F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Love of the Last Tycoon.
     N.Y., 1994.
     OCR: Проект "TextShare.da.ru"

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1993  году Matthew J. Broccoli предпринял реконструкцию оригинального текста
The Love of the Last Tychoon. Он и приведен в качестве английского текста.

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     Though I haven't ever been on the screen I  was brought up in pictures.
Rudolph  Valentino came to  my fifth birthday party-or  so I was told. I put
this down  only to indicate  that  even before the age of reason I was in  a
position to watch the wheels go round.
     I was going to write my memoirs once, "The Producer's Daughter," but at
eighteen you  never quite get around to anything  like  that.  It's just  as
well-it  would  have been as  flat as  an old column of Lolly  Parsons'.  My
father was  in  the picture business as  another man might be  in  cotton or
steel,  and I took it tranquilly. At the worst I accepted Hollywood with the
resignation  of a ghost  assigned to a  haunted house. I knew what  you were
supposed to think about it but I was obstinately unhorrified.
     This is easy to say, but harder to  make people understand. When I  was
at Bennington  some of the English teachers who pretended an indifference to
Hollywood or its  products  really hated  it. Hated it way down  deep  as  a
threat  to  their existence. Even before  that, when I was  in  a convent, a
sweet little nun  asked me to get her a script of a screen play so she could
"teach her class about movie writing" as she had taught them about the essay
and the short story. I got the script for her and I suppose she puzzled over
it  and puzzled over it but  it was never mentioned in class and she gave it
back to me with an air of offended surprise and not a single comment. That's
what I half expect to happen to this story.
     You can take Hollywood for  granted like  I did, or you  can dismiss it
with  the  contempt we  reserve for what  we  don't  understand.  It  can be
understood  too, but only dimly and in flashes. Not  half a  dozen men  have
ever been  able to keep the  whole equation of pictures in  their heads. And
perhaps the closest a woman can come to the set-up is to try and  understand
one of those men.

     The world from an airplane I knew. Father always had us travel back and
forth that way from  school and college. After my  sister died when I  was a
junior, I travelled to and fro alone and the journey always made me think of
her, made  me  somewhat solemn and  subdued. Sometimes  there  were  picture
people  I knew on board the plane, and  occasionally there was an attractive
college boy-but not often during the Depression. I seldom really fell asleep
during the  trip, what with thoughts of  Eleanor and the sense of that sharp
rip  between coast  and coast-at  least not till  we had left  those  lonely
little airports in Tennessee.
     This trip was so rough that the passengers divided early into those who
turned in right away and those who didn't want to turn in at all. There were
two of  these  latter right across from me and I was pretty sure  from their
fragmentary conversation  that they were from Hollywood-one of them  because
he looked  like it,  a middle-aged Jew who  alternately talked with  nervous
excitement or else crouched as if ready to  spring, in a harrowing  silence;
the other a pale, plain, stocky  man  of thirty, whom I  was sure I had seen
before. He had been to the house or something. But it might have been when I
was a little girl, and so I wasn't offended that he didn't recognize me.
     The stewardess-she  was tall, handsome  and flashing dark,  a type that
they seemed to run to-asked me if she could make up my berth.
     "-and, dear,  do you want an aspirin?" She perched on  the  side of the
seat and  rocked precariously  to and  fro with the  June  hurricane, "-or a
     "I've been so busy with everyone else  that  I've had  no time  to  ask
you." She sat down beside me and buckled us both in. "Do you want some gum?"
     This  reminded me to get rid  of the piece that had  been boring me for
hours. I  wrapped it  in  a  piece of magazine and put it into the automatic
     "I  can always  tell people are nice-" the  stewardess said approvingly
"-if they wrap their gum in paper before they put it in there."
     We sat for a while in the half-light of the swaying car. It was vaguely
like a  swanky restaurant at  that twilight time  between meals. We were all
lingering-and not  quite on purpose. Even the  stewardess,  I  think, had to
keep reminding herself why she was there.
     She and I talked about a young actress I knew,  whom she had flown west
with two years before. It was in the very lowest  time of the Depression and
the young actress kept staring out the window in such an intent way that the
stewardess was  afraid she was contemplating a leap. It appeared though that
she was not afraid of poverty, but only of revolution.
     "I know  what  Mother and  I  are  going to do,"  she  confided  to the
stewardess. "We're  coming  out  to the  Yellowstone and we're just going to
live simply till it all blows over.  Then we'll come  back. They don't  kill
artists-you know?"
     The proposition  pleased  me. It conjured up a  pretty  picture of  the
actress and her mother being fed by kind Tory  bears who brought them honey,
and by gentle  fawns who fetched extra milk  from the does and then lingered
near to make pillows for their heads at night. In turn I told the stewardess
about the lawyer  and the director  who told their plans to Father one night
in those brave days. If the bonus army conquered Washington the lawyer had a
boat  hidden in the Sacramento River, and he was going to row upstream for a
few  months and then come back "because  they always needed lawyers  after a
revolution to straighten out the legal side."
     The  director had  tended more  toward defeatism. He  had an  old suit,
shirt  and  shoes in waiting-he never  did say whether they  were his own or
whether he got them from  the prop department- and he was going to Disappear
into the Crowd. I remember Father saying: "But they'll  look  at your hands!
They'll know you haven't  done manual work  for  years. And they'll  ask for
your union  card." And  I remember  how the  director's  face  fell, and how
gloomy he  was while he ate his dessert, and how funny and puny they sounded
to me.
     "Is  your father an actor,  Miss  Brady?"  asked the stewardess.  "I've
certainly heard the name. "
     At  the   name  Brady  both  the  men  across  the   aisle  looked  up.
Sidewise-that  Hollywood look, that always seems thrown over  one  shoulder.
Then  the young, pale, stocky man unbuttoned his  safety strap and  stood in
the aisle beside us.
     "Are you Cecelia Brady?" he demanded accusingly, as if I'd been holding
out on him. "I thought I recognized you. I'm Wylie White."
     He could  have  omitted this-for at the  same moment a new  voice said,
"Watch your step,  Wylie!"  and  another man brushed by him in the aisle and
went forward  in  the direction of the cockpit.  Wylie White started, and  a
little too late called after him defiantly.
     "I only take orders from the pilot."
     I recognized the kind  of pleasantry that goes on between the powers in
Hollywood and their satellites.
     The  stewardess  reproved  him:  "Not  so  loud,   please-some  of  the
passengers are asleep."
     I saw now that the other man across the aisle, the middle-aged Jew, was
on  his feet  also, staring, with shameless  economic lechery, after the man
who  had just  gone by. Or  rather  at  the back  of the  man,  who gestured
sideways with his hand in a sort of farewell, as he went out of my sight.
     I asked the stewardess: "Is he the assistant pilot?"
     She was unbuckling our belt, about to abandon me to Wylie White.
     "No. That's  Mr. Smith.  He has the  private  compartment,  the 'bridal
suite'-only he has it alone. The assistant pilot is  always in uniform." She
stood up. "I want to find out if we're going to be grounded in Nashville."
     Wylie White was aghast.
     "It's a storm coming up the Mississippi Valley."
     "Does that mean we'll have to stay here all night?"
     "If this keeps up!"
     A  sudden dip indicated that  it would. It tipped Wylie White into  the
seat opposite me, shunted the stewardess precipitately down in the direction
of the  cockpit, and plunked the Jewish man into a  sitting  position. After
the   studied,  unruffled   exclamations   of  distaste  that  befitted  the
air-minded, we settled down. There was an introduction.
     "Miss Brady-Mr. Schwartze," said Wylie  White.  "He's a great friend of
your father's too."
     Mr. Schwartze nodded so vehemently that I could almost hear him saying,
"It's true. As God is my judge, it's true!"
     He might have said this right out loud at one time  in his  life-but he
was obviously a man  to  whom something had happened.  Meeting him was  like
encountering a friend  who has been in a fist  fight or  collision,  and got
flattened. You stare at your friend and say: "What happened  to you?" And he
answers something unintelligible through  broken teeth and  swollen lips. He
can't even tell you about it.
     Mr. Schwartze was physically unmarked; the exaggerated Persian nose and
oblique eye-shadow were as congenital as the tip-tilted Irish redness around
my father's nostrils.
     "Nashville!"  cried Wylie White. "That means we go to a hotel. We don't
get  to the  coast till  tomorrow  night-if  then.  My  God! I was  born  in
     "I should think you'd like to see it again."
     "Never-I've  kept  away for fifteen years.  I hope I'll  never  see  it
     But he would-for the  plane was unmistakably  going  down,  down, down,
like Alice  in the rabbit hole. Cupping my hand against the window I saw the
blur of the city far away on the left. The green sign  "Fasten your belts-No
smoking" had been on since we first rode into the storm.
     "Did you hear what she said?" said Mr.  Schwartze from one of his fiery
silences across the aisle.
     "Hear what?" asked Wylie.
     "Hear what he's calling himself," said Schwartze. "Mr. Smith}"
     "Why not?" asked Wylie.
     "Oh  nothing," said  Schwartze quickly. "I  just thought it  was funny.
Smith." I never heard a laugh with less mirth in it: "Smith!"
     I suppose there has  been nothing  like  the airports since the days of
the stage-stops-nothing quite as lonely, as somber-silent. The old red-brick
depots were built right into the towns they marked -people didn't get off at
those isolated  stations unless  they lived there. But airports lead you way
back in history like oases, like the  stops on the  great trade  routes. The
sight of  air travellers  strolling in ones  and twos into midnight airports
will draw a small crowd any night up to  two.  The young people look at  the
planes, the older ones look at the passengers  with a  watchful incredulity.
In  the big transcontinental planes  we  were the coastal rich, who casually
alighted from  our cloud  in mid-America. High  adventure might be among us,
disguised  as a movie  star. But  mostly  it  wasn't.  And I  always  wished
fervently that we looked more interesting than  we  did-just as I often have
at  premieres, when  the  fans look at  you  with scornful  reproach because
you're not a star.
     On  the ground Wylie  and I were suddenly friends,  because he held out
his arm  to steady me when I got out  of the plane. From then on, he made  a
dead  set  for me-and  I didn't mind. From the moment  we  walked  into  the
airport it had become plain that if we were stranded  here we were  stranded
here together. (It wasn't like the time I lost my boy-the time my boy played
the  piano with  that girl Reina  in a  little New England farm  house  near
Bennington, and I realized  at last I wasn't wanted. Guy Lombarde was on the
air playing  "Top Hat" and "Cheek to Cheek" and she taught him the melodies.
The keys falling like leaves and her hand splayed over his as she showed him
a black chord. I was a freshman then.)
     When we went  into the airport  Mr. Schwartze was along with us too but
he seemed  in a sort of dream. All the time  we were trying  to get accurate
information  at the desk he kept  staring at  the  door  that led out to the
landing field, as  if he were afraid the plane would leave without him. Then
I excused myself for a few minutes and something happened  that I didn't see
but when  I  came  back  he and  White  were standing close together.  White
talking and Schwartze looking twice as much as  if a  great  truck had  just
backed up  over him.  He didn't  stare  at the  door  to the  landing  field
anymore. I heard the end of Wylie White's remark....
     "-I told you to shut up. It serves you right."
     "I only said-"
     He broke off as I came up  and asked if there was any news. It was then
half past two in the morning.
     "A little," said Wylie White. "They don't think we'll be  able to start
for three hours anyhow, so some of the softies are going to a hotel. But I'd
like to take you out to The Hermitage, Home of Andrew Jackson."
     "How could we see it in the dark?" demanded Schwartze.
     "Hell, it'll be sunrise in two hours."
     "You two go," said Schwartze.
     "All right-you take the  bus to  the hotel. It's still  waiting-he's in
there." Wylie's voice had a taunt in it. "Maybe it'd be a good thing."
     "No, I'll go along with you," said Schwartze hastily.
     We took a  taxi in the sudden  country dark outside, and  he  seemed to
cheer up. He patted my kneecap encouragingly.
     "I should go along," he said. "I should be  chaperone. Once upon a time
when I was in the big money, I had a daughter-a beautiful daughter."
     He spoke as if she had been sold to creditors as a tangible asset.
     "You'll have  another," Wylie  assured  him. "You'll get it  all  back.
Another  turn of the wheel  and you'll be where Cecelia's papa is, won't he,
     "Where is this Hermitage?" asked  Schwartze presently. "Far away at the
end of nowhere? Will we miss the plane?"
     "Skip it," said Wylie. "We ought to've brought the stewardess along for
you. Didn't you admire the stewardess? I thought she was pretty cute."
     We drove for a long time over a bright  level countryside,  just a road
and a tree and a shack and a tree, and then suddenly along  a winding  twist
of  woodland.  I could  feel  even in the darkness  that  the  trees of  the
woodland were green-that it was  all different from the dusty olive-tint  of
California. Somewhere we passed a Negro driving three cows ahead of him, and
they mooed as he scatted them to the side  of the road. They were real cows,
with warm fresh, silky flanks and the Negro grew  gradually real  out of the
darkness with his big brown eyes staring  at  us  close to the car, as Wylie
gave  him a quarter. He  said "Thank you-thank you" and  stood there and the
cows mooed again into the night as we drove off.
     I thought of the first sheep I  ever  remember seeing-hundreds of them,
and how our car drove suddenly into them on  the back lot of the old Laemmie
studio. They were unhappy about  being in  pictures  but the men in  the car
with us kept saying:
     "Is that what you wanted, Dick?"
     "Isn't that swell?" And the man  named Dick kept standing up in the car
as if he were Cortez or Balboa, looking over that grey fleecy undulation. If
I ever knew what picture they were in I have long forgotten.
     We had driven  an hour. We  crossed  a  brook  over  an old rattly iron
bridge laid with  planks.  Now  there were roosters crowing  and  blue-green
shadows stirring every time we passed a farm house.
     "I  told you it'd  be  morning  soon,"  said  Wylie.  "I was  born near
here-the son  of  impoverished  southern paupers. The family  mansion is now
used as an outhouse. We had  four  servants-my father, my mother  and my two
sisters. I refused to join the guild, and so  I went to Memphis, to start my
career,  which  has now reached  a  dead  end."  He  put his  arm around me.
"Cecelia, will you marry me, so I can share the Brady fortune?"
     He was disarming enough so I let my head lie on his shoulder.
     "What do you do, Celia? Go to school?"
     "I go to Bennington. I'm a junior."
     "Oh, I  beg  your pardon.  I  should  have known  but  I  never had the
advantage  of college training. But a  junior-why  I read in  'Esquire' that
juniors have nothing to learn, Cecelia."
     "Why do people think that college girls-"
     "Don't apologize-knowledge is power."
     "You'd  know  from  the way  you  talk  that  we were  on  our  way  to
Hollywood," I said. "It's always years and years behind the time."
     He pretended to be shocked.
     "You mean girls in the East have no private lives?"
     "That's the  point. They have got private lives. You're  bothering  me,
let go."
     "I can't. It might wake Schwartze, and I think  this is the first sleep
he's had for weeks. Listen, Cecelia, I once had an affair with the wife of a
producer.  A  very  short  affair. When  it was  over  she said  to me in no
uncertain terms, she said: 'Don't you ever tell about this or

     I'll  have you  thrown  out  of  Hollywood. My  husband's  a much  more
important man than you.' "
     I liked him again now, and presently the taxi  turned down a long  lane
fragrant with  honeysuckle and  narcissus and stopped beside  the great grey
hulk of  the  Andrew Jackson house.  The  driver  turned around to  tell  us
something about it but  Wylie  shushed  him,  pointing at Schwartze,  and we
tiptoed out of the car.
     "You can't get into the Mansion now," the taxi man told us politely.
     Wylie and I went and sat against the wide pillars of the steps.
     "What about Mr. Schwartze?" I asked. "Who is he?"
     "To hell  with Schwartze.  He was  the head  of some combine once-First
National?  Paramount? United Artists?  Now he's down and  out.  But he'll be
back. You can't flunk out of pictures unless you're a dope or a drunk."
     "You don't like Hollywood," I suggested.
     "Yes I  do. Sure I  do.  Say! This isn't anything to talk about on  the
steps of Andrew Jackson's house-at dawn. "
     "I like Hollywood," I persisted.
     "It's all right.  It's  a  mining town in lotus land. Who  said that? I
did. It's a good place for toughies but I went there from Savannah, Georgia.
I went to  a garden party the first day. My host shook hands and left me. It
was  all  there-that  swimming pool,  green  moss at  two  dollars  an inch,
beautiful felines having drinks and fun -And nobody spoke to me. Not a soul.
I spoke to half a dozen people but they didn't answer. That continued for an
hour, two hours-then I got up from where I was  sitting and ran out at a dog
trot like a crazy man. I didn't feel I had any rightful identity until I got
back  to the hotel and the  clerk handed me a letter addressed to  me in  my
     Naturally  I hadn't  ever had  such an experience, but  looking back on
parties I'd been to,  I realized that such  things could happen. We don't go
for strangers in Hollywood unless they wear a sign saying that their axe has
been thoroughly ground elsewhere, and that in any  case  it's  not going  to
fall  on our necks-in  other  words  unless they're a  celebrity. And they'd
better look out even then.
     "You  should have  risen above it,"  I said smugly. "It's not a slam at
you when people are rude-it's a slam at the people they've met before."
     "Such a pretty girl-to say such wise things."
     There was an eager to-do in the eastern  sky, and  Wylie  could see  me
plain-thin with good features and lots of style, and the  kicking fetus of a
mind. I  wonder what I looked like in  that dawn,  five  years ago. A little
rumpled  and  pale,  I  suppose, but at  that age,  when  one has the  young
illusion that most adventures are good, I needed only a bath and a change to
go on for hours.
     Wylie  stared  at  me  with  really  flattering  appreciation-and  then
suddenly we were not alone. Mr. Schwartze  wandered  apologetically into the
pretty scene.
     "I fell upon a large metal handle," he said, touching the corner of his
     Wylie jumped up.
     "Just in time,  Mr.  Schwartze," he  said.  "The tour is just starting.
Home of Old  Hickory-America's tenth president.  The victor  of New Orleans,
opponent of the National Bank, and inventor of the Spoils System."
     Schwartze looked toward me as toward a jury.
     "There's a writer for you," he said. "Knows  everything and at the same
time he knows nothing."
     "What's that?" said Wylie, indignant.
     It was  my  first  inkling that he was  a  writer.  And  while  I  like
writers-because if you ask a writer anything you usually get an answer-still
it belittled him in my  eyes. Writers aren't people exactly. Or, if  they're
any  good, they're a whole lot  of people trying  so hard to be  one person.
It's like actors, who try so pathetically not  to look in mirrors.  Who lean
backward trying-only to see their faces in the reflecting chandeliers.
     "Ain't writers like that, Celia?" demanded  Schwartze. "I have no words
for them. I only know it's true."
     Wylie looked at him with slowly gathering indignation. "I've heard that
before," he said. "Look, Mannie, I'm a more practical man  than you any day!
I've  sat  in  an office and listened  to some mystic stalk up  and down for
hours spouting  tripe  that'd  land him on  a nut-farm anywhere  outside  of
California-and then at  the end  tell me how practical  he was,  and I was a
dreamer-and would I kindly go away and made sense out of what he'd said."
     Mr. Schwartze's  face fell into its more disintegrated  alignments. One
eye looked upward through the tall elms:  He raised his hand and bit without
interest at the cuticle  on his second finger. There was a bird flying about
the chimney of  the house  and  his  glance followed it. It  perched on  the
chimney pot like a raven and Mr. Schwartze's eyes remained  fixed upon it as
he said: "We  can't get in. And it's time  for  you two  to  go back  to the
     It was still not quite dawn. The Hermitage looked like a nice big white
box, but a  little  lonely,  and vacated still,  after a  hundred  years. We
walked back  to  the car-only after we had gotten in, and Mr. Schwartze  had
surprisingly shut the taxi door on us,  did we  realize  he didn't intend to
come along.
     "I'm not going to the Coast-I decided that when I woke up. So I'll stay
here, and afterwards the driver could  come back for me." "Going back East?"
said Wylie with surprise. "Just because-" "I have decided," said  Schwartze,
faintly  smiling. "Once I  used to be  a  regular man  of  decision-you'd be
surprised." He felt in his pocket, as the taxi driver  warmed up the engine.
"Will you give this note to Mr. Smith?"
     "Shall I come in two hours?" the  driver asked Schwartze. "Yes... sure.
I shall be glad  to entertain myself looking around." I kept thinking of him
all the way back to the airport-trying to fit him into  that early hour  and
into that  landscape. He had  come a long way  from some  ghetto  to present
himself at that raw shrine. Mannie Schwartze  and Andrew Jackson-it was hard
to say  them in the same sentence. It was  doubtful  if he knew  who  Andrew
Jackson was as he wandered around, but perhaps he figured that if people had
preserved his house Andrew Jackson  must have been someone who was large and
merciful, able to  understand. At both ends of life man needed nourishment-a
breast-a  shrine. Something to lay himself  beside when  no one  wanted  him
further, and shoot a bullet into his head.

     Of  course  we  did not know this for twenty hours. When we got to  the
airport we told the purser that Mr.  Schwartze  was not continuing, and then
forgot  about  him. The storm  had wandered  away into eastern Tennessee and
broken against the mountains, and we  were taking off  in less than an hour.
Sleepy-eyed travellers appeared from the hotel and I dozed a few  minutes on
one  of those  iron maidens they  use  for couches. Slowly  the  idea  of  a
perilous  journey  was recreated out of the debris  of our  failure:  a  new
stewardess, tall, handsome, flashing dark, exactly like the other except she
wore seersucker instead of Frenchy red-and-blue, went briskly past us with a
suitcase. Wylie sat beside me as we waited.
     "Did you give the note to Mr. Smith?" I asked, half asleep.
     "Who is Mr. Smith? I suspect he spoiled Mr. Schwartze's trip."
     "It was Schwartze's fault."
     "I'm prejudiced against steam-rollers," I said. "My father  tries to be
a steam-roller around the house, and I tell him to save it for the studio."
     I wondered if I  was being fair; words  are the palest counters at that
time in the  morning. "Still, he  steam-rollered me into Bennington and I've
always been grateful for that."
     "There would be quite a crash-" Wylie said, "-if steam-roller Brady met
steam-roller Smith. "
     "Is Mr. Smith a competitor of Father's?"
     "Not exactly.  I should say no. But if he was a competitor I know where
my money would be."
     "On Father?"
     "I'm afraid not."
     It was too early in the morning for family patriotism. The pilot was at
the  desk  with  the  purser and  he  shook  his  head  as they  regarded  a
prospective passenger who had put two nickels in the electric phonograph and
lay alcoholically  on  a bench fighting  off sleep. The  first  song  he had
chosen,  "Lost,"  thundered  through  the room,  followed,  after  a  slight
interval, by his other choice, "Gone," which was equally dogmatic and final.
The pilot shook his head emphatically and walked over to the passenger.
     "Afraid we're not going to be able to carry you this time, old man."
     The drunk sat up, awful  looking, yet discernibly attractive, and I was
sorry for him in spite of his passionately ill-chosen music.
     "Go back to  the hotel  and  get  some sleep. There'll be another plane
     "Only going up in ee air."
     "Not this time, old man."
     In  his  disappointment the  drunk  fell off  the bench-and  above  the
phonograph,  a  loudspeaker  summoned us respectable people  outside. In the
corridor  of the plane I ran into  Monroe  Stahr and  fell  all over him, or
wanted  to. There  was a  man  any  girl  would  go  for,  with  or  without
encouragement. I was emphatically without it, but he liked me  and sat  down
opposite till the plane took off.
     "Let's all ask for our money back," he suggested. His dark eyes took me
in, and  I wondered what  they would look like if he fell in love. They were
kind,  aloof  and,  though  they  often  reasoned with  you gently, somewhat
superior.  It was no fault of theirs if they saw  so much.  He darted in and
out of the  role of "one  of the  boys"  with dexterity-but on  the  whole I
should  say he wasn't one of them.  But he knew how to shut up,  how to draw
into the background, how to listen. From  where he stood (and  though he was
not  a  tall man  it always  seemed high up) he  watched  the  multitudinous
practicalities of his world  like a proud young shepherd, to  whom night and
day  had never mattered. He was born sleepless  without a talent for rest or
the desire for it.
     We  sat in  unembarrassed  silence-I  had  known  him  since  he became
Father's  partner  a  dozen  years  ago, when  I  was seven  and  Stahr  was
twenty-two.  Wylie was across  the aisle and I didn't know whether or not to
introduce them, but Stahr kept turning his ring so abstractedly that he made
me feel young and invisible, and  I didn't dare.  I never  dared  look quite
away from him or quite at him, unless I had something important to say-and I
knew he affected many other people in the same manner.
     "I'll give you this ring, Cecelia."
     "I beg your pardon. I didn't realize that I was-"
     "I've got half a dozen like it."
     He handed it to me, a gold nugget with  the letter S in  bold relief. I
had been thinking how oddly its bulk contrasted with his fingers, which were
delicate  and slender  like the rest of his body, and  like his slender face
with  the  arched eyebrows and the dark curly  hair. He looked  spiritual at
times but he was a fighter-somebody out of his past knew him when he was one
of a gang of  kids in the Bronx, and gave me a description of how he  walked
always at the head of his gang, this rather frail boy, occasionally throwing
a command backward out of the corner of his mouth.
     Stahr folded my hand over the ring, stood up and addressed Wylie.
     "Come up to the bridal suite," he said. "See you later, Cecelia."
     Before they went out of hearing I heard Wylie's question, "Did you open
Schwartze's note?" And Stahr:
     "Not yet."
     I must be slow, for only then did I realize that Stahr was Mr. Smith.
     Afterwards  Wylie  told  me  what  was in  the  note.  Written  by  the
headlights of the taxi it was almost illegible.
     Dear Monro,  You  are the  best  of them all I have always admired your
mentality  so when you turn against me I know it's no use! I must be no good
and am not going to continue the journey let me warn you once again
     look out! I know.
     Your friend MANNIE
     Stahr read it twice, and  raised his hand to the morning stubble on his
     "He's  a  nervous  wreck,"  he  said.  "There's  nothing  to  be  done,
absolutely nothing. I'm sorry I was short with him-but I don't like a man to
approach me telling me it's for my sake."
     "Maybe it was," said Wylie.
     "It's poor technique."
     "I'd  fall  for it,"  said  Wylie.  "I'm vain  as  a woman. If  anybody
pretends to be interested in me I'll ask for more. I like advice."
     Stahr  shook his head distastefully. Wylie kept on  ribbing him-he  was
one of those to whom this privilege was permitted.
     "You fall for some kinds of flattery," he said.  "This 'little Napoleon
stuff.' "
     "It makes me sick," said Stahr, "but it's not as bad as some man trying
to help you."
     "If you don't like advice why do you pay we?"
     "That's a question of merchandise," said Stahr. "I'm a merchant. I want
to buy what's in your mind."
     "You're  no merchant,"  said Wylie. "I  knew a lot of them when I was a
publicity man and I agree with Charles Francis Adams."
     "What did he say?"
     "He  knew them all-Gould, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Astor-and he said there
wasn't  one he'd care  to  meet again  in  the hereafter. Well-they  haven't
improved since then, and that's why I say you're no merchant. "
     "Adams  was probably  a  sour belly," said Stahr. "He wanted to be head
man himself but he didn't have the judgement or else the character."
     "He had brains," said Wylie rather tartly.
     "It takes more than brains. You writers  and  artists  poop out and get
all mixed up and  somebody  has  to  come in  and  straighten  you  out." He
shrugged his  shoulders.  "You seem  to take  things  so personally,  hating
people    and   worshipping    them-always    thinking    people    are   so
important-especially yourselves. You just ask  to be  kicked around.  I like
people  and I like them to like  me but I wear my heart where God put  it-on
the inside. "
     He broke off.
     "What did I say to Schwartze in the airport? Do you remember -exactly?"
     "You said 'Whatever you're after, the answer is No.' "
     Stahr was silent.
     "He was sunk," said  Wylie, "but  I laughed him  out of it. We took Pat
Brady's daughter for a ride."
     Stahr rang for the stewardess.
     "That pilot,"  he said. "Would he mind if I sat up in  front  with  him
     "That's against the rules, Mr. Smith."
     "Ask him to step in here a minute when he's free."
     Stahr sat up  front all afternoon. While we slid off the endless desert
and over the table-lands, dyed with many colors like the white sands we dyed
with  colors when  I  was a child. Then  in  the late  afternoon,  the peaks
themselves-the Mountains of the Frozen  Saw-slid under our propellers and we
were close to home.
     When I wasn't dozing I was thinking that I wanted to marry  Stahr, that
I wanted to  make him love me. Oh, the conceit! What on earth did I have  to
offer? But  I didn't  think like  that then. I had the pride of young women,
which draws its strength  from such sublime thoughts  as "I'm as good as she
is." For my purposes I was just as beautiful as  the great beauties who must
have  inevitably  thrown  themselves  at  his  head.  My  little   spurt  of
intellectual interest was of course making me fit to be a brilliant ornament
of any salon.
     I know  now  it  was  absurd. Though Stahr's  education was founded  on
nothing more than  a night-school course in  stenography, he had a long time
ago run ahead through trackless wastes of perception into  fields where very
few men  were able to follow  him. But in  my reckless conceit  I matched my
grey  eyes  against  his  brown  ones for  guile,  my  young golf-and-tennis
heart-beats against  his,  which  must  be slowing  a little after  years of
over-work. And  I planned  and I contrived and I  plotted-any woman can tell
you-but it never  came  to anything, as you will see. I still like  to think
that if he'd been  a poor boy and nearer my age I could have managed it, but
of course the real  truth was that  I had nothing  to offer that  he  didn't
have;  some  of my more  romantic ideas actually stemmed from pictures-"42nd
Street," for example, had a  great influence on me. It's  more than possible
that some of the pictures which Stahr  himself conceived had shaped me  into
what I was.
     So it was rather hopeless. Emotionally,  at least, people can't live by
taking in each other's washing.
     But at that time it was different: Father  might  help,  the stewardess
might help. She might go up in  the cockpit and say to Stahr: "If I ever saw
love it's in that girl's eyes."
     The pilot might help: "Man are you blind? Why don't you go back there?"
     Wylie White might  help-instead of standing in  the aisle looking at me
doubtfully, wondering whether I was awake or asleep.
     "Sit down," I said. "What's new, where are we?"
     "Up in the air."
     "Oh,  so  that's it. Sit down." I tried to  show  a  cheerful interest.
"What are you writing?"
     "Heaven help me, I am writing about a Boy Scout-The Boy Scout."
     "Is it Stahr's idea?"
     "I don't know-he told  me  to look  into  it. He  may have ten  writers
working  ahead  of  me  or behind me,  a system  which  he  so  thoughtfully
invented. So you're in love with him?"
     "I should say not," I said indignantly. "I've known him all my life."
     "Desperate, eh? Well, I'll arrange  it if you'll use all your influence
to advance me. I want a unit of my own."
     I closed my eyes again  and drifted off. When I woke  up the stewardess
was putting a blanket over me.
     "Almost there," she said.
     Out  the window I could see  by  the sunset that  we were in  a greener
     "I   just  heard  something  funny,"  she   volunteered.  "Up   in  the
cockpit-that Mr. Smith-or Mr. Stahr-I never remember seeing his name."
     "It's never on any pictures," I said.
     "Oh. Well, he's been  asking the pilots a lot about flying-I mean  he's
interested? You know?"
     "I know."
     "I mean one of them told me he bet he could teach Mr. Stahr solo flying
in ten minutes. He has such a fine mentality, that's what he said."
     I was getting impatient.
     "Well, what was so funny?"
     "Well,  finally  one of the  pilots asked Mr.  Smith  if  he  liked his
business and Mr. Smith said, 'Sure. Sure I like it. It's nice being the only
sound nut in a hatful of cracked ones.' "
     The stewardess doubled up with laughter-and I could have spit at her.
     "I  mean calling all those  people  a hatful  of  nuts. I  mean cracked
nuts." Her laughter  stopped  with unexpected  suddenness and  her face  was
grave as she stood up. "Well, I've got to finish my chart."
     "Good bye."
     Obviously Stahr had put the  pilots right up on the throne with him and
let them  rule with him  for  a while. Years later I  travelled with  one of
those same pilots and he told me one thing Stahr had said.
     He was looking down at the mountains.
     "Suppose  you were a railroad man," he  said. "You have to send a  tram
through there somewhere. Well, you get your surveyors' reports, and you find
there's three or four or half a  dozen gaps, and not one is better than  the
other.  You've  got  to  decide-on  what  basis? You  can't  test  the  best
way-except by doing it. So you just do it."
     The pilot thought he had missed something.
     "How do you mean?"
     "You  choose  some one way for no reason at all-because that mountain's
pink or the blueprint is a better blue. You see?"
     The pilot considered that this was very valuable advice. But he doubted
if he'd ever be in a position to apply it.
     "What I wanted to know," he told me ruefully, "is how he ever got to be
Mr. Stahr."
     I'm afraid Stahr could  never have answered that one, for the embryo is
not equipped  with a memory. But I could  answer a  little. He had  flown up
very high to see,  on strong wings when he  was  young. And while he was  up
there he  had  looked  on all the kingdoms, with the kind  of  eyes that can
stare  straight  into   the  sun.   Beating  his  wings  tenaciously-finally
frantically-and  keeping on  beating them he had stayed up there longer than
most of us, and then, remembering all he  had seen  from his great height of
how things were, he had settled gradually to earth.
     The  motors were  off  and  all  our  five  senses  began  to  readjust
themselves for landing.  I could  see  a line  of lights  for the Long Beach
Naval Station ahead and to the left,  and  on the right a twinkling blur for
Santa Monica. The California moon was out, huge and orange over the Pacific.
However I happened to feel about these things-and they were home after all-I
know that Stahr must have felt  much more. These were the things I had first
opened my eyes on, like the sheep on the back lot of the old Laemmle studio;
but this  was  where  Stahr  had  come  to  earth after  that  extraordinary
illuminating flight where he saw which way we were  going, and how we looked
doing it, and how much of it mattered. You  could say that this was where an
accidental wind blew him but I  don't think so. I would rather think that in
a "long shot" he saw a new  way  of measuring our  jerky hopes and  graceful
rogueries and awkward sorrows, and that he came here from choice to  be with
us to  the end.  Like the plane coming down  into the Glendale airport, into
the warm darkness.

     Episodes 4 and 5

     It was nine o'clock of a July night and there were still some extras in
the  drug  store  across  from the  studio-I could see  them  bent over  the
pin-games inside-as  I  parked my  car.  "Old"  Johnny Swanson stood on  the
corner in his semi-cowboy  clothes staring gloomily past the  moon. Once  he
had been as big in pictures as Tom Mix or Bill Hart-now  it was  too sad  to
speak to him and I hurried across the street and through the front gate.
     There  is never  a  time when a  studio  is absolutely  quiet. There is
always a night shift  of technicians in  the laboratories and dubbing  rooms
and people on  the maintenance staff dropping in at the commissary.  But the
sounds are all different-the padded hush of tires, the quiet tick of a motor
running  idle,  the  naked  cry  of  a  soprano  singing  into  a nightbound
microphone. Around a corner I came upon a man in rubber boots washing down a
car in a wonderful white light-a fountain among the dead industrial shadows.
I slowed  up as I saw Mr. Marcus being  hoisted into his car in front of the
Administration  Building,  because he took so long  to  say  anything,  even
goodnight-and while I waited I realized that the soprano was singing  "Come!
Come! I  love you only"  over  and  over; I remember  this because  she kept
singing  the  same line  during the earthquake.  That  didn't  come for five
minutes yet.
     Father's offices were in the old building  with  the long balconies and
iron rails with their suggestion of a perpetual tightrope. Father was on the
second floor with Stahr on one side and Mr. Marcus on the other-this evening
there  were  lights  all along  the row. My stomach dipped a  little  at the
proximity to Stahr but that was in pretty good control now-I'd seen him only
once in the month I'd been home.
     There were  a lot of strange things about Father's office but I'll make
it brief. In the outer part were  three poker-faced secretaries who  had sat
there  like  witches   ever  since  I  could  remember-Birdy  Peters,  Maude
something, and Rosemary Schmiel; I don't know whether this  was her name but
she was the Dean  of  the  trio, so to  speak,  and under her desk  was  the
kick-lock  that admitted  you to  Father's  throne room.  All three  of  the
secretaries were passionate capitalists and Birdy had invented the rule that
if typists  were seen eating together  more than once in  a single week they
were hauled up on the carpet. At that time the studio feared mob rule.
     I went on in. Nowadays all chief executives have huge drawing rooms but
my father's was the first. It was also the first to have oneway glass in the
big  French windows and I've  heard  a story  about a trap in the floor that
would drop unpleasant visitors to an oubliette below but believe it to be an
invention. There  was a big painting of Will  Rogers, hung conspicuously and
intended,  I  think,  to suggest Father's essential kinship with Hollywood's
St. Francis; there was a  signed  photograph  of  Minna  Davis, Stahr's dead
wife,  and photos  of  other studio  celebrities  and big chalk drawings  of
Mother  and me. Tonight the one-way French windows were open and a big moon,
rosy-gold with a haze around, was wedged helpless in one of them. Father and
Jaques La Borwits and  Rosemary Schmiel  were down at the end around  a  big
circular desk.
     What did Father look  like?  I couldn't describe him except for once in
New York  when I met him where I didn't expect to;  I was aware of  a bulky,
middle-aged  man who looked  a little ashamed of  himself and  I wished he'd
move  on-and  then  I saw he  was  Father. Afterward  I was  shocked  at  my
impression.  Father can be  very magnetic-he  has a tough jaw  and an  Irish
     But as for  Jaques La Borwits I shall spare you. Let me just say he was
an assistant producer which is something like a commissar, and let it go  at
that.  Where  Stahr picked up  such mental cadavers or had  them forced upon
him-or especially how he got any use out of them-has always amazed me, as it
amazed everyone fresh from the East who  slapped up against them. Jaques  La
Borwits had his points, no doubt, but  so have the sub-microscopic protozoa,
so has a dog prowling for a bitch and a bone. Jaques La-oh, my!
     From  their expressions I was sure  they had been talking  about Stahr.
Stahr had ordered something or  forbidden  something,  or  defied  Father or
junked one of La Borwits' pictures or  something  catastrophic and they were
sitting  there  in  protest  at  night  in  a  community  of  rebellion  and
helplessness.  Rosemary Schmiel sat pad  in hand  as if ready  to write down
their dejection.
     "I'm  to  drive  you home  dead or alive,"  I  told  Father. "All those
birthday presents rotting away in their packages!"
     "A birthday!" cried Jaques  in a  flurry of apology. "How old? I didn't
     "Forty-three," said Father distinctly.
     He was older than that-four years-and Jaques knew it; I saw him note it
down in his account  book to use sometime.  Out here these account books are
carried open  in  the  hand.  One  can  see the entries  being  made without
recourse to lip reading  and Rosemary Schmiel was compelled in emulation  to
make a mark on her pad. As she rubbed it out the earth quaked under us.
     We didn't get the full shock like at Long Beach where the upper stories
of  shops  were  spewed  into the  streets  and  small hotels drifted out to
sea-but for  a full  minute  our  bowels  were  one with the bowels  of  the
earth-like some nightmare attempt to attach  our  navel cords again and jerk
us back to the womb of creation.
     Mother's picture fell off the  wall revealing a small safe-Rosemary and
I  grabbed frantically for  each other  and  did  a strange screaming  waltz
across the room. Jaques fainted or at least disappeared  and Father clung to
his desk and shouted "Are you all right?" Outside the window the singer came
to  the  climax of  "I love you only," held  it a  moment and then, I swear,
started it  all  over.  Or maybe they were playing  it back  to her from the
recording machine.
     The room stood still, shimmying a little. We made our  way to the door,
suddenly  including Jaques  who  had reappeared,  and  tottered  out dizzily
through the ante-room on to the iron balcony. Almost all the lights were out
and from here and there we could hear cries and calls. Momentarily we  stood
waiting  for a  second  shock-then  as with  a common  impulse we  went into
Stahr's entry and through to his office.
     The office was big but not as big as Father's. Stahr sat on the side of
his  couch  rubbing his eyes. When the quake came he had  been asleep and he
wasn't sure yet  whether he had dreamed it. When we convinced him he thought
it was all rather funny-until the telephones began to ring. I watched him as
unobtrusively as possible. He was grey with fatigue while he listened to the
phone and Dictograph  but as the reports came in, his eyes  began to pick up
     "A  couple  of water  mains have burst," he said to  Father,  "-they're
heading into the back lot."
     "Gray's shooting in the French Village," said Father.
     "It's flooded around the Station  too  and in the Jungle and  the  City
Corner, what the hell-nobody seems to be hurt." In passing he shook my hands
gravely. "Where've you been, Cecelia?"
     "You going out there, Monroe?" Father asked.
     "When all the news is in. One of the  power lines  is off too-I've sent
for Robinson."
     He made me  sit down with him  on the couch  and  tell about  the quake
     "You look tired," I said, cute and motherly.
     "Yes," he agreed, "I've got no  place to  go in the evenings so I  just
     "I'll arrange some evenings for you."
     "I used to play poker with a gang," he said thoughtfully. "Before I was
married. But they all drank themselves to death."
     Miss Doolan, his secretary, came in with fresh bad news.
     "Robby'll take care of everything when he comes," Stahr assured Father.
He   turned   to  me.   "Now  there's  a  man-that  Robinson.   He   was   a
trouble-shooter-fixed  the  telephone  wires in  Minnesota blizzards-nothing
stumps him. He'll be here in a minute-you'll like Robby."
     He said it  as  if it  had  been his life-long  intention  to  bring us
together, and he had arranged, the whole earthquake with just that in mind.
     "Yes,  you'll  like  Robby,"  he repeated.  "When  do  you  go back  to
     "I've just come home."
     "You get the whole summer?"
     "I'm sorry," I said. "I'll go back as soon as I can."
     I  was in a mist. It hadn't failed to cross my mind that  he might have
some inten