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 This world of newspaper men who now received me on terms of social equality, who saw life from a opportunistic, and yet in the main imaginative, viewpoint broadened me and finally me from moralistic and religionistic . So many of them were hard, adventurers without the slightest trace of the nervousness and terror of fortune which me. They had been here, there, everywhere—San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Calcutta, London. They knew the ways of the newspaper world and to a limited extent the workings of society at large. The conventional-minded would have called them harsh, impracticable, impossible, largely because they knew nothing of trade, that great American standard of ability and force. Most of them, as I soon found, were like John Maxwell, free from notions as to how people were to act and what they were to think. To a certain extent they were confused by the general American passive acceptance of the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes as governing principles, but in the main they were nearly all mistrustful of these things, and of conventional principles in general.  
They did not believe, as I still did, that there was a moral order in the world which one at his . Heaven only knows where they had been or what they had seen, but they misdoubted the , or secret, of nearly every man. No man, , was and consistently honest, that is, no man in a powerful or position; and but few were kind or generous or truly public-spirited. As I sat in the office between assignments, or foregathered with them at dinner or at midnight in some one of the many small restaurants frequented by newspaper men, I heard tales of all sorts of scandals: robberies, murders, fornications, incendiarisms, not only in low life but in our so-called high life. Most of these young men looked upon life as a fierce, grim struggle in which no quarter was either given or taken, and in which all men laid traps, lied, , through illusion: a conclusion with which I now most agree. The one thing I would now add is that the of the world is in the main and that in our hour of success we are all inclined to be more or less liberal and warm-hearted.
But at this time I was still about the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes, expecting ordinary human flesh and blood to do and be those things. Hence the point of view of these men seemed at times a little horrific, at other times most .
“People make laws for other people to live up to,” Maxwell once said to me, “and in order to protect themselves in what they have. They never intend those laws to apply to themselves or to prevent them from doing anything they wish to do.”
There was a youth whose wife believed that he did not drink. On two occasions within six weeks I was sent as to inform his wife that he had suddenly been taken ill with indigestion and would soon be home. Then Maxwell and Brady would bundle him into a and send him off, one or two of us going along to help him into his house. So solemnly was all this done and so well did we play our parts that his wife believed it for a while—long enough for him to pull himself together a year later and give up drinking . Another youth boasted that he was syphilitic and was curing himself with mercury; another there was whose joy it was to sleep in a house of prostitution every Saturday night, and so on. I tell these things not because I rejoice in them but merely to indicate the atmosphere into which I was thrown. Neither sobriety nor nor continence nor incontinence was either a compelling or preventive cause of either success or failure or had anything to do with true newspaper ability; rather men succeeded by virtue of something that was not intimately related to any of these. If one could do anything which the world really wanted it would not trouble itself so much about one’s private life.
Another change that was being brought about in me was that which related to my personal opinion of myself, the feeling I was now swiftly acquiring that after all I amounted to something, was somebody. A special or two that I wrote, thanks largely to Maxwell’s careful , brought me to the forefront among those of the staff who were writing for the Sunday supplement. A few news stories fell to my lot and I handled them with a freedom which won me praise on all sides. Not that I felt at the time that I was writing them so well or differently as that I was most earnestly concerned to state what I saw or felt or believed. I even essayed a few of my own, mild, commentaries on I scarcely recall what, which Maxwell scanned with a eye at first but later to publish, the signature of Carl Dreiser because he had to nickname me “Carl.” This grieved me, for I was dying to see my own name in print; but when they appeared I had the to call upon the family and show them, boasting of my sudden rise in the world and saying that I had used the name Carl as a compliment to a nephew.
During this time I was taking a rather lofty hand with Alice because of my great success, unmindful of the fact that I had been boasting for months that I was connected with one of the best of the local papers and telling her that I did not think it so wonderful. But now I began to think that I was to be called to much higher realms, and solemnly asked myself if I should ever want to marry. A number of things helped to this question in me. For one thing, I had no sooner been launched into general assignments than one afternoon, in seeking for the pictures of a group of girls who had taken part in some summer-night festival, I encountered one who seemed to be interested in me, a little blonde of about my own age, very and dreamy. She responded to my somewhat timid advances when I called on her and to smile as she gave me her photograph. I drew close to her and attempted a , to which she was not , and on parting I asked if I might call some afternoon or evening, hoping to crowd it in with my work. She agreed, and for several Sundays and week-nights I was put to my utmost resources to keep my engagements and do my work, for the newspaper profession that I knew, tolerated neither week-days nor Sundays off. I had to take an assignment and shirk it in part or telephone that I was delayed and could not come at all. Thus early even I began to adopt a cavalier attitude toward this very work. Twice I took her to a theater, once to an organ , and once for a stroll in Jackson Park; by which time she seemed inclined to yield to my blandishments to the extent of permitting me to put my arms about her and even to kiss her, protesting always that I was wanton and forward and that she did not know whether she cared for me so much or not. Charming as she was, I did not feel that I should care for her very much. She was beautiful but too lymphatic, too carefully reared. Her mother, upon hearing of me, looked into the fact of whether I was truly connected with the Globe and then cautioned her daughter to be careful about making new friends. I saw that I was not welcome at that house and thereafter met her slyly. I might have triumphed in this case had I been so minded and
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