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F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

Saturday Evening Post (27 August 1932)

At four o'clock on a November afternoon in 1902, Teddy Van Beck got
out of a hansom cab in front of a brownstone house on Murray Hill.
He was a tall, round-shouldered young man with a beaked nose and
soft brown eyes in a sensitive face.  In his veins quarreled the
blood of colonial governors and celebrated robber barons; in him
the synthesis had produced, for that time and place, something
different and something new.

His cousin, Helen Van Beck, waited in the drawing-room.  Her eyes
were red from weeping, but she was young enough for it not to
detract from her glossy beauty--a beauty that had reached the point
where it seemed to contain in itself the secret of its own growth,
as if it would go on increasing forever.  She was nineteen and,
contrary to the evidence, she was extremely happy.

Teddy put his arm around her and kissed her cheek, and found it
changing into her ear as she turned her face away.  He held her for
a moment, his own enthusiasm chilling; then he said:

"You don't seem very glad to see me."

Helen had a premonition that this was going to be one of the
memorable scenes of her life, and with unconscious cruelty she set
about extracting from it its full dramatic value.  She sat in a
corner of the couch, facing an easy-chair.

"Sit there," she commanded, in what was then admired as a "regal
manner," and then, as Teddy straddled the piano stool:  "No, don't
sit there.  I can't talk to you if you're going to revolve around."

"Sit on my lap," he suggested.


Playing a one-handed flourish on the piano, he said, "I can listen
better here."

Helen gave up hopes of beginning on the sad and quiet note.

"This is a serious matter, Teddy.  Don't think I've decided it
without a lot of consideration.  I've got to ask you--to ask you to
release me from our understanding."

"What?"  Teddy's face paled with shock and dismay.

"I'll have to tell you from the beginning.  I've realized for a
long time that we have nothing in common.  You're interested in
your music, and I can't even play chopsticks."  Her voice was weary
as if with suffering; her small teeth tugged at her lower lip.

"What of it?" he demanded, relieved.  "I'm musician enough for
both.  You wouldn't have to understand banking to marry a banker,
would you?"

"This is different," Helen answered.  "What would we do together?
One important thing is that you don't like riding; you told me you
were afraid of horses."

"Of course I'm afraid of horses," he said, and added reminiscently:
"They try to bite me."

"It makes it so--"

"I've never met a horse--socially, that is--who didn't try to bite
me.  They used to do it when I put the bridle on; then, when I gave
up putting the bridle on, they began reaching their heads around
trying to get at my calves."

The eyes of her father, who had given her a Shetland at three,
glistened, cold and hard, from her own.

"You don't even like the people I like, let alone the horses," she

"I can stand them.  I've stood them all my life."

"Well, it would be a silly way to start a marriage.  I don't see
any grounds for mutual--mutual--"


"Oh, not that."  Helen hesitated, and then said in an unconvinced
tone, "Probably I'm not clever enough for you."

"Don't talk such stuff!"  He demanded some truth:  "Who's the man?"

It took her a moment to collect herself.  She had always resented
Teddy's tendency to treat women with less ceremony than was the
custom of the day.  Often he was an unfamiliar, almost frightening
young man.

"There is someone," she admitted.  "It's someone I've always known
slightly, but about a month ago, when I went to Southampton, I was--
thrown with him."

"Thrown from a horse?"

"Please, Teddy," she protested gravely.  "I'd been getting more
unhappy about you and me, and whenever I was with him everything
seemed all right."  A note of exaltation that she would not conceal
came into Helen's voice.  She rose and crossed the room, her
straight, slim legs outlined by the shadows of her dress.  "We rode
and swam and played tennis together--did the things we both liked
to do."

He stared into the vacant space she had created for him.  "Is that
all that drew you to this fellow?"

"No, it was more than that.  He was thrilling to me like nobody
ever has been."  She laughed.  "I think what really started me
thinking about it was one day we came in from riding and everybody
said aloud what a nice pair we made."

"Did you kiss him?"

She hesitated.  "Yes, once."

He got up from the piano stool.  "I feel as if I had a cannon ball
in my stomach," he exclaimed.

The butler announced Mr. Stuart Oldhorne.

"Is he the man?" Teddy demanded tensely.

She was suddenly upset and confused.  "He should have come later.
Would you rather go without meeting him?"

But Stuart Oldhorne, made confident by his new sense of
proprietorship, had followed the butler.

The two men regarded each other with a curious impotence of
expression; there can be no communication between men in that
position, for their relation is indirect and consists in 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.

Stuart Oldhorne sat beside Helen, his polite eyes never leaving
Teddy.  He had the same glowing physical power as she.  He had been
a star athlete at Yale and a Rough Rider in Cuba, and was the best
young horseman on Long Island.  Women loved him not only for his
points but for a real sweetness of temper.

"You've lived so much in Europe that I don't often see you," he
said to Teddy.  Teddy didn't answer and Stuart Oldhorne turned to
Helen:  "I'm early; I didn't realize--"

"You came at the right time," said Teddy rather harshly.  "I stayed
to play you my congratulations."

To Helen's alarm, he turned and ran his fingers over the keyboard.
Then he began.

What he was playing, neither Helen nor Stuart knew, but Teddy
always remembered.  He put his mind in order with a short résumé of
the history of music, beginning with some chords from The Messiah
and ending with Debussy's La Plus Que Lent, which had an evocative
quality for him, because he had first heard it the day his brother
died.  Then, pausing for an instant, he began to play more
thoughtfully, and the lovers on the sofa could feel that they were
alone--that he had left them and had no more traffic with them--and
Helen's discomfort lessened.  But the flight, the elusiveness of
the music, piqued her, gave her a feeling of annoyance.  If Teddy
had played the current sentimental song from Erminie, and had
played it with feeling, she would have understood and been moved,
but he was plunging her suddenly into a world of mature emotions,
whither her nature neither could nor wished to follow.

She shook herself slightly and said to Stuart:  "Did you buy the

"Yes, and at a bargain. . . .  Do you know I love you?"

"I'm glad," she whispered.

The piano stopped suddenly.  Teddy closed it and swung slowly
around:  "Did you like my congratulations?"

"Very much," they said together.

"It was pretty good," he admitted.  "That last was only based on a
little counterpoint.  You see, the idea of it was that you make
such a handsome pair."

He laughed unnaturally; Helen followed him out into the hall.

"Good-by, Teddy," she said.  "We're going to be good friends,
aren't we?"

"Aren't we?" he repeated.  He winked without smiling, and with a
clicking, despairing sound of his mouth, went out quickly.

For a moment Helen tried vainly to apply a measure to the
situation, wondering how she had come off with him, realizing
reluctantly that she had never for an instant held the situation in
her hands.  She had a dim realization that Teddy was larger in
scale; then the very largeness frightened her and, with relief and
a warm tide of emotion, she hurried into the drawing-room and the
shelter of her lover's arms.

Their engagement ran through a halcyon summer.  Stuart visited
Helen's family at Tuxedo, and Helen visited his family in Wheatley
Hills.  Before breakfast, their horses' hoofs sedately scattered
the dew in sentimental glades, or curtained them with dust as they
raced on dirt roads.  They bought a tandem bicycle and pedaled all
over Long Island--which Mrs. Cassius Ruthven, a contemporary Cato,
considered "rather fast" for a couple not yet married.  They were
seldom at rest, but when they were, they reminded people of His
Move on a Gibson pillow.

Helen's taste for sport was advanced for her generation.  She rode
nearly as well as Stuart and gave him a decent game in tennis.  He
taught her some polo, and they were golf crazy when it was still
considered a comic game.  They liked to feel fit and cool together.
They thought of themselves as a team, and it was often remarked how
well mated they were.  A chorus of pleasant envy followed in the
wake of their effortless glamour.

They talked.

"It seems a pity you've got to go to the office," she would say.
"I wish you did something we could do together, like taming lions."

"I've always thought that in a pinch I could make a living breeding
and racing horses," said Stuart.

"I know you could, you darling."

In August he brought a Thomas automobile and toured all the way to
Chicago with three other men.  It was an event of national interest
and their pictures were in all the papers.  Helen wanted to go, but
it wouldn't have been proper, so they compromised by driving down
Fifth Avenue on a sunny September morning, one with the fine day
and the fashionable crowd, but distinguished by their unity, which
made them each as strong as two.

"What do you suppose?" Helen demanded.  "Teddy sent me the oddest
present--a cup rack."

Stuart laughed.  "Obviously, he means that all we'll ever do is win

"I thought it was rather a slam," Helen ruminated.  "I saw that he
was invited to everything, but he didn't answer a single
invitation.  Would you mind very much stopping by his apartment
now?  I haven't seen him for months and I don't like to leave
anything unpleasant in the past."

He wouldn't go in with her.  "I'll sit and answer questions about
the auto from passers-by."

The door was opened by a woman in a cleaning cap, and Helen heard
the sound of Teddy's piano from the room beyond.  The woman seemed
reluctant to admit her.

"He said don't interrupt him, but I suppose if you're his cousin--"

Teddy welcomed her, obviously startled and somewhat upset, but in a
minute he was himself again.

"I won't marry you," he assured her.  "You've had your chance."

"All right," she laughed.

"How are you?"  He threw a pillow at her.  "You're beautiful!  Are
you happy with this--this centaur?  Does he beat you with his
riding crop?"  He peered at her closely.  "You look a little duller
than when I knew you.  I used to whip you up to a nervous
excitement that bore a resemblance to intelligence."

"I'm happy, Teddy.  I hope you are."

"Sure, I'm happy; I'm working.  I've got MacDowell on the run and
I'm going to have a shebang at Carnegie Hall next September."  His
eyes became malicious.  "What did you think of my girl?"

"Your girl?"

"The girl who opened the door for you."

"Oh, I thought it was a maid."  She flushed and was silent.

He laughed.  "Hey, Betty!" he called.  "You were mistaken for the

"And that's the fault of my cleaning on Sunday," answered a voice
from the next room.

Teddy lowered his voice.  "Do you like her?" he demanded.

"Teddy!"  She teetered on the arm of the sofa, wondering whether
she should leave at once.

"What would you think if I married her?" he asked confidentially.

"Teddy!"  She was outraged; it had needed but a glance to place the
woman as common.  "You're joking.  She's older than you. . . .  You
wouldn't be such a fool as to throw away your future that way."

He didn't answer.

"Is she musical?" Helen demanded.  "Does she help you with your

"She doesn't know a note.  Neither did you, but I've got enough
music in me for twenty wives."

Visualizing herself as one of them, Helen rose stiffly.

"All I can ask you is to think how your mother would have felt--and
those who care for you. . . .  Good-by, Teddy."

He walked out the door with her and down the stairs.

"As a matter of fact, we've been married for two months," he said
casually.  "She was a waitress in a place where I used to eat."

Helen felt that she should be angry and aloof, but tears of hurt
vanity were springing to her eyes.

"And do you love her?"

"I like her; she's a good person and good for me.  Love is
something else.  I loved you, Helen, and that's all dead in me for
the present.  Maybe it's coming out in my music.  Some day I'll
probably love other women--or maybe there'll never be anything but
you.  Good-by, Helen."

The declaration touched her.  "I hope you'll be happy, Teddy.
Bring your wife to the wedding."

He bowed noncommittally.  When she had gone, he returned
thoughtfully to his apartment.

"That was the cousin that I was in love with," he said.

"And was it?"  Betty's face, Irish and placid, brightened with
interest.  "She's a pretty thing."

"She wouldn't have been as good for me as a nice peasant like you."

"Always thinking of yourself, Teddy Van Beck."

He laughed.  "Sure I am, but you love me, anyhow?"

"That's a big wur-red."

"All right.  I'll remember that when you come begging around for a
kiss.  If my grandfather knew I married a bog trotter, he'd turn
over in his grave.  Now get out and let me finish my work."

He sat at the piano, a pencil behind his ear.  Already his face was
resolved, composed, but his eyes grew more intense minute by
minute, until there was a glaze in them, behind which they seemed
to have joined his ears in counting and hearing.  Presently there
was no more indication in his face that anything had occurred to
disturb the tranquillity of his Sunday morning.


Mrs. Cassius Ruthven and a friend, veils flung back across their
hats, sat in their auto on the edge of the field.

"A young woman playing polo in breeches."  Mrs. Ruthven sighed.
"Amy Van Beck's daughter.  I thought when Helen organized the
Amazons she'd stop at divided skirts.  But her husband apparently
has no objections, for there he stands, egging her on.  Of course,
they always have liked the same things."

"A pair of thoroughbreds, those two," said the other woman
complacently, meaning that she admitted them to be her equals.
"You'd never look at them and think that anything had gone wrong."

She was referring to Stuart's mistake in the panic of 1907.  His
father had bequeathed him a precarious situation and Stuart had
made an error of judgment.  His honor was not questioned and his
crowd stood by him loyally, but his usefulness in Wall Street was
over and his small fortune was gone.

He stood in a group of men with whom he would presently play,
noting things to tell Helen after the game--she wasn't turning with
the play soon enough and several times she was unnecessarily ridden
off at important moments.  Her ponies were sluggish--the penalty
for playing with borrowed mounts--but she was, nevertheless, the
best player on the field, and in the last minute she made a save
that brought applause.

"Good girl!  Good girl!"

Stuart had been delegated with the unpleasant duty of chasing the
women from the field.  They had started an hour late and now a team
from New Jersey was waiting to play; he sensed trouble as he cut
across to join Helen and walked beside her toward the stables.  She
was splendid, with her flushed cheeks, her shining, triumphant
eyes, her short, excited breath.  He temporized for a minute.

"That was good--that last," he said.

"Thanks.  It almost broke my arm.  Wasn't I pretty good all

"You were the best out there."

"I know it."

He waited while she dismounted and handed the pony to a groom.

"Helen, I believe I've got a job."

"What is it?"

"Don't jump on the idea till you think it over.  Gus Myers wants me
to manage his racing stables.  Eight thousand a year."

Helen considered.  "It's a nice salary; and I bet you could make
yourself up a nice string from his ponies."

"The principal thing is that I need the money; I'd have as much as
you and things would be easier."

"You'd have as much as me," Helen repeated.  She almost regretted
that he would need no more help from her.  "But with Gus Myers,
isn't there a string attached?  Wouldn't he expect a boost up?"

"He probably would," answered Stuart bluntly, "and if I can help
him socially, I will.  As a matter of fact, he wants me at a stag
dinner tonight."

"All right, then," Helen said absently.  Still hesitating to tell
her her game was over, Stuart followed her glance toward the field,
where a runabout had driven up and parked by the ropes.

"There's your old friend, Teddy," he remarked dryly--"or rather,
your new friend, Teddy.  He's taking a sudden interest in polo.
Perhaps he thinks the horses aren't biting this summer."

"You're not in a very good humor," protested Helen.  "You know, if
you say the word, I'll never see him again.  All I want in the
world is for you and I to be together."

"I know," he admitted regretfully.  "Selling horses and giving up
clubs put a crimp in that.  I know the women all fall for Teddy,
now he's getting famous, but if he tries to fool around with you
I'll break his piano over his head. . . .  Oh, another thing," he
began, seeing the men already riding on the field.  "About your
last chukker--"

As best he could, he put the situation up to her.  He was not
prepared for the fury that swept over her.

"But it's an outrage!  I got up the game and it's been posted on
the bulletin board for three days."

"You started an hour late."

"And do you know why?" she demanded.  "Because your friend Joe
Morgan insisted that Celie ride sidesaddle.  He tore her habit off
her three times, and she only got here by climbing out the kitchen

"I can't do anything about it."

"Why can't you?  Weren't you once a governor of this club?  How can
women ever expect to be any good if they have to quit every time
the men want the field?  All the men want is for the women to come
up to them in the evening and tell them what a beautiful game they

Still raging and blaming Stuart, she crossed the field to Teddy's
car.  He got out and greeted her with concentrated intensity:

"I've reached the point where I can neither sleep nor eat from
thinking of you.  What point is that?"

There was something thrilling about him that she had never been
conscious of in the old days; perhaps the stories of his
philanderings had made him more romantic to her.

"Well, don't think of me as I am now," she said.  "My face is
getting rougher every day and my muscles lean out of an evening
dress like a female impersonator.  People are beginning to refer to
me as handsome instead of pretty.  Besides, I'm in a vile humor.
It seems to me women are always just edged out of everything."

Stuart's game was brutal that afternoon.  In the first five
minutes, he realized that Teddy's runabout was no longer there, and
his long slugs began to tally from all angles.  Afterward, he
bumped home across country at a gallop; his mood was not assuaged
by a note handed him by the children's nurse:

DEAR:  Since your friends made it possible for us to play, I wasn't
going to sit there just dripping; so I had Teddy bring me home.
And since you'll be out to dinner, I'm going into New York with him
to the theater.  I'll either be out on the theater train or spend
the night at mother's.


Stuart went upstairs and changed into his dinner coat.  He had no
defense against the unfamiliar claws of jealousy that began a slow
dissection of his insides.  Often Helen had gone to plays or dances
with other men, but this was different.  He felt toward Teddy the
faint contempt of the physical man for the artist, but the last six
months had bruised his pride.  He perceived the possibility that
Helen might be seriously interested in someone else.

He was in a bad humor at Gus Myers' dinner--annoyed with his host
for talking so freely about their business arrangement.  When at
last they rose from the table, he decided that it was no go and
called Myers aside.

"Look here.  I'm afraid this isn't a good idea, after all."

"Why not?"  His host looked at him in alarm.  "Are you going back
on me?  My dear fellow--"

"I think we'd better call it off."

"And why, may I ask?  Certainly I have the right to ask why."

Stuart considered.  "All right, I'll tell you.  When you made that
little speech, you mentioned me as if you had somehow bought me, as
if I was a sort of employee in your office.  Now, in the sporting
world that doesn't go; things are more--more democratic.  I grew up
with all these men here tonight, and they didn't like it any better
than I did."

"I see," Mr. Myers reflected carefully--"I see."  Suddenly he
clapped Stuart on the back.  "That is exactly the sort of thing I
like to be told; it helps me.  From now on I won't mention you as
if you were in my--as if we had a business arrangement.  Is that
all right?"

After all, the salary was eight thousand dollars.

"Very well, then," Stuart agreed.  "But you'll have to excuse me
tonight.  I'm catching a train to the city."

"I'll put an automobile at your disposal."

At ten o'clock he rang the bell of Teddy's apartment on Forty-
eighth Street.

"I'm looking for Mr. Van Beck," he said to the woman who answered
the door.  "I know he's gone to the theater, but I wonder if you
can tell me--"  Suddenly he guessed who the woman was.  "I'm Stuart
Oldhorne," he explained.  "I married Mr. Van Beck's cousin."

"Oh, come in," said Betty pleasantly.  "I know all about who you

She was just this side of forty, stoutish and plain of face, but
full of a keen, brisk vitality.  In the living room they sat down.

"You want to see Teddy?"

"He's with my wife and I want to join them after the theater.  I
wonder if you know where they went?"

"Oh, so Teddy's with your wife."  There was a faint, pleasant
brogue in her voice.  "Well, now, he didn't say exactly where he'd
be tonight."

"Then you don't know?"

"I don't--not for the life of me," she admitted cheerfully.  "I'm

He stood up, and Betty saw the thinly hidden anguish in his face.
Suddenly she was really sorry.

"I did hear him say something about the theater," she said
ruminatively.  "Now sit down and let me think what it was.  He goes
out so much and a play once a week is enough for me, so that one
night mixes up with the others in my head.  Didn't your wife say
where to meet them?"

"No.  I only decided to come in after they'd started.  She said
she'd catch the theater train back to Long Island or go to her

"That's it," Betty said triumphantly, striking her hands together
like cymbals.  "That's what he said when he called up--that he was
putting a lady on the theater train for Long Island, and would be
home himself right afterward.  We've had a child sick and it's
driven things from my mind."

"I'm very sorry I bothered you under those conditions."

"It's no bother.  Sit down.  It's only just after ten."

Feeling easier, Stuart relaxed a little and accepted a cigar.

"No, if I tried to keep up with Teddy, I'd have white hair by now,"
Betty said.  "Of course, I go to his concerts, but often I fall
asleep--not that he ever knows it.  So long as he doesn't take too
much to drink and knows where his home is, I don't bother about
where he wanders."  As Stuart's face grew serious again, she
changed her tone:  "All and all, he's a good husband to me and we
have a happy life together, without interfering with each other.
How would he do working next to the nursery and groaning at every
sound?  And how would I do going to Mrs. Ruthven's with him, and
all of them talking about high society and high art?"

A phrase of Helen's came back to Stuart:  "Always together--I like
for us to do everything together."

"You have children, haven't you, Mr. Oldhorne?"

"Yes.  My boy's almost big enough to sit a horse."

"Ah, yes; you're both great for horses."

"My wife says that as soon as their legs are long enough to reach
stirrups, she'll be interested in them again."  This didn't sound
right to Stuart and he modified it:  "I mean she always has been
interested in them, but she never let them monopolize her or come
between us.  We've always believed that marriage ought to be
founded on companionship, on having the same interests.  I mean,
you're musical and you help your husband."

Betty laughed.  "I wish Teddy could hear that.  I can't read a note
or carry a tune."

"No?"  He was confused.  "I'd somehow got the impression that you
were musical."

"You can't see why else he'd have married me?"

"Not at all.  On the contrary."

After a few minutes, he said good night, somehow liking her.  When
he had gone, Betty's expression changed slowly to one of
exasperation; she went to the telephone and called her husband's

"There you are, Teddy.  Now listen to me carefully.  I know your
cousin is with you and I want to talk with her. . . .  Now, don't
lie.  You put her on the phone.  Her husband has been here, and if
you don't let me talk to her, it might be a serious matter."

She could hear an unintelligible colloquy, and then Helen's voice:


"Good evening, Mrs. Oldhorne.  Your husband came here, looking for
you and Teddy.  I told him I didn't know which play you were at, so
you'd better be thinking which one.  And I told him Teddy was
leaving you at the station in time for the theater train."

"Oh, thank you very much.  We--"

"Now, you meet your husband or there's trouble for you, or I'm no
judge of men.  And--wait a minute.  Tell Teddy, if he's going to be
up late, that Josie's sleeping light, and he's not to touch the
piano when he gets home."

Betty heard Teddy come in at eleven, and she came into the drawing-
room smelling of camomile vapor.  He greeted her absently; there
was a look of suffering in his face and his eyes were bright and
far away.

"You call yourself a great musician, Teddy Van Beck," she said,
"but it seems to me you're much more interested in women."

"Let me alone, Betty."

"I do let you alone, but when the husbands start coming here, it's
another matter."

"This was different, Betty.  This goes way back into the past."

"It sounds like the present to me."

"Don't make any mistake about Helen," he said.  "She's a good

"Not through any fault of yours, I know."

He sank his head wearily in his hands.  "I've tried to forget her.
I've avoided her for six years.  And then, when I met her a month
ago, it all rushed over me.  Try and understand, Bet.  You're my
best friend; you're the only person that ever loved me."

"When you're good I love you," she said.

"Don't worry.  It's over.  She loves her husband; she just came to
New York with me because she's got some spite against him.  She
follows me a certain distance just like she always has, and then--
Anyhow, I'm not going to see her any more.  Now go to bed, Bet.  I
want to play for a while."

He was on his feet when she stopped him.

"You're not to touch the piano tonight."

"Oh, I forgot about Josie," he said remorsefully.  "Well, I'll
drink a bottle of beer and then I'll come to bed."

He came close and put his arm around her.

"Dear Bet, nothing could ever interfere with us."

"You're a bad boy, Teddy," she said.  "I wouldn't ever be so bad to

"How do you know, Bet?  How do you know what you'd do?"

He smoothed down her plain brown hair, knowing for the thousandth
time that she had none of the world's dark magic for him, and that
he couldn't live without her for six consecutive hours.  "Dear
Bet," he whispered.  "Dear Bet."


The Oldhornes were visiting.  In the last four years, since Stuart
had terminated his bondage to Gus Myers, they had become visiting
people.  The children visited Grandmother Van Beck during the
winter and attended school in New York.  Stuart and Helen visited
friends in Asheville, Aiken and Palm Beach, and in the summer
usually occupied a small cottage on someone's Long Island estate.
"My dear, it's just standing there empty.  I wouldn't dream of
accepting any rent.  You'll be doing us a favor by occupying it."

Usually, they were; they gave out a great deal of themselves in
that eternal willingness and enthusiasm which makes a successful
guest--it became their profession.  Moving through a world that was
growing rich with the war in Europe, Stuart had somewhere lost his
way.  Twice playing brilliant golf in the national amateur, he
accepted a job as professional at a club which his father had
helped to found.  He was restless and unhappy.

This week-end they were visiting a pupil of his.  As a consequence
of a mixed foursome, the Oldhornes went upstairs to dress for
dinner surcharged with the unpleasant accumulation of many
unsatisfactory months.  In the afternoon, Stuart had played with
their hostess and Helen with another man--a situation which Stuart
always dreaded, because it forced him into competition with Helen.
He had actually tried to miss that putt on the eighteenth--to just
miss it.  But the ball dropped in the cup.  Helen went through the
superficial motions of a good loser, but she devoted herself
pointedly to her partner for the rest of the afternoon.

Their expressions still counterfeited amusement as they entered
their room.

When the door closed, Helen's pleasant expression faded and she
walked toward the dressing table as though her own reflection was
the only decent company with which to forgather.  Stuart watched
her, frowning.

"I know why you're in a rotten humor," he said; "though I don't
believe you know yourself."

"I'm not in a rotten humor," Helen responded in a clipped voice.

"You are; and I know the real reason--the one you don't know.  It's
because I holed that putt this afternoon."

She turned slowly, incredulously, from the mirror.

"Oh, so I have a new fault!  I've suddenly become, of all things, a
poor sport!"

"It's not like you to be a poor sport," he admitted, "but otherwise
why all this interest in other men, and why do you look at me as if
I'm--well, slightly gamy?"

"I'm not aware of it."

"I am."  He was aware, too, that there was always some man in their
life now--some man of power and money who paid court to Helen and
gave her the sense of solidity which he failed to provide.  He had
no cause to be jealous of any particular man, but the pressure of
many was irritating.  It annoyed him that on so slight a grievance,
Helen should remind him by her actions that he no longer filled her
entire life.

"If Anne can get any satisfaction out of winning, she's welcome to
it," said Helen suddenly.

"Isn't that rather petty?  She isn't in your class; she won't
qualify for the third flight in Boston."

Feeling herself in the wrong, she changed her tone.

"Oh, that isn't it," she broke out.  "I just keep wishing you and I
could play together like we used to.  And now you have to play with
dubs, and get their wretched shots out of traps.  Especially"--she
hesitated--"especially when you're so unnecessarily gallant."

The faint contempt in her voice, the mock jealousy that covered a
growing indifference was apparent to him.  There had been a time
when, if he danced with another woman, Helen's stricken eyes
followed him around the room.

"My gallantry is simply a matter of business," he answered.
"Lessons have brought in three hundred a month all summer.  How
could I go to see you play at Boston next week, except that I'm
going to coach other women?"

"And you're going to see me win," announced Helen.  "Do you know

"Naturally, I want nothing more," Stuart said automatically.  But
the unnecessary defiance in her voice repelled him, and he suddenly
wondered if he really cared whether she won or not.

At the same moment, Helen's mood changed and for a moment she saw
the true situation--that she could play in amateur tournaments and
Stuart could not, that the new cups in the rack were all hers now,
that he had given up the fiercely competitive sportsmanship that
had been the breath of life to him in order to provide necessary

"Oh, I'm so sorry for you, Stuart!"  There were tears in her eyes.
"It seems such a shame that you can't do the things you love, and I
can.  Perhaps I oughtn't to play this summer."

"Nonsense," he said.  "You can't sit home and twirl your thumbs."

She caught at this:  "You wouldn't want me to.  I can't help being
good at sports; you taught me nearly all I know.  But I wish I
could help you."

"Just try to remember I'm your best friend.  Sometimes you act as
if we were rivals."

She hesitated, annoyed by the truth of his words and unwilling to
concede an inch; but a wave of memories rushed over her, and she
thought how brave he was in his eked-out, pieced-together life; she
came and threw her arms around him.

"Darling, darling, things are going to be better.  You'll see."

Helen won the finals in the tournament at Boston the following
week.  Following around with the crowd, Stuart was very proud of
her.  He hoped that instead of feeding her egotism, the actual
achievement would make things easier between them.  He hated the
conflict that had grown out of their wanting the same excellences,
the same prizes from life.

Afterward he pursued her progress toward the clubhouse, amused and
a little jealous of the pack that fawned around her.  He reached
the club among the last, and a steward accosted him.  "Professionals
are served in the lower grill, please," the man said.

"That's all right.  My name's Oldhorne."

He started to walk by, but the man barred his way.

"Sorry, sir.  I realize that Mrs. Oldhorne's playing in the match,
but my orders are to direct the professionals to the lower grill,
and I understand you are a professional."

"Why, look here--" Stuart began, wildly angry, and stopped.  A
group of people were listening.  "All right; never mind," he said
gruffly, and turned away.

The memory of the experience rankled; it was the determining factor
that drove him, some weeks later, to a momentous decision.  For a
long time he had been playing with the idea of joining the Canadian
Air Force, for service in France.  He knew that his absence would
have little practical bearing on the lives of Helen and the
children; happening on some friends who were also full of the
restlessness of 1915, the matter was suddenly decided.  But he had
not counted on the effect upon Helen; her reaction was not so much
one of grief or alarm, but as if she had been somehow outwitted.

"But you might have told me!" she wailed.  "You leave me dangling;
you simply take yourself away without any warning."

Once again Helen saw him as the bright and intolerably blinding
hero, and her soul winced before him as it had when they first met.
He was a warrior; for him, peace was only the interval between
wars, and peace was destroying him.  Here was the game of games
beckoning him--Without throwing over the whole logic of their
lives, there was nothing she could say.

"This is my sort of thing," he said confidently, younger with his
excitement.  "A few more years of this life and I'd go to pieces,
take to drink.  I've somehow lost your respect, and I've got to
have that, even if I'm far away."

She was proud of him again; she talked to everyone of his impending
departure.  Then, one September afternoon, she came home from the
city, full of the old feeling of comradeship and bursting with
news, to find him buried in an utter depression.

"Stuart," she cried, "I've got the--"  She broke off.  "What's the
matter, darling?  Is something the matter?"

He looked at her dully.  "They turned me down," he said.


"My left eye."  He laughed bitterly.  "Where that dub cracked me
with the brassie.  I'm nearly blind in it."

"Isn't there anything you can do?"


"Stuart!"  She stared at him aghast.  "Stuart, and I was going to
tell you!  I was saving it for a surprise.  Elsa Prentice has
organized a Red Cross unit to serve with the French, and I joined
it because I thought it would be wonderful if we both went.  We've
been measured for uniforms and bought our outfits, and we're
sailing the end of next week."


Helen was a blurred figure among other blurred figures on a boat
deck, dark against the threat of submarines.  When the ship had
slid out into the obscure future, Stuart walked eastward along
Fifty-seventh Street.  His grief at the severance of many ties was
a weight he carried in his body, and he walked slowly, as if
adjusting himself to it.  To balance this there was a curious
sensation of lightness in his mind.  For the first time in twelve
years he was alone, and the feeling came over him that he was alone
for good; knowing Helen and knowing war, he could guess at the
experiences she would go through, and he could not form any picture
of a renewed life together afterward.  He was discarded; she had
proved the stronger at last.  It seemed very strange and sad that
his marriage should have such an ending.

He came to Carnegie Hall, dark after a concert, and his eye caught
the name of Theodore Van Beck, large on the posted bills.  As he
stared at it, a green door opened in the side of the building and a
group of people in evening dress came out.  Stuart and Teddy were
face to face before they recognized each other.

"Hello, there!" Teddy cried cordially.  "Did Helen sail?"

"Just now."

"I met her on the street yesterday and she told me.  I wanted you
both to come to my concert.  Well, she's quite a heroine, going off
like that. . . .  Have you met my wife?"

Stuart and Betty smiled at each other.

"We've met."

"And I didn't know it," protested Teddy.  "Women need watching when
they get toward their dotage. . . .  Look here, Stuart; we're
having a few people up to the apartment.  No heavy music or
anything.  Just supper and a few débutantes to tell me I was
divine.  It will do you good to come.  I imagine you're missing
Helen like the devil."

"I don't think I--"

"Come along.  They'll tell you you're divine too."

Realizing that the invitation was inspired by kindliness, Stuart
accepted.  It was the sort of gathering he had seldom attended, and
he was surprised to meet so many people he knew.  Teddy played the
lion in a manner at once assertive and skeptical.  Stuart listened
as he enlarged to Mrs. Cassius Ruthven on one of his favorite

"People tried to make marriages coöperative and they've ended by
becoming competitive.  Impossible situation.  Smart men will get to
fight shy of ornamental women.  A man ought to marry somebody
who'll be grateful, like Betty here."

"Now don't talk so much, Theodore Van Beck," Betty interrupted.
"Since you're such a fine musician, you'd do well to express
yourself with music instead of rash words."

"I don't agree with your husband," said Mrs. Ruthven.  "English
girls hunt with their men and play politics with them on absolutely
equal terms, and it tends to draw them together."

"It does not," insisted Teddy.  "That's why English society is the
most disorganized in the world.  Betty and I are happy because we
haven't any qualities in common at all."

His exuberance grated on Stuart, and the success that flowed from
him swung his mind back to the failure of his own life.  He could
not know that his life was not destined to be a failure.  He could
not read the fine story that three years later would be carved
proud above his soldier's grave, or know that his restless body,
which never spared itself in sport or danger, was destined to give
him one last proud gallop at the end.

"They turned me down," he was saying to Mrs. Ruthven.  "I'll have
to stick to Squadron A, unless we get drawn in."

"So Helen's gone."  Mrs. Ruthven looked at him, reminiscing.  "I'll
never forget your wedding.  You were both so handsome, so ideally
suited to each other.  Everybody spoke of it."

Stuart remembered; for the moment it seemed that he had little else
that it was fun to remember.

"Yes," he agreed, nodding his head thoughtfully, "I suppose we were
a handsome pair."

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