Vol. 9 No. 6 1942 - page 470

independent "career women" of an earlier generation and was in
some sense losing to a competitor.
"I always thought she was hard as nails," she said, "but she
does have a certain-shall I say, style and brilliance?-! can't
bear to call it glamor. They're both what the Russians call 'fire·
birds,' I suppose-they like to show their plumage in an atmos·
phere of bright lights and admiration. They're only able really
to express themselves by creating for themselves characters that
are two-thirds fictitious. And I don't shine in that way.-l'm natu·
rally quiet and drab. I can't bear to go to night-clubs and places,
and I long ago ceased to enjoy staying up all night over musical
suppers where people get intoxicated and take off Chaliapin and
play Viennese waltzes. I'd rather be home in bed reading. I don't
like to travel the way Sigismund does, and I hate triumphant tours.
I'd rather stay right here with my house and my piano and my
furniture and my settled habits. Sigismund is younger than I am
and he's temperamentally quite different. I suppose I was always
a wet blanket on him, and I can't blame him if he wants somebody
gayer. Only I'd like him to have somebody who would be good for
him. I can't imagine she really cares about him. I'm afraid he'll
end up in Hollywood."
She was, of course, not really drab, but there
in her that didn't give. As I looked around the room, I reflected
that, though Sigismund had spent much of his time here during
the early years of their
though the house had been sup–
posed to be
house, he had left little or no imprint upon iL
Dr. Bristead and his daughter and Ellen-both Ellen and her
mother were only children-had assembled the things in that room.
The low couch on which I was sitting was comfortable but there
was something rather stale about it.
had been ministering for
too many years to the comfort of too much the same people; the
upholstery and the cushions had become almost as personal as
bed, and the pattern of flowers was faded. The effect of the whole
room, in fact, seemed somehow a little tinged by the yellow of
the discoloring photographs; and, though there were peonies, white
and crimson, and gladiolas, orange-pink, and beautiful old cahi·
nets and tip-top tables, the room had never quite been purged of
the bad taste of preceding generations; and the delicate crepuscular
Corots were thrown into further shadow by larger canvasses, also
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