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Title:      World So Wide (1951)
Author:     Sinclair Lewis
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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      World So Wide (1951)
Author:     Sinclair Lewis





To the Donna Caterina, Alec, John, Tish, Victor, Margherita, Tina,
Claude and so many other memories of Italy.



1


The traffic policemen and the two detectives from the homicide
squad examined the tracks of the car and were convinced that a soft
shoulder of the road had given way.

They had been returning from Bison Park, after midnight but quite
sober.  Hayden Chart was driving the convertible and hating his
wife, Caprice, and hating himself for hating her.  He was not given
to grudges and, despite her glitter of pale-green dinner dress and
her glitter of derisive gossip, Caprice was a simpleton who no more
deserved hatred than did a noisy child.  But she did chatter so.
It wore Hayden down like a telephone bell ringing incessantly in an
empty house.

She gabbled, "Jesse Bradbin is so dumb!  He's an absolute hick, and
he's about as much of an architect as my left foot.  Why couldn't
you get a smarter partner?  And IS he a lousy bridge player!  Is he
ever!"

"He's not bad."

"No, it's his cluck of a wife that really gets me down.  In my
candid opinion, Mary Eliza Bradbin is the worst dose of vinegar in
Newlife; the most hypocritical combination of piousness and secret
drinking I ever ran into.  And always criticizing some poor bunny.
You pretend like you like everybody, but even you got to admit Mary
Eliza is a pain in the neck.  Isn't she, huh?  Isn't she?"

"Yes.  Stupid.  But means well," said Hayden Chart.

"She means poison, that's what she means!"

The scolding did not become Caprice, thought Hayden.  She was
elfin, tiny and quick and rose and pale gold, given to affectionate
giggles in between her miaows.  If she would only shut up, he
sighed, he could go on loving her like a dutiful husband--perhaps.

He longed for silence.  Especially on a moony night like this,
driving on smooth cement with this suave engine, he liked to look
up at the mountains against the moon-pale sky, to look with
satisfaction at the houses he himself had planned in these comely
new suburbs of Newlife, "the fastest-growing city in Colorado"--
Newlife, with its skyscrapers set among flat one-story supply-
houses for silver miners and sheep-ranchers; Newlife and its
symphony orchestra, with a Spanish conductor, playing in a
Renaissance temple where a fiery dance-hall had stood but twenty
years before.  Newlife had swollen from 30,000 to 300,000 in thirty
years, and it expected a million in another thirty.

And in Newlife no firm was more enterprising than Chart, Bradbin &
Chart, architects: the heavy-handed Jesse Bradbin, aged sixty, and
the thirty-five-year-old Hayden, who was slim and compact and
patient, and given to playing tennis and reading biography.

He did not know Caprice.  It would always be his fault with women
that his imagination darted into their inner minds, thought with
and through their minds.  He took their side even against himself,
and saw to it, thus, that he invariably lost in the war against
women.

He could not even be thunderous with a woman client guilty of the
most sickening of crimes (except for not paying the bill): wanting
what she wanted in a house and not what the architect knew was good
for her.  He was both maddened and sympathetic now when Caprice,
exasperated at not having made him pay more attention to her,
started all her little tricks of propaganda, which mutely shrieked,
"Notice me--notice me!"

Holding it visibly high, from her lizard-skin evening bag she took
out her gold-link purse; out of the purse she took a package in
silver paper; out of the silver paper she took the prize she had
just won at bridge: a brooch of imitation jade.  Then she wrapped
up the brooch, put the silver paper in her purse, put the purse in
the bag, loudly clicked the bag shut, loudly clicked it open again,
took out the purse, took out the silver paper . . .

She was capable of doing this over and over until he testified to
her powers of torture by scolding her.

But tonight his anger at her petty bullying was lost in pity that,
at slightly over thirty, she should still have the mind of a child
delighted by any sort of gift.  He made himself say to her,
civilly, "That's a nice jade charm.  I'm glad you won it."

Now that she had made him recognize her presence, she returned to
her gabbing, but more spitefully; she did what she gleefully called
"needling him a little."

"But you, big boy, were YOU ever terrible tonight!  You played
worse than Mary Eliza.  You got no more card sense than a zebra.
But what amused me, when it didn't get me sore--oh, you didn't
think I noticed; you think you're such a smoothie about covering up
your sniffing around after women--what had me sunk was the way you
kept sneaking in a look at Roxanna's ankles and Alice's buz-ZOOM
and Jane's god-awful lipstick.  You'd be THE most ridiculous tail-
waving cat out on the tiles, if it wasn't that you're such a
coward!"

His irritation, sparking into wrath at this injustice, may have
made his hand twitch on the steering wheel, or it may have been
entirely the soft shoulder of the highway caving in.  Whichever,
the car was suddenly and appallingly shooting off the embanked
road, and as he protested, "This can't be happening to me!" they
were turning over and over in air.

There was something comic in that grotesque horror.  The roof was
below him, then the car upended like a rearing horse, then his head
had struck the roof and afterward the windshield, then the whirling
cosmos banged down, and the side window was below him, on the
earth, then up beside him again, and they were still.  The huge
noise dissolved into a huge blank silence, and the car shook like a
panting animal.  They were tilted, but nearly right-side-up.

He thought that his head was bleeding and both his arms broken and
he knew that he was very sick and that Caprice was not there beside
him.

"Where are you?  Darling!" he was screaming--he was trying to
scream, while he realized that his voice was choked.  He thought he
could hear a small shaky answer from her, but he was so dazed that
he could not be sure whether it was a moan or a sneer.  With agony
he managed to turn his head enough to make out their situation.
With a freakishness like that of a tornado, Caprice seemed to have
been thrown into the shallow back seat, and the light fabric top of
the convertible had been so deeply dented that she was imprisoned
there, with only an aperture between the two seats large enough for
him to hear her sobbing; not large enough for either of them to
pass.  In any case, he could not move far.  He was jammed between
the seat and the twisted steering post.  The glass had been ripped
clear out of the windshield; it seemed to have slashed his scalp.

"Caprice!"

"Ohhhhhh . . ."

"Can you move?  Can you reach me?"

"Ohhhhhh . . ."

"Are you hurt badly?"

"I don't know. . . .  Oh, yes, my neck--hurts dreadfully."

More than the pain which beat in a steady rhythm of agony in an arc
that traversed his head, he felt anxiety for her--with her poor,
pretty jade charm.  For perhaps the first time this past year or
so, he felt not just a resigned endurance of her malice, but an
active affection, a desire to sacrifice himself to help her.

He was trying to shout for help, expecting to be rescued, to have
aid at once.  But his voice was a parched trickle, weak as that of
an ailing baby.  He struggled to raise his head from the cool
upholstery against which his cheek rested, and look through the
empty windshield frame.  He perceived, in a dull, sick way, that
they were in a brush-thick hollow far down below the level of the
highway, hidden from it.  Even were it not night, they would not be
seen, be heard, from any of the rushing automobiles whose lights,
innumerable and swift, level comet-tracks, were darting above them,
with the steady swish of tires on cement.

Caprice and he might lie here, bleeding, stranglingly thirsty, for
many nights and days.

He could hear Caprice's voice, in a tiny angry scolding:

"Inexcusable carelessness, and you always claim to be such a good
driver and then practically killing me!"

He agreed with her.  He did love her so much!  If he had of late
thought himself indifferent to her, it had been only the self-
absorbed busyness of a craftsman, he told himself.

He was not sure just how conscious she was, back there, as she
prattled away more and more spitefully:

"Why don't you DO something?  Get out and get some help, not sit
there and wait for somebody to find us!  Always so helpless and
never, never think about what I may want or need or anything!"

A snigger then of dainty malice, the cat sniggering as it patted
the dying mouse:

"Oh, not you!  Always so high-and-mighty and cultured, telling
everybody about these big thick history books you're always
reading, and you never really finish any of 'em!  Ridiculous
spectacle of yourself, and everybody laughing at you.  Pretending
you're so hot and bothered about classical music and oh yes, of
course, just have to have it on the radio when you're reading, and
never hear one note!  Oh, I've proved it!  I've switched it to jazz
and you never even noticed.  Not mind your being so phony if you
weren't so clumsy about it and everybody gets onto you--what a
goat!"

In his mind he pleaded with her, "Don't, oh, please don't, not now
when I've turned back to you.  Let me go on loving you!"

His head seemed to have stopped bleeding but it was all a thick
mass of aching, his throat was dry as a desert water-hole, and he
could not make out a word now as she cackled on, delirious and
incomprehensible.  He was losing account of time.  Had he passed
out, had he been unconscious?

They could both die here before they were found.  Was this the end
of everything?

"Is this all I'm going to get from life?  I've done so little and
seen so little out of all I wanted.  In college, that Kipling
thing, 'For to admire and for to see, I've wandered o'er the world
so wide.'  I was going to see everything, everywhere."

He made a monstrous list of the things he had wanted, now that it
was, no doubt, too late ever to do them.  To be state tennis
champion.  To camp in British Columbia and have a winter in the
Caribbean.  To speak French and live in Paris and know wines and
meet dashing actresses and wise old men with spade beards.  To live
for months overlooking a monastery garden, mystic and contemplative.

(It would have to be an Episcopal monastery, though, wouldn't it?
His great-great-grandfather had been Church of England Bishop of
North Carolina.)

And--a familiar dream which he had illustrated with drawings on
stray envelopes--now he would never build that prairie village
which was to have been all housed in one skyscraper: the first
solution in history of rural isolation and loneliness.  He could
have done it, too!  He was amazed that these hands, this aching
brain, so hotly alive now, might at a moment crumble in
dissolution.

Too late?  But if he did get free from this prison, he would
renounce his routine provincial life and follow every one of his
fantasies.

Surely Caprice would come with him--PERHAPS she would.  There were
no children to consider, even after their eight years of marriage,
nor did Caprice really want any.  At thirty-five, with enough money
earned by himself or inherited from his father, who had founded
their architectural firm, he was freer than at eighteen.

With his even tan, his small mustache, his erect slenderness,
Hayden Chart might have been a Scotch major or a Yorkshire man.
His face was thin, and people said that his eyes were kind.  In a
business world where so many hustlers like Jesse Bradbin were
inclined to be damply enthusiastic and clammy to the handshake,
there was a fine, dry, hard quality about Hayden, the quality of a
polished dagger.

The dagger had been too long sheathed.



Caprice was still muttering on, scarcely heard, with a sound like
dry leaves shifting in an autumn breeze.  His pity for her grew
more passionate.  She was so youthful, at thirty-one; she had so
loved this new automobile and everything in their new Georgian
brick house, from the deep-freeze and the red-and-black tiled
rumpus-room to her dressing room, all crystal and frilly curtains.
With a heartier, blunter, more alcoholic husband, she would have
exulted in a life of dancing and risky gambling.  He had always
hurt her, Hayden sighed, and he hadn't meant to, he never had meant
to.

He was keeping up, this while, an effort to shout which mangled his
throat yet seemed no louder than a moan.  But he may have been
heard.

Near them, a match was lighted and held up, revealing the twisted
hood of the car and a scared, bearded, rustic face peering in
through the windshield frame.  Hayden managed a gasp of "Get help!"
The match went out, and his battered consciousness went out with
it.

In a shaky dream he saw or thought he saw the car flooded with
light from a wrecker, felt himself being eased out from behind the
steering wheel and lifted from the car, and swift surgical fingers
about his scalp and his arms.  His mind faded again, complete, and
he never knew whether he had seen or merely thought he had seen the
broken, still body of Caprice.  For years he seemed to have been
protesting, "Such a pretty toy and so frail; they shouldn't have
hurt her."

He came clearly to in a hospital, with his head bandaged and Dr.
Crittenham, their mild indecisive family physician, by the bed.
He felt miraculously safe, and not for two days did he know that
Caprice had been buried the day before, and that he was desolatingly
free to wander in a world too bleakly, too intimidatingly wide.



2


He could feel the strength flowing back into him, like a slow and
steady sea tide, and that flowing life, that mysterious busy
workmanship of nature, was repairing his broken arms, his contused
skull, though it could not yet repair the bruised mind in which,
incessantly, he agonized that he had killed his helpless child,
Caprice, and with her killed the right to love.

He feebly wanted to get out of this, away from clucking nurses and
Dr. Crittenham's owlish peering and the horrible scrambled eggs and
cold toast.  He wanted to be working, to be taken seriously again
as part of the cheerful world that goes daily to its work.  But,
hazily forming, more and more resentful, was a realization that for
a long while yet he could not endure fussy clients: well-to-do
women demanding tiled baths, an assembly-line kitchen, a forty-by-
thirty living room and innumerable cedar closets, for the price of
a four-room bungalow.

As indignant as though he were still in his office arguing with
them, he remembered the mean and cheating determination not to be
cheated which was characteristic of women who had never been in
business: those tight lips, that smell of rotten carnations, that
snarling, "Well, I must SAY, I thought a' architect was supposed to
look after folks' interests, not try and rob them!"

He recalled whole families of clients: Father standing back,
looking anxious, hoping that The Wife wouldn't run him into too
much money.  Father himself would be satisfied with anything from a
domestic tomb made of cement blocks to a Samoan grass hut, provided
they got a good heating plant, but Sistie kept repeating that they
must have a place to dance, and Junior had incessant new ideas: a
closet for skis, a bowling alley, a swimming pool and, while they
were about it, why not a four-car garage instead of a two-car
shanty?

"I can't take it!  What they all demand!  Now I know how the doctor
feels when I complain about the diet here, and the injections!"

Nor could he take the demands of the unions, nor the shiftiness of
tough contractors, nor the delays in bank loans nor, least of all,
the violently active idleness of his older partner.

Jesse objected to the wages of the draftsmen, to time spent on
twice-daily inspections of operations; he tried to wiggle into
every new building job in town; and he repeated everything he said
to you, repeated it with emphasis, as though--even when he had
nothing weightier to communicate than the chance of rain today--he
were revealing a message from Heaven.

Between the two sections of his thundering verbal trains, Jesse
always put in a "See whatta mean?"  He ruled, "Dead certain to be a
cold fall, this fall, see whatta mean?  Dead certain--whatta mean--
a cold fall!"

Life could have been tremulous with noble emotions and cultivated
senses--or so the poets informed him, Hayden sighed--and was he to
spend its swift flicker in listening to an old miser bellowing,
"See whatta mean"?  Whenever Hayden had a notion for a warehouse
that should be something more than a prison, Jesse protested, "You
long-haired artists give me a pain.  I'm a practical man!"

It was painful that while Jesse regarded him as an anarchist, the
local Modernist and Functionalist and general Impossiblist, Mr.
Kivi from Finland--DOCTOR Kivi--considered Hayden "a nize fella
personal, but yoost anudder old-fashion architectural tailor,
giffing the dumb bourgeois whateffer kind suitings dey tink dey
vant."

"I need, in fact, a year off," reflected Hayden, "and I'm going to
take that year off, and find out whether I can do anything more
amusing than being batted over the net by Jesse and batted back by
Kivi.  I think that I would like to be a self-respecting human
being, and even learn to read!"

He could amply afford the year off.  As a young architect he had,
on speculation, planned a large Merchandise Mart, and his share in
that alone would give him a rather tight living.  He renewed now
his regret, in the prison of the wrecked car, that he had missed so
many treasures of learning.  Compared with Jesse Bradbin, he was an
encyclopedia but, lying in bed, annoyed when the day nurse tried to
entertain him with what she thought she remembered of a radio skit,
he made lists of the things he did not know.

He knew nothing, very nearly, of Byzantine or Egyptian, Chinese or
Hindu architecture.  He spoke no foreign language--should not an
educated man be able to speak French and German, along with Italian
or Spanish?  He had only a mail-order smattering of music,
painting; he had never read Dante or Goethe nor anything of
Shakespeare except the plays on which he had been spoon-fed at
Amherst; he was innocent of chemistry and astronomy; and of history
before 1776 he was certain only that there had been Gothic and
Renaissance churches and that America had been discovered, from
time to time, by a lot of Scandinavians and by a gentleman called
Christopher Columbus, who had trained for it by continually
standing eggs on end.

He had assumed that he would be classed as a Civilized Man.  He
wondered now if he was not a jungle-dwelling cannibal without even
an expert knowledge of how to catch and cook prime human beings.
How proud he had been that--to Caprice's rage--on many evenings,
instead of highball parties, he had gone to bed at nine-thirty and
"got ten good hours of sleep."  Now he speculated that he had
probably been wasting three hours a day of this too-brief life in
snoozing like a hobo by the railroad tracks.

Could he make up for all that?

As a starter, he longed for first-hand sight of the Europe which is
the mother of most Americans as it is of the Mongolian-Chaldaic-
Saracen-Slav races who call themselves European.  His nearest step
to it had been a wander-month in England with a couple of
classmates after their graduation from Amherst.  The glory of the
English cathedrals had decided him to be an architect, like his
father.  Before he could go on to the Continent, he had been called
home by the illness of his mother.  He had gone to a New York
school of architecture, and that was the end of Romany Rye.

In World War II, he had been a major, but he had been kept in the
United States, constructing miles of huts and warehouses.  Before
it, he had sat in on the designing of banks, office buildings,
churches, but he had become a specialist in "medium-priced
housing," along with an occasional Labrador-Spanish palace for a
stockman, or this very hospital that was his detention camp.

He loved Litchfield, Sharon, Williamsburg; he preferred the
Georgian, and he had theories about developing a truly American
style.  He was called a plodder by all the Kivis, and in turn he
disliked their bleak blocks of Modernist cement, their glass-
fronted hen-houses, their architectural spiders with cantilever
claws.

Yet now he wanted to desert his solid American brick and timber and
flee to the stone and thatch of the heathen gods of Europe.



With all his dismaying thoughts, he excitedly worked out a
philosophy of hope which he called the Doctrine of Recovered Youth.

He meditated upon it through the motionless hours when he awoke at
three in the morning and could not sleep again till after
breakfast.  He heard the small derisive night noises: a policeman
plodding down the street, a drunk singing, a wild ambulance
screaming, a woman crying, then the banging of the ash cans.  He
looked for hours at the plaster walls and wished that instead of
making this hospital crisp and hygienic, he had created an orgy of
Alhambra harem decoration, to entertain sleepless patients
suffering through the gray hours.  Over and over he sighed about
the lost wisdoms he had missed, till from nowhere, sharp,
exhilarating, came the faith that he had not missed them, that they
could be ahead of him.

The Doctrine of Recovered Youth.  He was to spend no time in
regretting failures but to concentrate on what he could do in a
future that was ready to his hand.

He was not to think back fifteen years to the time when he was
twenty, credulous and enthusiastic, when he was strong for walking,
for singing, for making love.  He was to look fifteen years ahead
to the time when he would be fifty--and a fine, sound, competent
age that was, too, when he ought to be able to eat and laugh and
make love as well as ever.  Compared with fifty, he still WAS
young, he HAD recovered youth.  Ah, the blazing wonders he was
going to experience in these fifteen years ahead, with perhaps
another twenty-five years on top of that!  He was going to see all
of the world so wide.



His acquaintances were presently allowed to call on him, and the
strange thing, in his fast-recovering strength, was that he did not
want to see many of them.  He was impatient with the tedious past
which these fellow-clansmen so tenderly dragged in, certain that he
would be delighted to hear how everything had been going with Dear
Old Bill Smith, the celebrated fisherman and drunk, delighted to
get all the shivery details of the membership drive of the Bison
Park Country Club.

It had been assumed, he himself had half assumed, that he was
gregarious, fond of being yelled at by a dozen people in a small
room, for this was expected of any competent professional man in
Newlife.  He discovered in this, his first pious retreat since
college, that it had been an enforced habit, and that he preferred
the sweetness of silence to even the newest smutty story.

But such treachery to American good-fellowship he kept concealed.
He tried to be grateful to all the kind men who, at such
inconvenience, during busy days, took off an hour to "run in and
cheer up good ole Hay," by bellowing at him, "Well, well, well,
well, you certainly look fine today, you certainly do, you look
well on the way to recovery, so take good care yourself, be sure
and take care yourself now, and let me know anything I can do for
you."

They would have been shocked, Civic Virtue in Newlife would have
rocked, if he had said, "There is one thing you can do: go away and
don't come back."

The agonizing crisis of these visitations was when they stopped
mid-sentence and he knew that, with obscene tact, they were
avoiding even a natural mention of the dead Caprice, or when,
instead, they dragged in her poor remains and overpraised her.  He
told himself that the profoundest reason why he wished they would
forget Caprice was that he was in love with his purified memory of
her.  All round her shrine was a cloister where no heathen were
allowed to tread.



He felt wan and reedy as he sat up in bed in his coarse hospital
nightgown, while Jesse Bradbin, tilting back and forth, back and
forth, in a straight chair, looked like a fly-blown leg of beef.
Jesse held out his whisky flask with a roar of, "Try a nip of this--
Mother's Knee Bourbon.  Your doc would throw a fit, but it's time
for you to get back in harness again, see whatta mean, get back in
shape and have a little fun, see whatta mean?"

"Thanks, no.  Uh--Jesse, I may take some time off when I'm out of
the hospital."

"What d' you think you want to do?"

"I might skip out to California--try loafing in the sun, maybe
catch up on my reading."

"Well, I suppose a month of that wouldn't hurt you, though it'll be
blame inconvenient."

"Not a month.  Maybe I'll take a year off."

"A--a YEAR?  Great good suffering catfish!  That accident knocked
all the whatever sense you've got clean out of your head, see
whatta mean, knocked out all what sense you got!  You're crazy as a
loon!  A YEAR?  With a bunch of new contracts in sight?"

"I'll find you a good substitute."

"If you went and found me a Cass Gilbert--at thirty bucks a week--
I'd still be dodging my duty toward you, as a partner, as an
intimate friend, as a fellow-Coloradan, see whatta mean--dodging my
duty.  I got a moral responsibility toward you, now that Caprice
has passed on.  Got to be somebody to take care of you and get you
straightened out and direct you and try to put some common sense
and dependability into that damn-fool poetical brain of yours.  No,
sir-ee!  The way to forget that poor girl and your own shaking up
is to hustle and get back on the job and work harder than ever.
You'll be surprised how you'll enjoy it, getting away from all this
unhealthy THINKING!  Back into the fray!  You'll enjoy it, see
whatta mean--enjoy it.  You always did like chatting and chinning
and visiting with the lady clients, you old rogue!  Heh, heh?"

"Got to have some sleep now," muttered Hayden wearily.

But that missionary of manly enterprise, Mr. Bradbin, had not been
entirely without moral effect.  Hayden reflected, "To go back to
the office now would be the most horrible punishment I can think
of, and perhaps that's why I must do it.  I must endure a heavy
penance to make up, in some tiny degree, for killing Caprice.  Oh,
she only wanted to dance in the sun!  I murdered her, and her
revenge is that I have never been so bound to her as now.

"I shall not look at another woman, all my life.  I shall never be
that romantic wanderer, that troubadour in a ribbon-tied jeep
singing through Provence, that I dreamed of.  Suffering has made me
prosaic.  I may just as well go back to the office and sell
everybody on attic-insulation.  I'm finished.  If I were only
twenty again, and strong and unafraid . . ."



3


The day nurse, who considered Mr. Hayden Chart an edifying but
somewhat depressing model of dignity who "will never give any skirt
a tumble since his wife had passed away," was surprised by the
vigor with which he demanded, "Show her right in!" when she
announced Miss Roxanna Eldritch.

Roxanna Eldritch--Roxy--had been a friend of Caprice, as fond as
she of gin-rummy and skiing and aquaplaning, but three or four
years younger and altogether a more solid and good-tempered
citizeness.  She was a reporter on the Newlife Evening Telescope,
and she wrote not only of Society and its fabulous orange-flavored
weddings (or Nuptials, if the groom made over ten thousand a year)
but capably handled general assignments: interviews with lecturers
and with remarkably intelligent horses, hardware-association
dinners, and even such big news as an alderman's explanation of how
he had just happened to pick up on the street the marked bills
found in his desk.

Roxy came in like a shy mouse, but a mouse that will immediately
start waltzing if the cat is asleep.  She was a smallish, blue-eyed
redhead, with the richest deep-copper hair, and the fair skin and
jaunty freckles of the redhead.  She was not plump, and her ankles
were fine-drawn, but she was rounded and appetizing.  Even old
friends of her father, an unimportant beet-sugar broker, though
they feared that Roxy would laugh at them, found it hard to keep
their hands off her.

Sometimes, in white flannel at ten in the morning, she looked
twenty-two and ready for tennis; sometimes, late in the evening,
she looked an old, old, haggard twenty-nine, a veteran who has met
too many public men and heard them boasting, for the benefit of
Press & Public, of how many extraordinary things they were going to
do as soon as this astonishing grand-jury indictment was quashed.

She stood in the doorway, glancing sharply at Hayden as he yanked a
red-and-yellow Navajo blanket about his shoulders and smoothed his
hair.

"My gracious, you look like a lily!" said Roxy.  "How's everything
in Astolat?  Elaine back from Camelot yet?  But honestly, Hay,
you're in wonderful shape.  I am so glad!"

Her voice was warm and kind, though it did have a bit of western
flatness, the voice of a bird flying at dun twilight over the
western plains.

"I'm getting all right, Roxy.  Nice you came."

"Sit down a minute?  Really came to ask you whether you'd like
cigarettes or candy or detective stories.  I'm sure you've had too
many flowers."

"Enough so that they rather horribly suggested a funeral.  The
steamfitters' union sent me about half a mile of forget-me-nots.
I thought that was rather sinister."

"When do you think you'll be ready for some tennis, Hay?  I'm your
man.  You'll have to be careful, and of course I gambol around the
court like a furniture truck, but you're so much neater than I am
that you'll still lick me every set."

He had been thinking that she was very like Caprice, that
essentially she WAS Caprice, was every dance-mad, cocktail-gulping
young female in Newlife, but he reflected that, no, Roxanna had
more humor, sympathy, industry than the Caprices.  But he was
jarred to find, in the zest with which he looked at Roxy's luscious
throat and breast, that he had fallen with ludicrous haste from his
mystic worship of Caprice's wistful and shadowy image.

Roxanna could not have noticed any ruefulness in him.  She was too
excited about making her announcement:

"I just wanted to say, if we do get in any tennis, it will have to
be quick, because as soon as I get my passport and learn how to say
'Where's the depot?' in English English, I'm going to Europe.  By
myself!"

"No!"

"My managing editor--next year there'll be a lot of pilgrims from
here going to Rome and so on for the Holy Year, and he allowed it
might be a good idea to get the lowdown on what makes there now,
all over Europe.  I'm to do a series for the Telescope and outlying
sheets on how you eat and sleep and per combien on good American
dollars--or is it par combien?--in the Old Country.  Oh, Hay, I try
to be flippant about it, but I'm awed to death and scared to death!
Think, pal, I'll be seeing English rose gardens and the midnight
sun in Sweden and Paris cafés and the Colosseum!"

It was at that moment that, without knowing it, Hayden started for
Europe.

There were hesitations, worries, preparations to be got through.
Dr. and Mrs. Windelbank called on him.  He was a dentist with a
taste for attending lectures, about which he discoursed to patients
when he had them racked in the chair with cotton rolls in their
mouths, and his lady gave talks on gardening.  They came in now to
boast that they too were going to Europe, and not on one of your
ridiculous three-week tours.  No, they would fly across and have an
entire month just for sightseeing, with two entire days in Venice,
two in Florence, and three in Rome!

For years the Windelbanks had gloried in their annual adventures:
their journeys to Mexico, to Alaska, and the Famous Homes of New
England, including Coolidge's, and they implied that Hayden was a
stick-in-the-mud, without imagination.

Clearly, he had to go and spend a couple of months abroad in
revenge upon these loving neighbors.  Yet even this natural human
spite may have moved him less than the superiority of Dr. Kivi.

That priest of Modernism in Architecture came in as condescendingly
as a duke or a headwaiter, and when Hayden fretted.  "Do you think
I would get much out of seeing Europe as it is now, Maestro?" the
Finnish orchid seemed amused.

He was made up to look the great artist, with bushy hair, bushy
mustache, black bow tie with bushy canary-colored waistcoat--a
squat man, full of salt herring and energy.  He hated his titanic
rivals, Gropius and Frank Lloyd Wright and Neutra and Saarinen and
Van der Rohe; he said "efen a gang of carpenters like Chart-Bradbin
are better dan dose swindlers dat mess on de sacred name off
Modarnism."  He looked at Hayden not with loathing but with such
fondness as one might give to a silky Pekingese--if it stayed out
of your armchair.  He said blandly, "Vy not go?  Even an American
bourgeois can look on naked beauty vidout much injury, as my friend
Sibelius iss often saying to me.  But as you don't know de t'ree
t'ousand years of history, as you neffer had a Kinderstube, don't
expect too much or you vill be ferry lonely and disappointet."

Afterwards, Hayden grumbled to himself.  He recalled rumors that
Dr. Kivi had no bracing Finnish blood in him at all, but was
actually a German named Hans Schmuck.  But to Hayden he was
formidable.  He had seen Kivi beat the local chess champion who,
being named Perkins, could not conceivably rival a master who
smelled of beer and gherkins.  In Denver, Hayden had heard Kivi
publicly affirm his faith:

"I am not going to let my clients haf all the pingpong tables and
leetle antique furniture they vant, efen if I go broke and take to
honest farming."  That Augustinian creed had set all the Rocky
Mountain architects debating, and enabled Kivi to charge an extra
thousand dollars on every house.

But Kivi's discouragement built up in Hayden a stubborn Western-
Yankee resentment.  Probably, he admitted, he was nearer to the
capering Kivi than to the mulish Jess Bradbin.  He vowed, "All
right, I WILL go abroad!  I'll learn at least one language, and
I'll bring back more of the genius of Rome than this bounding
baboon Kivi could ever understand!"

The news enlivened Newlife that Hayden Chart was going abroad.
Himself, he was not yet quite sure, and he did not remember having
told any one definitely, but in that ardent community, so proud of
having transcended the village and become urban and urbane, every
one knew your affairs better than you did.  His neighbors came to
the hospital to give him advice based on affection and a superb
ignorance of both Europe and Hayden.  In World War II, some
hundreds of local young people had campaigned in Italy and France,
and the general city belief was now, and for another ten years
probably would be, that all through Europe "conditions" were
exactly what they had been in a bombed city in 1944.

"Be sure and take along plenty of soap," they urged him, "and
toothbrushes and sugar and toilet paper and aspirin and razor
blades, and you better carry plenty of food.  I'd advise your
taking some nice boxes of crackers and a few cans of pork and
beans.  And HUNDREDS of rolls of film for your camera."

"I'm not going to take a camera--if I decide to go at all," said
Hayden.

"You're--not--going--to take a--CAMERA?" they howled.  "Then what
are you going to Europe for?"

"Post-card photographs would be better than anything I could take."

"Good Lord, Hay, I shudder to think what's going to happen to a
poor innocent like you among them pirates!  I never been in Europe--
PERSONALLY--but I been reading where right in Paris you got to
bring your own bed sheets, even in the best hotels!"

Often in any country of Europe, months later, when he stood
admiring show windows that were positively a Versailles of soap and
toothbrushes and inconceivable millions of razor blades, he sighed
to think how unknown this frontier wilderness called Europe was to
that ancient home of decorum and conservatism, America, so hoary
with outdated wisdom that it could not appreciate the venturesome
young barbarians of Rome and London.

Many among these valued neighborhood counselors begged him not to
go at all.  "Or if for some fool reason you feel you simply got to,
don't go making a fool of yourself blundering around alone," they
implored.  "Join some nice conducted tourist party of twenty or
thirty, and they'll tell you what to see and just when to see it,
and what hotels to stay at, and you'll always have some folks from
home to visit with, wherever you are, and not go crazy with
loneliness, or have to depend on natives with their queer ideas!"

The chief among his guardians was Jesse Bradbin.

"I guess the Old Country was all right in its day, but now we got
the world by the tail; we got the bulge on Europe not only in
banking and university work and the soft-drink business, but in
architecture and even in music and story-writing and all that guff.
A European guy that wants to make good in any high-class artistic
racket today has got to come to America--hat in hand.  But then,
you and I are alike.  We don't fall for the arty pose.  We know
that it's just another way of making a living and cashing in big--
like the chain-grocery game.  No, no.  Come to your senses and have
a nice sensible rest, playing golf in Florida for maybe couple
weeks, and get back to work.  Then you'll thank me for having
steered you away from your schoolboy notions about going off half-
cocked to the Old Country.  Yes-sir-ee!  You'll thank me big!"

Hayden lay fuming that Bradbin, after knowing him for thirty-five
years--ever since his first day in this surprising and slightly
unsatisfactory world--should not know him at all, and yet should
often dare to explain him to others.  He reflected that he was like
Bradbin in being industrious and in always paying his bills on the
second of the month, but that otherwise he was less like Bradbin
than like the clammiest, dirty-haired Left Bank female pseudo-
painter whose only completed designs, year after year, were
patterns of wet rings on smoke-dizzy café tables.

He sighed, "And I wonder if Caprice knew me any better?  Or anybody
else in this town, except maybe Roxy Eldritch?  The rest of them
think I'm a steady, contented, home-loving man of business.  And
I'm a tramp that only wants to see new towns and learn to read
Plato in the Greek.  Or I think I am!

"Do I know myself any better than they do?  I must voyage away from
everybody who is familiar with the shape of my nose and the
contents of my checkbook, find a world where I've never seen a
soul, and so find some one who knows what I'm really like--and who
will tell ME, because I'd be interested to learn!

"What I want is less to voyage in any geographical land than travel
in my own self.  I may be shocked by what I find there.  Maybe I'm
not the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.  Maybe the
real captain is a foul-minded sadist and I'm his scared cabin boy.
All right!  That'll be no worse than being the safe and busy Young
Mr. Chart, whom you can always count on for a subscription!"

He was, then, planning to take abroad with him something even more
important than his folding slippers or a dependable can of pork and
beans.  In accordance with his own Doctrine of Recovered Youth, he
was going to take a defiant young man who was willing to burn his
own house, destroy his own city, so that he might in fiery freedom
see all of this world so wide.



In college days, the art of reading had given to Hayden prospects
of a richer universe but, like most of his classmates thirteen
years later, he was sometimes inclined to consider books a genteel
way of getting through the desert hours between dictating business
letters and playing bridge.  But he had not quite lost them; he had
followed the novels of Hemingway and Steinbeck and Willa Cather, he
had read at history, mostly the history of America since 1776,
according to Van Doren, De Voto, Durant, Holbrook--scholars who
believed that the purpose of scholarship is to nourish human
beings, not professors of pedagogy.

Jesse Bradbin read only an architectural magazine which dealt
pontifically with Costs and Accounting and in the newspapers read
the murder trials and the national weather reports.  Jesse could,
and firmly did, tell you what the temperature was yesterday in
Abilene, Texas, Butte, Montana, and Trenton, New Jersey, and the
comparative snowfall in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, on this same
date in 1944, 1934, 1924 and 1870.  Caprice had read only the
society page, the fashion notes, and those same murder trials.
Both of them regarded Hayden as a Francis Bacon, and he had been
tempted to that thought himself till now when, in growing horror,
he decided that he was an unlettered hillbilly.

"We'll repair some of that, as soon as we make the voyage and look
into who this zero, Chart, really is and whether, with his
miraculous new youth, he is worth saving!"

He leapt into an orgy of books, most of them obligingly fetched to
him by his friend, the city librarian: Walter Pater, Jacob
Burckhardt, Thompson and Johnson's epic Introduction to Medieval
Europe, and the good red guidebooks of the good gray master, Herr
Baedeker.  Europe came to him not as a heap of abraded stones
stenciled with dates, but as a dome filled with the softest
chanting, broken by the shout of young warriors.

Before he left the hospital for good, he was able to take a few
drives.  He avoided even a sight of his own house, but he was in
the gang which saw Roxanna Eldritch off for New York and Europe:
Miss Roxanna in a flying, mouse-gray cloak, holding a bunch of red
roses, herself a red rose, a flushed and rosy American missionary
to the gloom of Europe.  She waved to them and then her face
puckered and she was crying--not the dashing lady journalist, but
an affectionate child.



His dreaming in the hospital seemed to him the only reality, and
reality an uncomfortable dream, when he unlocked his wide white
front door and walked into the hallway with its pictorial wallpaper
of beaux and ladies in victorias.  He stared at the living room:
the chintz chairs, the tall white fireplace, the ruby and emerald
and apricot of liqueur bottles pyramided behind his mahogany bar.

He looked at their bedroom: the chaise longue, the tapestry
wallpaper, the black and silver desk.  Though he had designed it
all himself, it seemed to him a dream of luxury fabulous and
wasteful and a little vulgar.

The whole house was a dead thing now that it was deserted by
Caprice's yelling and flouncing and running up- and downstairs and
telephoning violently and for hours.  A dream and a languid,
draining dream then was his hasty giving-away of Caprice's clothes
and her poor treasures: the silver-gilt vanity case, the onyx desk-
set, her stout little ski boots, the flimsy bathing suits that she
had loved.  It was a dream of a life in which he had been busy and
important and well-bedded and well-fed and had glowingly possessed
everything except friends and contentment and any reason for
living: a dream, a fable, a caricature of grandeur.

He first awoke from dreaming when he found himself telephoning to a
travel agency about sailings for England, and awoke again when he
stood on the promenade deck of the steamer, in October, looking
wonderingly down at the horde of two classmates who were seeing him
off.  He tried to remember where he was going and just why he was
going there.



4


He stared at the gangplank, that awning-covered bridge between the
vast black wall of the ship and the surly black wall of the
deckhouse.  There was time; he could still go back and be a
sensible architect, and not go off to a hostile camp where he knew
no language, where he had no friends, no way of earning a living.

He watched the gangplank with apprehension.  He saw the pier crew
at the ropes, and he did not stir.  And now the plank was drawn in,
and his link to land, to America, to Newlife, to Hayden Chart of
Chart, Bradbin & Chart, was cut, and he was in for it--an exile.
And he did not feel that he had recovered youth at all.  He was a
tired man; too tired, surely, to make a new life or do anything but
regret the old life that he had known as safe and profitable.

He had seen no one whom he knew coming aboard.  The intolerably
long lines of the deck planks belonged to a prison corridor.  He
drifted to his stateroom, but for all its pertness of cretonne
bedcover and varnished wardrobe and a mechanical bunch of flowers,
it was no place to live in; just big enough to contain him
impatiently until it flung him out again, six days from now.

Already he knew what every exile before Dante or since has had to
learn: that in the whole world only a few neighborly streets are
interested in letting you live, and if you challenge strangers,
"But I have the high purpose of exploring and conquering and
colonizing my soul," they yawn, "Oh, yes?  But why do it here?"

So this was the joyous venture into the unknown that the novelists
loved to talk about!

At the head steward's window he asked for a table by himself in the
dining salon.  There, he dabbled at cavalcades of hors d'oeuvres
and duck reeking with orange sauce, and went up to the Corinthian
Smoking Room and was just as solitary and unspeaking as he had been
below.  It seemed to him that his fellow passengers were all a vast
nonsense, and he could not see why any of them should go abroad.

Except for his hospital sentence, it was the first time in years
when he had been alone, day after day, and for four days he felt
abused and more misunderstood than ever.  He suddenly found that he
was enjoying it; that he had resented being alone here on shipboard
only because for years all his acquaintances had believed that a
man was not successful or even decent unless six people an hour
were exulting, "Fine day, isn't!" and sixteen were telephoning,
"Well, we got a fine day all right!  May I bother you for a couple
minutes?"

It was a luxury more difficult than a great wine vintage to
appreciate, to be able, hour by hour, to sit still and not try to
sell himself and his charms to anybody--not even to himself.  He
decided, "I'll get something out of this trip even if I never see a
cathedral but learn to sit still in a café and not feel guilty at
not jumping up and rushing around to save America."

The life that had been flowing back into him became a full, sun-
warmed tide; he became so sure of himself and his ability to do
anything he wanted that he did not have to do anything to prove it.
He spent hours walking the deck, contented with the companionship
of beckoning waves and, as they approached land, of the gulls that
were less birds than flashes of light.

He discovered that a ship is always the center of the enormous
round of sea, the center and purpose of the universe, man's
justification of his skinny insignificance, and he landed at
Southampton and climbed up into a compartment of the boat train
with the holy peace of the hermit upon him.

He did most of the proper tourist things in London.

He ate roast beef and saw the guard-mounting at Buckingham Palace
and viewed the crown jewels in the Tower--he agreed that they
really did sparkle more importantly than even a windowful of
costume jewelry in a five-and-ten-cent store.  He drank bitter beer
and admired all the tombs of all the kings in the Abbey.  He liked
the rows of houses, frowning and supercilious but somberly
enduring, indifferent to publicity and the stare of strangers.

He supposed that he ought to be lively here where, any moment on
any street, he might encounter Mr. Pickwick or David Copperfield or
Sherlock Holmes or Sir John Falstaff or even Winston Churchill,
those triumphs of the imagination, more fabulous than Lord
Beaverbrook yet more real.  But incessantly he remembered how, with
his classmates thirteen years ago, he had experimented with these
same omnibuses, listened to Cockneys in these same Whitechapel
pubs, coursed through Hampstead Heath half the night, singing; and
in contrast his solitude made him melancholy.  Was it not
sacrilegious for an old tragedian of thirty-five to thrust his
lumbering gloom into the gay ghost company of two-and-twenty?

He did not consider himself particularly good company for anybody
and, as on the steamer, he walked alone and silent.  He used none
of the letters of introduction which the magnates at home had
heaped on him, urging, "Now be sure and look up my friend Bill
Brown-Potts; swell guy--for an Englishman; just like you and me,
Hay--plain as an old shoe, but a very important guy in the coke
business, a good golfer with a lovely wife and kiddies."

Hayden did not feel that even the most dependable old-shoe-ishness
would raise his spirits.  He was comfortable in London, particularly
well fed, but he planlessly hired a car to go out and search for a
flowery England of Anne Hathaway cottages.  But he was broodingly
unable to see even the most ivied tower as anything but a pile of
stones till, inexplicably, the miracle of recovered hope and courage
transformed him.

He was on the Cornish coast, looking from the mainland at St.
Michael's Mount: the castled isle, the cherubic little clouds, the
gulls, the fishing boats drawn up on the flashing wet sand and,
beyond them, in the sun, the sea that rolled down to Spain and
Africa.  Instantly, on his road to Damascus, the world so wide
turned beautiful and free.  It was worth taking, and it was his to
take.  There was no longer a pall of futility between him and the
sun; he had truly recovered his youth; he was back in the magic and
breathlessness of youth.  He cried to himself, "Oh, LET yourself be
happy!"

His soul lifted above all the several Hayden Charts that had
hitherto trudged the road of indecision, dusty and self-doubting.
That crustiest of taskmasters, himself, did let himself be happy.

Again he had that lift, definite as sudden music, on the steamer to
Calais when first he left the England on which his other youth had
staked out too many claims, and for the first time ventured on the
new land that was so old beneath the towers of Eldorado.



At the American Express in Paris, there was a note from Roxanna
Eldritch of Newlife:

"Dear Hay, welcome to our instructive little continent.  I've been
working hard, my editor seems to like my pieces explaining how
Trouville, Montreux, etc. almost as good as Colorado Sprgs.  Going
to stay w. old sidekicks Mr & Mrs Solly Evans of Denver--oodles of
money (inherited a railroad).  They've taken a show-place villa at
Cannes rite on the shore.  They know yr cousin Edgar & heard all
about you & be tickled pink if you joined house-party for few days,
do come.  Your friend, Roxy."

Northern France was brown and drawn-in with late autumn, and when
he descended from his train at Cannes, it was like the surprise of
Pasadena: roses and palms and oranges and bamboo after the desert.
There was a light, gay quality in the air.  It seemed to have a
sparkle of its own, and seemingly no one strolling in the streets
of the old provincial town had any care more serious than the
design to have another apéritif.  And out on the Mediterranean, so
ancient, so sacred, now first seen by Hayden, there were colored
sails.

The Solly Evans villa was a rackety collection of terraces, yellow
plaster walls, an old stone tower to which had been tacked a flimsy
barracks of bedrooms, and a garden for oleanders and mammoth grape
vines, all on the edge of the sea, with a rock-edged inlet for a
swimming pool, and airy diving boards and scarlet-cushioned lounge
chairs under orange-and-black sunshades.  When Hayden crossed the
terrace, ushered by a butler like a Chicago undertaker, he first
saw his host, a thin, browned young man in a tattered rag for
bathing suit, standing out on a diving raft, bouncing a chrome-and-
glass cocktail shaker.

"You're Hay, aren't you?  Hi!  I'm Solly!"

And on a rock bench beside the pool Hay saw Roxanna Eldritch, in a
French bathing suit which had, by the most skilled hands in Paris,
been thoughtfully made to look twice as nude as any American
bathing dress of one-half the dimensions.  And when she ran to kiss
him, though her kiss was a light tap on his cheek, rustic and
innocent as Roxy herself had been on the train platform in Newlife,
yet he had a dismaying urge to curl his hand about her bare waist.

"Good gracious!" thought the pious hermit.

He was introduced to fellow guests: an American miss with jolly
eyes, hard mouth and hair like glass fiber, who had something to do
with the radio in Paris, a young Brazilian who seemed to have no
identity beyond owning a country house in Switzerland, an Irish
aviator, a young man who was something important in an American
bank in Brussels but who was English, real or synthetic, an
excessively gloomy but rich older American manufacturer, a Spanish
countess and a Swedish baron.

Among them the only one whose speech Hay could understand was the
Swede, so feverishly did the others scream.  When lunch came out
from the main house, on wheeled wagons with things in aspic and
two-litre flasks of wine, the guests and the host and lean, cheery
hostess went off in shrieks in which Hayden could make out only
such indigestible bits as, "Actually, it was too, too amusing,"
and, "Actually, it was too unutterably foul."

And with them, as passionately pointless as any of them, chattered
Roxanna Eldritch, once of Colorado.

After lunch they all had a siesta which, they said languidly, was
enforced by their admirable activity in dancing and gambling till
three in the morning.  Hayden could not settle down to a siesta.
He sat grousing in his bedchamber, in which the white bed and the
white wardrobe doors were adorned with carved garlands and
indiscreet angels thickly gilded.  He thought of Roxy as a dear
daughter gone regrettably mad, and then as a very undaughterly girl
with silky bare legs.

For the tennis hour, Roxy came out in a thin sweater and the
shortest shorts Hayden had ever seen; and for eight-thirty dinner,
she had a simple dress which, even to Hayden's eye, had the
simplicity of a masterful Parisian dressmaker; one which, as a cub
journalist and daughter of a small beet-sugar exploiter, she
certainly could not afford.  It was of rather violent green, and
could not possibly have gone with her red hair, and did.

He contrived to segregate her from the backgammon players for a
talk, and it seemed to him that her slippery new slickness was not
borne easily, but was a little defiant and head-tossing, as though
she were saying, "I dare you to go back to that supid old Newlife
and say that I've turned fast!"

The note she had written to him had been full of the colloquialisms
of a soda fountain in Newlife, but her speech as she lolled, neat
knees showing, among scarlet cushions on the gigantic eight-place
davenport, was mostly a rattling imitation of the English bright
young things.

"I can see you're having a good time," he said paternally.

"I've been up to my eyebrows in the most amusing madnesses!  My new
young man is the most appallingly brilliant young Hungarian writer.
He writes plays, verses, novels, criticism, everything.  I don't
think any of it has been published yet, but he'll be another Evelyn
Waugh.  Actually.  And the Baronessa Gabinettaccio, who is THE most
beautiful and most immoral femme in Europe.  Oh, SAY it, Uncle Hay!
But don't you think Baby has improved over here?"

"No."

"You don't?"

"No."

"You might sugar it a little!  Don't you think these people are
frightfully amusing?"

"No.  And I liked you natural."

"My dear man, I am natural now!  It was when I thought porridge was
something to eat that I wasn't natural.  Besides!  As Dicky Floriat
says, the post-war gen is too weary to live up to the ardors of
being their simple selves. . . .  Oh, don't look so glum, Grampa
Hay!  You're so middle-class.  You dislike gaiety not because it's
immoral but because it's gay."

"I know.  I've read some Oscar Wilde myself.  But isn't he slightly
old-fashioned now?  Sixty years ago!"



Solly Evans insisted that the gambling rooms at the Casino, over at
Monte Carlo, were "great fun," and Hayden went to them expecting a
cinema circus of exiled grand dukes, with broad ribbons of honor
across their shirt fronts, quaffing champagne from goblets and
escorting ladies with tiaras and ermine, and, with the barbaric
splendid laughter of the steppes, winning and losing millions of
roubles.  He expected, as guaranteed to him by Hollywood, Greek
millionaires and Argentine cattle-kings and ruined princesses, in a
somber magnificence rather like the new D. and R. G. Depot, and
caviar handed about like paper napkins, and at least one suicide,
nightly, at 11:17, of a young Englishman of high family.

He found plenty of magnificence at the Casino, but it was a
magnificence in which large plaster lady roustabouts supported
baroque pillars, and chilly young women were depicted walking
through dewy meadows.  Even in the inner gambling room, at the
roulette tables there was not so much as one obvious duke, grand or
Class B, but only faceless men in unpressed business suits and
yellowing-skinned old women of a dozen nationalities, quietly
hysterical as they risked, and so often lost, another fifty cents.
One of them half rose from her chair each time she wagered,
clutching her baggy throat as though she were very sensibly choking
herself to death here and now.

These disinterred witches were either frowsy or too elaborately
shingled and weather-sheathed; they were either twitchingly
agitated or dreadfully still, so intent on play that nothing else
existed for them.  They were like corpses as the croupier swiftly
and callously paid out or raked in the bone chips--dead men's
bones.

As Roxanna looked at these derelict remittance-women she shuddered.
"I get what you mean, Hay!  Yes.  Let's go have a wholesome banana
split and then stay home and see a basketball epic on the
television.  I'm having a frightful vision!  I'm married to a rich
old monster over here and he dies and I'm so bored with all the
other sensations that I come here to play, every evening.  I live
in a flat, like these old bags, and I don't do anything till late
afternoon, when it's time to come and start gambling.  Hay!  Is
Europe all played out?"

"No, no, no!  You'd find just as dreary dope-fiends shooting crap
in New York or Nevada--I guess.  There is a great, stately Europe--
I think.  I want to find it, to know it, to KNOW!"

"Okay.  I'll go back to Paris and swap my commutation ticket at the
Joujou Bar for a library card."

But Roxanna's estimable resolutions were sunk next day, when they
came on a Sadie Lurcher Big-Name party at the Hotel Concilier, on
Cap Attente.

The Concilier is so fashionable and international that it is not
merely a luxury hotel--an inn, a boarding-house, though it is that,
too, no doubt, with a vulgar balance-sheet and dividends--but a
purpose in life.  The bath towels are nine feet long, its food is
as good as the average village inn, with more parsley, and all the
clerks speak six languages, not so much to assist the accepted
guests as to keep unwanted applicants away; to snub undesirable
persons like American millionaires who cannot read French menus and
even earls and countesses if they have been suspected of voting
Labor.

To a small rich man like Solly Evans, when he dares to sneak in and
buy a drink even in the larger and less exclusive Bayeux Bar of the
Concilier, the waiter says "Yes?" as if Solly's intrusion is an
astonishing mistake and, unless he tips three times the amount of
his bill, every waiter in the place turns into a revolving electric
refrigerator, wheeling toward him and emitting a refreshing
blizzard.

Sadie Lurcher was as fin de tout as the Concilier itself.  She was
a stringy lady, immensely tall and virginal, whose super-
ambassadorial function was introducing munition magnates, minor
royalty and theatrical comets to one another.  She gave the most
photographed luncheons in France, and nobody ever quite seemed to
know how she financed them.  As to her origin, there were different
schools.  She was variously reported as having been born in
America, Scotland, Russia and Smyrna.

She owned a modest castle above Cannes, fifty-six rooms with
fourteen habitable, but, for the greater convenience of the press
photographers, she gave her more intimate luncheons at the Hotel
Concilier pool, with its Petit Trianon Snack Bar, its vast rock-
pool of lofty diving boards and a raft made of balsa wood and
glass, and the world-renowned Picnic Plateau, up on a sea-fronting
cliff, where lunches were served outdoors by a diplomatic corps of
waiters in wigs and gold-laced mauve tail-coats.  This was to
distinguish them from the guests, for the richer, more notorious,
oftener-divorced and wittier a male guest was, the more likely he
was to wear, at Sadie's repasts, nothing but shorts, sandals, a
revoltingly hairy chest, and a toupée.

Today, Sadie Lurcher was giving one of her nobler luncheons on the
Plateau.  Her troupe included several ladies, beautiful or titled
or rich, and among the men, all in the uniform of hairy chest and
the light, easy friendliness that marks the more perfected snob,
were some of the world's most notorious names: an ex-king, an ex-
commanding general, an English author so proud of everything
British that he lived entirely in France, and two of the most
titanic of the Hollywood hierarchy, freshly flown in to make a
picture in Italy: a ducal producer, and a movie actor twenty-six
times as famous as the President of the United States.  You may see
him scowling at you from posters startlingly encountered in back
alleys in Greece or China, and his brilliant changes from
barefacedness to wearing a ferocious beard are pictured in the
newspapers of thirty-nine countries.

From their humble distance Roxy looked adoringly up at this
Olympus, and snapped at Hayden, "It's all very well to talk, but
actually now, ACTUALLY, the international set like that has a
wonderful life!"

"I know," mused Hayden.  "Yes.  It was to transfer power from the
munition-sellers and the old aristocracy to the airlines and the
movies and the radio and oil, from the eugenic to the photogenic,
that the young men died in the war and I heroically built a billion
cubic feet of hutments.  When I look up there at Rupert Osgoswold's
Hemingwayesque bosom in person, I feel rewarded.  Roxy!  Not so
cheap!"

She looked at him irritably, and went off to get a cocktail.

He was to leave for Italy.  Probably Roxy would be taking her
newly excavated European glitter back to New York and become a
streamlined career woman, lively and expensive and elegant,
slippery as quicksilver and as hard.  Himself, he would have a few
weeks in Florence and Rome and Naples, and go home.  He thought
that now he could endure Jesse Bradbin and the querulous clients
who wanted Louis Seize redwood.

He would be missing nothing in Europe.  He had not made one friend
here, and in Roxanna he had lost the one friend he had.

At the Cannes station, in a limp dawn when the palm trees were too
damp to clatter and the sunshine-yellow awnings of the cafés were
pulled up and dripping, he said good-bye to Roxanna and Solly
Evans, who were mechanical and regretful and very sleepy.



5


The railway station at Florence had a fine, flaring Mussolini
touch, very spacious and inclined to marble and wood panels, but
the piazza in front of it was of a suburban drabness, and the back
of the church of S. Maria Novella was a mud-colored bareness,
sullen with evening.  He would not be staying here long!  His taxi-
driver was learning English, and was willing to make it a bi-
lingual party, but as Hayden's Italian was limited to bravo,
spaghetti, zabaglione and the notations on sheet music, this
promising friendship did not get far, and he went to bed blankly at
the admirable Hotel Excelsior.

But in the bright morning of late autumn he looked from his hotel
and began to fall in love with a city.

He saw the Arno, in full brown tide after recent mountain rains,
with old palaces along it and cypress-waving hills beyond.  On one
side was the tower of Bellosguardo and a fragment of the old city
wall, and on the other the marvel of the church of San Miniato,
white striped with a dark green that seemed black from afar.
Hayden saw a city of ancient reticences and modern energy, with old
passageways, crooked and mysterious, arched over with stone that
bore carven heraldic shields.

"I like this!  Maybe I'll stay out the week."

There was then living in Florence a friend and classmate of
Hayden's father: a retired American automobile-manufacturer,
competent engineer and man of business, aged seventy-five or so,
named Samuel Dodsworth.  Hayden sent a letter up to him by hand at
his Villa Canterbury on Torre del Gallo Hill, and the Dodsworth
chauffeur brought down a note inviting Hayden to cocktails that
afternoon.

In between, he trudged the erratic streets of Florence, so
unchanged from medieval days that from a secret courtyard you
expected to see emerge a lady with peaked headdress and a gallant
in satin with a falcon perched on his wrist, and he came full on
the Piazza della Signoria, where Savonarola was martyred, where
rears the Palazzo Vecchio, with its heaven-high tower.

He was deeply contented as he was driven up the hill to Samuel
Dodsworth's.

Unlike most Italian villas, which show to the passer-by only a
plastered wall flush with the street and a small door that opens on
the delights of garden and terrace within, the Dodsworths' Villa
Canterbury, which had been built for Lord Chevanier in 1880, was
set back from the street, with a lawn and an ilex alley.  It was a
timbered manor house, half-English and half-Yonkers.  The interior
was chintz and willow plate and Jacobean oak, and the chief change
from his Lordship's day was that the Paris Herald Tribune had
ousted the London Times, and the Yale Alumni Magazine the
Fortnightly Review.

Not even yet was Hayden up to an eight-thirty-dinner schedule and,
arriving at six, he was half an hour early for cocktails, which
gave him a chance to study his hosts.  Dodsworth was a tall,
portly, gray-mustached man, given to quiet listening, and his wife,
to whom he referred as Edith, looked somewhat Italian, though
Hayden thought that she might have been born in Canada or
Massachusetts.

Dodsworth, in his armchair, was a largeness and a solidity; he
looked as though he would not willingly move from it.  He asked of
Hayden, amiably, "Let's see: how long is it now since Monty--your
father--died?"

"Ten years ago, and my mother just afterward."

"They were mighty good Americans.  Did you know your father used to
make applejack in college?  Once he gave a party that started at
three A.M. and lasted till noon.  I lost eleven dollars and a
photograph of Sarah Bernhardt, playing penny ante."

"No!  Why, he was a crank, though very gentle about it, on the
evils of booze and gambling!"

"Well, he ought to have known!  How long you staying in Italy,
Hayden?"

"I can't tell yet.  I had a motor smash, and I'm taking a few
months off.  I may stay in Florence for--for a fortnight."

"Don't stay in Italy too long--or anywhere else abroad.  It gets
you.  Since I was fool enough to sell the Revelation Motor Company,
Edith and I have drifted through India and China and Austria and
God knows where all, and this time, we've been back in Italy for
three years--course, Edith's been coming here off and on for many
years.  Well, we tried to go back and live in the States, in
Zenith, but we're kind of spoiled for it.  Everybody is so damn
busy making money there that you can't find anybody to talk with,
unless you're willing to pay for it by busting a gut playing golf.
And I got to dislike servants that hate you and hate every part of
their job except drawing their pay.  I like having the girl here
bring me my slippers without feeling so doggone humiliated that she
rushes out and joins the Communist Party!

"And back home, this last time, I was bored listening to all the
men I used to know talking about hunting and fishing and baseball
and same old golf.  Fishing!  Hell, I used to skip down to Florida,
one time, and enjoy yanking in a mean tarpon as much as anybody,
but when you hear most of those old, gray-haired galoots, the way
they talk about catching a vest-pocket black bass, you'd think the
man was a ten-year-old brat that had just hooked his first crappie.
Kind of immature, they struck me--even fellows that could swing a
big traction deal and skin a board of directors that had cut their
first teeth on broken bottles.

"And--when I was still in harness in Zenith, I never was the
skittish kind, much.  I never did like our brand of humor any too
well.  I always got kind of sour when a smart banker that was a
good friend of mine, nice fellow, too, but he always had to yell at
you, 'Well, you old horse thief!'  After the first twenty-thirty
thousand times, I thought that got less original--and every time he
saw you, he tried to tickle you.  I can get along with awful little
tickling!  And now I cotton to hearty humor even less than I used
to.

"And then I like these hills in Tuscany and the monasteries and
villas and the variety of it--get in your car and in an hour or so
you're in San Gimignano, looking at those old towers.  Starts your
imagination working about the old wars and battles right there
where you're standing.  Or you're in Siena and have lunch out in
that old square there and look at that big slender tower and wonder
how the devil those old fellows managed to raise those enormous
blocks of stone without any of our machinery.

"Afraid I'm not putting up any very good argument about chasing you
back home, but I mean--that's what's so dangerous here; you do get
to like it and hesitate to go back and face responsibilities, and
that would be bad for a young fellow like you.  Me--I never can
learn this cursed Italian language; Edith has an awful time getting
me to say acqua fresca when I want a glass of water.  But I do like
to have food that you can eat and wine that you can drink without
paying four and a half bucks at a restaurant for a burnt steak and
some fried spuds flavored with penicillin!

"Still, I do get homesick, and I never miss my class reunion in New
Haven, never!

"Edith, you better shut me up!  I haven't gassed this long for a
year.  It's having Hayden here, and get in the first crack at him
and tell him to beat it, go right home and stay there--and then go
downtown and sign another two-year lease on this house.  In which,
Hayden, we may have Italian servants, but you bet your life we got
first-class American central heating!"

Guests were beginning to chatter in, but before the cocktails came,
Mrs. Dodsworth led Hayden out on the terrace for the View which, by
Florence custom, is advertised along with laundry equipment,
garage, cost of upkeep and distance from Leland's Bar.

Although it was masked by the early darkness, Hayden was conscious
of power in the aspect of Florence below them in its golden basket,
between this hill range of Arcetri and, far across, the Fiesole
Hill.  Mrs. Dodsworth could point out the scarcely seen tower of
the Bargello, Giotto's bell tower, the spire of Santa Croce while,
flaunting, soaring, even more whelming than by day in the
floodlights which the mists turned to wreaths of floating rose, the
tower of the Palazzo Vecchio dominated the world more than any
bullying skyscraper of a hundred steel-strapped stories.

As an architect, as a tongueless poet, Hayden was uplifted; as a
lonely man on a voyage to find himself, he wondered if down there,
in that pattern of sunken stars, he might not find a clue to his
lost highway.  He was in love, and if only with a city, he knew
that he could still move to the magic of love for something.

And then he went in to say Yes, he thought an olive in his dry
martini would be fine.



The guests were most of them from the Florentine Anglo-American
Colony, which is united only in a firm avoidance of their beloved
native lands.  There were a few of the scholarly eccentrics for
whom Florence has been renowned ever since Dante, but the rest were
of the active militia of card players.

Of high rank among the bridge-brigade was Mrs. Orlando Weepswell, a
sixty-year-old widow, very rich.  She had lived in the handsome
Villa Portogallo for twenty years now, and had learned forty-seven
words of Italian, most of them meaning "too much" or "too late."
She was the daughter of a country pastor and, as a girl, had in a
surprised and doubtful way become the bride of a banker and
shipowner who was occasionally a congressman, often a Sunday-school
teacher, and always a crook.  Her Florentine villa had wine-red
brocaded walls and hypothetically antique chairs with tooled-
leather seats, but in her bedroom, safe from the jeers of the
Colonists, she kept the Hon. Mr. Weepswell's favorite Morris chair.

She was the first person except the amiable Dodsworths to make
Hayden feel so warmly at home that he believed he could live as
securely and as naturally in Florence as in Newlife.

When you looked at Tessie Weepswell you did not see a woman of
sixty but the glove-soft credulous girl who had been sandbagged by
the Honorable Orlando.  You saw her pretty fleetness and innocence
all unchanged, and her eyes undimmed.  Her voice was still quivery
with enthusiasms about ice cream and kittens and James Whitcomb
Riley.  It was just that over her face was a dusty veil of many
years' weaving which, surely, she could twitch away whenever she
chose.

"Now you MUST rent a villa and live here, Mr. Chart," she panted.
"Honestly, we need you!"  (One likes to hear that, especially a shy
and warm-hearted man like Hayden.)  "The minute I spotted you here
I said to myself, 'Now there's a man with sensitive feelings, that
ain't a lotus-eater like the rest of us gilded snobs, and that
would be real nice to sit and visit with!'  And I'll bet you'll
learn Italian like a house afire!  Do you know any yet?"

"Well, today I've picked up the Italian for 'where is?' and 'veal'
and 'consommé with noodles.'"

"My, that's wonderful!  In one day!  You're a real linguist!  But
how well do you know your Ely Culbertson?"

"Perfectly."

"I KNEW you were a scholar, minute I laid eyes on you.  You're
invited to tea at my little shack whenever you feel the least mite
lonely."

Hayden was pounced upon then by Augusta Terby--Gus--a fine,
flushed, tennis-leaping English girl of thirty, who looked like a
roan horse and who was attended by a mamma who looked like a
suspicious pony.  Augusta believed that all American males were
rich, and willing to be espoused and have some one to send out the
laundry.  She invited Hayden to play tennis and have a nice cup of
tea at their villa.  He felt more than ever a citizen of this
generous frontier village, the Colony, and Augusta felt, as she had
not for nearly a week now, that this time she really had solved her
matrimonial puzzle, while Augusta's mother asked Hayden how he
liked London--a sign of recognition with which she favored very few
of these strange, loud American Cousins.

With these pawns there were larger chessmen on the Dodsworths'
black-and-white checkered-marble music-room floor.  Hayden was
privileged to see Sir Henry Belfont, Bart., that mossiest and most
moated of British historical monuments, an outsize donjon-tower in
morning clothes, with a deerpark of eyebrows, and Lady Belfont, a
small and silent American heiress.

Sir Henry welcomed Hayden with what he considered absolute
folksiness:

"Ah.  An American!"

"Yes."

"Ah!  You are staying for some time?"

"I hope so."

"I am afraid you will find our Florentia very provincial, after
your resplendent Hollywood and New York!"

Nevertheless, Sir Henry had apparently let him in.

Hayden was most taken with a Santa Claus of a man, beard and round
belly and kind, discriminating eyes: Professor Nathaniel Friar, who
had come here from Boston almost half a century ago.  Friar was
talking with his friend Prince Ugo Tramontana, shaven and tall and
lean, the last of a fabulous but decayed Tuscan family.  Mrs.
Dodsworth whispered that these two men were the only near-rivals in
Florence of Bernard Berenson in knowledge of early Italian art and
love for it.  They attended the Dodsworths' clinics because they
liked the host and hostess, and because the food was rich and piled
high, and neither of them got very much of it at home.  They bowed
to Hayden amiably, and he felt that he would like such men as
neighbors.  They were the keepers of the learning that he desired.

All this while, even when he was being bright about backhand shots
with Gus Terby, he had been looking past the others at a young
woman of twenty-seven or -eight who seemed as out of place as
Hayden himself.  He thought of ivory as he noted the curious
Mediterranean pale-dark hue of her oval face, of her competent
hands, which would be smooth to the touch: her cheeks and brow and
hands smooth as a horn spoon, as a tortoise-shell box, as an ivory
crucifix.  Her black hair was parted above the oval ivory face;
over her head was a gold-threaded ivory-colored scarf, and her
dress was of pure cream-colored wool with no adornment except a
broad belt of golden fabric.  There was something Latin, something
royal in her, something almost holy, free from human vulgarity and
all desire except for the perfection of sainthood.

When this paragon joined Professor Friar and Prince Ugo, with whom
she seemed to be on terms of familiarity and respect, Hayden asked
Mrs. Dodsworth, "Is that girl talking to Mr. Friar an Italian?  She
could be a principessa."

"No, she's a plain Miss, and she's an American, but she does speak
Italian almost well enough for a native.  Her name is Olivia
Lomond--Dr. Lomond, I suppose it is.  She's a professor, or
assistant professor or something, in the history department at the
State University of Winnemac, of which my Sam is a trustee.  That's
how we happen to know her, because I imagine she looks down on us
bridge maniacs.  She's doing research on some manuscript records in
the Laurentian Library for a year or so.  Would you like to meet
her?"

He earnestly would.

Olivia Lomond, when he talked with her, was a little blank; civil
enough but not interested.  Yes, she was collating some Machiavelli
and Guicciardini manuscripts with early official records of
Florence; a dusty job, not very rewarding.  Yes, she taught at
Winnemac: Early European History, especially the Middle Ages and
the Renaissance in Italy.

Hayden tried, "That's a period that, just now, I'd like to know
more than anything in the world, and I'm as ignorant of it as a
Colorado sheepherder.  It must have so much more than just sword-
and-roses romance."

She nodded and she said nothing, but her expression said clearly
enough, "Yes, of course you would be ignorant of it; you, the
American businessman, the tourist!"

He was piqued, and he boasted, "Naturally, as an architect, I
suppose I could draw from memory the floor plans of the Riccardi-
Medici palace."

"Oh!  Oh, you're an architect?  In the States?"

"Out West.  Newlife.  Do you know it?"

"I'm afraid not--afraid not."  Nor did she seem very much to want
to know it.  She was merely paying a conversational rent on her
cocktail.  "Do you speak any Italian?"

"I'm afraid not--no."  He was determined to be as lofty as this
goddess whose ivory veins were filled with ice-cold ink.

"You should speak it."

"Why?"

"If you ask that, you answer me."

"It's not a very important commodity in Newlife.  But then, you
probably don't think much of Newlife."

"How could I?  It just hasn't entered my philosophy of life.  I
have no doubt it's a very friendly community, with lovely shade
trees--one of the most enterprising spots in Nebraska."

He let it go.  He disliked her; perhaps, with a little attention to
it, he could hate her.  She seemed indifferent not only to him but,
as she glanced about while they talked, to all males.  Only when it
fell on old Professor Friar, in his shabby sack suit and ill-
regimented beard, was her look kindly.  She had bartered her soul
for trifles of learning that were no more important, in the atomic
age, than a list of Assyrian kings.  Suave as ivory, passionless as
ivory, Olivia Lomond made him suddenly prize the file-rasping
fussing of Mary Eliza Bradbin--about bidding and rubber overshoes
and sandwich fillings--as fecund and womanly.

Uninterestedly continuing her social duty, Dr. Lomond droned at
Hayden, "Are you staying here for some days?"

Astounded by his own news, he heard himself asserting, "I may stay
here for some years!"

"No!  Really?"

He had aroused her--to at least as much attention as she would give
to a donkey cart in the street, and, as she said "Really?" he had
perceived that her voice was beautiful: melodious, rather grave,
suitable to a woman all of ivory.

She sounded almost half-interested with, "Are you to have an
official position here?"

"No.  No job.  I shall just be studying--go back to school in my
senility.  I want to master your blasted Italian speech and
history."

But there never was anything so cold as her, "I'm sure that will be
amusing," and she turned to talk to Augusta Terby.

He had meant it--for that moment he had.  He would set up shop as a
scholar; he would be an Erasmus, a Grosseteste, an Albertus Magnus,
if only to SHOW this intellectual snob of a lady professor.

But he did not like her enough to hate her; to want to hurt her.
Dr. Lomond fascinated him like a rattlesnake on a putting green.
He kept looking at her for the rest of the cocktail hour, while she
talked, seemingly on level terms, with that great gentleman, that
superior historian, Prince Ugo Tramontana.  Her voice came across
the room to him like the flowing of small waters, not the flat,
provincial quacking of so many vigorous young women at home.
Whether or not he would attain it, Dr. Lomond was worthy of a good
healthy hating.

He would SHOW her, and in her show the whole wide world.



6


His good-night from Dr. Lomond was as curt as though she did not
remember ever having seen him.  Her eyes were beautiful, and so
unmoved, so superior to all the angry, corrupting temptations of
life, he reflected, because she did not know that there were any
temptations.  He thought rudely, "I'm going to get a D Minus in her
class and there is no use trying to bluff her.  She wouldn't be
angry.  She'd just efficiently flunk me."

But the Dodsworths so warmly invited him to return that he still
felt at home in Florence.

He planned to walk down the hill to his hotel, and considered
himself rather heroic over a foot journey of half an hour.  In
Newlife a man, unless he be strengthened by carrying a golf club,
has to take out his car for any distance of more than three blocks.
He found Professor Nathaniel Friar also intending to walk.
Apparently to him, walking was not a new invention, startling and
rather risky, but a normal means of getting places.  So old-
fashioned had this Bostonian become in his four decades abroad.
They jogged downhill together, looking at the light-pricked city
below and at the road lamps looping up the hill to Fiesole, miles
away.

"You had an agreeable time, talking to Miss Lomond?" said Professor
Friar.

"She seems intelligent.  But a little distant."

"She's cool.  Women scholars occasionally get like that.  They're
dedicated.  Frequently they aren't certain to what they're
dedicated, but clearly it can't be to such wingless objects in
trousers as you and I.  This Lomond girl is a really competent and
accurate compiler of quite useless facts, so naturally she seems a
bit suspect to most men--and to all women.  You can't ask females
to 'burn with a hard, gemlike flame' and still be obliging about
waffles at midnight.  Here we are.  This is my place.  Do come in
and see it."

"Professor" Friar, oftener known as Nat, had never been a regularly
enlisted professor of anything beyond Veronese wines and the more
acceptable sorts of Italian sausages, nor had he ever written
anything more popular than articles in journals of art criticism so
learned that just the look of the gray, close pages made your eyes
ache.  But he had explored every Tuscan and Umbrian church and
village, and he could tell you the name and dates of every third-
cousin of Domenico Ghirlandaio.

For twenty years he had lived in this five-room wing of the massive
Palazzo Gilbercini, sharing the geometric gardens and their cypress
alleys ending at coy nude statues.  He had never been rich, but the
securities left to him by his mother, a Trenchard of Braintree, had
provided him with a few casks of wine, a great many books in eight
languages, a Perugian altar cloth of 1235, half a dozen chairs, a
canister of Earl Grey's Mixture tea for his friends, and one noble
picture: an Annunciation by Getto di Jacopo, a picture reverent and
softly human, soft blues and grays against lambent gold, the
kneeling angel so exalted, the Madonna so timidly proud, her head
bent over the lily in her fragile hand.

As Hayden stared at the Getto, hung against a faded Egyptian rug
above a table bristly with old pipes, he began to take hold of the
medieval passion for identification with the divine spirit and its
longing for authority, earthly and heavenly.  He drank his vermouth
and lemon juice--Nat Friar considered cocktails as he would a
griffin: exciting but not practical--and he looked at the
comfortable frowsiness of Nat and felt at home as he never had felt
at home at home.

Nat Friar was large and fat and thick-bearded and his eyes were
cheerful.  There always was pipe-ash on his vest; his rather small
living room smelled of tobacco and brandy; and he loved to sit up
all night and talk about immortality and Baron Corvo and the Lucca
Cathedral.

"Why have you lived here so long?" demanded Hayden.  "Or is that
impertinent?"

"No, nothing more pertinent.  In my case, it might seem to be a
self-indulgent escape from reality and the dry-goods business, of
which my paternal grandfather was a ferocious pioneer armed with a
yardstick.  But I think my life has been devoted to proving that
one can be just as smugly self-righteous and still do no honest
work.

"My occupation and my vice are hoarding useless knowledge, I know
more about the history of the Palazzo dei Consoli at Gubbio than
any other living man, and nobody cares, including myself.  And I
like to go on sprees of something new: biology or Sanskrit.
Learning, for its own winsome, perverse self--hug it to you but
keep a club handy.  It is the most entertaining of all mistresses,
and the least to be trusted.

"Particularly must one avoid the superstition that there is some
mystical virtue in erudition.  We all feel that some day we shall
be sought after by the pretty girls for our spoken Arabic, our
kindness to Cousin Mimosa, or the neatness in which we keep our
medicine cabinets.  We shan't!  These virtuous doings should be
cultivated for their own sake alone.

"I have of late been peeping into the history of the Baglioni
family of Perugia, a charming chronicle, all iron and gold clotted
with fraternal blood and the tears of ardent young widows.  What
subject could be more beautiful and useless?  Guard your idleness.
You are surrounded by barbarians armored with sobriety and
punctuality and the Book of 1001 Useful Facts.  Be ye watchful in
sloth, lest ye be corrupted into industriousness and become a
Public Figure, a supporter of all worthy causes, a member of the
Elks Club and the Légion d'Honneur, and have five hundred citizens
enjoy your funeral--at fifty."

"I'm safe," insisted Hayden.  "My partner--I'm an architect--thinks
I'm poetically impractical.  Tell me: how shall I go about learning
Italian?"

"Look over the several accredited springs of Tuscan undefiled: the
university, the commercial language schools, the highly educated
decayed professors who combine Italian grammar with voice-culture
and the black-market exchange of dollars.  Then forget all of them
and get a girl."

"I might!"

"I don't mean one like Miss Lomond, who would teach you Dante's
directions to Hell, but one who will teach you IMPORTANT things,
like 'These pair of socks by favor to darn' and, 'Bring to me
suddenly a plate of anchovies.'"

"Are Dante and anchovies incompatible?"

"Linguistically.  I speak an Italian which would thrill the
archbishop by its accuracy; I can address a learned academy on the
Battle of Cortenuova in Italian, and they will wail with
admiration, but when I ask for a pair of shoelaces, the clerk
answers me in bad English, and wants to know whether I'm staying in
Florence overnight. . . .  By the way, if you'd like, I'll invite
you to tea with Miss Lomond.  You may find her admirable."

"Well, she might introduce me to some American students more nearly
my own mental age--sixteen!"



He sat in what was to become his favorite room in Florence, the bar
of the Hotel Excelsior with its dark mirroring wood and its two
bartenders, Enrico and Raffaele, the men in town most worth
cultivating, and he contentedly planned to stay in Florence for a
week, a month, a season.  He would pray for a Biblical miracle: to
become again as a little child, and go back to school.

Next morning he again climbed the Torre del Gallo Hill, to have by
clear light the view he had seen in twilight enchantment.  Below
him he saw the bronze-red majesty of the cathedral dome, and
Giotto's tower--as ivory as Olivia Lomond.  Fiesole, across the
valley, was sharply defined on a hill silver-gray with olive trees.
Florence is a thousand years less old than Rome, yet in its
medieval reds and yellows and dark passageways, it seems older, as
in New England a moldering gingerbread mansion of 1875 seems more
venerable than a severe white parsonage of 1675.

"I'll do it.  I'll stay.  I'll hunt for Michelozzos, not mallards!"
said Hayden.



Dr. Olivia Lomond was at Nat Friar's modest tea, frowning and
duskily beautiful in her plain brown dress--that is, all of her was
there except her heart and soul and manners.  But Hayden was
diverted by the presence of Nat's prim and aged sweetheart, Mrs.
Shaliston Baker, whose unbubbling fount had been Boston.  She was
as small and quiet as a sparrow that has been discreetly reared in
the Harvard Yard, and she wore her grandmother's cameo brooch.  She
spoke exquisite Italian, even if her English did smack a little of
flapping codfish tails and the clatter of lead-foil in chests for
China tea.  She belonged to the Dante Society, which meets to
discuss the longing of Florence to get Dante's poor exiled corpse
back from stubborn Ravenna.  It is an up-to-date topic, and has
been so since 1320.

Every Sunday for a fifth of a century, these reserved lovers, Ada
Baker and Nat, had had tea together.

Nat gave them food as noble as the Samuel Dodsworths', and Hayden
guessed that he would by considerable omission in his own meals
make up for this fedora cake, which is the Florentine specialty,
with chocolate and whipped cream on it, and for the hot American
toast, the honey from Monte Rosa, the tea and blackberry jam and
ginger from London.

There were peacefulness and chatter.  Nat chronicled his search for
a lost altarpiece of Guiduccio Palmerucci through lofty, wind-raked
hill towns of Umbria; a tale of sleeping on stone floors, living on
bread and olives, and finding that one village was gaily planning
to beat him to death as a tax-spy from Rome.  Hayden suspected that
Nat's confession of being unable to buy shoelaces in Italian had
been a great and gentlemanly lie, and that the old fraud could
actually speak an Italian as colloquial, bloodthirsty and beautiful
as a Neapolitan taxi-driver's.

As the talk passed to Dr. Lomond, hers was no glimpse of romantic
espionage in mountain passes at twilight, but a complaint about the
dusty-eyed, head-cracking drudgery of pawing over a thousand papers
in her present investigation of the maternal source of Duke
Alessandro de' Medici--the one who was so wholesomely murdered in
1537.  The Duke's mother, sighed Dr. Lomond, did not seem to have
been a lady of doubtful virtue.  She just didn't have any virtue to
be doubtful about.

From both of these hygienic ghouls Hayden had clues to an erudition
which should not be a smart assemblage of facts to equip a man who
should have been an auctioneer or a train-caller to "get a Ph.D.",
nor a putting on of spangled intellectual costumes to impress the
dullards, nor a job, nor a gentlemanly way of passing the time, but
a gently ruthless, secretly panting, rival-murdering hunt for the
facts which are the bones of truth; an unremitting war in which
your quick and sympathetic allies are men and women who have
themselves been historic facts for five hundred years.

Such scholarship he had never beheld in Newlife, and even in
Amherst College and in his school of architecture, it had been
rare, and not considered quite well bred, nor useful for grabbing a
Full Professorship.

When Jesse Bradbin went in his swift automobile on a sightseeing
tour, Jesse explained, "Ah, what the hell, you don't want to learn
too doggone much about all these Beauty Spots and Points of
Interest.  Just give 'em the once-over and see what they're like
and be able to say you've been there.  When I'm on a tower, if I
can't kill five hundred miles a day, I figure I'm wasting my time,
and if my wife hollers about missing the scenery, I tell her, 'Oh,
we'll catch that on the way back--maybe!'"

That philosophy of Bradbin, pompously offered at the country-club
bar as something new and valuable, caused no riots or harsh cries
of offended dignity.  "Yuh, that's so," agreed the president of the
Ranchers and Silver National Bank.

The tyro Hayden was as moved.  It was not with hostility or with a
flirtatiousness that winked to itself that he petitioned Dr.
Lomond, as they tramped together from Nat's down to the tramline,
"I wish you'd do me the favor of having dinner with me this
evening, if you are free."

"I don't know--uh--Mister--Chart?  I'm not sure I can. . . ."

He was sick of all his meekness.  "Then you know damn well you can!
Come on!"

"But I would prefer . . ."

"If you're one of these independent females that insist on paying
their own share, I don't mind.  We can go dutch."

"I don't insist on anything of the kind!  I'm delighted to find a
man who will buy me a dinner!  I'm lucky when I'm out with some
wistful young male student--SO sensitive and clever--and don't have
to buy HIS!  Italy may be the home of gallantry, but lone lady
grinds don't often get invited to dinner."

"Not even when they're beautiful?"

"Not even when they're VERY beautiful!"

With that, she surprisingly smiled at him, and looked nearly human.

"Where shall we go?" he asked.

"Let's see--maybe Oliviero's or the Paoli or Nandina's.  Nandina's
is light and bright and quiet and great food.  Usually, when I
don't mournfully stay at my pensione for dinner, I get taken to one
of these frantic student hang-outs, the kind they call 'Bohemian,'
which means noisy and not very clean, tables elbow-to-elbow, filled
with American G.I. graduate students and Belgian painters and White
Russians whose only profession is being White Russians and English
ladies whose only profession is living in small villas back of
other villas.  They're all so poor.  I hate poor people!  I'm so
poor myself!"

"Those--uh--Bohemian restaurants sound pretty interesting, though,"
confessed the tourist.  "But we'll go to Nandina's tonight."



He so far reverted to the meekness which he had sworn to forswear
as to chuck masculine pride and ask her to do the ordering of
dinner.  While she rattled the menu, he was fixed on Dr. Olivia
Lomond; he saw that at her neck and the wrists of her sexless
workaday brown dress were little edgings of fine Burano lace,
somehow touching.  Her hands were not small.  They had the
untiring competence of a workman, of a peasant, but they were
extraordinarily smooth, and there was an anxious gesture toward
feminineness in the two small, ruby rings that betrayed her strong
fingers.  And he noticed that her nails were slightly tinted now.
They had not been so at the Dodsworths'.  Had she put this on for
the tea-party--for him?

But his feeling that there might be ardor buried in her was killed
by her mechanical questions, neither liking him enough to rejoice
in his presence nor yet fearing him enough to be at all wary with
him.

"I suppose you have made some progress in your plan to study
Florence?"

"No--just wandered around, you know, walked 'round."

"Anything you've especially liked?"

"No--oh, lot of different things."

And they fell silent and looked at a family birthday party at a
table across the room.  There was about the family nothing of the
faded gold of aristocracy nor yet of the "quaint and picturesque
natives" for whom the three-day tripper seeks.  They were all
volubly Italian, but in look and dress the father might have been a
businessman of London or Glasgow or Pittsburgh.  He was the type of
tall, busy and competent engineer or salesman who was trying to
rebuild Italy after two wars and two million foreign tourists.  His
wife would have seemed normal in Stockholm or Des Moines.  But in
their exuberant family affection they did differ from the couples
whom Hayden knew.  And the grandmother laughed in secret intimacy
with the youngest child; the middle-sized small boy burlesqued his
bachelor uncle's flourishing way of eating an artichoke, and the
uncle laughed loudest of them all.

"Families!  They seem to exist here, still," wondered Hayden.

"And they did all through Italian history.  A brother would either
murder his brother--which, I suppose, may be one way of showing
keen domestic interest--or else he would go out to a neighboring
tower and murder a rival family there, to keep his brother in the
Council.  All Italian history is made up of layers of families."

Hayden complained, "Seems to me that at home the children consider
the house just a free inn and rental garage.  And we older
deserters: I have two sisters and a brother who live in four
different states and don't see one another twice in a decade, and I
have three nephews--no, four it is now, I guess--that I've never
seen at all!"

Dr. Lomond sounded regretful, her cold independence betrayed by
memory.  "Sometimes I've thought I'd like to be the founder of a
family, like those grand old American women who went West in a
Conestoga wagon.  Then, maybe, one would never be lonely."

"Ah!  You get lonely here, too!"

She abruptly cloaked her wistfulness again, and said sharply,
"Never!  Not now, I mean."

"Didn't you a little when you first came to Europe?"

She studied her forkful of long ivory-colored strands of
tagliatelli; she seemed shyly to be remembering the girl student
that had been, and she answered with some March-morning warmth in
her voice:

"I'm afraid I was, first.  I would tell myself that I was a trained
traveler.  Hadn't I gone way off to graduate school at Columbia,
with mother's lunch, deviled-ham sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs,
in a shoebox?  And in EUROPE--oh, I COULDN'T get lonely, all this
to see, and I had plenty of resources in myself; I could read and
think, couldn't I?  Not like girls who had to have flattery from
slobbering men all the while.  Besides, I scolded myself, I had
been adequately conditioned to loneliness in my first year of
teaching at Winnemac; I just corrected papers there and took long
walks.

"So I surely couldn't be anything but cheerful in the panorama of
Europe.  But I was lonely in Paris, I was lonely in Rome, and when
I first came to Florence, nearly two years ago . . . I'm not
impressed by these celebrated lonely prisoners who made a pet of a
rat.  I made a pet of a housefly."

"But you can't!"

"I did!"

"How could you tell . . . ?'

"There was only one in my room--winter it was, too cold for flies,
but this one, really, he was the bravest, most clever little fly.
His name was Nicky."

"How did you know?"

"He told me so."

"Of course."

"The minute I'd come back to my room from the library and take off
my jacket, he'd be there lighting on it--perhaps barking a welcome
in some infinitesimal way.  Nights, he slept on the hot-water tap,
always.  He never touched my breakfast till I had finished it; just
walk on the rim of the tray and look at the pot of honey.  He would
take walks on my hand without tickling me--quite the most refined
fly in Florence--and the only person here that I knew well, till I
met Professor Friar.  Don't you call that a loneliness of
distinction--to be ecstatic over a housefly?"

"Yes, that's big league.  What happened to Nicky?"

"He passed away.  From pneumonia.  He is now buried, though without
a tombstone, in a volume of Mirandola manuscript letters in the
Laurentian Library."

"I understand him, slightly," said Hayden.  "When I first went off
to college, there was an imitation oriental rug in my room, and
because I was too scared to find one single happy thing to do, the
first four-five days, I sat mooning over that rug till it occurred
to me that one of the figures in it was like a dancing girl, young
and gay, with whirling ballet skirts and gold stockings--darling,
rather small face, excited and innocent.

"Her imaginary smile kept me alive all that first week in college.
The next fall, she had vanished, sold along with her rug, to some
sordid flesh-dealer.  But last night, here at my hotel, when I was
drearily thinking that, after all, I might drift on to Rome, I saw
her again in my bedroom rug: dancing in a different show now, very
different costume, silly costume, feather boa and a huge muff and a
lively little pillbox cap, but there she was, cheering me again,
bidding me stay here, for she would comfort me. . . .  Seventeen
years later!"

"I would not have supposed you were so imaginative, Mr. Chart."

"Why not?"  (A little huffily.)

"No reason.  Just my stupidity.  I'm a hermit, in a cell roofed
over with books, looking for gallantry in the trecento, and so I
miss it when it stands right in front of my cell, I suppose."

"What did you think I'd be like--Olivia?"

"Oh--efficient, clean, kind, devoted to your wife and children and
your friends and your favorite daily paper--though I'm sure you
have risen from the sports page to the editorial."

"Is that a rise?  Well, my wife is dead, I have no children, and
only very casual friends, and my partner in architecture--at least
by preference he would not be an architect at all but a salesman
and a penny-grinder: Jesse Bradbin--he's an illiterate, and yet I
like him and admire him and his wife, Mary Eliza, better than
anybody else in Newlife.  I was as lonely as I am here--only busier
there."

"Oh."

"But I don't know that your diagnosis of me as a page with nothing
printed on it except dollar signs is so far wrong.  I think most of
us are simply patterns of clothes and habits of work and the same
way of saying good morning, invariably.  'Mornin', mornin',
mornin', well, how are you, this fine beautiful morning!' Jesse
screams, every day, rain, shine, or snow, and then I feel so
superior to him, but I'm no better. . . .  I just glare, and
probably it's always the same glare.  That must be one of the great
pleas of religion: that if a man hasn't a precious soul behind all
this unchanging blankness, then he's a pretty shabby animal!

"I've always been busy; busy as a son, busy as a college brat.  My
specialties then were tennis (gone rusty) and history (forgotten)
and draftsmanship (good).  Afterwards I was busy as an architect.
And as the husband of my popular wife . . . I don't know that I
have any personality at all, really.  (Not that you have ever asked
me about it!)  Maybe I'll find a personality here."

"I think you're probably hard on yourself, Mr. Chart."

"No.  Let's face it--as people say when they want to be
unpleasant."

"But you seem to be unusually kind and fair--for a MAN!"

"You don't like men much?"

"Why should I?  From my university president, that back-slapping,
endowment-hounding old fraud, looking for generals and judges to
whom he can give honorary degrees in return for publicity, from him
or from the head of my department, that dyspeptic old phonograph--
and he thinks Cesare Borgia should have been a Y.M.C.A. secretary--
from them to the dumbest young man in my classes--who's only a bit
younger than me, really, and not as good a dancer, but he says he
hates being taught by a stringy old maid like me--oh, the whole lot
of males that I know best have very successfully combined to keep
me an apologetic schoolteacher instead of a hard-boiled scholar who
would slap down my academic betters when they're my worse."

"But isn't there--isn't there something else, some resentment,
something personal . . ."

"We won't go into that!"

"I'm sorry, Olivia--honestly.  It was just the intrusion of a
lonely pilgrim who considers you splendid and somewhat intimidating.
You'll forgive me, Olivia?  I'm so harmless--disgustingly so!"

"It's all right.  Let's forget it--Hayden."

"Okay.  Olivia, do you plan to stay very long in Italy?"

"Just as long as I can manage it, by swindling or armed robbery."

"What is your home--I mean, what do you think of as your home?
Zenith, like Mr. Dodsworth?"

"Never!"

"Where then?  In America, I mean."

"Nowhere in America!  My real home is anywhere, anywhere at all, on
the Continent of Europe--except maybe Russia; any place where they
drink wine instead of ice water and tomato juice, and where they
don't consider the World's Series and madam's new vanity case the
most exalted topic of conversation."

"So you're that famous scoundrel, the escapist, the expatriate."

"Escape?  Why not escape from a world of gas pumps and canned soup
to a world where 'the wind sets in with the autumn that blows from
the region of stories'?"

"Yes.  I still like Swinburne."

"Oh."

He could but grin at her slight inflation, and something resembling
a smile warmed her face, like the sun after cold dawning.  She
demanded, "You read poetry?"

"Not much.  I used to.  But there are men who do read it."

"Oh--MEN!  Lumbering, lecherous, jocular animals!  But they don't
smell clean, like the animals; they smell of pipes and pork chops
and onions and shaving cream.  With their grimaces that are
supposed to delight a maiden's heart and that just give away their
itch for sly conquest.  Men!  My dear Mr. Chart!  My innocent
Hayden!"

No.  She was detestable.



7


No.  She was little likely to be an intimate of his, he thought as
they finished dinner.  He had that chilled feeling, familiar even
to so unflirtatious a man, of finding a pretty girl at a party,
finding her warm and fetching, then having her, for no evident
reason, turn into a stranger.

But he still admired Olivia's assured tautness and a moving
strength in her that was fantastically different from the swishing
excitements of an Art Appreciation Class.  When he was with her he
felt that it would not be an effeminate hobby but solid work for a
man to stay here--for a while--and labor to understand the
strangely flowering beauty of the Middle Ages.  He would bathe in
the magic and perilous waters of medieval history: proud-colored,
hot, heroic, vicious knights in armor that had been decorated by
voluptuous goldsmiths, dungeons and silent convents, exiles on
Venetian galleys standing east for Cyprus.  He was lost in an
enchantment of which he did not understand even the vocabulary.

If only he could be guided through this wizardry by Olivia, whose
hands lay still on the table, hands not thin and meanly desirous
but arrogant, ivory in every line carved to loveliness.  The hollow
between her thumb and forefinger was a polished curve.  They were
hands that could grasp and hold, and they excited him even while he
was talking prosily:

"If I stay here, I'd like to get a sort of permanent place cheaper
than the big hotels.  Have you any ideas?"

"The pensione I'm living in, the Tre Corone, is all right.  The
furniture is simple and the food is good and--this interests a
professional romanticist like myself--it occupies two floors of one
of the oldest Florentine houses, the Palazzo Spizzi."

To invite him, or at least permit him, to be near to her, near to
her ivory hands, her lips that were dark-red in a lovely and tragic
ivory mask--that stirred him, till he reflected that she was
probably so indifferent to him that she did not care whether he
lived next door or in Novaya Zemlya.

Nor did she mention the pensione again, as they finished dinner and
tramped to the Spizzi.  But next day he was busily inspecting it.



A palazzo in Italy signifies only a large house, usually of stone,
built a few hundred years ago for a very rich and very noble family
who became very rich and noble by conducting a war, with a large
cut in the pillage, or by lending money to popes and kings and
dukes who conducted wars.  These houses are lordly, rivaled today
only by movie theaters.  In Florence, the Palazzo Spizzi, on the
Lungarno not far from the Ponte Vecchio, is one of the lordliest,
with granite walls in rough rustica.

There are surly, prison-barred windows on the ground floor, but on
the four floors above, elegant Gothic windows with stone tracery.
Along the street are bronze torch-holders, and rings for tethering
the horses of knights dead these five hundred years, with a long
stone bench on which once lounged the armed servants of the
magnate, waiting for commands which might mean fun or death, and
probably both.

You go through an arched gateway into an arcaded central court,
with high-colored heraldic shields and one sacred fresco on the
smooth stone walls.  The court and its little statues of lyric
fauns are dominated by a vast stone stairway.  Here, the Medici
hurried, and the Pazzi, Bardi, Rucellai, Cavalcanti.  One of them,
one day, walked in white carnival satin that suddenly, here on this
green-molded spot, became streakily variegated with red, as the
expert assassin from Forli slid in his dagger.  And over there,
most briefly afterward, the assassin had his toes lightly toasted
before his head was jaggedly hacked off.

In this niche of crimson and gold and crocus-colored mosaic, a
Spizzi garroted his ardent bride.  It is now a rented storage space
for bicycles.

Since 1550, even Florence has changed.  Today, the doors along the
arcade give on the office of a Polish refugee specialist in
radiotherapy, a tearoom kept by an old English lady, an embroidery
shop kept by an even older Scotch lady, and a ferocious left-wing
book shop kept by two young Welsh ladies who play piano duets and
admire Jacob Epstein and drink nothing but vodka and diuretic
mineral water.

You pant up the stairs to the offices of machinery agents and of
buyers representing stores in Dallas, Montreal and Oslo.  The two
floors above these constitute the Pensione Tre Corone, and up to it
climbed Hayden Chart.  It was a racking ascension, but Hayden felt
strong and fresh, his accident healed over.

In a standard pensione hallway of green rep walls, a reed chair and
a mummied palm, a door painted with ferocious roses was opened for
him by an extremely handsome Italian young man wearing the man-
about-Florence standard uniform of wavy black hair, cigarette,
checkered brown-and-gray sports jacket and gray slacks.  Hayden did
not at all care for the thought of this jazz satyr living in the
house with Olivia, and he was relieved at the coming of Mrs. Manse,
the manager.

She was a small, active Italian widow who had married a Birmingham
traveling salesman and lived for years in England.  She spoke
English like an A.B.C. teashop waitress, a refined duchess, a
Cardiff coal miner and a Tuscan peasant, all at once.

"Oh, yes, we have a very nice room with a love-ely view of the
Duomo and the Santa Annunziata and Fiesole and EVERYTHING and a
private bath--ooh, just like home.  But you're not English, are
you?"

"I'm an American."

"Ow . . . Well, we quite like Americans here--the better class.
You are not married?"

"No."

"But then, you're not the wild sort that would want to be
entertaining--uh--PEOPLE in your room, and I'm sure you will want
full pensione."

"What is that?"

"Both luncheon and dinner here daily.  It's so much more
satisfactory, you know, to have your meals here, ALL of them, and
not go risking your digestion at these restaurants.  Res-tau-rants!
And not knowing what you're getting and the pasta stale and the
veal tough and no pure Chianti, such as we serve.  Mrs. Engineer
Purdy, one of our very oldest guests, often says to me, 'Signora, I
simply do not understand how you can afford to serve such love-ely
pure unmixed Chianti at the shockingly low price we pay here!'  And
of course she KNOWS!  So shall we say full pensione?"

"No, I plan to take at least one meal a day out."

"It's a mistake, but of course I never even give advice to my
gentlemen but it's a mistake and quite hard on me, with such love-
ely clean rooms and serving such a variety of food and the butter
always fresh, at such shockingly low prices as you pay, but shall
we say half-pensione then?"

They would say that, yes, with luncheon taken here, Hayden agreed,
proud of being so businesslike in securing his first Italian home
and forgetting only to ask the amount of those shockingly low
prices.  He was dazed by the Anglo-Italian verbal hemorrhage and
yet he felt secure.  He had lived with Mrs. Manse, under different
names and accents, in Newlife, Amherst, Denver, New York, London,
and he knew that he would be cheated only the correct proportion.

"And when you are not able to be here for colazione, will you
kindly let me know twenty-four hours beforehand?  So many gentlemen
are thoughtless about that," said Mrs. Manse.

She introduced him to a bedroom, smallish, square, with blank
plaster walls, which yet delighted him, for the one window was
Gothic-pointed and the ceiling was groined.  It had surely been
part of some greater salon in the early palace, or perhaps of a
chapel, and the clean bareness of it was proper for the studious
monk he meant to become.

The varnished yellow pine bed was narrow, not bad; there was a
large white wardrobe for clothes, a large white table for the notes
on Italian history that he would certainly be making and for the
profound books that he would certainly buy and possibly even read.

There was a hideous but comfortable yellow-velvet armchair with a
fiddle-shaped back, a straight chair, a pinched radiator, and a
composition stone floor, with a rug beside the bed. . . .  But he
looked unsuccessfully for his dancing girl in the rug.

The bathroom was little larger than the ancient tub, but it was
adequate, and even contained articles which seemed to Hayden
somewhat perplexing and certainly of great superfluousness.  One of
these was a bootjack.  He had ridden horses in the Berkshire Hills,
on dude ranches, on the cheery camping journeys through the Rockies
on which Caprice had been both at her most complaining and her most
recklessly gay, but he did not think it likely that he would ride a
Western pony up to the Palazzo Spizzi and tether it to one of the
great bronze rings below.

The place seemed to him almost voluptuous when Mrs. Manse explained
that only one bedroom in three at the Tre Corone had its private
bath.

What starred his room and filled it with light and stimulation for
the daytime was the window and the vista of towers and fourteenth-
century battlements and, down below, the humbler roofs of tiles,
cherry-colored, soft rose, violent crimson or pale orange, above
yellow-plaster walls.  A top-floor tenement down there--it was, he
learned afterwards, above a ground-floor leather shop full of gold-
tooled purses and small jewel boxes--had an open loggia and a
terrace with geraniums and with goldfinches in cages, and a broad-
sterned woman was hanging out a hot red shirt to dry.  He would be
seeing real Florentines, and not just palace walls, spacious but
decaying.

Mrs. Manse, that unlaureated mistress of psychology, knew that he
would take this room.  She knew!  When he did, at last, remember to
confer delicately about the price, he was so under the spell that
she overcharged him grossly: she charged him at least one-half as
much as such a cell would have cost in America.

He did not quite dare to ask how near to his own door was that of
Dr. Olivia Lomond.  He found later that it was eight from his,
round a corner of the matting-covered stone corridor.

All this was on the upper floor of the pensione.  On the floor
below were still more bedrooms--there were twenty-eight in all--
with the office, the dining room, the lounge.  The dining room was
simple and white and cheerful, with white-clothed tables for one or
two or four, each of them with coquettish napkin rings and a tight
bouquet of asters and, usually, a Chianti bottle.  The serving-
table--the credenza--had once been an over-gorgeous drawing-room
table of marquetry with gilded metal edges.

The lounge must have been a great salon of the ferocious and
devoutly pious Spizzi family: lofty, vaulted, cold.  Around
somewhat dreary damask-covered tables, displaying Italian motoring
magazines, were modern chairs artfully but unhappily devised of
twisted red-stained wood, or aged refugee chairs from destroyed
parlors, resembling indigent gentlewomen.  There was a case of
novels and travel books which fleeing guests had intelligently left
behind: a French guidebook to Sicily dated 1899 and such romances
as Lively Lassie o' London Town, by Mrs. Beth Levinson Knibbs-
Crochet.

In this clean shabbiness you could rest familiarly enough, and the
lounge windows looked down on the Ponte Vecchio, that venerable
bridge of shops devoted now to sellers of artificial pearls and not
to Donati defending the crossing with loud swords.

Late that afternoon, with small trunk and ill-assorted bags and a
hastily purchased new blue-silk cravat, Hayden moved into his cell
at the Tre Corone.



He met his floor maid, Perpetua, a smiling, black-eyed, powerful
woman of fifty, only just slightly felonious, who would also be his
waitress, valet, chamberlain, social arbiter, and chief professor
in the Italian tongue: a low-built peasant in black dress and white
apron who seemed to be on duty from five A.M. to midnight.

Shyly, not knowing how he should dress, he went down to his first
dinner, at eight, to risotto and boiled beef, and met most of the
Tre Corone guests.  They too were in lounge clothes.  In treachery
to all tradition, there was no retired British colonel with lady,
nor even a British major or vicar.

He encountered, instead, a Hungarian widow of fifty and her
daughter, highly polylingual and undevoted to Bolsheviks, a round-
faced American graduate student who listened to and sometimes
understood lectures on Italian art at the university, an out-of-
favor Italian ex-diplomat, a Dutch baron devoted to cameos, to
Americans and other novelties, an Italian lawyer with three
daughters, a soured French silk-buyer, and an Italo-American agent
for documentary films, who wanted to discuss trout-fishing in Maine
with Hayden.

Dr. Lomond--Olivia--sat by herself at a small table and read the
air-mail continental Time.  She looked at Hayden twice before she
remembered him (that is what she thought he would think) and she
nodded and said nothing and went back to reading about Congressman
Marcantonio, the latest biography of Susan B. Anthony, murder by a
balding man late at night in a rubber-boot warehouse, revolution in
the Celebes, the mortality rate in successor-disease affecting
former confidants of Stalin, chemobiologimicrophotography in the
University of Leyden, and the other brighter topics of the day.
Olivia's compressed lips were hidden from him by the Time cover,
portraying, in color, a fabulous chain-store organizer, with a
background of prunes, motorcycles, cash registers and bathing caps,
and instead of Olivia's glass-smooth cheeks or hostile, inquiring
eyes, Hayden studied only his plate of saffron-yellow rice.



8


Out of his plastered cell, Hayden made a cluttered and familiar
home.  It was, possibly, the first home he had ever had.  In
boyhood, "home" had been aggressively his father's house, and in
his marriage, their three successive houses had been saturated with
Caprice and her clamorous friends.

In a second-hand shop he bought a couple of low tables, a small
rosy armchair and a shaky set of bookshelves that had been used for
bottles.  At Alinari's he got color prints of the Primavera and
Angelico's Great Crucifixion and the fairyland of Benozzo Gozzoli's
gold and crimson courtier pilgrims.

In the book shops he went on a spree.  He bought histories of
Florence in English, English-Italian grammars and dictionaries, a
Cambridge history of the Renaissance, and in Italian he had books
which he certainly would not be able to tackle for two years: Dante
and Petrarch, Manzoni's classic I Promessi Sposi, which is written
in hedgerows and not in lines, Machiavelli's Prince, and a volume
of Giovanni Villani's Florentine history--a brand-new edition,
dated 1650.

He had, in fact, all of a university except the yell and the
bursar's office.

His exploration of Florence, begun immediately, was not altogether
that of the enraptured and credulous tourist, for Hayden Chart was
an architect, a good one, not unlearned, and he saw the purposes of
arches and buttresses; his eye picked up ornamental iron balconies
and in apparent mere gaps between buildings he detected minute
streets leading to some lost square with a little church, an old,
very old, very holy church sheltering the tomb of a spacious
Platonist who in 1492 was discovering the old world as dangerously
as Columbus was finding the new.

He went graspingly at learning Italian, a tongue reputed among the
untutored to be all melody and tra-la-la's and mobile dames and
ice-cream cries, but actually so thorny with perverse irregular
verbs and pronouns that have more exceptions than rules and
suffixes meaning Big, Pretty Big, Very Big, Enormously Big, Little,
Delightfully Little, Nasty, or Perfectly Horrible that most
tenderfoot students give it up, moaning, after learning how to make
love and order a meal.

He looked into the official Italian Language course at the
University, but it was all in Italian from the first, too much for
the halting brain of thirty-five.  He tried a School of Languages,
but he did not feel stimulated by his fellow-students: Anglo-
American women who, after housekeeping in Florence for a decade,
had decided that it was time to find out what they had really been
eating all these years, or English businessmen who wanted to sell
British machinery, or the aunts of American European Relief Program
officials, all of whom interrupted the lessons to explain what they
thought about Italy, with an urgency which indicated that they
believed the natives, from dope-runners to the President, were
pantingly waiting for their verdicts.

Hayden found, through Mrs. Dodsworth, a Signora Pendola, an oldish
fat widow with an umbrella and elastic-sided shoes, afflicted with
bronchitis and sadness of the heart, tired, so poor and tired, but
a patient teacher, with a voice like Eleonora Duse.  Hayden was
fond of her and treated her as though she were his mother.  Before
each lesson, down in the salon, he had the waiter bring the Signora
a cup of tea, and she announced that he was the kindest American
since that born Yankee hustler, Julius Caesar.

Along with her instruction, he daily studied his book of grammar,
but this seemed to be another Italian.  Rarely did any of the words
which he painfully drilled into himself from the printed lists slip
over into normal conversation.

As he learned each phrase from the Signora, Hayden tried it out on
the maid, Perpetua, who, being Italian and generous, did not find
it funny when he meant to ask her to sew on a button, but
gravely made it, "By favor, I pray of cook those stick on my
shirtmakeress."  He tried his new words in shops, in small
restaurants.  The friendly Florentines were pleased that the
stranger should want to know their tongue, and he began to love the
gently grave men, the flexibly moving women.

He had thought, at first, that the Italian women had noses too
long--from the nasal standard of American magazine-cover girls--but
presently he was convinced that these ALMOST long noses were part
of a medieval grace and long flying lines that ought to be seen not
in the chopped-off smart New York styles which prosperous Italian
women wear today, but in a fluency of trailing silk, soft green
trimmed with silver and rare furs.  He noted with comfort that
Olivia Lomond's nose was one one-hundredth of an inch longer than
the severe Colorado norm, and he felt that if he should ever see
Roxanna Eldritch's pert snub nose again he would consider it
truncated and vulgar.

As rudely as though he were flagrantly picking her up at a railroad
station, he tackled Olivia at her icy island table and insisted
that she go on a walk with him.  She consented indifferently, and
as they tramped together, squeezed close by the exigency of a two-
man-wide alley, they still seemed as far apart as at the pensione.
He worked hard then, as young men of thirty-five or eighty-five do,
to convince her that he was a devilish clever fellow.  She might
know all about the bellicose families who once had fought from
these rough towers, but he could tell her what foundation a tower
must have and how much it tapered and what the square holes in the
walls were for.

She came to treat him as being almost as decent and capable a human
being as Perpetua.  She did not mock him--much.

With Olivia or by himself he looked at the great churches--Or San
Michele, Miniato, Santa Croce, Maria Novella, San Marco, the
Battistero--and at the galleries till he understood how a Giotto
differed from a Spinello Aretino.  He began, a little, to follow
the symbolism whereby a pictured saint portrayed both the saint and
a Medici, and a red star marked St. Dominic; to see that a picture
in which the misdrawn toes were as long as fingers and the children
were only dwarf grown-ups could yet in the whole composition hold
ecstasy and delight.

But he also discovered that the one place colder than his own room
at two A. M. was any Italian church, north of Naples, at ten A. M.
on a February day.  The rosiest Madonna looked blue-frozen as the
malicious air crept up from a crypt that had grown colder, winter
by winter, for centuries.  He admired the fortitude of the
Italians: beardster and babies cheerful at Mass while he fled
outdoors to get warm.

And he found the smoochers--he worked out the Doctrine of
Smoochers.

Smoochers--the word was Hayden's own; first blooming of his
Florentine poetic revelations--are those shaggy and lumbering men
who in a church or a ruined palace or a public square pop out of a
vacuum, guides and sextons and loafers and plain floor-sweepers,
who with hazy but persistent firmness wreck and ruin and shatter
the still raptness in which you have been contemplating a facade
or, say, a Ghirlandaio by telling you that, remarkably enough, it
IS a church or a Ghirlandaio.  You knew it already.  That is why
you went there.

The English spoken by smoochers lacks not only verbs but adjectives
and they good-naturedly date Simone Martini as anywhere from 1140
to 1760.  But if you are sorry for them as being needy, you can
usually persuade them to let you alone by instantly insulting them
with a fifty-lire note.

Subdivisions of the smoochers, indoors and out, include insistent
post-card sellers, sellers of bead necklaces and of fountain pens,
and would-be changers of dollar bills.



In the great churches, he thought often of how Jesse Bradbin would
have snorted, "But what's the PRACTICAL use of all this old art?"
And in imaginary answer he insisted that it seemed to him
improbable that one who had much contemplated Or San Michele or
a Botticelli would willingly allow himself or any one else to
become just a file number in a bureaucracy such as Russia now is
and America and Great Britain threaten to be.

Along with the English Cemetery, where rests Elizabeth Barrett
Browning, and such little-altered medieval quarters as the toy
Piazzetta Elisabetta, he paid suit to modern Florence: to some
dozen restaurants, to shops for silver and china and lace and gold-
embossed leather, and to the county-family pleasantness of the
Anglo-American Pharmacy, and he studied the tribal rites of the
resident Americans at Doney's and Leland's, the tearoom bars, to
which go equally the more dependable drunks and the crisp American
girls being finished off in finishing schools, who believe that to
see Inside Italy means to go downtown and have pastry with whipped
cream.

The American Colony is divided into three parts: those who have
their cocktails at Leland's or Doney's, a small sect who have them
at home, either with firelight and old silver and a butler and many
guests or, by the good tradition of Bohemian poverty, with boxes to
sit on round the kitchen stove and the drinks mixed in a broken-
nosed pitcher, and the third part, a tiny and suspect group, which
does not have cocktails.

Hayden himself--he had daily only an Americano, that mixture of
vermouth and kindness of which no American ever hears till he comes
to Italy.

A Florentine might have pointed out to Hayden that in defining a
city of palaces and paintings and bars, he was missing nine-tenths
of the living community: a post-war world of workers jobless or
anxious in hospitals, small officials with meat once a month and
wine at Christmas, repressed but angry citizens hating the well-fed
foreigners who came brightly to gloat over a Filippo Lippi Madonna
and never learned that a descendant of Filippo was hauling garbage.
But Hayden understood all of this.  Even in new Newlife he had
built tenements.  He was more moved by poverty among American
students here.

He met American girl students whose life here was a storm of
frustration, between a passion to stay in Florence and apprehension
that it would keep them from going on to see the rest of Italy--
Rome, Milan, Turin; a passion to remain in Italy and fear that they
were becoming unfitted for the ways, the friends, back home.  Half
their anxieties, thought Hayden, would be soothed if they only had
enough money to move flexibly, and he a little despised such
burghers as himself and the Dodsworths, who were so amiably and
pointlessly advisory to the shabby students.



The most exhilarating part of his new life was in his quiet room at
the Tre Corone, finding himself.

It was a secret life, a life that he hugged to him.  In studious
solitude he saw winter pass like blown smoke.  Half the night he
sat up trying to read medieval history in the Italian of Villani,
of Guicciardini, and meditating upon the meaning, to himself and to
his day, of that world of authority, ceremony, color, and
enchanting but just slightly cockeyed fables.  To rest his eyes he
had, on his portable radio, Mozart from Milan.

He read on nightly, till he felt uncomfortable and was dismayed to
find that his room was slush-cold.  The Florentine winter lasts
only from mid-December to March, and in that season there are
luminous days, but there are also jeeringly cold nights and days
together when the tramontana wind comes devastatingly down from the
Alps three pinched days at a spell, blowing pitilessly, playing
rowdy with the tiles and shutters, chasing the night policemen down
the streets and into bicycle-storage alcoves, marching through
Hayden's northward-facing window as though it were a paper screen.

In the tramontana's shriek of an ice-tortured fiend, Hayden thought
he could catch a stated tune: rising, rising, rising to a scream, a
sullen sinking down again, and rising, rising.

By day, he could see the olive tree on a terrace below him turn
altogether silver, with its sheet of leaves so lifted by the gale
that he saw only the undersides, while a cypress tree bent over in
twisting pain.  The tempest seemed worst during the fits of
grudging sunshine when, afar, he could see the aloof and whitened
peaks of the Pistoia Mountains coldly leering at this uncouth
stranger who once had talked of "sunny Italy."

Mrs. Manse let her radiators go cold before midnight, and at one in
the morning the cold in Hayden's room seemed visible, a part of the
pallid walls and glistening stone floor.  Cold was in his eyeballs,
in his chest, and his breath was coldly vaporous.  He understood
why beggars, hopeless at night on winter doorsteps, crouched
themselves together.

He had had words with Mrs. Manse about an electric heater, and had
bought one for himself: a good little Italian electric stove
composed of two sheets of glass with wires between.  It glowed
obedience to its scholar-master, but it could not do much more than
keep itself warm and, impatiently determined to go on reading,
Hayden huddled his overcoat and scarf over his woolen dressing-gown
and, to crown this costume of a lone miser, he put on his polite
brown hat.

His immensest luxury was a cup-size Italian aluminum stove with
sticks of Meta compound for fuel, and pulverized instant coffee.
Nearly warmed by his coffee, he thought of what he had been
reading: Lodovico il Moro, taking his nephew's throne in Milan,
playing gaudy host and patron to religious painters and dying a
flea-tortured prisoner in France. . . .  Pico della Mirandola,
fairest and most febrile youth of the Renaissance, learning Greek,
Hebrew, Arabic, challenging the College of Cardinals, and dying at
thirty-one, to be buried over here in the cold gloom of San Marco.

It was all magic.  With pleasant recognition he found himself and
his vigils in Il Penseroso when he picked up some English poetry on
a book barrow on the Piazza D'Avanzati.  The night-bewitched
scholar, timeless and immortal, from a Colorado boomtown of 1950 or
from the Florence of 1490, Hayden or Count Pico, all of them in all
their shabby majesty he found as he read Milton's "lamp at midnight
hour, seen in some high lonely tower," where the hermit sought
"forests and enchantments drear, where more is meant than meets the
ear."

Mrs. Dodsworth examined him, woman-wise, when he went to the Villa
Canterbury to play bridge.

"Have you got yourself a girl yet?"

"None in sight."

"What about Miss Lomond--this professoressa?"

"She'd be interested only in Professor Santayana."

"What do you do with yourself?  You can't spend all your time
sightseeing."

"I tinker with Italian maps--try to find the best route to forests
and enchantments drear."

"You're very young, Hayden--pleasantly so."

"OR very old, and repentant of a wasted life in which the only
poetry I ever learned was 'Yes, we have no bananas.'  I think I
ought to tell the press services to send out a story that a man can
read poetry without getting kicked out of the Athletic Club."

"I doubt that!  I've been in Zenith!"



With the other guests--but privately he thought of them as "the
boarders"--at the Tre Corone, he had after-dinner coffee, and they
all asked "Have you seen the Bargello?"  He went to Nat Friar's
again and found him reading an Eric Ambler thriller.  Nat said he
was rather off Great Books, since the University of Chicago had
taken a lease on them and was now sponsoring Great Books for
Juveniles 7-11, Great Book neckties and Great Book Bran Brainfood
for Breakfast.

And he had a night-club evening with Vito Zenzero, the wavy-black-
haired dancing man, nephew of Mrs. Manse, who was the pensione's
desk-clerk, head waiter and entertainer of spinsters.  Vito spoke
energetic English, learned from the less refined members of the
American Expeditionary Forces, and he took Hayden to a hot spot in
a thick-walled basement under an old palace.  Hayden had noted that
Olivia was blank to Vito when, looking like the best of B films in
his yellow-green jacket and brown slacks, he teetered and tittered
about the dining room, encouraging the guests to buy Frascati
wines.

"Why are you so cranky?  Poor Vito, he flowers in the sunshine."
Hayden desired to know of Olivia.

"Poor Vito flowers in manure!  He sells black-market cigarettes and
gets a commission on all the guests whom he coaxes to take him to
night clubs. . . ."

"Oh!"

". . . and he's seduced every girl in this district."

"That's what I said.  He's a real medieval character.  You like
them only in books, Olivia.  If you'd been in Italy in 1400, you'd
have fled to Ireland and a nunnery."

"Oh, pooh!" she said, not very convincingly.

This evening, Hayden had, without any noticeable invitation, firmly
sat down at her table for coffee.  Her manner toward him still had
the persistent grayness of a tramontana, and this admirably strong-
willed woman was apparently able to keep it up forever.  More with
a collector's curiosity than with any sympathy she asked, "What are
you 'studying' now, Hayden?"

"I'm trying to get into Dante, with a trot."

"You really are naive!"

"It's you that are naive, in not understanding that I'm having an
adventure.  For me it's as novel to try to wallow through Dante as
it would be for you to plan a modern low-price bathroom with
compartments--plastic and stainless steel--green and silver."

"But I shouldn't CARE to plan a green bathroom--with compartments--
nor to use one, either!"

He thought about slapping her.  He told himself that, with this
conceited grind, there was no merit in even a boarding-house
courtesy.  He left her gruffly, and it was an astonishment to him,
a week later, when she invited him to take her to the Camillo for
dinner.

That brisk restaurant, across the river in the Oltrarno quarter, on
the Borgo San Jacopo with its ancient walls, is a favorite of the
scores of American students in Florence, and of students German,
French, Swedish, Burmese.  A few of them had learned Italian and
had actually met an Italian, but most of them were as innocently
detached from the local life as were their financial betters, the
Colonists.  They met nightly in zealously argumentative groups
devoted to the prose of Henry Miller and the pastoral delights of
Marxism, while they let down their fettuccine noodles and drank
carafes of vino rosso sciolto.

At most Florentine restaurants, eight o'clock is a charming hour in
the early dawn, but at the Camillo every table is full by a quarter
to eight, and by eight-fifteen, Picasso and Existentialism have
already been mentioned, which means another regrettable night up
till two-thirty, at Danny's or Rachel's "studio," and the head like
a tornado in the morning and the Sforzas not yet studied.

Olivia had always the art of making Hayden feel wizened and
uncertain, but she had never been so authoritative as at the
Camillo, where all the students recognized her, perhaps feared her
a little, and called her "Doctor" or "Professor."  They wanted to
know what she thought of the Delia Robbias, and she told them. . . .
And with considerable comfort Hayden perceived that she had the
three Robbias all mixed up, and that both she and the convivial
students supposed that because she knew the legal and political
history of the fifteenth century, she must be a sound taster of its
art.

Her insufficiency did not keep her from being confident or the
students from noting down what she said, to be repeated for decades
afterward to the unfortunate future students of these students, in
far-flung crepuscular colleges on the plains or in the hills--
colleges where "far-flung" is considered a novel and forceful
adjective.

When he had been permitted to take Olivia home, even that friendly
pup Hayden had had enough, and he did not speak to her again for a
week.  Then, shatteringly, came the embarrassment in the hall.



9


Hayden, in respectable hat and brown topcoat, had respectably come
in from seeing an American film and he was thinking how odd it was
to hear an actor from Ohio making love with Neapolitan ardor.  He
was whistling softly and unaware, and he stopped with a jar as he
came full on Olivia, a negligee lacy about her breast, carrying
under her silk-draped arm the intimacies of sponge-bag, soap,
towel, fresh nightgown.

She was astonishingly embarrassed about it.  She trembled a little
as she quavered, "Have to use bathroom down here--somebody in the
other one that I often use--I DO have a private bath but it's out
of order.  REALLY not accustomed to parading naked in the hall!
I--oh, excuse me--Mr. Chart!"

He attacked:  "What's the trouble?  What bothers you so about the
nearness of a male lout?  Why are you so sufferingly virginal,
Olivia?"

"I am not!"  But she was deep-flushed, and panting.

"You're abnormally so!"

"That's silly!  I'm not. . . .  Oh, I suppose I do get startled-
faunish, leading such a cloistral life here."

The superior Dr. Lomond was defenseless.  He felt brutal and bad-
mannered, but she had been so stonily lofty on their evening at the
Camillo that he was not particularly kind.  And in soft oriental
silk she was interesting--at least.

"Olivia, my dear, you often give me good advice about not being an
amateur scholar.  I can't resist advising you to taste a little
more salty life.  Come out to a night club with me.  Dance.  Even
laugh a little.  Don't be an amateur saint!"

"Perhaps I--well, I must get on with . . ."

Down the hall they heard the door of Bathroom 2 closing and the
running of water.  He laughed.  "Cut off on all sides!  Forest fire
back of us, mountain lions in front!  Come sit in my room till that
swine there has finished his dip. . . .  It will be perfectly
proper.  I'll leave my door open.  Don't be scared."

"I could not conceivably be scared by you or anybody else!"  But
the hot flash of blood under her Syrian skin had faded to a rare
paleness, and her voice was uneven.  "I think I'd better wait in my
own room, though, thank you."

Her look had such appeal as he would never have expected from her--
appealing, a girl, a woman--and she begged, "Please!  It's kind of
you, but I think Mrs. Manse still tries to convince us she's a born
Lancashire woman, with all the proprieties, and she might not care
for our dormitory chat."

"Good night, my dear.  Sorry the enemy captured all the baths.
Goodnight!"

He sat thinking that she was as feminine, in a betraying cloudiness
of silk, as Caprice had been; as much the forest nymph white in the
woodland twilight.  But there was something wrong; some nameless
injury that she had taken.  He was sorry for the lofty Dr. Lomond,
and with his pity came fondness for her.

Next evening, at dinner, she looked at him with a trace of
intimacy, of pleading, yet by after-dinner-coffee time she was as
self-sufficient as ever, and she was noticeably rude to his friend
Vito Zenzero when Vito came pussycatting around to ask, Had the
professoressa enjoyed the beautiful artichokes?

Nothing seemed to have happened, nothing did happen, and Hayden was
again drawn into a hobo life in the jungles of the American Colony,
trying to find out how innocent these Innocents Abroad were, and
why they were abroad at all.



He saw less of the American students or the Italo-American
businessmen than of the golden loafers of the Colony, the Dodsworth
set with their Louis Seize cabinets and chauffeurs and hospitality
to poor Colonists who were pitiful martyrs in not having
chauffeurs.

Many of these Colonists were content, month on month, to go to
cocktail parties with amiable friends, to play a little bridge, to
dine out, to read the latest books sent over from Home, to look
once a month at a gallery or a church and, all in all, unknowing
all, do nothing but wait for death.  Hayden was not going to wait
for death.  He had, and not long since, been through most of its
agonies, and he was going to use every energy and inspired
curiosity in him to keep himself consciously living, to find and
cherish life in his new career, in a dozen new careers.

He believed that Americans could do that, as the Founding Fathers
had.  In even the most languid and habitual of the Florentine
Colonists, in even the most fluttering pansy, he discerned American
ore.

Mr. Henry James was breathless over the spectacle of Americans
living abroad and how very queer they are, in English country
houses or Tuscan villas or flats in Rome, and how touchy they
become as they contemplate the correctness of Europeans.

But just how queer they are, Mr. James never knew.  He never saw a
radio reporter, never talked to an American Oil Company proconsul
gossiping in the Via Veneto about his native Texas.  Americans are
electric with curiosity, and this curiosity has misled foreigners
and Mr. James into crediting them with a provincial reverence which
they do not possess; a reverence which their ancestors got rid of
along with their native costumes, one month after Ellis Island or
after Plymouth Rock.

If a queen comes to America, crowds fill the station squares, and
attendant British journalists rejoice, "You see: the American
Cousins are as respectful to Royalty as we are."

But the Americans have read of queens since babyhood.  They want to
see one queen, once, and if another came to town next week, with
twice as handsome a crown, she would not draw more than two small
boys and an Anglophile.

Americans want to see one movie star, one giraffe, one jet plane,
one murder, but only one.  They run up a skyscraper or the fame of
generals and evangelists and playwrights in one week and tear them
all down in an hour, and the mark of excellence everywhere is
"under new management."

Nor are they so different when they are expatriates.  After years
of Europe, Sam Dodsworth was unalterably midwestern in his quick
humorous glance, his scorn for social climbers, his monotonous
voice, his liking for dry cereals, his belief that if he met a
stranger and took to him, they were friends from that hour.  He had
the result of the annual Yale-Princeton football game cabled to
him, and he amused his more Italianized wife by sometimes
addressing a countess as "Missus."

And the much-younger Hayden Chart, listening to the music of
ancient zithers in yellow-spotted books, planning to go on to the
Spice Islands and the red-enameled gates of China, was yet
cynically hard about female compatriots who were too gushingly
reverent toward gray eminences or gray towers.  Like Dodsworth, he
thought well of American hospitals and streamlined trains and the
reluctance of Democrats to behead all Republicans.

Mr. James's simple miss has become the young lady at the Ritz Bar,
and his young American suitor, apologetic for having been reared in
the rustic innocence of Harvard instead of the Byzantine
courtliness of a bed-sitting-room at Oxford, has been replaced by
the American flying major who in Africa, Arabia, China, Paris is
used to being courted as the new Milord.



Hayden found that the Florentine American Colony considered itself
a community sufficient and significant.  The Colonists who had been
here for forty years looked down on the settlers of ten years
standing who looked down on the one-year squatters who looked down
on the newcomers of one month who were extremely lofty and
informative with the one-week horrors.  Altogether, the Colony made
up one-tenth of one per cent of the population of Florence.

And the claims of none of these reversed patriots so much
interested Hayden as his own secret life.

As an Italian gentleman of Hayden's age might develop a quite new
personality among the ranches and mines of Colorado, so Hayden was
developing a new personality in an equally perilous Italian world
of disjunctive pronouns, Gothic triforiums, and the mystery of
Olivia down the hall.  As the mercenary Colleoni once attacked the
fortress of a girl's heart, so Hayden attacked the history of
Colleoni and all that insane medieval jumble of wars and dynasties.

He loved this Italy precisely because it was strange to him.  In
his restricted cell of a bedroom here he had but little of an
exile's longing for the luxury and space of his house in Newlife;
for the chaise longue and the shelves of detective stories and the
heated garage, and the breakfast table, of glass and flowery
ironwork, on the sunporch.  They were overbalanced by Florence and
its memory of banners and slow deep bells, of towers and swords and
torture.

He believed that he could go beyond the futility of merely piling
up historical timber.  It was easy enough for even a guidebook-
tripper to learn a catalogue of the names of painters and battles,
but Hayden wanted out of his scant erudition to make a solid
structure to rest in, to make a signboard that would point out on
what road mankind had marched.

With Henry Adams, he tried to see the same ornament and soaring
ambition in Gothic cathedrals and Gothic hymns, the same grace and
light in Renaissance palaces and villas and sculpture and song.  He
sought the relationship of all his new visions to his own
profession.

In Florence, his favorite Newlife brick Georgian houses, with
delicate fanlights and wide windows which promised welcome and
wreaths and Christmas candles (but strictly with movable partitions
and oil-heating and insulated roofs!), still seemed fitting and
dear, though he did not want them in Italy.  And equally from the
integrity of old stone walls and from Roman classic columns he was
refreshed in his belief that in no time or land have there been
more imperially beautiful buildings than the towers of Rockefeller
Center, in New York.

In Newlife he had needed some unfamiliarity, some strangeness, and
had needed conversation that should not always be in the same
platitudes, so that from the first two words he could predict
everything else that the oracle was about to thunder.  How great
those needs had been he knew when he was called to the pensione
office to answer the telephone, and heard a heavy American
masculine chuckle:

"I'll bet you'll never in the world guess who this is!"

"No, I'm afraid I can't."

"Well, try and make a guess now."

"It isn't Mr. Dodsworth?"

"No, no, no no!  I ought to needle you a little and punish you for
forgetting your old friends so easy, but I'll put you out of your
misery.  It's Bill Windelbank, from Home!"

It was indeed that excellent and intellectual dentist who, as much
as Roxanna Eldritch, had summoned him to the asphodels of Europe.
But Hayden thought, and was ashamed to be caught thinking it, that
he did not desire to see Dr. William Windelbank at all, nor his
nimble lady.  Would he have to introduce them to Olivia, to Nat
Friar, to the Dodsworths?

He disliked his own snobbishness and disloyalty, but he did not
think he could ever stand hearing the Windelbanks explain to Sir
Henry Belfont, self-importantly and in detail, how barbaric Italy
was in not serving flapjacks and doughnuts, and insisting upon
giving Belfont's cordon bleu the recipes.  Or jocularly saying to
Nat Friar, "Prof, I hope you folks here don't let Hay put it over
on you about what a highbrow he is.  Home, he just reads the comic
strips and goes to bed at nine-thirty like the rest of us, but he
always was a great guy for trying to show off and make like a deep
reader--don't you now, Hay?"

But Hayden was cordial.

"Well!  Thought Jean and you were only going to stay abroad for
five weeks, and here it must be over four months.  Golly!"

One magic touch of Home and he was already back in its good-
fellowship, its sterling virtues and its lack of vocabulary.

"Yes-sir-ee, it certainly is!" boasted Windelbank.  "Four months,
seventeen days and nine and a half hours since we sailed from
little ole New York!  But right off the bat, we started seeing so
doggone much and we like it, and I said to Jean, 'We only live
once, and the food is a lot better and tastier in Europe than we
expected, and we'll never come back here--too many more important
points of interest to cover, like Brazil and Nova Scotia.  So,' I
said, 'let's go hog-wild and have four-five months here.'

"But now we've had enough--plenty.  The food may be delicious, but
it don't stay by you and nourish the maxillary blood supply like a
good Colorado beefsteak.  So we're finishing up the tower with two
days in Florence and three in Rome, just like we originally
planned.  We did our two days in Venice, but don't think too much
of it: real picturesque, but awful rundown and shabby.  Where we've
put in most of our time was Scandinavia and a lovely little lake
resort we found in Northern England--just like home.  And now--only
two days here, Hay!  What do we do?"

In terror Hayden perceived that he was expected to spend all of
those two days with the Windelbanks, providing meals, transportation,
interpretage, and learned artistic guidance, answering rapidly and
with apparent accuracy all questions about the weight of the Duomo
cupola, the biographies, with dates, of all the more important
inhabitants of all tombs in all churches, and the number of members
in all political parties in Tuscany.

"Well, why not?" he rebuked himself.  "They'd do the same for me,
even if--especially if!--I didn't want them to!"

Anyway, they were too kind and loyal for him to think of dodging
them, and he trumpeted, "How about my picking you up and taking you
to dinner tonight?"

"Well now, that's real nice of you.  Be glad to.  Jean--you know
how finicking and suspicious women are--she said, 'Maybe Hay's gone
and gotten in with a lot of snobs here and won't care to see plain
folks like us,' but I says to her, 'Not on your life!  I know Hay's
character like I know his bicuspids!  He may talk fancy and
highfalutin, but at heart he'll always be just a plain, back-
slappin' Western boy, like all the rest of us!'"



As punishment for his sin of alienation, Hayden found, at dinner,
that Dr. Windelbank had noticed many things that he, in the same
islands of bliss, had never marked: the routes of the Paris Metro,
the wages of bellboys in Belgium, the horsepower of London
taxicabs.  The doctor was buoyant about his discoveries; he made
Hayden feel aged and juiceless, as Sam Dodsworth made him feel
credulous and boisterous and infantile.

Dinner was comfortable--and Jean Windelbank's new gray dinner dress
was excellent.  Hayden was surprised to find with what excitement
he learned from the Windelbanks, who had assiduously corresponded
with everybody back home, the more salient items of news: that Mary
Eliza Bradbin's new upper plate took all the wrinkles away from
around her mouth, that Dr. Crittenham had bought a "new Chevvy, a
swell two-tone-color job," that Bobby Tregusis, the nephew of Chan
Millward's first wife's first husband, had a lovely job with the
Cripple Creek telephone company.

And in Paris the Windelbanks had seen Roxanna Eldritch.

"I phoned her--she couldn't guess who it was, at first, but then
she was real glad to hear my voice--I'll bet she was; kid like that
so far away from home among these queer foreigners and all these
moral pitfalls.  She bought us a real nice dinner at a real
Parisian restaurant that all these tourists and all never get to
hear about--kidneys, their specialty was.  Personally, I never did
care too much for kidneys at home, but the way they did them there,
they was real nice.

"There was a mighty smart lady running the place.  She said to me--
she spoke English real good--she said, 'You're Americans, aren't
you?' and I said, 'Yes--how can you tell?' and she just laughed and
she said, 'Oh, I can tell!" and then I said to her, 'But I'm
willing to go on record as saying that never even in America have I
tasted a nicer kidney!'

"Well, sir, I said to Roxy, 'I hope you're the same sweet, fresh,
unspoiled young lady you always was at home, even among all those
reporters and politicians,' and she said to me, 'Dr. Bill, no girl
can ever go wrong if she's been brought up to understand the moral
standards of Colorado, and I hope I'm still the mountainside daisy
and not the rank orchid!  Yes-sir-ree!'"

(That sly little devil.  I shall send her a volume of Machiavelli!
Hayden privately admired.)

But this conviviality was presently marred by rivalry.  There is,
Hayden found, something like a system of credits for sightseeing:
doing a cathedral thoroughly counts, let us say, eleven points--
exterior only, five; looking for not less than one second at every
single picture in a large gallery comes to thirteen, inspecting a
mountain village rarely beheld by tourists is seventeen, dining at
a celebrated restaurant is six, but if you found it all by
yourself, the credit is nine.

By this most reasonable standard for computing good works, the
Windelbanks had acquired at least four times as many points of
merit as Hayden.

They were pained by his evident sloth, and fretted out a number of
queries.  Had he seen Madame Tussaud's Waxworks in London?  In
Paris, had he done Napoleon's Tomb and had fish at Prunier's?  At
his No's the doctor mourned, "Well, I must say!  What have you DONE
with your time over here?  How a man could have this wonderful
chance and come all the way to England and not see Madame Tussaud's
is beyond me!"

Hayden childishly reached for equality, tried to show off, tried to
show what an utterly changed and Europeanized and generally
improved edition he had become.  He spoke in Italian to the waiter
(who seemed to understand parts of what he said) but it was no go.
The Windelbanks had definitely taken the lead in culture now, and
they brought out a few scientific conclusions with an air of
authority.

The citizens of Bologna (where they had spent three hours) were
definitely more cheerful than the citizens of Padua (two hours).
Throughout France, the sale of American soft drinks (thanks to the
purity of our soldiers who had served in that untutored land) was
practically wiping out the sale of wine.  In Cannes (twenty-two
hours) there is always rain, at all seasons of the year, and the
Windelbanks had warned the hotel clerk there that he was a very
silly fellow to remain.  He ought to see the climate in Newlife,
Colorado.

But they so far forgave Hayden as to promise to send his address
and telephone number here back to all the human catandogs whom they
had picked up along their way and who might be arriving here soon:
to that delightful young American couple they met in Glasgow--the
husband owned a brickyard, so Hayden and he would have a lot of
professional interests in common, and his little wife was such a
dear little woman; she liked to read the guidebook aloud, and
Hayden would enjoy them both so much, and enjoy showing them around
Florence.  And the splendid Holland Dutchman who was so amusing
about salmon-fishing in Scotland, and the wonderful Baptist pulpit-
orator from Chicago, who would enjoy showing Hayden around Florence
and explaining the Catholic Church to him.



Hayden had not meant to call for help, but later in the evening he
petitioned Olivia to help him have lunch with the Windelbanks next
day.  Once, he knew, she would have refused, but ever since he had
met her, silken and defenseless, in the hall, she had shown him a
shade of pleading humility that almost slipped into obedience.  She
accepted, with only a few scurrilous observations on the sort of
people he seemed to know at home.

He put in the morning before lunch in helping the Windelbanks
exchange their dollars and in leading them through pages 400-426 of
the tenth edition of Baedeker's Northern Italy, along with the
compulsory daily shopping: the kodak films, the lace collars and
sweater for Jean Jr., their married daughter.  It would not be
accurate to say that they had bought a sweater for Jean Jr. in
every country in Europe.  They had never been in Albania.

Hayden also advised them in the daily choice of three plain and
four colored post cards to send home.

"How many folks do you send souvenir cards to regularly, Hay?"
nosed the doctor.

"Why, not any--regularly," admitted Hayden, and then, guiltily, "or
irregularly either!"

"You don't?  Why, you're missing half the fun of travel, to say
nothing of the pleasure you might be bringing into people's drab
lives!"  From a waistcoat pocket the doctor whipped out a thin
gilt-and-mauve notebook.  "I've got the names and addresses here of
my forty-seven very closest friends, relatives and patients that
are prompt pay, and every single week I send each of 'em a card
from somewhere in Europe, always with some cheering message or
interesting piece of information--say, like total population of
Italy.  And this treasure-house book, as I call it, also contains
my birthday list for use at home, with folks' names under the dates
of their birthdays AND wedding anniversaries.  How many cards do
you send out on birthdays and Easter and Christmas?"

"Maybe not as many as I ought to," said the abashed liar, who
darkly detested all standard greeting cards depicting two sparrows
and an antelope, with the apostrophe, "Where'er you are or go or
do, this festal day we think of you!"

"Now, Hay, you mustn't go and make the fatal error of thinking just
because you're getting so much smarter out of all this classy
travel, you can afford to neglect your friends.  I may be a good
practitioner--I'll match my bridgework against anybody's--but even
so, I bet I wouldn't get ANYWHERE, I wouldn't make three thousand
bucks a year, without the love and loyalty of my friends.

"THEY'RE the guys that understand and support and recommend you!
Don't forget that, among all these snooty foreigners that they
simply don't or won't understand what a real friend is like!  And,
mind you, I don't just mean the good old gang that you see every
week at the Kiwanis or at church or the country-club bar, and that
pay their dentist right on the dot, but the dear and tender chums
of the magic bygone days, long severed but forgotten ne'er, that if
they happen to be in your town for a convention or on a motor tour
will honor you by phoning you first thing and coming right out to
the house to take potluck with you and cheer up the wife by kidding
her along.  You're damn tootin'!  You may find a lot of stuck-up
highbrows here, always gassing their heads off and talking so much
while guys like us prefer to remain silent and not show off our
ignorance, but you're not going to find the old deep friends like
we know at home!  Hm.  Home!  You know . . ."

Bill Windelbank was dreaming.  When he spoke, all the brag and
bumptiousness were for a moment gone from him, and he looked at
Hayden appealingly:

"You know, Jean and me are awful seasoned tourists and we always
make out like we never get homesick, not even for Jean Junior or
her two babies or for the cottonwoods along the crick just below
our house.  But one time, this trip, we were in a Paris joint, real
gay but high-toned, and suddenly, with no warning, the band strikes
up Home on the Range--'where never is heard a discouraging word.'
Well, sir, I looked at Jean and Jean looked at me, and suddenly I
could just SEE those cottonwoods, and God, how I did long to be
back there, safe!  I could have cried!  And Jean--she did!"

How good they were, thought Hayden, and how kind--as the Dodsworths
were kind, as Sir Henry Belfont was not, as Olivia was not.



Olivia met them at the Baglioni roof garden for lunch, and horror
struck immediately.

Hayden could not stop Dr. Windelbank who, to Olivia's small leering
delight, referred to him as Haysy-Daisy, and who chronicled the one
episode of which Hayden was most ashamed, for its cheap bullying
and hysterical loss of temper: the time when he had threatened a
tough sub-contractor with an empty revolver and the man had caved
in, all two hundred and forty hairy pounds of him.

"Hay was a major in the last war, and a champ pistol shot!" crowed
Dr. Windelbank.

"And Hay was also nothing but a boss draftsman in that crusade and
never heard a shot fired in anger!" glared Hayden.

But it seemed to him that Olivia looked at him almost affectionately,
and on their way back to the pensione she said, "I like you much
better as a competent rowdy than as a polite dilettante.  But how
those people hated me!  They are very brave and charitable, but they
feel entirely competent to tell me what to teach--to tell Italy and
France what to teach--to tell the bishop how to pray and God how to
listen to the teaching and the prayer."



10


On the northern rim of Florence, toward the mutely watching
mountains, Fiesole perches on its hilltop like a monstrous eagle,
with its bell-tower for upstretched neck.  It looks down on the
flood plain of the Arno, which is Florence, and remembers that it
was a ponderous-walled Etruscan city twenty-five hundred years ago,
when Florence was a nameless huddle of mud huts.  Up here,
Boccaccio's maidens stayed the plague with song and most improper
story.

Half a mile from the Fiesole piazza, on the northern edge of the
cliff, is the small Raspanti Inn.  The window-side tables look into
the sweetly climbing Mugnone Valley, where the river runs through
vineyards and barley fields, past farmhouses of plaster, red-tiled
and yellow-walled, with airy loggias for the summer.

Hayden had bought a tiny Italian car--a topolino, people called it:
a "little mouse."  To get into it you had to hoist your knees up to
the level of your forehead, but it had a gallant motor for hill-
climbing, and it hugged the corkscrew curves of the Italian
mountains, or went happily cantering past the enormous blue
omnibuses.  In it he had flashed to Arezzo, and to the old walled
town of Lucca, now that, in mid-February, spring was imminent, the
grass between the olive trees was tinsel-green and mimosa was
displaying its canary-colored showers.  Olivia had gone with him
once or twice, her obedience still astonishing him, and today, at
the Raspanti, she was seemingly contented to be with him.

"One of those old farmhouses down there," he said, as they finished
their fedora cake and ordered coffee and Strega, "a man, a family,
could live quietly there."

"For a while."

"For keeps!"

"If there's a good bus, so you could go to the Laurentian Library
and the Uffizi," granted Olivia.

"A lazy spring day like this, I can't imagine going on anywhere
else, not even to Egypt."

"But I'm not lazy.  Industry is my one poor virtue."

"Olivia!  Let's talk--really talk!"

"Must we?"

"Yes.  We are two lone ships in a waste of the South Pacific, the
days so empty and the nights so long under the stars.  Why can't we
sail together?"

"Maybe the ships are going in opposite directions."

"Can't they stop a moment and get closer together?"

"Your poetic inquiry sounds very much like what my vulgar students
at Winnemac would call 'propositioning me.'"

"Olivia, you say things that shock me!  You chatter about ancient
Greek tarts so frankly that it's embarrassing, and yet you seem
afraid of any natural, friendly contact--like this."  He took her
hand, across the table, and she flinched.  "What makes you so
abnormal?"

She said irritably, "Abnormal!  My dear young man!  You know
nothing about me.  I may have ties that are entirely unknown to
you."

"I doubt it.  I look at your mail on the hall table--shamelessly.
If you have some magnet, he's probably imaginary.  Like my own
obsession with . . . Olivia, I never have talked to you about my
wife; haven't talked to anybody much, I guess.  I just told you she
was killed in a motor accident.  The way she died is important,
because sometimes I feel I murdered her by my careless driving, and
start brooding.  Now, I make myself come out of it, and realize
I've just been wallowing in a melodrama of regret, like a child
scaring itself by drawing spiders.  I'm trying, at least, to look
at her death the way a good doctor would.

"I do honor her memory.  She was extraordinarily plucky and quick-
witted, even if she wasn't kind-hearted like those people you met--
the Windelbanks.  (Caprice always thought they were a pair of
stuffed shirts, by the way, with minds that weren't so much
photographic as phonographic.)  She was a bluebird.  But she only
liked the accidental things about me: my tennis and swimming, and I
used to be not so bad a dancer till I got tired of the highballs
and the shrieking and the swapping of wives.  But she never liked
any of my virtues."

"Have you many?"

"Yes.  I have.  As you know.  I'm dependable and punctual and a
fine designer of unfine houses.  Those tedious virtues.  But I also
have a fighting conviction that men can be more than trout-
fishermen; that there must have been human beings who could build
San Miniato.  I have much more imagination about possible ways of
living than you have, of course."

"Oh!  HAVE you!"

"Much.  You tackle the Middle Ages to get them down in figures, as
a job, but I take a chance on making myself ridiculous by feeling
them as life, visibly around us still.  You--this continual
aversion of yours to the normal male . . ."

"Oh, quit it!  Don't try to show off your knowledge of psychoanalysis
as well as of Lucrezia Borgia!"

"Olivia, you've never let yourself live.  Lucrezia--they didn't
hate her because she did any poisoning, but because she could
handle so many lovers.  Why don't you imitate her, not just dig her
poor lovely bones out of their paper grave?  You could be adorable,
but you're nothing but an expert in pedagogy researching in the
quickest methods of teaching knitting."

"Oh, pooh!"

"There's an American girl wandering around Europe somewhere,
Roxanna, a redhead, that I despair of because she's gone native
with a gang of artistic heels.  She's rackety and undisciplined,
and she doesn't know whether Borgia was a duke or a suburb, and yet
I give her more chance to get the sinful, glorious human heart of
Europe than you'll ever have.  Oh, try living!  It was quite well
thought of by Titian!"

"You are so breezy and Western and uninhibited.  You are so naive."

"You've called me that before."

"Naturally!  So naive in believing that every woman ought to be a
college-campus petter!"  She added, with spite and something not
unlike jealousy, "As your redheaded Miss Roxanna apparently is!"

"She is no friend of petting.  She doesn't need to be!  Yes, I am
Western.  I won't eat my breakfast unless I can lasso it.  And yet
in my attitude toward self-repressing women, I am exactly like Nat
Friar or Ugo Tramontana.  We consider them monstrosities."

"You don't know what you're talking about.  You're babbling--oh,
not so much coarse as boyish nonsense!  I'd rather you WERE
coarse."

She arose, erect and angry in her blue nylon dress.  He said to
himself, "She wants me to be coarse?  I will be.  She's so armored
that a bowman has to try a shot at her.  Let's see if she's human."
He slipped his arm round her, his hand over her shoulder, a sweet
slim curve that contented his palm.

She seemed not rigid and prudish but still with terror.  She
whimpered, like a bewildered girl shocked by a trusted old friend,
"Oh, don't--oh, don't--oh, please!"

He had quick pity for her.  He released her, and she dropped into
her chair at the table again, her face all one raddled blur of
emotion, and as he sat down, she spoke tremblingly:

"Yes, there is. . . .  It is true.  I'm not quite natural toward
any man younger than Professor Friar.  But there is a reason.  It's
not me.  I was turned so.

"I was twenty--so young and undeveloped but so sure I was wise.  I
was a prodigy; I got my bachelor's degree at eighteen and my
master's at nineteen.  At a big state university, this was.  I was
working for my doctor's degree and teaching a couple of classes and
reading Professor Vintner's themes for him.  I thought I knew all
about vices and seductions and the elegant wiles of gallants in the
Middle Ages, but I had never taken time to study them first-hand,
on the U campus in this Middling Age.  Though plenty of invitations!
I knew all about Cellini but nothing about the local quarterback.

"Leslie Vintner, DEAR Professor Vintner, my faculty preceptor.
European History from 450 to 1750.  Tall and gray-eyed and a little
rustic in his looks, but Heavens, so slick and cosmopolitan in his
talk!  He was very, very learned and clever; he had studied at
Montpellier and Rome and Berne and the Sorbonne; he used to read
Provençal poetry aloud, delightful lyrics about roses and Maytime
meadows and sighing lovers.  But he knew about all up-to-date
diversions in modern Paris, too--he SAID: vintages and baronesses
and baccarat and Josephine Baker singing. . . .  Of course he had a
cautious wife, with a small income of her own.  Dreary and getting
plump.

"He encouraged me--so fatuously, I see now.  We used to sit side by
side on the greasy leatherette couch in his office, under the
reproduction of Fra Angelico saints, and smoke cigarettes and drink
tea with gin in it, and he'd tell me I was going to be another
Madame de Sévigné.  I was going to be poet, scholar, court beauty,
and Gabriele D'Annunzio would come back from his private perfumed
hell to worship me.

"Leslie and I were most superior to that hustling campus.  We were
pagans, we were winged spirits from the High Renaissance, only (and
honestly, he could do the most convincing repressed sob) just now
his wings were being clipped by his nasty big-foot wife, and only
in my sweet, languorous presence could he put on his rainbow-
colored plumes.

"I really worshipped him.  I was an innocent, healthy, eager kid,
so devoted, so proud, but it wasn't just lambkin love.  I would
have done murder for him, or sung over washing his undershirts.  I
wrote sonnets about him that I was too humble to show him, and I
went out of my way to walk past his house (that nasty gingerbread
cake!) late at night, and if there was a party and they were
laughing, I was so jealous that my stomach quivered.  I used to
keep a silk-tipped French cigarette butt of his in my purse, and
take it out and kiss it.

"So of course I fell for him completely whenever it amused him to
finish up the torture.  Honestly, he shouldn't have killed anything
as young and loyal as I was!

"Then he got impatient.  I forgot everything I had learned from
history--I thought he really meant his promises!  I thought we
would be found out and both of us fired from the university, of
COURSE, and I was all ready to live in a shack with him and do the
cooking and keep chickens and love it, and then some day he would
be divorced and marry me and Yale or California would understand
what valorous medieval souls we were and give him a call, and we'd
live in a tower of glory and . . . You know.

"What's worse, I suppose I girlishly trilled all this to him, and
too often.  He must have become pretty bored and impatient, because
I certainly wasn't so anesthetic and sneering then that I chilled
demanding gentlemen like Mr. Hayden Chart--OR Prince Ugo!  I was
recklessly passionate--panting.  Poor Leslie!  He did a magnificent
job of kicking me out.  He really made it all quite clear--though
he must have been irritated by the way I sobbed.

"He told me that he had never thought of me as anything but a
sentimental fool, very bad at exact dates, very confused in my
literary style, and a perfect pest about telephoning him at home.
And a skinny, ugly untouchable.  The way I lavished all the passion
in me, he said, made it seem cheap.

"Even before I had quit sobbing, while I was still wiping my nose
with my coarse little cotton handkerchief--it was all I could
afford but I did like it; it had such a nice rose stamped in one
corner--before I had finished crying I had determined that I would
never again betray passion--or feel any.  I never have.  I've ruled
my feelings like mutinous soldiers.  And so--and now--that
frigidity has become natural.  For all my life!"

She rose slowly, and he with her.

He kissed her cheek, very lightly, and sighed, "Poor darling.
Dreadful!"  Not till they were packed together in the topolino did
he go on:  "It would not be too ridiculous to think of us as
married.  We're both lost orphans.  We might seek the City of Peace
together."

For a second he took his right hand from the steering wheel to grip
hers; for a second she returned the pressure.  But she answered
resolutely:

"Hayden, I wouldn't trust myself to marry anybody.  I think I've
controlled my natural storminess, but as a wife I would be too
attentive and absorbing.  And I'm ambitious; I want high academic
rank, but that I could moderate.  The trouble is that if I gave it
up for marriage, I'd be ambitious then for my poor, driven husband.
I'd push him into absurdly big undertakings--influential people and
get in on all the gaudiest shows.  I've become a cool scholar, not
bad, and that's how I want to stay.  Though if I did go native and
fall for anybody--it conceivably could be you, Mr. Chart!"

"Good!"

"You're gentle, but you aren't obsequious.  And you're so young and
credulous.  You actually believe that Bertran de Born was a
gorgeous figure of living tapestry, and not Question III, Section
2--if you pass him, you can teach Advanced Principles of Medieval
Mysticism and Chivalry to the hockey team. As I shall.  That makes
being your wife sound attractive.  But I'm a dynamo; I'm not safe.
Guard yourself!"

When they parted, in the hall of the Tre Corone, he kissed her
cheek again.  She clutched his arm, turning her face of an ivory
saint toward him with a sharp breath, and then she fled.



11


Spring came in with the almonds and cherries and plum trees
blossoming in early March, and Olivia and Hayden wandered through
Florence.  The American Colony delightedly recognized them as
potential recruits to matrimony and to the Colony.

From Sir Henry Belfont, whom he had vaguely met at teas, Hayden had
a stiff note informing him, somewhat in the manner of a court
summons, that Sir Henry had a nephew with Shell Oil who, years ago,
had met Hayden in London.  The baronet was pleased to command
Hayden to luncheon, and would he care to bring some young lady of
his acquaintance?

He took Olivia.  In the topolino.  To the disapproval of the Scotch
butler, who preferred a Rolls-Royce.

Sir Henry marched them through his house.  Leniently, not expecting
them to appreciate such treasures, he showed off his paintings.
His Villa Satiro had started out, as a fortified manor house, in
1301.  It had three-hundred-year-old dwarf lemon trees, and Dante
slept here.

The handsomest room in the villa--it had been the bed chamber of a
grand duchess--was Sir Henry's study.  The walls were bookcases of
English oak, with a royal ransom in folios and illuminated choir
books.  The ceiling was a fantasy of little nymphs beckoning to
satyrs of no strong moral character, and under this mocking rout,
at an oak desk which had belonged to William of Orange, Sir Henry
wrote his letters.  But his desk chair had nothing of the royal
touch about it.  It was of the latest ingenuity, with a sponge-
rubber cushion, for while Sir Henry's rear elevation was imposing,
it was not suited to oaken hardness.  Too many tons of cream sauces
had gone to the construction of it.

He was a tall man and portly, and when he was surrounded by women
who admired him, or at least listened to him, he would stand with
his great head slightly on one side, with a fixed and somewhat
silly smile, as though he were shy of his own bulky splendor.  In
his black jacket and linen collar--"no gentleman makes a racetrack
spectacle of himself in soft colored shirts"--Sir Henry's
resemblance to the Rock of Gibraltar would have been remarkable, if
it had not been for his untrimmed eyebrows.

These eyebrows drooped in monumental triangles, like the manes of
little lions.  He had a mustache and a precise small beard as well,
but they seemed to be only drippings from the eyebrows.  Sometimes,
rather wistfully, he experimented with a monocle, but it was lost
under an eyebrow and left him looking as nearly foolish as a man so
much in love with his own nobility, so admittedly representative of
all that was best in the English county families, could ever look.

But his wife was an American.

But his wife was rich.

At the luncheon were the Belfonts, Hayden and Olivia, Prince Ugo
Tramontana, and the Marchesa Valdarno, who discomfited the host by
snatching the conversation away from him.  She was a thin scabbard
in her fawn suit and tight white turban.  She was American-born,
swift, flashing, detestable.  Rustically watching her, Hayden
comprehended the ageless elegance which Roxanna Eldritch envied,
but poor Roxy was an acolyte beside the Marchesa, who suavely
jeered not only at America but at Parisian drunkards, English
watering-places, old Roman society, and the Sadie Lurcher Riviera
set, of which Valdarno was herself a member.  Hayden sought the eye
of Olivia, shadowed by the snowy peak of Mt. Sir Henry, and they
mutely confided that they didn't like this.

They said practically nothing at lunch.  Prince Ugo--fine, lean,
courteous--said only that Dr. Lomond was much honored at the
Laurentian Library.  Olivia glowed, and Sir Henry looked at her for
the first time.  The Marchesa Valdarno also looked at her--with
contempt.

Throughout luncheon, Hayden had his usual discomfort over the
European trick of speaking in four languages at once, switching
from English to Italian in the one same sentence, with the next in
French.  He longed for the roar and whattameaning of Jesse Bradbin.

But the soup was good.

But after lunch, as they rode home in the humble topolino, Olivia
yelled with unacademic vigor that she hated Sir Henry and his mob
and wanted never to meet any of them again.

"I would like to see him again, though," said Hayden, "because I'd
like to get to the bottom of why so many Americans and well-heeled
Britishers live permanently in Italy.  Most of the Italians don't
much like us.  They consider our drinkers too wet and our hermits
too chilly and our outmarrying girls, like that Valdarno woman,
disloyal to their husbands--some of them, I mean.  Yet we cling to
this country.  Why?  I'll go to the Villa Satiro again, if I get
invited, which is not too likely.  I don't think Belfont considers
me one of the more tinkling talkers."

"Me neither.  And no more villa.  It's too Satiro!"



At night he was conscious of Olivia, down the hall, and wondered
whether he would again meet her in feminine mufti, free of her hard
uniform of professorial brown serge.  But their next jaunt was
considerably less abandoned.  In the fashion of Newlife in his
father's era, he took her to church; not to a resounding Roman
basilica but to a home-town church, a Main-Street church, in
English Gothic but flavored, too, with prairie wild roses.

The St. James American Episcopal Church in Florence has no more
Episcopalians than Methodists or Unitarians or plain indifferentists.
In the bright stone chancel, the American flag hangs along with the
Italian, and for an hour every Sunday morning even the Colonists
who seem almost alienated from Home are betrayed into being American
again.  Social climbing is halted, and girl students kneel beside
florid gentlemen who have superbly been in steel.

Most of the Colonists are given to complaining at dinner parties
that America has gone to hell, along with lazy and overpaid
servants, impertinent children, tasteless food and fiendish labor
leaders who will soon be purging all responsible citizens.  Yet at
St. James's, as they unite in the old hymns, there rises in them
something primitive.

Colonists who have been asserting that they would as soon die as go
back to the States and see executives being obsequious to bellboys
and subway conductors and their own cooks, now hear through the
music at St. James's the heavy shoes on Plymouth Rock, the barefoot
Confederates marching in the wintry Tennessee mountains, the
plodding of moccasins on the Oregon Trail.  In their flippant
unfaith to their lean and bitter mother, America, there is yet more
faith than in their zest for Europe, their opulent mistress.

Hayden came in Sabbatically double-breasted blue, with a black
Homburg hat, and he was proud of Olivia's blue silk and her
resolutely white gloves and the unexpected prayer-book of celluloid
cover painted with forget-me-nots which she must have borrowed at
the pensione.  Through service, he was content to see how properly
she rose and knelt.  He remembered the spires of Newlife, and was
faintly lonely for home.  He knew then that he was unalterably an
American; he knew what a special and mystical experience it is, for
the American never really emigrates but only travels; perhaps
travels for two or three generations but at the end is still marked
with the gaunt image of Tecumseh.

After church, they had lunch amid the fine linen of the Hotel
Excelsior, and Hayden boasted:

"You did well in church today--for a heathen.  I am a correct
Episcopalian, and my firm built Holy Cross Pro-cathedral."

"Not me!  I was brought up a Primitive Baptist.  'It's the old-time
religion!'  How American I still am, even when I pretend to have
covered it over with Venetian velvet!"

"It's a perfect spring day.  Let's wander all afternoon."

"Not me.  I have a lot to read," said the sturdy girl from
Professor Vintner's class.

So they wandered all afternoon, through the spring-emblazoned city,
through dark courtyards lighted up equally by gold-decked shrines
to the Virgin and by plaid work-shirts hung up to dry before a
fifth-story window, past the Cerchi tower, among the Sunday crowd
oozing along the Arno, with a Punch and Judy show in the Piazza
Ognissanti.  For tea they went not to a bar favored by the Colony
but were so bold as to sit out in the Square of the Republic, in
front of Gilli's.

They climbed up the winding driveway of the Viale dei Colli and
felt not the grandeur of Florence but its simple pleasantness,
under the trees, like the pleasantness of Newlife in June.  For
dinner, Olivia guided him to a little basement trattoria.

They went down slippery marble stairs into a cellar with small
tables of transparent oilcloth over green-and-white table-covers.
On the rough walls were very bad landscapes with which art students
had paid their board-bills: landscapes with cow and river and a
mountain composed of cake icing.  The one waiter was guiltless of a
white jacket; he wore a sweater and screamed amiably at the patrons
and sometimes sat down with them.  The room was full of
cheerfulness: clerks and shopkeepers and soldiers whirled their
strings of spaghetti and acrobatically ate fried potatoes with
their knives.

Olivia was an intimate of the place.  The waiter beamed and led
them through a more solemn dining room where, with white
tablecloths, dined the few tourists, on to the delights of the
kitchen, and that was a kitchen out of a Christmas story.

The floor was of red tiles and the charcoal broiler lighted up a
string of copper stewpans.  It glared on the swarthy face of the
fat woman cook so that she looked like a lady fiend.  But beside
the broiler was a modern electric range, crimson enamel and cool
steel.  On a table, ready to be cooked, were all the varieties of
pasta: fat tagliatelli noodles, thin and writhing taglierini,
tortellini like snug little white doughnuts, and the sage green of
lasagne verdi, made with spinach.

On benches at the long central table five hardy taxi-drivers were
dredging their grassy soup, and they looked up to salute Olivia
with "Ecco!  La Dottoressa!"

"It's an honor to be allowed to eat in the kitchen," Olivia
explained, as they took places on a bench.  "I ate in the outside
room for a long while before the Signora would let me join them
here.  Now I'm part of the family, and you will be."

"I appreciate it."  And indeed when the drivers nodded to him as
though he were not a Foreigner and a Fare but a man, he felt more
honored than in any toleration by Sir Henry Belfont.  Olivia was
hearty with a plate of giant ribbed maccheroni with meaty Bolognese
sauce, and they drank red table wine poured out of what looked like
a Newlife pop bottle.

Roaring with friendliness, the drivers wanted to know how stood the
Dottoressa, and had she dug out of the library any scandals more
recent than 1600?  She fenced with them in colloquial Italian, and
they cackled.  Though the sharp career woman is new in Italy, there
has always been a tradition of the Learned Lady, like Camilla
Rucellai, like Romola, a tradition of honor, and Olivia seemed to
wear the laurel crown with ease.  Hayden studied her with fond
pride.  Was he movingly in love with her, a thing to last?  With a
throb, with sorrow for the shallowness of his tribute to Caprice,
he wondered if his heart had forgotten her complete, and her faded
little ghost was wandering now forlorn in the Colorado winter,
shelterless.

The restaurant was conducted by a family of whom the grandmother
was chieftain and chef, the youngish father was the outside waiter
in the sweater, his wife was assistant chef, their two small sons
were dishwashers and bus boys, and the baby, with its dark eyes and
humorous mouth, was the most expansive customer.  All evening, it
seemed to Hayden, that baby was eating, eating everything, ham and
breast of chicken and peas cooked with bacon and rather more red
wine than strictly modern mothers give to the hygienic infants of
America.

The baby and Olivia found each other delightful and slightly funny.
They winked at each other, and the baby went to sleep with its head
against Olivia's arm.  She flushed then; her lips were tight and
she breathed quickly.  Hayden could not tell whether this contact
with the flesh of a baby was gratifying or distressing.  She fell
altogether silent and stared at the baby with a sun-and-shadow
alternation of frown and tenderness.  He guessed that she was
thinking of Professor Leslie Vintner.

When the drivers had gone and the kitchen was somewhat more quiet,
Olivia said carelessly, "I'll have to be leaving Florence this
coming week."

"WHAT?"

"Oh, only for three-four days, and not till Tuesday.  I have to go
to Venice, which it happens I have never seen, to look up some
records in the State Archives."

"I've never been in Venice, either.  I'll drive you up there."

"Oh, I don't think we could do that.  No, I'm quite sure we
couldn't.  Thank you, though."

"Who's going to mind?  It would be only too innocent.  Who would be
shocked?  Mrs. Manse?"

"I would be!"

"What?"

"I mean . . . We've had a lovely day, and I've enjoyed it, and all
the more reason why I must remember my resolution not to be
dominated by any male."

"Who's trying to dominate you?  Just friends."

"Not even too lively a friendship with a man, if it could possibly
grow into too much importance.  I've been slack in regard to you.
Spring!  I must put on my armor again.  There!  I have!  You're
just an amiable gentleman who lives in my pensione."

He was irritated to ruthlessness by her undependability.  She was
being a tease, flirtatious and bogus, encouraging him and then
drawing back.  He expected that of a campus hoyden, not of a
devoted scholar.  She could, it seemed, be just as phony as
Caprice--in the opposite direction: the Caprice who pretended, like
a man, to be only a breezy companion, uninterested in love-making,
when she was thinking of nothing else.

"So," he said treacherously, "we're just amiable acquaintances
again; very polite."

"That seems to be it."

"With no silly sentiment between us."

"None whatever."

"Two careless laddy-boys together.  So we CAN go to Venice, without
any compromise!"

"Oh, stop it!"

"I won't argue, but that's the logic of it."

He thought she looked disappointed when he talked vigorously, and
only, of the Dodsworths' new car.  They returned to the Tre Corone
rather silently and, for once, he accompanied her down the hall to
her room and, as she opened the door, for the first time he saw the
interior.

It was decidedly not dusty and doctoral.  Her bed was covered with
a fluffy white spread and over it was a cast of smiling little
angels.  He seized her hand, and urged, "Olivia!  Let's both go to
Venice!  Let's not be skittish ingénues.  We don't have too many
live joys.  Let's discover the wonder of Venice together!"

"But if we should go--oh then, PLEASE!"



12


Olivia was youthful in white linen.  "For a scholar, she spends
quite a lot on clothes," he reflected.  Like a girl back home, she
was not wearing stockings, and there was a glow of bare ivory knees
as she tucked herself into the topolino.

"Is it possible that she has chucked her aloofness, that she likes
me a good deal?" he wondered.

They were close together in the tiny car on this, their first
mammoth excursion.  Wisteria was beginning to paint the walls, the
mimosa bush was in yellow cataracts, and the daffodils were like
shy English visitors.  The Tuscan spring was sweet with the smell
of plowed fields among the vine rows, where gentle oxen moved in
leisure, great white oxen against the brown earth, and the
liberated lovers were bound for Venice, city to them enchanted but
unknown.  They sang together as they crawled, spiraled, sped up on
the road across the Apennines that is the highway to Bologna and
Venice.

After the Futa Pass, before the high notch of Raticosa, there was a
long upland ridge with valleys like unknown kingdoms castle-
starred below them.  It was flying.  The sheep pastures, the pocket
vineyards, the dumpy plaster farmhouses, and lone monasteries which
were high above the valley floor and yet hundreds of feet below the
car could be comfortably reached, said Hayden, by a jump and then a
good deal of quiet falling.  It was a twisted trail for eagles.

Olivia looked out of the car and directly down.  "I'm not much used
to mountain driving.  Are you good at it?"

"Used to it, at least."

"You sound confident.  Then I am."

Before Raticosa they were in a mountain-top barren of stunted pine
and heather.  Up here, it was still late winter, and patches of
sandy snow were dark along the road as they went back in time two
months behind Florence.  The higher peaks beyond them were solid
snow.

"This must be frightening, in January.  Like your Rockies.  I'm a
plodding plainsman and marsh-jumper.  A lot of my childhood in
Southern New Jersey," said Olivia.

The Italians have been admirable road-engineers since centuries
before Julius Caesar, and the car came down fast but securely on
the corkscrew road that drops from the pass to Bologna in its
valley, brisk red Bologna with its arcades.  Then it was all flat
land across Emilia and the Veneto, and eight hours from Florence,
they left the car at the Piazzale Roma and magically took a gondola
up the canals of Venice, past palaces whose doorsteps were washed
by the sea channels.

Venice, on the map, resembles one large island (which is really a
group of small ones) curved like a heavy thumb and hand, grasping
at the head of another island like a timid animal with agitated
pointed paws.  When Hayden pointed this out, rattling a map in the
breeze, Olivia cried, "An architect does get to have an eye!  My
poet!"

For propriety, they stayed at two different pensioni near the
Piazza Morosini.  They had cocktails at the Palazzo Gritti, the
most luxurious hotel in Italy, and dined at the Colombo on tiny
shrimps fresh from the Adriatic, listening to the Venetian citizens
standing at the wine counter and peacefully quarreling.  Then they
walked through Venice till midnight, getting lost and found and
more lost than ever among streets that changed their names every
two blocks and after eight or ten, ended slap in a courtyard with
an ancient wellhead and no exit or else crept up on a bridge over a
canal and down under the bulk of a palace, in darkness, to emerge
on an astonishing square, vast, empty, palace-walled.  They saw
arches reflected in the small interior canals and the more
exuberant illumination mirrored flickeringly in the wide Grand
Canal, caught through alleys that were only three-foot slits
between six-story warrens.

Here is the only city without wheeled traffic, the only city
dedicated to human beings and not to dictatorial automobiles, and
over all of it is unreality.  They walked with stilled reverence
through the small crowds, free of the horrors of motorcycles and of
the bicycles that elsewhere in Italy stalk pedestrians and bring
them down.

Venice is not a city.  It is one colossal palace on a low rock in
the sea.  These are not squares and courtyards but roofless halls,
and if the stone is worn and the plaster blotched, there is gaudy
Renaissance history in balconies and Gothic windows.

These are not streets but corridors of the palace, and these bright
bazaars, heaped with figured satin and ivory triptychs and spun
iridescent glass, are not shops but the ancient loot of the doges,
and this is not stone pavement but the palace floor, polished by
centuries of feet that first skipped here, then strode, then
shuffled till they were borne to the funeral gondola by sturdier
feet; a floor so polished thus that by night light all the granite
roughnesses vanish in an even glow.

All round the palace a breeze flickers in from Ragusa and Albania
and the Adriatic isles.  Fishing smacks with colored lateen sails
come in with cargoes of devilfish, and disdainful steamers fresh
from Egypt and its musky airs, and the gondolas, with their small
prow lights, lurch over the Grand Canal, the gondoliers swinging on
the poop.

Here and not elsewhere live Neptune and his daughters, whose hair
is spray.  They were visible that night to Hayden and his girl,
pacing through hollow-sounding piazzas, their arms round each
other.  He had little to say but "To find all this with YOU!" and
reluctantly he kissed her good night at her door.

By working late, Olivia finished her research the next day, and
they dined in grandeur at the Gritti and again walked the night
half out.  All the morning after they spent in the Piazza San
Marco.

They sat, in an idleness and contentment so profound that they
amounted to activity, at a table outside the Lavena, and watched
the operetta of the crowd: the tourists feeding the pigeons which,
at the bang of the clock struck by the bronze giants, rose together
in a tide of wings; the smoochers--sellers of post cards and coral
necklaces and the guide with the red scarf who was always saying
hopefully, "Guide?  Me spik gud English."

An American destroyer was in harbor, and the crew and officers had
flooded ashore, each with a camera, from executive officer to mess
boy.  San Marco cathedral must that day have exceeded its quota of
being photographed fifty times an hour.

Of these rangy American boys, with the freshness of Salem Harbor or
the Iowa hills under their salt glaze, Hayden was proud.  "Look at
them!  And next week, in Greece or Smyrna or Spain!  They've
brought back the tradition of the clipper days when Yankee faces
(including a great-something-grandfather of mine) were seen in
every port of China and Africa and the Spice Islands!"

He was incredibly contented with the friendly presence of Olivia,
the magnificence of the hour and place, where he could see
Byzantine and Gothic and Renaissance all together, in a tremendous
harmony.  He thought that Olivia looked almost like a fond wife
when he passed on to her, as a lover's gift, all the architectural
lore he was harvesting.

He dutifully inquired, "But do you think we'd better be starting?
It's going to cloud over."

"Not yet.  I've forgotten the responsible Dr. Lomond.  Let's drown
in this sun while it lasts.  Americans are always so restless to be
off; they follow some mental timetable that they'll probably take
with them to Heaven, to the considerable annoyance of the timeless
angels, who don't mind a bit if you're a couple of thousand years
late for choir practice!"

Her complaint was generously illustrated by an American tourist
couple at a table near.

They were people of sixty, and prosperous; they looked as though
they had retired from the woes of golf and children and could be at
leisure now.  But while the wife bent her neck forward, enraptured
by the glow of the San Marco mosaics, the husband showed his
frustration by jiggling his feet, tapping on the table, violently
trying to catch flies, looking at his watch, clearing his throat,
yawning, and making a sporadic sound halfway between a hum and a
band-saw.  He blurted at last, "Well, come on, come on, Heaven's
sake, let's get going!"

"Going WHERE?" his wife sighed.  "We're here!"

"I know, but good God, you can't just sit around all DAY!  Let's--
we can go back to the hotel and write some more letters, can't we?"

When the man of affairs and efficiency and death was gone, Hayden
sighed, "I've said that a lot of the Colonists in Florence are too
idle, but that's incomparably better than the restless-footed
sightseers like that man.  Yes, you and I'll sit here for seven
years."

But the clouds were coming now, were darkening, and he was
dependable enough to make Olivia go.

When they had reached their topolino and started southward, rain
was already scouting in a sulky afternoon sky.  Olivia looked
tired; her youthful white linen, unsuited to motoring, was somewhat
mussy; she was half yawning.

He ordered, "Go to sleep.  The late hours these two evenings have
been too much for you.  I'll drive fast, but with the care due to
my learned passenger."

She dozed off, with that ivory cheek, that sleek blackness of hair,
near his shoulder.  He wanted to touch her, but in his rigid creed
nothing was more enduring than his father's croaking injunction,
"Both hands on the wheel, Son, ESPECIALLY when you're out with the
girls."  And he had a memory of a car whirling off the Bison Park
highway, turning over.  He remembered, too, that once before, when
they had been coming down from Fiesole, he had for a second touched
her hand in the car.  Out of all this he had now a quite
satisfactory nervousness and worry till he made himself forget it.

It was raining before they reached Bologna, and from her quivering
he knew that Olivia had awakened and was stiffly uncomfortable.

"It's all right.  Pavement not very slippery.  Relax, darling," he
clucked, and he was surprised at the kindness in his own voice.

He made a business of getting them home.  They did not talk, and
she must again have slid into sleep.  As they swung up the steep
climb beyond Bologna, up into the mountains, snowflakes began
shivering down in front of them; tentative wisps of down, then
large, solid-looking flakes against which, he began to imagine,
they might bump and be smashed.

Olivia awoke with a nervous "Oh!"

"I'm used to winter driving.  And good road.  Don't worry."

But it was hard to see clearly through the windshield.  The blades
of the wiper could not do much against the thick grease of wet
snow; the glass was streaky and clouded, and on the sharp mounting
curves he had to slacken speed, waste the momentum he needed, to
see which way the curves were turning.

As she leaned to a curve, Olivia's shoulder touched his, and he
found that she was rigid.

At just over two thousand feet of altitude, they came instantly,
without warning, into a belt of fog.  He was blind in the fog, and
he had to keep going or slide back.  It was impossible to see the
sides of the road.  He opened the window beside him and drove with
his head thrust outside, the snow licking his forehead and cheeks
and chilled nose, the fog soaking his hair.  But moving slowly,
sometimes at five miles an hour, he could make out thus the
boulder-marked boundaries of the highway.

For all the fog, the wind was loud enough so that not till she had
repeated it did he hear Olivia's distressed, "What would happen if
we shot off the road here?"

He drew his head far enough into the car to answer, "Probably
wouldn't hurt a thing.  We'd just drop onto a meadow slope and be
stopped by the rocks and brush."

So?  To run off the road--again?  Was he to crush Olivia as he had
crushed Caprice?  Was that his ever-revolving fate?

She went on, "And then again we might keep on going--five hundred
feet?"

"Could be."

She laughed.  "Oh, its all right.  I'm getting used to it.  You
aren't scared?"

"This is just routine fog driving.  Bus drivers do this regularly,
and never even notice it."

"But you're not a routine bus driver.  You have no idea how I
admire your competence.  But think of all the fine scenery that
must be lavishing itself unnoticed, straight down below us there--
on both sides of this ridge.  I'm glad I can't see how far down!"

He was too absorbed to comment.  He had never driven in a worse
fog, and with a road so steep, so curving, so slippery with snow,
he could not save their lives if the car skidded and took charge.

He was back below the Bison Park highway, imprisoned, too late to
begin living again--and then he would not let himself be there.  He
bleakly forced himself to be only here, single-minded.  He
methodically considered stopping in one of the turnouts, but with
boundary lines so blurred by the fog, he might be hit there by
another car.  It was safer to go on.

He was startled when two sickly car lights were conjured up just in
front of him, and he had to swerve, to take the chance of going off
the road and down, bottomlessly down.

She shuddered, "Oh!  Shouldn't we stop?"

"We shall, the minute we hit a place, a village or something where
there is room for safe parking, and we can get out and have a
drink.  I remember one or two inns up along here.  And we've got to
begin thinking about holing up for the night.  This fog may keep up
till morning, and if we stayed in the car, we'd about freeze.  But
we may find a country inn."

"You mean we may have to sleep there tonight?"

"Probably."

"All right."

He was pleased that she should agree, and a little dubious about
his own pleasure in it.

They had now a month, a year, of agony.  Snow slid maliciously
through the open window beside Hayden, and he could feel Olivia's
shoulder shaking convulsively as she became more wet and chilled.
The stone markers were only darker blurs in a general dark drifting
gray.  But they had to go on.

They were penned in a moving prison for a lifetime sentence, to be
ended, perhaps, by sudden and shocking death.  But they had to go
on.

Only with a tired incredulity did he see and lose and see again a
fabulous glow in the smear ahead, and then a cluster of fog-wrapped
lights.  "Golly!" he said, and not very logically wanted to kiss
Olivia but, busy with the clammy wheel, did nothing so reasonable.

They had reached some kind of a fair-sized building, with a blessed
wide parking space.  He bade her, "Wait in the car till I size the
place up."  Both of them breathed long and sighingly with the
relief of being, for a moment, safe.

Their refuge, he found, was a mountain-country combination of
hotel, grocery shop, wine shop, bar, billiard room and restaurant.
At the counter a dozen young mountaineers were drinking, tough but
not unfriendly, and they nodded to his greeting.  The landlady, in
her cascade of striped apron, was a woman of character and
considerable poundage.  The walls were roughcast, and the three
dining tables had cloths worn and darned, but it was all clean
enough, and there was a pink terra-cotta stove that shouted warmth.

Yes, the landlady said, she had three bedrooms for rent, two still
unoccupied; yes, he could have a fine supper here, with the
choicest of veal.

It was toward seven now, with no chance of the fog clearing.  He
hurried out to assure Olivia, "Warm!  Clean!  Two rooms!  Grub!
We'll stay the night."

"Yes."  She crawled out of the topolino, a comic figure in the
laprobe heaped over her white linen.  She tottered with stiffness--
wavering, sobbing.  He held her to him, not kissing her but laying
his warmed cheek against her ghostly cheek, and she clung to him,
hands tight about his shoulders, whimpering, "So childish, nothing
but a little cold on a good road, fine main highway, and me
frightened like that!  But I was so lost and scared.  But I'm so
glad I'm with you!"

"Want a brandy?"

"Si, si, certo!  And a room that doesn't keep sliding over into an
abyss!"

"Can do."

"My mountaineer!  My valiant major!"

"Come on."

In the crowded barroom-restaurant the drinkers looked at Olivia
with relish.  Her color was Calabrian, but her unmelting eyes
convinced them that she was not Italian but English, and from their
fathers, who had known the spacious days when all of the English
milords took walking trips in the mountains, they had heard that
all Englishwomen are beautiful and mad.



The landlady showed them the bedrooms: narrow, stone-floored, cold
as outdoors.  On each of the narrow beds was one of those Italian
country quilts evidently stuffed with steel-filings and geology,
which, though they are very heavy, on the other hand induce no
warmth at all.

But Olivia said gaily, "You would have your adventure!  You'll have
it tonight, sleeping in this Greenland igloo.  But there's a very
nice sacred oleograph in each room.  Bene!"

As they went back downstairs, through the partly open door of the
third bedroom peered an old man with a fall of despondent mustache
and an ancient cape gone gray-green.

"Our fellow guest.  He looks all right," Hayden muttered.

(He was in Europe, he actually was in Italy, at an inn, at night,
with his girl, with a man of cloaked mystery down the hall, and he
was not making it all up in his hospital bed in Newlife, sleepless,
looking at the radium dial of his bedside clock!)

Olivia insisted, "Oh, the old man is fine.  Possibly just a little
homicidal--believes that he is a soldier of Garibaldi and we are
Austrians. . . .  Of course you noticed that there are no locks on
our bedroom doors."

"You can wedge a chair under the knob."

"Don't be silly.  I shall depend on you."

They had with them their bags, packed for Venice, but of any
washing save with a can of hot water there was no prospect.  In
their glaring hunger, they did not care.  "I never allow myself
bath salts nor a bath thermometer, not even since I inherited the
ten million," she said cheerfully; then:  "But if we HAD gone off
the road . . ."

He stroked her cheek, and hastened to get into her the spiritual
solace of hot noodle soup.  The mountaineers had gone home, and the
common room became a private dining room and the landlady their
private chef.  They had spaghetti, veal cooked with mozzarella
cheese, pink cake and pink local wine.  By moving their table next
to the pink terra-cotta stove, into which the landlady kept
stuffing brush roots, they were not cold--not intolerably cold--
just shivering a little.

The mystery man in the cape came down to have his spaghetti, but he
did not seem to be looking at them.  He read in a small old
leather-bound book.

The dining room was also the lounge, and they sat at their table
long after dinner.

"Comfortable?" Hayden said.  He meant his voice to be only placid
and encouraging, but it sounded tender.

"Very!  You know, this place isn't really strange to me.  It's
homelike--something warm and littered and casual about it.
Sometimes I get tired of the cold chastity of my room at the Tre
Corone.  It's just a hygienic waiting room for tired souls.  Your
room is better, a bit more disordered and bachelor-slatternly, and
yet it's almost as bitterly neat as mine."

"What do you know about my room?"

"Oh, I look in every time I pass it.  You have a neighborly wild-
western way of leaving your door open."

"I suppose I do."  He laughed at himself.  "My pose is the solitary
scholar--the devout hermit--Marsilio Ficino--mustn't be disturbed
by anything--chase out the dog and strangle the children.  And all
the while I guess I want to hear those cheerful domestic noises:
the cook smashing dishes and Vito Zenzero bawling out Perpetua for
stealing the guests' perfume and not saving any of it for him.  And
hoping that you WILL give me a Hello and come in.  Why don't you?"

"I do sometimes--in spirit--and have long grave talks with you."

"What do we say in those grave talks?"

"I ask your opinion, as an architect, on the merits of fan-
vaulting."

"I see!"

"And sometimes I feel like reading to you my sister's latest
letter--evenings when I'm a little homesick."

"Why don't you?"

"I never get THAT homesick!  Oh, darling . . ."

"Yes?"

"Let's not waste this one completely quiet evening--maybe the only
one we'll ever have--waste it in being chatty," said Olivia.  "I
get worried about you.  It's impersonal, really, but it rises from
such a liking for you, and respect.

"As I heard Mr. Dodsworth say to you once, why do you let Europe
get you?  For us Americans it's a drug, a sleeping-draught, all
made of poppies and the wonder of old, old civilizations and
religions and dreams, so lulling after our brisk, raw climate at
home, where we have to face the blizzard, fight through it or
freeze.  Go home, my dear!"

"Would you go back with me?"

"I can't.  Europe HAS got me.  I'm an exile here, but back in
America I'll always be an exile double-distilled."

The old man in the faded cape sighed to himself, "There is an
American couple who are not glib and hustling, but true tender
lovers.  Darling forgotten, we were like that, THEN!"

He rose, bowed good-night, and left them.

"But you," Olivia was urging Hayden, "can still go back to America
uninfected."

"I'm not so sure.  I love Florence.  It's very much like you.  I
wonder sometimes if I'll ever go home.  With Caprice gone, I'd be
lonely there."

He realized with a jar that he ought never to speak of Caprice to
Olivia.  He hastened to cover it with a false-hearty, "In Florence
there's a kind of perpetual excitement; not football-game
excitement but a blissful stir.  I look in at some new church, or
call on Nat Friar and listen to his newest lies about Sir Henry
Belfont.  He swears that for twenty-two years Belfont was butler
for the Duke of Nottingham and sold the household wine and invested
the swag in gambling houses.  Or I go to the Dodsworths' for
bridge.  But most of all, I can talk to you, after dinner--when
you're not being cold and repulsive."

"Am I cold sometimes?"

"And repulsive."

"Wonderful!  I try to be, so that I won't get found out as the
embarrassed village tomboy I am at heart.  And you're still the
village high-school hero: the basketball captain and tenor in your
Episcopal choir and valedictorian, with such a thoughtful
Commencement essay comparing Columbus and General Grant.  That was
a good life we knew as kids--so much more than the surface Florence
that we see.  It was as real as this mountain wind.  Go back to it
while you can."

"Would you mind if I left you?"

She looked at him full, ivory softly flushing, and murmured, "It
would be very much safer for me if you left me!"



She became warmly sleepy, in relaxation from the cold, the danger.
She stretched her arms out on the table and dropped her head on
them.  She turned her pure, shadowy face toward him for a moment,
with a funny, babyish smile, a defenseless smile all unlike her
normal dignity, and went confidently off to sleep.

He passed his hand over her head, her shoulders, her good arms, not
actually touching them but seeming to follow a delicate invisible
integument that sheathed her and kept her inviolate.  Then,
unmoving, he watched her.  Time was abolished, time and space were
only in her.  And the landlady came heavily clumping and Olivia
awoke.

Hayden rather thought that, in her mountain accent, the landlady
was saying, "Good night.  When you get ready to go to bed, put out
the lights in this room.  Sleep well."  She leered at Hayden and
thumped away and upstairs.

"Uuuuuuuh," yawned Olivia.

"What did our hostess say?"

Olivia slowly sat straight, murmured slowly, "She said that all
pleasant things must come to an end and that it's time for us to
say good-night."

Suddenly it all came over him.

He bluntly moved his chair toward hers, put his arm round her,
pulled her toward him.

"Olivia!  I had been planning to make love to you--not planning it
all day, not all our journey, but tonight, when you were soft and
warm and near me.  But something has hit me hard, something too
basic to allow any experimental love-making.  I don't know--I think
I may be desperately in love with you.  And when I think of the
dreadful thing I might have done in trying to tempt you, I'm
aghast!  I'm not fit to love you.  I'm a murderer!  I murdered
Caprice by my carelessness.  I AM NOT FIT!"

She sprang up and he agitatedly rose to face her.  Her voice was
strained and fierce, with not one evasive civilized qualm in it.

"You did not murder her!  You're a fool to say it!  You told me
about her--you've told me much more than you knew--about her and
about you.  But if you had meant to kill her, I'd be glad!"

"No!"

"I'm glad you did!  I hate your damn, curly-headed, curly-minded
leech, Caprice!  Sucking your blood--living on your kindness and
your gentleness!"

"That's not true!  She was plucky and gay. . . ."

"She was a sneak thief of life!"

"Olivia!"

"O-liv-ia!  Professoressa Dottoressa Olivia!  That frump!  That
good, safe, cautious doctor of frigidity!  She's dead, too, and you
murdered her, too--thank God!  The wild highlander in me has come
to life again, in this wild, windy highland--thank God.  Dearest
Hayden, quit blaming yourself, quit smothering yourself!  I love
you!"

Her arms were round his neck and she was pressed against him before
his hands locked behind her shoulders.  When he could look at her,
all the restraints in her face were loosened, and she was as
abandoned as the most feckless highland lass, and breathed as hard.

She said nothing more, and they did not remember to turn off the
lights in the dining room.



13


The morning sun was warm and shameless, and their eggs, consumed to
a view of snowy Apennine peaks absurdly like piles of the best
peach ice cream, had ozone in them--so Hayden asserted.  They were
chatty and they were smiling somewhat smugly, and did not even see
an old man with a cape and a small Elzevir.

"Looks as though we are to be beautifully married," said Hayden.

"Astonishingly enough, it does!  My lord and master, may I go on
studying?"

"You are graciously permitted.  Do you want to stay on in Italy,
and maybe France and Holland and so on, for a few years?"

"Oh, a couple of years or so, if you can stick it.  But I do want
to see your Newlife--your house--our house!  I want to find out
whether I've learned so much about the terror and splendor of the
Middle Ages that now I can become a halfway decent commonplace wife
and do the job as well as Catherine Sforza would.  Oh, yes, I shall
love Newlife--in a controlled way!"

"We'll build a Renaissance church there."

"What do you mean WE will?  YOU will!  I'm a simple, admiring wife
now.  I shan't even give you any advice, ever.  Whatever you do
will seem wonderful to me. . . .  Except just this.  You are not to
build any Renaissance churches or Gothic churches or Romanesque or
anything else imitative of Europe.  Go ahead and develop the
American Georgian, as you planned.  Stand for something; don't just
copy."

He said meekly, "Yes, that might be--yes."

All the way to Florence, she sang Neapolitan lyrics and smoothed
his sleeve.

With a not very-well-defined feeling that now they should march out
from solitude and take their civic place, Olivia and Hayden were
presently seen flauntingly together everywhere in Florence, at
church, at the bars, walking on the Tornabuoni and the Lungarno.
In the tight environment of their pensione, which was as close to
them and sometimes as itchily intrusive as a hair shirt, they had
not announced any engagement and they kept their separate tables,
but their attachment must have been clear.

Certainly it was to Vito Zenzero, clerk, headwaiter, and authority
on which countesses in town were authentic.  Vito looked
confidently at Olivia as he took her dinner order, and she seemed
contented now to be accepted as merely a woman, betrayed and lost
to scholarship and generally happy.  Every time Hayden looked from
his table to hers, he smiled and Olivia smiled and Vito smiled with
them both, and Olivia was not offended.

As a child, Hayden had devotedly trusted in his sturdy father, 
his fragile and fanciful mother.  But from this serenity the
neighborhood bully, a foul brat, had first startled him.  With
Caprice and Jesse Bradbin he had been distrustful, constantly
vigilant.  Now, first since the dawn years, he felt, with Olivia,
not only an arousing tension but a secure faith, in which his mind
flowed smooth and full.

He was proud of escorting this young woman, so wise, so warmly
beautiful, so affectionate--but only to him.  Her brown dress,
which formerly had seemed merely serviceable and neat, was to him
now a garment of singular gracefulness and fine fabric, and its
choice showed his lady's knowledge of the smart world.  It seemed
to him that her darkly pallid face was richer now with new fast
blood.  It must have seemed so to every one, for Mrs. Dodsworth
observed, "You're getting out more now, Olivia.  You look much
livelier for it."

And said Sam Dodsworth, "I used to be embarrassed with you two
young highbrows, but you've become as simple-hearted a couple as I
ever saw.  Glad of it.  Edith claims that we old married exhibits
get what she calls vicarious pleasure out of young love.  Don't you
two let me down, like a lot of undependable young pups these days--
eight different engagements and two divorces in five years.  You
two stick!"

"We'll stick!" proclaimed Hayden, and Olivia looked complaisant--
though, to be precise, their betrothal was most undefined, with
such unromantic business as deciding when and where they would be
married scarcely discussed.  But the ardor between them certainly
had not lessened and, in the pallid cautiousness of the Tre Corone
boarding house as in the wild inn, they roused each other to an
ardor that sometimes frightened Hayden.

"You seem changed, somehow," they all said to Olivia--Tessie
Weepswell, the prima donna of bridge, Mrs. Manse, Prince Ugo
Tramontana, and if Vito Zenzero did not say it, his eyes said it
for him.  Most of them all, Hayden was startled by it.

Olivia was a good workman; she was as steadily about her subway
labors at the libraries as ever, but she mocked her own
laboriousness now; she was occasionally willing to sit long over
red Chianti at lunch, and in every inch of her, as Hayden lovingly
surveyed her, he found her blood more torrential--in moving lips,
in hot cheeks, in firmly grasping hands.

It was particularly at Nat Friar's house that they were accepted as
a Young Couple.  Not for many years had the once-gallant young
Nathaniel Greenleaf Friar of Boston been an adventurous amorist.
Nowadays he looked upon passion as he looked upon assassination: as
a diversion that had been fashionable in the Middle Ages, and very
useful, but of which, surely, there had been enough by 1600.

At supper for the Young Couple, served on his living-room table
cleared of books and pipes, with a noble San Daniele ham, Nat
smiled and teased his beard, and addressed Hayden:  "I suppose I
must give my sanction to the dangerous exploit that Dr. Lomond and
you are contemplating.  People still do get married, do they?  I
thought they all got tired of it about twenty-five years ago.

"Well, marriage is an excellent and almost tolerable institution
for groundlings who have nothing else to keep them annoyed and
occupied in the long evenings, but I have never commended it for
scholars.  All through my life I have had acquaintances who dashed
in howling, 'Nat, you need some one to take care of you, and I've
found just the woman for you!'  Then they drag in some weedy virgin
or unwieldy widow whose ambition is to be supported in return for
such caretaking as hiding my slippers where I can never find them,
or quarreling with my maid, whom I have cherished for fifteen
years, and replacing her with a fancy male who cooks with butter
and collects even more than the legal illegal commission of ten per
cent on all shopping.  These solitary animals who call themselves
'scholars'--they should never marry.  And Ada will agree."

"You," said Mrs. Shaliston Baker, gently, "are the most selfish,
loquacious and untidy old barbarian living."

"Uncle Nat," said Olivia, "I could kill you with pleasure.  I used
to be cynical, too, but now I can see that there may be a better
reason for living than just a knowledge of Etruscan tombs."

"If you two women really believed any of that, you would really
kill me and not just babble about it, when I make so basic an
attack on your sex, when I judiciously point out that a wife's
notion of being a faithful helpmate is to be willing to wait while
you are paying the bill for the mink coat she has swindled out of
you.  But no woman believes in Women.  When I attack your faction,
you both gloat."

"Oh, pooh!" said Olivia.

"And you, Hayden, you agree with me, or presently will."

Startled, Hayden wondered about that.  He admitted to himself that
he was sometimes a little edgy over the panting watchfulness which
the changed Olivia now kept over him.  He had been so free!



Among the yodeling witnesses to their bliss, none was more fervid
than those new pensione boarders, the Grenadiers.

The Grenadiers, as Vito Zenzero had named them, were middle-aged
twin American ladies.  They had been well paid for divorcing
uncouth husbands who were in trade--shoes and wholesale plumbing;
who were not, in short, "creative."  CREATIVE was the Grenadiers'
favorite word.  It was CREATIVE to sell antiques but not plumbing.

The Grenadiers came from Pennsylvania, but they had lived long in
England, in Bloomsbury boarding houses, and they said "lift"--when
they remembered it--and hoped to be taken for English.

They took photographs all day long.

They had also lived in Carmel, Taos, Taxco, Greenwich Village and
Montparnasse, tracking down not so much Culture as the creative and
romantic dealers in Culture: ballet-dancers, summer-theater
directors, fiddlers.  They had now moved their field station to
Florence.

They took photographs all day long and showed them to you all
evening long.

They were unbeatable at coursing through churches, galleries, art
shops, and they took buses out to Prato and the Certosa.  They had
picked up a young male slut who was supposed to be an American
student but whose studies were only of bars.  They introduced him
as "such an ardent, creative talent--he speaks seven languages--he
just HATES America!"

Whichever the seven languages may have been, they did not include
any Italian, nor much English beyond, "Actually," "Amusing" and
"Oh, my dears."

The Grenadiers' burlesque of his own Culture-stalking made Hayden
want to go home, where he would cultivate not this quarter-
knowledge of history but his full and accurate knowledge of
Newlife; where he could tell you, offhand, just how much 12,758
Schuyler Boulevard would bring per front foot, and who was the
father of the wife of the third baseman of the Newlife team.  He
denied his own denial; he insisted that his white nights of
outwatching the Bear had been fruitful, but he was learning what
older and wearier practitioners of scholarship and the arts all
learn: that their worst enemy is the rich female amateur.

Hayden could endure the winter cold of his room, the contempt of
Jesse Bradbin, but he could not endure the approval of the
Grenadier Sisters when they bubbled to him, "We do think that your
engagement to Dr. Olivia is THE most romantic thing we ever saw.
It's truly creative: an architect who APPRECIATES how vulgar most
Americans are marrying a woman scholar who knows how many gardeners
Lorenzo Mag-nifico kept at his villa!"

Put that way, Hayden saw his interest in Olivia as fairly
sickening.

"BUT, Mr. Chart," croaked the Grenadiers, "you'll have to watch
your step.  Very few of you men have the chance to be the consort
of Dr. Olivia--such a rare woman and she can put it over any of you
men, and you got to admit it, when it comes to creative ability.
You may be so efficient and all that, but here you have to take a
back seat.  We'll bet a cookie, if Olivia quits her teaching job
when you get married, she'll step right out on the lecture
platform, and my! think how proud you'll be, with thousands of
people listening to her, hundreds anyway, when she explains what
St. Catherine and St. Francis and Boccaccio and all those deep
thinkers were thinking!  You let us tell you, Mister Man, you'll
have to be content to share her with the world!"

He brooded to himself, "Perhaps an uninspired routine draftsman
like me would feel more secure with a woman who isn't in danger of
being intoxicated by the limelight and the microphone and fools
like these sisters.  No!  Nonsense!  That's half treachery and half
idiocy.  Dear Olivia, she would never ride a sound-truck in the
public square!"

And Olivia joined him in ridiculing the Grenadiers' proprietorship
of the good, the true and the beautiful, but one evening she
listened unsnickering when they gushed, "Oh, Dr. Olivia, you've got
to excuse us if we bore you by raving so about you.  We do love
Culture, oh, we think it's simply wonderful, and so much needed,
but we're just amateurs compared with a wonderful, wonderful
trained expert like you!"

Olivia murmured, "Me?  I'm a schoolma'am who was lucky in having
hardboiled teachers."

But she did listen while the Grenadiers gave her the useful
information that she was a mistress of medieval law and as
beautiful as Clarice Orsini.

Hayden noted that the Olivia who once, after the pensione dinner,
had taken coffee alone at her table and then flitted off to her
barricaded cell, was staying on for coffee in the lounge, and now
and then holding forth to eye-brightened circles on what was really
worth seeing in Florence.  When the North Italy agent for the
Little Dandy Tractors of Moline said to her admiringly, "Say,
Doctor, there's one thing I never could get straight about these
doggone Middle Ages--maybe you can tell me," then Olivia did tell
him, and she did not look at an impatient Mr. Hayden Chart off in a
corner.



14


Somewhat less than four weeks after their mountain inn, four weeks
during which Hayden had tried to march on in Italian history,
Olivia demanded, while they dined at Paoli's, in their familiar
escutcheon-brightened corner, "Darling, there's one quite important
thing you might do for me."

"It's done."

"I want to go to lunch at Sir Henry Belfont's some more."

"That pompous old fake?  You said you never wanted to see him
again.  You disliked him even more than I did."

"I have reasons."

"But how could I arrange it?  I can't phone him and say we want a
change from the Tre Corone boiled tongue and spinach, and how much
does he charge?"

"No!  Don't try that.  He might take you seriously and take us as
boarders and he'd charge enough to ruin us.  Whatever the old pot
may be, I'm sure he knows how to make it pay. . . .  As you'll make
it pay, my ardent young architect, when I've looked over your setup
in Newlife and probably fired your partner, Bradbin or whatever his
silly name is, for cheating you!  With Henry, it will be extremely
easy.  Call him up and invite him and Lady Belfont to lunch at some
cheap trattoria--be sure and give him the name of the place.  He'd
hate it.  So he'll haw a little and then ask if he can't invite you
and Dr. Lomond--you know that lovely Livy?--to his place instead."

"Do you really want to go there and listen to him tell how well he
knows the Queen of Saxony and His Serene Grace, the Sixteenth Duke
of Brabant?"

"Well now, Henry knows a lot about Italian painting, at least a
quarter as much as Prince Ugo.  And he's very rich and vain.  If I
could get him interested in our art gallery at my university--I
have a not entirely silly hope that when we're married and I break
my university connections, they may make a new post for me:
lecturer on history and only have to go there a month or so out of
every year, but keep in touch.  And they might name the
lecturership after me."

"You'd be away from Newlife that long?"

"You could come along and listen, if you wanted to."

"Yes--yes . . ."

"Anyway, there's no sense in your inverted snobbery about Sir
Henry.  He may come in very useful.  Imagine him coming to visit at
the university while I'm there, and me introducing the old windbag
to the president and the students.  They'd be so impressed by his
tenth-rate title.  And then maybe he'll give us the art gallery.
So run along now and do as I tell you, and don't argue."

"Have you such a definite expectation of being bored in Newlife--or
rather, with me--that you're already sketching an emergency exit?"

"I'll adore every minute with you, and I expect to run our servants
like a sergeant major.  But you know that with the academic work
I've done, I do have other interests.  After ALL!"

"But Olivia, suppose we don't have any servants to run and we have
to do our own housework, you and I together?  You've urged me to
freelance, and that may not mean much money for quite a while."

"Then you'll need my help more than ever, need me making a little
money, too.  Darling, why are you so difficult today, so
argumentative?  You aren't usually."

"This whole business of catering to a poop like Belfont revolts me.
A little while ago you would have scorned the thought of toadying
to him.  You would have slapped down anybody who suggested that you
would ever be willing to introduce him to your president--whom you
also despise!"

"My dear, that scrupulous Dr. Lomond--the chilly, opinionated old
prig!--is gone, and I'm another woman.  You ought to know.  You
certainly contributed enough to the change.  And you can't have me
both the shrinking virgin and the bold earthy lover--you can't have
anything both ways.  Now skip in and phone!"

The telephonic swindling worked out as the shrewd new Olivia had
planned.  Sir Henry shuddered at the thought of meeting normal
Italians at a restaurant, and he lavishly invited Hayden and Olivia
to the Villa Satiro.

They drove up in the topolino, which again caused an aggravated
spasm of agony in the butler, who was a cheap reprint of Sir Henry,
not bound in the original eyebrows.

As they descended, out from a taxicab just arrived frisked a
stalwart and handsome young man over whom Olivia fluttered, "What a
beautiful animal HE is!  A Lombard knight, without fear and
splendidly without brains.  I can place him within a decade or two:
875 A.D., I think."

He was almost certainly an American, with a look about him of
Scandinavian ancestry: an extremely large young man in his early
thirties.  Over his fresh-looking tweeds a light topcoat was slung
from his shoulders like a cape.  He was hatless, with an exuberance
of flaxen hair.  Hayden, who looked upon the fellow with much less
exuberance than Olivia, thought that with a show of knighthood he
combined a suggestion of a college football star, of a vacuum-
cleaner salesman, and of a popular singing evangelist shouting jazz
piety.

The stranger waved his wide hand to them and entered the villa
after them, in the manner of royalty standing aside for aged
peasants.

Sir Henry met them in the hall and said to Olivia, as though nobly
amused, "I seem to be specializing today in you streamlined Yankee
scholars.  You are all so very brisk about cartelizing facts and
diagrams that you make a shy old British putterer like me seem
incorrigibly provincial.

"This young gentleman who has charged in with you is Professor
Lundsgard--Professor LORENZO Lundsgard--till recently the French
and Spanish don at Huguenot University, which is somewhere in your
Southern states.

"He has resigned, and I understand that he is to devote himself to
the study of our wistful Italian culture, which nowadays is so
unused to being wooed by anyone so resolute and twittering with
dawn as you two acolytes--you three.  In his letter introducing
Professor Lundsgard, a man who calls himself President Sleman of
Huguenot informs me that our youthful friend is a 'stimulating
teacher and an accomplished scholar, who will stir up the sleeping
Tuscan lions.'  That is a spectacle that I shall very much
enjoy. . . .  Dr. Lundsgard, this your rival lion-stirrer, Dr.
Olivia Lomond of the University of--Winnemac, I believe it is
called.  Oh.  And Mr. Chart."

Then he let them go in to lunch.  Lady Belfont was also there,
though this is noted, like the day's temperature, only as a matter
of record.

As they wavered in to face the butler and the footman, standing
like the Sphinx and the largest pyramid, Hayden noted how gallantly
Lundsgard smiled at Olivia, and how sharply he sized her up.  Her
smile in return was warmed by a flirtatiousness which six weeks ago
she would have denounced as cheap.  He saw, too, how the beige
vicuna sweater which Lundsgard wore for waistcoat managed on his
hearty torso to get itself to look like chain mail, and how the sun
through the lofty windows brought out metallic lights in his rough,
corn-colored hair.

The five of them, plus the inescapable Marchesa Valdarno, sat prim
about the refectory table of Irish oak, eating their molds of rice
with duck livers served on English plates with views of Kent, while
Belfont, with what he felt to be gentlemanly but learned humor,
pumped Lundsgard, who answered with good-hearted simplicity.

"I'm afraid I can't claim to be any kind of a real scholar, Sir
Henry.  Fact, in college, I was more devoted to football, but I had
a sneaking worship for learning, especially old history.  Like a
dumb farmer seeing a vision of chariots in the August sky, and not
daring to even try and explain them.  Oh, I did get my Phi Beta
Kappa key, along with my letter in two sports, but that was an
accident."

("This fellow is probably my own age, but he seems much fresher and
younger," thought Hayden, and looked anxiously at Olivia, who was
fixed on Lundsgard, her lips open.)

"In the War I served in North Africa; a very high-ranking corporal
I was, till they demoted me to second looey, and I got laid up with
nothing more than a fool machine-gun wound in one foot.  While I
was convalescing, I got acquainted with French café society there
and learned a little of the lingo.  Then I got hit again, really
awful light, but they invalided me out and I went home and got my
Ph.D. in Romance languages--never very good at them, either!  But I
got a job teaching in that little university and, by coaching
football and taking the president's son out duck-hunting, I got by.

"Then a sort of ridiculous thing happened.  I was spending a
Christmas vacation with a friend, and right out of the blue, a
movie producer offered me a job acting--as a young cop in a Big
City picture, and then couple of Westerns.  Seemed like
preposterously big salary: three-fifty a week.  Dollars, not cents!
Now here's the funny thing.  It wasn't at any college but on the
lot in Hollywood that I first heard the Gospel of Beauty, from a
grand old script writer who had been a playwright in Hungary.

"I started reading about the Middle Ages, and then by chance, which
is sometimes so kind to a heavy-handed duffer like me, I was in a
Middle Ages costume play, and I was sold on history complete.  The
actor and halfback scholar!"

Lundsgard thundered with laughter, in which they vaguely joined.

("Olivia is looking at him like a Fond Mother.")

"Oh, I'm a fighting fool for study.  Sir Henry, I've read all your
essays on Tuscan Art, and personally I think they're much more
profound than Bernard Berenson.  Much!"

Sir Henry looked lavish.  That made two people who thought so.

"I have a pretty definite idea in coming here.  I want to prepare
myself to give the undisciplined people of the United States a
Message of the sublime importance of authority, and I want to hand
on to them at the same time the lofty philosophy of St. Thomas
Aquinas, the magnificence of Lorenzo, the reverence of Savonarola,
and through it all, the superworldly quality of Leadership."

"Ah," condescended Sir Henry.

"And in America, where any garageman thinks himself just as good as
a bank president, we so lack the phenomenon of sanctified and yet
forceful Leadership.  And as a pioneer, I may do something to
create it."

("The man is a fool.  But Olivia looks as if she likes him.  But
cannibal sandwich with laurel trimmings is not my meat.")

"All of you clever people," said Lundsgard, "will think I am a
ridiculous bumpkin, but I do have some plans that are awfully
exciting.  My agent is planning a huge lecture tour for me, on six
subjects, including Mysticism and Leadership and--and this is
something new--the lectures are to be tied in with a feature movie,
which I am to script, about the Medicis, with the lead played by
Rupert Osgoswold--or possibly by your humble servant!"

Olivia muttered, so softly that it was heard only by Hayden, "Very
exciting!"

Lundsgard caroled on, "The president of Cornucopia Films--do you
know that outfit, Sir Henry?"

"My boy, I am much too secluded and timid to understand the
neologies of the cinema, but it does happen that my Man of
Business, in London, has invested some small sums for me in
Cornucopia."

"Well, that's dandy.  Maybe you'll be interested in the fact that
the president of Cornucopia is going to town on this, and he's
advanced a big wad to finance my work here.  Being such a stupid
guy and having so little time, I have to depend on assistants--
photographers and secretaries and researchers and so on.  But
Cornucopia agrees with me that we must not think of this as a
money-making project--though I got to admit that it'll probably
bring me in several thousand bucks a week!  But we think of it as a
public service, to improve the mental stamina and subtlety of
America.  A great friend of my father and, I am honored to say, of
mine, a United States Senator who carries a lot of weight on the
Foreign Relations Committee, believes that my crusade for more
authority and leadership might both elevate our restless American
morals and improve our standing everywhere abroad.  That goes to
show there are people who see our crying need!

"Sir Henry, I realize how fortunate I am to be allowed to see the
Villa Satiro.  I have read a little of its history as well as the
book of its present owner.  I am honored!"

Lundsgard turned on Sir Henry, on the Marchesa Valdarno, on Olivia
a smile full of soul and sunshine, the smile of a brave young
ambassador who loves battle and smitings, but also loves little
children and quotations from Alice in Wonderland.  He chanted, "By
myself, I never could learn much of the Middle Ages.  I am too much
the energetic outdoor man.  What I'd like to do, Sir Henry, is to
ask an occasional question of a veteran like you, and perhaps of
Dr. Lomond, of whose accomplishments I have heard."

In a quarter-hour of well-padded if not particularly well-turned
sentences, Sir Henry said, Yes, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
make clear the horrors of this so-called Democracy.  Civilization
ended with the Fall of the Bastille.  Aristocracy means the Rule of
the Best, and how sadly we need that amid the clamorous and greedy
herd of Britain, and no doubt of your America.

To all this delirium Lundsgard listened with attention, and Hayden
reflected that good listeners are to good talkers as one to ten.

His Olivia listened also.

Hayden had heard her hold forth on the wickedness of the
popularizers who condense a five-hundred-page book on Einstein into
a two-page article including three racy anecdotes and a thumb-nail
drawing of a relativitized cow.  She liked her books thick and
close-printed and accurate about their geography, and she had
demanded that everybody else like them the hard way, too.  And she
was now looking tenderly at a man who was going to lecture on
philosophy in the Rose Bowl.

Sir Henry was bestowing on Lundsgard an invitation to frequent his
villa, use his books, come and have lunch with Prince Ugo.  "And I
shall write to the president of Cornucopia," said Sir Henry, "my
approval of your Crusade."

Running over with gratitude, Lundsgard took leave.  Olivia burst
out, "Have you a taxi coming, Mr. Lundsgard?  I'm sure Mr. Chart
would be glad to give you a lift in his funny little flivver."

"Splendid, Doctor; much obliged," said Lundsgard.

But Hayden was thinking, "It isn't funny and it isn't a flivver.
It has a powerful motor and sweet steering, and how you're going to
get your fat carcass into it, Lundsgard, I don't know."  But aloud,
"Surely.  Of course.  Thank you for a beautiful lunch--Lady
Belfont."

He remembered how generous to guests Caprice had been with HIS
cigarettes, his Scotch, even his fine large linen handkerchiefs;
how she would insist to a guest after a party, at three on a winter
morning, "Oh, don't phone--Hay will be GLAD to drive you home!"



15


By sitting sidewise in the back of the topolino and not daring to
breathe, Lundsgard was perilously carted down into town.  Olivia
turned her head to discourse with him most of the way, while Hay
drove and sulked.  She commented:

"I do think your plan is a little wild, Mr. Lundsgard, but . . ."

Lundsgard shouted, "Listen, baby, I hate this formality among us
Yanks, even when we're in Europe.  I wish you'd call me Lorenzo, or
maybe Lorry.  I'm certainly going to call you Livy, even if you are
a top-flight history shark, and if your boy friend don't slap me
down for it, I'll call him Hay.  Okay, Doc?  Be friendly to the
poor cowboy minnesinger."

She giggled.  She said, "Very well."

Never had Hayden called her anything more loose than Olivia; never,
he remembered, even in tenderness, had she called him anything but
Mr. Chart and then Hayden.

"But Lorry," she burst out, "do you actually think you can make
ecclesiastical art and thought as simple to Main Street as the
rules of croquet?"

"Maybe not, but it's worth taking a shot.  Holy smoke, don't you
think all this deep stuff, even in my bum version of it, will be
better for the American hoi pollois than a lot of crime and sex
stories?  Huh, darling?"

And to Hay's profound gloom, the tawny lily, the one-time nun of
learning, answered, "Yes, I do."

"Say, folks," Mr. Lundsgard gurgled, "from all I can learn, the
average age of the Anglo-American Colony here must be about sixty-
five.  Kick me out if I get intrusive, but I do hope I'm going to
be friendly with you young brats.

"Say, come see my office at the Excelsior.  Maybe it'll hand you a
good laugh.  It's pretty commercial for a highbrow crusader, but if
I'm going to collect as many facts about Florence in couple months
as that old gasbag, Belfont, has in maybe twenty years, I've got to
have a regular assembly-belt.  I've got Rome down cold in my notes
and snapshots, and some Venice and Ravenna, and now it's Florry's
turn. . . .  Listen, I sound brash, but I'm awful in earnest.  Come
on!"

Mr. Lundsgard was extremely appealing, yet all the while his sun-
shot basso was extremely dominating.  He leaned forward to pat
Olivia's shoulder, and the priestess of the chill twilight let his
hand lie there for a minute.



From a second bedroom in Lundsgard's large suite at the Excelsior,
all bedroom furniture had been removed, and he had turned it into
one of the briskest offices Hayden had ever seen.

At a typewriter on the newest thing in extra-sized green steel
typists' desks, with a dictation phonograph beside her, a young
woman secretary was working.  On an oak table in the center were at
least fifty books on Italian history, with quarterly reviews in
four languages--not looking much perused.  An enormous filing-
cabinet had on its various drawers such tasty but unexpected labels
as "Anecdotes of Famous Dukes," "Clothing, Houses & Dec.," "Jewels
& Furs," "Manners, Morals in Med. Courts," "Beautiful Bits from
Poets, Philosophers," "Hunting Leopards, Falcons, Methods of
Execution," "Horses, Heroism."

On one wall was a bulletin board to which a youngish Italian with
dark hair and a wise, thin face was pinning snapshots of Florentine
palaces, city walls, armor from the museums.  He looked like an
educated cousin of Vito Zenzero, a cousin who could read the
telephone book without moving his lips.

"This is Angelo Gazza, my photographer--best photographer in
Italy," said Lundsgard.  "Born here in Florry, but lived in
England, and chummed with the Yankee troops here.  Speaks English
by the book.  He saves my life.  I see a historic bit, or quaint,
beautiful or native.  I always have Angelo following me and Snap!
and he gets the local color for me even better than my notes. . . .
Angelo, this is Dr. Lomond and Mr. Chart.  They'll give us a lot of
pointers about what to see in Florry.  We'll be plenty grateful to
'em."

Gazza nodded.  If he was grateful now, he did not show it.

Nor was the secretary, when Lundsgard introduced her, particularly
cordial.  She had a fine face, but it was too varnished, too
reminiscent of the Marchesa Valdarno, and her hair was a slide of
smooth ash-blond.  She seemed hard and competent, but the near-
green eyes which sized up Olivia had in them resentment and
suffering.

"This is Miss Hoxler, Evelyn Hoxler, or Mrs. Baccio, if you prefer.
She's true-blue American, but she's lived here for years; married
to a fine young Italian businessman, friend of mine, Art Baccio;
lives in Rome.  She just loves this art work.  Hey, Evelyn?"

"Yes," said Miss Hoxler, and it was as sullen a sound as the cry of
a marsh bird.

"She's unquestionably the finest stenog in Italy, in both Italian
and English.  She never forgets an engagement--or lets me forget
one.  Hey, Evelyn?"

"Yes?" said Miss Hoxler, and went back to typing, and the machine
sounded profane.

"Well, children, we'll go in and have a drink."

Mr. Lundsgard markedly did not include Gazza or Miss Hoxler in his
invitation.

He shut the door between the office and his living room.  A
portable bar had been set up; one rich in bourbon, rye and French
brandy.  As he mixed a highball, Lundsgard snarled, "That
confounded Hoxler woman is a good machine-pounder, but she's
getting altogether too independent for my taste.  I guess she
misses her husband, though he's the most wishy-washy excuse for a
man you ever saw.  I found a job for him, in an office, but do you
think he appreciates it?  Well, a man who tries to do something for
mankind gets to expect ingratitude.  The real trouble with most
folks is that they haven't got any insight."

And Olivia apparently agreed.

Lundsgard was bountiful in suggestions for things they three could
do together: excursions to near-by villages; and if Hayden was not
enthusiastic about the implication that he and his good little
topolino would be at their constant service, Olivia was.  None of
Lundsgard's jolly objectives was new to her but she greeted them
with apparent surprise and delight.

That night, late, in Hayden's room, he was as harsh with her as his
tenderness would permit.  She was tired, her eyes were print-tired,
and she stretched out in his deepest chair, relaxed, while he sat
primly straight and interrogated her, with an ugly memory of a time
when he had investigated a wartime carpenter suspected of sabotage.

"You like this fellow, Lundsgard?"

"Like him, dear?  How do you mean?  He has so much buoyancy and
freshness.  They're really charming to a tired old lady like me,
and even his amusing ignorances.  He's so naive."

"That's your favorite word."

"Well, it's the favorite quality among the few men who are
attracted by a dried-up old maid like me."

"Not noticeably dried-up now!"

They smiled together.

"'Livy!'  This fellow is a clinker.  We may see too much of him,"
protested Hayden.

Clinker was one of their private words.  It had been an invention
of Hayden, along with smoocher, and he had worked out a Doctrine of
Clinkers.  He may have been thinking of pre-oil-heating days and
how hard it was to get a burnt-out coal, a clinker, out of a
furnace grate.

Clinkers are those newly arrived persons, not friends or their
close kin or people likely to become friends, but acquaintances of
twenty years back, or friends of friends of friends, or complete
strangers, who come bounding into your particular Florence or your
Newlife with letters of introduction, or merely with a telephone
call or a note on hotel stationery, announcing, "You've probably
never heard of me but I know the sister-in-law of the nephew of a
GREAT friend of yours.  I'm here only for three days, but I thought
I might have the pleasure of shaking your hand and buying you a
cocktail."

Which, in Florence, meant that they expected a free cocktail, a
free meal, an escorted tour of the city, and perhaps introductions
to Prince Ugo and Sam Dodsworth.  They would also accept a trip to
Siena and your assistance in all their shopping.  As many clinkers
came to Newlife as to Florence, but there, at least, they could
speak the language and buy their own cigarettes.

It is the supposition of all clinkers that the chief purpose of any
Americans in coming all the way to Florence is to spend all his
time there with fellow Americans.

In the Doctrine of Clinkers there is no implication that clinkers
are persons of low manners.  They may be virtuous lodge-members and
favorite honorary pall-bearers, soft-voiced and informed about
astronomy and the history of West Point.  But in quantities of more
than one a season, they are appalling nuisances.

Frequently they believe that they are being benefactors to what
they call "lonely exiles."  One of them clacked to Hayden on the
telephone, "Course I've never met you, but I said to myself, 'What
the hell!  Hay'll be tickled to death to see an American face, I
guess!'"



Olivia sat up to protest, "That's unfair.  Lorry isn't a clinker.
He's going to stay here and be one of us--whatever that means--
delicate connoisseurs, I suppose!"

"There is nothing delicate about your 'Lorry.'  Playful he is,
powerful he is, and a good drinking-man.  He'll die of apoplexy at
fifty.  But delicate?  No!"

"So much the better!  He won't just dabble in art criticism.  He's
going at it with an earnestness and yet a humility that may take
him far.  He's really touching.  And he doesn't take himself too
seriously; he has a divine, rough humor about his own deficiencies.
He may become quite a fair scholar."

"Maybe--if he isn't entirely a charlatan."

"Why are you so intolerant?"

"With this fellow, frankly, I'm a little jealous of him.  I didn't
expect you--oh, you say you're changed, but it wasn't so long ago
that you were the coolest judge of bumptiousness I ever met, and I
didn't expect you to get so girlish over a ham actor playing a
professor.  A real crush!"

"Oh, pooh!"

"I agree."

"Honestly, Hayden, you astonish me, being jealous when I'm merely
amused by the antics of a good-hearted climber.  I take Lorry about
as seriously as I do that cocker spaniel we always meet on the
Tornabuoni.  I probably wouldn't recognize Lorry if I saw him
tomorrow."

She did protest too much, thought Hayden.  Was there a faint stink
of treachery?  He urged:

"I'd better get my patent on you filed, quick."

"What am I?  An invention?"

"Of the devil!  There is a sort of theory that we are engaged to be
married, which seems to me a surprisingly good idea, but we have
never much discussed when or what afterward.  Can't we be married
this summer, and take a look at the Alps and maybe Austria, and
then in the fall we'll decide whether we want to go home or stay on
in Europe?  What about it?"

"I'm willing, though I do think one of the charms of our friendship
has been that we haven't had a lot of family around to drive us
into a marital schedule, so they can order their wedding garments
early.  Can't we still just drift, for a while yet?"

"Possibly."

It was not her evasiveness which dismayed him but the discovery in
himself of relief that she was evading fixed terms, and that he was
not yet going to be tied down to definiteness.



If it had not been for the threat to Olivia's unstable emotions, he
might have liked Lundsgard for his backwoods humor.  The three had
comfortable outings at the enticing country restaurants at Maiano
and Pratolino and St. Casciano and sat there on outdoor terraces
for hours.  Olivia mockingly called Lundsgard the "Dazzling Dane"
and explained to him that it is not enough to qualify as an
authority to know that Italy is a peninsula and that the Medicis
were bankers.  Lundsgard took it affably, and he danced with Olivia
in arbors to the melody of accordions.

He was taken up by the peerage of the American Colony with
unexpected speed.  He had a way of telling retired gentlemen whose
only vocabularies were of the Stock Exchange how profound they were
about international politics, and of looking at their wives with
reverence and surprise.  He had a competent game of bridge, a
neatness in mixing drinks, a skill in listening to symptoms, which
caused Hayden to wonder if his story of untutored country boyhood
was quite truthful.

On his own, Lundsgard gave a party which marked him as not just an
acceptable eighth for dinner, but as a social factor of merit.  He
hired three suites at the Excelsior for the evening; in one, he had
the bridge-players, in one the more thoughtful boozers, in the
third there was dancing to a Swiss orchestra in Bulgarian costumes
playing Brazilian tunes.  Even the testiest Colonists advanced from
bridge to the bar and a few even to the samba, and Lundsgard was
considered a man of the rarest parts.

Thereafter, the juicy seventeen-year-old granddaughters of the
exiled bankers, who now and then visited Florence, clamored for the
presence of Lundsgard.

Along with the pillars, Lundsgard got in with the dubious and
unexplained who make up an interesting part of all the foreign
colonies in Florence and of the Italians who are close to them:
mysterious owners of villas gorgeous but secluded; ex-officials of
the Allied Military Government who had been minor clerks before War
II and millionaires afterward; royalty in exile; Italians in whose
presence it was not considered tactful to mention dope-running; men
sometimes grave and solid seen usually with men young and pretty.

In Florence, even the patently proper British and Americans are
often inexplicable.  With so many demure ladies you never quite
know whether they are widows, divorced or still married and of what
sort their husbands' grandparents had been.  And with all these
(since he did not, like Hayden, have to stay home evenings and
study, having his Miss Evelyn Hoxler to do that for him) Lundsgard
cruised, blithe and free, generally popular, and Hayden reflected
that there is no more useful pose than that of the honest yokel of
whom it would be a shame to take advantage.

However much Hayden doubted Lundsgard, it was a season when
clinkers were trooping into town, and any tested permanent
acquaintance was a refuge.  Olivia and Hayden and Lundsgard escaped
from tourists on frequent mountain picnics, and it was on one of
these that Hayden's suspicions of Olivia and Lundsgard forced him
to recognize them.



16


Lundsgard was a skilled picnic guest.  He scrupulously fetched his
share of the lunch, paid for his share of the gasoline, and once,
when there was a tire to be changed, he pushed Hayden aside and did
all the changing. . . .  Hayden ungratefully thought that their
family Tristan was somewhat too buoyant and powerful about it.
Though probably a year older than Hayden, he contrived to look more
youthful.

Nowadays he usually called Olivia "Sister," "Cookie" or "Helena
Troy."

They picknicked today up above Settignano in a grove of olive and
apple trees, with a venerable castle nearby, and the towers and low
houses of Florence far below.  Throughout lunch--cold duck and
bread and butter and red wine and cheese with dates and raisins--
Lundsgard was jovially teasing Olivia about her feebleness.  He
insisted that she had studied so much that she was unable now to
walk two blocks.  She lost all detachment and shouted at Lundsgard,
as though he were some one whom it was important to impress, that
in college she could have been woman track champion if she had
taken the time for training.

"Okay, let's see how good you are, Cutie!" bellowed Lundsgard.
"I'll race you down to that old olive tree with the trunk rotted
through."

It is not at all certain that Lundsgard let her win the race; he
was a little cumbersome and wavering, while the Diana of the
Laurentian Library was astonishingly fleet.  She did win, and they
came back up the hillside laughing, innocently swinging hand in
hand.  But the uncomfortable Hayden wondered whether it WAS so
innocent.  There are things other than purloined letters that are
most artfully concealed by exposing them.  But the two returned to
him so clear-eyed and so candidly laughing that he felt rebuked.

He and his suspicions had it out at three o'clock that night.  He
had awakened in the darkness to a memory which tore at him, of
Olivia's eyes utterly fixed on this lout, the tip of her tongue
moving against her upper lip.

He could not sleep again.  Could he ever sleep again?

In his old dressing-gown and soft worn Pullman slippers he padded
over to the marble-topped table and, with his little Meta stove, he
made coffee, served with condensed milk.

No, he thought calmly, he was not the typical suspicious husband,
with a vanity which made him surprised that his wife could like any
other male at all, when she was so blessed as to have HIS divine
favor.  There was no suspicion about it; he was coldly and
wretchedly sure that Olivia could surrender to this lusty Lundsgard
animal; the question was whether she had done so now, and whether
she would now go on succumbing to a dreary line of sneak thieves
afterward.

"I coaxed her out of the cold tomb and warmed her.  Did I do that
only for the benefit of Lundsgard and his successors?"

Then, "Oh, what nonsense!  To be so sick-jealous you can't stand
her even laughing with a lively acquaintance!  She's as single-
minded in love as . . .

"She's a reckless fool, she's uncontrollable when she takes a fancy
to a man.  I'd like to hear Professor Leslie Vintner's version of
their affair!  At least, Caprice was dependable that way.  She
never more than flirted at a dance. . . .  I don't think she
did. . . .  Of course there are some flabby, whimpering individuals
who were born to be cuckolded. . . .  Oh, go back to bed, Chart!
Can't you get enough torture without making a hobby of it?"



When the three lunched next, Hayden could not resist probing the
campus Casanova about his opinion of this recently discovered
world-menace, Sex.

Lundsgard had often confided that he had never been married, and
now he was frank and unsparing of himself.  He had been fervently
engaged, he said, to a "cute little chick and awful smart" at
Huguenot University, but he admitted that in his ruthless youth he
had been cruel to this young lady.  He had scolded her for not
rising to the splendor of his ambition to be a lord of learning--at
several thousand dollars a week.

"I was kind of raw and unsympathetic, I reckon.  I wasn't a big
enough, rich enough soul then to appreciate a gentle little saint
like Bessie and be patient with her."

But his humility quickly ran out, and he hinted that in Hollywood
and Rome he had been favored by the handsomest and most befurred
women.  And Olivia, Hayden marked, was not angered by this
rakishness.  She listened to Lundsgard's advertising without one of
the crisp comments, flavored with mustard and pepper and ice, for
which she had once been dreaded.  "I'd better get her out to
Newlife quick!" thought Hayden.



At the Tre Corone, now, she did not merely tolerate Vito's
insinuating croons.  Hayden heard Vito mutter that they might go
out to a night club, and though she refused, she was not haughty.

Even at the Villa Satiro, to which they were often invited for
lunch now, along with Lundsgard, she was not above a sly confidence
with Sir Henry, who wagged his fat back and leaned over her with
the coyness of a distinguished circus elephant.

Hayden was bored by Belfont's ponderous way of being salacious by
referring to the reprehensible doings of the less respectable
Grecian gods.  Hayden wondered whether Olivia would be spiritually
advancing or declining if she switched from Lundsgard's boisterous
salesmanship to Sir Henry's soggy glory.  Yet now, when he was most
distressed by her base transmutation, Hayden was most held by her
ardent love, and the once simple Tre Corone boarding-house had
become for him a splendor of heaven edged with infernal gloom.

Then the cable from his partner, Jesse Bradbin, from Newlife:

"Big deal pending you required stop.  Big dough quit being
irresponsible come home next boat."

It tempted him to think of leaving paradise and all the heavy
proprieties demanded in an angel, and of being busy and important
in Newlife again; of not having to remember historical dates or
impress the Dodsworths or shepherd his ewe lamb lest she fall over
the most obvious cliffs.  He could smell the Rocky Mountain air,
heady with sage instead of olives.  And he owed something to his
fatuous yet devoted partner.  But to love Olivia was more important
even than to snatch contracts from his worthy rivals in business.

He refreshed his love by reviewing the virtues of Olivia.
Remember, he coached himself, what unexampled beauty and courage
and knowledge she has.  You must be patient while she is getting
over her first real fling, which she takes so much the worse
because, at nearly thirty, she's new to it.

Would Jesse Bradbin ever give up anything he greatly wanted for
him?

His cabled lie was warm and polite.



It was harder for him to snub Lundsgard because the man, with a
breezy humbleness, was always turning to him for advice.  And once
he said, "I wish you'd get in on some of this movie dough, Hay, by
doing a little research for me, in your spare time."

It was amiably said and amiably refused.



17


They were dining, Hayden and Olivia, with Nat Friar and his love,
Mrs. Shaliston Baker.  The dinner, served on Nat's living-room
table imperfectly cleared of books and the chess set, was as good
as ever, with curried shrimp and tiny strawberries, but Nat was
less bland.  He was restless, he spilled the wine, and Ada Baker
watched him nervously, like a little old cat watching its good but
alarming friend, the woolly setter.  Their example made Hayden and
Olivia unusually gentle with each other.  When Nat said, "After you
two young people are married, as Ada and I have never had the
courage to be, you mustn't stay in the cautious splendor of
Florence but try the world," then Olivia put out her hand, to let
it lie relaxed in Hayden's.

Hayden explained the tidal phenomenon of Lorenzo Lundsgard, whom
Nat had never seen.  "He has depressing energy and touching
reverence.  It might interest you to meet him, Nat."

"So that I may then re-enact the very sensible and enjoyable
egotism of the Pharisee in gloating, 'Thank God I am not as these
tourists'?"

"Why not?  By the way, Lundsgard sounded me out about making some
money on the side as part-time researcher for him.  I turned it
down."

"What," wondered Nat, "is a researcher?"

"You are."

"Young gentleman, I am a frowsty old bachelor.  I am also a lie-
abed and a secret drinker.  I know what research is: something
unpleasant that men in white jackets, like barbers, do to dogs in
dungeon laboratories.  But I don't know what a researcher is."

"He goes out and does the marketing."

"You say that this Dr. Lundsgard," fretted Nat, "would like a
researcher in medieval folkways?"

"Yes.  Bring him in two facts and he'll cook them into a whole
lecture."

"Do you suppose he could use me, Hayden?"

"Could a village bank 'use' J. Pierpont Morgan?  Could a popular
preacher 'use' an archangel?"

"The answer is not necessarily 'yes' in either case.  Their methods
might be different.  But the fact is . . ."

Nat spoke heavily, looking down into his beard.

"This may be the last dinner I shall ever give.  My cable has
finally come, refusing reprieve: the company to which I so cannily
switched all my funds, not long ago, has failed.  My income is
finished.  I need a job.  This is the first time I have ever said,
'I need a job.'"

Mrs. Baker cried out and she, the fragile and prudent, ran to Nat
and shamelessly sat on his knee, her head against his shoulder.

"I have been too cowardly to tell Ada till I should be fortified by
the presence of you strong barbarians.  Yes, with considerable
ingenuity, I have managed to lose every cent I had."

Mrs. Baker said harshly, "Nonsense!  You have all that I have."

"But you haven't anything, my beloved; just enough to exist on.  It
doesn't matter.  For some time I have been preparing for this.  I
haven't paid my rent for six months, and my poor servant, I haven't
paid her now for two months and two days, and this past week she
has been bringing me in vegetables from her brother, who is a
market-gardener and a reader of Petrarch.  He is really our host,
this evening, but this is the last time I shall impose on him.
By the way, he speaks with an interesting Livornese accent with
a word, now and then, that I cannot spot except as a Greek
survival. . . .  Oh, Ada, Ada, don't, my dear!"

Mrs. Baker was sobbing, close against him, all her pride and frail
austerity gone.

"It's not so bad, Ada.  It's a new adventure.  I shall now work
according to other people's notions of what my usefulness may be,
instead of my own.  If there is anything here, or even back in the
States, that I can do that is not too honest or too cultural, I
shall do it gladly.  Meantime, Hayden, do you think this Dr.
Lundsgard might hire me for a season?  I am very punctual and tidy--
well, reasonably.  And at my age, I shall come very cheap."



Hayden telephoned to Lundsgard that there was a chance he might be
able to get the renowned Professor Friar to give him some
"material," and of course Dr. Friar was one of only eleven men
living who knew European History minute by minute, acre by acre,
from 400 A.D. to 1800.

Lundsgard was excited.  "I have some of Dr. Friar's articles cut
out.  You honestly think he might brief me?  How would I get to
meet him?  Should I go and call on him at his home?  Would you be
willing to take me there?"

Hayden reflected that the shabbiness of Nat's living room would cut
a hundred dollars a week off his market value, and he said hastily,
"No, I think that as you would be his superior officer, it would be
protocol for him to call on you."

"I don't insist on form, with a big shot like him, though of course
good form--well, you know how it is.  Good form is one of the
things that I intend to take back to the States, along with
philosophy; I mean the super-high-tone good form, like Ugo's.  So
maybe . . .  But ask the Prof to pick his own hour to come here.
Does he ever sneak in a drink?"

"If you had some very dry sherry for him, I think he might take a
sip."

"I'll have some so dry he'll think it's from Kansas."



Nat Friar put on his one good gray suit, he washed and combed his
beard, he had a hefty glass of cognac at home, he looked Olympian
and felt even better.  But in Lundsgard's suite he spoke with mild
delicacy and only touched the glass of offertory sherry.

Hayden fretted to himself, "Nat and I are selling the most honest
goods on the market, and yet we're somehow being fakes.  I don't
like selling one's own self--for Nat or for Olivia or for me."

Encouraged by Lundsgard, Nat started on long tales of the old
Italy: Amadeo the Green Count; Pope Anacletus II, who was of the
great Jewish family of the Pierleoni; that poet and gallant, Aeneas
Sylvius Piccolomini, who was to become Pope Pius II, to build the
mountain village of Pienza as his monument and to lead a crusade;
the Wolf of Gubbio, a beast wolf not a human one, who was converted
and became a practising Christian; Clarice Strozzi, who cursed the
tyrants out of the Medici Palace.  The stories were as full of
gaiety as they were of erudition, and Lundsgard was in ecstasy.  He
humbly addressed Nat as "sir," and he kept ejaculating over the
chronicles, "Why, that's corking, sir, that's superb, that's just
what I need!"

Hayden wondered why Lundsgard did not take notes, till he
discovered that the door to the office was part open and that in
there Evelyn Hoxler was thriftily getting it all down in shorthand.

Lundsgard hesitated, "I know of course, sir, that if you cared to
give me your invaluable aid for a month or so, I couldn't even
begin to pay you what such priceless learning is worth.  But would
a hundred and fifty dollars a week somewhat compensate you?"

Hayden was certain that Nat would not know whether that was
fabulously large or pitifully small, and he stepped in with, "Why
Lundsgard, you ought certainly to pay him at least two hundred a
week!"

Lundsgard's glance was very sharp, somewhat resentful, and he said
curtly, "We'll make it one-seventy-five."

"That sounds very nice," beamed Nat.

With no further "sirs," Lundsgard ordered, "Professor, you start in
here next Monday morning, nine o'clock."

"Nine?  Nine in the MORNING?  Very well," said Nat disconsolately.



All day long--that is, from nine-thirty or ten or eleven, when he
arrived, and leaving out the hour that he took off now and then
when he went out for a drink--in an old velvet jacket and an
antique straw gardening hat with which he shaded his eyes, Nat sat
happily dictating anecdotes out of the most unhackneyed (though
reasonably accurate) history.

He thought the dictation machine was the most patient ear he had
ever found.  He sat with the mouthpiece tucked into his beard,
smiling at the machine and making explanatory gestures in its
direction, telling it about kings and cardinals as though it was
likely already to have heard a great deal about them.  Nat paid no
attention at all to Lundsgard's visitors, such as smoochers who
came in to sell Lundsgard original Botticellis for twenty-five
dollars.

Translated into lire, which just now were about six hundred to the
dollar, Nat's hundred and seventy-five dollars a week seemed to him
like Babylonian wealth.  He paid his debts to his servant and her
brother, he gave a little something to his landlord, and he bought
for himself a fine purple corduroy smoking-jacket with pockets
large enough to carry books.  For Hayden he bought an Aldine
Aristophanes and for Mrs. Shaliston Baker, a silver tea-caddy.

Lundsgard never criticized Nat for unpunctuality.  He just read
page on page of medieval oddities transcribed by Evelyn Hoxler from
Nat's recorded prattle, and chuckled, "My dear Professor Friar, you
come awful dear, but you sure are a treasure!"

"Dr. Lundsgard is a very kind man," said Nat to Hayden.

"I suppose he is."

"I just wonder why he took up the crabbed calling of being a
medievalist.  He would have been so useful as a singing cowboy--if
he can sing."

"If he can punch cattle."

"Exactly.  But always very kind."

"Oh, yes--yes, certainly--very kind."



18


In the late afternoon, after office hours, Hayden went to see
Lundsgard.  He thought he heard "Avanti," when he tapped at the
outer door of the suite; he opened, and stood aghast.  Beyond the
living room, in the office, Lundsgard could be heard talking to
Evelyn Hoxler:

"I've had enough of your bellyaching.  Go on!  Bawl!  I like to
hear it, Eve.  It makes you even homelier than when you put on the
white enamel and look like a madam.  Lissen.  You got no kick
coming at all.  You knew what would happen just as well as I did.
In fact, you planned it.  You hoped to get a wad of--well, call it
severance money out of me."

"Lorry, I didn't!  I wanted to help Arturo.  You made me feel that
anything I did for you, when you were so friendly with him, was
really for him."

"The loving Mrs. Baccio!  The innocent Miss Hoxler!  Just a country
babe!  Say, I'd hate to write to the registrar in whatever hayseed
county you really come from and ask him your real birth date!"

"Don't.  Please, Lorry!  I won't be angry any more."

"You're damn right you won't.  Not around here you won't.  And I
don't think you'll be around here at all, much longer."

Hayden hastened away, down the hotel corridor, more sick than
furious.  There are maggots too vile to touch.  And for tomorrow
there was to have been a giddy lunch with Lundsgard and Olivia.

At the Tre Corone he found her, very cheerful, and he cried,
"Sweet, I want to call off tomorrow's lunch with Lundsgard."

"Why?"  Her disappointment was clear.

"He isn't as decent a fellow as you thought.  I've just heard him
talking to Eve Hoxler, viciously."

"I'm glad to hear it.  At last!  That woman has been trying to nab
him.  She takes advantage of his good nature and his quite charming
reverence for women."

"Rev--Oh, good God!"

"Don't you ever have any argument but 'Good God'?  Aside from the
blasphemy, it's a little undetailed."

"All right.  We'll HAVE our lunch with that felthead, and I'll try
to get him to show just how much reverence he really has for your
frail, cast-iron sex!"

At their lunch, at Paoli's, with what he felt to be silken cunning,
not looking at Olivia but being as cunning as a dove and as
innocent as a serpent, he challenged Lundsgard:

"You're always saying that women inspire you, and yet I wonder what
you really think about the ones like Olivia, who are so
independent?"

He wondered if the fault could have been Evelyn Hoxler's, when he
saw how grave and mature Lundsgard became:

"You won't like my sure-enough attitude, Hay, and Livy won't."

"Oh?" said Hayden, and Olivia said, "Oh!"

"I'll have to give you my whole philosophy, and I'm not very
articulate, you might say.  As I see it, the world has been going
through what you might call a multiple revolution, and the uppity
girl who thinks her whole family are dubs and the left-wing
agitator and the psychoanalyst and all these smeary modern painters
belong right together--all anarchists.  But I figure their seven-
story revolution is over, all but the shouting.  The whole world
wants authority and, you might call it, tradition.  New world
coming!

"It'll first of all want HEROES and not a gang of statisticians and
wisecracking critics.  Unluckily for me, I'm not big enough, or I'm
too early, to be one of the star magnificoes, but I can help clear
the way for them--yes, and you just watch 'em ride in on a golden
highway, with flags and trumpets!

"These guys that'll be the leaders, they'll have to have power and
responsibility.  They'll want their orders obeyed on the jump,
though they'll be darned generous to their mob in return.  They may
not wear any ten-ton armor, but they'll make my ancestor Lorry the
Magnificent, Serial One, look like a ribbon clerk.  They'll use
chemistry and jet planes and atomic power, and their slogan will be
that only the best is good enough, and I guess they'll be willing
to get killed for it--and to kill!"

To all this souvenir-post-card Nietzsche, this 1905 pre-Hitlerism,
Olivia was listening, with no hostility but with fond amusement at
her Lorry's enthusiasm.  Encouraged by her if not by Hayden, he
boomed on:

"But all these high duties for the men leaders mean there's got to
be even higher duties for the women.  A guy can't lead an army and
still stay at home and teach the Little Woman golf.  Nowadays the
career woman, who was the big news even five years ago, is as old-
fashioned as a buggy whip.  Now she's got a better goal: to be
loyal to men that got to be big enough to be loyal to; to give
herself in a real blazing devotion to helping carry on her man's
battle for supremacy; to lead the Leader.  Can't you SEE it, Livy?
She won't get a professor's chair or a slick, leather-covered desk
in an advertising agency, but she'll share a throne--and believe
me, there's going to be thrones to share!  You bet!  To be queen in
her home isn't old-fashioned but the most ultramodern, up-to-the-
split-second, re-revolutionary ideal there is!

"So go ahead and shoot me, both of you.  Hay, you can report me to
all your revolutionary little friends for wanting to march all the
poor farmboys (like you and me both!) right back to their peasant
huts, unless they can get the Vision of Leadership and obey it.
Okay!  I'm ready!"

Afterward, Hayden avoided discussing with Olivia this scarlet-and-
pea-green vision of Lundsgard, the view of the noblest man as the
mining-camp bully.  If she had been unhappy about it, he wanted to
spare her; if she had liked it, he wanted to spare himself.

And that same afternoon, Evelyn Hoxler, who had never talked to
Hayden by himself, telephoned asking him, and anxiously, to meet
her at Gilli's for a drink.

When he met her, there was something rigid and frightening about
Miss Hoxler.  He had the impression of a rattlesnake in ambush, and
indeed there was a good deal of hiss in all her S's, as she rapidly
drank down Italian cognacs:

"Lundsgard is sending me sobbing back to Rome, and I asked to see
you, Mr. Chart, so I could try and do the stinker a little harm
before I go skipping back to commit suicide."

She did not strike Hayden as notably benevolent, and he listened
not too willingly to her hatred.

"I gave Lorry the best clerical assistance HE'LL ever get and
you've probably guessed--I never tried to hide it especially--I
gave him a lot more.  He's a quick worker.  When you first meet
him, if you can be useful, he'll love you, but the moment he can
get more out of sponging on somebody else's brains, out you go,
without even a handshake.  When he gets to be a dictator, he'll
pull off some of the finest purges in history, and then sleep like
a baby.

"By the way, his first name isn't Lorenzo.  His fond mother named
her golden-haired Viking rosebud Oley, and in college he changed
that to Lawrence, and he put on the Lorenzo, along with a shot at
English accent (when he remembers it) in Hollywood.

"I want to warn you, with the most evil intentions, that while I
don't think he's had much chance to fool with this conceited young
woman of yours, Miss Lomond, he's certainly licking his chops."

"I think Dr. Lomond can take care of herself!"

"I KNOW I can take care of MYSELF!  That don't do you much good
when the car hits a patch of grease like Lundsgard and skids."  The
appositeness of it jarred Hayden and frightened him.  "Mr. Chart, I
have a feeling you plan to get out of this combination cocktail
party and mental sanitarium they call the American Colony and go
home.  Home!  Beat it, fast, and take that high-falutin sweetheart
of yours along with you.  So long.  No flowers!"

He met Angelo Gazza, Lundsgard's photographer, on the street, and
invited him to coffee.  He blurted, "What sort of a chap is this
Lundsgard, really?"

"Oh, Lorenzaccio is all right.  He's a pusher.  Pays pretty good
but gets his money's worth and then some. . . .  Say, you're fond
of Dr. Lomond, aren't you?"

"Very.  Why?"

"Oh, she comes in to see Professor Friar and maybe Lundsgard now
and then and . . .  She's trained too good, for OUR shop.  She
wants us to get our facts--we do an import and export business in
historical facts--she wants 'em catalogued like a history book, but
Lundsgard tells her, 'Never mind the efficiency stuff.  This isn't
a factory; this is a solar center for radiating inspiration.'  Dr.
Lomond is very well informed--for an American."

"You don't like us Americans, do you?"

"No, that's the hell of it.  I love you.  Best chum I ever had was
a master-sergeant from Brooklyn, half-Wop and half-Mick.  I'd like
to live in America.  That's why I keep panning you--to keep safe
from you hundred-and-eighty pound babies!  Why are so many
Americans immature?  Why don't you grow up?  Half of you pulling
polysyllables, when 'I don't know' would do, and the other half--
medical majors and chaplains and flying colonels--talking like
high-school boys, 'Oh, Boy!' and 'Watch my smoke' and not
enthusiastic about anything except baseball and women.

"And the American woman is the only one I know of whose heart and
brain stay cold and indifferent to you while all the rest of her
body pretends to catch fire.  An Italian or French woman either
loves you or she doesn't, but the American lady--she kisses you hot
at eight-thirty and looks at you cold at eleven--or anyway at
eight-thirty next morning.  And yet I do admire so your American
enterprise.  I am so sick of all the Memorable Ruins in Italy.

"That's what has turned so many of us into guides and postcard
sellers.  We could build the best ships and automobiles and
electrical equipment in the world, but our medieval gateways and
palazzi municipali gum up our city planning.

"I'd like to blow up every building in Italy older than 1890.  All
you tourists shrieking that it's so cute of us to have three-foot
alleys for thoroughfares and yelling your heads off when we put in
broad boulevards like you all do at home.  Oh, it's probably real
quaint in me to be descended from some Etruscan gangster. . . .
And I'll watch Dr. Lomond for you like a sister-in-law."

"You think she needs it?"

"Lundsgard is one of these Leaders, and all Leaders think that all
the votes and the applause and the money and the women belong to
them. . . .  Good luck!  Ciao!"



Olivia was absent-minded at dinner and it was only after a quarter-
hour of mere thermometric conversation that she said, "Lorry is
going to fire that Hoxler woman."

"Yes."

"In fact he has."

"I see."

"He wants me to come in and help him out, three or four hours a
day, till he finds a new secretary."

"You can't do it!  You absolutely can't!"

"I'm going to."

"You, the independent, and you want to be that fellow's copyist!"

"I shall be nothing of the sort.  I'll really be a fellow-
researcher with Uncle Nat, and I'll put the office files in order--
they need it.  Or do you INSIST on my spending all the rest of my
life in libraries where nobody ever comes, except displaced mice?
Or perhaps you prefer to take advantage of my extreme fondness for
you by ordering me to go home!"

"I love you, and when you turn beastly, when you use arguments that
you know are crooked, I am helpless, Olivia--the only person in the
world that I am helpless with."

"I know.  Forgive me.  And honestly, you can just forget it.  It'll
only be a few hours a day with Lorry for a few weeks."

"That seems to me too much, with HIM!"

"But I need the money, Hay--Hayden.  Maybe with your sharp eyes,
that can look right through a fat woman and see a ducky bungalow
and a two-thousand-dollar fee, you noticed, when you first arrived
here, that I hadn't many clothes, and most of them kind of shabby.
Well, I haven't a very large scholarship, and I've been buying
quite a wardrobe, entirely for you, and I am busted."

"Then you must let me . . ."

"No!  That much independence I'll still keep.  No!"



19


When the wildfire news ran round the hills that Signore il
Professor Friar was paying his debts, he was assaulted by bills a
year old, five years old, most of which he had forgotten and some
of which he did not owe.  In particular, his landlord, long a
tolerant friend, once he saw the sheen of ten-thousand-lire notes
wanted to be paid to date, and his former intimates, the book-
sellers, threatened to cart off his library, beloved and a quarter
unpaid-for.

Nat refused to take even a loan from Mrs. Baker, who was little
more affluent than himself.  He became grim.  Now that he had
started, he would be businesslike.

He said to Hayden, "I would prefer, of course, to desert Lundsgard,
now that the adventure is rusty.  I have no complaint about him;
he treats me well.  He is the only man living who thinks my
information about Gubbio and Spoleto is worth listening to, and
that, to me, is grateful.  Like many people weary with knowledge, I
have perhaps unduly esteemed the fresher wisdoms of younger people,
but this mental passion has rarely been reciprocated--perhaps only
by you and Olivia and Lundsgard.  But I have some difficulty in
liking the fact that I am now part of a cultural swindle.

"I'm not sure but that Dr. Lundsgard is a very bad man.  He is
nimble at making historical parallels to prove that the rule of
plain unlettered men has always been disastrous, to prove that we
need louder-voiced millionaires to guide us.  But to prove it, he
adulterates all the facts that I go down into the coal pit and
shovel up to him.

"I'm not sure but that it's what you call a racket, I'm not sure
but that he is in the soundest tradition of treason--treason to
love, to friendship, to patriotism, to religion, for the most
sensitive blessings are also the most interesting to betray.  In
his case, he is making a cheerful activity of treason to learning,
like the journalists who trap invalids by praising fraudulent
medical discoveries.

"He is even developing prophetic illusions: that all history has
been moving toward a moral goal according to a discernible scheme,
and that he is the only man who can discern it.  I have studied a
number of skilled methods of assassination which I might use with
him, but otherwise, what am I to do?  Place your charming girl,
Olivia, under my arm and take to the Abruzzi caves to escape my
remaining creditors?

"I can see now where all my quandary started: paying my servant,
who is a true Italian peasant and never expected such an insult
from an illustrissimo!"

But Nat did nothing.  And Hayden did nothing, and suddenly he was
sick of Lundsgard and Florence and Europe.  It can happen so with
exiles.  One moment he loved Italy; the next, its ways seemed
antiquated and a little silly.  He could not even hear the language
clearly.  It was all an unaccented gabble.  When he walked in the
evening, a group of sharp young loafers in front of a movie
theater--as dangerous as a like group in Concord, Massachusetts--
seemed to be his enemies, whispering, "Let's stab that foreigner or
chase him out of the country!"

That week, letters from home, from Jesse and Mary Eliza Bradbin,
from classmates whom he had not seen for ten years, letters which
had recently bored him by their weather reports and the gossip
about people whom he did not remember, were suddenly precious
salvation.  When he had first come to Florence he had gratefully
used the hospitality of the governmental American Library in the
Palazzo Strozzi and read the American magazines, the newspapers.
He had later become almost indifferent to their bulletins of a land
so far off, but now he hastened back to them, and they promised him
the refuge of home.

That promised refuge he needed the more because daily he less liked
the relationship between Lundsgard and Olivia.



Rich now in what he considered knowledge, in Nat's anecdotes and
Gazza's photographs, strong in the approval of Sir Henry Belfont
and the toleration of Sam Dodsworth, Mr. Lundsgard still considered
Hayden a decent fellow, but he no longer considered his counsel of
any merit, and when Hayden had an idea, Lundsgard's attitude was
"Yes, yes."  He preferred to see Hayden only in bars but, grimly
risking snubs, Hayden frequently marched into the wolf's den to
find out how much of his lamb had been devoured now.

He warned himself that Lundsgard's office was a busy place, that he
had no more right to intrude there than to stroll into an
operating-room and suggest having a cigarette with a performing
surgeon.  They were not snubbing him--no, they were just busy.  But
all he knew was that he got snubbed.

Nat beamed at him, but even the friendly Gazza seemed annoyed,
Lundsgard looked impatient, and Olivia, busy with lists of Umbrian
painters, snapped, "Oh, MUST you leave that door open, Hayden
dear?"

How patronizing and unlovely was her "Hayden dear" compared with
her tender "Dear Hayden"!

But he bullied Lundsgard and her into coming out to tea with him.
They were in the Piazza della Republica, outside of Donnini's at a
small table among Italian families prosperous and voluble.

The researchers did not look at Hayden.  Olivia was competently
answering Lundsgard's equally competent questions about the wool-
carders guild in ancient Florence.  Hayden felt like a tolerated
younger brother, listening to his betters.  And when the
interrogation was over--he could imagine it, gilded and magnified
and made to sound learned and important, bestowed on a respectful
lecture audience in a municipal arena dedicated to wrestling,
political conventions, roller skating and Shakespeare--the two of
them apparently believed that they were alone in the Forest of
Arden, no melancholy Mr. Chart within ten leagues.  They creaked
happily in their wicker chairs as they teased each other--about
punctuality!  One would not have chosen that topic as a beguiling
link between illicit lovers, and yet Lundsgard and the girl were
lyric as he cloyingly bickered, "And you were ten minutes late--you
were, you WERE," and the female conspirator murmured, "Oh, pooh, I--
was--NOT!"

It seemed to Hayden that an appalling softness had come over her in
her manner toward Lundsgard.  When that bounding animal touched her
bare elbow, which he did oftener than was quite necessary for
emphasis, she, the late inviolable, did not seem annoyed, and she
had for him a smile which went beyond the pleased obedience which
custom expects from a female office-hand.

Lundsgard was startled to discover some one much like Hayden Chart
still with them, and he went out of his way to get in, "You
certainly have a grand effect on your girl friend here, Hay.  When
you aren't around, she treats me like dirt, but when you're here,
she tries to make you jealous by treating me fairly good.  I wish I
had your neat touch with the women!"  And looked, then, at Olivia
in a proprietarial pride which was more betraying than any yelp of
passion.

No.

Hayden was coldly certain that this pair of profit-hunting pedants,
of ranging sensationalists, were lovers now, beyond charity.  Then
they deserved each other!

But the stubbornness that had always marched with him, most
relentless when it was most quiet, the stubbornness that had
fortified him to endure Caprice's clownish demands and Jesse
Bradbin's witless jesting, rose in Hayden now, and he was the more
resolved to save Olivia.

No one else could do it--certainly not the moist-eyed young woman
herself, now yearning toward Lundsgard's ten-bushel of manly
beauty.  And, reflected Hayden, he himself had guiltily broken
through her poor wall of defense.  She was "worth saving"--this
trained and honest woman, even now when she was demonstrating that
she was not in all things so edifyingly honest.

He would save her--if.  He had nothing of more importance to do,
now. . . .  And, with a fascination apparently undiminished by her
idiocy, he happened to love her.

Lundsgard was giving himself, and apparently he felt that he was
giving them, considerable gratification in letting them know that
he now moved on a charming social plane, jammed with Gracious
Living.  Prince Ugo Tramontana had invited him to come for tea and
see some Second Century Roman cameos. . . .  He referred to the
learned relic as Ugo, and before he rose he lighted a tremendous
American cigar, with the Lorenzan band still on it, and
extinguished the match with an archducal flourish.

When Lundsgard was gone, Olivia said briskly, "Well, have to start
home and wash my face."

"Sit down again, Olivia.  I want to do some scolding.  I want you
to quit your job with Lundsgard. . . ."

"I shouldn't think of it."

". . . and at once.  You can call him up this evening."

"Ri-dic-ulous!"  She sat down firmly.

"And tell him to hurry up and find that new stenographer--whom he
had no intention of finding."

"Why, I've never heard . . ."

"And then, without any tapering off or artful use of drugs, I want
you to kick that fellow out, complete."

"Ab-surd!"

"I don't know precisely where you stand with Lundsgard now, but I
do know it's just a matter of whether you will or whether you have.
WHAT?"  She jumped at the unexampled force and roughness of his
"What?"  He jumped himself.

"What WHAT?"

"Are you two lovers now?"

She quieted down.  She looked at him without fear.  "Well, we could
be, and that's all I shall tell you."

"It's enough.  Do you want to get rid of me?"

"No, really, Hay--Hayden, I don't.  I am enormously fond of you.
It's so happy and easy to be with you, and I admire your decency
and calm.  I would like to hold you, always--no, I INTEND to hold
you!  And I agree with you that Lorry is a misguided and misguiding
truck-driver--in fact, I know it much better than you do!  But he
is also a knight, a blithe and unconquerable knight.  After all,
Giovanni delle Bande Nere wasn't distinguished for his accurate
knowledge of dates or his fidelity to the sweet girl at home.
Lorry is a fake--good Heavens, don't you suppose I'm well trained
enough to know that!  But he is extremely charming in a nasty way.
Besides, what could either you or I do to head him off?"

"You really are satisfied to let yourself be tied and hogtied by
this gorilla?"

"You still do get very American, don't you, dear!"

"I hope so!  Answer me!  You're satisfied?"

"Maybe not.  But what can I do?"

"Do you happen to know that your golden Lorenzo's real first name
is Oley?"

"Is it?  That's good.  It sounds strong and honest and yet not
puritanical; positively debonair.  I was afraid--of course I was
reasonably sure that he wasn't a geborener Lorenzo--I thought
probably he was a Hiram or a Jabez."

"Olivia, I don't think this hour calls for humor.  You must have
some notion of how serious it is for me.  Leave out jealousy and
hurt pride: I can choke those, but you can guess what it means to
me to see a well-bred woman in the red hands of that butcher--that
cigar-waving fancy gent!"

"That is my battle, or as Lorry AND you would say, 'That's MY
lookout'!"  Olivia was so defiant that she did not even trouble
herself to stress it greatly.

"Yes.  It isn't easy.  I couldn't slug that football hero--I would
get killed.  There's no use my exposing him as a charlatan--
everybody with any scholarship guesses that already.  But still, I
certainly do not intend to be the complaisant husband.  I demand as
strict a fidelity of you as I do of myself.  And I can't do the
most natural and convenient thing of all: tell you that I am
disgusted, that I am not standing any more, that I am through;
because I am still almost completely hypnotized by you--just
ALMOST, mind you!  I don't know what to do."

Softly, but with the slippery softness of a false woman, she urged,
"Oh, forget it, my dear.  It's the sort of thing that can't last."

"Not last--no, merely in the heart and brain and devoted faith,
that's all!  Frankly, Olivia, I am trying to coach myself to feel
easy in cutting you out as I would any other vice that hurt me too
much, and I can't--not yet!"

With flippant impatience, she piped, "Have you finished now with
your fussing and clucking and general sad bewilderment over
something that ought to be obvious--that, as I keep telling you but
you won't listen, a flirtation like this just can't last?  Or
matter!"

"I've given you my warning."

"And I my warning that you will be extremely sorry, not for any
crime _I_ am committing but for your own subhuman, dry-as-dust,
school-principal nagging--with no heart in it and no humor.  Oh,
Hayden, you admire our medieval gallants so much, you say, and then
the minute anything touches YOU, you flee from them back to your
dry-codfish Maine ancestors!"  She was working herself up to the
outraged and innocent wrath that is nowhere so splendidly found as
among the guilty.  "I have never lied to you or about you.  Well, I
am going now, and you may do exactly whatever you please!
Arrivederci!"

She flounced away and, without explanations, she did not come to
dinner that evening at the pensione.

So he cut and ran.



20


He cut and ran.  It was absurd not to have seen Rome; it was
intolerable to sit and twiddle his fingers and watch Olivia chase
the dragon and be only very annoyed by a St. George.

He drove to Rome through the pleasant hills and, as always, fell in
love with Siena almost as with Florence: the square, the cathedral,
the Palazzo Chigi.  But Rome he found too buxom, too busy, too
operatically regal for love, and only fit for wonder, from the
Vatican's sanctuary to the Palatine Hill where he walked through
100 B.C.

He did perceive how grandly Rome was marching back to her ancient
throne as Queen of the World.  Hard by an arch of the emperors he
saw the jeeps parked between the Rolls-Royces and Cadillacs; the
traffic was more alarming than Michigan Avenue; overhead were the
airplanes which rarely teased demure Florence; and in new and
haughty cement buildings breathlessly telephoning were California
oilmen, Persian oilmen, British airplane agents, Hungarian cinema
producers, French television engineers, Egyptian steamship agents,
quiet Russians who loved an evening alone with their pipes and
books and one small atomic bomb, Brazilian vendors of coffee and
jazz symphonies, and Croat spies spying on Bulgar spies spying on
Turkish spies spying on Rome.

Not even the massive haughtiness of the antique temples and the
imperial baths more lightened Hayden's technical eye than the
urbanity of avenues like Via Veneto.  Yet he was not annoyed that
in Rome, with all the Holy Year pilgrims, he had been unable to
find a satisfactory hotel room, and had gone with his topolino out
to a village inn.  After supper there he sat on a bench in an arbor
and looked at the green evening sky of Latium and was homesick for
the warm buoyancy of a new and terrible Olivia.

He returned to Florence and the Tre Corone late in the afternoon
and Olivia was there and unexpectedly welcoming.  She tightened her
arms round him, she muttered, "So much, missed you so much."

He shakily tried to be carefree in a cheerful, "Let's go out and
have dinner this evening."

"Oh, darling, I am so, SO sorry, but I have an invitation to
dinner--didn't know when you were coming back--might have sent a
girl a post card."

He did not ask, she did not say, from whom was her invitation.
"I'll make it up to you later!" she chirruped, with needless
sweetness.

He dined alone, except for the table-to-table yells of the newest
generation of boarding-house pests, who were not, this time, large
like the Grenadier Sisters and were not females and were not
American, but three diminutive and aged males from Luxembourg.  But
it was all the same thing, and they entertained him at dinner by
yelping "Haf you seen the Cenacolo in the convent of Sant' Onofrio?
NO?" and "Haf you seen the tomb of Oddo Altoviti by Rovezzano?
NO?"

Olivia returned very late, still with no information volunteered
about her evening entertainment, and she was not so affectionate in
saying good-night to him as she had promised; she was mechanical
about it and slightly annoyed; and he went to sleep in a trance of
emptiness and futility.

Hayden had been going to one Dr. Stretti to keep watch on the
headaches he still had, now and then, from his motor smash, and had
become admiring and fond of that round, dumpy, very learned and
skillful physician with his mouse of a mustache.  He was not only
Hayden's friend and his doctor but, Italian-wise, his doctor
BECAUSE he was a subtle and understanding friend.  On the morning
after his return from Rome, Hayden's head was one round pain held
together by his skull, and he hastened to Stretti, who assured him
that this was but eyestrain from the glare of the road from Rome.
He bathed Hayden's eyes and laughed at his tension and generally
did medical magic on him.

Said Dr. Stretti, "My brother, who is also an architect, in Turin,
and who is very curious about American methods, will be in Florence
just for today.  Could you come to a very plain supper at my flat
this evening and meet him?"

Hayden had made no definite plan with Olivia for dinner this coming
evening, and indignantly, with the injustice typical of all
particularly fond lovers, he thought, "I'll teach that young woman
a lesson--leaving me flat last evening, my first evening back in
Florence," and he said to the doctor heartily, "Shall be very happy
to."

Dr. Stretti's apartment was in one of the long, newish, solemn,
residence streets out near the Cascine; on a fourth floor reached
by a particularly adventurous self-service elevator in which you
felt, when you pressed the button for your floor, that the cage
would fly to pieces instantly.  But the apartment itself was like
that of any well-to-do doctor in Newlife or in New York, except
that there were rather more upholstered chairs around small tables
in the living room, and more poison-green upholstered armchairs
with doilies, and books in three languages, and far more paintings
by contemporaries.

The architect-brother, whose English was as struggling as Hayden's
Italian, gave him a small homesickness by confessing exactly such
struggles with clients and contractors and unions and politicians
as Hayden knew at home: the same newly rich who wanted marble
bathrooms for the price of tile, and tile bathrooms for the price
of linoleum.  He glowed at Hayden and took him in.  So did the
doctor; so did Mrs. Stretti, though she spoke no English at all.
But she assured Hayden, with more kindness than strict factualness,
that he was now speaking Italian like a professore.

The whole family took him in.  In their cordiality and ease with a
stranger, they seemed to him more like Americans than any nationals
he had met since he had sailed.  He felt at home, as after dinner
he drank small glasses of vino santo and agreed with them that,
yes, they would indeed like Hollywood and the Grand Canyon.

But of them all, one had more importance than just well-mannered
amiability, and that was the daughter, Tosca Stretti, a girl of
twenty who was all eyes and shine of dark hair and slimness and
youth and trustfulness.  She was constantly turning to her uncle,
her parents, with affection and admiration; she loved life and
loved her family.  And, without having any English, she could say
to Hayden that she looked upon him as a man and a remarkable one.

An aggressive American woman would have jeered of Tosca, "Sure, you
men like 'em submissive, like 'em as slaves.  This little Italian
would clean your shoes and you'd love it!"  Yes, Tosca probably
WOULD clean them, if there should be need, but devotedly, with
dignity, not submissively.  Without discussion she would expect to
love and ardently to be loved.

That night, abed, Hayden did not think of his colleague, the
architect, but of Tosca.  It would be fun to be with her, to teach
her English, to show her his America.  Why hadn't he such a girl,
soft and trusting and yet as sharply capable as her mother, and not
an inspiring heartache like Olivia?

Why not?  By coaxing Tosca to come home with him, he would have in
the stability of home that strangeness and flavor which he had
needed in Newlife.  All next day he thought of Tosca and the
thought was to him a soft comfort which he needed after reading a
note which Olivia had left for him when she went off, early, to the
Laurentian Library--or to Lundsgard's boudoir office:


I had assumed we would be having dinner together last evening but
you skipped off with no explanations.  That is too bad because THIS
evening _I_ have a date & shall not see you.

O. L.


His inward comment had all of lovers' logic.  "But you can't blame
her.  But I'm not going to stand for being stood up but SHE--oh
yes, SHE is to desert me whenever she feels like it but I'm to
stand by all the time.  But naturally she was miffed--you can't
blame her."

Olivia and he had, without any special agreement, built up a habit
of festival evening together each Saturday, with restaurant dinner
and a movie or a concert, but on this warm, resonant Saturday
evening in the Italian late spring, he dined drearily, alone, at
the Tre Corone, cheered only by the thought of how trustingly Tosca
Stretti had smiled at him.  He was at his coffee when Perpetua came
to inform him that a "Signorina Altici" was there to see him,
waiting in the salotto.

Tosca?  Why?

He went hurriedly and on a couch, her hat put aside, in a fawn suit
that seemed much worn and leather sandals that certainly were worn,
tired, defiant, appealing, forlorn, familiar, stranger than any
Calabria peasant, pert-nosed and freckled and red-headed, was Miss
Roxanna Eldritch of Newlife, Colorado.



But mostly, she was very quiet.

She had sprung up to greet him; he had galloped forward and kissed
her.  She was a chunk of Home miraculously set down before him: the
cheerful, overcrowded streets; cottonwoods and willows by the river
bank; swiftly grown skyscrapers; the office and the club where he
was not a bookish nonentity studying in an alien and indifferent
land, but a man, a boss, a friend, a citizen, a person of heart and
welcome, and in it all a jolliness that could never warm an Olivia
in her delicate savor of life--nor even a Tosca conceivably so
dear.  And this home soil was his own, without explanations or
working at it.  In a jungle he had seen, startling, his own
familiar flag, and Roxy and he yelled at each other with fond
tribal cries.

The more he looked at her, the more she seemed changed.  She was as
fetching as ever but she looked down at the floor more than at him,
and there was dejection in her shoulders.  And, "Might as well get
it over," said Roxy.  "I've plumb flopped.  Been fired."

"How come?"

"Oh, partly loafing and dissipation, I guess, though I did a lot of
work, too.  But it has slowly been borne in on me that the bright
kid from the home town, who thinks it would just be too cute if she
could be the big noise as an authority on Europe and tell the home
folks all about the hobbies of the dethroned kings and interview a
few prime ministers, and throw in a few explanations of the
devaluation of the pound--she isn't so hot when she gets into
competition with the veterans that have been here, off and on,
twenty years and speak five languages and actually read a book
once.

"Funny but they simply won't see the light and obligingly hand over
their prestige to me and go to work in the jute factory--along with
their wives and kids.  The old meanies!  I sent home oceans of copy
and first my managing editor used a lot and even got a few pieces
syndicated, but I guess the novelty went bump, and little while
ago, he tactfully wrote canning me, with a warm-hearted suggestion--
the old sweetheart--that I MIGHT get my old job back if I hustled
to Newlife, but quick!

"But now I'm here, I want to see more of Europe, maybe Greece and
Spain, and then Israel and Egypt.  And I AM going to work--work
like a worker and not like a Bohemian amateur lady journalist who
gets busy only when the bars are closed and the handsome young
vice-consul won't answer his phone.

"Honestly!  Getting bounced was an awful shock to me.  I guess most
American women, even SOME of those that have been quite a long time
on a real job, still think that their sacred womanhood entitles
them to do anything they want to, arrive late and loaf on the job
they're paid for, and any boss that kicks is no gentleman--never
was brought up at anybody's mother's knee.  Shock?  I'll say!  It
made me think, 'Rox, my man, maybe that managing editor wants to
print written writings and not your charming intentions and your
sorrel hair!'

"And I guess, even before the assassination, I'd had about enough
of the bar-to-bar girlish lady tourists of fifty, the students of
singing who never sing anything but 'Just pickle my bones in
alcohol,' and all the artistic young men from Wyoming and the
Bronnix that wear nasty little beards as sandwich boards to
advertise their otherwise imperceptible talents, beards like young
alley goats and flannel shirts like zoot-suiters.

"While I'm over here, if it's not too inconvenient, I would still
like to meet one French Frenchman and one Italian Italian.  You
know--quaint but almost as interesting as the sixteenth young
American this month to found a Little Magazine dedicated to
freedom, the new arts and gin.

"I admit I've had me quite a time with these drunks, but still and
all, I guess, along with my Uncle Joe, who was the prize drunk in
Butte, I've got something in me of Gramma O'Larrick, who ran a
boarding house and sent seven sons to study for the ministry.

"So I've come down here to Florence, partly because it's not too
noisy and partly, I'll admit, because you were here, and you always
were kind.  But I don't intend to sponge on you in any way, Hay,
get that clear, money or time or anything.  I just want your
assurance that I'm still potentially human, even if I am a flop!"

He cried, "HOW human!  Now, right away, I'll take you out for a
dinner that would make Reverend Gowelly--remember the Prohibition
raider, back home?--throw up his dusty hat and kiss the bartender."

"Thanks--some night--tomorrow if you'd like--but I've had a rick of
spaghetti already tonight."

"Tomorrow we'll look for a room for you, Roxy--maybe here in this
refined junction depot."

"Thanks, I've already found a room in a dump across the river.  I
asked a tourist agency.  Iron cot and a kitchen chair and a nice
calico curtain for wardrobe; 327 yards from the bathroom.
Honestly, I won't bother you. . . ."

"You couldn't, my dear!"

"Oh, couldn't I!  Give me credit!  No, all I want is some advice
about getting a job here, for a girl that speaks no known
language. . . ."

If Hayden was, a moment, inattentive, it was because he knew that
Olivia might come in and find him affectionately seated on the
couch beside the not inconspicuous charms of Roxy.  Would it not be
discreet to explain Roxy before Olivia should see her--to take her
out, now, to the security of a café?  But he turned defiant; he
rebuked himself for his sour timidity.  Roxy was beyond debate a
tempting wench, but he was doing nothing of which to be ashamed--
not like Olivia and her bounding Lorry.

"Let's see, Roxy.  There's a Mrs. Dodsworth here, important in the
Colony, and I remember her saying something about being a trustee
of an American school for girls that's just being organized.  I'll
phone her this evening.  And now--more of you, my dear!  Have you
lost your heart to any of your young geniuses with the tarred-and-
feathered chins?"

"No, not much.  A young female wandering around Europe alone learns
to be pretty glacial when she gets picked up."

"That happen often?"

"Continuously!  French drugstore-cowboys and Norwegian artists and
Swiss professors and American G. I.'s and American lieutenant
colonels.  You do get tired of their 'How about it?' smirk.  We all
used to think that it was the funniest thing in the world that our
great-grammas, if they could afford it, couldn't travel without a
chaperone in black sateen, but how I would have loved a chaperone,
mitts and evil mind and all, in Europe!"

"Why don't you go home, Roxy?"

"Why should I?"

"It seems natural to be home, where you understand people by
instinct, understand why they do the particular things they do do
and do say--dumb or dreary or noble and silly."

"Then why don't you go, Hay?"

"Oh, I've really settled down contentedly to study.  And, uh, I
have a girl I'm somewhat interested in . . ."

"Oh!"

"Two, in fact: a splendid American scholar, and an adorable Italian
girl."

"Two?  Then it's all right."

"I want you to . . ."

"Yes, yes, yes, yes, Mr. Chart, and me too, I'm just dying to meet
them, both of them, all sixteen of them--there's nothing I enjoy
more than meeting my gemmun-friends' lovely girl friends, except
hearing you rave about them. . . .  Over my dead body, Chart!"

"You still haven't given me much reason for your staying on in
Europe."

"Oh, I'm just another of these American girl sparrows you see
hopefully hopping along every road in Europe, afraid to chirp.  We
don't know what we want but we all believe that, without doing any
special work to get it, we'll be smitten with glory and suddenly
find some romantic peak where we'll shine.  Get on the stage or be
what the beginners call 'penwomen' or ballet dancers or art-
photographers.  Or get married, but only to a tall, gently tragic,
gray-eyed painter, with black hair gone faintly gray--guy named
Peter or Michael or . . ."

"Or Lorenzo?"

"You guessed it.  And I suppose I'm typical of all those young
women, who won't be patient, who find it easier to jump on a train
and skip on to some new capital than to stick in one place and make
solid friends."

"I don't think you are, Roxy.  You've had a fling, but I know
you'll get set.  Sufficiently."

"Thank you, dear.  I like to have your approval, more than
anybody's, even if it is a little qualified and stingy."

He felt that he must go on admitting that he carried an Olivian
passport.  He was not going to sneak across the frontiers.  He did
his duty by a pleasantly argumentative, "But I know that not all
you American girls in Europe are the vacuous kind you take so much
sadistic trouble in beating up.  You aren't.  Neither is my--young
woman living here at the Tre Corone, a professional historical
scholar--Dr. Lomond, Dr. Olivia Lomond."

Roxy burst.  "Dr. Olivia Lomond!  Oh, my foot to Dr. Lomond!  A
vinegary, sexless, flat-chested old maid carting you around to
tearooms and reading Ruskin aloud!  I knew I should never have let
you come to Europe alone!  You were quite a lad in Newlife,
whenever you got sore on the tennis court.  A plague of bot flies
and Texas jiggers on Doc-tor Lomond!  That dried up arroyo!"

"No, not exactly dried up!"  He tenderly took Roxy's hand; the
hand of his dear little sister, his chronic niece, his oldtime
enduring friend.  "I very much want you to meet her and appreciate
her. . . ."

"Neither do I!"

He was stroking her hand, feeling slightly more than avuncular,
when a menace trembled in the air and made him look up.  Olivia was
just inside the room, watching them, and as Hayden saw her Borgia
eyes, they said, almost audibly, "Ah, I SEE!  And you the species
of camel who has been demanding that I give up my innocent
colleague, Professor Lundsgard!"

He did have sense enough not to throw Roxy's hand at Olivia and
jump up guiltily; he did have the genius to go on holding that hand
comfortably and to purr, "So glad you came, Olivia.  This is none
other than Roxanna Eldritch that I've told you so much about--great
friend of Caprice, and I've known her, bless her dear neighborly
heart, since she was a baby."

Before Roxy could even get started, Olivia fired:

"That does make quite a long, LONG period of knowing Miss Uh,
DOESN'T it!"

But there proved, then, to be nothing wrong with Roxy's artillery.



21


They were both rare, thought Hayden: Olivia, crystal framed in
ivory and silver; Roxanna, rose-crystal rimmed with burnished
copper.  If they could be friends!  He blundered--but perhaps no
cardinal secretary of state could have been altogether diplomatic
in this crisis:  "I hope you two charmers are going to be close
friends.  You're certainly the best friends _I_ have!"

Olivia said to him sweetly, "Are we also to be close friends with
your dear Tosca Stretti?"

"Now what the devil do you know about Tosca?  A delightful girl but
HOW . . ."

"You forget Florence is a small town.  Lorry Lundsgard went in to
see Dr. Stretti today about a lame wrist--he strained it years ago
in a great football battle, and the doctor told him that you and
his daughter had hit it off wonderfully--I think he is quite
hopeful of her having an escorted tour to the wonders of Colorado,
some day before long!  Congratulations--to you, I mean, not to the
poor young lady!"

Just when Hayden was bewildered by this foul attack, Olivia was
temporarily reinforced by the enemy, Roxanna, who tittered, "Who is
this little number you've been keeping up your sleeve, without
letting Mother know, Hay?  Doing the young Italian wrecks along
with the old Italian ruins, are you?"

He stated, with just the ludicrous touchy dignity that both Olivia
and Roxy had meant to stir up in him, "Miss Stretti is a young girl
I met casually at dinner.  She doesn't even speak English."

"I SEE!" said Olivia and "_I_ see!" said Roxy, with feminine
derision that wiped him out.  And so, having punished him for
introducing them to each other, the two puritanical and jeeringly
righteous ladies turned murderously upon each other.

"You're not staying long in Florence are you, Miss Eldritch?"
Olivia said caressingly.

("And she pretended first not to remember Roxy's name!")

But Roxy snatched off the first skirmish.  She put on, not the
damning, insinuating cordiality of Olivia but the more dangerous
pose of never posing; she was as simple and frank as Satan.  "I
really don't know how long I'll be here, Dr. Lomond.  Oh, yes, I
know your name so well.  Hay was telling me what a fine scholar you
are, and how you've helped him, the poor darling, helpless amateur,
understand something of Florence.  But me, I'm simply a sketchy
newspaper hack, and I reckon I'll be lucky if I ever as much as
learn Florence's last name."

"Last . . .?  Oh, yes--yes . . .  You'll be going on to Rome, no
doubt.  I'm sure you'll want to take maybe four or five days in
Rome.  It's an extremely important focal point."

"Yes, I think I read that somewhere," said Roxy, most plain-faced
and obedient.  "You feel so, too?  Then I'll have to take a quick
look at the place, I guess."

More sweetly than ever, from Olivia:  "I suppose you're staying at
the Grand or the Excelsior, here in Florence?  A poor student on a
scholarship, like me--I confess I do envy you rich journalists."

Roxy didn't take it; she didn't blurt that she was poor and
jobless; she said rustically, "I guess I'm just a lucky girl.  But
I don't know as I'll stay on at the Excelsior.  My private bathroom
is pretty fair there--black marble and a crocus-yellow tub, but I
don't know--they couldn't give me a dressing-room with a big-enough
toilet table to set out all my cosmetic bottles--you do get into
such a naughty habit of buying cut-glass flasks in Paris, so
amusing to amble along the Rue de la Paix and the dear old Champs
and pick up exclusive perfumes.  Of course, in my profession,
having to meet prime ministers and generals and atomic scientists
and handsome movie stars so intimately, and REALLY important
historians, I have to have a decent place to chat with them."

Olivia was not routed.  "Naturally, my dear.  Such interesting,
important work.  And you shouldn't feel especially inferior with
them, or so humble."

"I--DON'T!"

("Are two women who like the same man, or who have opposite
political faiths, always bitches to each other when they meet?  Or
merely usually?")

"Quite right, quite right, Miss Eldritch.  Perhaps these
dignitaries get something of a fresh, breezy point of view from
meeting you.  And now, Hayden, I must trot off to my room.  The
Ministry of Education, in Rome, has asked for my opinion on some
secret documents about Charles VIII that have just been discovered.
I'll leave you and Miss Eldritch to enjoy talking about your
neighbors in Newlife.  If I don't see you again, Miss Eldritch, I
hope you will have a very enjoyable journey to Rome.  Good night!"



"That woman," said Roxanna, "that woman--that woman is--she's a
knockout.  She knows how to make up that mahogany skin of hers so
it looks slick.  Even with a crooked nose and too small a mouth and
a wrinkly forehead and ears like a rabbit, she manages to look
quite beautiful."

"Now you . . ."

"And without any training except bossing a schoolroom for years and
years, she makes like real royalty.  The boarding-house queen!
What a lucky boy you are!  When she gets you back home, the
Bradbins will take to her like a duck to water.  She has their same
stunt of making you feel that if you disagree with them, you're not
only a fool--you ought to see a doctor."

Hayden was tired of their war; he had seen only too much of such
delightful business in Caprice's opinion of every pretty woman
newly arrived in Newlife.  He said, affectionately, "Roxy, I appeal
to you as an old friend and neighbor . . ."

"Yes?"

"To shut up."

"Oh!"

"I'm extraordinarily fond of you, and always have been, and I hope
to give you a good time seeing Florence--with the assistance of
Olivia, who knows more about it than sixteen tourists like you and
me put together.  So when you and she get the posing and prancing
and pawing the earth over, we'll all be happy and almost grown-up."

"Okay, Chief!"

"And I'll introduce you to her friend, and mine, Lorenzo Lundsgard,
who's a scholar and a smart lecturer and a football hero and a
Hollywood actor and a big handsome brute and a sophisticated
European and a friendly Yankee all put together--and he loves
redheads."

"That vision," stated Roxanna, "you got out of a book.  He's
Abelard and Heloise, that's who he is, and he's dead.  I've seen
his tomb in Père-Lachaise."  She rose.

"I'll take you home, Roxy.  I have a little car."

"No, honestly, sweetie; I told you!  I'm not going to sponge on
you.  I want to walk home and begin to learn this town.  All I want
is a tip on a job.  Will you ask Mrs. What's-her-name about it
tomorrow?"

"Dodsworth?  I certainly shall.  Roxy, it's nice to have you here!
Extremely!"

"Thanks, dear.  And I'll quit picking on your Mexican sugar pie."

"Splendid."

"It was too easy!  Good night, Wonderful!"



Olivia came to his room that evening and attacked at once.

"Who is this little fly-by-night Eldritch piece, REALLY, aside from
your having known her--as a clerk in the Five-and-Ten, I imagine--
in your Colorado wilderness?"

"You know perfectly that she was a friend of my wife and myself,
just a little younger, and she is a newspaperman of standing."

"Have you been keeping her up your sleeve all the time you've been
in Europe?"

"You know I haven't."  He was grave, unsquabbling.  "I have always
liked her and honored her.  She is gallant and a little touching in
her ambition to be something more than a jolly pirate.  No, I do
not plan to flirt with her.  No, I have not done so in the past--
except in that she is so radiant and well rounded and highly
touchable that NO normal man could look at her without being a
little fatuous and lively. . . .  Oh, Olivia, it's hard enough for
us to stay infatuated without asking some outsider to come in and
think up good ways of making us miserable!"

"That's what I SAY!  This Eldritch number!"

"I didn't mean her.  I meant Lorenzo--Lancelot.  I do worship you--
I think.  Don't let's let ANYBODY come between us!  Let's quit this
childish, 'You broke that engagement so I'll break this one and
teach you a lesson.'  Both of us!  Let's be content with love.
Let's not tamper with the gift of God!"

Instantly she rose to her passionate affection of the past, crying,
"No!  We mustn't!  We've been so close!  Oh, people always become
traitors to love.  It's so simple and tremendous that their mean
little minnows of souls can't stand the glory!"

Despite the danger of the practically ubiquitous Mrs. Manse,
despite the charms of Roxanna and the manly Mr. Lundsgard and Tosca
Stretti, they embraced each other with hungry sighing, almost
weeping over the perils they had now conquered.



Next morning, less shining of wing and slightly irritable when
Perpetua was late bringing in his coffee and rolls and marmalade,
Hayden wondered why it might not be an inspired notion to get--to
try to get--Olivia to hand over her job in Lundsgard's office to
Roxanna, together with all her rights, privileges and interests in
the said Lundsgard.

But that would be a dirty trick to play on Roxy, aside from the
fact that Olivia would see them both damned first.  So he
telephoned to Mrs. Samuel Dodsworth.



22


Mrs. Dodsworth was a woman equally kind and efficient.  For Roxanna
she could find no school post but she did ferret out a position as
chauffeur, reader, masseuse, servant-firer and listener to
anecdotes about deceased spouse and successful nephews, to the rich
Mrs. Orlando Weepswell, and there Roxanna had a suite and a maid
and a slight paralysis of the auditory nerves.

Roxy, with Hayden, met Nat Friar, at a bar, and the two missioners
of American irreverence formed a pious alliance.  As Roxy expressed
it, "Uncle Nat and I sure clicked."

To Nat, beauty was a dynamic force, culture was more revolutionary
than war, the product of the artist (though not the artist himself
and his mistresses and bank account) was to be studied with
reverence, and the more he held this gospel, the more impatiently
did Nat hear the adorers who gabbled or gurgled or wheezed about
the arts; who capitalized Beauty and Culture along with their
social positions.

If Roxanna could never have Nat Friar's knowledge nor his gruff
reverences, she had even more horrible synonyms for the word
"fake," and Nat was grateful.  When Hayden went by himself to Nat's
villa, he often found Roxanna perched there, cross-legged on the
couch, being cheery with Nat and Ada Baker.

In Florence, Roxanna, being in a state of repentance and poverty,
did not see any of Sadie Lurcher's international set, glittering
like broken glass edges, sharp as broken glass, unpleasant under
the teeth as broken glass.  They do not find Florence "smart," nor
do they often remain.  For the most part, Hayden judged, Roxanna
associated with that borderline assortment, the "American
Students," of whom some were frugal and studious, and some were
shaggy, drunken, late-walking and floridly abnormal or given to a
confusion about private interests in wives.

In general they were less noisy and self-advertising than their
cousins in Paris, and Hayden felt that Roxanna was a colt now
broken of loco-weed.

His introduction of his quasi-cousin, Roxy, to Lundsgard was
operatic and a success.

He had invited Roxy, Lundsgard and Olivia to dine with him at the
Cantina de' Pazzi (you will not find it under that name), in the
basement of the venerable Palazzo Suoli.  Under massive arches, the
basement, clattery with dishes and the delighted chatter of
tourists, wanders off into circular stone cubicles which hint of
ancient tortures.  The walls, scurfy with old blood, are coy now
with travel posters, bull-fighter costumes from London sweatshops
and paintings of carnivals in Venice--you were never quite sure
whether it was Venice, California, or its bawdy older sister.  To
complete the Cantina's charm for tourists, the management had
ordered that bread sticks and free colored post cards be displayed
on the tables nightly before the guests arrived.

As Hayden and Roxanna waited there--she had refused more than one
cocktail--they saw Olivia and Lundsgard, coming in from their
office work.  Roxy's lips lifted in an arch of delight at
Lundsgard, and she crooned, "Oh, buy him for me, will you, Cousin
Hay?"

And truly this Viking Lorenzo was something to enchant a maiden:
broad-shouldered and his face all one beam of loving intelligence
and conscious power and masculine resolution.  He was hatless, his
heroic head well back and his flaxen hair a coronet.  With his
sports jacket and gray open shirt, he had a purple and yellow
Florentine silk scarf and, as he came near, on one masterful hand
Roxy must have seen a vast opal ring.

"Golly, that's a lot of man in one consignment," sighed Roxanna.

Olivia was determined to be agreeable.  She gurgled to her enemy,
"How's the job going?" and even called her "Roxanna."  And
Lundsgard as boisterously greeted her, "Welcome to our nice little
city, Miss Eldritch and, speaking as a veteran here, may I announce
that it hasn't seen anything cuter than you since Dante tried to
make Be-AT-triss.  Roxanna, we moriturus, salute thee!"

("Olivia is right; he really will popularize learning in the
States, though of course he'll kill it on the way.")

Roxanna was gushing to Lundsgard, "You don't look as if Culture and
Florence have stunted your boyish growth!"

He smiled on her as though she were a poor but worthy woman to whom
he was giving thousands of dollars, dollar by dollar.  "Roxy, the
sneaking fact is that I'm not cultured.  I can teach that stuff,
because I like college youngsters and I realize that all they want,
or ever need, is to get a smattering of art and history, so when
they become docs or lawyers or manufacturers, they won't look
ignorant.  But I'm just a funnel, and with all your interviews,
you've probably got ten times as much real inside dope on these
flyblown European countries as I'll ever get."

Roxanna answered as benevolently as he.

"Olivia was only too darn kind.  I've never really done any big
interviews--just real-life stories like interviews with Paris
bartenders on do Yankee tourists prefer vol au vent or pickled
pigs' feet.  No, you're the goods on the culture--apparently."

Till now Roxy had been a true woman canvasser for the Lorry Party,
and Olivia had difficulty in looking companionable when Lundsgard
turned a shoulder on her and leaned into Roxanna.  But with
noticeably less reverence, Roxanna went on and Hayden thought he
smelled malice:

"But you haven't been a professor all the time, have you, Lorenzo?"

"No, no.  Lotta strings to my bow."

"You were in Hollywood?"

"Don't know as the L. A. papers raved much about it, but yes, I did
a little ham acting."

"I'll bet all the girls hounded you for autographs."

This was pleasing to the great Lorenzo and astonishing to Hayden.
He had never thought of that.  He had never known any one whose
autograph was sought after, who was so beautiful or clever that
those fetish-seekers and magnified clinkers and general nuisances
called autograph-hounds would ever course after him.  But Lorenzo
took his own tremendousness for granted, and with genial democracy
he admitted:

"Oh, they used to ask for my fist now and then."

"LITTLE girls, I meant--junior misses' size--twelve to fourteen."

Lorenzo was huffy.  "No, not just junior misses!  I've had some
doggone beautiful, rich women ask me for an autograph!"

"I'll bet.  Seriously, Lorenzo, I was going to ask you for one
myself and please, pretty please, give me one now before I forget
it!  If it wouldn't bore you?  I want to keep it with Gene Tunney's
and André Gide's and all those."

Hayden noted that the sheet which Roxy managed to find in her
handbag and present to Lundsgard for his signature was a bill which
did not look receipted.  Lundsgard signed it with large, rolling
L's and looked delighted.  Roxy purred.  Olivia looked sour, then
tried to look amused, and in a great-lady manner she chuckled
"Lorry, I'm afraid I missed something.  It never occurred to me to
ask for your autograph--except as I do have your initials signed to
so many gay little notes."

"I'll bet you have!" snarled Roxanna and went over to Lundsgard
complete.

They agreed that they were shrewd, generous, swift-moving
Americans, with no nonsense.  When Olivia tried to be lofty with
their lowness and, to keep the debate fair, Hayden joined Olivia,
the two hard-riding highwaymen teased them for the "solemncholy way
you listen to a lot of snooty French and English and German cranks
and fall for it when they claim you can write better with a pen
than you can with a typewriter."

Lundsgard seemed to be expanding with appreciation, and he had a
good deal of buoyant hydrogen in his chest to expand.  Roxy was his
pal.  Perhaps he had been bored by Olivia's elegance of old ivory,
and bored even by the fierce, channeled ardor with which she could
vary her level coldness; perhaps, for a time, he might find the
tartness of the rosy apple that was Roxanna spicier than the
richness of Olivia's pear.  So Hayden meditated, but he himself
found Roxy's generous enthusiasm of voice somewhat flat and loud
and quacking in competition with Olivia's deep melodies.

It was when Lundsgard was most admiring himself in Roxy's mirror
and most enjoying an advertisement of his friendliness with Prince
Ugo Tramontana that the slippery minx twisted away.

"Oh, yes," confided Lundsgard, "I've become quite a buddy of His
Highness and I like . . ."

"A non-royal prince is not a Highness," Roxy cackled.  "Don't be
like that, and let 'em see the patched overalls you still wear
under the luscious doctoral robe, dear."

"Why, you little stinker!  Me--overalls?  Lissen!  I don't want to
boast, but I pay my tailor in Hollywood two hundred and seventeen
bucks a suit!" roared the outraged Lorenzo.  "And--you and your
alleged knowledge of protocol and titles and that junk!  Let me
tell you Ugo is a mighty good intimate of mine and I hang around
that grand old palazzo of his like I would around the Faculty Club
and--everything's worn out and the velvet worn and those gilt
mirrors got liver patches on 'em, but he's got more doggone
medieval paintings and manuscripts by Poliziano (I guess it is) and
old swords than you can shake a stick at, but he thinks I'm swell,
and he says I got what he calls a new vision, and he likes to try
his theories out on me.  He SAID so!"

Roxanna restored amity and even increased their alliance by
bubbling, "And I'll bet that's true.  He knows you aren't tied by a
lot of bum traditions.  Sure.  He's glad to have a smart scholar
that at the same time's husky and HUMAN like you around."

Nobly pleased, Professor Lundsgard said modestly, "It seems like he
does."

Roxanna did not strike again till after dinner, when Lundsgard
flamboyantly lighted a huge Havana, and she muttered, "My, my, what
a big man that cigar is smoking!  I'll bet Prince Ugo gets to
panting when you smoke those El Imperialses around the palace!"

For once, Olivia giggled and Lundsgard looked wounded, but again it
did not take much of Roxy's gamine art to restore him to self-
admiration, to delight in his little pal.

Hayden thought, "What a stupid, humorless, touchy oaf that man is!
Once Olivia's fling is over--and I think perhaps it is now, when
she's seen him tossed around by a crazy juggler like Roxy--I'll be
able to snatch Olivia back from him, and I can hold her--for
always?  I suppose so."

He was sorry for Lundsgard, driven in Roxanna's tinsel reins.
Perhaps Olivia could not avenge Evelyn Hoxler, but Roxanna would do
so, blithely and tenderly and viciously.  Poor Lorenzo, shaking a
sceptre hung with jester's bells!

"I think we should all be going home," said Olivia, tightly.

"See you to your bachelor digs, Rox?" said Lundsgard, the deft man
of the world.

"Uh-huh," said Roxy.

"HAY-den!  Let's go!" said Olivia.



23


Hayden, especially loaned by kindness of Dr. Olivia Lomond for one
evening, was dining with Roxanna among the students at Camillo's.
He was not pleased by the contemptuous hardness which Roxanna
seemed again to be putting on.  She was slightly too showy, in her
old green dress with a white turban possibly modeled on the
streamlined yet haremlike Marchesa Valdarno and a string of jade
beads; she was slightly too harsh and ambition-vaunting as she
rattled, "I'm getting my second wind.  I think before long I'll
feel like leaving your nice little Florence."

"What do you mean by 'little'!  It's even bigger than St. Paul,
Minnesota, or Omaha, Nebraska.  Why, it's about as big as Denver!"

"Our Nathan Hale!  I am sorry I have but one life to give for
studying the predella on the right of the third picture of the
altar piece in the third chapel of the left aisle of the sixty-
seventh most important ecclesiastical structure in our sacred Flow-
rence!  You're as bad a faker as Lorry Lundsgard!"

"Oh.  How are you and your Dr. Tarzan progressing?"

"I may give him a tumble, if I don't get the hell out of this
backwater.  But as I was saying, pretty soon I may get going now
and leave my set of nursing-bottles for Mother Weepswell, and do a
lot of freelance stories.  Have I got ideas now!  A piece about
young Italian noblemen, like Roberto Tramontana, who're busted and
who've cheerfully gone to work in garages or any other honest
labor.  Heh?  Heh?  How about it, Uncle Hayden?"

"Roxy darling, don't get too enterprising again.  I like you more
when you're gentle."

("Is this young woman nothing more than Caprice with a passport?")

"And I like you better when you're more brash and neighborly, Hay.
You're in danger of becoming another of these erudite old gentlemen
living lonely in a villino, so dreadfully mild and well-washed and
reticent, knowing all about some old hellhound like Malatesta
Baglioni and nothing about President Truman; a reservoir that has
all the facts and don't know what any of them signify.  Uncle Nat
Friar but wrapped in oiled silk.  And worse, you could lose all
your democracy here.  Oh, you never were a guy to run out and kiss
the postman or make the hired girl have her supper with the folks,
but you did think the postman and hired girl might get married and
have a kid who'd be a better lawyer than YOUR kid--if you'd only
had one, you and Caprice, poor darling!

"But here, you talk of contadini, of farmers, as if they couldn't
ever be educated like you and me.  And like all Americans, you
always overdo.  Talk about me overdoing the hustle!  You feel you
can't monkey with Italian history at all unless you become a
professor of it, which Gott soll behüten, you never will.  If you
were building bungalows with sweety-pie yellow bathrooms, you'd
dream about waffles.  If you're learning Italian, you try to talk
same to Heinie tourists and Svensk trippers.  Okay--but don't
overdo your underdoing our ole American democracy, pal!

"You're in MUCH more peril than I am with my play at dissipation,
which I can chuck so easy.  YOUR danger is virtuous prissiness, and
that's a nastier vice than double martinis.  Pete's sake, Hay,
don't listen to your old Italian gorillas roaring so you can't hear
the big, sweet hell of a roar our Americans have always put up,
too:

"Casey Jones at the throttle and the old engine moanin'!  Bound
away for the Wide Missourai!  Banjo on my knee.  Frankie and Johnny
root-a-toot-tootin'!  In the evening by the moonlight, the old
folks singing!  Boy!  Am I proud of our own troubadours!  And you
forgetting them for English skylarks and some dinky little thin
song by Petrarch about a girl he never even made!"

Vigorously, from Hay, "I don't forget them!  Never!  Sitting in San
Miniato, looking at the altar-screen, I caught myself humming Casey
Jones!  Besides, you're a true Westerner; you've heard some Old
Timers sing hallelujahs.  But most American kids today have only
learned our ballads, rejoiced in our own tradition, when they've
heard 'em--if they COULD hear 'em over the smack of their chewing
gum, on the radio, rollicked out by some ferocious Nevada thousand-
dollar-a-week singing cowboy who was born in Pawtucket, Rhode
Island, and learned his Native Western American melodies in the
glee club at the Southern New Jersey School of Accountancy.  Or the
fat man who gets up and sings 'em with the soloist at a New York
night club--he's a Native Cal-y-for-ny-an born in Lithuania!

"Besides--now, for the first time, America belongs to the world,
not just to America, and Casey Jones has to take his chance against
the skylark and Laura and Roland and Nicolette and all of them, and
not complain, as you do FOR him, if François Villon drowns him out!
Casey's been a sensitive plant too long--sheltered by the Wide
Missourai!"

"Okay, okay!  Slap Walt Whitman up against Gilbert and Sullivan and
see if he's so cute.  But if you're going to be so darned world-
conscious, Hay, you got to get out of Florence--I mean, the Limey-
Yankee Florence.  It's such a hick village!  It gossips worse than
Bison Park ever thought of!  Tessie Weepswell and Sam Dodsworth and
even Mrs. D. gossip about you all day long.  Will you marry Olivia?
(And may she develop the bots!)  If you stop on the Tornabuoni and
talk to some old rabbit for two minutes at noon, the Colony has
complete details by one-thirty and talks about your new romance all
afternoon.

"And then that ratty bunch of American pansies that sit at the same
bar, every afternoon, out on the sidewalk, exhibiting their
beauties to any visiting firemen fairies that may happen to hit
town.  Provincial?  Good Lord, those serious young men of talent
are so busy, just like the gang at the Newlife Bonanza Poolroom,
talking all day, that they don't even get around to see the Uffizi
Gallery once a month.

"No, my boy.  You either disappear into ITALIAN Florence--I've
heard there used to be one--or else go on to Paris or Zurich or
Newlife, Colorado, or one of those universal cities.  And take your
O-ly-vya with you.  And TRY not to push her off an Alp on the way!"

Hayden said, "Well . . ."

Roxanna might, he thought uncomfortably, be right.  He might drift
here into a negligent snobbishness in which only persons with art-
vocabularies or titles or official posts would seem to master.  He
ought, he thought, to see more of Roxy and get more actively into
soul-saving; save hers from the suave brutality of female
careerism--save himself from the fussy brutality of damning
Perpetua every time she moved a book on his reading table.

To an ironic Olivia, late that evening, after a good-natured but
uncompromising parting with Roxanna, he explained that he really
had to be neighborly with his old friend Roxy and not let the poor
waif stumble into alien pitfalls alone.

"You mean she'll land softer if you stumble with her?" said Olivia.
"Go ahead. . . .  Heavens, Hayden!  Do you suppose for one moment I
could be jealous of a street Arab like your Roxanna?  Don't insult
me!  Spend ALL your evenings--and nights, too--with her, if it
amuses you."

Olivia was too willing.  He wondered, a thousand times, if the high
spirits of Roxanna had not already enticed Lundsgard away from
Olivia; if that lady, born to Byzantine courts and trafficking for
Hellenic manuscripts in Cyprus, was becoming silkenly double-faced.

As a matter of fact his two or three dinners alone with Roxanna
were but mildly devoted to her endangered morals.  It proved that
Roxy had, as most diners-out had not, as Olivia sniffily had not,
his own trick of telling himself exclamatory stories about all of
his fellow diners at a restaurant, and that was a trick well shared
and inducing common excitement.  At the Oliviero, most cosmopolitan
restaurant in town, they picked out a French diplomat (he was
probably a Milanese manufacturer), a Chinese general (probably
Burmese).  They looked sidewise, inconspicuously but intensely, at
a quarreling young couple, and speculated, "I wonder if we hadn't
better go over and tell him that his girl has too rocky a jaw, for
all her funny nose, and he'd better duck before she shackles him
for life?"

Always it was what Roxanna called "good fun."  And then she would
infuriate him by returning to the charge that he was becoming a
frail old scholar-hermit, and she would defend Lorenzo as a good
fellow who had antagonized Hayden only by being his own honest,
rollicking self.

At the next dinner out of the three, Roxanna said to Lundsgard,
derisively, "How's all your lovely wives keeping, Loraccio?"

"You mean my girl friends here?  Why, sweetness, I haven't got any
except you and Livy, who're both gone on that frozen-faced hermit,
Hay."

"No, Professor, I don't mean us.  WIVES, I said!"

Lundsgard's "I dunno whacha talking about" was blurred and most
unprofessional.

"It's none of my business and I don't care a hoot, but I'm a
reporter, and don't ever let them tell you I'm not a good one.
Anyway, a busy one.  You're always explaining to everybody that
you've never slipped into wedlock.  You were just mean, when you
were a rosy-cheeked young instructor with goldie tresses, to some
juicy little cricket named Bessie, and she canned you for your he-
man tyranny.

"But I've been snooping--pumping some of the American students here
that you've been chummy with.  And I wrote a few letters to a
script-writer that I know in Hollywood.  And I am now able to
inform you--it may be no news to you, Lorry, but it will interest
Livy: you were married, bell, book and neon lights, to two
different cuties and got divorced by one after two years and by
'tother after eighteen months--grounds, in both cases, amnesia
about who you were really married to.  Oh, it's okay, but I just
feel we'll all be happier, as simple, trusting American girls, if
we could expect a consignment of home truth now and then!"

Olivia was rigidly furious.

"I'm sure I don't know why we should hear all this.  Mr. Lundsgard
is my employer, and nothing else.  I have no slightest interest in
his private affairs of any sort!"

It was Lundsgard who was surprisingly undisturbed.

He snorted, "So you took enough interest in poor old Lorry to
really get busy and find out about him, heh?  Yuh, I guess your
yarn is more or less true, Rox.  I never could see why I should
bother you folks with my troubles, but believe me, I could a tale
unfold of a couple of the nastiest little tramps you ever heard of,
if I hadn't made it an iron-clad rule to never yap about my wounds
but just bear 'em in silence.  But I will say," and he looked at
Roxanna and then at Olivia as fondly as though they were two lovely
little breakfast sausages and he a hungry hero, "that an awful lot
of women hung around hoping to comfort me, after the obsequies."

"DID they, big boy!" slashed Roxanna.

"Do you mind if we forget all of this and talk about something more
interesting?" grated Olivia.

Curiously, during the rest of that meal, Lundsgard looked most
fondly upon Roxanna, and argued down Olivia's evasive doubts when
Roxy announced that the one thing in the world she wanted to do was
to get invited to lunch with Sir Henry Belfont.

They all did go, as arranged and tourist-guided by Mr. Hayden
Chart.



24


They were only six at lunch: Sir Henry and Lady Belfont, Olivia and
Roxanna, Hayden and Lundsgard, who had brought Roxanna in a taxicab
and who seemed, on landing, to be more gurglingly intimate with
Roxy than before her revelations of his multiple marriages.

When Sir Henry found that Roxy was esteemed not only by the
unimportant onlooker, Hayden, but by the favorite courtier,
Professor Lundsgard, he was markedly attentive to her, and honored
her with a portentous discourse on American Womanhood.  You gather
that he did not think much of it.

Roxy listened pertly; Lady Belfont pointedly did not listen at all
but, with small sharp eyes, examined Roxy and apparently passed
her.

Yet after Sir Henry had accepted her and she should have put on the
manners of a Belgravia governess, Roxanna was very naughty.  Sir
Henry belched at her, "Gracious little lady, you are fortunate in
being able to tarry for a while in the City of the Lilies.  Most of
your dreadful American females who come here, so uninvited--gauche
schoolteachers and librarians and the like--remain only twelve
hours or a day or two, and scamper on to Rome."

But Roxanna was not grateful for this implication of her
superiority.

She took from an overdecorated spectacle case of Florentine
leather-work, with golden scrolls on blue and sealbrown, and put on
a pair of Hollywoodized tinted sun-glasses, huge and aggressive
affairs with harlequin frames of pink plastic.  Through these
insulting portholes she stared at Sir Henry, and blatted, "Maybe
the poor darlings of teachers haven't enough cash to stick it out
here any longer, and they got to 'scamper.'  Maybe they'd stay here
for years, too, if they'd inherited a wad of money."

Every one, but especially Sir Henry and perhaps Roxanna herself,
seemed to consider her tone offensive.  He gulped; he tried to
forgive this curious campfollower of his favorite Lorenzo; and he
sailed on:

"Conceivably that may be their melancholy plight, though I cannot
understand why middle-class persons, particularly your Americans,
should be privileged to come to our Florence at all.  Such ecstasy,
Miss Eldritch, is no part of our common rights, like bread and
beer; it is a delightful good fortune which the prankish gods may
bestow or deny at their will, quite unaccountably.

"But all of your vast, marvelous country, Miss Eldritch, is full of
false claims and assertions and astounding optimism.  Children over
there invariably address their fathers not with obedient reverence
but--I shudder--'Hya, Pop'!  And THEM, I fancy, even your kind
heart could scarcely categorize as 'poor darlings'!  Eh?"

Said Roxy, "In the first place, mostly they don't say it, and if
they did, it would just show they liked their dads enough to want
to be chummy with them."

For a time, then, Roxanna was not offensive.  But when Sir Henry
had rambled, "When we consider that there once existed a Raphael,
the insanities of these contemporary artists become not merely
mawkish but blasphemous," then Roxy struck again.  She turned her
impertinent Hollywood sun-glasses on Belfont, and she piped, "Maybe
that's what the old boys said about Rafe, too, when he was
beginning."

Sir Henry looked stricken.  Lady Belfont, behind the mild harem
bars of a tiny lace handkerchief, seemed to be giggling.  Hayden
was definitely impatient with Roxy for her pointless rudeness; he
was definitely sorry for Sir Henry, whom he could see now as a
pathetic old actor getting his first hisses and trying to take them
gallantly.

Hayden thought, "The man is a bore and a snob.  He's built up a
social position to which he has to sacrifice everything.  He has
built a jail and shut himself up in it.  He can never have any fun
at all--never can laugh or talk easily or be flippant or go to a
movie and dine with poor people, lest he be seen.  Poor, timid,
wheezing Pekingese in the body of a mastiff!  I am extremely
annoyed with Roxanna, as much for her pretentious spectacles as for
her sauciness--which certainly does no credit to the good manners
that we do have in Newlife.  A splendid missionary of hate she is!
Mark Twain's bumptious rustic, his Innocent Abroad.  Still with
us!"

Sir Henry was not enfeebled by Roxy's impertinence, but angered.
It was a long time since any one had dared to make small of such a
formidable monument of guineas capped with a baronetcy.  This was
indeed his notion of blasphemy.  But he counterattacked Roxy with
stately tolerance for such small female bugs:

"My dear young lady, I agree that had he existed in your America,
Raffaello would have been denounced in his own day.  I quite
understand that--quite.  I am not shocked but only grieved by the
irreverence and boorishness that is, perhaps, to be expected from
such a lusty young giant of a country.  For, indeed, some of my own
relatives belong to you good American people."

Then, to the horror of everybody except Lady Belfont, whose lips
danced, and of the butler, who slapped a napkin over his mouth and
fled from the room, Roxy demanded, "Sir Henry, don't all of your
own relatives belong to us good American people?"

"I beg your pardon!"

"Including your father and mother?"

"I beg your pardon!"

"I heard so many interesting things about you from a newspaperman
who used to be your secretary.  You fired him--remember?--for
laughing when a dinky gilt chair busted under you.  He was left
stranded--bad.  This fellow, the rat, he told me that you never saw
England or the Continent till you were fourteen.  You were born in
Ohio and your Grampa Belfont--if that was the name--started the
family fortunes during our American Civil War by selling
adulterated drugs and shoddy uniforms to the North and South
equally."

Sir Henry was paralyzed.  The thing was so monstrous that even the
competent Hayden, the managerial Lundsgard were paralyzed, as Roxy
went smilingly on:

"This ex-secretary said it cost you sixteen years of living in Kent
and London and getting snubbed practically every hour, and then
forty-five thousand pounds in cash, to buy a seat in Parliament and
finally an unpaid job as a baronet.  But he said, this beast, that
he guessed that to the miners who work in your Kentucky coal mines
it was worth every shilling.  But this tattle-tale couldn't
possibly have been right, now could he!"

Sir Henry with his death pangs just slightly eased, croaked, "He
certainly could not."

"No, indeed.  For instance: how could he know exactly how much you
paid for your title?  Maybe they stuck you much more than forty-
five thousand pounds.  And I do want to say how wise I think you
were to move on to Italy.  In England, you must have found it so
hard to get away with the pose of being English."

Sir Henry rose, but it was not Roxanna whom he was denouncing; it
was astonishingly his admirer and fellow fraud, Professor Lorenzo
Lundsgard:

"Lundsgard, you plotted this outrage, sir.  You brought in this
woman, whom I shall certainly have the police investigate.  And as
for YOU, sir, I shall write this very afternoon to the president of
Cornucopia Films--of which I happen to own fifty-seven percent--
recommending that they give up their plan to make a Medici picture,
or any other amateurish nonsense that you may plan, ever, and
denounce you to your lecture agents as a half-witted booby.  Good
day, ladies and gentlemen."

He marched out, followed by a cattishly smiling Lady Belfont.  The
butler hurried back in, to take the better silver out with him for
safeguarding.

Lundsgard screamed, "My God, we got to do something!"

Roxy said comfortably, "Not me!  I've always been hankering to blow
up that pompous old shyster, after what this kid, my friend, told
me about him in London."

"Be quiet, Roxanna," Hayden said sharply.

Olivia, with unexpected independence, stated, "Roxanna was
inexcusably rude and vulgar, but it is our fault for bringing her
here.  We should have understood that she would not know even the
first duties of being a decent guest."

Roxanna cried, "Hey, now look here, you!" but Olivia iced her out
with, "Although I am quite indifferent to what Mr. Belfont thinks
of me.  In my group, we consider him an incompetent dilettante."

Lundsgard was raging, "You've all got to put your heads together
and help me--and you, Roxy, I'm certainly going to throttle you!
I'm ruined, if Cornucopia Films welch on me.  Didn't you realize
that, Roxy, you dangerous little fool?"

"Oh yes, Lor-en-zo, I had some idea of it.  I've just sort of been
resenting your idea I would be an easy conquest.  I'm not a round-
heel like Livy."

Olivia was a leopard leaping.  "You little vixen!  And I am not
a . . . I don't even know what the vile word means!"

"How come it makes you so sore then?"

Hayden gravely interposed--though he too was being forced up to a
plane of screaming:  "I think you've done enough harm, Roxanna--and
don't be so smug about your efficiency as a guttersnipe.  We are
justifying Sir Henry in his hatred of us Americans--of his own
countrymen!  We must leave this house."

"You simply got to come to my office and help me fix this thing
up," besought Lundsgard.  "You can't see me busted like this.
We'll all tell Sir Henry that Roxanna is hysterical.  We just
learned it--we've thrown her right smack out on her back, bang, for
keeps. . . ."

To point it all up, the butler came back to inform Lundsgard that
his taxicab (which Lundsgard had never ordered) was waiting.

As he drove Olivia to Lundsgard's office in the small car, Hayden
imagined from blocks away that he could hear Roxy and Lundsgard
quarreling in their cab, but he had little time for imaginings.  He
was occupied with listening to Olivia, and Olivia had an eloquence
she never got out of Machiavelli.

"This whole boresome incident has been a revelation to me, Hayden.
I saw what a cowering coward Lorry is--or Lawrence or Oley or
whatever he is.  I'm not sure but that he's even worse than your
shrieking, hair-pulling young fishwife, Roxanna."

"Now, now, she isn't a . . ."

"She is too, and you know it!  And I want you to be as honest about
this as I am; I want you to admit your blindness, as I certainly
admit mine, now.  The veil of sensuality has been lifted from
before my eyes; that horrible, sooty veil.  I see now--I was a fool
and an ingrate not to see it before.  It's you, not I, who are the
artist-scholar.  Hayden dear, you, not Lorry, who are the true
Magnificent, without flashy banners.

"For a while I fell into an illusion--it doubtless came from
overmuch reading of medieval chronicles and ballads, but still, it
was childish and inexcusable--an illusion that a man ought to be
obviously splendid: the knight crusader, daring and poetic, the
Duke of Urbino, the battle-breaker, the patron of poets and
artists; powerful, cloaked in brocade, belted with a great sword,
surrounded by medieval color and all the respect of a medieval
court.

"I dreamed, in this schoolgirl dream, that he should travel wide
and swiftly, have his commands obeyed swiftly; be extravagant and
sometimes ruthless, and forever uplift the whole groveling world by
his gorgeous example.

"What a sentimental fool I was!  I see that that kind of an idea is
more likely to produce a pompous fraud like Belfont or a pilfering
clown like Lundsgard than a man like YOU, who is strong enough to
be willing to be quiet!"

She kissed him tremendously, to his considerable discomfiture while
tacking in the topolino among the trucks, cars, motorcycles,
vespas--motorcycles with platforms and tin aprons--bicycles,
scooters, pedestrians reading the newspapers while suicidally
strolling, which so interestingly complicate the traffic of
Florence.  But these dangers did not dismay him so much as the
thought that he was caught for good, and that the world which
Olivia would now permit him to see would not be very wide.

"You know, I'm not always so quiet," he fretted.  "And I'm not sure
I can ever do much with the Magnificence role, with or without
banners.  Olivia, I wonder--does it ever occur to you that maybe
we're making a mistake?  Perhaps we're both too stubborn to be
married."

"Nonsense!  We'll both learn."

"But can we?  Just because you ARE so capable, you'll always be
pretty independent."

"I suppose our hoyden friend Roxanna is your idea of pliability!"

"Oh, she's a pirate, but same time, she never fools herself, as you
and I do.  I admire her a lot.  Olivia!  Let's not be too sure
about our marriage.  It scares me a little."

"Not me.  You just do what I tell you to, and you'll be happy."

"Maybe!"



25


They parked the topolino at the Excelsior just as Roxanna and
Lundsgard were leaving their taxicab.  They four went up in the
elevator, but there were two English ladies in it, making that
apartment unsuitable for expert quarreling.  Not till they had
entered Lundsgard's office, where Nat Friar sat with his large,
dusty boots up on a desk, his rustic straw hat over his eyes,
alternately reading a Dorothy Sayers thriller and Monnier's Le
Quattrocento, was Lundsgard able to attack:

"I don't know which of you two women is the worst slut and the most
ungrateful!"

Hayden had achieved only a sharp, "We'll have no more of . . ."
when he was interrupted by Uncle Nat.  As his boots banged down on
the floor, Nat fussily poked his straw hat into a wastebasket and
spoke:

"Lundsgard, I don't like your manner.  Remember there are gentlemen
present.  By the way, before you discharge me, may I say that I am
leaving you for a job in a travel agency?  I shall be paid only
one-fifth as much, but there I shall be doing nothing more evil
than to direct homeless travelers to corrugated beds.  It may be
that after a month I shall feel somewhat cleansed from the sin of
having helped you to corrupt that great lady, Learning."

Angelo Gazza, the photographer, was just coming in and at him
Lundsgard shrieked, "YOU, anyway--you're FIRED!"

"Oh, no, I'm not!  Professor Friar told me his plan to quit, and
I'm rat number two.  You, the big athlete, that thought he could
kick history around like a football!  You're going to feel funny
when you get back to teaching schoolboys and tell 'em what a hit
you were in Italy with all the princes and the cardinals--and see
that not one of your students believes you--ever.  Blackboards
again, and chalkdust and weekly themes!  Addio, tutti!  Ciao,
Oley!"

The stricken Lundsgard pressed his eyes with his large, beringed
hands and stood shaking, and from this spectacle of doom they crept
out in pity.

"I hate these renegades like ourselves," Nat Friar said to Hayden,
Olivia, Roxy, Angelo, "who triumph over less virtuous scoundrels
like Lundsgard.  We are so much less colorful.  May I buy you all a
last cognac?  We shall toast the fallen idol.  It will probably be
the last toast that anybody will ever drink to Mr. Lundsgard."

In the Piazza della Republica, shabby small boys were begging and
the old scavengers were picking up cigarette butts.  All the
umbrellas over the outdoor café tables had blossomed in front of
Gilli's; the gentle violet-seller circulated and girls laughed in
peace.

"Can Olivia and I EVER leave Florence?" Hayden wondered.

From the café, Hayden and Olivia and Roxanna walked away, but with
Roxy only tagging.

Olivia was holding Hayden's arm.  She sighed, "Ohhhh!"--a hungry
sound.  She mourned, "I don't know how many kinds of a fool and
bully I've been, but I think I've paid for all of them.  Lorry
looks at me now with such hatred; he makes me feel loose and
compromised.  But you, my good angel, you'll never be treacherous
as Lorry is--as I've been!  You'll never take your obligations
lightly.  In your presence, I feel absolved and secure."

She held his arm the more tightly and as he managed an embarrassed
glance at her, he saw that her forehead was serene, her eyes were
clear and tender; she was angelic again and splendid and desirable.

He felt manacled by her lovely ivory hand.  How could he desert
this passionate woman whom he had helped to destroy, whom he must
help to restore to her principalities?

But he ached for his solitary room and the sweet drudgery of books
and, after certain years of them, to venture onward to the brazen
sea of Arabia, the West Indian islands shining at dawn, the high
lone whistling passes of the Himalayas.  On such unscheduled
wandering, Olivia would never accompany him.  Her love would
encompass him, but bind him.

They were at the Palazzo Spizzi.

Roxanna caught up with them and proposed, "How about a dish of
tea?"

With a remarkably chilly, "Not for me, thanks--perhaps Hayden will
care for one," Olivia curtly left them, went into the Palazzo.

"How about you?" Roxy hesitated.

"I'd love some," said Hayden, and they strolled on to a small tea-
shop off the Tornabuoni.  As they sat down, Roxy sighed:

"I know I've already talked too much today, but one more thing.  I
used to respect you so, Hay, for your dignity and honesty.  Now it
kills me to see you turned into Livy's stooge."

Hayden was working up to a denial, but Roxy clattered on:

"I loathe seeing you get all silent and intense again the way you
used to be with Caprice.  But I guess you must have it--you
bleating MARTYR!  When I get back to Newlife and the mountains--
that big, huge place where you look up to the horizon, where
there's freedom to be ignorant of the ruling dynasty of Piacenza,
I'll think of you solemnly grinding away here, trying to satisfy
Professor Olivia!  But I hope I'll have your forgiveness for having
plagued you, and for having been a pest today."

Roxy, on the wall-bench beside him, was suddenly crying, a
defenseless and bewildered child.  She spoke through sobs like the
sobs of a child, hurt, broken, bewildered:

"Oh, darling Hay, I thought you'd all be delighted to have me show
up that old sergeant-major, Harry Belfont, today, and get him off
your necks!"

Hayden was trembling, but he tried to be hard-hearted.  "It was
needless and cruel of you.  The old comedian is perfectly
harmless."

He was glad that a serving-table concealed them from the rest of
the tea-shop.

Roxy was still broken with sobbing as she stammered, "Maybe he's
harmless but you all talk so's you'll impress him.  I wanted to
help you, even Livy.  But then I saw you all hated me and despised
me for bawling him out--shanty Irish, flannel-mouth, nuisance!"

Roxy was crying hard now.  He touched her shoulder and she melted
against him, she seemed to melt into him, to be one with him.  She
was a familiar part of him and his own land.  There was a sweet
wild smell about her, like sagebrush.  He cried, "Why, I'm in love
with you, Roxy, and I always have been!"

"Didn't you know that?  Did you have to go to Italy and read all
about arquebuses and apses, to find that out?"

"Will you go with me to Burma and Brazil and Damascus?"

"Sure!"

He kissed Roxanna, very happily.



It was later, as tea prolonged into dinner, that he said sadly,
"But Roxy, I'm no good.  I seem to honor women, and yet I help to
destroy them--Caprice and now Olivia."

"Sure you do.  You let them use you and tyrannize over you.  No
woman that ever lived can stand that much privilege.  I'm likely to
try it on, too, but maybe not, because I've been in love with you
too many years.  You know something?  Here's the real secret of my
life:

"When you were an old man of eighteen, very handsome and dignified,
like a secretary of state, you were rehearsing your salutatorian's
essay for Commencement exercises, in the empty auditorium of the
Kit Carson High School, all by yourself--you thought you were.  But
I was curled up behind a row of seats in the balcony, making myself
very small and silent, sucking my lollypop in the utmost silence.
I was an earnest young lady of ten, then.  I meant to be a United
States Senator, and you were my model.  (You were to be President.)

"You carried on something wonderful; all about the International
Court and how nice it would be if all the nations would listen to
you and learn about justice.  It sounded swell!  I just knelt there
and said to myself, 'Some day I'm going to marry that man, even if
I have to follow him to Denver or even Minneapolis.'  I didn't
count on Italy.  That's how you slipped me!  Dear Hay!"

"Dear Roxy!" he said earnestly.

But he had a worry.

"Now, I have to go tell Olivia, I suppose!"

Roxy said brightly, "Want me to do it for you?"

"Oh, no, I THINK I can manage it," groaned Hayden.



The wedding of Hayden and Roxanna--the civil service in the office
of the kindly American Consul, and the religious service at St.
James's church--was an Event, attended by all the Anglo-American
Colony except Sir Henry Belfont.

Dr. Olivia Lomond was at the church, looking contented and
superior.  She was warmly on the arm of the chief foreign official
then to be found in Florence: the newly appointed First Assistant
American Cultural Commissioner to Peru, a confident, beaming,
success-radiating magnifico in morning clothes and Ascot tie.  His
name was Professor the Hon. Lorenzo O. Lundsgard, Ph. D.



They were in Rapallo.

"All right, we'll do that then, unless we want to change our
minds," said Roxanna.  "Go home by way of Ceylon and India and
Japan, if they'll let us in.  Home!  But if I ever catch you
getting to be successful, I'll snatch you back here, for a course
in humility.  Maybe we came to Italy too late.  We'll never speak
the lingo so naturally that we won't even notice we're speaking it.
But there is something great here for us--so great because it is so
quiet.  The American Colonists in Florence are richer in their
hearts than the Men of Distinction back home that take themselves
so seriously selling whisky or lawsuits or college-alumni
enthusiasm.  Oh, darling, am I holding forth?"

"Yes--yes," amiably.

"Oh, dear!  But you never help me.  I suppose you have to be born
to it, to know how to beat women, and you weren't."

"I'll try."

"Look.  When we get to Rome, are there any more presents we'll have
to buy?  Last minute in Florence, I got a leather box for Aunt Tib,
and the rosary for Lizzie Edison and the linen luncheon-set for
Mrs. Dr. Crittenham and a souvenir deck of cards for Bill and Jean
Windelbank (won't we enjoy talking over Europe with THEM!) and the
Venetian glass and the blue-and-gold spectacle case for Mary Eliza
Bradbin.  It'll be such fun to see her when she gets it!"



"Such fun"--he realized how often Roxanna said it, as hand in hand
they walked through Ravenna.  Even King Theodoric's Arian cathedral
and the tomb of the Empress Honoria she found "such fun," and he
wondered if their sculptors had not also considered them "fun."

"Dear Roxy," he said, even in the sanctity of Dante's tomb.



Far up in the mountains behind Salerno, one light persisted while
their steamer plodded southward from Naples, bound out for Smyrna
and Alexandria.

Was it a light in the hut of a peasant or of some studious hermit-
priest, a priest in that sacred land where Hayden had known defeat
and glory, where he had begun to know himself?

"Do you think we might have one modest drink before we turn in?"
said Roxanna.

"I think that might be possible, if the bartender is kind-hearted."

"The bartender is Italian," said Roxy, "and he speaks English,
French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Polish, Croatian and some Arabic.
His name is Fortunato, and he was born in Reggio Emilia, but his
wife was born in Bari.  He has two children, a girl of seven and a
son, six, and he likes Italian crossword-puzzles--he is such fun.
He has a cousin in San Jose, California--Giuseppina Vespi of 1127
Citrus Court.  She is married to an upholsterer named Joe Murphy
and they have two children.  I am to send her a picture post card
from Palermo.  I'm sleepy.  Let's have that drink and then turn
in."

"Splendid!" said Hayden.



THE END




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