The Sun Also Rises
By Ernest Hemingway

Transcription, correction, and markup by Students and Staff of The University of Virginia, Nial Buford
     

Sources

New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926Text for this digital edition drawn from Project Gutenberg's ditigital version of The Sun Also Rises

Editorial Statements

Research informing these annotations draws on publicly-accessible resources, with links provided where possible. Annotations have also included common knowledge, defined as information that can be found in multiple reliable sources. If you notice an error in these annotations, please contact lic.open.anthology@gmail.com.

Original spelling and capitalization is retained.

Hyphenation is retained.

Page breaks have been retained.

Materials have been transcribed from and checked against first editions, where possible. See the Sources section.


Citation

Hemingway, Ernest. "The Sun Also Rises" . The Sun Also Rises, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926 . Literature in Context: An Open Anthology. http://anthology.lib.virginia.edu/work/Hemingway/hemingway-sun-also-rises. Accessed: 2024-03-01T13:48:33.623Z

Linked Data: Places related to this work.

”One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever. . . . The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose. . . . The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. . . . All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.”

- Ecclesiastes

BOOK I

3

CHAPTER 1


Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. Do not think that I am very much impressed by that as a boxing title, but it meant a lot to Cohn. He cared nothing for boxing, in fact he disliked it, but he learned it painfully and thoroughly to counteract the feeling of inferiority and shyness he had felt on being treated as a Jew at Princeton. There was a certain inner comfort in knowing he could knock down anybody who was snooty to him, although, being very shy and a thoroughly nice boy, he never fought except in the gym. He was Spider Kelly’s star pupil. Spider Kelly taught all his young gentlemen to box like featherweights, no matter whether they weighed one hundred and five or two hundred and five pounds. But it seemed to fit Cohn. He was really very fast. He was so good that Spider promptly overmatched him and got his nose permanently flattened. This increased Cohn’s distaste for boxing, but it gave him a certain satisfaction of some strange sort, and it certainly improved his nose. In his last year at Princeton he read too much 4 and took to wearing spectacles. I never met any one of his class who remembered him. They did not even remember that he was middleweight boxing champion.

I mistrust all frank and simple people, especially when their stories hold together, and I always had a suspicion that perhaps Robert Cohn had never been middleweight boxing champion, and that perhaps a horse had stepped on his face, or that maybe his mother had been frightened or seen something, or that he had, maybe, bumped into something as a young child, but I finally had somebody verify the story from Spider Kelly. Spider Kelly not only remembered Cohn. He had often wondered what had become of him.

Robert Cohn was a member, through his father, of one of the richest Jewish families in New York, and through his mother of one of the oldest. At the military school where he prepped for Princeton, and played a very good end on the football team, no one had made him race-conscious. No one had ever made him feel he was a Jew, and hence any different from anybody else, until he went to Princeton. He was a nice boy, a friendly boy, and very shy, and it made him bitter. He took it out in boxing, and he came out of Princeton with painful self-consciousness and the flattened nose, and was married by the first girl who was nice to him. He was married five years, had three children, lost most of the fifty thousand dollars his father left him, the balance of the estate having gone to his mother, hardened into a rather unattractive mould under domestic unhappiness with a rich wife; and just when he had made up his mind to leave his wife she left him and went off with a miniature-painter. As he had been thinking for months about leaving his wife and had not done it because it would be too cruel to deprive her of himself, her departure was a very healthful shock.

The divorce was arranged and Robert Cohn went out to the Coast. In California he fell among literary people and, as he still 5 had a little of the fifty thousand left, in a short time he was backing a review of the Arts. The review commenced publication in Carmel, California, and finished in Provincetown, Massachusetts. By that time Cohn, who had been regarded purely as an angel, and whose name had appeared on the editorial page merely as a member of the advisory board, had become the sole editor. It was his money and he discovered he liked the authority of editing. He was sorry when the magazine became too expensive and he had to give it up.

By that time, though, he had other things to worry about. He had been taken in hand by a lady who hoped to rise with the magazine. She was very forceful, and Cohn never had a chance of not being taken in hand. Also he was sure that he loved her. When this lady saw that the magazine was not going to rise, she became a little disgusted with Cohn and decided that she might as well get what there was to get while there was still something available, so she urged that they go to Europe, where Cohn could write. They came to Europe, where the lady had been educated, and stayed three years. During these three years, the first spent in travel, the last two in Paris, Robert Cohn had two friends, Braddocks and myself. Braddocks was his literary friend. I was his tennis friend.

The lady who had him, her name was Frances, found toward the end of the second year that her looks were going, and her attitude toward Robert changed from one of careless possession and exploitation to the absolute determination that he should marry her. During this time Robert’s mother had settled an allowance on him, about three hundred dollars a month. During two years and a half I do not believe that Robert Cohn looked at another woman. He was fairly happy, except that, like many people living in Europe, he would rather have been in America, and he had discovered writing. He wrote a novel, and it was not really such a bad novel as the critics later called it, although it 6 was a very poor novel. He read many books, played bridge, played tennis, and boxed at a local gymnasium.

I first became aware of his lady’s attitude toward him one night after the three of us had dined together. We had dined at l’Avenue’s and afterward went to the Café de Versailles for coffee. We had several fines after the coffee, and I said I must be going. Cohn had been talking about the two of us going off somewhere on a weekend trip. He wanted to get out of town and get in a good walk. I suggested we fly to Strasbourg and walk up to Saint Odile, or somewhere or other in Alsace. “I know a girl in Strasbourg who can show us the town,” I said.

Somebody kicked me under the table. I thought it was accidental and went on: “She’s been there two years and knows everything there is to know about the town. She’s a swell girl.”

I was kicked again under the table and, looking, saw Frances, Robert’s lady, her chin lifting and her face hardening.

“Hell,” I said, “why go to Strasbourg? We could go up to Bruges, or to the Ardennes.”

Cohn looked relieved. I was not kicked again. I said good-night and went out. Cohn said he wanted to buy a paper and would walk to the corner with me. “For God’s sake,” he said, “why did you say that about that girl in Strasbourg for? Didn’t you see Frances?”

“No, why should I? If I know an American girl that lives in Strasbourg what the hell is it to Frances?”

“It doesn’t make any difference. Any girl. I couldn’t go, that would be all.”

“Don’t be silly.”

“You don’t know Frances. Any girl at all. Didn’t you see the way she looked?”

“Oh, well,” I said, “let’s go to Senlis.”

“Don’t get sore.”

7

“I’m not sore. Senlis is a good place and we can stay at the Grand Cerf and take a hike in the woods and come home.”

“Good, that will be fine.”

“Well, I’ll see you to-morrow at the courts,” I said.

“Good-night, Jake,” he said, and started back to the café.

“You forgot to get your paper,” I said.

“That’s so.” He walked with me up to the kiosque at the corner. “You are not sore, are you, Jake?” He turned with the paper in his hand.

“No, why should I be?”

“See you at tennis,” he said. I watched him walk back to the café holding his paper. I rather liked him and evidently she led him quite a life.

8

CHAPTER 2

That winter Robert Cohn went over to America with his novel, and it was accepted by a fairly good publisher. His going made an awful row I heard, and I think that was where Frances lost him, because several women were nice to him in New York, and when he came back he was quite changed. He was more enthusiastic about America than ever, and he was not so simple, and he was not so nice. The publishers had praised his novel pretty highly and it rather went to his head. Then several women had put themselves out to be nice to him, and his horizons had all shifted. For four years his horizon had been absolutely limited to his wife. For three years, or almost three years, he had never seen beyond Frances. I am sure he had never been in love in his life.

He had married on the rebound from the rotten time he had in college, and Frances took him on the rebound from his discovery that he had not been everything to his first wife. He was not in love yet but he realized that he was an attractive quantity to women, and that the fact of a woman caring for him and wanting 9 to live with him was not simply a divine miracle. This changed him so that he was not so pleasant to have around. Also, playing for higher stakes than he could afford in some rather steep bridge games with his New York connections, he had held cards and won several hundred dollars. It made him rather vain of his bridge game, and he talked several times of how a man could always make a living at bridge if he were ever forced to.

Then there was another thing. He had been reading W. H. Hudson. That sounds like an innocent occupation, but Cohn had read and reread “The Purple Land.” “The Purple Land” is a very sinister book if read too late in life. It recounts splendid imaginary amorous adventures of a perfect English gentleman in an intensely romantic land, the scenery of which is very well described. For a man to take it at thirty-four as a guide-book to what life holds is about as safe as it would be for a man of the same age to enter Wall Street direct from a French convent, equipped with a complete set of the more practical Alger books. Cohn, I believe, took every word of “The Purple Land” as literally as though it had been an R. G. Dun report. You understand me, he made some reservations, but on the whole the book to him was sound. It was all that was needed to set him off. I did not realize the extent to which it had set him off until one day he came into my office.

“Hello, Robert,” I said. “Did you come in to cheer me up?”

“Would you like to go to South America, Jake?” he asked.

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. I never wanted to go. Too expensive. You can see all the South Americans you want in Paris anyway.”

“They’re not the real South Americans.”

“They look awfully real to me.”

I had a boat train to catch with a week’s mail stories, and only half of them written.

10

“Do you know any dirt?” I asked.

“No.”

“None of your exalted connections getting divorces?”

“No; listen, Jake. If I handled both our expenses, would you go to South America with me?”

“Why me?”

“You can talk Spanish. And it would be more fun with two of us.”

“No,” I said, “I like this town and I go to Spain in the summer-time.”

“All my life I’ve wanted to go on a trip like that,” Cohn said. He sat down. “I’ll be too old before I can ever do it.”

“Don’t be a fool,” I said. “You can go anywhere you want. You’ve got plenty of money.”

“I know. But I can’t get started.”

“Cheer up,” I said. “All countries look just like the moving pictures.”

But I felt sorry for him. He had it badly.

“I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.”

“Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bull-fighters.”

“I’m not interested in bull-fighters. That’s an abnormal life. I want to go back in the country in South America. We could have a great trip.”

“Did you ever think about going to British East Africa to shoot?”

“No, I wouldn’t like that.”

“I’d go there with you.”

“No; that doesn’t interest me.”

“That’s because you never read a book about it. Go on and read a book all full of love affairs with the beautiful shiny black princesses.”

“I want to go to South America.”

11

He had a hard, Jewish, stubborn streak.

“Come on down-stairs and have a drink.”

“Aren’t you working?”

“No,” I said. We went down the stairs to the café on the ground floor. I had discovered that was the best way to get rid of friends. Once you had a drink all you had to say was: “Well, I’ve got to get back and get off some cables,” and it was done. It is very important to discover graceful exits like that in the newspaper business, where it is such an important part of the ethics that you should never seem to be working. Anyway, we went down-stairs to the bar and had a whiskey and soda. Cohn looked at the bottles in bins around the wall. “This is a good place,” he said.

“There’s a lot of liquor,” I agreed.

“Listen, Jake,” he leaned forward on the bar. “Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?”

“Yes, every once in a while.”

“Do you know that in about thirty-five years more we’ll be dead?”

“What the hell, Robert,” I said. “What the hell.”

“I’m serious.”

“It’s one thing I don’t worry about,” I said.

“You ought to.”

“I’ve had plenty to worry about one time or other. I’m through worrying.”

“Well, I want to go to South America.”

“Listen, Robert, going to another country doesn’t make any difference. I’ve tried all that. You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that.”

“But you’ve never been to South America.”

“South America hell! If you went there the way you feel now it 12 would be exactly the same. This is a good town. Why don’t you start living your life in Paris?”

“I’m sick of Paris, and I’m sick of the Quarter.”

“Stay away from the Quarter. Cruise around by yourself and see what happens to you.”

“Nothing happens to me. I walked alone all one night and nothing happened except a bicycle cop stopped me and asked to see my papers.”

“Wasn’t the town nice at night?”

“I don’t care for Paris.”

So there you were. I was sorry for him, but it was not a thing you could do anything about, because right away you ran up against the two stubbornnesses: South America could fix it and he did not like Paris. He got the first idea out of a book, and I suppose the second came out of a book too.

“Well,” I said, “I’ve got to go up-stairs and get off some cables.”

“Do you really have to go?”

“Yes, I’ve got to get these cables off.”

“Do you mind if I come up and sit around the office?”

“No, come on up.”

He sat in the outer room and read the papers, and the Editor and Publisher and I worked hard for two hours. Then I sorted out the carbons, stamped on a by-line, put the stuff in a couple of big manila envelopes and rang for a boy to take them to the Gare St. Lazare. I went out into the other room and there was Robert Cohn asleep in the big chair. He was asleep with his head on his arms. I did not like to wake him up, but I wanted to lock the office and shove off. I put my hand on his shoulder. He shook his head. “I can’t do it,” he said, and put his head deeper into his arms. “I can’t do it. Nothing will make me do it.”

“Robert,” I said, and shook him by the shoulder. He looked up. He smiled and blinked.

“Did I talk out loud just then?”

13

“Something. But it wasn’t clear.”

“God, what a rotten dream!”

“Did the typewriter put you to sleep?”

“Guess so. I didn’t sleep all last night.”

“What was the matter?”

“Talking,” he said.

I could picture it. I have a rotten habit of picturing the bedroom scenes of my friends. We went out to the Café Napolitain to have an apéritif and watch the evening crowd on the Boulevard.

14

CHAPTER 3

It was a warm spring night and I sat at a table on the terrace of the Napolitain after Robert had gone, watching it get dark and the electric signs come on, and the red and green stop-and-go traffic-signal, and the crowd going by, and the horse-cabs clippety-clopping along at the edge of the solid taxi traffic, and the poules going by, singly and in pairs, looking for the evening meal. I watched a good-looking girl walk past the table and watched her go up the street and lost sight of her, and watched another, and then saw the first one coming back again. She went by once more and I caught her eye, and she came over and sat down at the table. The waiter came up.

“Well, what will you drink?” I asked.

“Pernod.”

“That’s not good for little girls.”

“Little girl yourself. Dites garçon, un pernod.”

“A pernod for me, too.”

“What’s the matter?” she asked. “Going on a party?” 15

“Sure. Aren’t you?”

“I don’t know. You never know in this town.”

“Don’t you like Paris?”

“No.”

“Why don’t you go somewhere else?”

“Isn’t anywhere else.”

“You’re happy, all right.”

“Happy, hell!”

Pernod is greenish imitation absinthe. When you add water it turns milky. It tastes like licorice and it has a good uplift, but it drops you just as far. We sat and drank it, and the girl looked sullen.

“Well,” I said, “are you going to buy me a dinner?”

She grinned and I saw why she made a point of not laughing. With her mouth closed she was a rather pretty girl. I paid for the saucers and we walked out to the street. I hailed a horse-cab and the driver pulled up at the curb. Settled back in the slow, smoothly rolling fiacre we moved up the Avenue de l’Opéra, passed the locked doors of the shops, their windows lighted, the Avenue broad and shiny and almost deserted. The cab passed the New York Herald bureau with the window full of clocks.

“What are all the clocks for?” she asked.

“They show the hour all over America.”

“Don’t kid me.”

We turned off the Avenue up the Rue des Pyramides, through the traffic of the Rue de Rivoli, and through a dark gate into the Tuileries. She cuddled against me and I put my arm around her. She looked up to be kissed. She touched me with one hand and I put her hand away.

“Never mind.”

“What’s the matter? You sick?”

“Yes.”

“Everybody’s sick. I’m sick, too.” 16

We came out of the Tuileries into the light and crossed the Seine and then turned up the Rue des Saints Pères.

“You oughtn’t to drink pernod if you’re sick.”

“You neither.”

“It doesn’t make any difference with me. It doesn’t make any difference with a woman.”

“What are you called?”

“Georgette. How are you called?”

“Jacob.”

“That’s a Flemish name.”

“American too.”

“You’re not Flamand?”

“No, American.”

“Good, I detest Flamands.”

By this time we were at the restaurant. I called to the cocher to stop. We got out and Georgette did not like the looks of the place. “This is no great thing of a restaurant.”

“No,” I said. “Maybe you would rather go to Foyot’s. Why don’t you keep the cab and go on?”

I had picked her up because of a vague sentimental idea that it would be nice to eat with some one. It was a long time since I had dined with a poule, and I had forgotten how dull it could be. We went into the restaurant, passed Madame Lavigne at the desk and into a little room. Georgette cheered up a little under the food.

“It isn’t bad here,” she said. “It isn’t chic, but the food is all right.”

“Better than you eat in Liège.”

“Brussels, you mean.”

We had another bottle of wine and Georgette made a joke. She smiled and showed all her bad teeth, and we touched glasses. “You’re not a bad type,” she said. “It’s a shame you’re sick. We get on well. What’s the matter with you, anyway?” 17

“I got hurt in the war,” I said.

“Oh, that dirty war.”

We would probably have gone on and discussed the war and agreed that it was in reality a calamity for civilization, and perhaps would have been better avoided. I was bored enough. Just then from the other room some one called: “Barnes! I say, Barnes! Jacob Barnes!”

“It’s a friend calling me,” I explained, and went out.

There was Braddocks at a big table with a party: Cohn, Frances Clyne, Mrs. Braddocks, several people I did not know.

“You’re coming to the dance, aren’t you?” Braddocks asked.

“What dance?”

“Why, the dancings. Don’t you know we’ve revived them?” Mrs. Braddocks put in.

“You must come, Jake. We’re all going,” Frances said from the end of the table. She was tall and had a smile.

“Of course, he’s coming,” Braddocks said. “Come in and have coffee with us, Barnes.”

“Right.”

“And bring your friend,” said Mrs. Braddocks laughing. She was a Canadian and had all their easy social graces.

“Thanks, we’ll be in,” I said. I went back to the small room.

“Who are your friends?” Georgette asked.

“Writers and artists.”

“There are lots of those on this side of the river.”

“Too many.”

“I think so. Still, some of them make money.”

“Oh, yes.”

We finished the meal and the wine. “Come on,” I said. “We’re going to have coffee with the others.”

Georgette opened her bag, made a few passes at her face as she looked in the little mirror, re-defined her lips with the lipstick, and straightened her hat. 18

“Good,” she said.

We went into the room full of people and Braddocks and the men at his table stood up.

“I wish to present my fiancée, Mademoiselle Georgette Leblanc,” I said. Georgette smiled that wonderful smile, and we shook hands all round.

“Are you related to Georgette Leblanc, the singer?” Mrs. Braddocks asked.

“Connais pas,” Georgette answered.

“But you have the same name,” Mrs. Braddocks insisted cordially.

“No,” said Georgette. “Not at all. My name is Hobin.”

“But Mr. Barnes introduced you as Mademoiselle Georgette Leblanc. Surely he did,” insisted Mrs. Braddocks, who in the excitement of talking French was liable to have no idea what she was saying.

“He’s a fool,” Georgette said.

“Oh, it was a joke, then,” Mrs. Braddocks said.

“Yes,” said Georgette. “To laugh at.”

“Did you hear that, Henry?” Mrs. Braddocks called down the table to Braddocks. “Mr. Barnes introduced his fiancée as Mademoiselle Leblanc, and her name is actually Hobin.”

“Of course, darling. Mademoiselle Hobin, I’ve known her for a very long time.”

“Oh, Mademoiselle Hobin,” Frances Clyne called, speaking French very rapidly and not seeming so proud and astonished as Mrs. Braddocks at its coming out really French. “Have you been in Paris long? Do you like it here? You love Paris, do you not?”

“Who’s she?” Georgette turned to me. “Do I have to talk to her?”

She turned to Frances, sitting smiling, her hands folded, her head poised on her long neck, her lips pursed ready to start talking again. 19

“No, I don’t like Paris. It’s expensive and dirty.”

“Really? I find it so extraordinarily clean. One of the cleanest cities in all Europe.”

“I find it dirty.”

“How strange! But perhaps you have not been here very long.”

“I’ve been here long enough.”

“But it does have nice people in it. One must grant that.”

Georgette turned to me. “You have nice friends.”

Frances was a little drunk and would have liked to have kept it up but the coffee came, and Lavigne with the liqueurs, and after that we all went out and started for Braddocks’s dancing-club.

The dancing-club was a bal musette in the Rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève. Five nights a week the working people of the Pantheon quarter danced there. One night a week it was the dancing-club. On Monday nights it was closed. When we arrived it was quite empty, except for a policeman sitting near the door, the wife of the proprietor back of the zinc bar, and the proprietor himself. The daughter of the house came downstairs as we went in. There were long benches, and tables ran across the room, and at the far end a dancing-floor.

“I wish people would come earlier,” Braddocks said. The daughter came up and wanted to know what we would drink. The proprietor got up on a high stool beside the dancing-floor and began to play the accordion. He had a string of bells around one of his ankles and beat time with his foot as he played. Every one danced. It was hot and we came off the floor perspiring.

“My God,” Georgette said. “What a box to sweat in!”

“It’s hot.”

“Hot, my God!”

“Take off your hat.”

“That’s a good idea.” 20

Some one asked Georgette to dance, and I went over to the bar. It was really very hot and the accordion music was pleasant in the hot night. I drank a beer, standing in the doorway and getting the cool breath of wind from the street. Two taxis were coming down the steep street. They both stopped in front of the Bal. A crowd of young men, some in jerseys and some in their shirt-sleeves, got out. I could see their hands and newly washed, wavy hair in the light from the door. The policeman standing by the door looked at me and smiled. They came in. As they went in, under the light I saw white hands, wavy hair, white faces, grimacing, gesturing, talking. With them was Brett. She looked very lovely and she was very much with them.

One of them saw Georgette and said: “I do declare. There is an actual harlot. I’m going to dance with her, Lett. You watch me.”

The tall dark one, called Lett, said: “Don’t you be rash.”

The wavy blond one answered: “Don’t you worry, dear.” And with them was Brett.

I was very angry. Somehow they always made me angry. I know they are supposed to be amusing, and you should be tolerant, but I wanted to swing on one, any one, anything to shatter that superior, simpering composure. Instead, I walked down the street and had a beer at the bar at the next Bal. The beer was not good and I had a worse cognac to take the taste out of my mouth. When I came back to the Bal there was a crowd on the floor and Georgette was dancing with the tall blond youth, who danced big-hippily, carrying his head on one side, his eyes lifted as he danced. As soon as the music stopped another one of them asked her to dance. She had been taken up by them. I knew then that they would all dance with her. They are like that.

I sat down at a table. Cohn was sitting there. Frances was dancing. Mrs. Braddocks brought up somebody and introduced him as Robert Prentiss. He was from New York by way of 21 Chicago, and was a rising new novelist. He had some sort of an English accent. I asked him to have a drink.

“Thanks so much,” he said, “I’ve just had one.”

“Have another.”

“Thanks, I will then.”

We got the daughter of the house over and each had a fine à l’eau.

“You’re from Kansas City, they tell me,” he said.

“Yes.”

“Do you find Paris amusing?”

“Yes.”

“Really?”

I was a little drunk. Not drunk in any positive sense but just enough to be careless.

“For God’s sake,” I said, “yes. Don’t you?”

“Oh, how charmingly you get angry,” he said. “I wish I had that faculty.”

I got up and walked over toward the dancing-floor. Mrs. Braddocks followed me. “Don’t be cross with Robert,” she said. “He’s still only a child, you know.”

“I wasn’t cross,” I said. “I just thought perhaps I was going to throw up.”

“Your fiancée is having a great success,” Mrs. Braddocks looked out on the floor where Georgette was dancing in the arms of the tall, dark one, called Lett.

“Isn’t she?” I said.

“Rather,” said Mrs. Braddocks.

Cohn came up. “Come on, Jake,” he said, “have a drink.” We walked over to the bar. “What’s the matter with you? You seem all worked up over something?”

“Nothing. This whole show makes me sick is all.”

Brett came up to the bar.

“Hello, you chaps.” 22

“Hello, Brett,” I said. “Why aren’t you tight?”

“Never going to get tight any more. I say, give a chap a brandy and soda.”

She stood holding the glass and I saw Robert Cohn looking at her. He looked a great deal as his compatriot must have looked when he saw the promised land. Cohn, of course, was much younger. But he had that look of eager, deserving expectation.

Brett was damned good-looking. She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy’s. She started all that. She was built with curves like the hull of a racing yacht, and you missed none of it with that wool jersey.

“It’s a fine crowd you’re with, Brett,” I said.

“Aren’t they lovely? And you, my dear. Where did you get it?”

“At the Napolitain.”

“And have you had a lovely evening?”

“Oh, priceless,” I said.

Brett laughed. “It’s wrong of you, Jake. It’s an insult to all of us. Look at Frances there, and Jo.”

This for Cohn’s benefit.

“It’s in restraint of trade,” Brett said. She laughed again.

“You’re wonderfully sober,” I said.

“Yes. Aren’t I? And when one’s with the crowd I’m with, one can drink in such safety, too.”

The music started and Robert Cohn said: “Will you dance this with me, Lady Brett?”

Brett smiled at him. “I’ve promised to dance this with Jacob,” she laughed. “You’ve a hell of a biblical name, Jake.”

“How about the next?” asked Cohn.

“We’re going,” Brett said. “We’ve a date up at Montmartre.” Dancing, I looked over Brett’s shoulder and saw Cohn, standing at the bar, still watching her.

“You’ve made a new one there,” I said to her. 23

“Don’t talk about it. Poor chap. I never knew it till just now.”

“Oh, well,” I said. “I suppose you like to add them up.”

“Don’t talk like a fool.”

“You do.”

“Oh, well. What if I do?”

“Nothing,” I said. We were dancing to the accordion and some one was playing the banjo. It was hot and I felt happy. We passed close to Georgette dancing with another one of them.

“What possessed you to bring her?”

“I don’t know, I just brought her.”

“You’re getting damned romantic.”

“No, bored.”

“Now?”

“No, not now.”

“Let’s get out of here. She’s well taken care of.”

“Do you want to?”

“Would I ask you if I didn’t want to?”

We left the floor and I took my coat off a hanger on the wall and put it on. Brett stood by the bar. Cohn was talking to her. I stopped at the bar and asked them for an envelope. The patronne found one. I took a fifty-franc note from my pocket, put it in the envelope, sealed it, and handed it to the patronne.

“If the girl I came with asks for me, will you give her this?” I said. “If she goes out with one of those gentlemen, will you save this for me?”

“C’est entendu, Monsieur,” the patronne said. “You go now? So early?”

“Yes,” I said.

We started out the door. Cohn was still talking to Brett. She said good night and took my arm. “Good night, Cohn,” I said. Outside in the street we looked for a taxi.

“You’re going to lose your fifty francs,” Brett said.

“Oh, yes.” 24

“No taxis.”

“We could walk up to the Pantheon and get one.”

“Come on and we’ll get a drink in the pub next door and send for one.”

“You wouldn’t walk across the street.”

“Not if I could help it.”

We went into the next bar and I sent a waiter for a taxi.

“Well,” I said, “we’re out away from them.”

We stood against the tall zinc bar and did not talk and looked at each other. The waiter came and said the taxi was outside. Brett pressed my hand hard. I gave the waiter a franc and we went out. “Where should I tell him?” I asked.

“Oh, tell him to drive around.”

I told the driver to go to the Parc Montsouris, and got in, and slammed the door. Brett was leaning back in the corner, her eyes closed. I got in and sat beside her. The cab started with a jerk.

“Oh, darling, I’ve been so miserable,” Brett said. 25

CHAPTER 4

The taxi went up the hill, passed the lighted square, then on into the dark, still climbing, then levelled out onto a dark street behind St. Etienne du Mont, went smoothly down the asphalt, passed the trees and the standing bus at the Place de la Contrescarpe, then turned onto the cobbles of the Rue Mouffetard. There were lighted bars and late open shops on each side of the street. We were sitting apart and we jolted close together going down the old street. Brett’s hat was off. Her head was back. I saw her face in the lights from the open shops, then it was dark, then I saw her face clearly as we came out on the Avenue des Gobelins. The street was torn up and men were working on the car-tracks by the light of acetylene flares. Brett’s face was white and the long line of her neck showed in the bright light of the flares. The street was dark again and I kissed her. Our lips were tight together and then she turned away and pressed against the corner of the seat, as far away as she could get. Her head was down. 26

“Don’t touch me,” she said. “Please don’t touch me.”

“What’s the matter?”

“I can’t stand it.”

“Oh, Brett.”

“You mustn’t. You must know. I can’t stand it, that’s all. Oh, darling, please understand!”

“Don’t you love me?”

“Love you? I simply turn all to jelly when you touch me.”

“Isn’t there anything we can do about it?”

She was sitting up now. My arm was around her and she was leaning back against me, and we were quite calm. She was looking into my eyes with that way she had of looking that made you wonder whether she really saw out of her own eyes. They would look on and on after every one else’s eyes in the world would have stopped looking. She looked as though there were nothing on earth she would not look at like that, and really she was afraid of so many things.

“And there’s not a damn thing we could do,” I said.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t want to go through that hell again.”

“We’d better keep away from each other.”

“But, darling, I have to see you. It isn’t all that you know.”

“No, but it always gets to be.”

“That’s my fault. Don’t we pay for all the things we do, though?”

She had been looking into my eyes all the time. Her eyes had different depths, sometimes they seemed perfectly flat. Now you could see all the way into them.

“When I think of the hell I’ve put chaps through. I’m paying for it all now.”

“Don’t talk like a fool,” I said. “Besides, what happened to me is supposed to be funny. I never think about it.”

“Oh, no. I’ll lay you don’t.”

“Well, let’s shut up about it.” 27

“I laughed about it too, myself, once.” She wasn’t looking at me. “A friend of my brother’s came home that way from Mons. It seemed like a hell of a joke. Chaps never know anything, do they?”

“No,” I said. “Nobody ever knows anything.”

I was pretty well through with the subject. At one time or another I had probably considered it from most of its various angles, including the one that certain injuries or imperfections are a subject of merriment while remaining quite serious for the person possessing them.

“It’s funny,” I said. “It’s very funny. And it’s a lot of fun, too, to be in love.”

“Do you think so?” her eyes looked flat again.

“I don’t mean fun that way. In a way it’s an enjoyable feeling.”

“No,” she said. “I think it’s hell on earth.”

“It’s good to see each other.”

“No. I don’t think it is.”

“Don’t you want to?”

“I have to.”

We were sitting now like two strangers. On the right was the Parc Montsouris. The restaurant where they have the pool of live trout and where you can sit and look out over the park was closed and dark. The driver leaned his head around.

“Where do you want to go?” I asked. Brett turned her head away.

“Oh, go to the Select.”

“Café Select,” I told the driver. “Boulevard Montparnasse.” We drove straight down, turning around the Lion de Belfort that guards the passing Montrouge trams. Brett looked straight ahead. On the Boulevard Raspail, with the lights of Montparnasse in sight, Brett said: “Would you mind very much if I asked you to do something?”

“Don’t be silly.” 28

“Kiss me just once more before we get there.”

When the taxi stopped I got out and paid. Brett came out putting on her hat. She gave me her hand as she stepped down. Her hand was shaky. “I say, do I look too much of a mess?” She pulled her man’s felt hat down and started in for the bar. Inside, against the bar and at tables, were most of the crowd who a been at the dance.

“Hello, you chaps,” Brett said. “I’m going to have a drink.”

“Oh, Brett! Brett!” the little Greek portrait-painter, who called himself a duke, and whom everybody called Zizi, pushed up to her. “I got something fine to tell you.”

“Hello, Zizi,” Brett said.

“I want you to meet a friend,” Zizi said. A fat man came up.

“Count Mippipopolous, meet my friend Lady Ashley.”

“How do you do?” said Brett.

“Well, does your Ladyship have a good time here in Paris?” asked Count Mippipopolous, who wore an elk’s tooth on his watch-chain.

“Rather,” said Brett.

“Paris is a fine town all right,” said the count. “But I guess you have pretty big doings yourself over in London.”

“Oh, yes,” said Brett. “Enormous.”

Braddocks called to me from a table. “Barnes,” he said, “have a drink. That girl of yours got in a frightful row.”

“What about?”

“Something the patronne’s daughter said. A corking row. She was rather splendid, you know. Showed her yellow card and demanded the patronne’s daughter’s too. I say it was a row.”

“What finally happened?”

“Oh, some one took her home. Not a bad-looking girl. Wonderful command of the idiom. Do stay and have a drink.”

“No,” I said. “I must shove off. Seen Cohn?”

“He went home with Frances,” Mrs. Braddock put in. 29

“Poor chap, he looks awfully down,” Braddocks said.

“I dare say he is,” said Mrs. Braddocks.

“I have to shove off,” I said. “Good night.”

I said good night to Brett at the bar. The count was buying champagne. “Will you take a glass of wine with us, sir?” he asked.

“No. Thanks awfully. I have to go.”

“Really going?” Brett asked.

“Yes,” I said. “I’ve got a rotten headache.”

“I’ll see you to-morrow?”

“Come in at the office.”

“Hardly.”

“Well, where will I see you?”

“Anywhere around five o’clock.”

“Make it the other side of town then.”

“Good. I’ll be at the Crillon at five.”

“Try and be there,” I said.

“Don’t worry,” Brett said. “I’ve never let you down, have I?”

“Heard from Mike?”

“Letter to-day.”

“Good night, sir,” said the count.

I went out onto the sidewalk and walked down toward the Boulevard St. Michel, passed the tables of the Rotonde, still crowded, looked across the street at the Dome, its tables running out to the edge of the pavement. Some one waved at me from a table, I did not see who it was and went on. I wanted to get home. The Boulevard Montparnasse was deserted. Lavigne’s was closed tight, and they were stacking the tables outside the Closerie des Lilas. I passed Ney’s statue standing among the new-leaved chestnut-trees in the arc-light. There was a faded purple wreath leaning against the base. I stopped and read the inscription: from the Bonapartist Groups, some date; I forget. He looked very fine, Marshal Ney in his top-boots, gesturing with his sword 30 among the green new horse-chestnut leaves. My flat was just across the street, a little way down the Boulevard St. Michel.

There was a light in the concierge’s room and I knocked on the door and she gave me my mail. I wished her good night and went up-stairs. There were two letters and some papers. I looked at them under the gas-light in the dining-room. The letters were from the States. One was a bank statement. It showed a balance of $2432.60. I got out my check-book and deducted four checks drawn since the first of the month, and discovered I had a balance of $1832.60. I wrote this on the back of the statement. The other letter was a wedding announcement. Mr. and Mrs. Aloysius Kirby announce the marriage of their daughter Katherine—I knew neither the girl nor the man she was marrying. They must be circularizing the town. It was a funny name. I felt sure I could remember anybody with a name like Aloysius. It was a good Catholic name. There was a crest on the announcement. Like Zizi the Greek duke. And that count. The count was funny. Brett had a title, too. Lady Ashley. To hell with Brett. To hell with you, Lady Ashley.

I lit the lamp beside the bed, turned off the gas, and opened the wide windows. The bed was far back from the windows, and I sat with the windows open and undressed by the bed. Outside a night train, running on the street-car tracks, went by carrying vegetables to the markets. They were noisy at night when you could not sleep. Undressing, I looked at myself in the mirror of the big armoire beside the bed. That was a typically French way to furnish a room. Practical, too, I suppose. Of all the ways to be wounded. I suppose it was funny. I put on my pajamas and got into bed. I had the two bull-fight papers, and I took their wrappers off. One was orange. The other yellow. They would both have the same news, so whichever I read first would spoil the other. Le Toril was the better paper, so I started to read it. I read it all the way through, including the Petite Correspondance 31 and the Cornigrams. I blew out the lamp. Perhaps I would be able to sleep.

My head started to work. The old grievance. Well, it was a rotten way to be wounded and flying on a joke front like the Italian. In the Italian hospital we were going to form a society. It had a funny name in Italian. I wonder what became of the others, the Italians. That was in the Ospedale Maggiore in Milano, Padiglione Ponte. The next building was the Padiglione Zonda. There was a statue of Ponte, or maybe it was Zonda. That was where the liaison colonel came to visit me. That was funny. That was about the first funny thing. I was all bandaged up. But they had told him about it. Then he made that wonderful speech: “You, a foreigner, an Englishman” (any foreigner was an Englishman) “have given more than your life.” What a speech! I would like to have it illuminated to hang in the office. He never laughed. He was putting himself in my place, I guess. “Che mala fortuna! Che mala fortuna!”

I never used to realize it, I guess. I try and play it along and just not make trouble for people. Probably I never would have had any trouble if I hadn’t run into Brett when they shipped me to England. I suppose she only wanted what she couldn’t have. Well, people were that way. To hell with people. The Catholic Church had an awfully good way of handling all that. Good advice, anyway. Not to think about it. Oh, it was swell advice. Try and take it sometime. Try and take it.

I lay awake thinking and my mind jumping around. Then I couldn’t keep away from it, and I started to think about Brett and all the rest of it went away. I was thinking about Brett and my mind stopped jumping around and started to go in sort of smooth waves. Then all of a sudden I started to cry. Then after a while it was better and I lay in bed and listened to the heavy trams go by and way down the street, and then I went to sleep.

I woke up. There was a row going on outside. I listened and I 32 thought I recognized a voice. I put on a dressing-gown and went to the door. The concierge was talking down-stairs. She was very angry. I heard my name and called down the stairs.

“Is that you, Monsieur Barnes?” the concierge called.

“Yes. It’s me.”

“There’s a species of woman here who’s waked the whole street up. What kind of a dirty business at this time of night! She says she must see you. I’ve told her you’re asleep.”

Then I heard Brett’s voice. Half asleep I had been sure it was Georgette. I don’t know why. She could not have known my address.

“Will you send her up, please?”

Brett came up the stairs. I saw she was quite drunk. “Silly thing to do,” she said. “Make an awful row. I say, you weren’t asleep, were you?”

“What did you think I was doing?”

“Don’t know. What time is it?”

I looked at the clock. It was half-past four. “Had no idea what hour it was,” Brett said. “I say, can a chap sit down? Don’t be cross, darling. Just left the count. He brought me here.”

“What’s he like?” I was getting brandy and soda and glasses.

“Just a little,” said Brett. “Don’t try and make me drunk. The count? Oh, rather. He’s quite one of us.”

“Is he a count?”

“Here’s how. I rather think so, you know. Deserves to be, anyhow. Knows hell’s own amount about people. Don’t know where he got it all. Owns a chain of sweetshops in the States.”

She sipped at her glass.

“Think he called it a chain. Something like that. Linked them all up. Told me a little about it. Damned interesting. He’s one of us, though. Oh, quite. No doubt. One can always tell.”

She took another drink. 33

“How do I buck on about all this? You don’t mind, do you? He’s putting up for Zizi, you know.”

“Is Zizi really a duke, too?”

“I shouldn’t wonder. Greek, you know. Rotten painter. I rather liked the count.”

“Where did you go with him?”

“Oh, everywhere. He just brought me here now. Offered me ten thousand dollars to go to Biarritz with him. How much is that in pounds?”

“Around two thousand.”

“Lot of money. I told him I couldn’t do it. He was awfully nice about it. Told him I knew too many people in Biarritz.”

Brett laughed.

“I say, you are slow on the up-take,” she said. I had only sipped my brandy and soda. I took a long drink.

“That’s better. Very funny,” Brett said. “Then he wanted me to go to Cannes with him. Told him I knew too many people in Cannes. Monte Carlo. Told him I knew too many people in Monte Carlo. Told him I knew too many people everywhere. Quite true, too. So I asked him to bring me here.”

She looked at me, her hand on the table, her glass raised. “Don’t look like that,” she said. “Told him I was in love with you. True, too. Don’t look like that. He was damn nice about it. Wants to drive us out to dinner to-morrow night. Like to go?”

“Why not?”

“I’d better go now.”

“Why?”

“Just wanted to see you. Damned silly idea. Want to get dressed and come down? He’s got the car just up the street.”

“The count?”

“Himself. And a chauffeur in livery. Going to drive me around and have breakfast in the Bois. Hampers. Got it all at Zelli’s. Dozen bottles of Mumms. Tempt you?” 34

“I have to work in the morning,” I said. “I’m too far behind you now to catch up and be any fun.”

“Don’t be an ass.”

“Can’t do it.”

“Right. Send him a tender message?”

“Anything. Absolutely.”

“Good night, darling.”

“Don’t be sentimental.”

“You make me ill.”

We kissed good night and Brett shivered. “I’d better go,” she said. “Good night, darling.”

“You don’t have to go.”

“Yes.”

We kissed again on the stairs and as I called for the cordon the concierge muttered something behind her door. I went back up-stairs and from the open window watched Brett walking up the street to the big limousine drawn up to the curb under the arc-light. She got in and it started off. I turned around. On the table was an empty glass and a glass half-full of brandy and soda. I took them both out to the kitchen and poured the half-full glass down the sink. I turned off the gas in the dining-room, kicked off my slippers sitting on the bed, and got into bed. This was Brett, that I had felt like crying about. Then I thought of her walking up the street and stepping into the car, as I had last seen her, and of course in a little while I felt like hell again. It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing. 35

CHAPTER 5

In the morning I walked down the Boulevard to the rue Soufflot for coffee and brioche. It was a fine morning. The horse-chestnut trees in the Luxembourg gardens were in bloom. There was the pleasant early-morning feeling of a hot day. I read the papers with the coffee and then smoked a cigarette. The flower-women were coming up from the market and arranging their daily stock. Students went by going up to the law school, or down to the Sorbonne. The Boulevard was busy with trams and people going to work. I got on an S bus and rode down to the Madeleine, standing on the back platform. From the Madeleine I walked along the Boulevard des Capucines to the Opéra, and up to my office. I passed the man with the jumping frogs and the man with the boxer toys. I stepped aside to avoid walking into the thread with which his girl assistant manipulated the boxers. She was standing looking away, the thread in her folded hands. The man was urging two tourists to buy. Three more tourists had stopped and were watching. I walked on behind a man who was pushing 36 a roller that printed the name CINZANO on the sidewalk in damp letters. All along people were going to work. It felt pleasant to be going to work. I walked across the avenue and turned in to my office.

Up-stairs in the office I read the French morning papers, smoked, and then sat at the typewriter and got off a good morning’s work. At eleven o’clock I went over to the Quai d’Orsay in a taxi and went in and sat with about a dozen correspondents, while the foreign-office mouthpiece, a young Nouvelle Revue Française diplomat in horn-rimmed spectacles, talked and answered questions for half an hour. The President of the Council was in Lyons making a speech, or, rather he was on his way back. Several people asked questions to hear themselves talk and there were a couple of questions asked by news service men who wanted to know the answers. There was no news. I shared a taxi back from the Quai d’Orsay with Woolsey and Krum.

“What do you do nights, Jake?” asked Krum. “I never see you around.”

“Oh, I’m over in the Quarter.”

“I’m coming over some night. The Dingo. That’s the great place, isn’t it?”

“Yes. That, or this new dive, The Select.”

“I’ve meant to get over,” said Krum. “You know how it is, though, with a wife and kids.”

“Playing any tennis?” Woolsey asked.

“Well, no,” said Krum. “I can’t say I’ve played any this year. I’ve tried to get away, but Sundays it’s always rained, and the courts are so damned crowded.”

“The Englishmen all have Saturday off,” Woolsey said.

“Lucky beggars,” said Krum. “Well, I’ll tell you. Some day I’m not going to be working for an agency. Then I’ll have plenty of time to get out in the country.” 37

“That’s the thing to do. Live out in the country and have a little car.”

“I’ve been thinking some about getting a car next year.”

I banged on the glass. The chauffeur stopped. “Here’s my street,” I said. “Come in and have a drink.”

“Thanks, old man,” Krum said. Woolsey shook his head. “I’ve got to file that line he got off this morning.”

I put a two-franc piece in Krum’s hand.

“You’re crazy, Jake,” he said. “This is on me.”

“It’s all on the office, anyway.”

“Nope. I want to get it.”

I waved good-by. Krum put his head out. “See you at the lunch on Wednesday.”

“You bet.”

I went to the office in the elevator. Robert Cohn was waiting for me. “Hello, Jake,” he said. “Going out to lunch?”

“Yes. Let me see if there is anything new.”

“Where will we eat?”

“Anywhere.”

I was looking over my desk. “Where do you want to eat?”

“How about Wetzel’s? They’ve got good hors d’œuvres.”

In the restaurant we ordered hors d’œuvres and beer. The sommelier brought the beer, tall, beaded on the outside of the steins, and cold. There were a dozen different dishes of hors d’œuvres.

“Have any fun last night?” I asked.

“No. I don’t think so.”

“How’s the writing going?”

“Rotten. I can’t get this second book going.”

“That happens to everybody.”

“Oh, I’m sure of that. It gets me worried, though.”

“Thought any more about going to South America?”

“I mean that.” 38

“Well, why don’t you start off?”

“Frances.”

“Well,” I said, “take her with you.”

“She wouldn’t like it. That isn’t the sort of thing she likes. She likes a lot of people around.”

“Tell her to go to hell.”

“I can’t. I’ve got certain obligations to her.”

He shoved the sliced cucumbers away and took a pickled herring.

“What do you know about Lady Brett Ashley, Jake?”

“Her name’s Lady Ashley. Brett’s her own name. She’s a nice girl,” I said. “She’s getting a divorce and she’s going to marry Mike Campbell. He’s over in Scotland now. Why?”

“She’s a remarkably attractive woman.”

“Isn’t she?”

“There’s a certain quality about her, a certain fineness. She seems to be absolutely fine and straight.”

“She’s very nice.”

“I don’t know how to describe the quality,” Cohn said. “I suppose it’s breeding.”

“You sound as though you liked her pretty well.”

“I do. I shouldn’t wonder if I were in love with her.”

“She’s a drunk,” I said. “She’s in love with Mike Campbell, and she’s going to marry him. He’s going to be rich as hell some day.”

“I don’t believe she’ll ever marry him.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. I just don’t believe it. Have you known her a long time?”

“Yes,” I said. “She was a V. A. D. in a hospital I was in during the war.”

“She must have been just a kid then.”

“She’s thirty-four now.” 39

“When did she marry Ashley?”

“During the war. Her own true love had just kicked off with the dysentery.”

“You talk sort of bitter.”

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to. I was just trying to give you the facts.”

“I don’t believe she would marry anybody she didn’t love.”

“Well,” I said. “She’s done it twice.”

“I don’t believe it.”

“Well,” I said, “don’t ask me a lot of fool questions if you don’t like the answers.”

“I didn’t ask you that.”

“You asked me what I knew about Brett Ashley.”

“I didn’t ask you to insult her.”

“Oh, go to hell.”

He stood up from the table his face white, and stood there white and angry behind the little plates of hors d’œuvres.

“Sit down,” I said. “Don’t be a fool.”

“You’ve got to take that back.”

“Oh, cut out the prep-school stuff.”

“Take it back.”

“Sure. Anything. I never heard of Brett Ashley. How’s that?

“No. Not that. About me going to hell.”

“Oh, don’t go to hell,” I said. “Stick around. We’re just starting lunch.”

Cohn smiled again and sat down. He seemed glad to sit down. What the hell would he have done if he hadn’t sat down? “You say such damned insulting things, Jake.”

“I’m sorry. I’ve got a nasty tongue. I never mean it when I say nasty things.”

“I know it,” Cohn said. “You’re really about the best friend I have, Jake.”

God help you, I thought. “Forget what I said,” I said out loud. “I’m sorry.” 40

“It’s all right. It’s fine. I was just sore for a minute.”

“Good. Let’s get something else to eat.”

After we finished the lunch we walked up to the Café de la Paix and had coffee. I could feel Cohn wanted to bring up Brett again, but I held him off it. We talked about one thing and another, and I left him to come to the office. 41

CHAPTER 6

At five o’clock I was in the Hotel Crillon waiting for Brett. She was not there, so I sat down and wrote some letters. They were not very good letters but I hoped their being on Crillon stationery would help them. Brett did not turn up, so about quarter to six I went down to the bar and had a Jack Rose with George the barman. Brett had not been in the bar either, and so I looked for her up-stairs on my way out, and took a taxi to the Café Select. Crossing the Seine I saw a string of barges being towed empty down the current, riding high, the bargemen at the sweeps as they came toward the bridge. The river looked nice. It was always pleasant crossing bridges in Paris.

The taxi rounded the statue of the inventor of the semaphore engaged in doing same, and turned up the Boulevard Raspail, and I sat back to let that part of the ride pass. The Boulevard Raspail always made dull riding. It was like a certain stretch on the P. L. M. between Fontainebleau and Montereau that always made me feel bored and dead and dull until it was over. I suppose 42 it is some association of ideas that makes those dead places in a journey. There are other streets in Paris as ugly as the Boulevard Raspail. It is a street I do not mind walking down at all. But I cannot stand to ride along it. Perhaps I had read something about it once. That was the way Robert Cohn was about all of Paris. I wondered where Cohn got that incapacity to enjoy Paris. Possibly from Mencken. Mencken hates Paris, I believe. So many young men get their likes and dislikes from Mencken.

The taxi stopped in front of the Rotonde. No matter what café in Montparnasse you ask a taxi-driver to bring you to from the right bank of the river, they always take you to the Rotonde. Ten years from now it will probably be the Dome. It was near enough, anyway. I walked past the sad tables of the Rotonde to the Select. There were a few people inside at the bar, and outside, alone, sat Harvey Stone. He had a pile of saucers in front of him, and he needed a shave.

“Sit down,” said Harvey, “I’ve been looking for you.”

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. Just looking for you.”

“Been out to the races?”

“No. Not since Sunday.”

“What do you hear from the States?”

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

“What’s the matter?”

“I don’t know. I’m through with them. I’m absolutely through with them.”

He leaned forward and looked me in the eye.

“Do you want to know something, Jake?”

“Yes.”

“I haven’t had anything to eat for five days.”

I figured rapidly back in my mind. It was three days ago that Harvey had won two hundred francs from me shaking poker dice in the New York Bar. 43

“What’s the matter?”

“No money. Money hasn’t come,” he paused. “I tell you it’s strange, Jake. When I’m like this I just want to be alone. I want to stay in my own room. I’m like a cat.”

I felt in my pocket.

“Would a hundred help you any, Harvey?”

“Yes.”

“Come on. Let’s go and eat.”

“There’s no hurry. Have a drink.”

“Better eat.”

“No. When I get like this I don’t care whether I eat or not.”

We had a drink. Harvey added my saucer to his own pile.

“Do you know Mencken, Harvey?”

“Yes. Why?”

“What’s he like?”

“He’s all right. He says some pretty funny things. Last time I had dinner with him we talked about Hoffenheimer. ‘The trouble is,’ he said, ‘he’s a garter snapper.’ That’s not bad.”

“That’s not bad.”

“He’s through now,” Harvey went on. “He’s written about all the things he knows, and now he’s on all the things he doesn’t know.”

“I guess he’s all right,” I said. “I just can’t read him.”

“Oh, nobody reads him now,” Harvey said, “except the people that used to read the Alexander Hamilton Institute.”

“Well,” I said. “That was a good thing, too.”

“Sure,” said Harvey. So we sat and thought deeply for a while.

“Have another port?”

“All right,” said Harvey.

“There comes Cohn,” I said. Robert Cohn was crossing the street.

“That moron,” said Harvey. Cohn came up to our table.

“Hello, you bums,” he said. 44

“Hello, Robert,” Harvey said. “I was just telling Jake here that you’re a moron.”

“What do you mean?”

“Tell us right off. Don’t think. What would you rather do if you could do anything you wanted?”

Cohn started to consider.

“Don’t think. Bring it right out.”

“I don’t know,” Cohn said. “What’s it all about, anyway?”

“I mean what would you rather do. What comes into your head first. No matter how silly it is.”

“I don’t know,” Cohn said. “I think I’d rather play football again with what I know about handling myself, now.”

“I misjudged you,” Harvey said. “You’re not a moron. You’re only a case of arrested development.”

“You’re awfully funny, Harvey,” Cohn said. “Some day somebody will push your face in.”

Harvey Stone laughed. “You think so. They won’t, though. Because it wouldn’t make any difference to me. I’m not a fighter.”

“It would make a difference to you if anybody did it.”

“No, it wouldn’t. That’s where you make your big mistake. Because you’re not intelligent.”

“Cut it out about me.”

“Sure,” said Harvey. “It doesn’t make any difference to me. You don’t mean anything to me.”

“Come on, Harvey,” I said. “Have another porto.”

“No,” he said. “I’m going up the street and eat. See you later, Jake.”

He walked out and up the street. I watched him crossing the street through the taxis, small, heavy, slowly sure of himself in the traffic.

“He always gets me sore,” Cohn said. “I can’t stand him.”

“I like him,” I said. “I’m fond of him. You don’t want to get sore at him.” 45

“I know it,” Cohn said. “He just gets on my nerves.”

“Write this afternoon?”

“No. I couldn’t get it going. It’s harder to do than my first book. I’m having a hard time handling it.”

The sort of healthy conceit that he had when he returned from America early in the spring was gone. Then he had been sure of his work, only with these personal longings for adventure. Now the sureness was gone. Somehow I feel I have not shown Robert Cohn clearly. The reason is that until he fell in love with Brett, I never heard him make one remark that would, in any way, detach him from other people. He was nice to watch on the tennis-court, he had a good body, and he kept it in shape; he handled his cards well at bridge, and he had a funny sort of undergraduate quality about him. If he were in a crowd nothing he said stood out. He wore what used to be called polo shirts at school, and may be called that still, but he was not professionally youthful. I do not believe he thought about his clothes much. Externally he had been formed at Princeton. Internally he had been moulded by the two women who had trained him. He had a nice, boyish sort of cheerfulness that had never been trained out of him, and I probably have not brought it out. He loved to win at tennis. He probably loved to win as much as Lenglen, for instance. On the other hand, he was not angry at being beaten. When he fell in love with Brett his tennis game went all to pieces. People beat him who had never had a chance with him. He was very nice about it.

Anyhow, we were sitting on the terrace of the Café Select, and Harvey Stone had just crossed the street.

“Come on up to the Lilas,” I said.

“I have a date.”

“What time?”

“Frances is coming here at seven-fifteen.”

“There she is.” 46

Frances Clyne was coming toward us from across the street. She was a very tall girl who walked with a great deal of movement. She waved and smiled. We watched her cross the street.

“Hello,” she said, “I’m so glad you’re here, Jake. I’ve been wanting to talk to you.”

“Hello, Frances,” said Cohn. He smiled.

“Why, hello, Robert. Are you here?” She went on, talking rapidly. “I’ve had the darndest time. This one”—shaking her head at Cohn—“didn’t come home for lunch.”

“I wasn’t supposed to.”

“Oh, I know. But you didn’t say anything about it to the cook. Then I had a date myself, and Paula wasn’t at her office. I went to the Ritz and waited for her, and she never came, and of course I didn’t have enough money to lunch at the Ritz——”

“What did you do?”

“Oh, went out, of course.” She spoke in a sort of imitation joyful manner. “I always keep my appointments. No one keeps theirs, nowadays. I ought to know better. How are you, Jake, anyway?”

“Fine.”

“That was a fine girl you had at the dance, and then went off with that Brett one.”

“Don’t you like her?” Cohn asked.

“I think she’s perfectly charming. Don’t you?”

Cohn said nothing.

“Look, Jake. I want to talk with you. Would you come over with me to the Dome? You’ll stay here, won’t you, Robert? Come on, Jake.”

We crossed the Boulevard Montparnasse and sat down at a table. A boy came up with the Paris Times, and I bought one and opened it.

“What’s the matter, Frances?”

“Oh, nothing,” she said, “except that he wants to leave me.” 47

“How do you mean?”

“Oh, he told every one that we were going to be married, and I told my mother and every one, and now he doesn’t want to do it.”

“What’s the matter?”

“He’s decided he hasn’t lived enough. I knew it would happen when he went to New York.”

She looked up, very bright-eyed and trying to talk inconsequentially.

“I wouldn’t marry him if he doesn’t want to. Of course I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t marry him now for anything. But it does seem to me to be a little late now, after we’ve waited three years, and I’ve just gotten my divorce.”

I said nothing.

“We were going to celebrate so, and instead we’ve just had scenes. It’s so childish. We have dreadful scenes, and he cries and begs me to be reasonable, but he says he just can’t do it.”

“It’s rotten luck.”

“I should say it is rotten luck. I’ve wasted two years and a half on him now. And I don’t know now if any man will ever want to marry me. Two years ago I could have married anybody I wanted, down at Cannes. All the old ones that wanted to marry somebody chic and settle down were crazy about me. Now I don’t think I could get anybody.”

“Sure, you could marry anybody.”

“No, I don’t believe it. And I’m fond of him, too. And I’d like to have children. I always thought we’d have children.”

She looked at me very brightly. “I never liked children much, but I don’t want to think I’ll never have them. I always thought I’d have them and then like them.”

“He’s got children.”

“Oh, yes. He’s got children, and he’s got money, and he’s got a rich mother, and he’s written a book, and nobody will publish 48 my stuff; nobody at all. It isn’t bad, either. And I haven’t got any money at all. I could have had alimony, but I got the divorce the quickest way.”

She looked at me again very brightly.

“It isn’t right. It’s my own fault and it’s not, too. I ought to have known better. And when I tell him he just cries and says he can’t marry. Why can’t he marry? I’d be a good wife. I’m easy to get along with. I leave him alone. It doesn’t do any good.”

“It’s a rotten shame.”

“Yes, it is a rotten shame. But there’s no use talking about it, is there? Come on, let’s go back to the café.”

“And of course there isn’t anything I can do.”

“No. Just don’t let him know I talked to you. I know what he wants.” Now for the first time she dropped her bright, terribly cheerful manner. “He wants to go back to New York alone, and be there when his book comes out so when a lot of little chickens like it. That’s what he wants.”

“Maybe they won’t like it. I don’t think he’s that way. Really.”

“You don’t know him like I do, Jake. That’s what he wants to do. I know it. I know it. That’s why he doesn’t want to marry. He wants to have a big triumph this fall all by himself.”

“Want to go back to the café?”

“Yes. Come on.”

We got up from the table—they had never brought us a drink—and started across the street toward the Select, where Cohn sat smiling at us from behind the marble-topped table.

“Well, what are you smiling at?” Frances asked him. “Feel pretty happy?”

“I was smiling at you and Jake with your secrets.”

“Oh, what I’ve told Jake isn’t any secret. Everybody will know it soon enough. I only wanted to give Jake a decent version.”

“What was it? About your going to England?” 49

“Yes, about my going to England. Oh, Jake! I forgot to tell you. I’m going to England.”

“Isn’t that fine!”

“Yes, that’s the way it’s done in the very best families. Robert’s sending me. He’s going to give me two hundred pounds and then I’m going to visit friends. Won’t it be lovely? The friends don’t know about it, yet.”

She turned to Cohn and smiled at him. He was not smiling now.

“You were only going to give me a hundred pounds, weren’t you, Robert? But I made him give me two hundred. He’s really very generous. Aren’t you, Robert?”

I do not know how people could say such terrible things to Robert Cohn. There are people to whom you could not say insulting things. They give you a feeling that the world would be destroyed, would actually be destroyed before your eyes, if you said certain things. But here was Cohn taking it all. Here it was, all going on right before me, and I did not even feel an impulse to try and stop it. And this was friendly joking to what went on later.

“How can you say such things, Frances?” Cohn interrupted.

“Listen to him. I’m going to England. I’m going to visit friends. Ever visit friends that didn’t want you? Oh, they’ll have to take me, all right. ‘How do you do, my dear? Such a long time since we’ve seen you. And how is your dear mother?’ Yes, how is my dear mother? She put all her money into French war bonds. Yes, she did. Probably the only person in the world that did. ‘And what about Robert?’ or else very careful talking around Robert. ‘You must be most careful not to mention him, my dear. Poor Frances has had a most unfortunate experience.’ Won’t it be fun, Robert? Don’t you think it will be fun, Jake?”

She turned to me with that terribly bright smile. It was very satisfactory to her to have an audience for this. 50

“And where are you going to be, Robert? It’s my own fault, all right. Perfectly my own fault. When I made you get rid of your little secretary on the magazine I ought to have known you’d get rid of me the same way. Jake doesn’t know about that. Should I tell him?”

“Shut up, Frances, for God’s sake.”

“Yes, I’ll tell him. Robert had a little secretary on the magazine. Just the sweetest little thing in the world, and he thought she was wonderful, and then I came along and he thought I was pretty wonderful, too. So I made him get rid of her, and he had brought her to Provincetown from Carmel when he moved the magazine, and he didn’t even pay her fare back to the coast. All to please me. He thought I was pretty fine, then. Didn’t you, Robert?

“You mustn’t misunderstand, Jake, it was absolutely platonic with the secretary. Not even platonic. Nothing at all, really. It was just that she was so nice. And he did that just to please me. Well, I suppose that we that live by the sword shall perish by the sword. Isn’t that literary, though? You want to remember that for your next book, Robert.

“You know Robert is going to get material for a new book. Aren’t you, Robert? That’s why he’s leaving me. He’s decided I don’t film well. You see, he was so busy all the time that we were living together, writing on this book, that he doesn’t remember anything about us. So now he’s going out and get some new material. Well, I hope he gets something frightfully interesting.

“Listen, Robert, dear. Let me tell you something. You won’t mind, will you? Don’t have scenes with your young ladies. Try not to. Because you can’t have scenes without crying, and then you pity yourself so much you can’t remember what the other person’s said. You’ll never be able to remember any conversations that way. Just try and be calm. I know it’s awfully hard. But remember, it’s for literature. We all ought to make sacrifices for 52 literature. Look at me. I’m going to England without a protest. All for literature. We must all help young writers. Don’t you think so, Jake? But you’re not a young writer. Are you, Robert? You’re thirty-four. Still, I suppose that is young for a great writer. Look at Hardy. Look at Anatole France. He just died a little while ago. Robert doesn’t think he’s any good, though. Some of his French friends told him. He doesn’t read French very well himself. He wasn’t a good writer like you are, was he, Robert? Do you think he ever had to go and look for material? What do you suppose he said to his mistresses when he wouldn’t marry them? I wonder if he cried, too? Oh, I’ve just thought of something.” She put her gloved hand up to her lips. “I know the real reason why Robert won’t marry me, Jake. It’s just come to me. They’ve sent it to me in a vision in the Café Select. Isn’t it mystic? Some day they’ll put a tablet up. Like at Lourdes. Do you want to hear, Robert? I’ll tell you. It’s so simple. I wonder why I never thought about it. Why, you see, Robert’s always wanted to have a mistress, and if he doesn’t marry me, why, then he’s had one. She was his mistress for over two years. See how it is? And if he marries me, like he’s always promised he would, that would be the end of all the romance. Don’t you think that’s bright of me to figure that out? It’s true, too. Look at him and see if it’s not. Where are you going, Jake?”

“I’ve got to go in and see Harvey Stone a minute.”

Cohn looked up as I went in. His face was white. Why did he sit there? Why did he keep on taking it like that?

As I stood against the bar looking out I could see them through the window. Frances was talking on to him, smiling brightly, looking into his face each time she asked: “Isn’t it so, Robert?” Or maybe she did not ask that now. Perhaps she said something else. I told the barman I did not want anything to drink and went out through the side door. As I went out the door I looked back 53 through the two thicknesses of glass and saw them sitting there. She was still talking to him. I went down a side street to the Boulevard Raspail. A taxi came along and I got in and gave the driver the address of my flat. 54

CHAPTER 7

As I started up the stairs the concierge knocked on the glass of the door of her lodge, and as I stopped she came out. She had some letters and a telegram.

“Here is the post. And there was a lady here to see you.”

“Did she leave a card?”

“No. She was with a gentleman. It was the one who was here last night. In the end I find she is very nice.”

“Was she with a friend of mine?”

“I don’t know. He was never here before. He was very large. Very, very large. She was very nice. Very, very nice. Last night she was, perhaps, a little—” She put her head on one hand and rocked it up and down. “I’ll speak perfectly frankly, Monsieur Barnes. Last night I found her not so gentille. Last night I formed another idea of her. But listen to what I tell you. She is très, très gentille. She is of very good family. It is a thing you can see.”

“They did not leave any word?”

“Yes. They said they would be back in an hour.” 55

“Send them up when they come.”

“Yes, Monsieur Barnes. And that lady, that lady there is some one. An eccentric, perhaps, but quelqu’une, quelqu’une!”

The concierge, before she became a concierge, had owned a drink-selling concession at the Paris race-courses. Her life-work lay in the pelouse, but she kept an eye on the people of the pesage, and she took great pride in telling me which of my guests were well brought up, which were of good family, who were sportsmen, a French word pronounced with the accent on the men. The only trouble was that people who did not fall into any of those three categories were very liable to be told there was no one home, chez Barnes. One of my friends, an extremely underfed-looking painter, who was obviously to Madame Duzinell neither well brought up, of good family, nor a sportsman, wrote me a letter asking if I could get him a pass to get by the concierge so he could come up and see me occasionally in the evenings.

I went up to the flat wondering what Brett had done to the concierge. The wire was a cable from Bill Gorton, saying he was arriving on the France. I put the mail on the table, went back to the bedroom, undressed and had a shower. I was rubbing down when I heard the door-bell pull. I put on a bathrobe and slippers and went to the door. It was Brett. Back of her was the count. He was holding a great bunch of roses.

“Hello, darling,” said Brett. “Aren’t you going to let us in?”

“Come on. I was just bathing.”

“Aren’t you the fortunate man. Bathing.”

“Only a shower. Sit down, Count Mippipopolous. What will you drink?”

“I don’t know whether you like flowers, sir,” the count said, “but I took the liberty of just bringing these roses.”

“Here, give them to me.” Brett took them. “Get me some water in this, Jake.” I filled the big earthenware jug with water in the 56 kitchen, and Brett put the roses in it, and placed them in the centre of the dining-room table.

“I say. We have had a day.”

“You don’t remember anything about a date with me at the Crillon?”

“No. Did we have one? I must have been blind.”

“You were quite drunk, my dear,” said the count.

“Wasn’t I, though? And the count’s been a brick, absolutely.”

“You’ve got hell’s own drag with the concierge now.”

“I ought to have. Gave her two hundred francs.”

“Don’t be a damned fool.”

“His,” she said, and nodded at the count.

“I thought we ought to give her a little something for last night. It was very late.”

“He’s wonderful,” Brett said. “He remembers everything that’s happened.”

“So do you, my dear.”

“Fancy,” said Brett. “Who’d want to? I say, Jake, do we get a drink?”

“You get it while I go in and dress. You know where it is.”

“Rather.”

While I dressed I heard Brett put down glasses and then a siphon, and then heard them talking. I dressed slowly, sitting on the bed. I felt tired and pretty rotten. Brett came in the room, a glass in her hand, and sat on the bed.

“What’s the matter, darling? Do you feel rocky?”

She kissed me coolly on the forehead.

“Oh, Brett, I love you so much.”

“Darling,” she said. Then: “Do you want me to send him away?”

“No. He’s nice.”

“I’ll send him away.”

“No, don’t.” 57

“Yes, I’ll send him away.”

“You can’t just like that.”

“Can’t I, though? You stay here. He’s mad about me, I tell you.”

She was gone out of the room. I lay face down on the bed. I was having a bad time. I heard them talking but I did not listen. Brett came in and sat on the bed.

“Poor old darling.” She stroked my head.

“What did you say to him?” I was lying with my face away from her. I did not want to see her.

“Sent him for champagne. He loves to go for champagne.”

Then later: “Do you feel better, darling? Is the head any better?”

“It’s better.”

“Lie quiet. He’s gone to the other side of town.”

“Couldn’t we live together, Brett? Couldn’t we just live together?”

“I don’t think so. I’d just tromper you with everybody. You couldn’t stand it.”

“I stand it now.”

“That would be different. It’s my fault, Jake. It’s the way I’m made.”

“Couldn’t we go off in the country for a while?”

“It wouldn’t be any good. I’ll go if you like. But I couldn’t live quietly in the country. Not with my own true love.”

“I know.”

“Isn’t it rotten? There isn’t any use my telling you I love you.”

“You know I love you.”

“Let’s not talk. Talking’s all bilge. I’m going away from you, and then Michael’s coming back.”

“Why are you going away?”

“Better for you. Better for me.”

“When are you going?”

“Soon as I can.” 58

“Where?”

“San Sebastian.”

“Can’t we go together?”

“No. That would be a hell of an idea after we’d just talked it out.”

“We never agreed.”

“Oh, you know as well as I do. Don’t be obstinate, darling.”

“Oh, sure,” I said. “I know you’re right. I’m just low, and when I’m low I talk like a fool.”

I sat up, leaned over, found my shoes beside the bed and put them on. I stood up.

“Don’t look like that, darling.”

“How do you want me to look?”

“Oh, don’t be a fool. I’m going away to-morrow.”

“To-morrow?”

“Yes. Didn’t I say so? I am.”

“Let’s have a drink, then. The count will be back.”

“Yes. He should be back. You know he’s extraordinary about buying champagne. It means any amount to him.”

We went into the dining-room. I took up the brandy bottle and poured Brett a drink and one for myself. There was a ring at the bell-pull. I went to the door and there was the count. Behind him was the chauffeur carrying a basket of champagne.

“Where should I have him put it, sir?” asked the count.

“In the kitchen,” Brett said.

“Put it in there, Henry,” the count motioned. “Now go down and get the ice.” He stood looking after the basket inside the kitchen door. “I think you’ll find that’s very good wine,” he said. “I know we don’t get much of a chance to judge good wine in the States now, but I got this from a friend of mine that’s in the business.”

“Oh, you always have some one in the trade,” Brett said. 59

“This fellow raises the grapes. He’s got thousands of acres of them.”

“What’s his name?” asked Brett. “Veuve Cliquot?”

“No,” said the count. “Mumms. He’s a baron.”

“Isn’t it wonderful,” said Brett. “We all have titles. Why haven’t you a title, Jake?”

“I assure you, sir,” the count put his hand on my arm. “It never does a man any good. Most of the time it costs you money.”

“Oh, I don’t know. It’s damned useful sometimes,” Brett said.

“I’ve never known it to do me any good.”

“You haven’t used it properly. I’ve had hell’s own amount of credit on mine.”

“Do sit down, count,” I said. “Let me take that stick.”

The count was looking at Brett across the table under the gas-light. She was smoking a cigarette and flicking the ashes on the rug. She saw me notice it. “I say, Jake, I don’t want to ruin your rugs. Can’t you give a chap an ash-tray?”

I found some ash-trays and spread them around. The chauffeur came up with a bucket full of salted ice. “Put two bottles in it, Henry,” the count called.

“Anything else, sir?”

“No. Wait down in the car.” He turned to Brett and to me. “We’ll want to ride out to the Bois for dinner?”

“If you like,” Brett said. “I couldn’t eat a thing.”

“I always like a good meal,” said the count.

“Should I bring the wine in, sir?” asked the chauffeur.

“Yes. Bring it in, Henry,” said the count. He took out a heavy pigskin cigar-case and offered it to me. “Like to try a real American cigar?”

“Thanks,” I said. “I’ll finish the cigarette.”

He cut off the end of his cigar with a gold cutter he wore on one end of his watch-chain. 60

“I like a cigar to really draw,” said the count “Half the cigars you smoke don’t draw.”

He lit the cigar, puffed at it, looking across the table at Brett. “And when you’re divorced, Lady Ashley, then you won’t have a title.”

“No. What a pity.”

“No,” said the count. “You don’t need a title. You got class all over you.”

“Thanks. Awfully decent of you.”

“I’m not joking you,” the count blew a cloud of smoke. “You got the most class of anybody I ever seen. You got it. That’s all.”

“Nice of you,” said Brett. “Mummy would be pleased. Couldn’t you write it out, and I’ll send it in a letter to her.”

“I’d tell her, too,” said the count. “I’m not joking you. I never joke people. Joke people and you make enemies. That’s what I always say.”

“You’re right,” Brett said. “You’re terribly right. I always joke people and I haven’t a friend in the world. Except Jake here.”

“You don’t joke him.”

“That’s it.”

“Do you, now?” asked the count. “Do you joke him?”

Brett looked at me and wrinkled up the corners of her eyes.

“No,” she said. “I wouldn’t joke him.”

“See,” said the count. “You don’t joke him.”

“This is a hell of a dull talk,” Brett said. “How about some of that champagne?”

The count reached down and twirled the bottles in the shiny bucket. “It isn’t cold, yet. You’re always drinking, my dear. Why don’t you just talk?”

“I’ve talked too ruddy much. I’ve talked myself all out to Jake.”

“I should like to hear you really talk, my dear. When you talk to me you never finish your sentences at all.” 61

“Leave ’em for you to finish. Let any one finish them as they like.”

“It is a very interesting system,” the count reached down and gave the bottles a twirl. “Still I would like to hear you talk some time.”

“Isn’t he a fool?” Brett asked.

“Now,” the count brought up a bottle. “I think this is cool.”

I brought a towel and he wiped the bottle dry and held it up. “I like to drink champagne from magnums. The wine is better but it would have been too hard to cool.” He held the bottle, looking at it. I put out the glasses.

“I say. You might open it,” Brett suggested.

“Yes, my dear. Now I’ll open it.”

It was amazing champagne.

“I say that is wine,” Brett held up her glass. “We ought to toast something. ‘Here’s to royalty.’ ”

“This wine is too good for toast-drinking, my dear. You don’t want to mix emotions up with a wine like that. You lose the taste.”

Brett’s glass was empty.

“You ought to write a book on wines, count,” I said.

“Mr. Barnes,” answered the count, “all I want out of wines is to enjoy them.”

“Let’s enjoy a little more of this,” Brett pushed her glass forward. The count poured very carefully. “There, my dear. Now you enjoy that slowly, and then you can get drunk.”

“Drunk? Drunk?”

“My dear, you are charming when you are drunk.”

“Listen to the man.”

“Mr. Barnes,” the count poured my glass full. “She is the only lady I have ever known who was as charming when she was drunk as when she was sober.”

“You haven’t been around much, have you?” 62

“Yes, my dear. I have been around very much. I have been around a very great deal.”

“Drink your wine,” said Brett. “We’ve all been around. I dare say Jake here has seen as much as you have.”

“My dear, I am sure Mr. Barnes has seen a lot. Don’t think I don’t think so, sir. I have seen a lot, too.”

“Of course you have, my dear,” Brett said. “I was only ragging.”

“I have been in seven wars and four revolutions,” the count said.

“Soldiering?” Brett asked.

“Sometimes, my dear. And I have got arrow wounds. Have you ever seen arrow wounds?”

“Let’s have a look at them.”

The count stood up, unbuttoned his vest, and opened his shirt. He pulled up the undershirt onto his chest and stood, his chest black, and big stomach muscles bulging under the light.

“You see them?”

Below the line where his ribs stopped were two raised white welts. “See on the back where they come out.” Above the small of the back were the same two scars, raised as thick as a finger.

“I say. Those are something.”

“Clean through.”

The count was tucking in his shirt.

“Where did you get those?” I asked.

“In Abyssinia. When I was twenty-one years old.”

“What were you doing?” asked Brett. “Were you in the army?”

“I was on a business trip, my dear.”

“I told you he was one of us. Didn’t I?” Brett turned to me. “I love you, count. You’re a darling.”

“You make me very happy, my dear. But it isn’t true.”

“Don’t be an ass.”

“You see, Mr. Barnes, it is because I have lived very much that now I can enjoy everything so well. Don’t you find it like that?” 63

“Yes. Absolutely.”

“I know,” said the count. “That is the secret. You must get to know the values.”

“Doesn’t anything ever happen to your values?” Brett asked.

“No. Not any more.”

“Never fall in love?”

“Always,” said the count. “I am always in love.”

“What does that do to your values?”

“That, too, has got a place in my values.”

“You haven’t any values. You’re dead, that’s all.”

“No, my dear. You’re not right. I’m not dead at all.”

We drank three bottles of the champagne and the count left the basket in my kitchen. We dined at a restaurant in the Bois. It was a good dinner. Food had an excellent place in the count’s values. So did wine. The count was in fine form during the meal. So was Brett. It was a good party.

“Where would you like to go?” asked the count after dinner. We were the only people left in the restaurant. The two waiters were standing over against the door. They wanted to go home.

“We might go up on the hill,” Brett said. “Haven’t we had a splendid party?”

The count was beaming. He was very happy.

“You are very nice people,” he said. He was smoking a cigar again. “Why don’t you get married, you two?”

“We want to lead our own lives,” I said.

“We have our careers,” Brett said. “Come on. Let’s get out of this.”

“Have another brandy,” the count said.

“Get it on the hill.”

“No. Have it here where it is quiet.”

“You and your quiet,” said Brett. “What is it men feel about quiet?”

“We like it,” said the count. “Like you like noise, my dear.” 64

“All right,” said Brett. “Let’s have one.”

“Sommelier!” the count called.

“Yes, sir.”

“What is the oldest brandy you have?”

“Eighteen eleven, sir.”

“Bring us a bottle.”

“I say. Don’t be ostentatious. Call him off, Jake.”

“Listen, my dear. I get more value for my money in old brandy than in any other antiquities.”

“Got many antiquities?”

“I got a houseful.”

Finally we went up to Montmartre. Inside Zelli’s it was crowded, smoky, and noisy. The music hit you as you went in. Brett and I danced. It was so crowded we could barely move. The nigger drummer waved at Brett. We were caught in the jam, dancing in one place in front of him.

“Hahre you?”

“Great.”

“Thaats good.”

He was all teeth and lips.

“He’s a great friend of mine,” Brett said. “Damn good drummer.”

The music stopped and we started toward the table where the count sat. Then the music started again and we danced. I looked at the count. He was sitting at the table smoking a cigar. The music stopped again.

“Let’s go over.”

Brett started toward the table. The music started and again we danced, tight in the crowd.

“You are a rotten dancer, Jake. Michael’s the best dancer I know.”

“He’s splendid.”

“He’s got his points.” 65

“I like him,” I said. “I’m damned fond of him.”

“I’m going to marry him,” Brett said. “Funny. I haven’t thought about him for a week.”

“Don’t you write him?”

“Not I. Never write letters.”

“I’ll bet he writes to you.”

“Rather. Damned good letters, too.”

“When are you going to get married?”

“How do I know? As soon as we can get the divorce. Michael’s trying to get his mother to put up for it.”

“Could I help you?”

“Don’t be an ass. Michael’s people have loads of money.”

The music stopped. We walked over to the table. The count stood up.

“Very nice,” he said. “You looked very, very nice.”

“Don’t you dance, count?” I asked.

“No. I’m too old.”

“Oh, come off it,” Brett said.

“My dear, I would do it if I would enjoy it. I enjoy to watch you dance.”

“Splendid,” Brett said. “I’ll dance again for you some time. I say. What about your little friend, Zizi?”

“Let me tell you. I support that boy, but I don’t want to have him around.”

“He is rather hard.”

“You know I think that boy’s got a future. But personally I don’t want him around.”

“Jake’s rather the same way.”

“He gives me the willys.”

“Well,” the count shrugged his shoulders. “About his future you can’t ever tell. Anyhow, his father was a great friend of my father.”

“Come on. Let’s dance,” Brett said.

We danced. It was crowded and close. 66

“Oh, darling,” Brett said, “I’m so miserable.”

I had that feeling of going through something that has all happened before. “You were happy a minute ago.”

The drummer shouted: “You can’t two time—”

“It’s all gone.”

“What’s the matter?”

“I don’t know. I just feel terribly.”

“. . . . . .” the drummer chanted. Then turned to his sticks.

“Want to go?”

I had the feeling as in a nightmare of it all being something repeated, something I had been through and that now I must go through again.

“. . . . . .” the drummer sang softly.

“Let’s go,” said Brett. “You don’t mind.”

“. . . . . .” the drummer shouted and grinned at Brett.

“All right,” I said. We got out from the crowd. Brett went to the dressing-room.

“Brett wants to go,” I said to the count. He nodded. “Does she? That’s fine. You take the car. I’m going to stay here for a while, Mr. Barnes.”

We shook hands.

“It was a wonderful time,” I said. “I wish you would let me get this.” I took a note out of my pocket.

“Mr. Barnes, don’t be ridiculous,” the count said.

Brett came over with her wrap on. She kissed the count and put her hand on his shoulder to keep him from standing up. As we went out the door I looked back and there were three girls at his table. We got into the big car. Brett gave the chauffeur the address of her hotel.

“No, don’t come up,” she said at the hotel. She had rung and the door was unlatched.

“Really?”

“No. Please.” 67

“Good night, Brett,” I said. “I’m sorry you feel rotten.”

“Good night, Jake. Good night, darling. I won’t see you again.” We kissed standing at the door. She pushed me away. We kissed again. “Oh, don’t!” Brett said.

She turned quickly and went into the hotel. The chauffeur drove me around to my flat. I gave him twenty francs and he touched his cap and said: “Good night, sir,” and drove off. I rang the bell. The door opened and I went up-stairs and went to bed.

68

BOOK II

69

CHAPTER 8

I did not see Brett again until she came back from San Sebastian. One card came from her from there. It had a picture of the Concha, and said: “Darling. Very quiet and healthy. Love to all the chaps. Brett.”

Nor did I see Robert Cohn again. I heard Frances had left for England and I had a note from Cohn saying he was going out in the country for a couple of weeks, he did not know where, but that he wanted to hold me to the fishing-trip in Spain we had talked about last winter. I could reach him always, he wrote, through his bankers.

Brett was gone, I was not bothered by Cohn’s troubles, I rather enjoyed not having to play tennis, there was plenty of work to do, I went often to the races, dined with friends, and put in some extra time at the office getting things ahead so I could leave it in charge of my secretary when Bill Gorton and I should shove off to Spain the end of June. Bill Gorton arrived, put up a couple of days at the flat and went off to Vienna. He was very cheerful and said the States were wonderful. New York was wonderful. There had been a grand theatrical season and a whole crop of great young light heavyweights. Any one of them was a good prospect to grow up, put on weight and trim Dempsey. Bill was very happy. He had made a lot of money on his last book, and was going to make a lot more. We had a good time while he was in Paris, and then he went off to Vienna. He was coming back in three weeks and we would leave for Spain to get in some fishing and go to the fiesta at Pamplona. He wrote that Vienna was wonderful. Then a card from Budapest: “Jake, Budapest is wonderful.” Then I got a wire: “Back on Monday.”

Monday evening he turned up at the flat. I heard his taxi stop and went to the window and called to him; he waved and started up-stairs carrying his bags. I met him on the stairs, and took one of the bags.

“Well,” I said, “I hear you had a wonderful trip.”

“Wonderful,” he said. “Budapest is absolutely wonderful.”

“How about Vienna?”

“Not so good, Jake. Not so good. It seemed better than it was.”

“How do you mean?” I was getting glasses and a siphon.

“Tight, Jake. I was tight.”

“That’s strange. Better have a drink.”

Bill rubbed his forehead. “Remarkable thing,” he said. “Don’t know how it happened. Suddenly it happened.”

“Last long?”

“Four days, Jake. Lasted just four days.”

“Where did you go?”

“Don’t remember. Wrote you a post-card. Remember that perfectly.”

“Do anything else?”

“Not so sure. Possible.”

“Go on. Tell me about it.”

“Can’t remember. Tell you anything I could remember.”

“Go on. Take that drink and remember.”

“Might remember a little,” Bill said. “Remember something about a prize-fight. Enormous Vienna prize-fight. Had a nigger in it. Remember the nigger perfectly.”

“Go on.”

“Wonderful nigger. Looked like Tiger Flowers, only four times as big. All of a sudden everybody started to throw things. Not me. Nigger’d just knocked local boy down. Nigger put up his glove. Wanted to make a speech. Awful noble-looking nigger. Started to make a speech. Then local white boy hit him. Then he knocked white boy cold. Then everybody commenced to throw chairs. Nigger went home with us in our car. Couldn’t get his clothes. Wore my coat. Remember the whole thing now. Big sporting evening.”

“What happened?”

“Loaned the nigger some clothes and went around with him to try and get his money. Claimed nigger owed them money on account of wrecking hall. Wonder who translated? Was it me?”

“Probably it wasn’t you.”

“You’re right. Wasn’t me at all. Was another fellow. Think we called him the local Harvard man. Remember him now. Studying music.”

“How’d you come out?”

“Not so good, Jake. Injustice everywhere. Promoter claimed nigger promised let local boy stay. Claimed nigger violated contract. Can’t knock out Vienna boy in Vienna. ‘My God, Mister Gorton,’ said nigger, ‘I didn’t do nothing in there for forty minutes but try and let him stay. That white boy musta ruptured himself swinging at me. I never did hit him.’ ”

“Did you get any money?”

“No money, Jake. All we could get was nigger’s clothes. Somebody took his watch, too. Splendid nigger. Big mistake to have come to Vienna. Not so good, Jake. Not so good.”

“What became of the nigger?”

“Went back to Cologne. Lives there. Married. Got a family. Going to write me a letter and send me the money I loaned him. Wonderful nigger. Hope I gave him the right address.”

“You probably did.”

“Well, anyway, let’s eat,” said Bill. “Unless you want me to tell you some more travel stories.”

“Go on.”

“Let’s eat.”

We went down-stairs and out onto the Boulevard St. Michel in the warm June evening.

“Where will we go?”

“Want to eat on the island?”

“Sure.”

We walked down the Boulevard. At the juncture of the Rue Denfert-Rochereau with the Boulevard is a statue of two men in flowing robes.

“I know who they are.” Bill eyed the monument. “Gentlemen who invented pharmacy. Don’t try and fool me on Paris.”

We went on.

“Here’s a taxidermist’s,” Bill said. “Want to buy anything? Nice stuffed dog?”

“Come on,” I said. “You’re pie-eyed.”

“Pretty nice stuffed dogs,” Bill said. “Certainly brighten up your flat.”

“Come on.”

“Just one stuffed dog. I can take ’em or leave ’em alone. But listen, Jake. Just one stuffed dog.”

“Come on.”

“Mean everything in the world to you after you bought it. Simple exchange of values. You give them money. They give you a stuffed dog.”

“We’ll get one on the way back.”

“All right. Have it your own way. Road to hell paved with unbought stuffed dogs. Not my fault.”

We went on.

“How’d you feel that way about dogs so sudden?”

“Always felt that way about dogs. Always been a great lover of stuffed animals.”

We stopped and had a drink.

“Certainly like to drink,” Bill said. “You ought to try it some times, Jake.”

“You’re about a hundred and forty-four ahead of me.”

“Ought not to daunt you. Never be daunted. Secret of my success. Never been daunted. Never been daunted in public.”

“Where were you drinking?”

“Stopped at the Crillon. George made me a couple of Jack Roses. George’s a great man. Know the secret of his success? Never been daunted.”

“You’ll be daunted after about three more pernods.”

“Not in public. If I begin to feel daunted I’ll go off by myself. I’m like a cat that way.”

“When did you see Harvey Stone?”

“At the Crillon. Harvey was just a little daunted. Hadn’t eaten for three days. Doesn’t eat any more. Just goes off like a cat. Pretty sad.”

“He’s all right.”

“Splendid. Wish he wouldn’t keep going off like a cat, though. Makes me nervous.”

“What’ll we do to-night?”

“Doesn’t make any difference. Only let’s not get daunted. Suppose they got any hard-boiled eggs here? If they had hard-boiled eggs here we wouldn’t have to go all the way down to the island to eat.”

“Nix,” I said. “We’re going to have a regular meal.”

“Just a suggestion,” said Bill. “Want to start now?”

“Come on.”

We started on again down the Boulevard. A horse-cab passed us. Bill looked at it.

“See that horse-cab? Going to have that horse-cab stuffed for you for Christmas. Going to give all my friends stuffed animals. I’m a nature-writer.”

A taxi passed, some one in it waved, then banged for the driver to stop. The taxi backed up to the curb. In it was Brett.

“Beautiful lady,” said Bill. “Going to kidnap us.”

“Hullo!” Brett said. “Hullo!”

“This is Bill Gorton. Lady Ashley.”

Brett smiled at Bill. “I say I’m just back. Haven’t bathed even. Michael comes in to-night.”

“Good. Come on and eat with us, and we’ll all go to meet him.”

“Must clean myself.”

“Oh, rot! Come on.”

“Must bathe. He doesn’t get in till nine.”

“Come and have a drink, then, before you bathe.”

“Might do that. Now you’re not talking rot.”

We got in the taxi. The driver looked around.

“Stop at the nearest bistro,” I said.

“We might as well go to the Closerie,” Brett said. “I can’t drink these rotten brandies.”

“Closerie des Lilas.”

Brett turned to Bill.

“Have you been in this pestilential city long?”

“Just got in to-day from Budapest.”

“How was Budapest?”

“Wonderful. Budapest was wonderful.”

“Ask him about Vienna.”

“Vienna,” said Bill, “is a strange city.”

“Very much like Paris,” Brett smiled at him, wrinkling the corners of her eyes.

“Exactly,” Bill said. “Very much like Paris at this moment.”

“You have a good start.”

Sitting out on the terraces of the Lilas Brett ordered a whiskey and soda, I took one, too, and Bill took another pernod.

“How are you, Jake?”

“Great,” I said. “I’ve had a good time.”

Brett looked at me. “I was a fool to go away,” she said. “One’s an ass to leave Paris.”

“Did you have a good time?”

“Oh, all right. Interesting. Not frightfully amusing.”

“See anybody?”

“No, hardly anybody. I never went out.”

“Didn’t you swim?”

“No. Didn’t do a thing.”

“Sounds like Vienna,” Bill said.

Brett wrinkled up the corners of her eyes at him.

“So that’s the way it was in Vienna.”

“It was like everything in Vienna.”

Brett smiled at him again.

“You’ve a nice friend, Jake.”

“He’s all right,” I said. “He’s a taxidermist.”

“That was in another country,” Bill said. “And besides all the animals were dead.”

“One more,” Brett said, “and I must run. Do send the waiter for a taxi.”

“There’s a line of them. Right out in front.”

“Good.”

We had the drink and put Brett into her taxi.

“Mind you’re at the Select around ten. Make him come. Michael will be there.”

“We’ll be there,” Bill said. The taxi started and Brett waved.

“Quite a girl,” Bill said. “She’s damned nice. Who’s Michael?”

“The man she’s going to marry.”

“Well, well,” Bill said. “That’s always just the stage I meet anybody. What’ll I send them? Think they’d like a couple of stuffed race-horses?”

“We better eat.”

“Is she really Lady something or other?” Bill asked in the taxi on our way down to the Ile Saint Louis.

“Oh, yes. In the stud-book and everything.”

“Well, well.”

We ate dinner at Madame Lecomte’s restaurant on the far side of the island. It was crowded with Americans and we had to stand up and wait for a place. Some one had put it in the American Women’s Club list as a quaint restaurant on the Paris quais as yet untouched by Americans, so we had to wait forty-five minutes for a table. Bill had eaten at the restaurant in 1918, and right after the armistice, and Madame Lecomte made a great fuss over seeing him.

“Doesn’t get us a table, though,” Bill said. “Grand woman, though.”

We had a good meal, a roast chicken, new green beans, mashed potatoes, a salad, and some apple-pie and cheese.

“You’ve got the world here all right,” Bill said to Madame Lecomte. She raised her hand. “Oh, my God!”

“You’ll be rich.”

“I hope so.”

After the coffee and a fine we got the bill, chalked up the same as ever on a slate, that was doubtless one of the “quaint” features, paid it, shook hands, and went out.

“You never come here any more, Monsieur Barnes,” Madame Lecomte said.

“Too many compatriots.”

“Come at lunch-time. It’s not crowded then.”

“Good. I’ll be down soon.”

We walked along under the trees that grew out over the river on the Quai d’Orléans side of the island. Across the river were the broken walls of old houses that were being torn down.

“They’re going to cut a street through.”

“They would,” Bill said.

We walked on and circled the island. The river was dark and a bateau mouche went by, all bright with lights, going fast and quiet up and out of sight under the bridge. Down the river was Notre Dame squatting against the night sky. We crossed to the left bank of the Seine by the wooden foot-bridge from the Quai de Bethune, and stopped on the bridge and looked down the river at Notre Dame. Standing on the bridge the island looked dark, the houses were high against the sky, and the trees were shadows.

“It’s pretty grand,” Bill said. “God, I love to get back.”

We leaned on the wooden rail of the bridge and looked up the river to the lights of the big bridges. Below the water was smooth and black. It made no sound against the piles of the bridge. A man and a girl passed us. They were walking with their arms around each other.

We crossed the bridge and walked up the Rue du Cardinal Lemoine. It was steep walking, and we went all the way up to the Place Contrescarpe. The arc-light shone through the leaves of the trees in the square, and underneath the trees was an S bus ready to start. Music came out of the door of the Negre Joyeux. Through the window of the Café Aux Amateurs I saw the long zinc bar. Outside on the terrace working people were drinking. In the open kitchen of the Amateurs a girl was cooking potato-chips in oil. There was an iron pot of stew. The girl ladled some onto a plate for an old man who stood holding a bottle of red wine in one hand.

“Want to have a drink?”

“No,” said Bill. “I don’t need it.”

We turned to the right off the Place Contrescarpe, walking along smooth narrow streets with high old houses on both sides. Some of the houses jutted out toward the street. Others were cut back. We came onto the Rue du Pot de Fer and followed it along until it brought us to the rigid north and south of the Rue Saint Jacques and then walked south, past Val de Grâce, set back behind the courtyard and the iron fence, to the Boulevard du Port Royal.

“What do you want to do?” I asked. “Go up to the café and see Brett and Mike?”

“Why not?”

We walked along Port Royal until it became Montparnasse, and then on past the Lilas, Lavigne’s, and all the little cafés, Damoy’s, crossed the street to the Rotonde, past its lights and tables to the Select.

Michael came toward us from the tables. He was tanned and healthy-looking.

“Hel-lo, Jake,” he said. “Hel-lo! Hel-lo! How are you, old lad?”

“You look very fit, Mike.”

“Oh, I am. I’m frightfully fit. I’ve done nothing but walk. Walk all day long. One drink a day with my mother at tea.”

Bill had gone into the bar. He was standing talking with Brett, who was sitting on a high stool, her legs crossed. She had no stockings on.

“It’s good to see you, Jake,” Michael said. “I’m a little tight you know. Amazing, isn’t it? Did you see my nose?”

There was a patch of dried blood on the bridge of his nose.

“An old lady’s bags did that,” Mike said. “I reached up to help her with them and they fell on me.”

Brett gestured at him from the bar with her cigarette-holder and wrinkled the corners of her eyes.

“An old lady,” said Mike. “Her bags fell on me. Let’s go in

and see Brett. I say, she is a piece. You are a lovely lady, Brett. Where did you get that hat?”

“Chap bought it for me. Don’t you like it?”

“It’s a dreadful hat. Do get a good hat.”

“Oh, we’ve so much money now,” Brett said. “I say, haven’t you met Bill yet? You are a lovely host, Jake.”

She turned to Mike. “This is Bill Gorton. This drunkard is Mike Campbell. Mr. Campbell is an undischarged bankrupt.”

“Aren’t I, though? You know I met my ex-partner yesterday in London. Chap who did me in.”

“What did he say?”

“Bought me a drink. I thought I might as well take it. I say, Brett, you are a lovely piece. Don’t you think she’s beautiful?”

“Beautiful. With this nose?”

“It’s a lovely nose. Go on, point it at me. Isn’t she a lovely piece?”

“Couldn’t we have kept the man in Scotland?”

“I say, Brett, let’s turn in early.”

“Don’t be indecent, Michael. Remember there are ladies at this bar.”

“Isn’t she a lovely piece? Don’t you think so, Jake?”

“There’s a fight to-night,” Bill said. “Like to go?”

“Fight,” said Mike. “Who’s fighting?”

“Ledoux and somebody.”

“He’s very good, Ledoux,” Mike said. “I’d like to see it, rather”—he was making an effort to pull himself together—“but I can’t go. I had a date with this thing here. I say, Brett, do get a new hat.”

Brett pulled the felt hat down far over one eye and smiled out from under it. “You two run along to the fight. I’ll have to be taking Mr. Campbell home directly.”

“I’m not tight,” Mike said. “Perhaps just a little. I say, Brett, you are a lovely piece.”

“Go on to the fight,” Brett said. “Mr. Campbell’s getting difficult. What are these outbursts of affection, Michael?”

“I say, you are a lovely piece.”

We said good night. “I’m sorry I can’t go,” Mike said. Brett laughed. I looked back from the door. Mike had one hand on the bar and was leaning toward Brett, talking. Brett was looking at him quite coolly, but the corners of her eyes were smiling.

Outside on the pavement I said: “Do you want to go to the fight?”

“Sure,” said Bill. “If we don’t have to walk.”

“Mike was pretty excited about his girl friend,” I said in the taxi.

“Well,” said Bill. “You can’t blame him such a hell of a lot.”

CHAPTER 9

The Ledoux-Kid Francis fight was the night of the 20th of June. It was a good fight. The morning after the fight I had a letter from Robert Cohn, written from Hendaye. He was having a very quiet time, he said, bathing, playing some golf and much bridge. Hendaye had a splendid beach, but he was anxious to start on the fishing-trip. When would I be down? If I would buy him a double-tapered line he would pay me when I came down.

That same morning I wrote Cohn from the office that Bill and I would leave Paris on the 25th unless I wired him otherwise, and would meet him at Bayonne, where we could get a bus over the mountains to Pamplona. The same evening about seven o’clock I stopped in at the Select to see Michael and Brett. They were not there, and I went over to the Dingo. They were inside sitting at the bar.

“Hello, darling.” Brett put out her hand.

“Hello, Jake,” Mike said. “I understand I was tight last night.”

“Weren’t you, though,” Brett said. “Disgraceful business.”

“Look,” said Mike, “when do you go down to Spain? Would you mind if we came down with you?”

“It would be grand.”

“You wouldn’t mind, really? I’ve been at Pamplona, you know. Brett’s mad to go. You’re sure we wouldn’t just be a bloody nuisance?”

“Don’t talk like a fool.”

“I’m a little tight, you know. I wouldn’t ask you like this if I weren’t. You’re sure you don’t mind?”

“Oh, shut up, Michael,” Brett said. “How can the man say he’d mind now? I’ll ask him later.”

“But you don’t mind, do you?”

“Don’t ask that again unless you want to make me sore. Bill and I go down on the morning of the 25th.”

“By the way, where is Bill?” Brett asked.

“He’s out at Chantilly dining with some people.”

“He’s a good chap.”

“Splendid chap,” said Mike. “He is, you know.”

“You don’t remember him,” Brett said.

“I do. Remember him perfectly. Look, Jake, we’ll come down the night of the 25th. Brett can’t get up in the morning.”

“Indeed not!”

“If our money comes and you’re sure you don’t mind.”

“It will come, all right. I’ll see to that.”

“Tell me what tackle to send for.”

“Get two or three rods with reels, and lines, and some flies.”

“I won’t fish,” Brett put in.

“Get two rods, then, and Bill won’t have to buy one.”

“Right,” said Mike. “I’ll send a wire to the keeper.”

“Won’t it be splendid,” Brett said. “Spain! We will have fun.”

“The 25th. When is that?”

“Saturday.”

“We will have to get ready.”

“I say,” said Mike, “I’m going to the barber’s.”

“I must bathe,” said Brett. “Walk up to the hotel with me, Jake. Be a good chap.”

“We have got the loveliest hotel,” Mike said. “I think it’s a brothel!”

“We left our bags here at the Dingo when we got in, and they asked us at this hotel if we wanted a room for the afternoon only. Seemed frightfully pleased we were going to stay all night.”

I believe it’s a brothel,” Mike said. “And I should know.”

“Oh, shut it and go and get your hair cut.”

Mike went out. Brett and I sat on at the bar.

“Have another?”

“Might.”

“I needed that,” Brett said.

We walked up the Rue Delambre.

“I haven’t seen you since I’ve been back,” Brett said.

“No.”

“How are you, Jake?”

“Fine.”

Brett looked at me. “I say,” she said, “is Robert Cohn going on this trip?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Don’t you think it will be a bit rough on him?”

“Why should it?”

“Who did you think I went down to San Sebastian with?”

“Congratulations,” I said.

We walked along.

“What did you say that for?”

“I don’t know. What would you like me to say?”

We walked along and turned a corner.

“He behaved rather well, too. He gets a little dull.”

“Does he?”

“I rather thought it would be good for him.”

“You might take up social service.”

“Don’t be nasty.”

“I won’t.”

“Didn’t you really know?”

“No,” I said. “I guess I didn’t think about it.”

“Do you think it will be too rough on him?”

“That’s up to him,” I said. “Tell him you’re coming. He can always not come.”

“I’ll write him and give him a chance to pull out of it.”

I did not see Brett again until the night of the 24th of June.

“Did you hear from Cohn?”

“Rather. He’s keen about it.”

“My God!”

“I thought it was rather odd myself.”

“Says he can’t wait to see me.”

“Does he think you’re coming alone?”

“No. I told him we were all coming down together. Michael and all.”

“He’s wonderful.”

“Isn’t he?”

They expected their money the next day. We arranged to meet at Pamplona. They would go directly to San Sebastian and take the train from there. We would all meet at the Montoya in Pamplona. If they did not turn up on Monday at the latest we would go on ahead up to Burguete in the mountains, to start fishing. There was a bus to Burguete. I wrote out an itinerary so they could follow us.

Bill and I took the morning train from the Gare d’Orsay. It was a lovely day, not too hot, and the country was beautiful from the start. We went back into the diner and had breakfast. Leaving the dining-car I asked the conductor for tickets for the first service.

“Nothing until the fifth.”

“What’s this?”

There were never more than two servings of lunch on that train, and always plenty of places for both of them.

“They’re all reserved,” the dining-car conductor said. “There will be a fifth service at three-thirty.”

“This is serious,” I said to Bill.

“Give him ten francs.”

“Here,” I said. “We want to eat in the first service.”

The conductor put the ten francs in his pocket.

“Thank you,” he said. “I would advise you gentlemen to get some sandwiches. All the places for the first four services were reserved at the office of the company.”

“You’ll go a long way, brother,” Bill said to him in English. “I suppose if I’d given you five francs you would have advised us to jump off the train.”

Comment?”

“Go to hell!” said Bill. “Get the sandwiches made and a bottle of wine. You tell him, Jake.”

“And send it up to the next car.” I described where we were.

In our compartment were a man and his wife and their young son.

“I suppose you’re Americans, aren’t you?” the man asked. “Having a good trip?”

“Wonderful,” said Bill.

“That’s what you want to do. Travel while you’re young. Mother and I always wanted to get over, but we had to wait a while.”

“You could have come over ten years ago, if you’d wanted to,” the wife said. “What you always said was: ‘See America first!’ I will say we’ve seen a good deal, take it one way and another.”

“Say, there’s plenty of Americans on this train,” the husband said. “They’ve got seven cars of them from Dayton, Ohio. They’ve been on a pilgrimage to Rome, and now they’re going down to Biarritz and Lourdes.”

“So, that’s what they are. Pilgrims. Goddam Puritans,” Bill said.

“What part of the States you boys from?”

“Kansas City,” I said. “He’s from Chicago.”

“You both going to Biarritz?”

“No. We’re going fishing in Spain.”

“Well, I never cared for it, myself. There’s plenty that do out where I come from, though. We got some of the best fishing in the State of Montana. I’ve been out with the boys, but I never cared for it any.”

“Mighty little fishing you did on them trips,” his wife said.

He winked at us.

“You know how the ladies are. If there’s a jug goes along, or a case of beer, they think it’s hell and damnation.”

“That’s the way men are,” his wife said to us. She smoothed her comfortable lap. “I voted against prohibition to please him, and because I like a little beer in the house, and then he talks that way. It’s a wonder they ever find any one to marry them.”

“Say,” said Bill, “do you know that gang of Pilgrim Fathers have cornered the dining-car until half past three this afternoon?”

“How do you mean? They can’t do a thing like that.”

“You try and get seats.”

“Well, mother, it looks as though we better go back and get another breakfast.”

She stood up and straightened her dress.

“Will you boys keep an eye on our things? Come on, Hubert.”

They all three went up to the wagon restaurant. A little while after they were gone a steward went through announcing the first service, and pilgrims, with their priests, commenced filing down the corridor. Our friend and his family did not come back. A waiter passed in the corridor with our sandwiches and the bottle of Chablis, and we called him in.

“You’re going to work to-day,” I said.

He nodded his head. “They start now, at ten-thirty.”

“When do we eat?”

“Huh! When do I eat?”

He left two glasses for the bottle, and we paid him for the sandwiches and tipped him.

“I’ll get the plates,” he said, “or bring them with you.”

We ate the sandwiches and drank the Chablis and watched the country out of the window. The grain was just beginning to ripen and the fields were full of poppies. The pastureland was green, and there were fine trees, and sometimes big rivers and chateaux off in the trees.

At Tours we got off and bought another bottle of wine, and when we got back in the compartment the gentleman from Montana and his wife and his son, Hubert, were sitting comfortably.

“Is there good swimming in Biarritz?” asked Hubert.

“That boy’s just crazy till he can get in the water,” his mother said. “It’s pretty hard on youngsters travelling.”

“There’s good swimming,” I said. “But it’s dangerous when it’s rough.”

“Did you get a meal?” Bill asked.

“We sure did. We set right there when they started to come in, and they must have just thought we were in the party. One of the waiters said something to us in French, and then they just sent three of them back.”

“They thought we were snappers, all right,” the man said. “It certainly shows you the power of the Catholic Church. It’s a pity you boys ain’t Catholics. You could get a meal, then, all right.”

“I am,” I said. “That’s what makes me so sore.”

Finally at a quarter past four we had lunch. Bill had been rather difficult at the last. He buttonholed a priest who was coming back with one of the returning streams of pilgrims.

“When do us Protestants get a chance to eat, father?”

“I don’t know anything about it. Haven’t you got tickets?”

“It’s enough to make a man join the Klan,” Bill said. The priest looked back at him.

Inside the dining-car the waiters served the fifth successive table d’hôte meal. The waiter who served us was soaked through. His white jacket was purple under the arms.

“He must drink a lot of wine.”

“Or wear purple undershirts.”

“Let’s ask him.”

“No. He’s too tired.”

The train stopped for half an hour at Bordeaux and we went out through the station for a little walk. There was not time to get in to the town. Afterward we passed through the Landes and watched the sun set. There were wide fire-gaps cut through the pines, and you could look up them like avenues and see wooded hills way off. About seven-thirty we had dinner and watched the country through the open window in the diner. It was all sandy pine country full of heather. There were little clearings with houses in them, and once in a while we passed a sawmill. It got dark and we could feel the country hot and sandy and dark outside of the window, and about nine o’clock we got into Bayonne. The man and his wife and Hubert all shook hands with us. They were going on to LaNegresse to change for Biarritz.

“Well, I hope you have lots of luck,” he said.

“Be careful about those bull-fights.”

“Maybe we’ll see you at Biarritz,” Hubert said.

We got off with our bags and rod-cases and passed through the dark station and out to the lights and the line of cabs and hotel buses. There, standing with the hotel runners, was Robert Cohn. He did not see us at first. Then he started forward.

“Hello, Jake. Have a good trip?”

“Fine,” I said. “This is Bill Gorton.”

“How are you?”

“Come on,” said Robert. “I’ve got a cab.” He was a little near-sighted. I had never noticed it before. He was looking at Bill, trying to make him out. He was shy, too.

“We’ll go up to my hotel. It’s all right. It’s quite nice.”

We got into the cab, and the cabman put the bags up on the seat beside him and climbed up and cracked his whip, and we drove over the dark bridge and into the town.

“I’m awfully glad to meet you,” Robert said to Bill. “I’ve heard so much about you from Jake and I’ve read your books. Did you get my line, Jake?”

The cab stopped in front of the hotel and we all got out and went in. It was a nice hotel, and the people at the desk were very cheerful, and we each had a good small room.

CHAPTER 10

In the morning it was bright, and they were sprinkling the streets of the town, and we all had breakfast in a café. Bayonne is a nice town. It is like a very clean Spanish town and it is on a big river. Already, so early in the morning, it was very hot on the bridge across the river. We walked out on the bridge and then took a walk through the town.

I was not at all sure Mike’s rods would come from Scotland in time, so we hunted a tackle store and finally bought a rod for Bill up-stairs over a drygoods store. The man who sold the tackle was out, and we had to wait for him to come back. Finally he came in, and we bought a pretty good rod cheap, and two landing-nets.

We went out into the street again and took a look at the cathedral. Cohn made some remark about it being a very good example of something or other, I forget what. It seemed like a nice cathedral, nice and dim, like Spanish churches. Then we went up past the old fort and out to the local Syndicat d’Initiative office, where the bus was supposed to start from. There they told us the bus service did not start until the 1st of July. We found out at the tourist office what we ought to pay for a motor-car to Pamplona and hired one at a big garage just around the corner from the Municipal Theatre for four hundred francs. The car was to pick us up at the hotel in forty minutes, and we stopped at the café on the square where we had eaten breakfast, and had a beer. It was hot, but the town had a cool, fresh, early-morning smell and it was pleasant sitting in the café. A breeze started to blow, and you could feel that the air came from the sea. There were pigeons out in the square, and the houses were a yellow, sun-baked color, and I did not want to leave the café. But we had to go to the hotel to get our bags packed and pay the bill. We paid for the beers, we matched and I think Cohn paid, and went up to the hotel. It was only sixteen francs apiece for Bill and me, with ten per cent added for the service, and we had the bags sent down and waited for Robert Cohn. While we were waiting I saw a cockroach on the parquet floor that must have been at least three inches long. I pointed him out to Bill and then put my shoe on him. We agreed he must have just come in from the garden. It was really an awfully clean hotel.

Cohn came down, finally, and we all went out to the car. It was a big, closed car, with a driver in a white duster with blue collar and cuffs, and we had him put the back of the car down. He piled in the bags and we started off up the street and out of the town. We passed some lovely gardens and had a good look back at the town, and then we were out in the country, green and rolling, and the road climbing all the time. We passed lots of Basques with oxen, or cattle, hauling carts along the road, and nice farmhouses, low roofs, and all white-plastered. In the Basque country the land all looks very rich and green and the houses and villages look well-off and clean. Every village had a pelota court and on some of them kids were playing in the hot sun. There were signs on the walls of the churches saying it was forbidden to play pelota against them, and the houses in the villages had red tiled roofs, and then the road turned off and commenced to climb and we were going way up close along a hillside, with a valley below and hills stretched off back toward the sea. You couldn’t see the sea. It was too far away. You could see only hills and more hills, and you knew where the sea was.

We crossed the Spanish frontier. There was a little stream and a bridge, and Spanish carabineers, with patent-leather Bonaparte hats, and short guns on their backs, on one side, and on the other fat Frenchmen in kepis and mustaches. They only opened one bag and took the passports in and looked at them. There was a general store and inn on each side of the line. The chauffeur had to go in and fill out some papers about the car and we got out and went over to the stream to see if there were any trout. Bill tried to talk some Spanish to one of the carabineers, but it did not go very well. Robert Cohn asked, pointing with his finger, if there were any trout in the stream, and the carabineer said yes, but not many.

I asked him if he ever fished, and he said no, that he didn’t care for it.

Just then an old man with long, sunburned hair and beard, and clothes that looked as though they were made of gunny-sacking, came striding up to the bridge. He was carrying a long staff, and he had a kid slung on his back, tied by the four legs, the head hanging down.

The carabineer waved him back with his sword. The man turned without saying anything, and started back up the white road into Spain.

“What’s the matter with the old one?” I asked.

“He hasn’t got any passport.”

I offered the guard a cigarette. He took it and thanked me.

“What will he do?” I asked.

The guard spat in the dust.

“Oh, he’ll just wade across the stream.”

“Do you have much smuggling?”

“Oh,” he said, “they go through.”

The chauffeur came out, folding up the papers and putting them in the inside pocket of his coat. We all got in the car and it started up the white dusty road into Spain. For a while the country was much as it had been; then, climbing all the time, we crossed the top of a Col, the road winding back and forth on itself, and then it was really Spain. There were long brown mountains and a few pines and far-off forests of beech-trees on some of the mountainsides. The road went along the summit of the Col and then dropped down, and the driver had to honk, and slow up, and turn out to avoid running into two donkeys that were sleeping in the road. We came down out of the mountains and through an oak forest, and there were white cattle grazing in the forest. Down below there were grassy plains and clear streams, and then we crossed a stream and went through a gloomy little village, and started to climb again. We climbed up and up and crossed another high Col and turned along it, and the road ran down to the right, and we saw a whole new range of mountains off to the south, all brown and baked-looking and furrowed in strange shapes.

After a while we came out of the mountains, and there were trees along both sides of the road, and a stream and ripe fields of grain, and the road went on, very white and straight ahead, and then lifted to a little rise, and off on the left was a hill with an old castle, with buildings close around it and a field of grain going right up to the walls and shifting in the wind. I was up in front with the driver and I turned around. Robert Cohn was asleep, but Bill looked and nodded his head. Then we crossed a wide plain, and there was a big river off on the right shining in the sun from between the line of trees, and away off you could see the plateau of Pamplona rising out of the plain, and the walls of the city, and the great brown cathedral, and the broken skyline of the other churches. In back of the plateau were the mountains, and every way you looked there were other mountains, and ahead the road stretched out white across the plain going toward Pamplona.

We came into the town on the other side of the plateau, the road slanting up steeply and dustily with shade-trees on both sides, and then levelling out through the new part of town they are building up outside the old walls. We passed the bull-ring, high and white and concrete-looking in the sun, and then came into the big square by a side street and stopped in front of the Hotel Montoya.

The driver helped us down with the bags. There was a crowd of kids watching the car, and the square was hot, and the trees were green, and the flags hung on their staffs, and it was good to get out of the sun and under the shade of the arcade that runs all the way around the square. Montoya was glad to see us, and shook hands and gave us good rooms looking out on the square, and then we washed and cleaned up and went down-stairs in the dining-room for lunch. The driver stayed for lunch, too, and afterward we paid him and he started back to Bayonne.

There are two dining-rooms in the Montoya. One is up-stairs on the second floor and looks out on the square. The other is down one floor below the level of the square and has a door that opens on the back street that the bulls pass along when they run through the streets early in the morning on their way to the ring. It is always cool in the down-stairs dining-room and we had a very good lunch. The first meal in Spain was always a shock with the hors d’œuvres, an egg course, two meat courses, vegetables, salad, and dessert and fruit. You have to drink plenty of wine to get it all down. Robert Cohn tried to say he did not want any of the second meat course, but we would not interpret for him, and so the waitress brought him something else as a replacement, a plate of cold meats, I think. Cohn had been rather nervous ever since we had met at Bayonne. He did not know whether we knew Brett had been with him at San Sebastian, and it made him rather awkward.

“Well,” I said, “Brett and Mike ought to get in to-night.”

“I’m not sure they’ll come,” Cohn said.

“Why not?” Bill said. “Of course they’ll come.”

“They’re always late,” I said.

“I rather think they’re not coming,” Robert Cohn said.

He said it with an air of superior knowledge that irritated both of us.

“I’ll bet you fifty pesetas they’re here to-night,” Bill said. He always bets when he is angered, and so he usually bets foolishly.

“I’ll take it,” Cohn said. “Good. You remember it, Jake. Fifty pesetas.”

“I’ll remember it myself,” Bill said. I saw he was angry and wanted to smooth him down.

“It’s a sure thing they’ll come,” I said. “But maybe not to-night.”

“Want to call it off?” Cohn asked.

“No. Why should I? Make it a hundred if you like.”

“All right. I’ll take that.”

“That’s enough,” I said. “Or you’ll have to make a book and give me some of it.”

“I’m satisfied,” Cohn said. He smiled. “You’ll probably win it back at bridge, anyway.”

“You haven’t got it yet,” Bill said.

We went out to walk around under the arcade to the Café Iruña for coffee. Cohn said he was going over and get a shave.

“Say,” Bill said to me, “have I got any chance on that bet?”

“You’ve got a rotten chance. They’ve never been on time anywhere. If their money doesn’t come it’s a cinch they won’t get in to-night.”

“I was sorry as soon as I opened my mouth. But I had to call him. He’s all right, I guess, but where does he get this inside stuff? Mike and Brett fixed it up with us about coming down here.”

I saw Cohn coming over across the square.

“Here he comes.”

“Well, let him not get superior and Jewish.”

“The barber shop’s closed,” Cohn said. “It’s not open till four.”

We had coffee at the Iruña, sitting in comfortable wicker chairs looking out from the cool of the arcade at the big square. After a while Bill went to write some letters and Cohn went over to the barber-shop. It was still closed, so he decided to go up to the hotel and get a bath, and I sat out in front of the café and then went for a walk in the town. It was very hot, but I kept on the shady side of the streets and went through the market and had a good time seeing the town again. I went to the Ayuntamiento and found the old gentleman who subscribes for the bull-fight tickets for me every year, and he had gotten the money I sent him from Paris and renewed my subscriptions, so that was all set. He was the archivist, and all the archives of the town were in his office. That has nothing to do with the story. Anyway, his office had a green baize door and a big wooden door, and when I went out I left him sitting among the archives that covered all the walls, and I shut both the doors, and as I went out of the building into the street the porter stopped me to brush off my coat.

“You must have been in a motor-car,” he said.

The back of the collar and the upper part of the shoulders were gray with dust.

“From Bayonne.”

“Well, well,” he said. “I knew you were in a motor-car from the way the dust was.” So I gave him two copper coins.

At the end of the street I saw the cathedral and walked up toward it. The first time I ever saw it I thought the façade was ugly but I liked it now. I went inside. It was dim and dark and the pillars went high up, and there were people praying, and it smelt of incense, and there were some wonderful big windows. I knelt and started to pray and prayed for everybody I thought of, Brett and Mike and Bill and Robert Cohn and myself, and all the bull-fighters, separately for the ones I liked, and lumping all the rest, then I prayed for myself again, and while I was praying for myself I found I was getting sleepy, so I prayed that the bull-fights would be good, and that it would be a fine fiesta, and that we would get some fishing. I wondered if there was anything else I might pray for, and I thought I would like to have some money, so I prayed that I would make a lot of money, and then I started to think how I would make it, and thinking of making money reminded me of the count, and I started wondering about where he was, and regretting I hadn’t seen him since that night in Montmartre, and about something funny Brett told me about him, and as all the time I was kneeling with my forehead on the wood in front of me, and was thinking of myself as praying, I was a little ashamed, and regretted that I was such a rotten Catholic, but realized there was nothing I could do about it, at least for a while, and maybe never, but that anyway it was a grand religion, and I only wished I felt religious and maybe I would the next time; and then I was out in the hot sun on the steps of the cathedral, and the forefingers and the thumb of my right hand were still damp, and I felt them dry in the sun. The sunlight was hot and hard, and I crossed over beside some buildings, and walked back along side-streets to the hotel.

At dinner that night we found that Robert Cohn had taken a bath, had had a shave and a haircut and a shampoo, and something put on his hair afterward to make it stay down. He was nervous, and I did not try to help him any. The train was due in at nine o’clock from San Sebastian, and, if Brett and Mike were coming, they would be on it. At twenty minutes to nine we were not half through dinner. Robert Cohn got up from the table and said he would go to the station. I said I would go with him, just to devil him. Bill said he would be damned if he would leave his dinner. I said we would be right back.

We walked to the station. I was enjoying Cohn’s nervousness. I hoped Brett would be on the train. At the station the train was late, and we sat on a baggage-truck and waited outside in the dark. I have never seen a man in civil life as nervous as Robert Cohn—nor as eager. I was enjoying it. It was lousy to enjoy it, but I felt lousy. Cohn had a wonderful quality of bringing out the worst in anybody.

After a while we heard the train-whistle way off below on the other side of the plateau, and then we saw the headlight coming up the hill. We went inside the station and stood with a crowd of people just back of the gates, and the train came in and stopped, and everybody started coming out through the gates.

They were not in the crowd. We waited till everybody had gone through and out of the station and gotten into buses, or taken cabs, or were walking with their friends or relatives through the dark into the town.

“I knew they wouldn’t come,” Robert said. We were going back to the hotel.

“I thought they might,” I said.

Bill was eating fruit when we came in and finishing a bottle of wine.

“Didn’t come, eh?”

“No.”

“Do you mind if I give you that hundred pesetas in the morning, Cohn?” Bill asked. “I haven’t changed any money here yet.”

“Oh, forget about it,” Robert Cohn said. “Let’s bet on something else. Can you bet on bull-fights?”

“You could,” Bill said, “but you don’t need to.”

“It would be like betting on the war,” I said. “You don’t need any economic interest.”

“I’m very curious to see them,” Robert said.

Montoya came up to our table. He had a telegram in his hand. “It’s for you.” He handed it to me.

It read: “Stopped night San Sebastian.”

“It’s from them,” I said. I put it in my pocket. Ordinarily I should have handed it over.

“They’ve stopped over in San Sebastian,” I said. “Send their regards to you.”

Why I felt that impulse to devil him I do not know. Of course I do know. I was blind, unforgivingly jealous of what had happened to him. The fact that I took it as a matter of course did not alter that any. I certainly did hate him. I do not think I ever really hated him until he had that little spell of superiority at lunch—that and when he went through all that barbering. So I put the telegram in my pocket. The telegram came to me, anyway.

“Well,” I said. “We ought to pull out on the noon bus for Burguete. They can follow us if they get in to-morrow night.”

There were only two trains up from San Sebastian, an early morning train and the one we had just met.

“That sounds like a good idea,” Cohn said.

“The sooner we get on the stream the better.”

“It’s all one to me when we start,” Bill said. “The sooner the better.”

We sat in the Iruña for a while and had coffee and then took a little walk out to the bull-ring and across the field and under the trees at the edge of the cliff and looked down at the river in the dark, and I turned in early. Bill and Cohn stayed out in the café quite late, I believe, because I was asleep when they came in.

In the morning I bought three tickets for the bus to Burguete. It was scheduled to leave at two o’clock. There was nothing earlier. I was sitting over at the Iruña reading the papers when I saw Robert Cohn coming across the square. He came up to the table and sat down in one of the wicker chairs.

“This is a comfortable café,” he said. “Did you have a good night, Jake?”

“I slept like a log.”

“I didn’t sleep very well. Bill and I were out late, too.”

“Where were you?”

“Here. And after it shut we went over to that other café. The old man there speaks German and English.”

“The Café Suizo.”

“That’s it. He seems like a nice old fellow. I think it’s a better café than this one.”

“It’s not so good in the daytime,” I said. “Too hot. By the way, I got the bus tickets.”

“I’m not going up to-day. You and Bill go on ahead.”

“I’ve got your ticket.”

“Give it to me. I’ll get the money back.”

“It’s five pesetas.”

Robert Cohn took out a silver five-peseta piece and gave it to me.

“I ought to stay,” he said. “You see I’m afraid there’s some sort of misunderstanding.”

“Why,” I said. “They may not come here for three or four days now if they start on parties at San Sebastian.”

“That’s just it,” said Robert. “I’m afraid they expected to meet me at San Sebastian, and that’s why they stopped over.”

“What makes you think that?”

“Well, I wrote suggesting it to Brett.”

“Why in hell didn’t you stay there and meet them then?” I started to say, but I stopped. I thought that idea would come to him by itself, but I do not believe it ever did.

He was being confidential now and it was giving him pleasure to be able to talk with the understanding that I knew there was something between him and Brett.

“Well, Bill and I will go up right after lunch,” I said.

“I wish I could go. We’ve been looking forward to this fishing all winter.” He was being sentimental about it. “But I ought to stay. I really ought. As soon as they come I’ll bring them right up.”

“Let’s find Bill.”

“I want to go over to the barber-shop.”

“See you at lunch.”

I found Bill up in his room. He was shaving.

“Oh, yes, he told me all about it last night,” Bill said. “He’s a great little confider. He said he had a date with Brett at San Sebastian.”

“The lying bastard!”

“Oh, no,” said Bill. “Don’t get sore. Don’t get sore at this stage of the trip. How did you ever happen to know this fellow, anyway?”

“Don’t rub it in.”

Bill looked around, half-shaved, and then went on talking into the mirror while he lathered his face.

“Didn’t you send him with a letter to me in New York last winter? Thank God, I’m a travelling man. Haven’t you got some more Jewish friends you could bring along?” He rubbed his chin with his thumb, looked at it, and then started scraping again.

“You’ve got some fine ones yourself.”

“Oh, yes. I’ve got some darbs. But not alongside of this Robert Cohn. The funny thing is he’s nice, too. I like him. But he’s just so awful.”

“He can be damn nice.”

“I know it. That’s the terrible part.”

I laughed.

“Yes. Go on and laugh,” said Bill. “You weren’t out with him last night until two o’clock.”

“Was he very bad?”

“Awful. What’s all this about him and Brett, anyway? Did she ever have anything to do with him?”

He raised his chin up and pulled it from side to side.

“Sure. She went down to San Sebastian with him.”

“What a damn-fool thing to do. Why did she do that?”

“She wanted to get out of town and she can’t go anywhere alone. She said she thought it would be good for him.”

“What bloody-fool things people do. Why didn’t she go off with some of her own people? Or you?”—he slurred that over—“or me? Why not me?” He looked at his face carefully in the glass, put a big dab of lather on each cheek-bone. “It’s an honest face. It’s a face any woman would be safe with.”

“She’d never seen it.”

“She should have. All women should see it. It’s a face that ought to be thrown on every screen in the country. Every woman ought to be given a copy of this face as she leaves the altar. Mothers should tell their daughters about this face. My son”—he pointed the razor at me—“go west with this face and grow up with the country.”

He ducked down to the bowl, rinsed his face with cold water, put on some alcohol, and then looked at himself carefully in the glass, pulling down his long upper lip.

“My God!” he said, “isn’t it an awful face?”

He looked in the glass.

“And as for this Robert Cohn,” Bill said, “he makes me sick, and he can go to hell, and I’m damn glad he’s staying here so we won’t have him fishing with us.”

“You’re damn right.”

“We’re going trout-fishing. We’re going trout-fishing in the Irati River, and we’re going to get tight now at lunch on the wine of the country, and then take a swell bus ride.”

“Come on. Let’s go over to the Iruña and start,” I said.

CHAPTER 11

It was baking hot in the square when we came out after lunch with our bags and the rod-case to go to Burguete. People were on top of the bus, and others were climbing up a ladder. Bill went up and Robert sat beside Bill to save a place for me, and I went back in the hotel to get a couple of bottles of wine to take with us. When I came out the bus was crowded. Men and women were sitting on all the baggage and boxes on top, and the women all had their fans going in the sun. It certainly was hot. Robert climbed down and I fitted into the place he had saved on the one wooden seat that ran across the top.

Robert Cohn stood in the shade of the arcade waiting for us start. A Basque with a big leather wine-bag in his lap lay across the top of the bus in front of our seat, leaning back against our legs. He offered the wine-skin to Bill and to me, and when I tipped it up to drink he imitated the sound of a klaxon motor-horn so well and so suddenly that I spilled some of the wine, and everybody laughed. He apologized and made me take another drink. He made the klaxon again a little later, and it fooled me the second time. He was very good at it. The Basques liked it. The man next to Bill was talking to him in Spanish and Bill was not getting it, so he offered the man one of the bottles of wine. The man waved it away. He said it was too hot and he had drunk too much at lunch. When Bill offered the bottle the second time he took a long drink, and then the bottle went all over that part of the bus. Every one took a drink very politely, and then they made us cork it up and put it away. They all wanted us to drink from their leather wine-bottles. They were peasants going up into the hills.

Finally, after a couple more false klaxons, the bus started, and Robert Cohn waved good-by to us, and all the Basques waved good-by to him. As soon as we started out on the road outside of town it was cool. It felt nice riding high up and close under the trees. The bus went quite fast and made a good breeze, and as we went out along the road with the dust powdering the trees and down the hill, we had a fine view, back through the trees, of the town rising up from the bluff above the river. The Basque lying against my knees pointed out the view with the neck of the wine-bottle, and winked at us. He nodded his head.

“Pretty nice, eh?”

“These Basques are swell people,” Bill said.

The Basque lying against my legs was tanned the color of saddle-leather. He wore a black smock like all the rest. There were wrinkles in his tanned neck. He turned around and offered his wine-bag to Bill. Bill handed him one of our bottles. The Basque wagged a forefinger at him and handed the bottle back, slapping in the cork with the palm of his hand. He shoved the wine-bag up.

“Arriba! Arriba!” he said. “Lift it up.”

Bill raised the wine-skin and let the stream of wine spurt out and into his mouth, his head tipped back. When he stopped drinking and tipped the leather bottle down a few drops ran down his chin.

“No! No!” several Basques said. “Not like that.” One snatched the bottle away from the owner, who was himself about to give a demonstration. He was a young fellow and he held the wine-bottle at full arms’ length and raised it high up, squeezing the leather bag with his hand so the stream of wine hissed into his mouth. He held the bag out there, the wine making a flat, hard trajectory into his mouth, and he kept on swallowing smoothly and regularly.

“Hey!” the owner of the bottle shouted. “Whose wine is that?”

The drinker waggled his little finger at him and smiled at us with his eyes. Then he bit the stream off sharp, made a quick lift with the wine-bag and lowered it down to the owner. He winked at us. The owner shook the wine-skin sadly.

We passed through a town and stopped in front of the posada, and the driver took on several packages. Then we started on again, and outside the town the road commenced to mount. We were going through farming country with rocky hills that sloped down into the fields. The grain-fields went up the hillsides. Now as we went higher there was a wind blowing the grain. The road was white and dusty, and the dust rose under the wheels and hung in the air behind us. The road climbed up into the hills and left the rich grain-fields below. Now there were only patches of grain on the bare hillsides and on each side of the water-courses. We turned sharply out to the side of the road to give room to pass to a long string of six mules, following one after the other, hauling a high-hooded wagon loaded with freight. The wagon and the mules were covered with dust. Close behind was another string of mules and another wagon. This was loaded with lumber, and the arriero driving the mules leaned back and put on the thick wooden brakes as we passed. Up here the country was quite barren and the hills were rocky and hard-baked clay furrowed by the rain.

We came around a curve into a town, and on both sides opened out a sudden green valley. A stream went through the centre of the town and fields of grapes touched the houses.

The bus stopped in front of a posada and many of the passengers got down, and a lot of the baggage was unstrapped from the roof from under the big tarpaulins and lifted down. Bill and I got down and went into the posada. There was a low, dark room with saddles and harness, and hay-forks made of white wood, and clusters of canvas rope-soled shoes and hams and slabs of bacon and white garlics and long sausages hanging from the roof. It was cool and dusky, and we stood in front of a long wooden counter with two women behind it serving drinks. Behind them were shelves stacked with supplies and goods.

We each had an aguardiente and paid forty centimes for the two drinks. I gave the woman fifty centimes to make a tip, and she gave me back the copper piece, thinking I had misunderstood the price.

Two of our Basques came in and insisted on buying a drink. So they bought a drink and then we bought a drink, and then they slapped us on the back and bought another drink. Then we bought, and then we all went out into the sunlight and the heat, and climbed back on top of the bus. There was plenty of room now for every one to sit on the seat, and the Basque who had been lying on the tin roof now sat between us. The woman who had been serving drinks came out wiping her hands on her apron and talked to somebody inside the bus. Then the driver came out swinging two flat leather mail-pouches and climbed up, and everybody waving we started off.

The road left the green valley at once, and we were up in the hills again. Bill and the wine-bottle Basque were having a conversation. A man leaned over from the other side of the seat and asked in English: “You’re Americans?”

“Sure.”

“I been there,” he said. “Forty years ago.”

He was an old man, as brown as the others, with the stubble of a white beard.

“How was it?”

“What you say?”

“How was America?”

“Oh, I was in California. It was fine.”

“Why did you leave?”

“What you say?”

“Why did you come back here?”

“Oh! I come back to get married. I was going to go back but my wife she don’t like to travel. Where you from?”

“Kansas City.”

“I been there,” he said. “I been in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City.”

He named them carefully.

“How long were you over?”

“Fifteen years. Then I come back and got married.”

“Have a drink?”

“All right,” he said. “You can’t get this in America, eh?”

“There’s plenty if you can pay for it.”

“What you come over here for?”

“We’re going to the fiesta at Pamplona.”

“You like the bull-fights?”

“Sure. Don’t you?”

“Yes,” he said. “I guess I like them.”

Then after a little:

“Where you go now?”

“Up to Burguete to fish.”

“Well,” he said, “I hope you catch something.”

He shook hands and turned around to the back seat again. The other Basques had been impressed. He sat back comfortably and smiled at me when I turned around to look at the country. But the effort of talking American seemed to have tired him. He did not say anything after that.

The bus climbed steadily up the road. The country was barren and rocks stuck up through the clay. There was no grass beside the road. Looking back we could see the country spread out below. Far back the fields were squares of green and brown on the hillsides. Making the horizon were the brown mountains. They were strangely shaped. As we climbed higher the horizon kept changing. As the bus ground slowly up the road we could see other mountains coming up in the south. Then the road came over the crest, flattened out, and went into a forest. It was a forest of cork oaks, and the sun came through the trees in patches, and there were cattle grazing back in the trees. We went through the forest and the road came out and turned along a rise of land, and out ahead of us was a rolling green plain, with dark mountains beyond it. These were not like the brown, heat-baked mountains we had left behind. These were wooded and there were clouds coming down from them. The green plain stretched off. It was cut by fences and the white of the road showed through the trunks of a double line of trees that crossed the plain toward the north. As we came to the edge of the rise we saw the red roofs and white houses of Burguete ahead strung out on the plain, and away off on the shoulder of the first dark mountain was the gray metal-sheathed roof of the monastery of Roncesvalles.

“There’s Roncevaux,” I said.

“Where?”

“Way off there where the mountain starts.”

“It’s cold up here,” Bill said.

“It’s high,” I said. “It must be twelve hundred metres.”

“It’s awful cold,” Bill said.

The bus levelled down onto the straight line of road that ran to Burguete. We passed a crossroads and crossed a bridge over a stream. The houses of Burguete were along both sides of the road. There were no side-streets. We passed the church and the school-yard, and the bus stopped. We got down and the driver handed down our bags and the rod-case. A carabineer in his cocked hat and yellow leather cross-straps came up.

“What’s in there?” he pointed to the rod-case.

I opened it and showed him. He asked to see our fishing permits and I got them out. He looked at the date and then waved us on.

“Is that all right?” I asked.

“Yes. Of course.”

We went up the street, past the whitewashed stone houses, families sitting in their doorways watching us, to the inn.

The fat woman who ran the inn came out from the kitchen and shook hands with us. She took off her spectacles, wiped them, and put them on again. It was cold in the inn and the wind was starting to blow outside. The woman sent a girl up-stairs with us to show the room. There were two beds, a washstand, a clothes-chest, and a big, framed steel-engraving of Nuestra Señora de Roncesvalles. The wind was blowing against the shutters. The room was on the north side of the inn. We washed, put on sweaters, and came down-stairs into the dining-room. It had a stone floor, low ceiling, and was oak-panelled. The shutters were up and it was so cold you could see your breath.

“My God!” said Bill. “It can’t be this cold to-morrow. I’m not going to wade a stream in this weather.”

There was an upright piano in the far corner of the room beyond the wooden tables and Bill went over and started to play.

“I got to keep warm,” he said.

I went out to find the woman and ask her how much the room and board was. She put her hands under her apron and looked away from me.

“Twelve pesetas.”

“Why, we only paid that in Pamplona.”

She did not say anything, just took off her glasses and wiped them on her apron.

“That’s too much,” I said. “We didn’t pay more than that at a big hotel.”

“We’ve put in a bathroom.”

“Haven’t you got anything cheaper?”

“Not in the summer. Now is the big season.”

We were the only people in the inn. Well, I thought, it’s only a few days.

“Is the wine included?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Well,” I said. “It’s all right.”

I went back to Bill. He blew his breath at me to show how cold it was, and went on playing. I sat at one of the tables and looked at the pictures on the wall. There was one panel of rabbits, dead, one of pheasants, also dead, and one panel of dead ducks. The panels were all dark and smoky-looking. There was a cupboard full of liqueur bottles. I looked at them all. Bill was still playing. “How about a hot rum punch?” he said. “This isn’t going to keep me warm permanently.”

I went out and told the woman what a rum punch was and how to make it. In a few minutes a girl brought a stone pitcher, steaming, into the room. Bill came over from the piano and we drank the hot punch and listened to the wind.

“There isn’t too much rum in that.”

I went over to the cupboard and brought the rum bottle and poured a half-tumblerful into the pitcher.

“Direct action,” said Bill. “It beats legislation.”

The girl came in and laid the table for supper.

“It blows like hell up here,” Bill said.

The girl brought in a big bowl of hot vegetable soup and the wine. We had fried trout afterward and some sort of a stew and a big bowl full of wild strawberries. We did not lose money on the wine, and the girl was shy but nice about bringing it. The old woman looked in once and counted the empty bottles.

After supper we went up-stairs and smoked and read in bed to keep warm. Once in the night I woke and heard the wind blowing. It felt good to be warm and in bed.

CHAPTER 12

When I woke in the morning I went to the window and looked out. It had cleared and there were no clouds on the mountains. Outside under the window were some carts and an old diligence, the wood of the roof cracked and split by the weather. It must have been left from the days before the motor-buses. A goat hopped up on one of the carts and then to the roof of the diligence. He jerked his head at the other goats below and when I waved at him he bounded down.

Bill was still sleeping, so I dressed, put on my shoes outside in the hall, and went down-stairs. No one was stirring down-stairs, so I unbolted the door and went out. It was cool outside in the early morning and the sun had not yet dried the dew that had come when the wind died down. I hunted around in the shed behind the inn and found a sort of mattock, and went down toward the stream to try and dig some worms for bait. The stream was clear and shallow but it did not look trouty. On the grassy bank where it was damp I drove the mattock into the earth and loosened a chunk of sod. There were worms underneath. They slid out of sight as I lifted the sod and I dug carefully and got a good many. Digging at the edge of the damp ground I filled two empty tobacco-tins with worms and sifted dirt onto them. The goats watched me dig.

When I went back into the inn the woman was down in the kitchen, and I asked her to get coffee for us, and that we wanted a lunch. Bill was awake and sitting on the edge of the bed.

“I saw you out of the window,” he said. “Didn’t want to interrupt you. What were you doing? Burying your money?”

“You lazy bum!”

“Been working for the common good? Splendid. I want you to do that every morning.”

“Come on,” I said. “Get up.”

“What? Get up? I never get up.”

He climbed into bed and pulled the sheet up to his chin.

“Try and argue me into getting up.”

I went on looking for the tackle and putting it all together in the tackle-bag.

“Aren’t you interested?” Bill asked.

“I’m going down and eat.”

“Eat? Why didn’t you say eat? I thought you just wanted me to get up for fun. Eat? Fine. Now you’re reasonable. You go out and dig some more worms and I’ll be right down.”

“Oh, go to hell!”

“Work for the good of all.” Bill stepped into his underclothes. “Show irony and pity.”

I started out of the room with the tackle-bag, the nets, and the rod-case.

“Hey! come back!”

I put my head in the door.

“Aren’t you going to show a little irony and pity?”

I thumbed my nose.

“That’s not irony.”

As I went down-stairs I heard Bill singing, “Irony and Pity. When you’re feeling . . . Oh, Give them Irony and Give them Pity. Oh, give them Irony. When they’re feeling . . . Just a little irony. Just a little pity . . .” He kept on singing until he came down-stairs. The tune was: “The Bells are Ringing for Me and my Gal.” I was reading a week-old Spanish paper.

“What’s all this irony and pity?”

“What? Don’t you know about Irony and Pity?”

“No. Who got it up?”

“Everybody. They’re mad about it in New York. It’s just like the Fratellinis used to be.”

The girl came in with the coffee and buttered toast. Or, rather, it was bread toasted and buttered.

“Ask her if she’s got any jam,” Bill said. “Be ironical with her.”

“Have you got any jam?”

“That’s not ironical. I wish I could talk Spanish.”

The coffee was good and we drank it out of big bowls. The girl brought in a glass dish of raspberry jam.

“Thank you.”

“Hey! that’s not the way,” Bill said. “Say something ironical. Make some crack about Primo de Rivera.”

“I could ask her what kind of a jam they think they’ve gotten into in the Riff.”

“Poor,” said Bill. “Very poor. You can’t do it. That’s all. You don’t understand irony. You have no pity. Say something pitiful.”

“Robert Cohn.”

“Not so bad. That’s better. Now why is Cohn pitiful? Be ironic.”

He took a big gulp of coffee.

“Aw, hell!” I said. “It’s too early in the morning.”

“There you go. And you claim you want to be a writer, too. You’re only a newspaper man. An expatriated newspaper man. You ought to be ironical the minute you get out of bed. You ought to wake up with your mouth full of pity.”

“Go on,” I said. “Who did you get this stuff from?”

“Everybody. Don’t you read? Don’t you ever see anybody? You know what you are? You’re an expatriate. Why don’t you live in New York? Then you’d know these things. What do you want me to do? Come over here and tell you every year?”

“Take some more coffee,” I said.

“Good. Coffee is good for you. It’s the caffeine in it. Caffeine, we are here. Caffeine puts a man on her horse and a woman in his grave. You know what’s the trouble with you? You’re an expatriate. One of the worst type. Haven’t you heard that? Nobody that ever left their own country ever wrote anything worth printing. Not even in the newspapers.”

He drank the coffee.

“You’re an expatriate. You’ve lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafés.”

“It sounds like a swell life,” I said. “When do I work?”

“You don’t work. One group claims women support you. Another group claims you’re impotent.”

“No,” I said. “I just had an accident.”

“Never mention that,” Bill said. “That’s the sort of thing that can’t be spoken of. That’s what you ought to work up into a mystery. Like Henry’s bicycle.”

He had been going splendidly, but he stopped. I was afraid he thought he had hurt me with that crack about being impotent. I wanted to start him again.

“It wasn’t a bicycle,” I said. “He was riding horseback.”

“I heard it was a tricycle.”

“Well,” I said. “A plane is sort of like a tricycle. The joystick works the same way.”

“But you don’t pedal it.”

“No,” I said, “I guess you don’t pedal it.”

“Let’s lay off that,” Bill said.

“All right. I was just standing up for the tricycle.”

“I think he’s a good writer, too,” Bill said. “And you’re a hell of a good guy. Anybody ever tell you you were a good guy?”

“I’m not a good guy.”

“Listen. You’re a hell of a good guy, and I’m fonder of you than anybody on earth. I couldn’t tell you that in New York. It’d mean I was a faggot. That was what the Civil War was about. Abraham Lincoln was a faggot. He was in love with General Grant. So was Jefferson Davis. Lincoln just freed the slaves on a bet. The Dred Scott case was framed by the Anti-Saloon League. Sex explains it all. The Colonel’s Lady and Judy O’Grady are Lesbians under their skin.”

He stopped.

“Want to hear some more?”

“Shoot,” I said.

“I don’t know any more. Tell you some more at lunch.”

“Old Bill,” I said.

“You bum!”

We packed the lunch and two bottles of wine in the rucksack, and Bill put it on. I carried the rod-case and the landing-nets slung over my back. We started up the road and then went across a meadow and found a path that crossed the fields and went toward the woods on the slope of the first hill. We walked across the fields on the sandy path. The fields were rolling and grassy and the grass was short from the sheep grazing. The cattle were up in the hills. We heard their bells in the woods.

The path crossed a stream on a foot-log. The log was surfaced off, and there was a sapling bent across for a rail. In the flat pool beside the stream tadpoles spotted the sand. We went up a steep bank and across the rolling fields. Looking back we saw Burguete, white houses and red roofs, and the white road with a truck going along it and the dust rising.

Beyond the fields we crossed another faster-flowing stream. A sandy road led down to the ford and beyond into the woods. The path crossed the stream on another foot-log below the ford, and joined the road, and we went into the woods.

It was a beech wood and the trees were very old. Their roots bulked above the ground and the branches were twisted. We walked on the road between the thick trunks of the old beeches and the sunlight came through the leaves in light patches on the grass. The trees were big, and the foliage was thick but it was not gloomy. There was no undergrowth, only the smooth grass, very green and fresh, and the big gray trees well spaced as though it were a park.

“This is country,” Bill said.

The road went up a hill and we got into thick woods, and the road kept on climbing. Sometimes it dipped down but rose again steeply. All the time we heard the cattle in the woods. Finally, the road came out on the top of the hills. We were on the top of the height of land that was the highest part of the range of wooded hills we had seen from Burguete. There were wild strawberries growing on the sunny side of the ridge in a little clearing in the trees.

Ahead the road came out of the forest and went along the shoulder of the ridge of hills. The hills ahead were not wooded, and there were great fields of yellow gorse. Way off we saw the steep bluffs, dark with trees and jutting with gray stone, that marked the course of the Irati River.

“We have to follow this road along the ridge, cross these hills, go through the woods on the far hills, and come down to the Irati valley,” I pointed out to Bill.

“That’s a hell of a hike.”

“It’s too far to go and fish and come back the same day, comfortably.”

“Comfortably. That’s a nice word. We’ll have to go like hell to get there and back and have any fishing at all.”

It was a long walk and the country was very fine, but we were tired when we came down the steep road that led out of the wooded hills into the valley of the Rio de la Fabrica.

The road came out from the shadow of the woods into the hot sun. Ahead was a river-valley. Beyond the river was a steep hill. There was a field of buckwheat on the hill. We saw a white house under some trees on the hillside. It was very hot and we stopped under some trees beside a dam that crossed the river.

Bill put the pack against one of the trees and we jointed up the rods, put on the reels, tied on leaders, and got ready to fish.

“You’re sure this thing has trout in it?” Bill asked.

“It’s full of them.”

“I’m going to fish a fly. You got any McGintys?”

“There’s some in there.”

“You going to fish bait?”

“Yeah. I’m going to fish the dam here.”

“Well, I’ll take the fly-book, then.” He tied on a fly. “Where’d I better go? Up or down?”

“Down is the best. They’re plenty up above, too.”

Bill went down the bank.

“Take a worm can.”

“No, I don’t want one. If they won’t take a fly I’ll just flick it around.”

Bill was down below watching the stream.

“Say,” he called up against the noise of the dam. “How about putting the wine in that spring up the road?”

“All right,” I shouted. Bill waved his hand and started down the stream. I found the two wine-bottles in the pack, and carried them up the road to where the water of a spring flowed out of an iron pipe. There was a board over the spring and I lifted it and, knocking the corks firmly into the bottles, lowered them down into the water. It was so cold my hand and wrist felt numbed. I put back the slab of wood, and hoped nobody would find the wine.

I got my rod that was leaning against the tree, took the bait-can and landing-net, and walked out onto the dam. It was built to provide a head of water for driving logs. The gate was up, and I sat on one of the squared timbers and watched the smooth apron of water before the river tumbled into the falls. In the white water at the foot of the dam it was deep. As I baited up, a trout shot up out of the white water into the falls and was carried down. Before I could finish baiting, another trout jumped at the falls, making the same lovely arc and disappearing into the water that was thundering down. I put on a good-sized sinker and dropped into the white water close to the edge of the timbers of the dam.

I did not feel the first trout strike. When I started to pull up I felt that I had one and brought him, fighting and bending the rod almost double, out of the boiling water at the foot of the falls, and swung him up and onto the dam. He was a good trout, and I banged his head against the timber so that he quivered out straight, and then slipped him into my bag.

While I had him on, several trout had jumped at the falls. As soon as I baited up and dropped in again I hooked another and brought him in the same way. In a little while I had six. They were all about the same size. I laid them out, side by side, all their heads pointing the same way, and looked at them. They were beautifully colored and firm and hard from the cold water. It was a hot day, so I slit them all and shucked out the insides, gills and all, and tossed them over across the river. I took the trout ashore, washed them in the cold, smoothly heavy water above the dam, and then picked some ferns and packed them all in the bag, three trout on a layer of ferns, then another layer of fems, then three more trout, and then covered them with ferns. They looked nice in the ferns, and now the bag was bulky, and I put it in the shade of the tree.

It was very hot on the dam, so I put my worm-can in the shade with the bag, and got a book out of the pack and settled down under the tree to read until Bill should come up for lunch.

It was a little past noon and there was not much shade, but I sat against the trunk of two of the trees that grew together, and read. The book was something by A. E. W. Mason, and I was reading a wonderful story about a man who had been frozen in the Alps and then fallen into a glacier and disappeared, and his bride was going to wait twenty-four years exactly for his body to come out on the moraine, while her true love waited too, and they were still waiting when Bill came up.

“Get any?” he asked. He had his rod and his bag and his net all in one hand, and he was sweating. I hadn’t heard him come up, because of the noise from the dam.

“Six. What did you get?”

Bill sat down, opened up his bag, laid a big trout on the grass. He took out three more, each one a little bigger than the last, and laid them side by side in the shade from the tree. His face was sweaty and happy.

“How are yours?”

“Smaller.”

“Let’s see them.”

“They’re packed.”

“How big are they really?”

“They’re all about the size of your smallest.”

“You’re not holding out on me?”

“I wish I were.”

“Get them all on worms?”

“Yes.”

“You lazy bum!”

Bill put the trout in the bag and started for the river, swinging the open bag. He was wet from the waist down and I knew he must have been wading the stream.

I walked up the road and got out the two bottles of wine. They were cold. Moisture beaded on the bottles as I walked back to the trees. I spread the lunch on a newspaper, and uncorked one of the bottles and leaned the other against a tree. Bill came up drying his hands, his bag plump with ferns.

“Let’s see that bottle,” he said. He pulled the cork, and tipped up the bottle and drank. “Whew! That makes my eyes ache.”

“Let’s try it.”

The wine was icy cold and tasted faintly rusty.

“That’s not such filthy wine,” Bill said.

“The cold helps it,” I said.

We unwrapped the little parcels of lunch.

“Chicken.”

“There’s hard-boiled eggs.”

“Find any salt?”

“First the egg,” said Bill. “Then the chicken. Even Bryan could see that.”

“He’s dead. I read it in the paper yesterday.”

“No. Not really?”

“Yes. Bryan’s dead.”

Bill laid down the egg he was peeling.

“Gentlemen,” he said, and unwrapped a drumstick from a piece of newspaper. “I reverse the order. For Bryan’s sake. As a tribute to the Great Commoner. First the chicken; then the egg.”

“Wonder what day God created the chicken?”

“Oh,” said Bill, sucking the drumstick, “how should we know? We should not question. Our stay on earth is not for long. Let us rejoice and believe and give thanks.”

“Eat an egg.”

Bill gestured with the drumstick in one hand and the bottle of wine in the other.

“Let us rejoice in our blessings. Let us utilize the fowls of the air. Let us utilize the product of the vine. Will you utilize a little, brother?”

“After you, brother.”

Bill took a long drink.

“Utilize a little, brother,” he handed me the bottle. “Let us not doubt, brother. Let us not pry into the holy mysteries of the hen-coop with simian fingers. Let us accept on faith and simply say—I want you to join with me in saying—What shall we say, brother?” He pointed the drumstick at me and went on. “Let me tell you. We will say, and I for one am proud to say—and I want you to say with me, on your knees, brother. Let no man be ashamed to kneel here in the great out-of-doors. Remember the woods were God’s first temples. Let us kneel and say: ‘Don’t eat that, Lady—that’s Mencken.’ ”

“Here,” I said. “Utilize a little of this.”

We uncorked the other bottle.

“What’s the matter?” I said. “Didn’t you like Bryan?”

“I loved Bryan,” said Bill. “We were like brothers.”

“Where did you know him?”

“He and Mencken and I all went to Holy Cross together.”

“And Frankie Fritsch.”

“It’s a lie. Frankie Fritsch went to Fordham.”

“Well,” I said, “I went to Loyola with Bishop Manning.”

“It’s a lie,” Bill said. “I went to Loyola with Bishop Manning myself.”

“You’re cock-eyed,” I said.

“On wine?”

“Why not?”

“It’s the humidity,” Bill said. “They ought to take this damn humidity away.”

“Have another shot.”

“Is this all we’ve got?”

“Only the two bottles.”

“Do you know what you are?” Bill looked at the bottle affectionately.

“No,” I said.

“You’re in the pay of the Anti-Saloon League.”

“I went to Notre Dame with Wayne B. Wheeler.”

“It’s a lie,” said Bill. “I went to Austin Business College with Wayne B. Wheeler. He was class president.”

“Well,” I said, “the saloon must go.”

“You’re right there, old classmate,” Bill said. “The saloon must go, and I will take it with me.”

“You’re cock-eyed.”

“On wine?”

“On wine.”

“Well, maybe I am.”

“Want to take a nap?”

“All right.”

We lay with our heads in the shade and looked up into the trees.

“You asleep?”

“No,” Bill said. “I was thinking.”

I shut my eyes. It felt good lying on the ground.

“Say,” Bill said, “what about this Brett business?”

“What about it?”

“Were you ever in love with her?”

“Sure.”

“For how long?”

“Off and on for a hell of a long time.”

“Oh, hell!” Bill said. “I’m sorry, fella.”

“It’s all right,” I said. “I don’t give a damn any more.”

“Really?”

“Really. Only I’d a hell of a lot rather not talk about it.”

“You aren’t sore I asked you?”

“Why the hell should I be?”

“I’m going to sleep,” Bill said. He put a newspaper over his face.

“Listen, Jake,” he said, “are you really a Catholic?”

“Technically.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know.”

“All right, I’ll go to sleep now,” he said. “Don’t keep me awake by talking so much.”

I went to sleep, too. When I woke up Bill was packing the rucksack. It was late in the afternoon and the shadow from the trees was long and went out over the dam. I was stiff from sleeping on the ground.

“What did you do? Wake up?” Bill asked. “Why didn’t you spend the night?” I stretched and rubbed my eyes.

“I had a lovely dream,” Bill said. “I don’t remember what it was about, but it was a lovely dream.”

“I don’t think I dreamt.”

“You ought to dream,” Bill said. “All our biggest business men have been dreamers. Look at Ford. Look at President Coolidge. Look at Rockefeller. Look at Jo Davidson.”

I disjointed my rod and Bill’s and packed them in the rod-case. I put the reels in the tackle-bag. Bill had packed the rucksack and we put one of the trout-bags in. I carried the other.

“Well,” said Bill, “have we got everything?”

“The worms.”

“Your worms. Put them in there.”

He had the pack on his back and I put the worm-cans in one of the outside flap pockets.

“You got everything now?”

I looked around on the grass at the foot of the elm-trees.

“Yes.”

We started up the road into the woods. It was a long walk home to Burguete, and it was dark when we came down across the fields to the road, and along the road between the houses of the town, their windows lighted, to the inn.

We stayed five days at Burguete and had good fishing. The nights were cold and the days were hot, and there was always a breeze even in the heat of the day. It was hot enough so that it felt good to wade in a cold stream, and the sun dried you when you came out and sat on the bank. We found a stream with a pool deep enough to swim in. In the evenings we played three-handed bridge with an Englishman named Harris, who had walked over from Saint Jean Pied de Port and was stopping at the inn for the fishing. He was very pleasant and went with us twice to the Irati River. There was no word from Robert Cohn nor from Brett and Mike.

CHAPTER 13

Footnotes