The Romantic Egotist
Amory, Son of Beatrice
AMORY BLAINE 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 posterity 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 hovered in the background of his family's life, an
unassertive 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
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 Conventan educational extravagance that in her youth
was only for the daughters of the exceptionally wealthy showed
exquisite delicacy of her features, the consummate art and
simplicity of her clothes. A brilliant education she had her
passed in renaissance glory, she was versed in the latest gossip
of the Older Roman Families; known by name as a fabulously
wealthy American 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 education 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 inferior roses to produce one
In her less important moments she returned to America, met
Stephen Blaine 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 ninety-six.
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 acquiescent bell-boys in the Waldorf, outgrowing
a natural 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
"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 up."
"I am feeling very old to-day, Amory," she would sigh, her face a
rare cameo of pathos, her voice exquisitely 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
Amory's penetrating green eyes would look out through tangled
hair at his mother. Even at this age he had no illusions about
"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 "Fjtes 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
exaltation, 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 generation would have been termed
"This son of mine," he heard her tell a room full of awestruck,
admiring women one day, "is entirely sophisticated and quite
charming but delicate we're all delicate; here, you know." Her
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 Barbara....
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 relatives to serve in place of
friends, and an enviable standing 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
"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 accents 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
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 important 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 wavering 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 simpatico"then after an
interlude filled by the clergyman"but my mood is oddly
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 Asheville, for whose passionate
kisses and unsentimental conversations she had taken a decided
penchant they had discussed the matter pro and con with an
intellectual romancing quite devoid of sappiness. 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 Monsignor Dark.
"Indeed, Mrs. Blaine, 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 Dark will understand him as he understood
Amory became thirteen, rather tall and slender, and more than
ever on to his Celtic mother. He had tutored occasionallythe 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 passengers 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.
"I 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 guys at school" how
particularly superior he felt himself 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 contemptuously, 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:
"AwI b'lieve, doncherknow, the Umuricun revolution was lawgely an
affair of the middul clawses," or
"Washington came of very good bloodaw, quite goodI b'lieve."
Amory ingeniously tried to retrieve himself by blundering 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, persistent 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 afternoon, wondering how soon he would be able to carry a
hockey-stick without getting it inexplicably tangled in his
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 preliminary draft in the back of Collar and Daniel's
"First-Year Latin," composed an answer:
My dear Miss St. Claire:
Your truly charming envitation for the evening of next Thursday
evening was truly delightful to recieve this morning. I will be
charm and inchanted indeed to present my compliments on next
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 lateness 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 fella Yes, I've met your enchanting
daughter at dancing-school."
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
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 thatas 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 unaware that his
failure to be cockney was ruining his standing. Amory considered
"But," continued the butler, his voice rising unnecessarily,
"she's the only one what is here. The party's gone."
Amory gasped in sudden horror.
"She's been waitin' for Amory Blaine. 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 only with difficulty.
"'Lo, Myra." He had described the state of his vitality.
"Wellyou got here, anyways."
"WellI'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.
"Oh, nojust a horsea 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 catch the
bob before it gets to the Minnehaha Club, Amory."
Amory's shredded poise dropped from him. He pictured 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 apologya real one this time. He
"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 blasi seclusion before the fire and quite
regain his lost attitude.
"Oh, sure Mike, we'll catch 'em all rightlet'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 dancing-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 forgive him very easily.
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."
Myra pictured an all-night tobacco debauch, with Amory pale and
reeling from the effect of nicotined lungs. She gave a little
"Oh, Amory, don't smoke. You'll stunt your growth!"
"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 exclaimed in a
rush of sentiment. "You're simpatico."
Myra was not sure that she was, but it sounded stylish though
Thick dusk had descended outside, and as the limousine made a
sudden turn she was jolted against him; their hands touched.
"You shouldn't smoke, Amory," she whispered. "Don't you know
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 haven't," very slowly.
A silence, while Amory thrilled. There was something 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 skating cap.
"Because I've got a crush, too" He paused, for he heard in the
distance the sound of young laughter, 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 handher
thumb, to be exact.
"Tell him to go to the Minnehaha straight," he whispered. "I
wanta talk to youI got to talk to you."
Myra made out the party ahead, had an instant vision of her
mother, and thenalas for conventionglanced 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 burning 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 commented, "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 terrifying imitation"she's always talkin' hard, sorta, to
"You're such a funny boy," puzzled Myra.
"How d'y' mean?" Amory gave immediate attention, on his own
ground at last.
"Ohalways talking about crazy things. Why don't you come ski-ing
with Marylyn and I to-morrow?"
"I don't like 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 boythe
little firethe sense that they were alone in the great building
Myra capitulated. The atmosphere was too appropriate.
"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 became conscious of his face and hers, of their
clinging hands, and he wanted to creep out of his body and hide
somewhere safe out of sight, up in the corner of his mind.
"Kiss me again." Her voice came out of a great void.
"I don't want to," he heard himself saying. There was another
"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 sympathetically.
"I hate you!" she cried. "Don't you ever dare to speak to me
"What?" stammered Amory.
"I'll tell mama you kissed me! I will too! I will too! I'll tell
mama, and she won't let me play with you!"
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
The door opened suddenly, and Myra's mother appeared 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 crashbut 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 of many girls humming the air, and a
faint glow was born and spread over him:
"Casey-Jonesmounted to the cab-un
Casey-Jones'th his orders in his hand.
Casey-Jonesmounted 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, rolling 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 Count!"
After several months he suspected Count of a fine piece of
Amory and Frog Parker considered that the greatest line in
literature occurred in Act III of "Arsene Lupin."
They sat in the first row at the Wednesday and Saturday matinies.
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."
Amory fell in love again, and wrote a poem. This was it:
"Marylyn and Sallee,
Those are the girls for me.
Marylyn stands above
Sallee in that sweet, deep love."
He was interested in whether McGovern of Minnesota would make the
first or second All-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
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 Din," The Police Gazette, and Jim-Jam Jems.
He had all the Henty biasses in history, and was particularly
fond of the cheerful murder stories of Mary Roberts Rinehart.
School ruined his French and gave him a distaste for standard
authors. His masters considered him idle, unreliable and
He collected locks of hair from many girls. He wore the rings of
several. Finally he could borrow no more 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. Afterward 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 voicesindefinite, fading,
enchantingjust 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 characteristic 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 "Belmont" collar with the edges
unassailably meeting, purple socks, and handkerchief with a
purple border peeping 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 aristocratic egotism.
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 Blaine.
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
Socially.Here his condition was, perhaps, most dangerous. He
granted himself personality, charm, magnetism, poise, the power
of dominating all contemporary males, the gift of fascinating all
Mentally.Complete, unquestioned superiority.
Now a confession will have to be made. Amory had rather a Puritan
conscience. Not that he yielded to itlater in life he almost
completely slew itbut at fifteen 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 interest 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 sensitiveness, or timid stupidity ... he was
a slave to his own moods and he felt that though he was capable
of 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
combined, 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 her.
"Dear boyyou're so tall ... look behind and see if there's
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 careful driver.
"You are tallbut you're still very handsomeyou'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 as if they were a
setdon't they? Is your underwear purple, too?"
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 heartyou've probably been neglecting your heartand
you don't know."
Amory thought how superficial was the recent overlay of his own
generation. Aside from a minute shyness, 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
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 foliage-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. Blaine had, as usual, retired
for the evening to his private library. After reproving him for
avoiding her, she took him for a long tˆte-`-tjte in the
moonlight. 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,
"The doctors told me"her voice sang on a confidential note"that
if any man alive had done the consistent drinking that I have, he
would have been physically shattered, my dear, and in his
gravelong in his grave."
Amory winced, and wondered how this would have sounded to Froggy
"Yes," continued Beatrice tragically, "I had dreamswonderful
visions." She pressed the palms of her hands into her eyes. "I
saw bronze rivers lapping marble shores, and great birds that
soared through the air, parti-colored birds with iridescent
plumage. I heard strange music and the flare of barbaric
Amory had snickered.
"I said go on, Beatrice."
"That was allit merely recurred and recurredgardens that flaunted
coloring against which this would be quite dull, moons that
whirled and swayed, paler than winter moons, more golden than
"Are you quite well now, Beatrice?"
"Quite wellas well as I will ever be. I am not understood, Amory.
I know that can't express it to you, Amory, butI am not
Amory was quite moved. He put his arm around his mother, rubbing
his head gently against her shoulder.
"Poor Beatricepoor Beatrice."
"Tell me about you, Amory. Did you have two horrible years?"
Amory considered lying, and then decided against it.
"No, Beatrice. I enjoyed them. I adapted myself to the
bourgeoisie. I became conventional." He surprised himself by
saying that, and he pictured how Froggy would have gaped.
"Beatrice," he said suddenly, "I want to go away to school.
Everybody in Minneapolis is going to go away to school."
Beatrice showed some alarm.
"But you're only fifteen."
"Yes, but everybody goes away to school at fifteen, and I want
On Beatrice's suggestion the subject was dropped for the rest of
the walk, but a week later she delighted him by saying:
"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 better that you
should go away. I'd have preferred you to have gone to Eton, and
then to Christ Church, Oxford, but it seems impracticable nowand
for the present we'll let the university question take care of
"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 Americanindeed, I
think that a regret typical of very vulgar people, and I feel
sure we are the great coming nationyet"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 eagleis that the right term?"
Amory agreed that it was. She would not have appreciated the
"When do I go to school?"
"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 Yalebecame a Catholic. I want him to talk to
youI 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
deadlarge, 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,
prosperous and well-dressed; Taft and Hotchkiss, which prepared
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, conventional, impressive type,
year after year; their mental stimulus the college entrance
exams; their vague purpose 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 problems of
his day and generation, and to give a solid foundation 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, 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. Monsignor was forty-four then, and bustlinga 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 Episcopalians. He was intensely
ritualistic, startlingly dramatic, 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
Richelieuat 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 sightthe jovial,
impressive prelate who could dazzle an embassy 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
"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 schoolSt. Regis's, you know."
"So your mother saysa remarkable woman; have a cigaretteI'm sure
you smoke. Well, if you're like me, you loathe all science and
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 college."
"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 differentI think of Princeton as being lazy and
good-looking and aristocraticyou know, like a spring day. Harvard
seems sort of indoors"
"And Yale is November, crisp and energetic," finished Monsignor.
They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never
"I was for Bonnie Prince Charlie," announced Amory.
"Of course you wereand for Hannibal"
"Yes, and for the Southern Confederacy." He was rather sceptical
about being an Irish patriothe suspected that being Irish was
being somewhat commonbut 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 family.
"He comes here for a rest," said Monsignor confidentially,
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."
Their 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 suggestion, 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 between these two. Monsignor
gave the effect of sunlight 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 with Parnell and Gladstone
and Bismarckand afterward 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 intellect was
concentrated on matters of popularity, the intricacies of a
university social system and American Society as represented by
Biltmore Teas and Hot Springs golf-links.
...In all, a wonderful week, that saw Amory's mind turned inside
out, a hundred of his theories confirmed, and his joy of life
crystallized to a thousand ambitions. Not that the conversation
was scholasticheaven forbid! Amory had only the vaguest idea as
to what Bernard Shaw wasbut Monsignor made quite as much out of
"The Beloved Vagabond" and "Sir Nigel," taking good care that
Amory never once felt out of his depth.
But the trumpets were sounding for Amory's preliminary 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."
THE EGOTIST DOWN
Amory's two years at St. Regis', though in turn painful 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-consciousness of a governing class; we
have, instead, clean, flaccid and innocuous preparatory schools.
He went all wrong at the start, was generally considered both
conceited and arrogant, and universally detested. 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 himself.
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 ilite 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 unhappy.
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 comfortable glow when "Wookey-wookey,"
the deaf old housekeeper, 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
studentsthat was Amory's first term. 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 finelightest man on the squad.
You ought to go away to school, Froggy. It's great stuff."
INCIDENT OF THE 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 courteous, because this Mr. Margotson had been
kindly disposed 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 delicate ground.
"Amory," he began. "I've sent for you on a personal matter."
"I've noticed you this year and II like you. I think you have in
you the makings of aa very good man."
"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.
"AhI thought you might not understand exactly what it was
theyahobjected to. I'm going to tell you, because I believeahthat
when a boy knows his difficulties he's better able to cope with
themto conform to what others expect of him." He a-hemmed again
with delicate reticence, and continued: "They seem to think that
you'reahrather too fresh"
Amory could stand no more. He rose from his chair, scarcely
controlling his voice when he spoke.
"I knowoh, 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'mI've got to go back nowhope 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 helped.
"That damn old fool!" he cried wildly. "As if I didn't know!"
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 him on
Washington's Birthday with the brilliance 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 electric 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 there was one stunning young brunette who made him
sit with brimming eyes in the ecstasy of watching her dance.
What a wonderful girl you are"
sang the tenor, and Amory agreed silently, but passionately.
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 tune!
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 habitui of roof-gardens, to meet a girl who should look
like thatbetter, 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
"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 York.
Paskert and he walked in silence toward their hotel. The former
was the first to speak. His uncertain fifteen-year-old voice
broke in in a melancholy strain on Amory's musings:
"I'd marry that girl to-night."
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,"
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 cafis. 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 cafi, wearing a dress-suit from early
evening to early morning, sleeping away the dull hours of the
"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 Groton was played from
three of a snappy, exhilarating afternoon far into the crisp
autumnal twilight, and Amory at quarter-back, exhorting in wild
despair, making impossible tackles, calling signals in a voice
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
Horatius, 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-arming ... 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 completely as Amory Blaine could ever
be changed. Amory plus Beatrice plus two years in
Minneapolisthese 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 ferreting 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 fundamental 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
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 his window. Many nights he lay there
dreaming awake of secret cafis 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 swinging
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," "The New 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
Tennyson and Kipling. Of all his class work only "L'Allegro" and
some quality of rigid clarity in solid geometry stirred his
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 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 term "slicker."
"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
Amory sat up in bed and lit a cigarette while Rahill settled for
a conversation. Rahill's 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 Portland. 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 about yourself?"
"I'm in a superior class. You are, too. We're philosophers."
"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 minutif
"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
itdo their lessons, get 'em out of trouble, pay 'em stupid summer
visits, and always entertain 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
"You're not a slicker," said Amory suddenly.
"What the devil's that?"
"Well, it's something thatthatthere'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?"
"Whywhy, I suppose that the sign of it is when a fellow slicks
his hair back with water."
"Yessure. He's a slicker."
They spent two evenings getting an exact definition. The slicker
was good-looking or clean-looking; he had brains, social brains,
that is, and he used all means on the broad path of honesty to
get ahead, be popular, admired, and never in trouble. He dressed
well, was particularly 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 spectacles as badges of their slickerhood,
and this made them so easy to recognize that Amory and Rahill
never missed one. The slicker seemed distributed through school,
always a little wiser and shrewder than his contemporaries,
managing some team or other, and keeping his cleverness carefully
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 talentsalso Amory conceded him a bizarre streak that was
quite irreconcilable to the slicker proper.
This was a first real break from the hypocrisy of school
tradition. The slicker was a definite element of success,
differing intrinsically from the prep school "big man."
Clever sense of social values. (2)Dresses well. Pretends that
dress is superficialbut knows that it isn't. (3)Goes into such
activities as he can shine in. (4)Gets to college and is, in a
worldly way, successful. (5)Hair slicked.
"THE BIG MAN"
Inclined to stupidity and unconscious of social values.
Thinks dress is superficial, and is inclined to be careless
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
circle, 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. (5)Hair not slicked.
Amory had decided definitely on Princeton, even though he would
be the only boy entering that year 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 afterward, 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.