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Martin Eden 35







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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf




rap for a good time, for all his thirty thousand a year. An Ill bet hes not particularly joyful at seein others have a good time. Aint I right?" She nodded her head in agreement, and hastened to explain:- "But he is not that type of man. By nature he is sober and serious. He always was that." "You can bet he was," Martin proclaimed. "Three dollars a week, an four dollars a week, an a young boy cookin for himself on an oil-burner an layin up money, workin all day an studyin all night, just workin an never playin, never havin a good time, an never learnin how to have a good time--of course his thirty thousand came along too late." His sympathetic imagination was flashing upon his inner sight all the thousands of details of the boys existence and of his narrow spiritual development into a thirty-thousand-dollar-a-year man. With the swiftness and wide-reaching of multitudinous thought Charles Butlers whole life was telescoped upon his vision. "Do you know," he added, "I feel sorry for Mr. Butler. He was too young to know better, but he robbed himself of life for the sake of thirty thousand a year thats clean wasted upon him. Why, thirty thousand, lump sum, wouldnt buy for him right now what ten cents he was layin up would have bought him, when he was a kid, in the way of candy an peanuts or a seat in nigger heaven." It was just such uniqueness of points of view that startled Ruth. Not only were they new to her, and contrary to her own beliefs, but she always felt in them germs of truth that threatened to unseat or modify her own convictions. Had she been fourteen instead of twenty-four, she might have been changed by them; but she was twenty-four, conservative by nature and upbringing, and already crystallized into the cranny of life where she had been born and formed. It was true, his bizarre judgments troubled her in the moments they were uttered, but she ascribed them to his novelty of type and strangeness of living, and they were soon forgotten. Nevertheless, while she disapproved of them, the strength of their utterance, and the flashing of eyes and earnestness of face that accompanied them, always thrilled her and drew her toward him. She would never have guessed that this man who had come from beyond her horizon, was, in such moments, flashing on beyond her horizon with wider and deeper concepts. Her own limits were the limits of her horizon; but limited minds can recognize limitations only in others. And so she felt that her outlook was very wide indeed, and that where his conflicted with hers marked his limitations; and she dreamed of helping him to see as she saw, of widening his horizon until it was identified with hers. "But I have not finished my story," she said. "He worked, so father says, as no other office boy he ever had. Mr. Butler was always eager to work. He never was late, and he was usually at the office a few minutes before his regular time. And yet he saved his time. Every spare moment was devoted to study. He studied book-keeping and type-writing, and he paid for lessons in shorthand by dictating at night to a court reporter who needed practice. He quickly became a clerk, and he made himself invaluable. Father appreciated him and saw that he was bound to rise. It was on fathers suggestion that he went to law college. He became a lawyer, and hardly was he back in the office when father took him in as junior partner. He is a great man. He refused the United States Senate several times, and father says he could become a justice of the Supreme Court any time a vacancy occurs, if he wants to. Such a life is an inspiration to all of us. It shows us that a man with will may rise superior to his environment." "He is a great man," Martin said sincerely. But it seemed to him there was something in the recital that jarred upon his sense of beauty and life. He could not find an adequate motive in Mr. Butlers life of pinching and privation. Had he done it for love of a woman, or for attainment of beauty, Martin would

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