At four o'clock the cars and taxis began to arrive, and by five the reception was in full swing. There was no receiving line, but the Rasmussens and their staff held positions in the entrance hall, greeting the guests as they came in, seeing that they were immediately served tea or coffee or wine at one of the buffets, and then skillfully moving them out to the terrace to be introduced. The sun was shining and the air was still. The Director of the Festival arrived, and a famous conductor with a cloud of white hair, and a gigantic red-haired soprano with a tiny husband who carried her Chihuahua. The Oberbürgermeister arrived with his wife. The Landeshauptmann arrived with his wife. A bank president, Herr Doktor Friederich Redl, and the director of the hospital and the chief judge of the provincial supreme court, and their wives. The Salzburg ladies wore hats and gloves and flower-print dresses. The musicians wore sunglasses. People stood around in groups, clattering teacups, talking and smoking and drinking, crowding the terrace, moving down into the garden, filtering through the boxwood maze and across the velvet lawns.

"Come on, you two, no shoptalk," said Mrs. Bergstrasser. "I want you to come over and meet La Stupenda and her husband. Isn't she terrific?"

Mrs. Lamason and Mrs. Bergstrasser had metamorphosed from guests into skillful hostesses. They were making an instinctive faculty-tea effort, circulating, introducing themselves, introducing other people, smoothly breaking up the clumps of lawyers and musicians and government officials.

"We'll be over in a minute, Jane," Freddie assured her. "Graham's all in a lather about something.>'

She went away and Freddie continued to ponder what I had told him. Then he looked up with a puckish smile.

"Maybe they're queer. Did you think of that?"

"For Christ's sake, Freddiel"

"Well, maybe they are. Did Brockaw ever get married?"

"Look, I'm serious about this thing, can't you see that? I don't consider this a joke. I think we should do something, say something to Rasmussen--"

Freddie was looking over my shoulder impatiently, scanning the crowd. "What would you say?"

"I'd say Pressburger isn't who he says he is. I'd say this Pressburger's got something to do with Walter Ulbricht, with the East German government, I'd say Brockaw isn't what he says he is, I'd say--"

Freddie's eyes stopped roving and locked hard into mine. "Have you got one shred of evidence?"

"The Swedes say-"

"And you're constructing a spy story on that? Graham, don't make a goddamned fool of yourself! And don't make me sorry I brought you." He pushed past me and lumbered toward the group around the red-haired soprano.

The Archbishop's Chancellor arrived, with another priest. Boris Fleischer arrived, and was taken over to meet justice Steinberg.

The entrance hall seemed dark and cool as I came in from the terrace.

"Graham, there is Scotch and gin up in the Venetian Room," said Nora Rasmussen. "We're not pushing it, but if you want a real drink go on up and help yourself."

I did. I went up to the second floor and found the little table Aschauer had set up, ice and glasses and a few bottles. I poured three fingers of Scotch and sat down on the windowsill and drank it. I wanted to be alone. I felt lousy and did not know what to do. I looked about the beautiful room in which we heard lectures every morning -the inlaid wood and the mirrors and the commedia dell' arte paintings of harlequins and girls with domino masks- and I thought about Peter Devereaux and the first time I had taken him in here. I walked through the empty dining hall, and around the empty library and then back to the Venetian Room, where I put more Scotch into my glass and drank it. Then I went downstairs again to find Rasmussen just inside the front door, mopping his brow.

"Seem to be having a lull," he said, stepping outside into the porte cochere. "Mr. Fleischer just arrived and asked for you. Nora took him over to meet Justice Steinberg. Say listen, Graham, I had no idea that you and he were mortal enemies. Freddie Minto told me--"

"I wouldn't say we were mortal enemies. Look, do you mind if I ask you something? Exactly how do you go about picking the students for these sessions?"

"Oh, lots of ways." He paused to scratch the side of his face. "Some of 'em write letters, they've heard about us from other people who've been here, or sometimes a former student will recommend a friend, or a professor will write us about a student of his . . ."

"Well, take for example Dr. Pressburger, can you tell me how he was selected?"

I watched him carefully but there was no indication of surprise. He just drew a genuine blank. "Pressburger?"

"One of the Germans, the professor from Kiel, the quiet little guy with the linen jacket who sits in the library."

"Oh yeah," he said vaguely. He wanted to go up and get a drink. "You know, this place is getting so big, a new bunch every month, I honestly don't remember, but I have the feeling that Logan Brockaw dug him up -Oh good, here comes our landlady, finally."

I turned to follow his look. A dusty black Mercedes coupe was crunching up the driveway, and then everything went into slow motion. From the corner of the Schloss, Aschauer ran toward the car. He must have been standing there waiting for it. He ran. My heart stopped. A man pushing seventy, running with little shuffling steps. He grabbed the door handle while the car was still moving. Oh, you sentimental old bastard! He opened the door and she stepped out, fourteen years later, white dress, white gloves, one hand adjusting a big yellow straw hat, Aschauer talking earnestly, motioning with his head, she turning to look -The blood drained from her face, the smile was gone, she took a deep breath, bit her lip hard and marched toward us, smiling again. But differently.

Rasmussen was in front of me now, and Schaumburg had stepped out of the car, very tall, not fat but massive in a blue suit, thinning brown hair combed straight back from his high, bald forehead. He hadn't heard Aschauer's warning and didn't recognize me at first.

"Mrs. von Schaumburg, I'm delighted you could make it," Rasmussen was saying, shaking hands, noticing her looking over his shoulder. "Oh. . . I'd like you to meet--"

"Oh yes, we are old friends. Hallo, Graham."

"Hello, Paola. It's nice to see you again."

She shook hands firmly, like a queen, but her eyes were glistening.

Schaumburg remembered now. We also shook hands. A slight pause. Rasmussen didn't notice anything. "Well, did you have a good trip? When did you get into town?"

She did everything just right. She took my arm and walked into the Schloss with me. "How are you, Graham?"

My throat was parched. "I'm very well, thank you."

"Are you here with your family?"

"No, I'm here alone."

Nora Rasmussen came toward us, walking quickly, pushing back a damp blond curl. "Mrs. von Schaumburg, how lovely to see you! And you brought your husband this time, I thought he never stopped working . . ." More chatter, more shaking of hands. I stood there like an idiot and looked at her. She was heavier and had lines around her eyes, but otherwise she looked the same to me. Her hair was shorter.

We were all walking out to the terrace. "Bleib' doch mal ruhig bei ihm," said Schaumburg quietly.

"No, no," she said. She had put on sunglasses. "Graham, we go now and say 'Hallo' to all the people and then we come and talk to you. All right?"

I went back up to the Venetian Room, filled a glass with ice and Scotch, drank it noticing my hand was shaking, filled another one and brought it down. I walked out the front door and stood in the porte cochere, alone. Laughter from the parking field, where a group of chauffeurs and taxi drivers sat in the grass, smoking and gossiping. Voices filled the entrance hall behind me: people were beginning to leave. I walked into the park and circled behind the tennis court, emerging from the shrubbery near the outer edges of the party.

"Are you drinking all alone in the bushes?" called Onderdonk as I came across the lawn to join their group: Astrid, Rosanna, Harald von Liss. They introduced me to another pretty girl who was a violinist with the Vienna State Opera.

"Graham, do you feel sick?" asked Astrid quietly as the others continued their conversation.

"No, I feel all right. Why?"

"You look a little strange, I think--"

"Gray-ham, you will have dinner with us?" asked Rosanna. "After the party we all walk up to the Festung--"

"Well, thanks, I'd like to, but Boris Fleischer said something about opera tickets--"

"Oh, you hear Don Giovanni tonight?" asked the Austrian girl. "It is a splendid performance, we have been practicing for weeks--"

"Do you play here and in Vienna?" I asked.

"Oh yes, in the summer we are closed in Vienna and most of us play here."

Onderdonk leaned back behind the girls. "I say, Anders, did you see who arrived a few minutes ago?"

"Yes, thanks, I was part of the welcoming committee. Excuse me, I think Mr. Fleischer looks a little lost over there."

"Are you having a good time, Mr. Fleischer?"

"Well . . . I'm not so good at parties, you know, but maybe you should call me Boris, that's a nice American custom, I think."

"Okay--Boris. Oh here comes somebody I'd like you to meet."

"Freddie, this is Mr. Boris Fleischer, International Pipe, you know, Professor Minto from Penn."

"How do you do, sir?" Freddie was glacially cordial. "We've certainly heard a lot about you."

"Nothing good, I am sure," said Fleischer with a wolfish grin.

"Ha ha," said Freddie and then, looking down into my glass, "I see you've found the real stuff."

"It's up in the Venetian Room. Nora said we could--"

"I've just been introduced to the lady who owns this place," said Freddie. "Is she by any chance-!"

"Yes, she is. Boris, you said something about the opera tonight . . ." I was looking over the shoulders, looking for the yellow hat, really feeling the Scotch now, feeling the afternoon turning yellow, as seen through a lens filter. . . .

"Don Giovanni," Fleischer was saying. "My Portier had three tickets, would only sell them as a block-"

Freddie was looking at me. So it's Boris now, is it? Sometimes I can read people's minds. Especially if I've been drinking a lot. The glass in my hand was empty. I saw the yellow hat. Shaking hands, detaching herself from a group among the boxwoods, walking up the steps to the terrace alone, turning around to look out over the garden, masked by her sunglasses, then disappearing into the Schloss.

"Excuse me," I said.

The entrance hall was crowded and noisy. People were leaving, shaking hands with the Rasmussens. Cars drove into the porte cochere. Doors slammed. The Chihuahua began to bark. Aschauer came down the stairs with a tray of empty glasses. We looked at each other.

"Frau Staatssekretär befindet sich in der Chinoiserie."

I went up the stairs two at a time and stopped at the door of the Venetian Room. Professors Bergstrasser and Lamason were carefully constructing martinis for themselves.

"Come on in, Graham," called Porter Lamason cheerfully as he held his glass to the light, measuring in a drop of vermouth. "The tea party'a over and the serious drinking's about to begin. Where's Freddie?"

There was a ringing in my ears. I looked longingly at the squat square bottle of Scotch. They looked at me. I poured about a shot into my glass, knocked it back, put the glass down on the tray and walked out.

"What's the matter with him?" asked Bergstrasser.

"I don't know, but he seems to have a considerable headstart on us. Pass the gin, please!"

Her hat was on the long table, but at first I didn't see her. Then she came in from the veranda, a glass in her hand. We looked at each other across the room.

"Aschauer brought me some whiskey," she said.

I leaned back against the door. "Frau Staatssekretär."

"So, you remember me, Herr Unteroffizier?"


"Yes. Well, I remember you too. You see that, don't you?"

I came around the table and stood beside her. I didn't know what I should do. Should I put my arms around her? I wanted to, but deep inside I wasn't drunk enough, deep inside I knew that on the outside I was drunk now and I didn't want to risk anything. So I stood there.

"You have not become fat," she said.

"Neither have you."

"Yes, I have. A little. Do you still drink so much?"


"Then you should be fat. Do you do sports?"

"Paola, I've got to see you, I've got to be alone--"

"Yes, I know, I have thought about it since the first moment . . . Now listen to me: Hans is only here for a few days, to see somebody on business, but next week I take him up to Munich, he must go to Berlin, they are sending down a plane for him. and then I will come back."

"Back here?"

"Yes, I must do some business with the lawyers, some business about my houses, but I don't want to see you in Salzburg, there are so many people here, so many eyes. . . . Do you understand what I mean? 'There she is again, Paola Fyrmian, with another American.' . . . Do you know Innsbruck? No, you don't know it, the French were there, but you have a car, don't you? You just go up the Autobahn as far as the Inn bridge, cross the border again at Kufstein, and then just follow the Inn back into the mountains. I meet you there -let me see- on Friday afternoon, all right? Oh look, they are bringing our car around, I have to go now. . . Jesusmaria where shall I meet you?" (Talking faster now, looking into the mirror, putting on her hat, our eyes meeting in the mirror.) "Innsbruck, I don't really know it either . . . it will be full of tourists now . . . I meet you in the Hofkirche, the Tomb of the Kaiser Maximilian, can you remember that? You can ask anybody, it is the most famous place in the town, anybody will tell you. . . ." (Turning around to face me, her hand on the doorknob). "Graham, you will be there, won't you? One o'clock on Friday afternoon."

As I came out of the dining hall into the second-floor landing, Liss and Onderdonk were just going by, on their way to the fourth-floor dormitories.

"Hey wait a moment, Anders." Onderdonk came down again. "I say, old boy, do you feel quite well?"

"Sure, feel fine." Inside I was sober, but I knew that I looked glassy-eyed. My face felt like leather.

"Come upstairs and lie down for a moment," said Onderdonk. "Then we meet the girls and have a nice walk up to the Festung for dinner."

"No. Said I'd go with Fleischer. Where's Fleischer?"

"I saw him somewhere with Professor Minto. I think they were going into the Venetian Room. Did you speak with Schaumburg?"

"Spoke with his wife."

"Ah yes. Of course." Pause. "I spoke with him. You may be interested." He paused again, looked over his shoulder. We were alone on the landing. "We spoke only of ordinary things, how lovely the Schloss, how strange to have Sergeant Anders turn up again, et cetera, then he asks me, 'Is there here an American by name of Brockaw? I wanted to talk to him but now I don't see him."---Onderdonk clapped me on the shoulder. "Enjoy the opera, old boy."

"Oh, here he is," said Freddie as I walked into the Venetian Room. He and Boris Fleischer were fixing their own drinks at the table. They were alone; apparently Lamason and Bergstrasser had returned to the garden.

"What's the matter with you?" asked Freddie.

I didn't know. I had never felt this way before. I was a balloon, full of pain, about to burst, to blow up.

"He came here looking for Brockaw," I said.

Blank stares. "Who did?" growled Freddie.

"Schaumburg," I said. "They threw me out of here for being a spy. They said I was a spy!" I knew that everything was sliding away and I thought that another drink would steady me, but when I tried to pour it my hand shook so hard that I splashed whiskey all over the table,

"Easy does it," said Freddie very softly, watching.

"And the son of a bitch was too busy to see his son die, but now he's pissing on his grave," I said, biting my teeth together, watching my stupid quivering hand pouring whiskey all over the tablecloth, but I couldn't help it and I lifted the good firm square bottle of Ballantine's Scotch back of my head and I threw it as hard as I could all the way across the room, directly at the biggest of the gilt mirrors and it was as if a film is stopped: the bottle hangs in space; the parrot Fleischer stares through his spectacles; Freddie Minto's face is blue, the face of a furious baby, eyes squinting slits, knuckles white around the back of a folding chair; Aschauer with a tray, frozen in the doorway; and then I wanted to reverse the film, to be cool and detached as always, to reverse the film, suck it back into the can -but they won't ever let you do that- and so the projector started again, the bottle finally reached the mirror, the mirror exploded into a rainbow shower of glass, Aschauer shouted, "Achtung, Herr Doktor!" and in the corner of my eye Freddie Minto swung the chair over his head.

My hair and my face and my shirt and my jacket were soaking wet and I was looking at the paintings on the ceiling. Silver clouds filled with angels blowing trumpets.

"See, he's awake already," Freddie was explaining. "No harm done. Sound as a dollar. Had the same thing happen once at Indiantown Gap. Fella got drunk, went after another fella with a forty-five. Had to pop him one. How do you feel, hotshot?"

I sat up on the floor. Couldn't think of anything to say. My head hurt, but not as much as it should have. The empty water pitcher stood on the table. The door to the hall was bolted. Behind me, Aschauer was sweeping up the glass.

Boris Fleischer bent over and peered at me through his spectacles. "Are you really all right? Shall we not take you to a doctor?"

I shook my head, then winced with the pain. "I'll be all right. I don't know what happened to me."

"Temper tantrum," said Freddie. "Forget all that horseshit. Go on up and change your clothes, and step on it or we'll be late for the opera."

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