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Paul's Case

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The Troll Garden first editionCollection, first edition
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

A Study in Temperament

First publication
1905 in McClure's Magazine

First publication in book
1905 in The Troll Garden

Literature form


Writing language

Author's country
United States

Approx. 9,000 words

Notable lines

It was Paul's afternoon to appear before the faculty of the Pittsburgh High School to account for his various misdemeanors. 

— First line

His teachers were in despair, and his drawing master voiced the feeling of them all when he declared there was something about the boy which none of them understood. He added: "I don't really believe that smile of his comes altogether from insolence; there's something sort of haunted about it. The boy is not strong, for one thing. There is something wrong about the fellow."


This was Paul's fairy tale, and it had for him all the allurement of a secret love. 


He was entirely rid of his nervous misgivings, of his forced aggressiveness, of the imperative desire to show himself different from his surroundings. He felt now that his surroundings explained him.


When the right moment came, he jumped. As he fell, the folly of his haste occurred to him with merciless clearness, the vastness of what he had left undone. There flashed through his brain, clearer than ever before, the blue of Adriatic water, the yellow of Algerian sands. 


He felt something strike his chest, and that his body was being thrown swiftly through the air, on and on, immeasurably far and fast, while his limbs gently relaxed. Then, because the picture making mechanism was crushed, the disturbing visions flashed into black, and Paul dropped back into the immense design of things.

— Last lines


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