Johnny Dearham and Jim Cowhey, those ringers from the University Band, called him one day -- it was in October 1989, and said, hey, how about joining the Chicago Black Horse Troop. He vaguely recalled having heard of the outfit: a fancy riding club, he was surprised that they were official, national guard -- he was a bit snooty toward the guard, not the real thing, you know, not the Marines blood and guts, especially this gang, the politicians seemed to belong, like going to marriages and funerals, get to meet people. He went down to the Chicago Avenue Armory to see their set-up, was welcomed, liked it -- best location in town, near the Lake and long riding paths, free riding any time -- just keep your horse clean -- fine locker rooms, club lounges and sleek bar. They wanted him in their mounted band. He could practically play the trumpet standing on his head, so why not on horseback? Besides there was the matter of a war being on, preparedness and all of that. He was duly enrolled as a private in the 106th Cavalry Regiment of the Illinois National Guard. He liked them whatever their warts and humors. It was a good set-up, he was paid to have fun -- there was a little matter of the War, but no one was thinking much about it. As soon as the War in Europe broke out, President Roosevelt and everyone else took pains to declare neutrality; the President sent touching messages to the belligerents to please not bomb cities and harm civilians. They would be calling it "the phoney war." So he joined the "phoney regiment." He would be the first to contend that "there is no place in modern warfare for the horse."
He knew all about horses, for he had watched countless cowboy movies as a child and had even been on a horse a few times, yet he had to admit he had something to learn from the great coal-black monsters procured for the Troop. It wasn't hard to get them to trot and run, for they were young and strong and well-fed; it was that they were also powerfully stubborn and there was not the time in a couple of hours a week to work up that tender mutual understanding that bespeaks cooperation between man and beast.
So he, your big black horse, would test you when you came into his stall; Would your ribs crack if he gave you a good shove against the boards, would you get your face out of the way in time if he tossed his buckled head toward you as you bridled him, would he succeed in stomping your toes while you were trying to clean his hoof? When it came to mounting with all your gear, would he show you how to dance in a circle, hopefully so that you would stumble and let him drag you by the stirrup? Dig him in the ribs with the hoof-cleaning iron, give him the knee where it hurts, pull his head down, calm him with obscene words, and when he has utterly subsided, cast your full weight at notching up his cinch belt to disgorge the bloat that he has treacherously stored in his belly, whence he would expel it at a trot and let you ignominiously slide off saddle and all.
The spectacle of the Black Horse Troop on parade could not be denied a fetching beauty. Practically nothing of use in warfare was toted. The uniform was the full-dress Hussar of the War of 1812 (of which the less said the better), shiny boots, striped tight pants, form-fitting jackets with golden epaulets, and a tall furry and plumed hat complete with chin-strap. The men carried sabres and wore fine gloves. The bandsmen played and steered the best they could, keeping their steeds in line by jostling against the horses on both sides, with the outriders guiding more than playing. Corporal Beck had kettle drums mounted to his sides, was kettle-shaped himself, and sat astride the thickest horse in the regiment, so that when his rein slipped and his monster began circling there was a hullabaloo from the crowd and distress in the ranks. Altogether the effect of the Regiment on parade was superb.
Still the warlike Student preferred the maneuvers, which would begin at one certain dawn with the passage of the now fully armed and khaki-clothed column along the bridle paths of the Lake front (if only when a little boy he could have seen himself passing by the Palmer Mansion and Oak Street Beach so mightily picturesque) and continued on North all the thirty miles to Fort Sheridan. The column would walk and trot, walk and trot. Slowly but surely his legs chafed, his seat ached, his back racked with pain. From Evanston onwards, it was pure agony. The next morning, Cowhey's bugle found him immobile; only pride could pull him to his feet. Why he did not take a couple of aspirin pills and rub on a salve is beyond me. Instead he went out with the rest, suffered for two days, and thereafter went heartily charging up and down the sand dunes kicking the hell out of his beast, then dismounting to set up a 30 cal. machine gun, hopefully without getting sand into its bolt.
This hobby aside, he was exclusively in his mind the Student, with small thought of going to war, not yet, someday, if the Allies didn't take care of the Nazis and it came to that. He eased into graduate life, perfectly at home, with a full scholarship, a new metal desk, fairly interesting courses, and an assistantship to Mr. Harold Foote Gosnell, which paid all his bills. It was time for his persona to change. He didn't mean to move up, or down, or sideways. It just happened. In the University -- forgive me my lists -- there were the loners (like Jim Dunkin), pairs (like Hart Perry and Bob Merriam or Marge Goldman and Gertie Goldsmith), chains (like the Lake View High School Graduates), triads (like Laura Bergquist,Emmett Deadman, and Adele Rose), teams (water polo or tennis), clusters (the Social Science afternoon teas), clubs (the fraternities), organizations (the orchestra, Blackfriars), work groups (the Board of Trustees, the Alumni Office, Presidency, Bursar's Office, legal, food, health, records, and examiners services and offices), labs (chemistry, statistics)), classes (Freshmen), divisions (Humanities Division), schools (the Law School, the Rush Medical School, the Divinity School), departments (Sociology), interdepartmental committees (Committee on Social Thought), course classes (Public Administration: Political Science 240)), faculty (individuals with all their groups, but also that both vague and specific set of statuses and feelings of whoever had to do with teaching and research), staff (all others on the payroll, permanent and temporary with the same kind of feelings and titles), staff organizations (Buildings and Grounds, Libraries), dormitories (Snell Hall), rooming houses (Mrs. Goff's), families (visiting and communicating parents and siblings), factions (left and right of the Political Union), alumni (the Class of 1913, New York region, committees), communities (the University and all those associated and related to it), crowds (at the Coffee Shop, International House), audiences (at Mandel Hall public lectures), and nothing else that I can think of except the stones and book-shelves and trees and doors, all of which grew gradually to feel personal, as a wood door begins breathing warmly invitingly after you've pushed it open a hundred times.
All I really intended to say was that the Student now changed his circles. The laughable rah-rah was gone. He quit the Billings cafeteria group, and took his chances on cooking for himself and eating out here and there. He left the Band and Orchestra to get along without him. He played the trumpet only to keep his lip up and for the Black Horse Troop. Life became centered upon his Field of Specialization, and whatever insects might be attracted to its web. The most unusual 817 Gang broke up. So compatible, so supportive, yet they dispersed in all directions, to Washington, to rooming places, to the Walt Disney Studios -- so typically American that, should they see one another again, when rarely they did (and I would have to take great leaps of time and space to say when and where) they accommodated to one another as if they had just come home from their special little dining room at Billings Hospital.
Sebastian and Miriam decided to marry, and got Herman Koenig, a busboy friend, to call upon his father, a Lutheran Minister, to officiate. A brilliant cheap solution, since Miriam's Father had worn the Lutheran cloth and Mrs. Carlson, who was not keen for the nuptials, was mollified. They also obtained under false pretenses an apartment around the corner from 817 in the same building; they had an extra room down the hall in the rear, which the Student rented from them. Miriam was beautiful, well-mannered, and a crack stenographer, so she could always find a job wherever she might dwell. They thought to have a wedding party and convened it at Ida Noyes Hall; the Dad and the Mom journeyed down from the North Side; Sebastian's night club combo played dance music; the Student's old violin teacher, Ettore Gualano, played a vigorous solo; and somehow, without half trying, there appeared enough guests to decorate the dance floor with rhythmic color, raise a decent hubbub, and slush down into their gullets a tide of tea and cakes. Earl and Esther Johnson were present and blessed the gathering with their humanist credo, to which the Student said amen. Earl still had not finished his doctoral dissertation, though past a certain age; he never spoke of it, but it had something to do with the changing neighborhood business areas of Chicago; one could hardly blame him.
Earl had been in pilot training in World War I, and was still working on a degree. It was hard to realize another World War was evolving. Western Europe at this very moment was being torn to shreds, the British had fled from the Continent, which from Central Poland to Calais was in German hands. Nonetheless, a poll of Harvard students late in May reported 91% as unwilling to fight fascism and 62% opposing aid to the Allies for fear of "bringing the fighting closer to home." The Chicago graduating class of 1940 jeered a Commencement speaker off the stage when he urged the young men to "ride the tanks to defend liberty and defeat oppressors" as had his class in World War I.
Bro Bus and Mir had no honeymoon; married bliss de facto they already had. It was back to work among what came to be called the 401 Gang. These were the several assistants and consorts who occupied for the record a large open room on the fourth floor of the Social Science Building as research assistants in History and Political Science. You would encounter there in consequence a handsome devil, Canadian, an ex-Ford Motor Company employee, Jay Gordon Hall, who left his family in Ontario and came to earn his doctorate in history by helping Miss Bessie Pierce with her interminable History of Chicago; Fred Hadsell, also in History, who came and went with his girl Gwendolyn, every bit as tall as he, which is saying a lot; Morris Cohen who was preparing a study along lines set forth by Mr. Gosnell, involving statistical correlations of economics and voting behavior in Wisconsin, who after a while came and went with his girl friend, every bit as small as he, which was also saying a lot; Norman Pearson, celibate, who was doing a similar study of Iowa; Bill Colman, celibate, who was doing likewise with Ohio, and who had just arrived from Missouri where he had worked in the merit system administration and knew all about the politics and administration of the State that was soon to propel Harry Truman upon the national scene; there was then Sebastian de Grazia, who was designated by Gosnell to apply the psychoanalytic biographical technique (hardly known, quite undeveloped) systematically to none other than our beloved President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt; finally there was the Student, celibate, who came in one door and went out the other; that is, he was put to work by Mr. Gosnell on the State of Louisiana to do a statistical analysis of its voting but ended up with a melange of this and a biographical study of the appeal of "the Kingfish," Huey Long, who was running a kind of Banana Republic in the Deep South.
He couldn't stand the interminable calculations of regression equations and multiple correlations required to demonstrate with some hope of statistical significance that the prices of farm products and the basic well-being indicators of the counties of a State were related to the vote of the counties in State and Presidential Elections. That there should exist such a relationship was logical and in keeping with the prevailing wisdom of the social sciences: that is, people voted their bellies in considerable and therefore noticeable numbers; still it is remarkably difficult to demonstrate exactly how such factors interact with election issues and candidate personalities. All of the State studies were ultimately completed and published by Mr. Gosnell with almost no change in their form as submitted and with a bare footnote, crediting his assistants by name. The title, Grass Roots Politics, was invented by the Student one afternoon as he sat in the office of Mr. Gosnell and the question of title was raised -- he was clever at coming up with slogans and titles.
"Huey Long's Louisiana," was published unchanged, as with the others, from the Student's hand. It went far enough statistically to show that the economic status of counties determined their support of Huey in part, that the division between the Protestant and Anglophone North and Catholic Francophone South added an independent voting difference rather less than expected, and that Huey was a true populist in thought and appeal who had hardly reached the limits of his power before he was assassinated (for a personal grudge) in 1935. The study was fun, because he liked to play with maps and plot scatter-diagrams, anyhow so long as Mr. Gosnell did not press him to squeeze the statistical lemon too hard, and he was allowed to exercise his imagination -- this sort of work would ultimately be called "modelling".
Before completing the Louisiana study, he was put onto statistical biography. Actually it was ultimately intended to be statistical. Here is the way that Mr. Gosnell figured; it was logical, simple-minded and avantgarde: We all want to know what causes the success or failure of a politician at the polls. Why did Roosevelt get a bigger vote than Hoover in 1932, than Landon in 1936? Gosnell sat down and listed all the variables that might make a difference in a campaign, all the traits that some writer or party leader claimed made a difference in an election. He came up with a hundred and more. For instance, Herbert Hoover was a Protestant and Alfred E. Smith a Catholic; how did this difference help Hoover to win handily over Smith in 1928? But then you had other hypotheses; for instance, the psychoanalyst Alfred Adler believed that superior achievement springs from an inferiority complex; did the fact that Hoover had been an orphan and was intensely driven to succeed have something to do with his victory? But we know, too, that 1928 was deemed to be a prosperous year, that the Republicans had been in power in Washington (if you can recall Calvin Coolidge), and that voters might associate a Republican administration with prosperity; so an economic, rather than a religious or psycho-social trait might have explained Hoover's triumph. Or some part of it. It was almost impossible then to manipulate so many variables by the partial and multiple correlation techniques that Mr. Gosnell naively relied upon, and then happily to emerge with a reliable, not to mention valid, statistical finding. The number of cases was small, too; under a hundred in all, "Successful and Unsuccessful Presidential Candidates" -- that was the name given the project to which both Bro Bus and the Student were asked to contribute. With so few cases, statistical generalization, even under the best of conditions, would be highly suspect.
And the conditions of the data were awfully poor: despite all the personal publicity given to presidential candidates over our history, very little of scientific value was known of their lives and backgrounds, as it turned out. It was a grand day in the history of the project, thence of biographical study, thence of psychoanalytic theory, thence of social science and pediatrics, when Bro Bus, digging into the trash concerning FDR came upon a statement by the President's mother, Sarah Delano, that she had nursed him "on Nature's own food" until he was eighteen months old. For, according to Freudian theory -- and one of the multitudinous items in the list of criteria asked it -- the "oral optimism" of certain people goes back to their being nursed good and long as infants. The idea sure applied to FDR, the big talker, the confident man (despite a terrible handicap of infantile paralysis), the chain smoker and boozer.
When it came time for the Student to dig into the life story of Calvin Coolidge, just the opposite might be expected and it was found despite the practically negligible bio-data on him. As for the man who ran against Coolidge, his name, which was legendary among Wall Street lawyers, lingered scarcely for a long week-end after the election, John W. Davis. He was alive, and the student sent him the scandalous schedule of questions about his private life and opinions, asking him whether he would address himself to them; the response was less than enthusiastic, and the Student, who was not so naive as to expect otherwise, derived satisfaction from the evasiveness of the philistine.
However, Freudian theory, that had supplied the "oral type" for FDR had emerged with an "anal type" as well, you see, and the Student hadn't to be especially brilliant to come upon its application to "Silent Cal" sooner or later. His minimal triumph came the day when he found a story depicting the President as descending into the White House larders ("on Company time") to check whether any hams were missing. The taciturnity, the stinginess, the conservatism, the thin lips of Calvin Coolidge made up a typical portrait of the so-called "anal type." Unfortunately, Cal's biographers did not describe his toilet habits, no evidence was found of his infant feeding problems, and the Student was moved to take up Abraham Lincoln, about whom everything was known that was public and almost nothing that was private. This had not kept Abe from playing the star role in as many biographies as John Wilkes Booth played heroes of Shakespeare. Lincoln had the distinction, then rare, of a psychoanalytic biography by Clarke. The Student read it hopefully but achieved only a plausible explanation of Lincoln's melancholic disposition (and its black humor) in the President's mother, Nancy Hanks, who had profoundly drawn the child to herself but had left him an orphan with a shiftless father at an early age. The voluminous Carl Sandburg biography was appearing but it added little of importance to what was known, nor could it boast of a novel theory. There seemed so little to be gained by probing into such primary documentation as existed concerning Lincoln -- it was so superficial -- that he abandoned his foray.
The best that could be said of the Gosnell design was that it told everyone with a serious interest in a Person's life, or the hope of speaking a truth about it, what he should look for in the literature. But one invariably had to rest unsatisfied: it seemed to the Student that the deeper he got into biography the less confidence he could have in the existing theories as to what explained his subject's traits, much less what explained his subject's success or failure in life. For that matter, it was perhaps now that he began to define "success" and to wonder whether this hard word was really a wispy illusion, in life itself, politics, say, and, too, in scientific research. Every immersion into the whirlpool bath of hypothesis was, of course, strengthening, intellectually and morally. And little by little one could foresee a psychiatric approach that would, given the evidence (!!), explain the behavior. Further, by way of supplementing the psychiatric method, there would be a need for ever more practice of the statistical comparative method, as Lasswell and Sereno had shown in their analysis of the Italian Fascist elite and that Harold Laski now evidenced in his studies of the origins of the British ruling class. So far as the Student knew, the Chicago School had the priority in both regards. He was quite at ease with both methods of studying biography by the time he was twenty years old. You had to "Wave the Flag for Old Chicago."
He commenced in this same Springtime and Summer a line of inquiry that a decade later set the structure for a book by Mr. Gosnell and brought himself to writing a book and achieving a certain fame. Mr. Gosnell asked him to look over the textbook on political parties that he and Charles Merriam had written and was in need of revision. He did so and was discontented with its pages on leadership. He began to think about the representative function of leaders and then about the effect of election systems on the kinds of politicians who were voted into office. He thereupon exercised to an extreme his aptitude for analytic definitions, skirting the edge of pettifogging, and emerged after some weeks of work with a creditable and unparalleled exposition of the concept of representation; he introduced into the relationship between constituent and representative so many conscious and unconscious structural and psychic angles as to vitiate pre-existing treatments.
Mr. Gosnell had a Ford car and thought he could undertake the long drive to Washington for the post-Christmas convention of the American Political Science Association if the Brothers de Grazia would accompany him. They would and did, and got caught in hellish fogs on icy roads day and night, particularly as they crept along the narrow slippery road through the Allegheny Mountains. They stayed overnight at a spooky rooming house that came at them from out of the mists. The return gave more of the same except that they had been elevated by mingling with a crowd of people who talked their language, a strong contingent of them from Chicago itself, who wanted to hear and talk of the exciting studies going on there.
His work didn't stop at 401. His side-kick from the Symphony and Band, Trumpeter Harold Hitchens, had found a project downtown in the Loop, in that depressed area of old printing plants, loft factories, and miscellaneous entrepreneurial endeavors, where business is conceived and born and raised amidst squalor, like most infants of the world. He got hold of the Student and said, are you interested in some editorial work, come on down, we have a swell boss named Franklin Meine and we're doing a revision of an old encyclopedia. It pays twenty-five bucks a week. (You must admit that it is pathetic and affecting the way students take care of each other and pass the bread along the table and keep a fair-sized share of the intellectual and cultural world running by their operations that form a microscopic and worthwhile bit of the GNP, generally the Grotesque National Product.)
Down to the Loop he rode and found on Adams and State Street an old loft where a dozen people of his intellectual stature but of all shapes and colors and sexes and geographic origins -- 12 unique species, in other words -- were under the direction of cheerful free-lance intellectual Franklin Meine who was of the old school of Chicago intellectuals of the nineteenth century, a biographer of the Indiana humorist George Ade and Mark Twain, a big guy in his late thirties, smiling, tolerant, liberal, lovable, sloppy, reading and changing the copy put to him by this gang that included Harold Hitchens, and now, after a brief interview, Alfred de Grazia, whose name would appear regularly on a card in the hallway below to be inserted into a machine and punched to show his presence upon the required hour and his departure upon the proper time, to which he, as soon as he was one of them, responded by being punched in by others if he were late and punching in others if they were late and taking care that nobody was punched out early no matter what time of the afternoon he or she has to depart, and so far as noon was concerned taking a few minutes extra to do a bit of shopping at Goldblatt's nearby. And, should you wish to know his favorite food, the Student found Bergholz's Beanery where a thousand true-blue Chicagoans ate a little pot of Boston baked beans with molasses poured over them, a thick chunk of black bread, a chock-filled piece of apple pie and a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. His stomach so savaged and soothed at the same time, he found his way back to work, where he had offered to him, with some chance to refuse the expertness demanded of it, a pile of articles to be revised and rewritten, together with the names of articles too recently admitted to consideration to have been part of Nelson's Encyclopedia, an old broken-down second-rate not-bad English Encyclopedia that had been bought for a song by an American promoter, Mr. Davidow he was referred to, who sat upstairs, handling the business of the Consolidated Publishing Company, but was without too many worries since Sears and Roebuck had contracted with him to distribute the set to whoever of its millions wished to order books from their catalogue until time came to hang it in their out-houses.
The Student liked the work and his fellows. In a corner beneath his green eye-shade squatted a tiny old German who read proof interminably and voicelessly. There was the eternal buxom peroxide blonde, Helen, pursued by the perennial myopic dark lean avid Jewish intellectual, Len, and all the types to round out the serious circus. Hitch suffered puritan restraint and confined his pursuit of Helen to mental operations and "Hell's Bells, look at that, will you?" when Helen's bodice slipped alarmingly. The Student wrote copiously on many subjects. He stopped at nothing, despatched an article upon Albert Einstein and Relativity Theory almost as readily as an article upon Elections. He also employed the occasion to insert articles upon admired tutors like Mr. Harold F. Gosnell and Mr. Charles E. Merriam.
His abundant studies, research and miscellaneous employment, almost entirely in the social sciences, and even then in political science, was not optimal, a counsellor would suggest, to expand his horizons with the opposite sex. But no: as the year passed he began to zero in on certain feminine characters who were not at all unlikely. Perhaps in depicting his situation, I can throw a broad light upon the mythology of sex in graduate schools of the Universities of the nation, which speaks usually in terms of deprivation, frigidity, incompatibility, and unattractiveness, on the one hand, or else a kind of kaffeeklatsch of married students.
If I cannot do anything more, I can add exoterrestrial experiences of the third kind, of how a storm struck and the Student was sucked up by an aphrodisiac cyclone that then flung him far away cleft in twain.
The academic year began innocently enough, with the Student hanging around Room 401 and burrowing into the stacks, for which he now possessed a Stack Permit, a license to dig deep and remove whatever valuable ore one uncovered, a privilege literally orgiastic and erotic in its effects upon a true student. You know how it can be with even an ordinary bookstore, the sensual pleasure of pulling out a book with an attractive title, something that you were "looking for," or "had always wanted," or "looks exciting," and stroke its covers, and carry over to the counter, and, knowing there to be a secret between you and the book that the seller did not know or understand or could only say a cliche about it like "that's an interesting story, you'll love it," -- little does she know your feeling, or, if she is clever, will only give you a mysterious smile as she wraps it for you, and the book is all yours to own, possess, and fondle forever, damn the computer age, damn the chain bookstore that lines you up like sailors before a cathouse for its few denizens. Now the dimly lit nooks of the library stacks lend an atmosphere even more seductive, where you know more or less what you'd like to find but are not so faithful to your quest either that you cannot be diverted into another nook where instead of the affairs of Lincoln you see an imaginative account of his blessed mother or where instead of Clarke's psychiatric life of Lincoln your hand is guided to the slender work of Freud on the homosexuality of Leonardo da Vinci. When the stacks attendant calls out from afar "we're closing" and the lamps begin to extinguish, you feel sometimes as if you were being dragged from your bridal couch.
No more of this, lest I let you believe that the Student was losing his amorosity, no, it nettled him continually. He had known Elizabeth Johns since his freshman year and although she starved herself skinny, and let her fine blonde hair straggle along the best it could, and chain-smoked, she was basically appealing, immensely intelligent with a wry laugh at the silliness of people and the social order, such that now that he was freer with his time and energies he could corner her and would have persuaded her to come to bed with him had it not developed that she was steadfastly in love with St. Clair Drake and was not ready to give it all to anybody else however passionately she may have returned his kisses.
Her kid sister, Pat, came up from the University of Illinois where she had been acquiring a reputation for wildness and radicalism (they hailed from Iowa and their papa was a high official in the Department of Agriculture under Secretary Henry Wallace), and she, it must be confessed, was the prettier of the pair, looking like a choice fresh shuck of Iowa golden corn. He went to work on her, rather arrogantly, since he considered her an easy mark and himself the superior to anyone who could have wasted several years at Urbana-Champaign, but was caught up short when she told him that he was acting silly, trying to get into an armchair on top of her, and, though not defeated, he retired, perceiving that the campaign would require a longer time than expected and perhaps might not even be worth it in the end. He did not fall in love with her; perhaps, that, too, is relevant, although the idea of love was the farthest thing from his mind in these fall and winter days. He was in search of female companionship and sex, he thought, but there was a fatal flaw in his reasoning, more than one actually: he was bent upon concocting a delectable liaison that would be without ultimate implication; he would find a woman possessed of all amazing qualities except for smiting him with love.
His was a common American student's problem. They would not have been so frustrated if they had believed stoutly in a divine command to abstain from sex (and masturbation). They would neither be so frustrated if they habituated prostitutes; after all, some 25% of French males visited prostitutes. Even the idea of setting up a mistress, possessing one, say the wife of a professor or a local businessman, was generally rejected and failed the test imposed by the ruthless peer group: could she go with you to the football game on Saturday?
Furthermore, sex relations were not considered a legitimate facet of a friendship. If two students fucked, the end result was usually marriage and children. And then divorce was difficult. Mr. Hutchins considered divorcing long before he dared speak of it and took years to consummate it, though assisted by the most eager of lawyers and associates. Relations with older women were scorned, relations with younger men as well. So, all in all, the pressure for monogamous girl-boy friendships without sex was strong, and if sexual intercourse were involved, much stronger, foredoomed to marriage, unless released in the course of a powerful painful struggle. The Student's feeling, not well-thought-out, that he could hunt swiftly upon the great plains and never be trapped by a bear of the woods, was nothing to bank on.
He thought perhaps he should pursue his old friend, Gertrude Goldsmith, whose black hair, low forehead, thick brows, over a nice nose and mouth and trim figure made her more unusual intelligence more significant, i.e. sensual. It had to be admitted: he would not be aroused for long without a 118 plus I.Q. thrown into the bargain. Bill Steinbrecher had been dating Gert for years; why didn't they get together, wondered the Student. He recalled Bill once saying that he preferred to remain a virgin until marriage: perhaps this kept the relationship cooled down. But he himself did not make a pass at Gert -- she encouraged nothing beyond walking arm in arm across a busy street -- nor even visit with her more than an evening or two and in the corridors and paths along with Marge Goldman and the corridor gang that congregated, dispersed, returned, like a tiny bee hive outside the Social Science Reading Room on the ground floor of Harper Library.
More evidently interested in romance (Gert thought that the Student was absurdly sentimental over the movie of Wuthering Heights which he took her to see) was a red-headed freckled junior named Billie Sass, who would flirt and tease without much point to it, and then without so much as an invitation or a kiss informed him that her boy-friend was terrifically jealous of him, knew who he was, and was threatening to wipe up the pavement with him. If she was going to play the game of love so foolishly, he couldn't waste time with her; he had, of course, to inform her to tell her boyfriend where he might be found at the ready; he should better have been inquiring into this form of female wickedness, as by pushing it farther toward its consummation.
Much more to his liking was a brunette named Bonnie Breternitz, perhaps the most beautiful girl on campus, who seemed to be interested in him and/or his profundity in political science. I could invent various reasons for their never having gotten out of the corridors together for larger maneuvers, but, confined as I am to the truth, I must say that the affair never passed beyond the level of polite conversation with subtle undertones, though with at least one leap of the heart, and he lost sight of her before he could hit her trail. For with the end of Winter, the scented trails were multiplying and the hound went sniffing one way then another.
There was a threesome whom Mr. Charles E. Merriam, "The Chief," had joshed in the classroom as "The Three Virgins," who sat together and were hardly the youngest of students: Jean Charters, Cecelia Farron, and Katie Fredericks. Jean, the prettiest of the threesome, sommitted therefore to making something out of it in life, became the Student's friend and told him that the Chief gave her a bit of a chase around his office; she confided in him, too, leaking a tear, and looking sweet and sympathetic, that here she was twenty-six years old and unmarried and despaired of ever finding a husband at the rate she was going. She spoke to him as a younger brother, and it was a correct intuition, because he felt charged with sympathy, flattered by the confidences, yet without passion, granted she was a fine broth of a woman, stalwart, ruddy brunette, Western in her body movement. The others were friends, too, and even less likely lovers, whether from the standpoint of beauty or because the going limits of discrepancy in age would not readily countenance two years, much less five or ten. Equality of age was the norm, possibly a year or two of seniority on the man's side would be ideal.
Jean and Cecelia lived with Christine Comstock, whose father taught at Oberlin, who studied psychology, and whose acne-scarred well-featured face surmounted a body suggesting Recamier on Recamier. They threw a party in their apartment and the Student, invited, came, talked and drank to excess, stayed over to vomit when the crowd left and was put to bed with Christine, a project he had entertained from the moment he sighted her. She loved to nurse him and kiss him but insisted he stay aboveboard, whereupon he fell asleep nicely, awoke with the kind of clear head young athletes can manage to present on the morning after, and ate a hearty breakfast with his three hostesses, all doting upon him as if he were a mascot instead of a dangerous would-be rapist.
He bore in mind that he must approach Christine again, this time under more private and sober auspices and preceded by some signifiers of his larger maturity, for she was better educated than was he, had read most of Charles Dickens and a lot more of George Eliot than Silas Marner, and intellectual maturity counted much with her, more than brilliance perhaps. Should he now then and there have determined that he must create some intimate companionship with her; she would be right in every way, and could not be so lovable and dependent that he could not part from her? Quite apart from her wishes in the matter (she was not one to hang on the telephone for him -- actually none of his acquaintances had been of the type), he did not try to find his way back to her, for another intervened.
I marvel sometimes at the way men lose track of women. I can more readily understand the reverse happening to women, encumbered as they are by injunctions against pursuing a man, calling him up, or leading him on, and they are even guarded against wandering too far from chaperonage of one kind or another. All a swain need do is say, "I have a picture that you will like, may I send it to you?" Or "bring it to you?" Or "a dried flower I picked once at Starved Rock." Or a book, or a poem, or a clipping from a newspaper. Anything that will preserve or further the connection. And not at any specific time -- tonight, tomorrow, next week, next month. Every fool thinks of some formal engagement, something dreadfully important. And of course, in the end, he frightens himself out of the next encounter, or leaves it to chance, "Well, I'll be seeing you," and does not.
That's the way it was when it came to this nicely sized blonde in Louis Wirth's course on "Social Organization" in the winter term of 1939-40. He sat at one end of the long oval table, she sat near the other end, and the great Professor sat in the middle. He could look at her as much as he pleased, which would be when Louis Wirth was not being eloquent or was not looking his way and when he was not taking notes, actually only a few scratchings on a subject that he swallowed like apple pie. She frowned a lot, which probably meant that she was concentrating, he thought, unknowing that she frowned in order to see better, because she didn't wear her glasses when she should have, namely, always, and they weren't at all bad-looking glasses, natural horn-rimmed, well-shaped to her face that was on the rounded side or was it square, she had a good chin, thin pale lips, scarlet lip-sticked as was the custom except for the few naturally bleeding red types, a rusty pink skin that might be showing the effects of the wind and sun, blue eyes, yes, twinkling you might say, though she wasn't smiling except for the quip of the Professor who liked his irony and contradictions on occasion. Questions were few, especially in the beginning, and there was no easy way for the Student to edge up to this intriguing specimen and let her into the secrets of social organization through appropriate histrionics then and there, to be followed by comments as they all moved out into the corridors afterwards.
He missed his chance. Before he could find an occasion to trip her up, she disappeared from his line of sight. It was not his Department --damn those disciplinary barriers! -- hence there was no acquaintance of whom to make discreet inquiries respecting the unusual newcomer. Why didn't she notice his interest and loiter after class? She was astigmatic, and he wouldn't know this, so maybe she could not really make him out clearly. Or maybe he didn't look like much, slumped in his chair amidst an unhandsome aggregate led by a Professor who was no dreamboat.
She in fact had other fish to fry. She had graduated from Smith College the year before, of the Class of 1939. Because her mother, Tessie Lauterbach, was a schoolteacher in the public schools of the City of New York, where she was born and bred -- on West 86th Street and in a three-story brownstone house, to be specific -- she had attended Public School and graduated from Hunter High School, which was a school without boys then, where she gained a reputation for being a smart-aleck editor of the school newspaper. She was clever, with an I.Q. of 141, and evidenced it at Smith College, where her sister Daisy had gone before her (who was not so bright and pretty, but rather daffy and syrupy and straight-laced, who dated but one man, Walter, and married as soon as possible, of whom more later). She seemed rather to adore and imitate her brother Paul who was attending Cornell and studying architecture, who was practically the handsomest man and best skier, sailor, horse-rider, drinker, lover, and hell-raiser you might imagine, and was fond of, but treated cavalierly and rather sadistically, his young sister.
All was not well with Jill Bertha Oppenheim. The same beloved brother lost his left arm in a crash with a truck. (He had been left-handed and had to teach himself to become right-handed and ski and sail and ride and drive with one arm and the wrong one at that.) Their mother became ill with breast cancer and after much suffering died. Their father was depressed by the death of his wife and by a life which, everywhere he turned, seemed to be falling apart. His children were singularly uncommunicative, his business partner was estranged, the business, manufacturing wigs, inherited and always hateful, failing. Gone was his little girl with her loving Bohemian chaperon, Irmie, and giant Alsatian Shepherd Dog, Timmie. Gone were the days at the Mamaroneck Yacht Club, of the Large Summer House at Rockaway, of sailing in the Ocean and the Sound with his "crew" Captain Harry, his bachelor brother-in-law Sam Lauterbach of ever-equanimous temperament, his vigorous wife, and the children who romped over the boards of the "Nymph" as it skimmed the waves. Gone were the daily walks over to Luchow's for lunches in the grand Bavarian style. Gone, too, the family dinners, the German cook and the Irish Maid serving. Jesse hanged himself.
Jill was sad, depressed, comic, and disported herself gaily. Her mother had been plagued by migraine headaches, and so she would get headaches. Her brother drank too much and so did she. The whole family made much of being good sports, both in the sense of athleticism and in uncomplainingly suffering the worst of weather and physical and mental pain. She skied, she sailed when she could but then the boat was sold, she dated boys from Harvard, Yale and the like, climbed in and out of bed now with one, then with another -- she "had to like them first," which, given her temperament, highly critical and half-consciously yearning for her brother, meant she "had not to dislike them." In either case, a salient point is to be adduced, whether or not she was clever enough herself to extrapolate it: an epochal change; sex is to be a peak experience for pleasure, not a surrender to love, indeed a form of defying love and potential marriage for being advanced as the only excuse for sex, even then being offered with a weepy regret for the weakness of the flesh overwhelmingly tempted.
Her boy-friends were mostly upper-class Jews or the astonishing imitations thereof by Slavic johnny-come-latelies, meaning impeccably mannered (or ill-mannered as the case may be) gentilified Jews of German or West European origin, but she followed her brother, too, in disregarding religion, holding true believers in contempt, angry at being classified as Jews and even angrier at being classified as "the right kind of Jews," at being told in praise, "you certainly don't look Jewish!" by Jew and Gentile alike, the first to be asked into fraternities or country clubs. But, once you know Jews, gentiles of interest are uncommonly encountered.
She followed her brother Paul, also, in seeking friendships without regard to wealth and social standing, but solely upon certain qualities of conduct, such as worldliness, daring, iconoclastism, and originality, to which should be added physical beauty; such friendships were not impossibly rare, considering the attractiveness and high visibility of the brother and sister both.
There came a time to graduate from Smith, and she departed with more of bad than of good to tell of life and study there. Mostly it was the stupid conservatism, social snobbery and clubby competitiveness of the School that offended her, and she did her best to be as offensive in return. While snapping and cracking at anti-semitism, she was intent upon capturing all the values that were supposed to possess the top-drawer gentiles.
She recalled in good grace her studies under Frank Hankins in Sociology and she would be forever proud of a paper in statistical demography that he had praised. At first she had little thought of graduate studies, much less of the University of Chicago. But she was sick of the whole crowd and of her family, except "Unkie" the Sailor, who could merely be kind and take her aboard her boat. Come to think of it, she had every reason to have self-destructive feelings, to get drunk on whiskey occasionally, to become easily annoyed at a personal world that seemed to rival the greater world in idiocy and futility. Her beloved brother abandoned his mistress and herself and went traveling to Mexico with a friend, never to return.
An acquaintance with whom she was more an intimate than a friend, Harvey Rubin, was heading toward the University of Chicago, where his brother was setting up a kind of "Preparedness" private army, learning about warfare and drilling on campus where neither the National Guard or the U.S.Army had been allowed to tread. Mortimer Adler was his friend and eased his entrance upon the academo-athletic scene: it could be justified, after all, if one thought of the classical Greek togetherness of the gymnasium and lyceum. It was a strange affair, so logical, useful, and then this recollection of long-forgotten tradition.
Professor Frank Hankins had recommended the University and especially the great statistical sociologist Sam Stauffer. So it was "Go West, Young Lady," for her, with money mostly borrowed from her ever-worried, ever-boring sister Daisy and her husband Walter likewise, which sums were ultimately to be paid back upon the settlement of the estate of the late Jesse Oppenheim.
Off she went to Chicago, all alone, but not for long. Through the Rubins she met men and more men and soon was one of the most popular girls within miles of the campus. She took an apartment below the Midway with Janice Dietz and a red setter. Janice Dietz was from Brookline, Mass., had been a classmate at Smith College, had a face that you had to be kind about but a bosom that was to be envied, at least in the short run, and then more: a very funny cultivated drawl and a convertible, which of course implied the red setter, who mounted with his nose to the wind; all of it was designed effectively to attract favorable attention outdoors. Mostly Jill went her own way; the girls were not palsy-walsy.
She signed up for classes and found, just as she had thought, that the University of Chicago Graduate School was intellectually creme de la creme, or at least lait de la lait. She met Law School students and Literature students, not to mention the sociologists and then a variety of social swingers who were habitues of Hanley's Bar on 55th Street and could be undergraduates, graduates, or proverbial members of the University community, like Nels Fuqua. She met others. She met a reclusive prodigious intellectual called Aaron Bell, a face for the shield of Athene, who fenced and played the piano, and was studying in the humanities for the most part but got into everything of the mind, and into the pants of more than one beautiful wanderkinder.
Most of all, best of all, in her first months at the University she came upon Wenzl "Stud" Ruml, still an undergraduate, from Ohio, whose Uncle Beardsley Ruml, highly praised for having invented the federal income withholding tax, had become Dean of the Social Sciences. Stud was a well-put-together large animal, too-lazy-to-be-very-athletic, bright but lazy, also intellectually lazy, also too popular and sociable to get down to business, a handsome bohunk happily contemptuous of blowhards and the meaner characters to be found around here as everywhere, less vain, and moreover was not aggressive or irritable and could admire and love a girl such as Jill Oppenheim, who also had no use for bull-shit and bull-shitters, these being a couple of her favorite words as well as those of her brother Paul, and was highly sophisticated and most amusing.
Thus it came about that she grew instantly fond of the Chicago setting and was happy to have a love affair with Stud, though he was a year younger than she (while she in turn was two years ahead of her college peers), which bothered her somewhat because she, like all the rest of the girls, didn't want to be older than her boyfriend. But affable Stud helped her find and build a new setting that she could love, Midwestern, All-American, uncomplicated by the rigidities of the Eastern schools and Seaboard Society, unpompously superior academically and even at the lower end of the bar of Hanley's Tavern. Aye, they were a good gang, Grant Adams the Bear, Jim Stevenson the Bowling Alley King, Ed Rachlin -- who was a particular friend of Stud Ruml, Monrad Paulson the Great Hayseed from Nebraska, and others bumbling about, replete with the proper attitudes of liquored-up liberalism. The snows of yesteryear soon enveloped them. Stud closed down when Spring arrived and headed home to Ohio to do not much of anything. They promised each other to write and fall in love again at the end of summer.
Around then it happened that she recognized vaguely from the library and the corridor this type who slumped a bit swaggeringly into view alongside Janice Dietz and from that point de depart they go down on a grand slalom. What is he doing with Dietz? Don't ask him. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Margery Goldman has something in her of the matchmaking Jewish female and had already pointed out to the Student something that he had already figured out in the recesses of his mind, that this new blonde passing by the corridor node outside the Reading Room was a smart high-stepping (in dirty brown and white oxfords) Ivy League type of impeccable Hebrew antecedents (in case he was misled by appearances and her light Smithy chirp which he wasn't) -- just in case he was interested.
So there he was with Dietz and the convertible, a cheery lean sort with a midwestern accent and a glint in his dark eye. He was zeroing in. What cute eye-brows. And a real "C" jacket. A swimmer, how nice, how about a swim, in the convertible, down to the rocks off Jackson Park, this typical hot sticky late afternoon of late Spring in Chicago, the waters really too cold, but just a dip perhaps. Sociology? Oh, yes. And there she had it, all of it, the class structure in all of its ramifications. Nazism, grrrr. Fascism, grrrr. Communism, grrrr. Well, what, then? Old trades unionism, grr. CIO, O.K. Democratic city machines, colorful, useful. New Deal, yeah. Hard-pan liberalism, yeah, cut the sentimentalism. See you at the library.
"What does it mean, this guy can't be going for Dietz. What am I doing, I'm tied up. Am I tied up? I can have friends can't I? I can meet him at the Social Science Reading Room, can't I? Am I jealous, oh, fuck, of course not. What is it like to be a Research Assistant, that's pretty big, isn't it, around this place? He's practically as profound as Aaron Bell, but what the hell's he joking about, and where does he hang around, he's never at Hanley's. And what's the story of the trumpet that dumb Janice is telling? And black horses. And water polo. I don't know what I am doing or what I am all about. I'm not so happy either. But he certainly looks as if he knows where he is going. He's friendly, but he looks like he might be a little mean. Well, it would be nice to have a new friend. Let's have supper at International House." And that is where they went.
A few days of this, of talking, of walking, of sitting off the rocks of the Lake, of going for a beer, of lending books, of reading at tables nearby, of beer-drinking in the kitchen, of easing him off Janice.
"Could he prefer her -- I'm again a little jealous -- but then of what, she, me, Jill, I only want a friend, somebody to test my mind, my soul, to tell me what I should do in this world, why I should do sociology and whether I should become committed politically, do you know Smudge, she is a real Communist, the anthropology department has several real communists, Johnny Murra is in Spain, or was.
"He, this type, this Student, he lives over on Maryland Avenue at the other end of the campus. He drinks at the University Tavern on 55th and University Avenue. He goes there every evening at eleven o'clock with his friend Bill Colman to have a couple of beers and talk state and local and national politics; they know everything about those things, down to earth politics, the nitty-gritty. He laughs and says he has left poor Bill for me, and he is taking me over there for a drink. It's a lot quieter than Hanley's, which is a madhouse. This place hardly has any clients. You just sit around in the dim light and talk and drink, then go home feeling good and peaceful. He's introduced me to Room 401, to a Canadian named Jay Hall, Jesus, he is a handsome one, and a little bright-eyed guy named Morris Cohen, and then Sebastian, that's an Italian name, they're Italian in some way, Al and his brother, Lawrence Olivier on campus today. What has he told him about me? I can't tell. He is like Stud, he doesn't talk a lot of bull-shit, still he doesn't conceal the fact that he likes me, and he tells me that, he likes this about me, he likes that about me, too bad he is going to Columbia University in the fall, could I possibly fall in love with him and have a summer affair, and send him off, and it wouldn't be so bad then when Stud came back. He'd be gone. I don't have to tell him that I am tied up. I am not tied up, really. Stud and I have an understanding, that's all. He is too young, Stud, I mean. So am I, ain't I? And now Paul is in San Francisco, and one of these days I'm going to see him; maybe if I can finish my Master's Degree, I'll go out there. I wonder what Sebastian's wife Miriam is like. Wife! I'm not used to students having wives. Nobody I've known except sister Daisy has gotten married, Ugh! Sebastian doesn't look like he's married. Neither does Jay and from what I hear he has a girl-friend Kirsten. And so it goes. I'll see him tonight, pick him up at 401, the Student, Al, I like the name Al, my Father liked Al Smith, so did I, he was a wonderful type, real old New York, `East Side, West Side, All around the Town..', why do I have this bitterness and hate for New York now. I can't stand the idea of going back."
This is precisely what she thought on the Eve.
He had in mind a party, a small one, at Sebastian's front room where the four of them could drink and eat and play some music and then see how matters would progress from there. So they whomped up spaghetti and meatballs, a salad, drank some liquor and broke open a bottle of wine. He brought the wine; he knew little about wine, which explained the cheap California red, and the whiskey was only a little better. He didn't believe in spoiling his guest. The phonograph turned out good jazz, they danced a little, he got her in a corner, kissed her, and asked her whether she would care to spend the night with him. He asked her in a low smooth voice, up a tone and a beat from nonchalance, and she answered at the same level, yes. The ground did not shake, screams were not heard, ears did not ring; panic, rejection, protest, argument, propaganda, persuasion, wrestling, nothing of this. Proof that the incident was not fully premeditated, and that the question and answer were not purely good manners, rests in that he had to grab Miriam who was beginning to laugh and hold her down against the couch so he could whisper "Can you lend me some clean sheets?" and to her everlasting credit, giggling, she slipped him two white covers and a pillow case while the guest was in the bathroom down the hall. He has his first chance to look her up and down naked in the moment she crosses the hall into the room before she gives a shiver and dives beneath the covers. Nothing unexpected but the appendicitis scar, much neater hemstitching than his own, a fine belly, nicely impacted navel, the same blonde below as above, small breasts, that proud carriage of shoulders and neck flouncing the blonde locks. For the first time of many times, they were obscenely surprised at how well they fit together, some unfathomable measure of legs, butts, arms, heads, all of it not snarled but woven as of a piece. If he had a fault it was of the young, precipitate lust; he burned like a mighty fuse; no matter that he was at it again early the next morning, someone, but who, should have taught him sometime to go easy, take your time, pause, vai al coda, but who, in a world where the very word sex was avoided could have been delegated to explain the extended theory of sexual intercourse? Nor did he, nor did she, seem to feel a lack, but to the contrary, a fullness, a blaze of blushing on her part, a burying of himself, an exposure of passions that forbade watching the clock. How many seconds and minutes, whoever knew or bothered to discover? That would be for old age. That would be for the time when one wondered when the next time would be.
They slipped out into the early sun for breakfast. And weeks went by before he gave a thought of what was transpiring. They ate together. They made love daily when they could, pausing briefly when she had the "curse". Here, there, everywhere. The Divinity School couple whose apartment connected onto their room -- it was a strange arrangement -- frowned upon them in passing; they made noises -- fun makes noise; too, she adopted a ratty brown mongrel she called "George" who jumped all over you, who jumped upon the bed to join the party, too, and the Student dislocated his shoulder reaching from his interlocking pose de amour to take a swipe at him, and his shout of pain and rage amused her, excited George to yap, and froze the faces of the couple next door ever thereafter.
They went to a couple of parties where she danced well from years of practice and he quickly came to dance as well, even better because he could imagine innovations, and knew rhythms, whereas she did not and besides had to follow his motions given the role of leader sexistically prescribed for the male of dancing couples. They danced cheek-to-cheek, to big bands, to small bands. He loved her appearance; she was the perfect "sweater girl," the ideal of campus style. He hated her scuffed saddle shoes and agitated on behalf of high heels whenever he saw an opening for them. Sometimes she wore slacks, more often a sweater and skirt cut and hemmed at the knee.
He had to move because Bro Bus and Mir had to move, so he tramped up the street with his suitcase and trumpet to a rear room of the apartment that Art Lidov (LaDove) rented and painted and sculpted in, vending the back part to Aaron Bell who then rented the Student the room with a kitchen facility. By this time Al and Jill had met Johnny Hess and he was, to hear him talk, also in love with Jill, but didn't begrudge their friendship and brought pretty girls with him, and she ruined a perfectly simple meal trying to feed them in the kitchen. She knew nothing about cooking, to the point of your having tritely to say that she couldn't fry an egg. The Student was much better at it. Her Bohemian nurse had kept her out of the way of the surly Irish cook. His Mom had him playing around her learning who knows how many little tricks of culinary culture.
They had fucking good times there and at her apartment with Dietz and at her room of the Harvard Hotel which she moved into after splitting with Dietz. This was a dinky two-story hotel, the only one in the neighborhood, just East of the University. He took to sleeping there occasionally without a by-your-leave. She arose all nude at four o'clock one morning to cross the hall into the bathroom and found herself accosted by a man from the room opposite. She yelped and scampered back inside; the Student, yes, it was he in the bed, leaped up and valiantly crashed himself against the man's door, which had been hastily locked. "Open up!" Faint chance! Dead silence. He hammered a few more times and retired. On leaving the next morning -- she pounding her ear as was her wont -- he had the nerve to stop at the desk and sternly demand of the clerk that the management evict the molester from Room 14 if it wished to preserve decency and prevent murder.
He, and perhaps she, had become a prisoner of love without knowing it. The entrapment is so common to homo sapiens schizotypicalis that I hardly dare describe it. In some lucky cases, like this one, the lovers learn from one another, not forever perhaps, but for a long time, at least as long a time as we can spending talking about it here. What did they learn? The technique of love; how to deal out and receive affection; sensuality or the opening of all the pores and apertures of the senses; manners, his and hers, in dealing with the world; methods of solving problems from the spending of pocket money to deciding upon the fate of the world; the practice of mutual support; courage in its many forms from the endurance of pain to the assault upon the world's evil forces; wit and witticisms; cross-cultural exchanges; forms and failures of logic; the exposition of interesting ideas; and skills, from cooking to skiing. All of these they exchanged and more, so that it would be absurd to reckon up his time lost from the books and colleagues as life's time lost. She must have thought the same. The words, "You're wasting my time," never spilled from their lips. Indeed, given the immensity of the affair, it would be difficult to conjure up a course of study that would have given more than equal value -- a course in philosophy of science, say -- without redefining his or her life's goals. In fact, he nagged her to get into her statistical studies more regularly.
She loved his thick smooth-skinned beauty of body and face, the scar beside his nose included, his trumpeting, which he would do for her solo inside a room -- "Stormy Weather," which she enjoyed tone-deafly to accompany with the words, "I don't know why...There's no sun up in the sky.." She loved his swimming and embracing in the water, an unforeseen by-product of water polo scrimmaging. She believed he was the biggest intellect she knew, and bet that he would pull up to Shils, Wirth, and the others soon enough. She liked his friendliness and openness, his laughter, and his commitment to tough domestic and world politics. She admired his financial self-sufficiency and his relaxed way of handling money: he counted pennies but he didn't pinch them; they never crossed words on a matter of money.
She did not like his insistence upon her taking up obligations that she did not recognize, a way he had sometimes of correcting her faults large and small -- a trait she quit lacked -- and his ambition made her uneasy. She did not like his possessiveness, when it flowed over into jealousy, and especially when it turned against her and was combined with a denial that he was in love at all or that he could let himself fall in love with her. All she could see in this madness was that he could justify it in terms of some noble sentiments such as "He travels farthest who travels alone."
They were always together now as the summer closed down and the time of departure neared. They picnicked with others, swam off the rocks, walked interminably around the campus so quiet and beautiful at the end of the summer day. and in the morning. They talked interminably about the news of the day, the rotten nazis, the coming of war and of America's part in it. Since he had to leave for New York, he resigned from the Black Horse Troop, giving up regretfully his equipment, walking through the stables and smacking several great black behinds (they would become dog food and their masters soon engorged by the Army).
With all that he got from her, nor have we reckoned the summa, the collection of orgasmic explosions -- though I did mention affection -- he should never had begun the count-down for the coming day of their separation. Yet he did. He did it by summoning up his evil impulses, the worse part of him. He inflated himself and deflated her. He expanded his future and disgraced her past. He dwelled upon his prospects, his mission in life, his commitment to study of the law. He spoke of the specter of the future. Where will he be: in the Golden West of his childhood dreams? On the battlefronts of the world? In the law courts of New York. In the Capitol at Washington. Chicago, the University of Chicago, which he in fact loved as much as he loved her, was not to be part of his future.
And surrounding her past, his jealousy raged. Here the unhappy tyke, with her twenty years as well-spent in her own way as his, was sculptured as a whore of Babylon. At first he pretended very well to a broadmindedness that diminished apace with his love or whatever his demonic possession was to be called. She, incoherent verbally in matters of emotion and therefore love, had to tell him before too long that there was about to reappear upon the Midway a certain Stud Ruml who at last hearing was her lover and expecting to find her faithfully receptive. Fuel for the fires of jealousy. He becomes angry for her having had prescribed for her in New York -- before meeting him! -- a vaginal diaphragm and jelly to prevent conception, which he, the impulsive fool, would otherwise have brought about in the time it takes to sing the alphabet. He had devised every reason now to dismiss her abruptly, scornfully, to be as mean and hypocritical as the society would permit, which permits even more injustice than this, but instead he suffers, tries to appear fair and just, says that this will be just as well considering that duty calls him to the Law School of Columbia University. Why? Because he is fiercely infatuated, more than that, pities her, admires her, supports her ideas en principe, cannot grant to himself a double standard for women and men, is aware that he is rationalizing, wants to talk over the world and the stupidity of people with her, wants to see her when she wakes up in the morning, and more... But to sum it all up algebraically, he is in love.
She is incredibly meek. She understands. She talks about these matters as long and as miserably as he wishes. All the while, they fuck as regularly as they breathe. In and out, in and out..all the while. When Stud returns, she has to tell him something, put him off for just the moment at least hopefully. So she does. But her lover, who should decently have taken the Pathfinder early for New York, hangs about menacingly. Had she been an explosive type, she would have denounced him and hated him for his simulated insouciance, his arrogance, his instructions -- do this with Stud, tell him that -- I'll see you at my place at seven -- he meets Dan Smith on the circle and Dan, who is one of the best characters of the fraternity circle says, she's a fine person, lots of guys like her, I'm surprised at how you were talking to her. The Student felt grateful to Dan rather than angry. He knew what was up, that all that had happened to him was good, but that he was inventing ill to take its place. When Bro Bus, Mir, Jill and he were sitting at Hanley's one night, Stud Ruml appeared and the Student had to order another whiskey to calm his nerves. The affair was not over yet, he knew. He did not know what in the world would happen to anybody, especially himself. That is why he shivered and gulped down the whiskey. They didn't speak.
A few days later, she and Sebastian accompanied him to the train station to take the Pathfinder, the fast new all-coach train with reclining seats that the intellectuals, students, and middle classes took overnight to New York. In all his life, parting had been a joy. Now for the first time it brought a sick feeling, a sadness compounded with resentment, jealousy, incompleteness. This was hardly the way to begin writing a glorious new page of his higher education.