The Schloss was empty.

I sat at the wrought-iron table on the terrace, consuming the rolls and coffe Aschauer brought out for me. The park and the lake drowsed in blazing sunshine. On the opposite shore, a motorcycle snarled past a lumbering sightseeing bus. Overhead, a yellow sailplane floated in silent circles, banking to the right, banking to the left, then rising again on an updraft and soaring away, across the flatlands, toward the Untersberg and the waves of massive blue mountains that rolled away to the south.

Everybody had gone to Vienna for the long weekend. This was the midpoint of the session; no Saturday classes had been scheduled so that there would be enough time for an expedition to the capital. Following the Salzach down from the mountains at night had been harder than I expected. The road was well marked and I did not lose my way, but it was a long difficult haul, sharp grades and hairpin turns, constant gear shifting, and an aching inside, a feeling that maybe I didn't have a soul of bronze after all. When I finally reached the southern end of the lake I saw that all the lights in the Schloss were out. After I parked the car I had to walk around to tap on Aschauer's window; when he let me in he explained why the place was silent. Upstairs in the empty dormitory, a note was pinned to my pillow: "Anders! Come join us on the Blue Danube. Liss and I are at Sacher. Hope to see you. E.O" and underneath was scrawled "Sacher too expensive! Kaiserhof, Frankenberggasse 10. Rosanna & Astrid." I couldn't think about Vienna. I put the note on the floor and fell into bed and slept for twelve hours.

I poured another cup of coffee and reread Caroline's letter. A frog croaked and plunked from a lily pad into the water. Inside the Schloss a door opened, and a moment later Rasmussen came out on the terrace. "Having breakfast in solitary splendor, I see."

I started to get up. "I'm afraid that Aschauer rather spoils me--"

"No no, Graham, relax!" Rasmussen pushed me down again and eased himself into the other chair. He wore khaki trousers and a blue polo shirt, and he was beaming. "As far as I'm concerned you can have your breakfast served in bed every morning. You're the hero of the hour."

"I am?"

"Didn't Mr. Fleischer tell you?"

"No. Tell me what?"

"Well, he came out yesterday afternoon and sat down with Nora and me and made a little speech about how impressed he was with the work of the Academy, how you had told him about its history and aims and so forth, and how he would like to help us with a contribution. Whereupon he wrote out a cheek." He waited, watching me. "What do you think he gave us?"

"I can't imagine."

"One hundred and twenty-five thousand clams. And he implied that he would try to make a similar gift next year. Isn't that terrific?"


"And with no strings attached. No scholarships to be administered by friends, no plaques anywhere, we can use it as we see fit, of course we were hoping that he would make a contribution, but this . . ." Suddenly the jubilant shining face darkened. "Say, you think he's good for it, don't you?"


"Well, of course he is, I don't know why I asked that, we usually have to work so hard, to put on terrific presentations for foundation people, at least the first time, we've never really had a windfall like this . . . is. Oh, by the way, he was disappointed that you weren't here when he came, he's got to leave an wanted to see you again--"

"He's leaving?" I was instantly suspicious again. " Did he say when he was leaving?"

Rasmussen shook his head. "Today or tomorrow, I gathered. But he asked me to tell you to get in touch with him. If he's not at the Bristol, the concierge will know where he is.

"Well," I said, standing up, "I guess I'd better go look for him. That's one hell of a generous gift."

"How is it that you didn't join the migration to Vienna?" asked Rasmussen, following me into the cool darkness of the entrance hall.

"I'm delinquent in my work," I said. "I promised to write the script for our moot court next week, and I haven't done it. I seem to be suffering from constipation of the creative organs."

"Well, get it done," said Rasmussen. "We've planned the whole entertainment around it."

"What entertainment?"

"Oh, didn't Freddie tell you? We're having another group of VIPs that night. Very V, in fact. Boswell Hyde and other people from Washington. Somebody from the New York Times. You know Boswell, don't you? Freddie said--"

Could Boswell Hyde be mixed up in this too? I thought about that speech he gave at breakfast, that very first breakfast . . .  If Boswell Hyde is in this, then it goes all the way up. To the White House. But he isn't mixed up in it. He can't be. Times have changed and men have changed, but not that much. I looked into Rasmussen's chubby blond ingenious face. Well at any rate he's not mixed up in it.

"Yes, I know Professor Hyde," I said. "I guess I'd better buckle down and produce a script so we can rehearse the cast on Monday,"

"Is there any way that I could help?" asked Rasmussen, as he came to the front door with me.

"No thanks. It's really a one-man job, and I've got the rest of this weekend. As soon as I talk to Boris Fleischer I'll come back and really buckle down. Scout's honor." I closed the door and walked down the driveway to get my car.

"You don't think I am Santa Claus, eh?" Boris Fleischer put down his coffee cup, took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes with his fingers.

"I'm deeply impressed," I said.

He squinted at me, then down at the glasses. He began to polish them with his handkerchie£ "But my motives you question. don't you? It's deductible, you know."

I had found him amid the pastries and newspapers and blond wood of the Cafe Bazar, drinking coffee and reading his mail. The marble tabletop was covered with company reports and prospectuses.

"Perhaps I was impressed by Jedermann," he said, putting the glasses back on his nose. "Perhaps I need some Good Works for the walk to the grave."

"I didn't come down here to irritate you," I said. "I think you did a generous thing, and I want to thank you for it. I heard you were leaving, and I've got to leave too--"

"What do you mean?" he interrupted. "The session is not over, you must stay until it's over."

"Well, I can't, Boris. They need me back home, and mostly because of what you're doing to us, so--"

"You want to talk about business?" His features hardened, the spectacles flashed; he looked parroty again. A waitress appeared. I ordered a Gespritzte -white wine and soda water. Fleischer gazed out of the window. All around us people chattered and read newspapers.

"I make you a proposition," said Fleischer. "You know the German expression 'Waffenstillstand'? How do you say that in English?"

"I don't know -armistice?"

"Yes, armistice. Not peace, just a temporary stop in fighting. I will make an armistice with you. If you will stay here until your session is finished, I will stay here too. I like it here. I am alone, I can think. Last night I saw Cosi fan tutte with Schwarzkopf and Hilde Gueden. Fantastic. I have not had a vacation in ten years. Shall we do it, a Waffenstillstand?" He peered across the table at me.

"I don't see what difference it makes if you stay here, Boris. Your suit is blocking the Warfield closing, the Warfields want out--"

"No," said Fleischer. "They don't."

"What do you mean by that?"

A mirthless smile. "Your friends the Warfields are not so friendly as you think. You know a man by the name of  Despard, a broker, somehow related to the Warfields? Yes, you know him? He has approached my people. How much will I pay for the Boatwright stock to be received by the Warfields, six months or a year after they get their hands on it? That surprises you, eh?"

I didn't know what to say. Thinking of Despard's face when I asked him about Dolly.

"Oh, it's true, it's true. I have the letter back at my hotel, I will show it to you. But I don't think I will do it. My lawyers say it raises problems, I would have to give investment representations and so forth. The stock would be restricted. But if the Warfields say they want out . . . well, my friend, my advice would be to say good-bye and thank you very much. Of course that will end my lawsuit, we can both stay here, and perhaps we can talk later about another situation, another acquisition for Boatwright, but a good one, you know, a strong company that will help Boatwright not this nonsense with Warfield."

I drank my wine-and-soda, wishing now that I had ordered something stronger.

"I will not buy more Boatwright shares on the market, I will not make a tender offer - while our Waffenstillstand lasts. All right?"

"Boris, I haven't got any authority to make such a deal with you. I'm not even a director of the company."

He waved his hand. "Doesn't matter. You stay here, I stay here. Tomorrow I will give you the letter, it's from Shoemaker and Levy, Gerry O'Bannion, you know him, don't you? He tells about a conversation with this fellow Despard. Then you tell your partners about it. And then we see what happens. All right?" He held his hand across the table, and looked me in the eye. I knew I could not hesitate -not for the fraction of a second- or the moment would be gone. And maybe Boatwright too. I reached over. We shook hands. I thought: Perhaps I've earned my keep again. Boyle couldn't have done this.

"All right," he said, standing up, gathering his papers into his leather dispatch case. "Now I must go back and make some telephone calls. They do Figaro at the Festspielhaus tonight. Are you free to join me?"

"Thank you, Boris, but I can't. I've just got to finish something I promised Freddie Minto--"

"How is Professor Minto?"

"All right."

Fleischer snapped the locks on his dispatch case, but he did not leave. He stood there and looked down at me.

"He is still angry with you?"

I nodded.

The headwaiter came over with his fat leather wallet, writing out a check.

"Won't you even let me buy you a cup of coffee?" I said.

"All right, you pay for my coffee. You are still worried about that other thing? That business that made you so angry the other night?"

"Yes, I'm worried about it, but there's nothing I can do about it."

"I went upstairs to the Venetian Room," said Fleischer. "The mirror--"

"Yes, they fixed it right away."

"Why do you think you cannot do anything?"

"What could I do?"

"I have no idea. But maybe you think of something. You have time now."

"Yes," I said. "And that's your doing. Why did you tell me about the Warfields, Boris?"

"You think about it for a little while. Perhaps it will come to you. Are you going to the Schloss now?"

"I don't know. I think I'll stay here a while."

"And drink?"

I nodded.

"You drink too much, you know."

"It helps me think. I've got a lot to think about."

He snorted, amused. "You drink to think! All right, my friend, I leave you now, to think. And drink. Will you come to the Bristol tomorrow morning? You better have O'Bannion's letter in your hand before you call Mr. Boyle."

Whiskey is expensive in Austria, and all they have is Scotch. I wasn't in the mood for more wine, either. Nor for Cognac. So I ordered schnapps, very much like vodka, and a glass of beer, which together produced a boilermaker effect. The afternoon became evening. People went home to dinner or the opera or the movies. The Cafe was nearly empty. The waitresses sat at a corner table, gossiping and eating cake, resting their feet. I tried to read the London Daily Telegraph attached to a stick, but I could not seem to understand anything. I drank another glass of schnapps and another beer and looked out of the windows at the lilac evening, the houses on the other side of the river and the towers of the churches and the cliffs of the Mönchsberg, and the fortress. When I ordered my third round, the fat little waitress asked politely if I would like a plate of ham and eggs, so I had that too, very good, served in a little copper pan. Then I paid the bill and walked out into the street, dark now, traffic, headlights, my ears buzzing just a little, and over to the right, beyond the crossroads they call the Platzl, beyond the Staatsbrücke, was a brightly lighted movie theatre: FIESTA . . . AVA GARDNER . . . ERNEST HEMINGWAY. Fiesta? Hemingway? A closer look. The Sun Also Rises. Spain. Gustaf Anders. Pressburger. The Death of Andres Nin. I turned the other way, just walking with no particular goal. Österreichischer Hof, Makartplatz, the main gateway into the Mirabell Gardens.

A few people sat on the benches, but the broad graveled walks were empty. Yew and boxwood hedges. Huge ghostly statues, armored gods and naked goddesses. Fountains splashing in the darkness. The air was warm and heavy, smelling of flowers. As I came to Schloss Mirabell I saw that the inside court was illuminated. There was a concert upstairs, in the Marmorsaal. I followed the crowd up the marble staircase: students, older tourists, Japanese, people who could not afford the official Festival performances. Attendants in crimson tailcoats crowded more and more folding chairs into the hall. When it was jammed full they closed the huge doors and turned off the chandelier. Darkness. A lady lighted the candelabra, three musicians came out and sat down at their places-flute, oboe, harpsichord. The flutist jerked his head, they swept into a Vivaldi concerto, and I was back in '47, sitting beside Paola in this room, sick inside and wondering what would happen to me. And all the time she was wondering what would happen to her. How could French have known if I didn't?

Applause. Pause. Then Bach, Sonata in E, just the flute and the harpsichord. Allegro moderato. I let the music wash through me, trying not to think about anything at all, trying to forget about Armistead Devereaux and Ellsworth Boyle and Boris Fleischer and Theo Pressburger and Freddie and Paola and Caroline, and for a moment I succeeded. Siciliano. I closed my eyes, feeling the flute sing, caressing my nerves. Perhaps it was the alcohol or the music, or both; I felt better. Something crumbled. A wall inside. I was open, naked, vulnerable. Open and hollow, waiting, but nothing came. Allegro. Suddenly, the music was monotonous, a mathematical exercise. I couldn't sit still. The room was too full. I had to get out. When the piece was over I pushed my way through the antechamber, people talking and lighting cigarettes. I ran down the stairs and walked into the night.

This time I walked the other way, up into the Bastionsgarten, the little park on a raised bastion running from the Schloss out to the Schwarzstrasse. Grass and trees and bushes, and a collection of stone dwarfs. I don't know where they came from or who put them there, but there they are. I sat down on a bench and cupped my hand over the cold pitted head of a dwarf and looked through the trees, through the moving foliage, at the lights of the Villa Redl. The Death of Andres Nin. Why was I thinking about that? The Death of Andres Nin.

And then, suddenly, I knew.

I stood up and found the steps down to the street and walked -almost ran- all the way down, past the Mozarteum, past the Landestheater, past the Österreichischer Hof, back into the Cafe Bazar, now brightly lighted and noisy, full of people. The headwaiter found me a table in the corner. I ordered a cup of coffee, black, and a pad of writing paper.

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