Theirs was a splay-angled top-floor spacious room of the Law School Dormitory, Furnald Hall.They got themselves and the room in a deal, because two seniors wanting to room together offered it in exchange, and since Bill Evers, the other Freshman, and the Student liked each other's looks, they agreed. They were fast friends until Captain Bill got himself killed by a Japanese machinegun slug on the crowded beach of Iwo Jima. Captain Al was so apprised during the Battle of France.
The biggest difference between the two was not in height (Bill was very tall), eye-color (his eyes were blue), accent (he had a lower New York State railroader's accent), schooling (he had gone to Columbia College), study habits (he studied harder than the Student from Chicago, extremely hard), intellectualism (he aimed at a career in the law, yet was open to realms of ideas), religion (he was an ordinary practicing Catholic), sports (where he played basketball well), food (which he knew practically nothing about), or the world (which he had never seen), but that the Student was in Love and he was not. The student was lovesick, furious, jealous, pining, impatient, critical of the law, hostile to Manhattan, and contemptuous of the Law School and of what it professed as Law.
Bill was none of these; he was positive, had excellent morale, could listen to ideas, had fair to middling tastes, and recognized that there was something to be called `good taste' in wine, women, food, books, the performing arts, and even in political affairs. They also agreed about the character of people whom they came to know, like the two guys who sold them the room, the men who talked to them about joining this or that club, the creeps, the blowhards, the good and bad professors, the good and bad courses, the few movies that they saw, and their fellow students generally. He had been raised in a working class family, had been a studious child, epitomized the New York Irish Catholic Democrat, had gone through a tough University and into a difficult Law School. He was only now beginning to cast questions into the mythical realms of religion, politics, and law. In the end, the ruinous pace of the drive for success in the law, generating almost no moral and aesthetic by-product, would probably have limited his spirit, but he would always be a couple of notches above any problematic situation.
The Marines were no picnic party but when last seen he had achieved his Commission, was training troops at the Officer Candidates School, and was asserting that he couldn't wait to be assigned to a command heading for the Far East; he was envious of the Student who was a few days away from embarkation for North Africa; his wife, true to the Corps credo, did not object, her pregnancy notwithstanding (but, too, it is easier to lose a man with his baby in you); the Student had urged her upon him as a last act of friendship before leaving the Law School; she was Elizabeth Robb, a cute voluble girl out of a high-ranking Connecticut political family and Radcliffe College, with whom he had paired off at a convention of political scientists.
The students at the Columbia Law School were unexceptional, hence unexceptionable. They were high performers in conventional terms and the study of law would now firmly specialize them. What a mess the lawyers, these, their predecessors and successors, have made of American law, judicial practice, the dispensation of justice in criminal and civil affairs, and social conduct. In greed and immorality they are exceeded in numbers only on Wall Street and its byways. But what else do we have? Look at the medical doctors: first came duty, then pride, then greed, then bureaucratic controls, then hostile patients, then poor morale, indifference, anger. Maybe teachers, low and high, are better, yes, except in business schools and economics; and practicing scientists, despite and because of their suppressed characters, possess a larger dignity and respectable individualism. Indeed, one should start an investigation, why not you? -- to discover those occupations in America that encourage and allow their practitioners to be decent and helpful human beings (SSMST).
Columbia students couldn't wait to learn all the tricks of winning a case, of making big money, of getting into a prestige firm, they would study anything -- they didn't ask whether it was important to study or whether they liked it -- was it required, ought they to have that good grade on their record, never mind anything else. And their professors were paid (they also made fortunes on the side) to lecture to them gathered in large assemblies about procedure over substance, surprises and danger signals, manners and maneuvers.
So here was one of the top several law schools of the nation; you could toss in Chicago, Yale, Harvard, and Virginia, where the law was taught as an obstacle to the Law as Righteousness, and I do not mean by this term what Moses meant by it, for he was a bad model, mean, dogmatic, and punitive, but in the pragmatic and processual procedural sense; the Law as taught is a travesty of justice. And, since I want to be specific regarding when I do and do not put words into the mouth of the student, I can attest that he consciously and deeply felt this then and there upon encountering the Columbia Law School, never mind the fact that he was in love and his trolley was off its rocker and sparking.
What did he learn in Torts from Dean Smith, but the indefensible variety of legal definitions of harm and damage and recourse in different jurisdictions, from which lesson the students learned that they had better practice in one locality and stay there. Here, as in all areas, the god of precedent ruled, always reserving enough inconsistency and pique to flout the Professor's own dicta. But there were some interesting cases on consent, for example, where such questions arose as "When does a man become drunk and lose his power of decision, ergo become irrational and not responsible for his actions?".
What had happened to ease the brutal life of early untutored savages of Britain had been somehow culled and passed up to the present, transforming into gems of wisdom meanwhile, but one had to accept the myth that nothing had changed, a trans-substantiation as impossible to detect as that from aqua pura to holy water.
There to corroborate all of this was Professor Julius Goebel, Jr., who won hands down the Student's prize for linguistic obfuscation, such as enabled him to conceal the paths of history that had been traversed by the doctrines of the common law. To assure misunderstanding, he employed his own gross textbook that was composed of many scraps of proclamations and opinions from the dark ages. His course was called jurisprudence, a confused dark wandering without benefit of theory.
What did he learn in Contracts? The great Carl Llewellyn taught him by an unintended lesson, that contracts were generally worthless except as aids to memory and procedural clarity in foreseen operations. I retract that statement! No, not so, he did not teach the Student this important lesson, but a simpler one, that almost anything which is provably intended by two people will pass as a contract. However, a contradiction arose. In a massive attempt to block the foregoing two points, the bureaucracy -- local, educational, state, national, corporate, and associational -- abetted mightily by lawyers of course, wrote up all contracts 99% in advance so as to provide all parties to agreements with every conceivable burden of study and understanding and every possible motive for calling in lawyers and litigating.
Mr. Walter Gellhorn talked of a subject that the Student knew well, legislation and legislative assemblies. Here therefore he learned more about how judges decided what was the intent of legislators when they collectively voted a bill into law; the problem was a fine interdisciplinary mix that was only crudely handled in the courts; it would take a quantavolution in legal science to forge the historiographical, psychological, content analytic, sociological instrumentation -- the set of rules, that is -- required to provide acceptable answers to such questions as whether "Congress" "meant" to subsidize pheasant when subsidizing "barnyard fowl." The law professors, like the legal profession generally, were opposed to using social science to improve the legal system, although logically the judicial process is applied social science. The names of Roscoe Pound, Benjamin Cardozo and Louis Brandeis, especially the last, were bruited about, mostly in connection with their particular opinions as members of a court, rather than with regard to their philosophical work. Hence, out of a couple of hundred thousand American attorneys, no one was attempting scientifically to conceptualize this important
problem, and the professors were almost all merely extraordinary attorneys.
What did he learn in civil procedure from Mr. Magill? Here he learned principally that the technique of initiating and conducting a case was all-important, and the options of action at a number of phases of a case were irreversible. The merits of a case appeared often to determine its success or failure, but more often "irrelevant" factors outgunned the merits. It was like the theory of the "British Square" in battle: the Battalion was massed in orderly ranks, with orders not to move until so commanded, but only to close ranks when struck by hostile fire, so that sometimes a battalion would be practically wiped out before being committed to battle, whereupon, if properly disciplined, its remnant would move off in order. Apropos discipline, the law students were persuaded to a man that this was the way law was and had to be. Frightened, disoriented, they were more eager than their teachers to dissociate justice from law.
The students were trained to operate on a vaguely specified (but nonetheless specific) myth at best -- a doctrine that could be overturned in an instant if not quite stretchable, usually with slight apology, while, at worst, to play variations upon a cacophony of rules issued by a legislature or executive agency. It was a course of study degrading to a free soul, the equivalent of a writer churning out fresh copy on order, a grocer selling whatever he can get that makes a larger profit. All the esteem and wealth and power in the world cannot have made the lawyer more than a mental clod. Pile Brandeis upon Cardozo upon Marshall upon Coke and they would not measure up to a dialogue of Plato. Although individually they might be brilliant, they were servants of a prevailing law. The students were practically forbidden to study the reform of jurisprudence and morals.
They had clubs, social and moot court clubs, like fraternities, that had occasional debates and occasional dinners, together and singly. The Student was told by the leader of the second best club, or was it the first, or the fifth? -- Burdick was its name -- Jim Fitzgerald, a handsome lithe Irish Catholic type, that it was exclusive, by which he meant a few silly things and then the not so silly thing that they would not let in Jews, for instance -- there were no blacks or women within hailing distance -- whereupon the Student who had already made friends with a couple of Jewish students, particularly one who had a perpetual quizzical look, perhaps derived from expecting such conduct, told Bill and Jack and ultimately Jim that he thought it was wrong to be exclusive on any grounds except congeniality and intelligence and he would like to enter such a club, and since they wanted Bill and a couple of other friends and even the Student, they invited their first Jews into Burdick; but when asked by the Student, these said, yes, they had been invited but refused, and he was regretful. Still, the principle had been driven home; Bill and a couple of others were never quite the same again (to coin a phrase); their consciousness had been raised (to coin another).
The Student studied hard enough to do well, but gained a certain notoriety by reading the novels of Thomas Wolfe. He cursed the turgid river of time, and looked homeward, nostalgically but unangelically, and wanted to go home again.The Dean mentioned in the lecture hall that he didn't know how a person could read Thomas Wolfe and expect to pass the exams; apparently some fink stooled. He was hardly stirred and wrote as late as January 20, "Exams are almost upon me, but I still look at them with the remote incredulity of a man looking into a lion's jaws."
Strip love or its potential from a setting and it fades and irritates. He hated to call it love for that would imply eternity, but he was stuck like a pinned moth fluttering. And he continued to live where he came from. He was, unfortunately, almost immediately infuriated by his girl's first letter, for she reported conscientiously, or at least accurately, that Sebastian had let her off, after driving him to the station, just where Stud Ruml happened to be standing by, in no hurry to go anywhere, as usual. She had immediately to contend with a stupendous wrenching conflict: Should she take literally the Student's remarks and innuendos that they had reached the end of the road, that he was going on to grander heights lonely without her, and she should find her way as best she could? Or should she hope, believe, and act as if he were only disconsolate and hopeless in the face of their approaching separation, which, if they were truly in love, she could accept and honor actually more readily than he? Here was her old boy friend, now, accidentally but inevitably forcing the issue. She did the expected, she opened herself to the thought of falling in love with Stud again, and he with her, reluctantly, ambivalently, but there appeared to be little hope of either happening; so she dutifully related. "Apparently seeing him right after bidding you goodbye wasn't so damned symbolic, since he is distinctly not going to be a successor to you in the dull, tangled trample of my emotional life."
So now the ball was in his court.
"Must you rub salt into my fresh wounds?" (He must mean the wounds of separation.) "While I must reconcile myself to my lot, you conjure up fresh devils to gibber at me and dance around in my imagination, making my position a doubly tortured one." And on and on..
Thus began a furious, pathetic exchange of letters, interrupted only by her visit to New York at Thanksgiving and by his visit to Chicago over the Christmas holidays. Every letter carried its share of pain. She wrote also of her activities and encounters in great detail. She went to work with Science Research Associates, a company formed by Lyle Spencer and Robert Burns, graduate students at the University, who achieved a quick success in publishing statistical and sociological reports of use to personnel managers. She audited Louis Wirth's course on the sociology of knowledge; she audited a few of Leites' lectures; she planned (with some advice of the Student) a Master's thesis analyzing polling figures, visited therefore with Sam Stauffer; She expresses, rarely, jealousy of the Student and threatens reprisals, then defends herself against his reproaches for actions past and potential, for he is indeed unfair and mean in his angry frustration.
She tells him about her last days at the Harvard Hotel, and the dentist who had approached her in the middle of the night. He did not give up. He put a note under her door, asking her to dinner or to a meeting, stating that he was not to be confused with "Dracula," but was a perfectly proper man. She did not reply, although she felt sorry for him. She moved to a typical ugly newer tan brick building of a dozen flats now as a sub-tenant of his old friend Liz Johns. This little blonde Liz was a perfect partner, far and away the most intelligent and wise woman she had ever known, sanely in love with St. Clair Drake; she studied throughout the week for her doctoral examinations, and then entertained her suave black West Indian on the weekend; each Saturday morning she would purchase and roast a large side of pork, they would feast on it that evening and she would eat from it for the rest of the week.
Jill is the ideal company for an increasing number of gentleman callers, and for social gatherings. She is the rare kind of woman whom men get along with very well, without hearts and flowers, although, she writes to him, after they tell her all, after they philosophize as they cannot with other males (it's the American syndrome), they often hope that they have proven alluring as well. Sometimes they get in each other's way. On December 4, she writes, in her straight-up-and-down perfectly legible hand, of her trip to visit him and of a meeting with Sebastian, Miriam, and that Margo Carlson and Carl Hess have been introduced but that Margo prefers his brother John. "John and Art LeDuv [Lidov] dropped over practically simultaneously tonight. They made a lovely pair, both wanting -- at one time or another -- to sleep with me, both frustrated, and both insulting me very gaily. Pulease come home and shake your mighty fist at these hangers-on."
They had met in New York not long before. It appeared to both of them as a foredoomed encounter, but they nevertheless determined that she should spend a long weekend in New York at Thanksgivingtime. He learns that the Biltmore Hotel has special rates for students coming into the city for the holiday and reserves a room. As soon as she arrives, he takes her there; it's a grand room upon a fine corridor at the end of which a matron or housekeeper sits. They have a great time in the middle of the day, talking, making love, eating.
It didn't last the full day, however, for there came a heavy knocking upon the door with an "Open up!"
They were naked. "Who's there?"
"It's the Manager, Open Up!" He knew they had the key, but would they use it to come in immediately? They could not, because he had double-locked the door. More vigorous knocking.
"Just a minute!" He dresses. She goes into the bathroom to shower. He opens the door.
Two black-suited men and the harridan from the corridor desk edge in and stand there. "What's going on here? You have no right to have a girl in your room." Guilty on two counts, paying for a single room and occupying it double, using the room for illicit sex in an area of rooms proofed for the tender morals of students.
"Who says so?"
"You'll have to get out," they said.
"In that case, I want a refund."
"You'll have to talk to the Manager about that."
"Alright," and they step out, to wait in the hall. He explains the situation to her. They dress and pack. The matron goes down in the same elevator with them. "You sure do watch people here, it's like the Nazis," he tells her in a loud voice, sneering, for the benefit of the other passengers. The two of them stand haughty.
"I want my money back," he says, but gives up the thought when he sees the barriers to the Manager's Office, conjures up the time wasted, the arguments to come. They talk of where next to go. She could go to her sister's apartment, but that would introduce new problems of surveillance and restraints of time and movement, so they taxied to the Times Square Hotel, a dump by comparison with the Biltmore, sign up as man and wife, and resume their frolic, with renewed refreshments.
They are desolated by separation once more, then plan for him to come home for the Christmas holidays for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile he has a new small job; he persuades Professor Lindsay Rogers of the Department of Public Law -- you will recall him as a visitor at Chicago -- to take him on as a research assistant under a federal student-aid program; Rogers is puzzled as to what to do with him, but gives him a few chores like following the speeches of certain Congressmen. Money, money. He spends very little. In the morning he breakfasts at the coffee shop down below in Furnald Hall, ordering invariably stewed prunes, a bowl of oatmeal, and coffee. Lunch is the minimal plat du jour at the main cafeteria. Dinner is down Broadway at a Greek or Italian or Chinese restaurant. (The Greek means, of course, the standard American diet presented in a way and surrounded by a decor that seems over a century of time to have standardized upon an archetype.)
He is wondering, even before he sees her at Thanksgiving, whether he should try to persuade her to join him permanently in New York, but knows she hates the City and so does he, so that it would all be for the sake of his Law School education at Columbia. (It is a mystery why he stuck to New York. If only he had applied to Stanford University's Law School, even though it was not tops. Perhaps he would ultimately think of this. But, then, remember that couples did not move around together to schools.) The dialogue continued when he came to her in Chicago over the Christmas holidays. He visited his family but mainly encamped with Liz and herself, and prowled about the University. He quarreled meanly and angrily with Aaron Bell over a telephone bill, when Aaron called her and insulted her because the Student answered in her stead, and an invitation to fisticuffs was extended by Aaron, the event planned -- "I'll come over and ..."; I'll meet you half way and.." -- but passed over in growls. He had his only meeting with Stud Ruml one evening, when, returning to her apartment from an errand, he found her gone, whereupon he went out searching for her; he was perplexed, even distraught, and burst into anger when, entering through the rear of the building by way of the dimly lit cemented courtyard, he came full upon Stud skulking by. He grabbed him by the shoulders, put him up against the wall, bellowing, "What are you doing here?" and Stud answered, meekly enough, "Nothing." His anger turned to her and he said grimly, "I'll fix her. Do you want to come along and watch me! Come on!" turning Stud toward the house. But Stud said simply, "No, I don't." A reasonable answer. The Student left him there and strode into the building. Her story: "He just came. He wanted to talk. So we went for a walk. There is nothing between us." Add these answers to the "What do you mean..? etc." Multiply them by four or five, boringly, but diminishing in stridency, and you have not only the gist of the inquisition but practically its verbiage.
In New York, the Student came to meet many people, it develops, and experienced salient aspects of New York: the young bachelors like Hubie Nexon, an Attorney whom Jill had known from Smith, her college friend from Smith, Janie Mayer, another college friend who was about to marry an upcoming young businessman, Betty Jorgenson, to whom he was introduced at Barnard College and had known Jill at Smith and gave a calm accurate description of her. (Lovers like to hear the opinions others have of their sweethearts, even evilly intentioned words, all the better to defy them, also to attempt the impossible, which is to discover whether they are really mad or are perceiving their love ones normally, but then, if flattering, all to the better. Thus, Jill tells, too, of the opinions about him; he was always perplexed that John Hess did nothing at all to poison her mind against him, and was appreciative of Johnny therefore; he was bemused by Ed Shils telling her that he had a faun-like appearance, and somebody said "too pretty.")
He visited his Uncle Charlie, the old prizefighter, on his freighter when it docked in New York, going aboard, eating a huge meal, and shooting the breeze with the crew members who had not gone ashore . He saw the Wild West Rodeo. He visited Little Italy and Chinatown, and Rockefeller Center just for the fountain and statues. He journeyed to the World's Fair. The Burdick Club went out to a dinner-dance, and he brought along a Barnard girl, a sophisticated sad beautiful freckled red type, Mary Ellen Glynn. He went with Bill and a couple of dates to the Brass Rail where a distant cousin, Joe Marsala, who had been taught the clarinet by the Dad, held forth for years, and met him and his wife, the only jazz harpist anyone had heard of. He saw Lou Olom, who was doing some research for the great Harold D. Lasswell, who was now living part of the time in New York. He telephoned him and arranged to meet him, and was invited to dinner. Lasswell was sympathetic, but thought the Student a little too sensitive, perhaps because he considered that the Student suffered from low self-esteem, had come from a poor background and was not at home in the world. The Student ignored this intimation of weakness; he did absorb the therapy that was supposed to come from encountering a native of Illinois who had dug so mole-like into Manhattan. Lasswell appeared to him as he appeared to everyone over a lifetime -- omniscient and omnivorous, immaculate jargon difficult to render in English, imposing but appeasing, cordial but at arms' length. The Student did not speak of his love, nor did Lasswell seem to suspect it, and it is one reason for believing at this great distance from the event that Lasswell, who had been reputed to be homosexual, was neuter, if one might use the ugly term, on sex, for if he had been charged heterosexually he would have uncovered by subtleties of conversation this basis for sympathy, and if he had been an active homosexual he would have explored the setting for indications that might lead to strong sympathy, if not intimacy. Consider, too, that Lasswell had forcibly introduced sexology into political science: here was an extreme alertness to sexuality, yet when it came to an individual before him, his alertness remained in the abstract, rather than insinuating itself into the lovesick case before his eyes. It gives pause, too, that the Student's love was "normal pathology," while Lasswell's obsession was with "sexual psychopathology." But, then, it was difficult to perceive the man beneath the man in Lasswell, and it always remained so.
Upon closer examination, the Student's personal acquaintanceships in New York City numbered thirty-one, plus about thirty who were passing acquaintances, most of these being fellow-students in the Law or at Furnald Hall -- all of this in the course of his semester there. To exhibit the University of Chicago bond, one may point to five former schoolmates from Chicago, Allen Greenman and Bob King among them, job-searching; three connections made owing to the University, Lasswell, Rogers, and Casey; four friends of Jill; Elsie Mae Gordon a publisher friend of a Chicago Press friend, and through her another dozen of the literary, acting and publishing set, whom he broke contact with despite there being two eligible females among them. His Law School friends were disproportionately from out of New York City; Evers, Tierney, Mallory and Van Clive (it sounds like a law firm) were from the Eastern Seaboard, then carrying a large part of the national population, but he numbered as close friends guys from Washington State and Alabama.
With so many friends and varied experiences of the great city, with a sure-fire scholarship for the rest of his schooling, and all of this in one semester, with more to come and the most difficult semester over with, he should have been on top of the world. Instead he had incredibly the most annoying quality of the lovesick pining swain: he felt as if he were seeing no one, doing nothing, having no fun, spending his time uselessly, deploring every minute of it. He writes a letter every couple of days and receives even more in return, an amazing, contradictory turbulent correspondance distinguished by his awkward and demanding and authoritative style and Jill's truly spontaneous and fully explicative and racy style. Surely one must afford no sympathy to such a fool, such an ingrate; all the world should not love a lover: they should turn their backs on him, give him a gun and say: "Go, shoot yourself, you ass; you don't deserve the world."
Nor was she much better, for she rejected New York and kept him from sticking it out there. Nor could he blame her. It was, as said the most popular Professor at Columbia College, a friend of Earl Johnson, a teacher of Bill Evers, a lank serious former U. of C. man and Midwesterner, William Casey, commenting privately to him when the Student unloaded some of his unhappiness upon him at his office, "It is a kike-ish city," spoken simply and grimly, nor was he being particularly anti-semitic. The Student felt it and deeply, but it was Casey who had labeled it well; the Student was startled, yet that was it -- a great many people who lacked respect for others, who were abrupt, demeaning, aggressive, uncouth, indifferent, hard-shelled, contemptuous, and materialistic. Perhaps there were at the root of it the Puritans who came to create New Israel, the money-changers of the banks and Wall Street, the Jews, of course, recently arrived and pushing like crazy for a place in the sun, all the other newer arrivals doing much the same though not so effectively, the Irish Catholics who were devilishly seeking out the devil and bossing whoever they could, and even the polite soft-spoken black immigrants, who became "kikish" in their new free environment. SSMSI: when and how did the abominable modes of address, manners, and push-shove of New York originate? Casey never wrote about it. No one did.
Luckily, from the first days of their friendship, the Student knew her attitude to the city. Else he would have thought that she was fooling him and only wanted to prolong her own social prominence. For her letters, all wracking separation-anxiety aside, fairly crackle with names and happenings: parties, tennis games, plays, operas, dinners about town. Three and a half months of letters carried engagements with forty-eight different persons and another thirty or so incidental encounters. And, whereas the Student's engagements were female only one-fourth of the time, even less for the larger group of incidental acquaintances, Jill's were more than reversed; forty-one out of forty-eight of the acquaintances she mentioned seeing, meeting, or working with were men, probably slightly less a disproportion when it came to passing acquaintances. This would count, of course, several males of his family, professors, and employers; of the others, too, scarcely a one was unknown to him. Were there others of whom he learned nothing, strangers, not even their names? Most unlikely: give the devil her due. Further, he would have imagined it and inquired persistently; the jealous lover might be jestingly portrayed with horns when he ought better be pictured with delicate antennae.
In what turned out to be her last letter to him, on January 29, she writes, "I have a date with Grant Adams tonight. Don't worry, I shall promptly drop this role of sister to the regiment as soon as you get home, S'funny Al, all these guys treat me with great cameraderie, they tell me their problems -- in most intimate and painful detail, they assure me that I am a wonderful girl, or rather, a good kid (you're the only one that thinks I'm a wonderful girl, since you alone appreciate my cooking and my figure) but they couldn't fall in love with me, and then, as soon as my back is turned, they make a pass at me. It's so dumb, because it's very clear I'm unattainable -- I point that out to them and besides they all think I'm essentially cold -- but still, they keep up this silly play. Well, I'm not particularly worried. I just don't have anything else to write about and besides, I want to remind you with what an alluring creature you have linked your silver-plated destiny."
So the inevitable happened. He was offered a dollar-an-hour assistantship by a Williams College professor on leave for the year at Columbia for as many hours as he pleased. He accepted. He was offered an apartment by the University. He accepted. He would have a well-paying summer job at a large law firm. It was too early to think of it. On January 13 he writes to her that he is considering closing down the Columbia operation. On January 15, she writes that she could not in good conscience wish to persuade him to return. There is a flurry of terrible recriminations. Then on January 21 he writes to her, following upon some rather sweet preliminaries:
"I'm coming home. I wouldn't change my mind, no matter what, and I've known it through the heat of this verbal barrage. I've burnt my bridges in N.Y. with finality and despatch. You are the female, not evil, but lovely and desireable, who caused it, but materially it makes no difference. This talk about the step having any material consequences is largely boloney. I could make a success out of teaching Hottentots to shoot craps. Having decided what I would do, I craftily put my plans before the Dean and other formidable personalities without a word about whether a femme who should be cherchezed against were involved. Their answers were univocal. `You are not losing anything.' The Dean thought the idea (of finishing his doctorate in political science) a very good one and offered to give me a leave of absence if I wanted it. I probably shall take it... Fortunately my family is contrary, which is edifying and expected." Of course, what had happened, as he notes in several cases, was that he tailored his reasons to the feelings and needs of each person, and they all ended up convinced of his rationality. Little did they know. His letter ends with these clinic-clamoring words: "I quit not willingly but perforce, through examinations tomorrow vi et armis contra pacem mentis in nefaria et felonia."
Do not ask me, pray, what they mean. Convoke and consult your nearest medicos.
This letter was sent by Special Delivery, which meant that by the next morning it had climbed aboard the overnight mail train, descended in Chicago and had been delivered in time to awaken the pitiable girl from her slumber. She replied immediately, "You can take all my querulous, breast-beating, self-pitying, self-righteous and amorous scrivenings of the past few days and feed them to the nearest billy-goat. (There is one in Central Park near the sixty-sixth street entrance.) In their stead accept this paean of pure joy."
So one day with feelings of relief and determination, no regrets at all, he left Manhattan for his home city -- "Chicago, Chicago, I want to go back, I want to go back..." -- his home campus, where all the ideas worth thinking, all the people worth knowing, congregated. The Pathfinder pulled out with its eager passenger who drove its every mile so well that by the next morning he could leap from it, catch a trolley car, transfer once and get off at Ellis and 55th Street, knowing that in a couple of hours at the most he would be wound around his lover's body like an octopus around the silverfish, big-brained like the octopus, but split-brained such that he would be blabbing, blurting and burbling quite beyond the vocal capabilities of said squid. That she was ungovernable was his downfall; that she was unruly kept him in love -- up to a point.