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I stumble and flounder, but I know that over all these merry immediate things, there are other things that are great and serene, very high, beautiful things—the reality. I haven't got it, but it's there nevertheless. I'm a spiritual guttersnipe in love with unimaginable goddesses. I've never seen the goddesses nor ever shall—but it takes all the fun out of the mud—and at times I fear it takes all the kindliness too.

But I'm talking of things I can't expect the reader to understand, because I don't half understand them myself. There is something links things for me, a sunset or so, a mood or so, the high air, something there was in Marion's form and colour, something I find and lose in Mantegna's pictures, something in the lines of these boats I make. (You should see X2, my last and best!)

I can't explain myself, I perceive. Perhaps it all comes to this, that I am a hard and morally limited cad with a mind beyond my merits. Naturally I resist that as a complete solution. Anyhow, I had a sense of inexorable need, of distress and insufficiency that was unendurable, and for a time this aeronautical engineering allayed it. . . .

In the end of this particular crisis of which I tell so badly, I idealized Science. I decided that in power and knowledge lay the salvation of my life, the secret that would fill my need; that to these things I would give myself. I emerged at last like a man who has been diving in darkness, clutching at a new resolve for which he has groped desperately and long.

I came into the inner office suddenly one day—it must have been just before the time of Marion's suit for restitution—and sat down before my uncle.

"Look here," I said, "I'm sick of this."