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Graeve, Oscar (ed.) / Delineator
Vol. 119, No. 1 (July, 1931)

Lewis, Grace Hegger
Half a loaf,   pp. 16-17 PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 16

DELINEATOR
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They stood close. "Oh, Timmy, I shall be so lonely"
by
GRA CE
"  1 S OWN COUNTRY"     \%as the title of
Timothy Hale's novel that plunged him to
the front rank of American authors. Praise,
speeches, adoring women's clubs . . . un-
til he and Susan, his loyal and lovely wife, wearied of all
the excitement, all the limelight.
"Let's go to Europe for a while," they said to each
other.
So with their small son Roger they set forth. Behind
them lay the happy years of their life together, gypsving
up and down America. observing people and places close-
l, making few lasting friends, and Tim at least not
minding. And now, before them, the glamour of the Old
11orld!
Their stay in England was a joy to them. Tim's suc-
cess as a writer made it possible for the Hales to meet and
revel insuch good company as Bernard Shaw. John Gals-
worthy, Arnold Bennett and H. G. Wells. Everything
was new to them, exciting. But suddenly, one morning,
they tired of their English sojourn.
"Quo radis?" Susan said to Timothy. And Timothy
answered, "Paris!"
Here the story continues:
S USAN was in one of her blind rages, standing in a Paris
hotel bedroom in the middle of a slovenly pile of lug-
gage, dating from that first wardrobe trunk with which
they had started their wanderings, to Timothy's new
London leather hat-box to hold his hated and rarely used
top hat.
She and the luggage were in a room so low she could
touch the ceiling with the palm of her hand. The furni-
ture was heavy Empire at its gilded worst. Outside
motor buses roared, taxi horns squawked, venders cried.
French people talked French, so that the low room be-
came a nightmare of gilt and noises.
Susan had been in an ecstasy of reminiscence all the
way from the Gare du Nord to the hotel door. "It's
changed and vet it's not changed. It smells the same
except for the petrol fumes. Did I ever tell you I rode in
my first automobile in Paris. in a yellow taxi? . . . Tim,
sniff' I miss the cabmen with the patent leather hats,
HEGGER
and their wine-purple voices an1 faces . . . I hope my
French will come back quickly. Tim, do you think my
French sounds authentic or has it become twangy? . . .
You're a darling, thanks for lying . . . Now there's a
beard for you, and the Caf6 de la Paix . . . Oh, talk
about the vitality of New York, it's only the machinery
which is alive there, here it's the peop!e!" Susan bounced
in her cab seat. "Tim, Tim, I'm so happy to be here-
and with you!"
Tim smiled wanly at her. He was tired. France was
all he had expected and more, perhaps too much more. In
none of his imaginings of his entry into Paris, the gay, the
naughty, had he ever included an English governess, a
baby with very dirty hands, seventeen pieces of luggage,
and even so nice a wife as Susan. If she would just stop
exclaiming and explaining for a moment, and let him see
for himself! Of course she was excited to be back, but
she had been so darn proprietary about the country ever
since she had leaned over the side of the boat and snatched
two porters from the crowd with a shrill song of "Porteu-
eur, porteu-eur!" She had answered the questions of the
custom's house official, she had rather piggishly, he
thought, made them group themselves at their compart-
ment door so as to discourage others from entering (later
he admitted he was glad of the privacy). She had or-
dered the train lunch, told him what to pay the steward
with absurd black gloves, and finally had got their moun-
tainous luggage on the tops of two frail cabs. Miss
Ainley, the new English governess, was in one cab, he,
Roger and Susan in the other, and she was still exclaim-
ing: "See, Tim, the signs of the great dressmakers I used
to write about in my wage-slave days! May I have just
one dress from Jeanne Lanvin?"
R OGER was doing his best to hold on to the little let-
down seat as they rocketed around corners. He was
tired but he was not crying. "Most kids would be
whining after this long journey," thought Timothy and
he picked the child up and held him against him. Tim-
othy could feel the weight of the small body as it con-
fidingly relaxed. His own little son, his little nipper. He
ought to see more of Roger; if he only knew how to play
(16 )
LEWIS
games in words that Roger would understand. But later
surely, when the boy became more articulate, they'd
.own a dog, a boy's dog, and go for long walks and be
friends.
"Wake up, Roger darling, we're at the hotel now, and
in five seconds you'll be in a nice white bed with-what
would you specially like for supper tonight?" Susan was
kissing him and straightening his clothes.
"Ice cream!"
OTNCE more Susan took charge of the caravan, though
she was relieved to find that Miss Ainley was
proving a most competent lieutenant.
"Two large rooms with twin beds, and bath in between,
and on a court," Susan announced.
"For how much time will madame remain here?" asked
the manager, polite though not effusive.
"I haven't an idea. But is that of importance? You
can't be full at this season?" Susan was snippish.
The manager was more so. "We are always very full,
madame, but I think these two rooms you will find agree-
able." He led the way to the lift.
And thus it transpired that Susan was in one of her
blind rages, standing in a Paris hotel bedroom, sur-
rounded by a slovenly pile of luggage, a disapproving
governess, an ashamed husband, and a whimpering
child.
"Miss Ainley," said Timothy quietly, "will you take
Roger into the bathroom and wash his hands and face,
and sit down peacefully for a little while? We are all ex-
hausted, but I am sure a change can be made. Susan,
I'm going downstairs to see what I can do."
"What can you do? You don't speak French!" Susan's
voice was harsh with angry sobs.
"Susan, behave yourself. It is you who are spoiling oui
arrival in Paris, not these rooms. I have four years of
Harvard French, but I have also a quaint fancy that that
cold-eyed manager, not clerk, speaks English as well as
you do. Now snap out of this and let me find you smiling
when I come back."
She continued to look out of the low-balconied win-
dow, and did not answer him. Her ego had been swelling
Seldom has a novel caused as much
discussion as this. In it the former
wife of a great novelist reveals
her own fine ability as a writer
I//ustratcd by
II'. EAER7-ON HJEITLAND
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