In the meantime many windows had been raised and much gratuitous advice was being given. The three occupants of the cab’s seat who had previously clamoured for Mr. Peters’ removal, now inconsistently resisted it; suddenly he came out with a jerk, and we had him fairly upright on the pavement minus a collar and tie and the buttons of his evening waistcoat. Those who remained in the cab engaged in a riotous game of hunt the slipper, while Tom peered into the dark interior, observing gravely the progress of the sport. First flew out an overcoat and a much-battered hat, finally the pumps, all of which in due time were adjusted to his person, and I started home with him, with much parting counsel from the other three.
“Whereinell were you, Hughie?” he inquired. “Hunted all over for you. Had a sousin’ good time. Went to Babcock’s—had champagne—then to see Babesh in—th’—Woods. Ham knows one of the Babesh had supper with four of ’em. Nice Babesh!”
“For heaven’s sake don’t step on me again!” I cried.
“Sh’poloshize, old man. But y’know I’m William Shakespheare. C’n do what I damplease.” He halted in the middle of the street and recited dramatically:—
nor th’ gilded monuments
Of prinches sh’ll outlive m’ powerful rhyme.’”
“How’s that, Alonzho, b’gosh?”
“Where did you learn it?” I demanded, momentarily forgetting his condition.
“Fr’m Ralph,” he replied, “says I wrote it. Can’t remember....”
After I had got him to bed,—a service I had learned to perform with more or less proficiency,—I sat down to consider the events of the evening, to attempt to get a proportional view. The intensity of my disgust was not hypocritical as I gazed through the open door into the bedroom and recalled the times when I, too, had been in that condition. Tom Peters drunk, and sleeping it off, was deplorable, without doubt; but Hugh Paret drunk was detestable, and had no excuse whatever. Nor did I mean by this to set myself on a higher ethical plane, for I felt nothing but despair and humility. In my state of clairvoyance I perceived that he was a better man, than I, and that his lapses proceeded from a love of liquor and the transcendent sense of good-fellowship that liquor brings.
The crisis through which I passed at Cambridge, inaugurated by the events I have just related, I find very difficult to portray. It was a religious crisis, of course, and my most pathetic memory concerning it is of the vain attempts to connect my yearnings and discontents with the theology I had been taught; I began in secret to read my Bible, yet nothing I hit upon seemed to point a way out of my present predicament, to give any definite clew to the solution of my life. I was not mature enough to reflect that orthodoxy was a Sunday religion unrelated to a world whose wheels were turned by the motives of self-interest; that it