The Beautiful and Damned
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Part 1 out of 8
THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
THE LAST TYCOON
_With a foreword by Edmund Wilson
and notes by the author_
TENDER IS THE NIGHT
THE GREAT GATSBY
THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
THE PAT HOBBY STORIES
_With an introduction by Arnold Gingrich_
TAPS AT REVEILLE
SIX TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE AND OTHER STORIES
_With an introduction by Frances Fitzgerald Lanahan_
FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
_With an introduction by Arthur Mizener_
THE STORIES OF F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
_A selection of 28 stories, with
an introduction by Malcolm Cowley_
_Stories and Essays_
AFTERNOON OF AN AUTHOR
_With an introduction and notes
by Arthur Mizener_
THE FITZGERALD READER: A Selection
_Edited and with an introduction
by Arthur Mizener_
The victor belongs to the spoils.
SHANE LESLIE, GEORGE JEAN NATHAN
AND MAXWELL PERKINS
IN APPRECIATION OF MUCH LITERARY HELP
I. ANTHONY PATCH
II. PORTRAIT OF A SIREN
III. THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES
I. THE RADIANT HOUR
III. THE BROKEN LUTE
I. A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION
II. A MATTER OF AESTHETICS
III. NO MATTER!
In 1913, when Anthony Patch was twenty-five, two years were already gone
since irony, the Holy Ghost of this later day, had, theoretically at
least, descended upon him. Irony was the final polish of the shoe, the
ultimate dab of the clothes-brush, a sort of intellectual "There!"--yet
at the brink of this story he has as yet gone no further than the
conscious stage. As you first see him he wonders frequently whether he
is not without honor and slightly mad, a shameful and obscene thinness
glistening on the surface of the world like oil on a clean pond, these
occasions being varied, of course, with those in which he thinks himself
rather an exceptional young man, thoroughly sophisticated, well adjusted
to his environment, and somewhat more significant than any one else
This was his healthy state and it made him cheerful, pleasant, and very
attractive to intelligent men and to all women. In this state he
considered that he would one day accomplish some quiet subtle thing that
the elect would deem worthy and, passing on, would join the dimmer stars
in a nebulous, indeterminate heaven half-way between death and
immortality. Until the time came for this effort he would be Anthony
Patch--not a portrait of a man but a distinct and dynamic personality,
opinionated, contemptuous, functioning from within outward--a man who
was aware that there could be no honor and yet had honor, who knew the
sophistry of courage and yet was brave.
A WORTHY MAN AND HIS GIFTED SON
Anthony drew as much consciousness of social security from being the
grandson of Adam J. Patch as he would have had from tracing his line
over the sea to the crusaders. This is inevitable; Virginians and
Bostonians to the contrary notwithstanding, an aristocracy founded
sheerly on money postulates wealth in the particular.
Now Adam J. Patch, more familiarly known as "Cross Patch," left his
father's farm in Tarrytown early in sixty-one to join a New York cavalry
regiment. He came home from the war a major, charged into Wall Street,
and amid much fuss, fume, applause, and ill will he gathered to himself
some seventy-five million dollars.
This occupied his energies until he was fifty-seven years old. It was
then that he determined, after a severe attack of sclerosis, to
consecrate the remainder of his life to the moral regeneration of the
world. He became a reformer among reformers. Emulating the magnificent
efforts of Anthony Comstock, after whom his grandson was named, he
levelled a varied assortment of uppercuts and body-blows at liquor,
literature, vice, art, patent medicines, and Sunday theatres. His mind,
under the influence of that insidious mildew which eventually forms on
all but the few, gave itself up furiously to every indignation of the
age. From an armchair in the office of his Tarrytown estate he directed
against the enormous hypothetical enemy, unrighteousness, a campaign
which went on through fifteen years, during which he displayed himself a
rabid monomaniac, an unqualified nuisance, and an intolerable bore. The
year in which this story opens found him wearying; his campaign had
grown desultory; 1861 was creeping up slowly on 1895; his thoughts ran a
great deal on the Civil War, somewhat on his dead wife and son, almost
infinitesimally on his grandson Anthony.
Early in his career Adam Patch had married an anemic lady of thirty,
Alicia Withers, who brought him one hundred thousand dollars and an
impeccable entré into the banking circles of New York. Immediately and
rather spunkily she had borne him a son and, as if completely
devitalized by the magnificence of this performance, she had thenceforth
effaced herself within the shadowy dimensions of the nursery. The boy,
Adam Ulysses Patch, became an inveterate joiner of clubs, connoisseur of
good form, and driver of tandems--at the astonishing age of twenty-six
he began his memoirs under the title "New York Society as I Have Seen
It." On the rumor of its conception this work was eagerly bid for among
publishers, but as it proved after his death to be immoderately verbose
and overpoweringly dull, it never obtained even a private printing.
This Fifth Avenue Chesterfield married at twenty-two. His wife was
Henrietta Lebrune, the Boston "Society Contralto," and the single child
of the union was, at the request of his grandfather, christened Anthony
Comstock Patch. When he went to Harvard, the Comstock dropped out of his
name to a nether hell of oblivion and was never heard of thereafter.
Young Anthony had one picture of his father and mother together--so
often had it faced his eyes in childhood that it had acquired the
impersonality of furniture, but every one who came into his bedroom
regarded it with interest. It showed a dandy of the nineties, spare and
handsome, standing beside a tall dark lady with a muff and the
suggestion of a bustle. Between them was a little boy with long brown
curls, dressed in a velvet Lord Fauntleroy suit. This was Anthony at
five, the year of his mother's death.
His memories of the Boston Society Contralto were nebulous and musical.
She was a lady who sang, sang, sang, in the music room of their house on
Washington Square--sometimes with guests scattered all about her, the
men with their arms folded, balanced breathlessly on the edges of sofas,
the women with their hands in their laps, occasionally making little
whispers to the men and always clapping very briskly and uttering cooing
cries after each song--and often she sang to Anthony alone, in Italian
or French or in a strange and terrible dialect which she imagined to be
the speech of the Southern negro.
His recollections of the gallant Ulysses, the first man in America to
roll the lapels of his coat, were much more vivid. After Henrietta
Lebrune Patch had "joined another choir," as her widower huskily
remarked from time to time, father and son lived up at grampa's in
Tarrytown, and Ulysses came daily to Anthony's nursery and expelled
pleasant, thick-smelling words for sometimes as much as an hour. He was
continually promising Anthony hunting trips and fishing trips and
excursions to Atlantic City, "oh, some time soon now"; but none of them
ever materialized. One trip they did take; when Anthony was eleven they
went abroad, to England and Switzerland, and there in the best hotel in
Lucerne his father died with much sweating and grunting and crying aloud
for air. In a panic of despair and terror Anthony was brought back to
America, wedded to a vague melancholy that was to stay beside him
through the rest of his life.
PAST AND PERSON OF THE HERO
At eleven he had a horror of death. Within six impressionable years his
parents had died and his grandmother had faded off almost imperceptibly,
until, for the first time since her marriage, her person held for one
day an unquestioned supremacy over her own drawing room. So to Anthony
life was a struggle against death, that waited at every corner. It was
as a concession to his hypochondriacal imagination that he formed the
habit of reading in bed--it soothed him. He read until he was tired and
often fell asleep with the lights still on.
His favorite diversion until he was fourteen was his stamp collection;
enormous, as nearly exhaustive as a boy's could be--his grandfather
considered fatuously that it was teaching him geography. So Anthony kept
up a correspondence with a half dozen "Stamp and Coin" companies and it
was rare that the mail failed to bring him new stamp-books or packages
of glittering approval sheets--there was a mysterious fascination in
transferring his acquisitions interminably from one book to another. His
stamps were his greatest happiness and he bestowed impatient frowns on
any one who interrupted him at play with them; they devoured his
allowance every month, and he lay awake at night musing untiringly on
their variety and many-colored splendor.
At sixteen he had lived almost entirely within himself, an inarticulate
boy, thoroughly un-American, and politely bewildered by his
contemporaries. The two preceding years had been spent in Europe with a
private tutor, who persuaded him that Harvard was the thing; it would
"open doors," it would be a tremendous tonic, it would give him
innumerable self-sacrificing and devoted friends. So he went to
Harvard--there was no other logical thing to be done with him.
Oblivious to the social system, he lived for a while alone and unsought
in a high room in Beck Hall--a slim dark boy of medium height with a shy
sensitive mouth. His allowance was more than liberal. He laid the
foundations for a library by purchasing from a wandering bibliophile
first editions of Swinburne, Meredith, and Hardy, and a yellowed
illegible autograph letter of Keats's, finding later that he had been
amazingly overcharged. He became an exquisite dandy, amassed a rather
pathetic collection of silk pajamas, brocaded dressing-gowns, and
neckties too flamboyant to wear; in this secret finery he would parade
before a mirror in his room or lie stretched in satin along his
window-seat looking down on the yard and realizing dimly this clamor,
breathless and immediate, in which it seemed he was never to have
Curiously enough he found in senior year that he had acquired a position
in his class. He learned that he was looked upon as a rather romantic
figure, a scholar, a recluse, a tower of erudition. This amused him but
secretly pleased him--he began going out, at first a little and then a
great deal. He made the Pudding. He drank--quietly and in the proper
tradition. It was said of him that had he not come to college so young
he might have "done extremely well." In 1909, when he graduated, he was
only twenty years old.
Then abroad again--to Rome this time, where he dallied with architecture
and painting in turn, took up the violin, and wrote some ghastly Italian
sonnets, supposedly the ruminations of a thirteenth-century monk on the
joys of the contemplative life. It became established among his Harvard
intimates that he was in Rome, and those of them who were abroad that
year looked him up and discovered with him, on many moonlight
excursions, much in the city that was older than the Renaissance or
indeed than the republic. Maury Noble, from Philadelphia, for instance,
remained two months, and together they realized the peculiar charm of
Latin women and had a delightful sense of being very young and free in a
civilization that was very old and free. Not a few acquaintances of his
grandfather's called on him, and had he so desired he might have been
_persona grata_ with the diplomatic set--indeed, he found that his
inclinations tended more and more toward conviviality, but that long
adolescent aloofness and consequent shyness still dictated to
He returned to America in 1912 because of one of his grandfather's
sudden illnesses, and after an excessively tiresome talk with the
perpetually convalescent old man he decided to put off until his
grandfather's death the idea of living permanently abroad. After a
prolonged search he took an apartment on Fifty-second Street and to all
appearances settled down.
In 1913 Anthony Patch's adjustment of himself to the universe was in
process of consummation. Physically, he had improved since his
undergraduate days--he was still too thin but his shoulders had widened
and his brunette face had lost the frightened look of his freshman year.
He was secretly orderly and in person spick and span--his friends
declared that they had never seen his hair rumpled. His nose was too
sharp; his mouth was one of those unfortunate mirrors of mood inclined
to droop perceptibly in moments of unhappiness, but his blue eyes were
charming, whether alert with intelligence or half closed in an
expression of melancholy humor.
One of those men devoid of the symmetry of feature essential to the
Aryan ideal, he was yet, here and there, considered handsome--moreover,
he was very clean, in appearance and in reality, with that especial
cleanness borrowed from beauty.
THE REPROACHLESS APARTMENT
Fifth and Sixth Avenues, it seemed to Anthony, were the uprights of a
gigantic ladder stretching from Washington Square to Central Park.
Coming up-town on top of a bus toward Fifty-second Street invariably
gave him the sensation of hoisting himself hand by hand on a series of
treacherous rungs, and when the bus jolted to a stop at his own rung he
found something akin to relief as he descended the reckless metal steps
to the sidewalk.
After that, he had but to walk down Fifty-second Street half a block,
pass a stodgy family of brownstone houses--and then in a jiffy he was
under the high ceilings of his great front room. This was entirely
satisfactory. Here, after all, life began. Here he slept, breakfasted,
read, and entertained.
The house itself was of murky material, built in the late nineties; in
response to the steadily growing need of small apartments each floor had
been thoroughly remodelled and rented individually. Of the four
apartments Anthony's, on the second floor, was the most desirable.
The front room had fine high ceilings and three large windows that
loomed down pleasantly upon Fifty-second Street. In its appointments it
escaped by a safe margin being of any particular period; it escaped
stiffness, stuffiness, bareness, and decadence. It smelt neither of
smoke nor of incense--it was tall and faintly blue. There was a deep
lounge of the softest brown leather with somnolence drifting about it
like a haze. There was a high screen of Chinese lacquer chiefly
concerned with geometrical fishermen and huntsmen in black and gold;
this made a corner alcove for a voluminous chair guarded by an
orange-colored standing lamp. Deep in the fireplace a quartered shield
was burned to a murky black.
Passing through the dining-room, which, as Anthony took only breakfast
at home, was merely a magnificent potentiality, and down a comparatively
long hall, one came to the heart and core of the apartment--Anthony's
bedroom and bath.
Both of them were immense. Under the ceilings of the former even the
great canopied bed seemed of only average size. On the floor an exotic
rug of crimson velvet was soft as fleece on his bare feet. His bathroom,
in contrast to the rather portentous character of his bedroom, was gay,
bright, extremely habitable and even faintly facetious. Framed around
the walls were photographs of four celebrated thespian beauties of the
day: Julia Sanderson as "The Sunshine Girl," Ina Claire as "The Quaker
Girl," Billie Burke as "The Mind-the-Paint Girl," and Hazel Dawn as "The
Pink Lady." Between Billie Burke and Hazel Dawn hung a print
representing a great stretch of snow presided over by a cold and
formidable sun--this, claimed Anthony, symbolized the cold shower.
The bathtub, equipped with an ingenious bookholder, was low and large.
Beside it a wall wardrobe bulged with sufficient linen for three men and
with a generation of neckties. There was no skimpy glorified towel of a
carpet--instead, a rich rug, like the one in his bedroom a miracle of
softness, that seemed almost to massage the wet foot emerging from
All in all a room to conjure with--it was easy to see that Anthony
dressed there, arranged his immaculate hair there, in fact did
everything but sleep and eat there. It was his pride, this bathroom. He
felt that if he had a love he would have hung her picture just facing
the tub so that, lost in the soothing steamings of the hot water, he
might lie and look up at her and muse warmly and sensuously on
NOR DOES HE SPIN
The apartment was kept clean by an English servant with the singularly,
almost theatrically, appropriate name of Bounds, whose technic was
marred only by the fact that he wore a soft collar. Had he been entirely
Anthony's Bounds this defect would have been summarily remedied, but he
was also the Bounds of two other gentlemen in the neighborhood. From
eight until eleven in the morning he was entirely Anthony's. He arrived
with the mail and cooked breakfast. At nine-thirty he pulled the edge of
Anthony's blanket and spoke a few terse words--Anthony never remembered
clearly what they were and rather suspected they were deprecative; then
he served breakfast on a card-table in the front room, made the bed and,
after asking with some hostility if there was anything else, withdrew.
In the mornings, at least once a week, Anthony went to see his broker.
His income was slightly under seven thousand a year, the interest on
money inherited from his mother. His grandfather, who had never allowed
his own son to graduate from a very liberal allowance, judged that this
sum was sufficient for young Anthony's needs. Every Christmas he sent
him a five-hundred-dollar bond, which Anthony usually sold, if possible,
as he was always a little, not very, hard up.
The visits to his broker varied from semi-social chats to discussions of
the safety of eight per cent investments, and Anthony always enjoyed
them. The big trust company building seemed to link him definitely to
the great fortunes whose solidarity he respected and to assure him that
he was adequately chaperoned by the hierarchy of finance. From these
hurried men he derived the same sense of safety that he had in
contemplating his grandfather's money--even more, for the latter
appeared, vaguely, a demand loan made by the world to Adam Patch's own
moral righteousness, while this money down-town seemed rather to have
been grasped and held by sheer indomitable strengths and tremendous
feats of will; in addition, it seemed more definitely and
Closely as Anthony trod on the heels of his income, he considered it to
be enough. Some golden day, of course, he would have many millions;
meanwhile he possessed a _raison d'etre_ in the theoretical creation of
essays on the popes of the Renaissance. This flashes back to the
conversation with his grandfather immediately upon his return from Rome.
He had hoped to find his grandfather dead, but had learned by
telephoning from the pier that Adam Patch was comparatively well
again--the next day he had concealed his disappointment and gone out to
Tarrytown. Five miles from the station his taxicab entered an
elaborately groomed drive that threaded a veritable maze of walls and
wire fences guarding the estate--this, said the public, was because it
was definitely known that if the Socialists had their way, one of the
first men they'd assassinate would be old Cross Patch.
Anthony was late and the venerable philanthropist was awaiting him in a
glass-walled sun parlor, where he was glancing through the morning
papers for the second time. His secretary, Edward Shuttleworth--who
before his regeneration had been gambler, saloon-keeper, and general
reprobate--ushered Anthony into the room, exhibiting his redeemer and
benefactor as though he were displaying a treasure of immense value.
They shook hands gravely. "I'm awfully glad to hear you're better,"
The senior Patch, with an air of having seen his grandson only last
week, pulled out his watch.
"Train late?" he asked mildly.
It had irritated him to wait for Anthony. He was under the delusion not
only that in his youth he had handled his practical affairs with the
utmost scrupulousness, even to keeping every engagement on the dot, but
also that this was the direct and primary cause of his success.
"It's been late a good deal this month," he remarked with a shade of
meek accusation in his voice--and then after a long sigh, "Sit down."
Anthony surveyed his grandfather with that tacit amazement which always
attended the sight. That this feeble, unintelligent old man was
possessed of such power that, yellow journals to the contrary, the men
in the republic whose souls he could not have bought directly or
indirectly would scarcely have populated White Plains, seemed as
impossible to believe as that he had once been a pink-and-white baby.
The span of his seventy-five years had acted as a magic bellows--the
first quarter-century had blown him full with life, and the last had
sucked it all back. It had sucked in the cheeks and the chest and the
girth of arm and leg. It had tyrannously demanded his teeth, one by one,
suspended his small eyes in dark-bluish sacks, tweeked out his hairs,
changed him from gray to white in some places, from pink to yellow in
others--callously transposing his colors like a child trying over a
paintbox. Then through his body and his soul it had attacked his brain.
It had sent him night-sweats and tears and unfounded dreads. It had
split his intense normality into credulity and suspicion. Out of the
coarse material of his enthusiasm it had cut dozens of meek but petulant
obsessions; his energy was shrunk to the bad temper of a spoiled child,
and for his will to power was substituted a fatuous puerile desire for a
land of harps and canticles on earth.
The amenities having been gingerly touched upon, Anthony felt that he
was expected to outline his intentions--and simultaneously a glimmer in
the old man's eye warned him against broaching, for the present, his
desire to live abroad. He wished that Shuttleworth would have tact
enough to leave the room--he detested Shuttleworth--but the secretary
had settled blandly in a rocker and was dividing between the two Patches
the glances of his faded eyes.
"Now that you're here you ought to _do_ something," said his grandfather
softly, "accomplish something."
Anthony waited for him to speak of "leaving something done when you pass
on." Then he made a suggestion:
"I thought--it seemed to me that perhaps I'm best qualified to write--"
Adam Patch winced, visualizing a family poet with a long hair and three
"--history," finished Anthony.
"History? History of what? The Civil War? The Revolution?"
"Why--no, sir. A history of the Middle Ages." Simultaneously an idea was
born for a history of the Renaissance popes, written from some novel
angle. Still, he was glad he had said "Middle Ages."
"Middle Ages? Why not your own country? Something you know about?"
"Well, you see I've lived so much abroad--"
"Why you should write about the Middle Ages, I don't know. Dark Ages, we
used to call 'em. Nobody knows what happened, and nobody cares, except
that they're over now." He continued for some minutes on the uselessness
of such information, touching, naturally, on the Spanish Inquisition and
the "corruption of the monasteries." Then:
"Do you think you'll be able to do any work in New York--or do you
really intend to work at all?" This last with soft, almost
"Why, yes, I do, sir."
"When'll you be done?"
"Well, there'll be an outline, you see--and a lot of preliminary
"I should think you'd have done enough of that already."
The conversation worked itself jerkily toward a rather abrupt
conclusion, when Anthony rose, looked at his watch, and remarked that he
had an engagement with his broker that afternoon. He had intended to
stay a few days with his grandfather, but he was tired and irritated
from a rough crossing, and quite unwilling to stand a subtle and
sanctimonious browbeating. He would come out again in a few days,
Nevertheless, it was due to this encounter that work had come into his
life as a permanent idea. During the year that had passed since then, he
had made several lists of authorities, he had even experimented with
chapter titles and the division of his work into periods, but not one
line of actual writing existed at present, or seemed likely ever to
exist. He did nothing--and contrary to the most accredited copy-book
logic, he managed to divert himself with more than average content.
It was October in 1913, midway in a week of pleasant days, with the
sunshine loitering in the cross-streets and the atmosphere so languid as
to seem weighted with ghostly falling leaves. It was pleasant to sit
lazily by the open window finishing a chapter of "Erewhon." It was
pleasant to yawn about five, toss the book on a table, and saunter
humming along the hall to his bath.
"To ... you ... beaut-if-ul lady,"
he was singing as he turned on the tap.
"I raise ... my ... eyes;
To ... you ... beaut-if-ul la-a-dy
My ... heart ... cries--"
He raised his voice to compete with the flood of water pouring into the
tub, and as he looked at the picture of Hazel Dawn upon the wall he put
an imaginary violin to his shoulder and softly caressed it with a
phantom bow. Through his closed lips he made a humming noise, which he
vaguely imagined resembled the sound of a violin. After a moment his
hands ceased their gyrations and wandered to his shirt, which he began
to unfasten. Stripped, and adopting an athletic posture like the
tiger-skin man in the advertisement, he regarded himself with some
satisfaction in the mirror, breaking off to dabble a tentative foot in
the tub. Readjusting a faucet and indulging in a few preliminary grunts,
he slid in.
Once accustomed to the temperature of the water he relaxed into a state
of drowsy content. When he finished his bath he would dress leisurely
and walk down Fifth Avenue to the Ritz, where he had an appointment for
dinner with his two most frequent companions, Dick Caramel and Maury
Noble. Afterward he and Maury were going to the theatre--Caramel would
probably trot home and work on his book, which ought to be finished
Anthony was glad _he_ wasn't going to work on _his_ book. The notion of
sitting down and conjuring up, not only words in which to clothe
thoughts but thoughts worthy of being clothed--the whole thing was
absurdly beyond his desires.
Emerging from his bath he polished himself with the meticulous attention
of a bootblack. Then he wandered into the bedroom, and whistling the
while a weird, uncertain melody, strolled here and there buttoning,
adjusting, and enjoying the warmth of the thick carpet on his feet.
He lit a cigarette, tossed the match out the open top of the window,
then paused in his tracks with the cigarette two inches from his
mouth--which fell faintly ajar. His eyes were focussed upon a spot of
brilliant color on the roof of a house farther down the alley.
It was a girl in a red negligé, silk surely, drying her hair by the
still hot sun of late afternoon. His whistle died upon the stiff air of
the room; he walked cautiously another step nearer the window with a
sudden impression that she was beautiful. Sitting on the stone parapet
beside her was a cushion the same color as her garment and she was
leaning both arms upon it as she looked down into the sunny areaway,
where Anthony could hear children playing.
He watched her for several minutes. Something was stirred in him,
something not accounted for by the warm smell of the afternoon or the
triumphant vividness of red. He felt persistently that the girl was
beautiful--then of a sudden he understood: it was her distance, not a
rare and precious distance of soul but still distance, if only in
terrestrial yards. The autumn air was between them, and the roofs and
the blurred voices. Yet for a not altogether explained second, posing
perversely in time, his emotion had been nearer to adoration than in the
deepest kiss he had ever known.
He finished his dressing, found a black bow tie and adjusted it
carefully by the three-sided mirror in the bathroom. Then yielding to an
impulse he walked quickly into the bedroom and again looked out the
window. The woman was standing up now; she had tossed her hair back and
he had a full view of her. She was fat, full thirty-five, utterly
undistinguished. Making a clicking noise with his mouth he returned to
the bathroom and reparted his hair.
"To ... you ... beaut-if-ul lady,"
he sang lightly,
"I raise ... my ... eyes--"
Then with a last soothing brush that left an iridescent surface of sheer
gloss he left his bathroom and his apartment and walked down Fifth
Avenue to the Ritz-Carlton.
At seven Anthony and his friend Maury Noble are sitting at a corner
table on the cool roof. Maury Noble is like nothing so much as a large
slender and imposing cat. His eyes are narrow and full of incessant,
protracted blinks. His hair is smooth and flat, as though it has been
licked by a possible--and, if so, Herculean--mother-cat. During
Anthony's time at Harvard he had been considered the most unique figure
in his class, the most brilliant, the most original--smart, quiet and
among the saved.
This is the man whom Anthony considers his best friend. This is the only
man of all his acquaintance whom he admires and, to a bigger extent than
he likes to admit to himself, envies.
They are glad to see each other now--their eyes are full of kindness as
each feels the full effect of novelty after a short separation. They are
drawing a relaxation from each other's presence, a new serenity; Maury
Noble behind that fine and absurdly catlike face is all but purring. And
Anthony, nervous as a will-o'-the-wisp, restless--he is at rest now.
They are engaged in one of those easy short-speech conversations that
only men under thirty or men under great stress indulge in.
ANTHONY: Seven o'clock. Where's the Caramel? _(Impatiently.)_ I wish
he'd finish that interminable novel. I've spent more time hungry----
MAURY: He's got a new name for it. "The Demon Lover "--not bad, eh?
ANTHONY: _(interested)_ "The Demon Lover"? Oh "woman wailing"--No--not a
bit bad! Not bad at all--d'you think?
MAURY: Rather good. What time did you say?
MAURY:_(His eyes narrowing--not unpleasantly, but to express a faint
disapproval)_ Drove me crazy the other day.
MAURY: That habit of taking notes.
ANTHONY: Me, too. Seems I'd said something night before that he
considered material but he'd forgotten it--so he had at me. He'd say
"Can't you try to concentrate?" And I'd say "You bore me to tears. How
do I remember?"
_(MAURY laughs noiselessly, by a sort of bland and appreciative widening
of his features.)_
MAURY: Dick doesn't necessarily see more than any one else. He merely
can put down a larger proportion of what he sees.
ANTHONY: That rather impressive talent----
MAURY: Oh, yes. Impressive!
ANTHONY: And energy--ambitious, well-directed energy. He's so
entertaining--he's so tremendously stimulating and exciting. Often
there's something breathless in being with him.
MAURY: Oh, yes. _(Silence, and then:)_
ANTHONY: _(With his thin, somewhat uncertain face at its most convinced)
_But not indomitable energy. Some day, bit by bit, it'll blow away, and
his rather impressive talent with it, and leave only a wisp of a man,
fretful and egotistic and garrulous.
MAURY: _(With laughter)_ Here we sit vowing to each other that little
Dick sees less deeply into things than we do. And I'll bet he feels a
measure of superiority on his side--creative mind over merely critical
mind and all that.
ANTHONY: Oh, yes. But he's wrong. He's inclined to fall for a million
silly enthusiasms. If it wasn't that he's absorbed in realism and
therefore has to adopt the garments of the cynic he'd be--he'd be
credulous as a college religious leader. He's an idealist. Oh, yes. He
thinks he's not, because he's rejected Christianity. Remember him in
college? just swallow every writer whole, one after another, ideas,
technic, and characters, Chesterton, Shaw, Wells, each one as easily
as the last.
MAURY:_(Still considering his own last observation)_ I remember.
ANTHONY: It's true. Natural born fetich-worshipper. Take art--
MAURY: Let's order. He'll be--
ANTHONY: Sure. Let's order. I told him--
MAURY: Here he comes. Look--he's going to bump that waiter. _(He lifts
his finger as a signal--lifts it as though it were a soft and friendly
claw.)_ Here y'are, Caramel.
A NEW VOICE: _(Fiercely)_ Hello, Maury. Hello, Anthony Comstock Patch.
How is old Adam's grandson? Débutantes still after you, eh?
_In person_ RICHARD CARAMEL _is short and fair--he is to be bald at
thirty-five. He has yellowish eyes--one of them startlingly clear, the
other opaque as a muddy pool--and a bulging brow like a funny-paper
baby. He bulges in other places--his paunch bulges, prophetically, his
words have an air of bulging from his mouth, even his dinner coat
pockets bulge, as though from contamination, with a dog-eared collection
of time-tables, programmes, and miscellaneous scraps--on these he takes
his notes with great screwings up of his unmatched yellow eyes and
motions of silence with his disengaged left hand._
_When he reaches the table he shakes hands with ANTHONY and MAURY. He is
one of those men who invariably shake hands, even with people whom they
have seen an hour before._
ANTHONY: Hello, Caramel. Glad you're here. We needed a comic relief.
MAURY: You're late. Been racing the postman down the block? We've been
clawing over your character.
DICK: (_Fixing_ ANTHONY _eagerly with the bright eye_) What'd you say?
Tell me and I'll write it down. Cut three thousand words out of Part One
MAURY: Noble aesthete. And I poured alcohol into my stomach.
DICK: I don't doubt it. I bet you two have been sitting here for an hour
talking about liquor.
ANTHONY: We never pass out, my beardless boy.
MAURY: We never go home with ladies we meet when we're lit.
ANTHONY: All in our parties are characterized by a certain haughty
DICK: The particularly silly sort who boast about being "tanks"! Trouble
is you're both in the eighteenth century. School of the Old English
Squire. Drink quietly until you roll under the table. Never have a good
time. Oh, no, that isn't done at all.
ANTHONY: This from Chapter Six, I'll bet.
DICK: Going to the theatre?
MAURY: Yes. We intend to spend the evening doing some deep thinking over
of life's problems. The thing is tersely called "The Woman." I presume
that she will "pay."
ANTHONY: My God! Is that what it is? Let's go to the Follies again.
MAURY: I'm tired of it. I've seen it three times. (_To DICK:_) The first
time, we went out after Act One and found a most amazing bar. When we
came back we entered the wrong theatre.
ANTHONY: Had a protracted dispute with a scared young couple we thought
were in our seats.
DICK: (_As though talking to himself_) I think--that when I've done
another novel and a play, and maybe a book of short stories, I'll do a
MAURY: I know--with intellectual lyrics that no one will listen to. And
all the critics will groan and grunt about "Dear old Pinafore." And I
shall go on shining as a brilliantly meaningless figure in a
DICK: (_Pompously_) Art isn't meaningless.
MAURY: It is in itself. It isn't in that it tries to make life less so.
ANTHONY: In other words, Dick, you're playing before a grand stand
peopled with ghosts.
MAURY: Give a good show anyhow.
ANTHONY:(To MAURY) On the contrary, I'd feel that it being a meaningless
world, why write? The very attempt to give it purpose is purposeless.
DICK: Well, even admitting all that, be a decent pragmatist and grant a
poor man the instinct to live. Would you want every one to accept that
ANTHONY: Yeah, I suppose so.
MAURY: No, sir! I believe that every one in America but a selected
thousand should be compelled to accept a very rigid system of
morals--Roman Catholicism, for instance. I don't complain of
conventional morality. I complain rather of the mediocre heretics who
seize upon the findings of sophistication and adopt the pose of a moral
freedom to which they are by no means entitled by their intelligences.
(_Here the soup arrives and what MAURY might have gone on to say is lost
for all time._)
Afterward they visited a ticket speculator and, at a price, obtained
seats for a new musical comedy called "High Jinks." In the foyer of the
theatre they waited a few moments to see the first-night crowd come in.
There were opera cloaks stitched of myriad, many-colored silks and furs;
there were jewels dripping from arms and throats and ear-tips of white
and rose; there were innumerable broad shimmers down the middles of
innumerable silk hats; there were shoes of gold and bronze and red and
shining black; there were the high-piled, tight-packed coiffures of many
women and the slick, watered hair of well-kept men--most of all there
was the ebbing, flowing, chattering, chuckling, foaming, slow-rolling
wave effect of this cheerful sea of people as to-night it poured its
glittering torrent into the artificial lake of laughter....
After the play they parted--Maury was going to a dance at Sherry's,
Anthony homeward and to bed.
He found his way slowly over the jostled evening mass of Times Square,
which the chariot race and its thousand satellites made rarely beautiful
and bright and intimate with carnival. Faces swirled about him, a
kaleidoscope of girls, ugly, ugly as sin--too fat, too lean, yet
floating upon this autumn air as upon their own warm and passionate
breaths poured out into the night. Here, for all their vulgarity, he
thought, they were faintly and subtly mysterious. He inhaled carefully,
swallowing into his lungs perfume and the not unpleasant scent of many
cigarettes. He caught the glance of a dark young beauty sitting alone in
a closed taxicab. Her eyes in the half-light suggested night and
violets, and for a moment he stirred again to that half-forgotten
remoteness of the afternoon.
Two young Jewish men passed him, talking in loud voices and craning
their necks here and there in fatuous supercilious glances. They were
dressed in suits of the exaggerated tightness then semi-fashionable;
their turned over collars were notched at the Adam's apple; they wore
gray spats and carried gray gloves on their cane handles.
Passed a bewildered old lady borne along like a basket of eggs between
two men who exclaimed to her of the wonders of Times Square--explained
them so quickly that the old lady, trying to be impartially interested,
waved her head here and there like a piece of wind-worried old
orange-peel. Anthony heard a snatch of their conversation:
"There's the Astor, mama!"
"Look! See the chariot race sign----"
"There's where we were to-day. No, _there!_"
"Good gracious! ..."
"You should worry and grow thin like a dime." He recognized the current
witticism of the year as it issued stridently from one of the pairs at
"And I says to him, I says----"
The soft rush of taxis by him, and laughter, laughter hoarse as a
crow's, incessant and loud, with the rumble of the subways
underneath--and over all, the revolutions of light, the growings and
recedings of light--light dividing like pearls--forming and reforming in
glittering bars and circles and monstrous grotesque figures cut
amazingly on the sky.
He turned thankfully down the hush that blew like a dark wind out of a
cross-street, passed a bakery-restaurant in whose windows a dozen roast
chickens turned over and over on an automatic spit. From the door came a
smell that was hot, doughy, and pink. A drug-store next, exhaling
medicines, spilt soda water and a pleasant undertone from the cosmetic
counter; then a Chinese laundry, still open, steamy and stifling,
smelling folded and vaguely yellow. All these depressed him; reaching
Sixth Avenue he stopped at a corner cigar store and emerged feeling
better--the cigar store was cheerful, humanity in a navy blue mist,
buying a luxury ....
Once in his apartment he smoked a last cigarette, sitting in the dark by
his open front window. For the first time in over a year he found
himself thoroughly enjoying New York. There was a rare pungency in it
certainly, a quality almost Southern. A lonesome town, though. He who
had grown up alone had lately learned to avoid solitude. During the past
several months he had been careful, when he had no engagement for the
evening, to hurry to one of his clubs and find some one. Oh, there was a
His cigarette, its smoke bordering the thin folds of curtain with rims
of faint white spray, glowed on until the clock in St. Anne's down the
street struck one with a querulous fashionable beauty. The elevated,
half a quiet block away, sounded a rumble of drums--and should he lean
from his window he would see the train, like an angry eagle, breasting
the dark curve at the corner. He was reminded of a fantastic romance he
had lately read in which cities had been bombed from aerial trains, and
for a moment he fancied that Washington Square had declared war on
Central Park and that this was a north-bound menace loaded with battle
and sudden death. But as it passed the illusion faded; it diminished to
the faintest of drums--then to a far-away droning eagle.
There were the bells and the continued low blur of auto horns from Fifth
Avenue, but his own street was silent and he was safe in here from all
the threat of life, for there was his door and the long hall and his
guardian bedroom--safe, safe! The arc-light shining into his window
seemed for this hour like the moon, only brighter and more beautiful
than the moon.
A FLASH-BACK IN PARADISE
_Beauty, who was born anew every hundred years, sat in a sort of outdoor
waiting room through which blew gusts of white wind and occasionally a
breathless hurried star. The stars winked at her intimately as they went
by and the winds made a soft incessant flurry in her hair. She was
incomprehensible, for, in her, soul and spirit were one--the beauty of
her body was the essence of her soul. She was that unity sought for by
philosophers through many centuries. In this outdoor waiting room of
winds and stars she had been sitting for a hundred years, at peace in
the contemplation of herself._
_It became known to her, at length, that she was to be born again.
Sighing, she began a long conversation with a voice that was in the
white wind, a conversation that took many hours and of which I can give
only a fragment here._
BEAUTY: (_Her lips scarcely stirring, her eyes turned, as always, inward
upon herself_) Whither shall I journey now?
THE VOICE: To a new country--a land you have never seen before.
BEAUTY: (_Petulantly_) I loathe breaking into these new civilizations.
How long a stay this time?
THE VOICE: Fifteen years.
BEAUTY: And what's the name of the place?
THE VOICE: It is the most opulent, most gorgeous land on earth--a land
whose wisest are but little wiser than its dullest; a land where the
rulers have minds like little children and the law-givers believe in
Santa Claus; where ugly women control strong men----
BEAUTY: (_In astonishment_) What?
THE VOICE: (_Very much depressed_) Yes, it is truly a melancholy
spectacle. Women with receding chins and shapeless noses go about in
broad daylight saying "Do this!" and "Do that!" and all the men, even
those of great wealth, obey implicitly their women to whom they refer
sonorously either as "Mrs. So-and-so" or as "the wife."
BEAUTY: But this can't be true! I can understand, of course, their
obedience to women of charm--but to fat women? to bony women? to women
with scrawny cheeks?
THE VOICE: Even so.
BEAUTY: What of me? What chance shall I have?
THE VOICE: It will be "harder going," if I may borrow a phrase.
BEAUTY: (_After a dissatisfied pause_) Why not the old lands, the land
of grapes and soft-tongued men or the land of ships and seas?
THE VOICE: It's expected that they'll be very busy shortly.
THE VOICE: Your life on earth will be, as always, the interval between
two significant glances in a mundane mirror.
BEAUTY: What will I be? Tell me?
THE VOICE: At first it was thought that you would go this time as an
actress in the motion pictures but, after all, it's not advisable. You
will be disguised during your fifteen years as what is called a
BEAUTY: What's that?
(_There is a new sound in the wind which must for our purposes be
interpreted as_ THE VOICE _scratching its head._)
THE VOICE: (_At length_) It's a sort of bogus aristocrat.
BEAUTY: Bogus? What is bogus?
THE VOICE: That, too, you will discover in this land. You will find much
that is bogus. Also, you will do much that is bogus.
BEAUTY: (_Placidly_) It all sounds so vulgar.
THE VOICE: Not half as vulgar as it is. You will be known during your
fifteen years as a ragtime kid, a flapper, a jazz-baby, and a baby vamp.
You will dance new dances neither more nor less gracefully than you
danced the old ones.
BEAUTY: (_In a whisper_) Will I be paid?
THE VOICE: Yes, as usual--in love.
BEAUTY: (_With a faint laugh which disturbs only momentarily the
immobility of her lips_) And will I like being called a jazz-baby?
THE VOICE: (_Soberly_) You will love it....
(_The dialogue ends here, with_ BEAUTY _still sitting quietly, the stars
pausing in an ecstasy of appreciation, the wind, white and gusty,
blowing through her hair._
_All this took place seven years before_ ANTHONY _sat by the front
windows of his apartment and listened to the chimes of St. Anne's_.)
PORTRAIT OF A SIREN
Crispness folded down upon New York a month later, bringing November and
the three big football games and a great fluttering of furs along Fifth
Avenue. It brought, also, a sense of tension to the city, and suppressed
excitement. Every morning now there were invitations in Anthony's mail.
Three dozen virtuous females of the first layer were proclaiming their
fitness, if not their specific willingness, to bear children unto three
dozen millionaires. Five dozen virtuous females of the second layer were
proclaiming not only this fitness, but in addition a tremendous
undaunted ambition toward the first three dozen young men, who were of
course invited to each of the ninety-six parties--as were the young
lady's group of family friends, acquaintances, college boys, and eager
young outsiders. To continue, there was a third layer from the skirts of
the city, from Newark and the Jersey suburbs up to bitter Connecticut
and the ineligible sections of Long Island--and doubtless contiguous
layers down to the city's shoes: Jewesses were coming out into a society
of Jewish men and women, from Riverside to the Bronx, and looking
forward to a rising young broker or jeweller and a kosher wedding; Irish
girls were casting their eyes, with license at last to do so, upon a
society of young Tammany politicians, pious undertakers, and grown-up
And, naturally, the city caught the contagious air of entré--the working
girls, poor ugly souls, wrapping soap in the factories and showing
finery in the big stores, dreamed that perhaps in the spectacular
excitement of this winter they might obtain for themselves the coveted
male--as in a muddled carnival crowd an inefficient pickpocket may
consider his chances increased. And the chimneys commenced to smoke and
the subway's foulness was freshened. And the actresses came out in new
plays and the publishers came out with new books and the Castles came
out with new dances. And the railroads came out with new schedules
containing new mistakes instead of the old ones that the commuters had
grown used to....
The City was coming out!
Anthony, walking along Forty-second Street one afternoon under a
steel-gray sky, ran unexpectedly into Richard Caramel emerging from the
Manhattan Hotel barber shop. It was a cold day, the first definitely
cold day, and Caramel had on one of those knee-length, sheep-lined coats
long worn by the working men of the Middle West, that were just coming
into fashionable approval. His soft hat was of a discreet dark brown,
and from under it his clear eye flamed like a topaz. He stopped Anthony
enthusiastically, slapping him on the arms more from a desire to keep
himself warm than from playfulness, and, after his inevitable hand
shake, exploded into sound.
"Cold as the devil--Good Lord, I've been working like the deuce all day
till my room got so cold I thought I'd get pneumonia. Darn landlady
economizing on coal came up when I yelled over the stairs for her for
half an hour. Began explaining why and all. God! First she drove me
crazy, then I began to think she was sort of a character, and took notes
while she talked--so she couldn't see me, you know, just as though I
were writing casually--"
He had seized Anthony's arm and walking him briskly up Madison Avenue.
"Nowhere in particular."
"Well, then what's the use?" demanded Anthony.
They stopped and stared at each other, and Anthony wondered if the cold
made his own face as repellent as Dick Caramel's, whose nose was
crimson, whose bulging brow was blue, whose yellow unmatched eyes were
red and watery at the rims. After a moment they began walking again.
"Done some good work on my novel." Dick was looking and talking
emphatically at the sidewalk. "But I have to get out once in a while."
He glanced at Anthony apologetically, as though craving encouragement.
"I have to talk. I guess very few people ever really _think_, I mean sit
down and ponder and have ideas in sequence. I do my thinking in writing
or conversation. You've got to have a start, sort of--something to
defend or contradict--don't you think?"
Anthony grunted and withdrew his arm gently.
"I don't mind carrying you, Dick, but with that coat--"
"I mean," continued Richard Caramel gravely, "that on paper your first
paragraph contains the idea you're going to damn or enlarge on. In
conversation you've got your vis-à-vis's last statement--but when you
simply _ponder_, why, your ideas just succeed each other like
magic-lantern pictures and each one forces out the last."
They passed Forty-fifth Street and slowed down slightly. Both of them
lit cigarettes and blew tremendous clouds of smoke and frosted breath
into the air.
"Let's walk up to the Plaza and have an egg-nog," suggested Anthony. "Do
you good. Air'll get the rotten nicotine out of your lungs. Come
on--I'll let you talk about your book all the way."
"I don't want to if it bores you. I mean you needn't do it as a favor."
The words tumbled out in haste, and though he tried to keep his face
casual it screwed up uncertainly. Anthony was compelled to protest:
"Bore me? I should say not!"
"Got a cousin--" began Dick, but Anthony interrupted by stretching out
his arms and breathing forth a low cry of exultation.
"Good weather!" he exclaimed, "isn't it? Makes me feel about ten. I mean
it makes me feel as I should have felt when I was ten. Murderous! Oh,
God! one minute it's my world, and the next I'm the world's fool. To-day
it's my world and everything's easy, easy. Even Nothing is easy!"
"Got a cousin up at the Plaza. Famous girl. We can go up and meet her.
She lives there in the winter--has lately anyway--with her mother
"Didn't know you had cousins in New York."
"Her name's Gloria. She's from home--Kansas City. Her mother's a
practising Bilphist, and her father's quite dull but a perfect
"What are they? Literary material?"
"They try to be. All the old man does is tell me he just met the most
wonderful character for a novel. Then he tells me about some idiotic
friend of his and then he says: '_There_'s a character for you! Why
don't you write him up? Everybody'd be interested in _him_.' Or else he
tells me about Japan or Paris, or some other very obvious place, and
says: 'Why don't you write a story about that place? That'd be a
wonderful setting for a story!'"
"How about the girl?" inquired Anthony casually, "Gloria--Gloria what?"
"Gilbert. Oh, you've heard of her--Gloria Gilbert. Goes to dances at
colleges--all that sort of thing."
"I've heard her name."
"Good-looking--in fact damned attractive."
They reached Fiftieth Street and turned over toward the Avenue.
"I don't care for young girls as a rule," said Anthony, frowning.
This was not strictly true. While it seemed to him that the average
debutante spent every hour of her day thinking and talking about what
the great world had mapped out for her to do during the next hour, any
girl who made a living directly on her prettiness interested him
"Gloria's darn nice--not a brain in her head."
Anthony laughed in a one-syllabled snort.
"By that you mean that she hasn't a line of literary patter."
"No, I don't."
"Dick, you know what passes as brains in a girl for you. Earnest young
women who sit with you in a corner and talk earnestly about life. The
kind who when they were sixteen argued with grave faces as to whether
kissing was right or wrong--and whether it was immoral for freshmen to
Richard Caramel was offended. His scowl crinkled like crushed paper.
"No--" he began, but Anthony interrupted ruthlessly.
"Oh, yes; kind who just at present sit in corners and confer on the
latest Scandinavian Dante available in English translation."
Dick turned to him, a curious falling in his whole countenance. His
question was almost an appeal.
"What's the matter with you and Maury? You talk sometimes as though I
were a sort of inferior."
Anthony was confused, but he was also cold and a little uncomfortable,
so he took refuge in attack.
"I don't think your brains matter, Dick."
"Of course they matter!" exclaimed Dick angrily. "What do you mean? Why
don't they matter?"
"You might know too much for your pen."
"I couldn't possibly."
"I can imagine," insisted Anthony, "a man knowing too much for his
talent to express. Like me. Suppose, for instance, I have more wisdom
than you, and less talent. It would tend to make me inarticulate. You,
on the contrary, have enough water to fill the pail and a big enough
pail to hold the water."
"I don't follow you at all," complained Dick in a crestfallen tone.
Infinitely dismayed, he seemed to bulge in protest. He was staring
intently at Anthony and caroming off a succession of passers-by, who
reproached him with fierce, resentful glances.
"I simply mean that a talent like Wells's could carry the intelligence
of a Spencer. But an inferior talent can only be graceful when it's
carrying inferior ideas. And the more narrowly you can look at a thing
the more entertaining you can be about it."
Dick considered, unable to decide the exact degree of criticism intended
by Anthony's remarks. But Anthony, with that facility which seemed so
frequently to flow from him, continued, his dark eyes gleaming in his
thin face, his chin raised, his voice raised, his whole physical
"Say I am proud and sane and wise--an Athenian among Greeks. Well, I
might fail where a lesser man would succeed. He could imitate, he could
adorn, he could be enthusiastic, he could be hopefully constructive. But
this hypothetical me would be too proud to imitate, too sane to be
enthusiastic, too sophisticated to be Utopian, too Grecian to adorn."
"Then you don't think the artist works from his intelligence?"
"No. He goes on improving, if he can, what he imitates in the way of
style, and choosing from his own interpretation of the things around him
what constitutes material. But after all every writer writes because
it's his mode of living. Don't tell me you like this 'Divine Function of
the Artist' business?"
"I'm not accustomed even to refer to myself as an artist."
"Dick," said Anthony, changing his tone, "I want to beg your pardon."
"For that outburst. I'm honestly sorry. I was talking for effect."
Somewhat mollified, Dick rejoined:
"I've often said you were a Philistine at heart."
It was a crackling dusk when they turned in under the white façade of
the Plaza and tasted slowly the foam and yellow thickness of an egg-nog.
Anthony looked at his companion. Richard Caramel's nose and brow were
slowly approaching a like pigmentation; the red was leaving the one, the
blue deserting the other. Glancing in a mirror, Anthony was glad to find
that his own skin had not discolored. On the contrary, a faint glow had
kindled in his cheeks--he fancied that he had never looked so well.
"Enough for me," said Dick, his tone that of an athlete in training. "I
want to go up and see the Gilberts. Won't you come?"
"Why--yes. If you don't dedicate me to the parents and dash off in the
corner with Dora."
A clerk announced them over the phone, and ascending to the tenth floor
they followed a winding corridor and knocked at 1088. The door was
answered by a middle-aged lady--Mrs. Gilbert herself.
"How do you do?" She spoke in the conventional American lady-lady
language. "Well, I'm _aw_fully glad to see you--"
Hasty interjections by Dick, and then:
"Mr. Pats? Well, do come in, and leave your coat there." She pointed to
a chair and changed her inflection to a deprecatory laugh full of minute
gasps. "This is really lovely--lovely. Why, Richard, you haven't been
here for _so_ long--no!--no!" The latter monosyllables served half as
responses, half as periods, to some vague starts from Dick. "Well, do
sit down and tell me what you've been doing."
One crossed and recrossed; one stood and bowed ever so gently; one
smiled again and again with helpless stupidity; one wondered if she
would ever sit down at length one slid thankfully into a chair and
settled for a pleasant call.
"I suppose it's because you've been busy--as much as anything else,"
smiled Mrs. Gilbert somewhat ambiguously. The "as much as anything else"
she used to balance all her more rickety sentences. She had two other
ones: "at least that's the way I look at it" and "pure and
simple"--these three, alternated, gave each of her remarks an air of
being a general reflection on life, as though she had calculated all
causes and, at length, put her finger on the ultimate one.
Richard Caramel's face, Anthony saw, was now quite normal. The brow and
cheeks were of a flesh color, the nose politely inconspicuous. He had
fixed his aunt with the bright-yellow eye, giving her that acute and
exaggerated attention that young males are accustomed to render to all
females who are of no further value.
"Are you a writer too, Mr. Pats? ... Well, perhaps we can all bask in
Richard's fame."--Gentle laughter led by Mrs. Gilbert.
"Gloria's out," she said, with an air of laying down an axiom from which
she would proceed to derive results. "She's dancing somewhere. Gloria
goes, goes, goes. I tell her I don't see how she stands it. She dances
all afternoon and all night, until I think she's going to wear herself
to a shadow. Her father is very worried about her."
She smiled from one to the other. They both smiled.
She was composed, Anthony perceived, of a succession of semicircles and
parabolas, like those figures that gifted folk make on the typewriter:
head, arms, bust, hips, thighs, and ankles were in a bewildering tier of
roundnesses. Well ordered and clean she was, with hair of an
artificially rich gray; her large face sheltered weather-beaten blue
eyes and was adorned with just the faintest white mustache.
"I always say," she remarked to Anthony, "that Richard is an ancient
In the tense pause that followed, Anthony considered a pun--something
about Dick having been much walked upon.
"We all have souls of different ages," continued Mrs. Gilbert radiantly;
"at least that's what I say."
"Perhaps so," agreed Anthony with an air of quickening to a hopeful
idea. The voice bubbled on:
"Gloria has a very young soul--irresponsible, as much as anything else.
She has no sense of responsibility."
"She's sparkling, Aunt Catherine," said Richard pleasantly. "A sense of
responsibility would spoil her. She's too pretty."
"Well," confessed Mrs. Gilbert, "all I know is that she goes and goes
The number of goings to Gloria's discredit was lost in the rattle of the
door-knob as it turned to admit Mr. Gilbert.
He was a short man with a mustache resting like a small white cloud
beneath his undistinguished nose. He had reached the stage where his
value as a social creature was a black and imponderable negative. His
ideas were the popular delusions of twenty years before; his mind
steered a wabbly and anaemic course in the wake of the daily newspaper
editorials. After graduating from a small but terrifying Western
university, he had entered the celluloid business, and as this required
only the minute measure of intelligence he brought to it, he did well
for several years--in fact until about 1911, when he began exchanging
contracts for vague agreements with the moving picture industry. The
moving picture industry had decided about 1912 to gobble him up, and at
this time he was, so to speak, delicately balanced on its tongue.
Meanwhile he was supervising manager of the Associated Mid-western Film
Materials Company, spending six months of each year in New York and the
remainder in Kansas City and St. Louis. He felt credulously that there
was a good thing coming to him--and his wife thought so, and his
daughter thought so too.
He disapproved of Gloria: she stayed out late, she never ate her meals,
she was always in a mix-up--he had irritated her once and she had used
toward him words that he had not thought were part of her vocabulary.
His wife was easier. After fifteen years of incessant guerilla warfare
he had conquered her--it was a war of muddled optimism against organized
dulness, and something in the number of "yes's" with which he could
poison a conversation had won him the victory.
"Yes-yes-yes-yes," he would say, "yes-yes-yes-yes. Let me see. That was
the summer of--let me see--ninety-one or ninety-two--Yes-yes-yes-yes----"
Fifteen years of yes's had beaten Mrs. Gilbert. Fifteen further years of
that incessant unaffirmative affirmative, accompanied by the perpetual
flicking of ash-mushrooms from thirty-two thousand cigars, had broken
her. To this husband of hers she made the last concession of married
life, which is more complete, more irrevocable, than the first--she
listened to him. She told herself that the years had brought her
tolerance--actually they had slain what measure she had ever possessed
of moral courage.
She introduced him to Anthony.
"This is Mr. Pats," she said.
The young man and the old touched flesh; Mr. Gilbert's hand was soft,
worn away to the pulpy semblance of a squeezed grapefruit. Then husband
and wife exchanged greetings--he told her it had grown colder out; he
said he had walked down to a news-stand on Forty-fourth Street for a
Kansas City paper. He had intended to ride back in the bus but he had
found it too cold, yes, yes, yes, yes, too cold.
Mrs. Gilbert added flavor to his adventure by being impressed with his
courage in braving the harsh air.
"Well, you _are_ spunky!" she exclaimed admiringly. "You _are_ spunky. I
wouldn't have gone out for anything."
Mr. Gilbert with true masculine impassivity disregarded the awe he had
excited in his wife. He turned to the two young men and triumphantly
routed them on the subject of the weather. Richard Caramel was called on
to remember the month of November in Kansas. No sooner had the theme
been pushed toward him, however, than it was violently fished back to be
lingered over, pawed over, elongated, and generally devitalized by
The immemorial thesis that the days somewhere were warm but the nights
very pleasant was successfully propounded and they decided the exact
distance on an obscure railroad between two points that Dick had
inadvertently mentioned. Anthony fixed Mr. Gilbert with a steady stare
and went into a trance through which, after a moment, Mrs. Gilbert's
smiling voice penetrated:
"It seems as though the cold were damper here--it seems to eat into my
As this remark, adequately yessed, had been on the tip of Mr. Gilbert's
tongue, he could not be blamed for rather abruptly changing the subject.
"She ought to be here any minute."
"Have you met my daughter, Mr.----?"
"Haven't had the pleasure. I've heard Dick speak of her often."
"She and Richard are cousins."
"Yes?" Anthony smiled with some effort. He was not used to the society
of his seniors, and his mouth was stiff from superfluous cheerfulness.
It was such a pleasant thought about Gloria and Dick being cousins. He
managed within the next minute to throw an agonized glance at
Richard Caramel was afraid they'd have to toddle off.
Mrs. Gilbert was tremendously sorry.
Mr. Gilbert thought it was too bad.
Mrs. Gilbert had a further idea--something about being glad they'd come,
anyhow, even if they'd only seen an old lady 'way too old to flirt with
them. Anthony and Dick evidently considered this a sly sally, for they
laughed one bar in three-four time.
Would they come again soon?
Gloria would be _aw_fully sorry!
Two disconsolate young men walking down the tenth-floor corridor of the
Plaza in the direction of the elevator.
A LADY'S LEGS
Behind Maury Noble's attractive indolence, his irrelevance and his easy
mockery, lay a surprising and relentless maturity of purpose. His
intention, as he stated it in college, had been to use three years in
travel, three years in utter leisure--and then to become immensely rich
as quickly as possible.
His three years of travel were over. He had accomplished the globe with
an intensity and curiosity that in any one else would have seemed
pedantic, without redeeming spontaneity, almost the self-editing of a
human Baedeker; but, in this case, it assumed an air of mysterious
purpose and significant design--as though Maury Noble were some
predestined anti-Christ, urged by a preordination to go everywhere there
was to go along the earth and to see all the billions of humans who bred
and wept and slew each other here and there upon it.
Back in America, he was sallying into the search for amusement with the
same consistent absorption. He who had never taken more than a few
cocktails or a pint of wine at a sitting, taught himself to drink as he
would have taught himself Greek--like Greek it would be the gateway to a
wealth of new sensations, new psychic states, new reactions in joy
His habits were a matter for esoteric speculation. He had three rooms in
a bachelor apartment on Forty-forth street, but he was seldom to be
found there. The telephone girl had received the most positive
instructions that no one should even have his ear without first giving a
name to be passed upon. She had a list of half a dozen people to whom he
was never at home, and of the same number to whom he was always at home.
Foremost on the latter list were Anthony Patch and Richard Caramel.
Maury's mother lived with her married son in Philadelphia, and there
Maury went usually for the week-ends, so one Saturday night when
Anthony, prowling the chilly streets in a fit of utter boredom, dropped
in at the Molton Arms he was overjoyed to find that Mr. Noble was
His spirits soared faster than the flying elevator. This was so good, so
extremely good, to be about to talk to Maury--who would be equally happy
at seeing him. They would look at each other with a deep affection just
behind their eyes which both would conceal beneath some attenuated
raillery. Had it been summer they would have gone out together and
indolently sipped two long Tom Collinses, as they wilted their collars
and watched the faintly diverting round of some lazy August cabaret. But
it was cold outside, with wind around the edges of the tall buildings
and December just up the street, so better far an evening together under
the soft lamplight and a drink or two of Bushmill's, or a thimbleful of
Maury's Grand Marnier, with the books gleaming like ornaments against
the walls, and Maury radiating a divine inertia as he rested, large and
catlike, in his favorite chair.
There he was! The room closed about Anthony, warmed him. The glow of
that strong persuasive mind, that temperament almost Oriental in its
outward impassivity, warmed Anthony's restless soul and brought him a
peace that could be likened only to the peace a stupid woman gives. One
must understand all--else one must take all for granted. Maury filled
the room, tigerlike, godlike. The winds outside were stilled; the brass
candlesticks on the mantel glowed like tapers before an altar.
"What keeps you here to-day?" Anthony spread himself over a yielding
sofa and made an elbow-rest among the pillows.
"Just been here an hour. Tea dance--and I stayed so late I missed my
train to Philadelphia."
"Strange to stay so long," commented Anthony curiously.
"Rather. What'd you do?"
"Geraldine. Little usher at Keith's. I told you about her."
"Paid me a call about three and stayed till five. Peculiar little
soul--she gets me. She's so utterly stupid."
Maury was silent.
"Strange as it may seem," continued Anthony, "so far as I'm concerned,
and even so far as I know, Geraldine is a paragon of virtue."
He had known her a month, a girl of nondescript and nomadic habits.
Someone had casually passed her on to Anthony, who considered her
amusing and rather liked the chaste and fairylike kisses she had given
him on the third night of their acquaintance, when they had driven in a
taxi through the Park. She had a vague family--a shadowy aunt and uncle
who shared with her an apartment in the labyrinthine hundreds. She was
company, familiar and faintly intimate and restful. Further than that he
did not care to experiment--not from any moral compunction, but from a
dread of allowing any entanglement to disturb what he felt was the
growing serenity of his life.
"She has two stunts," he informed Maury; "one of them is to get her hair
over her eyes some way and then blow it out, and the other is to say
'You cra-a-azy!' when some one makes a remark that's over her head. It
fascinates me. I sit there hour after hour, completely intrigued by the
maniacal symptoms she finds in my imagination."
Maury stirred in his chair and spoke.
"Remarkable that a person can comprehend so little and yet live in such
a complex civilization. A woman like that actually takes the whole
universe in the most matter-of-fact way. From the influence of Rousseau
to the bearing of the tariff rates on her dinner, the whole phenomenon
is utterly strange to her. She's just been carried along from an age of
spearheads and plunked down here with the equipment of an archer for
going into a pistol duel. You could sweep away the entire crust of
history and she'd never know the difference."
"I wish our Richard would write about her."
"Anthony, surely you don't think she's worth writing about."
"As much as anybody," he answered, yawning. "You know I was thinking
to-day that I have a great confidence in Dick. So long as he sticks to
people and not to ideas, and as long as his inspirations come from life
and not from art, and always granting a normal growth, I believe he'll
be a big man."
"I should think the appearance of the black note-book would prove that
he's going to life."
Anthony raised himself on his elbow and answered eagerly:
"He tries to go to life. So does every author except the very worst, but
after all most of them live on predigested food. The incident or
character may be from life, but the writer usually interprets it in
terms of the last book he read. For instance, suppose he meets a sea
captain and thinks he's an original character. The truth is that he sees
the resemblance between the sea captain and the last sea captain Dana
created, or who-ever creates sea captains, and therefore he knows how
to set this sea captain on paper. Dick, of course, can set down any
consciously picturesque, character-like character, but could he
accurately transcribe his own sister?"
Then they were off for half an hour on literature.
"A classic," suggested Anthony, "is a successful book that has survived
the reaction of the next period or generation. Then it's safe, like a
style in architecture or furniture. It's acquired a picturesque dignity
to take the place of its fashion...."
After a time the subject temporarily lost its tang. The interest of the
two young men was not particularly technical. They were in love with
generalities. Anthony had recently discovered Samuel Butler and the
brisk aphorisms in the note-book seemed to him the quintessence of
criticism. Maury, his whole mind so thoroughly mellowed by the very
hardness of his scheme of life, seemed inevitably the wiser of the two,
yet in the actual stuff of their intelligences they were not, it seemed,
They drifted from letters to the curiosities of each other's day.
"Whose tea was it?"
"People named Abercrombie."
"Why'd you stay late? Meet a luscious débutante?"
"Did you really?" Anthony's voice lifted in surprise.
"Not a débutante exactly. Said she came out two winters ago in Kansas
"Sort of left-over?"
"No," answered Maury with some amusement, "I think that's the last thing
I'd say about her. She seemed--well, somehow the youngest person there."
"Not too young to make you miss a train."
"Young enough. Beautiful child."
Anthony chuckled in his one-syllable snort.
"Oh, Maury, you're in your second childhood. What do you mean by
Maury gazed helplessly into space.
"Well, I can't describe her exactly--except to say that she was
beautiful. She was--tremendously alive. She was eating gum-drops."
"It was a sort of attenuated vice. She's a nervous kind--said she always
ate gum-drops at teas because she had to stand around so long in
"What'd you talk about--Bergson? Bilphism? Whether the one-step is
Maury was unruffled; his fur seemed to run all ways.
"As a matter of fact we did talk on Bilphism. Seems her mother's a
Bilphist. Mostly, though, we talked about legs."
Anthony rocked in glee.
"My God! Whose legs?"
"Hers. She talked a lot about hers. As though they were a sort of choice
bric-à-brac. She aroused a great desire to see them."
"What is she--a dancer?"
"No, I found she was a cousin of Dick's."
Anthony sat upright so suddenly that the pillow he released stood on end
like a live thing and dove to the floor.
"Name's Gloria Gilbert?" he cried.
"Yes. Isn't she remarkable?"
"I'm sure I don't know--but for sheer dulness her father--"
"Well," interrupted Maury with implacable conviction, "her family may be
as sad as professional mourners but I'm inclined to think that she's a
quite authentic and original character. The outer signs of the
cut-and-dried Yale prom girl and all that--but different, very
"Go on, go on!" urged Anthony. "Soon as Dick told me she didn't have a
brain in her head I knew she must be pretty good."
"Did he say that?"
"Swore to it," said Anthony with another snorting laugh.
"Well, what he means by brains in a woman is--"
"I know," interrupted Anthony eagerly, "he means a smattering of
"That's it. The kind who believes that the annual moral let-down of the
country is a very good thing or the kind who believes it's a very
ominous thing. Either pince-nez or postures. Well, this girl talked
about legs. She talked about skin too--her own skin. Always her own. She
told me the sort of tan she'd like to get in the summer and how closely
she usually approximated it."
"You sat enraptured by her low alto?"
"By her low alto! No, by tan! I began thinking about tan. I began to
think what color I turned when I made my last exposure about two years
ago. I did use to get a pretty good tan. I used to get a sort of bronze,
if I remember rightly."
Anthony retired into the cushions, shaken with laughter.
"She's got you going--oh, Maury! Maury the Connecticut life-saver. The
human nutmeg. Extra! Heiress elopes with coast-guard because of his
luscious pigmentation! Afterward found to be Tasmanian strain in
Maury sighed; rising he walked to the window and raised the shade.
Anthony, still laughing quietly to himself, made no answer.
"Another winter." Maury's voice from the window was almost a whisper.
"We're growing old, Anthony. I'm twenty-seven, by God! Three years to
thirty, and then I'm what an undergraduate calls a middle-aged man."
Anthony was silent for a moment.
"You _are_ old, Maury," he agreed at length. "The first signs of a very
dissolute and wabbly senescence--you have spent the afternoon talking
about tan and a lady's legs."
Maury pulled down the shade with a sudden harsh snap.
"Idiot!" he cried, "that from you! Here I sit, young Anthony, as I'll
sit for a generation or more and watch such gay souls as you and Dick
and Gloria Gilbert go past me, dancing and singing and loving and hating
one another and being moved, being eternally moved. And I am moved only
by my lack of emotion. I shall sit and the snow will come--oh, for a
Caramel to take notes--and another winter and I shall be thirty and you
and Dick and Gloria will go on being eternally moved and dancing by me
and singing. But after you've all gone I'll be saying things for new
Dicks to write down, and listening to the disillusions and cynicisms and
emotions of new Anthonys--yes, and talking to new Glorias about the tans
of summers yet to come."
The firelight flurried up on the hearth. Maury left the window, stirred
the blaze with a poker, and dropped a log upon the andirons. Then he sat
back in his chair and the remnants of his voice faded in the new fire
that spit red and yellow along the bark.
"After all, Anthony, it's you who are very romantic and young. It's you
who are infinitely more susceptible and afraid of your calm being
broken. It's me who tries again and again to be moved--let myself go a
thousand times and I'm always me. Nothing--quite--stirs me.
"Yet," he murmured after another long pause, "there was something about
that little girl with her absurd tan that was eternally old--like me."
Anthony turned over sleepily in his bed, greeting a patch of cold sun on
his counterpane, crisscrossed with the shadows of the leaded window. The
room was full of morning. The carved chest in the corner, the ancient
and inscrutable wardrobe, stood about the room like dark symbols of the
obliviousness of matter; only the rug was beckoning and perishable to
his perishable feet, and Bounds, horribly inappropriate in his soft
collar, was of stuff as fading as the gauze of frozen breath he uttered.
He was close to the bed, his hand still lowered where he had been
jerking at the upper blanket, his dark-brown eyes fixed imperturbably
upon his master.
"Bows!" muttered the drowsy god. "Thachew, Bows?"
"It's I, sir."
Anthony moved his head, forced his eyes wide, and blinked triumphantly.
"Can you get off--yeow-ow-oh-oh-oh God!--" Anthony yawned insufferably
and the contents of his brain seemed to fall together in a dense hash.
He made a fresh start.
"Can you come around about four and serve some tea and sandwiches or
Anthony considered with chilling lack of inspiration. "Some sandwiches,"
he repeated helplessly, "oh, some cheese sandwiches and jelly ones and
chicken and olive, I guess. Never mind breakfast."
The strain of invention was too much. He shut his eyes wearily, let his
head roll to rest inertly, and quickly relaxed what he had regained of
muscular control. Out of a crevice of his mind crept the vague but
inevitable spectre of the night before--but it proved in this case to be
nothing but a seemingly interminable conversation with Richard Caramel,
who had called on him at midnight; they had drunk four bottles of beer
and munched dry crusts of bread while Anthony listened to a reading of
the first part of "The Demon Lover."
--Came a voice now after many hours. Anthony disregarded it, as sleep
closed over him, folded down upon him, crept up into the byways of
Suddenly he was awake, saying: "What?"
"For how many, sir?" It was still Bounds, standing patient and
motionless at the foot of the bed--Bounds who divided his manner among
"How many what?"
"I think, sir, I'd better know how many are coming. I'll have to plan
for the sandwiches, sir."
"Two," muttered Anthony huskily; "lady and a gentleman."
Bounds said, "Thank you, sir," and moved away, bearing with him his
humiliating reproachful soft collar, reproachful to each of the three
gentlemen, who only demanded of him a third.
After a long time Anthony arose and drew an opalescent dressing grown of
brown and blue over his slim pleasant figure. With a last yawn he went
into the bathroom, and turning on the dresser light (the bathroom had no
outside exposure) he contemplated himself in the mirror with some
interest. A wretched apparition, he thought; he usually thought so in
the morning--sleep made his face unnaturally pale. He lit a cigarette
and glanced through several letters and the morning Tribune.
An hour later, shaven and dressed, he was sitting at his desk looking at
a small piece of paper he had taken out of his wallet. It was scrawled
with semi-legible memoranda: "See Mr. Howland at five. Get hair-cut. See
about Rivers' bill. Go book-store."
--And under the last: "Cash in bank, $690 (crossed out), $612 (crossed
Finally, down at the bottom and in a hurried scrawl: "Dick and Gloria
Gilbert for tea."
This last item brought him obvious satisfaction. His day, usually a
jelly-like creature, a shapeless, spineless thing, had attained Mesozoic
structure. It was marching along surely, even jauntily, toward a climax,
as a play should, as a day should. He dreaded the moment when the
backbone of the day should be broken, when he should have met the girl
at last, talked to her, and then bowed her laughter out the door,
returning only to the melancholy dregs in the teacups and the gathering
staleness of the uneaten sandwiches.
There was a growing lack of color in Anthony's days. He felt it
constantly and sometimes traced it to a talk he had had with Maury Noble
a month before. That anything so ingenuous, so priggish, as a sense of
waste should oppress him was absurd, but there was no denying the fact
that some unwelcome survival of a fetish had drawn him three weeks
before down to the public library, where, by the token of Richard
Caramel's card, he had drawn out half a dozen books on the Italian
Renaissance. That these books were still piled on his desk in the
original order of carriage, that they were daily increasing his
liabilities by twelve cents, was no mitigation of their testimony. They
were cloth and morocco witnesses to the fact of his defection. Anthony
had had several hours of acute and startling panic.
In justification of his manner of living there was first, of course, The
Meaninglessness of Life. As aides and ministers, pages and squires,
butlers and lackeys to this great Khan there were a thousand books
glowing on his shelves, there was his apartment and all the money that
was to be his when the old man up the river should choke on his last
morality. From a world fraught with the menace of débutantes and the
stupidity of many Geraldines he was thankfully delivered--rather should
he emulate the feline immobility of Maury and wear proudly the
culminative wisdom of the numbered generations.
Over and against these things was something which his brain persistently
analyzed and dealt with as a tiresome complex but which, though
logically disposed of and bravely trampled under foot, had sent him out
through the soft slush of late November to a library which had none of
the books he most wanted. It is fair to analyze Anthony as far as he
could analyze himself; further than that it is, of course, presumption.
He found in himself a growing horror and loneliness. The idea of eating
alone frightened him; in preference he dined often with men he detested.
Travel, which had once charmed him, seemed at length, unendurable, a
business of color without substance, a phantom chase after his own
--If I am essentially weak, he thought, I need work to do, work to do.
It worried him to think that he was, after all, a facile mediocrity,
with neither the poise of Maury nor the enthusiasm of Dick. It seemed a
tragedy to want nothing--and yet he wanted something, something. He knew
in flashes what it was--some path of hope to lead him toward what he
thought was an imminent and ominous old age.
After cocktails and luncheon at the University Club Anthony felt better.
He had run into two men from his class at Harvard, and in contrast to
the gray heaviness of their conversation his life assumed color. Both of
them were married: one spent his coffee time in sketching an
extra-nuptial adventure to the bland and appreciative smiles of the
other. Both of them, he thought, were Mr. Gilberts in embryo; the number
of their "yes's" would have to be quadrupled, their natures crabbed by
twenty years--then they would be no more than obsolete and broken
machines, pseudo-wise and valueless, nursed to an utter senility by the
women they had broken.
Ah, he was more than that, as he paced the long carpet in the lounge
after dinner, pausing at the window to look into the harried street. He
was Anthony Patch, brilliant, magnetic, the heir of many years and many
men. This was his world now--and that last strong irony he craved lay in
With a stray boyishness he saw himself a power upon the earth; with his
grandfather's money he might build his own pedestal and be a Talleyrand,
a Lord Verulam. The clarity of his mind, its sophistication, its
versatile intelligence, all at their maturity and dominated by some
purpose yet to be born would find him work to do. On this minor his
dream faded--work to do: he tried to imagine himself in Congress rooting
around in the litter of that incredible pigsty with the narrow and
porcine brows he saw pictured sometimes in the rotogravure sections of
the Sunday newspapers, those glorified proletarians babbling blandly to
the nation the ideas of high school seniors! Little men with copy-book
ambitions who by mediocrity had thought to emerge from mediocrity into
the lustreless and unromantic heaven of a government by the people--and
the best, the dozen shrewd men at the top, egotistic and cynical, were
content to lead this choir of white ties and wire collar-buttons in a
discordant and amazing hymn, compounded of a vague confusion between
wealth as a reward of virtue and wealth as a proof of vice, and
continued cheers for God, the Constitution, and the Rocky Mountains!
Lord Verulam! Talleyrand!
Back in his apartment the grayness returned. His cocktails had died,
making him sleepy, somewhat befogged and inclined to be surly. Lord
Verulam--he? The very thought was bitter. Anthony Patch with no record
of achievement, without courage, without strength to be satisfied with
truth when it was given him. Oh, he was a pretentious fool, making
careers out of cocktails and meanwhile regretting, weakly and secretly,
the collapse of an insufficient and wretched idealism. He had garnished
his soul in the subtlest taste and now he longed for the old rubbish. He
was empty, it seemed, empty as an old bottle--
The buzzer rang at the door. Anthony sprang up and lifted the tube to
his ear. It was Richard Caramel's voice, stilted and facetious:
"Announcing Miss Gloria Gilbert."
"How do you do?" he said, smiling and holding the door ajar.
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