He printed up glossy calling cards with a maroon lyre in the center and an invitation to "Swing along with Al de Grazia and his Maroons" below, while in the corner he had placed "Business Manager, Robert Mohlman," with Bob's phone number. It was rarely called. And because it was rarely called he could not persuade a band to rehearse regularly. And since they could not rehearse regularly there were flaws in the performance. He could put together nevertheless a good combination if there were anyone to pay to "swing:" a couple of Union men, a couple of scabs, and himself scabbing on trumpet. Voila': Call out any "standard", i.e. "number", "piece", "classic", and we can play it. For the popular pieces of the day, they faked or had sheet music which came courtesy of Carl Bauman's downtown music store, via the Dad.
He took the band to a fraternity house one day for a tea dance and they would pay him so little that he thought he would use the time for rehearsing a couple of new ideas. He borrowed the Bass Saxophone from the Band Manager -- from himself, that is -- and persuaded a family retainer, a great old friend and woodwind artist, Tony Aparo, to drive down from the West Side for the occasion. The Sax was as big as Tony, but Tony was Man-over-Machine, and soon had provoked the most astonishing god-awful sounds to emerge from its bell. When he took off on "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans, da da da-da da da da daah.." he sounded like Ezio Pinza hollering basso profondo, from the bottom of a well, with his voice cracking. The sound got better and the crowd gathered round, complaining that the music was not fit for dancing but then, too, admiring and dumbstruck.
The Student was determined to continue his experiment at the next opportunity, but the summer was approaching and he had not been able to book the band wherever a mixed bag of Union and scab musicians wouldn't get into trouble. There was especially the problem of Brother Bus, whose piano-playing he admired no end, but who was a Union member. Then he heard of a Man down East, a Mr. Philip Boone through one of the boys in the band, and wrote to him on stationary of the Music Department.
Mr. Boone acted as agent for Steamship Lines; he provided their ships with jazz bands for the Tourist Class passengers ( A permanent dance band played for First Class; people played their own harmonicas and mandolins in Third Class.) He had figured out that he could supply the ships of Cunard, Holland-America and other companies with bands from college campuses that would play for nothing except tips and Tourist Class accommodations, provided that they could have free time to travel around Europe. The idea worked. One day, when all was quiet there, the Student assembled a combo of five in the impressive panelled office of the Music Building where stood a grand piano; he rehearsed them briefly; Mr. Boone came in on schedule, looking all 74 inches of him the Proper Bostonian, was duly impressed with the decor and the jazz coming out of a sax, clarinet, trumpet, piano and drums, and offered them a ship on the spot. Bob Mohlman was there; so was Norm Pearson (having undergone a quick half-successful operation to change his sound and style from classical to jazz); so was Sebastian, and the Student, but his red-hot drummer was dragged in reluctantly, and sure enough he quit and by luck the Student found Danny Phelan, a mass of kinky platinum blonde hair framing a sweet grin, below this a good pair of mitts, and a steady beat sine qua non.
Two months later they boarded the brand-new S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam displaying their identification cards as members of the Dutch Seamen's Union. It was mid-July; the hurricane was having its last snorts. They dumped their instruments and valises in their cabins, looked up the mealtimes, and went on deck to wave to their relatives and everyone else waving from dockside. In the weeks since they were given their ship assignments, the Student had applied himself to drafting the itinerary, reserving rooms, and buying train and boat tickets around Europe. Postal services and landladies were speedy then. He was not satisfied until he had prepared a master schedule accounting for every day and night of the eight weeks. He and Bro Bus would travel together, and Danny wanted to come along, so there were the three to plan for. Danny's money came from his widowed Mother. The others had savings from the past year or two. He allowed a dollar a day for a bed, a dollar a day for all other expenses and about fifty dollars for third class trains from Rotterdam to all major tourist sites down to Palermo and back, including a boat trip along the Rhine. He wrote to tiny pensione and hotels in six countries to reserve rooms for the nights designated on the master plan. He received letters back confirming all engagements (it was not a good season for tourism, following as it did upon the annexation of Austria by the Germans, border incidents, the threats to dismember Czechoslovakia, horrible civil war in Spain with intervention from Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union and the International Brigades, France's manning of the Maginot Line, the rapid rearmament of Germany, the turbulent Popular Front in France with near civil war between right and left there. Parties and politicians everywhere were jockeying for power and readying for treason and betrayal). His small deposits held their rooms, both sides honored their obligations, fleas and bed-bugs notwithstanding. The trains of Europe were running on time, even the third class ones with their wooden seats and windows to let the acrid smoke of the funnels pour in upon the summer heat of the compartments. Several times, as planned, they rode the whole night through and slept.
They had driven to New York City in about twenty hours with the Mohlman car, driven by Bob and his Brother Bill, who was to take the same boat to Europe,as a simple paying tourist. There they split up until boat time and the Student went to look up some distant cousins of his father from the town of his father's birth, Licodia-Eubea in Sicily. He had been in a state of culture shock since they had crossed the Jersey marshes with the Manhattan skyline in the distance and had climbed onto the Goethals Bridge and then gone through the Lincoln Tunnel, one staggering mind-blow after another -- damn, this had Chicago beat for pure wrenching iron horror! -- and now they drove onto these narrow crowded streets and down to Grand Street near the Police Headquarters that looked like a Grand Opera House. They were let off at a number before a tenement, one of many, and looked about them wondering what in the hell was going on in America to allow a city like this to exist and then to let it house all the great things being done in the country aside from Chicago. He had believed until this instant that wherever old brick houses of over four three stories were lined up in row as on both sides of a street, and the street was crowded with trucks and cars and wagons and even sidewalk stands, and people were sitting on steps and coming in and out at a great rate and cooking and gas and horse smells all combined with the summer heat to make not so much a bad stench as a large smell of another country, you were in a slum. In fact, he would hardly see anyplace on his whole trip that would strike him as so different from Chicago as did Manhattan, and he disliked it. These were tenements! Tenements were slums. Where were the trees? People who lived in tenements were slum-dwellers.
But here they were now. They came rushing out of the building, a beautiful young woman, a smiling girl, a youth, a tall man who looked like Mr. Earl Johnson, they all spoke American with an accent that one rarely heard at the University and then too in movies, either funny movies or gangster movies, like Winterset - hey, there was a great movie, and come to think of it, this looks like the setting. Up they were swept to the fourth floor into a house that was elaborately furnished,
heavy brocades, lots of colors, doilies and embroideries all over and around, overstuffed chairs, a crucifix or two and a print or two of fat sheep looking like the chairs, and in charge a smiling plump lady, the mother of the house obviously.
They looked out of the window, I should say they climbed out of the window onto a fire-escape where hung pots of basil and geraniums and the kids looked down and called out, "They're here!" and "Here comes papa!" and up came a little man, pater familias, who was a cousin to their Dad back in the Old Country, name of Pietro, dressed trimly as a tailor might, quiet, happy to see them, he had closed up shop on hearing the news and come right over. The others had taken the day off in anticipation, after getting the Dad's letter, addressed from a decades-old envelope, to which they had cordially replied. The large man was their uncle, the three young ones the children, Connie the eldest did piecework at a dress factory -- so that's why she looks so chic! -- incredibly pretty, petite, slick, no slovenly jane coed she. There was a of lot cooking crowding upon the stove and one or another visitor there to greet, a son of second cousin Tom who once owned a large stable for horses and wagons but was put out of business by the automobile, this son a lifeguard at Coney Island -- the Student, "No fooling!" It really existed! -- and so on, and they were given beds for the night, sleeping well and awakening to go out on the streets again, this time to go uptown to see The Music Hall at Rockefeller Center (where no one prevented them from edging their way up close to beneath the flashing stalwart countless legs of the Rockettes), and from there to the stable-owner's apartment, rather nicer but he was now a widower and hence his place had a more somber atmosphere, back to the Lower East Side, past the Central Police Headquarters, then flourishing in all of its operatic beauty, to Pietro's flat, and the next day they went down to the docks where lay the S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam, pride of the Dutch marine, and boarded and waved goodbye, forever, as it turned out.
He wrote a letter to Mr.Earl Johnson enthusing over New York and the people of the family, not at all as patronizing as one might expect from liberated Midwesterners, classic Americana of the Melting Pot -- at least Mr. Johnson liked the letter, thought it a good description of one of the nicer sides of America, and said so in a letter that caught up with the Student c/o American Express Company, Via Tornabuoni, Florence.
No sooner had the S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam put out to sea than the wind began to sing and the weather began to change for the worse. Thinking nothing of it, the Band found the table assigned to them in the large dining room of Tourist Class, and after studying the extraordinarily fine menu, ordered half of it and stowed it amidships. Two hours later the sea was running high and the boys of the Band were feeling low. They began to discuss the topic of seasickness, at first abstractly and then with more and more personal concern.
One school of thought held that it was all in the mind and that they should simply repress the idea, but the idea rising from the stomach was stronger than the elegant downdrafting idea. A second school of thought held that a contemplation of the sea from the windiest point of the bow would fill the lungs with sea air and aided by the fast rise and fall of the vessel would fixate one with a Wagnerian harmony with the raging elements of the Flying Dutchman (this from Bob Mohlman who had tickets for the Bayreuth Festival) Trotting up and down the now nearly deserted deck was pledged to give one quickly his sea-legs, a word that came to be a synonym for nirvana. Dry toast was brought up as a subject, and banished from the mind because it threatened to bring up real food. "Isn't there a pill?" was the agonized demand of one innocent in distress, to which the others could only shake their heads, paling, tight-lipped. "There must be something?!?!" It came almost after every other sentence. After every wave that washed over the bow.
Well, let's go lie down in our staterooms, it was suggested now here, now there. The very thought of the confined corridors with their endless rugs and metallic-smelling air blowing out of cracks in the wall stopped at least one of them in his tracks. He was going to die on deck, or failing that die by plunging into the now raging sea; to prove his commitment he then and there expelled a violent stream of the entree, piece de resistance, and even the mousse chocolate, that you would think, being so light, should have the decency to stay below. But the others had fled, leaving him to his lonely squalor, praying that they might reach the sanctuary of their cabin bowls before spoiling the long corridor rugs. Without exception they did. The Student had the top bunk, Bro Bus the lower bunk. They climbed in. Too late. They climbed out. One to the toilet,the other to the bowl. Now this,they thought, must be the ultimate remedy! Get rid of the source of it all. Disgorge oneself. Cleanse oneself. When it all appears to have come out, stick your finger down your throat and coax up those lingering patches of criminal veal scallopini, asperges a la hollandaise, glace Napolitaine, frites de pommes de terre avec ketchup Americain, and caffe' capucchino. Now, retire to your bed and relax, it's all over. Relax.
It had better be over with -- it is now the Student thinking, he only half-dead, Bro Bus seems to be finished -- shit, we have to play in an hour. We can't play without him. "How you feeling Bus?" No response. "It's best to puke it all up, have you puked it all up?" What was he saying? "Puu, poo foo, fook, okhh, ahhcch," .. nothing. We have to play. We must play. The show must go on, Jeesus chi-ricet! I'll go see what the others are like. What happens if the band can't play. Here we are. This can go on for days. We're crippled. There wasn't anything said about seasickness. There wasn't any contract. They can't throw us overboard. What the hell do they expect?
I have to ask the Purser. How long will it take me to find the Purser, ask him the question, and get here to puke again? Can I make it? It's getting worse. He unpeels himself from the toilet bowl where he has been reflecting upon the situation, and pulls himself along the wall of the labyrinth to the Purser's desk.
"I am the band leader. Must we play in a storm like this?"
"Of course you have to play."
"Well, we have a problem, you know, seasickness; what do you suggest?" "
You'll get over it, don't worry."
"We're supposed to play in half an hour."
"That's right. In the Green Tropics Ballroom."
The student looks at the man closely, as a drunk would, to see if he is truly human. Satisfied that he is, he staggers back down the several corridors to spread the good tidings to the others. Norm Pearson is dead, or about to die. Why bother finding out, it's only a matter of minutes. Bob is sick but suggests in his attitude that given a month on the beach at Biarritz he can be counted on to blow a saxophone. Danny is nowhere to be seen, dead, poor fellow, he, too.
The Student feels that with his last breath he must ascend to the Ballroom; it is impossible, he tells himself, that anyone would want to dance in this storm; you can hardly stand on the floor much less swing your partner around and do the Viennese waltz; you'll fracture your legs, break your partner's arm falling on her. So he thought, as he wended the endless ways, climbed the steep and sloping stairs.
What he found when he arrived at the Green Tropics Ballroom was atrocious, aboriginal, avantgarde: Danny Phelan had set up his traps -- all of them -- resplendent -- his poor Mother had bought him the best that money could buy -- skins of animals too good to die, a bassdrum that glitters in the dark and changed colors when it felt hot or cold, tom-toms of a Cherokee's wet dream, triangles, blocks, castanets, pipes leading to some mysterious sounding boards, cymbals piled upon one another like flapjacks, flickers of cats' whiskers to tickle the skins, wrenches to tighten, wrenches to loosen the silver bolts that studded the whole system, sticks of the purest hardwood carved by a latter-day Filipino Cellini, which suggests, too, the succession of gourds of the testicles of David upon which at this very moment he was tapping out a rumba rhythm -- there, sitting On Top of It All, the Great Buddha of Kilarney, massive blonde curls, bulging flesh, O Danny Boy!
And, yes, to the solo orchestra of the future, the Traps Band, there was this rumbaing couple, from Palm Beach, too young to travel First, but sailors from infancy, who had no notion of sea motion, behaving as if upon solid ground, swaying and stepping with so little reference to the pitching of the decks that you would have to arrive at today's mainframe computer to calculate the reciprocity of their motions with that of the S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam such as to result in a rumba that might have taken first prize in Havana.
And there were others coming onto the floor, too, or seeming to be, or debating whether to, and The Student said to Danny, hold on, Danny, I'm going back to see what I can do, and as he stumbled out, he had to pass and hear the ugly comments like "When is the Band going to start playing? Huh?"
He raised the dead: "Come on Guys, come on Bus, there are people up there waiting for us, Danny's there!"
"Fuck Danny," Bussie says, "to hell with them, I'm in no condition to move."
Fact is, the Student was in no condition to move either. He took out his trumpet, blew the first test note and almost muted it with pommes frites, now hash browns. His head whirled. Back to bed, yes, back to bed, no, up to the dance, yes, up-to-the-dance, no, yes. He got Pearson up, Bob seemed actually to be recovering a bit. The three went up, after trying physically to lift Bussie up and escort him out. No dice. When they got up, he noticed that the rumbists had left. The would-be dancers were so few and squeamish that they offered no resistance when the Student, after playing a weak set, cried halt or words to that effect and led Danny off the bandstand, he chuckling and happy as if he had been born on a raft and let Norm and Bob know that they had done their duty: they had appeared, they had whined and halloed a couple of songs, and no more could be expected of the Band.
The next morning, the sea began to calm down and there were stirrings among the Band, pangs of hunger poignant after having cast off so much food in the course of the night. All five went down to the breakfast table, confronting with some bravado their contemptuous waiter. They ordered, liberally, extravagantly. Danny, who had been raised upon potatoes, ham and eggs and hamburgers, decided to call it quits and begin his new life with calves' brains and two eggs sunny side up. When the waiter appeared bearing their sundry plates and in turn set down the pulsating glistening brains before the gloating eyes of Danny, as if by some prearranged signal the four other members of the Band rose and exited.
Yes, flat calmed la mer and by evening all were eating modestly and ready to swing. The crowd turned out, the Band played, Bob Mohlman reappeared to dance with a pick-up and laugh sillily and point at Norm Pearson blowing away awkwardly on his take-off chorus to "That's why they call me Shine.." Sebastian tinkled the keys and pounded the chords back of the Student as if he had been obsessed by nothing save the craving to make jazz and had been kept from it by an unjust fate.
The great liner slipped quietly into the mouth of the Rhine and the Band disembarked. The three of them stayed in Rotterdam the night. When evening came they walked along the Schedamschedeik and looked from one side of the street to the other at the prostitutes, many of them pretty, lounging before their houses neat, beckoning from behind cute framed windows for them to come in, quoting prices ridiculously low, but not low enough or in keeping with their morals: they were astonished: it was literally the first demonstration of the superior culture of Europe, compare it with West Madison Street in Chicago, filthy, with its ugly women, cheating, rowdyism, shanties and rats, the Student and Bob King visited it one night just to see what it was like, as they were doing here in Old Europe, into the neon luridity, bums, creeps, a besotted little soldier who for no reason whipped off his leather belt and said he would take them on in a free fight and they stared down upon him bemused as he collapsed upon the pissy pavement. But here it was decent and orderly wickedness, the streets to the pensione resembled the townhouse streets around the University -- Dorchester, Blackstone. At the pensione -- "It is a light and airy room," he wrote to his father, "with a balcony over a canal", it cost 80 cents the night --they slept like angels and readied themselves for Amsterdam, Delft, and the Hague, all in a couple of days. They walked around the Hague hoping to see a live case in International Law walking out of a courtroom, peering in now and then, here and there, as they would do a hundred times, into famous buildings, churches, streets, alleyways, restaurants, barges and cinemas, etc., on the trip, like janitors looking into the possible sources of employment.
They rented bicycles at the Hague. He hadn't much experience riding bikes and thought furthermore that they were ridden for the fun of it. He proved to be quite wrong. Firstly, the Hollander cannot any more conceive that a person cannot ride a bike well than that a person doesn't know that a herring is an edible fish. Consequently when he staggered inexpertly along the paths, veritable roads, that the Dutch had built for their bikes, he got nothing except reproving glances from the natives who thought that he must be drunk, and there were enough young drunk Dutchman to make this a genial surmise. Furthermore should he think that his excuse that he couldn't ride a bike was to be taken seriously by anybody in the Netherlands, he must be really silly. And that he was, especially when it led to the second point, that all of this commotion about biking was not serious. Serious! This was like weaving on the New Jersey Turnpike at 8:40 A.M.! These other riders, this mass of other riders, were on their way somewhere very definite as fast as their heavily muscled legs could propel them, and anyone getting in their way was both drunk and criminal. That was himself when he crashed into a man going the other way. Apologies were absurd. He heard cusswords in Dutch that hadn't been voiced since the English took Nieuw Amsterdam in 1664. That he was bruised and battered mattered not a whit; they were all against him, these long-faced ugly scowling aborigines. They let him go scot-free, which is the best he could say about them. He could hardly wait to get back to the US of A where the equivalent of an automobile crash would have killed him instead of his being humiliated. But first he had to finish his grand tour of Europe.
They entered Germany, looking for the first signs of dirty Nazis. These, learning of their coming -- Damn those German spies! -- had made the country look like a fairyland, putting all the military into camouflage. Cologne was majestic, and their room adjoining the bell-tower of the Cathedral was ideally located except from the acoustical dimension, for no sooner had they arrived when the bells rang the hour and they were stunned and thus deafened they passed the night.
The next day they found their way to the modest workingman's flat of Lil's family, Lil the mistress of their second cousin Tom from Chicago. Lil was actually there and they had a great rush of greetings and meetings -- vater, mutter, and frail-looking but all the more indomitable little Nazi Hermann her Brother. He walked around town with them and showed them how to board and descend from the trolley cars, while they taught him all the worst obscenities of the American language, hoping that he would the good luck to try them on his fuhrer. He was shown the trumpet case and told that they were from Chicago and carried their machine gun in the case; he believed it. (Others were fed the same tale, along the line; they believed it, too!) Lil looked like she belonged back in Chicago, and that's where she was next seen. She tried to feed them well but neither at home or in the cheap restaurants was the food worth words of praise, and they drank no beer. Then, not at all deaf, not yet, from the bells, they arose at an early hour to board a Rhine River steamer that passed them over to Dusseldorf, where they descended for a walk about the town, stopping only to talk to a stranger, a handsome type of Nordic, who ask them whether they were Americans, which of course he knew to be so, then commenced a despairing account of the state of un-freedom in Germany, of how he yearned to leave the country and travel in France as they would be and as he ventured of yore. They offered their sympathies. It did seem a farce, history and Nazism did, here this man, a grown sober mature teacher and linguist, turned by a wicked regime into a little child crying for his candy. So little was the Meister asking, a day or two to take in Paris.
The Student could hardly descry the essentials of Nazism, which was already far advanced. It had transformed the character of the German political order and was readying the population and the swollen military forces for foreign aggression. Yet what he saw was nothing that he could report back to his classes in Political Science, say. What had been happening -- if one is to believe a forty-year old lecture outline of a Visiting Professor at Columbia University based upon a student's notes of the Chicago School of Political Science of 1939, entitled "The Social Origins of the Nazi Party -- was this:
"A. The Original Condition of the Classes:
-- a strong class system by American standards, with a stable old middle class and new middle class already well stratified
-- a largely assimilated Jewish population of small size with some recent Polish-Jewish immigration
-- great power and prestige of the Junker Class
-- great power and prestige of the Army
-- great power and prestige of Bureaucracy
-- highly organized labor movement, mostly socialist
B. Class Changes Following War:
-- the military: declassed, dismissed, unemployed
-- Junkers and Bureaucracy remain strongly entrenched although the incredible inflation hurt the salaried bureaucrats.
-- Upper middle class was losing power over workers and was afraid, without much reason, of losing its power over means of production in immediate future.
-- White collar workers: segregation of managerial and clerical functions and offices; permanence without promotion; minute supervision; less skill required; recruitment pressure from proletariat; less salary increases than organized workers; hit hard by inflation; afraid of becoming proletarianized rather than accepting new lot eagerly
-- lower-middle and upper-middle entrepreneurs were losing control of their enterprises to monopolies
-- old middle class was becoming pauperized
-- the middle class of industry was becoming proletarianized
-- mushroom fortunes caused by war brought resentment
C. Nazi recruitment
-- main body of `respectable' support was from the lower middle classes: shop-keepers squeezed by monopoly; clerks fearful of proletarianization -- attracted by anti-monopoly, anti-Jewish, anti-communist and anti-worker symbols. (feelings of moral indignation and projection of guilt strong here)
-- dissatisfied workers, fed up with do-nothing socialist unions
-- peasants impatient of failure at land reform -- attracted by folk-symbolism and land-splitting proposals and repelled by social-democrat (socialist) tax collectors.
-- unemployed -- one-third of workers unemployed in 1932
-- lumpenproletariat -- unemployable, rabble, recruited for armed bands
-- army ex-officers without income and deference -- they liked nationalist, anti-worker, anti-liberal elements of Nazi movement and formed liaison for Nazis with Army and led private troops.
-- youth (26% of unemployed were under 24 years) -- Had not
entered productive process and ergo not proletarianized. Academic youth expecting high status found no jobs at all.
D. In view of everything, the advent of Nazism was not surprising, although their bloody excesses when in power were. The bad side of 19th century habits now came out -- the bad side of science, of nationalism, of progress, of human experimentation, of anomic individualism, of romanticism. Sheer activism - the Revolution of Nihilism - resulted from the severe case of intellectual and moral cramps of modern life.
E. Nazi symbols were directed at everyone except Communists and Jews. Thus everyone expected something. But no one got what he expected except the specific victims. Nazi class basis fed on the crisis; almost lost when things improved in late 1932; never had a clear majority of supporters; the State surrendered to Hitler and was not conquered. (This last, however is only a way of stating a very deep trend depicted by Pareto's theory of circulation of elites.)"
The "deep trend" referred to here was the rising of the lions against the foxes, the men of violence and order against the men of negotiation and freedom, that Pareto had described much earlier. Reflected throughout the notes is the psycho-sociological form of analysis of the Chicago School, accompanied by historical and current statistics, and permeated by an unblinking, almost ruthless objectivity. It is most unlikely that the Student would have made sense out of the political enthusiasm of Hermann and the cultural despair of the Meister had he not been precisely in the Department at Chicago before and after the incidents. He would have admired the bustle and the cleanliness of the streets, enjoyed the music of the cafes and gloried in the passage up the Rhine, returning skeptical of critics of Germany. Instead, he understood that out of the liquefaction of the pre-World War I structure leaked poisons that were guttered into the ideology and conduct of the people under the leadership of the Nazis. Travel -- learning at first sight -- begins and ends in studies, in literature, in the classroom, in the student bull-sessions.
The travellers thought they could detect a difference when they arrived at Basle on the Upper Rhine, in Switzerland. Danny Boy keeps on going South to Rome, where all the churches of the Mother Church were to be seen. The two protestants felt immediately at home, for no good reason, seemingly, but probably it owed something to switching the patterns of sparking going on inside their skulls. Hardly does the Student ask the time of day from a pretty girl and he has a girl-friend, Frieda, who works in a shop, speaks English and is going to visit England with the prospect of being employed in the hotel business, naturally. He visits her family. He walks out with her in the evening. The moon is full over the Rhine. They kiss. They meet the next day and evening for more of the same. Her English improves rapidly but not fast enough. He leaves and will receive letters and edelweiss, delicately dried, for years.
At Geneva, he goes from the good girl to the bad girl. Sitting upon the stone fence along the Lake after a day of tramping among and through largely useless temples of peace, the League of Nations, a woman approaches and asks whether they are interested in sex. No, says Sebastian, but I'll wait here if you want to go with her, he says to his Brother. The Student asks for the price, and guesses he can afford a couple of francs, especially since she is handsome. Where do we go, he asks. To my room, she answers, and takes him there. She is all too businesslike, no small talk, no foreplay, merely the traditional prone position, discouraging any untoward excitement, no double bed to give a person rest or reflection, a window on a good view blocked by white curtains, a large basin of water where she promptly squatted to wash herself, and help yourself to the door knob, with a perfunctory au revoir, down the stairs, into the street, and off to meet his brother, who was gazing idly upon the swans of Lac Leman: they were nasty, he said, when he reached out they snapped at him. "How did it go?" "Not bad."
From the profane to the sacred. It was through the Alps to Milan, handsome cops, nice shops, the cathedral, etc. and of course "The Last Supper" of Leonardo at the end of the church garden of Santa Maria della Novella, cracked and peeling it appeared, its colors fading, all of its characters and shapes well known to them, still, they had seen it -- thrilled? not at all. On to Genoa. A room in an ancient building with a view of the port and its many great ships. A cemetery with a thousand statues and tombs, all so grand for their little string of bones and scattering of dust. A dubious stone cottage where the Discoverer of America was born. So on to Venice.
There at the American Express Offices, Bro Bus finds a letter from his sweetheart, Miriam. She is travelling with her mother; they have been to Sweden to see which of the innumerable Carlsons there they can lay claim to; now they are on their way to Switzerland. Will he be able to find her, will he go speedily? Certainly -- but there is a small matter: to cross the frontiers he will need a passport. His passport is also his brother's passport, a convenience arranged by the Department of State for travellers who want to save several dollars by joining their heads and vital statistics. There is no question; he must take the one passport with him, leaving the Student without his national identity. Bro Bu departs in high spirits. The Student finds the hotel room that he had reserved long ago but has no passport to hand over to the desk-lady, as the rules required.
When he returned from a walk and a spit in a canal a little later, it was dark and two plainclothes-men stepped out of the shadows calling themselves police and asking for an interview. No passport, explained the desk-lady. They walked to the gloomiest palazzo he could imagine and into a large office where a man sat before a large desk; no one was wasting electricity here, either.
"Dov'e' il suo passaporto?" he wondered.
"Sorry, no parla Italiano," was the Student's intelligent reply. Then he heard more Italian spoken in a not especially pleasant voice. "Fratello?" he offered. That didn't go over well. "Dove fratello?"
"Switzerland, Svizzera." This was hardly proper. How to get across the idea of double passaporto. "Fratello, io, uno passaporto, O.K.?"
"No. Legge. Non si puo. Vietato, Proibito!"
The no-smoking signs in the train carriages carried him along nicely. But, faced with an implacable commissar (this was real Fascism; Il Duce scowled down upon the scene; posters forbidding everything were pasted on the wall), he had to think fast; once he took to sea via one of those cellar drops over the canal, no one would ever find him. It was then that Humanities I paid off: the name of that Italian novel, Manzoni was the author, the Betrothed, yes, but in Italian, yes, Promessi Sposi, that's it! "Promessi Sposi, Fratello, quattro giornos in Svizzera," and he held up with tender emotion his ring finger.
The gestalt! Faces lit up. They looked at each other. They laughed sympathetically. "Capito!"
"No O.K. Ma O.K. andare," with a sweeping invitation to leave.
"Grazie, grazie. Buona notte." And off he lurched into the darkness, back to the hotel, sneering slightly at the lady behind the desk, but she seemed pleased to see him, so he needn't be so mean to her.
The next afternoon, after loping about the city in ever diminishing circles, he came upon two American girls, journalists or about to be such, talking very much his language, the University of Wisconsin, no less, and they spent the evening together. Here he had a chance to play a favorite role, a fantasy of childhood. He came upon them near the Bridge of Sighs as they were being followed by three Italian boys who were exchanging what were obviously ribald remarks and beginning to whistle and call to these two girls, not appreciating that Tom Mix, alias Tarzan of the Apes, was zeroing in on them. He came up to the girls, said "Hello, Good Evening!" and hardly had they responded likewise when he spun upon these dastardly rascals and demanded sternly, if imperfectly, in Italian, "Che Volete?" That startled them. Two words of their language from a foreigner! "Nienti." Now that was nice of them: ask them what they want and they not only understand but do not laugh and say sullenly "Nothing." He is ready for one more shot and only one and he makes it fast, says "Andate via," and before they can get going or say "A la faccia tua," and surround him, he has taken the arms of the girls and has led them across the Bridge of Sighs to safety. They are overwhelmed by this chevalier, express themselves gratefully, and accompany him to a cafe where they spend a couple of hours in happy repartee before they say they must retire in order to leave the next morning early for Milan, a disappointment, so it goes. Heroism is its own reward.
He took his Brownie camera and went out to breakfast the next morning. Somehow an Austrian lady of a certain age found him, or was it that he found her. It took about that long to make their capuccini at the same bar. They became fast friends in short order, Mathilde was her name, she spoke English. They walked together through the day, and she wanted to visit him in his hotel room. "That's a `no-no' " affirmed the desk-lady, and she was deaf to the extended pleas of the Austrian.
The next morning, she took him to a boat and they rode out to an island beyond the Lido, where there was a long beach and almost no one upon it. There he modestly swam in his white trunks, while she immodestly bathed in the nude. What would she say if I were to take her picture now, he thought. "Surely! How nice!" she said. He had achieved the status of a pornographic photographer, and felt proud. No Hedy Lamar, to be sure, but on that order. Nothing to drive him mad enough to commit sex on the beach. So they wended their way homeward at dusk, and what should be awaiting him upon arrival but his passport! And collapsed on the bed, Bro Bus, returned.
The next day they were sitting at a cafe in Bologna when a hearty strapping Blackshirt with a Clark Gable mustache and a sweet girl sat down beside them and started to talk about this and that. Were you in Ethiopia? Si, I was in Ethiopia. He had studied English. He was not going to take politics seriouslyso there was no use asking him about the weirdness of empire: what made European nations send armies overseas to seize the lands of weak peoples, a kind of demonic possession, an idiocy not then apparent, like what got into the Romans to expand indefinitely; what came over the crusaders to go invading the Near East and all unfortunate stops en route; what beset dynastic families to buy and trade off and marry into the takeover of lands and cultures like the Hapsburg and the Bourbons? These were viruses that affected an age; and the viruses mutated and the style of imperialism altered.
But, though the Student would have preferred a serious discussion, the Blackshirt Lieutenant was off and running, buying drinks, singing, urging them to join him in song, taking off his hot jacket and tearing open his collar -- a fine image of an officer! --now the Student snapped his picture with the Brownie, and then he shouted cheerfully, "San Francisco! You know San Francisco, the movie, funny, very funny," and off he went, now truly every inch Clark Gable, desperate, dishevelled, raging through the ruins of the city, "Mary! Mary!! Where are you, Mary!!!" His cries arose above the cafe tables, above the noise of the traffic beyond, splitting the calm blue summer twilight sky of Bologna. His sweet girl smiled, and the Americans laughed, the waiters, too. There will be no war, promised the Fascist, as they were leaving him.
At Florence he couldn't sleep for the bedbugs, the mosquitoes and the noises of the trains coming and going at the Terminale nearby, so he got up at dawn, wandered among the statues of the Uffizi colonnade, entered the Duomo feeling holy at that hour, and sat down afterwards at a cafe to drink coffee and write a letter to Allen Greenman. It was to be, he decided, the kind of letter that the divine authors of the history of literature wrote when they were in their most exalted mood -- the aesthetic agony and ecstasy, the trembling wooing of art by nature, the evolution of philosophy from passion -- and, sure enough, when he got back to Chicago, Allen said, in his most appreciative tones, your letter captured the enormity of existence. They left for Rome with a great many postcards.
At Rome they connected with the specter named Danny Phelan, thin as a rail, happy to be reunited, and they set off for the galloping tour of St. Peter and the Vatican, which Danny knew full well now, with the Sistine Chapel which he dared believe to be overdone, inappropriately voluptuous, crowded and, of course, he could never feel the thrill of the devout, then to the Coliseum, where they frolicked amidst the ruins and Danny played the role of the Christian martyr (there were no crowds, no crowds? not in Rome in July, not in Florence, not in Venice, heavens,! yes, heavenly, but they couldn't know). He looked up the walls of the Castel San Angelo and walked around it; he could not imagine how Benvenuto had escaped, scorching his hands sliding down, pissing on them to relieve the pain and cleanse them. Did he regard Rome as great, beautiful, rich? No, he perceived it to have a provincial look, with magnificent obtrusions like the several large churches, the castle, the Coliseum, considered it to be run-down, with its walls of stone and cement cracking, wasting away, colors blanched. He guessed that the Great Depression had done much of this, as it had grown grass on the streets of America and rust on the railroad sidings. It appears that his professors had not implanted the right ideas; they had described everything as great when originally conceived and built, hundreds and thousands of years before; they neglected to teach and preach that these same old houses, monuments, piazzas were to be looked at now as beautiful, precious beyond reckoning, here in the present tense. The Student was both right and wrong: right in thinking that ancient statues and buildings needed paint and repair by the very standards of the ancients, which his teachers and texts did not declare or believe, wrong in thinking that these same structures were uglified in the present, for they were beautiful in a special new present aesthetic, which again was realized as such by his teachers but in the wrong philosophical sense because they thought of these present beauties being marvelous because they were old, whereas they were marvelous in the here and now in themselves, and despite their age.
Who went to Naples, where they now paused, could ask for what? Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii, the Island of Capri, the peninsula of Sorrento, and the view of Naples from the sea, which one obtained stunningly upon returning from Capri as the sun set and beamed redly upon the city and the plume of the volcano. But then you had to turn quickly around with your Brownie to catch the same sun silhouetting the sailing boats and Isle of Capri where you had just dipped into the wave before the Blue Grotto.
Sorrento came and went by bus and horse carriage, the world's most blessed dwelled there, which you would never imagine, hearing them shout at one another from their idyllic glades and tiny patios and places, all peeking in one way or another at the blue sea or bluer sky. They looked for the obscenities of the walls of Pompeii but were perhaps diverted from them by well-meaning rules and/or guides. No, more likely they had already been transported to the inner sanctums of the Museum.
They found the City of Naples itself dreadfully poor and no theory of economics seemed to fit a solution to it. Much of the population seemed to be at liberty and idling, in the contradictory posture assumed by Naples practically alone: its people being idle but the fastest moving on Earth, like cockroaches they poised slender, graceful, gesticulating, glancing about and at each other, and then suddenly they would dart off in any direction as if on eight legs. "See Naples and Die," said Goethe. It was all very well for him but the boys of the band thought, "Escape being robbed in Naples and be proud." And they were proud. Partly because the lubricity of the population was exaggerated.
Meanwhile the city worked fine in all respects that bore meaning to them, the aforesaid sights and the heaping platters of spaghetti, the roasted fresh fish, the wine that cost nothing, indeed everything cost nothing -- even to them this thought occurred and they had practically nothing. We do not count the free music of mandolin, guitar and accordion. Nor their vocal accompaniment.
The deprived Student, nearly fish-blind from the paltriness of species of the Great Lakes and Midwest rivers, was flabbergasted by the pink, red, purple, black, striped, eye-protruding, tentacled, blowing, spear-spined, poison-tailed, big-toothed, winged, slimy, scaly, slithering, flapping messes and heaps on the old dripping wagons of the port. Yea, verily, much more than in Florence, whoever arose after dawn in this rank flourishing beautiful stinkweed of the world should be halted short of the gates of Paradise.
They chugged systematically down the boot, mounted upon a ferryboat to cross the Straits of Sicily, and rounded Mt. Etna to Catania and Syracuse. They drank of the Fountain of Arethusa, positioned the Roman fleet and the mirrors of Archimedes, yelling "Eureka" when they found a bathtub, applauded at the Opera of Catania, and one morning boarded an electric train that carried them into the mountains to a stop called Vizzini-Licodia Eubea, in the land of Cavalleria Rusticana. Awaiting them was a coachman with horse and carriage, despatched by Immaculate Sister of the Franciscan Order and Public School #1 First Grade Teacher Francesca di Grazia, whose neatly addressed and written letters to her brother in Chicago had been duly noted by the Student as they arrived quarterly since he was an infant. In exchange for a substantial gift to her order, she had been permitted to remove her unruly self from the nunnery and bear her habit civilly.
Zia was no taller than the tallest of her pupils and as lively as the liveliest of them. She lived on this Main Street of Licodia-Eubea, which began in a long gentle swoop from the railroad station past the magnificent cemetery into the village and then was halted abruptly at the other end by a ruined fort, whereupon it took a corkscrew turn and headed down onto the plain that led to the south of the Island. The village had been founded 2600 years before by Greek settlers from ancient Eubea off the coast of Attica, and when it was not occupied in guarding the frontiers of the Eastern Sicilian Coast against Siculi, Phoenicians, and Saracens, made some fine ceramics for export, with enough left over to fill a room of the Syracuse Museum when lately recovered.
Zia banished scruple in bringing in as their glib interpreter a ne'r-do-well of the village, Johnny, who had been deported from the States for conduct unbecoming a gentleman. There was not too much to say. Zia scuttled about her little house, flapping her white and brown coif and loose tasseled habit, pulling things out of drawers, organizing meals endlessly, then would sit there looking at them wondering, twinkly-eyed, smiling through scraggly teeth. Intermittently some one would come to give greetings or deliver produce. When she needed to pay out a few lira, she would fit several keys from the gang-chain hanging from her waist into a chest and retrieve the money. For entering and leaving the house, and for the little country house she possessed on a nearby hill several more huge keys were added to her burden. Everything, it appeared, was securely locked. Was anything ever stolen? Not in recent memory, it appears. Was the security system then a show of force, like the Swiss Guards or the Guards of Buckingham Palace? She laughed gaily at their questions; she laughed a lot; she could also bark commands like a little martinet to men and women alike.
After several days of being driven over the countryside, riding a horse, walking to the Baron's Chateau (Gondolfi, a cousin of sorts, she said), and picnicking at the garden of the country cottage, a departure time was set and a feast prepared for the occasion. A cute kid, that Danny had been frolicking with, was, it appeared, going to be the sacrificial victim. Danny was inconsolable as it was carried off down the street to the butcher and baker, and when it reappeared, roasted tenderly, he declined to contemplate or taste any part of it. However, his good spirits returned and, the next day, he waved forgivingly, smilingly, to one and all from the buggy that lifted them slowly and gently along the road to the station.
They turned now to the North, on a route tiring but swift, with a pause only at Marseilles. Until Paris, the Capital City that insisted upon being France Itself, centralizing everything except the Mediterranean Sea, where they watched some of the last days of the Third Republic, performing the quintessential: rooming at the diminutive Hotel de Rue de Monsieur Le Prince, going out in the morning among the flower and green markets for a hot chocolate and croissant, walking along the lines of book and souvenir stalls of the Seine, racing up the Escaliers de Montmartre to the Church of the Sacre Coeur, checking for mail at the American Express offices on Rue Scribe, spending a day at Versailles, gaping at the Cathedral of Notre Dame and infiltrating its interior, pacing slowly through the ugly halls of the Louvre in search of Art, and witnessing the Folies Bergere. For lunch they bought a baguette and stuffed it with pate. For dinner they sought out the cheapest prix fixe anywhere, vin compris, no more than half a dollar, for one dollar had to feed them for the whole day.
Sebastian came close to losing all of their money in a scam. A well-turned out type struck up an acquaintanceship with him. He was on his way to a fashion show, ""Come along, if you like. It's very nice." Everyone knows Paris is for fashions, thought Sebastian, and fashion shows are for free. (And everyone knows, too, that Sebastian had a weakness for fashion and, even doing the poor-boy tour of Europe, he looked fashionable. Off went the two buddies to an elegant salon. There, as they trifled over a glass of champagne and petit fours, the most lovely girls entered in the highest fashion of Paris, tapping along in French pumps and bitty ornamentation but otherwise nude. "Magnifique!" exclaimed his buddy, but a horrifying gestalt smote Sebastian.
"What will all this cost, tell me!" he finally got across to his indomitable companion.
"Pouf, who knows? What girl do you like best? Maybe 300, maybe 400 francs."
Enough, in short, to get the Band back to Chicago in good style, went Sebastian's lightning calculation. He considered his remaining bank in his pocket and hoped it wasn't lit up for them to see. "I don't carry this kind of money with me, you know," he explained suavely. "Beautiful and desireable as they are, they will have to wait for me -- have another drink, you too -- until I can go get my Brother who is carrying our money."
Now at least two explanations must have occurred to his French hosts. Either he lacked the will or he lacked the money, but their greedy minds could also imagine it to be possible that this handsome macho Americain would in fact search out enthusiastically his dollar-laden Brother and return for a binge in the grand style. In any event, Sebastian wasted no time, and he did meet his brother, only to tell him of his close escape, to fondle the money in his pocket while listening to a lecture compounded of envy and reproof, and to join him in locating the cheapest bistro on the rive gauche.
Now it was the Student's turn to make a fool of himself, which he accomplished in the following manner. Quiet, reserved, smiling Bob Mohlman had a cousin living in Paris who was a swinger. Mimi (why not?) lived with a French sculptor and his small son by his former mistress, who must have been a beautiful black woman judging by the pretty dark child. They possessed a fine convertible sedan, for which, given the times, there was always parking space. Nothing much happened except this, they all sat down at a cafe on Boul' Mich' and talked gaily and drank Pernod, which the Student adjudged from its sweet taste to have the alcoholic content of near-beer. When called upon to board the convertible to go off to the studio of Jacques the Sculptor, he was far gone and limberly climbed upon the tonneau, where he remained perched as the car raced through Paris, crying "Oui, oui, oui, oui ..." all the way home, just like the Little Pig in the story of "The Three Little Pigs."
He would have stayed forever in Paris, given half a chance. Where else could you see such a grand parade of the Workers of the World, red banners of hammer and sickle floating proudly above the marchers, a sight forever unseen in the United States? Where else in the world could you eat exactly what you wanted to eat three times a day (preferably twice as much of the same), where humanity down to the last clochard seemed to be plotting or carrying off some meaningful caper, where the eyes could alight pleasurably upon three dimensions (and both physically and humanly), where politics, art, and savoir vivre combined in a people who were approachable and considered even young Americans tolerable. So, carrying Paris like a song in his heart, to clothe the feeling in corn, he departed those old shores of Europe, not to return until -- shall I reveal it now? -- with a tommy-gun nestled in his bosom. The Nieuw Amsterdam got him back just as England, France, and Italy were giving over Czechoslovakia to Hitler's Germany at a meeting in Munich.
For, although he crossed the ocean the next summer, it was to England alone that he went, again with the Band, minus Sebastian. It was the Cunard Line now, not so nice all around as the Holland-America Line. They docked in Liverpool in the morning, when the English were crossing the Mersey to their jobs and walking briskly around the deck in an orderly crowd. The Band gaped at these files of penguins, laughing and nudging each other, inconscient of the actual physical unfitness of the Americans of the age of automobiles, Hollywood body-beautiful surrogates, and personal sloth.
The Student could not even manage a bicycle properly. Once more he rented a cycle, this time it wasin the Lake Country. He entrained for Windermere, walked with his heavy suitcase to the Youth Hostel, walked to Bowness to rent the bike, and headed into the hilly countryside. Soon he was coasting down a steep hill so fast that he could not turn a curve without sideslipping. The bike simply refused to both brake and turn and preferred to leave the road, strike head-on a garden wall and send him flying over the wall into the brush beyond.
He pulled himself together, remarkably alive, walked around the residence and out the gate, scattering drops of blood here and there like a priest waving an incense pot, and found that his bicycle could now be folded into a suitcase, should the need arise. He thought that he might ask at the manse for help and came upon the squire in the greenhouse fussing over some potted plants.
"I've had an accident," he said. "Do you have anything to put on these cuts?"
The squire looked him up and down. "Yes," he said. "If you would go through the back hall and up the stairs, you'll find a bathroom with the medicines you need."
He followed instructions. He met the Lady of the House coming and going on the stairs. "I'm on my way to the medicine cabinet," he said.
"I see, " she said, and continued on down.
He painted and bandaged his wounds, returned to the scene of the crash and pondered the return to Bowness. Again a word of advice was needed. Catch a lorry, there's nothing else, counselled the Squire, and walked out to the road to flag one down.
"Give this man a ride into Bowness, will you?" he commanded, "He's an American," as if that explained all. "Off you go," he said, as they left him by the wayside.
In Liverpool they had visited a County Court of Quarter Sessions, taken in the Art Gallery, and saw a play that was billed as "hilarious, naughty comedy from London," but that bored Bob and himself stiff. They turned then to London where Bob's Aunt and Uncle took them in for a few days. They seemed to have hang-ups about everything, especially food, manners and pacifism. He finally found the cheapest bed-and-breakfast possible, at $1.20, five shillings; he regarded this as exorbitant, but then the heavy greasy oatmeal, bacon, eggs, potatoes, toast and milky tea held him for most of the day. When in the course of his tour he hungered, he headed for the huge flower market where gross roastbeef sandwiches were dispensed at one shilling, ten pence.
He wandered through the list of advertised tourist spots, as he did everywhere else, the theatres, museums, parks, palaces, and department stores. He happily rode the top deck of the red buses. He found the English polite and friendly, not in the least arrogant or pretentious, more than willing to help a stranger. But also worried over prospects of war. Placards advertising "Preparedness" were posted wherever space occurred. He was glad enough to go down to the sea in his ship once more.
The Tourist Class was full. A crowd danced to the music. There was a tenseness about the decks. He met two girls, one younger than he, Yvonne Woodmansee, the other older, Mildred MacArthur. One was as handsome as the other. Yvonne was a stripling from San Francisco, with a long face and legs, luscious light brown hair and green eyes that snaked up at angles. She travelled with her parents, who were of French origin and concealing fears of the war to come. Mildred hailed from Grand Rapids and was conventionally the ideal, full balcon, full derriere, a fine head, most shapely calves, and then a quality that was unique, which the student was astonished to finally discover: she had two beautiful eyes, one blue and the other brown. He could not make up his mind which of the two girls he should fall in love with. Yvonne actually had an advantage in that her mother was so sympathetic and permissive; you could measure her as she would be forever by knowing her mother now.
Both girls and the mother joined the Student as a sort of deck group to which was added Michael Holmes; he had just finished his studies at Eton and was about to join his father, who was seconding the King's Commissioner to Canada; the Student found him a most amiable younger brother who was quite ready to believe all that the Student told him of the glories of the University of Chicago, and of the opportunity to attend there and forego Oxbridge. The Student remarked with astonishment at how educated one became at Eton. Previously he was of the opinion (once his John Brown's School Days literature had been consigned to oblivion), that at Eton one learned to cheat, to fornicate with males, to run up debts, to bone up on useless classical studies, to oppress the British working class, and to exploit mercilessly a Third World Empire. He decried the Monarchy and blamed the Old Boy network as the employment office that officered one diplomatic disaster after another. Nevertheless, his basic position on world affairs was pro-British and pro-French, that in the long run would entail momentous consequences.
The refugees escaping Nazism were noticeably more numerous this year than last and the Student struck up an acquaintanceship especially with a Viennese Jew, Rudolph Benjamin, a tall slender man with a mustache and wavy black hair, for whom the hour had been very late indeed and perhaps reflected in a character that was sad and gay in turn, often ebullient, eloquent, witty. He seemed to know something of everything, the Student told him, what would be ever do? Rudy laughed and said, "You are exactly right, how did you know?" Because I am that way, thought the Student, but said, "Because I am interested in the psychology of personality."
Granted the sympathy born of his exile, Rudy's laughter, quick-wittedness, and gentleness made him all the more popular, and the Student was indignant to observe that a second group existed on deck (and, you know, by deck, I mean to say also the inside gatherings before and after meals and observing the deck games) this one not at all amused by Rudy. The litany was led by a Roman Catholic Irish-American Priest and included several of his age and younger who resembled and even dressed like him minus the collar. "We've had enough of them. These Jews are over-running the country. They should be kept out. They'll soon be owning the rest of the country..." And so on. Mrs. Woodmansee had met the Priest and he had tried to make friends with her, for she was a French Catholic gentlewoman, but she would have none of him, and she was quite supportive of the Student when he cast hostile glances at the opposing group, which he did when the Priest or another raised his voice deliberately to let a slur be carried over the air all-around. Rudy, he observed, was aware of the group and its feelings and drew closer to the Mother Woodmansee collectivity, but did not protest aloud. Indeed, because of the conflict, the whole group felt closer and ready to go to war, if necessary.
The Student,of course, would have been first out of the trenches; but meanwhile, he was not in perfect condition, because he had gone to swim in the swimming tank deep within the ship and, luxuriating in the water, took gigantic strokes that offended one oceanic wave in particular, which rolled the ship, dashed the pool into a contrary wave, and dislocated his right shoulder. The pain was so sharp as to be astonishing. He got out and went about looking for the ship's doctor to assess the damage and give first aid. But the boat rocked him against the wall of the narrow corridor as he went seeking the medico and knocked the bone back into place. What shall I do, he asked the doctor, who replied, nothing, just don't use it. Thank you. The next day, the silly youth thought he should exercise upon the punching bag of the ship's little gym. After a few minutes, he dislocated the shoulder again. This time, he worked it back into its socket by himself. He neither boxed nor swam for some time.
The feast before landing was gay. The Woodmansee gang felt that it had protected its own. The bad guys went off to their cabins early. The Band played long and recklessly. Mike Holmes, encouraged by Big Brother, even asked Yvonne to dance and did dance with her, at a slow pace. When the ship docked the next morning, the passengers, casting a last nostalgic glance at their friends going through the customs line, disappeared into the maelstrom of confused sorties. The Student found a hotel. He had lunch with Mike Holmes and his father, which gentleman gave as his considered opinion that Hitler would now turn his attention to the East in a great Drang nach Osten and the West would be spared.
Shortly, on August 23, Ribbentrop and Litvinov signed a non-aggression pact. The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany would not go to war with each other; the world listened aghast. A week later, on August 31, in the obscure German village of Gleiwitz by the Polish frontier, German SS soldiers drugged, dressed in Polish uniforms, and murdered thirteen prisoners from the concentration camp of Oranienburg, dressed themselves in Polish uniforms, took over noisily and then abandoned the radio station, and left behind the corpses for photographers of the world to portray as "Polish aggression." On September 1, the German armies were unleashed upon Poland. On September 3, unbelieving of the theory espoused by the Honorable Mr. Holmes, Britain and France declared war against Germany. On September 17, the Russian Armies swept into Poland from the East. On September 27 Warsaw surrendered. In the same week, the well-travelled Student registered as a Graduate student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Never had an individual appeared so minute upon the screen of world affairs.