widower, grass widower, libertine, rake,
roue, idler, or—he made himself a third
drink—the coming young writer of the
country. He could see the papers when
his novel appeared.
" and in this book Geoffrey Chaplin
has declared himself. A liberal, a mod
ern—but with a sensitive understand
ing that permits him to portray, without
malice or bias, the opposite point of
view. His characters strut stiffly and
accurately through his pages, sometimes
ludicrous, sometimes pathetic—but al
ways alive and always decisively cut.
There seems to be little doubt "
"That," he thought, "will show her. I
can stand being separated long enough
to finish it, and I will go back to her, not
with a promise, but with an unmade
promise already fulfilled. That's a nice
phrase. I'll remember it."
The phone rang. He let it ring four
or five times, not knowing whether he
wanted to answer it or not, but he finally
couldn't stand the jangle of the bell.
It was Larry Haven. Another beer
drinker and—he considered the phrase
and then worded it
"Hello, you bum painter."
"Not nice words, my boy," Larry's voice
came over the wire, "not nice words at
all. But I can't complain—I want you
to do me a favor. We have a date to
burn up, tonight, haven't we?"
"Yes," Geoff said. "I'm a trifle singed
at the minute. What's the matter—did
your girl back out of the date?"
He and Larry and Joan and Larry's
girl were to go out on a New Year eve
binge which none of them could afford.
"No," Larry said. "But she wants to
bring another girl with her. I want you
to think of a guy who'll do."
Joan was no longer there. There would
be no foursome with Joan and Larry and
Larry's girl—not with Joan sitting in
Helen's apartment, waiting for him to
reform. But there might be a foursome,
"Listen, Larry. Joan is sick—feels ter
rible. I was going to phone you and let
you know. So—tell this other girl she
is lucky, and that Geoffrey Chaplin, the
first, will be glad to let her bore him for
"What makes you think she's a bore?"
"I know your women," Geoff said. "And
on that count I imagine she's "
"She is," Larry said. "Very. But you're
such a nice boy and such a well behaved
young married man that it will all be
wasted on you. Tuxedo?"
"Sure," Geoff said. "I want to be gay."
Ε GOT to Larry's apartment at 6
and the girls were already there.
Larry's girl, Natalie, was blond and beau
tiful. His girl, Frankie, was dark and
twice as beautiful.
They went to Louis' for dinner and
Chirio, ftbe solicitous little waiter, came
over with his face lighted by pleasure.
"Good evening, Mr. Chaplin! How
"I'm fine," Geoff said, interrupting
him quickly. Why should he let him
mention Joan's name? He was not in
tending to do anything about Frankie,
but being married when you were out
with people like this spoiled something.
Maybe it was only the undercurrent of
expectancy and possibility which was
ruined by being married, but Frankie
was not noticing anyway.
"Manhattans," Larry said, and after
two more Geoff noticed that his voice
seemed to be coming from a little fur
ther away than was quite normal. But
he didn't have any trouble with words,
yet. When he started using the wrong
words in the wrong places, then he
would have to be careful.
"I feel very gay," he said suddenly,
"does anybody else feel gay?"
Joan was alone in Helen's apartment
and here he was saying he felt gay. He
didn't feel that way at all. He felt cheap
and sordid and mean and small. He
could see Joan lying on Helen's couch,
looking up at the ceiling and wondering
what he was doing on New Year eve.
They had planned to have fun; cham
pagne even if they couldn't afford it; a
party like this with Larry and his girl.
During dinner he drank three more
Manhattans and he knew what was going
to happen to him, now that Joan was
definitely not there, and now that he
knew he would have no fun anywhere,
at any time, as long as she wasn't.
By the time they left Louis' and went
on some place else he was beyond oaring
where it was they were going or with
whom he was. He dimly remembered
hearing Larry say, "Frankie—take care
of him. He won't be any trouble but you
may have to steer him a little." He re
membered hearing Frankie say, "I'll take
such good care of him."
"TWELVE o'clock came and the lights
went out at the club where they were
sitting, and everybody kissed everybody
else. He was sitting next to Frankie and
was holding her hand and in the dark
ness he leaned toward her but she had
leaned forward first. As he kissed her
he felt her hand in his. His head was
whirling but he slipped his arm around
the back of her chair and over her
shoulders and his fingêrs closed on her
arm. She drew her head back a trifle
to talk. Then the lights went up and
Larry was laughing at him and Natalie
was laughing at Frankie.
"I don't care," Frankie said, "I like
"I like Frankie," Geoff said, knowing
he was talking thickly, and not caring,
and not thinking about Joan at all. He
didn't see Larry lean over and talk to
Natalie and look at him. As a matter of
fact, from that point, he never remem
bered seeing anything.
As he woke up he realized he felt a
lot worse than he had ever felt before,
and a great deal worse than he thought
was possible. Through his eyelids he
could tell it was light and he thought,
"If I open my eyes I'll go blind. I'll have
to stand on a street corner with pencils
and I will look very silly. I will nevev
be able to earn enough money to eat
and " At the idea of earning money
he thought of Joan, and that this morn
ing, for the first time in a year, she
would not be up ahead of him and get
■ ι nave Deen a 1001, ne saia. tie was
talking aloud to see what his voice would
sound like. It had a pleasant hangover
huskiness, and he continued. "I, Geof
frey Chaplin, have been a fool. I must
reform. I hate like blazes to give in to
Joanie, but I must reform. I shall take
my place on the wagon—if I live through
the torture of being pounded on the
back of my head by whoever is doing it.
I shall work like blazes, and I shall re
cover a little of my lost dignity in the
eyes of my wife. I love my wife." That
sentence had a ring that pleased him
and made him smile. So he repeated it.
"I love my wife. A great deal. Enor
mously. If I could pull my aching self
together I would rise, bathe and go over
to Helen's and make her have break
fast and tell her that I, Geoffrey Chap
lin, will be a good boy. Yesterday was a
lapse. I should certainly never have
let her go out of the apartment. I will
never be that foolish again. It is New
Year—and that, my friends and my
country men, is a solemn resolution."
There was a giggle 6 inches from his
head—and no giggle belonged there. He
drew In his breath sharply, and in spite
of his splitting head he had a feeling of
terror. Still he did not open his eyes.
It came back to him. Larry and Natalie
—and Frankie. Frankie obviously mak
ing a play for him, Frankie taking care
of him through the evening. *
They had evidently gotten home, and
the thought filled him with fear. He
could not go back to Joan, now. Now,
He tried to say something and couldn't.
He had to get up, now, immediately, get
dressed and go home. He took a deep
breath and opened his eyes.
It was Helen's apartment.
IT TOOK a minute for him to realize
where he was, and then he turned
his head to look into Joan's face, which
she was trying desperately to keep
"That was quite a speech, darling!
Where-did you think you were?"
"Home," he said. "Oh, Joanie—I was
"I suppose you have to tell me!" Joan
said. "Larry brought you up about 1
o'clock—not that you'd remember. I
wasn't terribly flattered that you hadn't
come by yourself, but Larry said you
couldn't remember Helen's address. He
had to look it up."
"I don't know," Geoff said. "How did
Larry know you were here?"
"In your own charming, incoherent
way, you must have told him," Joan said.
"It's a wonder he could understand you."
She was silent for a minute and her
hand slid to his head. It was cool, and
he placed his own over it, pressing it to
his forehead. "Did you mean that lovely
"Every word of it," he said. "Every
single, solitary word. I've been a fool,
Joanie, and I'm sorry."
"What do you want," Joan said, "more
than anything else in the world?"
"Then I guess I'd better get up," Joan
said. She threw off the covers and went
into the kitchenette. She stuck her head
through the door.
"I forgot something, darling." j
His head was killing him.
"Happy New Year."
"Happy New Year," he said. "Happy
Old Year, too, wasn't it?"
"Most of it."
"Don't worry about this one."
"I'm not worrying," Joan said. "I'm
going to write down all the things you
said and make you sign it."
"I'll sign it," Geoff said, "as soon as
I have coffee."
Riding to Hounds, and Vice Versa
JVhen the Dogs Start Running the TVrong |
Way, There's Trouble—and Other f
Things—in the JVind, $
SAYS WEARE HOLBROOK |
Oh, α-hunting we will go, α-hunting we
Α-hunting we icill go, and α-hunting we
Tantivy, tantivy, tantivy!
Α-hunting we will go.
—From an Old (you guessed it!)
THE author of the above lyric was
nobody's fool. With fine gusto
he announced his intention of
going a-hunting. He announced
it not once but five times, with
a couple of tantivys thrown in for effect.
But there is nothing to indicate that
he ever actually went. You will observe
that he used the future tense throughout
—which no doubt explains his enthusi
asm. The harsh realities of experience
had not shattered his illusions. He was
just a kibitzer.
Α-hunting should not be confused with
mere hunting. You can hunt by yourself
almost any place where the population
isn't too dense. All you need is a gun.
You can even hunt unarmed in the pri
vacy of your own home for such small
game as keys, collar buttons and last
month's gas bill.
But a-hunting is something else again.
It is a community enterprise involving
horses, hounds, horns, hedges and an
occasional fox. It should be done in
England to be really effective. Fox hunt
ing is as thoroughly British as the pre
liminary herring which makes breakfast
such a trial for the tourist. It has never
become very popular with Americans—
or foxes. We haven't the fens and
copses, furze and gorse to furnish a
picturesque background for the pink
coats. Also the barbed wire fences in our
rural districts cannot be hurdled like
hedges, and our local peasants display
none of that good old feudal forbearance
when their social superiors trample the
ΧΛ/HILE visiting Lord Luvaduck at
Ungodleigh Manor, Little Nether
twitch, Nerts, I had the opportunity
of taking part in a real old English fox
hunt. It was an unforgettable experi
ence. I was awakened at the crack
of dawn by the sound of a trumpet
outside my bed room door. Jitters, the
aged butler, entered with a breakfast
"If I may be so bold, sir," he said
with an apologetic cough, "the 'unt is
on today, and it's 'igh time you nipped
around to the stable and got yourself a
'orse, if I may be so bold, sir." He spoke
softly, dropping his aitches like Autumn
leaves in Vallombrosa.
"Ra-ther!" I replied, leaping out of
bed. "Thanks ever so, Jitters, old bean.
I'll be down in a jiff. Toodle-oo and
"Pishy-posh, sir," replied Jitters, bow
ing gravely and dissolving through the
door. He knew his Wodehouse.
At a toot from the horn we all leaped
into our saddles and galloped out of the
stable yard, with the exception of Lord
Luvaduck, who got only one foot into
the stirrup and had to hop along beside
his horse like a runner-up in a three
legged race. While there is no rule for
bidding passengers to stand on the plat
form when the horse is in motion, it is
considered dashed bad form. His lord
ship was quite cut up about it, especially
after hopping through the cucumber
When we pulled up to wait for his
lordship the hounds disappeared into
a beechwood copse, and presently we
could hear them baying in the distance.
They had evidently got the scent. That
was too much for the impatient sports
men. "M. F. H. or no M. F. H.!" they
shouted, "we're going ahead to see the
kill. Yoicks! Yoicks!"
AS ONE who enjoys a good yoick as
much as the next fellow, I set spurs
to my steed and followed them. Away
we went, up hill and down dale, hurdlUyj
fences, leaping ditches and splashing
through mud puddles. The hounds were
still out of sight, but the sound of their
barking grew louder as we went on. And
before long, rounding a dense thicket
of mangel-wurzel, we came upon the
pack in full cry. But they were not run
ning away from us. They were running
toward us, and behind them came their
quarry—a small furry creature that
looked like a fox, except for peculiar
black-and-white markings along its
This was contrary to all the rules of
the chase, and for a moment our little
band of valiant huntsmen halted un
certainly. It was an unprecedented
situation. No one knew what to do. As
the yelping pack drew to windward, how
ever, it became apparent that something
must be done quickly. The hounds had
the scent, and they were all too willing
to share it with us.
"Phew, Labor!" cried Lord Twiddel
tlium, the acting M. F. H. Then he
wheeled his horse around, dug in his
spurs and headed for the stables.
The rest followed suit. Back over the
course we raced—past fens, meres, denes,
dells, ha-has, oafs and other appurte
nances of the English countryside—with
the hounds close at our heels. As an
inexperienced rider, I found it impos
sible to keep pace with the hardened
huntsmen around me. Gradually I fell
behind. My sense of smell told me that
the hounds were gaining on me at
every step, and by the time the welcome
outlines of the manor house hove into
sight I was running neck and neck with
the leader of the pack. But a burst of
speed on the home stretch put me ahead
and I reached the stable yards just as
the grooms were closing the gates. I
had won by a nose—held tightly be
tween the thumb and forefinger.
xml | txt