An American in the Making: The Life Story of an Immigrant

By M. E. Ravage; Steven G. Kellman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
Harvey

I was still at the stage where one American looked and acted exactly as every other, and it was a profound mystery to me how I had gained the favor of this very representative specimen of the type. I had not greatly changed, as far as I could judge, between September and February, unless it was for the worse. If I had only had one or two of my own people and had not been in such dire need of human fellowship, I doubt whether I should have been attracted to him, notwithstanding the fact that I owed him a debt of gratitude for having taken up the cudgels in my behalf. But he was a long way from being hard up for company. I walked home with him from the club that night, and I observed, with a feeling mingled of envy and admiration, that he was cordially greeted by almost every one that passed us, and during the half-hour that I remained in his room he must have had a dozen friends dropping in, who were as amazed to find him hobnobbing with me as I was myself.

My surprise at his unaccountable behavior toward me reached a climax when, a few days later, he asked me to come and live with him. “Captain,” he said, “you and I are pretty much in the same boat. If you want an old lady let’s get together.” I could scarcely believe my ears. What could he be up to? I wondered as soon as my first flush of joy at his offer had passed. Some new variety of practical joke that I had not yet experienced? Or was it really possible that I was “arriving” in Missouri? Be his scheme what it might, I felt a great temptation to accept. But, remembering my long record of failures as a room-mate, I hesitated lest my new-found friendship (if it was friendship) should go on the rocks. “I should like to,” I said, “but I think I had better not.”

Then Harvey told me some things about himself that opened my eyes and reassured me. I had thought that I was the only one at Missouri who did not know where his next week’s board was coming from, and that everyone else belonged, as they had warned me in the Ghetto, among the capitalists. But this fellow, who was in his own country, it turned out, was, if anything, poorer than I. He, too, had come to college

-159-

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An American in the Making: The Life Story of an Immigrant
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Chronology ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • A Note on the Text xxxiii
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction 7
  • Part One - The Alien at Home 11
  • Chapter I - The Prophet from America 13
  • Chapter II - The Gospel of New York 20
  • Chapter III - The Exodus 27
  • Chapter IV - To America on Foot 31
  • Chapter V - Farewell Forever 38
  • Part Two - The Alien Abroad 45
  • Chapter VI - First Impressions 47
  • Chapter VII - The Immigrant’s America 53
  • Chapter VIII - "How Do You like America?" 58
  • Chapter IX - Ventures and Adventures 66
  • Chapter X - Purifications 78
  • Chapter XI - The Ethics of the Bar 86
  • Part Three - The Education of an American 93
  • Chapter XII - Shirts and Philosophy 95
  • Chapter XIII - The Soul of the Ghetto 104
  • Chapter XIV - The Tragedy of Readjustment 110
  • Chapter XV - The Trials of Scholarship 118
  • Chapter XVI - Off to College 126
  • Part Four - America of the Americans 133
  • Chapter XVII - In the Mold 135
  • Chapter XVIII - The American as He Is 143
  • Chapter XIX - The Fruits of Solitude 151
  • Chapter XX - Harvey 159
  • Chapter XXI - The Romance of Readjustment 168
  • Part Five - Postscript- Twenty Years Later 175
  • Chapter XXII - Jeanne’s Sentimental Pilgrimage 177
  • Chapter XXIII - And My Own 189
  • About the Editor 213
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