The Breaking Point (Chapter 6, page 1 of 6)


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Chapter 6

On Wednesday morning David was in an office in the city. He sat
forward on the edge of his chair, and from time to time he took out
his handkerchief and wiped his face or polished his glasses, quite
unconscious of either action. He was in his best suit, with the tie Lucy
had given him for Christmas.

Across from him, barricaded behind a great mahogany desk, sat a small
man with keen eyes and a neat brown beard. On the desk were a spotless
blotter, an inkstand of silver and a pen. Nothing else. The terrible
order of the place had at first rather oppressed David.

The small man was answering a question.

"Rather on the contrary, I should say. The stronger the character the
greater the smash."

David pondered this.

"I've read all you've written on the subject," he said finally.
"Especially since the war."

The psycho-analyst put his finger tips together, judicially. "Yes. The
war bore me out," he observed with a certain complacence. "It added a
great deal to our literature, too, although some of the positions are
not well taken. Van Alston, for instance--"

"You have said, I think, that every man has a breaking point."

"Absolutely. All of us. We can go just so far. Where the mind is strong
and very sound we can go further than when it is not. Some men, for
instance, lead lives that would break you or me. Was there--was there
such a history in this case?"

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