"Who'd learn a trick in rhyme, be wise and pause before bis
sonnet there" ... So all my words, however true, might sing
you to a thousandth June, and no one ever know that you were
Beauty for an afternoon.
So he wrote one day, when he pondered how coldly
we thought of the "Dark Lady of the Sonnets," and how
little we remembered her as the great man wanted her
remembered. For what Shakespeare must have de-
sired, to have been able to write with such divine de-
spair, was that the lady should live . . . and now we
have no real interest in her. . . . The irony of it is that
if he had cared more for the poem than for the lady the
sonnet would be only obvious, imitative rhetoric and no
one would ever have read it after twenty years. . . .
This was the last night Amory ever saw Eleanor.
He was leaving in the morning and they had agreed to
take a long farewell trot by the cold moonlight. She
wanted to talk, she said perhaps the last time in her
life that she could be rational (she meant pose with
comfort). So they had turned into the woods and rode
for half an hour with scarcely a word, except when she
whispered "Damn!" at a bothersome branch whis-
pered it as no other girl was ever able to whisper it.
Then they started up Harper's Hill, walking their tired
"Good Lord! It's quiet here!" whispered Eleanor;
"much more lonesome than the woods."
"I hate woods," Amory said, shuddering. "Any kind
of foliage or underbrush at night. Out here it's so broad
and easy on the spirit."
254 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"The long slope of a long hill."
"And the cold moon rolling moonlight down it."
"And thee and me, last and most important."
It was quiet that night the straight road they fol-
lowed up to the edge of the cliff knew few footsteps at
any time. Only an occasional negro cabin, silver-gray
in the rock-ribbed moonlight, broke the long line of bare
ground; behind lay the black edge of the woods like a
dark frosting on white cake, and ahead the sharp, high
horizon. It was much colder so cold that it settled on
them and drove all the warm nights from their minds.
"The end of summer," said Eleanor softly. "Listen
to the beat of our horses' hoofs ' tump-tump-tump-a-
tump.' Have you ever been feverish and had all noises
divide into 'tump-tump-tump 7 until you could swear
eternity was divisible into so many tumps ? That's the
way I feel old horses go tump-tump. ... I guess
that's the only thing that separates horses and clocks
from us. Human beings can't go ' tump-tiimp-tump '
without going crazy."
The breeze freshened and Eleanor pulled her cape
around her and shivered.
"Are you very cold?" asked Amory.
"No, I'm thinking about myself my black old in-
side self, the real one, with the fundamental honesty
that keeps me from being absolutely wicked by making
me realize my own sins."
They were riding up close by the cliff and Amory gazed
over. Where the fall met the ground a hundred feet
below, a black stream made a sharp line, broken by tiny
glints in the swift water.
"Rotten, rotten old world," broke out Eleanor sud-
denly, "and the wretchedest thing of all is me oh,
why am I a girl ? Why am I not a stupid ? Look at
you; you're stupider than I am, not much, but some,
YOUNG IRONY 255
and you can lope about and get bored and then lope
somewhere else, and you can play around with girls
without being involved in meshes of sentiment, and you
can do anything and be justified and here am I with
the brains to do everything, yet tied to the sinking ship
of future matrimony. If I were born a hundred years
from now, well and good, but now what's in store for
me I have to marry, that goes without saying. Who ?
I'm too bright for most men, and yet I have to descend
to their level and let them patronize my intellect in or-
der to get their attention. Every year that I don't
marry I've got less chance for a first-class man. At
the best I can have my choice from one or two cities and,
of course, I have to marry into a dinner-coat.
"Listen," she leaned close again, "I like clever men
and good-looking men, and, of course, no one cares
more for personality than I do. Oh, just one person in
fifty has any glimmer of what sex is. I'm hipped on
Freud and all that, but it's rotten that every bit of
real love in the world is ninety-nine per cent passion and
one little soupjon of jealousy. " She finished as suddenly
as she began.
"Of course, you're right," Amory agreed. "It's a
rather unpleasant overpowering force that's part of the
machinery under everything. It's like an actor that
lets you see his mechanics ! Wait a minute till I think
this out . .. ."
He paused and tried to get a metaphor. They had
turned the cliff and were riding along the road about
fifty feet to the left.
"You see every one's got to have some cloak to throw
around it. The mediocre intellects, Plato's second class,
use the remnants of romantic chivalry diluted with
Victorian sentiment and we who consider ourselves
the intellectuals cover it up by pretending that it's
256 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
another side of us, has nothing to do with our shining
brains; we pretend that the fact that we realize it is
really absolving us from being a prey to it. But the
truth is that sex is right in the middle of our purest
abstractions, so close that it obscures vision. ... I
can kiss you now and will. . . ."- He leaned toward
her in his saddle, but she drew away.
"I can't I can't kiss you now I'm more sensi-
"You're more stupid then," he declared rather im-
patiently. "Intellect is no protection from sex any more
than convention is . . . "
"What is?" she fired up. "The Catholic Church or the
maxims of Confucius?"
Amory looked up, rather taken aback.
"That's your panacea, isn't it?" she cried. "Oh,
you're just an old hypocrite, too. Thousands of scowling
priests keeping the degenerate Italians and illiterate
Irish repentant with gabble-gabble about the sixth and
ninth commandments. It's just all cloaks, sentiment and
spiritual rouge and panaceas. I'll tell you there is no
God, not even a definite abstract goodness; so it's all
got to be worked out for the individual by the individual
here in high white foreheads like mine, and you're too
much the prig to admit it." She let go her reins and
shook her little fists at the stars.
"If there's a God let him strike me strike me!"
> "Talking about God again after the manner of athe-
ists," Amory said sharply. His materialism, always a
thin cloak, was torn to shreds by Eleanor's blasphemy.
. . . She knew it and it angered him that she knew it.
"And like most inteDectuals who don't find faith con-
venient," he continued coldly, "like Napoleon and Oscar
Wilde and the rest of your type, you'll yell loudly for a
priest on your death-bed."
YOUNG IRONY 257
Eleanor drew her horse up sharply and he reined in
"Will I?" she said in a queer voice that scared him.
"Will I? Watch! I'm going over the cliff 7" And be-
fore he could interfere she had turned and was riding
breakneck for the end of the plateau.
He wheeled and started after her, his body like ice,
his nerves in a vast clangor. There was no chance of
stopping her. The moon was under a cloud and her
horse would step blindly over. Then some ten feet
from the edge of the cliff she gave a sudden shriek and
flung herself sideways plunged from her horse and,
rolling over twice, landed in a pile of brush five feet
from the edge. The horse went over with a frantic
whinny. In a minute he was by Eleanor's side and saw
that her eyes were open.
"Eleanor!" he cried.
She did not answer, but her lips moved and her eyes
filled with sudden tears.
"Eleanor, are you hurt?"
"No; I don't think so," she said faintly, and then be-
"My horse dead?"
"Good God Yes!"
"Oh!" she wailed. "I thought I was going over. I
didn't know "
He helped her gently to her feet and boosted her on-
to his saddle. So they started homeward; Amory walk-
ing and she bent forward on the pommel, sobbing
"I've got a crazy streak," she faltered, "twice before
I've done things like that. When I was eleven mother
went went mad stark raving crazy. We were in
All the way back she talked haltingly about herself,
258 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
and Amory's love waned slowly with the moon. At her
door they started from habit to kiss good night, but she
could not run into his arms, nor were they stretched to
meet her as in the week before. For a minute they
stood there, hating each other with a bitter sadness.
But as Amory had loved himself in Eleanor, so now
what he hated was only a mirror. Their poses were
strewn about the pale dawn like broken glass. The
stars were long gone and there were left only the little
sighing gusts of wind and the silences between . . .
but naked souls are poor things ever, and soon he turned
homeward and let new lights come in with the sun.
A POEM THAT ELEANOR SENT AMORY
SEVERAL YEARS LATER
"Here, Earth-born, over the lilt of the water,
Lisping its music and bearing a burden of light,
Bosoming day as a laughing and radiant daughter . . .
Here we may whisper unheard, unafraid of the night.
Walking alone . . . was it splendor, or what, we were bound
Deep iii the time when summer lets down her hair?
Shadows we loved and the patterns they covered the ground
Tapestries, mystical, faint in the breathless air.
That was the day . . . and the night for another story,
Pale as a dream and shadowed with pencilled trees
Ghosts of the stars came by who had sought for glory,
Whispered to us of peace in the plaintive breeze,
Whispered of old dead faiths that the day had shattered,
Youth the penny that bought delight of the moon;
That was the urge that we knew and the language that mat-
That was the debt that we paid to the usurer June.
Here, deepest of dreams, by the waters that bring not
Anything back of the past that we need not know,
YOUNG IRONY 259
What if the light is but sun and the little streams sing not,
We are together, it seems ... I have loved you so ...
What did the last night hold, with the summer over,
Drawing us back to the home in the changing glade?
What leered out of the dark in the ghostly clover?
God! ... till you stirred in your sleep . . . and were wild
afraid . . .
Well ... we have passed ... we are chronicle now to the
Curious metal from meteors that failed in the sky;
Earth-born the tireless is stretched by the water, quite weary,
Close to this ununderstandable changeling that's I ...
Fear is an echo we traced to Security's daughter;
Now we are faces and voices . . . and less, too soon,
Whispering half-love over the lilt of the water . . .
Youth the penny that bought delight of the moon."
A POEM AMORY SENT TO ELEANOR AND WHICH
HE CALLED "SUMMER STORM"
"Faint winds, and a song fading and leaves falling,
Faint winds, and far away a fading laughter , . .
And the rain and over the fields a voice calling . . .
Our gray blown cloud scurries and lifts above,
Slides on the sun and flutters there to waft her
Sisters on. The shadow of a dove
Falls on the cote, the trees are filled with wings;
And down the valley through the crying trees
The body of the darker storm flies; brings
With its new air the breath of sunken seas
And slender tenuous thunder . . .
But I wait . . .
Wait for the mists and for the blacker rain
Heavier winds that stir the veil of fate,
Happier winds that pile her hair;
They tear me, teach me, strew the heavy air
Upon me, winds that I know, and storm.
There was a summer every rain was rare;
There was a season every wind was warm. . . ,
2 6o THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
And now you pass me in the mist . . . your hair
Rain-blown about you, damp lips curved once more
In that wild irony, that gay despair
That made you old when we have met before;
Wraith-like you drift on out before the rain,
Across the fields, blown with the stemless flowers,
With your old hopes, dead leaves and loves again-
Dim as a dream and wan with all old hours
(Whispers will creep into the growing dark . . .
Tumult will die over the trees)
Tears from her wetted breast the splattered blouse
Of day, glides down the dreaming hills, tear-bright,
To cover with her hair the eerie green . . .
Love for the dusk . . . Love for the glistening after;
Quiet the trees to their last tops . . . serene . . .
Faint winds, and far away a fading laughter . ,. ."
THE SUPERCILIOUS SACRIFICE
ATLANTIC CITY. Amory paced the board walk at
day's end, lulled by the everlasting surge of changing
waves, smelling the half-mournful odor of the salt
breeze. The sea, he thought, had treasured its memories
deeper than the faithless land. It seemed still to whisper
of Norse galleys ploughing the water world under raven-
figured flags, of the British dreadnoughts, gray bulwarks
of civilization steaming up through the fog of one
dark July into the North Sea.
"Well Amory Elaine!"
Amory looked down into the street, below. A low
racing car had drawn to a stop and a familiar cheerful
face protruded from the driver's seat.
"Come on down, goopher!" cried Alec.
Amory called a greeting and descending a flight of
wooden steps approached the car. He and Alec had
been meeting intermittently, but the barrier of Rosalind
lay always between them. He was sorry for this; he
hated to lose Alec.
"Mr. Elaine, this is Miss Waterson, Miss Wayne, and
"How d'y do?"
"Amory," said Alec exuberantly, "if you'll jump in
we'll take you to some secluded nook and give you a wee
jolt of Bourbon."
"That's an idea."
"Step in move over, Jill, and Amory will smile very
handsomely at you."
262 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Amory squeezed into the back seat beside a gaudy,
"Hello, Doug Fairbanks," she said flippantly. "Walk-
ing for exercise or hunting for company?"
"I was counting the waves," replied Amory gravely.
"I'm going in for statistics."
"Don't kid me, Doug."
When they reached an unfrequented side street Alec
stopped the car among deep shadows.
"What you doing down here these cold days, Amory? "
he demanded, as he produced a quart of Bourbon from
under the fur rug.
Amory avoided the question. Indeed, he had had no
definite reason for coming to the coast.
"Do you remember that party of ours, sophomore
year?" he asked instead.
"Do I? When we slept in the pavilions up in Asbury
"Lord, Alec ! It's hard to think that Jesse and Dick
and Kerry are all three dead."
"Don't talk about it. These dreary fall days depress
Jill seemed to agree.
"Doug here is sorta gloomy anyways," she com- ,
mented. "Tell him to drink deep it's good and scarce
"What I really want to ask you, Amory, is where you
"Why, New York, I suppose "
"I mean to-night, because if you haven't got a room
yet you'd better help me out."
"You see, Tully and I have two rooms with bath be-
tween at the Ranier, and he's got to go back to New
THE SUPERCILIOUS SACRIFICE 263
York. I don't want to have to move. Question is,
will you occupy one of the rooms?"
Amory was willing, if he could get in right away.
"You'll find the key in the office; the rooms are in
Declining further locomotion or further stimulation,
Amory left the car and sauntered back along the board
walk to the hotel.
He was in an eddy again, a deep, lethargic gulf, with-
out desire to work or write, love or dissipate. For the
first time in his life he rather longed for death to roll
over his generation, obliterating their petty fevers and
struggles and exultations. His youth seemed never so
vanished as now in the contrast between the utter
loneliness of this visit and that riotous, joyful party of
four years before. Things that had been the merest
commonplaces of his life then, deep sleep, the sense of
beauty around him, all desire, had flown away and the
gaps they left were filled only with the great listlessness
of his disillusion.
"To hold a man a woman has to appeal to the worst
in him." This sentence was the thesis of most of his
bad nights, of which he felt this was to be one. His mind
had already started to play variations on the subject.
Tireless passion, fierce jealousy, longing to possess and
crush these alone were left of all his love for Rosalind;
these remained to him as payment for the loss of his
youth bitter calomel under the thin sugar of love's ex-
In his room he undressed and wrapping himself in
blankets to keep out the chill October air drowsed in
an armchair by the open window.
He remembered a poem he had read months before:
"Oh staunch old heart who toiled so long for me,
I waste my years sailing along the sea "
264 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Yet he had no sense of waste, no sense of the present
hope that waste implied. He felt that life had rejected
"Rosalind ! Rosalind !" He poured the words softly
into the half-darkness until she seemed to permeate the
room; the wet salt breeze filled his hair with moisture,
the rim of a moon seared the sky and made the curtains
dim and ghostly. He fell asleep.
When he awoke it was very late and quiet. The
blanket had slipped partly off his shoulders and he
touched his skin 'to find it damp and cold.
Then he became aware of a tense whispering not ten
He became rigid.
"Don't make a sound!" It was Alec's voice. li Jill-
do you hear me?"
"Yes " breathed very low, very frightened. They
were in the bathroom.
Then his ears caught a louder sound from somewhere
along the corridor outside. It was a mumbling of men's
voices and a repeated muffled rapping. Amory threw
off the blankets and moved close to the bathroom
"My God!" came the girl's voice again. "You'll
have to let them in."
Suddenly a steady, insistent knocking began at
Amory's hall door and simultaneously out of the bath-
room came Alec, followed by the vermilion-lipped girl.
They were both clad in pajamas.
"Amory!" an anxious whisper.
"What's the trouble?"
"It's house detectives. My God, Amory they're
just looking for a test-case "
"Well, better let them in."
THE SUPERCILIOUS SACRIFICE 265
"You don't understand. They can get me under ths
The girl followed him slowly, a rather miserable,
pathetic figure in the darkness.
Amory tried to plan quickly.
"You make a racket and let them in your room," he
suggested anxiously, "and I'll get her out by this door."
"They're here too, though. They'll watch this door."
"Can't you give a wrong name?"
"No chance. I registered under my own name; be-
sides, they'd trail the auto license number."
"Say you're married."
"Jill says one of the house detectives knows her."
The girl had stolen to the bed and tumbled upon it;
lay there listening wretchedly to the knocking which
had grown gradually to a pounding. Then came a man's
voice, angry and imperative:
"Open up or we'll break the door in!"
In the silence when this voice ceased Amory realized
that there were other things in the room besides people
. . . over and around the figure crouched on the bed
there hung an aura, gossamer as a moonbeam, tainted
as stale, weak wine, yet a horror, diffusively brooding
already over the three of them . . . and over by the
window among the stirring curtains stood something
else, featureless and indistinguishable, yet strangely
familiar. . . . Simultaneously two great cases presented
themselves side by side to Amory; all that took place in
his mind, then, occupied in actual time less than ten
The first fact that flashed radiantly on his compre-
hension was the great impersonality of sacrifice he
perceived that what we call love and hate, reward and
punishment, had no more to do with it than the date
of the month. He quickly recapitulated the story of a
266 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
sacrifice he had heard of in college: a man had cheated
in an examination; his roommate in a gust of sentiment
had taken the entire blame due to the shame of it the
innocent one's entire future seemed shrouded in regret
and failure, capped by the ingratitude of the real culprit.
He had finally taken his own life years afterward the
facts had come out. At the time the story had both
puzzled and worried Amory. Now he realized the truth;
that sacrifice was no purchase of freedom. It was like
a great elective office, it was like an inheritance of power
to certain people at certain times an essential luxury,
carrying with it not a guarantee but a responsibility,
not a security but an infinite risk. Its very momentum
might drag him down to ruin the passing of the emo-
tional wave that made it possible might leave the one
who made it high and dry forever on an island of despair.
. . . Amory knew that afterward Alec would secretly
hate him for having done so much for him. . . .
... All this was flung before Amory like an opened
scroll, while ulterior to him and speculating upon him
were those two breathless, listening forces: the gossamer
aura that hung over and about the girl and that familiar
thing by the window.
Sacrifice by its very nature was arrogant and imper-
sonal; sacrifice should be eternally supercilious.
Weep not for me but for thy children.
That thought Amory would be somehow the way
God would talk to me.
Amory felt a sudden surge of joy and then like a face
in a motion-picture the aura over the bed faded out; the
dynamic shadow by the window, that was as near as he
could name it, remained for the fraction of a moment
and then the breeze seemed to lift it swiftly out of the
room. He clinched his hands in quick ecstatic excite-
ment . . . the ten seconds were up. . . .
THE SUPERCILIOUS SACRIFICE 267
"Do what I say, Alec do what I say. Do you under-
Alec looked at him dumbly his face a tableau of an-
"You have a family," continued Amory slowly.
"You have a family and it's important that you should
get out of this. Do you hear me ? " He repeated clearly
what he had said. "Do you hear me?"
"I hear you." The voice was curiously strained, the
eyes never for a second left Amory's.
"Alec, you're going to lie down here. If any one comes
in you act drunk. You do what I say if you don't I'll
probably kill you."
There was another moment while they stared at each
other. Then Amory went briskly to the bureau and,
taking his pocket-book, beckoned peremptorily to the
girl. He heard one word from Alec that sounded like
"penitentiary," then he and Jill were in the bathroom
with the door bolted behind them.
"You're here with me," he said sternly. "You've been
with me all evening."
She nodded, gave a little half cry.
In a second he had the door of the other room open
and three men entered. There was an immediate flood
of electric light and he stood there blinking.
".You've been playing a little too dangerous a game,
young man ! "
The leader o* the trio nodded authoritatively at a
burly man in a check suit.
"All right, Olson."
"I got you, Mr. O'May," said Olson, nodding. The
other two took a curious glance at their quarry and then
withdrew, closing the door angrily behind them.
268 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
The burly man regarded Amory contemptuously.
"Didn't you ever hear of the Mann Act? Coming
down here with her," he indicated the girl with his
thumb, "with a New York license on your car to a
hotel like this. " He shook his head implying that he had
struggled over Amory but now gave him up.
"Well," said Amory rather impatiently, "what do
you want us to do?"
"Get dressed, quick and tell your friend not to make
such a racket." Jill was sobbing noisily on the bed, but
at these words she subsided sulkily and, gathering up her
clothes, retired to the bathroom. As Amory slipped into
Alec's B. V. D.'s he found that his attitude toward the
situation was agreeably humorous. The aggrieved virtue
of the burly man made him want to laugh.
"Anybody else here?" demanded Olson, trying to
look keen and ferret-like.
"Fellow who had the rooms," said Amory carelessly.
"He's drunk as an owl, though. Been in there asleep
since six o'clock."
"I'll take a look at him presently."
"How did you find out ? " asked Amory curiously.
"Night clerk saw you go up-stairs with this woman."
Amory nodded; Jill reappeared from the bathroom,
completely if rather untidily arrayed.
"Now then," began Olson, producing a note-book, "I
want your real names no damn John Smith or Mary
"Wait a minute," said Amory quietly. "Just drop
that big-bully stuff. We merely got caught, that's all."
Olson glared at him.
"Name?" he snapped.
Amory gave his name and New York address.
"And the lady?"
"Miss Jill "
THE SUPERCILIOUS SACRIFICE 269
"Say," cried Olson indignantly, "just ease up on the
nursery rhymes. What's your name? Sarah Murphy?
"Oh. my God ! " cried the girl cupping her tear-stained
face in her hands. "I don't want my mother to know.
I don't want my mother to know."
"Come on now!"
"Shut up !" cried Amory at Olson.
An instant's pause.
"Stella Robbins," she faltered finally. "General
Delivery, Rugway, New Hampshire."
Olson snapped his note-book shut and looked at them
"By rights the hotel could turn the evidence over to
the police and you'd go to penitentiary, you would, for
bringin' a girl from one State to 'nother f'r immoral pur-
p'ses " he paused to let the majesty of his words sink
in. "But the hotel is going to let you off."
"It doesn't want to get in the papers," cried Jill
fiercely. "Let us off! Huh!"
A great lightness surrounded Amory. He realized that
he was safe and only then did he appreciate the full
enormity of what he might have incurred.
"However," continued Olson, "there's a protective
association among the hotels. There's been too much of
this stuff, and we got a 'rangement with the newspapers
so that you get a little free publicity. Not the name of
the hotel, but just a line sayin' that you had a little
trouble in 'lantic City. See?"
"You're gettin' off light damn light but "
"Come on," said Amory briskly. "Let's get out of
here. We don't need a valedictory."
Olson walked through the bathroom and took a cur-
sory glance at Alec's still form. Then he extinguished the
270 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
lights and motioned them to follow him. As they walked
into the elevator Amory considered a piece of bravado
yielded finally. He reached out and tapped Olson on the
"Would you mind taking off your hat? There's a
lady in the elevator."
Olson's hat came off slowly. There was a rather em-
barrassing two minutes under the lights of the lobby
while the night clerk and a few belated guests stared at
them curiously; the loudly dressed girl with bent head,
the handsome young man with his chin several points
aloft; the inference was quite obvious. Then the chill
outdoors where the salt air was fresher and keener
still with the first hints of morning.
"You can get one of those taxis and beat it," said
Olson, pointing to the blurred outline of two machines
whose drivers were presumably asleep inside.
"Good-by," said Olson. He reached in his pocket
suggestively, but Amory snorted, and, taking the girl's
arm, turned away.
"Where did you tell the driver to go?" she asked as
they whirled along the dim street.
"If that guy writes my mother "
"He won't. Nobody'll ever know about this except
our friends and enemies."
Dawn was breaking over the sea.
"It's getting blue," she said.
"It does very well," agreed Amory critically, and
then as an after- thought: "It's almost breakfast- time
do you want something to eat?"
"Food " she said with a cheerful laugh. "Food is
what queered the party. We ordered a big supper to
be sent up to the room about two o'clock. Alec didn't
THE SUPERCILIOUS SACRIFICE 271
give the -waiter a tip, so I guess the little bastard
Jill's low spirits seemed to have gone faster than the
scattering night. "Let me tell you," she said emphat-
ically, "when you want to stage that sorta party stay
away from liquor, and when you want to get tight stay
away from bedrooms."
He tapped suddenly at the glass and they drew up at
the door of an all-night restaurant.
"Is Alec a great friend of yours?" asked Jill as they
perched themselves on high stools inside, and set their
elbows on the dingy counter.
"He used to be. He probably won't want to be any
more and never "understand why."
"It was sorta crazy you takin' all that blame. Is he
pretty important? Kinda more important than you
"That remains to be seen," he answered. "Tttat's
THE COLLAPSE OF SEVERAL PILLARS
Two days later back in New York Amory found in a
newspaper what he had been searching for a dcen
lines which announced to whom it might concern that
Mr. Amory Elaine, who "gave his address" as, etc., had
been requested to leave his hotel in Atlantic City be-
cause of entertaining in his room a lady not his wife.
Then he started, and his ringers trembled, for directly
above was a longer paragraph of which the first words
"Mr. and Mrs. Leland R. Connage are announcing
272 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
the engagement of their daughter, Rosalind, to Mr. J.
Dawson Ryder, of Hartford, Connecticut
He dropped the paper and lay down on his bed with a
frightened, sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach.
She was gone, definitely, finally gone. Until now he had
half unconsciously cherished the hope deep in his heart
that some day she would need him and send for him,
cry that it had been a mistake, that her heart ached only
for the pain she had caused him. Never again could he
find even the sombre luxury of wanting her not this
Rosalind, harder, older nor any beaten, broken woman
that his imagination brought to the door of his forties
Amory had wanted her youth, the fresh radiance of her
mind and body, the stuff that she was selling now once
and for all. So far as he was concerned, young Rosalind
A day later came a crisp, terse letter from Mr. Barton
in Chicago, which informed him that as three more
street-car companies had gone into the hands of receivers
he could expect for the present no further remittances.
Last of all, on a dazed Sunday night, a telegram told
him of Monsignor Darcy's sudden death in Philadelphia
five days before.
He knew then what it was that he had perceived among
the curtains of the room in Atlantic City.
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE
"A fathom deep in sleep I lie
With old desires, restrained before,
To clamor lifeward with a cry,
As dark flies out the greying door;
And so in quest of creeds to share
I seek assertive day again . . .
But old monotony is there:
Endless avenues of rain.
Oh, might I rise again I Might I
Throw of the heat of that old wine,
See the new morning mass the sky
With fairy towers, line on line;
Find each mirage in the high air
A symbol, not a dream again . . .
But old monotony is there :
Endless avenues of rain.''
UNDER the glass portcullis of a theatre Amory stood,
watching the first great drops of rain splatter down and
flatten to dark stains on the sidewalk. The air became
gray and opalescent; a solitary light suddenly outlined
a window over the way; then another light; then a
hundred more danced and glimmered into vision.
Under his feet a thick, iron-studded skylight turned
yellow; in the street the lamps of the taxi-cabs sent out
glistening sheens along the already black pavement.
The unwelcome November rain had perversely stolen
the day's last hour and pawned it with that ancient
fence, the night.
The silence of the theatre behind him ended with a
curious snapping sound, followed by the heavy roaring
274 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
of a rising crowd and the interlaced clatter of many
voices. The matinee was over.
He stood aside, edged a little into the rain to let the
throng pass. A small boy rushed out, sniffed in the
damp, fresh air and turned up the collar of his coat;
came three or four couples in a great hurry; came a
further scattering of people whose eyes as they emerged
glanced invariably, first at the wet street, then at the
rain-filled air, finally at the dismal sky; last a dense,
strolling mass that depressed him with its heavy odor
compounded of the tobacco smell of the men and the
fetid sensuousness of stale powder on women. After
the thick crowd came another scattering; a stray half-
dozen; a man on crutches; finally the rattling bang of
folding seats inside announced that the ushers were at
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 pro-
tected 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.
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 275
He pictured the rooms where these people lived
where the patterns of the blistered wall-papers were
heavy reiterated sunflowers on green and yellow back-
grounds, 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 peo-
ple 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 any actual hardship
moulded of mire and sweat and danger, it was an atmos-
phere wherein birth and marriage and death were
loathsome, secret things.
He remembered one day in the subway when a de-
livery boy had brought in a great funeral wreath of fresh
flowers, how the smell of it had suddenly cleared the air
and given every one in the car a momentary glow.
"I detest poor people," thought Amory suddenly.
"I hate them for being poor. Poverty may have been
beautiful once, but it's rotten now. It's the ugliest
thing in the world. It's essentially cleaner to be cor-
rupt and rich than it is to be innocent and poor." He
seemed to see again a figure whose significance had once
impressed him a well-dressed young man gazing from
a club window on Fifth Avenue and saying something
276 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
to his companion with a look of utter disgust. Prob-
ably, thought Amory, what he said was: "My God!
Aren't people horrible ! "
Never before in his life had Amory considered poor
people. He thought cynically how completely he was
lacking in all human sympathy. O. Henry had found
in these people romance, pathos, love, hate Amory
saw only coarseness, physical filth, and stupidity. He
made no self-accusations: never any more did he re-
proach himself for feelings that were natural and sin-
cere. He accepted all his reactions as a part of him,
unchangeable, unmoral. This problem of poverty trans-
formed, magnified, attached to some grander, more
dignified attitude might some day even be his problem;
at present it roused only his profound distaste.
He walked over to Fifth Avenue, dodging the blind,
black menace of umbrellas, and standing in front of
Delmonico's hailed an auto-bus. Buttoning his coat
closely around him he climbed to the roof, where he rode
in solitary state through the thin, persistent rain, stung
into alertness by the cool moisture perpetually reborn
on his cheek. Somewhere in his mind a conversation
began, rather resumed its place in his attention. It was
composed not of two voices, but of one, which acted alike
as questioner and answerer:
Question.-~^We]l what's the situation?
Answer. That I have about twenty-four dollars to
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.
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 277
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
Q. An interesting idea.
A. That's why a "good man going wrong" attracts
people. They stand around and literally warm them-
selves at the calories of virtue he gives off. Sarah makes
an unsophisticated remark and the faces simper in de-
light "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?
278 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
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 ate the candy. They don't. They just
want the fun of eating it all over again. The matron
doesn't want to repeat her girlhood she wants to repeat
her honeymoon. I don't want to repeat my innocence.
I want the pleasure of losing it again.
Q. Where are you drifting?
This dialogue merged grotesquely into his mind's
most familiar state a grotesque blending of desires,
worries, exterior impressions and physical reactions.
One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Street or One
Hundred and Thirty-seventh Street. . . . Two and
three look alike no, not much. Seat damp . . . are
clothes absorbing wetness from seat, or seat absorbing
dryness from clothes? . . . Sitting on wet substance
gave appendicitis, so Froggy Parker's mother said.
Well, he'd had it I'll sue the steamboat company,
Beatrice said, and my uncle has a quarter interest did
Beatrice go to heaven? . . . probably not He rep-
resented Beatrice's immortality, also love-affairs of
numerous dead men who surely had never thought of
him ... if it wasn't appendicitis, influenza maybe.
What? One Hundred and Twentieth Street? That
must have been One Hundred and Twelfth back there.
One O Two instead of One Two Seven. Rosalind not
like Beatrice, Eleanor like Beatrice, only wilder and
brainier. Apartments along here expensive probably
hundred and fifty a month maybe two hundred.
Uncle had only paid hundred a month for whole great
big house in Minneapolis. Question were the stairs
on the left or right as you came in? Anyway, in 12
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 279
Univee they were straight back and to the left. What
a dirty river want to go down there and see if it's
dirty French rivers all brown or black, so were South-
ern rivers. Twenty-four dollars meant four hundred and
eighty doughnuts. He could live on it three months and
sleep in the park. Wonder where Jill was Jill Bayne,
Fayne, Sayne what the devil neck hurts, darned un-
comfortable seat. No desire to sleep with Jill, what
could Alec see in her ? Alec had a coarse taste in women.
Own taste the best; Isabelle, Clara, Rosalind, Eleanor,
were all-American. Eleanor would pitch, probably
southpaw. Rosalind was outfield, wonderful hitter,
Clara first base, maybe. Wonder what Humbird's body
looked like now. If he himself hadn't been bayonet
instructor he'd have gone up to line three months
sooner, probably been killed. Where's the darned
The street numbers of Riverside Drive were obscured
by the mist and dripping trees from anything but the
swiftest scrutiny, but Amory had finally caught sight of
one One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Street. He got
off and with no distinct destination followed a winding,
descending sidewalk and came out facing the river, in
particular a long pier and a partitioned litter of ship-
yards for miniature craft: small launches, canoes, row-
boats, and catboats. He turned northward and fol-
lowed the shore, jumped a small wire fence and found
himself in a great disorderly yard adjoining a dock.
The hulls of many boats in various stages of repair
were around him; he smelled sawdust and paint and the
scarcely distinguishable flat odor of the Hudson. A
man approached through the heavy gloom.
"Hello," said Amory.
"Got a pass?"
"No. Is this private?"
2 8o THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"This is the Hudson River Sporting and Yacht
"Oh ! I didn't know. I'm just resting."
"Well " began the man dubiously.
"I'll go if you want me to."
The man made non-committal noises in his throat
and passed on. Amory seated himself on an overturned
boat and leaned forward thoughtfully until his chin
rested in his hand.
"Misfortune is liable to make me a damn bad
man," he said slowly.
IN THE DROOPING HOURS
While the rain drizzled on Amory looked futilely back
at the stream of his life, all its glitterings and dirty
shallows. To begin with, he was still afraid not phys-
ically afraid any more, but afraid of people and prejudice
and misery and monotony. Yet, deep in his bitter heart,
he wondered if he was after all worse than this man or
the next. He knew that he could sophisticate himself
finally into saying that his own weakness was just the
result of circumstances and environment; that often
when he raged at himself as an egotist something would
whisper ingratiatingly: "No. Genius!" That was one
manifestation of fear, that voice which whispered that
he could not be both great and good, that genius was
the exact combination of those inexplicable grooves and
twists in his mind, that any discipline would curb it to
mediocrity. Probably more than any concrete vice or
failing Amory despised his own personality he loathed
knowing that to-morrow and the thousand days after
he would swell pompously at a compliment and sulk at
an ill word like a third-rate musician or a first-class
actor. He was ashamed of the fact that very simple
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 281
and honest people usually distrusted him; that he had
been cruel, often, to those who had sunk their per-
sonalities in him several girls, and a man here and there
through college, that he had been an evil influence on;
people who had followed him here and there into mental
adventures from which he alone rebounded unscathed.
Usually, on nights like this, for there had been many
lately, he could escape from this consuming introspec-
tion by thinking of children and the infinite possibilities
of children he leaned and listened and he heard a
startled baby awake in a house across the street and
lend a tiny whimper to the still night. Quick as a flash
he turned away, wondering with a touch of panic whether
something in the brooding despair of his mood had made
a darkness in its tiny soul. He shivered. What if some
day the balance was overturned, and he became a thing
that frightened children and crept into rooms in the
dark, approached dim communion with those phantoms
who whispered shadowy secrets to the mad of that dark
continent upon the moon. . . .
Amory smiled a bit.
"You're too much wrapped up in yourself," he heard
some one say. And again
"Get out and do some real work "
"Stop worrying "
He fancied a possible future comment of his own.
"Yes I was perhaps an egotist in youth, but I soon
found it made me morbid to think too much about my-
Suddenly he felt an overwhelming desire to let him-
self go to the devil not to go violently as a gentleman
should, but to sink safely and sensuously out of sight.
He pictured himself in an adobe house in Mexico, half-
282 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
reclining on a rug-covered couch, his slender, artistic
fingers closed on a cigarette while he listened to guitars
strumming melancholy undertones to an age-old dirge
of Castile and an olive-skinned, carmine-lipped girl
caressed his hair. Here he might live a strange litany,
delivered from right and wrong and from the hound of
heaven and from every God (except the exotic Mexican
one who was pretty slack himself and rather addicted to
Oriental scents) delivered from success and hope and
poverty into that long chute of indulgence which led,
after all, only to the artificial lake of death.
There were so many places where one might deterio-
rate pleasantly: Port Said, Shanghai, parts of Turkes-
tan, Constantinople, the South Seas all lands of sad,
haunting music and many odors, where lust could be a
mode and expression of life, where the shades of night
skies and sunsets would seem to reflect only moods of
passion: the colors of lips and poppies.
Once he had been miraculously able to scent evil as a
horse detects a broken bridge at night, but the man with
the queer feet in Phoebe's room had diminished to the
aura over Jill. His instinct perceived the fetidness of
poverty, but no longer ferreted out the deeper evils hi
pride and sensuality.
There were no more wise men; there were no more
heroes; Burne Holiday was sunk from sight as though
he had never lived; Monsignor was dead. Amory had
grown up to a thousand books, a thousand lies; he had
listened eagerly to people who pretended to know, who
knew nothing. The mystical reveries of saints that had
once filled him with awe in the still hours of night, now
vaguely repelled him. The Byrons and Brookes who
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 283
had defied life from mountain tops were in the end but
flaneurs and poseurs, at best mistaking the shadow of
courage for the substance of wisdom. The pageantry of
his disillusion took shape in a world-old procession of
Prophets, Athenians, Martyrs, Saints, Scientists, Don
Juans, Jesuits, Puritans, Fausts, Poets, Pacifists; like
costumed alumni at a college reunion they streamed be-
fore him as their dreams, personalities, and creeds had
in turn thrown colored lights on his soul; each had tried
to express the glory of life and the tremendous sig-
nificance of man; each had boasted of synchronizing
what had gone before into his own rickety generalities;
each had depended after all on the set stage and the
convention of the theatre, which is that man in his
hunger for faith will feed his mind with the nearest and
most convenient food.
Women of whom he had expected so much; whose
beauty he had hoped to transmute into modes of art;
whose unfathomable instincts, marvellously incoherent
and inarticulate, he had thought to perpetuate in terms
of experience had become merely consecrations to then-
own posterity. Isabelle, Clara, Rosalind, Eleanor, were
all removed by their very beauty, around which men
had swarmed, from the possibility of contributing any-
thing but a sick heart and a page of puzzled words to
Amory based his loss of faith in help from others on
several sweeping syllogisms. Granted that his genera-
tion, however bruised and decimated from this Vic-
torian war, were the heirs of progress. Waving aside
petty differences of conclusions which, although they
might occasionally cause the deaths of several millions
of young men, might be explained away supposing that
after all Bernard Shaw and Bernhardi, Bonar Law and
Bethmann-Hollweg were mutual heirs of progress if only
284 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
in agreeing against the ducking of witches waiving the
antitheses and approaching individually these men who
seemed to be the leaders, he was repelled by the dis-
crepancies and contradictions in the men themselves.
There was, for example, Thornton Hancock, respected
by half the intellectual world as an authority on life, a
man who had verified and believed the code he lived by,
an educator of educators, an adviser to 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
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 en-
closure 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 disil-
lusion left the enclosure and sought the labyrinth.
There were men like Wells and Plato, who had, half un-
consciously, 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 personali-
ties, Samuel Butler, Renan, Voltaire, who progressed
much slower, yet eventually much further, not in the
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 285
direct pessimistic line of speculative philosophy but con-
cerned 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 epi-
grams. 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
Life was a damned muddle ... a football game with
every one off-side and the referee gotten rid of every
one claiming the referee would have been on his
side. . . .
Progress was a labyrinth . . . people plunging blindly
in and then rushing wildly back, shouting that they had
found it ... the invisible king the elan vital the
principle of evolution . . . writing a book, starting a
war, founding a school. . . .
Amory, even had he not been a selfish man, would
have started all inquiries with himself. He was his
own .best example sitting in the rain, a human creature
of sex and pride, foiled by chance and his own tempera-
ment of the balm of love and children, preserved to help
in building up the living consciousness of the race.
In self-reproach and loneliness and disillusion he came
to the entrance of the labyrinth.
Another dawn flung itself across the river; a belated
taxi hurried along the street, its lamps still shining like
burning eyes in a face white from a night's carouse. A
melancholy siren sounded far down the river.
THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Amory kept thinking how Monsignor would have en-
joyed his own funeral. It was magnificently Catholic
and liturgical. Bishop O'Neill sang solemn high mass
and the cardinal gave the final absolutions. Thornton
Hancock, Mrs. Lawrence, the British and Italian am-
bassadors, the papal delegate, and a host of friends
and priests were there yet the inexorable shears had
cut through all these threads that Monsignor had gath-
ered into his hands. To Amory it was a haunting
grief to see him lying in his coffin, with dosed hands
upon his purple vestments. His face had not changed,
and, as he never knew he was dying, it showed no pain
or fear. It was Amory's dear old friend, his and the
others' for the church was full of people with daft, star-
ing faces, the most exalted seeming the most stricken.
The cardinal, like an archangel in cope and mitre,
sprinkled the holy water; the organ broke into sound;
the choir began to sing the Requiem Eternam.
All these people grieved because they had to some
extent depended upon Monsignor. Their grief was
more than sentiment for the "crack in his voice or a
certain break in his walk," as Wells put it. These
people had leaned on Monsignor's faith, his way of
finding cheer, of making religion a thing of lights and
shadows, making all light and shadow merely aspects
of God. People felt safe when he was near.
Of Amory's attempted sacrifice had been born merely
the full realization of his disillusion, but of Monsignor's
funeral was born the romantic elf who was to enter the
labyrinth with him. He found something that he
wanted, had always wanted and always would want
not to be admired, as he had feared; not to be loved, as
he had made himself believe; but to be necessary to
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 287
people, to be indispensable; he remembered the sense of
security he had found in Burne.
Life opened up in one of its amazing bursts of radiance
and Amory suddenly and permanently rejected an old
epigram that had been playing listlessly in his mind:
"Very few things matter and nothing matters very
On the contrary, Amory felt an immense desire to give
people a sense of security.
THE BIG MAN WITH GOGGLES
On the day that Amory started on his walk to Prince-
ton the sky was a colorless vault, cool, high and barren
of the threat of rain. It was a gray day, that least
fleshly of all weathers; a day of dreams and far hopes
and clear visions. It was a day easily associated with
those abstract truths and purities that dissolve in the
sunshine or fade out in mocking laughter by the light
of the moon. The trees and clouds were carved in
classical severity; the sounds of the countryside had
harmonized to a monotone, metallic as a trumpet,
breathless as the Grecian urn.
The day had put Amory in such a contemplative mood
that he caused much annoyance to several motorists
who were forced to slow up considerably or else run him
down. So engrossed in his thoughts was he that he was
scarcely surprised at that strange phenomenon cor-
diality manifested within fifty miles of Manhattan
when a passing car slowed down beside him and a voice
hailed him. He looked up and saw a magnificent Loco-
mobile in which sat two middle-aged men, one of them
small and anxious looking, apparently an artificial
growth on the other who was large and begoggled and
288 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"Do you want a lift?" asked the apparently artificial
growth, glancing from the corner of his eye at the im-
posing man as if for some habitual, silent corroboration.
"You bet I do. Thanks."
The chauffeur swung open the door, and, climbing in,
Amory settled himself in the middle of the back seat.
He took in his companions curiously. The chief char-
acteristic of the big man seemed to be a great confidence
in himself set off against a tremendous boredom with
everything around him. That part of his face which
protruded under the goggles was what is generally
termed "strong"; rolls of not undignified fat had col-
lected near his chin; somewhere above was a wide thin
mouth and the rough model for a Roman nose, and, be-
low, his shoulders collapsed without a struggle into the
powerful bulk of his chest and belly. He was excellently
and quietly dressed. Amory noticed that he was in-
clined to stare straight at the back of the chauffeur's
head as if speculating steadily but hopelessly some baf-
fling hirsute problem.
The smaller man was remarkable only for his com-
plete submersion in the personality of the other. He
was of that lower secretarial type who at forty have
engraved upon their business cards: "Assistant to the
President," and without a sigh consecrate the rest of
their lives to second-hand mannerisms.
"Going far?" asked the smaller man in a pleasant
"Quite a stretch."
"Hiking for exercise?"
"No," responded Amory succinctly, "I'm walking be-
cause I can't afford to ride."
"Are you looking for work? Because there's lots of
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 289
work/' he continued rather testily. "All this talk of
lack of work. The West is especially short of labor."
He expressed the West with a sweeping, lateral gesture.
Amory nodded politely.
"H^ve you a trade?"
No Amory had no trade.
No Amory was not a clerk.
"Whatever your line is," said the little man, seeming
to agree wisely with something Amory had said, "now
is the time of opportunity and business openings." He
glanced again toward the big man, as a lawyer grilling
a witness glances involuntarily at the jury.
Amory decided that he must say something and for
the life of him could think of only one thing to say.
"Of course I want a great lot of money "
The little man laughed mirthlessly but conscientiously.
"That's what every one wants nowadays, but they
don't want to work for it."
"A very natural, healthy desire. Almost all normal
people want to be rich without great effort except the
financiers in problem plays, who want to 'crash their
way through.' Don't you want easy money?"
"Of course not," said the secretary indignantly.
"But," continued Amory disregarding him, "being
very poor at present I am contemplating socialism as
possibly my forte."
Both men glanced at him curiously.
"These bomb throwers " The little man ceased as
words lurched ponderously from the big man's chest.
"If I thought you were a bomb thrower I'd run you
over to the Newark jail. That's what I think of Social-
"What are you," asked the big man, "one of these
290 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
parlor Bolsheviks, one of these idealists? I must say I
fail to see the difference. The idealists loaf around and
write the stuff that stirs up the poor immigrants."
"Well," said Amory, "if being an idealist is both safe
and lucrative, I might try it."
"What's your difficulty? Lost your job?"
"Not exactly, but well, call it that."
"What was it?"
"Writing copy for an advertising agency."
"Lots of money in advertising."
Amory smiled discreetly.
"Oh, I'll admit there's money in it eventually. Tal-
ent doesn't starve any more. Even art gets enough to
eat these days. Artists draw your magazine covers,
write your advertisements, hash out rag-time for your
theatres. By the great commercializing of printing
you've found a harmless, polite occupation for every
genius who might have carved his own niche. But be-
ware the artist who's an intellectual also. The artist
who doesn't fit the Rousseau, the Tolstoi, the Samuel
Butler, the Amory Blaine "
"Who's he?" demanded the little man suspiciously.
"Well," said Amory, "he's a he's an intellectual
personage not very well known at present."
The little man laughed his conscientious laugh, and
stopped rather suddenly as Amory's burning eyes turned
"What are you laughing at?"
"These intellectual people "
"Do you know what it means?"
The little man's eyes twitched nervously.
"Why, it usually means "
"It always means brainy and well-educated," inter-
rupted Amory. "It means having an active knowledge
of the race's experience." Amory decided to be very
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 291
rude. He turned to the big man. "The young man,"
he indicated the secretary with his thumb, and said
young man as one says bell-boy, with no implication of
youth, "has the usual muddled connotation of all
"You object to the fact that capital controls print-
ing?" said the big man, fixing him with his goggles.
"Yes and I object to doing their mental work for
them. It seemed to me that the root of all the business
I saw around me consisted in overworking and under-
paying a bunch of dubs who submitted to it."
"Here now," said the big man, "you'll have to admit
that the laboring man is certainly highly paid five and
six hour days it's ridiculous. You can't buy an honest
day's work from a man in the trades-unions."
"You've brought it on yourselves," insisted Amory.
"You people never make concessions until they're wrung
out of you."
"Your class; the class I belonged to until recently;
those who by inheritance or industry or brains or dis-
honesty have become the moneyed class."
"Do you imagine that if that road-mender over there
had the money he'd be any more willing to give it up?"
"'No, but what's that got to do with it?"
The older man considered.
"No, I'll admit it hasn't. It rather sounds as if it
"In fact," continued Amory, "he'd be worse. The
lower classes are narrower, less pleasant and personally
more selfish certainly more stupid. But all that has
nothing to do with the question."
"Just exactly what is the question?"
Here Amory had to pause to consider exactly what the
292 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
AMORY COINS A PHRASE
"When life gets hold of a brainy man of fair educa-
tion," began Amory slowly, "that is, when he marries
he becomes, nine times out of ten, a conservative as far
as existing social conditions are concerned. He may be
unselfish, kind-hearted, even just in his own way, but
his first job is to provide and to hold fast. His wife
shoos him on, from ten thousand a year to twenty thou-
sand a year, on and on, in an enclosed treadmill that
hasn't any windows. He's done ! Life's got him ! He's
no help ! He's a spiritually married man."
Amory paused and decided that it wasn't such a bad
" Some men," he continued, " escape the grip. Maybe
their wives have no social ambitions; maybe they've hit
a sentence or two in a 'dangerous book' that pleased
them; maybe they started on the treadmill as I did and
were knocked off. Anyway, they're the congressmen
you can't bribe, the Presidents who aren't politicians,
the writers, speakers, scientists, statesmen who aren't
just popular grab-bags for a half-dozen women and
"He's the natural radical?"
"Yes," said Amory. "He may vary from the disil-
lusioned critic like old Thornton Hancock, all the way to
Trotsky. Now this spiritually unmarried man hasn't
direct power, for unfortunately the spiritually married
man, as a by-product of his money chase, has garnered
in the great newspaper, the popular magazine, the in-
fluential weekly so that Mrs. Newspaper, Mrs. Maga-
zine, Mrs. Weekly can have a better limousine than those
oil people across the street or those cement people 'round
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 293
" It makes wealthy men the keepers of the world's in-
tellectual conscience and, of course, a man who has money
under one set of social institutions quite naturally can't
risk his family's happiness by letting the clamor for an-
other appear in his newspaper."
"But it appears," said the big man.
"Where? in the discredited mediums. Rotten
"All right go on."
"Well, my first point is that through a mixture of
conditions of which the family is the first, there are these
two sorts of brains. One sort takes human nature as it
finds it, uses its timidity, its weakness, and its strength
for its own ends. Opposed is the man who, being
spiritually unmarried, continually seeks for new sys-
tems that will control or counteract human nature. His
problem is harder. It is not life that's complicated,
it's the struggle to guide and control life. That is his
struggle. He is a part of progress the spiritually
married man is not."
The big man produced three big cigars, and proffered
them on his huge palm. The little man took one,
Amory shook his head and reached for a cigarette.
"Go on talking," said the big man. "I've been want-
ing to hear one of you fellows."
"Modern life," began Amory again, "changes no
longer century by century, but year by year, ten times
faster than it eveir has before populations doubling,
civilizations unified more closely with other civilizations,
economic inter5lependence, racial questions, and we're
dawdling along. My idea is that we've got to go very
much faster." He slightly emphasized the last words
294 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
and the chauffeur unconsciously increased the speed ol
the car. Amory and the big man laughed; the little
man laughed, too, after a pause.
"Every child," said Amory, "should have an equal
start. If his father can endow him with a good physique
and his mother with some common sense in his early
education, that should be his heritage. If the father
can't give him a good physique, if the mother has spent
in chasing men 'the years in which she should have been
preparing herself to educate her children, so much the
worse for the child. He shouldn't be artificially bol-
stered up with money, sent to these horrible tutoring
schools, dragged through college . . . Every boy
ought to have an equal start."
"All right," said the big man, his goggles indicating
neither approval nor objection.
"Next I'd have a fair trial of government ownership
of all industries."
"That's been proven a failure."
"No it merely failed. If we had government owner-
ship we'd have the best analytical business minds in the
government working for something besides themselves.
We'd have Mackays instead of Burlesons; we'd have
Morgans in the Treasury Department; we'd have Hills
running interstate commerce. We'd have the best
lawyers in the Senate."
"They wouldn't give their best efforts for nothing.
"No," said Amory, shaking his head. "Money isn't
the only stimulous that brings out the best that's in a
man, even in America."
"You said a while ago that it was."
"It is, right now. But if it were made illegal to have
more than a certain amount the best men would all
flock for the one other reward which attracts humanity
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 295
The big man made a sound that was very like boo.
"That's the silliest thing you've said yet"
"No, it isn't silly. It's quite plausible. If you'd
gone to college you'd have been struck by the fact
that the men there would work twice as hard for any
one of a hundred petty honors as those other men did
who were earning their way through."
"Kids child's play!" scoffed his antagonist.
"Not by a darned sight unless we're all children.
Did you ever see a grown man when he's trying for a
secret society or a rising family whose name is up at
some club ? They'll jump when they hear the sound of
the word. The idea that to make a man work you've
got to hold gold in front of his eyes is a growth, not an
axiom. We've done that for so long that we've forgotten
there's any other way. We've made a world where
that's necessary. Let me tell you" Amory became
emphatic "if there were ten men insured against either
wealth or starvation, and offered a green ribbon for five
hours' work a day and a blue ribbon for ten hours' work
a day, nine out of ten of them would be trying for the
blue ribbon. That competitive instinct only wants a
badge. If the size of their house is the badge they'll
sweat their heads off for that. If it's only a blue ribbon,
I damn near believe they'll work just as hard. They
have in other ages."
"I don't agree with you."
"I know it," said Amory nodding sadly. "It doesn't
matter any more though. I think these people are going
to come and take what they want pretty soon."
A fierce hiss came from the little man.
"Ah, but you've taught them their use."
The big man shook his head.
"In this country there are enough property owners not
to permit that sort of thing."
296 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Amory wished he knew the statistics of property own-
ers and non-property owners; he decided to change the
But the big man was aroused.
"When you talk of 'taking things away/ you're on
"How can they get it without taking it? For years
people have been stalled off with promises. Socialism
may not be progress, but the threat of the red flag is
certainly the inspiring force of all reform. You've got
to be sensational to get attention."
"Russia is your example of a beneficent violence, I
"Quite possibly," admitted Amory. "Of course, it's
overflowing just as the French Revolution did, but I've
no doubt that it's really a great experiment and well
"Don't you believe in moderation?"
"You won't listen to the moderates, and it's almost
too late. The truth is that the public has done one of
those startling and amazing things that they do about
once in a hundred years. They've seized an idea."
"What is it?"
"That however the brains and abilities of men may
differ, their stomachs are essentially the same."
THE LITTLE MAN GETS His
"If you took all the money in the world," said the
little man with much profundity, "and divided it up in
"Oh, shut up!" said Amory briskly and, paying no
attention to the little man's enraged stare, he went on
with his argument.
"The human stomach " he began; but the big man
interrupted rather impatiently.
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 297
"I'm letting you talk, you know," he said, "but please
avoid stomachs. I've been feeling mine all day. Any-
way, I don't agree with one-half you've said. Govern-
ment ownership is the basis of your whole argument, and
it's invariably a beehive of corruption. Men won't
work for blue ribbons, that's all rot."
When he ceased the little man spoke up with a deter-
mined nod, as if resolved this time to have his say out.
"There are certain things which are human nature,"
he asserted with an owl-like look, "which always have
been and always will be, which can't be changed."
Amory looked from the small man to the big man
"Listen to that! That's what makes me discouraged
with progress. Listen to that ! I can name offhand over
one hundred natural phenomena that have been changed
by the will of man a hundred instincts in man that
have been wiped out or are now held in check by civiliza-
tion. What this man here just said has been for thou-
sands of years the last refuge of the associated mutton-
heads of the world. It negates the efforts of every scien-
tist, statesman, moralist, reformer, doctor, and philoso-
pher that ever gave his life to humanity's service. It's
a flat impeachment of all that's worth while in human
nature. Every person over twenty-five years old who
makes that statement in cold blood ought to be deprived
of the franchise."
The little man leaned back against the seat, his face
purple with rage. Amory continued, addressing his re-
marks to the big man.
"These quarter-educated, stale-minded men such as
your friend here, who think they think; every question
that comes up, you'll find his type in the usual ghastly
muddle. One minute it's ' the brutality and inhumanity
of these Prussians' the next it's 'we ought to extermi-
nate the whole German people.' They always believe
298 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
that 'things are in a bad way now,' but they 'haven't
any faith in these idealists.' One minute they call
Wilson 'just a dreamer, not practical' a year later
they rail at him for making his dreams realities. They
haven't clear logical ideas on one single subject except
a sturdy, stolid opposition to all change. They don't
think uneducated people should be highly paid, but
they won't see that if they don't pay the uneducated
people their children are going to be uneducated too,
and we're going round and round in a circle. That is
the great middle class!"
The big man with a broad grin on his face leaned over
and smiled at the little man.
"You're catching it pretty heavy, Garvin; how do
you feel ? "
The little man made an attempt to smile and act as if
the whole matter were so ridiculous as to be beneath
notice. But Amory was not through.
"The theory that people are fit to govern themselves
rests on this man. If he can be educated to think
clearly, concisely, and logically, freed of his habit of
taking refuge in platitudes and prejudices and senti-
mentalisms, then I'm a militant Socialist. If he can't,
then I don't think it matters much what happens to
man or his systems, now or hereafter."
"I am both interested and amused," said the big man.
"You are very young."
"Which may only mean that I have neither been cor-
rupted nor made timid by contemporary experience. I
possess the most valuable experience, the experience of
the race, for in spite of going to college I've managed to
pick up a good education."
"You talk glibly."
"It's not all rubbish," cried Amory passionately.
"This is the first time in my life I've argued Socialism.
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 299
It's the only panacea I know. I'm restless. My whole
generation is restless. I'm sick of a system where the
richest man gets the most beautiful girl if he wants her,
where the artist without an income has to sell his talents
to a button manufacturer. Even if I had no talents I'd
not be content to work ten years, condemned either to
celibacy or a furtive indulgence, to give some man's son
"But, if you're not sure "
"That doesn't matter," exclaimed Amory. "My
position couldn't be worse. A social revolution might
land me on top. Of course I'm selfish. It seems to me
I've been a fish out of water in too many outworn sys-
tems. I was probably one of the two dozen men in my
class at college who got a decent education; still they'd
let any well-tutored flathead play football and / was
ineligible, because some silly old men thought we should
all profit by conic sections. I loathed the army. I
loathed business. I'm in love with change and I've
killed my conscience "
"So you'll go along crying that we must go faster."
"That, at least, is true," Amory insisted. "Reform
won't catch up to the needs of civilization unless it's
made to. A laissez-faire policy is like spoiling a child
by saying he'll turn out all right in the end. He will
if he's made to."
"But you don't believe all this Socialist patter you
" I don't know. Until I talked to you I hadn't thought
seriously about it. I wasn't sure of half of what I said."
"You puzzle me," said the big man, "but you're all
alike. They say Bernard Shaw, in spite of his doctrines,
is the most exacting of all dramatists about his royal-
ties. To the last farthing."
"Well," said Amory, "I simply state that I'm a
300 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
product of a versatile mind in a restless generation with
every reason to throw my mind and pen in with the
radicals. Even if, deep in my heart, I thought we were
all blind atoms in a world as limited as a stroke of a
pendulum, I and my sort would struggle against tra-
dition; try, at least, to displace old cants with new ones.
I've thought I was right about life at various times,
but faith is difficult. One thing I know. If living isn't
a seeking for the grail it may be a damned amusing
For a minute neither spoke and then the big man
"What was your university?"
. The big man became suddenly interested; the ex-
pression of his goggles altered slightly.
"I sent my son to Princeton."
"Perhaps you knew him. His name was Jesse Fer-
renby. He was killed last year in France."
"I knew him very well. In fact, he was one of my
"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 EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 301
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
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 Gro-
ton, 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 primi-
tive 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.
"This is not a quality that will change when I 'see
human suffering' or 'lose my parents' or 'help others.'
3 o2 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
"This selfishness is not only part of me. It is the
most living part.
"It is by somehow transcending rather than h' r avoid-
ing that selfishness that I can bring poise and balance
into my life.
"There is no virtue of unselfishness that I cannot use.
I can make sacrifices, be charitable, give to a friend,
endure for a friend, lay down my life for a friend all
because these things may be the best possible expres-
sion of myself; yet I have not one drop of the milk of
The problem of evil had solidified for Amory into the
problem of sex. He was beginning to identify evil with
the strong phallic worship in Brooke and the early Wells.
Inseparably linked with evil was beauty beauty, still
a constant rising tumult; soft in Eleanor's voice, in an
old song at night, rioting deliriously through life like
superimposed waterfalls, half rhythm, half darkness.
Amory knew that every time he had reached toward it
longingly it had leered out at him with the grotesque
face of evil. Beauty of great art, beauty of all joy, most
of all the beauty of women.
After all, it had too many associations with license
and indulgence. Weak things were often beautiful, weak
things were never good. And in this new loneness of
his that had been selected for what greatness he might
achieve, beauty must be relative or, itself a harmony, it
would make only a discord.
In a sense this gradual renunciation of beauty was the
second step after his disillusion had been made com-
plete. He felt that he was leaving behind him his chance
of being a certain type of artist. It seemed so much
more important to be a certain sort of man.
His mind turned a corner suddenly and he found him-
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 303
self thinking of the Catholic Church. The idea was
strong in him that there was a certain intrinsic lack in
those f/a whom orthodox religion was necessary, and
religion to Amory meant the Church of Rome. Quite
conceivably it was an empty ritual but it was seemingly
the only assimilative, traditionary bulwark against the
decay of morals. Until the great mobs could be edu-
cated into a moral sense some one must cry: "Thou
shalt not!" Yet any acceptance was, for the present,
impossible. He wanted time and the absence of ulterior
pressure. He wanted to keep the tree without orna-
ments, realize fully the direction and momentum of this
The afternoon waned from the purging good of three
o'clock to the golden beauty of four. Afterward he
walked through the dull ache of a setting sun when even
the clouds seemed bleeding and at twilight he came to
a graveyard. There was a dusky, dreamy smell of
flowers and the ghost of a new moon in the sky and
shadows everywhere. On an impulse he considered
trying to open the door of a rusty iron vault built into
the side of a hill; a vault washed clean and covered with
late-blooming, weepy watery-blue flowers that might
have grown from dead eyes, sticky to the touch with a
Amory wanted to feel "William Dayfield, 1864."
He wondered that graves ever made people consider
life in vain. Somehow he could find nothing hopeless
in having lived. All the broken columns and clasped
hands and doves and angels meant romances. He
fancied that in a hundred years he would like having
young people speculate as to whether his eyes were
brown or blue, and he hoped quite passionately that his
304 THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
grave would have about it an air of many, many years
ago. It seemed strange that out of g, row of Union sol-
diers two or three made him think of dead loves and
dead lovers, when they were exactly Eke the rest, even
to the yellowish moss.
Long after midnight the towers and spires of Prince-
ton were visible, with here and there a late-burning
light and suddenly out of the clear darkness the sound
of bells. As an endless dream it went on; the spirit of
the past brooding over a new generation, the chosen
youth from the muddled, unchastened world, still fed
romantically on the mistakes and half-forgotten dreams
of dead statesmen and poets. Here was a new genera-
tion, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds,
through a revery of long days and nights; destined finally
to go out into that dirty gray turmoil to follow love and
pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last
to the fear of poverty and the worship of success;
grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all
faiths in man shaken. . . .
Amory, sorry for them, was still not sorry for him-
self art, politics, religion, whatever his medium should
be, he knew he was safe now, free from all hysteria
he could accept what was acceptable, roam, grow, rebel,
sleep deep through many nights. . . .
There was no God in his heart, he knew; his ideas were
still in riot; there was ever the pain of memory; the re-
gret for his lost youth yet the waters of disillusion had
left a deposit on his soul, responsibility and a love of
life, the faint stirring of old ambitions and unrealized
dreams. But oh, Rosalind ! Rosalind ! , N . .
"It's all a poor substitute at best," he said sadly.
And he could not tell why the struggle was worth
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE 305
while, why he had determined to use to the utmost
himself and his heritage from the personalities he had
passed. . . .
He stretched out his arms to the crystalline, radiant
"I know myself," he cried, "but that is all."