And then?

By September I was back at Harvard. Peter Devereaux was my tutor. On my way home from the library I would often stop in Lowell E-12 for a nightcap, to find the room littered with correspondence and Peter still hunched over his typewriter, making appeals for money, organizing committees, recruiting a new faculty, purchasing books, negotiating with food suppliers, frantically preparing for the next summer and the second session of the Academy.

Using the little Ford convertible my grandfather gave me, I drove Peter to his appointments in Boston and New York, but otherwise I didn't want anything to do with the Academy. It hurt too much. I exchanged a few letters with Paola -polite letters, filled with facts about the weather, my studies, her problems with the apple orchard and the heating system of the Schloss. Her photograph on my bureau impressed my roommates.

I spent Christmas with my grandfather and then visited Peter's family at Cold Spring Harbor. They lived in a dark, pretentious half-timbered mansion overlooking the Sound. The wind howled through the trees. The only interesting room was the library: a leather couch, a writing table, hundreds of books -mostly popular works on history and politics, including those by Gordon Leffingwell and Boswell Hyde; framed photographs: faces in the wardroom of U.S.S. Baltimore on December 25, 1919; a small silver cup, First Place Squash Racquets Tournament, Lt. Armistead Devereaux, Pearl Harbor Officers Club, September 22, 1920; more faces: the partners of Iselin Bros. in a dining room at the Union Club on March 11, 1938; same group, same room, on March 22, 194o, but the firm is called Iselin Bros. & Devereaux. . . .

Peter's mother was a wispy little woman with a faded blond prettiness, vague blue eyes and soft Charleston accent. She spent most of her time in her bedroom, reading novels by Eudora Welty and Carson McCullers and Elizabeth Bowen. I had been in the house for several days before I realized that she was slightly drunk all the time.

We didn't see much of Mr. Devereaux. He arrived at seventhirty one evening in a black chauffeur-driven Cadillac, apparently from Floyd Bennett Field. I remember a small athletic figure, rigidly erect in an expensive double-breasted pinstripe suit, a red face with rather hard gray eyes, and a white crew cut. In the library he drank two martinis and inquired politely about my grandfather. At dinner he asked searching questions about the political and economic situation in Austria. He knew much more about it than we did. He asked whether we had read the X Article in Foreign Affairs. He asked what Gordon Leffingwell had said about it. He said he didn't care what Boswell Hyde had said about it. He had never heard of Joseph Kaufman, but made a note of the name. He said the Treasury Department was full of Communists who were trying to influence our foreign policy in Europe. After dinner he asked us to excuse him, carried his dispatch case into the library and closed the door. Next morning he was gone before we woke up.

Peter was bored and restless. He had been thin before, but now he was emaciated. His shirt collar stood away from his neck. He developed a sudden high fever, spent two days in bed, then felt better. We drove into New York for a debutante party, but Peter could not dance anyway, and the girls seemed impossibly young and vapid.

A week after we returned to Cambridge Peter was sent into Massachusetts General Hospital for X-ray treatments. I brought him his mail and sat with him during the long afternoons.

For a while he was better. He returned to Lowell House, where meetings of the growing Committee for the American Academy were held in his room. Substantial grants were received. A faculty was organized for the summer 1948 session. Two men departed for Europe, to interview prospective students. The Committee wondered whether Paola could be induced to sell the Schloss. Letters were written.

Then Peter was worse again. His skin seemed transparent. He told me that he was urinating blood. They put him back into Mass General. Armistead Devereaux called me: Was there anything they could do? I suggested that they might spend some time with him, so they flew up one morning, sat in the hospital room trying to make conversation, and flew back in the evening.

In February the Communists overthrew the Republican govemment of Czechoslovakia. In March, Jan Masaryk, the Foreign Minister, jumped or was pushed from a window of the Czernin Palace in Prague. Thousands of people were arrested. Peter received a frantic letter from Joseph Kaufman at Columbia. He had heard that Milena Hashek was in prison, apparently because of her connections with the West and her summer in Salzburg. Professor Kaufman demanded that something be done immediately, but he did not say what. "Send it to my father," said Peter, listlessly dropping the envelope on the bedspread. Two days later it came back from 60 Wall Street: "Any interest from us would seal this lady's death warrant."

The rain slanted into the red brick streets of Cambridge, melting the dirty snow. I sat in the hard seats at Sever and Emerson and the New Lecture Hall, taking notes and trying to pay attention. I tried to get other people to visit Peter but encountered averted eyes and vague excuses. The Department of History assigned me to another tutor.

One morning at six my telephone rang. It was Armistead Devereaux, calling from Washington.

"Graham, I'm going to have to ask you for a tremendous favor. We've just had a call that Peter is much worse, may not last out the day. His mother's coming up this morning, but I can't come. We've got a crisis here--" The line hummed for a moment. "I can't say too much about it, Graham, I know you'll understand--" Another pause. "The Russians are doing something funny in Berlin, apparently trying to close it off or something, we're not sure exactly what they're trying to do, but . . . well, it's possible that the balloon may be going up. I don't say that it is.... Well, at any rate I've got to go over immediately, they're holding the plane for us now, I just can't be in two places at once." The note of emotion was gone again. "Graham, I'd be endlessly grateful if you would meet my wife and help her with this. Of course we have plenty of friends in Boston, and the fellows at my office will take care of the mechanics, but you're so close to Peter now, she doesn't want to see anybody else."

Mrs. Devereaux wore a mink coat and sunglasses. For two days, in my car, at the hospital, at the Ritz, she tried to pay attention, to focus on what was happening, to react in the way people expected her to react, but she could not do it. Long silences, long pointless anecdotes about her sister in Charleston and a dog that was run over by a car, endless cigarettes. The young lawyer from 60 Wall Street and I had to take care of everything -the doctors and the hospital bills and the arrangements to have the body shipped to New York- so that I began to wonder whether she really did understand what had happened, but then, at South Station, as the Pullman porter picked up her suitcases, she suddenly asked me, "What do you think about a man who's too busy to watch his son die?"

As I drove back to Cambridge in the rain, my loneliness began to hurt like a physical pain. I tried to think about other things: the classes I had missed, a dance I might attend that evening, whether there was time for a swim before the Blockhouse closed. . . .

I parked my car in the street and began to carry Peter's things into E-12 so that the moving men could pack them for shipment. I made two trips before I noticed a letter behind the window of Peter's mailbox

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1961 - A Point of View
[1] The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Boatwright Corporation
[2] What are you going to do about Boatwright and what are you going to do about yourself?
[3] Have we learned anything this evening, Doctor?
[4] Producing results?
[5] Alexander's Feast
[6] How'd you like to go over to Salzburg for a month with me?

1947 - An Island
[7] You're not going to Berlin. You're staying here.
[8] All right, we're the Military Government.
[9] The Americans are teaching us to be democratic instead of fascistic.
[10] Well, this is Fasching.
[11] Letters after Ash Wednesday
[12] Say Boris is at Schloss Fyrmian.
[13] THE AMERICAN ACADEMY IN EUROPE - Prospectus for the First Session
[14] Learn to think of people as individuals.
[15] Parlez-moi d'amour, redites-moi des choses tendres.
[16] Not one thing left to show that you've ever been on earth? - "Sources of Soviet Conduct"
[17] A Countess, a Prussian Officer and a Ländler
[18] Now this part of your life is over and I'm sending you home.
>[19] A father who's too busy to watch his son die. - The Spring of 1961
[20] I cannot sell Schloss Fyrmian to the Academy.

1961 - A Change of Air
[21] The first thing I saw was the Festung Hohensalzburg far in the distance, silhouetted against the shadowy curtain of the high mountains.
[22] Next day at the Academy we got to work - Graham, you know what Fleischer did?
[23] Im weißen Rößl am Wolfgangsee
[24] Brockaw writing a thesis on Austrian baroque architecture? - Boatwright Corporation and Boris Fleischer, plaintiffs
[25] You know there a Mr. Devereaux? Mr. Armistead Devereaux?
[26] I think always of Peter Devereaux.
[27] It sounds like an act of desperation, and it won't hold up in court.
[28] In those Oklahoma Hills WHERE AH WAS BOW-AHHHN!
[29] ... that we should meet again like this . . . I think perhaps there is a reason.
[30] "Is there here an American by name of Brockaw?"
[31] This is Boris Fleischer!
[32] "Does Hans work for Gehlen?" Paola shook her head. "More the other way around."
[33] Won't you please come home? Everybody needs you, I most of all.
[34] With this Waffenstillstand you have time now.
[35] You're going to regret this for the rest of your life!
[36] We Europeans would not do it. None of us. - People think you need medical attention.
[37] Will they trust you?
[38] Some things about the U.S.A. are perhaps rather important, and to us impressive.
[39] You're going to need a good lawyer.

version: March 2, 2004
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Arthur R.G. Solmssen, Joachim Gruber