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

[Continued articles and works],   pp. 46-71 PDF (15.7 MB)


Page 46

46
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DELINEATOR
HALF A LOAF
Continued from page 44
to the ruins of Ostia Mare. I have been doing
some work there and it might be more inter-
esting if I gave you of my little knowledge."
"Let us do it very soon," answered Susan.
"Mare means sea, doesn't it?"
"Yes, Rome was once a sea port and Ostia
full of ships . . . Mr. Hale, I think we have
met before, at the English Speaking Union
dinner in London, when you gave a fine
brave speech, I thought, about the differences
between England and America. I have
never been to your country, but I have read
this great book of yours, and I have also
lived in England, and I grow weary of the
polite lies the two countries tell each other
at public dinners. Your speech was most
refreshing."
TIMOTHY was pleased. "Mr. Uh-I'm
afraid I did not get your name last night?"
"Andrea Palladio Venzo, named, you see,
after the great Renaissance architect by my
hopeful mother. But unfortunately I have
always been more interested in fallen old
stones than in erecting new ones."
He spoke so gently, looking from one to
the other with such kindness, that Susan for-
got that she and Timothy were enemies, and
they all three exchanged easy phrases until
Professor Venzo arose to go.
"How about next Sunday for our excursion
to Ostia? The ruins will be closed to the
public, but I can use my permit, and we shall
be undisturbed. Then we can lunch at a
little trattoria overlooking the sea. I am
unfortunately a poor man, and I have no
motor car, but to go in the omnibus is not
bad and perhaps its foreignness will amuse
you. It is not at all like the Russie," and he
smiled slyly at both of them and was gone.
"What a sweet, sweet man," said Susan.
"And yet not at all effeminate," agreed
Timothy. "Did you notice the ribbon in
his buttonhole?  Probably a war hero-I
thought he limped a little. I hope we meet
some more Italians like him. We might take
Clare Oliver along with us on Sunday."
Crash!
They were back in the dark alley of the
night before.
"Timothy, all day long we have carefully
ignored last night's affair. I think the time
has come to discuss it, don't you?" She
made an effort to keel) her voice casual.
"I suppose so, though I was hoping you'd
have the sense to continue to ignore it."
"Ignore your flat-footed statement that
Sou were not glad to see me, and you ignore
nY blow?"
   The main issue seems to be that you saw
nw kiss the girl.. I have been kissing girls
, and on ever since we have been married-
ai presumably you have been kissing men."
But, Timmy, Timmy, I haven't been! I
haven't kissed a man since that rainy after-
noon when I publicly promised to love you for
better or worse."
"More fool you."
"But Timmy, we have always told each
other everything, seemed to tell each other
everything, you have been father and mother
and God to me, and now-oh, it is impossible
you have been lying to me all these years!"
Susan shaded her eyes with her hand so that
the chess players might not see her tears.
"No, I have not been lying to you all these
years. I have loved you to the limit of my
capacity but you have shown me repeatedly
that that capacity was not enough. Not
always in words, but with that polite smile
of yours which disapproved of my friends,
my ties, and my table manners. Do you
remember that first picnic of ours when I
met you in the Grand Central Station,
dressed in an old suit and a cap because I
didn't dare risk spoiling my only decent
other one, and you looked at me as if I were a
filthy beggar clawing for alms at royalty's
cloak?- Remember?- At that moment
something warned me you were not the mate
for me and then your cold eyes softened-in
pity', I suppose-and I was glad to forget ...
Sometimes I think the only thing of mine
which has found favor in your patrician eyes
has been my books-oh, and of course
Roger! Are you, by the way, teaching him
to dislike me?"
"Tim! you are talking to me like a stranger.
I don't know how to answer you." She
clasped and unclasped her hands.
"Unique occasion! You're pretty good at
making answers, rapier ones that wound
every time."
Susan stared past him at the evening crowd
passing the caf6 window. "I am in Rome in a
cafe. Tim is saying things to me he must
have been thinking for some time. He thinks
he is in love with the Oliver girl, perhaps he
really is. . . . At this moment he hates me,
partly because he loves her. I must not cry.
Quiet, quiet."
Aloud she said:
"Timothy, you yourself have admitted
that you have a small-town complex which
has colored everything you have done all
your life, except perhaps your writing.-Yes,
that too.- Your lack of physical coordina-
tion which you have never tried by exercise
to improve has plunged you into all manner of
social complications out of which I have had
to haul you from time to time. Quite human-
ly you resent this. Perhaps I have not done
the hauling with sutlicient tact and tender-
ness, but you are wrong, dead wrong, if you
believe I think less of you for them. I never
feel superior to you, in fact I'm quite a
humble lil feller-"
Tim snorted.
"Yes, I am. It's just that I am incurably
immature. I am still the little girl pinning
up her curls and wearing mother's long dress,
and playing lady. Unfortunately I like to
play great ladY, instead of Mrs. Jones calling
on 11rs. Smith, or Red Riding Hood, or the
cindery part of Cinderella . . . I've seen
you often enough regarding with a sardonic
eye my posturings, my silly boastings, and
I have felt despairing of my inability to grow
up, but I have always been on to myself, and
I have never hated you for seeing through
me-as you are hating me now."
"N-no, I don't hate you, just bored."
She flinched, and then smiled bravely.
"Touch !"
Impulsively Timothy put his hand over
hers. "I didn't mean that. I said it to hurt.
I've never been bored by you, often as I've
wanted to slay you . . . But what I mean is
that you are not proud of me, only of my
successes. And I've been so proud of you,
talking about you to people before you arrive
so that they always say, 'So this is Susie!'
Mrs. Oliver said it only last night."
"Hut," she cried eagerly, "I talk about you
all the time, because I think you are so ex-
citing to talk about-you're the most excit-
ing person in the world! Oh dear, I'm going
to cry. We'd better get out in the street."
"No, let's have something more. This is a
nice cozy place to talk, no family around."
"Tim, I've just thought of something. I
know you always talk about me to others,
especially when we have been separated for a
while, but when I meet these people I have a
sense of their resisting me, being wary of me,
and I have to overcome that before they
really like me-that is, if I have the chance to
meet them several times. But if it is only
one encounter they carry away with them
the bad impression you have created of me.
Yes, bad. For what you say is this: 'Susie
is a regular feller but she has a high-hat
English way of saying howdyuhduh which
may put you off, but don't let it because I
want you both to be friends.'
Timothy listened to her exposition gravely.
"You are quite right. I am sure I prejudice
my friends against you with my explana-
tions-"
"Don't you see you insult me by explaining
me?"
"yES, I see now that I do." He sounded for-
lorn. Susan's hand instinctively tucked
into his arm, then she withdrew it quickly,
remembering. "But just the same, Sue, that
howdyuhduh of yours does conceal a better-
than -you -are - until- you -prove -it air, and
people sense that."
"Oh, I know it though I hate it, but people
don't like the way you bust in and call them
by their first names after fifteen minutes.
Neither of us is perfect, but I thought we
loved each other enough to accept each other
as we are."
"But you don't accept me as I are!"
"You think I don't accept you as you
are! . . . Oh, this is getting us nowhere."
Susan was in despair. "There are just two
things to discuss-one, that you have ap-
parently been licking your wounds for some
time, and the other    (Turn to page 49)


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