ed while he was able to reason logically to make up his mind to end this unsupportable situation that night. He was scarcely twenty, yet it seemed to him that it had already been demonstrated that his life was a failure; he was an orphan, and when he left college to seek his own fortune in California, he believed he had staked his all upon that venture--and lost.
That bitterness which is the sudden recoil of boyish enthusiasm, and is none the less terrible for being without experience to justify it,--that melancholy we are too apt to look back upon with cynical jeers and laughter in middle age,--is more potent than we dare to think, and it was in no mere pose of youthful pessimism that Randolph Trent now contemplated suicide. Such scraps of philosophy as his education had given him pointed to that one conclusion. And it was the only refuge that pride--real or false-- offered him from the one supreme terror of youth--shame.
The street was deserted, and the few lights he had previously noted in warehous