Chapter 1

InmyyoungerandmorevulnerableyearsmyfathergavemesomeadvicethatI’vebeenturningoverinmymindeversince.

“Wheneveryoufeellikecriticizinganyone,”hetoldme,“justrememberthatallthepeopleinthisworldhaven’thadtheadvantagesthatyou’vehad.”

Hedidn’tsayanymore,butwe’vealwaysbeenunusuallycommunicativeinareservedway,andIunderstoodthathemeantagreatdealmorethanthat.Inconsequence,I’minclinedtoreservealljudgments,ahabitthathasopenedupmanycuriousnaturestomeandalsomademethevictimofnotafewveteranbores.Theabnormalmindisquicktodetectandattachitselftothisqualitywhenitappearsinanormalperson,andsoitcameaboutthatincollegeIwasunjustlyaccusedofbeingapolitician,becauseIwasprivytothesecretgriefsofwild,unknownmen.MostoftheconfidenceswereunsoughtfrequentlyIhavefeignedsleep,preoccupation,orahostilelevitywhenIrealizedbysomeunmistakablesignthatanintimaterevelationwasquiveringonthehorizon;fortheintimaterevelationsofyoungmen,oratleastthetermsinwhichtheyexpressthem,areusuallyplagiaristicandmarredbyobvioussuppressions.Reservingjudgmentsisamatterofinfinitehope.IamstillalittleafraidofmissingsomethingifIforgetthat,asmyfathersnobbishlysuggested,andIsnobbishlyrepeat,asenseofthefundamentaldecenciesisparcelledoutunequallyatbirth.

And,afterboastingthiswayofmytolerance,Icometotheadmissionthatithasalimit.Conductmaybefoundedonthehardrockorthewetmarshes,butafteracertainpointIdon’tcarewhatit’sfoundedon.WhenIcamebackfromtheEastlastautumnIfeltthatIwantedtheworldtobeinuniformandatasortofmoralattentionforever;Iwantednomoreriotousexcursionswithprivilegedglimpsesintothehumanheart.

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