University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Page View

Gangelin, Paul; Hanson, Earl; Gregory, Horace (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XXI, Number 6 (March 1922)

Crosby, Pennell
Vermillion,   pp. 153-160


Page 153

WISCONSIN LITERARY MAGAZINE
grand qu' il y a un independence de 1' influence uni-
verselle. Un seul exemple suffit:
"He found her name, Semiramis,
"Sweeter than singing, summer seas
"That fondle Heliopolis-"
-et ici il me faut confesser une ignorance de la geog-
raphie. Je ne sais point ou cette ville est situee.
Miais "singing, summer seas" suggere une ville mari-
153
time, plus, ii suggire le golfe du Mexique. Sans nul
doute Hiliopolis est prhs de Galveston, Texas. Peut-
etre le mot est le nom poitique de Galveston lui-mene.
Et finalement, pour ma part, il ne sera point nices-
saire de parler des chefs-d' oeuvre les miens. Leur
nombre et leur excellence parlent pour eux a grande
voix. Mais je prends maintenant I' occasion d' ex-
primer ma gratitude etemelle a la "Revenue iUttiraire
de Wisconsin" pour 1' honneur 6minent elle me donne
en acceptant les fruits de ma plume.
Vermillion
PENNELL CROSBY.
They were very merry, that night at the Christmas
party. She heard the music and the slip, slip of many
dancing feet as she pushed open the huge glass door.
In the hallway there were little groups of people, and
on the broad, shining stairs, shadowed with gloom
from the unlighted rooms above. They greeted her
as she entered. It was late, and Alice had disap-
pointed her, and she had had to come alone. Now
that she was here she was glad, for in the absence of
the plump, conventional Alice she was quite free to
do as she pleased, and she was glad, too, that she had
worn her new blouse, cerise, with such quaint flowing
sleeves. It was going to be a gay party.
Dick was there, with his Viking blue eyes-Dick,
whose gambling luck paid for the leisure in which to
sculpture such exquisite angels. He came to help her
off with her coat, exclaiming at her blouse.
"It's lovely. You must give me the next dance.
And come and see the hall, now-we haven't been so
trimmed up since 'Aladdin'."
The violins whispered like plaintive ghosts above
the madness of the music. The hall was crammed
with color. There were crepe paper streamers from
the ceiling, punctuated with red and yellow Japanese
lanterns. Gleaming with tinsel and glass balls, jolly
little Christmas trees rollicked in the corners. Like
smoke from blazing torches, the dancers eddied by.
There was Dorothy, with an orange sash on her old
black dress. Eunice had worn her batiked smock of
deep blue-green. And Doll, red-cheeked, was danc-
ing with stalwart Luger, and Chuck Mulholland, who
had been Aladdin, had Gertrude's aristocratic arm on
his shoulder in exactly the correct position. They all
shifted and passed like the broken-glass jewels of the
kaleidoscope she had loved when she was seven. On
the stage across the room were the five musi-
cians of the art-school orchestra: Elizabeth with her
dark head bent over the piano; Munson, his cigarette
forsaken for the huge pipe of the saxophone; little
Goldie with his banjo; and the two violinists, the
truest artists of them all, gentle, stoop-shouldered
Dewey, and Vitlacil, the giant Hungarian.
"Let's dance," said bick. A handful of confetti
flung from the balcony above them powdered their
hair as they plunged into the throng.
At the end of two dances with Dick, as the crowd
straggled reluctantly off the floor, she saw with dismay
the approaching figure of George Brown. More a
misfit than ever he seemed in this holiday crowd. A
man whom all pitied and all shunned, his friendliness
was offered almost apologetically, because he had been
so often rebuffed. And now he came to her, to ask
her for a dance. Moved by something like shame for
her own passionate joy, she gave him the next one,
although she knew that his bad dancing would mean
a torturing interlude. She knew his story, for few
secrets stay hidden in an art school. Artist that he
was, his spirit had been almost shattered by the sudden
death of his adored wife and he had suffered a severe
breakdown. Now, though he was able to handle his
brushes again, the brilliancy of his painting was lost
forever.
Dick moved away. The painters' lifeless eyes
caught hers.
"Are you going home with anyone?" he asked.
"No," she said. She did not wish to lie.
"Then may I see you home?"
There was no way out of it. "Yes," she said, un-
willingly.
The music commenced, and Brown's jerky dancing
hammered her nerves. Down the room toward them
trooped a band of men and girls, hand on shoulder, in
a wild snake dance. The leader smiled at her in the
jolliest way as they passed. She wished that she
knew him-there was something remarkably vivid
about his eyes. On his head, cocked debonairly to
one side, was a red Christmas wreath.
"Let's join the snake-dance!" she cried quickly into
March, . 1922


Go up to Top of Page