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The Touchstone


Chapter1
Professor Joslin, who, as our readers are doubtless aware, is engaged in
writing the life of Mrs. Aubyn, asks us to state that he will be greatly in-
debted to any of the famous novelist's friends who will furnish him with
information concerning the period previous to her coming to England.
Mrs. Aubyn had so few intimate friends, and consequently so few regu-
lar correspondents, that letters will be of special value. Professor Joslin's
address is 10 Augusta Gardens, Kensington, and he begs us to say that
he "will promptly return any documents entrusted to him."
Glennard dropped the Spectator and sat looking into the fire. The club
was filling up, but he still had to himself the small inner room, with its
darkening outlook down the rain-streaked prospect of Fifth Avenue. It
was all dull and dismal enough, yet a moment earlier his boredom had
been perversely tinged by a sense of resentment at the thought that, as
things were going, he might in time have to surrender even the despised
privilege of boring himself within those particular four walls. It was not
that he cared much for the club, but that the remote contingency of hav-
ing to give it up stood to him, just then, perhaps by very reason of its in-
significance and remoteness, for the symbol of his increasing abnega-
tions; of that perpetual paring-off that was gradually reducing existence
to the naked business of keeping himself alive. It was the futility of his
multiplied shifts and privations that made them seem unworthy of a
high attitude; the sense that, however rapidly he eliminated the superflu-
ous, his cleared horizon was likely to offer no nearer view of the one pro-
spect toward which he strained. To give up things in order to marry the
woman one loves is easier than to give them up without being brought
appreciably nearer to such a conclusion.
Through the open door he saw young Hollingsworth rise with a yawn
from the ineffectual solace of a brandy-and-soda and transport his pur-
poseless person to the window. Glennard measured his course with a
contemptuous eye. It was so like Hollingsworth to get up and look out of
the window just as it was growing too dark to see anything! There was a
man rich enough to do what he pleasedÑhad he been capable of being
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