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Table of contents
AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE
SPIRES AND GARGOYLES
THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS
NARCISSUS OFF DUTY
THE DEBUTANTE
EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE
YOUNG IRONY
THE SUPERCILIOUS SACRIFICE
THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE

CHAPTER 4. 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 questioned so long in secret. 

First, and partly by accident, they struck on certain books, a definite 

type of biographical 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 wonder 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 with him, but not until January of senior 

year did their friendship commence. 

 

"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 sunk?" 

 

"Worse than that. About one-third of the junior class are going to 

resign from their clubs." 

 

"What!" 

 

"Actual fact!" 

 

"Why!" 

 

"Spirit of reform and all that. Burne Holiday is behind it. The club 

presidents are holding a meeting to-night to see if they can find a 


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