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Copyright © 1970 by Erich Segal
This simplified edition © Oxford University Press 1990
First published 1990
Eleventh impression 1997
Love Story copyright© 1970
by Paramount Pictures Corporation.
All Rights Reserved.
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Stupi d an d rich , clever an d poo r
What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who
You can say that she was beautiful and intelligent. She loved Mozart and Bach and the Beatles. And tne. Once, when she told me that, I asked her who came first. She answered, smiling, ''Like in the ABC.' I smiled too. But now I wonder. Was she talking about my first name? If she was, I came last, behaid Mozart. Or did she mean my last name? ff she did, I came between Bach and the Beatles. But I still didn't come first. That worries me terribly now. You see, I always had to be Number One. Family pride, you see.
In the autumn of my last year at Harvard university, I studied a lot in the Radcliffe library.
The library was quiet, nobody knew me there, and they had the books that I needed for my studies. The day before an examination I went over to the library desk to ask for a book. Two girls were working there. One was tall and sporty. The other was quiet and wore glasses. I chose her, and asked for my book.
She gave me an unfriendly look. 'Don't you have a library at Harvard?' she asked.
'Radcliffe let us use their library,' I answered.
'Yes, Preppie, they do - but is it fair? Harvard has five million books. We have a few thousand.'
Oh dear, I thought . A clever Radcliffe girl. I can usually make girls like her feel very small. But I needed tha t dam n book, so I ha d to be polite.
'Listen, I need tha t dam n book. '
'Don' t speak like tha t to a lady, Preppie.'
'Why are you so sure tha t I wen t to pre p school?'
She too k off her glasses. 'Yo u look stupid and rich,' she said.
'You'r e wrong, ' I said. 'I' m actually clever an d poor. '
'O h no , Preppie,' she said. 'I'm clever and poor. '
She wa s looking straight at me. All right, she ha d pretty brow n eyes; an d OK, perhap s I looked rich. But I don' t let anyone call me stupid.
'Wha t makes you so clever?' I asked.
'I' m no t going to go for coffee with you, ' she said.
'Listen - I'm no t going to ask you!'
'That' , she said, 'is wha t makes you stupid.'
Let me explain wh y I too k her for coffee. I go t th e boo k tha t I wanted , didn' t I? And she couldn' t leave the library until closing time. So I wa s able to study the boo k for a good long time. I go t an A in my exa m th e nex t day.
I gave the girl's legs an A too , when she came ou t from behind the library desk. We went to a coffee shop and I ordered coffee for bot h of us .
'I' m Jennifer Cavilleri,' she said. 'I' m American, but my
family came from Italy. I'm studying music '
'M y nam e is Oliver,' I said.
'Is tha t your first or your last name?' she asked.
Stupid and rich, clever and poor
'I'm not going to go for coffee with you,' she said.
'First. My other name is Barrett.'
'Oh,' she said. 'Like Elizabeth Barrett the writer?'
'Yes,' I said. 'No relation.'
I was pleased that she hadn't said, 'Barrett, like Barrett Hall?' That Barrett is a relation of mine. Barrett Hall is a large, unlovely building at Harvard University. My great- grandfather gave it to Harvard long ago, and I am deeply ashamed of it.
She was silent. She sat there, half-smiling at me. I looked at her notebooks.
'Sixteenth-century music?' I said. 'That sounds difficult.'
'It's too difficult for you, Preppie,' she said coldly.
Why was I letting her talk to me like this? Didn't she read
the university magazine? Didn' t she kno w wh o I was?
'Hey , don' t you kno w wh o I am? '
'Yes,' she answered. 'You'r e the ma n wh o own s Barrett
She didn' t kno w wh o I was.
'I don' t own Barrett Hall, ' I argued. 'M y great-grandfather gave it to Harvard , that' s all.'
'So that' s wh y his not-so-great grandso n could get into
Harvar d so easily!'
I was angry now . 'Jenny, if I'm no good, why did you wan t me to invite you for coffee?'
She looked straight into my eyes and smiled.
'I like your body, ' she said.
Every big winner has to be a good loser too . Every goo d Harvar d ma n know s that . But it's better if you can win. And so, as I walked with Jenny to her dormitory , I mad e my winning move.
'Listen, Friday night is the Dartmout h hockey match. '
'So I'd like you to come. '
These Radcliffe girls, they really care abou t sport. 'And why' , she asked, 'should I come to a stupid ice-hockey match? '
'Because I'm playing,' I answered.
Ther e wa s a moment' s silence. I think I hear d snow falling.
'For which team? ' she said.
* * *
Stupid and rich, clever and poor
By the second quarte r of the game on Friday night, we were winning 0 — 0. Tha t is, Davey Johnso n an d I were getting ready to score a goal. Th e crowd were screaming for blood
- or a goal. I always feel tha t it's my job to give them bot h these things. I didn' t look up at Jenny once, but I hoped she was watching me.
I got the puck and started off across the ice. Davey Johnso n was there on my left, but I didn' t pass the puck to him. I wante d to score this goal myself. But before I could shoot, tw o big Dartmout h men were after me. In a momen t we were hitting the puck and each other as har d as we could.
In a moment we were hitting the puck and each other as hard as we could.
'You!' said a voice suddenly. 'Two minutes in the penalty box.'
I looked up. He was talking to me. 'What did I do?' I asked.
'Don't argue.' He called to the officials' desk: 'Number seven, two minutes in the penalty box, for fighting.'
Angrily I climbed into the penalty box.
'Why are you sitting here when all your friends are playing?'
The voice was Jenny's. I didn't answer. 'Come on, Harvard, get that puck!' I shouted.
'What did you do wrong?' Jenny asked.
T tried too hard.' Out there on the ice Harvard were playing with only five men.
'Is that something to be ashamed of?'
'Jenny, please. I'm thinking.'
'About those two Dartmouth men. When I get back onto the ice, I'll break them into little pieces.'
'Do you always fight when you play hockey?'
'I'll fight you, Jenny, if you don't keep quiet.'
'I'm leaving. Goodbye.'
I looked round, but she had gone. Just then the bell rang. My two-minute penalty had finished. I jumped onto the ice again.
'Good old Barrett!' shouted the crowd. Jenny will hear them shouting for me, I thought. But where was she? Had she left?
As I went for the puck, I looked up into the crowd. Jenny
Stupid and rich, clever and poor
wa s standing there. I too k the puck and went toward s the goal line. Tw o Dartmout h players were coming straight at me.
'Go , Oliver, go! Knock their heads off!'
Tha t was Jenny's voice above the crowd . It was crazily, beautifully violent. I pushed pas t one Dartmout h man . I knocked har d into the other. The n I passed the puck to Davey Johnson , and he banged it into the Dartmout h goal. Th e crowd went wild.
In a momen t we were all shouting and kissing and banging each other on the back. Th e crowd were screaming with
'Go, Oliver, go! Knock their heads off!'
Stupid and rich, clever and poor
excitement. After that , we murdered Dartmout h - seven goals to zero.
After the match I lay in the ho t bat h and thought with pride abou t the game . I'd scored one goal, and helped to score another. No w the water felt wonderful on my tired body. Ahhhh!
Suddenly I remembered Jenny. Wa s she still waiting outside? I hoped so! I jumped ou t of tha t bath and dressed as fast as I could.
Outside , the cold winter air hit me. I looked roun d for Jenny . Ha d she walked back to her dormitor y alone? Suddenly I saw her.
'Hey , Preppie, it's cold ou t here.'
I was really pleased to see her, and gave her a quick kiss.
'Did I say you could kiss me?' she said.
'Sorry. I wa s just excited.'
'I wasn't. '
It was dar k and quiet, ou t there in the cold. I kissed her again, mor e slowly. When we reached her dormitory , I did no t kiss her goodnight.
'Listen, Jenny, perhap s I won' t telephone you for a few months. '
She was silent for a moment . 'Why? ' she asked at last.
'But perhap s I'll telephone you as soon as I get back to my dorm. ' I turne d and began to walk away .
'Dam n Preppie!' I heard her say. I turned again. Fro m twent y feet away I scored anothe r goal.
'You see, Jenny, that's the kind of thing you say. And when other people do it to you, you don't like it.'
I wished I could see the look on her face. But I couldn't look back. My pride wouldn't let me. v
When I returned to my dorm, Ray Stratton was there. He and I slept in the same room. Ray was playing cards with some of his football-playing friends.
'Hullo, Ollie,' said Ray. 'How many goals did you score?'
'I scored one, and I made one,' I answered.
'That's none of your business!' I replied quickly.
'Who's Cavilleri?' asked one of the footballers.
'Jenny Cavilleri. Studies music. Plays the piano with the
'What does she play with Barrett?' Everyone laughed.
'Get lost!' I said as I entered my room.
There I took off my shoes, lay back on my bed and telephoned Jenny's dormitory.
'Hey, Jen . . .' I said softly.
'I think I'm in love with you.'
She was silent for a few moments. Then she answered, very softly: 'Oliver, you're crazy.'
I wasn't unhappy. Or surprised.
Bloo d an d ston e
FEW weeks later I was hurt in the hockey match at Cornell university. My face was badly cut and the officials gave me
Across the ice, amon g the crowd , I saw him. My father. Old Stonyface. He was looking straight at me.
'If the meeting finishes in time, I'll come to Cornell and watch you play,' he ha d told me on the phone .
And there he was , Oliver Barrett the Third . Wha t was he thinking about? Wh o could say? Why was he here? Family pride, perhaps . 'Look at me. I am a very busy, important man, but I have come all the way to Cornell, just to watch my son play in a hockey match.'
We lost, six goals to three. After the match the docto r pu t twelve stitches in my face.
When I got to the changing-room, it was empty. The y don' t wan t to talk to me, I thought . I lost tha t match . I felt very ashamed as I walked ou t into the winter night.
'Com e and have dinner, son, ' said a voice. It was Ol d
At dinner we had one of our non-conversations. We spoke
'Come and have dinner, son,' said Old Stony face after the match.
Blood and stone
to each other, but didn't actually say anything. These non- conversations always started with 'How have you been, son?' and ended with 'Is there anything I can do for you?'
'How have you been, son?' my father began.
'Does your face hurt?'
'No, sir.' (It hurt terribly.)
Next, Old Stonyface talked about Playing the Game. 'All right, son, you lost the match.' (How clever of you to notice, Father.) 'But after all, in sport, the important thing is the playing, not the winning.'
Wonderful, I thought. Father was chosen for the Olympic
Games. And now he says winning is not important!
I just looked down at my plate and said 'Yes, sir' at the right times.
Our non-conversation continued. After Playing the Game, he discussed My Plans.
'Tell me, Oliver, has the Law School accepted you yet?'
'Not yet, sir.'
'Would you like me to telephone them?'
'No!' I said at once. 'I want to get a letter like other people, sir. Please.'
'Yes, of course. Fine .. . After all, they're sure to accept you.''
Why? I thought. Because I'm clever and successful? Or because I'm the son of Oliver Barrett the Third?
The meal was as uninteresting as the conversation. At last my father spoke again.
'There's always the Peace Corps,' he said suddenly. 'I
think the Peace Corps is a fine thing, don' t you?'
'Oh , yes, sir,' I said politely. I kne w nothin g abou t the
Peace Corps .
'Wha t do your friends at Harvar d think abou t the Peace Corps? ' he asked. 'D o they feel tha t the Peace Corps is importan t in ou r world today? '
'Yes, sir,' I said politely, just to please him. After dinner I walked with him to his car.
'Is there anything I can do for you, son?' he asked.
'No , than k you, sir. Goo d night, sir.'
Ou r non-conversation was finished: he drove away. Yes, of course there are planes, bu t Oliver Barrett the Thir d chose to drive. My father likes to drive - fast. And at tha t time of night, in an Aston Marti n DBS, you can go very fast indeed.
I went to telephone Jenny. Tha t was the only good par t of the evening. I told her abou t the fight. She enjoyed that. Her musical friends never got into fights.
'I hope you hit the ma n wh o hit you,' she said.
'Oh , yes.'
'Good ! I'm sorry I couldn' t be there to watch you. Perhaps you'll hit somebod y in the Yale match? '
I smiled. Jenny really mad e me feel better.
Back at Harvar d the next day I called at her dorm . Jenny was talking to someone on the telephone in the hall.
'Yes. Of course! Oh yes, Phil. I love you too . Love and kisses. Goodbye. '
Wh o was she talking to? I ha d only been away forty-eight
Blood and stone
hours, and she had found a new boyfriend!
Jenny did not seem ashamed. She kissed me lightly on the unhurt side of my face.
'Hey — you look terrible!'
'Twelve stitches, Jen.'
'Does the other man look worse than you?'
'Much worse. I always make the other man look worse.' We walked to my MG sports car. 'Who's Phil?' I asked
as carelessly as I could.
I could not believe that! 'You call your father Phil?'
'That's his name. What do you call your father?'
'He must be really proud of you. You're a big hockey star
- and you're always successful in your exams.'
'You don't know anything, Jenny. He was good at exams and sport, too. He was in the Olympic Games.'
'My God! Did he win?'
'No.' (Actually, Old Stonyface was sixth, which makes me feel a little better.)
Jenny was silent for a moment.
'Why do you hate him so much?' she asked at last.
'I'm Oliver Barrett the Fourth,' I answered. 'All Barretts have to be successful. And that means I have to be good at everything, all the time. I hate it.'
'Oh, I'm sure you do,' laughed Jenny. 'You hate doing well in your exams. You hate being a hockey star . . .'
'But he expects it!' I said. 'If I'm successful, he isn't
excited, or surprised. He was a big success, and he expects me to be the same. '
I told her abou t ou r meal and our non-conversation after the Cornell match , but she didn' t understand at all.
'You say your father is a busy man, ' she said. 'But he found time to go all the way to Cornell to watc h you play. Ho w can you say these terrible things abou t him, when he drove all tha t way, just to watch your hockey match? He loves you, Oliver - can' t you understand? '
'Forget it, Jenny, ' I said. She was silent for a moment .
'I' m pleased you have problems with your father,' she said at last. 'Tha t means you aren't perfect.'
'O h - you mean you are perfect?'
'Of course not, Preppie. That' s why I go ou t with you!' Jenny loved to have the last word .
W e belon g togethe r
'You'r e going to fail your exams , Oliver.'
We were studying in my roo m one Sunday afternoon.
'Oliver, you'll fail your exams if you don' t do some work. '
'I am working. '
'No , you aren't . You'r e looking at my legs.'
'Onl y once every chapter. '
'Tha t boo k has very short chapters. '
'Listen, you aren' t as good-looking as all that!'
'I know , but you think I am , don' t you? '
'Dammit , Jenny, ho w can I study whe n all the time I wan t to make love to you?'
She closed her boo k softly and pu t it down . She pu t her arm s aroun d me.
'Oliver, will you please mak e love to me?'
It all happened at once. It was all so unhurried , soft and gentle. And 7 was gentle too . Wa s this the real Oliver Barrett the Fourth?
'Hey , Oliver, did I ever tell you tha t I love you?' said Jenny finally.
'No , Jen.' I kissed her neck.
Sometimes we had kissed, but that was all.
We belong together
'I love you very much, Oliver.'
I love Ray Stratton too. He's not very clever, or a wonderful footballer, but he was a good friend to me. Where did he go to study when I was in our room with Jenny? Where did he sleep on those Saturdays when Jenny and I spent the night together? In the old days I always told him all about my girlfriends. But I never told him about Jenny and me.
'My God, Barrett, are you two sleeping together or not?' asked Ray.
'Raymond, please don't ask.'
'You spend every minute of your free time with her. It isn't natural . . . '
'Ray, when two adults are in love . . . '
'Love? At your age? My God, I worry about you, I really do.'
'Don't worry, Raymond, old friend. We'll have that flat in New York one day. Different girls every night . . . '
'Don't you tell me not to worry, Barrett. That girl's got
you, and I don't like it!'
That evening I went to hear Jenny play the piano with the
'You were wonderful,' I said afterwards.
'That shows what you know about music, Preppie.' We walked along the river together. 'I played OK. Not wonderful. Not "Olympic Games". Just OK. OK?'
'OK - but you should always continue your music '
'Of course I will. I'm going to study with Nadia Boulanger, aren't I?'
'Nadia Boulanger. She's a famous music teacher in Paris. I'm very lucky. I won a scholarship, too.'
'Jennifer - you're going to Paris?'
'I've never seen Europe. I'm really excited about it.'
I took her by the arms and pulled her towards me. 'Hey
- how long have you known this?'
Jenny looked down at her feet. 'Oliver, don't be stupid. We can't do anything about it. After we finish university, you'll go your way and I'll go mine. You'll go to law school—'
'Wait a minute! What are you talking about?'
She looked into my eyes. 'Ollie, you're a rich Preppie. Your old man owns a bank. My father's a baker in Cranston, Rhode Island . . . and I'm nobody.'
'What does that matter? We're together now. We're happy.'
'Ollie, don't be stupid,' she repeated. 'Harvard is full of all kinds of different people. You study together, you have fun together. But afterwards you have to go back to where
'We belong together. Don't leave me, Jenny. Please.'
'What about my scholarship? What about Paris?'
'What about our marriage?'
'Who said anything about marriage?' said Jenny in surprise.
'Me. I'm saying it now.'
I looked straight into her eyes.
We belong together
'After we finish university, you'll go your way and I'll go mine.'
'Because,' I said.
'Oh,' said Jenny. 'That's a very good reason.' She took my arm and we walked along the river. There was nothing more to say, really.
The next Sunday we drove to visit my parents in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Jenny said it was the right thing to do, and of course there was also the fact that Oliver the Third paid for my studies at Harvard.
'Oh my God,' Jenny said when we drove up to the house. T didn't expect this. It's like a damn palace!'
'Please, Jen. Everything will be fine.'
'For a nice all-American girl of good family, perhaps. Not for Jennifer Cavilleri, baker's daughter, from Cranston, Rhode Island.'
Florence opened the door. She has worked for the Barrett family for many years. She told us that my parents were waiting in the library. We followed her past a long line of pictures of famous Barretts and a glass case full of silver and gold cups.
'They look just like real silver and gold,' said Jenny. 'They don't give cups like those at the Cranston Sports Club!'
'They are real silver and gold,' I answered.
'My God! Are they yours?'
'No, my father's.'
'Do you have silver and gold cups too, Oliver?'
'In a glass case, like these?'
We belong together
'No . Up in my room , under the bed. '
She gave me one of her good Jenny-looks. 'We'll go and look at them later, shall we?'
Before I could answer, we heard a voice.
'Ah, hello there. ' It was Old Stonyface.
'Oh , hello, sir. This is Jennifer—'
'Hello there.' He shook her han d before I could say her full name . Ther e was a smile on his usually rock-like face.
'D o come in and meet Mr s Barrett.. . My wife Alison. Thi s is Jennifer—'
'Calliveri,' I said - for the first an d only time, I got her dam n nam e wrong!
'Cavilleri,' said Jenny politely. Mothe r and Jenny shook
All throug h dinner Mothe r kept the polite small talk going.
'So your people are from Cranston , Jennifer?' said my
'Mostly . My mother came from Fall River.'
'Th e Barretts have factories at Fall River,' said Oliver the
'Wher e they cheated their worker s for centuries,' said
Oliver the Fourth .
'In the nineteenth century,' said Oliver the Third .
'Wha t abou t the plans to pu t automati c machines in the factories?' said Oliver the Fourth .
'Wha t abou t coffee?' my mothe r said quickly. We moved back into the library. We sat there with nothin g to say to
each other. So I started a new non-conversation.
'Tell me, Jennifer,' I said, 'wha t do you think abou t the
Peace Corps? ' She looked at me in surprise.
'Oh , have you told them, O.B.?' asked my mother.
'It isn' t the time for that , my dear, ' said Oliver Barrett the
Third , with an "Ask me, ask me!" look on his face.
'What' s this, Father? ' I asked, just to please him.
'Nothin g important , son. '
'I don' t kno w ho w you can say that, ' said my mother. She turned to me. 'You r father is going to be Hea d of the Peace Corps. '
'Oh, ' I said.
'Oh! ' said Jenny in a different, happier kind of voice.
'Well done , Mr Barrett.' She gave me a har d look.
'Yes. Well done, sir,' I said at last.
Jenny gave me a hard look across the table.
Tw o differen t kind s o f fathe r
'Jenny he isn't going to be President of the USA, after all!' We were driving back to Harvard .
'You still weren' t very nice to him abou t it, Oliver.'
'I said "Well done"! '
'Ha ! Oliver, why are you so unkin d to your father? You hur t him all the time.'
'It's impossible to hur t Oliver Barrett the Third. '
'No , it isn't - if you marr y Jennifer Cavilled . . . Oliver, I kno w you love me. But in a strange way you wan t me because I'm no t a suitable woma n for a Barrett to marry. You are rebelling against your father.'
My father said the same thing a few days later when we had lunch together at the Harvar d Club in Boston.
'Son, you'r e in to o much of a hurry . Th e young lady herself is fine. Th e proble m is you. You are rebelling, and you kno w it.'
'Father, wha t worries you most abou t her? Tha t she's
Italian? Or tha t she's poor? '
'Wha t do you like most abou t her?'
'I' m leaving.'
'Stay and talk like a man. ' I stayed. Ol d Stonyface liked that . He' s wo n again, I though t angrily.
'Wai t a while, son, ' Oliver Barrett the Thir d continued.
'That' s all I ask. Finish law school.'
'Wh y do I have to wait?' I was rebelling now .
'Oliver, you are stilJ under twenty-one. In the eyes of the law you are no t yet an adult. '
'Stop talking like a lawyer, dammit! '
'If you marr y her now , you will get nothin g from me. '
'Father, you've go t nothing tha t I want. '
I walked ou t of his club and ou t of his life.
After that , I was no t looking forward to meeting Jenny's father. She was his only child and her mothe r was dead. She mean t a lot to him .. . I could see a lot of problems there. And I was penniless. Ho w is Mr Cavilleri going to feel, I thought, when he hears tha t young Barrett can' t suppor t his daughter? Worse , she will have to wor k as a teacher to suppor t him while he is at law school!
As we drove dow n to Cransto n on tha t Sunday in May , I worried a lot abou t Mr Cavilleri's feelings.
'Tell me again, Jen. '
'OK . I telephoned him, and he said OK. '
'But wha t does he mean by "OK"? '
'Are you trying to tell me tha t Harvar d Law School has accepted a ma n wh o doesn' t kno w the meaning of "OK"? '
'It isn' t a wor d tha t lawyers use much, Jen. Jus t tell me again. Please.'
'H e know s you'r e poor , and he doesn' t mind. Stop worrying, Oliver.'
Jenny lived on Hamilto n Street. It was a long line of wooden houses with children playing in front of them, and whole families sitting on their front steps. I felt like a stranger
Two different kinds of father
in a strange land as I parked the MG outside 189A Hamilto n
Street. Mr Cavilleri's handshak e was war m and strong.
'Ho w do you do , sir?' I said.
'I' m Phil,' he said.
'Phil, sir.' It was a frightening moment . The n Mr Cavilleri turned to his daughter. Suddenly they were in each other's arms , laughing and crying and kissing. I felt like a stranger.
For some time I did no t have to speak much. 'Don' t speak with your mout h full,' my family ha d told me whe n I was a child. Phil and his daughter kep t my mout h full all afternoon. I don' t kno w ho w man y Italian cakes I ate. Both Cavilleris were very pleased.
'He' s OK,' said Phil at last.
'I told you he was OK, ' said his daughter.
'Well, I had to see for myself. No w I've seen him. Oliver—'
'Call me Phil. You'r e OK. '
Later Phil tried to have a serious talk with me. He though t he could bring Oliver Barrett the Thir d and Oliver Barrett the Fourt h together again.
'Let me speak to him on the telephone,' he said. 'A father's love is a very special thing . . . '
'Ther e isn't much of it in my family,' I said.
'You r father will soon realize,' he began. 'Whe n it's time t o g o t o the church— '
'Phil,' said Jenny gently, 'w e don' t wan t to be married in church. '
He looked surprised, then unhappy . But he spoke bravely.
'Call me Phil,' said Mr Cavilleri. 'Oliver, you're OK.'
Two different kinds of father
'It's your wedding, children. You choose. It's OK by me. ' My next meeting was with the Hea d of Harvar d Law School.
'I'll need a scholarship for next year, sir,' I said politely.
'A scholarship? I don' t understand . Your father—'
'M y father has nothing to do with it, sir. We'v e ha d a disagreement, and he isn't supportin g me any more. ' Th e Hea d too k off his glasses, then pu t them on again. I continued, 'That' s why I've come here to see you, sir. I' m getting married next month . We'r e bot h going to wor k during the summer. The n Jenny will suppor t us by teaching. But her teaching won' t pay enough to send me to law school. Sir, I need a scholarship. I have no money in the bank. '
'M r Barrett, ou r scholarships are for poo r people. And it's to o late to ask for one . I do no t wish to enter into a family disagreement, bu t I think you should go and talk to your father again.'
'O h no!' I said angrily. 'I am not , repeat not, going bac k to my father to ask for money!'
Whe n Jenny graduate d from university tha t summer, all her relations came from Cranston to watch . We didn' t tell the m abou t our marriage plans because we wante d a quiet wedding, and didn' t wan t to hur t their feelings. I graduate d from Harvar d the next day. Wa s Oliver the Thir d there in the university hall? I don' t know . I didn' t look for Ol d Stonyface in the crowd . I gave my parents ' tickets to Jenny and Phil, bu t as an old Harvar d ma n my father could sit with
7 think you should go and talk to your father again.'
the Class of '26. But why should he wan t to? I mean, weren' t the banks open tha t day?
Th e wedding was on the next Sunday. It was very quiet an d very beautiful. Phil was there, of course, an d my friend Ray Stratton. Jenny and I spoke abou t our love for each other and promised to stay together until death . Ray gave me the ring and soon Oliver Barrett the Fourt h and Jennifer Cavilleri were man and wife.
We had a small part y afterwards, just the four of us. The n
Ray and Phil went home and Jenny and I were alone together.
'Jenny, we'r e really married!'
'Yes. No w I can be as terrible to you as I like!'
Two different kinds of father
Our wedding was very quiet and very beautiful.
The first three years
Th e first three years
no words to describe our love and happiness together.
After the summer we found a 'cheap ' flat nea r the university. It was on the to p floor of an old house and was actually very expensive. But wha t could we do? Ther e weren' t many flats around .
'Hey , Preppie,' said Jenny whe n we arrived there . 'Are you my husban d or aren' t you?'
'Of course I'm your husband. '
'Show me, then. ' (My God , I thought , in the street?)
'Carr y me into our first home!'
I carried her up the five steps to the front door .
'Why did you stop? ' she asked. 'This isn't our home . Upstairs, Preppie!'
Ther e were twenty-four stairs up to our flat, and I had to stop half-way.
'Why are you so heavy?' I asked her.
'Perhaps I'm expecting a baby. '
'M y God! Are you?'
'Ha ! I frightened you then, didn' t I?'
'Well, yes, just for a second or two. '
I carried her the rest of the way. Ther e were very few
'Carry me into our first home!'
moment s in those days when we were not worrying abou t money. Very few, an d very wonderful - and tha t momen t was one of them.
A food shop let us 'eat now , pay later', thank s to the Barrett name . But ou r famous nam e did no t help us in Jenny's work . Th e Hea d of the school though t we were rich.
'Of course, we can't pay ou r teachers very much, ' said
Miss Whitman . 'But tha t won' t worr y you, Mr s Barrett!' Jenny tried to explain tha t Barretts had to eat, just like
othe r people. Miss Whitma n just laughed politely.
'Don' t worry, ' Jenny said to me. 'We'll manage. Just learn to like spaghetti.'
I did. I learned to like spaghetti and Jenny learned lots of different ways of cooking it. Wit h Jenny's pay from school, and ou r money from our summer wor k and my holiday jobs, we managed. Ou r lives ha d changed a lot, of course. Ther e was no more music for Jenny. She ha d to teach all day, and came hom e very tired. The n she had to cook dinner — restaurants were to o expensive for us. Ther e were a lot of films tha t we didn' t see, and places and people tha t we didn' t visit. But we were doing OK.
On e day a beautiful invitation arrived. It was for my father's sixtieth birthday party .
'Well?' said Jenny. I was in the middle of a thick law boo k and did not hear her at first. 'Oliver, he's reaching out to you.'
'No , h e isn't. M y mothe r wrot e it. No w b e quiet. I'm studying. I've got exam s in three weeks.'
The first three years
'Ollie, think. Sixty years old, dammit . Ho w do you kno w tha t he'll still be alive whe n you decide to forget your disagreement?'
'I don' t know , and I don' t care. No w let me get on with my work! '
'On e day, ' said Jenny, 'whe n you'r e having problems with
Oliver the Fifth—'
'Ou r son won' t be called Oliver, you can be sure of that!' I said angrily.
'You can call him Bozo if you like. But tha t child will feel bad abou t you, because you were a big Harvar d sportsman . And by the time he goes to university, you'll probabl y be a big, importan t lawyer!' She continued, 'Oliver, your father loves you, in the same way as you will love Bozo. But you Barretts are so full of pride - you'll go throug h life thinking tha t you hate each other. No w . . . wha t abou t tha t invitation?'
'Writ e them a nice letter of refusal.'
'Oliver, I can' t hur t your father like that . . . What' s their telephone number? '
I told her an d was at once deep in my law book again. I tried no t to listen to her talking on the telephone, but she was in the same room , after all. Suddenly I thought , How long does it take to say no}
'Ollie?' Jenny had her han d over the telephone mouthpiece.
'Ollie, do we have to say no? '
'Yes, we do . And hurr y up , dammit! '
'I' m terribly sorry,' she said into the telephone. She
covered the mouthpiece again and turned to me. 'He' s very unhappy , Oliver! Ca n you just sit there and let your father bleed?'
'Stones don' t bleed, Jen . Thi s isn't one of your warm , loving Italian fathers.'
'Oliver, can't you just speak to him?'
'Speak to him! Are you crazy?'
She held the telephone toward s me. She was trying no t to cry.
'I will never speak to him. Ever,' I said.
No w she was crying, very quietly. The n she asked me once more . 'For me , Oliver. I've never asked you for anything. Please.'
I couldn' t do it. Didn' t Jenny understand? It was just impossible. Unhappily I shook my head. The n Jenny spoke to me quietly and very angrily. 'Yo u have no heart, ' she said.
She spoke into the telephone again. 'M r Barrett, Oliver wants you to kno w . . . ' She wa s crying, so it wasn' t easy for her. 'Oliver loves you very much, ' she said, and pu t the telephone dow n quickly.
I don' t kno w why I did it. Perhaps I went crazy for a moment. Violently I too k the telephone and threw it across the room .
'Dam n you, Jenny! Why don' t you get ou t of my life?'
I stood still for a second. My God, I thought, what's happening to me? I turned to look at Jenny. But she had gone.
I looked roun d the flat for her. He r coat was still there, bu t she ha d disappeared.
The first three years
Where, oh where, had jenny gone?
I ran ou t of the house and searched everywhere for her: the law school library, Radcliffe, the music school. Wa s she in one of the music rooms? I heard somebody playing th e piano , loudly an d very badly. Wa s it Jenny? I pushed the doo r open. A big Radcliffe girl was at the piano .
'What' s the matter? ' she asked.
'Nothing, ' I answered, and closed the doo r again. Where, oh where , ha d she gone? I felt terrible. I searched
the university, the streets and the cafes. Nothing . Ha d she taken a bus to Cranston , perhaps? At midnight I found a telephone bo x and called Phil.
'Hello?' he said sleepily. 'What' s the matter? Is Jenny ill?' My God , I thought , she isn't there! 'She's fine, Phil. Uh
- I just called to say hello.'
'Yo u should call more often, dammit, ' he said. 'Is Cranston so far awa y tha t you can' t come dow n on a Sunday afternoon?'
'We'll come , some Sunday, Phil, I promise. '
'Don' t give me tha t - "some Sunday " indeed! This
'Yes, sir. This Sunday. '
'And next time you telephone, I'll pay, dammit . OK? ' He pu t dow n the telephone. I stoo d there and wondere d wha t to do . At last I went back to the flat.
Jenny wa s sitting on the to p step. I was to o tired to cry, to o glad to speak.
'I forgot my key,' said Jenny.
I stood there on the botto m step. I was afraid to ask ho w
The first three years
long she had been there. I only kne w tha t I had hur t her terribly.
'Jenny, I'm sorry— '
'Stop!' she said. The n she added, 'Love means you never have to say you'r e sorry. '
We walked up to our flat. As we undressed, she looked lovingly at me.
'I meant what I said, Oliver.' And tha t was all.
Money can't buy everything
Mone y can' t bu y everythin g
nam e and numbe r on their compan y writing paper.
At last I accepted a job with Jonas and Mars h in Ne w York . I was the highest-paid graduat e of my year too . After three years of spaghetti an d looking twice at every dollar, it felt wonderful.
We moved to a beautiful flat in Ne w York. Jona s and Marsh' s office was an easy ten-minute walk away. And there were lots of fashionable shops nearby too . I told my wife to get in there and start spending immediately.
'Woman , you supported me for three years. No w it's my turn!'
I joined the Harvar d Club of Ne w York . Ray Stratto n was workin g in Ne w York to o and we played tennis together three times a week. My old Harvar d friends discovered me once more , and invitations arrived.
'Say no , Oliver. I don' t wan t to spend my free time with a lot of empty-headed preppies.'
'OK , Jen, bu t wha t shall I tell them? '
We moved to a beautiful flat in New York.
'Tell them I'm expecting a baby.'
'Ar e you?'
She smiled. 'No , bu t if we stay at hom e tonight, perhaps
We already had a nam e for our child.
'You know, ' I said one evening. 'I really like the name
'You honestly wan t to call ou r child Bozo?'
'Yes. It's the nam e of a big sports star. He'll be wonderfully big and strong, ' I continued. 'Bozo Barrett, Harvard' s biggest football star.'
We had a nam e for our child and we wante d him very much. But it's no t always easy to make a baby, althoug h we tried
very hard. Finally I became worried an d we went together to see a doctor .
Docto r Sheppard checked everything carefully. He too k some of ou r blood and sent it away for examination . 'We'll kno w soon, ' he said.
A few days later he telephoned me at my office and asked me to visit him on my way hom e tha t evening.
'Well, Doctor, ' I said, 'which of us has the problem? '
'It's Jenny, ' he said. 'She will never have children.'
I was ready for this news, but it still shook me. 'Well,' I
said, 'children aren' t everything.'
'Oliver,' said Docto r Sheppard, 'the proble m is more serious tha n that . Jenny is very ill. She has a blood disease. It is destroying her blood, and we can't stop it. She is dying, Oliver. I am very sorry.'
'That' s impossible, Doctor, ' I said. I waited for the docto r to tell me tha t it wa s no t true .
Kindly and patiently he explained again, and at last I
understoo d the terrible words .
'Have you spoken to Jenny, Doctor? What did you tell her?'
'I told her tha t you were both all right. For the momen t it's better tha t way. '
I wante d to shou t and scream at the unfairness of it all. Jenny was twenty-four, an d she was dying. 'Wha t can I do to help, Doctor? ' I asked at last.
'Just be natural, ' he said. Natural!
I began to think abou t God . At first I hate d Him . The n next mornin g I wok e up and Jenny was there beside me. Still
Money can't buy everything
I waited for the doctor to tell me that it was not true.
Love Story Money can't buy everything
'Be natural, ' the docto r had said. I did my best, and all the time I was living with my terrible secret.
On e day Mr Jona s called me into his office. 'Oliver, I have an importan t job for you. Ho w soon can you go to Chicago? You can take one of the younger men with you.'
On e of the younger men? I was the youngest ma n in the office. I understood the message: Oliver, although you are still only twenty-four, you are one of our to p men.
'Than k you, sir,' I said, 'bu t I can't leave Ne w York just now. '
I ha d decided no t to tell anyone abou t my troubles . I wanted to keep my secret as long as possible. I could see tha t old ma n Jona s was unhapp y abou t my refusal.
On the way hom e tha t day I saw a notice in a travel shop window : 'Fly to Paris!' Suddenly I remembered Jenny' s words : What about my scholarship? What about Paris?
I went into the shop and bough t tw o tickets to Paris. Jenny was looking grey and tired when I got home . Whe n
I showed her the tickets, she shook her head.
'Oliver,' she said gently, 'I don' t wan t Paris. I just wan t you . . . and I wan t time, which you can' t give me. '
No w I looked in her eyes and saw the sadness in them. We sat there silently, holding each other. The n Jenny explained.
'I was feeling terrible. I went back to the docto r and he told me. I'm dying.'
Now I didn' t have to be 'natural ' any more . We ha d no We sat there silently, holding each other.
mor e secrets from each other . No w we could discuss things
.. . things tha t young husband s and wives don' t usually have to discuss.
'You must be strong, Oliver,' she said. 'For Phil. It's going to be hard for him. He needs your help. OK? '
'OK . I'll be strong, ' I promised. I hoped Jenny could no t
see ho w frightened I was .
A mont h later, just after dinner, Jenny was playing Chopin on the piano . Suddenly she stopped.
'Are you rich enough to pay for a taxi?' she asked.
'Of course. Wher e do you wan t to go?'
'T o the hospital.'
In the nex t few busy, worried moments , while I hurriedly packed a bag, I realized. This is it, I thought . Jenny is going to walk ou t of this flat and never come back. I wondere d wha t she wa s thinking. She sat there, looking straight in front of her.
'Hey, ' I said, 'is there anything special tha t you wan t to tak e with you?'
'No, ' she said. The n she though t again. 'Yes. You. '
Th e taxi-driver though t Jenny was expecting a baby . 'Is this your first?' he asked.
I wa s holding Jenn y in my arms , an d I felt ready to explode.
'Please, Ollie,' Jenny said to me softly. 'He' s trying to be nice to us. '
'Yes,' I told the driver. 'It' s our first. And my wife isn't
Money can't buy everything
feeling very well. So can you hurry , please?'
He got us to the hospital in ten minutes. 'Goo d luck!' he called as he drove away. Jenny thanked him.
She was having trouble walking. I wante d to carry her. But she said clearly, 'No t this time, Preppie.' So we walked.
'Hav e you got health insurance?' they asked us in the hospital.
'No. ' We had never though t abou t buying insurance. We were to o busy buying furniture and kitchen things.
Of course, the doctor s kne w abou t Jenny and they were expecting us.
'Listen,' I told them . 'D o your best for Jenny. I don' t care wha t it costs. I wan t her to have the best, please. I've got the money.'
Strong men don't cry
Stron g me n don' t cr y
to meet me.
'Oliver,' he said. His hair was a little greyer an d his face had lost some of its colour. 'Com e in, son, ' he said. I walked into his office and sat dow n opposite him .
For a momen t we looked at each other. The n he looked away , and so did I. I looked at the things on his desk: the scissors, the pen-holder, the letter-opener, the photo s of my mothe r and me.
'Ho w have you been, son?' he asked.
'Very well, sir . . . Father, I need to borro w five thousan d dollars. '
He looked hard at me. 'Ma y I kno w the reason?' he said at last.
'I can' t tell you, Father. Just lend me the money. Please.' I felt tha t he didn' t wan t to refuse, or argue with me. He wante d t o give m e the money, but h e also wante d t o .. . talk.
'Don' t they pay you at Jona s and Marsh? '
'Yes, sir.' So he know s where I work , I thought . He
'Father, I need to borrow five thousand dollars.'
probabl y know s ho w much they pay me too .
'And doesn' t Jennifer teach too? ' Well, I thought , he doesn' t kno w everything.
'Please leave Jennifer out of this, Father. This is a personal matter. A very importan t personal matter. '
'Hav e you got a girl into trouble?' he asked quietly.
'Yes,' I lied. 'That' s it. No w give me the money. Please.' I think he kne w tha t I was lying. But I don' t think he wante d to kno w my real reason for wanting the money. He
wa s asking because he wante d to . . . talk.
He too k ou t his cheque book and opened it slowly. No t
to hur t me, I'm sure, bu t to give himself time. Tim e to find things to say. Things tha t would no t hur t the tw o of us.
He finished writing the cheque, took it ou t of the cheque book and held it ou t toward s me. When I did no t reach ou t my hand to take it, he pulled back his hand and placed the cheque on his desk. He looked at me again. Here it is, son, th e look on his face seemed to say. But still he did no t speak.
I did no t wan t to leave, either. But I couldn' t think of anything painless to say. And we couldn't sit there, wantin g to talk but unable to look at each other.
I picked up the cheque and pu t it carefully into my shirt pocket. I got up an d went toward s the door . I wante d to than k my father for seeing me, when several importan t people were waiting outside his office. If I want , I thought , he will send his visitors away , just to be with me .. . I wante d to than k him for that , bu t the word s refused to come . I stood there with the doo r half open, and at last I managed to look at him and say:
'Than k you, Father. '
The n I had to tell Phil Cavilleri. He did not cry or say anything. He quietly closed his house in Cranston and came to live in ou r flat. We all have ways of living with ou r troubles. Some people drink to o much. Phil cleaned the flat, again and again. Perhaps he though t Jenny would come hom e again. Poor Phil.
Nex t I telephoned old man Jonas . I told him wh y I could no t come into the office. I kept the conversation short
Strong men don't cry
Then 1 had to tell Phil Cavilleri. He did not cry or say anything.
because I kne w he was unhappy . He wante d to say things to me, but could no t find the words . I knew all abou t that .
Phil and I lived for hospital visiting hours . Th e rest of life
- eating and sleeping (or no t sleeping) - mean t nothing to us. On e day, in the flat, I heard Phil saying, very quietly, 'I can' t tak e this much longer.' I did no t answer him. I just though t to myself, I can take it. Dear God , I can take it as long as You wan t - because Jenny is Jenny.
Tha t evening, she sent me ou t of her room . She wante d
t o speak t o he r father, 'ma n t o man' . 'But don' t g o to o far away, ' she added .
I went to sit outside. The n Phil appeared. 'She want s to see you now, ' he said.
'Close the door, ' Jenny ordered . I went to sit by her bed. ' I always liked to sit beside her and look at her face, because
it had her eyes shining in it.
'It doesn' t hurt, Ollie, really,' she said. 'It's like falling off a high building very slowly - you know? '
Something moved deep inside me. I am not going to cry, I said to myself. I'm strong, OK? And strong men don' t cry
.. . But if I'm no t going to cry, then I can' t open my mouth .
'Mm, ' I said.
'No , you don' t know , Preppie,' she said. 'You'v e never fallen off a high building in your life.'
'Yes, I have. ' My voice came back. 'I did when I met you.' She smiled. 'Wh o cares abou t Paris?' she said suddenly.
'Paris, music, all that . You thin k you stole it from me , don' t you? I can see it in your face. Well, I don' t care, you stupid Preppie. Can' t you accept that? '
'No, ' I answered honestly.
'The n get out of here!' she said angrily. 'I don' t wan t you at my dam n death-bed. '
'OK , I accept it,' I said.
'That' s better. No w - will you do something for me?' From somewhere inside me came this sudden, violent need to cry. But I was strong. I was not going to cry. 'Mm, ' I said again.
'Will you please hold me , Oliver?'
Strong men don't cry
'Will you please hold me, Oliver?'
I put my hand on her arm - oh God, she was so thin - and held it.
'No, Oliver,' she said. 'Really hold me. Put your arms round me.'
Very, very carefully I got onto the bed and put my arms round her.
Those were her last words.
Phil Cavilled was waiting outside. 'Phil?' I said softly. He looked up and I think he already knew. I walked over and put my hand on his arm.
'I won't cry,' he said quietly. 'I'm going to be strong for you. I promised Jenny.' He touched my hand very gently.
But I had to be alone. To feel the night air. To take a walk, perhaps.
Downstairs, the entrance hall of the hospital was very calm and quiet. The only noise was the sound of my footsteps on the hard floor.
It was my father. Except for the woman at the desk, we were all alone there. I could not speak to him. I went straight towards the door. But in a moment he was out there, standing beside me.
'Oliver,' he said. 'Why didn't you tell me?'
It was very cold. That was good, because I wanted to feel something. My father continued to speak to me, while I stood still and felt the cold wind on my face.
Strong men don't cry
'Oliver,' said my father. '1 want to help.'
'I heard this evening. I jumped into the car at once. '
I was not wearing a coat. Th e cold was starting to make me ache. Good . Good .
'Oliver,' said my father. 'I wan t to help. '
'Jenny' s dead, ' I told him.
'I' m sorry, ' he said very softly.
I don' t kno w why I did it. But I repeated Jenny' s word s from long ago.
'Love means you never have to say you'r e sorry.'
The n I did something which I had never done in front of him before. My father pu t his arm s roun d me, and I cried.
A Checking your understanding
Chapter 1Are these sentences true (T) or false (F)?
1 Oliver was in his first year at Harvard university.
2 Jennifer Cavilled was studying music.
3 Oliver's father gave Barrett Hall to Harvard University.
4 Harvard won the Dartmouth ice-hockey match by seven goals to zero.
5 Oliver scored three goals in the Dartmouth match.
Chapters 2- 3Who in the story said . . .
1 'In sport, the important thing is the playing, not the winning.'
2 'I hope you hit the man who hit you.'
3 'All Barretts have to be successful.'
4 'You're going to fail your exams, Oliver.'
5 'Love? At your age? I worry about you, I really do. '
6 'You should always continue your music '
7 'Afterwards you have to go back to where you belong.'
Chapters 4- 5How much can you remember? Check your answers.
f Where did Jenny's father live?
2 Why was Oliver so worried about meeting Jenny's father?
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