In the week that followed I was suddenly busy, immensely busy, forced to work much harder than I wanted to. In the first place I had to keep up with the assigned reading, but in addition I found that it was not so easy to organize both the Bierabend (which I had promised Rasmussen) and the exhibition moot court (which I had promised Freddie Minto). Onderdonk saved me with the Bierabend; he agreed to act as master of ceremonies, and he helped me to persuade the more reluctant or coy national contingents that everybody would have to do something, put on some kind of a performance. The Germans were the most difficult at first, stiff and rank- conscious with each other, reluctant to work together on anything. After considerable negotiation and cajolery I persuaded a young assessor from Hamburg -a choirmaster in his church at home- to organize his compatriots for the singing of folk songs. Geheimrat Doktor Kühlmann, of the Supreme Court of Nordrhein-Westphalen, agreed to provide the piano accompaniment.

Once we got them started, their reluctance vanished. With German thoroughness they distributed mimeographed songsheets and gathered in the entrance hall for scheduled nightly practice sessions; the Schloss began to ring with massed voices: "Es ist ein Schnitter, heisst der Tod." You could hear them in the fourth-floor dormitories.

"My God, Anders, what have you started?" Onderdonk looked up from his book. "It is bad enough to rearm the Germans, must you also encourage them to sing like that? Any moment we will hear 'Die Wacht am Rhein!"

"No, nothing this side of 1800, I've been assured." I got off my bed. "I'm going down to the library and look up something. Want to drive into town for a beer later?"

"Thank you, I better stay here and finish these cases or Justice Steinberg will be disappointed, but I must say your American Judges write too long decisions. -Look at this, twenty-six pages!. In Holland they would not have time."

Down on the second floor, laughter and girls' voices came through the closed doors of the Venetian Room, where the Italians and the Scandinavians were rehearsing their skit. Downstairs the Germans were singing "Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen." I crossed through the dark empty dining hall and entered the library. Empty too. Indirect light illuminated the books, the cherrywood columns, and the plaster cherubs who launched themselves eternally from the balcony toward the ceiling. I knew where to find the book I needed, but for a moment I just stood there, looking at this most beautiful room and wondering what happened to a boy who liked to sit in here and read Lord Bryce and Alexis de Tocqueville.

I heard a match strike. At the other end of the library, in the shadow behind the glare of a desk lamp, Dr. Pressburger was lighting a cigarette. He was reading Porter Lamason's casebook on Constitutional Law, filling sheets of yellow-lined paper with penciled notes.

"Not singing with the others, Dr. Pressburger?"

He shook his head. "I have not in my life very much singing done." The lights and shadows deepened the lines in his face, making him look even older.

"Well, I just came here to get a book" I said awkwardly, not knowing what else to say, turning away

"Mr. Anders?" It was almost a whisper.

"Yes, sir?"

His spectacles flashed, reflecting the light of the desk lamp. "Is it correct you are the son of Gustaf Anders?"

"Yes, that's correct."

"So." Pause. Cigarette smoke. No comment? "I knew your father."

I sat down across the table from him. "Did you know him well?"

He shook his head. "No, not well. But he was German, he went among the German troops . . ." He was still thinking very hard about something, trying to make up his mind.

"You mean this was in Spain?" I asked. "I've never met anybody who knew him in Spain, and I'd like so much to know. . ."

Dr. Pressburger glared at me through his heavy spectacles. "Spain? Why do you mention Spain? I said nothing about Spain!"

"You said he went among the German troops--"

"No, no, no! Not at all, you misunderstood, it is my English, it is not easy for us, you know, all day this English and these legal books. . . ." He stopped himself, compressed his lips in thought. Then he closed the book which lay before him and leaned across the table. "Anders, I did know your father, I cannot talk about him now, but I did know him as a brave and honest man -not always right in his decisions, not enough interested in political questions, perhaps in outlook too bourgeois- but very much a man to be relied upon. . . . And so I believe I can speak with his son in confidence, and ask a question so to speak in confidence."

It all came out in a rush, a whispered rush of words.

"I don't know what you mean, Dr. Pressburger."

"You are a lawyer in New York?"

"No, sir, in Philadelphia."

"Ach, in Philadelphia. But that is not so far away."

"No, not so far."

"You know perhaps a firm of lawyers in New York, it is called Iselin Brothers and Devereaux?" Hard names for a German to pronounce, but he said them slowly and carefully.

"Yes." That was all I trusted myself to say.

"You know them? They are a well-regarded firm?"

"Yes, they are."

"You know there a Mr. Devereaux? Mr. Armistead Devereaux?"


"You know Mr. Devereaux personally?"

"I used to know him, yes. I haven't seen him for years."

Dr. Pressburger pursed his lips. "This firm . . . Mr. Devereaux himself . . . is working for me on a matter of great importance. You feel that they are absolutely to be trusted?"

This was beginning to anger me. "Well, if you don't trust them, why did you employ them in the first place? Who recommended them?"

He backtracked instantly. "No, no, no, it is not that, I trust them, I trust them, they do a great deal of business work in Germany, they are highly recommended."


He made a gesture with his hands. "How can I explain? I learn you are the son of Gustaf Anders, you are a lawyer in America. I would like to hear of your opinion."

I stood up. "Yes, Dr. Pressburger. In my opinion Mr. Devereaux is entirely trustworthy, and his firm is one of the best in the country."

He leaned back in his chair, visibly relieved.

"I forgot the book I needed and fled from the library, rushing across the dining hall toward the stairs.

Prinz Eugen, der edle Ritter,

Wollt' dem Kaiser wied'rum kriegen

Stadt und Festung Bel-ge-rad!

chanted the Germans down in the hall

"Anders, this is impossible!" shouted Onderdonk as I entered the dormitory. "They cannot sing 'Prinz Eugen, der edle Ritter.'"

"They're singing it for the Austrians." I walked to the window and looked out across the lake. "It's from the Turkish wars I think. Prince Eugene of Savoy took the fortress of Belgrade. In seventeen-hundred something."

"I don't care, to us it sounds like the Hitler Jugend marching. Don't they know this is to be a Bierabend, a happy occasion? They sing nothing but songs about death and farewell and war."

"All right," I said. "I'll speak to them tomorrow."

Onderdonk got off his bed and came over to the window.

"Graham, is something wrong?"

"No . . . no, nothing's wrong. The stars are covered over. I think it's going to rain tomorrow."

"I think we shall go to have a beer after all, I have almost finished my cases."

"No . . . I guess not, thanks anyway. I suddenly feel tired, I think I'll just hit the sack."

I took off my clothes and turned off my lamp and got into bed, but I did not fall asleep for a long time. People snored in the darkness. Outside, the rain began to fall.

previous chapter, next chapter



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: September 1, 2004
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Arthur R.G. Solmssen, Joachim Gruber