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If ever a born-and-bred Vermonter seemed to belie his native heritage—that heritage of marble hardness and monosyllabic yep-nope monasticism—it was Wesley Alba Sturges, as gentle and gregarious a soul as ever nudged a class toward knowledge or called an acquaintance to casual talk across the tables down at Mory's. Yet he retained a small deposit of Vermont gravel in his voice, that muted fog-horn which could turn so fast to an almost choking chuckle, half-embarrassed as though he might have missed the joke. He retained a large residue of Vermont rectitude in his dealings with other men, who totally trusted him. And behind the gentle friendliness, the casual camaraderie, lay a core of Vermont reserve. For he was, despite his flocks of friends, essentially a lonely man, not easily given to intimacies or confidences—a man whose deepest elations and distresses were always held in check within. To see him walk alone down Wall Street for coffee in the morning, for bourbon in the afternoon—that stiffly erect figure with the brisk short steps and the impeccably buttoned jacket (who ever saw him with his jacket off?)—was to sense some of the turmoil that must have tossed behind the tight facade.
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