Chapter 6

           AterriblerestlessnessthatwasakintohungerafflictedMartinEden. Hewasfamishedforasightofthegirlwhoseslenderhandshadgrippedhislifewithagiant’sgrasp. Hecouldnotsteelhimselftocalluponher. Hewasafraidthathemightcalltoosoon,andsobeguiltyofanawfulbreachofthatawfulthingcalledetiquette. HespentlonghoursintheOaklandandBerkeleylibraries,andmadeoutapplicationblanksformembershipforhimself,hissistersGertrudeandMarian,andJim,thelatter’sconsentbeingobtainedattheexpenseofseveralglassesofbeer. Withfourcardspermittinghimtodrawbooks,heburnedthegaslateintheservant’sroom,andwaschargedfiftycentsaweekforitbyMr.Higginbotham. 

           Themanybookshereadbutservedtowhethisunrest. Everypageofeverybookwasapeep-holeintotherealmofknowledge. Hishungerfeduponwhatheread,andincreased. Also,hedidnotknowwheretobegin,andcontinuallysufferedfromlackofpreparation. Thecommonestreferences,thathecouldseeplainlyeveryreaderwasexpectedtoknow,hedidnotknow. Andthesamewastrueofthepoetryhereadwhichmaddenedhimwithdelight. HereadmoreofSwinburnethanwascontainedinthevolumeRuthhadlenthim; and"Dolores"heunderstoodthoroughly. ButsurelyRuthdidnotunderstandit,heconcluded. Howcouldshe,livingtherefinedlifeshedid? ThenhechanceduponKipling’spoems,andwassweptawaybytheliltandswingandglamourwithwhichfamiliarthingshadbeeninvested. Hewasamazedattheman’ssympathywithlifeandathisincisivepsychology. PsychologywasanewwordinMartin’svocabulary. Hehadboughtadictionary,whichdeedhaddecreasedhissupplyofmoneyandbroughtnearerthedayonwhichhemustsailinsearchofmore. Also,itincensedMr.Higginbotham,whowouldhavepreferredthemoneytakingtheformofboard. 

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