Major French called me into his office one afternoon, apparently assuming that I would know Peter Devereaux. He looked familiar, and when he was introduced I remembered him limping around the Lowell House dining room, but he was a graduate student and I was a freshman. Now he sat in front of the Major's desk, leaning forward, talking with urgency and excitement about his project -a blond tall skeletally thin bespectacled young scholar with transparent skin and a cane, dressed in a checked wool shirt under a tweed jacket, gray flannels, and Maine hunting boots.
His inquiry had nothing to do with our legal section, but Major French was often asked to handle special problems, and Colonel Slattery had a West Pointer's wariness of academic people.
Peter Devereaux was explaining that Harvard had granted him a leave of absence for the spring semester. He was traveling about Europe, visiting the crowded war-ravaged universities, interviewing students who were interested in the United States. who might like to spend a few weeks this summer reading American books and studying with American professors.
"Which professors?" asked Major French.
I knew about Boswell Hyde, of course, even then. I had taken his course in American Intellectual History. The other two, Leffingwell and Kaufman, meant nothing to me.
"Joseph Kaufman?" asked the Major. "Is that the fellow who writes for The New Republic?"
Peter Devereaux smiled. "I'm impressed to find the army reading The New Republic. Yes, sir, it's the same man, but political writing is just a sideline. His specialty is American Literature, he's at Columbia, he's considered one of the best minds in the field. He's written the definitive study of Amrose Bierce. . . . Major French, we've sekected the best men we culd find, without any thought of political persuasion, but as it happens I think they do represent a pretty good cross section of political opinion at home today. If Kaufman is too far left for you, we've balanced him with Gordon Leffingwell. He's an active Republican. His brother's a congressman from Connecticut. If Dewey or Taft get in next year, Professor Leffingwell might get a Cabinet post. And Boswell Hyde . . . well, I guess you'd call him a New Deal Democrat, but he's the only one who has caused us any trouble so far."
"How so?"asked Major French.
"Well, as I've told you, our big problem now is to find a home, a place where we can give these courses. We'd like to have it near the center of Europe. That's why we thought of Austria. I heard about a castle in Tyrol, I went to look at it, I liked it, but the French military at Innsbruck . . ." He paused. choosing his words. "They seemed suspicious. Boswell Hyde was in the OSS, they knew that, and they asked questions. . ."
"Smelled intelligence, " said Maor French.
Peter Devereaux nodded. "Or propaganda, anyway. I told them we'd raised the money privately, that we had nothing to do with the government. They just smiled politely."
There was another pause. Then Major French turned to me. "What Mr. Devereaux wants is to rent a house this summer, a house that's big enough to hold -what, a hundred people? He's willing to truck in his own supplies from Switzerland, and he's willing to make repairs. Vienna says it's okay. Colonel Slattery has no objections if I don't - and I don't. You know any place around here that would be suitable?"
"Thought you might. Take him out
and show him around."
Our footsteps rang in the icy silence. Paola led the way, unlocking doors, guiding us from room to room - broken bedsteads, ruptured mattresses, squashed cigarette packages, empty beer bottles, torn Wehrmacht newspapers, mouse droppings.
"This we call the Venetian Room, because of the pictures and the inlaid wood and the big mirrors, but I have taken some of the pictures out. . . . This is the Chinoiserie. It was the fashion in the rococo time to have one room like this, all Chinese designs; even the stove, you see. . . ."
I couldn't take my eyes off her.
"This is the dining hall. The chandelier is gone. I don't know where it is. Those doors open to the lake, but now you see the rain comes in around the edges, the wood is rotten."
I had never been in love before. I thought about her every minute of the day and lay beside her every night. I had never thought much about love before. My relations with girls had been confined to dancing classes, movie dates, debutante parties, football weekends, awkward "jolly-ups" with Radcliffe freshmen, frantic moments in cars or on somebody's couch. Nothing had prepared me for this, the idea that I could spend every evening talking and drinking and eating with the most charming and beautiful companion in the world, and then calmly go upstairs and watch her undress and slide beneath the eiderdowns and drown myself in the plunging naked body of a grown-up woman, who would still be there, breathing softly in my arms when the alarm clock clanged rne back to life an hour before dawn. . . .
"Up there in the gallery, the musicians played at dinner. That was a long time ago. . . . This is the library, of course. . . ."
Peter Devereaux limped through the door, leaning on his cane. "My God, what a fabulous room!"
Well it was: two stories high, shelving and paneling of mahogany and rosewood, gilt-topped columns supporting a balcony with a second tier of shelves, and atop those highest shelves, close to the arched ceiling, fat terra-cotta cherubs with wings outstretched, straining to reach the crystal chandelier.
He stood there and looked up at the rows and rows of empty bookshelves.
"But why not? Do you love me or don't you?"
"Yes . . . it seems I do."
"Well then, for God's sake let me start getting the papers filed; it takes months and months to have them processed."
"It will not work, Graham."
"What do you mean it won't work? Lots of people are doing it. Pinckney's going to marry Nella Paulsen, or at least he says he is."
"Is she four years older than he is?"
"What's that got to do with it? What difference does that--"
"Will Lieutenant Pinckney's family like Fräulein Paulsen, do you think?"
"Are you comparing yourself with her? Besides, I don't have any family except my grandfather, and he'll be crazy about you."
"Yes, I'm sure. . . . You know, I remember when the first American ladies arrived here, Mrs. Slattery, Mrs. French, how they would look at us, at these dreadful Austrian women --"
"What has Mrs. Slattery got to do with my grandfather?"
"Oh, Graham, please don't talk so
Feeling her bucking beneath me, grinding her teeth and gasping in my ear, I slid my hands along her ribs and pressed my thumbs into her armpits.
"Hey!" I said suddenly.
"Oh . . . what is the matter? Don't stop!"
"Something's different here."
"Oh yes. But don't stop." She moved urgently.
'You've shaved under here."
"Yes, don't stop, Graham!"
Later, lying beside her, I explored her smooth armpits again.
"Why did you do that? I didn't say anything-"
"You did not have to, I could feel you did not like it, the hair there. Besides, it is a well-known American -what do you call it? Fetish? What is the opposite of fetish? With us, only prostitutes and maybe actresses shaved under their arms, you know, and painted their fingernails, but the very first summer the Americans came you suddenly began to see lots of girls doing it. Nice girls. Nice girls who sleep with Americans." She suddenly made a peculiar sound that could have been a laugh. "Nice girls like me."
"Paola, what ever became of your general?"
"Transferred. First to Frankfurt, then Washington."
"Do you ever hear from him?"
"No. His feelings were hurt."
"Are you going to hurt my feelings too?"
She sighed, put her arms around me, and fitted herself against my back. "At the moment you do not have very much to complain about, I think, Herr Unteroffizier. Now go to sleep, please. It is terribly late and you will not want to get up in the morning."
"Why does everybody call me an Unteroffizier? Isn't that more like sergeant? I'm just a corporal. . . ."
"Old Austrian custom, my dear. We always call people by higher titles. Headwaiters call every rich-looking man Herr Baron. Makes them feel good."
"What do they call a countess?"
"I hate to tell you what they are
calling this countess! Please don't talk so much and go to sleep now. No,
I don't want to, Graham, it's enough now. Go to sleep, I'm serious."
"Dichter Nebel über der Stadt und dem SaIzachtal" reported the newspaper.
Off the port of Haifa, British destroyers intercepted a leaking Italian freighter, crammed to the railings with Jews trying to get into Palestine. In the mountains of Macedonia, the bands of General Drivas began to mass against the Royalist government in Athens. In Washington, President Truman addressed the Congress, asking military assistance for Greece and Turkey. In London, Herbert Hoover, just returned from an inspection of UNRRA facilities in Germany and Austria, called this the worst period for Europe in twenty-five years. In Berlin and Essen and Vienna there were hunger riots. In Salzburg it rained.
The rain washed the snow from the streets and the squares, leaving potholes deep enough to crack the axles of a car. At the railroad station the first transports from behind the Urals began to arrive, trainloads of sick and wounded men, the remnants of Adolf Hitler's Russian campaigns, greeted by weeping women and solemn, frightened children, hobbling on crutches past the silent crowds, past the hand-painted signboards with photographs of young faces over Wehrmacht and SS collars: Has anybody seen our son?
At the Landestheater: Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber. At the Festspielhaus: Duel in the Sun with Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck, Joseph Cotten and Lionel Barrymore (U.S. personnel and dependents only).
Colonel Slattery was transferred to the military mission in Greece. Major French became commanding officer, Pinckney the judge of the summary court, and I the acting prosecutor.
In her living room, Paola von Fyrmian put down the newspaper she was reading and asked, "What are you looking at?"
I was looking out across the lake. Through the afternoon mist I could barely see the scaffold-covered shape of the Schloss.
"They're not working over there on Sunday, are they?"
"No, why do you ask that?
"There's smoke coming from the chimneys."
"Oh, that's all right, I told Aschauer to make some fires in the -what do you call Kachelöfen in English?"
"I don't know, we don't have them. Tile stoves, I guess. Why make fires if--"
"Because it is so damp now, it will just rot everything, the wood and the plaster and everything, and they have repaired most of the windows now, so the heat will do some good, I think, and Mr. Devereaux said it would be all right to use some of his wood for this." "What do you make of Devereaux~' "A very nice young man, very idealistic, very American. And sick." "Sick? I think he had polio, that's why he limps."
She shook her head. "No, something else. I don't know exactly, but I have the feeling he is not well." She stood up and came across the room. "I think the rain has stopped. Come along, let's walk to the Schloss. The kitchen in the basement, it has been full of water and I want to see if they have done anything about it."
We followed the path along the lake, our boots sinking into the mixture of mud and snow, and met Aschauer coming back the other way. "Grüss Gott Frau Gräfin. Grüss Gott, Herr Anders." He was wrapped in a wet green loden cape. I liked him. He did all the work around the place and avoided the servility with which most of the townspeople handled Americans. With dignity he accepted a cigarette, lighted it with the orange flame from a dangerous-looking native contraption, reported that the last of the windows had been repaired, expressed the opinion that the snow would begin before sunset, saluted casually and disappeared down the path.
"You have made a friend," said Paola. "There are no greater snobs than butlers and batmen, and Aschauer has been both."
"I should think he might disapprove."
"Yes. I was afraid of it. But he has decided you are a gentleman. I don't know how. Or why it makes any difference."
"Well, at least he doesn't call me Herr Unteroffizier."
"Aha, but if you were a lieutenant. he would call you Herr Leutnant."
"In other words he doesn't want to embarrass you by referring to my lowly rank."
"In other words, he considers you not a soldier at all but a Freiwilliger, a student, a gentleman, so he calls you Herr Anders. Very complicated, don't worry about it."
I followed her through a patch of tall dripping shrubbery, and then we were on the terrace. On the right some steps led down to the little iron water gate and the melting ice of the lake. On the left, the dark empty bulk of the Schloss rose up into the fog, its lines obscured by the wooden scaffolding which the workmen had erected.
She unlocked one of the french doors. The dark entrance hall was filled with stacks of fresh lumber, galvanized iron pipes and rain gutters, bags of cement and drums of paint.
"They really should keep a watchman here. These things from Switzerland are worth a fortune." She turned to me. "Who do you really think is paying for all this?"
"They've raised the money in America. They've collected it from interested people and from foundations--"
"Do you really believe that? Would private people be so generous, for something so vague and so far away?"
"Sure they would. This is a wonderful idea. Why wouldn't they? I even asked my grandfather to send them some money. "
Paola shrugged. "To us it sounds a little strange." She led the way through the cold cluttered hallway and up the stairs. We inspected the Venetian Room and the Chinoiserie, where the faint warmth from the tile stoves made a noticeable difference.
"You should have seen these rooms in 1945," said Paola. "They used them for emergency operations at the end, and of course nobody had time to clean them up. There were mattresses completely soaked with blood and dirty bandages and buckets of . . . ugh . . and everything smelled of ether. . . ."
I followed her across the dining hall and into the library. The shelves were still empty, but cases of books from New York and Boston stood on the tables and the floor. I looked at some of them: Henry James The Ambassadors, ten copies. Herman Melville Moby Dick, a whole box.
"What was it like, Paola? In '45, when the war ended?"
She walked over to the window niche and looked out across the lake. "What was it like? It was a wild time, a crazy time, the world turned upside down."
She stopped to think.
"You know, it was like a crazy dream, a film you've seen long ago: I mean I just remember incidents that don't have anything to do with each other, that don't have any importance, but they are what I remember. I will tell you one story. In the very last days -I think it was the day before the Americans came- I had to go into town on my bicycle, I don't remember why, and in front of the Mirabell Garten -very close to your Villa Redl, in fact- there was a man begging people for food, a Kah-Zettler, a concentration camp prisoner wearing this awful uniform, you know, like striped pajamas. He was a little man, his head was shaved, and they had been using him for weeks to . . . I don't know what you call that, when bombs fall but they do not explode? They fall into a house and bury themselves in the cellar but they don't explode? And somebody must go down there and try to take the thing out of the bomb so that it will not explode? Well, this little man, they had brought him down from Dachau to do this, I guess they kept him in the jag but somehow in all the confusion with the army moving out of town, the German troops, he was forgotten, and of course he had nothing to eat so he was begging people to give him something to eat, he was just walking around in the street, but the people saw his uniform and were afraid of him, and just as I was coming by on my bicycle an army Krad -you call that a motor bicycle? with a little sidecar came along, two soldiers in raincoats, with steel helmets and goggles, Waffen-SS, and they passed me and drove down the street and then suddenly they turned around and came back and they stopped where this little man was standing, by one of the trees in the Mirabell Garten. The soldier in the sidecar had a machine pistol. He pushed his goggles up and pointed at the man and shouted "Come here!" and the little man put his hands up in the air and came closer to the motor bicycle and then suddenly he turned around and tried to run back into the park but the soldier in the sidecar fired his machine pistol brrrrrp! br:rrrrpI like this, and the little man just flew up into the air and then fell on the ground like a sack, and the blood poured out and made a little lake on the grass."
Paola put her hands in front of her eyes.
"Then the sergeant who was driving the motor bicycle turned his head and grinned at me. He still had his goggles on. His face was black with dust and his teeth looked so white, and he shouted to me, 'Mach's gut, mein Kind, und besten Gruss an die Amis!' and then he kicked his pedal and they drove away again.
"I thought: Is this our army? Is this how our soldiers were in other countries? It was so unnecessary, so . . . what we call 'gemein.' Mean. The war was over. The little man had risked his life every day, and God had spared him . . . I had to drop my bicycle and run into the park and I was sick behind a bush. I know that these things happen in war, I know worse things happened in the camps, much worse. but I had never seen such a thing."
"There wasn't any fighting here in Salzburg. was there?" I asked her.
"No, but that was not thanks to the Germans. Their general was down in St. Gilgen. They sat down there and said over the telephone that Salzburg was to be defended to the last man. To the last man! Can you imagine such a thing? And the Americans sent an officer to Colonel Lepperdinger, the commandant here in Salzburg, and explained that they would just call for bombers -they had two hundred bombers standing by-and they would bomb the town flat, because they were not going to lose soldiers in street fighting on the last day of the war, and Colonel Lepperdinger decided to surrender the town. We had bedsheets hanging out of the windows of every house. Aschauer found an old red-white-red flag, the old Austrian flag -the Nazis would put you in prison just for having such a flag, but Aschauer still had one- and he put it on the flagpole right over there, hanging out over the lake. One of the German nurses said to me, "You Austrians change sides as quickly as the Italians," and I said, "This is my house and I never asked you to come here."
A cold breeze was rippling the western end of the lake, where the ice had melted, and blowing the mist away. The pale afternoon sun glimmered through a crack in the clouds, illuminating the top of the Untersberg.
"Still plenty of snow up there," I said.
"There will be more in the morning," she said. "Aschauer is usually right about the weather." She put her hand on my arm. "You know, sometimes when I think of all these things, all the things that have happened here, I feel so tired, so sick of everything, of Austria, of Germany, of Europe, of myself . . . I want to go away, to wipe all this away and start a fresh life-"
She nodded. "I think about it. Why can't I have the courage, to go with a young man and make a new life in a new country? I do think about it, Graham, I really do, but I cannot tell you so soon. It is too fast for me." She turned and led me away from the window. "Come along now, I have to look at the kitchen."
I followed her out of the library, through more rooms on the other side, all strewn with debris, wallpaper peeling where the rain and snow had entered, ceilings drooping and ready to fall, then down a small winding staircase into the basement, a long cold flagstone passage where the only light seeped through narrow barred windows leading up underneath the porte cochere. Paola marched ahead, turned right, and then stopped beside a brickwork arch.
"Have you a match?"
I held the flame and we peered down into the big oldfashioned kitchen. The walls were of white tile. There was a massive black iron stove, a series of sinks, a chopping block, a long wooden table. Pieces of kindling wood floated in two inches of icy water, which stank of rotting garbage.
Paola sighed. "No, they have not done anything down here. They will have to pump it out and then clean all the drains, Graham!"
I had dropped the match and kissed her.
I couldn't help it. The wave of desire hit me like a blow in the face, like nothing that had ever happened to me before. I suddenly needed her so badly that my hands shook and my breath stopped and my testicles ached.
"Graham, have you gone completely crazy?" She squirmed from my grasp and dashed down the hall but I caught her with one lunge.
"No, please, Graham, no! Not on the floor, it's too wet, it's so dirty, Graham, just a minute!" Flushed and breathing hard, she leaned against the flaky whitewashed wall, staring into my eyes, her hands on my shoulders. "You're like a little boy, you know that? Can't you even wait until we get back to the house? . . . No?" Angrily she blew the hair out of her eyes. "Well, my God, just a minute, please." Biting her lower lip, she reached down, pulled up her dress, quickly unfastened her garters and pulled down her white panties. Holding on to my shoulder with one hand she carefully stepped out of them, nevertheless smearing them with a trace of mud from one of her riding boots. "Oh! ... Herrgott nochmal" she hissed through her teeth, almost in tears now, "Just look at that!" and pushed the panties into the pocket of her coat. "You know this is how the Russians behave, don't you? All right, Tovaritch, what are you waiting for?"
"Er. . you mean like this?"
"Yes. Like this."
"You think I'm going to lie down on those muddy stones for you? " Then suddenly, inexplicably, she was helping me. "Like this? Mmmm? . . . Yes, like that. . . . Do it like that!" My cap fell off, the top of my head ground against the whitewashed wall she hung with her arms around my neck, gasping into my ear, one naked thigh pressed up against my chest, her knee cocked over my elbow, bobbing herself frantically against me, impaled . . . and then suddenly there was a peculiar noise behind me in the passage, a rustle and flutter, Paolo froze in my arms, I felt her draw breath. "My God, Graham, there is a chicken!"
"A chicken? So what" --trying to thrust again, but she forced her leg to the ground, disengaged, squirmed away and dashed down the passageway, leaving me clownishly trying to follow while stuffing myself back into my trousers. She disappeared around the corner. I heard a loud violent flutter, a frightened cackle, then Paola's shout: "Look out, it's coming back the other way!" A brown blur, a thrashing of wings, another cackle. Paola, still running, shouted, "Hold it, Graham, catch it!" but then she threw herself upon the squawking hen, grabbed its feet, and in one savage swirling circular motion slammed its head against the wall, leaving a streak of blood upon the whitewash.
"Holy Christ!" said I.
Paola's breasts were heaving; she stood still, gasping for breath and looking down at the dead bird that dangled from her right hand, still twitching and spasmodically moving its wings.
Stupidly I asked, "Whatdid you do that for?"
"Because I don't like to be hungry! You know how long it has been since we have had a chicken?"
"But don't I bring you plenty of stuff--"
"Yes yes, you do, but it is always the same army rations, and it is not enough for the Aschauers, and I don't like to be a beggar all the time, I can't expect you to feed the whole menage here. But maybe you better arrest me, Herr Unteroffizier, I have committed a very hard crime, eine schwere Störung der Gemeindeversorgung as they call it in the newspaper." She was still breathing hard. "This chicken must have come from the farm across the street., squeezed through a broken window or something, but if the Schlossbauer finds out that I have killed it . . . Well, he better not find out." The chicken had stopped twitching, but its mutilated head dripped black blood upon the flagstones.
"Let me think a moment. I could wrap it in some newspapers, but if people see me carrying a package and the farmer reports a chicken missing--"
"Why don't I walk back and get my car and drive around?"
"Well, then you would be a criminal too, wouldn't you?"
"Yes, an accessory, I guess."
"Yes. What a scandal. Der Herr Staatsanwalt der amerikanischen Militärregierung has transported a contraband chicken, murdered by Exzellenz Gräfin Fyrmian! Here, you can carry the animal upstairs, it's getting heavy." As she handed me the hard scaly claws, she looked into my eyes. "I have shocked you today, haven't l?"
"Shocked me? How do you mean?" I knew it sounded unconvincing; she only shrugged and led the way up the narrow circular stairs to the ground floor and through another set of apartments that connected with the main entrance hall, walking faster and faster, wrenching open doors, finally almost running, then hurling herself into the corner of a long wooden bench that stood against the wall, her face in her hands, weeping uncontrollably.
Still awkwardly holding the chicken, I sat down beside her.
She turned away, still crying in a paroxysm of grief and sorrow that I had never seen before. I put the chicken on the bench and tried again to get my arms around her, but she cringed away.
"What's the matter, darling? Why--"
"I don't know. I don't know." She looked up, her face contorted and streaked with tears. "What am I crying for? For my baby? For my husband? For myself, what I have become? For Austria?"
Frightened and helpless, I stood up and paced aimlessly around the hall and sat down beside her again. Gradually the spasm passed, she let me put my arm around her shoulder, and when she had reached into her pocket for a handkerchief, drawn out instead her crumpled white panties, angrily thrown them on the floor and blown her nose into the handkerchief I quickly produced, she put her face against my throat and said, "I'm sorry, my dear, I could not help it. Give me a cigarette, please."
We sat quietly smoking for a few minutes, then she took a deep breath and said, "All right. I am all right now. Go back and get your car. I will wait for you at the porte cochere with our treasure bird here. Are you going to stay for supper? There will not be time to cook the chicken--"
"No, I can't, Paola. I told them I'd be at the Villa Redl. Pinckney's gone to Munich for the weekend and they can't reach me out here if anything happens. I'll be back tomorrow night, though."
As I walked back around the lake,
the streak of sunlight disappeared behind heavy steel-gray clouds, and
the last snow of the year began to fall softly on the mountains and the
April 10, 1947Dearest Boy:
Forgive the scrawl. I've had a late night at the office and decided to stay in town.
Many happy returns of the day. Best wishes and congratulations upon your promotion. To be made a sergeant a week before one's nineteenth birthday is a pretty damn fine achievement, if you ask me. The enclosed negotiable instrument -which I hope you can cash, by the way; if not, please let me know immediately!- is just a token of my great pride. If you follow your plan of having yourself discharged in Europe this summer when your "hitch" is over, perhaps you can use the proceeds for some travel and sightseeing.
I don't mind telling you that when your mother returned to England and left me alone to take care of a little boy, I had moments of panic, but I guess it has worked out for both of us, hasn't it?
I am fascinated by the description of your work in court. What an extraordinary thing, that a kid with no training whatever should be allowed to prosecute criminal cases. I'm pleased to hear how much you like the tension and excitement of trial work. I do hope, deep inside, that you will decide upon the law, and that you will come with C&D. I tell myself that the jinx against sons does not apply to grandsons.
A sore subject. I've had a long evening with Fred Minto's boy. Do you remember him? (He called upon your mother occasionally.) He's not a boy any more, back from the war married and a colonel, and not inclined toward the hard dirty work on which a successful law practice is built. I won't bore you with the details. A month ago the partners gave me the assignment of telling him that he'd better look elsewhere. He took it well, I suspect with some relief. Now he's got two offers, and wanted my advice; teaching law at Penn, and working for a new cloak-and-dagger outfit some Wall Street friends of Secretary Forrestal's are setting up in Washington. I told him the latter sounded like going back to war. I don't know what he will do.
Dearest boy, the other subject of your well-written and honest letter is much harder for me to discuss. Of course I've known that something of this sort has been going on, if only from the heavy correspondence which Miss Bradford has been conducting on your behalf with Best's and Bonwit Teller and Wanamaker's and even S. S. Pierce in Boston. Well, what can I say to you? You've not asked my advice, and on a matter of this sort I wouldn't consider giving it -certainly not without having met the lady, but let me just implant one idea for you to turn over in your mind:
You are walking around on stilts over there.
What do I mean by that? I mean you have artificially become "bigger" than you really are, or perhaps been made bigger by circumstances would be a more accurate statement. Not yet out of your teens, you are in a position of power and influence that few men ever achieve: you can dispense food and drink to people who are close to starvation, you can have people arrested and thrown into prison, your slightest whim can have a tremendous impact on other people's lives; and all of this means that you are treated with the deference and respect not usually accorded a boy of eighteen summers. You have become accustomed to giving orders and seeing them carried out. Inevitably, therefore, you feel important and you look important to others -I mean the Austrians, of course.
But the point is, Graham, it's all unreal; you have been made to look and feel more important than you really are. Right now you are enjoying a role of power and influence that was bought with the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, and you are only there as their steward -and a very temporary one. Next October you will be just another sophomore at Harvard College, having to make your way in the world, to progress step by step to the real (as opposed to artificial) position which I am sure you will earn for yourself. But it will take years of effort; it always does. In the meantime, is the lady you ale now in love with going to adjust herself to being the wife of a sophomore, living on an allowance from his grandfather? Ask yourself that question. If you can honestly provide an affirmative answer, then it should work out. If not, you would be well advised to choose the sharp but temporary pain of separation over the long corrosive agony of a disappointing marriage.
That's all the preaching for today. I wouldn't have allowed myself so much good advice if there were anyone else to give it, but I suspect that if your friend is all you think she is, she will arrive at the same conclusion.
In any case, I'm sure that you know without being told that whatever you decide in this matter will have the complete and enthusiastic support of your loving
Fräulein Rittmeister, I want Anders to report to rne as soon as he comes in -0h, there you are, come in here, please. That'll be all now, Fräulein Rittmeister, you can shut the door.
Sir, they said you wanted-
What's this all about, Graham?
This report from Gendarmerie headquarters. Twelve border crossers apprehended on the road to Hallein, turned over to Sergeant Anders, Military Government. This was on Sunday night?
I'm sitting here waiting for an explanation.
Sir, I think this incident is closed, and it might be better if you didn't know anything about it. I did it on my own responsibility
You don't have any responsibility. You are an eighteen-year old enlisted man, Pinckney and I are responsible for everything you do, and everything you do is done in our names. I gather you've done something that could get us in trouble, and if you don't mind, I'd like to know exactly what you did before the ax falls.
Sir, they called me in the middle of the night, Lieutenant Pinckney was up in Munich, they had to have some advice-
The Gendarmerie at Hallein, and Inspector Steinbrenner.
Well, what did they want?
They found these people in the woods along the road, the road south from Salzburg to Badgastein, to the mountains. They'd come across the border from Bavaria.
This wasn't the Grenzpolizei?
No, sir, the Grenzpolizei didn't catch them, it was the Gendarmerie from Hallein, just patrolling the highway. They had come across the Untersberg, from Reichenhall.
That's impossible! They came across the Untersberg on Sunday night? In all that snow? Who the devil were they?
They were Jews, sir. From one of the camps near Munich.
Oh my God! Headed for Palestine?
Yes, sir. A very small group, seven men, two women, three little children. They were carrying the children.
I still don't understand why the police got you involved. There's a regular procedure for this sort of thing. They are supposed to take them directly to the Jewish camp--
Sir, the Austrian police will not lay a hand on Jews without American support, they just won't do it and you can't blame them. They've had so many incidents--
I know that, but it was none of our affair, they should have called the Provost Marshal, this was strictly a police matter, I just can't understand what possessed Steinbrenner to handle it this way. Well anyway, what happened? You drove down there?
Yes, sir. The police had sent for a truck and had brought them into the station at Hallein. They were practically frozen, of course.
Did you interrogate them?
Yes, sir, they were perfectly candid about it. They are determined to get down to Italy and take a ship for Palestine. They know we're not supposed to let them through, but they have had so much done to them -well, they seemed pretty tough and determined. I guess they had a rendezvous with a truck somewhere along the road, and they missed the connection.
And then the police asked you to take them to the DP camp?
They wanted me to take the responsibility, to tell these people we would put them in another camp, just like the one in Munich they'd come from.
Which you did?
Sir, once they were in the camp, they wouldn't have gotten out, they would have missed all their connections down the line.
So you did what?
I found a place for them to spend the night. . . . Major French, you would have done the same thing. They were absolutely shot, their clothes were soaked, they were carrying these little children, they were all looking at me as if their lives depended on what I felt like doing--
So you found a place big enough for a dozen people to spend the night and you didn't even have to bring them back into town, where the MPs might have noticed them. I can't imagine what you did with them, Graham.
Sir, they were gone the next morning.
Meaning their own truck finally caught up with them. But the passes are still closed, unless they double back and head for the Brenner, and they'll never get by the control there.
I think they mean to walk again, Major.
Walk across the Grossglockner Pass this time of year?
Or maybe the Radstädter Tauern.
Not without guides. In fact, they couldn't have made the Untersberg without some help.
Yes, they'll have to have guides.
Which means they've got something to pay guides with, doesn't it? You understand what I mean when I say that, Graham?
Not exactly, sir.
The Austrians know they never arrived at the camp. In fact they know where you put them up.
I never tried to conceal that, sir. They were in a police truck with a driver from police motor pool.
All right, did it ever occur to you that the police might wonder why an American soldier breaks the rules in the middle of the night and shelters some people who are supposed to be either locked up as illegal border crossers or stuck back into a DP camp? People who apparently have funds to hire mountain guides?
Oh no, sir, they don't think that. Inspector Steinbrenner wouldn't think that about me--
Look, boy, I know you wouldn't take a few dollars or a wristwatch or some jewelry, you did it out of compassion, because you felt sorry for them, but is that what the Austrians believe? It's a hard world, Graham, and you've led a sheltered life. You're a good boy and you tried to do the right thing, but remember you're in a sensitive job here. I will not have the Austrian officials, for whom we are supposed to set an example, get the idea that enlisted men in this command are in cahoots with this underground railroad which we all know is running Jews to Palestine. I don't care if it's done for money or out of sympathy--
Sir, it was the police who called me. If I was in cahoots--
I don't want to argue about it. As you say, the incident is closed.
Major French, why shouldn't they be allowed to go to Palestine? They've got to go somewhere. They can't go back to Poland and Roumania--
For God's sake, boy, that's not up to you or me! The fact is that the British have got themselves in one hell of a fix out there. During the First War they promised the same country to the Arabs and the Jews, country that they were taking from the Turks. Maybe it seemed like a safe promise at the time, but nobody knew that some crazy bastards would try to kill all the Jews in Europe and force them to swamp the Arabs--
But if the British got themselves into this, why do we have to--
Graham, can't you get it through your head? It isn't up to you or me, we're soldiers, we carry out orders we're given.
Sir, that's what all the Germans are saying up at Nürnberg right now; they didn't have any personal animosity against anybody, they were just carrying out orders, soldiers carrying out orders--
All right, that's enough now! Are you trying to tell me we're acting like the Germans?
No, sir, I just mean the principle is--
Well, I'm not going to sit here and debate the matter with you any more. This isn't the common room at Lowell House. And I'm not going to give you any more warnings, either. You are a very young kid, but you're doing highly responsible and sensitive work, you're doing it because you have the brains and the education and you understand the language and the people. You're doing an excellent job. But you start acting up like the teenager you are and, boy, you'll be back in a rifle company so fast it'll make your head swim. Is that clear?
No more private car, no more staying out all night, no more shacking up with countesses. Okay, you can go now. No, wait a minute. just one more question: What did the Countess say about her guests?
She didn't see them, sir. She lives on the other side of the pond.
But you told her about it?
Well, what did she say?
Major . . . sir, I really don't think you want--
Oh, yes I do, Graham. I most particularly want to know what she said.
Well, uh . . . what she said actually.
Come on, boy, out with it!
Sir, she said this isn't the first
time that Jews have been hidden in Schloss Fyrmian, but it is the first
time they've been hidden from American police.
The driver was going too fast. The truck careened around the corner, slamming me against the cab door on my side, and then shot out onto the straightaway, a brown dusty country road between groves of olive trees.
They were olive trees, and the sky was a deep cloudless blue. "Hey, where are we?" I screamed at the driver. "This isn't the way to the Schloss! This isn't even Austria!" and the hot wind blowing past my ear confirmed it, but he only gripped the steering wheel harder and pressed down on the accelerator, and the olive trees whizzed by while I shouted at him, and then I saw that it wasn't the Gendarm from the police motor pool, it was a stranger wearing sunglasses, a Basque beret and a leather jacket. He looked through the windshield and paid no attention to me until we came to the bridge, an old stone bridge with a yellow walled town on the other side. He had to slow down and shift gears, and the sign beside the road said "Alcala de Henares", and I shouted again, this time in German, and he turned suddenly, wrestling with the gear shift and snarled, "Sie wollten doch mitkommen, Anders!" but I knew it was a mistake, I was in the wrong life, so I grabbed the door handle and opened the door and fell backwards into the hot wind and found myself standing in the grass on the edge of the Mirabell Gardens, just across the street from the Villa Redl. Everything was dry and dusty. the hot wind was still blowing, and Paola, pumping along the street on her bicycle, called to me, "Watch out, Graham, it is the Föhn!" and then I saw that all the way down by the arches of the Mozarteum the motorcycle was making a U-turn, coming back up the Schwarzstrasse, bouncing on the cobblestones, racing toward me. Both the driver and the other man in the sidecar wore German helmets and raincoats. There wasn't a cloud in the sky but they both wore raincoats. The driver was Inspector Steinbrenner and the other man was Dr. von Mell from the St. Johann-Spital who now put on his spectacles and pointed a machine pistol at me. That made me very angry, because they are not even allowed to have guns, much less point them at us, so I reached down for my forty-five but I didn't have it; I saw that I was wearing the green and silver huntsman's costume from Der Freischfitz, and Paola was shouting, "Run!, Run!. it's the Föhn, they are allowed to shoot people when the Föhn is blowing, it is a recognized defense in court." I turned to run into the beech trees of the Mirabell Gardens, but it was too late, because I heard the machine pistol firing and watched the bullets floating toward me, and then I was dead, because everything was dark and freezing cold, I was standing in the snow, and the Jews wouldn't get out of the truck.
"Ist schon gut," the police driver kept shouting, standing beside me in the snow. "Ist kein Lager, ist Privatresidenz!" and then I tried in English: "It's all right, it's a private house," but they wouldn't get out, and one of the children was crying. Then the leader stood up, climbed over the tailgate and looked at the porte cochere of the Schloss, illuminated by the headlights of the truck. "What place is this?" He was a tiny blond man, perhaps in his thirties, with eyeglasses that were patched with friction tape and a nose that made him look faintly like a parrot. I wanted to take him inside, but the big oak doors were locked. I ran all the way around the Schloss and he ran behind me, panting and slipping in the fresh snow. We crossed the terrace to the french doors, and I carefully broke one of Devereaux's new windowpanes with a stone and reached in to open the door. We had no light and fell over the lumber and the cans of paint in the big hall, but then I lit matches and took him upstairs and showed him the rooms that were slightly warmed by the Kachelofen. "Please don't use the toiIets," I said. "The pipes are broken."
"Why are you doing this?"
"I don't know."
"Is there a telephone?"
"No. I mean it's not connected."
"Will you do one more thing for us?"
"What is it?"
The man moved in the darkness, fumbling in his clothing, and then he pressed a scrap of paper into my hand. "That is a telephone number in Salzburg. Will you call that number immediately? Whoever answers, say Boris is - what is this place?"
"-at Schloss Fyrmian.Jjust those words, and hang up. Will you do that?"
But then a bell began to ring. "That's
not a telephone," I said and ran around the room to show him that there
was no telephone in it, but he just looked at me and the bell got louder,
a clanging like a burglar alarm, but there was no burglar alarm in the
Schloss, so I opened doors and ran through the rooms looking for the bell,
because if I didn't find it then Aschauer would think that robbers were
in the Schloss and would call the MPs. I knew that. So I ran through the
dark rooms, losing my way and bumping into things, and then I realized
that the bell was getting louder because it was coming behind me, it was
chasing me in the darkness, and the only way to stop the ringing would
be to turn around and face it but I was afraid to do that, so I ran and
ran, sweating and gasping for breath with the bell directly behind me now,
directly behind my back, until I wrenched open another door and dashed
into what I recognized, too late, as the Venetian Room, where there is
no other exit and the walls are made of mirrors. So I had to turn around.
I woke up, gasping, the silent alarm clock clutched in my hand, my mind straining to recover a fragment that was already disappearing, sliding back into the thickets of the night. The morning leaked through the crack in the curtains, and refracted sunlight from the surface of the lake projected glittering dancing patterns on the calcimined ceiling.
Alcala de Henares? What was that supposed to mean? My father couldn't have gone on that raid; that would have been impossible. But what did it mean?
Paola made a soft, unintelligible sound and buried herself even deeper in the eiderdowns so that only some locks of thick black hair remained on the pillow.
I put the clock back on the bedside table. Dreams don't mean anything, I told myself firmly. Get out of bed and go to work. I began to slide out, but in doing that my toe touched the back of her thigh, high up, and that was enough. I rolled against her back and put my hand between her legs.
"Mmmmm -no." She purred like a cat, her mouth closed. "No, Graham, you will be late," but her legs parted automatically around my hand. In the darkness under the eiderdown I kissed her ear. She yawned and said, "You will not have time for breakfast," but her hips were already moving in response to my finger and a little later, as she turned around, she said, "Please don't make the bed creak, Frau Aschauer may be in the kitchen already."
Afterwards she disappeared under the covers again, while I climbed out of bed and stretched, making my joints crack. Beyond the little Turkish carpet the broad wooden planks felt cold as ice beneath my feet. I poured water from the pitcher into the china washbowl and splashed some on my face, my shoulders and under my arms, examining my white skinny body in the pier glass. Shivering, I rubbed myself hard with the towel, looking again at the top of her dresser, wondering why the sight of these inanimate objects gave me a greater feeling of intimacy to her person than her naked body in bed -her rings, a box of bobby pins, a silver barrette, a set of tortoiseshell brushes and combs; a small wooden crucifix, and the silver-framed photographs: her little girl, barefoot dressed in a tiny dirndl and apron, pushing her own baby carriage beside the lake; an old couple, her parents, wearing city clothes of the 1930s, sitting on a bench in front of their house at Bad Aussee; her wedding party lined up on the steps of the Cathedral, with all the girls in white and all the men except the priest and the father of the bride in German uniforms; and the bullet-pocked terrace of a villa in the hills of Fiesole, filled with lounging Gebirgsjäger -barearmed, sunburned, unshaved, grinning, festooned with rifles and hand grenades and belts of machine-gun ammunition -all watching Hauptmann Graf Fyrmian, also grinning, also sunburned, a white enamel edelweiss pinned to the side of his forage cap, gazing through his field glasses toward the distant dome of Santa Maria della Fiore for the benefit of the Berliner Illustrierte, three days before his death.
I tied my necktie in front of the
mirror and slipped into my Eisenhower jacket, glancing in spite of myself
at the new sergeant's stripes and wondering if there was still time to
stop at the Villa Redl for breakfast and a shave. I walked to the window
and parted the curtains, turned the handle and pushed open both sides of
the big casement window. I tasted the fresh odor of the morning -lilacs
in bloom- actually warmer than the bedroom, and heard the birds singing
in the apple blossoms. The snow was gone, the winter was over, and from
across the lake came the sound of hammering.
1961 - A Point of View
 The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Boatwright Corporation
 What are you going to do about Boatwright and what are you going to do about yourself?
 Have we learned anything this evening, Doctor?
 Producing results?
 Alexander's Feast
 How'd you like to go over to Salzburg for a month with me?
1947 - An Island
 You're not going to Berlin. You're staying here.
 All right, we're the Military Government.
 The Americans are teaching us to be democratic instead of fascistic.
 Well, this is Fasching.
 Letters after Ash Wednesday
> Say Boris is at Schloss Fyrmian.
 THE AMERICAN ACADEMY IN EUROPE - Prospectus for the First Session
 Learn to think of people as individuals.
 Parlez-moi d'amour, redites-moi des choses tendres.
 Not one thing left to show that you've ever been on earth? -"Sources of Soviet Conduct"
 A Countess, a Prussian Officer and a Ländler
 Now this part of your life is over and I'm sending you home.
 A father who's too busy to watch his son die. - The Spring of 1961
 I cannot sell Schloss Fyrmian to the Academy.
1961 - A Change of Air
 The first thing I saw was the Festung Hohensalzburg far in the distance, silhouetted against the shadowy curtain of the high mountains.
 Next day at the Academy we got to work - Graham, you know what Fleischer did?
 Im weißen Rößl am Wolfgangsee
 Brockaw writing a thesis on Austrian baroque architecture? - Boatwright Corporation and Boris Fleischer, plaintiffs
 You know there a Mr. Devereaux? Mr. Armistead Devereaux?
 I think always of Peter Devereaux.
 It sounds like an act of desperation, and it won't hold up in court.
 In those Oklahoma Hills WHERE AH WAS BOW-AHHHN!
 ... that we should meet again like this . . . I think perhaps there is a reason.
 "Is there here an American by name of Brockaw?"
 This is Boris Fleischer!
 "Does Hans work for Gehlen?" Paola shook her head. "More the other way around."
 Won't you please come home? Everybody needs you, I most of all.
 With this Waffenstillstand you have time now.
 You're going to regret this for the rest of your life!
 We Europeans would not do it. None of us. - People think you need medical attention.
 Will they trust you?
 Some things about the U.S.A. are perhaps rather important, and to us impressive.
 You're going to need a good lawyer.