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 As spring approached this affair moved on apace. The work of the Corbin Company was no harder than that of the Lovell Company, and I had more time to myself. Because of an ingrowing sense of my personal importance and because I thought it such a wonderful thing to be a newspaper man and so very much less to be a collector, I lied to Alice as to what I was doing. When should I be through with collecting and begin reporting? I was eager to know all about music, painting, sculpture, literature, and to be in those places where life is at its best. I was regretful now that I had not made better use of my school and college days, and so in my free hours I read, visited the art gallery and library, went to theaters and concerts. The free intellectual churches, or schools, were my favorite places on Sunday mornings. I would sometimes take Alice or my girl to the Theodore Thomas concerts, which were just beginning at the , or to see the best plays and actors: Booth, Barrett, Modjeska, Fannie Davenport, Mary Anderson, Joseph Jefferson, Nat Goodwin. Thinking of myself as a man with a future, I assumed a kind of cavalier attitude toward my two sweethearts, finally breaking with N—— on the that she was stubborn and superior and did not love me, whereas I really wanted to assume privileges which she, with her conventional notions, could not permit and which I was not generous enough not to want. As for Alice she was willing to yield, with a view, I have always thought, to moving me to marry her. But being deeply touched by her very obvious charm, I did nothing.  
Once my work was done of an afternoon, I loitered over many things waiting for evening to come, when I should see Alice again. Usually I read or visited a gallery or some park. Alice was intensely sweet to me. Her eyes were so soft, so liquid, so unprotesting and so unresenting. She was usually gay, with at times a suggestion of hidden . At night, in that great world of life which is the business heart of Chicago I used to wait for her, and together, once we had found each other in the crowds, we would make our way to the great railway station at the end of Dearborn Street, where a tall clock-tower held a single yellow clock-face. If it chanced to be Tuesday or Thursday I would go home with her. On other nights she would sometimes stay down to dine with me at some inexpensive place.
I never knew until toward the end of the following summer, when things were breaking up for me in Chicago and seemingly greater opportunities were calling me elsewhere, that during all this time she had really never her relationship with my , fearing my instability perhaps. By what necessary lies and innocent she had held him against the time when I might not care for her any more I know not. The thing has now. Was she unfaithful? I do not think so. At any rate she was tender, clinging and in need of true affection. She would take my hand and hold it under her arm or against her heart and talk of the little things of the day: the customers and managers, the women of social , the other girls, who sometimes spied upon or betrayed each other. Usually her stories were of amusing things, for she had no heart for bitter . There was a note of melancholy running all through her relationship with me, however, for I think she saw the unrest and of my point of view. Already my mind’s eye was scanning a farther horizon, in which neither she nor any other woman had a vital part. Fame, applause, power, possibly, these were me. Once she said to me, her eyes looking into mine:
“Do you really love me, Dorse?”
“Don’t you think I do?” I replied evasively, and yet saying to myself that I truly cared for her in my fashion, which was true.
“Yes, I think you do, in your way,” she said, and the correct shocked me. I saw myself a stormy petrel hanging over the yellowish-black waves of life and never really resting anywhere. I could not; my mind would not let me. I saw too much, felt too much, knew too much. What was I, what any one, but a small bit of seaweed on an endless sea, flotsam, jetsam, being moved hither and thither—by what tides?
Oh, Alice, dead or living, eternally sleeping or eternally waking, listen to these few true words! You were beautiful to me. My heart was hungry. I wanted youth, I wanted beauty, I wanted sweetness, I wanted a tender smile, wide eyes, loveliness—all these you had and gave.
Peace to you! I do not ask as much for myself.
My determination to leave the Corbin Company was associated with other changes equally important and of much more emotional interest. Our home life, now that my mother was gone, was most unsatisfactory. What I took to be the airs and plotting domination of my sister M——, toward whom I had never borne any real affection, had become . I disliked her very much, for though she was no better than the rest of us, or so I thought at the time, she was nevertheless inclined to dogmatize as to the duty of others. Here she was, married yet living at home and traveling at such times and to such places as suited her husband’s convenience, obtaining from him scarcely enough to maintain herself in the state to which she thought she was entitled, contributing only a small portion to the upkeep of the home, and yet setting herself and her husband up as superiors whose exemplary social manners might well be copied by all. Her whole manner from morning to night, day in and day out, was one of superiority. Or, so I thought at the time. “I am Mrs. G. A——, if you please,” she seemed to say. “G—— is doing this. I am going to do so-and-so. It can scarcely be expected that we, in our high state, should have much to do with the rest of you.”
Yet whenever A—— was in or near Chicago he made our home his place. Two of the best rooms on the second floor were set aside for his and M——’s use. The most stirring preparations were made whenever he was coming, the house swept, flowers bought, extra cooking done and what not; the moment he had gone things fell to their natural and rather careless pace. M—— to her rooms and was scarcely seen for days. T——, another sister, who despised her , would sulk, and when she thought the burden of family work was being shouldered on to her would do nothing at all. My father was left to go through a routine of duties such as fire-building, care of the furnace, , which should have facilitated the housework but which in these quarreling conditions made it seem as if he were being put upon. C——, another sister, who was anything but a peacemaker, added fuel to the flames by criticizing the drift of things to the younger members: A——, E—— and myself.
The thing that had turned me definitely against M—— followed a letter which my brother Paul once sent to my mother, enclosing a check for ten dollars and intended especially for her. Because it was sent to her personally she wanted to keep it secret from the others, and to do this she sent me to the general postoffice, on which it was , with her signature filled in and myself designated as the proper . I got the money and returned it to her, but either because of her increasing illness or because she still wanted to keep it a secret, when Paul mentioned it in another letter she said she had not received it. Then she died and the matter of the money came up. It was proved by at the postoffice that the money had been paid to me. I confirmed this and asserted, which was true, that I had given it to mother. M—— alone, of all the family, felt called upon to question this. She visited an at the general postoffice (a friend of A——’s by the way) and persuaded him to make inquiry, with a view no doubt to frightening me. The result of this was a formal letter asking me to call at his office. When I went and found that he was charging me with the of this money and demanding its return on pain of my being sent to prison, I blazed of course and told him to go to the devil. When I reached home I was furious. I called out my sister M—— and told her—well, many things. For weeks and even months I had a burning desire to strike her, although nothing more was ever done or said concerning it. For over fifteen years the memory of this one thing divided us completely, but after that, having risen, as I thought, to superior interests and viewpoints, I to become friendly.
The first half of 1891 was the period of my greatest bitterness toward her, and in consequence, when my sister C—— came to me with her complaints and charges we between us a kind of revolution based primarily on our to M—— and her airs, but secondarily on the distribution of the family means and the inability of the different sisters to agree upon the details of the home management. According to C——, who was most bitter in her charges, both M—— and T—— were lazy and indifferent. As a matter of fact, I cared as little for C—— and her as I did for any of the others. But the thought of this home, dominated by M—— and T—— and supported by us younger ones, with father as a kind of pleading watchdog of the , weeping in his beard and moaning over the general recklessness of our lives, was too much.
Indeed this matter of money, not idleness or domination, was the of the whole situation, for if there had been plenty of money, or if each of us could have retained his own , there would have been little grieving. C—— was jealous of M—— and T——, and of the means with which their relations supplied them, and although she was earning eight dollars a week she felt that the three or four which she contributed to the household were far too much. A——, who earned ten and contributed five, had no complaint to make, and E——, who earned nine and supplied four-and-a-half, also had nothing to say. I was earning twelve, later fourteen, and gave only six, and very often I much of this. So between us C—— and I brewed a revolution, which ended unsatisfactorily for us all.
Late in March, a crisis came because of a bitter quarrel that sprung up between M—— and C——. C—— and I now proposed, with the aid of A—— and E—— if we could get it, either to drive M—— from the house and take charge ourselves, or rent a small apartment somewhere, pool our funds and set up a rival home of our own, leaving this one to as best it might. It was a hard and cold thing to plan, and I still wonder why I shared in it; but then it seemed enough.
However that may be, this revolutionary program was worked out to a definite conclusion. With C—— as the whip and planner and myself as general executive, a small apartment only a few blocks from our home was upon, prices of furniture on time studied, cost of food, light, entertainment gone into. C——, in her eagerness to bring her rage to a cataclysmic conclusion, volunteered to do the cooking and housekeeping alone, and still work downtown as before. If each contributed five dollars a week, as we said, we would have a fund of over eighty dollars a month, which should house and feed us and buy furniture on the instalment plan. A—— was consulted as to this and refused, saying, which was the decent thing to say and characteristic of him, that we ought to stay here and keep the home together for father’s sake, he being old and feeble. E——, always a lover of adventure and eager to share in any new thing, agreed to go with us. We had to revise our program, but even with only sixty dollars a month as a general fund we thought we could get along.
And so we three, C—— being the spokesman, had the cheek to announce to my father that either M—— should leave and allow us to run the house as we wished or we would leave. The was not given in any such direct way: charges and counter charges were first made; long arguments and pleadings were indulged in by one side and the other. Finally, seeing that there was no hope of forcing M—— to leave, C—— announced that she was going, alone or with others. I said I would follow. E—— said he was coming—and there you were. I never saw a man more than my father, one more by what he knew to be the final dissolution of the family. He pleaded, but his pleas fell on youthful, inconsiderate ears. I went and rented the flat, had the gas turned on and some furniture installed; and then, toward the end of March, in blustery weather, we moved.
Never was a man more than my father during these last two or three days of our stay. Having completed the details, C——, E—— and I were busy marching to and fro at spare moments, carrying clothes, books, pictures and the like to the new home. There were open squabbles now between C—— and M—— as to the possession of certain things, but these were finally adjusted without blows. At last we were ready to leave, and then came our last adieux to my father and A——. When my turn came I marched out with a hard, cheery, independent look on my face, but I was really heavy with a sense of my unfairness and . A—— and my father were the two I really preferred. My father was so old and .
“Well,” he said with his German accent when I came to say good-by, “you’re going, are you? I’m sorry, Dorsch. I done the best I could. The girls, they won’t ever agree, it seems. I try, but it don’t seem to do any good. I have prayed these last few days.... I hope you don’t ever feel sorry. It’s C—— who stirs up all these things.”
He waved his hands in a kind of despairing way and after some pointless and insincere phrases I went out. The cold March winds were blowing from the West, and it was raw, blowy, , gray. Tomorrow it would be brighter, but tonight——

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