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 As April advanced I left the Corbin Company, to improve my condition. I was tired of collecting—the same districts, the same excuses, innocences, . By degrees I had come to feel a great contempt for the average mind. So many people were so low, so shifty, so dirty, so nondescript. They were food for dreams; little more. Owing to my experience with the manager of the Lovell Company in the matter of taking what did not belong to me I had become very cautious, and this meant that I should be compelled to live from week to week on my twelve dollars.  
In addition, home life had become a horrible burden. The house was badly kept and the meals were wretched. Being of a quarrelsome, fault-finding and not having M—— or T—— to fight with, C—— now turned her attentions to E—— and myself. We did not do this and that; the burden of the work was left to her. By degrees I grew into a kind of servant. Being told one April Friday of some needs that I must supply, and having that I could not endure either this or my present work, I took my fate in my hands and the next day resigned my job, having in my possession sixty-five dollars. I was now determined, come what might, never to take another job except one of reporting unless I was actually driven to it by starvation, and in this mood I came home and announced that I had lost my position and that this “home” would therefore have to be given up. And how glad I was! Now I should be rid of this dull flat, which was so colorless and burdensome. As I see it now, my sister sensibly enough from her point of view, perhaps, was figuring that E—— and I, as dutiful brothers, should support her while she spent all her money on clothes. I came to dislike her almost as much as I did M——, and told her gladly this same day that we could not live here any longer. In consequence the furniture company was notified to come and get the furniture. Our lease of the place being only from month to month, it was easy enough to depart at once. E—— and I were to share a room at the de G——s for a dollar and a half a week each, such meals as I ate there to be paid for at the rate of twenty-five cents each.
Then and there, as I have since with a kind of fatalistic curiosity, the last phase of my rather troublesome youth began. Up to and even including this last move to Taylor Street I had been intimately identified, in spirit at least, with our family and its concentrated home life. During my mother’s life, of course, I had felt that wherever she was was home; after her death it was the house in which she had lived that held me, quite as much as it was my father and those of us who remained together to keep up in some manner the family spirit. When the spell of this began to , owing to bitter recrimination and the continuous development of individuality in all of us, this new branch home established by three of us seemed something of the old place and spiritually to it; but when it fell, and the old home broke up at about the same time, I felt completely adrift.
What was I to do with myself now? I asked. Where go? Here I was, soon (in three months) to be twenty-one years old, and yet without trade or profession, a sort of nondescript dreamer without the power to earn a decent living and yet with all the tastes and of one to an independent fortune. My eyes were constantly on people in positions far above my own. Those who interested me most were bankers, millionaires, artists, executives, leaders, the real rulers of the world. Just at this time the nation was being thrown into its quadrennial , the presidential election. The newspapers were publishing reams upon reams of information and comment. David B. Hill, then governor of New York, Grover Cleveland of New York, Thomas B. Hendricks of Indiana, and others were being widely and favorably discussed by the Democratic party, whose convention was to be held here in Chicago the coming June. Among the Republicans, Benjamin Harrison of Indiana, James G. Blaine of Maine, Thomas B. Allison of Iowa, and others were much to the .
If by my devotion to matters I have indicated that I was not interested in public affairs I have given an account of myself. It is true that life at close range fascinated me, but the general progress of Europe and America and Asia and Africa was by no means beyond my intellectual . By now I was a reader of Emerson, Carlyle, Macaulay, Froude, John Stuart Mill and others. The existence of Nietzsche in Germany, Darwin, Spencer, Wallace and Tyndall in England, and what they stood for, was in part at least within the range of my intuition, if not my exact knowledge. In America, Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, the history of the Civil War and the subsequent drift of the nation to monopoly and so to , were all within my understanding and private philosophizing.
And now this national ferment in regard to political preferment and , the tides of wealth and population in Chicago, the upward soaring of names and fames, stirred me like whips and . I wanted to get up—oh, how eagerly! I wanted to shake off the garments of the commonplace in which I seemed swathed and step into the public , where I should be seen and understood for what I was. “No common man am I,” I was constantly saying to myself, and I would no longer be held down to this shabby world of collecting in which I found myself. The newspapers—the newspapers—somehow, by their with everything that was going on in the world, seemed to be the swiftest approach to all this of which I was dreaming. It seemed to me as if I understood already all the processes by which they were made. Reporting, I said to myself, must certainly be easy. Something happened—one car ran into another; a man was shot; a fire broke out; the reporter ran to the scene, observed or inquired the details, got the names and addresses of those immediately concerned, and then described it all. To myself on this point I went about looking for accidents on my own account, or imagining them, and then wrote out what I saw or imagined. To me the result, compared with what I found in the daily papers, was quite satisfactory. Some paper must give me a place.

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