Chapter 1

Inmyyoungerandmorevulnerableyears myfathergavemesomeadvice thatI’vebeenturningoverinmymindeversince. 

“Wheneveryoufeellikecriticizinganyone,” hetoldme, “justrememberthatallthepeopleinthisworld haven’thadtheadvantages thatyou’vehad.” 

Hedidn’tsayanymore, butwe’vealwaysbeenunusuallycommunicativeinareservedway, andIunderstoodthathemeantagreatdealmorethanthat. Inconsequence,I’minclinedtoreservealljudgments, ahabitthathasopenedupmanycuriousnaturestome andalsomademethevictimofnotafewveteranbores. Theabnormalmindisquicktodetect andattachitselftothisquality whenitappearsinanormalperson, andsoitcameaboutthatincollegeIwasunjustlyaccusedofbeingapolitician, becauseIwasprivytothesecretgriefsofwild,unknownmen. Mostoftheconfidenceswereunsought frequentlyIhavefeignedsleep, preoccupation,orahostilelevity whenIrealizedbysomeunmistakablesign thatanintimaterevelationwasquiveringonthehorizon; fortheintimaterevelationsofyoungmen, oratleastthetermsinwhichtheyexpressthem, areusuallyplagiaristic andmarredbyobvioussuppressions. Reservingjudgmentsisamatterofinfinitehope. IamstillalittleafraidofmissingsomethingifIforgetthat, asmyfathersnobbishlysuggested, andIsnobbishlyrepeat, asenseofthefundamentaldecencies isparcelledoutunequallyatbirth. 

And,afterboastingthiswayofmytolerance, Icometotheadmissionthatithasalimit. Conductmaybefoundedonthehardrockorthewetmarshes, butafteracertainpointIdon’tcarewhatit’sfoundedon. WhenIcamebackfromtheEastlastautumn IfeltthatIwantedtheworldtobeinuniform andatasortofmoralattentionforever; Iwantednomoreriotousexcursions withprivilegedglimpsesintothehumanheart. 

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