My extraordinary dream about the Crimean war.
The improper number of Life and the William’s Purple Cow cover beginning something.
Time: Henry VIII cut from a halitosis ad.
Husband did everything he wanted himself, so in what didn’t concern him she did what she wanted.
Snubs, Marice, Ruth (Clothes), Toolman and son, Gerald bull fight.
Just before quarrel had been talking about the best and what it was founded on.
She and her husband and all their friends had no principles. They were good or bad accoring to their natures; often they struck attitudes remembered from the past, but they were never sure as her father or her grandfather had been sure. Confusedly she supposed it was something about religion. But how could you get principles just by wishing for them?
The war had become second-page news.
Meeting Princetonians in the army as buglers etc.
Diary of the God Within—they got half of it—this is the other half.
Before breakfast, their horses’ hoofs sedately scattered the dew in sentimental glades, or curtained them with dust as they raced on dirt roads. They bought a tandem bicycle and pedaled all over Long Island—which a contemporary Cato, considered “rather fast” for a couple not yet married.
Color blind doctor who couldn’t tell baby had jaundice.
The brain of Dr. Gantt’s dog.
About three pieces of the truth (specific) fitted into one of the most malicious and troublesome lies she’d ever told. These latter are permitted this indiscretion within limits as about the only surcease they will ever find in this world.
We took a place in the great echoing salon as far away from the other clients as possible, much as theatrical managers ’“dress a thin house” distributing the crowd to cover as much ground as possible.
I am living very cheaply. Today I am in comparative affluence, but Monday and Tuesday I had two tins of potted meat, three oranges and a box of Uneedas and two cans of beer. For the food that totalled 18 cents a day—and when I think of the thousand meals I’ve sent back untasted in the last two years. It was fun to be poor—especially you haven’t enough liver power for an appetite. But the air is fine here and I liked what I had—and there was nothing to do about it anyhow because I was afraid to cash any checks and I had to save enough for postage for the story. But it was funny coming into the hotel and the very deferential clerk not knowing that I was not only thousands, nay tens of thousands in debt, but had less than 40 cents cash in the world and probably a $13. deficit at my bank. I gallantly gave Scotty my last ten when I left her and of course, the Flynns etc. had no idea and wondered why I didn’t just jump into a taxi” ($4.00 and tip) and runover for dinner.
Enough of this bankrupt’s comedy—I suppose it has been enacted all over the U. S. in the last four years, plenty times.
Nevertheless, I haven’t told you the half of it, i.e. My underwear I started with was a pair of pajama pants—just that. It was only today I could replace them with a union suit. I washed my two handkerchiefs and my shirt every night, but the pajama trousers I had to wear all the time and I am presenting it to the Hendersonville Museum. My socks would have been equally notorious save there was not enough of them left for they served double duty as slippers at night. The final irony was when a drunk man in the shop where I bought my can of ale said in a voice obviously intended for me, “These city dudes from the East come down here with their millions. Why don’t they support us?”
I Some Russians and the dance, before the war. Heartburn in a village.
II The dancing characters are moved by fate to post-war Paris.
The great days of the ballet seem to end in catastrophe.
III Again destiny moves the protagonists on—this time to the new world. The deathless art takes root to grow again in fresh soil.
Music for Scene I, Russian folk song and classic composers—pre-war
Music for Scene II, Appropriately blended selection from Diagloff ballets of 1919-1929
Music for Scene III, American music to be composed or assembled—some use of former Russian airs. This to be decided later.
Scene I A Russian Village
Lubov, village belle, has received word that her childhood sweetheart, Serge, now embarked upon a career in the Russian Imperial Ballet will arrive to see her. The renewal of his youthful pledge, so thinks she and her friends.
Serge arrives in a carriage, shows off his acquired talents, dallies with her but makes it evident to the audience he is not serious but has some other purpose.
Serge is followed by Unknown (magicians costume, black mask, black silk stockings and tail coat, old fashioned stock and opera hat) who indicates “do what you’re here for.”
Serge, fascinated by the lure of art, obeys, using Lubov as decoy to find out from Old Peasant Woman (comedy type) secret pagan festival dance needed by Imperial Ballet.
Serge is by this time drawn to Lubov and wants to marry her and take her away even though it compromises his career. But before he has entirely committed himself Unknown appears, fascinates Serge with technical tricks he can still show him. Serge weakens, follows Unknown while Lubov brokenhearted laments with peasant girls who try to console her. Cossachs of village called up for army, depart and other girls rush to speed them off but Lubov laments only her lost Serge.
Theatre de Dance Russe, Paris
Asbestos curtain up disclosing drop curtain painted to represent exterior theatre, posters, etc. Season of 1924 prominently displayed.
Practical portal to theatre. Audience enters from wings and exits through portal. During this:
(1) Entrance of Lubov now become international high courtesan.
(2) Last to enter—after crowd, the Unknown, unmasked, grey devilish beard and proprietary air about performance.
Drop curtain rises upon this:
In Dressing room—Serge, the star making up adulation, flowers, last instruction of Unknown who is clearly indicated now as ballet master and impressario.
Opera Box—Entrance of Lubov, popular, chic, but preoccupied, Indifferent. Leaves box and reappears in Dressing Room. Black out box and roll out.
Dressing Room—Reunion Serge and Lubov. He tries to attone—too late she says—she’s now hot stuff and well kept in Paris. Sad. He shrugs shoulders. Obvious both regret. Resignation. Black out dressing room.
Scene is Back Stage as it would be seen looking toward the imaginary audience before curtain rise. Prop curtain swings and gives full stage as indicated by diagram. Unknown drilling girls in last rehearsal.
Groups of artists, musicians, writers.
Unknown indicates ill health from overwork. Word to clear stage for curtain rise. Girls in wings. Music starts. Unknown takes final look, starts to leave stage, collapses, dies.
General commotion, music continues; played in back of real back drop to indicate it’s being played in orchestra pit; Serge rushes out horror stricken; Unknown placed on bier; they are all stricken but defer to Serge’s grief. Music dies away.
Entrance of dancing chorus. Death dance in dimming lights, with singers in muted orchestra; wierd green spot on Unknown lying on bier. Serge solos alone. Lubov comes in to console him but he drives her fiercely away.
Scene III A Road House on Long Island, 1933.
Serge poor and dancing at roadhouse (Beer Signs, etc.) conducts a class by permission of owner before opening for business. Bad class, hopeless, one good pupil who is mysterious and always appears masked.
Class goes—Serge, overworked and discouraged, dozes—fragments of the past appear. He rises in sleep, gropes toward vision of Unknown but when stage blacks out for a moment and former lights come on to indicate reality he finds himself holding Mystery Pupil; who, when unveiled, is fifteen-year old girl and who has crept back to practise at bar while he slept.
Lubov appears—widow of rich American; forty, still pretty. She indicates that Mystery Pupil is her daughter and has inherited her potential talent.
Serge and Lubov reconciled. He will teach her daughter and is absorbed in beginning lessons when road house guests begin to drift in; there is a sort of counterpoint of American and Russian music, ballet of guests upstage taking its tone (but jazzing it) from classic ballet indicated by dancing lesson of three principals in front.
A Preface:Acknowledgements, who have verified references for me or made valuable suggestions, oceanography etc., Garbo, Beebe or mythology, etiquette, lost cooking Mrs. Rorer, exploration, Hemmingway bullfighting, communism, Dos Passos, cannibalism, my own early works for necking (or petting), Amelia Earhart air currents, John J. Pershing military science, the Badaeker guides to Provence, China also curators Smithsonian Cardinal Vatican; also Universities Paris, etc., Guttengen, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Tuskeegee, fresh water and Springfield Y.M.C.A. and college of electors at Washington, use of library, editors of Encyclopedia, Mr. Charles Scribner for the use of a pencil sharpener; proofs Hem., corrections Joyce Shaw. Stravinski scoring of certain passages. To Picasso for etching, Brancusi for wood pulp, Stalin U.S.S.R. Stenography for faithfully and uncomplainingly typing the entire ms. Last and least to my wife, daughter, aunts, who put at my disposal letters, wills, portraits, photographs, documents, stamp books, post card collections, laundry marks, cigar bands, report cards, diplomas, pardons, trials, convictions, accusations, leases and unpaid bills, stamp collections and Confederate money. The idea if I’m going to begin all over again at 37. Buy book if your name in it. Bibliography. I’am indebted by Mayor Walker of Cannes. The book is without index. On England and on the Continent—but enough have shown their friendship, and I feel that they have written this book just as much as I have. (or: they have all been willing collaborators, etc.)
There are many places here and there and up and down the world, which like O’Henry’s “Five Stories Cities,” suggest that one has only to go there to see something happen, but his illusion persists largely in those without the opportunity to travel. There can be a simply unimaginable dullness in a Montana cow country saloon, in Chinatown or Limehouse—perhaps because we expect so much; this applies also to a glamorous and youthful ball after one has reached a certain age, or a gondola in Venice if one hasn’t; or to Hollywood teas if one is invited or to the real haunts of the underworld if one is not; or to a Paris cafe or a lonely road at night, or a park bench at dawn—it is best to stop here and rest a moment on the park bench, using it both for a seat and for an example.
To begin a chapter—It is said that the Tartar tribes cooked their meat by slinging it saddle wise across their horses and riding on it all day, producing, I suppose, a sort of pound steak.
The Rocky Mountains still being formed.
All my life I had wanted to meet a big shot—as a matter of fact I met one of the biggest when I was boy, but I was too young to know that he was loaded. They began dying off in the nineteen hundreds and there was no one to replace them except Henry Ford and he was all washed and groomed and the rotogravures showed him in camp with Edison and the other members of the success back-field. By and by Morgan was dead and Harriman was dead and you couldn’t scrape enough color of all their successors together to make up a juvenile lead.
My great grandmother visted Dolly Madison
Save Chauffeur from Josphine II
Savings from Grit
It appeared on the page of great names and was illustrated by a pictures of a cross-eyed young lady holding the hand of a savage gentlemen with four rows of teeth. That was how their pictures came out, anyhow, and the public was pleased to know that they were ugly monsters for all their money, and everyone was satisfied all around. The society editor set up a column telling how Mrs. Van Tyne started off in the Aquitania wearing a blue traveling dress of starched felt with a round square hat to match.
An Akbar—Mohammedan name for man with halitosis
From a little distance one can perceive an order in what at the time seemed confusion—the case in point is the society of a three generation middle-western city before the war. There were the two or three enormously rich, nationally known families—outside of them rather than below them the heirachy began. At the top came those whose grandparents had brought something with them from the East, a vestige of money and culture; then came the families of the big self-made merchants, the “old settlers” of the sixties and seventies, American-English-Scotch, or German or Irish, looking down upon each other somewhat in the order named—upon the Irish less from religious difference—French Catholics were considered rather distinguished—than from their taint of political corruption in the East. After this came certain well-to-do “new people” —mysterious, out of a cloudy past, possibly unsound. Like so many structures this one did not survive the cataract of money that came tumbling down upon it with the war.
This preamble is necessary to explain the delicate social (relation) so incomprehensible to a European between Gladys Van Schillinger, aged fourteen, and her senior by one year, Basil Duke Lee. Basil’s father had been an unsuccessful young Kentuckian of good family and his mother, Alice Rielly, the daughter of a “pioneer” wholesale grocer. As Tarkington says American children belong to their mother’s families, and Basil was “Alice Rielly’s son.” Gladys Van Schillinger, on the contrary—
After awhile he lowered his paper slowly until the bottom part of it crumpled a little in his lap.
“What are you looking at?” he inquired.
The mood and the tone of the question were impatient—he tried to soften them with a faint smile.
“Do I look funny to you in any way?
No answer. His smile widened—suddenly disappeared. He took up the paper again and began the cartoon.
—Where did Skigum go? Drat that man…Scaw you! he read. There was a picture of a stout woman chasing spotted dog from pantry.
—Hello Gert. Did Skigum—I’ll get him out for you—
He dropped the paper to his lap again.
“Have I done anything?” he demanded, “You’ve got that look on your face you always have when I’ve done something.”
His wife sighed faintly.
“No, you haven’t done anything,” she said, with the implication that it would have been a hundred times better if he’d done something. “You haven’t done anything at all.”
He knew that answer. He knew all the answers. If he asked “Why are you looking at me?” she would have the choice of several—“Do you object to my looking at you?” or “I didn’t realize I was looking at you.”
But confound it she was looking at him! And if there’s one thing a woman has no right to do it is to look at her husband with the silent, mysterious persistence of a reproachful sphinx. He called it the “West Point Silence” sometimes. He had read that when a man’s conduct was being tacitly criticised at the Military Academy no one spoke to him. So in his more spirited moods he called it “The West Point Silence.” He tried another note.
“I love you, dear, and I can’t read the paper with any pleasure when I know you’ve got something against me in your mind.”
Lucile got up and regarded herself in a long mirror with solemn interest. There was a white wisp of lint on her long eyelashes which she removed and the pink ghost of a smudge which she erased from the left scallop of her pretty mouth.
Bread and Butter Letter from a Chicago Gentleman:
I certainly enjoyed myself. The chow was all good, mostly, but the butter was rancid. The bed was hard but uncomfortable. The talk was over my head but there was some made sense—that part about my being a great guy for instance.
I got home sick at the stummuck but I do not blame you at all.
Will you tell the servents next time I like my soup hot and more of a sharp edge when they press my pants.
You said I only had to pay one buck for board but even that is too much when the service is not good. That black bean soup was rancid too, and mine had a beetle in it. Besides there wasn’t enough blankets and the only good one was stale like it had been used for a baby or something.
I liked all the people I met except that woman I had to slug at dinner. Tell her I hope she found her teeth in the tomato soup when they emptied it out. No gentleman should have done a thing like that but I cannot stand a warm stocking on my ankle under the table.
I’m sorry I shot the horse and dog but they kep me awake 1/2 the night and I come there for a rest. You will find a lot of cigar stubs in the refrigidaire as I did not know where to put them. I do not want them however so give them to one of the negro servants, you know the colored ones, not your uncle or aunt or anybody like that. The black ones.
I’ll tell you when I can come down again and we will have more of that fun in the dumb waiter—hey kid, you know? Only I’m sorry I left you between floors when I went to bed. I thot it would give you more time to cool off so you could get some sleep too.
All right kid and goodby and I know now you are not such a dumb cluck as you look like.
P.S. If you called that thing a cocktail then listerine is the Holy Grail.
Way Down in Cotton Town
Kiss Me Good Night Dear Love
Don’t Get Married Anymore, Love
Waiting at the Church
Tale of a Kangaroo
Dearie, My Dearie
If It Takes My Whole Week’s Pay
Roosevelt and Big Stick
Princeton Glee Club
Nora Bayes and Harvest Moon
Note: The little fish at Malibu. Ask me.
Note: New novel note at top of p. 10. Put in section where Stahr is ill in N. Y.
Note about smudges in orange grove (ask me
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