College of One
by Sheilah Graham

The Curriculum Continued

The third course, 'Religion and Fiction', was the easiest and the shortest. Each section had three parts: religion, a novel, and a section of Thomas Craven's Masterpieces of Art. The art book is inscribed: “Sheilah from Scott, Christmas, 1939.' It was his last Christmas present to me. Among the important novels on the third list were Portrait of a Lady, Anna Karenina and Sanctuary. “This is a powerful novel,” Scott remarked of Sanctuary. I was fascinated with the violence and the terrifying rape of Temple Drake by the impotent Popeye and the half—wit Red. Faulkner was born a year after Scott, and they were in Hollywood at the same time, but to the best of my knowledge they never met.

I had read Look Homeward, Angel before I met Scott; a friend had praised it highly, and, as usual, looking for a magical formula, I had rushed to buy Wolfe's fictionalized autobiography, hoping I would be transformed immediately into a well—read woman. But the author, going on and on and on, had bored me and I had not finished the book. Scott had me attempt Of Time and the River and The Web and the Rock with the same result. Scott believed that Wolfe's novels were too long and too verbose. When he had said this in a letter to Wolfe, he received a long answer reminding him that it was just as important to be a putter—inner as a taker—outer. But Scott could not dismiss the burly long—winded Mr Wolfe. He considered him an important American writer.

“Not Ecclesiasticus,' Scott wrote above Ecclesiastes on page 755 of my Bible, the Old and New Testaments in the King James  version, designed in  1936 by ErnestSutherland Bates to be Read as Living Literature. After “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity', Scott underlined in the introduction that Hemingway had taken his title The Sun Also Rises from the Preacher's line “the sun also ariseth”. In paragraph five he underlined the sentence 'See, this is new', commenting in the margin: “Before the age of science and invention.” I memorized all the 'times”—a time to weep, to laugh, to mourn, to dance, to love, to hate, for war, for peace. It was as beautiful as Scott had thought when he wrote his daughter in 1938: “Remember when you are reading it that it is one of the top pieces of writing in the world.” At one time he considered titling Tender Is the Night “The World's Fair', after Thackeray's Vanity Fair, which was after Ecclesiastes” “vanity of vanities”.

The Book of Job appealed to me less, although Scott, to make it somewhat easier for me, had carefully underlined the names of all the Speakers in part four, with the Voice out of the Whirlwind. Job was depressing, with its interminably long pages, part prose, part verse. I had been punished, sometimes unjustly, at the orphanage and I did not enjoy reading of the same treatment for Job, who was a good man. It seemed to me that God was trying Job's patience much too far. What was He trying to prove?

The Gospel of Saint Mark, Scott informed me, had been used as a source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Mark seemed mostly interested in miracles, which I have never believed in, although it was a miracle that I was getting the education for which I had prayed. In succeeding years I have re—read the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke and thought both the other books were better than Mark. The Song of Solomon was on the master plan, but not on the course for religion. Neither was the Book of Ruth. We read them for the poetry and the prose, not because of any religious fervour on Scott's part. He had long ago given up his Catholicism. In a letter to Max Perkins about a passage from the Bible in The Beautiful and Damned he said: “I do not suppose any butthe most religious—minded people in the world believe that such interludes as the Song of Solomon or the Story of Ruth have, or ever had, even in the minds of the original chroniclers, the faintest religious significance.”

Renan's Life of Jesus was, as I wrote Johnny; realistic, with its rejection of miracles and the supernatural. It had caused a sensation, Scott told me, when it was published in 1863. “Ernest Renan was originally trained for the priesthood.” He had repudiated his faith, as Scott had, preferring science and facts. In This Side of Paradise: “There were … sword—like pioneering personalities, Samuel Butler, Renan, Voltaire.” His sister Annabel believed these authors had caused Scott to lose his religious faith.

Shaw's Preface to Androcles and the Lion was a comical addendum to Renan, which was followed by Lewis Browne's Stranger Than Fiction: A Short History of the Jews, published in 1938. There was only one comment by Scott in this book, which has his name on the flyleaf, dated “Encino 1940—January”. On page 112, underlining the word sports, Scott wrote “misuse of word—he means sports—conscious.” I also read The Story of Buddha and Buddhism by Brian Brown. An ironic underlining by Scott in the book about Buddha: 'It is iron's own rust that destroys it. It is the sinner's own acts that bring him to Hell.'

The fourth list (part I), “Philosophy and History', was interwoven with fiction and drama to compensate for the heaviness of the main subjects. The education was getting harder. There was some Wells at the beginning to coincide with Jowett's Life of Plato, pages 7—20. It was crucial at this point for me to continue. If I survived the philosophy, history, and economics, I would finish the courses. After Chekhov's short story “The Darling', I was ready to tackle Plato himself, but only thirty—three pages, in the Apologia. For reasons I have forgotten, Balzac's La Peau de Chagrin was switched with Pierre Louys” Aphrodite, which was ahead of Swinnerton's Nocturne, which thenhad its turn after Lafargue's Evolution of Property in place of La Peau de Chagrin. Scott, at some time in the future, he told me, would write a modern version of Balzac's The Wild Ass's Skin. There were several projects for “the future', but his future would be his past before the year was out. La Peau de Chagrin, Scott told me, had been imitated by Oscar Wilde in Dorian Gray, a book he despised, with its author.

Maupassant was used as a brain—soother after the difficult four chapters on church architecture marked in Sartell Prentice's Heritage of the Cathedral. As the subjects became more difficult, the novels, short stories, and plays were easier: Conan Doyle's medieval novel The White Company; ten short stories from The Decameron; Wycherley's sweetmeat, The Country Wife; the fascinatingly wicked Liaisons Dangereuses. Soon after Scott's death I was to win a bet from a Professor of Logic at Oxford University because I knew that Liaisons was by Laclos and he did not. Against a long involved sentence about widows in Balzac's Succube, Scott wrote, “My god! What a sentence!” After a comment on Pantagruel, Scott margined: “Panurge and Pantagruel are also heroes of Rabelais.” There were Francis Steegmuller's 0 Rare Ben Jonson, Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill with Max Beerbohm's burlesque of Kipling in The Woolcott Reader —'Read all you can”—in conjunction with the same period of history. There were dozens of explanations in Kipling's Puck, mostly translations of Latin and Roman terms. A centurion was “one who commanded a company of a hundred.” Simple, but I hadn't known it. A “cohort” was a battalion (a thousand men). The Roman Eagles 'correspond to modern flags'; Caesar had “become the name for all those who aspired to be Emperor.” Kipling belonged to Scott's Princeton days and This Side of Paradise. In The Crack—up, Scott had written: “I have asked a lot of my emotions—one hundred and twenty stories. The price was high, right up with Kipling.” During my time with Puck of Pook's Hill, Scott wrote his Princeton roommate, Judge Biggs: “Who'd want to live on like Kipling with a name one no longer owned—the empty shell of a gift long since accepted and consumed?”

Scott divided A. L. Morton's A People's History of England into sixteen parts, reinforced with the dates in Wells's Outline. Morton's History revolutionized my political thinking. In my schoolbooks the kings had been good and bad but they had ruled by divine right. Their word, until they were deposed or murdered, and even after Magna Carta, was law. I considered Wat Tyler a traitor and justly killed by the nobles of Richard II even though carrying a flag of truce. Morton removed the blinders. The people had been betrayed. It was amazing that they still wanted a monarchy. I had been right at the orphanage in advocating a republic.

It was part of Scott's method to read the book first, usually making notations or amusing comments, especially in the heavier subjects, to make a break while I plodded through the chapter. Despising the Henri Barbusse version in The New Republic Anthology of the collapse of the Roman Empire, he commented: “The man is mad as a hatter—after first being obvious. “And on the next page, Scott pooh—poohed “A single night of Christianity led to the collapse of the magnificent edifice of antiquity', with “What history!” A non—sequitur message pencilled at the back of the Anthology: “Let Richard Whitney out. Let Leopold retell the saddest story ever told. How Darrow wept for him. We'll organize ten regiments of pansies, parlour—size.”

This was mild compared to his comments on Cowper's “Loss of the Royal George': “If this is not horse dung, then Shakespeare never wrote! F.S.F.” And at the end: 'It sounds like an insurance report. They may still be able to use the keel!' At the beginning of the appendix to Pal—grave's Treasury, Scott stated: 'Compiled by a Protestant Pansy”.

At the end of my Plutarch's Lives he pasted a colour drawing of a tall Grecian girl with a small man at her feettwanging a lyre, underneath which my professor wrote:

Scott and Sheilah thru the ages. She has taken away his Samian wine. He has just finished painting a pediment and is trying to sooth her with a Lydian air (matchless tone, authentic period design, nearly an hour's continuous entertainment. ADVT.). Her martyred expression is deceitful. She is thinking of the cocktail party for Greece at the Skouras's.

Scott's inscription inside Greek History by C. B. Newton and E. B. Treat reads: “For S. G. For her proficiency in pre—Socratic Philosophy, Hellenistic Anthropology and Trojan Archeology, from her loving Prof. T. Themistocles Smith, Olym[p]ic Games, 1910.”

Underlining lawyers in Morton's account of the time of William the Conqueror, Scott wrote: “These were mostly churchmen, mostly unmarried, a rather intense lot!” It was easy to understand Morton's opinion of the greedy kings and noblemen of the Middle Ages, with Scott's translation of a popular Latin verse of the time: “The truth is that all the money flies into the hands of the greedy ones.” On the margin next to the revolt of the Lords of the North, “Northumberland, Mortimer and March,” Scott pencilled. “The material for Shakespeare's Henry IV and V.' The Marian persecutions cited by Morton from Foxe's Book of Martyrs, published in 1563, were explained by my painstaking teacher: “i.e. Bloody Queen Mary.' And when Queen Elizabeth withdrew the monopoly of selling sweet wines from her favourite, the Earl of Essex, an act that led to his rebellion, Scott noted: 'The truth behind Errol Flynn.” Against the date of 1629, when King Charles was fighting Parliament, Scott mentioned: “Harvard College founded. No Donegals [to whom I had been engaged] in the first class, but a few Cabotts and Lowells.” He had the Harvard date wrong by a year, and of course he had mispelled Cabot and Lord Donegall. Sir Robert Walpole had fallen from office in 1742 and Scott did not overlook this important date: “Princeton founded”.

There was an amusing comment by Scott about the trading situation of England immediately after Waterloo. Commerce with North America and Europe had declined because of war. but one good new market had developed—South America, which was promptly flooded by the British with all sorts of inappropriate goods. I could see Scott smiling as I read the comment pencilled at the foot of the page: “English teacups were one thing shipped. Some of the Indians chipped off the handles and strung them on necklaces to wear around their necks!” Another note in Morton, at the time of the first Charles of England: “My first American ancestors, William Godwyn and Phillip Key, emigrated to Maryland about this time.”

Morton—and Scott—went into great detail about the transformation of the working class from the 'beef, bread and ale standard of living” to a “potato and tea standard”—'the origin,” said Scott, “of fish and chips.” Morton quoted the politician Cobbett's denunciation of tea as “a destroyer of health, an enfeebler of the frame, an engenderer of effeminacy and laziness, a debaucher of youth and a maker of misery for old age”. Tea?

At the back of my Morton, with Scott dictating, I wrote down the Kings of England from the Normans, the Plantagenets, the Houses of Lancaster and York, the Tudors, the Stuarts, to the House of Hanover and Windsor, Georges I to V, to Edward VIII and the reigning George VI some of which I had of course already memorized as a schoolgirl.

Ploetz's Manual of Universal History, a large dictionary of historical names, is not on the curriculum, but Scott had me go through it to reinforce what I was learning. Some of his comments in the Ploetz: against Arnulf of Carinthia—'Finds perhaps midway in career he's not the real heir but son of serf. Mother had been neurotic promoting herself.” Next to Karlmann in Aquitaine —'Success after lowpoint.' And pencilled against Charles the Fat—'Kills buddy troubadour who insists on chanting.”

The fourth list, part II, included economics. The interrupting novels and drama were mostly about social upheaval—Conrad's Heart of Darkness (The Nigger of the “Narcissus' and Lord Jim were in other sections). Scott envied Conrad his years at sea before he became a writer. “I have not worked at anything except writing, so I've had to create my own experiences.” When people told him of an interesting experience, he often paid them to let him use it in his writing. One of Conrad's lines repeated by Scott: the battleship “firing into a continent”. In his own writing, Scott told me, he was trying to follow Conrad's precept, to make the reader see and hear. On Scott's solid gold bar there was “Ernest's courage and Joseph Conrad's art”. As a model to study he ranked Conrad with Keats. Conrad's Nostromo was on Scott's list of the ten most important novels. When Conrad was visiting the Doubleday estate on Long Island in the early twenties, Scott tried to show his admiration for him in typical Fitzgerald fashion. He roped in his friend Ring Lardner and they danced with vocal accompaniment on the lawn in front of Conrad's window. The author, a year from his death, was ill and angry. His terpsichorean admirers were arrested for creating a disturbance. Scott's regard for Conrad had not diminished in 1939 and 1940, but he had long been cured of Compton Mackenzie, who, he complained, “wrote 2 1/2 good books (but not wonderful novels) and then died” —that is, as far as Scott's interest in him was concerned.

On the flyleaf of The Octopus Scott wrote: “Frank Norris after writing three great books died in 1902 at the age of just thirty. He was our most promising man and might have gone further than Dreiser or the others. He claimed to be a disciple of Zola, the naturalist. But in many ways, he was better than Zola. The time of the events is 1880.” After reading Norris, Scott wrote Max Perkins that he had fallen under the influence of a writer who had completely changed his point of view. “… I think McTeague and Vandover and the Brute are bothexcellent.” Scott had become enthusiastic about books on social realism in 1922, when he read Salt by Charles Norris, Frank's brother. He was impressed with John Reed's story of the Russian Revolution, Ten Days That Shook the World, and recommended it to Scottie in 1940, during the time we were discussing it in the College of One. E. E. Cummings” book, The Enormous Room, and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle—dedicated to the working men of America—were in his early twenties part of Scott's social—consciousness pattern and were passed on to me in the hope that my strong conservatism would shift to liberalism. It did, with the help of Morton's History, The Book of Daniel Drew (the robber baron) by Bouck White; E. M. Forsters's A Passage to India, Edmund Wilson's chapter on Lenin and literature in The Triple Thinkers, and M. Ilin's New Russia's Primer, on the flyleaf of which Scott wrote: “A beautiful, pathetic, trusting book—old and young, rather haunting and inspiring like the things read and believed in youth. A sort of dawn comes up over the book all through—too often it illuminates old shapes that our cynicism has corrupted into nonsense. But if our totem—poles can become their girders, so be it.” And, at the end of the book: “The N.Y. Times carries a story that the author is in Siberia. I hope it's a canard.”

Russian writers figured prominently in every section of the curriculum. Turgenev, Scott told me, was objective —'as I try to be.” He considered Tolstoy's War and Peace a man's book, although I enjoyed it tremendously, even the dissertations on the Napoleonic battles between the chapters about the aristocrats and the serfs of Russia. Dostoyevsky was my favourite Russian, War and Peace my favourite novel. Chekhov I have always found too vague. I prefer the reality of Ibsen. “You are accepted in a man's world and able to work in it,” Scott assured me, “because of A Doll's House.'

Scott was extremely interested in my reaction to The Communist Manifesto. He might have become a Communist; many intellectuals of the late nineteen thirties veered in that direction and some went all the way. At a small dinner party in Budd Schulberg's house, Scott had taken his host and Ring Lardner, Jr, into another room and discussed Communism with them for an hour. He was disappointed, he told me later. “Nothing original. They are content to follow the party line.” I was surprised when I read of Scott's adoration of the rich because during our College of One he was always so vehemently on the side of the poor and oppressed. He detested people like Barbara Hutton, Woolworth Donahue, and especially business tycoons. “I don't know any businessman I'd want to meet in the next world—if there is a next world,” said Scott. Members of the Communist Party in Baltimore had had several long discussions with Scott, he told me, hoping he would join the Party. Scott writes of Stahr having a fight with the Communist Brimmer in The Last Tycoon. It was probably Scott who had fought the real man with his fists, as ineffectively as Stahr had done. “I could never be a Communist,” Scott assured me. “I could never be regimented. I could never be told what to write.” But the subject was important, and I must be aware of the pros and cons.

Scott's library contained two large volumes of Das Kapital, from which I read Section 4 in Chapter 10 of the first volume, on “The Working Day”. Because it was so difficult, Scott interspersed it with Henry James's Aspern Papers and Beerbohm's short parody, “A Burlesque of Henry James”. The Beerbohm 'Burlesques” were my [Alexander] Woolcott Reader.

My understanding of “The Working Day” in Das Kapital was helped by Scott's translations of Latin, French and even Russian words. He eliminated the entire first page and a half as completely beyond my comprehension, with the bracketed injunction: “Skip. Begin on following page.” Where Marx writes of the “small thefts of the capitalists from the labourer's meals and recreation time” and the “petty pilfering of minutes',Scott commented in the margin: “They do this at M.G.M. in a big way; so the secretaries say.”

Marx's “The unity of the ruling classes, landlords and capitalists, stock—exchange wolves and shopkeepers, protectionists and free traders, government and opposition, priest and free thinkers, young whores and old nuns, under the common cry, For the Salvation of Property, Religion, the Family and Society', elicited from Scott: 'Grand prose.” My professor had read all of Das Kapital. “The Working Day” was all I could manage then—and probably now. It was culled from the body of the book because Scott knew I would be interested in the early industrial working conditions of my native England.

Mein Kampf—Hitler's alarming bible was not on the curriculum, but Scott gave it to me to read while it was all coming true before our paralysed eyes and voices.

An easy course to follow the difficult one: Hendrik Willem Van Loon's sixty chapters of The Arts, divided by, as Scott noted at the bottom of the “Art Book and Fiction List', “13 novels, 4 French, 3 Russian, 2 Irish, 2 American, 1 Norwegian, 1 English.” The two Joyces —A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners —  were fascinatingly simple, so different from Ulysses, which I tried much later. (Finnegans Wake was impossible.) Scott identified with Joyce, who was to outlive him by one year. They had met at the home of Sylvia Beach during the twenties in Paris, and, as usual when his admiration was enormous, Scott was impelled to create a disturbance. To prove his respect, he threatened to jump out of the window. Joyce, by most accounts cold, arrogant, and in spite of his writings somewhat prudish—as I found Henry Miller to be when I met him in Hollywood—remarked to Miss Beach, “That young man must be mad. I'm afraid he will do himself injury.” It wasn't always liquor. It was enthusiasm so great that it could not be expressed by words. Scott often bracketed himself with Joyce,  asserting  they  had  both  aspired  to  the  sameheights of craftsmanship. When Mary McCarthy advised Scott to read Kafka during the evening we spent with her and Edmund Wilson, to whom she was then married, he read The Trial and described it “as an influence among the young comparable only to Joyce in 1920—25.”

There are dozens of notations by Scott in my Joyce novels, mostly his translations from the Latin, and this sometimes discouraged him. In Portrait of the Artist, after translating 'Pax super totum sanguinarium globum' to “Peace over all the bloody globe', Scott commented in brackets: “All this of course is lousy Latin.” I would not have known. On the flyleaf of Dubliners: “Note especially the story "Counterparts"—and the last part of the story, "The Dead", that ends the collection. Scott.”

In the Van Loon book, which concerned all forms of art from works of prehistoric man to the impressionism of Debussy, there were two pencilled comments. Mine at the beginning: “I am standing on a deserted range at twilight with an empty rifle in my hand and all the targets down. From F. Scott Fitzgerald's Blue Period.” I was teasing Scott, who had recently shown me his Crack—up stories: he had been worried about my reaction to them. I had thought they were fascinating and beautifully written. Scott's message to me at the back of the book was a guide for the different phases of art. He was pleased when I told him that I thought Van Loon was condescending to his readers, treating them as children. I was just as pleased when he agreed with me.

Now Scott divided a course in music appreciation with ten novels and Graeco—Roman history. As we proceeded from Bach and Handel to Chopin and Debussy and from Schubert to Stravinsky, we also read Plutarch, Gibbon, Froude, Suetonius, and Bolitho, as well as the matching sections in Wells. Frank Norris's McTeague accompanied Mendelssohn's violin concerto and James's The Bostonians the Brahms Concerto Number 2 in B flat. With so much more recorded music available today at so littlecost, the choice might well have been broader, but in 1940 I was lucky in my College of One to be able to range from the Well—Tempered Clavichord to Der Rosenkavalier and from the Water Music to the Death and the Maiden quartet.

With the records, I read From Bach to Stravinsky; The History of Music by Its Foremost Critics, edited by David Ewen, and a Music Lovers” Encyclopedia edited by Deems Taylor and Russell Kerr and compiled by Rupert Hughes. The Encyclopedia contained brief facts about all the composers and all the known musical instruments. In addition, I was instructed by Scott to look up the composers in the large one—volume Columbia Encyclopedia he had bought me.

It was now necessary to have a record—player. A machine in blond wood arrived from Scott, to match the bookcases, which were also from him. At this time each 78—rpm record cost one or two dollars, depending on the artist, and some of the albums were correspondingly expensive. In those last months of his life Scott had very little money, and the prices of the records often determined the order of buying them. My Chopin records—'Mazurka” and “Etudes', recorded by Vladimir Horowitz, and Arthur Rubinstein's “Polonaise”—cost two dollars each. Before playing them I read ten pages on Chopin in Ewen, which of course Scott misspelled as Ewan. His spelling for some of the composers in his “Preliminary List': Bethoven, Menddilshun, Litz. How could he write so well and spell so badly?

The Debussy records—Stokowski's “Prelude a l'Apres—Midi d'un Faune” and the Heifetz recording of 'Le Plus que Lent”—were each $1.50; the Iberia, $5.00. While the Iberia was first on the list, I played it last, because Scott did not immediately have the $5.00 to spare. For Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, with Stokowski conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Concerto in D major with Heifetz, “$14.50 alone” noted my hard—up professor. Von Weber was cheaper: 'Invitation to a Dance', $2.00;the overture to Der Freischutz, $1.50. Rimski—Korsakov's “The Flight of the Bumblebee” ($1.50) was a favourite of Scott's. We smiled at the buzzing, as I still do when it is played, usually as a fast encore by the violinist.

The Haydn Symphony Number 94 ('Surprise', $5.00), Symphony Number 101 ('Clock', $8.00), and the String Quartet in D major ($1.00) were accompanied by this note from Scott.


I      The big chord in 2nd movement after the pastoral goes off like 21 guns.

II     The  sonata to prove  that a young lady couldn't sit through a concert. It ended 9 times and each time she got up.

III   The Farewell Symphony—each one lights a candle and goes out until only one is left.

Scott's list went on to note prices from Handel's Water Music—$3.50—to $13.50 for Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata. Schnabel's Quintet in E Flat Major cost $8.00.

On Scott's carefully planned list of prices, the records for my music course would cost him about $200. It was a great deal for a man who sometimes had less than $50 in his bank account. If only I had known.

Music, history, a novel. I had read Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall when it was published in England. But seeing it now, intermingled with Greek and Roman History, I understood the title for the first time, that the wild twenties of Waugh's England had been a herald of the decline and fall of the British Empire, similar to the orgiastic dissipation of the Romans.

On page 1 of Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Scott noted: “It is important to remember that Gibbon wrote this history late in the 18th century (1765—1785) before the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution—when men believed that "The Age of Reason" had indeed arrived. Yet the stuff is full of irony—especially when he speaks of the Church andcompares the rich men of antiquity to those of his time —to the pretended advantage of the latter.”

I enjoyed Froude's Julius Caesar. Previously I had confused Froude with Freud and pronounced the latter “Frood”.

The extra pages attached to the curriculum—adapted from Spengler, to be studied in connexion with readings on the sixth list—were copied exactly from Spengler's charts at the end of my heavy volume, which I did not read. Like Kathleen's ex—king in The Last Tycoon, Scott had departed before we got to Spengler. The last page of the curriculum was Spengler's “Political Development of the Anglo—European World', with its accompanying mixture of epic poems, Shakespeare, Descartes, Michelangelo, Bach, Voltaire, Kant, Marx, Darwin. And the last segment:


(a)    19th Century. From Napoleon to the World War. “System of the Great Powers', standing armies, constitutions.

(b)    20th Century. Transition from constitutional to informal sway of individuals. Annihilation wars. Imperialism.

(c)    ???

The question marks were as though Scott were questioning “I wonder what comes next?” The music course was almost completed when Scott died a few days before Christmas 1940. He had told me at the beginning of the music study that he was saving Beethoven for his old age. It was a strange coincidence that he asked me to play the Eroica Symphony while he was making some notes about football on the Princeton Alumni Weekly. Soon after it ended, Scott suffered his fatal heart attack. There was still an echo of the music in the room with the afternoon sun through the Venetian blinds making patterns on his pale face on the dark green carpet.

I finished the music course, with the history and novels, on my own. But Spengler without Scott was too difficultfor me. Everything else in the curriculum was followed faithfully, and a great deal of it has stayed with me —perhaps because of the unusual methods adopted by Scott to ensure that I would remember what he taught.

Next Chapter 9