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 While I rejoiced in the thought that I might now, and so easily, become a successful comic opera , and a poet besides, still I found myself for the most part in a very gloomy frame of mind. One of the things that grieved me intensely, as I have said, was the sight of bitter poverty and failure, and the fact that I personally was not one of those solid commercial figures of which St. Louis was full at this time. They filled the great hotels, the clubs, the , the social positions of importance. They were free, as I foolishly thought, to indulge in all those luxuries and pleasures which, as I so sadly saw, the poor were not privileged to enjoy, myself included. Just about that time there was something about a commercial institution—its and bareness, the thrash of its inward life, its suggestion of energy, force, compulsion and need—which invariably held me spellbound. Despite my literary and ambitions, I still continued to think it essential, to me, and to all men for that matter if they were to have any force and dignity in this world, that each and every one should be in control of something of this kind, something commercially and financially successful. And what was I—a pale of a newspaper man, possibly an editor or author in the future, but what more?  
At times this state of mind tended to make me and even instead of sad. I thought that my very generous , the great McCullagh, ought to see what an important man I was and give me at once the dramatic editorship free and clear of any other work, or at least combine it with something better than reporting. I ought to be allowed to do editorials or special work. Again, my mind, although largely freed of Catholic and religious dogma generally and the belief in the workability of the ideals as laid down in the Sermon on the Mount, was still swashing around among the idealistic of Christ and the religionists and moralists generally, contrasting them hourly, as it were, with the selfish of the day as I saw it. Look at the strong men at the top, I was constantly saying to myself, so comfortable, so indifferent, so cruelly dull. How I liked to them with maxims excerpted from Christ! Those large districts south of the business heart, along the river and elsewhere, which nightly or weekly Wood, McCord and myself were investigating and which were crowded with the unfit, the unsuccessful, the unhappy—how they haunted me and how I attempted (in my mind, of course) to society and comfort them with the if helpless words of the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the poor,” etc. Betimes, interviewing one important citizen and another, I gained the impression that they truly despised any one who was poor, that they did not give him or his fate a second thought; and betimes I was right—other times wrong. But having been reared on maxims relative to Christian duty I thought they should devote their all to the poor. This failure on their part seemed terrible to me, for having been taught to believe in the Sermon on the Mount I thought they—not myself, for instance—were the ones to make it work out. Mr. McCullagh had begun sending me out of town on various news stories, which was in itself the equivalent of a traveling correspondentship and might readily have led to my being officially recognized as such if I had remained there long enough. Trials of murder cases in St. Joseph and Hannibal, threatened floods in lower Illinois, and train robberies (common occurrences in this region, either between St. Louis and Kansas City, or St. Louis and Louisville) made it necessary for me to make arrangements with Hazard or Wood to carry on my dramatic work while I went about these tasks; a necessity which I partly and partly disliked, being uncertain as to which was the more important task to me.
However, I was far from satisfied. I was too restless and dissatisfied. Life, life, life, its contrasts, disappointments, lacks, enticements, was always me. The sun might shine brightly, the winds of fortune blow favorably. Nevertheless, though I might enjoy both, there was always this undertone of something t............
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