He struggled fitfully but always slipped when the

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Unformatted text preview: no cozy, pleasant obscurities, in which Truth, the naked, is horrible to look at, when life seems too unreal, when purposes seem most futile. At such times he would get drunk and be happy for the time being, and afterwards find himself bitterly repentant, though even that was a pleasure compared to the hollow world in which his sober self dwelt. Then one day, when all his friends had given him up as hopeless, as destined for disaster, he read a book. "The Varieties of Religious Experience," by William James, came to him as a clear light comes to a man lost in the darkness; he saw himself as a "sick soul," obsessed with the idea that he saw life relentlessly and clearly. There came to him the conviction that he had been arrogant, a conceited ass, bent on ruin, "a sickly soul," he said. Out of that realization grew resolutions that needed no vowing or pledging, for as simply as a man turns from one road to another he turned from his habit into healthy-minded work. [1] Jack London's "John Barleycorn." The other was an essentially healthy-minded man but he loved joviality, freedom and good fellowship. Without ever knowing how he came to it, he found himself a confirmed drinker, holding an inferior place, passed by men of lesser caliber. He struggled fitfully but always slipped when the next "good fellow" slapped him on the back and invited him to have a drink. One day he stepped out of a barroom with a group of his cronies, and though he walked straight there was a reckless, happy feeling in him that pushed him on to his folly. A young lady standing on a street corner waiting for a car caught his eye. Signaling to his companions, he walked up to her, put his arms around her and kissed her. The girl stood as if petrified, then she pushed him off and looked him up and down deliberately with cold scorn in her eyes. Then she took off her glove and slapped him across the face with it, as if disdaining to use her hand. With that sh...
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