Buster was sixteen and captain of the highschool ball team. Driving her up to the house in the new Stutz he told her how things were. Bud had been tearing things up at the University and was on the edge of getting fired and had gotten balled up with a girl in Galveston who was trying to blackmail him. Dad had been very much worried because he'd gotten in too deep in the oil game and seeing Daughter spread all over the front page for knocking down a cop had about finished him; old Emma was getting too old to run the house for them anymore and it was up to Daughter to give up her crazy ideas and stay home and keep house for them. "See this car? A dandy ain't it. . . . I bought it myself. . . . Did a little tradin' in options up near Amarillo on my own, jus' for the hell of it, and I made five thousand bucks." "Why, you smart kid. I tell you, Bud, it's good to be home. But about that policeman you'd have done the same yourself or you're not my brother. I'll tell you all about it sometime. Believe me it does me good to see Texas faces after those mean weasel- faced Easterners." Dr. Winslow was in the hall when they came in. He shook hands warmly and told her how well she was looking and not to worry because he'd pull her Dad through if it was the last thing he did on earth. The sickroom and Dad's restless flushed face made her feel awful, and she didn't like finding a trained nurse running the house.
After Dad began to get around a little they both went down to Port Arthur for a couple of weeks for a change to stay with an old friend of Dad's. Dad said he'd give her a car if she'd stay on, and that he'd get her out of this silly mess she'd gotten into up north.
She began to play a lot of tennis and golf again and to go out a good deal socially. Joe Washburn had married and was living in Oklahoma getting rich on oil. She felt easier in Dallas when he wasn't there; seeing him upset her so. The next fall Daughter went down to Austin to
finish her journalism course, mostly because she thought her being there would keep Bud in the straight and nar- row. Friday afternoons they drove back home together in her Buick sedan for the weekend. Dad had bought a new Tudor style house way out and all her spare time was taken up picking out furniture and hanging curtains and arranging the rooms. She had a great many beaux always coming around to take her out and had to start keeping an engagement book. Especially after the declaration of war social life became very hectic. She was going every minute and never got any sleep. Everybody was getting commis- sions or leaving for officers training camps. Daughter went in for Red Cross work and organized a canteen, but that wasn't enough and she kept applying to be sent abroad. Bud went down to San Antonio to learn to fly and Buster, who'd been in the militia, lied about his age and joined up as a private and was sent to Jefferson Barracks. At the can- teen she lived in a whirl and had one or two proposals of marriage a week, but she always told them that she hadn't any intention of being a war bride.
Then one morning a War Department telegram came. Dad was in Austin on business so she opened it. Bud had crashed, killed. First thing Daughter thought was how hard it would hit Dad. The phone rang; it was a long distance call from San Antonio, sounded like Joe Wash- burn's voice. "Is that you, Joe?" she said weakly. "Daugh- ter, I want to speak to your father," came his grave drawl. "I know . . . O Joe."
"It was his first solo flight. He was a great boy. Nobody seems to know how it happened. Must have been defect in structure. I'll call Austin. I know where to get hold of him.
. . . I've got the number . . . see you soon, Daughter." Joe rang off. Daughter went into her room and burrowed face down into the bed that hadn't been made up. For a minute she tried to imagine that she hadn't gotten up yet, that she dreamed the phone ringing and Joe's voice. Then
she thought of Bud so sharply it was as if he'd come into the room, the way he laughed, the hard pressure of his long thin hand over her hands when he'd suddenly grabbed the wheel when they'd skidded going around a corner into San Antonio the last time she'd driven him down after a leave, the clean anxious lean look of his face above the tight khaki collar of the uniform. Then she heard Joe's voice again: Must have been some defect in structure.
She went down and jumped into her car. At the filling- station where she filled up with gas and oil the garageman asked her how the boys liked it in the army. She couldn't stop to tell him about it now. "Bully, they like it fine," she said, with a grin that hurt her like a slap in the face. She wired Dad at his lawpartner's office that she was com- ing and pulled out of town for Austin. The roads were in bad shape, it made her feel better to feel the car plough through the muddy ruts and the water spraying out in a wave on either side when she went through a puddle at fifty.
She averaged fortyfive all the way and got to Austin before dark. Dad had already gone down to San Antonio on the train. Dead tired, she started off. She had a blow- out and it took her a long time to get it fixed; it was mid- night before she drew up at the Menger. Automatically she looked at herself in the little mirror before going in. There were streaks of mud on her face and her eyes were red.
In the lobby she found Dad and Joe Washburn sitting side by side with burntout cigars in their mouths. Their faces looked a little alike. Must have been the grey drawn look that made them look alike. She kissed them both. "Dad, you ought to go to bed," she said briskly. "You look all in." "I suppose I might as well . . . There's nothing left to do," he said.
"Wait for me, Joe, until I get Dad fixed up," she said
in a low voice as she passed him. She went up to the room with Dad, got herself a room adjoining, ruffled his hair and kissed him very gently and left him to go to bed.
When she got back down to the lobby Joe was sitting in the same place with the same expression on his face. It made her mad to see him like that.
Her sharp brisk voice surprised her. "Come outside a minute, Joe, I want to walk around a little." The rain had cleared the air. It was a transparent early summer night. "Look here, Joe, who's responsible for the condition of the planes? I've got to know." "Daughter, how funny you talk . . . what you ought to do is get some sleep, you're all overwrought." "Joe, you answer my question." "But Daughter, don't you see nobody's responsible. The army's a big institution. Mistakes are inevitable. There's a lot of money being made by contractors of one kind or another. Whatever you say aviation is in its infancy we all knew the risks before we joined up."
"If Bud had been killed in France I wouldn't have felt like this . . . but here . . . Joe, somebody's directly re- sponsible for my brother's death. I want to go and talk to him, that's all. I won't do anything silly. You all think I'm a lunatic I know, but I'm thinking of all the other girls who have brothers training to be aviators. The man who inspected those planes is a traitor to his country and ought to be shot down like a dog." "Look here, Daughter," Joe said as he brought her back to the hotel, "we're fightin' a war now. Individual lives don't matter, this isn't the time for lettin' your personal feelin's get away with you or em- barrassin' the authorities with criticism. When we've licked the huns'll be plenty of time for gettin' the incompetents and the crooks . . . that's how I feel about it."
"Well, good night, Joe . . . you be mighty careful yourself. When do you expect to get your wings?" "Oh, in a couple of weeks." "How's Gladys and Bunny?" "Oh, they're all right," said Joe; a funny constraint came into
his voice and he blushed. "They're in Tulsa with Mrs. Higgins."
She went to bed and lay there without moving, feeling desperately quiet and cool; she was too tired to sleep. When morning came she went around to the garage to get her car. She felt in the pocket on the door to see if her handbag was there that always had her little pearlhandled revolver in it, and drove out to the aviation camp. At the gate the sentry wouldn't let her by, so she sent a note to Colonel Morrissey who was a friend of Dad's, saying that she must see him at once. The corporal was very nice and got her a chair in the little office at the gate and a few min- utes later said he had Colonel Morrissey on the wire. She started to talk to him but she couldn't think what to say. The desk and the office and the corporal began swaying giddily and she fainted.
She came to in a staffcar with Joe Washburn who was taking her back to the hotel. He was patting her hand saying, "That's all right, Daughter." She was clinging to him and crying like a little tiny girl. They put her to bed at the hotel and gave her bromides and the doctor wouldn't let her get up until after the funeral was over.
She got a reputation for being a little crazy after that. She stayed on in San Antonio. Everything was very gay and tense. All day she worked in a canteen and evenings she went out, supper and dancing, every night with a dif- ferent aviation officer. Everybody had taken to drinking a great deal. It was like when she used to go to highschool dances, she felt herself moving in a brilliantly lighted daze of suppers and lights and dancing and champagne and dif- ferent colored faces and stiff identical bodies of men danc- ing with her, only now she had a kidding line and let them hug her and kiss her in taxicabs, in phonebooths, in people's backyards.
One night she met Joe Washburn at a party Ida Olsen was giving for some boys who were leaving for overseas.
It was the first time she'd ever seen Joe drink. He wasn't drunk but she could see that he'd been drinking a great deal. They went and sat side by side on the back steps of the kitchen in the dark. It was a clear hot night full of dryflies with a hard hot wind rustling the dry twigs of the trees. Suddenly she took Joe's hand: "Oh, Joe, this is awful."
Joe began to talk about how unhappy he was with his wife, how he was making big money through his oil leases and didn't give a damn about it, how sick he was of the army. They'd made him an instructor and wouldn't let him go overseas and he was almost crazy out there in camp. "Oh, Joe, I want to go overseas too. I'm leading such a silly life here." "You have been actin' kinder wild, Daughter, since Bud died," came Joe's soft deep drawling voice. "Oh, Joe, I wisht I was dead," she said and put her head on his knee and began to cry. "Don't cry, Daughter, don't cry," he began to say, then suddenly he was kissing her. His kisses were hard and crazy and made her go all limp against him.
"I don't love anybody but you, Joe," she suddenly said quietly. But he already had control of himself; "Daughter, forgive me," he said in a quiet lawyer's voice, "I don't know what I was thinking of, I must be crazy . . . this war is making us all crazy . . . Good night . . . Say . . . er . . . erase this all from the record, will you?"
That night she couldn't sleep a wink. At six in the morn- ing she got into her car, filled up with gas and oil and started for Dallas. It was a bright fall morning with blue mist in the hollows. Dry cornstalks rustled on the long hills red and yellow with fall. It was late when she got home. Dad was sitting up reading the war news in pyjamas and bathrobe. "Well, it won't be long now, Daughter," he said. "The Hindenburg line is crumpling up. I knew our boys could do it once they got started." Dad's face was more lined and his hair whiter than she'd remembered it.
She heated up a can of Campbell's soup as she hadn't taken any time to eat. They had a cosy little supper together and read a funny letter of Buster's from Camp Merritt where his outfit was waiting to go overseas. When she went to bed in her own room it was like being a little girl again, she'd always loved times when she got a chance to have a cosy chat with Dad all alone; she went to sleep the minute her head hit the pillow.
She stayed on in Dallas taking care of Dad; it was only sometimes when she thought of Joe Washburn that she felt she couldn't stand it another minute. The fake armi- stice came and then the real armistice, everybody was crazy for a week like a New Orleans mardigras. Daughter de- cided that she was going to be an old maid and keep house for Dad. Buster came home looking very Anned and full of army slang. She started attending lectures at Southern Methodist, doing church work, getting books out of the circulating library, baking angelcake; when young girl- friends of Buster's came to the house she acted as a chap- eron.
Thanksgiving Joe Washburn and his wife came to din- ner with them. Old Emma was sick so Daughter cooked the turkey herself. It was only when they'd all sat down to table, with the yellow candles lighted in the silver can- dlesticks and the salted nuts set out in the little silver trays and the decoration of pink and purple mapleleaves, that she remembered Bud. She suddenly began to feel faint and ran into her room. She lay face down on the bed listening to their grave voices. Joe came to the door to see what was the matter. She jumped up laughing, and almost scared Joe to death by kissing him square on the mouth. "I'm all right, Joe," she said. "How's yourself?"
Then she ran to the table and started cheering every- body up, so that they all enjoyed their dinner. When they were drinking their coffee in the other room she told them that she'd signed up to go overseas for six months with the
Near East Relief, that had been recruiting at Southern Methodist. Dad was furious and Buster said she ought to stay home now the war was over, but Daughter said, others had given their lives to save the world from the Germans and that she certainly could give up six months to relief work. When she said that they all thought of Bud and were quiet.
It wasn't actually true that she'd signed up, but she did the next morning and got around Miss Frazier, a returned missionary from China who was arranging it, so that they sent her up to New York that week, with orders to sail immediately with the office in Rome as her first destina- tion. She was so wildly excited all the time she was get- ting her passport and having her uniform fitted, she hardly noticed how glum Dad and Buster looked. She only had a day in New York. When the boat backed out of the dock with its siren screaming and started steaming down the North River, she stood on the front deck with her hair blowing in the wind, sniffing the funny steamboat harbor overseas smell and feeling like a twoyearold.
GOLDEN VOICE OF CARUSO SWELLS IN VICTORY SONG TO CROWDS ON STREETS
Oh Oh Oh, it's a lovely war Oo wouldn't be a sodger, ay
from Pic Umbral to the north of the Stelvio it will follow the crest of the Rhetian alps up to the sources of the Adige and the Eisah passing thence by mounts Reschen and Brenner and the heights of Oetz and Boaller; thence south crossing Mount Toblach
As soon as reveille has gone We feel just as 'eavy as lead But we never git up till the sergeant Brings us a cup of tea in bed
HYPNOTIZED BY COMMON LAW WIFE
army casualties soar to 64,305 with 318 today; 11,760 have paid the supreme sacrifice in action and 6,193 are severely wounded
Oh Oh Oh. it's a lovely war Oo wouldn't be a sodger ay Oh, it's a shayme to tayke the pay
in the villages in peasant houses the Americans are treated as guests living in the best rooms and courteously offered the best shining samovars or teaurns by the housewives
Le chef de gare il est cocu
in the largely populated districts a spectacular touch was given the festivities by groups of aliens appearing in costume and a carnival spirit prevailed
BRITISH SUPPRESS SOVIETS
Le chef de gare il est cocu Qui est cocu? Le chef de gare Sa femme elle l'a voulut
there can be no reason to believe these officers of an estab- lished news organization serving newspapers all over the coun- try failed to realize their responsibilities at a moment of supreme significance to the people of this country. Even to anticipate the event in a matter of such moment would be a grave im- position for which those responsible must be called to account
Any complaynts this morning? Do we complayn? Not we Wats the matter with lumps of onion Floatin' around in the tea?
PEACE DOVE IN JEWELS GIVEN MRS. WILSON
and the watershed of the Cols di Polberdo, Podlaniscam and Idria. From this point the line turns southeast towards the Schneeberg, excludes the whole basin of the Saave and its tributaries. From Schneeberg it goes down to the coast in such a way as to include Castna, Mattuglia and Volusca
THE CAMERA EYE (38)
sealed signed and delivered all over Tours you can smell lindens in bloom it's hot my uniform sticks the OD chafes me under the chin
only four days ago AWOL crawling under the freight cars at the station of St. Pierre-des-Corps waiting in the buvette for the MP on guard to look away from the door so's I could slink out with a cigarette (and my heart) in my mouth then in a tiny box of a hotel room changing the date on that old movement order but today
my discharge sealed signed and delivered sends off sparks in my pocket like a romancandle
I walk past the headquarters of the SOS Hay sojer your tunic's unbuttoned (f -- k you buddy) and down the lindenshaded street to the bathhouse that has a court with flowers in the middle of it the hot water gushes green out of brass swanheads into the whitemetal tub I strip myself naked soap myself all over with the sour pink soap slide into the warm deepgreen tub through
the white curtain in the window a finger of afternoon sun- light lengthens on the ceiling towel's dry and warm smells of steam in the suitcase I've got a suit of civvies I borrowed from a fellow I know the buck private in the rear rank of Uncle Sam's Medical Corps (serial number . . . never could remember the number anyway I dropped it in the Loire) goes down the drain with a gurgle and hiss and
having amply tipped and gotten the eye from the fat woman who swept up the towels
I step out into the lindensmell of a July afternoon and stroll up to the café where at the little tables outside only officers may set their whipcord behinds and order a drink of cognac unservable to those in uniform while waiting for the train to Paris and sit down firmly in long pants in the iron chair
an anonymous civilian
CAN'T RECALL KILLING SISTER; CLAIMS
I've got the blues I've got the blues I've got the alcohoholic blues
SOAP CRISIS THREATENED
with the gay sunlight and the resumption of racing Paris has resumed its normal life. The thousands and thousands of
flags of all nations hang on dozens of lines stretching from mast to mast making a fairylike effect that is positively aston- ishing
THREAT LETTERS REVEALED
I love my country indeed I do But this war is making me blue I like fightin' fightin's my name But fightin is the least about this fightin game
the police found an anteroom full of mysteriouslooking packages which when opened were found full of pamphlets in Yiddish Russian and English and of membership cards for the Industrial Workers of the World
HIGH WIND INCREASES DANGER OF MEN
WHILE PEACE IS TALKED OF WORLDWIDE WAR RAGES
the agents said the arrests were ordered from the State Department. The detention was so sudden neither of the men had time to obtain his baggage from the vessel. Then came a plaintive message from two business men at Lure; the consignment had arrived, the sacks had been opened and their contents was ordinary building plaster. The huge car remained suspended in some trees upside down while the pas- sengers were thrown into the torrent twenty feet below
Lordy, lordy, war is hell Since he amputated my booze
OUTRAGE PERPETRATED IN SEOUL
I've got the alcohohoholic blues
The Department of Justice Has the Goods on the Pack- ers According to Attorney General Palmer
L'Ecole du Malheur Nous Rend Optimistes Unity of Free Peoples Will Prevent any Inequitable Outcome of Peace of Paris
it is only too clear that the league of nations lies in pieces on the floor of the Hotel Crillon and the modest alliance that might with advantage occupy its place is but a vague sketch
HOW TO DEAL WITH BOLSHEVISTS? SHOOT THEM! POLES' WAY! Hamburg Crowds Flock to See Ford
HINTS AT BIG POOL TO DEVELOP ASIA
When Mr. Hoover said to cut our eatin down I did it and I didn't ever raise a frown Then when he said to cut out coal, But now he's cut right into my soul
Allons-nous Assister h la Painique des Sots?
stones were clattering on the roof and crashing through the windows and wild men were shrieking through the key- hole while enormous issues depended on them that required calm and deliberation at any rate the President did not speak to the leaders of the democratic movements
LIEBKNECHT KILLED ON WAY TO PRISON
Eveline had moved to a little place on the rue de Bussy where there was a street market every day. Eleanor to show that there was no hard feeling had given her a couple of her Italian painted panels to decorate the dark parlor with. In early November rumors of an armistice began to fly around and then suddenly one afternoon Major Wood ran into the office that Eleanor and Eveline shared and dragged them both away from their desks and kissed them both and shouted, "At last it's come." Before she knew it Eveline found herself kissing Major Moorehouse right on the mouth. The Red Cross office turned into a college dormitory the night of a football victory: it was the Armi- stice.
Everybody seemed suddenly to have bottles of cognac
and to be singing, There's a long long trail awinding or La Madel-lon pour nous n'est pas sévère.
She and Eleanor and J.W. and Major Wood were in a taxicab going to the Café de la Paix.
For some reason they kept getting out of taxicabs and other people kept getting in. They had to get to the Café de la Paix but whenever they got into a taxicab it was stopped by the crowd and the driver disappeared. But when they got there they found every table filled and files of people singing and dancing streaming in and out all the doors. They were Greeks, Polish legionaires, Russians, Serbs, Albanians in white kilts, a Highlander with bag- pipes and a lot of girls in Alsatian costume. It was annoy- ing not being able to find a table. Eleanor said maybe they ought to go somewhere else. J.W. was preoccupied and wanted to get to a telephone.
Only Major Wood seemed to be enjoying himself. He was a greyhaired man with a little grizzled mustache and kept saying, "Ah, the lid's off today." He and Eveline went upstairs to see if they could find room there and ran into two Anzacs seated on a billiard table surrounded by a dozen bottles of champagne. Soon they were all drinking champagne with the Anzacs. They couldn't get anything to eat although Eleanor said she was starving and when J.W. tried to get into the phone booth he' found an Italian officer and a girl tightly wedged together in it. The Anzacs were pretty drunk, and one of them was saying that the Armistice was probably just another bloody piece of lying propaganda; so Eleanor suggested they try to go back to her place to have something to eat. J.W. said yes, they could stop at the Bourse so that he could send some cables. He must get in touch with his broker. The Anzacs didn't like it when they left and were rather rude.
They stood around for a long time in front of the opera in the middle of swirling crowds. The streetlights were on; the grey outlines of the opera were edged along the cor-
nices with shimmering gas flames. They were jostled and pushed about. There were no busses, no automobiles; occa- sionally they passed a taxicab stranded in the crowd like a rock in a stream. At last on a side street they found them- selves alongside a Red Cross staffcar that had nobody in it. The driver, who wasn't too sober, said he was trying to get the car back to the garage and said he'd take them down to the quai de la Tournelle first.
Eveline was just climbing in when somehow she felt it was just too tiresome and she couldn't. The next minute she was marching arm in arm with a little French sailor in a group of people mostly in Polish uniform who were following a Greek flag and singing la Brabançonne.
A minute later she realized she'd lost the car and her friends and was scared. She couldn't recognize the streets even, in this new Paris full of arclights and flags and bands and drunken people. She found herself dancing with the little sailor in the asphalt square in front of a church with two towers, then with a French colonial officer in a red cloak, then with a Polish legionaire who spoke a little English and had lived in Newark, New Jersey, and then suddenly some young French soldiers were dancing in a ring around her holding hands. The game was you had to kiss one of them to break the ring. When she caught on she kissed one of them and everybody clapped and cheered and cried Vive l'Amerique. Another bunch came and kept on and on dancing around her until she began to feel scared. Her head was beginning to whirl around when she caught sight of an American uniform on the outskirts of the crowd. She broke through the ring bowling over a little fat Frenchman and fell on the doughboy's neck and kissed him, and everybody laughed and cheered and cried encore. He looked embarrassed; the man with him was Paul Johnson, Don Stevens' friend. "You see I had to kiss somebody," Eveline said blushing. The doughboy laughed and looked pleased.
lektsii.com - Лекции.Ком - 2014-2020 год. (0.041 сек.)
Все материалы представленные на сайте исключительно с целью ознакомления читателями и не преследуют коммерческих целей или нарушение авторских прав
Главная страницаСлучайная страницаКонтакты