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F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

Metropolitan Magazine (December 1922)

Some of the caddies were poor as sin and lived in one-room houses
with a neurasthenic cow in the front yard, but Dexter Green's
father owned the second best grocery-store in Black Bear--the best
one was "The Hub," patronized by the wealthy people from Sherry
Island--and Dexter caddied only for pocket-money.

In the fall when the days became crisp and gray, and the long
Minnesota winter shut down like the white lid of a box, Dexter's
skis moved over the snow that hid the fairways of the golf course.
At these times the country gave him a feeling of profound
melancholy--it offended him that the links should lie in enforced
fallowness, haunted by ragged sparrows for the long season.  It was
dreary, too, that on the tees where the gay colors fluttered in
summer there were now only the desolate sand-boxes knee-deep in
crusted ice.  When he crossed the hills the wind blew cold as
misery, and if the sun was out he tramped with his eyes squinted up
against the hard dimensionless glare.

In April the winter ceased abruptly.  The snow ran down into Black
Bear Lake scarcely tarrying for the early golfers to brave the
season with red and black balls.  Without elation, without an
interval of moist glory, the cold was gone.

Dexter knew that there was something dismal about this Northern
spring, just as he knew there was something gorgeous about the
fall.  Fall made him clinch his hands and tremble and repeat
idiotic sentences to himself, and make brisk abrupt gestures of
command to imaginary audiences and armies.  October filled him with
hope which November raised to a sort of ecstatic triumph, and in
this mood the fleeting brilliant impressions of the summer at
Sherry Island were ready grist to his mill.  He became a golf
champion and defeated Mr. T. A. Hedrick in a marvellous match
played a hundred times over the fairways of his imagination, a
match each detail of which he changed about untiringly--sometimes
he won with almost laughable ease, sometimes he came up
magnificently from behind.  Again, stepping from a Pierce-Arrow
automobile, like Mr. Mortimer Jones, he strolled frigidly into the
lounge of the Sherry Island Golf Club--or perhaps, surrounded by an
admiring crowd, he gave an exhibition of fancy diving from the
spring-board of the club raft. . . .  Among those who watched him
in open-mouthed wonder was Mr. Mortimer Jones.

And one day it came to pass that Mr. Jones--himself and not his
ghost--came up to Dexter with tears in his eyes and said that
Dexter was the ---- best caddy in the club, and wouldn't he decide
not to quit if Mr. Jones made it worth his while, because every
other ---- caddy in the club lost one ball a hole for him--

"No, sir," said Dexter decisively, "I don't want to caddy any
more."  Then, after a pause:  "I'm too old."

"You're not more than fourteen.  Why the devil did you decide just
this morning that you wanted to quit?  You promised that next week
you'd go over to the State tournament with me."

"I decided I was too old."

Dexter handed in his "A Class" badge, collected what money was due
him from the caddy master, and walked home to Black Bear Village.

"The best ---- caddy I ever saw," shouted Mr. Mortimer Jones over a
drink that afternoon.  "Never lost a ball!  Willing!  Intelligent!
Quiet!  Honest!  Grateful!"

The little girl who had done this was eleven--beautifully ugly as
little girls are apt to be who are destined after a few years to be
inexpressibly lovely and bring no end of misery to a great number
of men.  The spark, however, was perceptible.  There was a general
ungodliness in the way her lips twisted down at the corners when
she smiled, and in the--Heaven help us!--in the almost passionate
quality of her eyes.  Vitality is born early in such women.  It was
utterly in evidence now, shining through her thin frame in a sort
of glow.

She had come eagerly out on to the course at nine o'clock with a
white linen nurse and five small new golf-clubs in a white canvas
bag which the nurse was carrying.  When Dexter first saw her she
was standing by the caddy house, rather ill at ease and trying to
conceal the fact by engaging her nurse in an obviously unnatural
conversation graced by startling and irrelevant grimaces from

"Well, it's certainly a nice day, Hilda," Dexter heard her say.
She drew down the corners of her mouth, smiled, and glanced
furtively around, her eyes in transit falling for an instant on

Then to the nurse:

"Well, I guess there aren't very many people out here this morning,
are there?"

The smile again--radiant, blatantly artificial--convincing.

"I don't know what we're supposed to do now," said the nurse,
looking nowhere in particular.

"Oh, that's all right.  I'll fix it up."

Dexter stood perfectly still, his mouth slightly ajar.  He knew
that if he moved forward a step his stare would be in her line of
vision--if he moved backward he would lose his full view of her
face.  For a moment he had not realized how young she was.  Now he
remembered having seen her several times the year before--in

Suddenly, involuntarily, he laughed, a short abrupt laugh--then,
startled by himself, he turned and began to walk quickly away.


Dexter stopped.


Beyond question he was addressed.  Not only that, but he was
treated to that absurd smile, that preposterous smile--the memory
of which at least a dozen men were to carry into middle age.

"Boy, do you know where the golf teacher is?"

"He's giving a lesson."

"Well, do you know where the caddy-master is?"

"He isn't here yet this morning."

"Oh."  For a moment this baffled her.  She stood alternately on her
right and left foot.

"We'd like to get a caddy," said the nurse.  "Mrs. Mortimer Jones
sent us out to play golf, and we don't know how without we get a

Here she was stopped by an ominous glance from Miss Jones, followed
immediately by the smile.

"There aren't any caddies here except me," said Dexter to the
nurse, "and I got to stay here in charge until the caddy-master
gets here."


Miss Jones and her retinue now withdrew, and at a proper distance
from Dexter became involved in a heated conversation, which was
concluded by Miss Jones taking one of the clubs and hitting it on
the ground with violence.  For further emphasis she raised it again
and was about to bring it down smartly upon the nurse's bosom, when
the nurse seized the club and twisted it from her hands.

"You damn little mean old THING!" cried Miss Jones wildly.

Another argument ensued.  Realizing that the elements of the comedy
were implied in the scene, Dexter several times began to laugh, but
each time restrained the laugh before it reached audibility.  He
could not resist the monstrous conviction that the little girl was
justified in beating the nurse.

The situation was resolved by the fortuitous appearance of the
caddy-master, who was appealed to immediately by the nurse.

"Miss Jones is to have a little caddy, and this one says he can't

"Mr. McKenna said I was to wait here till you came," said Dexter

"Well, he's here now."  Miss Jones smiled cheerfully at the caddy-
master.  Then she dropped her bag and set off at a haughty mince
toward the first tee.

"Well?"  The caddy-master turned to Dexter.  "What you standing
there like a dummy for?  Go pick up the young lady's clubs."

"I don't think I'll go out to-day," said Dexter.

"You don't--"

"I think I'll quit."

The enormity of his decision frightened him.  He was a favorite
caddy, and the thirty dollars a month he earned through the summer
were not to be made elsewhere around the lake.  But he had received
a strong emotional shock, and his perturbation required a violent
and immediate outlet.

It is not so simple as that, either.  As so frequently would be the
case in the future, Dexter was unconsciously dictated to by his
winter dreams.


Now, of course, the quality and the seasonability of these winter
dreams varied, but the stuff of them remained.  They persuaded
Dexter several years later to pass up a business course at the
State university--his father, prospering now, would have paid his
way--for the precarious advantage of attending an older and more
famous university in the East, where he was bothered by his scanty
funds.  But do not get the impression, because his winter dreams
happened to be concerned at first with musings on the rich, that
there was anything merely snobbish in the boy.  He wanted not
association with glittering things and glittering people--he wanted
the glittering things themselves.  Often he reached out for the
best without knowing why he wanted it--and sometimes he ran up
against the mysterious denials and prohibitions in which life
indulges.  It is with one of those denials and not with his career
as a whole that this story deals.

He made money.  It was rather amazing.  After college he went to
the city from which Black Bear Lake draws its wealthy patrons.
When he was only twenty-three and had been there not quite two
years, there were already people who liked to say:  "Now THERE'S a
boy--"  All about him rich men's sons were peddling bonds
precariously, or investing patrimonies precariously, or plodding
through the two dozen volumes of the "George Washington Commercial
Course," but Dexter borrowed a thousand dollars on his college
degree and his confident mouth, and bought a partnership in a

It was a small laundry when he went into it but Dexter made a
specialty of learning how the English washed fine woollen golf-
stockings without shrinking them, and within a year he was catering
to the trade that wore knickerbockers.  Men were insisting that
their Shetland hose and sweaters go to his laundry just as they had
insisted on a caddy who could find golf-balls.  A little later he
was doing their wives' lingerie as well--and running five branches
in different parts of the city.  Before he was twenty-seven he
owned the largest string of laundries in his section of the
country.  It was then that he sold out and went to New York.  But
the part of his story that concerns us goes back to the days when
he was making his first big success.

When he was twenty-three Mr. Hart--one of the gray-haired men who
like to say "Now there's a boy"--gave him a guest card to the
Sherry Island Golf Club for a week-end.  So he signed his name one
day on the register, and that afternoon played golf in a foursome
with Mr. Hart and Mr. Sandwood and Mr. T. A. Hedrick.  He did not
consider it necessary to remark that he had once carried Mr. Hart's
bag over this same links, and that he knew every trap and gully
with his eyes shut--but he found himself glancing at the four
caddies who trailed them, trying to catch a gleam or gesture that
would remind him of himself, that would lessen the gap which lay
between his present and his past.

It was a curious day, slashed abruptly with fleeting, familiar
impressions.  One minute he had the sense of being a trespasser--in
the next he was impressed by the tremendous superiority he felt
toward Mr. T. A. Hedrick, who was a bore and not even a good golfer
any more.

Then, because of a ball Mr. Hart lost near the fifteenth green, an
enormous thing happened.  While they were searching the stiff
grasses of the rough there was a clear call of "Fore!" from behind
a hill in their rear.  And as they all turned abruptly from their
search a bright new ball sliced abruptly over the hill and caught
Mr. T. A. Hedrick in the abdomen.

"By Gad!" cried Mr. T. A. Hedrick, "they ought to put some of these
crazy women off the course.  It's getting to be outrageous."

A head and a voice came up together over the hill:

"Do you mind if we go through?"

"You hit me in the stomach!" declared Mr. Hedrick wildly.

"Did I?"  The girl approached the group of men.  "I'm sorry.  I
yelled 'Fore!'"

Her glance fell casually on each of the men--then scanned the
fairway for her ball.

"Did I bounce into the rough?"

It was impossible to determine whether this question was ingenuous
or malicious.  In a moment, however, she left no doubt, for as her
partner came up over the hill she called cheerfully:

"Here I am!  I'd have gone on the green except that I hit

As she took her stance for a short mashie shot, Dexter looked at
her closely.  She wore a blue gingham dress, rimmed at throat and
shoulders with a white edging that accentuated her tan.  The
quality of exaggeration, of thinness, which had made her passionate
eyes and down-turning mouth absurd at eleven, was gone now.  She
was arrestingly beautiful.  The color in her cheeks was centered
like the color in a picture--it was not a "high" color, but a son
of fluctuating and feverish warmth, so shaded that it seemed at any
moment it would recede and disappear.  This color and the mobility
of her mouth gave a continual impression of flux, of intense life,
of passionate vitality--balanced only partially by the sad luxury
of her eyes.

She swung her mashie impatiently and without interest, pitching the
ball into a sand-pit on the other side of the green.  With a quick,
insincere smile and a careless "Thank you!" she went on after it.

"That Judy Jones!" remarked Mr. Hedrick on the next tee, as they
waited--some moments--for her to play on ahead.  "All she needs is
to be turned up and spanked for six months and then to be married
off to an old-fashioned cavalry captain."

"My God, she's good-looking!" said Mr. Sandwood, who was just over

"Good-looking!" cried Mr. Hedrick contemptuously, "she always looks
as if she wanted to be kissed!  Turning those big cow-eyes on every
calf in town!"

It was doubtful if Mr. Hedrick intended a reference to the maternal

"She'd play pretty good golf if she'd try," said Mr. Sandwood.

"She has no form," said Mr. Hedrick solemnly.

"She has a nice figure," said Mr. Sandwood.

"Better thank the Lord she doesn't drive a swifter ball," said Mr.
Hart, winking at Dexter.

Later in the afternoon the sun went down with a riotous swirl of
gold and varying blues and scarlets, and left the dry, rustling
night of Western summer.  Dexter watched from the veranda of the
Golf Club, watched the even overlap of the waters in the little
wind, silver molasses under the harvest-moon.  Then the moon held a
finger to her lips and the lake became a clear pool, pale and
quiet.  Dexter put on his bathing-suit and swam out to the farthest
raft, where he stretched dripping on the wet canvas of the

There was a fish jumping and a star shining and the lights around
the lake were gleaming.  Over on a dark peninsula a piano was
playing the songs of last summer and of summers before that--songs
from "Chin-Chin" and "The Count of Luxemburg" and "The Chocolate
Soldier"--and because the sound of a piano over a stretch of water
had always seemed beautiful to Dexter he lay perfectly quiet and

The tune the piano was playing at that moment had been gay and new
five years before when Dexter was a sophomore at college.  They had
played it at a prom once when he could not afford the luxury of
proms, and he had stood outside the gymnasium and listened.  The
sound of the tune precipitated in him a sort of ecstasy and it was
with that ecstasy he viewed what happened to him now.  It was a
mood of intense appreciation, a sense that, for once, he was
magnificently attune to life and that everything about him was
radiating a brightness and a glamour he might never know again.

A low, pale oblong detached itself suddenly from the darkness of
the Island, spitting forth the reverberate sound of a racing motor-
boat.  Two white streamers of cleft water rolled themselves out
behind it and almost immediately the boat was beside him, drowning
out the hot tinkle of the piano in the drone of its spray.  Dexter
raising himself on his arms was aware of a figure standing at the
wheel, of two dark eyes regarding him over the lengthening space of
water--then the boat had gone by and was sweeping in an immense and
purposeless circle of spray round and round in the middle of the
lake.  With equal eccentricity one of the circles flattened out and
headed back toward the raft.

"Who's that?" she called, shutting off her motor.  She was so near
now that Dexter could see her bathing-suit, which consisted
apparently of pink rompers.

The nose of the boat bumped the raft, and as the latter tilted
rakishly he was precipitated toward her.  With different degrees of
interest they recognized each other.

"Aren't you one of those men we played through this afternoon?" she

He was.

"Well, do you know how to drive a motor-boat?  Because if you do I
wish you'd drive this one so I can ride on the surf-board behind.
My name is Judy Jones"--she favored him with an absurd smirk--
rather, what tried to be a smirk, for, twist her mouth as she
might, it was not grotesque, it was merely beautiful--"and I live
in a house over there on the Island, and in that house there is a
man waiting for me.  When he drove up at the door I drove out of
the dock because he says I'm his ideal."

There was a fish jumping and a star shining and the lights around
the lake were gleaming.  Dexter sat beside Judy Jones and she
explained how her boat was driven.  Then she was in the water,
swimming to the floating surfboard with a sinuous crawl.  Watching
her was without effort to the eye, watching a branch waving or a
sea-gull flying.  Her arms, burned to butternut, moved sinuously
among the dull platinum ripples, elbow appearing first, casting the
forearm back with a cadence of falling water, then reaching out and
down, stabbing a path ahead.

They moved out into the lake; turning, Dexter saw that she was
kneeling on the low rear of the now uptilted surf-board.

"Go faster," she called, "fast as it'll go."

Obediently he jammed the lever forward and the white spray mounted
at the bow.  When he looked around again the girl was standing up
on the rushing board, her arms spread wide, her eyes lifted toward
the moon.

"It's awful cold," she shouted.  "What's your name?"

He told her.

"Well, why don't you come to dinner to-morrow night?"

His heart turned over like the fly-wheel of the boat, and, for the
second time, her casual whim gave a new direction to his life.


Next evening while he waited for her to come down-stairs, Dexter
peopled the soft deep summer room and the sun-porch that opened
from it with the men who had already loved Judy Jones.  He knew the
sort of men they were--the men who when he first went to college
had entered from the great prep schools with graceful clothes and
the deep tan of healthy summers.  He had seen that, in one sense,
he was better than these men.  He was newer and stronger.  Yet in
acknowledging to himself that he wished his children to be like
them he was admitting that he was but the rough, strong stuff from
which they eternally sprang.

When the time had come for him to wear good clothes, he had known
who were the best tailors in America, and the best tailors in
America had made him the suit he wore this evening.  He had
acquired that particular reserve peculiar to his university, that
set it off from other universities.  He recognized the value to him
of such a mannerism and he had adopted it; he knew that to be
careless in dress and manner required more confidence than to be
careful.  But carelessness was for his children.  His mother's name
had been Krimslich.  She was a Bohemian of the peasant class and
she had talked broken English to the end of her days.  Her son must
keep to the set patterns.

At a little after seven Judy Jones came down-stairs.  She wore a
blue silk afternoon dress, and he was disappointed at first that
she had not put on something more elaborate.  This feeling was
accentuated when, after a brief greeting, she went to the door of a
butler's pantry and pushing it open called:  "You can serve dinner,
Martha."  He had rather expected that a butler would announce
dinner, that there would be a cocktail.  Then he put these thoughts
behind him as they sat down side by side on a lounge and looked at
each other.

"Father and mother won't be here," she said thoughtfully.

He remembered the last time he had seen her father, and he was glad
the parents were not to be here to-night--they might wonder who he
was.  He had been born in Keeble, a Minnesota village fifty miles
farther north, and he always gave Keeble as his home instead of
Black Bear Village.  Country towns were well enough to come from if
they weren't inconveniently in sight and used as footstools by
fashionable lakes.

They talked of his university, which she had visited frequently
during the past two years, and of the near-by city which supplied
Sherry Island with its patrons, and whither Dexter would return
next day to his prospering laundries.

During dinner she slipped into a moody depression which gave Dexter
a feeling of uneasiness.  Whatever petulance she uttered in her
throaty voice worried him.  Whatever she smiled at--at him, at a
chicken liver, at nothing--it disturbed him that her smile could
have no root in mirth, or even in amusement.  When the scarlet
corners of her lips curved down, it was less a smile than an
invitation to a kiss.

Then, after dinner, she led him out on the dark sun-porch and
deliberately changed the atmosphere.

"Do you mind if I weep a little?" she said.

"I'm afraid I'm boring you," he responded quickly.

"You're not.  I like you.  But I've just had a terrible afternoon.
There was a man I cared about, and this afternoon he told me out of
a clear sky that he was poor as a church-mouse.  He'd never even
hinted it before.  Does this sound horribly mundane?"

"Perhaps he was afraid to tell you."

"Suppose he was," she answered.  "He didn't start right.  You see,
if I'd thought of him as poor--well, I've been mad about loads of
poor men, and fully intended to marry them all.  But in this case,
I hadn't thought of him that way, and my interest in him wasn't
strong enough to survive the shock.  As if a girl calmly informed
her fiancé that she was a widow.  He might not object to widows,

"Let's start right," she interrupted herself suddenly.  "Who are
you, anyhow?"

For a moment Dexter hesitated.  Then:

"I'm nobody," he announced.  "My career is largely a matter of

"Are you poor?"

"No," he said frankly, "I'm probably making more money than any man
my age in the Northwest.  I know that's an obnoxious remark, but
you advised me to start right."

There was a pause.  Then she smiled and the corners of her mouth
drooped and an almost imperceptible sway brought her closer to him,
looking up into his eyes.  A lump rose in Dexter's throat, and he
waited breathless for the experiment, facing the unpredictable
compound that would form mysteriously from the elements of their
lips.  Then he saw--she communicated her excitement to him,
lavishly, deeply, with kisses that were not a promise but a
fulfillment.  They aroused in him not hunger demanding renewal but
surfeit that would demand more surfeit . . . kisses that were like
charity, creating want by holding back nothing at all.

It did not take him many hours to decide that he had wanted Judy
Jones ever since he was a proud, desirous little boy.


It began like that--and continued, with varying shades of
intensity, on such a note right up to the dénouement.  Dexter
surrendered a part of himself to the most direct and unprincipled
personality with which he had ever come in contact.  Whatever Judy
wanted, she went after with the full pressure of her charm.  There
was no divergence of method, no jockeying for position or
premeditation of effects--there was a very little mental side to
any of her affairs.  She simply made men conscious to the highest
degree of her physical loveliness.  Dexter had no desire to change
her.  Her deficiencies were knit up with a passionate energy that
transcended and justified them.

When, as Judy's head lay against his shoulder that first night, she
whispered, "I don't know what's the matter with me.  Last night I
thought I was in love with a man and to-night I think I'm in love
with you--"--it seemed to him a beautiful and romantic thing to
say.  It was the exquisite excitability that for the moment he
controlled and owned.  But a week later he was compelled to view
this same quality in a different light.  She took him in her
roadster to a picnic supper, and after supper she disappeared,
likewise in her roadster, with another man.  Dexter became
enormously upset and was scarcely able to be decently civil to the
other people present.  When she assured him that she had not kissed
the other man, he knew she was lying--yet he was glad that she had
taken the trouble to lie to him.

He was, as he found before the summer ended, one of a varying dozen
who circulated about her.  Each of them had at one time been
favored above all others--about half of them still basked in the
solace of occasional sentimental revivals.  Whenever one showed
signs of dropping out through long neglect, she granted him a brief
honeyed hour, which encouraged him to tag along for a year or so
longer.  Judy made these forays upon the helpless and defeated
without malice, indeed half unconscious that there was anything
mischievous in what she did.

When a new man came to town every one dropped out--dates were
automatically cancelled.

The helpless part of trying to do anything about it was that she
did it all herself.  She was not a girl who could be "won" in the
kinetic sense--she was proof against cleverness, she was proof
against charm; if any of these assailed her too strongly she would
immediately resolve the affair to a physical basis, and under the
magic of her physical splendor the strong as well as the brilliant
played her game and not their own.  She was entertained only by the
gratification of her desires and by the direct exercise of her own
charm.  Perhaps from so much youthful love, so many youthful
lovers, she had come, in self-defense, to nourish herself wholly
from within.

Succeeding Dexter's first exhilaration came restlessness and
dissatisfaction.  The helpless ecstasy of losing himself in her was
opiate rather than tonic.  It was fortunate for his work during the
winter that those moments of ecstasy came infrequently.  Early in
their acquaintance it had seemed for a while that there was a deep
and spontaneous mutual attraction--that first August, for example--
three days of long evenings on her dusky veranda, of strange wan
kisses through the late afternoon, in shadowy alcoves or behind the
protecting trellises of the garden arbors, of mornings when she was
fresh as a dream and almost shy at meeting him in the clarity of
the rising day.  There was all the ecstasy of an engagement about
it, sharpened by his realization that there was no engagement.  It
was during those three days that, for the first time, he had asked
her to marry him.  She said "maybe some day," she said "kiss me,"
she said "I'd like to marry you," she said "I love you"--she said--

The three days were interrupted by the arrival of a New York man
who visited at her house for half September.  To Dexter's agony,
rumor engaged them.  The man was the son of the president of a
great trust company.  But at the end of a month it was reported
that Judy was yawning.  At a dance one night she sat all evening in
a motor-boat with a local beau, while the New Yorker searched the
club for her frantically.  She told the local beau that she was
bored with her visitor, and two days later he left.  She was seen
with him at the station, and it was reported that he looked very
mournful indeed.

On this note the summer ended.  Dexter was twenty-four, and he
found himself increasingly in a position to do as he wished.  He
joined two clubs in the city and lived at one of them.  Though he
was by no means an integral part of the stag-lines at these clubs,
he managed to be on hand at dances where Judy Jones was likely to
appear.  He could have gone out socially as much as he liked--he
was an eligible young man, now, and popular with down-town fathers.
His confessed devotion to Judy Jones had rather solidified his
position.  But he had no social aspirations and rather despised the
dancing men who were always on tap for the Thursday or Saturday
parties and who filled in at dinners with the younger married set.
Already he was playing with the idea of going East to New York.  He
wanted to take Judy Jones with him.  No disillusion as to the world
in which she had grown up could cure his illusion as to her

Remember that--for only in the light of it can what he did for her
be understood.

Eighteen months after he first met Judy Jones he became engaged to
another girl.  Her name was Irene Scheerer, and her father was one
of the men who had always believed in Dexter.  Irene was light-
haired and sweet and honorable, and a little stout, and she had two
suitors whom she pleasantly relinquished when Dexter formally asked
her to marry him.

Summer, fall, winter, spring, another summer, another fall--so much
he had given of his active life to the incorrigible lips of Judy
Jones.  She had treated him with interest, with encouragement, with
malice, with indifference, with contempt.  She had inflicted on him
the innumerable little slights and indignities possible in such a
case--as if in revenge for having ever cared for him at all.  She
had beckoned him and yawned at him and beckoned him again and he
had responded often with bitterness and narrowed eyes.  She had
brought him ecstatic happiness and intolerable agony of spirit.
She had caused him untold inconvenience and not a little trouble.
She had insulted him, and she had ridden over him, and she had
played his interest in her against his interest in his work--for
fun.  She had done everything to him except to criticise him--this
she had not done--it seemed to him only because it might have
sullied the utter indifference she manifested and sincerely felt
toward him.

When autumn had come and gone again it occurred to him that he
could not have Judy Jones.  He had to beat this into his mind but
he convinced himself at last.  He lay awake at night for a while
and argued it over.  He told himself the trouble and the pain she
had caused him, he enumerated her glaring deficiencies as a wife.
Then he said to himself that he loved her, and after a while he
fell asleep.  For a week, lest he imagined her husky voice over the
telephone or her eyes opposite him at lunch, he worked hard and
late, and at night he went to his office and plotted out his years.

At the end of a week he went to a dance and cut in on her once.
For almost the first time since they had met he did not ask her to
sit out with him or tell her that she was lovely.  It hurt him that
she did not miss these things--that was all.  He was not jealous
when he saw that there was a new man to-night.  He had been
hardened against jealousy long before.

He stayed late at the dance.  He sat for an hour with Irene
Scheerer and talked about books and about music.  He knew very
little about either.  But he was beginning to be master of his own
time now, and he had a rather priggish notion that he--the young
and already fabulously successful Dexter Green--should know more
about such things.

That was in October, when he was twenty-five.  In January, Dexter
and Irene became engaged.  It was to be announced in June, and they
were to be married three months later.

The Minnesota winter prolonged itself interminably, and it was
almost May when the winds came soft and the snow ran down into
Black Bear Lake at last.  For the first time in over a year Dexter
was enjoying a certain tranquility of spirit.  Judy Jones had been
in Florida, and afterward in Hot Springs, and somewhere she had
been engaged, and somewhere she had broken it off.  At first, when
Dexter had definitely given her up, it had made him sad that people
still linked them together and asked for news of her, but when he
began to be placed at dinner next to Irene Scheerer people didn't
ask him about her any more--they told him about her.  He ceased to
be an authority on her.

May at last.  Dexter walked the streets at night when the darkness
was damp as rain, wondering that so soon, with so little done, so
much of ecstasy had gone from him.  May one year back had been
marked by Judy's poignant, unforgivable, yet forgiven turbulence--
it had been one of those rare times when he fancied she had grown
to care for him.  That old penny's worth of happiness he had spent
for this bushel of content.  He knew that Irene would be no more
than a curtain spread behind him, a hand moving among gleaming tea-
cups, a voice calling to children . . . fire and loveliness were
gone, the magic of nights and the wonder of the varying hours and
seasons . . . slender lips, down-turning, dropping to his lips and
bearing him up into a heaven of eyes. . . .  The thing was deep in
him.  He was too strong and alive for it to die lightly.

In the middle of May when the weather balanced for a few days on
the thin bridge that led to deep summer he turned in one night at
Irene's house.  Their engagement was to be announced in a week
now--no one would be surprised at it.  And to-night they would sit
together on the lounge at the University Club and look on for an
hour at the dancers.  It gave him a sense of solidity to go with
her--she was so sturdily popular, so intensely "great."

He mounted the steps of the brownstone house and stepped inside.

"Irene," he called.

Mrs. Scheerer came out of the living-room to meet him.

"Dexter," she said, "Irene's gone up-stairs with a splitting
headache.  She wanted to go with you but I made her go to bed."

"Nothing serious, I--"

"Oh, no.  She's going to play golf with you in the morning.  You
can spare her for just one night, can't you, Dexter?"

Her smile was kind.  She and Dexter liked each other.  In the
living-room he talked for a moment before he said good-night.

Returning to the University Club, where he had rooms, he stood in
the doorway for a moment and watched the dancers.  He leaned
against the door-post, nodded at a man or two--yawned.

"Hello, darling."

The familiar voice at his elbow startled him.  Judy Jones had left
a man and crossed the room to him--Judy Jones, a slender enamelled
doll in cloth of gold: gold in a band at her head, gold in two
slipper points at her dress's hem.  The fragile glow of her face
seemed to blossom as she smiled at him.  A breeze of warmth and
light blew through the room.  His hands in the pockets of his
dinner-jacket tightened spasmodically.  He was filled with a sudden

"When did you get back?" he asked casually.

"Come here and I'll tell you about it."

She turned and he followed her.  She had been away--he could have
wept at the wonder of her return.  She had passed through enchanted
streets, doing things that were like provocative music.  All
mysterious happenings, all fresh and quickening hopes, had gone
away with her, come back with her now.

She turned in the doorway.

"Have you a car here?  If you haven't, I have."

"I have a coupé."

In then, with a rustle of golden cloth.  He slammed the door.  Into
so many cars she had stepped--like this--like that--her back
against the leather, so--her elbow resting on the door--waiting.
She would have been soiled long since had there been anything to
soil her--except herself--but this was her own self outpouring.

With an effort he forced himself to start the car and back into the
street.  This was nothing, he must remember.  She had done this
before, and he had put her behind him, as he would have crossed a
bad account from his books.

He drove slowly down-town and, affecting abstraction, traversed the
deserted streets of the business section, peopled here and there
where a movie was giving out its crowd or where consumptive or
pugilistic youth lounged in front of pool halls.  The clink of
glasses and the slap of hands on the bars issued from saloons,
cloisters of glazed glass and dirty yellow light.

She was watching him closely and the silence was embarrassing, yet
in this crisis he could find no casual word with which to profane
the hour.  At a convenient turning he began to zigzag back toward
the University Club.

"Have you missed me?" she asked suddenly.

"Everybody missed you."

He wondered if she knew of Irene Scheerer.  She had been back only
a day--her absence had been almost contemporaneous with his

"What a remark!"  Judy laughed sadly--without sadness.  She looked
at him searchingly.  He became absorbed in the dashboard.

"You're handsomer than you used to be," she said thoughtfully.
"Dexter, you have the most rememberable eyes."

He could have laughed at this, but he did not laugh.  It was the
sort of thing that was said to sophomores.  Yet it stabbed at him.

"I'm awfully tired of everything, darling."  She called every one
darling, endowing the endearment with careless, individual
comraderie.  "I wish you'd marry me."

The directness of this confused him.  He should have told her now
that he was going to marry another girl, but he could not tell her.
He could as easily have sworn that he had never loved her.

"I think we'd get along," she continued, on the same note, "unless
probably you've forgotten me and fallen in love with another girl."

Her confidence was obviously enormous.  She had said, in effect,
that she found such a thing impossible to believe, that if it were
true he had merely committed a childish indiscretion--and probably
to show off.  She would forgive him, because it was not a matter of
any moment but rather something to be brushed aside lightly.

"Of course you could never love anybody but me," she continued.  "I
like the way you love me.  Oh, Dexter, have you forgotten last

"No, I haven't forgotten."

"Neither have I!"

Was she sincerely moved--or was she carried along by the wave of
her own acting?

"I wish we could be like that again," she said, and he forced
himself to answer:

"I don't think we can."

"I suppose not. . . .  I hear you're giving Irene Scheerer a
violent rush."

There was not the faintest emphasis on the name, yet Dexter was
suddenly ashamed.

"Oh, take me home," cried Judy suddenly; "I don't want to go back
to that idiotic dance--with those children."

Then, as he turned up the street that led to the residence
district, Judy began to cry quietly to herself.  He had never seen
her cry before.

The dark street lightened, the dwellings of the rich loomed up
around them, he stopped his coupé in front of the great white bulk
of the Mortimer Joneses house, somnolent, gorgeous, drenched with
the splendor of the damp moonlight.  Its solidity startled him.
The strong walls, the steel of the girders, the breadth and beam
and pomp of it were there only to bring out the contrast with the
young beauty beside him.  It was sturdy to accentuate her
slightness--as if to show what a breeze could be generated by a
butterfly's wing.

He sat perfectly quiet, his nerves in wild clamor, afraid that if
he moved he would find her irresistibly in his arms.  Two tears had
rolled down her wet face and trembled on her upper lip.

"I'm more beautiful than anybody else," she said brokenly, "why
can't I be happy?"  Her moist eyes tore at his stability--her mouth
turned slowly downward with an exquisite sadness:  "I'd like to
marry you if you'll have me, Dexter.  I suppose you think I'm not
worth having, but I'll be so beautiful for you, Dexter."

A million phrases of anger, pride, passion, hatred, tenderness
fought on his lips.  Then a perfect wave of emotion washed over
him, carrying off with it a sediment of wisdom, of convention, of
doubt, of honor.  This was his girl who was speaking, his own, his
beautiful, his pride.

"Won't you come in?"  He heard her draw in her breath sharply.


"All right," his voice was trembling, "I'll come in."


It was strange that neither when it was over nor a long time
afterward did he regret that night.  Looking at it from the
perspective of ten years, the fact that Judy's flare for him
endured just one month seemed of little importance.  Nor did it
matter that by his yielding he subjected himself to a deeper agony
in the end and gave serious hurt to Irene Scheerer and to Irene's
parents, who had befriended him.  There was nothing sufficiently
pictorial about Irene's grief to stamp itself on his mind.

Dexter was at bottom hard-minded.  The attitude of the city on his
action was of no importance to him, not because he was going to
leave the city, but because any outside attitude on the situation
seemed superficial.  He was completely indifferent to popular
opinion.  Nor, when he had seen that it was no use, that he did not
possess in himself the power to move fundamentally or to hold Judy
Jones, did he bear any malice toward her.  He loved her, and he
would love her until the day he was too old for loving--but he
could not have her.  So he tasted the deep pain that is reserved
only for the strong, just as he had tasted for a little while the
deep happiness.

Even the ultimate falsity of the grounds upon which Judy terminated
the engagement that she did not want to "take him away" from Irene--
Judy, who had wanted nothing else--did not revolt him.  He was
beyond any revulsion or any amusement.

He went East in February with the intention of selling out his
laundries and settling in New York--but the war came to America in
March and changed his plans.  He returned to the West, handed over
the management of the business to his partner, and went into the
first officers' training-camp in late April.  He was one of those
young thousands who greeted the war with a certain amount of
relief, welcoming the liberation from webs of tangled emotion.


This story is not his biography, remember, although things creep
into it which have nothing to do with those dreams he had when he
was young.  We are almost done with them and with him now.  There
is only one more incident to be related here, and it happens seven
years farther on.

It took place in New York, where he had done well--so well that
there were no barriers too high for him.  He was thirty-two years
old, and, except for one flying trip immediately after the war, he
had not been West in seven years.  A man named Devlin from Detroit
came into his office to see him in a business way, and then and
there this incident occurred, and closed out, so to speak, this
particular side of his life.

"So you're from the Middle West," said the man Devlin with careless
curiosity.  "That's funny--I thought men like you were probably
born and raised on Wall Street.  You know--wife of one of my best
friends in Detroit came from your city.  I was an usher at the

Dexter waited with no apprehension of what was coming.

"Judy Simms," said Devlin with no particular interest; "Judy Jones
she was once."

"Yes, I knew her."  A dull impatience spread over him.  He had
heard, of course, that she was married--perhaps deliberately he had
heard no more.

"Awfully nice girl," brooded Devlin meaninglessly, "I'm sort of
sorry for her."

"Why?"  Something in Dexter was alert, receptive, at once.

"Oh, Lud Simms has gone to pieces in a way.  I don't mean he ill-
uses her, but he drinks and runs around--"

"Doesn't she run around?"

"No.  Stays at home with her kids."


"She's a little too old for him," said Devlin.

"Too old!" cried Dexter.  "Why, man, she's only twenty-seven."

He was possessed with a wild notion of rushing out into the streets
and taking a train to Detroit.  He rose to his feet spasmodically.

"I guess you're busy," Devlin apologized quickly.  "I didn't

"No, I'm not busy," said Dexter, steadying his voice.  "I'm not
busy at all.  Not busy at all.  Did you say she was--twenty-seven?
No, I said she was twenty-seven."

"Yes, you did," agreed Devlin dryly.

"Go on, then.  Go on."

"What do you mean?"

"About Judy Jones."

Devlin looked at him helplessly.

"Well, that's--I told you all there is to it.  He treats her like
the devil.  Oh, they're not going to get divorced or anything.
When he's particularly outrageous she forgives him.  In fact, I'm
inclined to think she loves him.  She was a pretty girl when she
first came to Detroit."

A pretty girl!  The phrase struck Dexter as ludicrous.

"Isn't she--a pretty girl, any more?"

"Oh, she's all right."

"Look here," said Dexter, sitting down suddenly, "I don't
understand.  You say she was a 'pretty girl' and now you say she's
'all right.'  I don't understand what you mean--Judy Jones wasn't a
pretty girl, at all.  She was a great beauty.  Why, I knew her, I
knew her.  She was--"

Devlin laughed pleasantly.

"I'm not trying to start a row," he said.  "I think Judy's a nice
girl and I like her.  I can't understand how a man like Lud Simms
could fall madly in love with her, but he did."  Then he added:
"Most of the women like her."

Dexter looked closely at Devlin, thinking wildly that there must be
a reason for this, some insensitivity in the man or some private

"Lots of women fade just like THAT," Devlin snapped his fingers.
"You must have seen it happen.  Perhaps I've forgotten how pretty
she was at her wedding.  I've seen her so much since then, you see.
She has nice eyes."

A sort of dulness settled down upon Dexter.  For the first time in
his life he felt like getting very drunk.  He knew that he was
laughing loudly at something Devlin had said, but he did not know
what it was or why it was funny.  When, in a few minutes, Devlin
went he lay down on his lounge and looked out the window at the New
York sky-line into which the sun was sinking in dull lovely shades
of pink and gold.

He had thought that having nothing else to lose he was invulnerable
at last--but he knew that he had just lost something more, as
surely as if he had married Judy Jones and seen her fade away
before his eyes.

The dream was gone.  Something had been taken from him.  In a sort
of panic he pushed the palms of his hands into his eyes and tried
to bring up a picture of the waters lapping on Sherry Island and
the moonlit veranda, and gingham on the golf-links and the dry sun
and the gold color of her neck's soft down.  And her mouth damp to
his kisses and her eyes plaintive with melancholy and her freshness
like new fine linen in the morning.  Why, these things were no
longer in the world!  They had existed and they existed no longer.

For the first time in years the tears were streaming down his face.
But they were for himself now.  He did not care about mouth and
eyes and moving hands.  He wanted to care, and he could not care.
For he had gone away and he could never go back any more.  The
gates were closed, the sun was gone down, and there was no beauty
but the gray beauty of steel that withstands all time.  Even the
grief he could have borne was left behind in the country of
illusion, of youth, of the richness of life, where his winter
dreams had flourished.

"Long ago," he said, "long ago, there was something in me, but now
that thing is gone.  Now that thing is gone, that thing is gone.  I
cannot cry.  I cannot care.  That thing will come back no more."


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