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Title:      Tender is the Night (1933)
Author:     F. Scott Fitzgerald
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.:  0301261.txt
Language:   English
Date first posted:          September 2003
Date most recently updated: September 2003

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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      Tender is the Night (1933)
Author:     F. Scott Fitzgerald





Already with thee! tender is the night. . .
. . . But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
--Ode to a Nightingale




TO

GERALD and SARA

MANY FÊTES





BOOK 1



I


On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about half way between
Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a large, proud, rose-
colored hotel.  Deferential palms cool its flushed façade, and
before it stretches a short dazzling beach.  Lately it has become a
summer resort of notable and fashionable people; a decade ago it
was almost deserted after its English clientele went north in
April.  Now, many bungalows cluster near it, but when this story
begins only the cupolas of a dozen old villas rotted like water
lilies among the massed pines between Gausse's Hôtel des Étrangers
and Cannes, five miles away.

The hotel and its bright tan prayer rug of a beach were one.  In
the early morning the distant image of Cannes, the pink and cream
of old fortifications, the purple Alp that bounded Italy, were cast
across the water and lay quavering in the ripples and rings sent up
by sea-plants through the clear shallows.  Before eight a man came
down to the beach in a blue bathrobe and with much preliminary
application to his person of the chilly water, and much grunting
and loud breathing, floundered a minute in the sea.  When he had
gone, beach and bay were quiet for an hour.  Merchantmen crawled
westward on the horizon; bus boys shouted in the hotel court; the
dew dried upon the pines.  In another hour the horns of motors
began to blow down from the winding road along the low range of the
Maures, which separates the littoral from true Provençal France.

A mile from the sea, where pines give way to dusty poplars, is an
isolated railroad stop, whence one June morning in 1925 a victoria
brought a woman and her daughter down to Gausse's Hotel.  The
mother's face was of a fading prettiness that would soon be patted
with broken veins; her expression was both tranquil and aware in a
pleasant way.  However, one's eye moved on quickly to her daughter,
who had magic in her pink palms and her cheeks lit to a lovely
flame, like the thrilling flush of children after their cold baths
in the evening.  Her fine forehead sloped gently up to where her
hair, bordering it like an armorial shield, burst into lovelocks
and waves and curlicues of ash blonde and gold.  Her eyes were
bright, big, clear, wet, and shining, the color of her cheeks was
real, breaking close to the surface from the strong young pump of
her heart.  Her body hovered delicately on the last edge of
childhood--she was almost eighteen, nearly complete, but the dew
was still on her.

As sea and sky appeared below them in a thin, hot line the mother
said:

"Something tells me we're not going to like this place."

"I want to go home anyhow," the girl answered.

They both spoke cheerfully but were obviously without direction and
bored by the fact--moreover, just any direction would not do.  They
wanted high excitement, not from the necessity of stimulating jaded
nerves but with the avidity of prize-winning schoolchildren who
deserved their vacations.

"We'll stay three days and then go home.  I'll wire right away for
steamer tickets."

At the hotel the girl made the reservation in idiomatic but rather
flat French, like something remembered.  When they were installed
on the ground floor she walked into the glare of the French windows
and out a few steps onto the stone veranda that ran the length of
the hotel.  When she walked she carried herself like a ballet-
dancer, not slumped down on her hips but held up in the small of
her back.  Out there the hot light clipped close her shadow and she
retreated--it was too bright to see.  Fifty yards away the
Mediterranean yielded up its pigments, moment by moment, to the
brutal sunshine; below the balustrade a faded Buick cooked on the
hotel drive.

Indeed, of all the region only the beach stirred with activity.
Three British nannies sat knitting the slow pattern of Victorian
England, the pattern of the forties, the sixties, and the eighties,
into sweaters and socks, to the tune of gossip as formalized as
incantation; closer to the sea a dozen persons kept house under
striped umbrellas, while their dozen children pursued unintimidated
fish through the shallows or lay naked and glistening with cocoanut
oil out in the sun.

As Rosemary came onto the beach a boy of twelve ran past her and
dashed into the sea with exultant cries.  Feeling the impactive
scrutiny of strange faces, she took off her bathrobe and followed.
She floated face down for a few yards and finding it shallow
staggered to her feet and plodded forward, dragging slim legs like
weights against the resistance of the water.  When it was about
breast high, she glanced back toward shore: a bald man in a monocle
and a pair of tights, his tufted chest thrown out, his brash navel
sucked in, was regarding her attentively.  As Rosemary returned the
gaze the man dislodged the monocle, which went into hiding amid the
facetious whiskers of his chest, and poured himself a glass of
something from a bottle in his hand.

Rosemary laid her face on the water and swam a choppy little four-
beat crawl out to the raft.  The water reached up for her, pulled
her down tenderly out of the heat, seeped in her hair and ran into
the corners of her body.  She turned round and round in it,
embracing it, wallowing in it.  Reaching the raft she was out of
breath, but a tanned woman with very white teeth looked down at
her, and Rosemary, suddenly conscious of the raw whiteness of her
own body, turned on her back and drifted toward shore.  The hairy
man holding the bottle spoke to her as she came out.

"I say--they have sharks out behind the raft."  He was of
indeterminate nationality, but spoke English with a slow Oxford
drawl.  "Yesterday they devoured two British sailors from the
flotte at Golfe Juan."

"Heavens!" exclaimed Rosemary.

"They come in for the refuse from the flotte."

Glazing his eyes to indicate that he had only spoken in order to
warn her, he minced off two steps and poured himself another drink.

Not unpleasantly self-conscious, since there had been a slight sway
of attention toward her during this conversation, Rosemary looked
for a place to sit.  Obviously each family possessed the strip of
sand immediately in front of its umbrella; besides there was much
visiting and talking back and forth--the atmosphere of a community
upon which it would be presumptuous to intrude.  Farther up, where
the beach was strewn with pebbles and dead sea-weed, sat a group
with flesh as white as her own.  They lay under small hand-parasols
instead of beach umbrellas and were obviously less indigenous to
the place.  Between the dark people and the light, Rosemary found
room and spread out her peignoir on the sand.

Lying so, she first heard their voices and felt their feet skirt
her body and their shapes pass between the sun and herself.  The
breath of an inquisitive dog blew warm and nervous on her neck; she
could feel her skin broiling a little in the heat and hear the
small exhausted wa-waa of the expiring waves.  Presently her ear
distinguished individual voices and she became aware that some one
referred to scornfully as "that North guy" had kidnapped a waiter
from a café in Cannes last night in order to saw him in two.  The
sponsor of the story was a white-haired woman in full evening
dress, obviously a relic of the previous evening, for a tiara still
clung to her head and a discouraged orchid expired from her
shoulder.  Rosemary, forming a vague antipathy to her and her
companions, turned away.

Nearest her, on the other side, a young woman lay under a roof of
umbrellas making out a list of things from a book open on the sand.
Her bathing suit was pulled off her shoulders and her back, a
ruddy, orange brown, set off by a string of creamy pearls, shone in
the sun.  Her face was hard and lovely and pitiful.  Her eyes met
Rosemary's but did not see her.  Beyond her was a fine man in a
jockey cap and red-striped tights; then the woman Rosemary had seen
on the raft, and who looked back at her, seeing her; then a man
with a long face and a golden, leonine head, with blue tights and
no hat, talking very seriously to an unmistakably Latin young man
in black tights, both of them picking at little pieces of seaweed
in the sand.  She thought they were mostly Americans, but something
made them unlike the Americans she had known of late.

After a while she realized that the man in the jockey cap was
giving a quiet little performance for this group; he moved gravely
about with a rake, ostensibly removing gravel and meanwhile
developing some esoteric burlesque held in suspension by his grave
face.  Its faintest ramification had become hilarious, until
whatever he said released a burst of laughter.  Even those who,
like herself, were too far away to hear, sent out antennæ of
attention until the only person on the beach not caught up in it
was the young woman with the string of pearls.  Perhaps from
modesty of possession she responded to each salvo of amusement by
bending closer over her list.

The man of the monocle and bottle spoke suddenly out of the sky
above Rosemary.

"You are a ripping swimmer."

She demurred.

"Jolly good.  My name is Campion.  Here is a lady who says she saw
you in Sorrento last week and knows who you are and would so like
to meet you."

Glancing around with concealed annoyance Rosemary saw the untanned
people were waiting.  Reluctantly she got up and went over to them.

"Mrs. Abrams--Mrs. McKisco--Mr. McKisco--Mr. Dumphry--

"We know who you are," spoke up the woman in evening dress.
"You're Rosemary Hoyt and I recognized you in Sorrento and asked
the hotel clerk and we all think you're perfectly marvellous and we
want to know why you're not back in America making another
marvellous moving picture."

They made a superfluous gesture of moving over for her.  The woman
who had recognized her was not a Jewess, despite her name.  She was
one of those elderly "good sports" preserved by an imperviousness
to experience and a good digestion into another generation.

"We wanted to warn you about getting burned the first day," she
continued cheerily, "because YOUR skin is important, but there
seems to be so darn much formality on this beach that we didn't
know whether you'd mind."



II


"We thought maybe you were in the plot," said Mrs. McKisco.  She
was a shabby-eyed, pretty young woman with a disheartening
intensity.  "We don't know who's in the plot and who isn't.  One
man my husband had been particularly nice to turned out to be a
chief character--practically the assistant hero."

"The plot?" inquired Rosemary, half understanding.  "Is there a
plot?"

"My dear, we don't KNOW," said Mrs. Abrams, with a convulsive,
stout woman's chuckle.  "We're not in it.  We're the gallery."

Mr. Dumphry, a tow-headed effeminate young man, remarked:  "Mama
Abrams is a plot in herself," and Campion shook his monocle at him,
saying:  "Now, Royal, don't be too ghastly for words."  Rosemary
looked at them all uncomfortably, wishing her mother had come down
here with her.  She did not like these people, especially in her
immediate comparison of them with those who had interested her at
the other end of the beach.  Her mother's modest but compact social
gift got them out of unwelcome situations swiftly and firmly.  But
Rosemary had been a celebrity for only six months, and sometimes
the French manners of her early adolescence and the democratic
manners of America, these latter superimposed, made a certain
confusion and let her in for just such things.

Mr. McKisco, a scrawny, freckle-and-red man of thirty, did not find
the topic of the "plot" amusing.  He had been staring at the sea--
now after a swift glance at his wife he turned to Rosemary and
demanded aggressively:

"Been here long?"

"Only a day."

"Oh."

Evidently feeling that the subject had been thoroughly changed, he
looked in turn at the others.

"Going to stay all summer?" asked Mrs. McKisco, innocently.  "If
you do you can watch the plot unfold."

"For God's sake, Violet, drop the subject!" exploded her husband.
"Get a new joke, for God's sake!"

Mrs. McKisco swayed toward Mrs. Abrams and breathed audibly:

"He's nervous."

"I'm not nervous," disagreed McKisco.  "It just happens I'm not
nervous at all."

He was burning visibly--a grayish flush had spread over his face,
dissolving all his expressions into a vast ineffectuality.
Suddenly remotely conscious of his condition he got up to go in the
water, followed by his wife, and seizing the opportunity Rosemary
followed.

Mr. McKisco drew a long breath, flung himself into the shallows and
began a stiff-armed batting of the Mediterranean, obviously
intended to suggest a crawl--his breath exhausted he arose and
looked around with an expression of surprise that he was still in
sight of shore.

"I haven't learned to breathe yet.  I never quite understood how
they breathed."  He looked at Rosemary inquiringly.

"I think you breathe out under water," she explained.  "And every
fourth beat you roll your head over for air."

"The breathing's the hardest part for me.  Shall we go to the
raft?"

The man with the leonine head lay stretched out upon the raft,
which tipped back and forth with the motion of the water.  As Mrs.
McKisco reached for it a sudden tilt struck her arm up roughly,
whereupon the man started up and pulled her on board.

"I was afraid it hit you."  His voice was slow and shy; he had one
of the saddest faces Rosemary had ever seen, the high cheekbones of
an Indian, a long upper lip, and enormous deep-set dark golden
eyes.  He had spoken out of the side of his mouth, as if he hoped
his words would reach Mrs. McKisco by a circuitous and unobtrusive
route; in a minute he had shoved off into the water and his long
body lay motionless toward shore.

Rosemary and Mrs. McKisco watched him.  When he had exhausted his
momentum he abruptly bent double, his thin thighs rose above the
surface, and he disappeared totally, leaving scarcely a fleck of
foam behind.

"He's a good swimmer," Rosemary said.

Mrs. McKisco's answer came with surprising violence.

"Well, he's a rotten musician."  She turned to her husband, who
after two unsuccessful attempts had managed to climb on the raft,
and having attained his balance was trying to make some kind of
compensatory flourish, achieving only an extra stagger.  "I was
just saying that Abe North may be a good swimmer but he's a rotten
musician."

"Yes," agreed McKisco, grudgingly.  Obviously he had created his
wife's world, and allowed her few liberties in it.

"Antheil's my man."  Mrs. McKisco turned challengingly to Rosemary,
"Anthiel and Joyce.  I don't suppose you ever hear much about those
sort of people in Hollywood, but my husband wrote the first
criticism of Ulysses that ever appeared in America."

"I wish I had a cigarette," said McKisco calmly.  "That's more
important to me just now."

"He's got insides--don't you think so, Albert?"

Her voice faded off suddenly.  The woman of the pearls had joined
her two children in the water, and now Abe North came up under one
of them like a volcanic island, raising him on his shoulders.  The
child yelled with fear and delight and the woman watched with a
lovely peace, without a smile.

"Is that his wife?" Rosemary asked.

"No, that's Mrs. Diver.  They're not at the hotel."  Her eyes,
photographic, did not move from the woman's face.  After a moment
she turned vehemently to Rosemary.

"Have you been abroad before?"

"Yes--I went to school in Paris."

"Oh!  Well then you probably know that if you want to enjoy
yourself here the thing is to get to know some real French
families.  What do these people get out of it?"  She pointed her
left shoulder toward shore.  "They just stick around with each
other in little cliques.  Of course, we had letters of introduction
and met all the best French artists and writers in Paris.  That
made it very nice."

"I should think so."

"My husband is finishing his first novel, you see."

Rosemary said:  "Oh, he is?"  She was not thinking anything
special, except wondering whether her mother had got to sleep in
this heat.

"It's on the idea of Ulysses," continued Mrs. McKisco.  "Only
instead of taking twenty-four hours my husband takes a hundred
years.  He takes a decayed old French aristocrat and puts him in
contrast with the mechanical age--"

"Oh, for God's sake, Violet, don't go telling everybody the idea,"
protested McKisco.  "I don't want it to get all around before the
book's published."

Rosemary swam back to the shore, where she threw her peignoir over
her already sore shoulders and lay down again in the sun.  The man
with the jockey cap was now going from umbrella to umbrella
carrying a bottle and little glasses in his hands; presently he and
his friends grew livelier and closer together and now they were all
under a single assemblage of umbrellas--she gathered that some one
was leaving and that this was a last drink on the beach.  Even the
children knew that excitement was generating under that umbrella
and turned toward it--and it seemed to Rosemary that it all came
from the man in the jockey cap.

Noon dominated sea and sky--even the white line of Cannes, five
miles off, had faded to a mirage of what was fresh and cool; a
robin-breasted sailing boat pulled in behind it a strand from the
outer, darker sea.  It seemed that there was no life anywhere in
all this expanse of coast except under the filtered sunlight of
those umbrellas, where something went on amid the color and the
murmur.

Campion walked near her, stood a few feet away and Rosemary closed
her eyes, pretending to be asleep; then she half-opened them and
watched two dim, blurred pillars that were legs.  The man tried to
edge his way into a sand-colored cloud, but the cloud floated off
into the vast hot sky.  Rosemary fell really asleep.

She awoke drenched with sweat to find the beach deserted save for
the man in the jockey cap, who was folding a last umbrella.  As
Rosemary lay blinking, he walked nearer and said:

"I was going to wake you before I left.  It's not good to get too
burned right away."

"Thank you."  Rosemary looked down at her crimson legs.

"Heavens!"

She laughed cheerfully, inviting him to talk, but Dick Diver was
already carrying a tent and a beach umbrella up to a waiting car,
so she went into the water to wash off the sweat.  He came back and
gathering up a rake, a shovel, and a sieve, stowed them in a
crevice of a rock.  He glanced up and down the beach to see if he
had left anything.

"Do you know what time it is?" Rosemary asked.

"It's about half-past one."

They faced the seascape together momentarily.

"It's not a bad time," said Dick Diver.  "It's not one of worst
times of the day."

He looked at her and for a moment she lived in the bright blue
worlds of his eyes, eagerly and confidently.  Then he shouldered
his last piece of junk and went up to his car, and Rosemary came
out of the water, shook out her peignoir and walked up to the
hotel.



III


It was almost two when they went into the dining-room.  Back and
forth over the deserted tables a heavy pattern of beams and shadows
swayed with the motion of the pines outside.  Two waiters, piling
plates and talking loud Italian, fell silent when they came in and
brought them a tired version of the table d'hôte luncheon.

"I fell in love on the beach," said Rosemary.

"Who with?"

"First with a whole lot of people who looked nice.  Then with one
man."

"Did you talk to him?"

"Just a little.  Very handsome.  With reddish hair."  She was
eating, ravenously.  "He's married though--it's usually the way."

Her mother was her best friend and had put every last possibility
into the guiding of her, not so rare a thing in the theatrical
profession, but rather special in that Mrs. Elsie Speers was not
recompensing herself for a defeat of her own.  She had no personal
bitterness or resentments about life--twice satisfactorily married
and twice widowed, her cheerful stoicism had each time deepened.
One of her husbands had been a cavalry officer and one an army
doctor, and they both left something to her that she tried to
present intact to Rosemary.  By not sparing Rosemary she had made
her hard--by not sparing her own labor and devotion she had
cultivated an idealism in Rosemary, which at present was directed
toward herself and saw the world through her eyes.  So that while
Rosemary was a "simple" child she was protected by a double sheath
of her mother's armor and her own--she had a mature distrust of the
trivial, the facile and the vulgar.  However, with Rosemary's
sudden success in pictures Mrs. Speers felt that it was time she
were spiritually weaned; it would please rather than pain her if
this somewhat bouncing, breathless and exigent idealism would focus
on something except herself.

"Then you like it here?" she asked.

"It might be fun if we knew those people.  There were some other
people, but they weren't nice.  They recognized me--no matter where
we go everybody's seen 'Daddy's Girl.'"

Mrs. Speers waited for the glow of egotism to subside; then she
said in a matter-of-fact way:  "That reminds me, when are you going
to see Earl Brady?"

"I thought we might go this afternoon--if you're rested."

"You go--I'm not going."

"We'll wait till to-morrow then."

"I want you to go alone.  It's only a short way--it isn't as if you
didn't speak French."

"Mother--aren't there some things I don't have to do?"

"Oh, well then go later--but some day before we leave."

"All right, Mother."

After lunch they were both overwhelmed by the sudden flatness that
comes over American travellers in quiet foreign places.  No stimuli
worked upon them, no voices called them from without, no fragments
of their own thoughts came suddenly from the minds of others, and
missing the clamor of Empire they felt that life was not continuing
here.

"Let's only stay three days, Mother," Rosemary said when they were
back in their rooms.  Outside a light wind blew the heat around,
straining it through the trees and sending little hot gusts through
the shutters.

"How about the man you fell in love with on the beach?"

"I don't love anybody but you, Mother, darling."

Rosemary stopped in the lobby and spoke to Gausse père about
trains.  The concierge, lounging in light-brown khaki by the desk,
stared at her rigidly, then suddenly remembered the manners of his
métier.  She took the bus and rode with a pair of obsequious
waiters to the station, embarrassed by their deferential silence,
wanting to urge them:  "Go on, talk, enjoy yourselves.  It doesn't
bother me."

The first-class compartment was stifling; the vivid advertising
cards of the railroad companies--The Pont du Gard at Arles, the
Amphitheatre at Orange, winter sports at Chamonix--were fresher
than the long motionless sea outside.  Unlike American trains that
were absorbed in an intense destiny of their own, and scornful of
people on another world less swift and breathless, this train was
part of the country through which it passed.  Its breath stirred
the dust from the palm leaves, the cinders mingled with the dry
dung in the gardens.  Rosemary was sure she could lean from the
window and pull flowers with her hand.

A dozen cabbies slept in their hacks outside the Cannes station.
Over on the promenade the Casino, the smart shops, and the great
hotels turned blank iron masks to the summer sea.  It was
unbelievable that there could ever have been a "season," and
Rosemary, half in the grip of fashion, became a little self-
conscious, as though she were displaying an unhealthy taste for the
moribund; as though people were wondering why she was here in the
lull between the gaiety of last winter and next winter, while up
north the true world thundered by.



As she came out of a drug store with a bottle of cocoanut oil, a
woman, whom she recognized as Mrs. Diver, crossed her path with
arms full of sofa cushions, and went to a car parked down the
street.  A long, low black dog barked at her, a dozing chauffeur
woke with a start.  She sat in the car, her lovely face set,
controlled, her eyes brave and watchful, looking straight ahead
toward nothing.  Her dress was bright red and her brown legs were
bare.  She had thick, dark, gold hair like a chow's.

With half an hour to wait for her train Rosemary sat down in the
Café des Alliés on the Croisette, where the trees made a green
twilight over the tables and an orchestra wooed an imaginary public
of cosmopolites with the Nice Carnival Song and last year's
American tune.  She had bought Le Temps and The Saturday Evening
Post for her mother, and as she drank her citronade she opened the
latter at the memoirs of a Russian princess, finding the dim
conventions of the nineties realer and nearer than the headlines of
the French paper.  It was the same feeling that had oppressed her
at the hotel--accustomed to seeing the starkest grotesqueries of a
continent heavily underlined as comedy or tragedy, untrained to the
task of separating out the essential for herself, she now began to
feel that French life was empty and stale.  This feeling was
surcharged by listening to the sad tunes of the orchestra,
reminiscent of the melancholy music played for acrobats in
vaudeville.  She was glad to go back to Gausse's Hotel.

Her shoulders were too burned to swim with the next day, so she and
her mother hired a car--after much haggling, for Rosemary had
formed her valuations of money in France--and drove along the
Riviera, the delta of many rivers.  The chauffeur, a Russian Czar
of the period of Ivan the Terrible, was a self-appointed guide, and
the resplendent names--Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo--began to glow
through their torpid camouflage, whispering of old kings come here
to dine or die, of rajahs tossing Buddha's eyes to English
ballerinas, of Russian princes turning the weeks into Baltic
twilights in the lost caviare days.  Most of all, there was the
scent of the Russians along the coast--their closed book shops and
grocery stores.  Ten years ago, when the season ended in April, the
doors of the Orthodox Church were locked, and the sweet champagnes
they favored were put away until their return.  "We'll be back next
season," they said, but this was premature, for they were never
coming back any more.

It was pleasant to drive back to the hotel in the late afternoon,
above a sea as mysteriously colored as the agates and cornelians of
childhood, green as green milk, blue as laundry water, wine dark.
It was pleasant to pass people eating outside their doors, and to
hear the fierce mechanical pianos behind the vines of country
estaminets.  When they turned off the Corniche d'Or and down to
Gausse's Hotel through the darkening banks of trees, set one behind
another in many greens, the moon already hovered over the ruins of
the aqueducts. . . .

Somewhere in the hills behind the hotel there was a dance, and
Rosemary listened to the music through the ghostly moonshine of her
mosquito net, realizing that there was gaiety too somewhere about,
and she thought of the nice people on the beach.  She thought she
might meet them in the morning, but they obviously formed a self-
sufficient little group, and once their umbrellas, bamboo rugs,
dogs, and children were set out in place the part of the plage was
literally fenced in.  She resolved in any case not to spend her
last two mornings with the other ones.



IV


The matter was solved for her.  The McKiscos were not yet there and
she had scarcely spread her peignoir when two men--the man with the
jockey cap and the tall blonde man, given to sawing waiters in two--
left the group and came down toward her.

"Good morning," said Dick Diver.  He broke down.  "Look--sunburn or
no sunburn, why did you stay away yesterday?  We worried about
you."

She sat up and her happy little laugh welcomed their intrusion.

"We wondered," Dick Diver said, "if you wouldn't come over this
morning.  We go in, we take food and drink, so it's a substantial
invitation."

He seemed kind and charming--his voice promised that he would take
care of her, and that a little later he would open up whole new
worlds for her, unroll an endless succession of magnificent
possibilities.  He managed the introduction so that her name wasn't
mentioned and then let her know easily that everyone knew who she
was but were respecting the completeness of her private life--a
courtesy that Rosemary had not met with save from professional
people since her success.

Nicole Diver, her brown back hanging from her pearls, was looking
through a recipe book for chicken Maryland.  She was about twenty-
four, Rosemary guessed--her face could have been described in terms
of conventional prettiness, but the effect was that it had been
made first on the heroic scale with strong structure and marking,
as if the features and vividness of brow and coloring, everything
we associate with temperament and character had been molded with a
Rodinesque intention, and then chiseled away in the direction of
prettiness to a point where a single slip would have irreparably
diminished its force and quality.  With the mouth the sculptor had
taken desperate chances--it was the cupid's bow of a magazine
cover, yet it shared the distinction of the rest.

"Are you here for a long time?" Nicole asked.  Her voice was low,
almost harsh.

Suddenly Rosemary let the possibility enter her mind that they
might stay another week.

"Not very long," she answered vaguely.  "We've been abroad a long
time--we landed in Sicily in March and we've been slowly working
our way north.  I got pneumonia making a picture last January and
I've been recuperating."

"Mercy!  How did that happen?"

"Well, it was from swimming," Rosemary was rather reluctant at
embarking upon personal revelations.  "One day I happened to have
the grippe and didn't know it, and they were taking a scene where I
dove into a canal in Venice.  It was a very expensive set, so I had
to dive and dive and dive all morning.  Mother had a doctor right
there, but it was no use--I got pneumonia."  She changed the
subject determinedly before they could speak.  "Do you like it
here--this place?"

"They have to like it," said Abe North slowly.  "They invented it."
He turned his noble head slowly so that his eyes rested with
tenderness and affection on the two Divers.

"Oh, did you?"

"This is only the second season that the hotel's been open in
summer," Nicole explained.  "We persuaded Gausse to keep on a cook
and a garçon and a chasseur--it paid its way and this year it's
doing even better."

"But you're not in the hotel."

"We built a house, up at Tarmes."

"The theory is," said Dick, arranging an umbrella to clip a square
of sunlight off Rosemary's shoulder, "that all the northern places,
like Deauville, were picked out by Russians and English who don't
mind the cold, while half of us Americans come from tropical
climates--that's why we're beginning to come here."

The young man of Latin aspect had been turning the pages of The New
York Herald.

"Well, what nationality are these people?" he demanded, suddenly,
and read with a slight French intonation, "'Registered at the Hotel
Palace at Vevey are Mr. Pandely Vlasco, Mme. Bonneasse'--I don't
exaggerate--'Corinna Medonca, Mme. Pasche, Seraphim Tullio, Maria
Amalia Roto Mais, Moises Teubel, Mme. Paragoris, Apostle Alexandre,
Yolanda Yosfuglu and Geneveva de Momus!'  She attracts me most--
Geneveva de Momus.  Almost worth running up to Vevey to take a look
at Geneveva de Momus."

He stood up with sudden restlessness, stretching himself with one
sharp movement.  He was a few years younger than Diver or North.
He was tall and his body was hard but overspare save for the
bunched force gathered in his shoulders and upper arms.  At first
glance he seemed conventionally handsome--but there was a faint
disgust always in his face which marred the full fierce lustre of
his brown eyes.  Yet one remembered them afterward, when one had
forgotten the inability of the mouth to endure boredom and the
young forehead with its furrows of fretful and unprofitable pain.

"We found some fine ones in the news of Americans last week," said
Nicole.  "Mrs. Evelyn Oyster and--what were the others?"

"There was Mr. S. Flesh," said Diver, getting up also.  He took his
rake and began to work seriously at getting small stones out of the
sand.

"Oh, yes--S. Flesh--doesn't he give you the creeps?"

It was quiet alone with Nicole--Rosemary found it even quieter than
with her mother.  Abe North and Barban, the Frenchman, were talking
about Morocco, and Nicole having copied her recipe picked up a
piece of sewing.  Rosemary examined their appurtenances--four large
parasols that made a canopy of shade, a portable bath house for
dressing, a pneumatic rubber horse, new things that Rosemary had
never seen, from the first burst of luxury manufacturing after the
War, and probably in the hands of the first of purchasers.  She had
gathered that they were fashionable people, but though her mother
had brought her up to beware such people as drones, she did not
feel that way here.  Even in their absolute immobility, complete as
that of the morning, she felt a purpose, a working over something,
a direction, an act of creation different from any she had known.
Her immature mind made no speculations upon the nature of their
relation to each other, she was only concerned with their attitude
toward herself--but she perceived the web of some pleasant
interrelation, which she expressed with the thought that they
seemed to have a very good time.

She looked in turn at the three men, temporarily expropriating
them.  All three were personable in different ways; all were of a
special gentleness that she felt was part of their lives, past and
future, not circumstanced by events, not at all like the company
manners of actors, and she detected also a far-reaching delicacy
that was different from the rough and ready good fellowship of
directors, who represented the intellectuals in her life.  Actors
and directors--those were the only men she had ever known, those
and the heterogeneous, indistinguishable mass of college boys,
interested only in love at first sight, whom she had met at the
Yale prom last fall.

These three were different.  Barban was less civilized, more
skeptical and scoffing, his manners were formal, even perfunctory.
Abe North had, under his shyness, a desperate humor that amused but
puzzled her.  Her serious nature distrusted its ability to make a
supreme impression on him.

But Dick Diver--he was all complete there.  Silently she admired
him.  His complexion was reddish and weather-burned, so was his
short hair--a light growth of it rolled down his arms and hands.
His eyes were of a bright, hard blue.  His nose was somewhat
pointed and there was never any doubt at whom he was looking or
talking--and this is a flattering attention, for who looks at us?--
glances fall upon us, curious or disinterested, nothing more.  His
voice, with some faint Irish melody running through it, wooed the
world, yet she felt the layer of hardness in him, of self-control
and of self-discipline, her own virtues.  Oh, she chose him, and
Nicole, lifting her head saw her choose him, heard the little sigh
at the fact that he was already possessed.

Toward noon the McKiscos, Mrs. Abrams, Mr. Dumphry, and Signor
Campion came on the beach.  They had brought a new umbrella that
they set up with side glances toward the Divers, and crept under
with satisfied expressions--all save Mr. McKisco, who remained
derisively without.  In his raking Dick had passed near them and
now he returned to the umbrellas.

"The two young men are reading the Book of Etiquette together," he
said in a low voice.

"Planning to mix wit de quality," said Abe.

Mary North, the very tanned young woman whom Rosemary had
encountered the first day on the raft, came in from swimming and
said with a smile that was a rakish gleam:

"So Mr. and Mrs. Neverquiver have arrived."

"They're this man's friends," Nicole reminded her, indicating Abe.
"Why doesn't he go and speak to them?  Don't you think they're
attractive?"

"I think they're very attractive," Abe agreed.  "I just don't think
they're attractive, that's all."

"Well, I HAVE felt there were too many people on the beach this
summer," Nicole admitted.  "OUR beach that Dick made out of a
pebble pile."  She considered, and then lowering her voice out of
the range of the trio of nannies who sat back under another
umbrella.  "Still, they're preferable to those British last summer
who kept shouting about:  'Isn't the sea blue?  Isn't the sky
white?  Isn't little Nellie's nose red?'"

Rosemary thought she would not like to have Nicole for an enemy.

"But you didn't see the fight," Nicole continued.  "The day before
you came, the married man, the one with the name that sounds like a
substitute for gasoline or butter--"

"McKisco?"

"Yes--well they were having words and she tossed some sand in his
face.  So naturally he sat on top of her and rubbed her face in the
sand.  We were--electrified.  I wanted Dick to interfere."

"I think," said Dick Diver, staring down abstractedly at the straw
mat, "that I'll go over and invite them to dinner."

"No, you won't," Nicole told him quickly.

"I think it would be a very good thing.  They're here--let's adjust
ourselves."

"We're very well adjusted," she insisted, laughing.  "I'm not going
to have MY nose rubbed in the sand.  I'm a mean, hard woman," she
explained to Rosemary, and then raising her voice, "Children, put
on your bathing suits!"

Rosemary felt that this swim would become the typical one of her
life, the one that would always pop up in her memory at the mention
of swimming.  Simultaneously the whole party moved toward the
water, super-ready from the long, forced inaction, passing from the
heat to the cool with the gourmandise of a tingling curry eaten
with chilled white wine.  The Divers' day was spaced like the day
of the older civilizations to yield the utmost from the materials
at hand, and to give all the transitions their full value, and she
did not know that there would be another transition presently from
the utter absorption of the swim to the garrulity of the Provençal
lunch hour.  But again she had the sense that Dick was taking care
of her, and she delighted in responding to the eventual movement as
if it had been an order.

Nicole handed her husband the curious garment on which she had been
working.  He went into the dressing tent and inspired a commotion
by appearing in a moment clad in transparent black lace drawers.
Close inspection revealed that actually they were lined with flesh-
colored cloth.



"Well, if that isn't a pansys trick!" exclaimed Mr. McKisco
contemptuously--then turning quickly to Mr. Dumphry and Mr.
Campion, he added, "Oh, I beg your pardon."

Rosemary bubbled with delight at the trunks.  Her naïveté responded
whole-heartedly to the expensive simplicity of the Divers, unaware
of its complexity and its lack of innocence, unaware that it was
all a selection of quality rather than quantity from the run of the
world's bazaar; and that the simplicity of behavior also, the
nursery-like peace and good will, the emphasis on the simpler
virtues, was part of a desperate bargain with the gods and had been
attained through struggles she could not have guessed at.  At that
moment the Divers represented externally the exact furthermost
evolution of a class, so that most people seemed awkward beside
them--in reality a qualitative change had already set in that was
not at all apparent to Rosemary.

She stood with them as they took sherry and ate crackers.  Dick
Diver looked at her with cold blue eyes; his kind, strong mouth
said thoughtfully and deliberately:

"You're the only girl I've seen for a long time that actually did
look like something blooming."



In her mother's lap afterward Rosemary cried and cried.

"I love him, Mother.  I'm desperately in love with him--I never
knew I could feel that way about anybody.  And he's married and I
like her too--it's just hopeless.  Oh, I love him so!"

"I'm curious to meet him."

"She invited us to dinner Friday."

"If you're in love it ought to make you happy.  You ought to
laugh."

Rosemary looked up and gave a beautiful little shiver of her face
and laughed.  Her mother always had a great influence on her.



V


Rosemary went to Monte Carlo nearly as sulkily as it was possible
for her to be.  She rode up the rugged hill to La Turbie, to an old
Gaumont lot in process of reconstruction, and as she stood by the
grilled entrance waiting for an answer to the message on her card,
she might have been looking into Hollywood.  The bizarre débris of
some recent picture, a decayed street scene in India, a great
cardboard whale, a monstrous tree bearing cherries large as
basketballs, bloomed there by exotic dispensation, autochthonous as
the pale amaranth, mimosa, cork oak or dwarfed pine.  There were a
quick-lunch shack and two barnlike stages and everywhere about the
lot, groups of waiting, hopeful, painted faces.

After ten minutes a young man with hair the color of canary
feathers hurried down to the gate.

"Come in, Miss Hoyt.  Mr. Brady's on the set, but he's very anxious
to see you.  I'm sorry you were kept waiting, but you know some of
these French dames are worse about pushing themselves in--"

The studio manager opened a small door in the blank wall of stage
building and with sudden glad familiarity Rosemary followed him
into half darkness.  Here and there figures spotted the twilight,
turning up ashen faces to her like souls in purgatory watching the
passage of a mortal through.  There were whispers and soft voices
and, apparently from afar, the gentle tremolo of a small organ.
Turning the corner made by some flats, they came upon the white
crackling glow of a stage, where a French actor--his shirt front,
collar, and cuffs tinted a brilliant pink--and an American actress
stood motionless face to face.  They stared at each other with
dogged eyes, as though they had been in the same position for
hours; and still for a long time nothing happened, no one moved.  A
bank of lights went off with a savage hiss, went on again; the
plaintive tap of a hammer begged admission to nowhere in the
distance; a blue face appeared among the blinding lights above,
called something unintelligible into the upper blackness.  Then the
silence was broken by a voice in front of Rosemary.

"Baby, you don't take off the stockings, you can spoil ten more
pairs.  That dress is fifteen pounds."

Stepping backward the speaker ran against Rosemary, whereupon the
studio manager said, "Hey, Earl--Miss Hoyt."

They were meeting for the first time.  Brady was quick and
strenuous.  As he took her hand she saw him look her over from head
to foot, a gesture she recognized and that made her feel at home,
but gave her always a faint feeling of superiority to whoever made
it.  If her person was property she could exercise whatever
advantage was inherent in its ownership.

"I thought you'd be along any day now," Brady said, in a voice that
was just a little too compelling for private life, and that trailed
with it a faintly defiant cockney accent.  "Have a good trip?"

"Yes, but we're glad to be going home."

"No-o-o!" he protested.  "Stay awhile--I want to talk to you.  Let
me tell you that was some picture of yours--that 'Daddy's Girl.'  I
saw it in Paris.  I wired the coast right away to see if you were
signed."

"I just had--I'm sorry."

"God, what a picture!"

Not wanting to smile in silly agreement Rosemary frowned.

"Nobody wants to be thought of forever for just one picture," she
said.

"Sure--that's right.  What're your plans?"

"Mother thought I needed a rest.  When I get back we'll probably
either sign up with First National or keep on with Famous."

"Who's we?"

"My mother.  She decides business matters.  I couldn't do without
her."

Again he looked her over completely, and, as he did, something in
Rosemary went out to him.  It was not liking, not at all the
spontaneous admiration she had felt for the man on the beach this
morning.  It was a click.  He desired her and, so far as her
virginal emotions went, she contemplated a surrender with
equanimity.  Yet she knew she would forget him half an hour after
she left him--like an actor kissed in a picture.

"Where are you staying?" Brady asked.  "Oh, yes, at Gausse's.
Well, my plans are made for this year, too, but that letter I wrote
you still stands.  Rather make a picture with you than any girl
since Connie Talmadge was a kid."

"I feel the same way.  Why don't you come back to Hollywood?"

"I can't stand the damn place.  I'm fine here.  Wait till after
this shot and I'll show you around."

Walking onto the set he began to talk to the French actor in a low,
quiet voice.

Five minutes passed--Brady talked on, while from time to time the
Frenchman shifted his feet and nodded.  Abruptly, Brady broke off,
calling something to the lights that startled them into a humming
glare.  Los Angeles was loud about Rosemary now.  Unappalled she
moved once more through the city of thin partitions, wanting to be
back there.  But she did not want to see Brady in the mood she
sensed he would be in after he had finished and she left the lot
with a spell still upon her.  The Mediterranean world was less
silent now that she knew the studio was there.  She liked the
people on the streets and bought herself a pair of espadrilles on
the way to the train.



Her mother was pleased that she had done so accurately what she was
told to do, but she still wanted to launch her out and away.  Mrs.
Speers was fresh in appearance but she was tired; death beds make
people tired indeed and she had watched beside a couple.



VI


Feeling good from the rosy wine at lunch, Nicole Diver folded her
arms high enough for the artificial camellia on her shoulder to
touch her cheek, and went out into her lovely grassless garden.
The garden was bounded on one side by the house, from which it
flowed and into which it ran, on two sides by the old village, and
on the last by the cliff falling by ledges to the sea.

Along the walls on the village side all was dusty, the wriggling
vines, the lemon and eucalyptus trees, the casual wheel-barrow,
left only a moment since, but already grown into the path,
atrophied and faintly rotten.  Nicole was invariably somewhat
surprised that by turning in the other direction past a bed of
peonies she walked into an area so green and cool that the leaves
and petals were curled with tender damp.

Knotted at her throat she wore a lilac scarf that even in the
achromatic sunshine cast its color up to her face and down around
her moving feet in a lilac shadow.  Her face was hard, almost
stern, save for the soft gleam of piteous doubt that looked from
her green eyes.  Her once fair hair had darkened, but she was
lovelier now at twenty-four than she had been at eighteen, when her
hair was brighter than she.

Following a walk marked by an intangible mist of bloom that
followed the white border stones she came to a space overlooking
the sea where there were lanterns asleep in the fig trees and a big
table and wicker chairs and a great market umbrella from Sienna,
all gathered about an enormous pine, the biggest tree in the
garden.  She paused there a moment, looking absently at a growth of
nasturtiums and iris tangled at its foot, as though sprung from a
careless handful of seeds, listening to the plaints and accusations
of some nursery squabble in the house.  When this died away on the
summer air, she walked on, between kaleidoscopic peonies massed in
pink clouds, black and brown tulips and fragile mauve-stemmed
roses, transparent like sugar flowers in a confectioner's window--
until, as if the scherzo of color could reach no further intensity,
it broke off suddenly in mid-air, and moist steps went down to a
level five feet below.

Here there was a well with the boarding around it dank and slippery
even on the brightest days.  She went up the stairs on the other
side and into the vegetable garden; she walked rather quickly; she
liked to be active, though at times she gave an impression of
repose that was at once static and evocative.  This was because she
knew few words and believed in none, and in the world she was
rather silent, contributing just her share of urbane humor with a
precision that approached meagreness.  But at the moment when
strangers tended to grow uncomfortable in the presence of this
economy she would seize the topic and rush off with it, feverishly
surprised with herself--then bring it back and relinquish it
abruptly, almost timidly, like an obedient retriever, having been
adequate and something more.

As she stood in the fuzzy green light of the vegetable garden, Dick
crossed the path ahead of her going to his work house.  Nicole
waited silently till he had passed; then she went on through lines
of prospective salads to a little menagerie where pigeons and
rabbits and a parrot made a medley of insolent noises at her.
Descending to another ledge she reached a low, curved wall and
looked down seven hundred feet to the Mediterranean Sea.

She stood in the ancient hill village of Tarmes.  The villa and its
grounds were made out of a row of peasant dwellings that abutted on
the cliff--five small houses had been combined to make the house
and four destroyed to make the garden.  The exterior walls were
untouched so that from the road far below it was indistinguishable
from the violet gray mass of the town.

For a moment Nicole stood looking down at the Mediterranean but
there was nothing to do with that, even with her tireless hands.
Presently Dick came out of his one-room house carrying a telescope
and looked east toward Cannes.  In a moment Nicole swam into his
field of vision, whereupon he disappeared into his house and came
out with a megaphone.  He had many light mechanical devices.

"Nicole," he shouted, "I forgot to tell you that as a final
apostolic gesture I invited Mrs. Abrams, the woman with the white
hair."

"I suspected it.  It's an outrage."

The ease with which her reply reached him seemed to belittle his
megaphone, so she raised her voice and called, "Can you hear me?"

"Yes."  He lowered the megaphone and then raised it stubbornly.
"I'm going to invite some more people too.  I'm going to invite the
two young men."

"All right," she agreed placidly.

"I want to give a really BAD party.  I mean it.  I want to give a
party where there's a brawl and seductions and people going home
with their feelings hurt and women passed out in the cabinet de
toilette.  You wait and see."

He went back into his house and Nicole saw that one of his most
characteristic moods was upon him, the excitement that swept
everyone up into it and was inevitably followed by his own form of
melancholy, which he never displayed but at which she guessed.
This excitement about things reached an intensity out of proportion
to their importance, generating a really extraordinary virtuosity
with people.  Save among a few of the tough-minded and perennially
suspicious, he had the power of arousing a fascinated and
uncritical love.  The reaction came when he realized the waste and
extravagance involved.  He sometimes looked back with awe at the
carnivals of affection he had given, as a general might gaze upon a
massacre he had ordered to satisfy an impersonal blood lust.

But to be included in Dick Diver's world for a while was a
remarkable experience: people believed he made special reservations
about them, recognizing the proud uniqueness of their destinies,
buried under the compromises of how many years.  He won everyone
quickly with an exquisite consideration and a politeness that moved
so fast and intuitively that it could be examined only in its
effect.  Then, without caution, lest the first bloom of the
relation wither, he opened the gate to his amusing world.  So long
as they subscribed to it completely, their happiness was his
preoccupation, but at the first flicker of doubt as to its all-
inclusiveness he evaporated before their eyes, leaving little
communicable memory of what he had said or done.

At eight-thirty that evening he came out to meet his first guests,
his coat carried rather ceremoniously, rather promisingly, in his
hand, like a toreador's cape.  It was characteristic that after
greeting Rosemary and her mother he waited for them to speak first,
as if to allow them the reassurance of their own voices in new
surroundings.

To resume Rosemary's point of view it should be said that, under
the spell of the climb to Tarmes and the fresher air, she and her
mother looked about appreciatively.  Just as the personal qualities
of extraordinary people can make themselves plain in an
unaccustomed change of expression, so the intensely calculated
perfection of Villa Diana transpired all at once through such
minute failures as the chance apparition of a maid in the
background or the perversity of a cork.  While the first guests
arrived bringing with them the excitement of the night, the
domestic activity of the day receded past them gently, symbolized
by the Diver children and their governess still at supper on the
terrace.

"What a beautiful garden!" Mrs. Speers exclaimed.

"Nicole's garden," said Dick.  "She won't let it alone--she nags it
all the time, worries about its diseases.  Any day now I expect to
have her come down with Powdery Mildew or Fly Speck, or Late
Blight."  He pointed his forefinger decisively at Rosemary, saying
with a lightness seeming to conceal a paternal interest, "I'm going
to save your reason--I'm going to give you a hat to wear on the
beach."

He turned them from the garden to the terrace, where he poured a
cocktail.  Earl Brady arrived, discovering Rosemary with surprise.
His manner was softer than at the studio, as if his differentness
had been put on at the gate, and Rosemary, comparing him instantly
with Dick Diver, swung sharply toward the latter.  In comparison
Earl Brady seemed faintly gross, faintly ill-bred; once more,
though, she felt an electric response to his person.

He spoke familiarly to the children who were getting up from their
outdoor supper.

"Hello, Lanier, how about a song?  Will you and Topsy sing me a
song?"

"What shall we sing?" agreed the little boy, with the odd chanting
accent of American children brought up in France.

"That song about 'Mon Ami Pierrot.'"

Brother and sister stood side by side without self-consciousness
and their voices soared sweet and shrill upon the evening air.


     "Au clair de la lune
      Mon Ami Pierrot
      Prête-moi ta plume
      Pour écrire un mot
      Ma chandelle est morte
      Je n'ai plus de feu
      Ouvre-moi ta porte
      Pour l'amour de Dieu."


The singing ceased and the children, their faces aglow with the
late sunshine, stood smiling calmly at their success.  Rosemary was
thinking that the Villa Diana was the centre of the world.  On such
a stage some memorable thing was sure to happen.  She lighted up
higher as the gate tinkled open and the rest of the guests arrived
in a body--the McKiscos, Mrs. Abrams, Mr. Dumphry, and Mr. Campion
came up to the terrace.

Rosemary had a sharp feeling of disappointment--she looked quickly
at Dick, as though to ask an explanation of this incongruous
mingling.  But there was nothing unusual in his expression.  He
greeted his new guests with a proud bearing and an obvious
deference to their infinite and unknown possibilities.  She
believed in him so much that presently she accepted the rightness
of the McKiscos' presence as if she had expected to meet them all
along.

"I've met you in Paris," McKisco said to Abe North, who with his
wife had arrived on their heels, "in fact I've met you twice."

"Yes, I remember," Abe said.

"Then where was it?" demanded McKisco, not content to let well
enough alone.

"Why, I think--"  Abe got tired of the game, "I can't remember."

The interchange filled a pause and Rosemary's instinct was that
something tactful should be said by somebody, but Dick made no
attempt to break up the grouping formed by these late arrivals, not
even to disarm Mrs. McKisco of her air of supercilious amusement.
He did not solve this social problem because he knew it was not of
importance at the moment and would solve itself.  He was saving his
newness for a larger effort, waiting a more significant moment for
his guests to be conscious of a good time.

Rosemary stood beside Tommy Barban--he was in a particularly
scornful mood and there seemed to be some special stimulus working
upon him.  He was leaving in the morning.

"Going home?"

"Home?  I have no home.  I am going to a war."

"What war?"

"What war?  Any war.  I haven't seen a paper lately but I suppose
there's a war--there always is."

"Don't you care what you fight for?"

"Not at all--so long as I'm well treated.  When I'm in a rut I come
to see the Divers, because then I know that in a few weeks I'll
want to go to war."

Rosemary stiffened.

"You like the Divers," she reminded him.

"Of course--especially her--but they make me want to go to war."

She considered this, to no avail.  The Divers made her want to stay
near them forever.

"You're half American," she said, as if that should solve the
problem.

"Also I'm half French, and I was educated in England and since I
was eighteen I've worn the uniforms of eight countries.  But I hope
I did not give you the impression that I am not fond of the Divers--
I am, especially of Nicole."

"How could any one help it?" she said simply.

She felt far from him.  The undertone of his words repelled her and
she withdrew her adoration for the Divers from the profanity of his
bitterness.  She was glad he was not next to her at dinner and she
was still thinking of his words "especially her" as they moved
toward the table in the garden.

For a moment now she was beside Dick Diver on the path.  Alongside
his hard, neat brightness everything faded into the surety that he
knew everything.  For a year, which was forever, she had had money
and a certain celebrity and contact with the celebrated, and these
latter had presented themselves merely as powerful enlargements of
the people with whom the doctor's widow and her daughter had
associated in a hôtel-pension in Paris.  Rosemary was a romantic
and her career had not provided many satisfactory opportunities on
that score.  Her mother, with the idea of a career for Rosemary,
would not tolerate any such spurious substitutes as the excitations
available on all sides, and indeed Rosemary was already beyond
that--she was In the movies but not at all At them.  So when she
had seen approval of Dick Diver in her mother's face it meant that
he was "the real thing"; it meant permission to go as far as she
could.

"I was watching you," he said, and she knew he meant it.  "We've
grown very fond of you."

"I fell in love with you the first time I saw you," she said
quietly.  He pretended not to have heard, as if the compliment were
purely formal.

"New friends," he said, as if it were an important point, "can
often have a better time together than old friends."

With that remark, which she did not understand precisely, she found
herself at the table, picked out by slowly emerging lights against
the dark dusk.  A chord of delight struck inside her when she saw
that Dick had taken her mother on his right hand; for herself she
was between Luis Campion and Brady.

Surcharged with her emotion she turned to Brady with the intention
of confiding in him, but at her first mention of Dick a hard-boiled
sparkle in his eyes gave her to understand that he refused the
fatherly office.  In turn she was equally firm when he tried to
monopolize her hand, so they talked shop or rather she listened
while he talked shop, her polite eyes never leaving his face, but
her mind was so definitely elsewhere that she felt he must guess
the fact.  Intermittently she caught the gist of his sentences and
supplied the rest from her subconscious, as one picks up the
striking of a clock in the middle with only the rhythm of the first
uncounted strokes lingering in the mind.



VII


In a pause Rosemary looked away and up the table where Nicole sat
between Tommy Barban and Abe North, her chow's hair foaming and
frothing in the candlelight.  Rosemary listened, caught sharply by
the rich clipped voice in infrequent speech:

"The poor man," Nicole exclaimed.  "Why did you want to saw him in
two?"

"Naturally I wanted to see what was inside a waiter.  Wouldn't you
like to know what was inside a waiter?"

"Old menus," suggested Nicole with a short laugh.  "Pieces of
broken china and tips and pencil stubs."

"Exactly--but the thing was to prove it scientifically.  And of
course doing it with that musical saw would have eliminated any
sordidness."

"Did you intend to play the saw while you performed the operation?"
Tommy inquired.

"We didn't get quite that far.  We were alarmed by the screams.  We
thought he might rupture something."

"All sounds very peculiar to me," said Nicole.  "Any musician
that'll use another musician's saw to--"

They had been at table half an hour and a perceptible change had
set in--person by person had given up something, a preoccupation,
an anxiety, a suspicion, and now they were only their best selves
and the Divers' guests.  Not to have been friendly and interested
would have seemed to reflect on the Divers, so now they were all
trying, and seeing this, Rosemary liked everyone--except McKisco,
who had contrived to be the unassimilated member of the party.
This was less from ill will than from his determination to sustain
with wine the good spirits he had enjoyed on his arrival.  Lying
back in his place between Earl Brady, to whom he had addressed
several withering remarks about the movies, and Mrs. Abrams, to
whom he said nothing, he stared at Dick Diver with an expression of
devastating irony, the effect being occasionally interrupted by his
attempts to engage Dick in a cater-cornered conversation across the
table.

"Aren't you a friend of Van Buren Denby?" he would say.

"I don't believe I know him."

"I thought you were a friend of his," he persisted irritably.

When the subject of Mr. Denby fell of its own weight, he essayed
other equally irrelative themes, but each time the very deference
of Dick's attention seemed to paralyze him, and after a moment's
stark pause the conversation that he had interrupted would go on
without him.  He tried breaking into other dialogues, but it was
like continually shaking hands with a glove from which the hand had
been withdrawn--so finally, with a resigned air of being among
children, he devoted his attention entirely to the champagne.

Rosemary's glance moved at intervals around the table, eager for
the others' enjoyment, as if they were her future stepchildren.  A
gracious table light, emanating from a bowl of spicy pinks, fell
upon Mrs. Abrams' face, cooked to a turn in Veuve Cliquot, full of
vigor, tolerance, adolescent good will; next to her sat Mr. Royal
Dumphry, his girl's comeliness less startling in the pleasure world
of evening.  Then Violet McKisco, whose prettiness had been piped
to the surface of her, so that she ceased her struggle to make
tangible to herself her shadowy position as the wife of an
arriviste who had not arrived.

Then came Dick, with his arms full of the slack he had taken up
from others, deeply merged in his own party.

Then her mother, forever perfect.

Then Barban talking to her mother with an urbane fluency that made
Rosemary like him again.  Then Nicole.  Rosemary saw her suddenly
in a new way and found her one of the most beautiful people she had
ever known.  Her face, the face of a saint, a viking Madonna, shone
through the faint motes that snowed across the candlelight, drew
down its flush from the wine-colored lanterns in the pine.  She was
still as still.

Abe North was talking to her about his moral code:  "Of course I've
got one," he insisted, "--a man can't live without a moral code.
Mine is that I'm against the burning of witches.  Whenever they
burn a witch I get all hot under the collar."  Rosemary knew from
Brady that he was a musician who after a brilliant and precocious
start had composed nothing for seven years.

Next was Campion, managing somehow to restrain his most blatant
effeminacy, and even to visit upon those near him a certain
disinterested motherliness.  Then Mary North with a face so merry
that it was impossible not to smile back into the white mirrors of
her teeth--the whole area around her parted lips was a lovely
little circle of delight.

Finally Brady, whose heartiness became, moment by moment, a social
thing instead of a crude assertion and reassertion of his own
mental health, and his preservation of it by a detachment from the
frailties of others.

Rosemary, as dewy with belief as a child from one of Mrs. Burnett's
vicious tracts, had a conviction of homecoming, of a return from
the derisive and salacious improvisations of the frontier.  There
were fireflies riding on the dark air and a dog baying on some low
and far-away ledge of the cliff.  The table seemed to have risen a
little toward the sky like a mechanical dancing platform, giving
the people around it a sense of being alone with each other in the
dark universe, nourished by its only food, warmed by its only
lights.  And, as if a curious hushed laugh from Mrs. McKisco were a
signal that such a detachment from the world had been attained, the
two Divers began suddenly to warm and glow and expand, as if to
make up to their guests, already so subtly assured of their
importance, so flattered with politeness, for anything they might
still miss from that country well left behind.  Just for a moment
they seemed to speak to every one at the table, singly and
together, assuring them of their friendliness, their affection.
And for a moment the faces turned up toward them were like the
faces of poor children at a Christmas tree.  Then abruptly the
table broke up--the moment when the guests had been daringly lifted
above conviviality into the rarer atmosphere of sentiment, was over
before it could be irreverently breathed, before they had half
realized it was there.

But the diffused magic of the hot sweet South had withdrawn into
them--the soft-pawed night and the ghostly wash of the Mediterranean
far below--the magic left these things and melted into the two
Divers and became part of them.  Rosemary watched Nicole pressing
upon her mother a yellow evening bag she had admired, saying, "I
think things ought to belong to the people that like them"--and
then sweeping into it all the yellow articles she could find, a
pencil, a lipstick, a little note book, "because they all go
together."

Nicole disappeared and presently Rosemary noticed that Dick was no
longer there; the guests distributed themselves in the garden or
drifted in toward the terrace.

"Do you want," Violet McKisco asked Rosemary, "to go to the
bathroom?"

Not at that precise moment.

"I want," insisted Mrs. McKisco, "to go to the bathroom."  As a
frank outspoken woman she walked toward the house, dragging her
secret after her, while Rosemary looked after with reprobation.
Earl Brady proposed that they walk down to the sea wall but she
felt that this was her time to have a share of Dick Diver when he
reappeared, so she stalled, listening to McKisco quarrel with
Barban.

"Why do you want to fight the Soviets?" McKisco said.  "The
greatest experiment ever made by humanity?  And the Riff?  It seems
to me it would be more heroic to fight on the just side."

"How do you find out which it is?" asked Barban dryly.

"Why--usually everybody intelligent knows."

"Are you a Communist?"

"I'm a Socialist," said McKisco, "I sympathize with Russia."

"Well, I'm a soldier," Barban answered pleasantly.  "My business is
to kill people.  I fought against the Riff because I am a European,
and I have fought the Communists because they want to take my
property from me."

"Of all the narrow-minded excuses," McKisco looked around to
establish a derisive liaison with some one else, but without
success.  He had no idea what he was up against in Barban, neither
of the simplicity of the other man's bag of ideas nor of the
complexity of his training.  McKisco knew what ideas were, and as
his mind grew he was able to recognize and sort an increasing
number of them--but faced by a man whom he considered "dumb," one
in whom he found no ideas he could recognize as such, and yet to
whom he could not feel personally superior, he jumped at the
conclusion that Barban was the end product of an archaic world, and
as such, worthless.  McKisco's contacts with the princely classes
in America had impressed upon him their uncertain and fumbling
snobbery, their delight in ignorance and their deliberate rudeness,
all lifted from the English with no regard paid to factors that
make English philistinism and rudeness purposeful, and applied in a
land where a little knowledge and civility buy more than they do
anywhere else--an attitude which reached its apogee in the "Harvard
manner" of about 1900.  He thought that this Barban was of that
type, and being drunk rashly forgot that he was in awe of him--this
led up to the trouble in which he presently found himself.

Feeling vaguely ashamed for McKisco, Rosemary waited, placid but
inwardly on fire, for Dick Diver's return.  From her chair at the
deserted table with Barban, McKisco, and Abe she looked up along
the path edged with shadowy myrtle and fern to the stone terrace,
and falling in love with her mother's profile against a lighted
door, was about to go there when Mrs. McKisco came hurrying down
from the house.

She exuded excitement.  In the very silence with which she pulled
out a chair and sat down, her eyes staring, her mouth working a
little, they all recognized a person crop-full of news, and her
husband's "What's the matter, Vi?" came naturally, as all eyes
turned toward her.

"My dear--" she said at large, and then addressed Rosemary, "my
dear--it's nothing.  I really can't say a word."

"You're among friends," said Abe.

"Well, upstairs I came upon a scene, my dears--"

Shaking her head cryptically she broke off just in time, for Tommy
arose and addressed her politely but sharply:

"It's inadvisable to comment on what goes on in this house."



VIII


Violet breathed loud and hard once and with an effort brought
another expression into her face.

Dick came finally and with a sure instinct he separated Barban and
the McKiscos and became excessively ignorant and inquisitive about
literature with McKisco--thus giving the latter the moment of
superiority which he required.  The others helped him carry lamps
up--who would not be pleased at carrying lamps helpfully through
the darkness?  Rosemary helped, meanwhile responding patiently to
Royal Dumphry's inexhaustible curiosity about Hollywood.

Now--she was thinking--I've earned a time alone with him.  He must
know that because his laws are like the laws Mother taught me.

Rosemary was right--presently he detached her from the company on
the terrace, and they were alone together, borne away from the
house toward the seaside wall with what were less steps than
irregularly spaced intervals through some of which she was pulled,
through others blown.

They looked out over the Mediterranean.  Far below, the last
excursion boat from the Isles des Lerins floated across the bay
like a Fourth-of-July balloon foot-loose in the heavens.  Between
the black isles it floated, softly parting the dark tide.

"I understand why you speak as you do of your mother," he said.
"Her attitude toward you is very fine, I think.  She has a sort of
wisdom that's rare in America."

"Mother is perfect," she prayed.

"I was talking to her about a plan I have--she told me that how
long you both stayed in France depended on you."

On YOU, Rosemary all but said aloud.

"So since things are over down here--"

"Over?" she inquired.

"Well, this is over--this part of the summer is over.  Last week
Nicole's sister left, to-morrow Tommy Barban leaves, Monday Abe and
Mary North are leaving.  Maybe we'll have more fun this summer but
this particular fun is over.  I want it to die violently instead of
fading out sentimentally--that's why I gave this party.  What I'm
coming to is--Nicole and I are going up to Paris to see Abe North
off for America--I wonder if you'd like to go with us."

"What did Mother say?"

"She seemed to think it would be fine.  She doesn't want to go
herself.  She wants you to go alone."

"I haven't seen Paris since I've been grown," said Rosemary.  "I'd
love to see it with you."

"That's nice of you."  Did she imagine that his voice was suddenly
metallic?  "Of course we've been excited about you from the moment
you came on the beach.  That vitality, we were sure it was
professional--especially Nicole was.  It'd never use itself up on
any one person or group."

Her instinct cried out to her that he was passing her along slowly
toward Nicole and she put her own brakes on, saying with an equal
harness:

"I wanted to know all of you too--especially you.  I told you I
fell in love with you the first time I saw you."

She was right going at it that way.  But the space between heaven
and earth had cooled his mind, destroyed the impulsiveness that had
led him to bring her here, and made him aware of the too obvious
appeal, the struggle with an unrehearsed scene and unfamiliar
words.

He tried now to make her want to go back to the house and it was
difficult, and he did not quite want to lose her.  She felt only
the draft blowing as he joked with her good-humoredly.

"You don't know what you want.  You go and ask your mother what you
want."

She was stricken.  She touched him, feeling the smooth cloth of his
dark coat like a chasuble.  She seemed about to fall to her knees--
from that position she delivered her last shot.

"I think you're the most wonderful person I ever met--except my
mother."

"You have romantic eyes."

His laughter swept them on up toward the terrace where he delivered
her to Nicole. . . .

Too soon it had become time to go and the Divers helped them all to
go quickly.  In the Divers' big Isotta there would be Tommy Barban
and his baggage--he was spending the night at the hotel to catch an
early train--with Mrs. Abrams, the McKiscos and Campion.  Earl
Brady was going to drop Rosemary and her mother on his way to Monte
Carlo, and Royal Dumphry rode with them because the Divers' car was
crowded.  Down in the garden lanterns still glowed over the table
where they had dined, as the Divers stood side by side in the gate,
Nicole blooming away and filling the night with graciousness, and
Dick bidding good-by to everyone by name.  To Rosemary it seemed
very poignant to drive away and leave them in their house.  Again
she wondered what Mrs. McKisco had seen in the bathroom.



IX


It was a limpid black night, hung as in a basket from a single dull
star.  The horn of the car ahead was muffled by the resistance of
the thick air.  Brady's chauffeur drove slowly; the tail-light of
the other car appeared from time to time at turnings--then not at
all.  But after ten minutes it came into sight again, drawn up at
the side of the road.  Brady's chauffeur slowed up behind but
immediately it began to roll forward slowly and they passed it.  In
the instant they passed it they heard a blur of voices from behind
the reticence of the limousine and saw that the Divers' chauffeur
was grinning.  Then they went on, going fast through the
alternating banks of darkness and thin night, descending at last in
a series of roller-coaster swoops, to the great bulk of Gausse's
hotel.

Rosemary dozed for three hours and then lay awake, suspended in the
moonshine.  Cloaked by the erotic darkness she exhausted the future
quickly, with all the eventualities that might lead up to a kiss,
but with the kiss itself as blurred as a kiss in pictures.  She
changed position in bed deliberately, the first sign of insomnia
she had ever had, and tried to think with her mother's mind about
the question.  In this process she was often acute beyond her
experience, with remembered things from old conversations that had
gone into her half-heard.

Rosemary had been brought up with the idea of work.  Mrs. Speers
had spent the slim leavings of the men who had widowed her on her
daughter's education, and when she blossomed out at sixteen with
that extraordinary hair, rushed her to Aix-les-Bains and marched
her unannounced into the suite of an American producer who was
recuperating there.  When the producer went to New York they went
too.  Thus Rosemary had passed her entrance examinations.  With the
ensuing success and the promise of comparative stability that
followed, Mrs. Speers had felt free to tacitly imply tonight:

"You were brought up to work--not especially to marry.  Now you've
found your first nut to crack and it's a good nut--go ahead and put
whatever happens down to experience.  Wound yourself or him--
whatever happens it can't spoil you because economically you're a
boy, not a girl."

Rosemary had never done much thinking, save about the
illimitability of her mother's perfections, so this final severance
of the umbilical cord disturbed her sleep.  A false dawn sent the
sky pressing through the tall French windows, and getting up she
walked out on the terrace, warm to her bare feet.  There were
secret noises in the air, an insistent bird achieved an ill-natured
triumph with regularity in the trees above the tennis court;
footfalls followed a round drive in the rear of the hotel, taking
their tone in turn from the dust road, the crushed-stone walk, the
cement steps, and then reversing the process in going away.  Beyond
the inky sea and far up that high, black shadow of a hill lived the
Divers.  She thought of them both together, heard them still
singing faintly a song like rising smoke, like a hymn, very remote
in time and far away.  Their children slept, their gate was shut
for the night.

She went inside and dressing in a light gown and espadrilles went
out her window again and along the continuous terrace toward the
front door, going fast since she found that other private rooms,
exuding sleep, gave upon it.  She stopped at the sight of a figure
seated on the wide white stairway of the formal entrance--then she
saw that it was Luis Campion and that he was weeping.

He was weeping hard and quietly and shaking in the same parts as a
weeping woman.  A scene in a role she had played last year swept
over her irresistibly and advancing she touched him on the
shoulder.  He gave a little yelp before he recognized her.

"What is it?"  Her eyes were level and kind and not slanted into
him with hard curiosity.  "Can I help you?"

"Nobody can help me.  I knew it.  I have only myself to blame.
It's always the same."

"What is it--do you want to tell me?"

He looked at her to see.

"No," he decided.  "When you're older you'll know what people who
love suffer.  The agony.  It's better to be cold and young than to
love.  It's happened to me before but never like this--so
accidental--just when everything was going well."

His face was repulsive in the quickening light.  Not by a flicker
of her personality, a movement of the smallest muscle, did she
betray her sudden disgust with whatever it was.  But Campion's
sensitivity realized it and he changed the subject rather suddenly.

"Abe North is around here somewhere."

"Why, he's staying at the Divers'!"

"Yes, but he's up--don't you know what happened?"

A shutter opened suddenly in a room two stories above and an
English voice spat distinctly:

"Will you kaindlay stup tucking!"

Rosemary and Luis Campion went humbly down the steps and to a bench
beside the road to the beach.

"Then you have no idea what's happened?  My dear, the most
extraordinary thing--"  He was warming up now, hanging on to his
revelation.  "I've never seen a thing come so suddenly--I have
always avoided violent people--they upset me so I sometimes have to
go to bed for days."

He looked at her triumphantly.  She had no idea what he was talking
about.

"My dear," he burst forth, leaning toward her with his whole body
as he touched her on the upper leg, to show it was no mere
irresponsible venture of his hand--he was so sure of himself.
"There's going to be a duel."

"Wh-at?"

"A duel with--we don't know what yet."

"Who's going to duel?"

"I'll tell you from the beginning."  He drew a long breath and then
said, as if it were rather to her discredit but he wouldn't hold it
against her.  "Of course, you were in the other automobile.  Well,
in a way you were lucky--I lost at least two years of my life, it
came so suddenly."

"What came?" she demanded.

"I don't know what began it.  First she began to talk--"

"Who?"

"Violet McKisco."  He lowered his voice as if there were people
under the bench.  "But don't mention the Divers because he made
threats against anybody who mentioned it."

"Who did?"

"Tommy Barban, so don't you say I so much as mentioned them.  None
of us ever found out anyhow what it was Violet had to say because
he kept interrupting her, and then her husband got into it and now,
my dear, we have the duel.  This morning--at five o'clock--in an
hour."  He sighed suddenly thinking of his own griefs.  "I almost
wish it were I.  I might as well be killed now I have nothing to
live for."  He broke off and rocked to and fro with sorrow.

Again the iron shutter parted above and the same British voice
said:

"Rilly, this must stup immejetely."

Simultaneously Abe North, looking somewhat distracted, came out of
the hotel, perceived them against the sky, white over the sea.
Rosemary shook her head warningly before he could speak and they
moved another bench further down the road.  Rosemary saw that Abe
was a little tight.

"What are YOU doing up?" he demanded.

"I just got up."  She started to laugh, but remembering the voice
above, she restrained herself.

"Plagued by the nightingale," Abe suggested, and repeated,
"probably plagued by the nightingale.  Has this sewing-circle
member told you what happened?"

Campion said with dignity:

"I only know what I heard with my own ears."

He got up and walked swiftly away; Abe sat down beside Rosemary.

"Why did you treat him so badly?"

"Did I?" he asked surprised.  "He's been weeping around here all
morning."

"Well, maybe he's sad about something."

"Maybe he is."

"What about a duel?  Who's going to duel?  I thought there was
something strange in that car.  Is it true?"

"It certainly is coo-coo but it seems to be true."



X


The trouble began at the time Earl Brady's car passed the Divers'
car stopped on the road--Abe's account melted impersonally into the
thronged night--Violet McKisco was telling Mrs. Abrams something
she had found out about the Divers--she had gone upstairs in their
house and she had come upon something there which had made a great
impression on her.  But Tommy is a watch-dog about the Divers.  As
a matter of fact she is inspiring and formidable--but it's a mutual
thing, and the fact of The Divers together is more important to
their friends than many of them realize.  Of course it's done at a
certain sacrifice--sometimes they seem just rather charming figures
in a ballet, and worth just the attention you give a ballet, but
it's more than that--you'd have to know the story.  Anyhow Tommy is
one of those men that Dick's passed along to Nicole and when Mrs.
McKisco kept hinting at her story, he called them on it.  He said:

"Mrs. McKisco, please don't talk further about Mrs. Diver."

"I wasn't talking to you," she objected.

"I think it's better to leave them out."

"Are they so sacred?"

"Leave them out.  Talk about something else."

He was sitting on one of the two little seats beside Campion.
Campion told me the story.

"Well, you're pretty high-handed," Violet came back.

You know how conversations are in cars late at night, some people
murmuring and some not caring, giving up after the party, or bored
or asleep.  Well, none of them knew just what happened until the
car stopped and Barban cried in a voice that shook everybody, a
voice for cavalry.

"Do you want to step out here--we're only a mile from the hotel and
you can walk it or I'll drag you there.  YOU'VE GOT TO SHUT UP AND
SHUT YOUR WIFE UP!"

"You're a bully," said McKisco.  "You know you're stronger
muscularly than I am.  But I'm not afraid of you--what they ought
to have is the code duello--"

There's where he made his mistake because Tommy, being French,
leaned over and clapped him one, and then the chauffeur drove on.
That was where you passed them.  Then the women began.  That was
still the state of things when the car got to the hotel.

Tommy telephoned some man in Cannes to act as second and McKisco
said he wasn't going to be seconded by Campion, who wasn't crazy
for the job anyhow, so he telephoned me not to say anything but to
come right down.  Violet McKisco collapsed and Mrs. Abrams took her
to her room and gave her a bromide whereupon she fell comfortably
asleep on the bed.  When I got there I tried to argue with Tommy
but the latter wouldn't accept anything short of an apology and
McKisco rather spunkily wouldn't give it.



When Abe had finished Rosemary asked thoughtfully:

"Do the Divers know it was about them?"

"No--and they're not ever going to know they had anything to do
with it.  That damn Campion had no business talking to you about
it, but since he did--I told the chauffeur I'd get out the old
musical saw if he opened his mouth about it.  This fight's between
two men--what Tommy needs is a good war."

"I hope the Divers don't find out," Rosemary said.

Abe peered at his watch.

"I've got to go up and see McKisco--do you want to come?--he feels
sort of friendless--I bet he hasn't slept."

Rosemary had a vision of the desperate vigil that high-strung,
badly organized man had probably kept.  After a moment balanced
between pity and repugnance she agreed, and full of morning energy,
bounced upstairs beside Abe.

McKisco was sitting on his bed with his alcoholic combativeness
vanished, in spite of the glass of champagne in his hand.  He
seemed very puny and cross and white.  Evidently he had been
writing and drinking all night.  He stared confusedly at Abe and
Rosemary and asked:

"Is it time?"

"No, not for half an hour."

The table was covered with papers which he assembled with some
difficulty into a long letter; the writing on the last pages was
very large and illegible.  In the delicate light of electric lamps
fading, he scrawled his name at the bottom, crammed it into an
envelope and handed it to Abe.  "For my wife."

"You better souse your head in cold water," Abe suggested.

"You think I'd better?" inquired McKisco doubtfully.  "I don't want
to get too sober."

"Well, you look terrible now."

Obediently McKisco went into the bathroom.

"I'm leaving everything in an awful mess," he called.  "I don't
know how Violet will get back to America.  I don't carry any
insurance.  I never got around to it."

"Don't talk nonsense, you'll be right here eating breakfast in an
hour."

"Sure, I know."  He came back with his hair wet and looked at
Rosemary as if he saw her for the first time.  Suddenly tears stood
in his eyes.  "I never have finished my novel.  That's what makes
me so sore.  You don't like me," he said to Rosemary, "but that
can't be helped.  I'm primarily a literary man."  He made a vague
discouraged sound and shook his head helplessly.  "I've made lots
of mistakes in my life--many of them.  But I've been one of the
most prominent--in some ways--"

He gave this up and puffed at a dead cigarette.

"I do like you," said Rosemary, "but I don't think you ought to
fight a duel."

"Yeah, I should have tried to beat him up, but it's done now.  I've
let myself be drawn into something that I had no right to be.  I
have a very violent temper--"  He looked closely at Abe as if he
expected the statement to be challenged.  Then with an aghast laugh
he raised the cold cigarette butt toward his mouth.  His breathing
quickened.

"The trouble was I suggested the duel--if Violet had only kept her
mouth shut I could have fixed it.  Of course even now I can just
leave, or sit back and laugh at the whole thing--but I don't think
Violet would ever respect me again."

"Yes, she would," said Rosemary.  "She'd respect you more."

"No--you don't know Violet.  She's very hard when she gets an
advantage over you.  We've been married twelve years, we had a
little girl seven years old and she died and after that you know
how it is.  We both played around on the side a little, nothing
serious but drifting apart--she called me a coward out there
tonight."

Troubled, Rosemary didn't answer.

"Well, we'll see there's as little damage done as possible," said
Abe.  He opened the leather case.  "These are Barban's duelling
pistols--I borrowed them so you could get familiar with them.  He
carries them in his suitcase."  He weighed one of the archaic
weapons in his hand.  Rosemary gave an exclamation of uneasiness
and McKisco looked at the pistols anxiously.

"Well--it isn't as if we were going to stand up and pot each other
with forty-fives," he said.

"I don't know," said Abe cruelly; "the idea is you can sight better
along a long barrel."

"How about distance?" asked McKisco.

"I've inquired about that.  If one or the other parties has to be
definitely eliminated they make it eight paces, if they're just
good and sore it's twenty paces, and if it's only to vindicate
their honor it's forty paces.  His second agreed with me to make it
forty."

"That's good."

"There's a wonderful duel in a novel of Pushkin's," recollected
Abe.  "Each man stood on the edge of a precipice, so if he was hit
at all he was done for."

This seemed very remote and academic to McKisco, who stared at him
and said, "What?"

"Do you want to take a quick dip and freshen up?"

"No--no, I couldn t swim."  He sighed.  "I don't see what it's all
about," he said helplessly.  "I don't see why I'm doing it."

It was the first thing he had ever done in his life.  Actually he
was one of those for whom the sensual world does not exist, and
faced with a concrete fact he brought to it a vast surprise.

"We might as well be going," said Abe, seeing him fail a little.

"All right."  He drank off a stiff drink of brandy, put the flask
in his pocket, and said with almost a savage air:  "What'll happen
if I kill him--will they throw me in jail?"

"I'll run you over the Italian border."

He glanced at Rosemary--and then said apologetically to Abe:

"Before we start there's one thing I'd like to see you about
alone."

"I hope neither of you gets hurt," Rosemary said.  "I think it's
very foolish and you ought to try to stop it."



XI


She found Campion downstairs in the deserted lobby.

"I saw you go upstairs," he said excitedly.  "Is he all right?
When is the duel going to be?"

"I don't know."  She resented his speaking of it as a circus, with
McKisco as the tragic clown.

"Will you go with me?" he demanded, with the air of having seats.
"I've hired the hotel car."

"I don't want to go."

"Why not?  I imagine it'll take years off my life but I wouldn't
miss it for worlds.  We could watch it from quite far away."

"Why don't you get Mr. Dumphry to go with you?"

His monocle fell out, with no whiskers to hide in--he drew himself
up.

"I never want to see him again."

"Well, I'm afraid I can't go.  Mother wouldn't like it."

As Rosemary entered her room Mrs. Speers stirred sleepily and
called to her:

"Where've you been?"

"I just couldn't sleep.  You go back to sleep, Mother."

"Come in my room."  Hearing her sit up in bed, Rosemary went in and
told her what had happened.

"Why don't you go and see it?" Mrs. Speers suggested.  "You needn't
go up close and you might be able to help afterwards."

Rosemary did not like the picture of herself looking on and she
demurred, but Mrs. Speer's consciousness was still clogged with
sleep and she was reminded of night calls to death and calamity
when she was the wife of a doctor.  "I like you to go places and do
things on your own initiative without me--you did much harder
things for Rainy's publicity stunts."

Still Rosemary did not see why she should go, but she obeyed the
sure, clear voice that had sent her into the stage entrance of the
Odeon in Paris when she was twelve and greeted her when she came
out again.

She thought she was reprieved when from the steps she saw Abe and
McKisco drive away--but after a moment the hotel car came around
the corner.  Squealing delightedly Luis Campion pulled her in
beside him.

"I hid there because they might not let us come.  I've got my movie
camera, you see."

She laughed helplessly.  He was so terrible that he was no longer
terrible, only dehumanized.

"I wonder why Mrs. McKisco didn't like the Divers?" she said.
"They were very nice to her."

"Oh, it wasn't that.  It was something she saw.  We never did find
exactly what it was because of Barban."

"Then that wasn't what made you so sad."

"Oh, no," he said, his voice breaking, "that was something else
that happened when we got back to the hotel.  But now I don't care--
I wash my hands of it completely."

They followed the other car east along the shore past Juan les
Pins, where the skeleton of the new Casino was rising.  It was past
four and under a blue-gray sky the first fishing boats were
creaking out into a glaucous sea.  Then they turned off the main
road and into the back country.

"It's the golf course," cried Campion, "I'm sure that's where it's
going to be."

He was right.  When Abe's car pulled up ahead of them the east was
crayoned red and yellow, promising a sultry day.  Ordering the
hotel car into a grove of pines Rosemary and Campion kept in the
shadow of a wood and skirted the bleached fairway where Abe and
McKisco were walking up and down, the latter raising his head at
intervals like a rabbit scenting.  Presently there were moving
figures over by a farther tee and the watchers made out Barban and
his French second--the latter carried the box of pistols under his
arm.

Somewhat appalled, McKisco slipped behind Abe and took a long
swallow of brandy.  He walked on choking and would have marched
directly up into the other party, but Abe stopped him and went
forward to talk to the Frenchman.  The sun was over the horizon.

Campion grabbed Rosemary's arm.

"I can't stand it," he squeaked, almost voiceless.  "It's too much.
This will cost me--"

"Let go," Rosemary said peremptorily.  She breathed a frantic
prayer in French.

The principals faced each other, Barban with the sleeve rolled up
from his arm.  His eyes gleamed restlessly in the sun, but his
motion was deliberate as he wiped his palm on the seam of his
trousers.  McKisco, reckless with brandy, pursed his lips in a
whistle and pointed his long nose about nonchalantly, until Abe
stepped forward with a handkerchief in his hand.  The French second
stood with his face turned away.  Rosemary caught her breath in
terrible pity and gritted her teeth with hatred for Barban; then:

"One--two--three!" Abe counted in a strained voice.

They fired at the same moment.  McKisco swayed but recovered
himself.  Both shots had missed.

"Now, that's enough!" cried Abe.

The duellists walked in, and everyone looked at Barban inquiringly.

"I declare myself unsatisfied."

"What?  Sure you're satisfied," said Abe impatiently.  "You just
don't know it."

"Your man refuses another shot?"

"You're damn right, Tommy.  You insisted on this and my client went
through with it."

Tommy laughed scornfully.

"The distance was ridiculous," he said.  "I'm not accustomed to
such farces--your man must remember he's not now in America."

"No use cracking at America," said Abe rather sharply.  And then,
in a more conciliatory tone, "This has gone far enough, Tommy."
They parleyed briskly for a moment--then Barban nodded and bowed
coldly to his late antagonist.

"No shake hand?" suggested the French doctor.

"They already know each other," said Abe.

He turned to McKisco.

"Come on, let's get out."

As they strode off, McKisco, in exultation, gripped his arm.

"Wait a minute!" Abe said.  "Tommy wants his pistol back.  He might
need it again."

McKisco handed it over.

"To hell with him," he said in a tough voice.  "Tell him he can--"

"Shall I tell him you want another shot?"

"Well, I did it," cried McKisco, as they went along.  "And I did it
pretty well, didn't I?  I wasn't yellow."

"You were pretty drunk," said Abe bluntly.

"No, I wasn't."

"All right, then, you weren't."

"Why would it make any difference if I had a drink or so?"

As his confidence mounted he looked resentfully at Abe.

"What difference does that make?" he repeated.

"If you can't see it, there's no use going into it."

"Don't you know everybody was drunk all the time during the war?"

"Well, let's forget it."

But the episode was not quite over.  There were urgent footsteps in
the heather behind them and the doctor drew up alongside.

"Pardon, Messieurs," he panted.  "Voulez-vous regler mes
honorairies? Naturellement c'est pour soins médicaux seulement.  M.
Barban n'a qu'un billet de mille et ne peut pas les régler et
l'autre a laissé son porte-monnaie chez lui."

"Trust a Frenchman to think of that," said Abe, and then to the
doctor.  "Combien?"

"Let me pay this," said McKisco.

"No, I've got it.  We were all in about the same danger."

Abe paid the doctor while McKisco suddenly turned into the bushes
and was sick there.  Then paler than before he strutted on with Abe
toward the car through the now rosy morning.

Campion lay gasping on his back in the shrubbery, the only casualty
of the duel, while Rosemary suddenly hysterical with laughter kept
kicking at him with her espadrille.  She did this persistently
until she roused him--the only matter of importance to her now was
that in a few hours she would see the person whom she still
referred to in her mind as "the Divers" on the beach.



XII


They were at Voisins waiting for Nicole, six of them, Rosemary, the
Norths, Dick Diver and two young French musicians.  They were
looking over the other patrons of the restaurant to see if they had
repose--Dick said no American men had any repose, except himself,
and they were seeking an example to confront him with.  Things
looked black for them--not a man had come into the restaurant for
ten minutes without raising his hand to his face.

"We ought never to have given up waxed mustaches," said Abe.
"Nevertheless Dick isn't the ONLY man with repose--"

"Oh, yes, I am."

"--but he may be the only sober man with repose."

A well-dressed American had come in with two women who swooped and
fluttered unselfconsciously around a table.  Suddenly, he perceived
that he was being watched--whereupon his hand rose spasmodically
and arranged a phantom bulge in his necktie.  In another unseated
party a man endlessly patted his shaven cheek with his palm, and
his companion mechanically raised and lowered the stub of a cold
cigar.  The luckier ones fingered eyeglasses and facial hair, the
unequipped stroked blank mouths, or even pulled desperately at the
lobes of their ears.

A well-known general came in, and Abe, counting on the man's first
year at West Point--that year during which no cadet can resign and
from which none ever recovers--made a bet with Dick of five
dollars.

His hands hanging naturally at his sides, the general waited to be
seated.  Once his arms swung suddenly backward like a jumper's and
Dick said, "Ah!" supposing he had lost control, but the general
recovered and they breathed again--the agony was nearly over, the
garçon was pulling out his chair . . .

With a touch of fury the conqueror shot up his hand and scratched
his gray immaculate head.

"You see," said Dick smugly, "I'm the only one."

Rosemary was quite sure of it and Dick, realizing that he never had
a better audience, made the group into so bright a unit that
Rosemary felt an impatient disregard for all who were not at their
table.  They had been two days in Paris but actually they were
still under the beach umbrella.  When, as at the ball of the Corps
des Pages the night before, the surroundings seemed formidable to
Rosemary, who had yet to attend a Mayfair party in Hollywood, Dick
would bring the scene within range by greeting a few people, a sort
of selection--the Divers seemed to have a large acquaintance, but
it was always as if the person had not seen them for a long, long
time, and was utterly bowled over, "Why, where do you KEEP
yourselves?"--and then re-create the unity of his own party by
destroying the outsiders softly but permanently with an ironic coup
de grâce.  Presently Rosemary seemed to have known those people
herself in some deplorable past, and then got on to them, rejected
them, discarded them.

Their own party was overwhelmingly American and sometimes scarcely
American at all.  It was themselves he gave back to them, blurred
by the compromises of how many years.

Into the dark, smoky restaurant, smelling of the rich raw foods on
the buffet, slid Nicole's sky-blue suit like a stray segment of the
weather outside.  Seeing from their eyes how beautiful she was, she
thanked them with a smile of radiant appreciation.  They were all
very nice people for a while, very courteous and all that.  Then
they grew tired of it and they were funny and bitter, and finally
they made a lot of plans.  They laughed at things that they would
not remember clearly afterward--laughed a lot and the men drank
three bottles of wine.  The trio of women at the table were
representative of the enormous flux of American life.  Nicole was
the granddaughter of a self-made American capitalist and the
granddaughter of a Count of the House of Lippe Weissenfeld.  Mary
North was the daughter of a journeyman paper-hanger and a
descendant of President Tyler.  Rosemary was from the middle of the
middle class, catapulted by her mother onto the uncharted heights
of Hollywood.  Their point of resemblance to each other and their
difference from so many American women, lay in the fact that they
were all happy to exist in a man's world--they preserved their
individuality through men and not by opposition to them.  They
would all three have made alternatively good courtesans or good
wives not by the accident of birth but through the greater accident
of finding their man or not finding him.

So Rosemary found it a pleasant party, that luncheon, nicer in that
there were only seven people, about the limit of a good party.
Perhaps, too, the fact that she was new to their world acted as a
sort of catalytic agent to precipitate out all their old
reservations about one another.  After the table broke up, a waiter
directed Rosemary back into the dark hinterland of all French
restaurants, where she looked up a phone number by a dim orange
bulb, and called Franco-American Films.  Sure, they had a print of
"Daddy's Girl"--it was out for the moment, but they would run it
off later in the week for her at 341 Rue des Saintes Anges--ask for
Mr. Crowder.

The semi-booth gave on the vestiaire and as Rosemary hung up the
receiver she heard two low voices not five feet from her on the
other side of a row of coats.

"--So you love me?"

"Oh, DO I!"

It Was Nicole--Rosemary hesitated in the door of the booth--then
she heard Dick say:

"I want you terribly--let's go to the hotel now."  Nicole gave a
little gasping sigh.  For a moment the words conveyed nothing at
all to Rosemary--but the tone did.  The vast secretiveness of it
vibrated to herself.

"I want you."

"I'll be at the hotel at four."

Rosemary stood breathless as the voices moved away.  She was at
first even astonished--she had seen them in their relation to each
other as people without personal exigencies--as something cooler.
Now a strong current of emotion flowed through her, profound and
unidentified.  She did not know whether she was attracted or
repelled, but only that she was deeply moved.  It made her feel
very alone as she went back into the restaurant, but it was
touching to look in upon, and the passionate gratitude of Nicole's
"Oh, DO I!" echoed in her mind.  The particular mood of the passage
she had witnessed lay ahead of her; but however far she was from it
her stomach told her it was all right--she had none of the aversion
she had felt in the playing of certain love scenes in pictures.

Being far away from it she nevertheless irrevocably participated in
it now, and shopping with Nicole she was much more conscious of the
assignation than Nicole herself.  She looked at Nicole in a new
way, estimating her attractions.  Certainly she was the most
attractive woman Rosemary had ever met--with her hardness, her
devotions and loyalties, and a certain elusiveness, which Rosemary,
thinking now through her mother's middle-class mind, associated
with her attitude about money.  Rosemary spent money she had
earned--she was here in Europe due to the fact that she had gone in
the pool six times that January day with her temperature roving
from 99° in the early morning to 103°, when her mother stopped it.

With Nicole's help Rosemary bought two dresses and two hats and
four pairs of shoes with her money.  Nicole bought from a great
list that ran two pages, and bought the things in the windows
besides.  Everything she liked that she couldn't possibly use
herself, she bought as a present for a friend.  She bought colored
beads, folding beach cushions, artificial flowers, honey, a guest
bed, bags, scarfs, love birds, miniatures for a doll's house and
three yards of some new cloth the color of prawns.  She bought a
dozen bathing suits, a rubber alligator, a travelling chess set of
gold and ivory, big linen handkerchiefs for Abe, two chamois
leather jackets of kingfisher blue and burning bush from Hermes--
bought all these things not a bit like a high-class courtesan
buying underwear and jewels, which were after all professional
equipment and insurance--but with an entirely different point of
view.  Nicole was the product of much ingenuity and toil.  For her
sake trains began their run at Chicago and traversed the round
belly of the continent to California; chicle factories fumed and
link belts grew link by link in factories; men mixed toothpaste in
vats and drew mouthwash out of copper hogsheads; girls canned
tomatoes quickly in August or worked rudely at the Five-and-Tens on
Christmas Eve; half-breed Indians toiled on Brazilian coffee
plantations and dreamers were muscled out of patent rights in new
tractors--these were some of the people who gave a tithe to Nicole,
and as the whole system swayed and thundered onward it lent a
feverish bloom to such processes of hers as wholesale buying, like
the flush of a fireman's face holding his post before a spreading
blaze.  She illustrated very simple principles, containing in
herself her own doom, but illustrated them so accurately that there
was grace in the procedure, and presently Rosemary would try to
imitate it.

It was almost four.  Nicole stood in a shop with a love bird on her
shoulder, and had one of her infrequent outbursts of speech.

"Well, what if you hadn't gone in that pool that day--I sometimes
wonder about such things.  Just before the war we were in Berlin--I
was thirteen, it was just before Mother died.  My sister was going
to a court ball and she had three of the royal princes on her dance
card, all arranged by a chamberlain and everything.  Half an hour
before she was going to start she had a side ache and a high fever.
The doctor said it was appendicitis and she ought to be operated
on.  But Mother had her plans made, so Baby went to the ball and
danced till two with an ice pack strapped on under her evening
dress.  She was operated on at seven o'clock next morning."

It was good to be hard, then; all nice people were hard on
themselves.  But it was four o'clock and Rosemary kept thinking of
Dick waiting for Nicole now at the hotel.  She must go there, she
must not make him wait for her.  She kept thinking, "Why don't you
go?" and then suddenly, "Or let me go if you don't want to."  But
Nicole went to one more place to buy corsages for them both and
sent one to Mary North.  Only then she seemed to remember and with
sudden abstraction she signalled for a taxi.

"Good-by," said Nicole.  "We had fun, didn't we?"

"Loads of fun," said Rosemary.  It was more difficult than she
thought and her whole self protested as Nicole drove away.



XIII


Dick turned the corner of the traverse and continued along the
trench walking on the duckboard.  He came to a periscope, looked
through it a moment; then he got up on the step and peered over the
parapet.  In front of him beneath a dingy sky was Beaumont Hamel;
to his left the tragic hill of Thiepval.  Dick stared at them
through his field glasses, his throat straining with sadness.

He went on along the trench, and found the others waiting for him
in the next traverse.  He was full of excitement and he wanted to
communicate it to them, to make them understand about this, though
actually Abe North had seen battle service and he had not.

"This land here cost twenty lives a foot that summer," he said to
Rosemary.  She looked out obediently at the rather bare green plain
with its low trees of six years' growth.  If Dick had added that
they were now being shelled she would have believed him that
afternoon.  Her love had reached a point where now at last she was
beginning to be unhappy, to be desperate.  She didn't know what to
do--she wanted to talk to her mother.

"There are lots of people dead since and we'll all be dead soon,"
said Abe consolingly.

Rosemary waited tensely for Dick to continue.

"See that little stream--we could walk to it in two minutes.  It
took the British a month to walk to it--a whole empire walking very
slowly, dying in front and pushing forward behind.  And another
empire walked very slowly backward a few inches a day, leaving the
dead like a million bloody rugs.  No Europeans will ever do that
again in this generation."

"Why, they've only just quit over in Turkey," said Abe.  "And in
Morocco--"

"That's different.  This western-front business couldn't be done
again, not for a long time.  The young men think they could do it
but they couldn't.  They could fight the first Marne again but not
this.  This took religion and years of plenty and tremendous
sureties and the exact relation that existed between the classes.
The Russians and Italians weren't any good on this front.  You had
to have a whole-souled sentimental equipment going back further
than you could remember.  You had to remember Christmas, and
postcards of the Crown Prince and his fiancée, and little cafés in
Valence and beer gardens in Unter den Linden and weddings at the
mairie, and going to the Derby, and your grandfather's whiskers."

"General Grant invented this kind of battle at Petersburg in sixty-
five."

"No, he didn't--he just invented mass butchery.  This kind of
battle was invented by Lewis Carroll and Jules Verne and whoever
wrote Undine, and country deacons bowling and marraines in
Marseilles and girls seduced in the back lanes of Wurtemburg and
Westphalia.  Why, this was a love battle--there was a century of
middle-class love spent here.  This was the last love battle."

"You want to hand over this battle to D. H. Lawrence," said Abe.

"All my beautiful lovely safe world blew itself up here with a
great gust of high explosive love," Dick mourned persistently.
"Isn't that true, Rosemary?"

"I don't know," she answered with a grave face.  "You know
everything."

They dropped behind the others.  Suddenly a shower of earth gobs
and pebbles came down on them and Abe yelled from the next
traverse:

"The war spirit's getting into me again.  I have a hundred years of
Ohio love behind me and I'm going to bomb out this trench."  His
head popped up over the embankment.  "You're dead--don't you know
the rules?  That was a grenade."

Rosemary laughed and Dick picked up a retaliatory handful of stones
and then put them down.

"I couldn't kid here," he said rather apologetically.  "The silver
cord is cut and the golden bowl is broken and all that, but an old
romantic like me can't do anything about it."

"I'm romantic too."

They came out of the neat restored trench, and faced a memorial to
the Newfoundland dead.  Reading the inscription Rosemary burst into
sudden tears.  Like most women she liked to be told how she should
feel, and she liked Dick's telling her which things were ludicrous
and which things were sad.  But most of all she wanted him to know
how she loved him, now that the fact was upsetting everything, now
that she was walking over the battlefield in a thrilling dream.

After that they got in their car and started back toward Amiens.  A
thin warm rain was falling on the new scrubby woods and underbrush
and they passed great funeral pyres of sorted duds, shells, bombs,
grenades, and equipment, helmets, bayonets, gun stocks and rotten
leather, abandoned six years in the ground.  And suddenly around a
bend the white caps of a great sea of graves.  Dick asked the
chauffeur to stop.

"There's that girl--and she still has her wreath."

They watched as he got out and went over to the girl, who stood
uncertainly by the gate with a wreath in her hand.  Her taxi
waited.  She was a red-haired girl from Tennessee whom they had met
on the train this morning, come from Knoxville to lay a memorial on
her brother's grave.  There were tears of vexation on her face.

"The War Department must have given me the wrong number," she
whimpered.  "It had another name on it.  I been lookin' for it
since two o'clock, and there's so many graves."

"Then if I were you I'd just lay it on any grave without looking at
the name," Dick advised her.

"You reckon that's what I ought to do?"

"I think that's what he'd have wanted you to do."

It was growing dark and the rain was coming down harder.

She left the wreath on the first grave inside the gate, and
accepted Dick's suggestion that she dismiss her taxi-cab and ride
back to Amiens with them.

Rosemary shed tears again when she heard of the mishap--altogether
it had been a watery day, but she felt that she had learned
something, though exactly what it was she did not know.  Later she
remembered all the hours of the afternoon as happy--one of those
uneventful times that seem at the moment only a link between past
and future pleasure but turn out to have been the pleasure itself.

Amiens was an echoing purple town, still sad with the war, as some
railroad stations were:--the Gare du Nord and Waterloo station in
London.  In the daytime one is deflated by such towns, with their
little trolley cars of twenty years ago crossing the great gray
cobble-stoned squares in front of the cathedral, and the very
weather seems to have a quality of the past, faded weather like
that of old photographs.  But after dark all that is most
satisfactory in French life swims back into the picture--the
sprightly tarts, the men arguing with a hundred Voilàs in the
cafés, the couples drifting, head to head, toward the satisfactory
inexpensiveness of nowhere.  Waiting for the train they sat in a
big arcade, tall enough to release the smoke and chatter and music
upward and obligingly the orchestra launched into "Yes, We Have No
Bananas,"--they clapped, because the leader looked so pleased with
himself.  The Tennessee girl forgot her sorrow and enjoyed herself,
even began flirtations of tropical eye-rollings and pawings, with
Dick and Abe.  They teased her gently.

Then, leaving infinitesimal sections of Wurtemburgers, Prussian
Guards, Chasseurs Alpins, Manchester mill hands and old Etonians to
pursue their eternal dissolution under the warm rain, they took the
train for Paris.  They ate sandwiches of mortadel sausage and bel
paese cheese made up in the station restaurant, and drank
Beaujolais.  Nicole was abstracted, biting her lip restlessly and
reading over the guide-books to the battle-field that Dick had
brought along--indeed, he had made a quick study of the whole
affair, simplifying it always until it bore a faint resemblance to
one of his own parties.



XIV


When they reached Paris Nicole was too tired to go on to the grand
illumination at the Decorative Art Exposition as they had planned.
They left her at the Hotel Roi George, and as she disappeared
between the intersecting planes made by lobby lights of the glass
doors, Rosemary's oppression lifted.  Nicole was a force--not
necessarily well disposed or predictable like her mother--an
incalculable force.  Rosemary was somewhat afraid of her.

At eleven she sat with Dick and the Norths at a houseboat café just
opened on the Seine.  The river shimmered with lights from the
bridges and cradled many cold moons.  On Sundays sometimes when
Rosemary and her mother had lived in Paris they had taken the
little steamer up to Suresnes and talked about plans for the
future.  They had little money but Mrs. Speers was so sure of
Rosemary's beauty and had implanted in her so much ambition, that
she was willing to gamble the money on "advantages"; Rosemary in
turn was to repay her mother when she got her start. . . .

Since reaching Paris Abe North had had a thin vinous fur over him;
his eyes were bloodshot from sun and wine.  Rosemary realized for
the first time that he was always stopping in places to get a
drink, and she wondered how Mary North liked it.  Mary was quiet,
so quiet save for her frequent laughter that Rosemary had learned
little about her.  She liked the straight dark hair brushed back
until it met some sort of natural cascade that took care of it--
from time to time it eased with a jaunty slant over the corner of
her temple, until it was almost in her eye when she tossed her head
and caused it to fall sleek into place once more.

"We'll turn in early to-night, Abe, after this drink."  Mary's
voice was light but it held a little flicker of anxiety.  "You
don't want to be poured on the boat."

"It's pretty late now," Dick said.  "We'd all better go."

The noble dignity of Abe's face took on a certain stubbornness, and
he remarked with determination:

"Oh, no."  He paused gravely.  "Oh, no, not yet.  We'll have
another bottle of champagne."

"No more for me," said Dick.

"It's Rosemary I'm thinking of.  She's a natural alcoholic--keeps a
bottle of gin in the bathroom and all that--her mother told me."

He emptied what was left of the first bottle into Rosemary's glass.
She had made herself quite sick the first day in Paris with quarts
of lemonade; after that she had taken nothing with them but now she
raised the champagne and drank at it.

"But what's this?" exclaimed Dick.  "You told me you didn't drink."

"I didn't say I was never going to."

"What about your mother?"

"I'm just going to drink this one glass."  She felt some necessity
for it.  Dick drank, not too much, but he drank, and perhaps it
would bring her closer to him, be a part of the equipment for what
she had to do.  She drank it quickly, choked and then said,
"Besides, yesterday was my birthday--I was eighteen."

"Why didn't you tell us?" they said indignantly.

"I knew you'd make a fuss over it and go to a lot of trouble."  She
finished the champagne.  "So this is the celebration."

"It most certainly is not," Dick assured her.  "The dinner tomorrow
night is your birthday party and don't forget it.  Eighteen--why
that's a terribly important age."

"I used to think until you're eighteen nothing matters," said Mary.

"That's right," Abe agreed.  "And afterward it's the same way."

"Abe feels that nothing matters till he gets on the boat," said
Mary.  "This time he really has got everything planned out when he
gets to New York."  She spoke as though she were tired of saying
things that no longer had a meaning for her, as if in reality the
course that she and her husband followed, or failed to follow, had
become merely an intention.

"He'll be writing music in America and I'll be working at singing
in Munich, so when we get together again there'll be nothing we
can't do."

"That's wonderful," agreed Rosemary, feeling the champagne.

"Meanwhile, another touch of champagne for Rosemary.  Then she'll
be more able to rationalize the acts of her lymphatic glands.  They
only begin to function at eighteen."

Dick laughed indulgently at Abe, whom he loved, and in whom he had
long lost hope:  "That's medically incorrect and we're going."
Catching the faint patronage Abe said lightly:

"Something tells me I'll have a new score on Broadway long before
you've finished your scientific treatise."

"I hope so," said Dick evenly.  "I hope so.  I may even abandon
what you call my 'scientific treatise.'"

"Oh, Dick!"  Mary's voice was startled, was shocked.  Rosemary had
never before seen Dick's face utterly expressionless; she felt that
this announcement was something momentous and she was inclined to
exclaim with Mary "Oh, Dick!"

But suddenly Dick laughed again, added to his remark "--abandon it
for another one," and got up from the table.

"But Dick, sit down.  I want to know--"

"I'll tell you some time.  Good night, Abe.  Good night, Mary."

"Good night, dear Dick."  Mary smiled as if she were going to be
perfectly happy sitting there on the almost deserted boat.  She was
a brave, hopeful woman and she was following her husband somewhere,
changing herself to this kind of person or that, without being able
to lead him a step out of his path, and sometimes realizing with
discouragement how deep in him the guarded secret of her direction
lay.  And yet an air of luck clung about her, as if she were a sort
of token. . . .



XV


"What is it you are giving up?" demanded Rosemary, facing Dick
earnestly in the taxi.

"Nothing of importance."

"Are you a scientist?"

"I'm a doctor of medicine."

"Oh-h!" she smiled delightedly.  "My father was a doctor too.  Then
why don't you--" she stopped.

"There's no mystery.  I didn't disgrace myself at the height of my
career, and hide away on the Riviera.  I'm just not practising.
You can't tell, I'll probably practise again some day."

Rosemary put up her face quietly to be kissed.  He looked at her
for a moment as if he didn't understand.  Then holding her in the
hollow of his arm he rubbed his cheek against her cheek's softness,
and then looked down at her for another long moment.

"Such a lovely child," he said gravely.

She smiled up at him; her hands playing conventionally with the
lapels of his coat.  "I'm in love with you and Nicole.  Actually
that's my secret--I can't even talk about you to anybody because I
don't want any more people to know how wonderful you are.
Honestly--I love you and Nicole--I do."

--So many times he had heard this--even the formula was the same.

Suddenly she came toward him, her youth vanishing as she passed
inside the focus of his eyes and he had kissed her breathlessly as
if she were any age at all.  Then she lay back against his arm and
sighed.

"I've decided to give you up," she said.

Dick started--had he said anything to imply that she possessed any
part of him?

"But that's very mean," he managed to say lightly, "just when I was
getting interested."

"I've loved you so--"  As if it had been for years.  She was
weeping a little now.  "I've loved you so-o-o."

Then he should have laughed, but he heard himself saying, "Not only
are you beautiful but you are somehow on the grand scale.
Everything you do, like pretending to be in love or pretending to
be shy gets across."

In the dark cave of the taxi, fragrant with the perfume Rosemary
had bought with Nicole, she came close again, clinging to him.  He
kissed her without enjoying it.  He knew that there was passion
there, but there was no shadow of it in her eyes or on her mouth;
there was a faint spray of champagne on her breath.  She clung
nearer desperately and once more he kissed her and was chilled by
the innocence of her kiss, by the glance that at the moment of
contact looked beyond him out into the darkness of the night, the
darkness of the world.  She did not know yet that splendor is
something in the heart; at the moment when she realized that and
melted into the passion of the universe he could take her without
question or regret.

Her room in the hotel was diagonally across from theirs and nearer
the elevator.  When they reached the door she said suddenly:

"I know you don't love me--I don't expect it.  But you said I
should have told you about my birthday.  Well, I did, and now for
my birthday present I want you to come into my room a minute while
I tell you something.  Just one minute."

They went in and he closed the door, and Rosemary stood close to
him, not touching him.  The night had drawn the color from her
face--she was pale as pale now, she was a white carnation left
after a dance.

"When you smile--"  He had recovered his paternal attitude, perhaps
because of Nicole's silent proximity, "I always think I'll see a
gap where you've lost some baby teeth."

But he was too late--she came close up against him with a forlorn
whisper.

"Take me."

"Take you where?"

Astonishment froze him rigid.

"Go on," she whispered.  "Oh, please go on, whatever they do.  I
don't care if I don't like it--I never expected to--I've always
hated to think about it but now I don't.  I want you to."

She was astonished at herself--she had never imagined she could
talk like that.  She was calling on things she had read, seen,
dreamed through a decade of convent hours.  Suddenly she knew too
that it was one of her greatest rôles and she flung herself into it
more passionately.

"This is not as it should be," Dick deliberated.  "Isn't it just
the champagne?  Let's more or less forget it."

"Oh, no, NOW.  I want you to do it now, take me, show me, I'm
absolutely yours and I want to be."

"For one thing, have you thought how much it would hurt Nicole?"

"She won't know--this won't have anything to do with her."

He continued kindly.

"Then there's the fact that I love Nicole."

"But you can love more than just one person, can't you?  Like I
love Mother and I love you--more.  I love you more now."

"--the fourth place you're not in love with me but you might be
afterwards, and that would begin your life with a terrible mess."

"No, I promise I'll never see you again.  I'll get Mother and go to
America right away."

He dismissed this.  He was remembering too vividly the youth and
freshness of her lips.  He took another tone.

"You're just in that mood."

"Oh, please, I don't care even if I had a baby.  I could go into
Mexico like a girl at the studio.  Oh, this is so different from
anything I ever thought--I used to hate it when they kissed me
seriously."  He saw she was still under the impression that it must
happen.  "Some of them had great big teeth, but you're all
different and beautiful.  I want you to do it."

"I believe you think people just kiss some way and you want me to
kiss you."

"Oh, don't tease me--I'm not a baby.  I know you're not in love
with me."  She was suddenly humble and quiet.  "I didn't expect
that much.  I know I must seem just nothing to you."

"Nonsense.  But you seem young to me."  His thoughts added, "--
there'd be so much to teach you."

Rosemary waited, breathing eagerly till Dick said:  "And lastly
things aren't arranged so that this could be as you want."

Her face drooped with dismay and disappointment and Dick said
automatically, "We'll have to simply--"  He stopped himself,
followed her to the bed, sat down beside her while she wept.  He
was suddenly confused, not about the ethics of the matter, for the
impossibility of it was sheerly indicated from all angles but
simply confused, and for a moment his usual grace, the tensile
strength of his balance, was absent.

"I knew you wouldn't," she sobbed.  "It was just a forlorn hope."

He stood up.

"Good night, child.  This is a damn shame.  Let's drop it out of
the picture."  He gave her two lines of hospital patter to go to
sleep on.  "So many people are going to love you and it might be
nice to meet your first love all intact, emotionally too.  That's
an old-fashioned idea, isn't it?"  She looked up at him as he took
a step toward the door; she looked at him without the slightest
idea as to what was in his head, she saw him take another step in
slow motion, turn and look at her again, and she wanted for a
moment to hold him and devour him, wanted his mouth, his ears, his
coat collar, wanted to surround him and engulf him; she saw his
hand fall on the doorknob.  Then she gave up and sank back on the
bed.  When the door closed she got up and went to the mirror, where
she began brushing her hair, sniffling a little.  One hundred and
fifty strokes Rosemary gave it, as usual, then a hundred and fifty
more.  She brushed it until her arm ached, then she changed arms
and went on brushing. . . .



XVI


She woke up cooled and shamed.  The sight of her beauty in the
mirror did not reassure her but only awakened the ache of yesterday
and a letter, forwarded by her mother, from the boy who had taken
her to the Yale prom last fall, which announced his presence in
Paris was no help--all that seemed far away.  She emerged from her
room for the ordeal of meeting the Divers weighted with a double
trouble.  But it was hidden by a sheath as impermeable as Nicole's
when they met and went together to a series of fittings.  It was
consoling, though, when Nicole remarked, apropos of a distraught
saleswoman:  "Most people think everybody feels about them much
more violently than they actually do--they think other people's
opinions of them swing through great arcs of approval or
disapproval."  Yesterday in her expansiveness Rosemary would have
resented that remark--to-day in her desire to minimize what had
happened she welcomed it eagerly.  She admired Nicole for her
beauty and her wisdom, and also for the first time in her life she
was jealous.  Just before leaving Gausse's hotel her mother had
said in that casual tone, which Rosemary knew concealed her most
significant opinions, that Nicole was a great beauty, with the
frank implication that Rosemary was not.  This did not bother
Rosemary, who had only recently been allowed to learn that she was
even personable; so that her prettiness never seemed exactly her
own but rather an acquirement, like her French.  Nevertheless, in
the taxi she looked at Nicole, matching herself against her.  There
were all the potentialities for romantic love in that lovely body
and in the delicate mouth, sometimes tight, sometimes expectantly
half open to the world.  Nicole had been a beauty as a young girl
and she would be a beauty later when her skin stretched tight over
her high cheekbones--the essential structure was there.  She had
been white-Saxon-blonde but she was more beautiful now that her
hair had darkened than when it had been like a cloud and more
beautiful than she.

"We lived there," Rosemary suddenly pointed to a building in the
Rue des Saints-Péres.

"That's strange.  Because when I was twelve Mother and Baby and I
once spent a winter there," and she pointed to a hotel directly
across the street.  The two dingy fronts stared at them, gray
echoes of girlhood.

"We'd just built our Lake Forest house and we were economizing,"
Nicole continued.  "At least Baby and I and the governess
economized and Mother travelled."

"We were economizing too," said Rosemary, realizing that the word
meant different things to them.

"Mother always spoke of it very carefully as a small hotel--"
Nicole gave her quick magnetic little laugh, "--I mean instead of
saying a 'cheap' hotel.  If any swanky friends asked us our address
we'd never say, 'We're in a dingy little hole over in the apache
quarter where we're glad of running water,'--we'd say 'We're in a
small hotel.'  As if all the big ones were too noisy and vulgar for
us.  Of course the friends always saw through us and told everyone
about it, but Mother always said it showed we knew our way around
Europe.  She did, of course: she was born a German citizen.  But
her mother was American, and she was brought up in Chicago, and she
was more American than European."

They were meeting the others in two minutes, and Rosemary
reconstructed herself once more as they got out of the taxi in the
Rue Guynemer, across from the Luxembourg Gardens.  They were
lunching in the Norths' already dismantled apartment high above the
green mass of leaves.  The day seemed different to Rosemary from
the day before--When she saw him face to face their eyes met and
brushed like birds' wings.  After that everything was all right,
everything was wonderful, she knew that he was beginning to fall in
love with her.  She felt wildly happy, felt the warm sap of emotion
being pumped through her body.  A cool, clear confidence deepened
and sang in her.  She scarcely looked at Dick but she knew
everything was all right.

After luncheon the Divers and the Norths and Rosemary went to the
Franco-American Films, to be joined by Collis Clay, her young man
from New Haven, to whom she had telephoned.  He was a Georgian,
with the peculiarly regular, even stencilled ideas of Southerners
who are educated in the North.  Last winter she had thought him
attractive--once they held hands in an automobile going from New
Haven to New York; now he no longer existed for her.

In the projection room she sat between Collis Clay and Dick while
the mechanic mounted the reels of Daddy's Girl and a French
executive fluttered about her trying to talk American slang.  "Yes,
boy," he said when there was trouble with the projector, "I have
not any benenas."  Then the lights went out, there was the sudden
click and a flickering noise and she was alone with Dick at last.
They looked at each other in the half darkness.

"Dear Rosemary," he murmured.  Their shoulders touched.  Nicole
stirred restlessly at the end of the row and Abe coughed
convulsively and blew his nose; then they all settled down and the
picture ran.

There she was--the school girl of a year ago, hair down her back
and rippling out stiffly like the solid hair of a tanagra figure;
there she was--SO young and innocent--the product of her mother's
loving care; there she was--embodying all the immaturity of the
race, cutting a new cardboard paper doll to pass before its empty
harlot's mind.  She remembered how she had felt in that dress,
especially fresh and new under the fresh young silk.

Daddy's girl.  Was it a 'itty-bitty bravekins and did it suffer?
Ooo-ooo-tweet, de tweetest thing, wasn't she dest too tweet?
Before her tiny fist the forces of lust and corruption rolled away;
nay, the very march of destiny stopped; inevitable became evitable,
syllogism, dialectic, all rationality fell away.  Women would
forget the dirty dishes at home and weep, even within the picture
one woman wept so long that she almost stole the film away from
Rosemary.  She wept all over a set that cost a fortune, in a Duncan
Phyfe dining-room, in an aviation port, and during a yacht-race
that was only used in two flashes, in a subway and finally in a
bathroom.  But Rosemary triumphed.  Her fineness of character, her
courage and steadfastness intruded upon by the vulgarity of the
world, and Rosemary showing what it took with a face that had not
yet become mask-like--yet it was actually so moving that the
emotions of the whole row of people went out to her at intervals
during the picture.  There was a break once and the light went on
and after the chatter of applause Dick said to her sincerely:  "I'm
simply astounded.  You're going to be one of the best actresses on
the stage."

Then back to Daddy's Girl: happier days now, and a lovely shot of
Rosemary and her parent united at the last in a father complex so
apparent that Dick winced for all psychologists at the vicious
sentimentality.  The screen vanished, the lights went on, the
moment had come.

"I've arranged one other thing," announced Rosemary to the company
at large, "I've arranged a test for Dick."

"A what?"

"A screen test, they'll take one now."

There was an awful silence--then an irrepressible chortle from the
Norths.  Rosemary watched Dick comprehend what she meant, his face
moving first in an Irish way; simultaneously she realized that she
had made some mistake in the playing of her trump and still she did
not suspect that the card was at fault.

"I don't want a test," said Dick firmly; then, seeing the situation
as a whole, he continued lightly, "Rosemary, I'm disappointed.  The
pictures make a fine career for a woman--but my God, they can't
photograph me.  I'm an old scientist all wrapped up in his private
life."

Nicole and Mary urged him ironically to seize the opportunity; they
teased him, both faintly annoyed at not having been asked for a
sitting.  But Dick closed the subject with a somewhat tart
discussion of actors:  "The strongest guard is placed at the
gateway to nothing," he said.  "Maybe because the condition of
emptiness is too shameful to be divulged."

In the taxi with Dick and Collis Clay--they were dropping Collis,
and Dick was taking Rosemary to a tea from which Nicole and the
Norths had resigned in order to do the things Abe had left undone
till the last--in the taxi Rosemary reproached him.

"I thought if the test turned out to be good I could take it to
California with me.  And then maybe if they liked it you'd come out
and be my leading man in a picture."

He was overwhelmed.  "It was a darn sweet thought, but I'd rather
look at YOU.  You were about the nicest sight I ever looked at."

"That's a great picture," said Collis.  "I've seen it four times.
I know one boy at New Haven who's seen it a dozen times--he went
all the way to Hartford to see it one time.  And when I brought
Rosemary up to New Haven he was so shy he wouldn't meet her.  Can
you beat that?  This little girl knocks them cold."

Dick and Rosemary looked at each other, wanting to be alone, but
Collis failed to understand.

"I'll drop you where you're going," he suggested.  "I'm staying at
the Lutetia."

"We'll drop you," said Dick.

"It'll be easier for me to drop you.  No trouble at all."

"I think it will be better if we drop you."

"But--" began Collis; he grasped the situation at last and began
discussing with Rosemary when he would see her again.

Finally, he was gone, with the shadowy unimportance but the
offensive bulk of the third party.  The car stopped unexpectedly,
unsatisfactorily, at the address Dick had given.  He drew a long
breath.

"Shall we go in?"

"I don't care," Rosemary said.  "I'll do anything you want."

He considered.

"I almost have to go in--she wants to buy some pictures from a
friend of mine who needs the money."

Rosemary smoothed the brief expressive disarray of her hair.

"We'll stay just five minutes," he decided.  "You're not going to
like these people."

She assumed that they were dull and stereotyped people, or gross
and drunken people, or tiresome, insistent people, or any of the
sorts of people that the Divers avoided.  She was entirely
unprepared for the impression that the scene made on her.



XVII


It was a house hewn from the frame of Cardinal de Retz's palace in
the Rue Monsieur, but once inside the door there was nothing of the
past, nor of any present that Rosemary knew.  The outer shell, the
masonry, seemed rather to enclose the future so that it was an
electric-like shock, a definite nervous experience, perverted as a
breakfast of oatmeal and hashish, to cross that threshold, if it
could be so called, into the long hall of blue steel, silver-gilt,
and the myriad facets of many oddly bevelled mirrors.  The effect
was unlike that of any part of the Decorative Arts Exhibition--for
there were people IN it, not in front of it.  Rosemary had the
detached false-and-exalted feeling of being on a set and she
guessed that every one else present had that feeling too.

There were about thirty people, mostly women, and all fashioned by
Louisa M. Alcott or Madame de Ségur; and they functioned on this
set as cautiously, as precisely, as does a human hand picking up
jagged broken glass.  Neither individually nor as a crowd could
they be said to dominate the environment, as one comes to dominate
a work of art he may possess, no matter how esoteric, no one knew
what this room meant because it was evolving into something else,
becoming everything a room was not; to exist in it was as difficult
as walking on a highly polished moving stairway, and no one could
succeed at all save with the aforementioned qualities of a hand
moving among broken glass--which qualities limited and defined the
majority of those present.

These were of two sorts.  There were the Americans and English who
had been dissipating all spring and summer, so that now everything
they did had a purely nervous inspiration.  They were very quiet
and lethargic at certain hours and then they exploded into sudden
quarrels and breakdowns and seductions.  The other class, who might
be called the exploiters, was formed by the sponges, who were
sober, serious people by comparison, with a purpose in life and no
time for fooling.  These kept their balance best in that
environment, and what tone there was, beyond the apartment's novel
organization of light values, came from them.

The Frankenstein took down Dick and Rosemary at a gulp--it
separated them immediately and Rosemary suddenly discovered herself
to be an insincere little person, living all in the upper registers
of her throat and wishing the director would come.  There was
however such a wild beating of wings in the room that she did not
feel her position was more incongruous than any one else's.  In
addition, her training told and after a series of semi-military
turns, shifts, and marches she found herself presumably talking to
a neat, slick girl with a lovely boy's face, but actually absorbed
by a conversation taking place on a sort of gun-metal ladder
diagonally opposite her and four feet away.

There was a trio of young women sitting on the bench.  They were
all tall and slender with small heads groomed like manikins' heads,
and as they talked the heads waved gracefully about above their
dark tailored suits, rather like long-stemmed flowers and rather
like cobras' hoods.

"Oh, they give a good show," said one of them, in a deep rich
voice.  "Practically the best show in Paris--I'd be the last one to
deny that.  But after all--"  She sighed.  "Those phrases he uses
over and over--'Oldest inhabitant gnawed by rodents.'  You laugh
once."

"I prefer people whose lives have more corrugated surfaces," said
the second, "and I don't like her."

"I've never really been able to get very excited about them, or
their entourage either.  Why, for example, the entirely liquid Mr.
North?"

"He's out," said the first girl.  "But you must admit that the
party in question can be one of the most charming human beings you
have ever met."

It was the first hint Rosemary had had that they were talking about
the Divers, and her body grew tense with indignation.  But the girl
talking to her, in the starched blue shirt with the bright blue
eyes and the red cheeks and the very gray suit, a poster of a girl,
had begun to play up.  Desperately she kept sweeping things from
between them, afraid that Rosemary couldn't see her, sweeping them
away until presently there was not so much as a veil of brittle
humor hiding the girl, and with distaste Rosemary saw her plain.

"Couldn't you have lunch, or maybe dinner, or lunch the day after?"
begged the girl.  Rosemary looked about for Dick, finding him with
the hostess, to whom he had been talking since they came in.  Their
eyes met and he nodded slightly, and simultaneously the three cobra
women noticed her; their long necks darted toward her and they
fixed finely critical glances upon her.  She looked back at them
defiantly, acknowledging that she had heard what they said.  Then
she threw off her exigent vis-à-vis with a polite but clipped
parting that she had just learned from Dick, and went over to join
him.  The hostess--she was another tall rich American girl,
promenading insouciantly upon the national prosperity--was asking
Dick innumerable questions about Gausse's Hôtel, whither she
evidently wanted to come, and battering persistently against his
reluctance.  Rosemary's presence reminded her that she had been
recalcitrant as a hostess and glancing about she said:  "Have you
met any one amusing, have you met Mr.--"  Her eyes groped for a
male who might interest Rosemary, but Dick said they must go.  They
left immediately, moving over the brief threshold of the future to
the sudden past of the stone façade without.

"Wasn't it terrible?" he said.

"Terrible," she echoed obediently.

"Rosemary?"

She murmured, "What?" in an awed voice.

"I feel terribly about this."

She was shaken with audibly painful sobs.  "Have you got a
handkerchief?" she faltered.  But there was little time to cry, and
lovers now they fell ravenously on the quick seconds while outside
the taxi windows the green and cream twilight faded, and the fire-
red, gas-blue, ghost-green signs began to shine smokily through the
tranquil rain.  It was nearly six, the streets were in movement,
the bistros gleamed, the Place de la Concorde moved by in pink
majesty as the cab turned north.

They looked at each other at last, murmuring names that were a
spell.  Softly the two names lingered on the air, died away more
slowly than other words, other names, slower than music in the
mind.

"I don't know what came over me last night," Rosemary said.  "That
glass of champagne?  I've never done anything like that before."

"You simply said you loved me."

"I do love you--I can't change that."  It was time for Rosemary to
cry, so she cried a little in her handkerchief.

"I'm afraid I'm in love with you," said Dick, "and that's not the
best thing that could happen."

Again the names--then they lurched together as if the taxi had
swung them.  Her breasts crushed flat against him, her mouth was
all new and warm, owned in common.  They stopped thinking with an
almost painful relief, stopped seeing; they only breathed and
sought each other.  They were both in the gray gentle world of a
mild hangover of fatigue when the nerves relax in bunches like
piano strings, and crackle suddenly like wicker chairs.  Nerves so
raw and tender must surely join other nerves, lips to lips, breast
to breast. . . .

They were still in the happier stage of love.  They were full of
brave illusions about each other, tremendous illusions, so that the
communion of self with self seemed to be on a plane where no other
human relations mattered.  They both seemed to have arrived there
with an extraordinary innocence as though a series of pure
accidents had driven them together, so many accidents that at last
they were forced to conclude that they were for each other.  They
had arrived with clean hands, or so it seemed, after no traffic
with the merely curious and clandestine.

But for Dick that portion of the road was short; the turning came
before they reached the hotel.

"There's nothing to do about it," he said, with a feeling of panic.
"I'm in love with you but it doesn't change what I said last
night."

"That doesn't matter now.  I just wanted to make you love me--if
you love me everything's all right."

"Unfortunately I do.  But Nicole mustn't know--she mustn't suspect
even faintly.  Nicole and I have got to go on together.  In a way
that's more important than just wanting to go on."

"Kiss me once more."

He kissed her, but momentarily he had left her.

"Nicole mustn't suffer--she loves me and I love her--you understand
that."

She did understand--it was the sort of thing she understood well,
not hurting people.  She knew the Divers loved each other because
it had been her primary assumption.  She had thought however that
it was a rather cooled relation, and actually rather like the love
of herself and her mother.  When people have so much for outsiders
didn't it indicate a lack of inner intensity?

"And I mean love," he said, guessing her thoughts.  "Active love--
it's more complicated than I can tell you.  It was responsible for
that crazy duel."

"How did you know about the duel?  I thought we were to keep it
from you."

"Do you think Abe can keep a secret?"  He spoke with incisive
irony.  "Tell a secret over the radio, publish it in a tabloid, but
never tell it to a man who drinks more than three or four a day."

She laughed in agreement, staying close to him.

"So you understand my relations with Nicole are complicated.  She's
not very strong--she looks strong but she isn't.  And this makes
rather a mess."

"Oh, say that later!  But kiss me now--love me now.  I'll love you
and never let Nicole see."

"You darling."

They reached the hotel and Rosemary walked a little behind him, to
admire him, to adore him.  His step was alert as if he had just
come from some great doings and was hurrying on toward others.
Organizer of private gaiety, curator of a richly incrusted
happiness.  His hat was a perfect hat and he carried a heavy stick
and yellow gloves.  She thought what a good time they would all
have being with him to-night.

They walked upstairs--five flights.  At the first landing they
stopped and kissed; she was careful on the next landing, on the
third more careful still.  On the next--there were two more--she
stopped half way and kissed him fleetingly good-by.  At his urgency
she walked down with him to the one below for a minute--and then up
and up.  Finally it was good-by with their hands stretching to
touch along the diagonal of the banister and then the fingers
slipping apart.  Dick went back downstairs to make some
arrangements for the evening--Rosemary ran to her room and wrote a
letter to her mother; she was conscience-stricken because she did
not miss her mother at all.



XVIII


Although the Divers were honestly apathetic to organized fashion,
they were nevertheless too acute to abandon its contemporaneous
rhythm and beat--Dick's parties were all concerned with excitement,
and a chance breath of fresh night air was the more precious for
being experienced in the intervals of the excitement.

The party that night moved with the speed of a slapstick comedy.
They were twelve, they were sixteen, they were quartets in separate
motors bound on a quick Odyssey over Paris.  Everything had been
foreseen.  People joined them as if by magic, accompanied them as
specialists, almost guides, through a phase of the evening, dropped
out and were succeeded by other people, so that it appeared as if
the freshness of each one had been husbanded for them all day.
Rosemary appreciated how different it was from any party in
Hollywood, no matter how splendid in scale.  There was, among many
diversions, the car of the Shah of Persia.  Where Dick had
commandeered this vehicle, what bribery was employed, these were
facts of irrelevance.  Rosemary accepted it as merely a new facet
of the fabulous, which for two years had filled her life.  The car
had been built on a special chassis in America.  Its wheels were of
silver, so was the radiator.  The inside of the body was inlaid
with innumerable brilliants which would be replaced with true gems
by the court jeweller when the car arrived in Teheran the following
week.  There was only one real seat in back, because the Shah must
ride alone, so they took turns riding in it and sitting on the
marten fur that covered the floor.

But always there was Dick.  Rosemary assured the image of her
mother, ever carried with her, that never, never had she known any
one so nice, so thoroughly nice as Dick was that night.  She
compared him with the two Englishmen, whom Abe addressed
conscientiously as "Major Hengest and Mr. Horsa," and with the heir
to a Scandinavian throne and the novelist just back from Russia,
and with Abe, who was desperate and witty, and with Collis Clay,
who joined them somewhere and stayed along--and felt there was no
comparison.  The enthusiasm, the selflessness behind the whole
performance ravished her, the technic of moving many varied types,
each as immobile, as dependent on supplies of attention as an
infantry battalion is dependent on rations, appeared so effortless
that he still had pieces of his own most personal self for
everyone.

--Afterward she remembered the times when she had felt the
happiest.  The first time was when she and Dick danced together and
she felt her beauty sparkling bright against his tall, strong form
as they floated, hovering like people in an amusing dream--he
turned her here and there with such a delicacy of suggestion that
she was like a bright bouquet, a piece of precious cloth being
displayed before fifty eyes.  There was a moment when they were not
dancing at all, simply clinging together.  Some time in the early
morning they were alone, and her damp powdery young body came up
close to him in a crush of tired cloth, and stayed there, crushed
against a background of other people's hats and wraps. . . .

The time she laughed most was later, when six of them, the best of
them, noblest relics of the evening, stood in the dusky front lobby
of the Ritz telling the night concierge that General Pershing was
outside and wanted caviare and champagne.  "He brooks no delay.
Every man, every gun is at his service."  Frantic waiters emerged
from nowhere, a table was set in the lobby, and Abe came in
representing General Pershing while they stood up and mumbled
remembered fragments of war songs at him.  In the waiters' injured
reaction to this anti-climax they found themselves neglected, so
they built a waiter trap--a huge and fantastic device constructed
of all the furniture in the lobby and functioning like one of the
bizarre machines of a Goldberg cartoon.  Abe shook his head
doubtfully at it.

"Perhaps it would be better to steal a musical saw and--"

"That's enough," Mary interrupted.  "When Abe begins bringing up
that it's time to go home."  Anxiously she confided to Rosemary:

"I've got to get Abe home.  His boat train leaves at eleven.  It's
so important--I feel the whole future depends on his catching it,
but whenever I argue with him he does the exact opposite."

"I'll try and persuade him," offered Rosemary.

"Would you?" Mary said doubtfully.  "Maybe you could."

Then Dick came up to Rosemary:

"Nicole and I are going home and we thought you'd want to go with
us."

Her face was pale with fatigue in the false dawn.  Two wan dark
spots in her cheek marked where the color was by day.

"I can't," she said.  "I promised Mary North to stay along with
them--or Abe'll never go to bed.  Maybe you could do something."

"Don't you know you can't do anything about people?" he advised
her.  "If Abe was my room-mate in college, tight for the first
time, it'd be different.  Now there's nothing to do."

"Well, I've got to stay.  He says he'll go to bed if we only come
to the Halles with him," she said, almost defiantly.

He kissed the inside of her elbow quickly.

"Don't let Rosemary go home alone," Nicole called to Mary as they
left.  "We feel responsible to her mother."

--Later Rosemary and the Norths and a manufacturer of dolls' voices
from Newark and ubiquitous Collis and a big splendidly dressed oil
Indian named George T. Horseprotection were riding along on top of
thousands of carrots in a market wagon.  The earth in the carrot
beards was fragrant and sweet in the darkness, and Rosemary was so
high up in the load that she could hardly see the others in the
long shadow between infrequent street lamps.  Their voices came
from far off, as if they were having experiences different from
hers, different and far away, for she was with Dick in her heart,
sorry she had come with the Norths, wishing she was at the hotel
and him asleep across the hall, or that he was here beside her with
the warm darkness streaming down.

"Don't come up," she called to Collis, "the carrots will all roll."
She threw one at Abe who was sitting beside the driver, stiffly
like an old man. . . .

Later she was homeward bound at last in broad daylight, with the
pigeons already breaking over Saint-Sulpice.  All of them began to
laugh spontaneously because they knew it was still last night while
the people in the streets had the delusion that it was bright hot
morning.

"At last I've been on a wild party," thought Rosemary, "but it's no
fun when Dick isn't there."

She felt a little betrayed and sad, but presently a moving object
came into sight.  It was a huge horse-chestnut tree in full bloom
bound for the Champs Élysées, strapped now into a long truck and
simply shaking with laughter--like a lovely person in an
undignified position yet confident none the less of being lovely.
Looking at it with fascination Rosemary identified herself with it,
and laughed cheerfully with it, and everything all at once seemed
gorgeous.



XIX


Abe left from the Gare Saint Lazare at eleven--he stood alone under
the fouled glass dome, relic of the seventies, era of the Crystal
Palace; his hands, of that vague gray color that only twenty-four
hours can produce, were in his coat pockets to conceal the
trembling fingers.  With his hat removed it was plain that only the
top layer of his hair was brushed back--the lower levels were
pointed resolutely sidewise.  He was scarcely recognizable as the
man who had swum upon Gausse's Beach a fortnight ago.

He was early; he looked from left to right with his eyes only; it
would have taken nervous forces out of his control to use any other
part of his body.  New-looking baggage went past him; presently
prospective passengers, with dark little bodies, were calling:
"Jew-uls-HOO-OO!" in dark piercing voices.

At the minute when he wondered whether or not he had time for a
drink at the buffet, and began clutching at the soggy wad of
thousand-franc notes in his pocket, one end of his pendulous glance
came to rest upon the apparition of Nicole at the stairhead.  He
watched her--she was self-revelatory in her little expressions as
people seem to some one waiting for them, who as yet is himself
unobserved.  She was frowning, thinking of her children, less
gloating over them than merely animally counting them--a cat
checking her cubs with a paw.

When she saw Abe, the mood passed out of her face; the glow of the
morning skylight was sad, and Abe made a gloomy figure with dark
circles that showed through the crimson tan under his eyes.  They
sat down on a bench.

"I came because you asked me," said Nicole defensively.  Abe seemed
to have forgotten why he asked her and Nicole was quite content to
look at the travellers passing by.

"That's going to be the belle of your boat--that one with all the
men to say good-by--you see why she bought that dress?"  Nicole
talked faster and faster.  "You see why nobody else would buy it
except the belle of the world cruise?  See?  No?  Wake up!  That's
a story dress--that extra material tells a story and somebody on
world cruise would be lonesome enough to want to hear it."

She bit close her last words; she had talked too much for her; and
Abe found it difficult to gather from her serious set face that she
had spoken at all.  With an effort he drew himself up to a posture
that looked as if he were standing up while he was sitting down.

"The afternoon you took me to that funny ball--you know, St.
Genevieve's--" he began.

"I remember.  It was fun, wasn't it?"

"No fun for me.  I haven't had fun seeing you this time.  I'm tired
of you both, but it doesn't show because you're even more tired of
me--you know what I mean.  If I had any enthusiasm, I'd go on to
new people."

There was a rough nap on Nicole's velvet gloves as she slapped him
back:

"Seems rather foolish to be unpleasant, Abe.  Anyhow you don't mean
that.  I can't see why you've given up about everything."

Abe considered, trying hard not to cough or blow his nose.

"I suppose I got bored; and then it was such a long way to go back
in order to get anywhere."

Often a man can play the helpless child in front of a woman, but he
can almost never bring it off when he feels most like a helpless
child.

"No excuse for it," Nicole said crisply.

Abe was feeling worse every minute--he could think of nothing but
disagreeable and sheerly nervous remarks.  Nicole thought that the
correct attitude for her was to sit staring straight ahead, hands
in her lap.  For a while there was no communication between them--
each was racing away from the other, breathing only insofar as
there was blue space ahead, a sky not seen by the other.  Unlike
lovers they possessed no past; unlike man and wife, they possessed
no future; yet up to this morning Nicole had liked Abe better than
any one except Dick--and he had been heavy, belly-frightened, with
love for her for years.

"Tired of women's worlds," he spoke up suddenly.

"Then why don't you make a world of your own?"

"Tired of friends.  The thing is to have sycophants."

Nicole tried to force the minute hand around on the station clock,
but, "You agree?" he demanded.

"I am a woman and my business is to hold things together."

"My business is to tear them apart."

"When you get drunk you don't tear anything apart except yourself,"
she said, cold now, and frightened and unconfident.  The station
was filling but no one she knew came.  After a moment her eyes fell
gratefully on a tall girl with straw hair like a helmet, who was
dropping letters in the mail slot.

"A girl I have to speak to, Abe.  Abe, wake up!  You fool!"

Patiently Abe followed her with his eyes.  The woman turned in a
startled way to greet Nicole, and Abe recognized her as some one he
had seen around Paris.  He took advantage of Nicole's absence to
cough hard and retchingly into his handkerchief, and to blow his
nose loud.  The morning was warmer and his underwear was soaked
with sweat.  His fingers trembled so violently that it took four
matches to light a cigarette; it seemed absolutely necessary to
make his way into the buffet for a drink, but immediately Nicole
returned.

"That was a mistake," she said with frosty humor.  "After begging
me to come and see her, she gave me a good snubbing.  She looked at
me as if I were rotted."  Excited, she did a little laugh, as with
two fingers high in the scales.  "Let people come to you."

Abe recovered from a cigarette cough and remarked:

"Trouble is when you're sober you don't want to see anybody, and
when you're tight nobody wants to see you."

"Who, me?"  Nicole laughed again; for some reason the late
encounter had cheered her.

"No--me."

"Speak for yourself.  I like people, a lot of people--I like--"

Rosemary and Mary North came in sight, walking slowly and searching
for Abe, and Nicole burst forth grossly with "Hey!  Hi!  Hey!" and
laughed and waved the package of handkerchiefs she had bought for
Abe.

They stood in an uncomfortable little group weighted down by Abe's
gigantic presence: he lay athwart them like the wreck of a galleon,
dominating with his presence his own weakness and self-indulgence,
his narrowness and bitterness.  All of them were conscious of the
solemn dignity that flowed from him, of his achievement,
fragmentary, suggestive and surpassed.  But they were frightened at
his survivant will, once a will to live, now become a will to die.

Dick Diver came and brought with him a fine glowing surface on
which the three women sprang like monkeys with cries of relief,
perching on his shoulders, on the beautiful crown of his hat or the
gold head of his cane.  Now, for a moment, they could disregard the
spectacle of Abe's gigantic obscenity.  Dick saw the situation
quickly and grasped it quietly.  He pulled them out of themselves
into the station, making plain its wonders.  Nearby, some Americans
were saying good-by in voices that mimicked the cadence of water
running into a large old bathtub.  Standing in the station, with
Paris in back of them, it seemed as if they were vicariously
leaning a little over the ocean, already undergoing a sea-change, a
shifting about of atoms to form the essential molecule of a new
people.

So the well-to-do Americans poured through the station onto the
platforms with frank new faces, intelligent, considerate,
thoughtless, thought-for.  An occasional English face among them
seemed sharp and emergent.  When there were enough Americans on the
platform the first impression of their immaculacy and their money
began to fade into a vague racial dusk that hindered and blinded
both them and their observers.

Nicole seized Dick's arm crying, "Look!"  Dick turned in time to
see what took place in half a minute.  At a Pullman entrance two
cars off, a vivid scene detached itself from the tenor of many
farewells.  The young woman with the helmet-like hair to whom
Nicole had spoken made an odd dodging little run away from the man
to whom she was talking and plunged a frantic hand into her purse;
then the sound of two revolver shots cracked the narrow air of the
platform.  Simultaneously the engine whistled sharply and the train
began to move, momentarily dwarfing the shots in significance.  Abe
waved again from his window, oblivious to what had happened.  But
before the crowd closed in, the others had seen the shots take
effect, seen the target sit down upon the platform.

Only after a hundred years did the train stop; Nicole, Mary, and
Rosemary waited on the outskirts while Dick fought his way through.
It was five minutes before he found them again--by this time the
crowd had split into two sections, following, respectively, the man
on a stretcher and the girl walking pale and firm between
distraught gendarmes.

"It was Maria Wallis," Dick said hurriedly.  "The man she shot was
an Englishman--they had an awful time finding out who, because she
shot him through his identification card."  They were walking
quickly from the train, swayed along with the crowd.  "I found out
what poste de police they're taking her to so I'll go there--"

"But her sister lives in Paris," Nicole objected.  "Why not phone
her?  Seems very peculiar nobody thought of that.  She's married to
a Frenchman, and he can do more than we can."

Dick hesitated, shook his head and started off.

"Wait!" Nicole cried after him.  "That's foolish--how can you do
any good--with your French?"

"At least I'll see they don't do anything outrageous to her."

"They're certainly going to hold on to her," Nicole assured him
briskly.  "She DID shoot the man.  The best thing is to phone right
away to Laura--she can do more than we can."

Dick was unconvinced--also he was showing off for Rosemary.

"You wait," said Nicole firmly, and hurried off to a telephone
booth.

"When Nicole takes things into her hands," he said with affectionate
irony, "there is nothing more to be done."

He saw Rosemary for the first time that morning.  They exchanged
glances, trying to recognize the emotions of the day before.  For a
moment each seemed unreal to the other--then the slow warm hum of
love began again.

"You like to help everybody, don't you?" Rosemary said.

"I only pretend to."

"Mother likes to help everybody--of course she can't help as many
people as you do."  She sighed.  "Sometimes I think I'm the most
selfish person in the world."

For the first time the mention of her mother annoyed rather than
amused Dick.  He wanted to sweep away her mother, remove the whole
affair from the nursery footing upon which Rosemary persistently
established it.  But he realized that this impulse was a loss of
control--what would become of Rosemary's urge toward him if, for
even a moment, he relaxed.  He saw, not without panic, that the
affair was sliding to rest; it could not stand still, it must go on
or go back; for the first time it occurred to him that Rosemary had
her hand on the lever more authoritatively than he.

Before he had thought out a course of procedure, Nicole returned.

"I found Laura.  It was the first news she had and her voice kept
fading away and then getting loud again--as if she was fainting and
then pulling herself together.  She said she knew something was
going to happen this morning."

"Maria ought to be with Diaghileff," said Dick in a gentle tone, in
order to bring them back to quietude.  "She has a nice sense of
decor--not to say rhythm.  Will any of us ever see a train pulling
out without hearing a few shots?"

They bumped down the wide steel steps.  "I'm sorry for the poor
man," Nicole said.  "Course that's why she talked so strange to me--
she was getting ready to open fire."

She laughed, Rosemary laughed too, but they were both horrified,
and both of them deeply wanted Dick to make a moral comment on the
matter and not leave it to them.  This wish was not entirely
conscious, especially on the part of Rosemary, who was accustomed
to having shell fragments of such events shriek past her head.  But
a totality of shock had piled up in her too.  For the moment, Dick
was too shaken by the impetus of his newly recognized emotion to
resolve things into the pattern of the holiday, so the women,
missing something, lapsed into a vague unhappiness.

Then, as if nothing had happened, the lives of the Divers and their
friends flowed out into the street.

However, everything had happened--Abe's departure and Mary's
impending departure for Salzburg this afternoon had ended the time
in Paris.  Or perhaps the shots, the concussions that had finished
God knew what dark matter, had terminated it.  The shots had
entered into all their lives: echoes of violence followed them out
onto the pavement where two porters held a post-mortem beside them
as they waited for a taxi.

"Tu as vu le revolver?  Il était très petit, vraie perle--un
jouet."

"Mais, assez puissant!" said the other porter sagely.  "Tu as vu sa
chemise?  Assez de sang pour se croire à la guerre."



XX


In the square, as they came out, a suspended mass of gasoline
exhaust cooked slowly in the July sun.  It was a terrible thing--
unlike pure heat it held no promise of rural escape but suggested
only roads choked with the same foul asthma.  During their
luncheon, outdoors, across from the Luxembourg Gardens, Rosemary
had cramps and felt fretful and full of impatient lassitude--it was
the foretaste of this that had inspired her self-accusation of
selfishness in the station.

Dick had no suspicion of the sharpness of the change; he was
profoundly unhappy and the subsequent increase of egotism tended
momentarily to blind him to what was going on round about him, and
deprive him of the long ground-swell of imagination that he counted
on for his judgments.

After Mary North left them, accompanied by the Italian singing
teacher who had joined them for coffee and was taking her to her
train, Rosemary, too, stood up, bound for an engagement at her
studio: "meet some officials."

"And oh--" she proposed "--if Collis Clay, that Southern boy--if he
comes while you are still sitting here, just tell him I couldn't
wait; tell him to call me to-morrow."

Too insouciant, in reaction from the late disturbance, she had
assumed the privileges of a child--the result being to remind the
Divers of their exclusive love for their own children; Rosemary was
sharply rebuked in a short passage between the women:  "You'd
better leave the message with a waiter," Nicole's voice was stern
and unmodulated, "we're leaving immediately."

Rosemary got it, took it without resentment.

"I'll let it go then.  Good-by, you darlings."

Dick asked for the check; the Divers relaxed, chewing tentatively
on toothpicks.

"Well--" they said together.

He saw a flash of unhappiness on her mouth, so brief that only he
would have noticed, and he could pretend not to have seen.  What
did Nicole think?  Rosemary was one of a dozen people he had
"worked over" in the past years: these had included a French circus
clown, Abe and Mary North, a pair of dancers, a writer, a painter,
a comedienne from the Grand Guignol, a half-crazy pederast from the
Russian Ballet, a promising tenor they had staked to a year in
Milan.  Nicole well knew how seriously these people interpreted his
interest and enthusiasm; but she realized also that, except while
their children were being born, Dick had not spent a night apart
from her since their marriage.  On the other hand, there was a
pleasingness about him that simply had to be used--those who
possessed that pleasingness had to keep their hands in, and go
along attaching people that they had no use to make of.

Now Dick hardened himself and let minutes pass without making any
gesture of confidence, any representation of constantly renewed
surprise that they were one together.

Collis Clay out of the South edged a passage between the closely
packed tables and greeted the Divers cavalierly.  Such salutations
always astonished Dick--acquaintances saying "Hi!" to them, or
speaking only to one of them.  He felt so intensely about people
that in moments of apathy he preferred to remain concealed; that
one could parade a casualness into his presence was a challenge to
the key on which he lived.

Collis, unaware that he was without a wedding garment, heralded his
arrival with:  "I reckon I'm late--the beyed has flown."  Dick had
to wrench something out of himself before he could forgive him for
not having first complimented Nicole.

She left almost immediately and he sat with Collis, finishing the
last of his wine.  He rather liked Collis--he was "post-war"; less
difficult than most of the Southerners he had known at New Haven
a decade previously.  Dick listened with amusement to the
conversation that accompanied the slow, profound stuffing of a
pipe.  In the early afternoon children and nurses were trekking
into the Luxembourg Gardens; it was the first time in months that
Dick had let this part of the day out of his hands.

Suddenly his blood ran cold as he realized the content of Collis's
confidential monologue.

"--she's not so cold as you'd probably think.  I admit I thought
she was cold for a long time.  But she got into a jam with a friend
of mine going from New York to Chicago at Easter--a boy named
Hillis she thought was pretty nutsey at New Haven--she had a
compartment with a cousin of mine but she and Hillis wanted to be
alone, so in the afternoon my cousin came and played cards in our
compartment.  Well, after about two hours we went back and there
was Rosemary and Bill Hillis standing in the vestibule arguing with
the conductor--Rosemary white as a sheet.  Seems they locked the
door and pulled down the blinds and I guess there was some heavy
stuff going on when the conductor came for the tickets and knocked
on the door.  They thought it was us kidding them and wouldn't let
him in at first, and when they did, he was plenty sore.  He asked
Hillis if that was his compartment and whether he and Rosemary were
married that they locked the door, and Hillis lost his temper
trying to explain there was nothing wrong.  He said the conductor
had insulted Rosemary and he wanted him to fight, but that
conductor could have made trouble--and believe me I had an awful
time smoothing it over."

With every detail imagined, with even envy for the pair's community
of misfortune in the vestibule, Dick felt a change taking place
within him.  Only the image of a third person, even a vanished one,
entering into his relation with Rosemary was needed to throw him
off his balance and send through him waves of pain, misery, desire,
desperation.  The vividly pictured hand on Rosemary's cheek, the
quicker breath, the white excitement of the event viewed from
outside, the inviolable secret warmth within.

--Do you mind if I pull down the curtain?

--Please do.  It's too light in here.

Collis Clay was now speaking about fraternity politics at New
Haven, in the same tone, with the same emphasis.  Dick had gathered
that he was in love with Rosemary in some curious way Dick could
not have understood.  The affair with Hillis seemed to have made no
emotional impression on Collis save to give him the joyful
conviction that Rosemary was "human."

"Bones got a wonderful crowd," he said.  "We all did, as a matter
of fact.  New Haven's so big now the sad thing is the men we have
to leave out."

--Do you mind if I pull down the curtain?

--Please do.  It's too light in here.

. . . Dick went over Paris to his bank--writing a check, he looked
along the row of men at the desks deciding to which one he would
present it for an O.K.  As he wrote he engrossed himself in the
material act, examining meticulously the pen, writing laboriously
upon the high glass-topped desk.  Once he raised glazed eyes to
look toward the mail department, then glazed his spirit again by
concentration upon the objects he dealt with.

Still he failed to decide to whom the check should be presented,
which man in the line would guess least of the unhappy predicament
in which he found himself and, also, which one would be least
likely to talk.  There was Perrin, the suave New Yorker, who had
asked him to luncheons at the American Club, there was Casasus, the
Spaniard, with whom he usually discussed a mutual friend in spite
of the fact that the friend had passed out of his life a dozen
years before; there was Muchhause, who always asked him whether he
wanted to draw upon his wife's money or his own.

As he entered the amount on the stub, and drew two lines under it,
he decided to go to Pierce, who was young and for whom he would
have to put on only a small show.  It was often easier to give a
show than to watch one.

He went to the mail desk first--as the woman who served him pushed
up with her bosom a piece of paper that had nearly escaped the
desk, he thought how differently women use their bodies from men.
He took his letters aside to open: There was a bill for seventeen
psychiatric books from a German concern, a bill from Brentano's, a
letter from Buffalo from his father, in a handwriting that year by
year became more indecipherable; there was a card from Tommy Barban
postmarked Fez and bearing a facetious communication; there were
letters from doctors in Zurich, both in German; a disputed bill
from a plasterer in Cannes; a bill from a furniture maker; a letter
from the publisher of a medical journal in Baltimore, miscellaneous
announcements and an invitation to a showing of pictures by an
incipient artist; also there were three letters for Nicole, and a
letter for Rosemary sent in his care.

--Do you mind if I pull down the curtain?

He went toward Pierce but he was engaged with a woman, and Dick saw
with his heels that he would have to present his check to Casasus
at the next desk, who was free.

"How are you, Diver?"  Casasus was genial.  He stood up, his
mustache spreading with his smile.  "We were talking about
Featherstone the other day and I thought of you--he's out in
California now."

Dick widened his eyes and bent forward a little.

"In Cali-FOR-nia?"

"That's what I heard."

Dick held the check poised; to focus the attention of Casasus upon
it he looked toward Pierce's desk, holding the latter for a moment
in a friendly eye-play conditioned by an old joke of three years
before when Pierce had been involved with a Lithuanian countess.
Pierce played up with a grin until Casasus had authorized the check
and had no further recourse to detain Dick, whom he liked, than to
stand up holding his pince-nez and repeat, "Yes, he's in
California."

Meanwhile Dick had seen that Perrin, at the head of the line of
desks, was in conversation with the heavyweight champion of the
world; from a sidesweep of Perrin's eye Dick saw that he was
considering calling him over and introducing him, but that he
finally decided against it.

Cutting across the social mood of Casasus with the intensity he had
accumulated at the glass desk--which is to say he looked hard at
the check, studying it, and then fixed his eyes on grave problems
beyond the first marble pillar to the right of the banker's head
and made a business of shifting the cane, hat, and letters he
carried--he said good-by and went out.  He had long ago purchased
the doorman; his taxi sprang to the curb.

"I want to go to the Films Par Excellence Studio--it's on a little
street in Passy.  Go to the Muette.  I'll direct you from there."

He was rendered so uncertain by the events of the last forty-eight
hours that he was not even sure of what he wanted to do; he paid
off the taxi at the Muette and walked in the direction of the
studio, crossing to the opposite side of the street before he came
to the building.  Dignified in his fine clothes, with their fine
accessories, he was yet swayed and driven as an animal.  Dignity
could come only with an overthrowing of his past, of the effort of
the last six years.  He went briskly around the block with the
fatuousness of one of Tarkington's adolescents, hurrying at the
blind places lest he miss Rosemary's coming out of the studio.  It
was a melancholy neighborhood.  Next door to the place he saw a
sign:  "1000 chemises."  The shirts filled the window, piled,
cravated, stuffed, or draped with shoddy grace on the showcase
floor:  "1000 chemises"--count them!  On either side he read:
"Papeterie," "Pâtisserie," "Solde," "Réclame"--and Constance
Talmadge in "Déjeuner de Soleil," and farther away there were more
sombre announcements:  "Vêtements Ecclésiastiques," "Déclaration de
Décès" and "Pompes Funèbres."  Life and death.

He knew that what he was now doing marked a turning point in his
life--it was out of line with everything that had preceded it--even
out of line with what effect he might hope to produce upon
Rosemary.  Rosemary saw him always as a model of correctness--his
presence walking around this block was an intrusion.  But Dick's
necessity of behaving as he did was a projection of some submerged
reality: he was compelled to walk there, or stand there, his shirt-
sleeve fitting his wrist and his coat sleeve encasing his shirt-
sleeve like a sleeve valve, his collar molded plastically to his
neck, his red hair cut exactly, his hand holding his small
briefcase like a dandy--just as another man once found it necessary
to stand in front of a church in Ferrara, in sackcloth and ashes.
Dick was paying some tribute to things unforgotten, unshriven,
unexpurgated.



XXI


After three-quarters of an hour of standing around, he became
suddenly involved in a human contact.  It was just the sort of
thing that was likely to happen to him when he was in the mood of
not wanting to see any one.  So rigidly did he sometimes guard his
exposed self-consciousness that frequently he defeated his own
purposes; as an actor who underplays a part sets up a craning
forward, a stimulated emotional attention in an audience, and seems
to create in others an ability to bridge the gap he has left open.
Similarly we are seldom sorry for those who need and crave our
pity--we reserve this for those who, by other means, make us
exercise the abstract function of pity.

So Dick might, himself, have analyzed the incident that ensued.  As
he paced the Rue des Saintes-Anges he was spoken to by a thin-faced
American, perhaps thirty, with an air of being scarred and a slight
but sinister smile.  As Dick gave him the light he requested, he
placed him as one of a type of which he had been conscious since
early youth--a type that loafed about tobacco stores with one elbow
on the counter and watched, through heaven knew what small chink of
the mind, the people who came in and out.  Intimate to garages,
where he had vague business conducted in undertones, to barber
shops, to the lobbies of theatres--in such places, at any rate,
Dick placed him.  Sometimes the face bobbed up in one of Tad's more
savage cartoons--in boyhood Dick had often thrown an uneasy glance
at the dim borderland of crime on which he stood.

"How do you like Paris, Buddy?"

Not waiting for an answer the man tried to fit in his footsteps
with Dick's:  "Where you from?" he asked encouragingly.

"From Buffalo."

"I'm from San Antone--but I been over here since the war."

"You in the army?"

"I'LL say I was.  Eighty-fourth Division--ever heard of that
outfit?"

The man walked a little ahead of him and fixed him with eyes that
were practically menacing.

"Staying in Paris awhile, Buddy?  Or just passing through."

"Passing through."

"What hotel you staying at?"

Dick had begun laughing to himself--the party had the intention of
rifling his room that night.  His thoughts were read apparently
without self-consciousness.

"With a build like yours you oughtn't to be afraid of me, Buddy.
There's a lot of bums around just laying for American tourists, but
you needn't be afraid of me."

Becoming bored, Dick stopped walking:  "I just wonder why you've
got so much time to waste."

"I'm in business here in Paris."

"In what line?"

"Selling papers."

The contrast between the formidable manner and the mild profession
was absurd--but the man amended it with:

"Don't worry; I made plenty money last year--ten or twenty francs
for a Sunny Times that cost six."

He produced a newspaper clipping from a rusty wallet and passed it
over to one who had become a fellow stroller--the cartoon showed a
stream of Americans pouring from the gangplank of a liner freighted
with gold.

"Two hundred thousand--spending ten million a summer."

"What you doing out here in Passy?"

His companion looked around cautiously.  "Movies," he said darkly.
"They got an American studio over there.  And they need guys can
speak English.  I'm waiting for a break."

Dick shook him off quickly and firmly.

It had become apparent that Rosemary either had escaped on one of
his early circuits of the block or else had left before he came
into the neighborhood; he went into the bistro on the corner,
bought a lead disk and, squeezed in an alcove between the kitchen
and the foul toilet, he called the Roi George.  He recognized
Cheyne-Stokes tendencies in his respiration--but like everything
the symptom served only to turn him in toward his emotion.  He gave
the number of the hotel; then stood holding the phone and staring
into the café; after a long while a strange little voice said
hello.

"This is Dick--I had to call you."

A pause from her--then bravely, and in key with his emotion:  "I'm
glad you did."

"I came to meet you at your studio--I'm out in Passy across the way
from it.  I thought maybe we'd ride around through the Bois."

"Oh, I only stayed there a minute!  I'm so sorry."  A silence.

"Rosemary."

"Yes, Dick."

"Look, I'm in an extraordinary condition about you.  When a child
can disturb a middle-aged gent--things get difficult."

"You're not middle-aged, Dick--you're the youngest person in the
world."

"Rosemary?"  Silence while he stared at a shelf that held the
humbler poisons of France--bottles of Otard, Rhum St. James, Marie
Brizzard, Punch Orangeade, André Fernet Blanco, Cherry Rochet, and
Armagnac.

"Are you alone?"

--Do you mind if I pull down the curtain?

"Who do you think I'd be with?"

"That's the state I'm in.  I'd like to be with you now."

Silence, then a sigh and an answer.  "I wish you were with me now."

There was the hotel room where she lay behind a telephone number,
and little gusts of music wailed around her--


     "And two--for tea.
      And me for you,
      And you for me
      Alow-own."


There was the remembered dust of powder over her tan--when he
kissed her face it was damp around the corners of her hair; there
was the flash of a white face under his own, the arc of a shoulder.

"It's impossible," he said to himself.  In a minute he was out in
the street marching along toward the Muette, or away from it, his
small brief-case still in his hand, his gold-headed stick held at a
sword-like angle.

Rosemary returned to her desk and finished a letter to her mother.

"--I only saw him for a little while but I thought he was wonderful
looking.  I fell in love with him (Of course I Do Love Dick Best
but you know what I mean).  He really is going to direct the
picture and is leaving immediately for Hollywood, and I think we
ought to leave, too.  Collis Clay has been here.  I like him all
right but have not seen much of him because of the Divers, who
really are divine, about the Nicest People I ever Knew.  I am
feeling not very well to-day and am taking the Medicine, though see
No need for it.  I'm not even Going to Try to tell you All that's
Happened until I see YOU!!!  So when you get this letter WIRE,
WIRE, WIRE!  Are you coming north or shall I come south with the
Divers?"



At six Dick called Nicole.

"Have you any special plans?" he asked.  "Would you like to do
something quiet--dinner at the hotel and then a play?"

"Would you?  I'll do whatever you want.  I phoned Rosemary a while
ago and she's having dinner in her room.  I think this upset all of
us, don't you?"

"It didn't upset me," he objected.  "Darling, unless you're
physically tired let's do something.  Otherwise we'll get south and
spend a week wondering why we didn't see Boucher.  It's better than
brooding--"

This was a blunder and Nicole took him up sharply.

"Brooding about what?"

"About Maria Wallis."

She agreed to go to a play.  It was a tradition between them that
they should never be too tired for anything, and they found it made
the days better on the whole and put the evenings more in order.
When, inevitably, their spirits flagged they shifted the blame to
the weariness and fatigue of others.  Before they went out, as
fine-looking a couple as could be found in Paris, they knocked
softly at Rosemary's door.  There was no answer; judging that she
was asleep they walked into a warm strident Paris night, snatching
a vermouth and bitters in the shadow by Fouquet's bar.



XXII


Nicole awoke late, murmuring something back into her dream before
she parted her long lashes tangled with sleep.  Dick's bed was
empty--only after a minute did she realize that she had been
awakened by a knock at their salon door.

"Entrez!" she called, but there was no answer, and after a moment
she slipped on a dressing-gown and went to open it.  A sergent-de-
ville confronted her courteously and stepped inside the door.

"Mr. Afghan North--he is here?"

"What?  No--he's gone to America."

"When did he leave, Madame?"

"Yesterday morning."

He shook his head and waved his forefinger at her in a quicker
rhythm.

"He was in Paris last night.  He is registered here but his room is
not occupied.  They told me I had better ask at this room."

"Sounds very peculiar to me--we saw him off yesterday morning on
the boat train."

"Be that as it may, he has been seen here this morning.  Even his
carte d'identité has been seen.  And there you are."

"We know nothing about it," she proclaimed in amazement.

He considered.  He was an ill-smelling, handsome man.

"You were not with him at all last night?"

"But no."

"We have arrested a Negro.  We are convinced we have at last
arrested the correct Negro."

"I assure you that I haven't an idea what you're talking about.  If
it's the Mr. Abraham North, the one we know, well, if he was in
Paris last night we weren't aware of it."

The man nodded, sucked his upper lip, convinced but disappointed.

"What happened?" Nicole demanded.

He showed his palms, puffing out his closed mouth.  He had begun to
find her attractive and his eyes flickered at her.

"What do you wish, Madame?  A summer affair.  Mr. Afghan North was
robbed and he made a complaint.  We have arrested the miscreant.
Mr. Afghan should come to identify him and make the proper
charges."

Nicole pulled her dressing-gown closer around her and dismissed him
briskly.  Mystified she took a bath and dressed.  By this time it
was after ten and she called Rosemary but got no answer--then she
phoned the hotel office and found that Abe had indeed registered,
at six-thirty this morning.  His room, however, was still
unoccupied.  Hoping for a word from Dick she waited in the parlor
of the suite; just as she had given up and decided to go out, the
office called and announced:

"Meestaire Crawshow, un nègre."

"On what business?" she demanded.

"He says he knows you and the doctaire.  He says there is a
Meestaire Freeman into prison that is a friend of all the world.
He says there is injustice and he wishes to see Meestaire North
before he himself is arrested."

"We know nothing about it."  Nicole disclaimed the whole business
with a vehement clap of the receiver.  Abe's bizarre reappearance
made it plain to her how fatigued she was with his dissipation.
Dismissing him from her mind she went out, ran into Rosemary at the
dressmaker's, and shopped with her for artificial flowers and all-
colored strings of colored beads on the Rue de Rivoli.  She helped
Rosemary choose a diamond for her mother, and some scarfs and novel
cigarette cases to take home to business associates in California.
For her son she bought Greek and Roman soldiers, a whole army of
them, costing over a thousand francs.  Once again they spent their
money in different ways and again Rosemary admired Nicole's method
of spending.  Nicole was sure that the money she spent was hers--
Rosemary still thought her money was miraculously lent to her and
she must consequently be very careful of it.

It was fun spending money in the sunlight of the foreign city with
healthy bodies under them that sent streams of color up to their
faces; with arms and hands, legs and ankles that they stretched out
confidently, reaching or stepping with the confidence of women
lovely to men.

When they got back to the hotel and found Dick, all bright and new
in the morning, both of them had a moment of complete childish joy.

He had just received a garbled telephone call from Abe who, so it
appeared, had spent the forenoon in hiding.

"It was one of the most extraordinary telephone conversations I've
ever held."

Dick had talked not only to Abe but to a dozen others.  On the
phone these supernumeraries had been typically introduced as: "--
man wants to talk to you is in the teput dome, well he says he was
in it--what is it?

"Hey, somebody, shut-up--anyhow, he was in some shandel-scandal and
he kaa POS-sibly go home.  My own PER-sonal is that--my personal is
he's had a--"  Gulps sounded and thereafter what the party had,
rested with the unknown.

The phone yielded up a supplementary offer:

"I thought it would appeal to you anyhow as a psychologist."  The
vague personality who corresponded to this statement was eventually
hung on to the phone; in the sequence he failed to appeal to Dick,
as a psychologist, or indeed as anything else.  Abe's conversation
flowed on as follows:

"Hello."

"Well?"

"Well, hello."

"Who are you?"

"Well."  There were interpolated snorts of laughter.

"Well, I'll put somebody else on the line."

Sometimes Dick could hear Abe's voice, accompanied by scufflings,
droppings of the receiver, far-away fragments such as, "No, I
don't, Mr. North. . . ."  Then a pert decided voice had said:  "If
you are a friend of Mr. North you will come down and take him
away."

Abe cut in, solemn and ponderous, beating it all down with an
overtone of earth-bound determination.

"Dick, I've launched a race riot in Montmartre.  I'm going over and
get Freeman out of jail.  If a Negro from Copenhagen that makes
shoe polish--hello, can you hear me--well, look, if anybody comes
there--"  Once again the receiver was a chorus of innumerable
melodies.

"Why you back in Paris?" Dick demanded.

"I got as far as Evreux, and I decided to take a plane back so I
could compare it with St. Sulpice.  I mean I don't intend to bring
St. Sulpice back to Paris.  I don't even mean Baroque!  I meant St.
Germain.  For God's sake, wait a minute and I'll put the chasseur
on the wire."

"For God's sake, don't."

"Listen--did Mary get off all right?"

"Yes."

"Dick, I want you to talk with a man I met here this morning, the
son of a naval officer that's been to every doctor in Europe.  Let
me tell you about him--"

Dick had rung off at this point--perhaps that was a piece of
ingratitude for he needed grist for the grinding activity of his
mind.

"Abe used to be so nice," Nicole told Rosemary.  "So nice.  Long
ago--when Dick and I were first married.  If you had known him
then.  He'd come to stay with us for weeks and weeks and we
scarcely knew he was in the house.  Sometimes he'd play--sometimes
he'd be in the library with a muted piano, making love to it by the
hour--Dick, do you remember that maid?  She thought he was a ghost
and sometimes Abe used to meet her in the hall and moo at her, and
it cost us a whole tea service once--but we didn't care."

So much fun--so long ago.  Rosemary envied them their fun,
imagining a life of leisure unlike her own.  She knew little of
leisure but she had the respect for it of those who have never had
it.  She thought of it as a resting, without realizing that the
Divers were as far from relaxing as she was herself.

"What did this to him?" she asked.  "Why does he have to drink?"

Nicole shook her head right and left, disclaiming responsibility
for the matter:  "So many smart men go to pieces nowadays."

"And when haven't they?" Dick asked.  "Smart men play close to the
line because they have to--some of them can't stand it, so they
quit."

"It must lie deeper than that."  Nicole clung to her conversation;
also she was irritated that Dick should contradict her before
Rosemary.  "Artists like--well, like Fernand don't seem to have to
wallow in alcohol.  Why is it just Americans who dissipate?"

There were so many answers to this question that Dick decided to
leave it in the air, to buzz victoriously in Nicole's ears.  He had
become intensely critical of her.  Though he thought she was the
most attractive human creature he had ever seen, though he got from
her everything he needed, he scented battle from afar, and
subconsciously he had been hardening and arming himself, hour
by hour.  He was not given to self-indulgence and he felt
comparatively graceless at this moment of indulging himself,
blinding his eyes with the hope that Nicole guessed at only an
emotional excitement about Rosemary.  He was not sure--last night
at the theatre she had referred pointedly to Rosemary as a child.

The trio lunched downstairs in an atmosphere of carpets and padded
waiters, who did not march at the stomping quick-step of those men
who brought good food to the tables whereon they had recently
dined.  Here there were families of Americans staring around at
families of Americans, and trying to make conversation with one
another.

There was a party at the next table that they could not account
for.  It consisted of an expansive, somewhat secretarial, would-
you-mind-repeating young man, and a score of women.  The women were
neither young nor old nor of any particular social class; yet the
party gave the impression of a unit, held more closely together for
example than a group of wives stalling through a professional
congress of their husbands.  Certainly it was more of a unit than
any conceivable tourist party.

An instinct made Dick suck back the grave derision that formed on
his tongue; he asked the waiter to find out who they were.

"Those are the gold-star muzzers," explained the waiter.

Aloud and in low voices they exclaimed.  Rosemary's eyes filled
with tears.

"Probably the young ones are the wives," said Nicole.

Over his wine Dick looked at them again; in their happy faces, the
dignity that surrounded and pervaded the party, he perceived all
the maturity of an older America.  For a while the sobered women
who had come to mourn for their dead, for something they could not
repair, made the room beautiful.  Momentarily, he sat again on his
father's knee, riding with Moseby while the old loyalties and
devotions fought on around him.  Almost with an effort he turned
back to his two women at the table and faced the whole new world in
which he believed.

--Do you mind if I pull down the curtain?



XXIII


Abe North was still in the Ritz bar, where he had been since nine
in the morning.  When he arrived seeking sanctuary the windows were
open and great beams were busy at pulling up the dust from smoky
carpets and cushions.  Chasseurs tore through the corridors,
liberated and disembodied, moving for the moment in pure space.
The sit-down bar for women, across from the bar proper, seemed very
small--it was hard to imagine what throngs it could accommodate in
the afternoon.

The famous Paul, the concessionaire, had not arrived, but Claude,
who was checking stock, broke off his work with no improper
surprise to make Abe a pick-me-up.  Abe sat on a bench against a
wall.  After two drinks he began to feel better--so much better
that he mounted to the barber's shop and was shaved.  When he
returned to the bar Paul had arrived--in his custom-built motor,
from which he had disembarked correctly at the Boulevard des
Capucines.  Paul liked Abe and came over to talk.

"I was supposed to ship home this morning," Abe said.  "I mean
yesterday morning, or whatever this is."

"Why din you?" asked Paul.

Abe considered, and happened finally to a reason:  "I was reading a
serial in Liberty and the next installment was due here in Paris--
so if I'd sailed I'd have missed it--then I never would have read
it."

"It must be a very good story."

"It's a terr-r-rible story."

Paul arose chuckling and paused, leaning on the back of a chair:

"If you really want to get off, Mr. North, there are friends of
yours going to-morrow on the France--Mister what is this name--and
Slim Pearson.  Mister--I'll think of it--tall with a new beard."

"Yardly," Abe supplied.

"Mr. Yardly.  They're both going on the France."

He was on his way to his duties but Abe tried to detain him:  "If I
didn't have to go by way of Cherbourg.  The baggage went that way."

"Get your baggage in New York," said Paul, receding.

The logic of the suggestion fitted gradually into Abe's pitch--he
grew rather enthusiastic about being cared for, or rather of
prolonging his state of irresponsibility.

Other clients had meanwhile drifted in to the bar: first came a
huge Dane whom Abe had somewhere encountered.  The Dane took a seat
across the room, and Abe guessed he would be there all the day,
drinking, lunching, talking or reading newspapers.  He felt a
desire to out-stay him.  At eleven the college boys began to step
in, stepping gingerly lest they tear one another bag from bag.  It
was about then he had the chasseur telephone to the Divers; by the
time he was in touch with them he was in touch also with other
friends--and his hunch was to put them all on different phones at
once--the result was somewhat general.  From time to time his mind
reverted to the fact that he ought to go over and get Freeman out
of jail, but he shook off all facts as parts of the nightmare.

By one o'clock the bar was jammed; amidst the consequent mixture of
voices the staff of waiters functioned, pinning down their clients
to the facts of drink and money.

"That makes two stingers . . . and one more . . . two martinis and
one . . . nothing for you, Mr. Quarterly . . . that makes three
rounds.  That makes seventy-five francs, Mr. Quarterly.  Mr.
Schaeffer said he had this--you had the last . . . I can only do
what you say . . . thanks vera-much."

In the confusion Abe had lost his seat; now he stood gently swaying
and talking to some of the people with whom he had involved
himself.  A terrier ran a leash around his legs but Abe managed to
extricate himself without upsetting and became the recipient of
profuse apologies.  Presently he was invited to lunch, but
declined.  It was almost Briglith, he explained, and there was
something he had to do at Briglith.  A little later, with the
exquisite manners of the alcoholic that are like the manners of a
prisoner or a family servant, he said good-by to an acquaintance,
and turning around discovered that the bar's great moment was over
as precipitately as it had begun.

Across from him the Dane and his companions had ordered luncheon.
Abe did likewise but scarcely touched it.  Afterwards, he just sat,
happy to live in the past.  The drink made past happy things
contemporary with the present, as if they were still going on,
contemporary even with the future as if they were about to happen
again.

At four the chasseur approached him:

"You wish to see a colored fellow of the name Jules Peterson?"

"God!  How did he find me?"

"I didn't tell him you were present."

"Who did?"  Abe fell over his glasses but recovered himself.

"Says he's already been around to all the American bars and
hotels."

"Tell him I'm not here--"  As the chasseur turned away Abe asked:
"Can he come in here?"

"I'll find out."

Receiving the question Paul glanced over his shoulder; he shook his
head, then seeing Abe he came over.

"I'm sorry; I can't allow it."

Abe got himself up with an effort and went out to the Rue Cambon.



XXIV


With his miniature leather brief-case in his hand Richard Diver
walked from the seventh arrondisement--where he left a note for
Maria Wallis signed "Dicole," the word with which he and Nicole had
signed communications in the first days of love--to his shirt-
makers where the clerks made a fuss over him out of proportion to
the money he spent.  Ashamed at promising so much to these poor
Englishmen, with his fine manners, his air of having the key to
security, ashamed of making a tailor shift an inch of silk on his
arm.  Afterward he went to the bar of the Crillon and drank a small
coffee and two fingers of gin.

As he entered the hotel the halls had seemed unnaturally bright;
when he left he realized that it was because it had already turned
dark outside.  It was a windy four-o'clock night with the leaves on
the Champs Élysées singing and failing, thin and wild.  Dick turned
down the Rue de Rivoli, walking two squares under the arcades to
his bank where there was mail.  Then he took a taxi and started up
the Champs Élysées through the first patter of rain, sitting alone
with his love.

Back at two o'clock in the Roi George corridor the beauty of Nicole
had been to the beauty of Rosemary as the beauty of Leonardo's girl
was to that of the girl of an illustrator.  Dick moved on through
the rain, demoniac and frightened, the passions of many men inside
him and nothing simple that he could see.



Rosemary opened her door full of emotions no one else knew of.  She
was now what is sometimes called a "little wild thing"--by twenty-
four full hours she was not yet unified and she was absorbed in
playing around with chaos; as if her destiny were a picture puzzle--
counting benefits, counting hopes, telling off Dick, Nicole, her
mother, the director she met yesterday, like stops on a string of
beads.

When Dick knocked she had just dressed and been watching the rain,
thinking of some poem, and of full gutters in Beverly Hills.
When she opened the door she saw him as something fixed and Godlike
as he had always been, as older people are to younger, rigid
and unmalleable.  Dick saw her with an inevitable sense of
disappointment.  It took him a moment to respond to the unguarded
sweetness of her smile, her body calculated to a millimeter to
suggest a bud yet guarantee a flower.  He was conscious of the
print of her wet foot on a rug through the bathroom door.

"Miss Television," he said with a lightness he did not feel.  He
put his gloves, his brief-case on the dressing-table, his stick
against the wall.  His chin dominated the lines of pain around his
mouth, forcing them up into his forehead and the corner of his
eyes, like fear that cannot be shown in public.

"Come and sit on my lap close to me," he said softly, "and let me
see about your lovely mouth."

She came over and sat there and while the dripping slowed down
outside--drip--dri-i-ip, she laid her lips to the beautiful cold
image she had created.

Presently she kissed him several times in the mouth, her face
getting big as it came up to him; he had never seen anything so
dazzling as the quality of her skin, and since sometimes beauty
gives back the images of one's best thoughts he thought of his
responsibility about Nicole, and of the responsibility of her being
two doors down across the corridor.

"The rain's over," he said.  "Do you see the sun on the slate?"

Rosemary stood up and leaned down and said her most sincere thing
to him:

"Oh, we're such ACTORS--you and I."

She went to her dresser and the moment that she laid her comb flat
against her hair there was a slow persistent knocking at the door.

They were shocked motionless; the knock was repeated insistently,
and in the sudden realization that the door was not locked Rosemary
finished her hair with one stroke, nodded at Dick who had quickly
jerked the wrinkles out of the bed where they had been sitting, and
started for the door.  Dick said in quite a natural voice, not too
loud:

"--so if you don't feel up to going out, I'll tell Nicole and we'll
have a very quiet last evening."

The precautions were needless for the situation of the parties
outside the door was so harassed as to preclude any but the most
fleeting judgments on matters not pertinent to themselves.
Standing there was Abe, aged by several months in the last twenty-
four hours, and a very frightened, concerned colored man whom Abe
introduced as Mr. Peterson of Stockholm.

"He's in a terrible situation and it's my fault," said Abe.  "We
need some good advice."

"Come in our rooms," said Dick.

Abe insisted that Rosemary come too and they crossed the hall to
the Divers' suite.  Jules Peterson, a small, respectable Negro, on
the suave model that heels the Republican party in the border
States, followed.

It appeared that the latter had been a legal witness to the early
morning dispute in Montparnasse; he had accompanied Abe to the
police station and supported his assertion that a thousand
franc note had been seized out of his hand by a Negro, whose
identification was one of the points of the case.  Abe and Jules
Peterson, accompanied by an agent of police, returned to the bistro
and too hastily identified as the criminal a Negro, who, so it was
established after an hour, had only entered the place after Abe
left.  The police had further complicated the situation by
arresting the prominent Negro restaurateur, Freeman, who had only
drifted through the alcoholic fog at a very early stage and then
vanished.  The true culprit, whose case, as reported by his
friends, was that he had merely commandeered a fifty-franc note to
pay for drinks that Abe had ordered, had only recently and in a
somewhat sinister rôle, reappeared upon the scene.

In brief, Abe had succeeded in the space of an hour in entangling
himself with the personal lives, consciences, and emotions of one
Afro-European and three Afro-Americans inhabiting the French Latin
quarter.  The disentanglement was not even faintly in sight and the
day had passed in an atmosphere of unfamiliar Negro faces bobbing
up in unexpected places and around unexpected corners, and
insistent Negro voices on the phone.

In person, Abe had succeeded in evading all of them, save Jules
Peterson.  Peterson was rather in the position of the friendly
Indian who had helped a white.  The Negroes who suffered from the
betrayal were not so much after Abe as after Peterson, and Peterson
was very much after what protection he might get from Abe.

Up in Stockholm Peterson had failed as a small manufacturer of shoe
polish and now possessed only his formula and sufficient trade
tools to fill a small box; however, his new protector had promised
in the early hours to set him up in business in Versailles.  Abe's
former chauffeur was a shoemaker there and Abe had handed Peterson
two hundred francs on account.

Rosemary listened with distaste to this rigmarole; to appreciate
its grotesquerie required a more robust sense of humor than hers.
The little man with his portable manufactory, his insincere eyes
that, from time to time, rolled white semicircles of panic into
view; the figure of Abe, his face as blurred as the gaunt fine
lines of it would permit--all this was as remote from her as
sickness.

"I ask only a chance in life," said Peterson with the sort of
precise yet distorted intonation peculiar to colonial countries.
"My methods are simple, my formula is so good that I was drove away
from Stockholm, ruined, because I did not care to dispose of it."

Dick regarded him politely--interest formed, dissolved, he turned
to Abe:

"You go to some hotel and go to bed.  After you're all straight Mr.
Peterson will come and see you."

"But don't you appreciate the mess that Peterson's in?" Abe
protested.

"I shall wait in the hall," said Mr. Peterson with delicacy.  "It
is perhaps hard to discuss my problems in front of me."

He withdrew after a short travesty of a French bow; Abe pulled
himself to his feet with the deliberation of a locomotive.

"I don't seem highly popular to-day."

"Popular but not probable," Dick advised him.  "My advice is to
leave this hotel--by way of the bar, if you want.  Go to the
Chambord, or if you'll need a lot of service, go over to the
Majestic."

"Could I annoy you for a drink?"

"There's not a thing up here," Dick lied.

Resignedly Abe shook hands with Rosemary; he composed his face
slowly, holding her hand a long time and forming sentences that did
not emerge.

"You are the most--one of the most--"

She was sorry, and rather revolted at his dirty hands, but she
laughed in a well-bred way, as though it were nothing unusual to
her to watch a man walking in a slow dream.  Often people display a
curious respect for a man drunk, rather like the respect of simple
races for the insane.  Respect rather than fear.  There is
something awe-inspiring in one who has lost all inhibitions, who
will do anything.  Of course we make him pay afterward for his
moment of superiority, his moment of impressiveness.  Abe turned to
Dick with a last appeal.

"If I go to a hotel and get all steamed and curry-combed, and sleep
awhile, and fight off these Senegalese--could I come and spend the
evening by the fireside?"

Dick nodded at him, less in agreement than in mockery and said:
"You have a high opinion of your current capacities."

"I bet if Nicole was here she'd let me come back."

"All right."  Dick went to a trunk tray and brought a box to the
central table; inside were innumerable cardboard letters.

"You can come if you want to play anagrams."

Abe eyed the contents of the box with physical revulsion, as though
he had been asked to eat them like oats.

"What are anagrams?  Haven't I had enough strange--"

"It's a quiet game.  You spell words with them--any word except
alcohol."

"I bet you can spell alcohol," Abe plunged his hand among the
counters.  "Can I come back if I can spell alcohol?"

"You can come back if you want to play anagrams."

Abe shook his head resignedly.

"If you're in that frame of mind there's no use--I'd just be in the
way."  He waved his finger reproachfully at Dick.  "But remember
what George the third said, that if Grant was drunk he wished he
would bite the other generals."

With a last desperate glance at Rosemary from the golden corners of
his eyes, he went out.  To his relief Peterson was no longer in the
corridor.  Feeling lost and homeless he went back to ask Paul the
name of that boat.



XXV


When he had tottered out, Dick and Rosemary embraced fleetingly.
There was a dust of Paris over both of them through which they
scented each other: the rubber guard on Dick's fountain pen, the
faintest odor of warmth from Rosemary's neck and shoulders.  For
another half-minute Dick clung to the situation; Rosemary was first
to return to reality.

"I must go, youngster," she said.

They blinked at each other across a widening space, and Rosemary
made an exit that she had learned young, and on which no director
had ever tried to improve.

She opened the door of her room and went directly to her desk where
she had suddenly remembered leaving her wristwatch.  It was there;
slipping it on she glanced down at the daily letter to her mother,
finishing the last sentence in her mind.  Then, rather gradually,
she realized without turning about that she was not alone in the
room.

In an inhabited room there are refracting objects only half
noticed: varnished wood, more or less polished brass, silver and
ivory, and beyond these a thousand conveyers of light and shadow so
mild that one scarcely thinks of them as that, the tops of picture-
frames, the edges of pencils or ash-trays, of crystal or china
ornaments; the totality of this refraction--appealing to equally
subtle reflexes of the vision as well as to those associational
fragments in the subconscious that we seem to hang on to, as a
glass-fitter keeps the irregularly shaped pieces that may do some
time--this fact might account for what Rosemary afterward
mystically described as "realizing" that there was some one in the
room, before she could determine it.  But when she did realize it
she turned swift in a sort of ballet step and saw that a dead Negro
was stretched upon her bed.

As she cried "aaouu!" and her still unfastened wristwatch banged
against the desk she had the preposterous idea that it was Abe
North.  Then she dashed for the door and across the hall.

Dick was straightening up; he had examined the gloves worn that day
and thrown them into a pile of soiled gloves in a corner of a
trunk.  He had hung up coat and vest and spread his shirt on
another hanger--a trick of his own.  "You'll wear a shirt that's a
little dirty where you won't wear a mussed shirt."  Nicole had come
in and was dumping one of Abe's extraordinary ash-trays into the
waste-basket when Rosemary tore into the room.

"DICK!  DICK!  Come and see!"

Dick jogged across the hall into her room.  He knelt to Peterson's
heart, and felt the pulse--the body was warm, the face, harassed
and indirect in life, was gross and bitter in death; the box of
materials was held under one arm but the shoe that dangled over the
bedside was bare of polish and its sole was worn through.  By
French law Dick had no right to touch the body but he moved the arm
a little to see something--there was a stain on the green coverlet,
there would be faint blood on the blanket beneath.

Dick closed the door and stood thinking; he heard cautious steps in
the corridor and then Nicole calling him by name.  Opening the door
he whispered:  "Bring the couverture and top blanket from one of
our beds--don't let any one see you."  Then, noticing the strained
look on her face, he added quickly, "Look here, you mustn't get
upset over this--it's only some nigger scrap."

"I want it to be over."

The body, as Dick lifted it, was light and ill-nourished.  He held
it so that further hemorrhages from the wound would flow into the
man's clothes.  Laying it beside the bed he stripped off the
coverlet and top blanket and then opening the door an inch,
listened--there was a clank of dishes down the hall followed by a
loud patronizing "Mer-CI, Madame," but the waiter went in the other
direction, toward the service stairway.  Quickly Dick and Nicole
exchanged bundles across the corridor; after spreading this
covering on Rosemary's bed, Dick stood sweating in the warm
twilight, considering.  Certain points had become apparent to him
in the moment following his examination of the body; first, that
Abe's first hostile Indian had tracked the friendly Indian and
discovered him in the corridor, and when the latter had taken
desperate refuge in Rosemary's room, had hunted down and slain him;
second, that if the situation were allowed to develop naturally, no
power on earth could keep the smear off Rosemary--the paint was
scarcely dry on the Arbuckle case.  Her contract was contingent
upon an obligation to continue rigidly and unexceptionally as
"Daddy's Girl."

Automatically Dick made the old motion of turning up his sleeves
though he wore a sleeveless undershirt, and bent over the body.
Getting a purchase on the shoulders of the coat he kicked open the
door with his heel, and dragged the body quickly into a plausible
position in the corridor.  He came back into Rosemary's room and
smoothed back the grain of the plush floor rug.  Then he went to
the phone in his suite and called the manager-owner of the hotel.

"McBeth?--it's Doctor Diver speaking--something very important.
Are we on a more or less private line?"

It was good that he had made the extra effort which had firmly
entrenched him with Mr. McBeth.  Here was one use for all the
pleasingness that Dick had expended over a large area he would
never retrace. . . .

"Going out of the suite we came on a dead Negro . . . in the hall
. . . no, no, he's a civilian.  Wait a minute now--I knew you didn't
want any guests to blunder on the body so I'm phoning you.  Of
course I must ask you to keep my name out of it.  I don't want any
French red tape just because I discovered the man."

What exquisite consideration for the hotel!  Only because Mr.
McBeth, with his own eyes, had seen these traits in Doctor Diver
two nights before, could he credit the story without question.

In a minute Mr. McBeth arrived and in another minute he was joined
by a gendarme.  In the interval he found time to whisper to Dick,
"You can be sure the name of any guest will be protected.  I'm only
too grateful to you for your pains."

Mr. McBeth took an immediate step that may only be imagined, but
that influenced the gendarme so as to make him pull his mustaches
in a frenzy of uneasiness and greed.  He made perfunctory notes and
sent a telephone call to his post.  Meanwhile with a celerity that
Jules Peterson, as a business man, would have quite understood, the
remains were carried into another apartment of one of the most
fashionable hotels in the world.

Dick went back to his salon.

"What HAP-pened?" cried Rosemary.  "Do all the Americans in Paris
just shoot at each other all the time?"

"This seems to be the open season," he answered.  "Where's Nicole?"

"I think she's in the bathroom."

She adored him for saving her--disasters that could have attended
upon the event had passed in prophecy through her mind; and she had
listened in wild worship to his strong, sure, polite voice making
it all right.  But before she reached him in a sway of soul and
body his attention focussed on something else: he went into the
bedroom and toward the bathroom.  And now Rosemary, too, could
hear, louder and louder, a verbal inhumanity that penetrated the
keyholes and the cracks in the doors, swept into the suite and in
the shape of horror took form again.

With the idea that Nicole had fallen in the bathroom and hurt
herself, Rosemary followed Dick.  That was not the condition of
affairs at which she stared before Dick shouldered her back and
brusquely blocked her view.

Nicole knelt beside the tub swaying sidewise and sidewise.  "It's
you!" she cried, "--it's you come to intrude on the only privacy I
have in the world--with your spread with red blood on it.  I'll
wear it for you--I'm not ashamed, though it was such a pity.  On
All Fools Day we had a party on the Zurichsee, and all the fools
were there, and I wanted to come dressed in a spread but they
wouldn't let me--"

"Control yourself!"

"--so I sat in the bathroom and they brought me a domino and said
wear that.  I did.  What else could I do?"

"Control yourself, Nicole!"

"I never expected you to love me--it was too late--only don't come
in the bathroom, the only place I can go for privacy, dragging
spreads with red blood on them and asking me to fix them."

"Control yourself.  Get up--"

Rosemary, back in the salon, heard the bathroom door bang, and
stood trembling: now she knew what Violet McKisco had seen in the
bathroom at Villa Diana.  She answered the ringing phone and almost
cried with relief when she found it was Collis Clay, who had traced
her to the Divers' apartment.  She asked him to come up while she
got her hat, because she was afraid to go into her room alone.




BOOK 2



I


In the spring of 1917, when Doctor Richard Diver first arrived in
Zurich, he was twenty-six years old, a fine age for a man, indeed
the very acme of bachelorhood.  Even in war-time days, it was a
fine age for Dick, who was already too valuable, too much of a
capital investment to be shot off in a gun.  Years later it seemed
to him that even in this sanctuary he did not escape lightly, but
about that he never fully made up his mind--in 1917 he laughed at
the idea, saying apologetically that the war didn't touch him at
all.  Instructions from his local board were that he was to
complete his studies in Zurich and take a degree as he had planned.

Switzerland was an island, washed on one side by the waves of
thunder around Gorizia and on another by the cataracts along the
Somme and the Aisne.  For once there seemed more intriguing
strangers than sick ones in the cantons, but that had to be guessed
at--the men who whispered in the little cafés of Berne and Geneva
were as likely to be diamond salesmen or commercial travellers.
However, no one had missed the long trains of blinded or one-legged
men, or dying trunks, that crossed each other between the bright
lakes of Constance and Neuchâtel.  In the beer-halls and shop-
windows were bright posters presenting the Swiss defending their
frontiers in 1914--with inspiring ferocity young men and old men
glared down from the mountains at phantom French and Germans; the
purpose was to assure the Swiss heart that it had shared the
contagious glory of those days.  As the massacre continued the
posters withered away, and no country was more surprised than its
sister republic when the United States bungled its way into the
war.

Doctor Diver had seen around the edges of the war by that time: he
was an Oxford Rhodes Scholar from Connecticut in 1914.  He returned
home for a final year at Johns Hopkins, and took his degree.  In
1916 he managed to get to Vienna under the impression that, if he
did not make haste, the great Freud would eventually succumb to an
aeroplane bomb.  Even then Vienna was old with death but Dick
managed to get enough coal and oil to sit in his room in the
Damenstiff Strasse and write the pamphlets that he later destroyed,
but that, rewritten, were the backbone of the book he published in
Zurich in 1920.

Most of us have a favorite, a heroic period, in our lives and that
was Dick Diver's.  For one thing he had no idea that he was
charming, that the affection he gave and inspired was anything
unusual among healthy people.  In his last year at New Haven some
one referred to him as "lucky Dick"--the name lingered in his head.

"Lucky Dick, you big stiff," he would whisper to himself, walking
around the last sticks of flame in his room.  "You hit it, my boy.
Nobody knew it was there before you came along."

At the beginning of 1917, when it was becoming difficult to find
coal, Dick burned for fuel almost a hundred textbooks that he had
accumulated; but only, as he laid each one on the fire, with an
assurance chuckling inside him that he was himself a digest of what
was within the book, that he could brief it five years from now, if
it deserved to be briefed.  This went on at any odd hour, if
necessary, with a floor rug over his shoulders, with the fine quiet
of the scholar which is nearest of all things to heavenly peace--
but which, as will presently be told, had to end.

For its temporary continuance he thanked his body that had done the
flying rings at New Haven, and now swam in the winter Danube.  With
Elkins, second secretary at the Embassy, he shared an apartment,
and there were two nice girl visitors--which was that and not too
much of it, nor too much of the Embassy either.  His contact with
Ed Elkins aroused in him a first faint doubt as to the quality of
his mental processes; he could not feel that they were profoundly
different from the thinking of Elkins--Elkins, who would name you
all the quarterbacks in New Haven for thirty years.

"--And Lucky Dick can't be one of these clever men; he must be less
intact, even faintly destroyed.  If life won't do it for him it's
not a substitute to get a disease, or a broken heart, or an
inferiority complex, though it'd be nice to build out some broken
side till it was better than the original structure."

He mocked at his reasoning, calling it specious and "American"--his
criteria of uncerebral phrase-making was that it was American.  He
knew, though, that the price of his intactness was incompleteness.

"The best I can wish you, my child," so said the Fairy Blackstick
in Thackeray's The Rose and the Ring, "is a little misfortune."

In some moods he griped at his own reasoning:  Could I help it that
Pete Livingstone sat in the locker-room Tap Day when everybody
looked all over hell for him?  And I got an election when otherwise
I wouldn't have got Elihu, knowing so few men.  He was good and
right and I ought to have sat in the locker-room instead.  Maybe I
would, if I'd thought I had a chance at an election.  But Mercer
kept coming to my room all those weeks.  I guess I knew I had a
chance all right, all right.  But it would have served me right if
I'd swallowed my pin in the shower and set up a conflict.

After the lectures at the university he used to argue this point
with a young Rumanian intellectual who reassured him:  "There's no
evidence that Goethe ever had a 'conflict' in the modern sense, or
a man like Jung, for instance.  You're not a romantic philosopher--
you're a scientist.  Memory, force, character--especially good
sense.  That's going to be your trouble--judgment about yourself--
once I knew a man who worked two years on the brain of an
armadillo, with the idea that he would sooner or later know more
about the brain of an armadillo than any one.  I kept arguing with
him that he was not really pushing out the extension of the human
range--it was too arbitrary.  And sure enough, when he sent his
work to the medical journal they refused it--they had just accepted
a thesis by another man on the same subject."

Dick got up to Zurich on less Achilles' heels than would be
required to equip a centipede, but with plenty--the illusions of
eternal strength and health, and of the essential goodness of
people; illusions of a nation, the lies of generations of frontier
mothers who had to croon falsely, that there were no wolves outside
the cabin door.  After he took his degree, he received his orders
to join a neurological unit forming in Bar-sur-Aube.

In France, to his disgust, the work was executive rather than
practical.  In compensation he found time to complete the short
textbook and assemble the material for his next venture.  He
returned to Zurich in the spring of 1919 discharged.

The foregoing has the ring of a biography, without the satisfaction
of knowing that the hero, like Grant, lolling in his general store
in Galena, is ready to be called to an intricate destiny.  Moreover
it is confusing to come across a youthful photograph of some one
known in a rounded maturity and gaze with a shock upon a fiery,
wiry, eagle-eyed stranger.  Best to be reassuring--Dick Diver's
moment now began.



II


It was a damp April day, with long diagonal clouds over the
Albishorn and water inert in the low places.  Zurich is not unlike
an American city.  Missing something ever since his arrival two
days before, Dick perceived that it was the sense he had had in
finite French lanes that there was nothing more.  In Zurich there
was a lot besides Zurich--the roofs upled the eyes to tinkling cow
pastures, which in turn modified hilltops further up--so life was a
perpendicular starting off to a postcard heaven.  The Alpine lands,
home of the toy and the funicular, the merry-go-round and the thin
chime, were not a being HERE, as in France with French vines
growing over one's feet on the ground.

In Salzburg once Dick had felt the superimposed quality of a bought
and borrowed century of music; once in the laboratories of the
university in Zurich, delicately poking at the cervical of a brain,
he had felt like a toy-maker rather than like the tornado who had
hurried through the old red buildings of Hopkins, two years before,
unstayed by the irony of the gigantic Christ in the entrance hall.

Yet he had decided to remain another two years in Zurich, for he
did not underestimate the value of toy-making, in infinite
precision, of infinite patience.

To-day he went out to see Franz Gregorovius at Dohmler's clinic on
the Zurichsee.  Franz, resident pathologist at the clinic, a
Vaudois by birth, a few years older than Dick, met him at the tram
stop.  He had a dark and magnificent aspect of Cagliostro about
him, contrasted with holy eyes; he was the third of the
Gregoroviuses--his grandfather had instructed Krapaelin when
psychiatry was just emerging from the darkness of all time.  In
personality he was proud, fiery, and sheeplike--he fancied himself
as a hypnotist.  If the original genius of the family had grown a
little tired, Franz would without doubt become a fine clinician.

On the way to the clinic he said:  "Tell me of your experiences in
the war.  Are you changed like the rest?  You have the same stupid
and unaging American face, except I know you're not stupid, Dick."

"I didn't see any of the war--you must have gathered that from my
letters, Franz."

"That doesn't matter--we have some shell-shocks who merely heard an
air raid from a distance.  We have a few who merely read
newspapers."

"It sounds like nonsense to me."

"Maybe it is, Dick.  But, we're a rich person's clinic--we don't
use the word nonsense.  Frankly, did you come down to see me or to
see that girl?"

They looked sideways at each other; Franz smiled enigmatically.

"Naturally I saw all the first letters," he said in his official
basso.  "When the change began, delicacy prevented me from opening
any more.  Really it had become your case."

"Then she's well?" Dick demanded.

"Perfectly well, I have charge of her, in fact I have charge of the
majority of the English and American patients.  They call me Doctor
Gregory."

"Let me explain about that girl," Dick said.  "I only saw her one
time, that's a fact.  When I came out to say good-by to you just
before I went over to France.  It was the first time I put on my
uniform and I felt very bogus in it--went around saluting private
soldiers and all that."

"Why didn't you wear it to-day?"

"Hey!  I've been discharged three weeks.  Here's the way I happened
to see that girl.  When I left you I walked down toward that
building of yours on the lake to get my bicycle."

"--toward the 'Cedars'?"

"--a wonderful night, you know--moon over that mountain--"

"The Krenzegg."

"--I caught up with a nurse and a young girl.  I didn't think the
girl was a patient; I asked the nurse about tram times and we
walked along.  The girl was about the prettiest thing I ever saw."

"She still is."

"She'd never seen an American uniform and we talked, and I didn't
think anything about it."  He broke off, recognizing a familiar
perspective, and then resumed: "--except, Franz, I'm not as hard-
boiled as you are yet; when I see a beautiful shell like that I
can't help feeling a regret about what's inside it.  That was
absolutely all--till the letters began to come."

"It was the best thing that could have happened to her," said Franz
dramatically, "a transference of the most fortuitous kind.  That's
why I came down to meet you on a very busy day.  I want you to come
into my office and talk a long time before you see her.  In fact, I
sent her into Zurich to do errands."  His voice was tense with
enthusiasm.  "In fact, I sent her without a nurse, with a less
stable patient.  I'm intensely proud of this case, which I handled,
with your accidental assistance."

The car had followed the shore of the Zurichsee into a fertile
region of pasture farms and low hills, steepled with châlets.  The
sun swam out into a blue sea of sky and suddenly it was a Swiss
valley at its best--pleasant sounds and murmurs and a good fresh
smell of health and cheer.

Professor Dohmler's plant consisted of three old buildings and a
pair of new ones, between a slight eminence and the shore of the
lake.  At its founding, ten years before, it had been the first
modern clinic for mental illness; at a casual glance no layman
would recognize it as a refuge for the broken, the incomplete, the
menacing, of this world, though two buildings were surrounded with
vine-softened walls of a deceptive height.  Some men raked straw in
the sunshine; here and there, as they rode into the grounds, the
car passed the white flag of a nurse waving beside a patient on a
path.

After conducting Dick to his office, Franz excused himself for half
an hour.  Left alone Dick wandered about the room and tried to
reconstruct Franz from the litter of his desk, from his books and
the books of and by his father and grandfather; from the Swiss
piety of a huge claret-colored photo of the former on the wall.
There was smoke in the room; pushing open a French window, Dick let
in a cone of sunshine.  Suddenly his thoughts swung to the patient,
the girl.

He had received about fifty letters from her written over a period
of eight months.  The first one was apologetic, explaining that she
had heard from America how girls wrote to soldiers whom they did
not know.  She had obtained the name and address from Doctor
Gregory and she hoped he would not mind if she sometimes sent word
to wish him well, etc., etc.

So far it was easy to recognize the tone--from "Daddy-Long-Legs"
and "Molly-Make-Believe," sprightly and sentimental epistolary
collections enjoying a vogue in the States.  But there the
resemblance ended.

The letters were divided into two classes, of which the first
class, up to about the time of the armistice, was of marked
pathological turn, and of which the second class, running from
thence up to the present, was entirely normal, and displayed a
richly maturing nature.  For these latter letters Dick had come to
wait eagerly in the last dull months at Bar-sur-Aube--yet even from
the first letters he had pieced together more than Franz would have
guessed of the story.


MON CAPITAINE:

I thought when I saw you in your uniform you were so handsome.
Then I thought Je m'en fiche French too and German.  You thought I
was pretty too but I've had that before and a long time I've stood
it.  If you come here again with that attitude base and criminal
and not even faintly what I had been taught to associate with the
role of gentleman then heaven help you.  However you seem quieter
than the others,

(2)

all soft like a big cat.  I have only gotten to like boys who are
rather sissies.  Are you a sissy?  There were some somewhere.

Excuse all this, it is the third letter I have written you and will
send immediately or will never send.  I've thought a lot about
moonlight too, and there are many witnesses I could find if I could
only be out of here.

(3)

They said you were a doctor, but so long as you are a cat it is
different.  My head aches so, so excuse this walking there like an
ordinary with a white cat will explain, I think.  I can speak three
languages, four with English, and am sure I could be useful
interpreting if you arrange such thing in France I'm sure I could
control everything with the belts all bound around everybody like
it was Wednesday.  It is now Saturday and

(4)

you are far away, perhaps killed.

Come back to me some day, for I will be here always on this green
hill.  Unless they will let me write my father, whom I loved
dearly.  Excuse this.  I am not myself today.  I will write when I
feel better.

Cherio

NICOLE WARREN.

Excuse all this.


CAPTAIN DIVER:

I know introspection is not good for a highly nervous state like
mine, but I would like you to know where I stand.  Last year or
whenever it was in Chicago when I got so I couldn't speak to
servants or walk in the street I kept waiting for some one to tell
me.  It was the duty of some one who understood.  The blind must be
led.  Only no one would tell me everything--they would just tell me
half and I was already too muddled to put two and two together.
One man was nice--he was a French officer and he understood.  He
gave me a flower and said it was "plus petite et

(2)

moins entendue."  We were friends.  Then he took it away.  I grew
sicker and there was no one to explain to me.  They had a song
about Joan of Arc that they used to sing at me but that was just
mean--it would just make me cry, for there was nothing the matter
with my head then.  They kept making reference to sports, too, but
I didn't care by that time.  So there was that day I went walking
on Michigan Boulevard on and on for miles and finally they followed
me in an automobile, but I wouldn't get

(3)

in.  Finally they pulled me in and there were nurses.  After that
time I began to realize it all, because I could feel what was
happening in others.  So you see how I stand.  And what good can it
be for me to stay here with the doctors harping constantly in the
things I was here to get over.  So today I have written my father
to come and take me away.  I am glad

(4)

you are so interested in examining people and sending them back.
It must be so much fun.


And again, from another letter:


You might pass up your next examination and write me a letter.
They just sent me some phonograph records in case I should forget
my lesson and I broke them all so the nurse won't speak to me.
They were in English, so that the nurses would not understand.  One
doctor in Chicago said I was bluffing, but what he really meant was
that I was a twin six and he had never seen one before.  But I was
very busy being mad then, so I didn't care what he said, when I am
very busy being mad I don't usually care what they say, not if I
were a million girls.

You told me that night you'd teach me to play.  Well, I think love
is all

(2)

there is or should be.  Anyhow I am glad your interest in
examinations keeps you busy.

Tout à vous,

NICOLE WARREN.


There were other letters among whose helpless cæsuras lurked darker
rhythms.


DEAR CAPTAIN DIVER:

I write to you because there is no one else to whom I can turn and
it seems to me if this farcicle situation is apparent to one as
sick as me it should be apparent to you.  The mental trouble is all
over and besides that I am completely broken and humiliated, if
that was what they wanted.  My family have shamefully neglected me,
there's no use asking them for help or pity.  I have had enough and
it is simply ruining my health and wasting my time pretending that
what is the matter with my

(2)

head is curable.

Here I am in what appears to be a semi-insane-asylum, all because
nobody saw fit to tell me the truth about anything.  If I had only
known what was going on like I know now I could have stood it I
guess for I am pretty strong, but those who should have, did not
see fit to enlighten me.

(3)

And now, when I know and have paid such a price for knowing, they
sit there with their dogs lives and say I should believe what I did
believe.  Especially one does but I know now.

I am lonesome all the time far away from friends and family across
the Atlantic I roam all over the place in a half daze.  If you
could get me a position as interpreter (I know French and German
like a native, fair

(4)

Italian and a little Spanish) or in the Red Cross Ambulance or as a
trained nurse, though I would have to train you would prove a great
blessing.


And again:


Since you will not accept my explanation of what is the matter you
could at least explain to me what you think, because you have a
kind cat's face, and not that funny look that seems to be so
fashionable here.  Dr. Gregory gave me a snapshot of you, not as
handsome as you are in your uniform, but younger looking.


MON CAPITAINE:

It was fine to have your postcard.  I am so glad you take such
interest in disqualifying nurses--oh, I understood your note very
well indeed.  Only I thought from the moment I met you that you
were different.


DEAR CAPITAINE:

I think one thing today and another tomorrow.  That is really all
that's the matter with me, except a crazy defiance and a lack of
proportion.  I would gladly welcome any alienist you might suggest.
Here they lie in their bath tubs and sing Play in Your Own Backyard
as if I had my

(2)

backyard to play in or any hope which I can find by looking either
backward or forward.  They tried it again in the candy store again
and I almost hit the man with the weight, but they held me.

I am not going to write you any more.  I am too unstable.


And then a month with no letters.  And then suddenly the change.


--I am slowly coming back to life . . .

--Today the flowers and the clouds . . .

--The war is over and I scarcely knew there was a war . . .

--How kind you have been!  You must be very wise behind your face
like a white cat, except you don't look like that in the picture
Dr. Gregory gave me . . .

--Today I went to Zurich, how strange a feeling to see a city
again.

--Today we went to Berne, it was so nice with the clocks.

--Today we climbed high enough to find asphodel and edelweiss . . .


After that the letters were fewer, but he answered them all.  There
was one:


I wish someone were in love with me like boys were ages ago before
I was sick.  I suppose it will be years, though, before I could
think of anything like that.


But when Dick's answer was delayed for any reason, there was a
fluttering burst of worry--like a worry of a lover:  "Perhaps I
have bored you," and:  "Afraid I have presumed," and:  "I keep
thinking at night you have been sick."

In actuality Dick was sick with the flu.  When he recovered, all
except the formal part of his correspondence was sacrificed to the
consequent fatigue, and shortly afterward the memory of her became
overlaid by the vivid presence of a Wisconsin telephone girl at
headquarters in Bar-sur-Aube.  She was red-lipped like a poster,
and known obscenely in the messes as "The Switchboard."

Franz came back into his office feeling self-important.  Dick
thought he would probably be a fine clinician, for the sonorous or
staccato cadences by which he disciplined nurse or patient came not
from his nervous system but from a tremendous and harmless vanity.
His true emotions were more ordered and kept to himself.

"Now about the girl, Dick," he said.  "Of course, I want to find
out about you and tell you about myself, but first about the girl,
because I have been waiting to tell you about it so long."

He searched for and found a sheaf of papers in a filing cabinet but
after shuffling through them he found they were in his way and put
them on his desk.  Instead he told Dick the story.



III


About a year and a half before, Doctor Dohmler had some vague
correspondence with an American gentleman living in Lausanne, a Mr.
Devereux Warren, of the Warren family of Chicago.  A meeting was
arranged and one day Mr. Warren arrived at the clinic with his
daughter Nicole, a girl of sixteen.  She was obviously not well and
the nurse who was with her took her to walk about the grounds while
Mr. Warren had his consultation.

Warren was a strikingly handsome man looking less than forty.  He
was a fine American type in every way, tall, broad, well-made--"un
homme très chic," as Doctor Dohmler described him to Franz.  His
large gray eyes were sun-veined from rowing on Lake Geneva, and he
had that special air about him of having known the best of this
world.  The conversation was in German, for it developed that he
had been educated at Göttingen.  He was nervous and obviously very
moved by his errand.

"Doctor Dohmler, my daughter isn't right in the head.  I've had
lots of specialists and nurses for her and she's taken a couple of
rest cures but the thing has grown too big for me and I've been
strongly recommended to come to you."

"Very well," said Doctor Dohmler.  "Suppose you start at the
beginning and tell me everything."

"There isn't any beginning, at least there isn't any insanity in
the family that I know of, on either side.  Nicole's mother died
when she was eleven and I've sort of been father and mother both to
her, with the help of governesses--father and mother both to her."

He was very moved as he said this.  Doctor Dohmler saw that there
were tears in the corners of his eyes and noticed for the first
time that there was whiskey on his breath.

"As a child she was a darling thing--everybody was crazy about her,
everybody that came in contact with her.  She was smart as a whip
and happy as the day is long.  She liked to read or draw or dance
or play the piano--anything.  I used to hear my wife say she was
the only one of our children who never cried at night.  I've got an
older girl, too, and there was a boy that died, but Nicole was--
Nicole was--Nicole--"

He broke off and Doctor Dohmler helped him.

"She was a perfectly normal, bright, happy child."

"Perfectly."

Doctor Dohmler waited.  Mr. Warren shook his head, blew a long
sigh, glanced quickly at Doctor Dohmler and then at the floor
again.

"About eight months ago, or maybe it was six months ago or maybe
ten--I try to figure but I can't remember exactly where we were
when she began to do funny things--crazy things.  Her sister was
the first one to say anything to me about it--because Nicole was
always the same to me," he added rather hastily, as if some one had
accused him of being to blame, "--the same loving little girl.  The
first thing was about a valet."

"Oh, yes," said Doctor Dohmler, nodding his venerable head, as if,
like Sherlock Holmes, he had expected a valet and only a valet to
be introduced at this point.

"I had a valet--been with me for years--Swiss, by the way."  He
looked up for Doctor Dohmler's patriotic approval.  "And she got
some crazy idea about him.  She thought he was making up to her--of
course, at the time I believed her and I let him go, but I know now
it was all nonsense."

"What did she claim he had done?"

"That was the first thing--the doctors couldn't pin her down.  She
just looked at them as if they ought to know what he'd done.  But
she certainly meant he'd made some kind of indecent advances to
her--she didn't leave us in any doubt of that."

"I see."

"Of course, I've read about women getting lonesome and thinking
there's a man under the bed and all that, but why should Nicole get
such an idea?  She could have all the young men she wanted.  We
were in Lake Forest--that's a summer place near Chicago where we
have a place--and she was out all day playing golf or tennis with
boys.  And some of them pretty gone on her at that."

All the time Warren was talking to the dried old package of
Doctor Dohmler, one section of the latter's mind kept thinking
intermittently of Chicago.  Once in his youth he could have gone to
Chicago as fellow and docent at the university, and perhaps become
rich there and owned his own clinic instead of being only a minor
shareholder in a clinic.  But when he had thought of what he
considered his own thin knowledge spread over that whole area, over
all those wheat fields, those endless prairies, he had decided
against it.  But he had read about Chicago in those days, about the
great feudal families of Armour, Palmer, Field, Crane, Warren,
Swift, and McCormick and many others, and since that time not a few
patients had come to him from that stratum of Chicago and New York.

"She got worse," continued Warren.  "She had a fit or something--
the things she said got crazier and crazier.  Her sister wrote some
of them down--"  He handed a much-folded piece of paper to the
doctor.  "Almost always about men going to attack her, men she knew
or men on the street--anybody--"

He told of their alarm and distress, of the horrors families go
through under such circumstances, of the ineffectual efforts they
had made in America, finally of the faith in a change of scene that
had made him run the submarine blockade and bring his daughter to
Switzerland.

"--on a United States cruiser," he specified with a touch of
hauteur.  "It was possible for me to arrange that, by a stroke of
luck.  And, may I add," he smiled apologetically, "that as they
say: money is no object."

"Certainly not," agreed Dohmler dryly.

He was wondering why and about what the man was lying to him.  Or,
if he was wrong about that, what was the falsity that pervaded the
whole room, the handsome figure in tweeds sprawling in his chair
with a sportsman's ease?  That was a tragedy out there, in the
February day, the young bird with wings crushed somehow, and inside
here it was all too thin, thin and wrong.

"I would like--to talk to her--a few minutes now," said Doctor
Dohmler, going into English as if it would bring him closer to
Warren.

Afterward when Warren had left his daughter and returned to
Lausanne, and several days had passed, the doctor and Franz entered
upon Nicole's card:


Diagnostic:  Schizophrénie.  Phase aiguë en décroissance.  La peur
des hommes est un symptôme de la maladie, et n'est point
constitutionnelle. . . .  Le pronostic doit rester réservé.*


* Diagnosis:  Divided Personality.  Acute and down-hill phase of
the illness.  The fear of men is a symptom of the illness and is
not at all constitutional. . . .  The prognosis must be reserved.


And then they waited with increasing interest as the days passed
for Mr. Warren's promised second visit.

It was slow in coming.  After a fortnight Doctor Dohmler wrote.
Confronted with further silence he committed what was for those
days "une folie," and telephoned to the Grand Hotel at Vevey.  He
learned from Mr. Warren's valet that he was at the moment packing
to sail for America.  But reminded that the forty francs Swiss for
the call would show up on the clinic books, the blood of the
Tuileries Guard rose to Doctor Dohmler's aid and Mr. Warren was got
to the phone.

"It is--absolutely necessary--that you come.  Your daughter's
health--all depends.  I can take no responsibility."

"But look here, Doctor, that's just what you're for.  I have a
hurry call to go home!"

Doctor Dohmler had never yet spoken to any one so far away but he
dispatched his ultimatum so firmly into the phone that the agonized
American at the other end yielded.  Half an hour after this second
arrival on the Zurichsee, Warren had broken down, his fine
shoulders shaking with awful sobs inside his easy fitting coat, his
eyes redder than the very sun on Lake Geneva, and they had the
awful story.

"It just happened," he said hoarsely.  "I don't know--I don't know.

"After her mother died when she was little she used to come into my
bed every morning, sometimes she'd sleep in my bed.  I was sorry
for the little thing.  Oh, after that, whenever we went places in
an automobile or a train we used to hold hands.  She used to sing
to me.  We used to say, 'Now let's not pay any attention to anybody
else this afternoon--let's just have each other--for this morning
you're mine.'"  A broken sarcasm came into his voice.  "People used
to say what a wonderful father and daughter we were--they used to
wipe their eyes.  We were just like lovers--and then all at once we
were lovers--and ten minutes after it happened I could have shot
myself--except I guess I'm such a Goddamned degenerate I didn't
have the nerve to do it."

"Then what?" said Doctor Dohmler, thinking again of Chicago and of
a mild pale gentleman with a pince-nez who had looked him over in
Zurich thirty years before.  "Did this thing go on?"

"Oh, no!  She almost--she seemed to freeze up right away.  She'd
just say, 'Never mind, never mind, Daddy.  It doesn't matter.
Never mind.'"

"There were no consequences?"

"No."  He gave one short convulsive sob and blew his nose several
times.  "Except now there're plenty of consequences."

As the story concluded Dohmler sat back in the focal armchair of
the middle class and said to himself sharply, "Peasant!"--it was
one of the few absolute worldly judgments that he had permitted
himself for twenty years.  Then he said:

"I would like for you to go to a hotel in Zurich and spend the
night and come see me in the morning."

"And then what?"

Doctor Dohmler spread his hands wide enough to carry a young pig.

"Chicago," he suggested.



IV


"Then we knew where we stood," said Franz.  "Dohmler told Warren we
would take the case if he would agree to keep away from his
daughter indefinitely, with an absolute minimum of five years.
After Warren's first collapse, he seemed chiefly concerned as to
whether the story would ever leak back to America."

"We mapped out a routine for her and waited.  The prognosis was
bad--as you know, the percentage of cures, even so-called social
cures, is very low at that age."

"Those first letters looked bad," agreed Dick.

"Very bad--very typical.  I hesitated about letting the first one
get out of the clinic.  Then I thought it will be good for Dick to
know we're carrying on here.  It was generous of you to answer
them."

Dick sighed.  "She was such a pretty thing--she enclosed a lot of
snapshots of herself.  And for a month there I didn't have anything
to do.  All I said in my letters was 'Be a good girl and mind the
doctors.'"

"That was enough--it gave her somebody to think of outside.  For a
while she didn't have anybody--only one sister that she doesn't
seem very close to.  Besides, reading her letters helped us here--
they were a measure of her condition."

"I'm glad."

"You see now what happened?  She felt complicity--that's neither
here nor there, except as we want to revalue her ultimate stability
and strength of character.  First came this shock.  Then she went
off to a boarding-school and heard the girls talking--so from sheer
self-protection she developed the idea that she had had no
complicity--and from there it was easy to slide into a phantom
world where all men, the more you liked them and trusted them, the
more evil--"

"Did she ever go into the--horror directly?"

"No, and as a matter of fact when she began to seem normal, about
October, we were in a predicament.  If she had been thirty years
old we would have let her make her own adjustment, but she was so
young we were afraid she might harden with it all twisted inside
her.  So Doctor Dohmler said to her frankly, 'Your duty now is to
yourself.  This doesn't by any account mean the end of anything for
you--your life is just at its beginning,' and so forth and so
forth.  She really has an excellent mind, so he gave her a little
Freud to read, not too much, and she was very interested.  In fact,
we've made rather a pet of her around here.  But she is reticent,"
he added; he hesitated:  "We have wondered if in her recent letters
to you which she mailed herself from Zurich, she has said anything
that would be illuminating about her state of mind and her plans
for the future."

Dick considered.

"Yes and no--I'll bring the letters out here if you want.  She
seems hopeful and normally hungry for life--even rather romantic.
Sometimes she speaks of 'the past' as people speak who have been in
prison.  But you never know whether they refer to the crime or the
imprisonment or the whole experience.  After all I'm only a sort of
stuffed figure in her life."

"Of course, I understand your position exactly, and I express our
gratitude once again.  That was why I wanted to see you before you
see her."

Dick laughed.

"You think she's going to make a flying leap at my person?"

"No, not that.  But I want to ask you to go very gently.  You are
attractive to women, Dick."

"Then God help me!  Well, I'll be gentle and repulsive--I'll chew
garlic whenever I'm going to see her and wear a stubble beard.
I'll drive her to cover."

"Not garlic!" said Franz, taking him seriously.  "You don't want to
compromise your career.  But you're partly joking."

"--and I can limp a little.  And there's no real bathtub where I'm
living, anyhow."

"You're entirely joking," Franz relaxed--or rather assumed the
posture of one relaxed.  "Now tell me about yourself and your
plans?"

"I've only got one, Franz, and that's to be a good psychologist--
maybe to be the greatest one that ever lived."

Franz laughed pleasantly, but he saw that this time Dick wasn't
joking.

"That's very good--and very American," he said.  "It's more
difficult for us."  He got up and went to the French window.  "I
stand here and I see Zurich--there is the steeple of the Gross-
Münster.  In its vault my grandfather is buried.  Across the bridge
from it lies my ancestor Lavater, who would not be buried in any
church.  Nearby is the statue of another ancestor, Heinrich
Pestalozzi, and one of Doctor Alfred Escher.  And over everything
there is always Zwingli--I am continually confronted with a
pantheon of heroes."

"Yes, I see."  Dick got up.  "I was only talking big.  Everything's
just starting over.  Most of the Americans in France are frantic to
get home, but not me--I draw military pay all the rest of the year
if I only attend lectures at the university.  How's that for a
government on the grand scale that knows its future great men?
Then I'm going home for a month and see my father.  Then I'm coming
back--I've been offered a job."

"Where?"

"Your rivals--Gisler's Clinic on Interlacken."

"Don't touch it," Franz advised him.  "They've had a dozen young
men there in a year.  Gisler's a manic-depressive himself, his wife
and her lover run the clinic--of course, you understand that's
confidential."

"How about your old scheme for America?" asked Dick lightly.  "We
were going to New York and start an up-to-date establishment for
billionaires."

"That was students' talk."

Dick dined with Franz and his bride and a small dog with a smell of
burning rubber, in their cottage on the edge of the grounds, He
felt vaguely oppressed, not by the atmosphere of modest
retrenchment, nor by Frau Gregorovius, who might have been
prophesied, but by the sudden contracting of horizons to which
Franz seemed so reconciled.  For him the boundaries of asceticism
were differently marked--he could see it as a means to an end, even
as a carrying on with a glory it would itself supply, but it was
hard to think of deliberately cutting life down to the scale of an
inherited suit.  The domestic gestures of Franz and his wife as
they turned in a cramped space lacked grace and adventure.  The
post-war months in France, and the lavish liquidations taking place
under the ægis of American splendor, had affected Dick's outlook.
Also, men and women had made much of him, and perhaps what had
brought him back to the centre of the great Swiss watch, was an
intuition that this was not too good for a serious man.

He made Kaethe Gregorovius feel charming, meanwhile becoming
increasingly restless at the all-pervading cauliflower--
simultaneously hating himself too for this incipience of he knew
not what superficiality.

"God, am I like the rest after all?"--So he used to think starting
awake at night--"Am I like the rest?"

This was poor material for a socialist but good material for those
who do much of the world's rarest work.  The truth was that for
some months he had been going through that partitioning of the
things of youth wherein it is decided whether or not to die for
what one no longer believes.  In the dead white hours in Zurich
staring into a stranger's pantry across the upshine of a street-
lamp, he used to think that he wanted to be good, he wanted to be
kind, he wanted to be brave and wise, but it was all pretty
difficult.  He wanted to be loved, too, if he could fit it in.



V


The veranda of the central building was illuminated from open
French windows, save where the black shadows of stripling walls and
the fantastic shadows of iron chairs slithered down into a gladiola
bed.  From the figures that shuffled between the rooms Miss Warren
emerged first in glimpses and then sharply when she saw him; as she
crossed the threshold her face caught the room's last light and
brought it outside with her.  She walked to a rhythm--all that week
there had been singing in her ears, summer songs of ardent skies
and wild shade, and with his arrival the singing had become so loud
she could have joined in with it.

"How do you do, Captain," she said, unfastening her eyes from his
with difficulty, as though they had become entangled.  "Shall we
sit out here?"  She stood still, her glance moving about for a
moment.  "It's summer practically."

A woman had followed her out, a dumpy woman in a shawl, and Nicole
presented Dick:  "Señora--"

Franz excused himself and Dick grouped three chairs together.

"The lovely night," the Señora said.

"Muy bella," agreed Nicole; then to Dick, "Are you here for a long
time?"

"I'm in Zurich for a long time, if that's what you mean."

"This is really the first night of real spring," the Señora
suggested.

"To stay?"

"At least till July."

"I'm leaving in June."

"June is a lovely month here," the Señora commented.  "You should
stay for June and then leave in July when it gets really too hot."

"You're going where?" Dick asked Nicole.

"Somewhere with my sister--somewhere exciting, I hope, because I've
lost so much time.  But perhaps they'll think I ought to go to a
quiet place at first--perhaps Como.  Why don't you come to Como?"

"Ah, Como--" began the Señora.

Within the building a trio broke into Suppe's "Light Cavalry."
Nicole took advantage of this to stand up and the impression of her
youth and beauty grew on Dick until it welled up inside him in a
compact paroxysm of emotion.  She smiled, a moving childish smile
that was like all the lost youth in the world.

"The music's too loud to talk against--suppose we walk around.
Buenas noches, Señora."

"G't night--g't night."

They went down two steps to the path--where in a moment a shadow
cut across it.  She took his arm.

"I have some phonograph records my sister sent me from America,"
she said.  "Next time you come here I'll play them for you--I know
a place to put the phonograph where no one can hear."

"That'll be nice."

"Do you know 'Hindustan'?" she asked wistfully.  "I'd never heard
it before, but I like it.  And I've got 'Why Do They Call Them
Babies?' and 'I'm Glad I Can Make You Cry.'  I suppose you've
danced to all those tunes in Paris?"

"I haven't been to Paris."

Her cream-colored dress, alternately blue or gray as they walked,
and her very blonde hair, dazzled Dick--whenever he turned toward
her she was smiling a little, her face lighting up like an angel's
when they came into the range of a roadside arc.  She thanked him
for everything, rather as if he had taken her to some party, and as
Dick became less and less certain of his relation to her, her
confidence increased--there was that excitement about her that
seemed to reflect all the excitement of the world.

"I'm not under any restraint at all," she said.  "I'll play you two
good tunes called 'Wait Till the Cows Come Home' and 'Good-by,
Alexander.'"

He was late the next time, a week later, and Nicole was waiting for
him at a point in the path which he would pass walking from Franz's
house.  Her hair drawn back of her ears brushed her shoulders in
such a way that the face seemed to have just emerged from it, as if
this were the exact moment when she was coming from a wood into
clear moonlight.  The unknown yielded her up; Dick wished she had
no background, that she was just a girl lost with no address save
the night from which she had come.  They went to the cache where
she had left the phonograph, turned a corner by the workshop,
climbed a rock, and sat down behind a low wall, facing miles and
miles of rolling night.

They were in America now, even Franz with his conception of Dick as
an irresistible Lothario would never have guessed that they had
gone so far away.  They were so sorry, dear; they went down to meet
each other in a taxi, honey; they had preferences in smiles and had
met in Hindustan, and shortly afterward they must have quarrelled,
for nobody knew and nobody seemed to care--yet finally one of them
had gone and left the other crying, only to feel blue, to feel sad.

The thin tunes, holding lost times and future hopes in liaison,
twisted upon the Valais night.  In the lulls of the phonograph a
cricket held the scene together with a single note.  By and by
Nicole stopped playing the machine and sang to him.


     "Lay a silver dollar
      On the ground
      And watch it roll
      Because it's round--"


On the pure parting of her lips no breath hovered.  Dick stood up
suddenly.

"What's the matter, you don't like it?"

"Of course I do."

"Our cook at home taught it to me:


     "A woman never knows
      What a good man she's got
      Till after she turns him down . . ."


"You like it?"

She smiled at him, making sure that the smile gathered up
everything inside her and directed it toward him, making him a
profound promise of herself for so little, for the beat of a
response, the assurance of a complimentary vibration in him.
Minute by minute the sweetness drained down into her out of the
willow trees, out of the dark world.

She stood up too, and stumbling over the phonograph, was
momentarily against him, leaning into the hollow of his rounded
shoulder.

"I've got one more record," she said.  "--Have you heard 'So Long,
Letty'?  I suppose you have."

"Honestly, you don't understand--I haven't heard a thing."

Nor known, nor smelt, nor tasted, he might have added; only hot-
cheeked girls in hot secret rooms.  The young maidens he had known
at New Haven in 1914 kissed men, saying "There!", hands at the
man's chest to push him away.  Now there was this scarcely saved
waif of disaster bringing him the essence of a continent. . . .



VI


It was May when he next found her.  The luncheon in Zurich was a
council of caution; obviously the logic of his life tended away
from the girl; yet when a stranger stared at her from a nearby
table, eyes burning disturbingly like an uncharted light, he turned
to the man with an urbane version of intimidation and broke the
regard.

"He was just a peeper," he explained cheerfully.  "He was just
looking at your clothes.  Why do you have so many different
clothes?"

"Sister says we're very rich," she offered humbly.  "Since
Grandmother is dead."

"I forgive you."

He was enough older than Nicole to take pleasure in her youthful
vanities and delights, the way she paused fractionally in front
of the hall mirror on leaving the restaurant, so that the
incorruptible quicksilver could give her back to herself.  He
delighted in her stretching out her hands to new octaves now that
she found herself beautiful and rich.  He tried honestly to divorce
her from any obsession that he had stitched her together--glad to
see her build up happiness and confidence apart from him; the
difficulty was that, eventually, Nicole brought everything to his
feet, gifts of sacrificial ambrosia, of worshipping myrtle.

The first week of summer found Dick re-established in Zurich.  He
had arranged his pamphlets and what work he had done in the Service
into a pattern from which he intended to make his revise of "A
Psychology for Psychiatrists."  He thought he had a publisher; he
had established contact with a poor student who would iron out his
errors in German.  Franz considered it a rash business, but Dick
pointed out the disarming modesty of the theme.

"This is stuff I'll never know so well again," he insisted.  "I
have a hunch it's a thing that only fails to be basic because it's
never had material recognition.  The weakness of this profession is
its attraction for the man a little crippled and broken.  Within
the walls of the profession he compensates by tending toward the
clinical, the 'practical'--he has won his battle without a
struggle.

"On the contrary, you are a good man, Franz, because fate selected
you for your profession before you were born.  You better thank God
you had no 'bent'--I got to be a psychiatrist because there was a
girl at St. Hilda's in Oxford that went to the same lectures.
Maybe I'm getting trite but I don't want to let my current ideas
slide away with a few dozen glasses of beer."

"All right," Franz answered.  "You are an American.  You can do
this without professional harm.  I do not like these generalities.
Soon you will be writing little books called 'Deep Thoughts for the
Layman,' so simplified that they are positively guaranteed not to
cause thinking.  If my father were alive he would look at you and
grunt, Dick.  He would take his napkin and fold it so, and hold his
napkin ring, this very one--" he held it up, a boar's head was
carved in the brown wood--"and he would say, 'Well my impression
is--' then he would look at you and think suddenly 'What is the
use?' then he would stop and grunt again; then we would be at the
end of dinner."

"I am alone to-day," said Dick testily.  "But I may not be alone
to-morrow.  After that I'll fold up my napkin like your father and
grunt."

Franz waited a moment.

"How about our patient?" he asked.

"I don't know."

"Well, you should know about her by now."

"I like her.  She's attractive.  What do you want me to do--take
her up in the edelweiss?"

"No, I thought since you go in for scientific books you might have
an idea."

"--devote my life to her?"

Franz called his wife in the kitchen:  "Du lieber Gott! Bitte,
bringe Dick noch ein Glas-Bier."

"I don't want any more if I've got to see Dohmler."

"We think it's best to have a program.  Four weeks have passed
away--apparently the girl is in love with you.  That's not our
business if we were in the world, but here in the clinic we have a
stake in the matter."

"I'll do whatever Doctor Dohmler says," Dick agreed.

But he had little faith that Dohmler would throw much light on the
matter; he himself was the incalculable element involved.  By no
conscious volition of his own, the thing had drifted into his
hands.  It reminded him of a scene in his childhood when everyone
in the house was looking for the lost key to the silver closet,
Dick knowing he had hid it under the handkerchiefs in his mother's
top drawer; at that time he had experienced a philosophical
detachment, and this was repeated now when he and Franz went
together to Professor Dohmler's office.

The professor, his face beautiful under straight whiskers, like a
vine-overgrown veranda of some fine old house, disarmed him.  Dick
knew some individuals with more talent, but no person of a class
qualitatively superior to Dohmler.

--Six months later he thought the same way when he saw Dohmler
dead, the light out on the veranda, the vines of his whiskers
tickling his stiff white collar, the many battles that had swayed
before the chink-like eyes stilled forever under the frail delicate
lids--

". . . Good morning, sir."  He stood formally, thrown back to the
army.

Professor Dohmler interlaced his tranquil fingers.  Franz spoke in
terms half of liaison officer, half of secretary, till his senior
cut through him in mid-sentence.

"We have gone a certain way," he said mildly.  "It's you, Doctor
Diver, who can best help us now."

Routed out, Dick confessed:  "I'm not so straight on it myself."

"I have nothing to do with your personal reactions," said Dohmler.
"But I have much to do with the fact that this so-called
'transference,'" he darted a short ironic look at Franz which the
latter returned in kind, "must be terminated.  Miss Nicole does
well indeed, but she is in no condition to survive what she might
interpret as a tragedy."

Again Franz began to speak, but Doctor Dohmler motioned him silent.

"I realize that your position has been difficult."

"Yes, it has."

Now the professor sat back and laughed, saying on the last syllable
of his laughter, with his sharp little gray eyes shining through:
"Perhaps you have got sentimentally involved yourself."

Aware that he was being drawn on, Dick, too, laughed.

"She's a pretty girl--anybody responds to that to a certain extent.
I have no intention--"

Again Franz tried to speak--again Dohmler stopped him with a
question directed pointedly at Dick.  "Have you thought of going
away?"

"I can't go away."

Doctor Dohmler turned to Franz:  "Then we can send Miss Warren
away."

"As you think best, Professor Dohmler," Dick conceded.  "It's
certainly a situation."

Professor Dohmler raised himself like a legless man mounting a pair
of crutches.

"But it is a professional situation," he cried quietly.

He sighed himself back into his chair, waiting for the
reverberating thunder to die out about the room.  Dick saw that
Dohmler had reached his climax, and he was not sure that he himself
had survived it.  When the thunder had diminished Franz managed to
get his word in.

"Doctor Diver is a man of fine character," he said.  "I feel he
only has to appreciate the situation in order to deal correctly
with it.  In my opinion Dick can co-operate right here, without any
one going away."

"How do you feel about that?" Professor Dohmler asked Dick.

Dick felt churlish in the face of the situation; at the same time
he realized in the silence after Dohmler's pronouncement that the
state of inanimation could not be indefinitely prolonged; suddenly
he spilled everything.

"I'm half in love with her--the question of marrying her has passed
through my mind."

"Tch!  Tch!" uttered Franz.

"Wait."  Dohmler warned him.  Franz refused to wait:  "What!  And
devote half your life to being doctor and nurse and all--never!  I
know what these cases are.  One time in twenty it's finished in the
first push--better never see her again!"

"What do you think?" Dohmler asked Dick.

"Of course Franz is right."



VII


It was late afternoon when they wound up the discussion as to what
Dick should do, he must be most kind and yet eliminate himself.
When the doctors stood up at last, Dick's eyes fell outside the
window to where a light rain was falling--Nicole was waiting,
expectant, somewhere in that rain.  When, presently, he went out
buttoning his oil-skin at the throat, pulling down the brim of his
hat, he came upon her immediately under the roof of the main
entrance.

"I know a new place we can go," she said.  "When I was ill I didn't
mind sitting inside with the others in the evening--what they said
seemed like everything else.  Naturally now I see them as ill and
it's--it's--"

"You'll be leaving soon."

"Oh, soon.  My sister, Beth, but she's always been called Baby,
she's coming in a few weeks to take me somewhere; after that I'll
be back here for a last month."

"The older sister?"

"Oh, quite a bit older.  She's twenty-four--she's very English.
She lives in London with my father's sister.  She was engaged to an
Englishman but he was killed--I never saw him."

Her face, ivory gold against the blurred sunset that strove through
the rain, had a promise Dick had never seen before: the high cheek-
bones, the faintly wan quality, cool rather than feverish, was
reminiscent of the frame of a promising colt--a creature whose life
did not promise to be only a projection of youth upon a grayer
screen, but instead, a true growing; the face would be handsome in
middle life; it would be handsome in old age: the essential
structure and the economy were there.

"What are you looking at?"

"I was just thinking that you're going to be rather happy."

Nicole was frightened:  "Am I?  All right--things couldn't be worse
than they have been."

In the covered woodshed to which she had led him, she sat cross-
legged upon her golf shoes, her burberry wound about her and her
cheeks stung alive by the damp air.  Gravely she returned his gaze,
taking in his somewhat proud carriage that never quite yielded to
the wooden post against which he leaned; she looked into his face
that always tried to discipline itself into molds of attentive
seriousness, after excursions into joys and mockeries of its own.
That part of him which seemed to fit his reddish Irish coloring she
knew least; she was afraid of it, yet more anxious to explore--this
was his more masculine side: the other part, the trained part, the
consideration in the polite eyes, she expropriated without
question, as most women did.

"At least this institution has been good for languages," said
Nicole.  "I've spoken French with two doctors, and German with the
nurses, and Italian, or something like it, with a couple of scrub-
women and one of the patients, and I've picked up a lot of Spanish
from another."

"That's fine."

He tried to arrange an attitude but no logic seemed forthcoming.

"--Music too.  Hope you didn't think I was only interested in
ragtime.  I practise every day--the last few months I've been
taking a course in Zurich on the history of music.  In fact it was
all that kept me going at times--music and the drawing."  She
leaned suddenly and twisted a loose strip from the sole of her shoe
and then looked up.  "I'd like to draw you just the way you are
now."

It made him sad when she brought out her accomplishments for his
approval.

"I envy you.  At present I don't seem to be interested in anything
except my work."

"Oh, I think that's fine for a man," she said quickly.  "But for a
girl I think she ought to have lots of minor accomplishments and
pass them on to her children."

"I suppose so," said Dick with deliberated indifference.

Nicole sat quiet.  Dick wished she would speak so that he could
play the easy rôle of wet blanket, but now she sat quiet.

"You're all well," he said.  "Try to forget the past; don't overdo
things for a year or so.  Go back to America and be a débutante and
fall in love--and be happy."

"I couldn't fall in love."  Her injured shoe scraped a cocoon of
dust from the log on which she sat.

"Sure you can," Dick insisted.  "Not for a year maybe, but sooner
or later."  Then he added brutally:  "You can have a perfectly
normal life with a houseful of beautiful descendants.  The very
fact that you could make a complete comeback at your age proves
that the precipitating factors were pretty near everything.  Young
woman, you'll be pulling your weight long after your friends are
carried off screaming."

--But there was a look of pain in her eyes as she took the rough
dose, the harsh reminder.

"I know I wouldn't be fit to marry any one for a long time," she
said humbly.

Dick was too upset to say any more.  He looked out into the grain
field trying to recover his hard brassy attitude.

"You'll be all right--everybody here believes in you.  Why, Doctor
Gregory is so proud of you that he'll probably--"

"I hate Doctor Gregory."

"Well, you shouldn't."

Nicole's world had fallen to pieces, but it was only a flimsy and
scarcely created world; beneath it her emotions and instincts
fought on.  Was it an hour ago she had waited by the entrance,
wearing her hope like a corsage at her belt?

. . . Dress stay crisp for him, button stay put, bloom narcissus--
air stay still and sweet.

"It will be nice to have fun again," she fumbled on.  For a moment
she entertained a desperate idea of telling him how rich she was,
what big houses she lived in, that really she was a valuable
property--for a moment she made herself into her grandfather, Sid
Warren, the horse-trader.  But she survived the temptation to
confuse all values and shut these matters into their Victorian
side-chambers--even though there was no home left to her, save
emptiness and pain.

"I have to go back to the clinic.  It's not raining now."

Dick walked beside her, feeling her unhappiness, and wanting to
drink the rain that touched her cheek.

"I have some new records," she said.  "I can hardly wait to play
them.  Do you know--"



After supper that evening, Dick thought, he would finish the break;
also he wanted to kick Franz's bottom for having partially
introduced him to such a sordid business.  He waited in the hall.
His eyes followed a beret, not wet with waiting like Nicole's
beret, but covering a skull recently operated on.  Beneath it human
eyes peered, found him and came over:

"Bonjour, Docteur."

"Bonjour, Monsieur."

"Il fait beau temps."

"Oui, merveilleux."

"Vous êtes ici maintenant?"

"Non, pour la journée seulement."

"Ah, bon.  Alors--au revoir, Monsieur."

Glad at having survived another contact, the wretch in the beret
moved away.  Dick waited.  Presently a nurse came downstairs and
delivered him a message.

"Miss Warren asks to be excused, Doctor.  She wants to lie down.
She wants to have dinner upstairs to-night."

The nurse hung on his response, half expecting him to imply that
Miss Warren's attitude was pathological.

"Oh, I see.  Well--"  He rearranged the flow of his own saliva, the
pulse of his heart.  "I hope she feels better.  Thanks."

He was puzzled and discontent.  At any rate it freed him.

Leaving a note for Franz begging off from supper, he walked through
the countryside to the tram station.  As he reached the platform,
with spring twilight gilding the rails and the glass in the slot
machines, he began to feel that the station, the hospital, was
hovering between being centripetal and centrifugal.  He felt
frightened.  He was glad when the substantial cobble-stones of
Zurich clicked once more under his shoes.

He expected to hear from Nicole next day but there was no word.
Wondering if she was ill, he called the clinic and talked to Franz.

"She came downstairs to luncheon yesterday and to-day," said Franz.
"She seemed a little abstracted and in the clouds.  How did it go
off?"

Dick tried to plunge over the Alpine crevasse between the sexes.

"We didn't get to it--at least I didn't think we did.  I tried to
be distant, but I didn't think enough happened to change her
attitude if it ever went deep."

Perhaps his vanity had been hurt that there was no coup de grâce to
administer.

"From some things she said to her nurse I'm inclined to think she
understood."

"All right."

"It was the best thing that could have happened.  She doesn't seem
over-agitated--only a little in the clouds."

"All right, then."

"Dick, come soon and see me."



VIII


During the next weeks Dick experienced a vast dissatisfaction.  The
pathological origin and mechanistic defeat of the affair left a
flat and metallic taste.  Nicole's emotions had been used unfairly--
what if they turned out to have been his own?  Necessarily he must
absent himself from felicity a while--in dreams he saw her walking
on the clinic path swinging her wide straw hat. . . .

One time he saw her in person; as he walked past the Palace Hotel,
a magnificent Rolls curved into the half-moon entrance.  Small
within its gigantic proportions, and buoyed up by the power of a
hundred superfluous horses, sat Nicole and a young woman whom he
assumed was her sister.  Nicole saw him and momentarily her lips
parted in an expression of fright.  Dick shifted his hat and
passed, yet for a moment the air around him was loud with the
circlings of all the goblins on the Gross-Münster.  He tried to
write the matter out of his mind in a memorandum that went into
detail as to the solemn régime before her; the possibilities of
another "push" of the malady under the stresses which the world
would inevitably supply--in all a memorandum that would have been
convincing to any one save to him who had written it.

The total value of this effort was to make him realize once more
how far his emotions were involved; thenceforth he resolutely
provided antidotes.  One was the telephone girl from Bar-sur-Aube,
now touring Europe from Nice to Coblenz, in a desperate roundup of
the men she had known in her never-to-be-equalled holiday; another
was the making of arrangements to get home on a government
transport in August; a third was a consequent intensification of
work on his proofs for the book that this autumn was to be
presented to the German-speaking world of psychiatry.

Dick had outgrown the book; he wanted now to do more spade work; if
he got an exchange fellowship he could count on plenty of routine.

Meanwhile he had projected a new work:  An Attempt at a Uniform and
Pragmatic Classification of the Neuroses and Psychoses, Based on an
Examination of Fifteen Hundred Pre-Krapælin and Post-Krapælin Cases
as they would be Diagnosed in the Terminology of the Different
Contemporary Schools--and another sonorous paragraph--Together with
a Chronology of Such Subdivisions of Opinion as Have Arisen
Independently.

This title would look monumental in German.*


*Ein Versuch die Neurosen und Psychosen gleichmässig und
pragmatisch zu klassifizieren auf Grund der Untersuchung von
fünfzehn hundert pre-Krapaelin und post-Krapaelin Fällen wie
siz diagnostiziert sein würden in der Terminologie von den
verschiedenen Schulen der Gegenwart--and another sonorous
paragraph--Zusammen mit einer Chronologic solcher Subdivisionen der
Meinung welche unabhängig entstanden sind.


Going into Montreux Dick pedalled slowly, gaping at the Jugenhorn
whenever possible, and blinded by glimpses of the lake through the
alleys of the shore hotels.  He was conscious of the groups of
English, emergent after four years and walking with detective-story
suspicion in their eyes, as though they were about to be assaulted
in this questionable country by German trained-bands.  There were
building and awakening everywhere on this mound of débris formed by
a mountain torrent.  At Berne and at Lausanne on the way south,
Dick had been eagerly asked if there would be Americans this year.
"By August, if not in June?"

He wore leather shorts, an army shirt, mountain shoes.  In his
knapsack were a cotton suit and a change of underwear.  At the
Glion funicular he checked his bicycle and took a small beer on the
terrace of the station buffet, meanwhile watching the little bug
crawl down the eighty-degree slope of the hill.  His ear was full
of dried blood from La Tour de Pelz, where he had sprinted under
the impression that he was a spoiled athlete.  He asked for alcohol
and cleared up the exterior while the funicular slid down port.  He
saw his bicycle embarked, slung his knapsack into the lower
compartment of the car, and followed it in.

Mountain-climbing cars are built on a slant similar to the angle of
a hat-brim of a man who doesn't want to be recognized.  As water
gushed from the chamber under the car, Dick was impressed with the
ingenuity of the whole idea--a complimentary car was now taking on
mountain water at the top and would pull the lightened car up by
gravity, as soon as the brakes were released.  It must have been a
great inspiration.  In the seat across, a couple of British were
discussing the cable itself.

"The ones made in England always last five or six years.  Two years
ago the Germans underbid us, and how long do you think their cable
lasted?"

"How long?"

"A year and ten months.  Then the Swiss sold it to the Italians.
They don't have rigid inspections of cables."

"I can see it would be a terrible thing for Switzerland if a cable
broke."

The conductor shut a door; he telephoned his confrere among the
undulati, and with a jerk the car was pulled upward, heading for a
pinpoint on an emerald hill above.  After it cleared the low roofs,
the skies of Vaud, Valais, Swiss Savoy, and Geneva spread around
the passengers in cyclorama.  On the centre of the lake, cooled by
the piercing current of the Rhône, lay the true centre of the
Western World.  Upon it floated swans like boats and boats like
swans, both lost in the nothingness of the heartless beauty.  It
was a bright day, with sun glittering on the grass beach below and
the white courts of the Kursal.  The figures on the courts threw no
shadows.

When Chillon and the island palace of Salagnon came into view Dick
turned his eyes inward.  The funicular was above the highest houses
of the shore; on both sides a tangle of foliage and flowers
culminated at intervals in masses of color.  It was a rail-side
garden, and in the car was a sign:  Défense de cueillir les fleurs.

Though one must not pick flowers on the way up, the blossoms
trailed in as they passed--Dorothy Perkins roses dragged patiently
through each compartment slowly waggling with the motion of the
funicular, letting go at the last to swing back to their rosy
cluster.  Again and again these branches went through the car.

In the compartment above and in front of Dick's, a group of English
were standing up and exclaiming upon the backdrop of sky, when
suddenly there was a confusion among them--they parted to give
passage to a couple of young people who made apologies and
scrambled over into the rear compartment of the funicular--Dick's
compartment.  The young man was a Latin with the eyes of a stuffed
deer; the girl was Nicole.

The two climbers gasped momentarily from their efforts; as they
settled into seats, laughing and crowding the English to the
corners, Nicole said, "Hel-LO."  She was lovely to look at;
immediately Dick saw that something was different; in a second he
realized it was her fine-spun hair, bobbed like Irene Castle's and
fluffed into curls.  She wore a sweater of powder blue and a white
tennis skirt--she was the first morning in May and every taint of
the clinic was departed.

"Plunk!" she gasped.  "Whoo-oo that guard.  They'll arrest us at
the next stop.  Doctor Diver, the Conte de Marmora."

"Gee-imminy!"  She felt her new hair, panting.  "Sister bought
first-class tickets--it's a matter of principle with her."  She and
Marmora exchanged glances and shouted:  "Then we found that first-
class is the hearse part behind the chauffeur--shut in with
curtains for a rainy day, so you can't see anything.  But Sister's
very dignified--"  Again Nicole and Marmora laughed with young
intimacy.

"Where you bound?" asked Dick.

"Caux.  You too?"  Nicole looked at his costume.  "That your
bicycle they got up in front?"

"Yes.  I'm going to coast down Monday."

"With me on your handle-bars?  I mean, really--will you?  I can't
think of more fun."

"But I will carry you down in my arms," Marmora protested
intensely.  "I will roller-skate you--or I will throw you and you
will fall slowly like a feather."

The delight in Nicole's face--to be a feather again instead of a
plummet, to float and not to drag.  She was a carnival to watch--at
times primly coy, posing, grimacing and gesturing--sometimes the
shadow fell and the dignity of old suffering flowed down into her
finger tips.  Dick wished himself away from her, fearing that he
was a reminder of a world well left behind.  He resolved to go to
the other hotel.

When the funicular came to rest those new to it stirred in
suspension between the blues of two heavens.  It was merely for a
mysterious exchange between the conductor of the car going up and
the conductor of the car coming down.  Then up and up over a forest
path and a gorge--then again up a hill that became solid with
narcissus, from passengers to sky.  The people in Montreux playing
tennis in the lakeside courts were pinpoints now.  Something new
was in the air; freshness--freshness embodying itself in music as
the car slid into Glion and they heard the orchestra in the hotel
garden.

When they changed to the mountain train the music was drowned by
the rushing water released from the hydraulic chamber.  Almost
overhead was Caux, where the thousand windows of a hotel burned in
the late sun.

But the approach was different--a leather-lunged engine pushed the
passengers round and round in a corkscrew, mounting, rising; they
chugged through low-level clouds and for a moment Dick lost
Nicole's face in the spray of the slanting donkey engine; they
skirted a lost streak of wind with the hotel growing in size at
each spiral, until with a vast surprise they were there, on top of
the sunshine.

In the confusion of arrival, as Dick slung his knapsack and started
forward on the platform to get his bicycle, Nicole was beside him.

"Aren't you at our hotel?" she asked.

"I'm economizing."

"Will you come down and have dinner?"  Some confusion with baggage
ensued.  "This is my sister--Doctor Diver from Zurich."

Dick bowed to a young woman of twenty-five, tall and confident.
She was both formidable and vulnerable, he decided, remembering
other women with flower-like mouths grooved for bits.

"I'll drop in after dinner," Dick promised.  "First I must get
acclimated."

He wheeled off his bicycle, feeling Nicole's eyes following him,
feeling her helpless first love, feeling it twist around inside
him.  He went three hundred yards up the slope to the other hotel,
he engaged a room and found himself washing without a memory of the
intervening ten minutes, only a sort of drunken flush pierced with
voices, unimportant voices that did not know how much he was loved.



IX


They were waiting for him and incomplete without him.  He was still
the incalculable element; Miss Warren and the young Italian wore
their anticipation as obviously as Nicole.  The salon of the hotel,
a room of fabled acoustics, was stripped for dancing but there was
a small gallery of Englishwomen of a certain age, with neckbands,
dyed hair and faces powdered pinkish gray; and of American women of
a certain age, with snowy-white transformations, black dresses and
lips of cherry red.  Miss Warren and Marmora were at a corner
table--Nicole was diagonally across from them forty yards away, and
as Dick arrived he heard her voice:

"Can you hear me?  I'm speaking naturally."

"Perfectly,"

"Hello, Doctor Diver."

"What's this?"

"You realize the people in the centre of the floor can't hear what
I say, but you can?"

"A waiter told us about it," said Miss Warren.  "Corner to corner--
it's like wireless."

It was exciting up on the mountain, like a ship at sea.  Presently
Marmora's parents joined them.  They treated the Warrens with
respect--Dick gathered that their fortunes had something to do with
a bank in Milan that had something to do with the Warren fortunes.
But Baby Warren wanted to talk to Dick, wanted to talk to him with
the impetus that sent her out vagrantly toward all new men, as
though she were on an inelastic tether and considered that she
might as well get to the end of it as soon as possible.  She
crossed and recrossed her knees frequently in the manner of tall
restless virgins.

"--Nicole told me that you took part care of her, and had a lot to
do with her getting well.  What I can't understand is what WE'RE
supposed to do--they were so indefinite at the sanitarium; they
only told me she ought to be natural and gay.  I knew the Marmoras
were up here so I asked Tino to meet us at the funicular.  And you
see what happens--the very first thing Nicole has him crawling over
the sides of the car as if they were both insane--"

"That was absolutely normal," Dick laughed.  "I'd call it a good
sign.  They were showing off for each other."

"But how can _I_ tell?  Before I knew it, almost in front of my
eyes, she had her hair cut off, in Zurich, because of a picture in
'Vanity Fair.'"

"That's all right.  She's a schizoid--a permanent eccentric.  You
can't change that."

"What is it?"

"Just what I said--an eccentric."

"Well, how can any one tell what's eccentric and what's crazy?"

"Nothing is going to be crazy--Nicole is all fresh and happy, you
needn't be afraid."

Baby shifted her knees about--she was a compendium of all the
discontented women who had loved Byron a hundred years before, yet,
in spite of the tragic affair with the guards' officer there was
something wooden and onanistic about her.

"I don't mind the responsibility," she declared, "but I'm in the
air.  We've never had anything like this in the family before--we
know Nicole had some shock and my opinion is it was about a boy,
but we don't really know.  Father says he would have shot him if he
could have found out."

The orchestra was playing "Poor Butterfly"; young Marmora was
dancing with his mother.  It was a tune new enough to them all.
Listening, and watching Nicole's shoulders as she chattered to the
elder Marmora, whose hair was dashed with white like a piano
keyboard, Dick thought of the shoulders of a violin, and then he
thought of the dishonor, the secret.  Oh, butterfly--the moments
pass into hours--

"Actually _I_ have a plan," Baby continued with apologetic
hardness.  "It may seem absolutely impractical to you but they say
Nicole will need to be looked after for a few years.  I don't know
whether you know Chicago or not--"

"I don't."

"Well, there's a North Side and a South Side and they're very much
separated.  The North Side is chic and all that, and we've always
lived over there, at least for many years, but lots of old
families, old Chicago families, if you know what I mean, still live
on the South Side.  The University is there.  I mean it's stuffy to
some people, but anyhow it's different from the North Side.  I
don't know whether you understand."

He nodded.  With some concentration he had been able to follow her.

"Now of course we have lots of connections there--Father controls
certain chairs and fellowships and so forth at the University, and
I thought if we took Nicole home and threw her with that crowd--you
see she's quite musical and speaks all these languages--what could
be better in her condition than if she fell in love with some good
doctor--"

A burst of hilarity surged up in Dick, the Warrens were going to
buy Nicole a doctor--You got a nice doctor you can let us use?
There was no use worrying about Nicole when they were in the
position of being able to buy her a nice young doctor, the paint
scarcely dry on him.

"But how about the doctor?" he said automatically.

"There must be many who'd jump at the chance."

The dancers were back, but Baby whispered quickly:

"This is the sort of thing I mean.  Now where is Nicole--she's gone
off somewhere.  Is she upstairs in her room?  What am _I_ supposed
to do?  I never know whether it's something innocent or whether I
ought to go find her."

"Perhaps she just wants to be by herself--people living alone get
used to loneliness."  Seeing that Miss Warren was not listening he
stopped.  "I'll take a look around."

For a moment all the outdoors shut in with mist was like spring
with the curtains drawn.  Life was gathered near the hotel.  Dick
passed some cellar windows where bus boys sat on bunks and played
cards over a litre of Spanish wine.  As he approached the
promenade, the stars began to come through the white crests of the
high Alps.  On the horseshoe walk overlooking the lake Nicole was
the figure motionless between two lamp stands, and he approached
silently across the grass.  She turned to him with an expression
of:  "Here YOU are," and for a moment he was sorry he had come.

"Your sister wondered."

"Oh!"  She was accustomed to being watched.  With an effort she
explained herself:  "Sometimes I get a little--it gets a little too
much.  I've lived so quietly.  To-night that music was too much.
It made me want to cry--"

"I understand."

"This has been an awfully exciting day."

"I know."

"I don't want to do anything anti-social--I've caused everybody
enough trouble.  But to-night I wanted to get away."

It occurred to Dick suddenly, as it might occur to a dying man that
he had forgotten to tell where his will was, that Nicole had been
"re-educated" by Dohmler and the ghostly generations behind him; it
occurred to him also that there would be so much she would have to
be told.  But having recorded this wisdom within himself, he
yielded to the insistent face-value of the situation and said:

"You're a nice person--just keep using your own judgment about
yourself."

"You like me?"

"Of course."

"Would you--"  They were strolling along toward the dim end of the
horseshoe, two hundred yards ahead.  "If I hadn't been sick would
you--I mean, would I have been the sort of girl you might have--oh,
slush, you know what I mean."

He was in for it now, possessed by a vast irrationality.  She was
so near that he felt his breathing change but again his training
came to his aid in a boy's laugh and a trite remark.

"You're teasing yourself, my dear.  Once I knew a man who fell in
love with his nurse--"  The anecdote rambled on, punctuated by
their footsteps.  Suddenly Nicole interrupted in succinct
Chicagoese:  "Bull!"

"That's a very vulgar expression."

"What about it?" she flared up.  "You don't think I've got any
common sense--before I was sick I didn't have any, but I have now.
And if I don't know you're the most attractive man I ever met you
must think I'm still crazy.  It's my hard luck, all right--but
don't pretend I don't KNOW--I know everything about you and me."

Dick was at an additional disadvantage.  He remembered the
statement of the elder Miss Warren as to the young doctors that
could be purchased in the intellectual stockyards of the South Side
of Chicago, and he hardened for a moment.  "You're a fetching kid,
but I couldn't fall in love."

"You won't give me a chance."

"WHAT!"

The impertinence, the right to invade implied, astounded him.
Short of anarchy he could not think of any chance that Nicole
Warren deserved.

"Give me a chance now."

The voice fell low, sank into her breast and stretched the tight
bodice over her heart as she came up close.  He felt the young
lips, her body sighing in relief against the arm growing stronger
to hold her.  There were now no more plans than if Dick had
arbitrarily made some indissoluble mixture, with atoms joined and
inseparable; you could throw it all out but never again could they
fit back into atomic scale.  As he held her and tasted her, and as
she curved in further and further toward him, with her own lips,
new to herself, drowned and engulfed in love, yet solaced and
triumphant, he was thankful to have an existence at all, if only as
a reflection in her wet eyes.

"My God," he gasped, "you're fun to kiss."

That was talk, but Nicole had a better hold on him now and she held
it; she turned coquette and walked away, leaving him as suspended
as in the funicular of the afternoon.  She felt:  There, that'll
show him, how conceited; how he could do with me; oh, wasn't it
wonderful!  I've got him, he's mine.  Now in the sequence came
flight, but it was all so sweet and new that she dawdled, wanting
to draw all of it in.

She shivered suddenly.  Two thousand feet below she saw the
necklace and bracelet of lights that were Montreux and Vevey,
beyond them a dim pendant of Lausanne.  From down there somewhere
ascended a faint sound of dance music.  Nicole was up in her head
now, cool as cool, trying to collate the sentimentalities of her
childhood, as deliberate as a man getting drunk after battle.  But
she was still afraid of Dick, who stood near her, leaning,
characteristically, against the iron fence that rimmed the
horseshoe; and this prompted her to say:  "I can remember how I
stood waiting for you in the garden--holding all my self in my arms
like a basket of flowers.  It was that to me anyhow--I thought I
was sweet--waiting to hand that basket to you."

He breathed over her shoulder and turned her insistently about; she
kissed him several times, her face getting big every time she came
close, her hands holding him by the shoulders.

"It's raining hard."

Suddenly there was a booming from the wine slopes across the lake;
cannons were shooting at hail-bearing clouds in order to break
them.  The lights of the promenade went off, went on again.  Then
the storm came swiftly, first falling from the heavens, then doubly
falling in torrents from the mountains and washing loud down the
roads and stone ditches; with it came a dark, frightening sky and
savage filaments of lightning and world-splitting thunder, while
ragged, destroying clouds fled along past the hotel.  Mountains and
lake disappeared--the hotel crouched amid tumult, chaos and
darkness.

By this time Dick and Nicole had reached the vestibule, where Baby
Warren and the three Marmoras were anxiously awaiting them.  It was
exciting coming out of the wet fog--with the doors banging, to
stand and laugh and quiver with emotion, wind in their ears and
rain on their clothes.  Now in the ballroom the orchestra was
playing a Strauss waltz, high and confusing.

. . . For Doctor Diver to marry a mental patient?  How did it
happen?  Where did it begin?

"Won't you come back after you've changed?" Baby Warren asked after
a close scrutiny.

"I haven't got any change, except some shorts."

As he trudged up to his hotel in a borrowed raincoat he kept
laughing derisively in his throat.

"BIG chance--oh, yes.  My God!--they decided to buy a doctor?
Well, they better stick to whoever they've got in Chicago."
Revolted by his harshness he made amends to Nicole, remembering
that nothing had ever felt so young as her lips, remembering rain
like tears shed for him that lay upon her softly shining porcelain
cheeks . . . the silence of the storm ceasing woke him about three
o'clock and he went to the window.  Her beauty climbed the rolling
slope, it came into the room, rustling ghostlike through the
curtains. . . .

. . . He climbed two thousand meters to Rochers de Naye the
following morning, amused by the fact that his conductor of the day
before was using his day off to climb also.

Then Dick descended all the way to Montreux for a swim, got back to
his hotel in time for dinner.  Two notes awaited him.


"I'm not ashamed about last night--it was the nicest thing that
ever happened to me and even if I never saw you again, Mon
Capitaine, I would be glad it happened."


That was disarming enough--the heavy shade of Dohmler retreated as
Dick opened the second envelope:


DEAR DOCTOR DIVER:  I phoned but you were out.  I wonder if I may
ask you a great big favor.  Unforeseen circumstances call me back
to Paris, and I find I can make better time by way of Lausanne.
Can you let Nicole ride as far as Zurich with you, since you are
going back Monday? and drop her at the sanitarium?  Is this too
much to ask?

Sincerely,

BETH EVAN WARREN.


Dick was furious--Miss Warren had known he had a bicycle with him;
yet she had so phrased her note that it was impossible to refuse.
Throw us together!  Sweet propinquity and the Warren money!

He was wrong; Baby Warren had no such intentions.  She had looked
Dick over with worldly eyes, she had measured him with the warped
rule of an Anglophile and found him wanting--in spite of the
fact that she found him toothsome.  But for her he was too
"intellectual" and she pigeonholed him with a shabby-snobby crowd
she had once known in London--he put himself out too much to be
really of the correct stuff.  She could not see how he could be
made into her idea of an aristocrat.

In addition to that he was stubborn--she had seen him leave her
conversation and get down behind his eyes in that odd way that
people did, half a dozen times.  She had not liked Nicole's free
and easy manner as a child and now she was sensibly habituated to
thinking of her as a "gone coon"; and anyhow Doctor Diver was not
the sort of medical man she could envisage in the family.

She only wanted to use him innocently as a convenience.

But her request had the effect that Dick assumed she desired.  A
ride in a train can be a terrible, heavy-hearted or comic thing; it
can be a trial flight; it can be a prefiguration of another journey
just as a given day with a friend can be long, from the taste of
hurry in the morning up to the realization of both being hungry and
taking food together.  Then comes the afternoon with the journey
fading and dying, but quickening again at the end.  Dick was sad to
see Nicole's meagre joy; yet it was a relief for her, going back to
the only home she knew.  They made no love that day, but when he
left her outside the sad door on the Zurichsee and she turned and
looked at him he knew her problem was one they had together for
good now.



X


In Zurich in September Doctor Diver had tea with Baby Warren.

"I think it's ill advised," she said, "I'm not sure I truly
understand your motives."

"Don't let's be unpleasant."

"After all I'm Nicole's sister."

"That doesn't give you the right to be unpleasant."  It irritated
Dick that he knew so much that he could not tell her.  "Nicole's
rich, but that doesn't make me an adventurer."

"That's just it," complained Baby stubbornly.  "Nicole's rich."

"Just how much money has she got?" he asked.

She started; and with a silent laugh he continued, "You see how
silly this is?  I'd rather talk to some man in your family--"

"Everything's been left to me," she persisted.  "It isn't we think
you're an adventurer.  We don't know who you are."

"I'm a doctor of medicine," he said.  "My father is a clergyman,
now retired.  We lived in Buffalo and my past is open to
investigation.  I went to New Haven; afterward I was a Rhodes
scholar.  My great-grandfather was Governor of North Carolina and
I'm a direct descendant of Mad Anthony Wayne."

"Who was Mad Anthony Wayne?" Baby asked suspiciously.

"Mad Anthony Wayne?"

"I think there's enough madness in this affair."

He shook his head hopelessly, just as Nicole came out on the hotel
terrace and looked around for them.

"He was too mad to leave as much money as Marshall Field," he said.

"That's all very well--"

Baby was right and she knew it.  Face to face, her father would
have it on almost any clergyman.  They were an American ducal
family without a title--the very name written in a hotel register,
signed to an introduction, used in a difficult situation, caused a
psychological metamorphosis in people, and in return this change
had crystallized her own sense of position.  She knew these facts
from the English, who had known them for over two hundred years.
But she did not know that twice Dick had come close to flinging the
marriage in her face.  All that saved it this time was Nicole
finding their table and glowing away, white and fresh and new in
the September afternoon.



How do you do, lawyer.  We're going to Como tomorrow for a week and
then back to Zurich.  That's why I wanted you and sister to settle
this, because it doesn't matter to us how much I'm allowed.  We're
going to live very quietly in Zurich for two years and Dick has
enough to take care of us.  No, Baby, I'm more practical than you
think--It's only for clothes and things I'll need it. . . .  Why,
that's more than--can the estate really afford to give me all that?
I know I'll never manage to spend it.  Do you have that much?  Why
do you have more--is it because I'm supposed to be incompetent?
All right, let my share pile up then. . . .  No, Dick refuses to
have anything whatever to do with it.  I'll have to feel bloated
for us both. . . .  Baby, you have no more idea of what Dick is
like than, than--Now where do I sign?  Oh, I'm sorry.

. . . Isn't it funny and lonely being together, Dick.  No place to
go except close.  Shall we just love and love?  Ah, but I love the
most, and I can tell when you're away from me, even a little.  I
think it's wonderful to be just like everybody else, to reach out
and find you all warm beside me in the bed.

. . . If you will kindly call my husband at the hospital.  Yes, the
little book is selling everywhere--they want it published in six
languages.  I was to do the French translation but I'm tired these
days--I'm afraid of falling, I'm so heavy and clumsy--like a broken
roly-poly that can't stand up straight.  The cold stethoscope
against my heart and my strongest feeling "Je m'en fiche de tout."--
Oh, that poor woman in the hospital with the blue baby, much
better dead.  Isn't it fine there are three of us now?

. . . That seems unreasonable, Dick--we have every reason for
taking the bigger apartment.  Why should we penalize ourselves just
because there's more Warren money than Diver money.  Oh, thank you,
cameriere, but we've changed our minds.  This English clergyman
tells us that your wine here in Orvieto is excellent.  It doesn't
travel?  That must be why we have never heard of it, because we
love wine.

The lakes are sunk in the brown clay and the slopes have all the
creases of a belly.  The photographer gave us the picture of me, my
hair limp over the rail on the boat to Capri.  "Good-by, Blue
Grotte," sang the boatman, "come again soo-oon."  And afterward
tracing down the hot sinister shin of the Italian boot with the
wind soughing around those eerie castles, the dead watching from up
on those hills.

. . . This ship is nice, with our heels hitting the deck together.
This is the blowy corner and each time we turn it I slant forward
against the wind and pull my coat together without losing step with
Dick.  We are chanting nonsense:


     "Oh--oh--oh--oh
      Other flamingoes than me,
      Oh--oh--oh--oh
      Other flamingoes than me--"


Life is fun with Dick--the people in deck chairs look at us, and a
woman is trying to hear what we are singing.  Dick is tired of
singing it, so go on alone, Dick.  You will walk differently alone,
dear, through a thicker atmosphere, forcing your way through the
shadows of chairs, through the dripping smoke of the funnels.  You
will feel your own reflection sliding along the eyes of those who
look at you.  You are no longer insulated; but I suppose you must
touch life in order to spring from it.

Sitting on the stanchion of this life-boat I look seaward and let
my hair blow and shine.  I am motionless against the sky and the
boat is made to carry my form onward into the blue obscurity of the
future, I am Pallas Athene carved reverently on the front of a
galley.  The waters are lapping in the public toilets and the agate
green foliage of spray changes and complains about the stern.

. . . We travelled a lot that year--from Woolloomooloo Bay to
Biskra.  On the edge of the Sahara we ran into a plague of locusts
and the chauffeur explained kindly that they were bumble-bees.  The
sky was low at night, full of the presence of a strange and
watchful God.  Oh, the poor little naked Ouled Naïl; the night was
noisy with drums from Senegal and flutes and whining camels, and
the natives pattering about in shoes made of old automobile tires.

But I was gone again by that time--trains and beaches they were all
one.  That was why he took me travelling but after my second child,
my little girl, Topsy, was born everything got dark again.

. . . If I could get word to my husband who has seen fit to desert
me here, to leave me in the hands of incompetents.  You tell me my
baby is black--that's farcical, that's very cheap.  We went to
Africa merely to see Timgad, since my principal interest in life is
archeology.  I am tired of knowing nothing and being reminded of it
all the time.

. . . When I get well I want to be a fine person like you, Dick--I
would study medicine except it's too late.  We must spend my money
and have a house--I'm tired of apartments and waiting for you.
You're bored with Zurich and you can't find time for writing here
and you say that it's a confession of weakness for a scientist not
to write.  And I'll look over the whole field of knowledge and pick
out something and really know about it, so I'll have it to hang on
to if I go to pieces again.  You'll help me, Dick, so I won't feel
so guilty.  We'll live near a warm beach where we can be brown and
young together.

. . . This is going to be Dick's work house.  Oh, the idea came to
us both at the same moment.  We had passed Tarmes a dozen times and
we rode up here and found the houses empty, except two stables.
When we bought we acted through a Frenchman but the navy sent spies
up here in no time when they found that Americans had bought part
of a hill village.  They looked for cannons all through the
building material, and finally Baby had to twitch wires for us at
the Affaires Etrangères in Paris.

No one comes to the Riviera in summer, so we expect to have a few
guests and to work.  There are some French people here--Mistinguet
last week, surprised to find the hotel open, and Picasso and the
man who wrote Pas sur la Bouche.

. . . Dick, why did you register Mr. and Mrs. Diver instead of
Doctor and Mrs. Diver?  I just wondered--it just floated through my
mind.--You've taught me that work is everything and I believe you.
You used to say a man knows things and when he stops knowing things
he's like anybody else, and the thing is to get power before he
stops knowing things.  If you want to turn things topsy-turvy, all
right, but must your Nicole follow you walking on her hands,
darling?

. . . Tommy says I am silent.  Since I was well the first time I
talked a lot to Dick late at night, both of us sitting up in bed
and lighting cigarettes, then diving down afterward out of the blue
dawn and into the pillows, to keep the light from our eyes.
Sometimes I sing, and play with the animals, and I have a few
friends too--Mary, for instance.  When Mary and I talk neither of
us listens to the other.  Talk is men.  When I talk I say to myself
that I am probably Dick.  Already I have even been my son,
remembering how wise and slow he is.  Sometimes I am Doctor Dohmler
and one time I may even be an aspect of you, Tommy Barban.  Tommy
is in love with me, I think, but gently, reassuringly.  Enough,
though, so that he and Dick have begun to disapprove of each other.
All in all, everything has never gone better.  I am among friends
who like me.  I am here on this tranquil beach with my husband and
two children.  Everything is all right--if I can finish translating
this damn recipe for chicken a la Maryland into French.  My toes
feel warm in the sand.

"Yes, I'll look.  More new people--oh, that girl--yes.  Who did you
say she looked like. . . .  No, I haven't, we don't get much chance
to see the new American pictures over here.  Rosemary who?  Well,
we're getting very fashionable for July--seems very peculiar to me.
Yes, she's lovely, but there can be too many people."



XI


Doctor Richard Diver and Mrs. Elsie Speers sat in the Café des
Alliées in August, under cool and dusty trees.  The sparkle of the
mica was dulled by the baked ground, and a few gusts of mistral
from down the coast seeped through the Esterel and rocked the
fishing boats in the harbor, pointing the masts here and there at a
featureless sky.

"I had a letter this morning," said Mrs. Speers.  "What a terrible
time you all must have had with those Negroes!  But Rosemary said
you were perfectly wonderful to her."

"Rosemary ought to have a service stripe.  It was pretty harrowing--
the only person it didn't disturb was Abe North--he flew off to
Havre--he probably doesn't know about it yet."

"I'm sorry Mrs. Diver was upset," she said carefully.

Rosemary had written:


Nicole seemed Out of her Mind.  I didn't want to come South with
them because I felt Dick had enough on his hands.


"She's all right now."  He spoke almost impatiently.  "So you're
leaving to-morrow.  When will you sail?"

"Right away."

"My God, it's awful to have you go."

"We're glad we came here.  We've had a good time, thanks to you.
You're the first man Rosemary ever cared for."

Another gust of wind strained around the porphyry hills of la
Napoule.  There was a hint in the air that the earth was hurrying
on toward other weather; the lush midsummer moment outside of time
was already over.

"Rosemary's had crushes but sooner or later she always turned the
man over to me--" Mrs. Speers laughed, "--for dissection."

"So I was spared."

"There was nothing I could have done.  She was in love with you
before I ever saw you.  I told her to go ahead."

He saw that no provision had been made for him, or for Nicole, in
Mrs. Speers' plans--and he saw that her amorality sprang from the
conditions of her own withdrawal.  It was her right, the pension on
which her own emotions had retired.  Women are necessarily capable
of almost anything in their struggle for survival and can scarcely
be convicted of such man-made crimes as "cruelty."  So long as the
shuffle of love and pain went on within proper walls Mrs. Speers
could view it with as much detachment and humor as a eunuch.  She
had not even allowed for the possibility of Rosemary's being
damaged--or was she certain that she couldn't be?

"If what you say is true I don't think it did her any harm."  He
was keeping up to the end the pretense that he could still think
objectively about Rosemary.  "She's over it already.  Still--so
many of the important times in life begin by seeming incidental."

"This wasn't incidental," Mrs. Speers insisted.  "You were the
first man--you're an ideal to her.  In every letter she says that."

"She's so polite."

"You and Rosemary are the politest people I've ever known, but she
means this."

"My politeness is a trick of the heart."

This was partly true.  From his father Dick had learned the
somewhat conscious good manners of the young Southerner coming
north after the Civil War.  Often he used them and just as often he
despised them because they were not a protest against how
unpleasant selfishness was but against how unpleasant it looked.

"I'm in love with Rosemary," he told her suddenly.  "It's a kind of
self-indulgence saying that to you."

It seemed very strange and official to him, as if the very tables
and chairs in the Café des Alliées would remember it forever.
Already he felt her absence from these skies: on the beach he could
only remember the sun-torn flesh of her shoulder; at Tarmes he
crushed out her footprints as he crossed the garden; and now the
orchestra launching into the Nice Carnival Song, an echo of last
year's vanished gaieties, started the little dance that went on all
about her.  In a hundred hours she had come to possess all the
world's dark magic; the blinding belladonna, the caffein converting
physical into nervous energy, the mandragora that imposes harmony.

With an effort he once more accepted the fiction that he shared
Mrs. Speers' detachment.

"You and Rosemary aren't really alike," he said.  "The wisdom she
got from you is all molded up into her persona, into the mask she
faces the world with.  She doesn't think; her real depths are Irish
and romantic and illogical."

Mrs. Speers knew too that Rosemary, for all her delicate surface,
was a young mustang, perceptibly by Captain Doctor Hoyt, U.S.A.
Cross-sectioned, Rosemary would have displayed an enormous heart,
liver and soul, all crammed close together under the lovely shell.

Saying good-by, Dick was aware of Elsie Speers' full charm, aware
that she meant rather more to him than merely a last unwillingly
relinquished fragment of Rosemary.  He could possibly have made up
Rosemary--he could never have made up her mother.  If the cloak,
spurs and brilliants in which Rosemary had walked off were things
with which he had endowed her, it was nice in contrast to watch her
mother's grace knowing it was surely something he had not evoked.
She had an air of seeming to wait, as if for a man to get through
with something more important than herself, a battle or an
operation, during which he must not be hurried or interfered with.
When the man had finished she would be waiting, without fret or
impatience, somewhere on a highstool, turning the pages of a
newspaper.

"Good-by--and I want you both to remember always how fond of you
Nicole and I have grown."

Back at the Villa Diana, he went to his work-room, and opened the
shutters, closed against the mid-day glare.  On his two long
tables, in ordered confusion, lay the materials of his book.
Volume I, concerned with Classification, had achieved some success
in a small subsidized edition.  He was negotiating for its reissue.
Volume II was to be a great amplification of his first little book,
A Psychology for Psychiatrists.  Like so many men he had found that
he had only one or two ideas--that his little collection of
pamphlets now in its fiftieth German edition contained the germ of
all he would ever think or know.

But he was currently uneasy about the whole thing.  He resented the
wasted years at New Haven, but mostly he felt a discrepancy between
the growing luxury in which the Divers lived, and the need for
display which apparently went along with it.  Remembering his
Rumanian friend's story, about the man who had worked for years on
the brain of an armadillo, he suspected that patient Germans were
sitting close to the libraries of Berlin and Vienna callously
anticipating him.  He had about decided to brief the work in its
present condition and publish it in an undocumented volume of a
hundred thousand words as an introduction to more scholarly volumes
to follow.

He confirmed this decision walking around the rays of late
afternoon in his work-room.  With the new plan he could be through
by spring.  It seemed to him that when a man with his energy was
pursued for a year by increasing doubts, it indicated some fault in
the plan.

He laid the bars of gilded metal that he used as paperweights along
the sheaves of notes.  He swept up, for no servant was allowed in
here, treated his washroom sketchily with Bon Ami, repaired a
screen and sent off an order to a publishing house in Zurich.  Then
he drank an ounce of gin with twice as much water.

He saw Nicole in the garden.  Presently he must encounter her and
the prospect gave him a leaden feeling.  Before her he must keep up
a perfect front, now and to-morrow, next week and next year.  All
night in Paris he had held her in his arms while she slept light
under the luminol; in the early morning he broke in upon her
confusion before it could form, with words of tenderness and
protection, and she slept again with his face against the warm
scent of her hair.  Before she woke he had arranged everything at
the phone in the next room.  Rosemary was to move to another hotel.
She was to be "Daddy's Girl" and even to give up saying good-by to
them.  The proprietor of the hotel, Mr. McBeth, was to be the three
Chinese monkeys.  Packing amid the piled boxes and tissue paper of
many purchases, Dick and Nicole left for the Riviera at noon.

Then there was a reaction.  As they settled down in the wagon-lit
Dick saw that Nicole was waiting for it, and it came quickly and
desperately, before the train was out of the ceinture--his only
instinct was to step off while the train was still going slow, rush
back and see where Rosemary was, what she was doing.  He opened a
book and bent his pince-nez upon it, aware that Nicole was watching
him from her pillow across the compartment.  Unable to read, he
pretended to be tired and shut his eyes but she was still watching
him, and though still she was half asleep from the hangover of the
drug, she was relieved and almost happy that he was hers again.

It was worse with his eyes shut for it gave a rhythm of finding and
losing, finding and losing; but so as not to appear restless he lay
like that until noon.  At luncheon things were better--it was
always a fine meal; a thousand lunches in inns and restaurants,
wagon-lits, buffets, and aeroplanes were a mighty collation to have
taken together.  The familiar hurry of the train waiters, the
little bottles of wine and mineral water, the excellent food of the
Paris-Lyons-Méditerranee gave them the illusion that everything was
the same as before, but it was almost the first trip he had ever
taken with Nicole that was a going away rather than a going toward.
He drank a whole bottle of wine save for Nicole's single glass;
they talked about the house and the children.  But once back in the
compartment a silence fell over them like the silence in the
restaurant across from the Luxembourg.  Receding from a grief, it
seems necessary to retrace the same steps that brought us there.
An unfamiliar impatience settled on Dick; suddenly Nicole said:

"It seemed too bad to leave Rosemary like that--do you suppose
she'll be all right?"

"Of course.  She could take care of herself anywhere--"  Lest this
belittle Nicole's ability to do likewise, he added, "After all,
she's an actress, and even though her mother's in the background
she HAS to look out for herself."

"She's very attractive."

"She's an infant."

"She's attractive though."

They talked aimlessly back and forth, each speaking for the other.

"She's not as intelligent as I thought," Dick offered.

"She's quite smart."

"Not very, though--there's a persistent aroma of the nursery."

"She's very--very pretty," Nicole said in a detached, emphatic
way, "and I thought she was very good in the picture."

"She was well directed.  Thinking it over, it wasn't very
individual."

"I thought it was.  I can see how she'd be very attractive to men."

His heart twisted.  To what men?  How many men?

--Do you mind if I pull down the curtain?

--Please do, it's too light in here.

Where now?  And with whom?

"In a few years she'll look ten years older than you."

"On the contrary.  I sketched her one night on a theatre program, I
think she'll last."

They were both restless in the night.  In a day or two Dick would
try to banish the ghost of Rosemary before it became walled up with
them, but for the moment he had no force to do it.  Sometimes it is
harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure and the
memory so possessed him that for the moment there was nothing to do
but to pretend.  This was more difficult because he was currently
annoyed with Nicole, who, after all these years, should recognize
symptoms of strain in herself and guard against them.  Twice within
a fortnight she had broken up: there had been the night of the
dinner at Tarmes when he had found her in her bedroom dissolved in
crazy laughter telling Mrs. McKisco she could not go in the
bathroom because the key was thrown down the well.  Mrs. McKisco
was astonished and resentful, baffled and yet in a way comprehending.
Dick had not been particularly alarmed then, for afterward Nicole
was repentant.  She called at Gausse's Hotel but the McKiscos were
gone.

The collapse in Paris was another matter, adding significance to
the first one.  It prophesied possibly a new cycle, a new pousse of
the malady.  Having gone through unprofessional agonies during her
long relapse following Topsy's birth, he had, perforce, hardened
himself about her, making a cleavage between Nicole sick and Nicole
well.  This made it difficult now to distinguish between his self-
protective professional detachment and some new coldness in his
heart.  As an indifference cherished, or left to atrophy, becomes
an emptiness, to this extent he had learned to become empty of
Nicole, serving her against his will with negations and emotional
neglect.  One writes of scars healed, a loose parallel to the
pathology of the skin, but there is no such thing in the life of an
individual.  There are open wounds, shrunk sometimes to the size of
a pin-prick but wounds still.  The marks of suffering are more
comparable to the loss of a finger, or of the sight of an eye.  We
may not miss them, either, for one minute in a year, but if we
should there is nothing to be done about it.



XII


He found Nicole in the garden with her arms folded high on her
shoulders.  She looked at him with straight gray eyes, with a
child's searching wonder.

"I went to Cannes," he said.  "I ran into Mrs. Speers.  She's
leaving to-morrow.  She wanted to come up and say good-by to you,
but I slew the idea."

"I'm sorry.  I'd like to have seen her.  I like her."

"Who else do you think I saw--Bartholomew Tailor."

"You didn't."

"I couldn't have missed that face of his, the old experienced
weasel.  He was looking over the ground for Ciro's Menagerie--
they'll all be down next year.  I suspected Mrs. Abrams was a sort
of outpost."

"And Baby was outraged the first summer we came here."

"They don't really give a damn where they are, so I don't see why
they don't stay and freeze in Deauville."

"Can't we start rumors about cholera or something?"

"I told Bartholomew that some categories died off like flies here--
I told him the life of a suck was as short as the life of a
machine-gunner in the war."

"You didn't."

"No, I didn't," he admitted.  "He was very pleasant.  It was a
beautiful sight, he and I shaking hands there on the boulevard.
The meeting of Sigmund Freud and Ward McAllister."

Dick didn't want to talk--he wanted to be alone so that his
thoughts about work and the future would overpower his thoughts of
love and to-day.  Nicole knew about it but only darkly and
tragically, hating him a little in an animal way, yet wanting to
rub against his shoulder.

"The darling," Dick said lightly.

He went into the house, forgetting something he wanted to do there,
and then remembering it was the piano.  He sat down whistling and
played by ear:


     "Just picture you upon my knee
      With tea for two and two for tea
      And me for you and you for me--"


Through the melody flowed a sudden realization that Nicole, hearing
it, would guess quickly at a nostalgia for the past fortnight.  He
broke off with a casual chord and left the piano.

It was hard to know where to go.  He glanced about the house that
Nicole had made, that Nicole's grandfather had paid for.  He owned
only his work house and the ground on which it stood.  Out of three
thousand a year and what dribbled in from his publications he paid
for his clothes and personal expenses, for cellar charges, and for
Lanier's education, so far confined to a nurse's wage.  Never had a
move been contemplated without Dick's figuring his share.  Living
rather ascetically, travelling third-class when he was alone, with
the cheapest wine, and good care of his clothes, and penalizing
himself for any extravagances, he maintained a qualified financial
independence.  After a certain point, though, it was difficult--
again and again it was necessary to decide together as to the uses
to which Nicole's money should be put.  Naturally Nicole, wanting
to own him, wanting him to stand still forever, encouraged any
slackness on his part, and in multiplying ways he was constantly
inundated by a trickling of goods and money.  The inception of the
idea of the cliff villa which they had elaborated as a fantasy one
day was a typical example of the forces divorcing them from the
first simple arrangements in Zurich.

"Wouldn't it be fun if--" it had been; and then, "Won't it be fun
when--"

It was not so much fun.  His work became confused with Nicole's
problems; in addition, her income had increased so fast of late
that it seemed to belittle his work.  Also, for the purpose of her
cure, he had for many years pretended to a rigid domesticity from
which he was drifting away, and this pretense became more arduous
in this effortless immobility, in which he was inevitably subjected
to microscopic examination.  When Dick could no longer play what he
wanted to play on the piano, it was an indication that life was
being refined down to a point.  He stayed in the big room a long
time listening to the buzz of the electric clock, listening to
time.



In November the waves grew black and dashed over the sea wall onto
the shore road--such summer life as had survived disappeared and
the beaches were melancholy and desolate under the mistral and
rain.  Gausse's Hotel was closed for repairs and enlargement and
the scaffolding of the summer Casino at Juan les Pins grew larger
and more formidable.  Going into Cannes or Nice, Dick and Nicole
met new people--members of orchestras, restaurateurs, horticultural
enthusiasts, shipbuilders--for Dick had bought an old dinghy--and
members of the Syndicat d'Initiative.  They knew their servants
well and gave thought to the children's education.  In December,
Nicole seemed well-knit again; when a month had passed without
tension, without the tight mouth, the unmotivated smile, the
unfathomable remark, they went to the Swiss Alps for the Christmas
holidays.



XIII


With his cap, Dick slapped the snow from his dark blue ski-suit
before going inside.  The great hall, its floor pockmarked by two
decades of hobnails, was cleared for the tea dance, and four-score
young Americans, domiciled in schools near Gstaad, bounced about to
the frolic of "Don't Bring Lulu," or exploded violently with the
first percussions of the Charleston.  It was a colony of the young,
simple, and expensive--the Sturmtruppen of the rich were at St.
Moritz.  Baby Warren felt that she had made a gesture of
renunciation in joining the Divers here.

Dick picked out the two sisters easily across the delicately
haunted, soft-swaying room--they were poster-like, formidable in
their snow costumes, Nicole's of cerulean blue, Baby's of brick
red.  The young Englishman was talking to them; but they were
paying no attention, lulled to the staring point by the adolescent
dance.

Nicole's snow-warm face lighted up further as she saw Dick.  "Where
is he?"

"He missed the train--I'm meeting him later."  Dick sat down,
swinging a heavy boot over his knee.  "You two look very striking
together.  Every once in a while I forget we're in the same party
and get a big shock at seeing you."

Baby was a tall, fine-looking woman, deeply engaged in being almost
thirty.  Symptomatically she had pulled two men with her from
London, one scarcely down from Cambridge, one old and hard with
Victorian lecheries.  Baby had certain spinsters' characteristics--
she was alien from touch, she started if she was touched suddenly,
and such lingering touches as kisses and embraces slipped directly
through the flesh into the forefront of her consciousness.  She
made few gestures with her trunk, her body proper--instead, she
stamped her foot and tossed her head in almost an old-fashioned
way.  She relished the foretaste of death, prefigured by the
catastrophes of friends--persistently she clung to the idea of
Nicole's tragic destiny.

Baby's younger Englishman had been chaperoning the women down
appropriate inclines and harrowing them on the bob-run.  Dick,
having turned an ankle in a too ambitious telemark, loafed
gratefully about the "nursery slope" with the children or drank
kvass with a Russian doctor at the hotel.

"Please be happy, Dick," Nicole urged him.  "Why don't you meet
some of these ickle durls and dance with them in the afternoon?"

"What would I say to them?"

Her low almost harsh voice rose a few notes, simulating a plaintive
coquetry:  "Say:  'Ickle durl, oo is de pwettiest sing.'  What do
you think you say?"

"I don't like ickle durls.  They smell of castile soap and
peppermint.  When I dance with them, I feel as if I'm pushing a
baby carriage."

It was a dangerous subject--he was careful, to the point of self-
consciousness, to stare far over the heads of young maidens.

"There's a lot of business," said Baby.  "First place, there's news
from home--the property we used to call the station property.  The
railroads only bought the centre of it at first.  Now they've
bought the rest, and it belonged to Mother.  It's a question of
investing the money."

Pretending to be repelled by this gross turn in the conversation,
the Englishman made for a girl on the floor.  Following him for an
instant with the uncertain eyes of an American girl in the grip of
a life-long Anglophilia, Baby continued defiantly:

"It's a lot of money.  It's three hundred thousand apiece.  I keep
an eye on my own investments but Nicole doesn't know anything about
securities, and I don't suppose you do either."

"I've got to meet the train," Dick said evasively.

Outside he inhaled damp snowflakes that he could no longer see
against the darkening sky.  Three children sledding past shouted a
warning in some strange language; he heard them yell at the next
bend and a little farther on he heard sleigh-bells coming up the
hill in the dark.  The holiday station glittered with expectancy,
boys and girls waiting for new boys and girls, and by the time the
train arrived, Dick had caught the rhythm, and pretended to Franz
Gregorovius that he was clipping off a half-hour from an endless
roll of pleasures.  But Franz had some intensity of purpose at the
moment that fought through any superimposition of mood on Dick's
part.  "I may get up to Zurich for a day," Dick had written, "or
you can manage to come to Lausanne."  Franz had managed to come all
the way to Gstaad.

He was forty.  Upon his healthy maturity reposed a set of pleasant
official manners, but he was most at home in a somewhat stuffy
safety from which he could despise the broken rich whom he re-
educated.  His scientific heredity might have bequeathed him a
wider world but he seemed to have deliberately chosen the
standpoint of an humbler class, a choice typified by his selection
of a wife.  At the hotel Baby Warren made a quick examination of
him, and failing to find any of the hall-marks she respected, the
subtler virtues or courtesies by which the privileged classes
recognized one another, treated him thereafter with her second
manner.  Nicole was always a little afraid of him.  Dick liked him,
as he liked his friends, without reservations.

For the evening they were sliding down the hill into the village,
on those little sleds which serve the same purpose as gondolas do
in Venice.  Their destination was a hotel with an old-fashioned
Swiss tap-room, wooden and resounding, a room of clocks, kegs,
steins, and antlers.  Many parties at long tables blurred into one
great party and ate fondue--a peculiarly indigestible form of Welsh
rarebit, mitigated by hot spiced wine.

It was jolly in the big room; the younger Englishman remarked it
and Dick conceded that there was no other word.  With the pert
heady wine he relaxed and pretended that the world was all put
together again by the gray-haired men of the golden nineties who
shouted old glees at the piano, by the young voices and the bright
costumes toned into the room by the swirling smoke.  For a moment
he felt that they were in a ship with landfall just ahead; in the
faces of all the girls was the same innocent expectation of the
possibilities inherent in the situation and the night.  He looked
to see if that special girl was there and got an impression that
she was at the table behind them--then he forgot her and invented a
rigmarole and tried to make his party have a good time.

"I must talk to you," said Franz in English.  "I have only twenty-
four hours to spend here."

"I suspected you had something on your mind."

"I have a plan that is--so marvellous."  His hand fell upon Dick's
knee.  "I have a plan that will be the making of us two."

"Well?"

"Dick--there is a clinic we could have together--the old clinic of
Braun on the Zugersee.  The plant is all modern except for a few
points.  He is sick--he wants to go up in Austria, to die probably.
It is a chance that is just insuperable.  You and me--what a pair!
Now don't say anything yet until I finish."

From the yellow glint in Baby's eyes, Dick saw she was listening.

"We must undertake it together.  It would not bind you too tight--
it would give you a base, a laboratory, a centre.  You could stay
in residence say no more than half the year, when the weather is
fine.  In winter you could go to France or America and write your
texts fresh from clinical experience."  He lowered his voice.  "And
for the convalescence in your family, there are the atmosphere and
regularity of the clinic at hand."  Dick's expression did not
encourage this note so Franz dropped it with the punctuation of his
tongue leaving his lip quickly.  "We could be partners.  I the
executive manager, you the theoretician, the brilliant consultant
and all that.  I know myself--I know I have no genius and you have.
But, in my way, I am thought very capable; I am utterly competent
at the most modern clinical methods.  Sometimes for months I have
served as the practical head of the old clinic.  The professor says
this plan is excellent, he advises me to go ahead.  He says he is
going to live forever, and work up to the last minute."

Dick formed imaginary pictures of the prospect as a preliminary to
any exercise of judgment.

"What's the financial angle?" he asked.

Franz threw up his chin, his eyebrows, the transient wrinkles of
his forehead, his hands, his elbows, his shoulders; he strained up
the muscles of his legs, so that the cloth of his trousers bulged,
pushed up his heart into his throat and his voice into the roof of
his mouth.

"There we have it!  Money!" he bewailed.  "I have little money.
The price in American money is two hundred thousand dollars.  The
innovation--ary--" he tasted the coinage doubtfully, "--steps, that
you will agree are necessary, will cost twenty thousand dollars
American.  But the clinic is a gold mine--I tell you, I haven't
seen the books.  For an investment of two hundred and twenty
thousand dollars we have an assured income of--"

Baby's curiosity was such that Dick brought her into the
conversation.

"In your experience, Baby," he demanded, "have you found that when
a European wants to see an American VERY pressingly it is
invariably something concerned with money?"

"What is it?" she said innocently.

"This young Privat-dozent thinks that he and I ought to launch into
big business and try to attract nervous breakdowns from America."

Worried, Franz stared at Baby as Dick continued:

"But who are we, Franz?  You bear a big name and I've written two
textbooks.  Is that enough to attract anybody?  And I haven't got
that much money--I haven't got a tenth of it."  Franz smiled
cynically.  "Honestly I haven't.  Nicole and Baby are rich as
Croesus but I haven't managed to get my hands on any of it yet."

They were all listening now--Dick wondered if the girl at the table
behind was listening too.  The idea attracted him.  He decided to
let Baby speak for him, as one often lets women raise their voices
over issues that are not in their hands.  Baby became suddenly her
grandfather, cool and experimental.

"I think it's a suggestion you ought to consider, Dick.  I don't
know what Doctor Gregory was saying--but it seems to me--"

Behind him the girl had leaned forward into a smoke ring and was
picking up something from the floor.  Nicole's face, fitted into
his own across the table--her beauty, tentatively nesting and
posing, flowed into his love, ever braced to protect it.

"Consider it, Dick," Franz urged excitedly.  "When one writes on
psychiatry, one should have actual clinical contacts.  Jung writes,
Bleuler writes, Freud writes, Forel writes, Adler writes--also they
are in constant contact with mental disorder."

"Dick has me," laughed Nicole.  "I should think that'd be enough
mental disorder for one man."

"That's different," said Franz cautiously.

Baby was thinking that if Nicole lived beside a clinic she would
always feel quite safe about her.

"We must think it over carefully," she said.

Though amused at her insolence, Dick did not encourage it.

"The decision concerns me, Baby," he said gently.  "It's nice of
you to want to buy me a clinic."

Realizing she had meddled, Baby withdrew hurriedly:

"Of course, it's entirely your affair."

"A thing as important as this will take weeks to decide.  I wonder
how I like the picture of Nicole and me anchored to Zurich--"  He
turned to Franz, anticipating: "--I know.  Zurich has a gashouse
and running water and electric light--I lived there three years."

"I will leave you to think it over," said Franz.  "I am confident--"

One hundred pair of five-pound boots had begun to clump toward the
door, and they joined the press.  Outside in the crisp moonlight,
Dick saw the girl tying her sled to one of the sleighs ahead.  They
piled into their own sleigh and at the crisp-cracking whips the
horses strained, breasting the dark air.  Past them figures ran and
scrambled, the younger ones shoving each other from sleds and
runners, landing in the soft snow, then panting after the horses to
drop exhausted on a sled or wail that they were abandoned.  On
either side the fields were beneficently tranquil; the space
through which the cavalcade moved was high and limitless.  In the
country there was less noise as though they were all listening
atavistically for wolves in the wide snow.

In Saanen, they poured into the municipal dance, crowded with cow
herders, hotel servants, shop-keepers, ski teachers, guides,
tourists, peasants.  To come into the warm enclosed place after the
pantheistic animal feeling without, was to reassume some absurd and
impressive knightly name, as thunderous as spurred boots in war, as
football cleats on the cement of a locker-room floor.  There was
conventional yodelling, and the familiar rhythm of it separated
Dick from what he had first found romantic in the scene.  At first
he thought it was because he had hounded the girl out of his
consciousness; then it came to him under the form of what Baby had
said:  "We must think it over carefully--" and the unsaid lines
back of that:  "We own you, and you'll admit it sooner or later.
It is absurd to keep up the pretense of independence."

It had been years since Dick had bottled up malice against a
creature--since freshman year at New Haven when he had come upon a
popular essay about "mental hygiene."  Now he lost his temper at
Baby and simultaneously tried to coop it up within him, resenting
her cold rich insolence.  It would be hundreds of years before any
emergent Amazons would ever grasp the fact that a man is vulnerable
only in his pride, but delicate as Humpty-Dumpty once that is
meddled with--though some of them paid the fact a cautious lip-
service.  Doctor Diver's profession of sorting the broken shells of
another sort of egg had given him a dread of breakage.  But:

"There's too much good manners," he said on the way back to Gstaad
in the smooth sleigh.

"Well, I think that's nice," said Baby.

"No, it isn't," he insisted to the anonymous bundle of fur.  "Good
manners are an admission that everybody is so tender that they have
to be handled with gloves.  Now, human respect--you don't call a
man a coward or a liar lightly, but if you spend your life sparing
people's feelings and feeding their vanity, you get so you can't
distinguish what SHOULD be respected in them."

"I think Americans take their manners rather seriously," said the
elder Englishman.

"I guess so," said Dick.  "My father had the kind of manners he
inherited from the days when you shot first and apologized
afterward.  Men armed--why, you Europeans haven't carried arms in
civil life since the beginning of the eighteenth century--"

"Not actually, perhaps--"

"Not ACT-ually.  Not really."

"Dick, you've always had such beautiful manners," said Baby
conciliatingly.

The women were regarding him across the zoo of robes with some
alarm.  The younger Englishman did not understand--he was one of
the kind who were always jumping around cornices and balconies, as
if they thought they were in the rigging of a ship--and filled the
ride to the hotel with a preposterous story about a boxing match
with his best friend in which they loved and bruised each other for
an hour, always with great reserve.  Dick became facetious.

"So every time he hit you you considered him an even better
friend?"

"I respected him more."

"It's the premise I don't understand.  You and your best friend
scrap about a trivial matter--"

"If you don't understand, I can't explain it to you," said the
young Englishman coldly.

--This is what I'll get if I begin saying what I think, Dick said
to himself.

He was ashamed at baiting the man, realizing that the absurdity of
the story rested in the immaturity of the attitude combined with
the sophisticated method of its narration.

The carnival spirit was strong and they went with the crowd into
the grill, where a Tunisian barman manipulated the illumination in
a counterpoint, whose other melody was the moon off the ice rink
staring in the big windows.  In that light, Dick found the girl
devitalized, and uninteresting--he turned from her to enjoy the
darkness, the cigarette points going green and silver when the
lights shone red, the band of white that fell across the dancers as
the door to the bar was opened and closed.

"Now tell me, Franz," he demanded, "do you think after sitting up
all night drinking beer, you can go back and convince your patients
that you have any character?  Don't you think they'll see you're a
gastropath?"

"I'm going to bed," Nicole announced.  Dick accompanied her to the
door of the elevator.

"I'd come with you but I must show Franz that I'm not intended for
a clinician."

Nicole walked into the elevator.

"Baby has lots of common sense," she said meditatively.

"Baby is one of--"

The door slashed shut--facing a mechanical hum, Dick finished the
sentence in his mind, "--Baby is a trivial, selfish woman."

But two days later, sleighing to the station with Franz, Dick
admitted that he thought favorably upon the matter.

"We're beginning to turn in a circle," he admitted.  "Living on
this scale, there's an unavoidable series of strains, and Nicole
doesn't survive them.  The pastoral quality down on the summer
Riviera is all changing anyhow--next year they'll have a Season."

They passed the crisp green rinks where Wiener waltzes blared and
the colors of many mountain schools flashed against the pale-blue
skies.

"--I hope we'll be able to do it, Franz.  There's nobody I'd rather
try it with than you--"

Good-by, Gstaad!  Good-by, fresh faces, cold sweet flowers, flakes
in the darkness.  Good-by, Gstaad, good-by!



XIV


Dick awoke at five after a long dream of war, walked to the window
and stared out it at the Zugersee.  His dream had begun in sombre
majesty; navy blue uniforms crossed a dark plaza behind bands
playing the second movement of Prokofieff's "Love of Three
Oranges."  Presently there were fire engines, symbols of disaster,
and a ghastly uprising of the mutilated in a dressing station.  He
turned on his bed-lamp light and made a thorough note of it ending
with the half-ironic phrase:  "Non-combatant's shell-shock."

As he sat on the side of his bed, he felt the room, the house and
the night as empty.  In the next room Nicole muttered something
desolate and he felt sorry for whatever loneliness she was feeling
in her sleep.  For him time stood still and then every few years
accelerated in a rush, like the quick re-wind of a film, but for
Nicole the years slipped away by clock and calendar and birthday,
with the added poignance of her perishable beauty.

Even this past year and a half on the Zugersee seemed wasted time
for her, the seasons marked only by the workmen on the road turning
pink in May, brown in July, black in September, white again in
Spring.  She had come out of her first illness alive with new
hopes, expecting so much, yet deprived of any subsistence except
Dick, bringing up children she could only pretend gently to love,
guided orphans.  The people she liked, rebels mostly, disturbed her
and were bad for her--she sought in them the vitality that had made
them independent or creative or rugged, sought in vain--for their
secrets were buried deep in childhood struggles they had forgotten.
They were more interested in Nicole's exterior harmony and charm,
the other face of her illness.  She led a lonely life owning Dick
who did not want to be owned.

Many times he had tried unsuccessfully to let go his hold on her.
They had many fine times together, fine talks between the loves of
the white nights, but always when he turned away from her into
himself he left her holding Nothing in her hands and staring at it,
calling it many names, but knowing it was only the hope that he
would come back soon.

He scrunched his pillow hard, lay down, and put the back of his
neck against it as a Japanese does to slow the circulation, and
slept again for a time.  Later, while he shaved, Nicole awoke and
marched around, giving abrupt, succinct orders to children and
servants.  Lanier came in to watch his father shave--living beside
a psychiatric clinic he had developed an extraordinary confidence
in and admiration for his father, together with an exaggerated
indifference toward most other adults; the patients appeared to him
either in their odd aspects, or else as devitalized, over-correct
creatures without personality.  He was a handsome, promising boy
and Dick devoted much time to him, in the relationship of a
sympathetic but exacting officer and respectful enlisted man.

"Why," Lanier asked, "do you always leave a little lather on the
top of your hair when you shave?"

Cautiously Dick parted soapy lips:  "I have never been able to find
out.  I've often wondered.  I think it's because I get the first
finger soapy when I make the line of my side-burn, but how it gets
up on top of my head I don't know."

"I'm going to watch it all to-morrow."

"That's your only question before breakfast?"

"I don't really call it a question."

"That's one on you."

Half an hour later Dick started up to the administration building.
He was thirty-eight--still declining a beard he yet had a more
medical aura about him than he had worn upon the Riviera.  For
eighteen months now he had lived at the clinic--certainly one of
the best-appointed in Europe.  Like Dohmler's it was of the modern
type--no longer a single dark and sinister building but a small,
scattered, yet deceitfully integrated village--Dick and Nicole had
added much in the domain of taste, so that the plant was a thing of
beauty, visited by every psychologist passing through Zurich.  With
the addition of a caddy house it might very well have been a
country club.  The Eglantine and the Beeches, houses for those sunk
into eternal darkness, were screened by little copses from the main
building, camouflaged strong-points.  Behind was a large truck
farm, worked partly by the patients.  The workshops for ergo-
therapy were three, placed under a single roof and there Doctor
Diver began his morning's inspection.  The carpentry shop, full of
sunlight, exuded the sweetness of sawdust, of a lost age of wood;
always half a dozen men were there, hammering, planing, buzzing--
silent men, who lifted solemn eyes from their work as he passed
through.  Himself a good carpenter, he discussed with them the
efficiency of some tools for a moment in a quiet, personal,
interested voice.  Adjoining was the book-bindery, adapted to the
most mobile of patients who were not always, however, those who had
the greatest chance for recovery.  The last chamber was devoted to
beadwork, weaving and work in brass.  The faces of the patients
here wore the expression of one who had just sighed profoundly,
dismissing something insoluble--but their sighs only marked the
beginning of another ceaseless round of ratiocination, not in a
line as with normal people but in the same circle.  Round, round,
and round.  Around forever.  But the bright colors of the stuffs
they worked with gave strangers a momentary illusion that all was
well, as in a kindergarten.  These patients brightened as Doctor
Diver came in.  Most of them liked him better than they liked
Doctor Gregorovius.  Those who had once lived in the great world
invariably liked him better.  There were a few who thought he
neglected them, or that he was not simple, or that he posed.  Their
responses were not dissimilar to those that Dick evoked in non-
professional life, but here they were warped and distorted.

One Englishwoman spoke to him always about a subject which she
considered her own.

"Have we got music to-night?"

"I don't know," he answered.  "I haven't seen Doctor Ladislau.  How
did you enjoy the music that Mrs. Sachs and Mr. Longstreet gave us
last night?"

"It was so-so."

"I thought it was fine--especially the Chopin."

"I thought it was so-so."

"When are you going to play for us yourself?"

She shrugged her shoulders, as pleased at this question as she had
been for several years.

"Some time.  But I only play so-so."

They knew that she did not play at all--she had had two sisters who
were brilliant musicians, but she had never been able to learn the
notes when they had been young together.

From the workshop Dick went to visit the Eglantine and the Beeches.
Exteriorly these houses were as cheerful as the others; Nicole had
designed the decoration and the furniture on a necessary base of
concealed grills and bars and immovable furniture.  She had worked
with so much imagination--the inventive quality, which she lacked,
being supplied by the problem itself--that no instructed visitor
would have dreamed that the light, graceful filagree work at a
window was a strong, unyielding end of a tether, that the pieces
reflecting modern tubular tendencies were stancher than the massive
creations of the Edwardians--even the flowers lay in iron fingers
and every casual ornament and fixture was as necessary as a girder
in a skyscraper.  Her tireless eyes had made each room yield up its
greatest usefulness.  Complimented, she referred to herself
brusquely as a master plumber.

For those whose compasses were not depolarized there seemed many
odd things in these houses.  Doctor Diver was often amused in the
Eglantine, the men's building--here there was a strange little
exhibitionist who thought that if he could walk unclothed and
unmolested from the Êtoile to the Place de la Concorde he would
solve many things--and, perhaps, Dick thought, he was quite right.

His most interesting case was in the main building.  The patient
was a woman of thirty who had been in the clinic six months; she
was an American painter who had lived long in Paris.  They had no
very satisfactory history of her.  A cousin had happened upon her
all mad and gone and after an unsatisfactory interlude at one of
the whoopee cures that fringed the city, dedicated largely to
tourist victims of drug and drink, he had managed to get her to
Switzerland.  On her admittance she had been exceptionally pretty--
now she was a living agonizing sore.  All blood tests had failed to
give a positive reaction and the trouble was unsatisfactorily
catalogued as nervous eczema.  For two months she had lain under
it, as imprisoned as in the Iron Maiden.  She was coherent, even
brilliant, within the limits of her special hallucinations.

She was particularly his patient.  During spells of overexcitement
he was the only doctor who could "do anything with her."  Several
weeks ago, on one of many nights that she had passed in sleepless
torture Franz had succeeded in hypnotizing her into a few hours of
needed rest, but he had never again succeeded.  Hypnosis was a tool
that Dick had distrusted and seldom used, for he knew that he could
not always summon up the mood in himself--he had once tried it on
Nicole and she had scornfully laughed at him.

The woman in room twenty could not see him when he came in--the
area about her eyes was too tightly swollen.  She spoke in a
strong, rich, deep, thrilling voice.

"How long will this last?  Is it going to be forever?"

"It's not going to be very long now.  Doctor Ladislau tells me
there are whole areas cleared up."

"If I knew what I had done to deserve this I could accept it with
equanimity."

"It isn't wise to be mystical about it--we recognize it as a
nervous phenomenon.  It's related to the blush--when you were a
girl, did you blush easily?"

She lay with her face turned to the ceiling.

"I have found nothing to blush for since I cut my wisdom teeth."

"Haven't you committed your share of petty sins and mistakes?"

"I have nothing to reproach myself with."

"You're very fortunate."

The woman thought a moment; her voice came up through her bandaged
face afflicted with subterranean melodies:

"I'm sharing the fate of the women of my time who challenged men to
battle."

"To your vast surprise it was just like all battles," he answered,
adopting her formal diction.

"Just like all battles."  She thought this over.  "You pick a set-
up, or else win a Pyrrhic victory, or you're wrecked and ruined--
you're a ghostly echo from a broken wall."

"You are neither wrecked nor ruined," he told her.  "Are you quite
sure you've been in a real battle?"

"Look at me!" she cried furiously.

"You've suffered, but many women suffered before they mistook
themselves for men."  It was becoming an argument and he retreated.
"In any case you mustn't confuse a single failure with a final
defeat."

She sneered.  "Beautiful words," and the phrase transpiring up
through the crust of pain humbled him.

"We would like to go into the true reasons that brought you here--"
he began but she interrupted.

"I am here as a symbol of something.  I thought perhaps you would
know what it was."

"You are sick," he said mechanically.

"Then what was it I had almost found?"

"A greater sickness."

"That's all?"

"That's all."  With disgust he heard himself lying, but here and
now the vastness of the subject could only be compressed into a
lie.  "Outside of that there's only confusion and chaos.  I won't
lecture to you--we have too acute a realization of your physical
suffering.  But it's only by meeting the problems of every day, no
matter how trifling and boring they seem, that you can make things
drop back into place again.  After that--perhaps you'll be able
again to examine--"

He had slowed up to avoid the inevitable end of his thought: "--the
frontiers of consciousness."  The frontiers that artists must
explore were not for her, ever.  She was fine-spun, inbred--
eventually she might find rest in some quiet mysticism.
Exploration was for those with a measure of peasant blood, those
with big thighs and thick ankles who could take punishment as they
took bread and salt, on every inch of flesh and spirit.

--Not for you, he almost said.  It's too tough a game for you.

Yet in the awful majesty of her pain he went out to her
unreservedly, almost sexually.  He wanted to gather her up in his
arms, as he so often had Nicole, and cherish even her mistakes, so
deeply were they part of her.  The orange light through the drawn
blind, the sarcophagus of her figure on the bed, the spot of face,
the voice searching the vacuity of her illness and finding only
remote abstractions.

As he arose the tears fled lava-like into her bandages.

"That is for something," she whispered.  "Something must come out
of it."

He stooped and kissed her forehead.

"We must all try to be good," he said.

Leaving her room he sent the nurse in to her.  There were other
patients to see: an American girl of fifteen who had been brought
up on the basis that childhood was intended to be all fun--his
visit was provoked by the fact that she had just hacked off all her
hair with a nail scissors.  There was nothing much to be done for
her--a family history of neurosis and nothing stable in her past to
build on.  The father, normal and conscientious himself, had tried
to protect a nervous brood from life's troubles and had succeeded
merely in preventing them from developing powers of adjustment to
life's inevitable surprises.  There was little that Dick could say:
"Helen, when you're in doubt you must ask a nurse, you must learn
to take advice.  Promise me you will."

What was a promise with the head sick?  He looked in upon a frail
exile from the Caucasus buckled securely in a sort of hammock which
in turn was submerged in a warm medical bath, and upon the three
daughters of a Portuguese general who slid almost imperceptibly
toward paresis.  He went into the room next to them and told a
collapsed psychiatrist that he was better, always better, and the
man tried to read his face for conviction, since he hung on the
real world only through such reassurance as he could find in the
resonance, or lack of it, in Doctor Diver's voice.  After that Dick
discharged a shiftless orderly and by then it was the lunch hour.



XV


Meals with the patients were a chore he approached with apathy.
The gathering, which of course did not include residents at the
Eglantine or the Beeches, was conventional enough at first sight,
but over it brooded always a heavy melancholy.  Such doctors as
were present kept up a conversation but most of the patients, as if
exhausted by their morning's endeavor, or depressed by the company,
spoke little, and ate looking into their plates.

Luncheon over, Dick returned to his villa.  Nicole was in the salon
wearing a strange expression.

"Read that," she said.

He opened the letter.  It was from a woman recently discharged,
though with skepticism on the part of the faculty.  It accused him
in no uncertain terms of having seduced her daughter, who had been
at her mother's side during the crucial stage of the illness.  It
presumed that Mrs. Diver would be glad to have this information and
learn what her husband was "really like."

Dick read the letter again.  Couched in clear and concise English
he yet recognized it as the letter of a maniac.  Upon a single
occasion he had let the girl, a flirtatious little brunette, ride
into Zurich with him, upon her request, and in the evening had
brought her back to the clinic.  In an idle, almost indulgent way,
he kissed her.  Later, she tried to carry the affair further, but
he was not interested and subsequently, probably consequently, the
girl had come to dislike him, and taken her mother away.

"This letter is deranged," he said.  "I had no relations of any
kind with that girl.  I didn't even like her."

"Yes, I've tried thinking that," said Nicole.

"Surely you don't believe it?"

"I've been sitting here."

He sank his voice to a reproachful note and sat beside her.

"This is absurd.  This is a letter from a mental patient."

"I was a mental patient."

He stood up and spoke more authoritatively.

"Suppose we don't have any nonsense, Nicole.  Go and round up the
children and we'll start."

In the car, with Dick driving, they followed the little
promontories of the lake, catching the burn of light and water in
the windshield, tunnelling through cascades of evergreen.  It was
Dick's car, a Renault so dwarfish that they all stuck out of it
except the children, between whom Mademoiselle towered mastlike in
the rear seat.  They knew every kilometer of the road--where they
would smell the pine needles and the black stove smoke.  A high sun
with a face traced on it beat fierce on the straw hats of the
children.

Nicole was silent; Dick was uneasy at her straight hard gaze.
Often he felt lonely with her, and frequently she tired him with
the short floods of personal revelations that she reserved
exclusively for him, "I'm like this--I'm more like that," but this
afternoon he would have been glad had she rattled on in staccato
for a while and given him glimpses of her thoughts.  The situation
was always most threatening when she backed up into herself and
closed the doors behind her.

At Zug Mademoiselle got out and left them.  The Divers approached
the Agiri Fair through a menagerie of mammoth steamrollers that
made way for them.  Dick parked the car, and as Nicole looked at
him without moving, he said:  "Come on, darl."  Her lips drew apart
into a sudden awful smile, and his belly quailed, but as if he
hadn't seen it he repeated:  "Come on.  So the children can get
out."

"Oh, I'll come all right," she answered, tearing the words from
some story spinning itself out inside her, too fast for him to
grasp.  "Don't worry about that.  I'll come--"

"Then come."

She turned from him as he walked beside her but the smile still
flickered across her face, derisive and remote.  Only when Lanier
spoke to her several times did she manage to fix her attention upon
an object, a Punch-and-Judy show, and to orient herself by
anchoring to it.

Dick tried to think what to do.  The dualism in his views of her--
that of the husband, that of the psychiatrist--was increasingly
paralyzing his faculties.  In these six years she had several times
carried him over the line with her, disarming him by exciting
emotional pity or by a flow of wit, fantastic and disassociated, so
that only after the episode did he realize with the consciousness
of his own relaxation from tension, that she had succeeded in
getting a point against his better judgment.

A discussion with Topsy about the guignol--as to whether the Punch
was the same Punch they had seen last year in Cannes--having been
settled, the family walked along again between the booths under the
open sky.  The women's bonnets, perching over velvet vests, the
bright, spreading skirts of many cantons, seemed demure against the
blue and orange paint of the wagons and displays.  There was the
sound of a whining, tinkling hootchy-kootchy show.

Nicole began to run very suddenly, so suddenly that for a moment
Dick did not miss her.  Far ahead he saw her yellow dress twisting
through the crowd, an ochre stitch along the edge of reality and
unreality, and started after her.  Secretly she ran and secretly he
followed.  As the hot afternoon went shrill and terrible with her
flight he had forgotten the children; then he wheeled and ran back
to them, drawing them this way and that by their arms, his eyes
jumping from booth to booth.

"Madame," he cried to a young woman behind a white lottery wheel,
"Est-ce que je peux laisser ces petits avec vous deux minutes?
C'est très urgent--je vous donnerai dix francs."

"Mais oui."

He headed the children into the booth.  "Alors--restez avec cette
gentille dame."

"Oui, Dick."

He darted off again but he had lost her; he circled the merry-go-
round keeping up with it till he realized he was running beside it,
staring always at the same horse.  He elbowed through the crowd in
the buvette; then remembering a predilection of Nicole's he
snatched up an edge of a fortuneteller's tent and peered within.  A
droning voice greeted him:  "La septième fille d'une septième fille
née sur les rives du Nil--entrez, Monsieur--"

Dropping the flap he ran along toward where the plaisance
terminated at the lake and a small ferris wheel revolved slowly
against the sky.  There he found her.

She was alone in what was momentarily the top boat of the wheel,
and as it descended he saw that she was laughing hilariously; he
slunk back in the crowd, a crowd which, at the wheel's next
revolution, spotted the intensity of Nicole's hysteria.

"Regardez-moi ça!"

"Regarde donc cette Anglaise!"

Down she dropped again--this time the wheel and its music were
slowing and a dozen people were around her car, all of them
impelled by the quality of her laughter to smile in sympathetic
idiocy.  But when Nicole saw Dick her laughter died--she made a
gesture of slipping by and away from him but he caught her arm and
held it as they walked away.

"Why did you lose control of yourself like that?"

"You know very well why."

"No, I don't."

"That's just preposterous--let me loose--that's an insult to my
intelligence.  Don't you think I saw that girl look at you--that
little dark girl.  Oh, this is farcical--a child, not more than
fifteen.  Don't you think I saw?"

"Stop here a minute and quiet down."

They sat at a table, her eyes in a profundity of suspicion, her
hand moving across her line of sight as if it were obstructed.  "I
want a drink--I want a brandy."

"You can't have brandy--you can have a bock if you want it."

"Why can't I have a brandy?"

"We won't go into that.  Listen to me--this business about a girl
is a delusion, do you understand that word?"

"It's always a delusion when I see what you don't want me to see."

He had a sense of guilt as in one of those nightmares where we are
accused of a crime which we recognize as something undeniably
experienced, but which upon waking we realize we have not
committed.  His eyes wavered from hers.

"I left the children with a gypsy woman in a booth.  We ought to
get them."

"Who do you think you are?" she demanded.  "Svengali?"

Fifteen minutes ago they had been a family.  Now as she was crushed
into a corner by his unwilling shoulder, he saw them all, child and
man, as a perilous accident.

"We're going home."

"Home!" she roared in a voice so abandoned that its louder tones
wavered and cracked.  "And sit and think that we're all rotting and
the children's ashes are rotting in every box I open?  That filth!"

Almost with relief he saw that her words sterilized her, and
Nicole, sensitized down to the corium of the skin, saw the
withdrawal in his face.  Her own face softened and she begged,
"Help me, help me, Dick!"

A wave of agony went over him.  It was awful that such a fine tower
should not be erected, only suspended, suspended from him.  Up to a
point that was right: men were for that, beam and idea, girder and
logarithm; but somehow Dick and Nicole had become one and equal,
not opposite and complementary; she was Dick too, the drought in
the marrow of his bones.  He could not watch her disintegrations
without participating in them.  His intuition rilled out of him as
tenderness and compassion--he could only take the characteristically
modern course, to interpose--he would get a nurse from Zurich, to
take her over to-night.

"You CAN help me."

Her sweet bullying pulled him forward off his feet.  "You've helped
me before--you can help me now."

"I can only help you the same old way."

"Some one can help me."

"Maybe so.  You can help yourself most.  Let's find the children."

There were numerous lottery booths with white wheels--Dick was
startled when he inquired at the first and encountered blank
disavowals.  Evil-eyed, Nicole stood apart, denying the children,
resenting them as part of a downright world she sought to make
amorphous.  Presently Dick found them, surrounded by women who were
examining them with delight like fine goods, and by peasant
children staring.

"Merci, Monsieur, ah Monsieur est trop généreux.  C'était un
plaisir, M'sieur, Madame.  Au revoir, mes petits."

They started back with a hot sorrow streaming down upon them; the
car was weighted with their mutual apprehension and anguish, and
the children's mouths were grave with disappointment.  Grief
presented itself in its terrible, dark unfamiliar color.  Somewhere
around Zug, Nicole, with a convulsive effort, reiterated a remark
she had made before about a misty yellow house set back from the
road that looked like a painting not yet dry, but it was just an
attempt to catch at a rope that was playing out too swiftly.

Dick tried to rest--the struggle would come presently at home and
he might have to sit a long time, restating the universe for her.
A "schizophrêne" is well named as a split personality--Nicole was
alternately a person to whom nothing need be explained and one to
whom nothing COULD be explained.  It was necessary to treat her
with active and affirmative insistence, keeping the road to reality
always open, making the road to escape harder going.  But the
brilliance, the versatility of madness is akin to the resourcefulness
of water seeping through, over and around a dike.  It requires the
united front of many people to work against it.  He felt it
necessary that this time Nicole cure herself; he wanted to wait
until she remembered the other times, and revolted from them. In a
tired way, he planned that they would again resume the régime
relaxed a year before.

He had turned up a hill that made a short cut to the clinic, and
now as he stepped on the accelerator for a short straightaway run
parallel to the hillside the car swerved violently left, swerved
right, tipped on two wheels and, as Dick, with Nicole's voice
screaming in his ear, crushed down the mad hand clutching the
steering wheel, righted itself, swerved once more and shot off the
road; it tore through low underbrush, tipped again and settled
slowly at an angle of ninety degrees against a tree.

The children were screaming and Nicole was screaming and cursing
and trying to tear at Dick's face.  Thinking first of the list of
the car and unable to estimate it Dick bent away Nicole's arm,
climbed over the top side and lifted out the children; then he saw
the car was in a stable position.  Before doing anything else he
stood there shaking and panting.

"You--!" he cried.

She was laughing hilariously, unashamed, unafraid, unconcerned.  No
one coming on the scene would have imagined that she had caused it;
she laughed as after some mild escape of childhood.

"You were scared, weren't you?" she accused him.  "You wanted to
live!"

She spoke with such force that in his shocked state Dick wondered
if he had been frightened for himself--but the strained faces of
the children, looking from parent to parent, made him want to grind
her grinning mask into jelly.

Directly above them, half a kilometer by the winding road but only
a hundred yards climbing, was an inn; one of its wings showed
through the wooded hill.

"Take Topsy's hand," he said to Lanier, "like that, tight, and
climb up that hill--see the little path?  When you get to the inn
tell them 'La voiture Divare est cassée.'  Some one must come right
down."

Lanier, not sure what had happened, but suspecting the dark and
unprecedented, asked:

"What will you do, Dick?"

"We'll stay here with the car."

Neither of them looked at their mother as they started off.  "Be
careful crossing the road up there!  Look both ways!" Dick shouted
after them.

He and Nicole looked at each other directly, their eyes like
blazing windows across a court of the same house.  Then she took
out a compact, looked in its mirror, and smoothed back the temple
hair.  Dick watched the children climbing for a moment until they
disappeared among the pines half way up; then he walked around the
car to see the damage and plan how to get it back on the road.  In
the dirt he could trace the rocking course they had pursued for
over a hundred feet; he was filled with a violent disgust that was
not like anger.

In a few minutes the proprietor of the inn came running down.

"My God!" he exclaimed.  "How did it happen, were you going fast?
What luck!  Except for that tree you'd have rolled down hill!"

Taking advantage of Emile's reality, the wide black apron, the
sweat upon the rolls of his face, Dick signalled to Nicole in a
matter-of-fact way to let him help her from the car; whereupon she
jumped over the lower side, lost her balance on the slope, fell to
her knees and got up again.  As she watched the men trying to move
the car her expression became defiant.  Welcoming even that mood
Dick said:

"Go and wait with the children, Nicole."

Only after she had gone did he remember that she had wanted cognac,
and that there was cognac available up there--he told Emile never
mind about the car; they would wait for the chauffeur and the big
car to pull it up onto the road.  Together they hurried up to the
inn.



XVI


"I want to go away," he told Franz.  "For a month or so, for as
long as I can."

"Why not, Dick?  That was our original arrangement--it was you who
insisted on staying.  If you and Nicole--"

"I don't want to go away with Nicole.  I want to go away alone.
This last thing knocked me sideways--if I get two hours' sleep in
twenty-four, it's one of Zwingli's miracles."

"You wish a real leave of abstinence."

"The word is 'absence.'  Look here: if I go to Berlin to the
Psychiatric Congress could you manage to keep the peace?  For three
months she's been all right and she likes her nurse.  My God,
you're the only human being in this world I can ask this of."

Franz grunted, considering whether or not he could be trusted to
think always of his partner's interest.



In Zurich the next week Dick drove to the airport and took the big
plane for Munich.  Soaring and roaring into the blue he felt numb,
realizing how tired he was.  A vast persuasive quiet stole over
him, and he abandoned sickness to the sick, sound to the motors,
direction to the pilot.  He had no intention of attending so much
as a single session of the congress--he could imagine it well
enough, new pamphlets by Bleuler and the elder Forel that he could
much better digest at home, the paper by the American who cured
dementia præcox by pulling out his patient's teeth or cauterizing
their tonsils, the half-derisive respect with which this idea would
be greeted, for no more reason than that America was such a rich
and powerful country.  The other delegates from America--red-headed
Schwartz with his saint's face and his infinite patience in
straddling two worlds, as well as dozens of commercial alienists
with hang-dog faces, who would be present partly to increase their
standing, and hence their reach for the big plums of the criminal
practice, partly to master novel sophistries that they could weave
into their stock in trade, to the infinite confusion of all values.
There would be cynical Latins, and some man of Freud's from Vienna.
Articulate among them would be the great Jung, bland, super-
vigorous, on his rounds between the forests of anthropology and the
neuroses of school-boys.  At first there would be an American cast
to the congress, almost Rotarian in its forms and ceremonies, then
the closer-knit European vitality would fight through, and finally
the Americans would play their trump card, the announcement of
colossal gifts and endowments, of great new plants and training
schools, and in the presence of the figures the Europeans would
blanch and walk timidly.  But he would not be there to see.

They skirted the Vorarlberg Alps, and Dick felt a pastoral delight
in watching the villages.  There were always four or five in sight,
each one gathered around a church.  It was simple looking at the
earth from far off, simple as playing grim games with dolls and
soldiers.  This was the way statesmen and commanders and all
retired people looked at things.  Anyhow, it was a good draft of
relief.

An Englishman spoke to him from across the aisle but he found
something antipathetic in the English lately.  England was like a
rich man after a disastrous orgy who makes up to the household by
chatting with them individually, when it is obvious to them that he
is only trying to get back his self-respect in order to usurp his
former power.

Dick had with him what magazines were available on the station
quays:  The Century, The Motion Picture, L'lllustration, and the
Fliegende Blätter, but it was more fun to descend in his
imagination into the villages and shake hands with the rural
characters.  He sat in the churches as he sat in his father's
church in Buffalo, amid the starchy must of Sunday clothes.  He
listened to the wisdom of the Near East, was Crucified, Died, and
was Buried in the cheerful church, and once more worried between
five or ten cents for the collection plate, because of the girl who
sat in the pew behind.

The Englishman suddenly borrowed his magazines with a little small
change of conversation, and Dick, glad to see them go, thought of
the voyage ahead of him.  Wolf-like under his sheep's clothing of
long-staple Australian wool, he considered the world of pleasure--
the incorruptible Mediterranean with sweet old dirt caked in the
olive trees, the peasant girl near Savona with a face as green and
rose as the color of an illuminated missal.  He would take her in
his hands and snatch her across the border . . .

. . . but there he deserted her--he must press on toward the Isles
of Greece, the cloudy waters of unfamiliar ports, the lost girl on
shore, the moon of popular songs.  A part of Dick's mind was made
up of the tawdry souvenirs of his boyhood.  Yet in that somewhat
littered Five-and-Ten, he had managed to keep alive the low painful
fire of intelligence.



XVII


Tommy Barban was a ruler, Tommy was a hero--Dick happened upon him
in the Marienplatz in Munich, in one of those cafés, where small
gamblers diced on "tapestry" mats.  The air was full of politics,
and the slap of cards.

Tommy was at a table laughing his martial laugh:  "Um-buh--ha-ha!
Um-buh--ha-ha!"  As a rule, he drank little; courage was his game
and his companions were always a little afraid of him.  Recently an
eighth of the area of his skull had been removed by a Warsaw
surgeon and was knitting under his hair, and the weakest person in
the café could have killed him with a flip of a knotted napkin.

"--this is Prince Chillicheff--"  A battered, powder-gray Russian
of fifty, "--and Mr. McKibben--and Mr. Hannan--" the latter was a
lively ball of black eyes and hair, a clown; and he said
immediately to Dick:

"The first thing before we shake hands--what do you mean by fooling
around with my aunt?"

"Why, I--"

"You heard me.  What are you doing here in Munich anyhow?"

"Um-bah--ha-ha!" laughed Tommy.

"Haven't you got aunts of your own?  Why don't you fool with them?"

Dick laughed, whereupon the man shifted his attack:

"Now let's not have any more talk about aunts.  How do I know you
didn't make up the whole thing?  Here you are a complete stranger
with an acquaintance of less than half an hour, and you come up to
me with a cock-and-bull story about your aunts.  How do I know what
you have concealed about you?"

Tommy laughed again, then he said good-naturedly, but firmly,
"That's enough, Carly.  Sit down, Dick--how're you?  How's Nicole?"

He did not like any man very much nor feel their presence with much
intensity--he was all relaxed for combat; as a fine athlete playing
secondary defense in any sport is really resting much of the time,
while a lesser man only pretends to rest and is at a continual and
self-destroying nervous tension.

Hannan, not entirely suppressed, moved to an adjoining piano, and
with recurring resentment on his face whenever he looked at Dick,
played chords, from time to time muttering, "Your aunts," and, in a
dying cadence, "I didn't say aunts anyhow.  I said pants."

"Well, how're you?" repeated Tommy.  "You don't look so--" he
fought for a word, "--so jaunty as you used to, so spruce, you know
what I mean."

The remark sounded too much like one of those irritating
accusations of waning vitality and Dick was about to retort by
commenting on the extraordinary suits worn by Tommy and Prince
Chillicheff, suits of a cut and pattern fantastic enough to have
sauntered down Beale Street on a Sunday--when an explanation was
forthcoming.

"I see you are regarding our clothes," said the Prince.  "We have
just come out of Russia."

"These were made in Poland by the court tailor," said Tommy.
"That's a fact--Pilsudski's own tailor."

"You've been touring?" Dick asked.

They laughed, the Prince inordinately meanwhile clapping Tommy on
the back.

"Yes, we have been touring.  That's it, touring.  We have made the
grand Tour of all the Russias.  In state."

Dick waited for an explanation.  It came from Mr. McKibben in two
words.

"They escaped."

"Have you been prisoners in Russia?"

"It was I," explained Prince Chillicheff, his dead yellow eyes
staring at Dick.  "Not a prisoner but in hiding."

"Did you have much trouble getting out?"

"Some trouble.  We left three Red Guards dead at the border.  Tommy
left two--"  He held up two fingers like a Frenchman--"I left one."

"That's the part I don't understand," said Mr. McKibben.  "Why they
should have objected to your leaving."

Hannan turned from the piano and said, winking at the others:  "Mac
thinks a Marxian is somebody who went to St. Mark's school."

It was an escape story in the best tradition--an aristocrat hiding
nine years with a former servant and working in a government
bakery; the eighteen-year-old daughter in Paris who knew Tommy
Barban. . . .  During the narrative Dick decided that this parched
papier mâché relic of the past was scarcely worth the lives of
three young men.  The question arose as to whether Tommy and
Chillicheff had been frightened.

"When I was cold," Tommy said.  "I always get scared when I'm cold.
During the war I was always frightened when I was cold."

McKibben stood up.

"I must leave.  To-morrow morning I'm going to Innsbruck by car
with my wife and children--and the governess."

"I'm going there to-morrow, too," said Dick.

"Oh, are you?" exclaimed McKibben.  "Why not come with us?  It's a
big Packard and there's only my wife and my children and myself--
and the governess--"

"I can't possibly--"

"Of course she's not really a governess," McKibben concluded,
looking rather pathetically at Dick.  "As a matter of fact my wife
knows your sister-in-law, Baby Warren."

But Dick was not to be drawn in a blind contract.

"I've promised to travel with two men."

"Oh," McKibben's face fell.  "Well, I'll say good-by."  He
unscrewed two blooded wire-hairs from a nearby table and departed;
Dick pictured the jammed Packard pounding toward Innsbruck with the
McKibbens and their children and their baggage and yapping dogs--
and the governess.

"The paper says they know the man who killed him," said Tommy.
"But his cousins did not want it in the papers, because it happened
in a speakeasy.  What do you think of that?"

"It's what's known as family pride."

Hannan played a loud chord on the piano to attract attention to
himself.

"I don't believe his first stuff holds up," he said.  "Even barring
the Europeans there are a dozen Americans can do what North did."

It was the first indication Dick had had that they were talking
about Abe North.

"The only difference is that Abe did it first," said Tommy.

"I don't agree," persisted Hannan.  "He got the reputation for
being a good musician because he drank so much that his friends had
to explain him away somehow--"

"What's this about Abe North?  What about him?  Is he in a jam?"

"Didn't you read The Herald this morning?"

"No."

"He's dead.  He was beaten to death in a speakeasy in New York.  He
just managed to crawl home to the Racquet Club to die--"

"Abe North?"

"Yes, sure, they--"

"Abe North?"  Dick stood up.  "Are you sure he's dead?"

Hannan turned around to McKibben:  "It wasn't the Racquet Club he
crawled to--it was the Harvard Club.  I'm sure he didn't belong to
the Racquet."

"The paper said so," McKibben insisted.

"It must have been a mistake.  I'm quite sure."

"Beaten to death in a speakeasy."

"But I happen to know most of the members of the Racquet Club,"
said Hannan.  "It MUST have been the Harvard Club."

Dick got up, Tommy too.  Prince Chillicheff started out of a wan
study of nothing, perhaps of his chances of ever getting out of
Russia, a study that had occupied him so long that it was doubtful
if he could give it up immediately, and joined them in leaving.

"Abe North beaten to death."

On the way to the hotel, a journey of which Dick was scarcely
aware, Tommy said:

"We're waiting for a tailor to finish some suits so we can get to
Paris.  I'm going into stock-broking and they wouldn't take me if I
showed up like this.  Everybody in your country is making millions.
Are you really leaving to-morrow?  We can't even have dinner with
you.  It seems the Prince had an old girl in Munich.  He called her
up but she'd been dead five years and we're having dinner with the
two daughters."

The Prince nodded.

"Perhaps I could have arranged for Doctor Diver."

"No, no," said Dick hastily.

He slept deep and awoke to a slow mournful march passing his
window.  It was a long column of men in uniform, wearing the
familiar helmet of 1914, thick men in frock coats and silk hats,
burghers, aristocrats, plain men.  It was a society of veterans
going to lay wreaths on the tombs of the dead.  The column marched
slowly with a sort of swagger for a lost magnificence, a past
effort, a forgotten sorrow.  The faces were only formally sad but
Dick's lungs burst for a moment with regret for Abe's death, and
his own youth of ten years ago.



XVIII


He reached Innsbruck at dusk, sent his bags up to a hotel and
walked into town.  In the sunset the Emperor Maximilian knelt in
prayer above his bronze mourners; a quartet of Jesuit novices paced
and read in the university garden.  The marble souvenirs of old
sieges, marriages, anniversaries, faded quickly when the sun was
down, and he had erbsen-suppe with würstchen cut up in it, drank
four helles of Pilsener and refused a formidable dessert known as
"kaiser-schmarren."

Despite the overhanging mountains Switzerland was far away, Nicole
was far away.  Walking in the garden later when it was quite dark
he thought about her with detachment, loving her for her best self.
He remembered once when the grass was damp and she came to him on
hurried feet, her thin slippers drenched with dew.  She stood upon
his shoes nestling close and held up her face, showing it as a book
open at a page.

"Think how you love me," she whispered.  "I don't ask you to love
me always like this, but I ask you to remember.  Somewhere inside
me there'll always be the person I am to-night."

But Dick had come away for his soul's sake, and he began thinking
about that.  He had lost himself--he could not tell the hour when,
or the day or the week, the month or the year.  Once he had cut
through things, solving the most complicated equations as the
simplest problems of his simplest patients.  Between the time he
found Nicole flowering under a stone on the Zurichsee and the
moment of his meeting with Rosemary the spear had been blunted.

Watching his father's struggles in poor parishes had wedded a
desire for money to an essentially unacquisitive nature.  It was
not a healthy necessity for security--he had never felt more sure
of himself, more thoroughly his own man, than at the time of his
marriage to Nicole.  Yet he had been swallowed up like a gigolo,
and somehow permitted his arsenal to be locked up in the Warren
safety-deposit vaults.

"There should have been a settlement in the Continental style; but
it isn't over yet.  I've wasted eight years teaching the rich the
ABC's of human decency, but I'm not done.  I've got too many
unplayed trumps in my hand."

He loitered among the fallow rose bushes and the beds of damp sweet
indistinguishable fern.  It was warm for October but cool enough to
wear a heavy tweed coat buttoned by a little elastic tape at the
neck.  A figure detached itself from the black shape of a tree and
he knew it was the woman whom he had passed in the lobby coming
out.  He was in love with every pretty woman he saw now, their
forms at a distance, their shadows on a wall.

Her back was toward him as she faced the lights of the town.  He
scratched a match that she must have heard, but she remained
motionless.

--Was it an invitation?  Or an indication of obliviousness?  He had
long been outside of the world of simple desires and their
fulfillments, and he was inept and uncertain.  For all he knew
there might be some code among the wanderers of obscure spas by
which they found each other quickly.

--Perhaps the next gesture was his.  Strange children should smile
at each other and say, "Let's play."

He moved closer, the shadow moved sideways.  Possibly he would be
snubbed like the scapegrace drummers he had heard of in youth.  His
heart beat loud in contact with the unprobed, undissected,
unanalyzed, unaccounted for.  Suddenly he turned away, and, as he
did, the girl, too, broke the black frieze she made with the
foliage, rounded a bench at a moderate but determined pace and took
the path back to the hotel.

With a guide and two other men, Dick started up the Birkkarspitze
next morning.  It was a fine feeling once they were above the
cowbells of the highest pastures--Dick looked forward to the night
in the shack, enjoying his own fatigue, enjoying the captaincy of
the guide, feeling a delight in his own anonymity.  But at mid-day
the weather changed to black sleet and hail and mountain thunder.
Dick and one of the other climbers wanted to go on but the guide
refused.  Regretfully they struggled back to Innsbruck to start
again to-morrow.

After dinner and a bottle of heavy local wine in the deserted
dining-room, he felt excited, without knowing why, until he began
thinking of the garden.  He had passed the girl in the lobby before
supper and this time she had looked at him and approved of him, but
it kept worrying him:  Why?  When I could have had a good share of
the pretty women of my time for the asking, why start that now?
With a wraith, with a fragment of my desire?  Why?

His imagination pushed ahead--the old asceticism, the actual
unfamiliarity, triumphed:  God, I might as well go back to the
Riviera and sleep with Janice Caricamento or the Wilburhazy girl.
To belittle all these years with something cheap and easy?

He was still excited, though, and he turned from the veranda and
went up to his room to think.  Being alone in body and spirit
begets loneliness, and loneliness begets more loneliness.

Upstairs he walked around thinking of the matter and laying out his
climbing clothes advantageously on the faint heater; he again
encountered Nicole's telegram, still unopened, with which diurnally
she accompanied his itinerary.  He had delayed opening it before
supper--perhaps because of the garden.  It was a cablegram from
Buffalo, forwarded through Zurich.


"Your father died peacefully tonight.  HOLMES."


He felt a sharp wince at the shock, a gathering of the forces of
resistance; then it rolled up through his loins and stomach and
throat.

He read the message again.  He sat down on the bed, breathing and
staring; thinking first the old selfish child's thought that comes
with the death of a parent, how will it affect me now that this
earliest and strongest of protections is gone?

The atavism passed and he walked the room still, stopping from time
to time to look at the telegram.  Holmes was formally his father's
curate but actually, and for a decade, rector of the church.  How
did he die?  Of old age--he was seventy-five.  He had lived a long
time.

Dick felt sad that he had died alone--he had survived his wife, and
his brothers and sisters; there were cousins in Virginia but they
were poor and not able to come North, and Holmes had had to sign
the telegram.  Dick loved his father--again and again he referred
judgments to what his father would probably have thought or done.
Dick was born several months after the death of two young sisters
and his father, guessing what would be the effect on Dick's mother,
had saved him from a spoiling by becoming his moral guide.  He was
of tired stock yet he raised himself to that effort.

In the summer father and son walked downtown together to have their
shoes shined--Dick in his starched duck sailor suit, his father
always in beautifully cut clerical clothes--and the father was very
proud of his handsome little boy.  He told Dick all he knew about
life, not much but most of it true, simple things, matters of
behavior that came within his clergyman's range.  "Once in a
strange town when I was first ordained, I went into a crowded room
and was confused as to who was my hostess.  Several people I knew
came toward me, but I disregarded them because I had seen a gray-
haired woman sitting by a window far across the room.  I went over
to her and introduced myself.  After that I made many friends in
that town."

His father had done that from a good heart--his father had been
sure of what he was, with a deep pride of the two proud widows who
had raised him to believe that nothing could be superior to "good
instincts," honor, courtesy, and courage.

The father always considered that his wife's small fortune belonged
to his son, and in college and in medical school sent him a check
for all of it four times a year.  He was one of those about whom it
was said with smug finality in the gilded age: "very much the
gentleman, but not much get-up-and-go about him."

. . . Dick sent down for a newspaper.  Still pacing to and from the
telegram open on his bureau, he chose a ship to go to America.
Then he put in a call for Nicole in Zurich, remembering so many
things as he waited, and wishing he had always been as good as he
had intended to be.



XIX


For an hour, tied up with his profound reaction to his father's
death, the magnificent façade of the homeland, the harbor of New
York, seemed all sad and glorious to Dick, but once ashore the
feeling vanished, nor did he find it again in the streets or the
hotels or the trains that bore him first to Buffalo, and then south
to Virginia with his father's body.  Only as the local train
shambled into the low-forested clayland of Westmoreland County, did
he feel once more identified with his surroundings; at the station
he saw a star he knew, and a cold moon bright over Chesapeake Bay;
he heard the rasping wheels of buckboards turning, the lovely
fatuous voices, the sound of sluggish primeval rivers flowing
softly under soft Indian names.

Next day at the churchyard his father was laid among a hundred
Divers, Dorseys, and Hunters.  It was very friendly leaving him
there with all his relations around him.  Flowers were scattered on
the brown unsettled earth.  Dick had no more ties here now and did
not believe he would come back.  He knelt on the hard soil.  These
dead, he knew them all, their weather-beaten faces with blue
flashing eyes, the spare violent bodies, the souls made of new
earth in the forest-heavy darkness of the seventeenth century.

"Good-by, my father--good-by, all my fathers."



On the long-roofed steamship piers one is in a country that is no
longer here and not yet there.  The hazy yellow vault is full of
echoing shouts.  There are the rumble of trucks and the clump of
trunks, the strident chatter of cranes, the first salt smell of the
sea.  One hurries through, even though there's time; the past, the
continent, is behind; the future is the glowing mouth in the side
of the ship; the dim, turbulent alley is too confusedly the
present.

Up the gangplank and the vision of the world adjusts itself,
narrows.  One is a citizen of a commonwealth smaller than Andorra,
no longer sure of anything.  The men at the purser's desk are as
oddly shaped as the cabins; disdainful are the eyes of voyagers and
their friends.  Next the loud mournful whistles, the portentous
vibration and the boat, the human idea--is in motion.  The pier
and its faces slide by and for a moment the boat is a piece
accidentally split off from them; the faces become remote,
voiceless, the pier is one of many blurs along the water front.
The harbor flows swiftly toward the sea.

With it flowed Albert McKisco, labelled by the newspapers as its
most precious cargo.  McKisco was having a vogue.  His novels were
pastiches of the work of the best people of his time, a feat not to
be disparaged, and in addition he possessed a gift for softening
and debasing what he borrowed, so that many readers were charmed by
the ease with which they could follow him.  Success had improved
him and humbled him.  He was no fool about his capacities--he
realized that he possessed more vitality than many men of superior
talent, and he was resolved to enjoy the success he had earned.
"I've done nothing yet," he would say.  "I don't think I've got any
real genius.  But if I keep trying I may write a good book."  Fine
dives have been made from flimsier spring-boards.  The innumerable
snubs of the past were forgotten.  Indeed, his success was founded
psychologically upon his duel with Tommy Barban, upon the basis of
which, as it withered in his memory, he had created, afresh, a new
self-respect.

Spotting Dick Diver the second day out, he eyed him tentatively,
then introduced himself in a friendly way and sat down.  Dick laid
aside his reading and, after the few minutes that it took to
realize the change in McKisco, the disappearance of the man's
annoying sense of inferiority, found himself pleased to talk to
him.  McKisco was "well-informed" on a range of subjects wider than
Goethe's--it was interesting to listen to the innumerable facile
combinations that he referred to as his opinions.  They struck up
an acquaintance, and Dick had several meals with them.  The
McKiscos had been invited to sit at the captain's table but with
nascent snobbery they told Dick that they "couldn't stand that
bunch."

Violet was very grand now, decked out by the grand couturières,
charmed about the little discoveries that well-bred girls make in
their teens.  She could, indeed, have learned them from her mother
in Boise but her soul was born dismally in the small movie houses
of Idaho, and she had had no time for her mother.  Now she
"belonged"--together with several million other people--and she was
happy, though her husband still shushed her when she grew violently
naïve.

The McKiscos got off at Gibraltar.  Next evening in Naples Dick
picked up a lost and miserable family of two girls and their mother
in the bus from the hotel to the station.  He had seen them on the
ship.  An overwhelming desire to help, or to be admired, came over
him: he showed them fragments of gaiety; tentatively he bought them
wine, with pleasure saw them begin to regain their proper egotism.
He pretended they were this and that, and falling in with his own
plot, and drinking too much to sustain the illusion, and all this
time the women, thought only that this was a windfall from heaven.
He withdrew from them as the night waned and the train rocked and
snorted at Cassino and Frosinone.  After weird American partings in
the station at Rome, Dick went to the Hotel Quirinal, somewhat
exhausted.

At the desk he suddenly stared and upped his head.  As if a drink
were acting on him, warming the lining of his stomach, throwing a
flush up into his brain, he saw the person he had come to see, the
person for whom he had made the Mediterranean crossing.

Simultaneously Rosemary saw him, acknowledging him before placing
him; she looked back startled, and, leaving the girl she was with,
she hurried over.  Holding himself erect, holding his breath, Dick
turned to her.  As she came across the lobby, her beauty all
groomed, like a young horse dosed with Black-seed oil, and hoops
varnished, shocked him awake; but it all came too quick for him to
do anything except conceal his fatigue as best he could.  To meet
her starry-eyed confidence he mustered an insincere pantomime
implying, "You WOULD turn up here--of all the people in the world."

Her gloved hands closed over his on the desk; "Dick--we're making
The Grandeur that was Rome--at least we think we are; we may quit
any day."

He looked at her hard, trying to make her a little self-conscious,
so that she would observe less closely his unshaven face, his
crumpled and slept-in collar.  Fortunately, she was in a hurry.

"We begin early because the mists rise at eleven--phone me at two."

In his room Dick collected his faculties.  He left a call for noon,
stripped off his clothes and dove literally into a heavy sleep.

He slept over the phone call but awoke at two, refreshed.
Unpacking his bag, he sent out suits and laundry.  He shaved, lay
for half an hour in a warm bath and had breakfast.  The sun had
dipped into the Via Nazionale and he let it through the portières
with a jingling of old brass rings.  Waiting for a suit to be
pressed, he discovered from the Corriere della Sera that "una
novella di Sinclair Lewis 'Wall Street' nella quale autore analizza
la vita sociale di una piccola citta Americana."  Then he tried to
think about Rosemary.

At first he thought nothing.  She was young and magnetic, but so
was Topsy.  He guessed that she had had lovers and had loved them
in the last four years.  Well, you never knew exactly how much
space you occupied in people's lives.  Yet from this fog his
affection emerged--the best contacts are when one knows the
obstacles and still wants to preserve a relation.  The past drifted
back and he wanted to hold her eloquent giving-of-herself in its
precious shell, till he enclosed it, till it no longer existed
outside him.  He tried to collect all that might attract her--it
was less than it had been four years ago.  Eighteen might look at
thirty-four through a rising mist of adolescence; but twenty-two
would see thirty-eight with discerning clarity.  Moreover, Dick had
been at an emotional peak at the time of the previous encounter;
since then there had been a lesion of enthusiasm.

When the valet returned he put on a white shirt and collar and a
black tie with a pearl; the cords of his reading-glasses passed
through another pearl of the same size that swung a casual inch
below.  After sleep, his face had resumed the ruddy brown of many
Riviera summers, and to limber himself up he stood on his hands on
a chair until his fountain pen and coins fell out.  At three he
called Rosemary and was bidden to come up.  Momentarily dizzy from
his acrobatics, he stopped in the bar for a gin-and-tonic.

"Hi, Doctor Diver!"

Only because of Rosemary's presence in the hotel did Dick place the
man immediately as Collis Clay.  He had his old confidence and an
air of prosperity and big sudden jowls.

"Do you know Rosemary's here?" Collis asked.

"I ran into her."

"I was in Florence and I heard she was here so I came down last
week.  You'd never know Mama's little girl."  He modified the
remark, "I mean she was so carefully brought up and now she's a
woman of the world--if you know what I mean.  Believe me, has she
got some of these Roman boys tied up in bags!  And how!"

"You studying in Florence?"

"Me?  Sure, I'm studying architecture there.  I go back Sunday--I'm
staying for the races."

With difficulty Dick restrained him from adding the drink to the
account he carried in the bar, like a stock-market report.



XX


When Dick got out of the elevator he followed a tortuous corridor
and turned at length toward a distant voice outside a lighted door.
Rosemary was in black pajamas; a luncheon table was still in the
room; she was having coffee.

"You're still beautiful," he said.  "A little more beautiful than
ever."

"Do you want coffee, youngster?"

"I'm sorry I was so unpresentable this morning."

"You didn't look well--you all right now?  Want coffee?"

"No, thanks."

"You're fine again, I was scared this morning.  Mother's coming
over next month, if the company stays.  She always asks me if I've
seen you over here, as if she thought we were living next door.
Mother always liked you--she always felt you were some one I ought
to know."

"Well, I'm glad she still thinks of me."

"Oh, she does," Rosemary reassured him.  "A very great deal."

"I've seen you here and there in pictures," said Dick.  "Once I had
Daddy's Girl run off just for myself!"

"I have a good part in this one if it isn't cut."

She crossed behind him, touching his shoulder as she passed.  She
phoned for the table to be taken away and settled in a big chair.

"I was just a little girl when I met you, Dick.  Now I'm a woman."

"I want to hear everything about you."

"How is Nicole--and Lanier and Topsy?"

"They're fine.  They often speak of you--"

The phone rang.  While she answered it Dick examined two novels--
one by Edna Ferber, one by Albert McKisco.  The waiter came for the
table; bereft of its presence Rosemary seemed more alone in her
black pajamas.

". . . I have a caller. . . .  No, not very well.  I've got to go
to the costumer's for a long fitting. . . .  No, not now . . ."

As though with the disappearance of the table she felt released,
Rosemary smiled at Dick--that smile as if they two together had
managed to get rid of all the trouble in the world and were now at
peace in their own heaven . . .

"That's done," she said.  "Do you realize I've spent the last hour
getting ready for you?"

But again the phone called her.  Dick got up to change his hat from
the bed to the luggage stand, and in alarm Rosemary put her hand
over the mouthpiece of the phone.  "You're not going!"

"No."

When the communication was over he tried to drag the afternoon
together saying:  "I expect some nourishment from people now."

"Me too," Rosemary agreed.  "The man that just phoned me once knew
a second cousin of mine.  Imagine calling anybody up for a reason
like that!"

Now she lowered the lights for love.  Why else should she want to
shut off his view of her?  He sent his words to her like letters,
as though they left him some time before they reached her.

"Hard to sit here and be close to you, and not kiss you."  Then
they kissed passionately in the centre of the floor.  She pressed
against him, and went back to her chair.

It could not go on being merely pleasant in the room.  Forward or
backward; when the phone rang once more he strolled into the
bedchamber and lay down on her bed, opening Albert McKisco's novel.
Presently Rosemary came in and sat beside him.

"You have the longest eyelashes," she remarked.

"We are now back at the Junior Prom.  Among those present are Miss
Rosemary Hoyt, the eyelash fancier--"

She kissed him and he pulled her down so that they lay side by
side, and then they kissed till they were both breathless.  Her
breathing was young and eager and exciting.  Her lips were faintly
chapped but soft in the corners.

When they were still limbs and feet and clothes, struggles of his
arms and back, and her throat and breasts, she whispered, "No, not
now--those things are rhythmic."

Disciplined he crushed his passion into a corner of his mind, but
bearing up her fragility on his arms until she was poised half a
foot above him, he said lightly:

"Darling--that doesn't matter."

Her face had changed with his looking up at it; there was the
eternal moonlight in it.

"That would be poetic justice if it should be you," she said.  She
twisted away from him, walked to the mirror, and boxed her
disarranged hair with her hands.  Presently she drew a chair close
to the bed and stroked his cheek.

"Tell me the truth about you," he demanded.

"I always have."

"In a way--but nothing hangs together."

They both laughed but he pursued.

"Are you actually a virgin?"

"No-o-o!" she sang.  "I've slept with six hundred and forty men--if
that's the answer you want."

"It's none of my business."

"Do you want me for a case in psychology?"

"Looking at you as a perfectly normal girl of twenty-two, living in
the year nineteen twenty-eight, I guess you've taken a few shots at
love."

"It's all been--abortive," she said.

Dick couldn't believe her.  He could not decide whether she was
deliberately building a barrier between them or whether this was
intended to make an eventual surrender more significant.

"Let's go walk in the Pincio," he suggested.

He shook himself straight in his clothes and smoothed his hair.  A
moment had come and somehow passed.  For three years Dick had been
the ideal by which Rosemary measured other men and inevitably his
stature had increased to heroic size.  She did not want him to be
like other men, yet here were the same exigent demands, as if he
wanted to take some of herself away, carry it off in his pocket.

Walking on the greensward between cherubs and philosophers, fauns
and falling water, she took his arm snugly, settling into it with a
series of little readjustments, as if she wanted it to be right
because it was going to be there forever.  She plucked a twig and
broke it, but she found no spring in it.  Suddenly seeing what she
wanted in Dick's face she took his gloved hand and kissed it.  Then
she cavorted childishly for him until he smiled and she laughed and
they began having a good time.

"I can't go out with you to-night, darling, because I promised some
people a long time ago.  But if you'll get up early I'll take you
out to the set to-morrow."

He dined alone at the hotel, went to bed early, and met Rosemary in
the lobby at half-past six.  Beside him in the car she glowed away
fresh and new in the morning sunshine.  They went out through the
Porta San Sebastiano and along the Appian Way until they came to
the huge set of the forum, larger than the forum itself.  Rosemary
turned him over to a man who led him about the great props; the
arches and tiers of seats and the sanded arena.  She was working on
a stage which represented a guard-room for Christian prisoners, and
presently they went there and watched Nicotera, one of many hopeful
Valentinos, strut and pose before a dozen female "captives," their
eyes melancholy and startling with mascara.

Rosemary appeared in a knee-length tunic.

"Watch this," she whispered to Dick.  "I want your opinion.
Everybody that's seen the rushes says--"

"What are the rushes?"

"When they run off what they took the day before.  They say it's
the first thing I've had sex appeal in."

"I don't notice it."

"You wouldn't!  But I have."

Nicotera in his leopard skin talked attentively to Rosemary while
the electrician discussed something with the director, meanwhile
leaning on him.  Finally the director pushed his hand off roughly
and wiped a sweating forehead, and Dick's guide remarked:  "He's on
the hop again, and how!"

"Who?" asked Dick, but before the man could answer the director
walked swiftly over to them.

"Who's on the hop--you're on the hop yourself."  He spoke
vehemently to Dick, as if to a jury.  "When he's on the hop he
always thinks everybody else is, and how!"  He glared at the guide
a moment longer, then he clapped his hands:  "All right--everybody
on the set."

It was like visiting a great turbulent family.  An actress
approached Dick and talked to him for five minutes under the
impression that he was an actor recently arrived from London.
Discovering her mistake she scuttled away in panic.  The majority
of the company felt either sharply superior or sharply inferior to
the world outside, but the former feeling prevailed.  They were
people of bravery and industry; they were risen to a position of
prominence in a nation that for a decade had wanted only to be
entertained.

The session ended as the light grew misty--a fine light for
painters, but, for the camera, not to be compared with the clear
California air.  Nicotera followed Rosemary to the car and
whispered something to her--she looked at him without smiling as
she said good-by.

Dick and Rosemary had luncheon at the Castelli dei Cæsari, a
splendid restaurant in a high-terraced villa overlooking the ruined
forum of an undetermined period of the decadence.  Rosemary took a
cocktail and a little wine, and Dick took enough so that his
feeling of dissatisfaction left him.  Afterward they drove back to
the hotel, all flushed and happy, in a sort of exalted quiet.  She
wanted to be taken and she was, and what had begun with a childish
infatuation on a beach was accomplished at last.



XXI


Rosemary had another dinner date, a birthday party for a member of
the company.  Dick ran into Collis Clay in the lobby, but he wanted
to dine alone, and pretended an engagement at the Excelsior.  He
drank a cocktail with Collis and his vague dissatisfaction
crystallized as impatience--he no longer had an excuse for playing
truant to the clinic.  This was less an infatuation than a romantic
memory.  Nicole was his girl--too often he was sick at heart about
her, yet she was his girl.  Time with Rosemary was self-indulgence--
time with Collis was nothing plus nothing.

In the doorway of the Excelsior he ran into Baby Warren.  Her large
beautiful eyes, looking precisely like marbles, stared at him with
surprise and curiosity.  "I thought you were in America, Dick!  Is
Nicole with you?"

"I came back by way of Naples."

The black band on his arm reminded her to say:  "I'm so sorry to
hear of your trouble."

Inevitably they dined together.

"Tell me about everything," she demanded.

Dick gave her a version of the facts, and Baby frowned.  She found
it necessary to blame some one for the catastrophe in her sister's
life.

"Do you think Doctor Dohmler took the right course with her from
the first?"

"There's not much variety in treatment any more--of course you try
to find the right personality to handle a particular case."

"Dick, I don't pretend to advise you or to know much about it but
don't you think a change might be good for her--to get out of that
atmosphere of sickness and live in the world like other people?"

"But you were keen for the clinic," he reminded her.  "You told me
you'd never feel really safe about her--"

"That was when you were leading that hermit's life on the Riviera,
up on a hill way off from anybody.  I didn't mean to go back to
that life.  I meant, for instance, London.  The English are the
best-balanced race in the world."

"They are not," he disagreed.

"They are.  I know them, you see.  I meant it might be nice for you
to take a house in London for the spring season--I know a dove of a
house in Talbot Square you could get, furnished.  I mean, living
with sane, well-balanced English people."

She would have gone on to tell him all the old propaganda stories
of 1914 if he had not laughed and said:

"I've been reading a book by Michael Arlen and if that's--"

She ruined Michael Arlen with a wave of her salad spoon.

"He only writes about degenerates.  I mean the worthwhile English."

As she thus dismissed her friends they were replaced in Dick's mind
only by a picture of the alien, unresponsive faces that peopled the
small hotels of Europe.

"Of course it's none of my business," Baby repeated, as a
preliminary to a further plunge, "but to leave her alone in an
atmosphere like that--"

"I went to America because my father died."

"I understand that, I told you how sorry I was."  She fiddled with
the glass grapes on her necklace.  "But there's so MUCH money now.
Plenty for everything, and it ought to be used to get Nicole well."

"For one thing I can't see myself in London."

"Why not?  I should think you could work there as well as anywhere
else."

He sat back and looked at her.  If she had ever suspected the
rotted old truth, the real reason for Nicole's illness, she had
certainly determined to deny it to herself, shoving it back in a
dusty closet like one of the paintings she bought by mistake.

They continued the conversation in the Ulpia, where Collis Clay
came over to their table and sat down, and a gifted guitar player
thrummed and rumbled "Suona Fanfara Mia" in the cellar piled with
wine casks.

"It's possible that I was the wrong person for Nicole," Dick said.
"Still she would probably have married some one of my type, some
one she thought she could rely on--indefinitely."

"You think she'd be happier with somebody else?" Baby thought aloud
suddenly.  "Of course it could be arranged."

Only as she saw Dick bend forward with helpless laughter did she
realize the preposterousness of her remark.

"Oh, you understand," she assured him.  "Don't think for a moment
that we're not grateful for all you've done.  And we know you've
had a hard time--"

"For God's sake," he protested.  "If I didn't love Nicole it might
be different."

"But you do love Nicole?" she demanded in alarm.

Collis was catching up with the conversation now and Dick switched
it quickly:  "Suppose we talk about something else--about you, for
instance.  Why don't you get married?  We heard you were engaged to
Lord Paley, the cousin of the--"

"Oh, no."  She became coy and elusive.  "That was last year."

"Why don't you marry?" Dick insisted stubbornly.

"I don't know.  One of the men I loved was killed in the war, and
the other one threw me over."

"Tell me about it.  Tell me about your private life, Baby, and your
opinions.  You never do--we always talk about Nicole."

"Both of them were Englishmen.  I don't think there's any higher
type in the world than a first-rate Englishman, do you?  If there
is I haven't met him.  This man--oh, it's a long story.  I hate
long stories, don't you?"

"And how!" said Collis.

"Why, no--I like them if they're good."

"That's something you do so well, Dick.  You can keep a party
moving by just a little sentence or a saying here and there.  I
think that's a wonderful talent."

"It's a trick," he said gently.  That made three of her opinions he
disagreed with.

"Of course I like formality--I like things to be just so, and on
the grand scale.  I know you probably don't but you must admit it's
a sign of solidity in me."

Dick did not even bother to dissent from this.

"Of course I know people say, Baby Warren is racing around over
Europe, chasing one novelty after another, and missing the best
things in life, but I think on the contrary that I'm one of the few
people who really go after the best things.  I've known the most
interesting people of my time."  Her voice blurred with the tinny
drumming of another guitar number, but she called over it, "I've
made very few big mistakes--"

"--Only the very big ones, Baby."

She had caught something facetious in his eye and she changed the
subject.  It seemed impossible for them to hold anything in common.
But he admired something in her, and he deposited her at the
Excelsior with a series of compliments that left her shimmering.



Rosemary insisted on treating Dick to lunch next day.  They went to
a little trattoria kept by an Italian who had worked in America,
and ate ham and eggs and waffles.  Afterward, they went to the
hotel.  Dick's discovery that he was not in love with her, nor she
with him, had added to rather than diminished his passion for her.
Now that he knew he would not enter further into her life, she
became the strange woman for him.  He supposed many men meant no
more than that when they said they were in love--not a wild
submergence of soul, a dipping of all colors into an obscuring dye,
such as his love for Nicole had been.  Certain thoughts about
Nicole, that she should die, sink into mental darkness, love
another man, made him physically sick.

Nicotera was in Rosemary's sitting-room, chattering about a
professional matter.  When Rosemary gave him his cue to go, he left
with humorous protests and a rather insolent wink at Dick.  As
usual the phone clamored and Rosemary was engaged at it for ten
minutes, to Dick's increasing impatience.

"Let's go up to my room," he suggested, and she agreed.

She lay across his knees on a big sofa; he ran his fingers through
the lovely forelocks of her hair.

"Let me be curious about you again?" he asked.

"What do you want to know?"

"About men.  I'm curious, not to say prurient."

"You mean how long after I met you?"

"Or before."

"Oh, no."  She was shocked.  "There was nothing before.  You were
the first man I cared about.  You're still the only man I really
care about."  She considered.  "It was about a year, I think."

"Who was it?"

"Oh, a man."

He closed in on her evasion.

"I'll bet I can tell you about it: the first affair was
unsatisfactory and after that there was a long gap.  The second was
better, but you hadn't been in love with the man in the first
place.  The third was all right--"

Torturing himself he ran on.  "Then you had one real affair that
fell of its own weight, and by that time you were getting afraid
that you wouldn't have anything to give to the man you finally
loved."  He felt increasingly Victorian.  "Afterwards there were
half a dozen just episodic affairs, right up to the present.  Is
that close?"

She laughed between amusement and tears.

"It's about as wrong as it could be," she said, to Dick's relief.
"But some day I'm going to find somebody and love him and love him
and never let him go."

Now his phone rang and Dick recognized Nicotera's voice, asking for
Rosemary.  He put his palm over the transmitter.

"Do you want to talk to him?"

She went to the phone and jabbered in a rapid Italian Dick could
not understand.

"This telephoning takes time," he said.  "It's after four and I
have an engagement at five.  You better go play with Signor
Nicotera."

"Don't be silly."

"Then I think that while I'm here you ought to count him out."

"It's difficult."  She was suddenly crying.  "Dick, I do love you,
never anybody like you.  But what have you got for me?"

"What has Nicotera got for anybody?"

"That's different."

--Because youth called to youth.

"He's a spic!" he said.  He was frantic with jealousy, he didn't
want to be hurt again.

"He's only a baby," she said, sniffling.  "You know I'm yours
first."

In reaction he put his arms about her but she relaxed wearily
backward; he held her like that for a moment as in the end of an
adagio, her eyes closed, her hair falling straight back like that
of a girl drowned.

"Dick, let me go.  I never felt so mixed up in my life."

He was a gruff red bird and instinctively she drew away from him as
his unjustified jealousy began to snow over the qualities of
consideration and understanding with which she felt at home.

"I want to know the truth," he said.

"Yes, then.  We're a lot together, he wants to marry me, but I
don't want to.  What of it?  What do you expect me to do?  You
never asked me to marry you.  Do you want me to play around forever
with half-wits like Collis Clay?"

"You were with Nicotera last night?"

"That's none of your business," she sobbed.  "Excuse me, Dick, it
is your business.  You and Mother are the only two people in the
world I care about."

"How about Nicotera?"

"How do I know?"

She had achieved the elusiveness that gives hidden significance to
the least significant remarks.

"Is it like you felt toward me in Paris?"

"I feel comfortable and happy when I'm with you.  In Paris it was
different.  But you never know how you once felt.  Do you?"

He got up and began collecting his evening clothes--if he had to
bring all the bitterness and hatred of the world into his heart, he
was not going to be in love with her again.

"I don't care about Nicotera!" she declared.  "But I've got to go
to Livorno with the company to-morrow.  Oh, why did this have to
happen?"  There was a new flood of tears.  "It's such a shame.  Why
did you come here?  Why couldn't we just have the memory anyhow?  I
feel as if I'd quarrelled with Mother."

As he began to dress, she got up and went to the door.

"I won't go to the party to-night."  It was her last effort.  "I'll
stay with you.  I don't want to go anyhow."

The tide began to flow again, but he retreated from it.

"I'll be in my room," she said.  "Good-by, Dick."

"Good-by."

"Oh, such a shame, such a shame.  Oh, such a shame.  What's it all
about anyhow?"

"I've wondered for a long time."

"But why bring it to me?"

"I guess I'm the Black Death," he said slowly.  "I don't seem to
bring people happiness any more."



XXII


There were five people in the Quirinal bar after dinner, a high-
class Italian frail who sat on a stool making persistent
conversation against the bartender's bored:  "Si . . . Si . . .
Si," a light, snobbish Egyptian who was lonely but chary of the
woman, and the two Americans.

Dick was always vividly conscious of his surroundings, while Collis
Clay lived vaguely, the sharpest impressions dissolving upon a
recording apparatus that had early atrophied, so the former talked
and the latter listened, like a man sitting in a breeze.

Dick, worn away by the events of the afternoon, was taking it out
on the inhabitants of Italy.  He looked around the bar as if he
hoped an Italian had heard him and would resent his words.

"This afternoon I had tea with my sister-in-law at the Excelsior.
We got the last table and two men came up and looked around for a
table and couldn't find one.  So one of them came up to us and
said, 'Isn't this table reserved for the Princess Orsini?' and I
said:  'There was no sign on it,' and he said:  'But I think it's
reserved for the Princess Orsini.'  I couldn't even answer him."

"What'd he do?"

"He retired."  Dick switched around in his chair.  "I don't like
these people.  The other day I left Rosemary for two minutes in
front of a store and an officer started walking up and down in
front of her, tipping his hat."

"I don't know," said Collis after a moment.  "I'd rather be here
than up in Paris with somebody picking your pocket every minute."

He had been enjoying himself, and he held out against anything that
threatened to dull his pleasure.

"I don't know," he persisted.  "I don't mind it here."

Dick evoked the picture that the few days had imprinted on his
mind, and stared at it.  The walk toward the American Express past
the odorous confectioneries of the Via Nationale, through the foul
tunnel up to the Spanish Steps, where his spirit soared before the
flower stalls and the house where Keats had died.  He cared only
about people; he was scarcely conscious of places except for their
weather, until they had been invested with color by tangible
events.  Rome was the end of his dream of Rosemary.

A bell-boy came in and gave him a note.

"I did not go to the party," it said.  "I am in my room.  We leave
for Livorno early in the morning."

Dick handed the note and a tip to the boy.

"Tell Miss Hoyt you couldn't find me."  Turning to Collis he
suggested the Bonbonieri.

They inspected the tart at the bar, granting her the minimum of
interest exacted by her profession, and she stared back with bright
boldness; they went through the deserted lobby oppressed by
draperies holding Victorian dust in stuffy folds, and they nodded
at the night concierge who returned the gesture with the bitter
servility peculiar to night servants.  Then in a taxi they rode
along cheerless streets through a dank November night.  There were
no women in the streets, only pale men with dark coats buttoned to
the neck, who stood in groups beside shoulders of cold stone.

"My God!" Dick sighed.

"What's a matter?"

"I was thinking of that man this afternoon:  'This table is
reserved for the Princess Orsini.'  Do you know what these old
Roman families are?  They're bandits, they're the ones who got
possession of the temples and palaces after Rome went to pieces and
preyed on the people."

"I like Rome," insisted Collis.  "Why won't you try the races?"

"I don't like races."

"But all the women turn out--"

"I know I wouldn't like anything here.  I like France, where
everybody thinks he's Napoleon--down here everybody thinks he's
Christ."

At the Bonbonieri they descended to a panelled cabaret, hopelessly
impermanent amid the cold stone.  A listless band played a tango
and a dozen couples covered the wide floor with those elaborate and
dainty steps so offensive to the American eye.  A surplus of
waiters precluded the stir and bustle that even a few busy men can
create; over the scene as its form of animation brooded an air of
waiting for something, for the dance, the night, the balance of
forces which kept it stable, to cease.  It assured the impressionable
guest that whatever he was seeking he would not find it here.

This was plain as plain to Dick.  He looked around, hoping his eye
would catch on something, so that spirit instead of imagination
could carry on for an hour.  But there was nothing and after a
moment he turned back to Collis.  He had told Collis some of his
current notions, and he was bored with his audience's short memory
and lack of response.  After half an hour of Collis he felt a
distinct lesion of his own vitality.

They drank a bottle of Italian mousseaux, and Dick became pale and
somewhat noisy.  He called the orchestra leader over to their
table; this was a Bahama Negro, conceited and unpleasant, and in a
few minutes there was a row.

"You asked me to sit down."

"All right.  And I gave you fifty lire, didn't I?"

"All right.  All right.  All right."

"All right, I gave you fifty lire, didn't I?  Then you come up and
asked me to put some more in the horn!"

"You asked me to sit down, didn't you?  Didn't you?"

"I asked you to sit down but I gave you fifty lire, didn't I?"

"All right.  All right."

The Negro got up sourly and went away, leaving Dick in a still more
evil humor.  But he saw a girl smiling at him from across the room
and immediately the pale Roman shapes around him receded into
decent, humble perspective.  She was a young English girl, with
blonde hair and a healthy, pretty English face and she smiled at
him again with an invitation he understood, that denied the flesh
even in the act of tendering it.

"There's a quick trick or else I don't know bridge," said Collis.

Dick got up and walked to her across the room.

"Won't you dance?"

The middle-aged Englishman with whom she was sitting said, almost
apologetically:  "I'm going out soon."

Sobered by excitement Dick danced.  He found in the girl a
suggestion of all the pleasant English things; the story of safe
gardens ringed around by the sea was implicit in her bright voice
and as he leaned back to look at her, he meant what he said to her
so sincerely that his voice trembled.  When her current escort
should leave, she promised to come and sit with them.  The
Englishman accepted her return with repeated apologies and smiles.

Back at his table Dick ordered another bottle of spumante.

"She looks like somebody in the movies," he said.  "I can't think
who."  He glanced impatiently over his shoulder.  "Wonder what's
keeping her?"

"I'd like to get in the movies," said Collis thoughtfully.  "I'm
supposed to go into my father's business but it doesn't appeal to
me much.  Sit in an office in Birmingham for twenty years--"

His voice resisted the pressure of materialistic civilization.

"Too good for it?" suggested Dick.

"No, I don't mean that."

"Yes, you do."

"How do you know what I mean?  Why don't you practise as a doctor,
if you like to work so much?"

Dick had made them both wretched by this time, but simultaneously
they had become vague with drink and in a moment they forgot;
Collis left, and they shook hands warmly.

"Think it over," said Dick sagely.

"Think what over?"

"You know."  It had been something about Collis going into his
father's business--good sound advice.

Clay walked off into space.  Dick finished his bottle and then
danced with the English girl again, conquering his unwilling body
with bold revolutions and stern determined marches down the floor.
The most remarkable thing suddenly happened.  He was dancing with
the girl, the music stopped--and she had disappeared.

"Have you seen her?"

"Seen who?"

"The girl I was dancing with.  Su'nly disappeared.  Must be in the
building."

"No!  No!  That's the ladies' room."

He stood up by the bar.  There were two other men there, but he
could think of no way of starting a conversation.  He could have
told them all about Rome and the violent origins of the Colonna and
Gaetani families but he realized that as a beginning that would be
somewhat abrupt.  A row of Yenci dolls on the cigar counter fell
suddenly to the floor; there was a subsequent confusion and he had
a sense of having been the cause of it, so he went back to the
cabaret and drank a cup of black coffee.  Collis was gone and the
English girl was gone and there seemed nothing to do but go back to
the hotel and lie down with his black heart.  He paid his check and
got his hat and coat.

There was dirty water in the gutters and between the rough
cobblestones; a marshy vapor from the Campagna, a sweat of
exhausted cultures tainted the morning air.  A quartet of taxi-
drivers, their little eyes bobbing in dark pouches, surrounded him.
One who leaned insistently in his face he pushed harshly away.

"Quanto a Hotel Quirinal?"

"Cento lire."

Six dollars.  He shook his head and offered thirty lire which was
twice the day-time fare, but they shrugged their shoulders as one
pair, and moved off.

"Trente-cinque lire e mancie," he said firmly.

"Cento lire."

He broke into English.

"To go half a mile?  You'll take me for forty lire."

"Oh, no."

He was very tired.  He pulled open the door of a cab and got in.

"Hotel Quirinal!" he said to the driver who stood obstinately
outside the window.  "Wipe that sneer off your face and take me to
the Quirinal."

"Ah, no."

Dick got out.  By the door of the Bonbonieri some one was arguing
with the taxi-drivers, some one who now tried to explain their
attitude to Dick; again one of the men pressed close, insisting and
gesticulating and Dick shoved him away.

"I want to go to the Quirinal Hotel."

"He says wan huner lire," explained the interpreter.

"I understand.  I'll give him fif'y lire.  Go on away."  This last
to the insistent man who had edged up once more.  The man looked at
him and spat contemptuously.

The passionate impatience of the week leaped up in Dick and clothed
itself like a flash in violence, the honorable, the traditional
resource of his land; he stepped forward and slapped the man's
face.

They surged about him, threatening, waving their arms, trying
ineffectually to close in on him--with his back against the wall
Dick hit out clumsily, laughing a little and for a few minutes the
mock fight, an affair of foiled rushes and padded, glancing blows,
swayed back and forth in front of the door.  Then Dick tripped and
fell; he was hurt somewhere but he struggled up again wrestling in
arms that suddenly broke apart.  There was a new voice and a new
argument but he leaned against the wall, panting and furious at the
indignity of his position.  He saw there was no sympathy for him
but he was unable to believe that he was wrong.

They were going to the police station and settle it there.  His hat
was retrieved and handed to him, and with some one holding his arm
lightly he strode around the corner with the taxi-men and entered a
bare barrack where carabinieri lounged under a single dim light.

At a desk sat a captain, to whom the officious individual who had
stopped the battle spoke at length in Italian, at times pointing at
Dick, and letting himself be interrupted by the taxi-men who
delivered short bursts of invective and denunciation.  The captain
began to nod impatiently.  He held up his hand and the hydra-headed
address, with a few parting exclamations, died away.  Then he
turned to Dick.

"Spick Italiano?" he asked.

"No."

"Spick Français?"

"Oui," said Dick, glowering.

"Alors.  Écoute.  Va au Quirinal.  Espèce d'endormi.  Écoute: vous
êtes saoûl.  Payez ce que le chauffeur demande.  Comprenez-vous?"

Diver shook his head.

"Non, je ne veux pas."

"COME?"

"Je paierai quarante lires.  C'est bien assez."

The captain stood up.

"Écoute!" he cried portentously.  "Vous êtes saoûl.  Vous avez
battu le chauffeur.  Comme ci, comme ça."  He struck the air
excitedly with right hand and left, "C'est bon que je vous donne la
liberté.  Payez ce qu'il a dit--cento lire.  Va au Quirinal."

Raging with humiliation, Dick stared back at him.

"All right."  He turned blindly to the door--before him, leering
and nodding, was the man who had brought him to the police station.
"I'll go home," he shouted, "but first I'll fix this baby."

He walked past the staring carabinieri and up to the grinning face,
hit it with a smashing left beside the jaw.  The man dropped to the
floor.

For a moment he stood over him in savage triumph--but even as a
first pang of doubt shot through him the world reeled; he was
clubbed down, and fists and boots beat on him in a savage tattoo.
He felt his nose break like a shingle and his eyes jerk as if they
had snapped back on a rubber band into his head.  A rib splintered
under a stamping heel.  Momentarily he lost consciousness, regained
it as he was raised to a sitting position and his wrists jerked
together with handcuffs.  He struggled automatically.  The
plainclothes lieutenant whom he had knocked down, stood dabbing his
jaw with a handkerchief and looking into it for blood; he came over
to Dick, poised himself, drew back his arm and smashed him to the
floor.

When Doctor Diver lay quite still a pail of water was sloshed over
him.  One of his eyes opened dimly as he was being dragged along by
the wrists through a bloody haze and he made out the human and
ghastly face of one of the taxi-drivers.

"Go to the Excelsior hotel," he cried faintly.  "Tell Miss Warren.
Two hundred lire!  Miss Warren.  Due centi lire!  Oh, you dirty--
you God--"

Still he was dragged along through the bloody haze, choking and
sobbing, over vague irregular surfaces into some small place where
he was dropped upon a stone floor.  The men went out, a door
clanged, he was alone.



XXIII


Until one o'clock Baby Warren lay in bed, reading one of Marion
Crawford's curiously inanimate Roman stories; then she went to a
window and looked down into the street.  Across from the hotel two
carabinieri, grotesque in swaddling capes and harlequin hats, swung
voluminously from this side and that, like mains'ls coming about,
and watching them she thought of the guards' officer who had stared
at her so intensely at lunch.  He had possessed the arrogance of a
tall member of a short race, with no obligation save to be tall.
Had he come up to her and said:  "Let's go along, you and I," she
would have answered:  "Why not?"--at least it seemed so now, for
she was still disembodied by an unfamiliar background.

Her thoughts drifted back slowly through the guardsman to the two
carabinieri, to Dick--she got into bed and turned out the light.

A little before four she was awakened by a brusque knocking.

"Yes--what is it?"

"It's the concierge, Madame."

She pulled on her kimono and faced him sleepily.

"Your friend name Deever he's in trouble.  He had trouble with the
police, and they have him in the jail.  He sent a taxi up to tell,
the driver says that he promised him two hundred lire."  He paused
cautiously for this to be approved.  "The driver says Mr. Deever in
the bad trouble.  He had a fight with the police and is terribly
bad hurt."

"I'll be right down."

She dressed to an accompaniment of anxious heartbeats and ten
minutes later stepped out of the elevator into the dark lobby.  The
chauffeur who brought the message was gone; the concierge hailed
another one and told him the location of the jail.  As they rode,
the darkness lifted and thinned outside and Baby's nerves, scarcely
awake, cringed faintly at the unstable balance between night and
day.  She began to race against the day; sometimes on the broad
avenues she gained but whenever the thing that was pushing up
paused for a moment, gusts of wind blew here and there impatiently
and the slow creep of light began once more.  The cab went past a
loud fountain splashing in a voluminous shadow, turned into an
alley so curved that the buildings were warped and strained
following it, bumped and rattled over cobblestones, and stopped
with a jerk where two sentry boxes were bright against a wall of
green damp.  Suddenly from the violet darkness of an archway came
Dick's voice, shouting and screaming.

"Are there any English?  Are there any Americans?  Are there any
English?  Are there any--oh, my God!  You dirty Wops!"

His voice died away and she heard a dull sound of beating on the
door.  Then the voice began again.

"Are there any Americans?  Are there any English?"

Following the voice she ran through the arch into a court, whirled
about in momentary confusion and located the small guard-room
whence the cries came.  Two carabinieri started to their feet, but
Baby brushed past them to the door of the cell.

"Dick!" she called.  "What's the trouble?"

"They've put out my eye," he cried.  "They handcuffed me and then
they beat me, the goddamn--the--"

Flashing around Baby took a step toward the two carabinieri.

"What have you done to him?" she whispered so fiercely that they
flinched before her gathering fury.

"Non capisco inglese."

In French she execrated them; her wild, confident rage filled the
room, enveloped them until they shrank and wriggled from the
garments of blame with which she invested them.  "Do something!  Do
something!"

"We can do nothing until we are ordered."

"Bene.  BAY-NAY!  BENE!"

Once more Baby let her passion scorch around them until they
sweated out apologies for their impotence, looking at each other
with the sense that something had after all gone terribly wrong.
Baby went to the cell door, leaned against it, almost caressing it,
as if that could make Dick feel her presence and power, and cried:
"I'm going to the Embassy, I'll be back."  Throwing a last glance
of infinite menace at the carabinieri she ran out.

She drove to the American Embassy where she paid off the taxi-
driver upon his insistence.  It was still dark when she ran up the
steps and pressed the bell.  She had pressed it three times before
a sleepy English porter opened the door to her.

"I want to see some one," she said.  "Any one--but right away."

"No one's awake, Madame.  We don't open until nine o'clock."

Impatiently she waved the hour away.

"This is important.  A man--an American has been terribly beaten.
He's in an Italian jail."

"No one's awake now.  At nine o'clock--"

"I can't wait.  They've put out a man's eye--my brother-in-law, and
they won't let him out of jail.  I must talk to some one--can't you
see?  Are you crazy?  Are you an idiot, you stand there with that
look in your face?"

"Hime unable to do anything, Madame."

"You've got to wake some one up!"  She seized him by the shoulders
and jerked him violently.  "It's a matter of life and death.  If
you won't wake some one a terrible thing will happen to you--"

"Kindly don't lay hands on me, Madame."

From above and behind the porter floated down a weary Groton voice.

"What is it there?"

The porter answered with relief.

"It's a lady, sir, and she has shook me."  He had stepped back to
speak and Baby pushed forward into the hall.  On an upper landing,
just aroused from sleep and wrapped in a white embroidered Persian
robe, stood a singular young man.  His face was of a monstrous and
unnatural pink, vivid yet dead, and over his mouth was fastened
what appeared to be a gag.  When he saw Baby he moved his head back
into a shadow.

"What is it?" he repeated.

Baby told him, in her agitation edging forward to the stairs.  In
the course of her story she realized that the gag was in reality a
mustache bandage and that the man's face was covered with pink cold
cream, but the fact fitted quietly into the nightmare.  The thing
to do, she cried passionately, was for him to come to the jail with
her at once and get Dick out.

"It's a bad business," he said.

"Yes," she agreed conciliatingly.  "Yes?"

"This trying to fight the police."  A note of personal affront
crept into his voice, "I'm afraid there's nothing to be done until
nine o'clock."

"Till nine o'clock," she repeated aghast.  "But you can do
something, certainly!  You can come to the jail with me and see
that they don't hurt him any more."

"We aren't permitted to do anything like that.  The Consulate
handles these things.  The Consulate will be open at nine."

His face, constrained to impassivity by the binding strap,
infuriated Baby.

"I can't wait until nine.  My brother-in-law says they've put his
eye out--he's seriously hurt!  I have to get to him.  I have to
find a doctor."  She let herself go and began to cry angrily as she
talked, for she knew that he would respond to her agitation rather
than her words.  "You've got to do something about this.  It's your
business to protect American citizens in trouble."

But he was of the Eastern seaboard and too hard for her.  Shaking
his head patiently at her failure to understand his position he
drew the Persian robe closer about him and came down a few steps.

"Write down the address of the Consulate for this lady," he said to
the porter, "and look up Doctor Colazzo's address and telephone
number and write that down too."  He turned to Baby, with the
expression of an exasperated Christ.  "My dear lady, the diplomatic
corps represents the Government of the United States to the
Government of Italy.  It has nothing to do with the protection of
citizens, except under specific instructions from the State
Department.  Your brother-in-law has broken the laws of this
country and been put in jail, just as an Italian might be put in
jail in New York.  The only people who can let him go are the
Italian courts and if your brother-in-law has a case you can get
aid and advice from the Consulate, which protects the rights of
American citizens.  The consulate does not open until nine o'clock.
Even if it were my brother I couldn't do anything--"

"Can you phone the Consulate?" she broke in.

"We can't interfere with the Consulate.  When the Consul gets there
at nine--"

"Can you give me his home address?"

After a fractional pause the man shook his head.  He took the
memorandum from the porter and gave it to her.

"Now I'll ask you to excuse me."

He had manoeuvred her to the door: for an instant the violet dawn
fell shrilly upon his pink mask and upon the linen sack that
supported his mustache; then Baby was standing on the front steps
alone.  She had been in the embassy ten minutes.

The piazza whereon it faced was empty save for an old man gathering
cigarette butts with a spiked stick.  Baby caught a taxi presently
and went to the Consulate but there was no one there save a trio of
wretched women scrubbing the stairs.  She could not make them
understand that she wanted the Consul's home address--in a sudden
resurgence of anxiety she rushed out and told the chauffeur to take
her to the jail.  He did not know where it was, but by the use of
the words semper dritte, dextra and sinestra she manoeuvred him to
its approximate locality, where she dismounted and explored a
labyrinth of familiar alleys.  But the buildings and the alleys all
looked alike.  Emerging from one trail into the Piazzo d'Espagna
she saw the American Express Company and her heart lifted at the
word "American" on the sign.  There was a light in the window and
hurrying across the square she tried the door, but it was locked,
and inside the clock stood at seven.  Then she thought of Collis
Clay.

She remembered the name of his hotel, a stuffy villa sealed in red
plush across from the Excelsior.  The woman on duty at the office
was not disposed to help her--she had no authority to disturb Mr.
Clay, and refused to let Miss Warren go up to his room alone;
convinced finally that this was not an affair of passion she
accompanied her.

Collis lay naked upon his bed.  He had come in tight and,
awakening, it took him some moments to realize his nudity.  He
atoned for it by an excess of modesty.  Taking his clothes into the
bathroom he dressed in haste, muttering to himself "Gosh.  She
certainly musta got a good look at me."  After some telephoning, he
and Baby found the jail and went to it.

The cell door was open and Dick was slumped on a chair in the
guard-room.  The carabinieri had washed some of the blood from his
face, brushed him and set his hat concealingly upon his head.

Baby stood in the doorway trembling.

"Mr. Clay will stay with you," she said.  "I want to get the Consul
and a doctor."

"All right."

"Just stay quiet."

"All right."

"I'll be back."

She drove to the Consulate; it was after eight now, and she was
permitted to sit in the ante-room.  Toward nine the Consul came in
and Baby, hysterical with impotence and exhaustion, repeated her
story.  The Consul was disturbed.  He warned her against getting
into brawls in strange cities, but he was chiefly concerned that
she should wait outside--with despair she read in his elderly eye
that he wanted to be mixed up as little as possible in this
catastrophe.  Waiting on his action, she passed the minutes by
phoning a doctor to go to Dick.  There were other people in the
ante-room and several were admitted to the Consul's office.  After
half an hour she chose the moment of some one's coming out and
pushed past the secretary into the room.

"This is outrageous!  An American has been beaten half to death and
thrown into prison and you make no move to help."

"Just a minute, Mrs--"

"I've waited long enough.  You come right down to the jail and get
him out!"

"Mrs--"

"We're people of considerable standing in America--"  Her mouth
hardened as she continued.  "If it wasn't for the scandal we can--I
shall see that your indifference to this matter is reported in the
proper quarter.  If my brother-in-law were a British citizen he'd
have been free hours ago, but you're more concerned with what the
police will think than about what you're here for."

"Mrs.--"

"You put on your hat and come with me right away."

The mention of his hat alarmed the Consul who began to clean his
spectacles hurriedly and to ruffle his papers.  This proved of no
avail: the American Woman, aroused, stood over him; the clean-
sweeping irrational temper that had broken the moral back of a race
and made a nursery out of a continent, was too much for him.  He
rang for the vice-consul--Baby had won.



Dick sat in the sunshine that fell profusely through the guard-room
window.  Collis was with him and two carabinieri, and they were
waiting for something to happen.  With the narrowed vision of his
one eye Dick could see the carabinieri; they were Tuscan peasants
with short upper lips and he found it difficult to associate them
with the brutality of last night.  He sent one of them to fetch him
a glass of beer.

The beer made him light-headed and the episode was momentarily
illumined by a ray of sardonic humor.  Collis was under the
impression that the English girl had something to do with the
catastrophe, but Dick was sure she had disappeared long before it
happened.  Collis was still absorbed by the fact that Miss Warren
had found him naked on his bed.

Dick's rage had retreated into him a little and he felt a vast
criminal irresponsibility.  What had happened to him was so awful
that nothing could make any difference unless he could choke it to
death, and, as this was unlikely, he was hopeless.  He would be a
different person henceforward, and in his raw state he had bizarre
feelings of what the new self would be.  The matter had about it
the impersonal quality of an act of God.  No mature Aryan is able
to profit by a humiliation; when he forgives it has become part of
his life, he has identified himself with the thing which has
humiliated him--an upshot that in this case was impossible.

When Collis spoke of retribution, Dick shook his head and was
silent.  A lieutenant of carabinieri, pressed, burnished, vital,
came into the room like three men and the guards jumped to
attention.  He seized the empty beer bottle and directed a stream
of scolding at his men.  The new spirit was in him, and the first
thing was to get the beer bottle out of the guard-room.  Dick
looked at Collis and laughed.

The vice-consul, an over-worked young man named Swanson, arrived,
and they started to the court; Collis and Swanson on either side of
Dick and the two carabinieri close behind.  It was a yellow, hazy
morning; the squares and arcades were crowded and Dick, pulling his
hat low over his head, walked fast, setting the pace, until one of
the short-legged carabinieri ran alongside and protested.  Swanson
arranged matters.

"I've disgraced you, haven't I?" said Dick jovially.

"You're liable to get killed fighting Italians," replied Swanson
sheepishly.  "They'll probably let you go this time but if you were
an Italian you'd get a couple of months in prison.  And how!"

"Have you ever been in prison?"

Swanson laughed.

"I like him," announced Dick to Clay.  "He's a very likeable young
man and he gives people excellent advice, but I'll bet he's been to
jail himself.  Probably spent weeks at a time in jail."

Swanson laughed.

"I mean you want to be careful.  You don't know how these people
are."

"Oh, I know how they are," broke out Dick, irritably.  "They're god
damn stinkers."  He turned around to the carabinieri:  "Did you get
that?"

"I'm leaving you here," Swanson said quickly.  "I told your sister-
in-law I would--our lawyer will meet you upstairs in the courtroom.
You want to be careful."

"Good-by."  Dick shook hands politely.  "Thank you very much.  I
feel you have a future--"

With another smile Swanson hurried away, resuming his official
expression of disapproval.

Now they came into a courtyard on all four sides of which outer
stairways mounted to the chambers above.  As they crossed the flags
a groaning, hissing, booing sound went up from the loiterers in the
courtyard, voices full of fury and scorn.  Dick stared about.

"What's that?" he demanded, aghast.

One of the carabinieri spoke to a group of men and the sound died
away.

They came into the court-room.  A shabby Italian lawyer from the
Consulate spoke at length to the judge while Dick and Collis waited
aside.  Some one who knew English turned from the window that gave
on the yard and explained the sound that had accompanied their
passage through.  A native of Frascati had raped and slain a five-
year-old child and was to be brought in that morning--the crowd had
assumed it was Dick.

In a few minutes the lawyer told Dick that he was freed--the court
considered him punished enough.

"Enough!" Dick cried.  "Punished for what?"

"Come along," said Collis.  "You can't do anything now."

"But what did I do, except get into a fight with some taxi-men?"

"They claim you went up to a detective as if you were going to
shake hands with him and hit him--"

"That's not true!  I told him I was going to hit him--I didn't know
he was a detective."

"You better go along," urged the lawyer.

"Come along."  Collis took his arm and they descended the steps.

"I want to make a speech," Dick cried.  "I want to explain to these
people how I raped a five-year-old girl.  Maybe I did--"

"Come along."

Baby was waiting with a doctor in a taxi-cab.  Dick did not want to
look at her and he disliked the doctor, whose stern manner revealed
him as one of that least palpable of European types, the Latin
moralist.  Dick summed up his conception of the disaster, but no
one had much to say.  In his room in the Quirinal the doctor washed
off the rest of the blood and the oily sweat, set his nose, his
fractured ribs and fingers, disinfected the smaller wounds and put
a hopeful dressing on the eye.  Dick asked for a quarter of a grain
of morphine, for he was still wide awake and full of nervous
energy.  With the morphine he fell asleep; the doctor and Collis
left and Baby waited with him until a woman could arrive from the
English nursing home.  It had been a hard night but she had the
satisfaction of feeling that, whatever Dick's previous record was,
they now possessed a moral superiority over him for as long as he
proved of any use.



BOOK 3



I


Frau Kaethe Gregorovius overtook her husband on the path of their
villa.

"How was Nicole?" she asked mildly; but she spoke out of breath,
giving away the fact that she had held the question in her mind
during her run.

Franz looked at her in surprise.

"Nicole's not sick.  What makes you ask, dearest one?"

"You see her so much--I thought she must be sick."

"We will talk of this in the house."

Kaethe agreed meekly.  His study was over in the administration
building and the children were with their tutor in the living-room;
they went up to the bedroom.

"Excuse me, Franz," said Kaethe before he could speak.  "Excuse me,
dear, I had no right to say that.  I know my obligations and I am
proud of them.  But there is a bad feeling between Nicole and me."

"Birds in their little nests agree," Franz thundered.  Finding the
tone inappropriate to the sentiment he repeated his command in the
spaced and considered rhythm with which his old master, Doctor
Dohmler, could cast significance on the tritest platitude.  "Birds--
in--their--nests--AGREE!"

"I realize that.  You haven't seen me fail in courtesy toward
Nicole."

"I see you failing in common sense.  Nicole is half a patient--she
will possibly remain something of a patient all her life.  In the
absence of Dick I am responsible."  He hesitated; sometimes as a
quiet joke he tried to keep news from Kaethe.  "There was a cable
from Rome this morning.  Dick has had grippe and is starting home
to-morrow."

Relieved, Kaethe pursued her course in a less personal tone:

"I think Nicole is less sick than any one thinks--she only
cherishes her illness as an instrument of power.  She ought to be
in the cinema, like your Norma Talmadge--that's where all American
women would be happy."

"Are you jealous of Norma Talmadge, on a film?"

"I don't like Americans.  They're selfish, SELF-ish!"

"You like Dick?"

"I like him," she admitted.  "He's different, he thinks of others."

--And so does Norma Talmadge, Franz said to himself.  Norma
Talmadge must be a fine, noble woman beyond her loveliness.  They
must compel her to play foolish rôles; Norma Talmadge must be a
woman whom it would be a great privilege to know.

Kaethe had forgotten about Norma Talmadge, a vivid shadow that she
had fretted bitterly upon one night as they were driving home from
the movies in Zurich.

"--Dick married Nicole for her money," she said.  "That was his
weakness--you hinted as much yourself one night."

"You're being malicious."

"I shouldn't have said that," she retracted.  "We must all live
together like birds, as you say.  But it's difficult when Nicole
acts as--when Nicole pulls herself back a little, as if she were
holding her breath--as if I SMELT bad!"

Kaethe had touched a material truth.  She did most of her work
herself, and, frugal, she bought few clothes.  An American
shopgirl, laundering two changes of underwear every night, would
have noticed a hint of yesterday's reawakened sweat about Kaethe's
person, less a smell than an ammoniacal reminder of the eternity of
toil and decay.  To Franz this was as natural as the thick dark
scent of Kaethe's hair, and he would have missed it equally; but to
Nicole, born hating the smell of a nurse's fingers dressing her, it
was an offense only to be endured.

"And the children," Kaethe continued.  "She doesn't like them to
play with our children--" but Franz had heard enough:

"Hold your tongue--that kind of talk can hurt me professionally,
since we owe this clinic to Nicole's money.  Let us have lunch."

Kaethe realized that her outburst had been ill-advised, but Franz's
last remark reminded her that other Americans had money, and a week
later she put her dislike of Nicole into new words.

The occasion was the dinner they tendered the Divers upon Dick's
return.  Hardly had their footfalls ceased on the path when she
shut the door and said to Franz:

"Did you see around his eyes?  He's been on a debauch!"

"Go gently," Franz requested.  "Dick told me about that as soon as
he came home.  He was boxing on the trans-Atlantic ship.  The
American passengers box a lot on these trans-Atlantic ships."

"I believe that?" she scoffed.  "It hurts him to move one of his
arms and he has an unhealed scar on his temple--you can see where
the hair's been cut away."

Franz had not noticed these details.

"But what?" Kaethe demanded.  "Do you think that sort of thing does
the Clinic any good?  The liquor I smelt on him tonight, and
several other times since he's been back."

She slowed her voice to fit the gravity of what she was about to
say:  "Dick is no longer a serious man."

Franz rocked his shoulders up the stairs, shaking off her
persistence.  In their bedroom he turned on her.

"He is most certainly a serious man and a brilliant man.  Of all
the men who have recently taken their degrees in neuropathology in
Zurich, Dick has been regarded as the most brilliant--more
brilliant than I could ever be."

"For shame!"

"It's the truth--the shame would be not to admit it.  I turn to
Dick when cases are highly involved.  His publications are still
standard in their line--go into any medical library and ask.  Most
students think he's an Englishman--they don't believe that such
thoroughness could come out of America."  He groaned domestically,
taking his pajamas from under the pillow, "I can't understand why
you talk this way, Kaethe--I thought you liked him."

"For shame!" Kaethe said.  "You're the solid one, you do the work.
It's a case of hare and tortoise--and in my opinion the hare's race
is almost done."

"Tch!  Tch!"

"Very well, then.  It's true."

With his open hand he pushed down air briskly.

"Stop!"

The upshot was that they had exchanged viewpoints like debaters.
Kaethe admitted to herself that she had been too hard on Dick, whom
she admired and of whom she stood in awe, who had been so
appreciative and understanding of herself.  As for Franz, once
Kaethe's idea had had time to sink in, he never after believed that
Dick was a serious person.  And as time went on he convinced
himself that he had never thought so.



II


Dick told Nicole an expurgated version of the catastrophe in Rome--
in his version he had gone philanthropically to the rescue of a
drunken friend.  He could trust Baby Warren to hold her tongue,
since he had painted the disastrous effect of the truth upon
Nicole.  All this, however, was a low hurdle compared to the
lingering effect of the episode upon him.

In reaction he took himself for an intensified beating in his work,
so that Franz, trying to break with him, could find no basis on
which to begin a disagreement.  No friendship worth the name was
ever destroyed in an hour without some painful flesh being torn--so
Franz let himself believe with ever-increasing conviction that Dick
travelled intellectually and emotionally at such a rate of speed
that the vibrations jarred him--this was a contrast that had
previously been considered a virtue in their relation.  So, for the
shoddiness of needs, are shoes made out of last year's hide.

Yet it was May before Franz found an opportunity to insert the
first wedge.  Dick came into his office white and tired one noon
and sat down, saying:

"Well, she's gone."

"She's dead?"

"The heart quit."

Dick sat exhausted in the chair nearest the door.  During three
nights he had remained with the scabbed anonymous woman-artist he
had come to love, formally to portion out the adrenaline, but
really to throw as much wan light as he could into the darkness
ahead.

Half appreciating his feeling, Franz travelled quickly over an
opinion:

"It was neuro-syphilis.  All the Wassermans we took won't tell me
differently.  The spinal fluid--"

"Never mind," said Dick.  "Oh, God, never mind!  If she cared
enough about her secret to take it away with her, let it go at
that."

"You better lay off for a day."

"Don't worry, I'm going to."

Franz had his wedge; looking up from the telegram that he was
writing to the woman's brother he inquired:  "Or do you want to
take a little trip?"

"Not now."

"I don't mean a vacation.  There's a case in Lausanne.  I've been
on the phone with a Chilian all morning--"

"She was so damn brave," said Dick.  "And it took her so long."
Franz shook his head sympathetically and Dick got himself together.
"Excuse me for interrupting you."

"This is just a change--the situation is a father's problem with
his son--the father can't get the son up here.  He wants somebody
to come down there."

"What is it?  Alcoholism?  Homosexuality?  When you say Lausanne--"

"A little of everything."

"I'll go down.  Is there any money in it?"

"Quite a lot, I'd say.  Count on staying two or three days, and get
the boy up here if he needs to be watched.  In any case take your
time, take your ease; combine business with pleasure."

After two hours' train sleep Dick felt renewed, and he approached
the interview with Señor Pardo y Cuidad Real in good spirits.

These interviews were much of a type.  Often the sheer hysteria of
the family representative was as interesting psychologically as the
condition of the patient.  This one was no exception: Señor Pardo y
Cuidad Real, a handsome iron-gray Spaniard, noble of carriage, with
all the appurtenances of wealth and power, raged up and down his
suite in the Hôtel de Trois Mondes and told the story of his son
with no more self-control than a drunken woman.

"I am at the end of my invention.  My son is corrupt.  He was
corrupt at Harrow, he was corrupt at King's College, Cambridge.
He's incorrigibly corrupt.  Now that there is this drinking it is
more and more obvious how he is, and there is continual scandal.  I
have tried everything--I worked out a plan with a doctor friend of
mine, sent them together for a tour of Spain.  Every evening
Francisco had an injection of cantharides and then the two went
together to a reputable bordello--for a week or so it seemed to
work but the result was nothing.  Finally last week in this very
room, rather in that bathroom--" he pointed at it, "--I made
Francisco strip to the waist and lashed him with a whip--"

Exhausted with his emotion he sat down and Dick spoke:

"That was foolish--the trip to Spain was futile also--"  He
struggled against an upsurging hilarity--that any reputable medical
man should have lent himself to such an amateurish experiment!
"--Señor, I must tell you that in these cases we can promise
nothing.  In the case of the drinking we can often accomplish
something--with proper co-operation.  The first thing is to see
the boy and get enough of his confidence to find whether he has
any insight into the matter."

--The boy, with whom he sat on the terrace, was about twenty,
handsome and alert.

"I'd like to know your attitude," Dick said.  "Do you feel that the
situation is getting worse?  And do you want to do anything about
it?"

"I suppose I do," said Francisco, "I am very unhappy."

"Do you think it's from the drinking or from the abnormality?"

"I think the drinking is caused by the other."  He was serious for
a while--suddenly an irrepressible facetiousness broke through and
he laughed, saying, "It's hopeless.  At King's I was known as the
Queen of Chili.  That trip to Spain--all it did was to make me
nauseated by the sight of a woman."

Dick caught him up sharply.

"If you're happy in this mess, then I can't help you and I'm
wasting my time."

"No, let's talk--I despise most of the others so."  There was some
manliness in the boy, perverted now into an active resistance to
his father.  But he had that typically roguish look in his eyes
that homosexuals assume in discussing the subject.

"It's a hole-and-corner business at best," Dick told him.  "You'll
spend your life on it, and its consequences, and you won't have
time or energy for any other decent or social act.  If you want to
face the world you'll have to begin by controlling your sensuality--
and, first of all, the drinking that provokes it--"

He talked automatically, having abandoned the case ten minutes
before.  They talked pleasantly through another hour about the
boy's home in Chili and about his ambitions.  It was as close as
Dick had ever come to comprehending such a character from any but
the pathological angle--he gathered that this very charm made it
possible for Francisco to perpetrate his outrages, and, for Dick,
charm always had an independent existence, whether it was the mad
gallantry of the wretch who had died in the clinic this morning, or
the courageous grace which this lost young man brought to a drab
old story.  Dick tried to dissect it into pieces small enough to
store away--realizing that the totality of a life may be different
in quality from its segments, and also that life during the forties
seemed capable of being observed only in segments.  His love for
Nicole and Rosemary, his friendship with Abe North, with Tommy
Barban in the broken universe of the war's ending--in such contacts
the personalities had seemed to press up so close to him that he
became the personality itself--there seemed some necessity of
taking all or nothing; it was as if for the remainder of his life
he was condemned to carry with him the egos of certain people,
early met and early loved, and to be only as complete as they were
complete themselves.  There was some element of loneliness
involved--so easy to be loved--so hard to love.

As he sat on the veranda with young Francisco, a ghost of the past
swam into his ken.  A tall, singularly swaying male detached
himself from the shrubbery and approached Dick and Francisco with
feeble resolution.  For a moment he formed such an apologetic part
of the vibrant landscape that Dick scarcely remarked him--then Dick
was on his feet, shaking hands with an abstracted air, thinking,
"My God, I've stirred up a nest!" and trying to collect the man's
name.

"This is Doctor Diver, isn't it?"

"Well, well--Mr. Dumphry, isn't it?"

"Royal Dumphry.  I had the pleasure of having dinner one night in
that lovely garden of yours."

"Of course."  Trying to dampen Mr. Dumphry's enthusiasm, Dick went
into impersonal chronology.  "It was in nineteen--twenty-four--or
twenty-five--"

He had remained standing, but Royal Dumphry, shy as he had seemed
at first, was no laggard with his pick and spade; he spoke to
Francisco in a flip, intimate manner, but the latter, ashamed of
him, joined Dick in trying to freeze him away.

"Doctor Diver--one thing I want to say before you go.  I've never
forgotten that evening in your garden--how nice you and your wife
were.  To me it's one of the finest memories in my life, one of the
happiest ones.  I've always thought of it as the most civilized
gathering of people that I have ever known."

Dick continued a crab-like retreat toward the nearest door of the
hotel.

"I'm glad you remembered it so pleasantly.  Now I've got to see--"

"I understand," Royal Dumphry pursued sympathetically.  "I hear
he's dying."

"Who's dying?"

"Perhaps I shouldn't have said that--but we have the same
physician."

Dick paused, regarding him in astonishment.  "Who're you talking
about?"

"Why, your wife's father--perhaps I--"

"My WHAT?"

"I suppose--you mean I'm the first person--"

"You mean my wife's father is here, in Lausanne?"

"Why, I thought you knew--I thought that was why you were here."

"What doctor is taking care of him?"

Dick scrawled the name in a notebook, excused himself, and hurried
to a telephone booth.

It was convenient for Doctor Dangeu to see Doctor Diver at his
house immediately.

Doctor Dangeu was a young Génevois; for a moment he was afraid that
he was going to lose a profitable patient, but, when Dick reassured
him, he divulged the fact that Mr. Warren was indeed dying.

"He is only fifty but the liver has stopped restoring itself; the
precipitating factor is alcoholism."

"Doesn't respond?"

"The man can take nothing except liquids--I give him three days, or
at most, a week."

"Does his elder daughter, Miss Warren, know his condition?"

"By his own wish no one knows except the man-servant.  It was only
this morning I felt I had to tell him--he took it excitedly,
although he has been in a very religious and resigned mood from the
beginning of his illness."

Dick considered:  "Well--" he decided slowly, "in any case I'll
take care of the family angle.  But I imagine they would want a
consultation."

"As you like."

"I know I speak for them when I ask you to call in one of the best-
known medicine men around the lake--Herbrugge, from Geneva."

"I was thinking of Herbrugge."

"Meanwhile I'm here for a day at least and I'll keep in touch with
you."

That evening Dick went to Señor Pardo y Cuidad Real and they
talked.

"We have large estates in Chili--" said the old man.  "My son could
well be taking care of them.  Or I can get him in any one of a
dozen enterprises in Paris--"  He shook his head and paced across
the windows against a spring rain so cheerful that it didn't even
drive the swans to cover, "My only son!  Can't you take him with
you?"

The Spaniard knelt suddenly at Dick's feet.

"Can't you cure my only son?  I believe in you--you can take him
with you, cure him."

"It's impossible to commit a person on such grounds.  I wouldn't if
I could."

The Spaniard got up from his knees.

"I have been hasty--I have been driven--"

Descending to the lobby Dick met Doctor Dangeu in the elevator.

"I was about to call your room," the latter said.  "Can we speak
out on the terrace?"

"Is Mr. Warren dead?" Dick demanded.

"He is the same--the consultation is in the morning.  Meanwhile he
wants to see his daughter--your wife--with the greatest fervor.  It
seems there was some quarrel--"

"I know all about that."

The doctors looked at each other, thinking.

"Why don't you talk to him before you make up your mind?" Dangeu
suggested.  "His death will be graceful--merely a weakening and
sinking."

With an effort Dick consented.

"All right."

The suite in which Devereux Warren was gracefully weakening and
sinking was of the same size as that of the Señor Pardo y Cuidad
Real--throughout this hotel there were many chambers wherein rich
ruins, fugitives from justice, claimants to the thrones of
mediatized principalities, lived on the derivatives of opium or
barbitol listening eternally as to an inescapable radio, to the
coarse melodies of old sins.  This corner of Europe does not so
much draw people as accept them without inconvenient questions.
Routes cross here--people bound for private sanitariums or
tuberculosis resorts in the mountains, people who are no longer
persona gratis in France or Italy.

The suite was darkened.  A nun with a holy face was nursing the man
whose emaciated fingers stirred a rosary on the white sheet.  He
was still handsome and his voice summoned up a thick burr of
individuality as he spoke to Dick, after Dangeu had left them
together.

"We get a lot of understanding at the end of life.  Only now,
Doctor Diver, do I realize what it was all about."

Dick waited.

"I've been a bad man.  You must know how little right I have to see
Nicole again, yet a Bigger Man than either of us says to forgive
and to pity."  The rosary slipped from his weak hands and slid off
the smooth bed covers.  Dick picked it up for him.  "If I could see
Nicole for ten minutes I would go happy out of the world."

"It's not a decision I can make for myself," said Dick.  "Nicole is
not strong."  He made his decision but pretended to hesitate.  "I
can put it up to my professional associate."

"What your associate says goes with me--very well, Doctor.  Let me
tell you my debt to you is so large--"

Dick stood up quickly.

"I'll let you know the result through Doctor Dangeu."

In his room he called the clinic on the Zugersee.  After a long
time Kaethe answered from her own house.

"I want to get in touch with Franz."

"Franz is up on the mountain.  I'm going up myself--is it something
I can tell him, Dick?"

"It's about Nicole--her father is dying here in Lausanne.  Tell
Franz that, to show him it's important; and ask him to phone me
from up there."

"I will."

"Tell him I'll be in my room here at the hotel from three to five,
and again from seven to eight, and after that to page me in the
dining-room."

In plotting these hours he forgot to add that Nicole was not to be
told; when he remembered it he was talking into a dead telephone.
Certainly Kaethe should realize.

. . . Kaethe had no exact intention of telling Nicole about the
call when she rode up the deserted hill of mountain wild-flowers
and secret winds, where the patients were taken to ski in winter
and to climb in spring.  Getting off the train she saw Nicole
shepherding the children through some organized romp.  Approaching,
she drew her arm gently along Nicole's shoulder, saying:  "You are
clever with children--you must teach them more about swimming in
the summer."

In the play they had grown hot, and Nicole's reflex in drawing away
from Kaethe's arm was automatic to the point of rudeness.  Kaethe's
hand fell awkwardly into space, and then she too reacted, verbally,
and deplorably.

"Did you think I was going to embrace you?" she demanded sharply.
"It was only about Dick, I talked on the phone to him and I was
sorry--"

"Is anything the matter with Dick?"

Kaethe suddenly realized her error, but she had taken a tactless
course and there was no choice but to answer as Nicole pursued her
with reiterated questions: ". . . then why were you sorry?"

"Nothing about Dick.  I must talk to Franz."

"It is about Dick."

There was terror in her face and collaborating alarm in the faces
of the Diver children, near at hand.  Kaethe collapsed with:  "Your
father is ill in Lausanne--Dick wants to talk to Franz about it."

"Is he very sick?" Nicole demanded--just as Franz came up with his
hearty hospital manner.  Gratefully Kaethe passed the remnant of
the buck to him--but the damage was done.

"I'm going to Lausanne," announced Nicole.

"One minute," said Franz.  "I'm not sure it's advisable.  I must
first talk on the phone to Dick."

"Then I'll miss the train down," Nicole protested, "and then I'll
miss the three o'clock from Zurich!  If my father is dying I must--"
She left this in the air, afraid to formulate it.  "I MUST go.
I'll have to run for the train."  She was running even as she spoke
toward the sequence of flat cars that crowned the bare hill with
bursting steam and sound.  Over her shoulder she called back, "If
you phone Dick tell him I'm coming, Franz!" . . .

. . . Dick was in his own room in the hotel reading The New York
Herald when the swallow-like nun rushed in--simultaneously the
phone rang.

"Is he dead?" Dick demanded of the nun, hopefully.

"Monsieur, il est parti--he has gone away."

"Com-MENT?"

"Il est parti--his man and his baggage have gone away too!"

It was incredible.  A man in that condition to arise and depart.

Dick answered the phone-call from Franz.  "You shouldn't have told
Nicole," he protested.

"Kaethe told her, very unwisely."

"I suppose it was my fault.  Never tell a thing to a woman till
it's done.  However, I'll meet Nicole . . . say, Franz, the
craziest thing has happened down here--the old boy took up his bed
and walked. . . ."

"At what?  What did you say?"

"I say he walked, old Warren--he walked!"

"But why not?"

"He was supposed to be dying of general collapse . . . he got up
and walked away, back to Chicago, I guess. . . .  I don't know, the
nurse is here now. . . .  I don't know, Franz--I've just heard
about it. . . .  Call me later."

He spent the better part of two hours tracing Warren's movements.
The patient had found an opportunity between the change of day and
night nurses to resort to the bar where he had gulped down four
whiskeys; he paid his hotel bill with a thousand dollar note,
instructing the desk that the change should be sent after him, and
departed, presumably for America.  A last minute dash by Dick and
Dangeu to overtake him at the station resulted only in Dick's
failing to meet Nicole; when they did meet in the lobby of the
hotel she seemed suddenly tired, and there was a tight purse to her
lips that disquieted him.

"How's father?" she demanded.

"He's much better.  He seemed to have a good deal of reserve energy
after all."  He hesitated, breaking it to her easy.  "In fact he
got up and went away."

Wanting a drink, for the chase had occupied the dinner hour, he led
her, puzzled, toward the grill, and continued as they occupied two
leather easy-chairs and ordered a high-ball and a glass of beer:
"The man who was taking care of him made a wrong prognosis or
something--wait a minute, I've hardly had time to think the thing
out myself."

"He's GONE?"

"He got the evening train for Paris."

They sat silent.  From Nicole flowed a vast tragic apathy.

"It was instinct," Dick said, finally.  "He was really dying, but
he tried to get a resumption of rhythm--he's not the first person
that ever walked off his death-bed--like an old clock--you know,
you shake it and somehow from sheer habit it gets going again.  Now
your father--"

"Oh, don't tell me," she said.

"His principal fuel was fear," he continued.  "He got afraid, and
off he went.  He'll probably live till ninety--"

"Please don't tell me any more," she said.  "Please don't--I
couldn't stand any more."

"All right.  The little devil I came down to see is hopeless.  We
may as well go back to-morrow."

"I don't see why you have to--come in contact with all this," she
burst forth.

"Oh, don't you?  Sometimes I don't either."

She put her hand on his.

"Oh, I'm sorry I said that, Dick."

Some one had brought a phonograph into the bar and they sat
listening to The Wedding of the Painted Doll.



III


One morning a week later, stopping at the desk for his mail, Dick
became aware of some extra commotion outside: Patient Von Cohn
Morris was going away.  His parents, Australians, were putting his
baggage vehemently into a large limousine, and beside them stood
Doctor Ladislau protesting with ineffectual attitudes against the
violent gesturings of Morris, senior.  The young man was regarding
his embarkation with aloof cynicism as Doctor Diver approached.

"Isn't this a little sudden, Mr. Morris?"

Mr. Morris started as he saw Dick--his florid face and the large
checks on his suit seemed to turn off and on like electric lights.
He approached Dick as though to strike him.

"High time we left, we and those who have come with us," he began,
and paused for breath.  "It is high time, Doctor Diver.  High
time."

"Will you come in my office?" Dick suggested.

"Not I!  I'll talk to you, but I'm washing my hands of you and your
place."

He shook his finger at Dick.  "I was just telling this doctor here.
We've wasted our time and our money."

Doctor Ladislau stirred in a feeble negative, signalling up a vague
Slavic evasiveness.  Dick had never liked Ladislau.  He managed to
walk the excited Australian along the path in the direction of his
office, trying to persuade him to enter; but the man shook his
head.

"It's you, Doctor Diver, YOU, the very man.  I went to Doctor
Ladislau because you were not to be found, Doctor Diver, and
because Doctor Gregorovius is not expected until the nightfall, and
I would not wait.  No, sir!  I would not wait a minute after my son
told me the truth."

He came up menacingly to Dick, who kept his hands loose enough to
drop him if it seemed necessary.  "My son is here for alcoholism,
and he told us he smelt liquor on your breath.  Yes, sir!"  He made
a quick, apparently unsuccessful sniff.  "Not once, but twice Von
Cohn says he has smelt liquor on your breath.  I and my lady have
never touched a drop of it in our lives.  We hand Von Cohn to you
to be cured, and within a month he twice smells liquor on your
breath!  What kind of cure is that there?"

Dick hesitated; Mr. Morris was quite capable of making a scene on
the clinic drive.

"After all, Mr. Morris, some people are not going to give up what
they regard as food because of your son--"

"But you're a doctor, man!" cried Morris furiously.  "When the
workmen drink their beer that's bad 'cess to them--but you're here
supposing to cure--"

"This has gone too far.  Your son came to us because of
kleptomania."

"What was behind it?"  The man was almost shrieking.  "Drink--black
drink.  Do you know what color black is?  It's black!  My own uncle
was hung by the neck because of it, you hear?  My son comes to a
sanitarium, and a doctor reeks of it!"

"I must ask you to leave."

"You ASK me!  We ARE leaving!"

"If you could be a little temperate we could tell you the results
of the treatment to date.  Naturally, since you feel as you do, we
would not want your son as a patient--"

"You dare to use the word temperate to me?"

Dick called to Doctor Ladislau and as he approached, said:  "Will
you represent us in saying good-by to the patient and to his
family?"

He bowed slightly to Morris and went into his office, and stood
rigid for a moment just inside the door.  He watched until they
drove away, the gross parents, the bland, degenerate offspring: it
was easy to prophesy the family's swing around Europe, bullying
their betters with hard ignorance and hard money.  But what
absorbed Dick after the disappearance of the caravan was the
question as to what extent he had provoked this.  He drank claret
with each meal, took a nightcap, generally in the form of hot rum,
and sometimes he tippled with gin in the afternoons--gin was the
most difficult to detect on the breath.  He was averaging a half-
pint of alcohol a day, too much for his system to burn up.

Dismissing a tendency to justify himself, he sat down at his desk
and wrote out, like a prescription, a régime that would cut his
liquor in half.  Doctors, chauffeurs, and Protestant clergymen
could never smell of liquor, as could painters, brokers, cavalry
leaders; Dick blamed himself only for indiscretion.  But the matter
was by no means clarified half an hour later when Franz, revivified
by an Alpine fortnight, rolled up the drive, so eager to resume
work that he was plunged in it before he reached his office.  Dick
met him there.

"How was Mount Everest?"

"We could very well have done Mount Everest the rate we were doing.
We thought of it.  How goes it all?  How is my Kaethe, how is your
Nicole?"

"All goes smooth domestically.  But my God, Franz, we had a rotten
scene this morning."

"How?  What was it?"

Dick walked around the room while Franz got in touch with his villa
by telephone.  After the family exchange was over, Dick said:  "The
Morris boy was taken away--there was a row."

Franz's buoyant face fell.

"I knew he'd left.  I met Ladislau on the veranda."

"What did Ladislau say?"

"Just that young Morris had gone--that you'd tell me about it.
What about it?"

"The usual incoherent reasons."

"He was a devil, that boy."

"He was a case for anesthesia," Dick agreed.  "Anyhow, the father
had beaten Ladislau into a colonial subject by the time I came
along.  What about Ladislau?  Do we keep him?  I say no--he's not
much of a man, he can't seem to cope with anything."  Dick
hesitated on the verge of the truth, swung away to give himself
space within which to recapitulate.  Franz perched on the edge of a
desk, still in his linen duster and travelling gloves.  Dick said:

"One of the remarks the boy made to his father was that your
distinguished collaborator was a drunkard.  The man is a fanatic,
and the descendant seems to have caught traces of vin-du-pays on
me."

Franz sat down, musing on his lower lip.  "You can tell me at
length," he said finally.

"Why not now?" Dick suggested.  "You must know I'm the last man to
abuse liquor."  His eyes and Franz's glinted on each other, pair on
pair.  "Ladislau let the man get so worked up that I was on the
defensive.  It might have happened in front of patients, and you
can imagine how hard it could be to defend yourself in a situation
like that!"

Franz took off his gloves and coat.  He went to the door and told
the secretary, "Don't disturb us."  Coming back into the room he
flung himself at the long table and fooled with his mail, reasoning
as little as is characteristic of people in such postures, rather
summoning up a suitable mask for what he had to say.

"Dick, I know well that you are a temperate, well-balanced man,
even though we do not entirely agree on the subject of alcohol.
But a time has come--Dick, I must say frankly that I have been
aware several times that you have had a drink when it was not the
moment to have one.  There is some reason.  Why not try another
leave of abstinence?"

"Absence," Dick corrected him automatically.  "It's no solution for
me to go away."

They were both chafed, Franz at having his return marred and
blurred.

"Sometimes you don't use your common sense, Dick."

"I never understood what common sense meant applied to complicated
problems--unless it means that a general practitioner can perform a
better operation than a specialist."

He was seized by an overwhelming disgust for the situation.  To
explain, to patch--these were not natural functions at their age--
better to continue with the cracked echo of an old truth in the
ears.

"This is no go," he said suddenly.

"Well, that's occurred to me," Franz admitted.  "Your heart isn't
in this project any more, Dick."

"I know.  I want to leave--we could strike some arrangement about
taking Nicole's money out gradually."

"I have thought about that too, Dick--I have seen this coming.  I
am able to arrange other backing, and it will be possible to take
all your money out by the end of the year."

Dick had not intended to come to a decision so quickly, nor was he
prepared for Franz's so ready acquiescence in the break, yet he was
relieved.  Not without desperation he had long felt the ethics of
his profession dissolving into a lifeless mass.



IV


The Divers would return to the Riviera, which was home.  The Villa
Diana had been rented again for the summer, so they divided the
intervening time between German spas and French cathedral towns
where they were always happy for a few days.  Dick wrote a little
with no particular method; it was one of those parts of life that
is an awaiting; not upon Nicole's health, which seemed to thrive on
travel, nor upon work, but simply an awaiting.  The factor that
gave purposefulness to the period was the children.

Dick's interest in them increased with their ages, now eleven and
nine.  He managed to reach them over the heads of employees on the
principle that both the forcing of children and the fear of
forcing them were inadequate substitutes for the long, careful
watchfulness, the checking and balancing and reckoning of accounts,
to the end that there should be no slip below a certain level of
duty.  He came to know them much better than Nicole did, and in
expansive moods over the wines of several countries he talked and
played with them at length.  They had that wistful charm, almost
sadness, peculiar to children who have learned early not to cry or
laugh with abandon; they were apparently moved to no extremes of
emotion, but content with a simple regimentation and the simple
pleasures allowed them.  They lived on the even tenor found
advisable in the experience of old families of the Western world,
brought up rather than brought out.  Dick thought, for example,
that nothing was more conducive to the development of observation
than compulsory silence.

Lanier was an unpredictable boy with an inhuman curiosity.  "Well,
how many Pomeranians would it take to lick a lion, father?" was
typical of the questions with which he harassed Dick.  Topsy was
easier.  She was nine and very fair and exquisitely made like
Nicole, and in the past Dick had worried about that.  Lately she
had become as robust as any American child.  He was satisfied with
them both, but conveyed the fact to them only in a tacit way.  They
were not let off breaches of good conduct--"Either one learns
politeness at home," Dick said, "or the world teaches it to you
with a whip and you may get hurt in the process.  What do I care
whether Topsy 'adores' me or not?  I'm not bringing her up to be my
wife."

Another element that distinguished this summer and autumn for the
Divers was a plenitude of money.  Due to the sale of their interest
in the clinic, and to developments in America, there was now so
much that the mere spending of it, the care of goods, was an
absorption in itself.  The style in which they travelled seemed
fabulous.

Regard them, for example, as the train slows up at Boyen where they
are to spend a fortnight visiting.  The shifting from the wagon-lit
has begun at the Italian frontier.  The governess's maid and Madame
Diver's maid have come up from second class to help with the
baggage and the dogs.  Mlle. Bellois will superintend the hand-
luggage, leaving the Sealyhams to one maid and the pair of Pekinese
to the other.  It is not necessarily poverty of spirit that makes a
woman surround herself with life--it can be a superabundance of
interest, and, except during her flashes of illness, Nicole was
capable of being curator of it all.  For example with the great
quantity of heavy baggage--presently from the van would be unloaded
four wardrobe trunks, a shoe trunk, three hat trunks, and two hat
boxes, a chest of servants' trunks, a portable filing-cabinet, a
medicine case, a spirit lamp container, a picnic set, four tennis
rackets in presses and cases, a phonograph, a typewriter.
Distributed among the spaces reserved for family and entourage were
two dozen supplementary grips, satchels and packages, each one
numbered, down to the tag on the cane case.  Thus all of it could
be checked up in two minutes on any station platform, some for
storage, some for accompaniment from the "light trip list" or the
"heavy trip list," constantly revised, and carried on metal-edged
plaques in Nicole's purse.  She had devised the system as a child
when travelling with her failing mother.  It was equivalent to the
system of a regimental supply officer who must think of the bellies
and equipment of three thousand men.

The Divers flocked from the train into the early gathered twilight
of the valley.  The village people watched the debarkation with an
awe akin to that which followed the Italian pilgrimages of Lord
Byron a century before.  Their hostess was the Contessa di
Minghetti, lately Mary North.  The journey that had begun in a room
over the shop of a paperhanger in Newark had ended in an
extraordinary marriage.

"Conte di Minghetti" was merely a papal title--the wealth of Mary's
husband flowed from his being ruler-owner of manganese deposits in
southwestern Asia.  He was not quite light enough to travel in a
pullman south of Mason-Dixon; he was of the Kyble-Berber-Sabaean-
Hindu strain that belts across north Africa and Asia, more
sympathetic to the European than the mongrel faces of the ports.

When these princely households, one of the East, one of the West,
faced each other on the station platform, the splendor of the
Divers seemed pioneer simplicity by comparison.  Their hosts were
accompanied by an Italian major-domo carrying a staff, by a quartet
of turbaned retainers on motorcycles, and by two half-veiled
females who stood respectfully a little behind Mary and salaamed at
Nicole, making her jump with the gesture.

To Mary as well as to the Divers the greeting was faintly comic;
Mary gave an apologetic, belittling giggle; yet her voice, as she
introduced her husband by his Asiatic title, flew proud and high.

In their rooms as they dressed for dinner, Dick and Nicole grimaced
at each other in an awed way: such rich as want to be thought
democratic pretend in private to be swept off their feet by swank.

"Little Mary North knows what she wants," Dick muttered through his
shaving cream.  "Abe educated her, and now she's married to a
Buddha.  If Europe ever goes Bolshevik she'll turn up as the bride
of Stalin."

Nicole looked around from her dressing-case.  "Watch your tongue,
Dick, will you?"  But she laughed.  "They're very swell.  The
warships all fire at them or salute them or something.  Mary rides
in the royal bus in London."

"All right," he agreed.  As he heard Nicole at the door asking for
pins, he called, "I wonder if I could have some whiskey; I feel the
mountain air!"

"She'll see to it," presently Nicole called through the bathroom
door.  "It was one of those women who were at the station.  She has
her veil off."

"What did Mary tell you about life?" he asked.

"She didn't say so much--she was interested in high life--she asked
me a lot of questions about my genealogy and all that sort of
thing, as if I knew anything about it.  But it seems the bridegroom
has two very tan children by another marriage--one of them ill with
some Asiatic thing they can't diagnose.  I've got to warn the
children.  Sounds very peculiar to me.  Mary will see how we'd feel
about it."  She stood worrying a minute.

"She'll understand," Dick reassured her.  "Probably the child's in
bed."

At dinner Dick talked to Hosain, who had been at an English public
school.  Hosain wanted to know about stocks and about Hollywood and
Dick, whipping up his imagination with champagne, told him
preposterous tales.

"Billions?" Hosain demanded.

"Trillions," Dick assured him.

"I didn't truly realize--"

"Well, perhaps millions," Dick conceded.  "Every hotel guest is
assigned a harem--or what amounts to a harem."

"Other than the actors and directors?"

"Every hotel guest--even travelling salesmen.  Why, they tried to
send me up a dozen candidates, but Nicole wouldn't stand for it."

Nicole reproved him when they were in their room alone.  "Why so
many highballs?  Why did you use your word spic in front of him?"

"Excuse me, I meant smoke.  The tongue slipped."

"Dick, this isn't faintly like you."

"Excuse me again.  I'm not much like myself any more."

That night Dick opened a bathroom window, giving on a narrow and
tubular court of the château, gray as rats but echoing at the
moment to plaintive and peculiar music, sad as a flute.  Two men
were chanting in an Eastern language or dialect full of k's and
l's--he leaned out but he could not see them; there was obviously a
religious significance in the sounds, and tired and emotionless he
let them pray for him too, but what for, save that he should not
lose himself in his increasing melancholy, he did not know.

Next day, over a thinly wooded hillside they shot scrawny birds,
distant poor relations to the partridge.  It was done in a vague
imitation of the English manner, with a corps of inexperienced
beaters whom Dick managed to miss by firing only directly overhead.

On their return Lanier was waiting in their suite.

"Father, you said tell you immediately if we were near the sick
boy."

Nicole whirled about, immediately on guard.

"--so, Mother," Lanier continued, turning to her, "the boy takes a
bath every evening and to-night he took his bath just before mine
and I had to take mine in his water, and it was dirty."

"What?  Now what?"

"I saw them take Tony out of it, and then they called me into it
and the water was dirty."

"But--did you take it?"

"Yes, Mother."

"Heavens!" she exclaimed to Dick.

He demanded:  "Why didn't Lucienne draw your bath?"

"Lucienne can't.  It's a funny heater--it reached out of itself and
burned her arm last night and she's afraid of it, so one of those
two women--"

"You go in this bathroom and take a bath now."

"Don't say _I_ told you," said Lanier from the doorway.

Dick went in and sprinkled the tub with sulphur; closing the door
he said to Nicole:

"Either we speak to Mary or we'd better get out."

She agreed and he continued:  "People think their children are
constitutionally cleaner than other people's, and their diseases
are less contagious."

Dick came in and helped himself from the decanter, chewing a
biscuit savagely in the rhythm of the pouring water in the
bathroom.

"Tell Lucienne that she's got to learn about the heater--" he
suggested.  At that moment the Asiatic woman came in person to the
door.

"El Contessa--"

Dick beckoned her inside and closed the door.

"Is the little sick boy better?" he inquired pleasantly.

"Better, yes, but he still has the eruptions frequently."

"That's too bad--I'm very sorry.  But you see our children mustn't
be bathed in his water.  That's out of the question--I'm sure your
mistress would be furious if she had known you had done a thing
like that."

"I?"  She seemed thunderstruck.  "Why, I merely saw your maid had
difficulty with the heater--I told her about it and started the
water."

"But with a sick person you must empty the bathwater entirely out,
and clean the tub."

"I?"

Chokingly the woman drew a long breath, uttered a convulsed sob and
rushed from the room.

"She mustn't get up on western civilization at our expense," he
said grimly.

At dinner that night he decided that it must inevitably be a
truncated visit: about his own country Hosain seemed to have
observed only that there were many mountains and some goats and
herders of goats.  He was a reserved young man--to draw him out
would have required the sincere effort that Dick now reserved for
his family.  Soon after dinner Hosain left Mary and the Divers to
themselves, but the old unity was split--between them lay the
restless social fields that Mary was about to conquer.  Dick was
relieved when, at nine-thirty, Mary received and read a note and
got up.

"You'll have to excuse me.  My husband is leaving on a short trip--
and I must be with him."

Next morning, hard on the heels of the servant bringing coffee,
Mary entered their room.  She was dressed and they were not
dressed, and she had the air of having been up for some time.  Her
face was toughened with quiet jerky fury.

"What is this story about Lanier having been bathed in a dirty
bath?"

Dick began to protest, but she cut through:

"What is this story that you commanded my husband's sister to clean
Lanier's tub?"

She remained on her feet staring at them, as they sat impotent as
idols in their beds, weighted by their trays.  Together they
exclaimed:  "His SISTER!"

"That you ordered one of his sisters to clean out a tub!"

"We didn't--" their voices rang together saying the same thing, "--
I spoke to the native servant--"

"You spoke to Hosain's sister."

Dick could only say:  "I supposed they were two maids."

"You were told they were Himadoun."

"What?"  Dick got out of bed and into a robe.

"I explained it to you at the piano night before last.  Don't tell
me you were too merry to understand."

"Was that what you said?  I didn't hear the beginning.  I didn't
connect the--we didn't make any connection, Mary.  Well, all we can
do is see her and apologize."

"See her and apologize!  I explained to you that when the oldest
member of the family--when the oldest one marries, well, the two
oldest sisters consecrate themselves to being Himadoun, to being
his wife's ladies-in-waiting."

"Was that why Hosain left the house last night?"

Mary hesitated; then nodded.

"He had to--they all left.  His honor makes it necessary."

Now both the Divers were up and dressing; Mary went on:

"And what's all that about the bathwater.  As if a thing like that
could happen in this house!  We'll ask Lanier about it."

Dick sat on the bedside indicating in a private gesture to Nicole
that she should take over.  Meanwhile Mary went to the door and
spoke to an attendant in Italian.

"Wait a minute," Nicole said.  "I won't have that."

"You accused us," answered Mary, in a tone she had never used to
Nicole before.  "Now I have a right to see."

"I won't have the child brought in."  Nicole threw on her clothes
as though they were chain mail.

"That's all right," said Dick.  "Bring Lanier in.  We'll settle
this bathtub matter--fact or myth."

Lanier, half clothed mentally and physically, gazed at the angered
faces of the adults.

"Listen, Lanier," Mary demanded, "how did you come to think you
were bathed in water that had been used before?"

"Speak up," Dick added.

"It was just dirty, that was all."

"Couldn't you hear the new water running, from your room, next
door?"

Lanier admitted the possibility but reiterated his point--the water
was dirty.  He was a little awed; he tried to see ahead:

"It couldn't have been running, because--"

They pinned him down.

"Why not?"

He stood in his little kimono arousing the sympathy of his parents
and further arousing Mary's impatience--then he said:

"The water was dirty, it was full of soap-suds."

"When you're not sure what you're saying--" Mary began, but Nicole
interrupted.

"Stop it, Mary.  If there were dirty suds in the water it was
logical to think it was dirty.  His father told him to come--"

"There couldn't have been dirty suds in the water."

Lanier looked reproachfully at his father, who had betrayed him.
Nicole turned him about by the shoulders and sent him out of the
room; Dick broke the tensity with a laugh.

Then, as if the sound recalled the past, the old friendship, Mary
guessed how far away from them she had gone and said in a
mollifying tone:  "It's always like that with children."

Her uneasiness grew as she remembered the past.  "You'd be silly to
go--Hosain wanted to make this trip anyhow.  After all, you're my
guests and you just blundered into the thing."  But Dick, made more
angry by this obliqueness and the use of the word blunder, turned
away and began arranging his effects, saying:

"It's too bad about the young women.  I'd like to apologize to the
one who came in here."

"If you'd only listened on the piano seat!"

"But you've gotten so damned dull, Mary.  I listened as long as I
could."

"Be quiet!" Nicole advised him.

"I return his compliment," said Mary bitterly.  "Good-by, Nicole."
She went out.

After all that there was no question of her coming to see them off;
the major-domo arranged the departure.  Dick left formal notes for
Hosain and the sisters.  There was nothing to do except to go, but
all of them, especially Lanier, felt bad about it.

"I insist," insisted Lanier on the train, "that it was dirty
bathwater."

"That'll do," his father said.  "You better forget it--unless you
want me to divorce you.  Did you know there was a new law in France
that you can divorce a child?"

Lanier roared with delight and the Divers were unified again--Dick
wondered how many more times it could be done.



V


Nicole went to the window and bent over the sill to take a look at
the rising altercation on the terrace; the April sun shone pink on
the saintly face of Augustine, the cook, and blue on the butcher's
knife she waved in her drunken hand.  She had been with them since
their return to Villa Diana in February.

Because of an obstruction of an awning she could see only Dick's
head and his hand holding one of his heavy canes with a bronze knob
on it.  The knife and the cane, menacing each other, were like
tripos and short sword in a gladiatorial combat.  Dick's words
reached her first:

"--care how much kitchen wine you drink but when I find you digging
into a bottle of Chablis Moutonne--"

"You talk about drinking!" Augustine cried, flourishing her sabre.
"You drink--all the time!"

Nicole called over the awning:  "What's the matter, Dick?" and he
answered in English:

"The old girl has been polishing off the vintage wines.  I'm firing
her--at least I'm trying to."

"Heavens!  Well, don't let her reach you with that knife."

Augustine shook her knife up at Nicole.  Her old mouth was made of
two small intersecting cherries.

"I would like to say, Madame, if you knew that your husband drinks
over at his Bastide comparatively as a day-laborer--"

"Shut up and get out!" interrupted Nicole.  "We'll get the
gendarmes."

"YOU'LL get the gendarmes!  With my brother in the corps!  You--a
disgusting American?"

In English Dick called up to Nicole:

"Get the children away from the house till I settle this."

"--disgusting Americans who come here and drink up our finest
wines," screamed Augustine with the voice of the commune.

Dick mastered a firmer tone.

"You must leave now!  I'll pay you what we owe you."

"Very sure you'll pay me!  And let me tell you--" she came close
and waved the knife so furiously that Dick raised his stick,
whereupon she rushed into the kitchen and returned with the carving
knife reinforced by a hatchet.

The situation was not prepossessing--Augustine was a strong woman
and could be disarmed only at the risk of serious results to
herself--and severe legal complications which were the lot of one
who molested a French citizen.  Trying a bluff Dick called up to
Nicole:

"Phone the poste de police."  Then to Augustine, indicating her
armament, "This means arrest for you."

"Ha-HA!" she laughed demoniacally; nevertheless she came no nearer.
Nicole phoned the police but was answered with what was almost an
echo of Augustine's laugh.  She heard mumbles and passings of the
word around--the connection was suddenly broken.

Returning to the window she called down to Dick:  "Give her
something extra!"

"If I could get to that phone!"  As this seemed impracticable, Dick
capitulated.  For fifty francs, increased to a hundred as he
succumbed to the idea of getting her out hastily, Augustine yielded
her fortress, covering the retreat with stormy grenades of
"Salaud!"  She would leave only when her nephew could come for her
baggage.  Waiting cautiously in the neighborhood of the kitchen
Dick heard a cork pop, but he yielded the point.  There was no
further trouble--when the nephew arrived, all apologetic, Augustine
bade Dick a cheerful, convivial good-by and called up "All revoir,
Madame!  Bonne chance!" to Nicole's window.

The Divers went to Nice and dined on a bouillabaisse, which is a
stew of rock fish and small lobsters, highly seasoned with saffron,
and a bottle of cold Chablis.  He expressed pity for Augustine.

"I'm not sorry a bit," said Nicole.

"I'm sorry--and yet I wish I'd shoved her over the cliff."

There was little they dared talk about in these days; seldom did
they find the right word when it counted, it arrived always a
moment too late when one could not reach the other any more.  To-
night Augustine's outburst had shaken them from their separate
reveries; with the burn and chill of the spiced broth and the
parching wine they talked.

"We can't go on like this," Nicole suggested.  "Or can we?--what do
you think?"  Startled that for the moment Dick did not deny it, she
continued, "Some of the time I think it's my fault--I've ruined
you."

"So I'm ruined, am I?" he inquired pleasantly.

"I didn't mean that.  But you used to want to create things--now
you seem to want to smash them up."

She trembled at criticizing him in these broad terms--but his
enlarging silence frightened her even more.  She guessed that
something was developing behind the silence, behind the hard,
blue eyes, the almost unnatural interest in the children.
Uncharacteristic bursts of temper surprised her--he would suddenly
unroll a long scroll of contempt for some person, race, class, way
of life, way of thinking.  It was as though an incalculable story
was telling itself inside him, about which she could only guess at
in the moments when it broke through the surface.

"After all, what do you get out of this?" she demanded.

"Knowing you're stronger every day.  Knowing that your illness
follows the law of diminishing returns."

His voice came to her from far off, as though he were speaking of
something remote and academic; her alarm made her exclaim, "Dick!"
and she thrust her hand forward to his across the table.  A reflex
pulled Dick's hand back and he added:  "There's the whole situation
to think of, isn't there?  There's not just you."  He covered her
hand with his and said in the old pleasant voice of a conspirator
for pleasure, mischief, profit, and delight:

"See that boat out there?"

It was the motor yacht of T. F. Golding lying placid among the
little swells of the Nicean Bay, constantly bound upon a romantic
voyage that was not dependent upon actual motion.  "We'll go out
there now and ask the people on board what's the matter with them.
We'll find out if they're happy."

"We hardly know him," Nicole objected.

"He urged us.  Besides, Baby knows him--she practically married
him, doesn't she--didn't she?"

When they put out from the port in a hired launch it was already
summer dusk and lights were breaking out in spasms along the
rigging of the Margin.  As they drew up alongside, Nicole's doubts
reasserted themselves.

"He's having a party--"

"It's only a radio," he guessed.

They were hailed--a huge white-haired man in a white suit looked
down at them, calling:

"Do I recognize the Divers?"

"Boat ahoy, Margin!"

Their boat moved under the companionway; as they mounted Golding
doubled his huge frame to give Nicole a hand.

"Just in time for dinner."

A small orchestra was playing astern.

"I'm yours for the asking--but till then you can't ask me to
behave--"

And as Golding's cyclonic arms blew them aft without touching them,
Nicole was sorrier they had come, and more impatient at Dick.
Having taken up an attitude of aloofness from the gay people here,
at the time when Dick's work and her health were incompatible with
going about, they had a reputation as refusers.  Riviera
replacements during the ensuing years interpreted this as a vague
unpopularity.  Nevertheless, having taken such a stand, Nicole felt
it should not be cheaply compromised for a momentary self-
indulgence.

As they passed through the principal salon they saw ahead of them
figures that seemed to dance in the half light of the circular
stern.  This was an illusion made by the enchantment of the music,
the unfamiliar lighting, and the surrounding presence of water.
Actually, save for some busy stewards, the guests loafed on a wide
divan that followed the curve of the deck.  There were a white, a
red, a blurred dress, the laundered chests of several men, of whom
one, detaching and identifying himself, brought from Nicole a rare
little cry of delight.

"Tommy!"

Brushing aside the Gallicism of his formal dip at her hand, Nicole
pressed her face against his.  They sat, or rather lay down
together on the Antoninian bench.  His handsome face was so dark as
to have lost the pleasantness of deep tan, without attaining the
blue beauty of Negroes--it was just worn leather.  The foreignness
of his depigmentation by unknown suns, his nourishment by strange
soils, his tongue awkward with the curl of many dialects, his
reactions attuned to odd alarms--these things fascinated and rested
Nicole--in the moment of meeting she lay on his bosom, spiritually,
going out and out. . . .  Then self-preservation reasserted itself
and retiring to her own world she spoke lightly.

"You look just like all the adventurers in the movies--but why do
you have to stay away so long?"

Tommy Barban looked at her, uncomprehending but alert; the pupils
of his eyes flashed.

"Five years," she continued, in throaty mimicry of nothing.  "MUCH
too long.  Couldn't you only slaughter a certain number of
creatures and then come back, and breathe our air for a while?"

In her cherished presence Tommy Europeanized himself quickly.

"Mais pour nous héros," he said, "il nous faut du temps, Nicole.
Nous ne pouvons pas faire de petits exercises d'héroisme--il faut
faire les grandes compositions."

"Talk English to me, Tommy."

"Parlez français avec moi, Nicole."

"But the meanings are different--in French you can be heroic and
gallant with dignity, and you know it.  But in English you can't be
heroic and gallant without being a little absurd, and you know that
too.  That gives me an advantage."

"But after all--"  He chuckled suddenly.  "Even in English I'm
brave, heroic and all that."

She pretended to be groggy with wonderment but he was not abashed.

"I only know what I see in the cinema," he said.

"Is it all like the movies?"

"The movies aren't so bad--now this Ronald Colman--have you seen
his pictures about the Corps d'Afrique du Nord?  They're not bad at
all."

"Very well, whenever I go to the movies I'll know you're going
through just that sort of thing at that moment."

As she spoke, Nicole was aware of a small, pale, pretty young woman
with lovely metallic hair, almost green in the deck lights, who had
been sitting on the other side of Tommy and might have been part
either of their conversation or of the one next to them.  She had
obviously had a monopoly of Tommy, for now she abandoned hope of
his attention with what was once called ill grace, and petulantly
crossed the crescent of the deck.

"After all, I am a hero," Tommy said calmly, only half joking.  "I
have ferocious courage, US-ually, something like a lion, something
like a drunken man."

Nicole waited until the echo of his boast had died away in his
mind--she knew he had probably never made such a statement before.
Then she looked among the strangers, and found as usual, the fierce
neurotics, pretending calm, liking the country only in horror of
the city, of the sound of their own voices which had set the tone
and pitch. . . .  She asked:

"Who is the woman in white?"

"The one who was beside me?  Lady Caroline Sibly-Biers."--They
listened for a moment to her voice across the way:

"The man's a scoundrel, but he's a cat of the stripe.  We sat up
all night playing two-handed chemin-de-fer, and he owes me a mille
Swiss."

Tommy laughed and said:  "She is now the wickedest woman in London--
whenever I come back to Europe there is a new crop of the
wickedest women from London.  She's the very latest--though I
believe there is now one other who's considered almost as wicked."

Nicole glanced again at the woman across the deck--she was fragile,
tubercular--it was incredible that such narrow shoulders, such puny
arms could bear aloft the pennon of decadence, last ensign of the
fading empire.  Her resemblance was rather to one of John Held's
flat-chested flappers than to the hierarchy of tall languid blondes
who had posed for painters and novelists since before the war.

Golding approached, fighting down the resonance of his huge bulk,
which transmitted his will as through a gargantuan amplifier, and
Nicole, still reluctant, yielded to his reiterated points: that the
Margin was starting for Cannes immediately after dinner; that they
could always pack in some caviare and champagne, even though they
had dined; that in any case Dick was now on the phone, telling
their chauffeur in Nice to drive their car back to Cannes and leave
it in front of the Café des Alliées where the Divers could retrieve
it.

They moved into the dining salon and Dick was placed next to Lady
Sibly-Biers.  Nicole saw that his usually ruddy face was drained of
blood; he talked in a dogmatic voice, of which only snatches
reached Nicole:

". . . It's all right for you English, you're doing a dance of
death. . . .  Sepoys in the ruined fort, I mean Sepoys at the gate
and gaiety in the fort and all that.  The green hat, the crushed
hat, no future."

Lady Caroline answered him in short sentences spotted with the
terminal "What?" the double-edged "Quite!" the depressing
"Cheerio!" that always had a connotation of imminent peril, but
Dick appeared oblivious to the warning signals.  Suddenly he made a
particularly vehement pronouncement, the purport of which eluded
Nicole, but she saw the young woman turn dark and sinewy, and heard
her answer sharply:

"After all a chep's a chep and a chum's a chum."

Again he had offended some one--couldn't he hold his tongue a
little longer?  How long?  To death then.

At the piano, a fair-haired young Scotsman from the orchestra
(entitled by its drum "The Ragtime College Jazzes of Edinboro") had
begun singing in a Danny Deever monotone, accompanying himself with
low chords on the piano.  He pronounced his words with great
precision, as though they impressed him almost intolerably.


     "There was a young lady from hell,
      Who jumped at the sound of a bell,
      Because she was bad--bad--bad,
      She jumped at the sound of a bell,
      From hell (BOOMBOOM)
      From hell (TOOTTOOT)
      There was a young lady from hell--"


"What is all this?" whispered Tommy to Nicole.

The girl on the other side of him supplied the answer:

"Caroline Sibly-Biers wrote the words.  He wrote the music."

"Quelle enfanterie!" Tommy murmured as the next verse began,
hinting at the jumpy lady's further predilections.  "On dirait
qu'il récite Racine!"

On the surface at least, Lady Caroline was paying no attention to
the performance of her work.  Glancing at her again Nicole found
herself impressed, neither with the character nor the personality,
but with the sheer strength derived from an attitude; Nicole
thought that she was formidable, and she was confirmed in this
point of view as the party rose from table.  Dick remained in his
seat wearing an odd expression; then he crashed into words with a
harsh ineptness.

"I don't like innuendo in these deafening English whispers."

Already half-way out of the room Lady Caroline turned and walked
back to him; she spoke in a low clipped voice purposely audible to
the whole company.

"You came to me asking for it--disparaging my countrymen,
disparaging my friend, Mary Minghetti.  I simply said you were
observed associating with a questionable crowd in Lausanne.  Is
that a deafening whisper?  Or does it simply deafen YOU?"

"It's still not loud enough," said Dick, a little too late.  "So I
am actually a notorious--"

Golding crushed out the phrase with his voice saying:

"What!  What!" and moved his guests on out, with the threat of his
powerful body.  Turning the corner of the door Nicole saw that Dick
was still sitting at the table.  She was furious at the woman for
her preposterous statement, equally furious at Dick for having
brought them here, for having become fuddled, for having untipped
the capped barbs of his irony, for having come off humiliated--she
was a little more annoyed because she knew that her taking
possession of Tommy Barban on their arrival had first irritated the
Englishwoman.

A moment later she saw Dick standing in the gangway, apparently in
complete control of himself as he talked with Golding; then for
half an hour she did not see him anywhere about the deck and she
broke out of an intricate Malay game, played with string and coffee
beans, and said to Tommy:

"I've got to find Dick."

Since dinner the yacht had been in motion westward.  The fine night
streamed away on either side, the Diesel engines pounded softly,
there was a spring wind that blew Nicole's hair abruptly when she
reached the bow, and she had a sharp lesion of anxiety at seeing
Dick standing in the angle by the flagstaff.  His voice was serene
as he recognized her.

"It's a nice night."

"I was worried."

"Oh, you were worried?"

"Oh, don't talk that way.  It would give me so much pleasure to
think of a little something I could do for you, Dick."

He turned away from her, toward the veil of starlight over Africa.

"I believe that's true, Nicole.  And sometimes I believe that the
littler it was, the more pleasure it would give you."

"Don't talk like that--don't say such things."

His face, wan in the light that the white spray caught and tossed
back to the brilliant sky had none of the lines of annoyance she
had expected.  It was even detached; his eyes focussed upon her
gradually as upon a chessman to be moved; in the same slow manner
he caught her wrist and drew her near.

"You ruined me, did you?" he inquired blandly.  "Then we're both
ruined.  So--"

Cold with terror she put her other wrist into his grip.  All right,
she would go with him--again she felt the beauty of the night
vividly in one moment of complete response and abnegation--all
right, then--

--but now she was unexpectedly free and Dick turned his back
sighing.  "Tch! tch!"

Tears streamed down Nicole's face--in a moment she heard some one
approaching; it was Tommy.

"You found him!  Nicole thought maybe you jumped overboard, Dick,"
he said, "because that little English poule slanged you."

"It'd be a good setting to jump overboard," said Dick mildly.

"Wouldn't it?" agreed Nicole hastily.  "Let's borrow life-
preservers and jump over.  I think we should do something
spectacular.  I feel that all our lives have been too restrained."

Tommy sniffed from one to the other trying to breathe in the
situation with the night.  "We'll go ask the Lady Beer-and-Ale what
to do--she should know the latest things.  And we should memorize
her song 'There was a young lady from l'enfer.'  I shall translate
it, and make a fortune from its success at the Casino."

"Are you rich, Tommy?" Dick asked him, as they retraced the length
of the boat.

"Not as things go now.  I got tired of the brokerage business and
went away.  But I have good stocks in the hands of friends who are
holding it for me.  All goes well."

"Dick's getting rich," Nicole said.  In reaction her voice had
begun to tremble.

On the after deck Golding had fanned three pairs of dancers into
action with his colossal paws.  Nicole and Tommy joined them and
Tommy remarked:  "Dick seems to be drinking."

"Only moderately," she said loyally.

"There are those who can drink and those who can't.  Obviously Dick
can't.  You ought to tell him not to."

"I!" she exclaimed in amazement.  "_I_ tell Dick what he should do
or shouldn't do!"

But in a reticent way Dick was still vague and sleepy when they
reached the pier at Cannes.  Golding buoyed him down into the
launch of the Margin whereupon Lady Caroline shifted her place
conspicuously.  On the dock he bowed good-by with exaggerated
formality, and for a moment he seemed about to speed her with a
salty epigram, but the bone of Tommy's arm went into the soft part
of his and they walked to the attendant car.

"I'll drive you home," Tommy suggested.

"Don't bother--we can get a cab."

"I'd like to, if you can put me up."

On the back seat of the car Dick remained quiescent until the
yellow monolith of Golfe Juan was passed, and then the constant
carnival at Juan les Pins where the night was musical and strident
in many languages.  When the car turned up the hill toward Tarmes,
he sat up suddenly, prompted by the tilt of the vehicle and
delivered a peroration:

"A charming representative of the--" he stumbled momentarily, "--a
firm of--bring me Brains addled a l'Anglaise."  Then he went into
an appeased sleep, belching now and then contentedly into the soft
warm darkness.



VI


Next morning Dick came early into Nicole's room.  "I waited till I
heard you up.  Needless to say I feel badly about the evening--but
how about no postmortems?"

"I'm agreed," she answered coolly, carrying her face to the mirror.

"Tommy drove us home?  Or did I dream it?"

"You know he did."

"Seems probable," he admitted, "since I just heard him coughing.
I think I'll call on him."

She was glad when he left her, for almost the first time in her
life--his awful faculty of being right seemed to have deserted him
at last.

Tommy was stirring in his bed, waking for café au lait.

"Feel all right?" Dick asked.

When Tommy complained of a sore throat he seized at a professional
attitude.

"Better have a gargle or something."

"You have one?"

"Oddly enough I haven't--probably Nicole has."

"Don't disturb her."

"She's up."

"How is she?"

Dick turned around slowly.  "Did you expect her to be dead because
I was tight?"  His tone was pleasant.  "Nicole is now made of--of
Georgia pine, which is the hardest wood known, except lignum vitæ
from New Zealand--"

Nicole, going downstairs, heard the end of the conversation.  She
knew, as she had always known, that Tommy loved her; she knew he
had come to dislike Dick, and that Dick had realized it before he
did, and would react in some positive way to the man's lonely
passion.  This thought was succeeded by a moment of sheerly
feminine satisfaction.  She leaned over her children's breakfast
table and told off instructions to the governess, while upstairs
two men were concerned about her.

Later in the garden she was happy; she did not want anything to
happen, but only for the situation to remain in suspension as the
two men tossed her from one mind to another; she had not existed
for a long time, even as a ball.

"Nice, Rabbits, isn't it--Or is it?  Hey, Rabbit--hey you!  Is it
nice?--hey?  Or does it sound very peculiar to you?"

The rabbit, after an experience of practically nothing else and
cabbage leaves, agreed after a few tentative shiftings of the nose.

Nicole went on through her garden routine.  She left the flowers
she cut in designated spots to be brought to the house later by the
gardener.  Reaching the sea wall she fell into a communicative mood
and no one to communicate with; so she stopped and deliberated.
She was somewhat shocked at the idea of being interested in another
man--but other women have lovers--why not me?  In the fine spring
morning the inhibitions of the male world disappeared and she
reasoned as gaily as a flower, while the wind blew her hair until
her head moved with it.  Other women have had lovers--the same
forces that last night had made her yield to Dick up to the point
of death, now kept her head nodding to the wind, content and happy
with the logic of, Why shouldn't I?

She sat upon the low wall and looked down upon the sea.  But from
another sea, the wide swell of fantasy, she had fished out
something tangible to lay beside the rest of her loot.  If she need
not, in her spirit, be forever one with Dick as he had appeared
last night, she must be something in addition, not just an image on
his mind, condemned to endless parades around the circumference of
a medal.

Nicole had chosen this part of the wall on which to sit, because
the cliff shaded to a slanting meadow with a cultivated vegetable
garden.  Through a cluster of boughs she saw two men carrying rakes
and spades and talking in a counterpoint of Niçoise and Provençal.
Attracted by their words and gestures she caught the sense:

"I laid her down here."

"I took her behind the vines there."

"She doesn't care--neither does he.  It was that sacred dog.  Well,
I laid her down here--"

"You got the rake?"

"You got it yourself, you clown."

"Well, I don't care where you laid her down.  Until that night I
never even felt a woman's breast against my chest since I married--
twelve years ago.  And now you tell me--"

"But listen about the dog--"

Nicole watched them through the boughs; it seemed all right what
they were saying--one thing was good for one person, another for
another.  Yet it was a man's world she had overheard; going back to
the house she became doubtful again.

Dick and Tommy were on the terrace.  She walked through them and
into the house, brought out a sketch pad and began a head of Tommy.

"Hands never idle--distaff flying," Dick said lightly.  How could
he talk so trivially with the blood still drained down from his
cheeks so that the auburn lather of beard showed red as his eyes?
She turned to Tommy saying:

"I can always do something.  I used to have a nice active little
Polynesian ape and juggle him around for hours till people began to
make the most dismal rough jokes--"

She kept her eyes resolutely away from Dick.  Presently he excused
himself and went inside--she saw him pour himself two glasses of
water, and she hardened further.

"Nicole--" Tommy began but interrupted himself to clear the
harshness from his throat.

"I'm going to get you some special camphor rub," she suggested.
"It's American--Dick believes in it.  I'll be just a minute."

"I must go really."

Dick came out and sat down.  "Believes in what?"  When she returned
with the jar neither of the men had moved, though she gathered they
had had some sort of excited conversation about nothing.

The chauffeur was at the door, with a bag containing Tommy's
clothes of the night before.  The sight of Tommy in clothes
borrowed from Dick moved her sadly, falsely, as though Tommy were
not able to afford such clothes.

"When you get to the hotel rub this into your throat and chest and
then inhale it," she said.

"Say, there," Dick murmured as Tommy went down the steps, "don't
give Tommy the whole jar--it has to be ordered from Paris--it's out
of stock down here."

Tommy came back within hearing and the three of them stood in the
sunshine, Tommy squarely before the car so that it seemed by
leaning forward he would tip it upon his back.

Nicole stepped down to the path.

"Now catch it," she advised him.  "It's extremely rare."

She heard Dick grow silent at her side; she took a step off from
him and waved as the car drove off with Tommy and the special
camphor rub.  Then she turned to take her own medicine.

"There was no necessity for that gesture," Dick said.  "There are
four of us here--and for years whenever there's a cough--"

They looked at each other.

"We can always get another jar--" then she lost her nerve and
presently followed him upstairs where he lay down on his own bed
and said nothing.

"Do you want lunch to be brought up to you?" she asked.

He nodded and continued to lie quiescent, staring at the ceiling.
Doubtfully she went to give the order.  Upstairs again she looked
into his room--the blue eyes, like searchlights, played on a dark
sky.  She stood a minute in the doorway, aware of the sin she had
committed against him, half afraid to come in. . . .  She put out
her hand as if to rub his head, but he turned away like a
suspicious animal.  Nicole could stand the situation no longer; in
a kitchen-maid's panic she ran downstairs, afraid of what the
stricken man above would feed on while she must still continue her
dry suckling at his lean chest.



In a week Nicole forgot her flash about Tommy--she had not much
memory for people and forgot them easily.  But in the first hot
blast of June she heard he was in Nice.  He wrote a little note to
them both--and she opened it under the parasol, together with other
mail they had brought from the house.  After reading it she tossed
it over to Dick, and in exchange he threw a telegram into the lap
of her beach pajamas:


Dears will be at Gausses to-morrow unfortunately without mother am
counting on seeing you.


"I'll be glad to see her," said Nicole, grimly.



VII


But she went to the beach with Dick next morning with a renewal of
her apprehension that Dick was contriving at some desperate
solution.  Since the evening on Golding's yacht she had sensed what
was going on.  So delicately balanced was she between an old
foothold that had always guaranteed her security, and the imminence
of a leap from which she must alight changed in the very chemistry
of blood and muscle, that she did not dare bring the matter into
the true forefront of consciousness.  The figures of Dick and
herself, mutating, undefined, appeared as spooks caught up into a
fantastic dance.  For months every word had seemed to have an
overtone of some other meaning, soon to be resolved under
circumstances that Dick would determine.  Though this state of mind
was perhaps more hopeful,--the long years of sheer being had had an
enlivening effect on the parts of her nature that early illness had
killed, that Dick had not reached--through no fault of his but
simply because no one nature can extend entirely inside another--it
was still disquieting.  The most unhappy aspect of their relations
was Dick's growing indifference, at present personified by too much
drink; Nicole did not know whether she was to be crushed or spared--
Dick's voice, throbbing with insincerity, confused the issue; she
couldn't guess how he was going to behave next upon the tortuously
slow unrolling of the carpet, nor what would happen at the end, at
the moment of the leap.

For what might occur thereafter she had no anxiety--she suspected
that that would be the lifting of a burden, an unblinding of eyes.
Nicole had been designed for change, for flight, with money as fins
and wings.  The new state of things would be no more than if a
racing chassis, concealed for years under the body of a family
limousine, should be stripped to its original self.  Nicole could
feel the fresh breeze already--the wrench it was she feared, and
the dark manner of its coming.

The Divers went out on the beach with her white suit and his white
trunks very white against the color of their bodies.  Nicole saw
Dick peer about for the children among the confused shapes and
shadows of many umbrellas, and as his mind temporarily left her,
ceasing to grip her, she looked at him with detachment, and decided
that he was seeking his children, not protectively but for
protection.  Probably it was the beach he feared, like a deposed
ruler secretly visiting an old court.  She had come to hate his
world with its delicate jokes and politenesses, forgetting that for
many years it was the only world open to her.  Let him look at it--
his beach, perverted now to the tastes of the tasteless; he could
search it for a day and find no stone of the Chinese Wall he had
once erected around it, no footprint of an old friend.

For a moment Nicole was sorry it was so; remembering the glass he
had raked out of the old trash heap, remembering the sailor trunks
and sweaters they had bought in a Nice back street--garments that
afterward ran through a vogue in silk among the Paris couturiers,
remembering the simple little French girls climbing on the
breakwaters crying "Dites donc!  Dites donc!" like birds, and the
ritual of the morning time, the quiet restful extraversion toward
sea and sun--many inventions of his, buried deeper than the sand
under the span of so few years. . . .

Now the swimming place was a "club," though, like the international
society it represented, it would be hard to say who was not
admitted.

Nicole hardened again as Dick knelt on the straw mat and looked
about for Rosemary.  Her eyes followed his, searching among the new
paraphernalia, the trapezes over the water, the swinging rings, the
portable bathhouses, the floating towers, the searchlights from
last night's fêtes, the modernistic buffet, white with a hackneyed
motif of endless handlebars.

The water was almost the last place he looked for Rosemary, because
few people swam any more in that blue paradise, children and one
exhibitionistic valet who punctuated the morning with spectacular
dives from a fifty-foot rock--most of Gausse's guests stripped the
concealing pajamas from their flabbiness only for a short hangover
dip at one o'clock.

"There she is," Nicole remarked.

She watched Dick's eyes following Rosemary's track from raft to
raft; but the sigh that rocked out of her bosom was something left
over from five years ago.

"Let's swim out and speak to Rosemary," he suggested.

"You go."

"We'll both go."  She struggled a moment against his pronouncement,
but eventually they swam out together, tracing Rosemary by the
school of little fish who followed her, taking their dazzle from
her, the shining spoon of a trout hook.

Nicole stayed in the water while Dick hoisted himself up beside
Rosemary, and the two sat dripping and talking, exactly as if they
had never loved or touched each other.  Rosemary was beautiful--her
youth was a shock to Nicole, who rejoiced, however, that the young
girl was less slender by a hairline than herself.  Nicole swam
around in little rings, listening to Rosemary who was acting
amusement, joy, and expectation--more confident than she had been
five years ago.

"I miss Mother so, but she's meeting me in Paris, Monday."

"Five years ago you came here," said Dick.  "And what a funny
little thing you were, in one of those hotel peignoirs!"

"How you remember things!  You always did--and always the nice
things."

Nicole saw the old game of flattery beginning again and she dove
under water, coming up again to hear:

"I'm going to pretend it's five years ago and I'm a girl of
eighteen again.  You could always make me feel some you know, kind
of, you know, kind of happy way--you and Nicole.  I feel as if
you're still on the beach there, under one of those umbrellas--the
nicest people I'd ever known, maybe ever will."

Swimming away, Nicole saw that the cloud of Dick's heart-sickness
had lifted a little as he began to play with Rosemary, bringing out
his old expertness with people, a tarnished object of art; she
guessed that with a drink or so he would have done his stunts on
the swinging rings for her, fumbling through stunts he had once
done with ease.  She noticed that this summer, for the first time,
he avoided high diving.

Later, as she dodged her way from raft to raft, Dick overtook her.

"Some of Rosemary's friends have a speed boat, the one out there.
Do you want to aquaplane?  I think it would be amusing."

Remembering that once he could stand on his hands on a chair at the
end of a board, she indulged him as she might have indulged Lanier.
Last summer on the Zugersee they had played at that pleasant water
game, and Dick had lifted a two-hundred-pound man from the board
onto his shoulders and stood up.  But women marry all their
husbands' talents and naturally, afterwards, are not so impressed
with them as they may keep up the pretense of being.  Nicole had
not even pretended to be impressed, though she had said "Yes" to
him, and "Yes, I thought so too."

She knew, though, that he was somewhat tired, that it was only the
closeness of Rosemary's exciting youth that prompted the impending
effort--she had seen him draw the same inspiration from the new
bodies of her children and she wondered coldly if he would make a
spectacle of himself.  The Divers were older than the others in the
boat--the young people were polite, deferential, but Nicole felt an
undercurrent of "Who are these Numbers anyhow?" and she missed
Dick's easy talent of taking control of situations and making them
all right--he had concentrated on what he was going to try to do.

The motor throttled down two hundred yards from shore and one of
the young men dove flat over the edge.  He swam at the aimless
twisting board, steadied it, climbed slowly to his knees on it--
then got on his feet as the boat accelerated.  Leaning back he
swung his light vehicle ponderously from side to side in slow,
breathless arcs that rode the trailing side-swell at the end of
each swing.  In the direct wake of the boat he let go his rope,
balanced for a moment, then back-flipped into the water,
disappearing like a statue of glory, and reappearing as an
insignificant head while the boat made the circle back to him.

Nicole refused her turn; then Rosemary rode the board neatly and
conservatively, with facetious cheers from her admirers.  Three of
them scrambled egotistically for the honor of pulling her into the
boat, managing, among them, to bruise her knee and hip against the
side.

"Now you.  Doctor," said the Mexican at the wheel.

Dick and the last young man dove over the side and swam to the
board.  Dick was going to try his lifting trick and Nicole began to
watch with smiling scorn.  This physical showing-off for Rosemary
irritated her most of all.

When the men had ridden long enough to find their balance, Dick
knelt, and putting the back of his neck in the other man's crotch,
found the rope through his legs, and slowly began to rise.

The people in the boat, watching closely, saw that he was having
difficulties.  He was on one knee; the trick was to straighten all
the way up in the same motion with which he left his kneeling
position.  He rested for a moment, then his face contracted as he
put his heart into the strain, and lifted.

The board was narrow, the man, though weighing less than a hundred
and fifty, was awkward with his weight and grabbed clumsily at
Dick's head.  When, with a last wrenching effort of his back, Dick
stood upright, the board slid sidewise and the pair toppled into
the sea.

In the boat Rosemary exclaimed:  "Wonderful!  They almost had it."

But as they came back to the swimmers Nicole watched for a sight of
Dick's face.  It was full of annoyance as she expected, because he
had done the thing with ease only two years ago.

The second time he was more careful.  He rose a little testing the
balance of his burden, settled down again on his knee; then,
grunting "Alley oop!" began to rise--but before he could really
straighten out, his legs suddenly buckled and he shoved the board
away with his feet to avoid being struck as they fell off.

This time when the Baby Gar came back it was apparent to all the
passengers that he was angry.

"Do you mind if I try that once more?" he called, treading water.
"We almost had it then."

"Sure.  Go ahead."

To Nicole he looked white-around-the-gills, and she cautioned him:

"Don't you think that's enough for now?"

He didn't answer.  The first partner had had plenty and was hauled
over the side, the Mexican driving the motor boat obligingly took
his place.

He was heavier than the first man.  As the boat gathered motion,
Dick rested for a moment, belly-down on the board.  Then he got
beneath the man and took the rope, and his muscles flexed as he
tried to rise.

He could not rise.  Nicole saw him shift his position and strain
upward again but at the instant when the weight of his partner was
full upon his shoulders he became immovable.  He tried again--
lifting an inch, two inches--Nicole felt the sweat glands of her
forehead open as she strained with him--then he was simply holding
his ground, then he collapsed back down on his knees with a smack,
and they went over, Dick's head barely missing a kick of the board.

"Hurry back!" Nicole called to the driver; even as she spoke she
saw him slide under water and she gave a little cry; but he came up
again and turned on his back, and "Château" swam near to help.  It
seemed forever till the boat reached them but when they came
alongside at last and Nicole saw Dick floating exhausted and
expressionless, alone with the water and the sky, her panic changed
suddenly to contempt.

"We'll help you up, Doctor. . . .  Get his foot . . . all right . . .
now altogether. . . ."

Dick sat panting and looking at nothing.

"I knew you shouldn't have tried it," Nicole could not help saying.

"He'd tired himself the first two times," said the Mexican.

"It was a foolish thing," Nicole insisted.  Rosemary tactfully said
nothing.

After a minute Dick got his breath, panting, "I couldn't have
lifted a paper doll that time."

An explosive little laugh relieved the tension caused by his
failure.  They were all attentive to Dick as he disembarked at the
dock.  But Nicole was annoyed--everything he did annoyed her now.

She sat with Rosemary under an umbrella while Dick went to the
buffet for a drink--he returned presently with some sherry for
them.

"The first drink I ever had was with you," Rosemary said, and with
a spurt of enthusiasm she added, "Oh, I'm so glad to see you and
KNOW you're all right.  I was worried--"  Her sentence broke as she
changed direction "that maybe you wouldn't be."

"Did you hear I'd gone into a process of deterioration?"

"Oh, no.  I simply--just heard you'd changed.  And I'm glad to see
with my own eyes it isn't true."

"It is true," Dick answered, sitting down with them.  "The change
came a long way back--but at first it didn't show.  The manner
remains intact for some time after the morale cracks."

"Do you practise on the Riviera?" Rosemary demanded hastily.

"It'd be a good ground to find likely specimens."  He nodded here
and there at the people milling about in the golden sand.  "Great
candidates.  Notice our old friend, Mrs. Abrams, playing duchess to
Mary North's queen?  Don't get jealous about it--think of Mrs.
Abram's long climb up the back stairs of the Ritz on her hands and
knees and all the carpet dust she had to inhale."

Rosemary interrupted him.  "But is that really Mary North?"  She
was regarding a woman sauntering in their direction followed by a
small group who behaved as if they were accustomed to being looked
at.  When they were ten feet away, Mary's glance flickered
fractionally over the Divers, one of those unfortunate glances that
indicate to the glanced-upon that they have been observed but are
to be overlooked, the sort of glance that neither the Divers nor
Rosemary Hoyt had ever permitted themselves to throw at any one in
their lives.  Dick was amused when Mary perceived Rosemary, changed
her plans and came over.  She spoke to Nicole with pleasant
heartiness, nodded unsmilingly to Dick as if he were somewhat
contagious--whereupon he bowed in ironic respect--as she greeted
Rosemary.

"I heard you were here.  For how long?"

"Until to-morrow," Rosemary answered.

She, too, saw how Mary had walked through the Divers to talk to
her, and a sense of obligation kept her unenthusiastic.  No, she
could not dine to-night.

Mary turned to Nicole, her manner indicating affection blended with
pity.

"How are the children?" she asked.

They came up at the moment, and Nicole gave ear to a request that
she overrule the governess on a swimming point.

"No," Dick answered for her.  "What Mademoiselle says must go."

Agreeing that one must support delegated authority, Nicole refused
their request, whereupon Mary--who in the manner of an Anita Loos'
heroine had dealings only with Faits Accomplis, who indeed could
not have house-broken a French poodle puppy--regarded Dick as
though he were guilty of a most flagrant bullying.  Dick, chafed by
the tiresome performance, inquired with mock solicitude:

"How are your children--and their aunts?"

Mary did not answer; she left them, first draping a sympathetic
hand over Lanier's reluctant head.  After she had gone Dick said:
"When I think of the time I spent working over her."

"I like her," said Nicole.

Dick's bitterness had surprised Rosemary, who had thought of him as
all-forgiving, all-comprehending.  Suddenly she recalled what it
was she had heard about him.  In conversation with some State
Department people on the boat,--Europeanized Americans who had
reached a position where they could scarcely have been said to
belong to any nation at all, at least not to any great power though
perhaps to a Balkan-like state composed of similar citizens--the
name of the ubiquitously renowned Baby Warren had occurred and it
was remarked that Baby's younger sister had thrown herself away on
a dissipated doctor.  "He's not received anywhere any more," the
woman said.

The phrase disturbed Rosemary, though she could not place the
Divers as living in any relation to society where such a fact, if
fact it was, could have any meaning, yet the hint of a hostile and
organized public opinion rang in her ears.  "He's not received
anywhere any more."  She pictured Dick climbing the steps of a
mansion, presenting cards and being told by a butler:  "We're not
receiving you any more"; then proceeding down an avenue only to be
told the same thing by the countless other butlers of countless
Ambassadors, Ministers, Chargés d'Affaires. . . .

Nicole wondered how she could get away.  She guessed that Dick,
stung into alertness, would grow charming and would make Rosemary
respond to him.  Sure enough, in a moment his voice managed to
qualify everything unpleasant he had said:

"Mary's all right--she's done very well.  But it's hard to go on
liking people who don't like you."

Rosemary, falling into line, swayed toward Dick and crooned:

"Oh, you're so nice.  I can't imagine anybody not forgiving you
anything, no matter what you did to them."  Then feeling that her
exuberance had transgressed on Nicole's rights, she looked at the
sand exactly between them:  "I wanted to ask you both what you
thought of my latest pictures--if you saw them."

Nicole said nothing, having seen one of them and thought little
about it.

"It'll take a few minutes to tell you," Dick said.  "Let's suppose
that Nicole says to you that Lanier is ill.  What do you do in
life?  What does anyone do?  They ACT--face, voice, words--the face
shows sorrow, the voice shows shock, the words show sympathy."

"Yes--I understand."

"But in the theatre, No.  In the theatre all the best comediennes
have built up their reputations by burlesquing the correct
emotional responses--fear and love and sympathy."

"I see."  Yet she did not quite see.

Losing the thread of it, Nicole's impatience increased as Dick
continued:

"The danger to an actress is in responding.  Again, let's suppose
that somebody told you, 'Your lover is dead.'  In life you'd
probably go to pieces.  But on the stage you're trying to
entertain--the audience can do the 'responding' for themselves.
First the actress has lines to follow, then she has to get the
audience's attention back on herself, away from the murdered
Chinese or whatever the thing is.  So she must do something
unexpected.  If the audience thinks the character is hard she goes
soft on them--if they think she's soft she goes hard.  You go all
OUT of character--you understand?"

"I don't quite," admitted Rosemary.  "How do you mean out of
character?"

"You do the unexpected thing until you've manoeuvred the audience
back from the objective fact to yourself.  THEN you slide into
character again."

Nicole could stand no more.  She stood up sharply, making no
attempt to conceal her impatience.  Rosemary, who had been for a
few minutes half-conscious of this, turned in a conciliatory way to
Topsy.

"Would you like to be an actress when you grow up?  I think you'd
make a fine actress."

Nicole stared at her deliberately and in her grandfather's voice
said, slow and distinct:

"It's absolutely OUT to put such ideas in the heads of other
people's children.  Remember, we may have quite different plans for
them."  She turned sharply to Dick.  "I'm going to take the car
home.  I'll send Michelle for you and the children."

"You haven't driven for months," he protested.

"I haven't forgotten how."

Without a glance at Rosemary whose face was "responding" violently,
Nicole left the umbrella.

In the bathhouse, she changed to pajamas, her expression still hard
as a plaque.  But as she turned into the road of arched pines and
the atmosphere changed,--with a squirrel's flight on a branch, a
wind nudging at the leaves, a cock splitting distant air, with a
creep of sunlight transpiring through the immobility, then the
voices of the beach receded--Nicole relaxed and felt new and happy;
her thoughts were clear as good bells--she had a sense of being
cured and in a new way.  Her ego began blooming like a great rich
rose as she scrambled back along the labyrinths in which she had
wandered for years.  She hated the beach, resented the places where
she had played planet to Dick's sun.

"Why, I'm almost complete," she thought.  "I'm practically standing
alone, without him."  And like a happy child, wanting the
completion as soon as possible, and knowing vaguely that Dick had
planned for her to have it, she lay on her bed as soon as she got
home and wrote Tommy Barban in Nice a short provocative letter.



But that was for the daytime--toward evening with the inevitable
diminution of nervous energy, her spirits flagged, and the arrows
flew a little in the twilight.  She was afraid of what was in
Dick's mind; again she felt that a plan underlay his current
actions and she was afraid of his plans--they worked well and they
had an all-inclusive logic about them which Nicole was not able to
command.  She had somehow given over the thinking to him, and in
his absences her every action seemed automatically governed by what
he would like, so that now she felt inadequate to match her
intentions against his.  Yet think she must; she knew at last the
number on the dreadful door of fantasy, the threshold to the escape
that was no escape; she knew that for her the greatest sin now and
in the future was to delude herself.  It had been a long lesson but
she had learned it.  Either you think--or else others have to think
for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your
natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.

They had a tranquil supper with Dick drinking much beer and being
cheerful with the children in the dusky room.  Afterward he played
some Schubert songs and some new jazz from America that Nicole
hummed in her harsh, sweet contralto over his shoulder.


     "Thank y' father-r
      Thank y' mother-r
      Thanks for meetingup with one another--"


"I don't like that one," Dick said, starting to turn the page.

"Oh, play it!" she exclaimed.  "Am I going through the rest of life
flinching at the word 'father'?"


     "--Thank the horse that pulled the buggy that night!
      Thank you both for being justabit tight--"


Later they sat with the children on the Moorish roof and watched
the fireworks of two casinos, far apart, far down on the shore.  It
was lonely and sad to be so empty-hearted toward each other.

Next morning, back from shopping in Cannes, Nicole found a note
saying that Dick had taken the small car and gone up into Provence
for a few days by himself.  Even as she read it the phone rang--it
was Tommy Barban from Monte Carlo, saying that he had received her
letter and was driving over.  She felt her lips' warmth in the
receiver as she welcomed his coming.



VIII


She bathed and anointed herself and covered her body with a layer
of powder, while her toes crunched another pile on a bath towel.
She looked microscopically at the lines of her flanks, wondering
how soon the fine, slim edifice would begin to sink squat and
earthward.  In about six years, but now I'll do--in fact I'll do as
well as any one I know.

She was not exaggerating.  The only physical disparity between
Nicole at present and the Nicole of five years before was simply
that she was no longer a young girl.  But she was enough ridden by
the current youth worship, the moving pictures with their myriad
faces of girl-children, blandly represented as carrying on the work
and wisdom of the world, to feel a jealousy of youth.

She put on the first ankle-length day dress that she had owned for
many years, and crossed herself reverently with Chanel Sixteen.
When Tommy drove up at one o'clock she had made her person into the
trimmest of gardens.

How good to have things like this, to be worshipped again, to
pretend to have a mystery!  She had lost two of the great arrogant
years in the life of a pretty girl--now she felt like making up for
them; she greeted Tommy as if he were one of many men at her feet,
walking ahead of him instead of beside him as they crossed the
garden toward the market umbrella.  Attractive women of nineteen
and of twenty-nine are alike in their breezy confidence; on the
contrary, the exigent womb of the twenties does not pull the
outside world centripetally around itself.  The former are ages of
insolence, comparable the one to a young cadet, the other to a
fighter strutting after combat.

But whereas a girl of nineteen draws her confidence from a surfeit
of attention, a woman of twenty-nine is nourished on subtler stuff.
Desirous, she chooses her apéritifs wisely, or, content, she enjoys
the caviare of potential power.  Happily she does not seem, in
either case, to anticipate the subsequent years when her insight
will often be blurred by panic, by the fear of stopping or the fear
of going on.  But on the landings of nineteen or twenty-nine she is
pretty sure that there are no bears in the hall.

Nicole did not want any vague spiritual romance--she wanted an
"affair"; she wanted a change.  She realized, thinking with Dick's
thoughts, that from a superficial view it was a vulgar business to
enter, without emotion, into an indulgence that menaced all of
them.  On the other hand, she blamed Dick for the immediate
situation, and honestly thought that such an experiment might have
a therapeutic value.  All summer she had been stimulated by
watching people do exactly what they were tempted to do and pay no
penalty for it--moreover, in spite of her intention of no longer
lying to herself, she preferred to consider that she was merely
feeling her way and that at any moment she could withdraw. . . .

In the light shade Tommy caught her up in his white-duck arms and
pulled her around to him, looking at her eyes.

"Don't move," he said.  "I'm going to look at you a great deal from
now on."

There was some scent on his hair, a faint aura of soap from his
white clothes.  Her lips were tight, not smiling and they both
simply looked for a moment.

"Do you like what you see?" she murmured.

"Parle français."

"Very well," and she asked again in French.  "Do you like what you
see?"

He pulled her closer.

"I like whatever I see about you."  He hesitated.  "I thought I
knew your face but it seems there are some things I didn't know
about it.  When did you begin to have white crook's eyes?"

She broke away, shocked and indignant, and cried in English:

"Is that why you wanted to talk French?"  Her voice quieted as the
butler came with sherry.  "So you could be offensive more
accurately?"

She parked her small seat violently on the cloth-of-silver chair
cushion.

"I have no mirror here," she said, again in French, but decisively,
"but if my eyes have changed it's because I'm well again.  And
being well perhaps I've gone back to my true self--I suppose my
grandfather was a crook and I'm a crook by heritage, so there we
are.  Does that satisfy your logical mind?"

He scarcely seemed to know what she was talking about.

"Where's Dick--is he lunching with us?"

Seeing that his remark had meant comparatively little to him she
suddenly laughed away its effect.

"Dick's on a tour," she said.  "Rosemary Hoyt turned up, and either
they're together or she upset him so much that he wants to go away
and dream about her."

"You know, you're a little complicated after all."

"Oh no," she assured him hastily.  "No, I'm not really--I'm just a--
I'm just a whole lot of different simple people."

Marius brought out melon and an ice pail, and Nicole, thinking
irresistibly about her crook's eyes did not answer; he gave one an
entire nut to crack, this man, instead of giving it in fragments to
pick at for meat.

"Why didn't they leave you in your natural state?" Tommy demanded
presently.  "You are the most dramatic person I have known."

She had no answer.

"All this taming of women!" he scoffed.

"In any society there are certain--"  She felt Dick's ghost
prompting at her elbow but she subsided at Tommy's overtone:

"I've brutalized many men into shape but I wouldn't take a chance
on half the number of women.  Especially this 'kind' bullying--what
good does it do anybody?--you or him or anybody?"

Her heart leaped and then sank faintly with a sense of what she
owed Dick.

"I suppose I've got--"

"You've got too much money," he said impatiently.  "That's the crux
of the matter.  Dick can't beat that."

She considered while the melons were removed.

"What do you think I ought to do?"

For the first time in ten years she was under the sway of a
personality other than her husband's.  Everything Tommy said to her
became part of her forever.

They drank the bottle of wine while a faint wind rocked the pine
needles and the sensuous heat of early afternoon made blinding
freckles on the checkered luncheon cloth.  Tommy came over behind
her and laid his arms along hers, clasping her hands.  Their cheeks
touched and then their lips and she gasped half with passion for
him, half with the sudden surprise of its force. . . .

"Can't you send the governess and the children away for the
afternoon?"

"They have a piano lesson.  Anyhow I don't want to stay here."

"Kiss me again."

A little later, riding toward Nice, she thought:  So I have white
crook's eyes, have I?  Very well then, better a sane crook than a
mad puritan.

His assertion seemed to absolve her from all blame or
responsibility and she had a thrill of delight in thinking of
herself in a new way.  New vistas appeared ahead, peopled with the
faces of many men, none of whom she need obey or even love.  She
drew in her breath, hunched her shoulders with a wriggle and turned
to Tommy.

"Have we GOT to go all the way to your hotel at Monte Carlo?"

He brought the car to a stop with a squeak of tires.

"No!" he answered.  "And, my God, I have never been so happy as I
am this minute."

They had passed through Nice following the blue coast and begun to
mount to the middling-high Corniche.  Now Tommy turned sharply down
to the shore, ran out a blunt peninsula, and stopped in the rear of
a small shore hotel.

Its tangibility frightened Nicole for a moment.  At the desk an
American was arguing interminably with the clerk about the rate of
exchange.  She hovered, outwardly tranquil but inwardly miserable,
as Tommy filled out the police blanks--his real, hers false.  Their
room was a Mediterranean room, almost ascetic, almost clean,
darkened to the glare of the sea.  Simplest of pleasures--simplest
of places.  Tommy ordered two cognacs, and when the door closed
behind the waiter, he sat in the only chair, dark, scarred and
handsome, his eyebrows arched and upcurling, a fighting Puck, an
earnest Satan.

Before they had finished the brandy they suddenly moved together
and met standing up; then they were sitting on the bed and he
kissed her hardy knees.  Struggling a little still, like a
decapitated animal she forgot about Dick and her new white eyes,
forgot Tommy himself and sank deeper and deeper into the minutes
and the moment.

. . . When he got up to open a shutter and find out what caused the
increasing clamor below their windows, his figure was darker and
stronger than Dick's, with high lights along the rope-twists of
muscle.  Momentarily he had forgotten her too--almost in the second
of his flesh breaking from hers she had a foretaste that things
were going to be different than she had expected.  She felt the
nameless fear which precedes all emotions, joyous or sorrowful,
inevitable as a hum of thunder precedes a storm.

Tommy peered cautiously from the balcony and reported.

"All I can see is two women on the balcony below this.  They're
talking about weather and tipping back and forth in American
rocking-chairs."

"Making all that noise?"

"The noise is coming from somewhere below them.  Listen."


     "Oh, way down South in the land of cotton
      Hotels bum and business rotten
      Look away--"


"It's Americans."

Nicole flung her arms wide on the bed and stared at the ceiling;
the powder had dampened on her to make a milky surface.  She liked
the bareness of the room, the sound of the single fly navigating
overhead.  Tommy brought the chair over to the bed and swept the
clothes off it to sit down; she liked the economy of the weightless
dress and espadrilles that mingled with his ducks upon the floor.

He inspected the oblong white torso joined abruptly to the brown
limbs and head, and said, laughing gravely:

"You are all new like a baby."

"With white eyes."

"I'll take care of that."

"It's very hard taking care of white eyes--especially the ones made
in Chicago."

"I know all the old Languedoc peasant remedies."

"Kiss me, on the lips, Tommy."

"That's so American," he said, kissing her nevertheless.  "When I
was in America last there were girls who would tear you apart with
their lips, tear themselves too, until their faces were scarlet
with the blood around the lips all brought out in a patch--but
nothing further."

Nicole leaned up on one elbow.

"I like this room," she said.

"I find it somewhat meagre.  Darling, I'm glad you wouldn't wait
until we got to Monte Carlo."

"Why only meagre?  Why, this is a wonderful room, Tommy--like the
bare tables in so many Cézannes and Picassos."

"I don't know."  He did not try to understand her.  "There's that
noise again.  My God, has there been a murder?"

He went to the window and reported once more:

"It seems to be two American sailors fighting and a lot more
cheering them on.  They are from your battleship off shore."  He
wrapped a towel around himself and went farther out on the balcony.
"They have poules with them.  I have heard about this now--the
women follow them from place to place wherever the ship goes.  But
what women!  One would think with their pay they could find better
women!  Why the women who followed Korniloff!  Why we never looked
at anything less than a ballerina!"

Nicole was glad he had known so many women, so that the word itself
meant nothing to him; she would be able to hold him so long as the
person in her transcended the universals of her body.

"Hit him where it hurts!"

"Yah-h-h-h!"

"Hey, what I tell you get inside that right!"

"Come on, Dulschmit, you son!"

"YAA-YAA!"

"YA-YEH-YAH!"

Tommy turned away.

"This place seems to have outlived its usefulness, you agree?"

She agreed, but they clung together for a moment before dressing,
and then for a while longer it seemed as good enough a palace as
any. . . .

Dressing at last Tommy exclaimed:

"MY GOD, those two women in the rocking-chairs on the balcony below
us haven't moved.  They're trying to talk this matter out of
existence.  They're here on an economical holiday, and all the
American navy and all the whores in Europe couldn't spoil it."

He came over gently and surrounded her, pulling the shoulder strap
of her slip into place with his teeth; then a sound split the air
outside:  Cr-ACK--BOOM-M-m-m!  It was the battleship sounding a
recall.

Now, down below their window, it was pandemonium indeed--for the
boat was moving to shores as yet unannounced.  Waiters called
accounts and demanded settlements in impassioned voices, there were
oaths and denials; the tossing of bills too large and change too
small; passouts were assisted to the boats, and the voices of the
naval police chopped with quick commands through all voices.  There
were cries, tears, shrieks, promises as the first launch shoved off
and the women crowded forward on the wharf, screaming and waving.

Tommy saw a girl rush out upon the balcony below waving a napkin,
and before he could see whether or not the rocking Englishwomen
gave in at last and acknowledged her presence, there was a knock at
their own door.  Outside, excited female voices made them agree to
unlock it, disclosing two girls, young, thin and barbaric, unfound
rather than lost, in the hall.  One of them wept chokingly.

"Kwee wave off your porch?" implored the other in passionate
American.  "Kwee please?  Wave at the boy friends?  Kwee, please.
The other rooms is all locked."

"With pleasure," Tommy said.

The girls rushed out on the balcony and presently their voices
struck a loud treble over the din.

"'By, Charlie!  Charlie, look UP!"

"Send a wire gen'al alivery Nice!"

"Charlie!  He don't see me."

One of the girls hoisted her skirt suddenly, pulled and ripped at
her pink step-ins and tore them to a sizable flag; then, screaming
"Ben!  Ben!" she waved it wildly.  As Tommy and Nicole left the
room it still fluttered against the blue sky.  Oh, say can you see
the tender color of remembered flesh?--while at the stern of the
battleship arose in rivalry the Star-Spangled Banner.

They dined at the new Beach Casino at Monte Carlo . . . much later
they swam in Beaulieu in a roofless cavern of white moonlight
formed by a circlet of pale boulders about a cup of phosphorescent
water, facing Monaco and the blur of Mentone.  She liked his
bringing her there to the eastward vision and the novel tricks of
wind and water; it was all as new as they were to each other.
Symbolically she lay across his saddle-bow as surely as if he had
wolfed her away from Damascus and they had come out upon the
Mongolian plain.  Moment by moment all that Dick had taught her
fell away and she was ever nearer to what she had been in the
beginning, prototype of that obscure yielding up of swords that was
going on in the world about her.  Tangled with love in the
moonlight she welcomed the anarchy of her lover.

They awoke together finding the moon gone down and the air cool.
She struggled up demanding the time and Tommy called it roughly at
three.

"I've got to go home then."

"I thought we'd sleep in Monte Carlo."

"No.  There's a governess and the children.  I've got to roll in
before daylight."

"As you like."

They dipped for a second, and when he saw her shivering he rubbed
her briskly with a towel.  As they got into the car with their
heads still damp, their skins fresh and glowing, they were loath to
start back.  It was very bright where they were and as Tommy kissed
her she felt him losing himself in the whiteness of her cheeks and
her white teeth and her cool brow and the hand that touched his
face.  Still attuned to Dick, she waited for interpretation or
qualification; but none was forthcoming.  Reassured sleepily and
happily that none would be, she sank low in the seat and drowsed
until the sound of the motor changed and she felt them climbing
toward Villa Diana.  At the gate she kissed him an almost automatic
good-by.  The sound of her feet on the walk was changed, the night
noises of the garden were suddenly in the past but she was glad,
none the less, to be back.  The day had progressed at a staccato
rate, and in spite of its satisfactions she was not habituated to
such strain.



IX


At four o'clock next afternoon a station taxi stopped at the gate
and Dick got out.  Suddenly off balance, Nicole ran from the
terrace to meet him, breathless with her effort at self-control.

"Where's the car?" she asked.

"I left it in Arles.  I didn't feel like driving any more."

"I thought from your note that you'd be several days."

"I ran into a mistral and some rain."

"Did you have fun?"

"Just as much fun as anybody has running away from things.  I drove
Rosemary as far as Avignon and put her on her train there."  They
walked toward the terrace together, where he deposited his bag.  "I
didn't tell you in the note because I thought you'd imagine a lot
of things."

"That was very considerate of you."  Nicole felt surer of herself
now.

"I wanted to find out if she had anything to offer--the only way
was to see her alone."

"Did she have--anything to offer?"

"Rosemary didn't grow up," he answered.  "It's probably better that
way.  What have you been doing?"

She felt her face quiver like a rabbit's.

"I went dancing last night--with Tommy Barban.  We went--"

He winced, interrupting her.

"Don't tell me about it.  It doesn't matter what you do, only I
don't want to know anything definitely."

"There isn't anything to know."

"All right, all right."  Then as if he had been away a week:  "How
are the children?"

The phone rang in the house.

"If it's for me I'm not home," said Dick turning away quickly.
"I've got some things to do over in the work-room."

Nicole waited till he was out of sight behind the well; then she
went into the house and took up the phone.

"Nicole, comment vas-tu?"

"Dick's home."

He groaned.

"Meet me here in Cannes," he suggested.  "I've got to talk to you."

"I can't."

"Tell me you love me."  Without speaking she nodded at the
receiver; he repeated, "Tell me you love me."

"Oh, I do," she assured him.  "But there's nothing to be done right
now."

"Of course there is," he said impatiently.  "Dick sees it's over
between you two--it's obvious he has quit.  What does he expect you
to do?"

"I don't know.  I'll have to--"  She stopped herself from saying
"--to wait until I can ask Dick," and instead finished with:  "I'll
write and I'll phone you to-morrow."

She wandered about the house rather contentedly, resting on her
achievement.  She was a mischief, and that was a satisfaction; no
longer was she a huntress of corralled game.  Yesterday came back
to her now in innumerable detail--detail that began to overlay her
memory of similar moments when her love for Dick was fresh and
intact.  She began to slight that love, so that it seemed to have
been tinged with sentimental habit from the first.  With the
opportunistic memory of women she scarcely recalled how she had
felt when she and Dick had possessed each other in secret places
around the corners of the world, during the month before they were
married.  Just so had she lied to Tommy last night, swearing to
him that never before had she so entirely, so completely, so
utterly. . . .

. . . then remorse for this moment of betrayal, which so cavalierly
belittled a decade of her life, turned her walk toward Dick's
sanctuary.

Approaching noiselessly she saw him behind his cottage, sitting in
a steamer chair by the cliff wall, and for a moment she regarded
him silently.  He was thinking, he was living a world completely
his own and in the small motions of his face, the brow raised or
lowered, the eyes narrowed or widened, the lips set and reset, the
play of his hands, she saw him progress from phase to phase of his
own story spinning out inside him, his own, not hers.  Once he
clenched his fists and leaned forward, once it brought into his
face an expression of torment and despair--when this passed its
stamp lingered in his eyes.  For almost the first time in her life
she was sorry for him--it is hard for those who have once been
mentally afflicted to be sorry for those who are well, and though
Nicole often paid lip service to the fact that he had led her back
to the world she had forfeited, she had thought of him really as an
inexhaustible energy, incapable of fatigue--she forgot the troubles
she caused him at the moment when she forgot the troubles of her
own that had prompted her.  That he no longer controlled her--did
he know that?  Had he willed it all?--she felt as sorry for him as
she had sometimes felt for Abe North and his ignoble destiny, sorry
as for the helplessness of infants and the old.

She went up putting her arm around his shoulder and touching their
heads together said:

"Don't be sad."

He looked at her coldly.

"Don't touch me!" he said.

Confused she moved a few feet away.

"Excuse me," he continued abstractedly.  "I was just thinking what
I thought of you--"

"Why not add the new classification to your book?"

"I have thought of it--'Furthermore and beyond the psychoses and
the neuroses--'"

"I didn't come over here to be disagreeable."

"Then why DID you come, Nicole?  I can't do anything for you any
more.  I'm trying to save myself."

"From my contamination?"

"Profession throws me in contact with questionable company
sometimes."

She wept with anger at the abuse.

"You're a coward!  You've made a failure of your life, and you want
to blame it on me."

While he did not answer she began to feel the old hypnotism of his
intelligence, sometimes exercised without power but always with
substrata of truth under truth which she could not break or even
crack.  Again she struggled with it, fighting him with her small,
fine eyes, with the plush arrogance of a top dog, with her nascent
transference to another man, with the accumulated resentment of
years; she fought him with her money and her faith that her sister
disliked him and was behind her now; with the thought of the new
enemies he was making with his bitterness, with her quick guile
against his wine-ing and dine-ing slowness, her health and beauty
against his physical deterioration, her unscrupulousness against
his moralities--for this inner battle she used even her weaknesses--
fighting bravely and courageously with the old cans and crockery
and bottles, empty receptacles of her expiated sins, outrages,
mistakes.  And suddenly, in the space of two minutes she achieved
her victory and justified herself to herself without lie or
subterfuge, cut the cord forever.  Then she walked, weak in the
legs, and sobbing coolly, toward the household that was hers at
last.

Dick waited until she was out of sight.  Then he leaned his head
forward on the parapet.  The case was finished.  Doctor Diver was
at liberty.



X


At two o'clock that night the phone woke Nicole and she heard Dick
answer it from what they called the restless bed, in the next room.

"Oui, oui . . . mais à qui est-ce-que je parle? . . . Oui . . ."
His voice woke up with surprise.  "But can I speak to one of the
ladies, Sir the Officer?  They are both ladies of the very highest
prominence, ladies of connections that might cause political
complications of the most serious. . . .  It is a fact, I swear to
you. . . .  Very well, you will see."

He got up and, as he absorbed the situation, his self-knowledge
assured him that he would undertake to deal with it--the old fatal
pleasingness, the old forceful charm, swept back with its cry of
"Use me!"  He would have to go fix this thing that he didn't care a
damn about, because it had early become a habit to be loved,
perhaps from the moment when he had realized that he was the last
hope of a decaying clan.  On an almost parallel occasion, back in
Dohmler's clinic on the Zurichsee, realizing this power, he had
made his choice, chosen Ophelia, chosen the sweet poison and drunk
it.  Wanting above all to be brave and kind, he had wanted, even
more than that, to be loved.  So it had been.  So it would ever be,
he saw, simultaneously with the slow archaic tinkle from the phone
box as he rang off.

There was a long pause.  Nicole called, "What is it?  Who is it?"

Dick had begun to dress even as he hung up the phone.

"It's the poste de police in Antibes--they're holding Mary North
and that Sibley-Biers.  It's something serious--the agent wouldn't
tell me; he kept saying 'pas de mortes--pas d'automobiles' but he
implied it was just about everything else."

"Why on earth did they call on YOU?  It sounds very peculiar to
me."

"They've got to get out on bail to save their faces; and only some
property owner in the Alpes Maritimes can give bail."

"They had their nerve."

"I don't mind.  However I'll pick up Gausse at the hotel--"

Nicole stayed awake after he had departed wondering what offense
they could have committed; then she slept.  A little after three
when Dick came in she sat up stark awake saying, "What?" as if to a
character in her dream.

"It was an extraordinary story--" Dick said.  He sat on the foot of
her bed, telling her how he had roused old Gausse from an Alsatian
coma, told him to clean out his cash drawer, and driven with him to
the police station.

"I don't like to do something for that Anglaise," Gausse grumbled.

Mary North and Lady Caroline, dressed in the costume of French
sailors, lounged on a bench outside the two dingy cells.  The
latter had the outraged air of a Briton who momentarily expected
the Mediterranean fleet to steam up to her assistance.  Mary
Minghetti was in a condition of panic and collapse--she literally
flung herself at Dick's stomach as though that were the point of
greatest association, imploring him to do something.  Meanwhile the
chief of police explained the matter to Gausse who listened to each
word with reluctance, divided between being properly appreciative
of the officer's narrative gift and showing that, as the perfect
servant, the story had no shocking effect on him.  "It was merely a
lark," said Lady Caroline with scorn.  "We were pretending to be
sailors on leave, and we picked up two silly girls.  They got the
wind up and made a rotten scene in a lodging house."

Dick nodded gravely, looking at the stone floor, like a priest in
the confessional--he was torn between a tendency to ironic laughter
and another tendency to order fifty stripes of the cat and a
fortnight of bread and water.  The lack, in Lady Caroline's face,
of any sense of evil, except the evil wrought by cowardly Provençal
girls and stupid police, confounded him; yet he had long concluded
that certain classes of English people lived upon a concentrated
essence of the anti-social that, in comparison, reduced the
gorgings of New York to something like a child contracting
indigestion from ice cream.

"I've got to get out before Hosain hears about this," Mary pleaded.
"Dick, you can always arrange things--you always could.  Tell 'em
we'll go right home, tell 'em we'll pay anything."

"I shall not," said Lady Caroline disdainfully.  "Not a shilling.
But I shall jolly well find out what the Consulate in Cannes has to
say about this."

"No, no!" insisted Mary.  "We've got to get out to-night."

"I'll see what I can do," said Dick, and added, "but money will
certainly have to change hands."  Looking at them as though they
were the innocents that he knew they were not, he shook his head:
"Of all the crazy stunts!"

Lady Caroline smiled complacently.

"You're an insanity doctor, aren't you?  You ought to be able to
help us--and Gausse has GOT to!"

At this point Dick went aside with Gausse and talked over the old
man's findings.  The affair was more serious than had been
indicated--one of the girls whom they had picked up was of a
respectable family.  The family were furious, or pretended to be; a
settlement would have to be made with them.  The other one, a girl
of the port, could be more easily dealt with.  There were French
statutes that would make conviction punishable by imprisonment or,
at the very least, public expulsion from the country.  In addition
to the difficulties, there was a growing difference in tolerance
between such townspeople as benefited by the foreign colony and the
ones who were annoyed by the consequent rise of prices.  Gausse,
having summarized the situation, turned it over to Dick.  Dick
called the chief of police into conference.

"Now you know that the French government wants to encourage
American touring--so much so that in Paris this summer there's an
order that Americans can't be arrested except for the most serious
offenses."

"This is serious enough, my God."

"But look now--you have their Cartes d'Identité?"

"They had none.  They had nothing--two hundred francs and some
rings.  Not even shoe-laces that they could have hung themselves
with!"

Relieved that there had been no Cartes d'Identité Dick continued.

"The Italian Countess is still an American citizen.  She is the
grand-daughter--" he told a string of lies slowly and portentously,
"of John D. Rockefeller Mellon.  You have heard of him?"

"Yes, oh heavens, yes.  You mistake me for a nobody?"

"In addition she is the niece of Lord Henry Ford and so connected
with the Renault and Citroën companies--"  He thought he had better
stop here.  However the sincerity of his voice had begun to affect
the officer, so he continued:  "To arrest her is just as if you
arrested a great royalty of England.  It might mean--War!"

"But how about the Englishwoman?"

"I'm coming to that.  She is affianced to the brother of the Prince
of Wales--the Duke of Buckingham."

"She will be an exquisite bride for him."

"Now we are prepared to give--" Dick calculated quickly, "one
thousand francs to each of the girls--and an additional thousand to
the father of the 'serious' one.  Also two thousand in addition,
for you to distribute as you think best--" he shrugged his
shoulders, "--among the men who made the arrest, the lodging-house
keeper and so forth.  I shall hand you the five thousand and expect
you to do the negotiating immediately.  Then they can be released
on bail on some charge like disturbing the peace, and whatever fine
there is will be paid before the magistrate tomorrow--by
messenger."

Before the officer spoke Dick saw by his expression that it would
be all right.  The man said hesitantly, "I have made no entry
because they have no Cartes d'Identité.  I must see--give me the
money."

An hour later Dick and M. Gausse dropped the women by the Majestic
Hotel, where Lady Caroline's chauffeur slept in her landaulet.

"Remember," said Dick, "you owe Monsieur Gausse a hundred dollars a
piece."

"All right," Mary agreed, "I'll give him a check to-morrow--and
something more."

"Not I!"  Startled, they all turned to Lady Caroline, who, now
entirely recovered, was swollen with righteousness.  "The whole
thing was an outrage.  By no means did I authorize you to give a
hundred dollars to those people."

Little Gausse stood beside the car, his eyes blazing suddenly.

"You won't pay me?"

"Of course she will," said Dick.

Suddenly the abuse that Gausse had once endured as a bus boy in
London flamed up and he walked through the moonlight up to Lady
Caroline.

He whipped a string of condemnatory words about her, and as she
turned away with a frozen laugh, he took a step after her and
swiftly planted his little foot in the most celebrated of targets.
Lady Caroline, taken by surprise, flung up her hands like a person
shot as her sailor-clad form sprawled forward on the sidewalk.

Dick's voice cut across her raging:  "Mary, you quiet her down! or
you'll both be in leg-irons in ten minutes!"

On the way back to the hotel old Gausse said not a word, until they
passed the Juan-les-Pins Casino, still sobbing and coughing with
jazz; then he sighed forth:

"I have never seen women like this sort of women.  I have known
many of the great courtesans of the world, and for them I have much
respect often, but women like these women I have never seen
before."



XI


Dick and Nicole were accustomed to go together to the barber, and
have haircuts and shampoos in adjoining rooms.  From Dick's side
Nicole could hear the snip of shears, the count of changes, the
Voilàs and Pardons.  The day after his return they went down to be
shorn and washed in the perfumed breeze of the fans.

In front of the Carleton Hotel, its windows as stubbornly blank to
the summer as so many cellar doors, a car passed them and Tommy
Barban was in it.  Nicole's momentary glimpse of his expression,
taciturn and thoughtful and, in the second of seeing her, wide-eyed
and alert, disturbed her.  She wanted to be going where he was
going.  The hour with the hair-dresser seemed one of the wasteful
intervals that composed her life, another little prison.  The
coiffeuse in her white uniform, faintly sweating lip-rouge and
cologne reminded her of many nurses.

In the next room Dick dozed under an apron and a lather of soap.
The mirror in front of Nicole reflected the passage between the
men's side and the women's, and Nicole started up at the sight of
Tommy entering and wheeling sharply into the men's shop.  She knew
with a flush of joy that there was going to be some sort of
showdown.

She heard fragments of its beginning.

"Hello, I want to see you."

". . . serious."

". . . serious."

". . . perfectly agreeable."

In a minute Dick came into Nicole's booth, his expression emerging
annoyed from behind the towel of his hastily rinsed face.

"Your friend has worked himself up into a state.  He wants to see
us together, so I agreed to have it over with.  Come along!"

"But my hair--it's half cut."

"Nevermind--come along!"

Resentfully she had the staring coiffeuse remove the towels.

Feeling messy and unadorned she followed Dick from the hotel.
Outside Tommy bent over her hand.

"We'll go to the Café des Alliées," said Dick.

"Wherever we can be alone," Tommy agreed.

Under the arching trees, central in summer, Dick asked:  "Will you
take anything, Nicole?"

"A citron pressé."

"For me a demi," said Tommy.

"The Blackenwite with siphon," said Dick.

"Il n'y a plus de Blackenwite.  Nous n'avons que le Johnny
Walkair."

"Ca va."


     "She's--not--wired for sound
      but on the quiet
      you ought to try it--"


"Your wife does not love you," said Tommy suddenly.  "She loves
me."

The two men regarded each other with a curious impotence of
expression.  There can be little communication between men in that
position, for their relation is indirect, and consists of how much
each of them has possessed or will possess of the woman in
question, so that their emotions pass through her divided self as
through a bad telephone connection.

"Wait a minute," Dick said.  "Donnez moi du gin et du siphon."

"Bien, Monsieur."

"All right, go on, Tommy."

"It's very plain to me that your marriage to Nicole has run its
course.  She is through.  I've waited five years for that to be
so."

"What does Nicole say?"

They both looked at her.

"I've gotten very fond of Tommy, Dick."

He nodded.

"You don't care for me any more," she continued.  "It's all just
habit.  Things were never the same after Rosemary."

Unattracted to this angle, Tommy broke in sharply with:

"You don't understand Nicole.  You treat her always like a patient
because she was once sick."

They were suddenly interrupted by an insistent American, of
sinister aspect, vending copies of The Herald and of The Times
fresh from New York.

"Got everything here, Buddies," he announced.  "Been here long?"

"Cessez cela!  Allez Ouste!" Tommy cried and then to Dick, "Now no
woman would stand such--"

"Buddies," interrupted the American again.  "You think I'm wasting
my time--but lots of others don't."  He brought a gray clipping
from his purse--and Dick recognized it as he saw it.  It cartooned
millions of Americans pouring from liners with bags of gold.  "You
think I'm not going to get part of that?  Well, I am.  I'm just
over from Nice for the Tour de France."

As Tommy got him off with a fierce "allez-vous-en," Dick identified
him as the man who had once hailed him in the Rue de Saints Anges,
five years before.

"When does the Tour de France get here?" he called after him.

"Any minute now, Buddy."

He departed at last with a cheery wave and Tommy returned to Dick.

"Elle doit avoir plus avec moi qu'avec vous."

"Speak English!  What do you mean 'doit avoir'?"

"'Doit avoir?'  Would have more happiness with me."

"You'd be new to each other.  But Nicole and I have had much
happiness together, Tommy."

"L'amour de famille," Tommy said, scoffing.

"If you and Nicole married won't that be 'l'amour de famille'?"
The increasing commotion made him break off; presently it came to a
serpentine head on the promenade and a group, presently a crowd, of
people sprung from hidden siestas, lined the curbstone.

Boys sprinted past on bicycles, automobiles jammed with elaborate
betasselled sportsmen slid up the street, high horns tooted to
announce the approach of the race, and unsuspected cooks in
undershirts appeared at restaurant doors as around a bend a
procession came into sight.  First was a lone cyclist in a red
jersey, toiling intent and confident out of the westering sun,
passing to the melody of a high chattering cheer.  Then three
together in a harlequinade of faded color, legs caked yellow with
dust and sweat, faces expressionless, eyes heavy and endlessly
tired.

Tommy faced Dick, saying:  "I think Nicole wants a divorce--I
suppose you'll make no obstacles?"

A troupe of fifty more swarmed after the first bicycle racers,
strung out over two hundred yards; a few were smiling and self-
conscious, a few obviously exhausted, most of them indifferent and
weary.  A retinue of small boys passed, a few defiant stragglers, a
light truck carried the dupes of accident and defeat.  They were
back at the table.  Nicole wanted Dick to take the initiative, but
he seemed content to sit with his face half-shaved matching her
hair half-washed.

"Isn't it true you're not happy with me any more?" Nicole
continued.  "Without me you could get to your work again--you could
work better if you didn't worry about me."

Tommy moved impatiently.

"That is so useless.  Nicole and I love each other, that's all
there is to it."

"Well, then," said the Doctor, "since it's all settled, suppose we
go back to the barber shop."

Tommy wanted a row:  "There are several points--"

"Nicole and I will talk things over," said Dick equitably.  "Don't
worry--I agree in principal, and Nicole and I understand each
other.  There's less chance of unpleasantness if we avoid a three-
cornered discussion."

Unwillingly acknowledging Dick's logic, Tommy was moved by an
irresistible racial tendency to chisel for an advantage.

"Let it be understood that from this moment," he said, "I stand in
the position of Nicole's protector until details can be arranged.
And I shall hold you strictly accountable for any abuse of the fact
that you continue to inhabit the same house."

"I never did go in for making love to dry loins," said Dick.

He nodded, and walked off toward the hotel with Nicole's whitest
eyes following him.

"He was fair enough," Tommy conceded.  "Darling, will we be
together to-night?"

"I suppose so."

So it had happened--and with a minimum of drama; Nicole felt
outguessed, realizing that from the episode of the camphor-rub,
Dick had anticipated everything.  But also she felt happy and
excited, and the odd little wish that she could tell Dick all about
it faded quickly.  But her eyes followed his figure until it became
a dot and mingled with the other dots in the summer crowd.



XII


The day before Doctor Diver left the Riviera he spent all his time
with his children.  He was not young any more with a lot of nice
thoughts and dreams to have about himself, so he wanted to remember
them well.  The children had been told that this winter they would
be with their aunt in London and that soon they were going to come
and see him in America.  Fräulein was not to be discharged without
his consent.

He was glad he had given so much to the little girl--about the boy
he was more uncertain--always he had been uneasy about what he had
to give to the ever-climbing, ever-clinging, breast-searching
young.  But, when he said good-by to them, he wanted to lift their
beautiful heads off their necks and hold them close for hours.

He embraced the old gardener who had made the first garden at Villa
Diana six years ago; he kissed the Provençal girl who helped with
the children.  She had been with them for almost a decade and she
fell on her knees and cried until Dick jerked her to her feet and
gave her three hundred francs.  Nicole was sleeping late, as had
been agreed upon--he left a note for her, and one for Baby Warren
who was just back from Sardinia and staying at the house.  Dick
took a big drink from a bottle of brandy three feet high, holding
ten quarts, that some one had presented them with.

Then he decided to leave his bags by the station in Cannes and take
a last look at Gausse's Beach.



The beach was peopled with only an advance guard of children when
Nicole and her sister arrived that morning.  A white sun, chivied
of outline by a white sky, boomed over a windless day.  Waiters
were putting extra ice into the bar; an American photographer from
the A. and P. worked with his equipment in a precarious shade and
looked up quickly at every footfall descending the stone steps.  At
the hotel his prospective subjects slept late in darkened rooms
upon their recent opiate of dawn.

When Nicole started out on the beach she saw Dick, not dressed for
swimming, sitting on a rock above.  She shrank back in the shadow
of her dressing-tent.  In a minute Baby joined her, saying:

"Dick's still there."

"I saw him."

"I think he might have the delicacy to go."

"This is his place--in a way, he discovered it.  Old Gausse always
says he owes everything to Dick."

Baby looked calmly at her sister.

"We should have let him confine himself to his bicycle excursions,"
she remarked.  "When people are taken out of their depths they lose
their heads, no matter how charming a bluff they put up."

"Dick was a good husband to me for six years," Nicole said.  "All
that time I never suffered a minute's pain because of him, and he
always did his best never to let anything hurt me."

Baby's lower jaw projected slightly as she said:

"That's what he was educated for."

The sisters sat in silence; Nicole wondering in a tired way about
things; Baby considering whether or not to marry the latest
candidate for her hand and money, an authenticated Hapsburg.  She
was not quite THINKING about it.  Her affairs had long shared such
a sameness, that, as she dried out, they were more important for
their conversational value than for themselves.  Her emotions had
their truest existence in the telling of them.

"Is he gone?" Nicole asked after a while.  "I think his train
leaves at noon."

Baby looked.

"No.  He's moved up higher on the terrace and he's talking to some
women.  Anyhow there are so many people now that he doesn't HAVE to
see us."

He had seen them though, as they left their pavilion, and he
followed them with his eyes until they disappeared again.  He sat
with Mary Minghetti, drinking anisette.

"You were like you used to be the night you helped us," she was
saying, "except at the end, when you were horrid about Caroline.
Why aren't you nice like that always?  You can be."

It seemed fantastic to Dick to be in a position where Mary North
could tell him about things.

"Your friends still like you, Dick.  But you say awful things to
people when you've been drinking.  I've spent most of my time
defending you this summer."

"That remark is one of Doctor Eliot's classics."

"It's true.  Nobody cares whether you drink or not--"  She
hesitated, "even when Abe drank hardest, he never offended people
like you do."

"You're all so dull," he said.

"But we're all there is!" cried Mary.  "If you don't like nice
people, try the ones who aren't nice, and see how you like that!
All people want is to have a good time and if you make them unhappy
you cut yourself off from nourishment."

"Have I been nourished?" he asked.

Mary was having a good time, though she did not know it, as she had
sat down with him only out of fear.  Again she refused a drink and
said:  "Self-indulgence is back of it.  Of course, after Abe you
can imagine how I feel about it--since I watched the progress of a
good man toward alcoholism--"

Down the steps tripped Lady Caroline Sibly-Biers with blithe
theatricality.

Dick felt fine--he was already well in advance of the day; arrived
at where a man should be at the end of a good dinner, yet he showed
only a fine, considered, restrained interest in Mary.  His eyes,
for the moment clear as a child's, asked her sympathy and stealing
over him he felt the old necessity of convincing her that he was
the last man in the world and she was the last woman.

. . . Then he would not have to look at those two other figures, a
man and a woman, black and white and metallic against the sky. . . .

"You once liked me, didn't you?" he asked.

"LIKED you--I LOVED you.  Everybody loved you.  You could've had
anybody you wanted for the asking--"

"There has always been something between you and me."

She bit eagerly.  "Has there, Dick?"

"Always--I knew your troubles and how brave you were about them."
But the old interior laughter had begun inside him and he knew he
couldn't keep it up much longer.

"I always thought you knew a lot," Mary said enthusiastically.
"More about me than any one has ever known.  Perhaps that's why I
was so afraid of you when we didn't get along so well."

His glance fell soft and kind upon hers, suggesting an emotion
underneath; their glances married suddenly, bedded, strained
together.  Then, as the laughter inside of him became so loud that
it seemed as if Mary must hear it, Dick switched off the light and
they were back in the Riviera sun.

"I must go," he said.  As he stood up he swayed a little; he did
not feel well any more--his blood raced slow.  He raised his right
hand and with a papal cross he blessed the beach from the high
terrace.  Faces turned upward from several umbrellas.



"I'm going to him."  Nicole got to her knees.

"No, you're not," said Tommy, pulling her down firmly.  "Let well
enough alone."



XIII


Nicole kept in touch with Dick after her new marriage; there were
letters on business matters, and about the children.  When she
said, as she often did, "I loved Dick and I'll never forget him,"
Tommy answered, "Of course not--why should you?"

Dick opened an office in Buffalo, but evidently without success.
Nicole did not find what the trouble was, but she heard a few
months later that he was in a little town named Batavia, N.Y.,
practising general medicine, and later that he was in Lockport,
doing the same thing.  By accident she heard more about his life
there than anywhere: that he bicycled a lot, was much admired by
the ladies, and always had a big stack of papers on his desk that
were known to be an important treatise on some medical subject,
almost in process of completion.  He was considered to have fine
manners and once made a good speech at a public health meeting on
the subject of drugs; but he became entangled with a girl who
worked in a grocery store, and he was also involved in a lawsuit
about some medical question; so he left Lockport.

After that he didn't ask for the children to be sent to America and
didn't answer when Nicole wrote asking him if he needed money.  In
the last letter she had from him he told her that he was practising
in Geneva, New York, and she got the impression that he had settled
down with some one to keep house for him.  She looked up Geneva in
an atlas and found it was in the heart of the Finger Lakes Section
and considered a pleasant place.  Perhaps, so she liked to think,
his career was biding its time, again like Grant's in Galena; his
latest note was post-marked from Hornell, New York, which is some
distance from Geneva and a very small town; in any case he is
almost certainly in that section of the country, in one town or
another.



THE END




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