a mass of reddish-chestnut hair, her eyes very large, a pale brown,
as large as the eyes of women in those paintings of Artemisias and
Berenikes found in tombs in the Fayum. She wore a plain black dress.
"Enfin!" she said, and held out her hand to Aubrey.
"There's my friend Andrews."
She held out her hand to him absently, still looking at Aubrey.
"Does he speak French?... Good.... This way." They went into a large
room with a piano where an elderly woman, with grey hair and yellow
teeth and the same large eyes as her daughter, stood before the
"Maman... enfin ils arrivent, ces messieurs."
"Genevieve was afraid you weren't coming," Mme. Rod said to Andrews,
smiling. "Monsieur Aubrey gave us such a picture of your playing that we
have been excited all day.... We adore music."
"I wish I could do something more to the point with it than adore
it," said Genevieve Rod hastily, then she went on with a laugh: "But I
forget..... Monsieur Andreffs.... Monsieur Ronsard." She made a gesture
with her hand from Andrews to a young Frenchman in a cut-away coat, with
small mustaches and a very tight vest, who bowed towards Andrews.
"Now we'll have tea," said Genevieve Rod. "Everybody talks sense until
they've had tea.... It's only after tea that anyone is ever amusing."
She pulled open some curtains that covered the door into the adjoining
"I understand why Sarah Bernhardt is so fond of curtains," she said.
"They give an air of drama to existence.... There is nothing more heroic
She sat at the head of an oak table where were china platters with
vari-colored pastries, an old pewter kettle under which an alcohol lamp
burned, a Dresden china teapot in pale yellows and greens, and cups and
saucers and plates with a double-headed eagle design in dull vermilion.
"Tout ca," said Genevieve, waving her hand across the table, "c'est
Boche.... But we haven't any others, so they'll have to do."
The older woman, who sat beside her, whispered something in her ear and
Genevieve put on a pair of tortoise-shell spectacles and starting
pouring out tea.
"Debussy once drank out of that cup..... It's cracked," she said,
handing a cup to John Andrews. "Do you know anything of Moussorgski's
you can play to us after tea?"
"I can't play anything any more.... Ask me three months from now."
"Oh, yes; but nobody expects you to do any tricks with it. You can
certainly make it intelligible. That's all I want."
"I have my doubts."
Andrews sipped his tea slowly, looking now and then at Genevieve Rod who
had suddenly begun talking very fast to Ronsard. She held a cigarette
between the fingers of a long thin hand. Her large pale-brown eyes kept
their startled look of having just opened on the world; a little smile
appeared and disappeared maliciously in the curve of her cheek away from
her small firm lips. The older woman beside her kept looking round the
table with a jolly air of hospitality, and showing her yellow teeth in a
Afterwards they went back to the sitting room and Andrews sat down
at the piano. The girl sat very straight on a little chair beside the
piano. Andrews ran his fingers up and down the keys.
"Did you say you knew Debussy?" he said suddenly. "I? No; but he used to
come to see my father when I was a little girl.... I have been brought
up in the middle of music.... That shows how silly it is to be a woman.
There is no music in my head. Of course I am sensitive to it, but so are
the tables and chairs in this apartment, after all they've heard."
Andrews started playing Schumann. He stopped suddenly.
"Can you sing?" he said.
"I'd like to do the Proses Lyriques.... I've never heard them."
"I once tried to sing Le Soir," she said.
"Wonderful. Do bring it out."
"But, good Lord, it's too difficult."
"What is the use of being fond of music if you aren't willing to mangle
it for the sake of producing it?... I swear I'd rather hear a man
picking out Aupres de ma Blonde on a trombone that Kreisler playing
Paganini impeccably enough to make you ill."
"But there is a middle ground."
He interrupted her by starting to play again. As he played without
looking at her, he felt that her eyes were fixed on him, that she was
standing tensely behind him. Her hand touched his shoulder. He stopped
"Oh, I am dreadfully sorry," she said.
"Nothing. I am finished."
"You were playing something of your own?"
"Have you ever read La Tentation de Saint Antoine?" he asked in a low
"It's not his best work. A very interesting failure though," she said.
Andrews got up from the piano with difficulty, controlling a sudden
"They seem to teach everybody to say that," he muttered.
Suddenly he realized that other people were in the room. He went up to
"You must excuse me," he said, "I have an engagement.... Aubrey, don't
let me drag you away. I am late, I've got to run."
"You must come to see us again."
"Thank you," mumbled Andrews.
Genevieve Rod went with him to the door. "We must know each other
better," she said. "I like you for going off in a huff."
"I was badly brought up," he said, pressing her thin cold hand. "And
you French must always remember that we are barbarians.... Some are
repentant barbarians.... I am not."
She laughed, and John Andrews ran down the stairs and out into the
grey-blue streets, where the lamps were blooming into primrose color.
He had a confused feeling that he had made a fool of himself, which made
him writhe with helpless anger. He walked with long strides through the
streets of the Rive Gauche full of people going home from work, towards
the little wine shop on the Quai de la Tournelle.
It was a Paris Sunday morning. Old women in black shawls were going into
the church of St. Etienne-du-Mont. Each time the leather doors opened
it let a little whiff of incense out into the smoky morning air. Three
pigeons walked about the cobblestones, putting their coral feet one
before the other with an air of importance. The pointed facade of the
church and its slender tower and cupola cast a bluish shadow on the
square in front of it, into which the shadows the old women trailed
behind them vanished as they hobbled towards the church. The opposite
side of the square and the railing of the Pantheon and its tall
brownish-gray flank were flooded with dull orange-colored sunlight.
Andrews walked back and forth in front of the church, looking at the sky
and the pigeons and the facade of the Library of Ste. Genevieve, and at
the rare people who passed across the end of the square, noting forms
and colors and small comical aspects of things with calm delight,
savoring everything almost with complacency. His music, he felt, was
progressing now that, undisturbed, he lived all day long in the rhythm
of it; his mind and his fingers were growing supple. The hard moulds
that had grown up about his spirit were softening. As he walked back and
forth in front of the church waiting for Jeanne, he took an inventory of
his state of mind; he was very happy.
Jeanne had come up behind him. They ran like children hand in hand
across the sunny square.
"I have not had any coffee yet," said Andrews.
"How late you must get up!... But you can't have any till we get to the
Porte Maillot, Jean."
"Because I say you can't."
"But that's cruelty."
"It won't be long."
"But I am dying with hunger. I will die in your hands."
"Can't you understand? Once we get to the Porte Maillot we'll be far
from your life and my life. The day will be ours. One must not tempt
"You funny girl."
The Metro was not crowded, Andrews and Jeanne sat opposite each other
without talking. Andrews was looking at the girl's hands, limp on her
lap, small overworked hands with places at the tips of the fingers where
the skin was broken and scarred, with chipped uneven nails. Suddenly she
caught his glance. He flushed, and she said jauntily:
"Well, we'll all be rich some day, like princes and princesses in fairy
tales." They both laughed.
As they were leaving the train at the terminus, he put his arm timidly
round her waist. She wore no corsets. His fingers trembled at the
litheness of the flesh under her clothes. Feeling a sort of terror go
through him he took away his arm.
"Now," she said quietly as they emerged into the sunlight and the bare
trees of the broad avenue, "you can have all the cafe-au-lait you want."
"You'll have some too."
"Why be extravagant? I've had my petit dejeuner."
"But I'm going to be extravagant all day.... We might as well start now.
I don't know exactly why, but I am very happy. We'll eat brioches."
"But, my dear, it's only profiteers who can eat brioches now-a-days."
"You just watch us."
They went into a patisserie. An elderly woman with a lean yellow face
and thin hair waited on them, casting envious glances up through her
eyelashes as she piled the rich brown brioches on a piece of tissue
"You'll pass the day in the country?" she asked in a little wistful
voice as she handed Andrews the change.
"Yes," he said, "how well you guessed."
As they went out of the door they heard her muttering, "O la jeunesse,
They found a table in the sun at a cafe opposite the gate from which
they could watch people and automobiles and carriages coming in and out.
Beyond, a grass-grown bit of fortifications gave an 1870 look to things.
"How jolly it is at the Porte Maillot!" cried Andrews.
She looked at him and laughed.
"But how gay he is to-day."
"No. I always like it here. It's the spot in Paris where you always feel
well.... When you go out you have all the fun of leaving town, when you
go in you have all the fun of coming back to town.... But you aren't
eating any brioches?"
"I've eaten one. You eat them. You are hungry."
"Jeanne, I don't think I have ever been so happy in my life.... It's
almost worth having been in the army for the joy your freedom gives you.
That frightful life.... How is Etienne?"
"He is in Mayence. He's bored."
"Jeanne, we must live very much, we who are free to make up for all the
people who are still... bored."
"A lot of good it'll do them," she cried laughing.
"It's funny, Jeanne, I threw myself into the army. I was so sick of
being free and not getting anywhere. Now I have learnt that life is to
be used, not just held in the hand like a box of bonbons that nobody
She looked at him blankly.
"I mean, I don't think I get enough out of life," he said. "Let's go."
They got to their feet.
"What do you mean?" she said slowly. "One takes what life gives, that is
all, there's no choice.... But look, there's the Malmaison train.... We
Giggling and breathless they climbed on the trailer, squeezing
themselves on the back platform where everyone was pushing and
exclaiming. The car began to joggle its way through Neuilly. Their
bodies were pressed together by the men and women about them. Andrews
put his arm firmly round Jeanne's waist and looked down at her pale
cheek that was pressed against his chest. Her little round black straw
hat with a bit of a red flower on it was just under his chin.
"I can't see a thing," she gasped, still giggling.
"I'll describe the landscape," said Andrews. "Why, we are crossing the
"Oh, how pretty it must be!"
An old gentleman with a pointed white beard who stood beside them
"But don't you think the Seine's pretty?" Jeanne looked up at him
"Without a doubt, without a doubt.... It was the way you said it," said
the old gentleman.... "You are going to St. Germain?" he asked Andrews.
"No, to Malmaison."
"Oh, you should go to St. Germain. M. Reinach's prehistoric museum is
there. It is very beautiful. You should not go home to your country
without seeing it."
"Are there monkeys in it?" asked Jeanne.
"No," said the old gentleman turning away.
"I adore monkeys," said Jeanne.
The car was going along a broad empty boulevard with trees and grass
plots and rows of low store-houses and little dilapidated rooming houses
along either side. Many people had got out and there was plenty of room,
but Andrews kept his arm round the girl's waist. The constant contact
with her body made him feel very languid.
"How good it smells!" said Jeanne.
"It's the spring."
"I want to lie on the grass and eat violets.... Oh, how good you were
to bring me out like this, Jean. You must know lots of fine ladies you
could have brought out, because you are so well educated. How is it you
are only an ordinary soldier?"
"Good God! I wouldn't be an officer."
"Why? It must be rather nice to be an officer."
"Does Etienne want to be an officer?"
"But he's a socialist, that's different."
"Well, I suppose I must be a socialist too, but let's talk of something
Andrews moved over to the other side of the platform. They were passing
little villas with gardens on the road where yellow and pale-purple
crocuses bloomed. Now and then there was a scent of violets in the moist
air. The sun had disappeared under soft purplish-grey clouds. There was
occasionally a rainy chill in the wind.
Andrews suddenly thought of Genevieve Rod. Curious how vividly he
remembered her face, her wide, open eyes and her way of smiling without
moving her firm lips. A feeling of annoyance went through him. How silly
of him to go off rudely like that! And he became very anxious to talk to
her again; things he wanted to say to her came to his mind.
"Well, are you asleep?" said Jeanne tugging at his arm. "Here we are."
Andrews flushed furiously.
"Oh, how nice it is here, how nice it is here!" Jeanne was saying.
"Why, it is eleven o'clock," said Andrews.
"We must see the palace before lunch," cried Jeanne, and she started
running up a lane of linden trees, where the fat buds were just bursting
into little crinkling fans of green. New grass was sprouting in the wet
ditches on either side. Andrews ran after her, his feet pounding hard in
the moist gravel road. When he caught up to her he threw his arms round
her recklessly and kissed her panting mouth. She broke away from him and
strode demurely arranging her hat.
"Monster," she said, "I trimmed this hat specially to come out with you
and you do your best to wreck it."
"Poor little hat," said Andrews, "but it is so beautiful today, and you
are very lovely, Jeanne."
"The great Napoleon must have said that to the Empress Josephine and you
know what he did to her," said Jeanne almost solemnly.
"But she must have been awfully bored with him long before."
"No," said Jeanne, "that's how women are."
They went through big iron gates into the palace grounds.
Later they sat at a table in the garden of a little restaurant. The sun,
very pale, had just showed itself, making the knives and forks and the
white wine in their glasses gleam faintly. Lunch had not come yet. They
sat looking at each other silently. Andrews felt weary and melancholy.
He could think of nothing to say. Jeanne was playing with some tiny
white daisies with pink tips to their petals, arranging them in circles
and crosses on the tablecloth.
"Aren't they slow?" said Andrews.
"But it's nice here, isn't it?" Jeanne smiled brilliantly. "But how glum
he looks now." She threw some daisies at him. Then, after a pause, she
added mockingly: "It's hunger, my dear. Good Lord, how dependent men are
Andrews drank down his wine at a gulp. He felt that if he could only
make an effort he could lift off the stifling melancholy that was
settling down on him like a weight that kept growing heavier.
A man in khaki, with his face and neck scarlet, staggered into the
garden dragging beside him a mud-encrusted bicycle. He sank into an iron
chair, letting the bicycle fall with a clatter at his feet.
"Hi, hi," he called in a hoarse voice.
A waiter appeared and contemplated him suspiciously. The man in khaki
had hair as red as his face, which was glistening with sweat. His shirt
was torn, and he had no coat. His breeches and puttees were invisible
"Gimme a beer," croaked the man in khaki.
The waiter shrugged his shoulders and walked away.
"Il demande une biere," said Andrews.
"I'll pay. Get it for him."
The waiter disappeared.
"Thankee, Yank," roared the man in khaki.
The waiter brought a tall narrow yellow glass. The man in khaki took
it from his hand, drank it down at a draught and handed back the empty
glass. Then he spat, wiped his mouth on the back of his hand, got with
difficulty to his feet and shambled towards Andrews's table.
"Oi presoom the loidy and you don't mind, Yank, if Oi parley wi' yez a
bit. Do yez?"
"No, come along; where did you come from?"
The man in khaki dragged an iron chair behind him to a spot near the
table. Before sitting down he bobbed his head in the direction of Jeanne
with an air of solemnity tugging at the same time at a lock of his red
hair. After some fumbling he got a red-bordered handkerchief out of
his pocket and wiped his face with it, leaving a long black smudge of
machine oil on his forehead.
"Oi'm a bearer of important secret messages, Yank," he said, leaning
back in the little iron chair. "Oi'm a despatch-rider."
"You look all in."
"Not a bit of it. Oi just had a little hold up, that's all, in a
woodland lane. Some buggers tried to do me in."
"What d'you mean?"
"Oi guess they had a little information... that's all. Oi'm carryin'
important messages from our headquarters in Rouen to your president. Oi
was goin' through a bloody thicket past this side. Oi don't know how you
pronounce the bloody town.... Oi was on my bike making about thoity for
the road was all a-murk when Oi saw four buggers standing acrost the
road... lookter me suspiciouslike, so Oi jus' jammed the juice into
the boike and made for the middle 'un. He dodged all right. Then they
started shootin' and a bloody bullet buggered the boike.... It was bein'
born with a caul that saved me.... Oi picked myself up outer the
ditch an lost 'em in the woods. Then Oi got to another bloody town and
commandeered this old sweatin' machine.... How many kills is there to
"Fifteen or sixteen, I think."
"What's he saying, Jean?"
"Some men tried to stop him on the road. He's a despatch-rider."
"Isn't he ugly? Is he English?"
"You bet you, miss; Hirlanday; that's me.... You picked a good looker
this toime, Yank. But wait till Oi git to Paree. Oi clane up a good
hundre' pound on this job in bonuses. What part d'ye come from, Yank?"
"Virginia. I live in New York."
"Oi been in Detroit; goin' back there to git in the automoebile business
soon as Oi clane up a few more bonuses. Europe's dead an stinkin', Yank.
Ain't no place for a young fellow. It's dead an stinkin', that's what it
"It's pleasanter to live here than in America.... Say, d'you often get
held up that way?"
"Ain't happened to me before, but it has to pals o' moine."
"Who d'you think it was?
"Oi dunno; 'Unns or some of these bloody secret agents round the Peace
Conference.... But Oi got to go; that despatch won't keep."
"All right. The beer's on me."
"Thank ye, Yank." The man got to his feet, shook hands with Andrews and
Jeanne, jumped on the bicycle and rode out of the garden to the road,
threading his way through the iron chairs and tables.
"Wasn't he a funny customer?" cried Andrews, laughing. "What a wonderful
joke things are!"
The waiter arrived with the omelette that began their lunch.
"Gives you an idea of how the old lava's bubbling in the volcano.
There's nowhere on earth a man can dance so well as on a volcano."
"But don't talk that way," said Jeanne laying down her knife and fork.
"It's terrible. We will waste our youth to no purpose. Our fathers
enjoyed themselves when they were young.... And if there had been no
war we should have been so happy, Etienne and I. My father was a small
manufacturer of soap and perfumery. Etienne would have had a splendid
situation. I should never have had to work. We had a nice house. I
should have been married...."
"But this way, Jeanne, haven't you more freedom?"
She shrugged her shoulders. Later she burst out: "But what's the good
of freedom? What can you do with it? What one wants is to live well and
have a beautiful house and be respected by people. Oh, life was so sweet
in France before the war."
"In that case it's not worth living," said Andrews in a savage voice,
holding himself in.
They went on eating silently. The sky became overcast. A few drops
splashed on the table-cloth.
"We'll have to take coffee inside," said Andrews.
"And you think it is funny that people shoot at a man on a motorcycle
going through a wood. All that seems to me terrible, terrible," said
"Look out. Here comes the rain!"
They ran into the restaurant through the first hissing sheet of the
shower and sat at a table near a window watching the rain drops dance
and flicker on the green iron tables. A scent of wet earth and the
mushroom-like odor of sodden leaves came in borne on damp gusts through
the open door. A waiter closed the glass doors and bolted them.
"He wants to keep out the spring. He can't," said Andrews.
They smiled at each other over their coffee cups. They were in sympathy
When the rain stopped they walked across wet fields by a foot path full
of little clear puddles that reflected the blue sky and the white-and
amber-tinged clouds where the shadows were light purplish-grey. They
walked slowly arm in arm, pressing their bodies together. They were very
tired, they did not know why and stopped often to rest leaning against
the damp boles of trees. Beside a pond pale blue and amber and silver
from the reflected sky, they found under a big beech tree a patch of
wild violets, which Jeanne picked greedily, mixing them with the little
crimson-tipped daisies in the tight bouquet. At the suburban railway
station, they sat silent, side by side on a bench, sniffing the flowers
now and then, so sunk in languid weariness that they could hardly summon
strength to climb into a seat on top of a third class coach, which was
crowded with people coming home from a day in the country. Everybody
had violets and crocuses and twigs with buds on them. In people's stiff,
citified clothes lingered a smell of wet fields and sprouting woods.
All the girls shrieked and threw their arms round the men when the train
went through a tunnel or under a bridge. Whatever happened, everybody
laughed. When the train arrived in the station, it was almost with
reluctance that they left it, as if they felt that from that moment
their work-a-day lives began again. Andrews and Jeanne walked down the
platform without touching each other. Their fingers were stained and
sticky from touching buds and crushing young sappy leaves and grass
stalks. The air of the city seemed dense and unbreathable after the
scented moisture of the fields.
They dined at a little restaurant on the Quai Voltaire and afterwards
walked slowly towards the Place St. Michel, feeling the wine and the
warmth of the food sending new vigor into their tired bodies. Andrews
had his arm round her shoulder and they talked in low intimate voices,
hardly moving their lips, looking long at the men and women they saw
sitting twined in each other's arms on benches, at the couples of boys
and girls that kept passing them, talking slowly and quietly, as they
were, bodies pressed together as theirs were.
"How many lovers there are," said Andrews.
"Are we lovers?" asked Jeanne with a curious little laugh.
"I wonder.... Have you ever been crazily in love, Jeanne?"
"I don't know. There was a boy in Laon named Marcelin. But I was a
little fool then. The last news of him was from Verdun."
"Have you had many... like I am?"
"How sentimental we are," she cried laughing.
"No. I wanted to know. I know so little of life," said Andrews.
"I have amused myself, as best I could," said Jeanne in a serious
tone. "But I am not frivolous.... There have been very few men I have
liked.... So I have had few friends... do you want to call them lovers?
But lovers are what married women have on the stage.... All that sort of
thing is very silly."
"Not so very long ago," said Andrews, "I used to dream of being
romantically in love, with people climbing up the ivy on castle walls,
and fiery kisses on balconies in the moonlight."