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« A Self-pitying Excerpt »

They said I was a simpleton; they said I was not master in my home. Some grinned at me without knowing why they grinned, and their fellows grinned also and shook their heads. My wife had set the horns on me, my father had disowned me, and my patients to a man had died. They clucked and groaned to think of me. When I passed, their eyebrows delivered bilious sermons. Over bowls of wine the talkative outdid themselves, inventing failures and humiliations for me to inhabit; and when they spoke to me directly they laughed behind their civil faces. And I, of course, said nothing; I did not complain. I felt that they were right so to peek at me; I shrugged and went on shrugging. I knew what ridicule I deserved, better than they. Why should I feel put-upon? But then I also did feel put-upon, I felt my miserable condition acutely and with drooping spirits. I allowed my gaze often to slide off to one side and run in a filthy abject stream away across the flags. I felt the injustice of all men and still worse of all their women; my days were a meticulously choreographed dance of dolour, and I wept at all times for myself.

What a repulsive character, you will say, I won’t abide it! I won’t be made to sit through the song of a cat like that! Indeed.