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The Class

The Class


    From world-renowed author Erich Segal comes a powerful and moving saga of five extraordinary members of the Harvard class of 1958 and the women with whom their lives are intertwined. Their explosive story begins in a time of innocence and spans a turbulent quarter century, culminating in their dramatic twenty-five reunion at which they confront their classmates-and the balance sheet of their own lives. Always at the center; amid the passion, laughter, and glory, stands Harvard-the symbol of who they are and who they will be. They were a generation who made the rules-then broke them-whose glittering successes, heartfelt tragedies, and unbridled ambitons would stun the world.

    For Karen and Francesca
    The class in my life

    There must be … some possible ground in reason for one’s boiling over with joy that one is a son of Harvard, and wos not, by some unspeakably horrible accident of birth, predestined to graduate at Yale or at Cornell.
William James,
M.D., 1869

Andrew Eliot’s Diary

    May 112, 1983
    My Harvard Twenty-fifth Reunion is next month and I am scared to death.
    Scared to face all my successful classmates, walking back on paths of glory, while I have nothing to show for my life except a few gray hairs.
    Today a heavy, red-bound book arrived that chronicles all the achievements of The Class of ’58. It really brought home my own sense of failure.
    I stayed up half the night just staring at the faces of the guys who once were undergraduates with me, and now are senators and governors, world-famous scientists and pioneering doctors. Who knows which of them will end up on a podium in Stockholm? Or the White House lawn?
    And what’s amazing is that some are still married to their first wives.
    A few of the most glittering successes were close friends of mine. The roommate I once thought of as a fruitcake is the candidate likeliest to be our next Secretary of State. The future President of Harvard is a guy I used to lend my clothes to. Another, whom we barely noticed, has become the musical sensation of our age.
    The bravest of them all laid down his life for something he believed in. His heroism humbles me.
    And I return, resplendent in my disappointment.
    I am the last Eliot of a great line to enter Harvard. My ancestors were all distinguished men. In war, in peace, in church, in science, and in education. As recently as 1948, my cousin Tom received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
    But the brilliance of the family tradition has grown dim with me. I don’t even hold a candle to Jared Eliot (Class of 1703), the man who introduced rhubarb to America.
    Yet I do have one tenuous connection with my noble forebears. They were diarists. My namesake, Reverend Andrew Eliot, ’37, while bravely tending his parishioners, kept a daily record — still extant — describing what the Revolutionary War was like during the siege of Boston in 1776.
    The moment the city was liberated, he hurried to a meeting of the Harvard Board of Overseers to move that General George Washington be given an honorary doctorate.
    His son inherited his pulpit and his pen, leaving a vivid account of America’s first days as a republic.
    Naturally, there’s no comparison, but I’ve been keeping notebooks all my life as well. Maybe that’s the single remnant of my heritage. I’ve observed history around me, even if I didn’t make any of it.
    Meanwhile, I’m still scared as hell.


    We took the world as given. Cigarettes
    Were twenty-several cents a pack, and gas
    As much per gallon. Sex came wrapped in rubber
    And veiled in supernatural scruples — call
    Them chivalry…

    Psychology was in the mind; abstract
    Things grabbed us where we lived; the only life
    Worth living was the private life, and — last,
    Worst scandal in this characterization —
    We did not know we were a generation.
CLASS OF 1954 
    They glanced at one another like tigers taking measure of a menacing new rival.
    But in this kind of jungle you could never be sure where the real danger lurked.
    It was Monday, September 20, 1954. Eleven hundred sixty-two of the best and brightest young men in the world were lined up outside that monstrous Victorian Gothic structure known as Memorial Hall. To register as members of the future Harvard Class of ’58.
    Running the sartorial spectrum from Brooks Brothers to hand-me-downs, they were variously impatient, terrified, blasé, and numb. Some had traveled thousands of miles, others a few blocks. Yet all knew that they were now merely at the beginning of the greatest journey of their lives.
    Shadrach Tubman, son of the president of Liberia, flew from Monrovia via Paris to New York’s Idlewild Airport, whence he was driven to Boston in his Embassy’s limousine.
    John D. Rockefeller, IV, unpretentiously took the train up from Manhattan and splurged on a taxi from South Station to the Yard.
    Apparently the Aga Khan simply epiphanized. (Other rumors had it that he’d flown there on a magic carpet — or a private jet.) In any case, he stood in line waiting to register just like any mortal.
    These freshmen had arrived already luminaries. They had been born directly into the limelight.
    But on this last day of summer 1954, more than a thousand other potential comets were waiting to burst from dark anonymity to light up the sky.
    Among them were Daniel Rossi, Jason Gilbert, Theodore Lambros, and Andrew Eliot.
    They — and a fifth, still half a world away — are the heroes of this story.


    I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven,
    Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
    I brought him home, in his nest, at even;
    He sings the song, but it cheers not now,
    For I did not bring home the river and the sky.
    From earliest childhood Danny Rossi had a single, desperate ambition — to please his father.
    And one single haunting nightmare — that he never could.
    At first he believed there was a legitimate reason for Dr. Rossi’s indifference.
    After all, Danny was the slender, unathletic brother of the toughest fullback in the history of Orange County, California. And all the time that Frank Rossi was scoring touchdowns and attracting college scouts, Dad was too involved with him to pay attention to his younger son.
    The fact that Danny got good grades — which Frank never did — made no impression whatsoever. After all, his brother stood a mighty six feet two (a head taller than Danny), and his mere entrance on the field could bring a stadium of cheering people to their feet.
    What could little bespectacled red-haired Danny do that earned applause? He was, or so his mother constantly reported, a gifted pianist. Almost a prodigy. This would have made most parents proud. And yet Dr. Rossi never once had come to hear him play in public.
    Understandably, Danny felt enormous pangs of envy. And a resentment growing slowly into hatred. Frank is not a god, a person, too. Sooner or later you’re going to notice.
    But then in 1950, Frank, a fighter pilot, was shot down in Korea. Now Danny’s pent-up jealousy transformed, in painful stages, first to grief and then to guilt. He somehow felt responsible. As if he’d wished his brother’s death.
    At the ceremony in which they named the school athletic field for Frank, his father wept uncontrollably. Danny looked with anguish at the man he so admired.
    And he vowed to bring him consolation. Yet, how could he give his father joy?
    Even hearing Danny practice annoyed Arthur Rossi. After all, a dentist’s busy day was orchestrated to the grating noise of drills. And so he had a cork-lined studio built in the cellar for his sole surviving son.
    Danny understood this was no act of generosity, that his father wished to be freed from the sight as well as the sound of him.
    Yet, Danny was determined to keep fighting for his father’s love. And he sensed sport was the only way for him to rise from the cellar of paternal disapproval.
    There was just one possibility for a boy of his size — running. He went to see the track coach and asked shyly for advice.
    He now got up at six each morning, slipped on sneakers, and left the house to train. His excessive zeal during those early weeks made his legs sore and heavy.
    But he persevered. And kept it all a secret. Till he had something worth telling Dad.
    On the first day of spring, the coach made the entire — squad run a mile to gauge their fitness. Danny was surprised that he could actually stay near the real runners for the first three quarters.
    But suddenly his mouth was parched, his chest aflame. He started to slow down. From the center of the field — he heard the coach call out, “Hang in there, Rossi. Don’t give up.”
    Fearing the displeasure of this surrogate father, Danny drove his weary body through the final lap. And threw himself, exhausted, onto the grass. Before he could catch his breath, the coach was standing above him with a stopwatch.
    “Not bad, Danny. You sure surprised me — five minutes forty-eight seconds. If you stick with it, you can go a heck of a lot faster. In fact, five minutes can sometimes cop third place in our dual meets. Go to the supply desk and get a uniform and spikes.”
    Sensing the proximity of his goal, Danny temporarily abandoned afternoon piano practice to work out with the team. And that usually meant ten or twelve grueling quarter-miles. He threw up after nearly every session.

    Several weeks later, the coach announced that, as a reward for his tenacity, Danny would be their third-miler against Valley High.
    That night he told his father. Despite his son’s warning that he’d probably get badly beaten, Dr. Rossi insisted on attending.
    That Saturday afternoon, Danny savored the three happiest minutes of his childhood.
    As the fidgety runners lined up at the middle of the cinder track, Danny saw his parents sitting in the first row.
    “Let’s go, son,” his father said warmly. “Show ’em the good old Rossi stuff.”
    These words so ignited Danny that he forgot the coach’s instructions to take it easy and pace himself, instead, as the gun went off, he bolted to the front and led the pack around the first turn.
    Christ, thought Dr. Rossi, the kid’s a champion. Shit, thought the coach, the kid’s crazy. He’ll burn himself out.
    As they completed the first lap, Danny glanced up at his father and saw what he had always thought impossible — a smile of pride for him.
    “Seventy-one seconds,” called the coach. “Too fast, Rossi. Much too fast.”
    “Looking good, son!” called Dr. Rossi.
    Danny soared through the next four hundred yards on wings of paternal approval.
    He passed the halfway mark still in the lead. But now his lungs were starting to burn. By the next curve, he had gone into oxygen debt. And was experiencing what runners not inaccurately call rigor mortis. He was dying.
    The opposition sped past him and opened a long lead. From across the field he heard his father shout, “Come on, Danny, show some guts!”
    They clapped when he finally finished. The sympathetic applause that greets the hopelessly outclassed competitor.
    Dizzy with fatigue, he looked toward the stands. His mother was smiling reassuringly. His father was gone, it was like a bad dream.
    Inexplicably, the coach was pleased. “Rossi, I’ve never seen a guy with more guts. I caught you in five minutes fifteen seconds. You’ve got real potential.”
    “Not on the track,” Danny replied, limping away. “I quit.” He knew, to his chagrin, that all his efforts had only made matters worse. For his embarrassing performance had been on the track of Frank Rossi Field.

    Humiliated, Danny returned to his previous life. The keyboard became an outlet for all his frustrations. He practiced day and night, to the exclusion of everything else.
    He had been studying since he was six with a local teacher. But now this honorable gray-haired matron told his mother candidly that she had nothing more to give the boy. And suggested to Gisela Rossi that her son audition for Gustave Landau — a former soloist in Vienna, now spending his autumnal years as music director of nearby San. Angelo Junior College.
    The old man was impressed by what he heard and accepted Danny as a pupil.
    “Dr. Landau says he’s very good for his age,” Gisela reported to her husband at dinner. “He thinks that he could even play professionally.”
    To which Dr. Rossi responded with a monosyllabic, “Oh.” Which meant that he’d reserve all judgment.

    Dr. Landau was a gentle if demanding mentor. And Danny was the ideal pupil. He was not only talented but actually eager to be driven. If Landau said go through an hour of Czerny’s keyboard exercises every day, Danny would do three or four.
    “Am I improving fast enough?” he’d ask anxiously.
    “Ach, Daniel, you could even work yourself a little less. You’re young. You should go out some evenings and have fun.”
    But Danny had no time — and knew nothing that would bring him “fun.” He was in a hurry to grow up. And every waking moment when he was not in school, he spent at the piano.
    Dr. Rossi was not unaware of his son’s antisocial tendencies. And it upset him.
    “I’m telling you, Gisela, it’s unhealthy. He’s too obsessive. Maybe he’s trying to compensate for his shortness or something. A kid his age should be going out with girls. God knows Frank was a real Casanova by this time.”
    Art Rossi was distressed to think that a son of his could have turned out to be so… unmanly.
    Mrs. Rossi, on the other hand, believed that if the two men were a little closer, her husband’s qualms might disappear.
    And so at the end of dinner the next evening, she left them on their own. So they could chat.
    Her husband was perceptibly annoyed, since he always found talking to Danny a disquieting experience.
    “Everything okay at school?” he inquired.
    “Well, yes and no,” Danny replied — just as uneasy as his father.
    Like a nervous infantryman, Dr. Rossi feared he might be crossing — into a minefield.
    “What seems to be the matter?”
    “Dad, everybody at school sort of thinks I’m weird. But a lot of musicians are like me.”
    Dr. Rossi began to sweat. “How is that, son?”
    “Well, they’re really passionate about it. I’m that way, too. I want to make music my life.”
    There was a brief pause as Dr. Rossi searched for an appropriate response.
    “You’re my boy,” he said at last, as an evasive alternative to an expression of sincere affection.
    “Thanks, Dad. I think I’ll go down and practice now.” After Danny left, Art Rossi poured himself a drink and thought, I guess I should be grateful. A passion for music was better than several others he could have imagined.

    Just after his sixteenth birthday, Danny made his debut as a soloist with the Junior College Symphony. Under the baton of his mentor, he played Brahms’s arduous Second Piano Concerto before a packed auditorium that included his parents.
    As Danny stepped on stage, pale with fright, his glasses caught the glare of the primitive spotlight, nearly blinding him. When at last he reached the piano, he felt paralyzed.
    Dr. Landau walked over and whispered, “Don’t worry, Daniel, you are ready.”
    Danny’s terror magically dissipated.
    The applause seemed to go on forever.
    As he bowed and turned to shake his teacher’s hand, Danny was startled to see tears in the old man’s eyes.
    Landau embraced his protégé.

    “You know, Dan, you made me real proud tonight.”
    Ordinarily, a son so long starved for paternal affection would have been ecstatic to get such a compliment. But that evening Daniel Rossi had been intoxicated by a new emotion: the adoration of a crowd.

    From the time he entered high school, Danny had his heart set on going to Harvard, where he could study composition with Randall Thompson, choral master, and Walter Piston, virtuoso symphonist. This alone gave him the inspiration to slog through science, math, and civics.
    For sentimental reasons, Dr. Rossi would have liked to see his son at Princeton, the university celebrated by F. Scott Fitzgerald. And which would have been Frank’s alma mater.
    But Danny was impervious to all persuasion. And finally Art Rossi stopped his campaign.
    “I can’t get anywhere with him. Let the kid go where he wants.”
    But something occurred to shake the dentist’s laissez-faire attitude. In 1954, the zealous Senator McCarthy was focusing his scrutiny upon “that Commie sanctuary Harvard.” Some of its professors would not cooperate with his committee and discuss their colleagues’ politics.
    Worse, the President of Harvard, the stubborn Dr. Pusey, then refused to fire them as Joe McCarthy had demanded.
    “Son,” Dr. Rossi asked with growing frequency, “how can anyone whose brother died protecting us from communism even dream of going to that kind of school?”
    Danny remained taciturn. What was the point of answering that music isn’t political?
    As Dr. Rossi persevered with his objections, Danny’s mother tried desperately not to take sides. And so Dr. Landau was the only person with whom Danny could discuss his great dilemma.
    The old man was as circumspect as possible. And — yet — he confessed to Danny, “This McCarthy frightens me. You know, they started out in Germany like this.”
    He paused uneasily, now pained by unhealed memories.
    Then he continued softly, “Daniel, there is fear throughout the country. Senator McCarthy thinks he can dictate to Harvard, tell them whom to fire and so forth.
    I think their president has shown enormous bravery. In fact, I wish I could express to him my admiration.”
    “How could you do that, Dr. Landau?”
    The old man leaned slightly toward his brilliant pupil and said, “I would send them you.”

    The Ides of May arrived and with them letters of acceptance. Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford all wanted Danny. Even Dr. Rossi was impressed — although he feared his son might make a fatal choice.

    Armageddon came that weekend when he summoned Danny to his cordovan-upholstered study. And asked the crucial question.
    “Yes, Dad,” he answered diffidently, “I’m going to Harvard.”
    There was a deathly silence.
    Up till now, Danny had cherished the unconscious hope that when his father saw the strength of his conviction, he would finally relent.
    But Arthur Rossi was as adamant as stone.
    “Dan, this is a free country. And you’re entitled to go to whatever college you desire. But I’m also free to express my own dissent. And so I choose not to pay a penny of your bills. Congratulations, son, you’re on your own. You’ve just declared your independence.”
    For an instant Danny felt confused and lost. Then, as he studied his father’s face, he began to comprehend that this McCarthy business was just a pretext. Art Rossi simply didn’t give a damn for him at all.
    And he realized that he had to rise above his childish need for this man’s approbation.
    For now he knew he’d never get it, Never.
    “Okay, Dad,” he whispered hoarsely, “if that’s the way you want it....”
    He turned and left the room without another word. Through the heavy door, he heard a timpani of punches pounding savagely on his father’s desk.
    Yet strangely he felt free.


    joy was his song and joy so pure
    a heart of star by him could steer
    and pure so now and now so yes
    the wrists of twilight would rejoice.
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    his flesh was flesh his blood was blood:
    no hungry man but wished him food;
    no cripple wouldn’t creep one mile
    uphill to only see him smile.
e.e. cummings,
    He was the Golden Boy. A tall and blond Apollo with the kind of magnetism women loved and men admired. He excelled at every sport he played. His teachers adored him, for despite his universal popularity, he was soft-spoken and respectful.
    In short, he was that rare young man whom every parent dreams of as a son. And every woman dreams of as a lover.
    It would be tempting to say that Jason Gilbert, Jr., was the American Dream.
    Certainly a lot of people thought so. But beneath his dazzling exterior there was a single inner blemish. A tragic flaw he had inherited — from generations of his ancestors.
    Jason Gilbert had been born Jewish.
    His father had worked hard to camouflage the fact. For Jason Gilbert, Sr., knew from the bruises of his Brooklyn childhood that being Jewish was a handicap, an albatross around the soul. Life would be far better if everyone could simply be American.
    He had long considered disposing of the liability of his last name. And finally, one autumn afternoon in 1933, a circuit court judge gave Jacob Gruenwald a new life as Jason Gilbert.
    Two years later, at his country club’s spring ball, he met Betsy Newman, blond, petite, and freckle-faced. They had a great deal in common. Love of theater, dancing, outdoor sports. Not least of all, they shared a passionate indifference to the practices of their ancestral faith.
    To avoid the pressures from their more religious relatives to have a “proper” ceremony, they decided to elope.
    Their marriage was a happy one whose joy was magnified in 1937 when Betsy gave birth to a boy, whom they named Jason, Jr.
    The very moment that he heard the splendid news, in the smoke-filled waiting room, the elder Gilbert made a silent vow. He would protect his newborn son from suffering the slightest hardship because he was of nominally Jewish parents. No, this boy would grow up and be a first-class member of American society.
    By this point Gilbert, Sr., was executive vice-president of the rapidly expanding National Communications Corporation. He and Betsy were living on a lush three-acre homestead in growing — and unghettoed — Syosset, Long Island.
    Three years later, baby sister Julie came along. Like her brother, she inherited her mother’s blue eyes and blond hair though only — Julie got the freckles.
    Their childhood was idyllic. Both seemed to thrive on the regimen of self-improvement that their father had devised for them. It began with swimming and continued with riding and tennis instruction. And, of course, skiing on their winter holidays.
    Young Jason was prepared with loving rigor to become a demon of the tennis courts.
    First he was tutored at a nearby club. But when he showed the promise that his father had fully expected, each Saturday the elder Gilbert personally drove his budding champion to Forest Hills for coaching by Ricardo Lopez, former Wimbledon and U.S. champion. Dad watched every minute of the sessions, shouting encouragement and reveling in Jason’s progress.
    The Gilberts had intended to bring up their children with no religion at all. But they soon discovered that, even in a place as easygoing as Syosset, no one could exist in unaffiliated limbo. It was worse than being … something second rate.
    Fortune dealt them yet another ace when a new Unitarian church was built nearby.
    They were accepted cordially, though their participation was sporadic, to say the least. They hardly ever went on Sundays. At Christmas they were on the slopes and Easter on the beach. But at least they belonged.
    Both parents were intelligent enough to know that trying to raise their children as Mayflower WASPs would ultimately cause them psychological perplexities. And so they taught their son and daughter that their Jewish background was like a little rivulet that poured from the Old Country to join with the mighty mainstream of American society.
    Julie went away to boarding school, but Jason opted to remain at home and attend Hawkins-Atwell Academy. He loved Syosset, and was especially reluctant to give up the chance of dating girls. Which, next to tennis, was his favorite sport.
    And in which he was equally successful.
    Admittedly, he was no whirlwind in the classroom. Still, his grades were good enough to all but guarantee admission to the university he and his father — dreamed of — Yale.
    The reasons were both intellectual and emotional. The Yale man seemed a tripartite aristocrat-gentleman, scholar, and athlete. And Jason simply looked like he was born to go there.

    And yet the envelope that arrived on the morning of May 12 was suspiciously underweight, suggesting that its message was short. It was also painful.
    Yale had rejected him.
    The Gilberts’ consternation turned to rage when they learned that Tony Rawson, whose grades were certainly no better than Jason’s, and whose backhand most assuredly was worse, had been accepted at New Haven.
     Jason’s father insisted on an immediate audience with the school headmaster, himself an old Yalie.
    “Mr. Trumbull,” he demanded, “can you possibly explain how they could reject my son and take young Rawson?”
    The gray-templed educator puffed at his pipe and replied, “You must understand, Mr. Gilbert, Rawson is a Yale ‘legacy’. His father and grandfather were both Old Blues. That counts for a lot up there. The feeling for tradition runs extremely deep.”
    “All right, all right,” the elder Gilbert responded, “but could you give me a plausible explanation of why a boy like Jason, a real gentleman, a great athlete —”
    “Please, Dad,” Jason interrupted, increasingly embarrassed. But his father persisted. “Could you tell me why your alma mater wouldn’t want a man like him?”
    Trumbull leaned back on his chair and replied, “Well, Mr. Gilbert, I’m not privy to the actual deliberations of the Yale committee. But I do know that the boys in New Haven like to have a ‘balanced mix’ in every class.”
    “Yes, you know,” the headmaster explained matter-of-factly, “there’s the question of geographical distribution, of alumni sons — as in Tony’s case. Then there’s the proportion of high school and prep school students, musicians, athletes …”
    By now Jason’s father knew what Trumbull was implying. “Mr. Trumbull,” he inquired with all the restraint he could still muster, “this ‘mix’ you refer to, does it also include — religious background?”
    “In fact, yes,” the headmaster answered affably. “Yale doesn’t have what you would call a quota. But it does, to some extent, limit the number of Jewish students it accepts.”
    “That’s against the law!”
    “I should hardly think so,” Trumbull replied. “Jews are — what? — two and a half percent of the national population? I’d wager Yale accepts at least four times that number.”
    Gilbert, Sr., was not about to wager. For he sensed that the older man knew the exact percentage of Jews accepted annually by his alma mater.
    Jason feared an angry storm was brewing and longed at all cost to avert it.
    “Look, Dad, I don’t want to go to a school that doesn’t want me. As far as I’m concerned, Yale can go to hell.”
    He then turned to the headmaster and said apologetically, “Excuse me, sir.”
    “Not at all,” Trumbull responded. “A perfectly understandable reaction. Now let’s think positively. After all, your second choice is a very good school. Some people even think Harvard is the best college in the country.”


    Great God, I ask thee for no meaner pelf
    Than that I may not disappoint myself,
    That in my action I may soar as high,
    As I can now discern with this clear eye.
    All sensible people are selfish.
    He was a commuter. A member of that small and near-invisible minority whose finances were not sufficient to allow them the luxury of living with their classmates on campus. Thus, they were Harvard men only by day — a part and yet apart — forced to return at night by bus or subway to the real world, Ironically, Ted Lambros had been born almost in the shadow of the Yard. His father, Socrates, who had come to America from Greece in the early thirties, was the popular proprietor of The Marathon restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue, a brisk walk north from Widener Library.
    In his establishment, as he would frequently boast to members of his staff (in other words, his family), more great minds would nightly gather than ever had “symposiazed” at the Academy of Plato. Not just philosophers, but Nobel Prize winners in physics, chemistry, medicine, and economics. And even Mrs. Julia Child, who had pronounced his wife’s lamb in lemons “most amusing.”
    Moreover, his son Theodore attended Cambridge High and Latin School, so very near the sacred precinct that it was almost part of the college itself.
    Since the elder Lambros held the members of the faculty in a reverence bordering on idolatry, it was natural that his son grew up with a passionate desire to go to Harvard.
    At sixteen, the tall and darkly handsome Theodore was promoted to full waiterhood, thus bringing him in closer contact with these academic luminaries.
    Ted felt a thrill when they merely said good evening to him.
    He wondered why. Just what was this Harvardian charisma he could sense even in the briefest motion of depositing a plate of Kleftiko?
    One apocalyptic evening, it at last became clear. They had such uncanny confidence. Self-assurance emanated from these dignitaries like a halo — whether they were discussing metaphysics or the merits of a new instructor’s wife.
    Being the son of an insecure immigrant, Ted especially admired their ability to love themselves and treasure their own intellects.
    And it gave him a goal in life. He wanted to become one of them. Not just an undergraduate but an actual professor. And his father shared the dream.
    Much to the discomfort of the other Lambros children, Daphne and Alexander, Papa would often rhapsodize at dinner about Ted’s glorious future.
    “I don’t know why everybody thinks he’s so great,” young Alex would grudgingly retort.
    “Because he is,” said Socrates with mantic fervor. “Theo is this family’s true lambros.” He smiled at his pun on their last name, which in Greek meant “gleam” or “brilliance.”
    From Ted’s small room on Prescott Street, where he grinded well into the night, he could see the lights of Harvard Yard barely two hundred yards away. So close, so very close. And if his concentration ever flagged, he would rouse himself by thinking, “Hang in, Lambros, you’re almost there.” For, like Odysseus in the swirling sea around Phaeacia, he could actually perceive the goal of all his long and mighty struggles.
    Consistent with these epic fantasies, he dreamed about the maiden who’d be waiting for him on this magic isle. A golden-haired young princess like Nausicaa. Ted’s Harvard dreams embraced the Radcliffe girls as well.
    Thus, when he read the Odyssey for senior English honors class and reached book 6 — Nausicaa’s great infatuation with the handsome Greek washed up on her shore — he saw it as an augury of the delirious reception he would get when at last he arrived.
    But Ted’s straight A in that English course was one of the very few he received all year. In fact, most of the time he earned solid if not brilliant B-pluses. He was more plugger than slugger. So could he dare hope to be admitted to Fair Harvard?
    He stood merely seventh in his class, with College-Board scores only slightly higher than average. True, Harvard usually sought out well-rounded individuals. But Ted adjudged himself to be a square. For after studying and waitering, where was the time to learn the harp or go out for a team? He was somberly objective and kept trying to persuade his — father not to expect the impossible.
    But Papa Lambros was unswervingly optimistic. He was confident that Ted’s letters of recommendation from the “gigantic personalities” who dined at The Marathon would have a magical effect.
    And in a way, they did. Ted Lambros was accepted — albeit without financial aid. This meant he was condemned to remain in his cell on Prescott Street, unable to taste the joys of Harvard life beyond the classroom. For he would have to spend his evenings slaving at The Marathon to earn the six-hundred-dollar tuition.
    Still Ted was undaunted. Though he was only at the foothills of Olympus, at least he was there, ready to climb.
    For Ted believed in the American dream. That if you wanted something badly enough and devoted your heart and soul to it, you would ultimately succeed.
    And he wanted Harvard with the same “unperishable fire” that drove Achilles till he conquered Troy.
    But then Achilles didn’t have to wait on tables every night.


    No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
    Am an attendant lord, one that will do
    To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
    Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
    Deferential, glad to be of use,
    Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
    Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse…
    The newest Eliot to enter Harvard continued a tradition that began in 1649.
    Andrew had a privileged childhood.
    Even after they had gracefully divorced, his parents lavished on him all a growing boy could wish for. He had an English nanny and a horde of teddy bears. And from as early as he could recall, they sent him to the most expensive boarding schools and summer camps. They established a trust fund, making his future secure.
    In short, they gave him everything except their interest and attention.
    Of course they loved him. That went without saying. Perhaps that is why they never actually said it. They simply assumed he would know that they appreciated what a fine and independent son he was.
    Yet, Andrew was the first of his entire family to feel himself unworthy of admission to Harvard. As he often joked selfdeprecatingly, “They let me in because my name was Eliot and I could spell it.”
    Clearly, his ancestry cast giant shadows on his confidence. And, quite understandably, what he regarded as a lack of creativity only magnified his innate inferiority complex.
    Actually, he was a rather bright young man. He had a modest way with words — as witnessed by the diary he kept from prep school onward. He played soccer well.
    He was a wing whose corner kicks helped many a center-forward score.
    That was an index of his personality — he was always happy when he could assist a friend.
    And off the field he was kind, thoughtful, and considerate. Most of all, though he would not have arrogated such a distinction for himself, he was considered by his many friends a darn nice guy.
    The university was proud to have him. But, Andrew Eliot ’58 had a quality that set him apart from every other member of his Harvard class.
    He was not ambitious.
    Just after 5:00 A.M. on September 20, a Greyhound bus reached the dingy terminal in downtown Boston and disgorged, among its passengers, a tired and sweaty Daniel Rossi. His clothing was a mass of wrinkles and his reddish hair unkempt. Even his glasses were fogged with transcontinental grime.
    He had left the West Coast three days earlier with sixty dollars in his pocket, of which he still had fifty-two. For he had all but starved his way across America.
    Totally exhausted, he was barely able to drag his single suitcase (full of music scores he’d studied on the journey, and a shirt or two) down to the subway for Harvard Square. First he trudged to Holworthy 6, his freshman lodgings in the Yard, then registered as quickly as possible so that he could return to Boston and transfer from his California branch to Local No. 9 of the Musicians Union.
    “Don’t get your hopes up, kid,” cautioned the secretary. “We got a million piano players out of work. Actually, the only keyboard jobs available are holy ones. You see, the Lord just pays the union minimum.” Pointing her long, vermilion-painted fingernail toward the small white notices pinned on a bulletin board, she added wryly, “Choose your religion, kid.”
    After a careful study of the possibilities, Danny returned with two scraps of paper.
    “These would be great for me,” he said. “Organist on Friday night and Saturday morning at the temple in Maiden, and Sunday morning at this church in Quincy. Are they still available?”
    “That’s why they’re hangin’ there, kid. But, as you can see, the bread they’re offering’s more like Ritz crackers.”
    “Yeah,” Danny replied, “but I can really use whatever money I can get my hands on. Do you get many Saturday-night dance gigs?”
    “Gee, you sure seem hungry. Got a big family to support or somethin’?”
    “No. I’m a freshman at Harvard and need the dough for tuition.”
    “How come those rich guys irs Cambridge didn’t give you a scholarship?”
    “It’s a long story,” Danny said uneasily. “But I’d be grateful if you’d keep me in mind. In any case, I’ll stay in touch.”
    “I’m sure you will, kid.

    Just before eight the preceding day, Jason Gilbert, Jr., had awakened in Syosset, Long Island.
    The sun always seemed to shine more — brightly in his bedroom. Perhaps it was reflected from his many glittering trophies.
    He shaved, put on a new Chemise Lacoste, then hauled his luggage, as well as assorted tennis and squash rackets, down to his 1950 Mercury coupé convertible. He was looking forward to roaring up the Post Road in the buggy he had lovingly rebuilt with his own hands, souping it up and even adding a dual fiberglass exhaust.
    The entire Gilbert household — Mom, Dad, Julie, Jenny the housekeeper and her husband Maxwell the gardener — were waiting to see him off.
    There was much kissing and embracing. And a short valedictory from his father.
    “Son, I won’t wish you luck because you don’t need it. You were born to be number one — and not just on the tennis court.”
    Though Jason did not show it, these parting words had the opposite of their intended effect. For he was already uneasy at the prospect of leaving home and testing his mettle against the real big leaguers of his generation. That last-minute reminder of Dad’s high expectations made him even more nervous.
    Still, he might have taken comfort had he known that his adoring father’s speech had been echoed several hundred times that day by several hundred other parents who were also sending their uniquely gifted progeny off to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Five hours later, Jason stood outside his assigned freshman dormitory, Straus A-32, on which a scrap of torn yellow paper was taped.
    To my roommate: I always nap in the afternoon, so please be quiet.
Thank you.
    It was signed simply “D. D.”
    Jason quietly unlocked the door and carried his baggage practically on tiptoe into the one free bedroom. After placing his suitcases on the metal bed (it creaked slightly), he glanced out the window.
    He had a view — and all the noise — of hectic Harvard Square. But Jason didn’t mind.
    He was actually in a buoyant mood, since there was still enough time left to stroll to Soldier’s Field and find a pickup game of tennis. Already dressed in white, he merely grabbed his Wilson and a can of Spauldings.
    Luckily, he recognized a varsity player who had defeated him in a summer tournament two years earlier. The guy was happy to see Jason again, agreed to hit a few, and then quickly learned how much the new arrival had improved.
    When he got back to Straus Hall, there was another yellow note on the door, announcing that D. D. had gone to dinner and would then proceed to the library (the library — they hadn’t even registered!) to study, and would be back just before 10:00 P.M. If his roommate planned on coming in after that, would he be kind enough to be as quiet as possible.
    Jason showered, put on a fresh Haspel cord jacket, grabbed a quick bite at a cafeteria in the Square, then tooled up to Radcliffe to scout the freshman girls. He returned about ten-thirty and was duly respectful of his unseen roommate’s need for rest.
    The next morning he woke to find yet another note.

    I have gone to register.
    If my mother calls, tell her I had a good dinner last night.
    Jason crumpled up this latest communiqué and marched off to join the line that now stretched well around the block outside Memorial Hall.

    The high intentions of his message notwithstanding, the elusive D. D. was not by any means the first member of The Class to register. For at the very stroke of nine, the large portals of Memorial Hall had opened to admit Theodore Lambros.
    Three minutes earlier, Ted had left his home on Prescott Street to stride over and claim a tiny but indelible place in the history of the oldest college in America.
    To his mind, he had entered Paradise.
    Andrew Eliot’s father drove him down from Maine in the family’s vintage station wagon, laden with carefully packed trunks containing tweed and shetland jackets, white buck shoes, assorted moccasins, rep ties, and a term’s supply of button-down and tab-collar shirts. In short, his school uniforms.
    As usual, father and son did not speak much to each other. Too many centuries of Eliots had gone through this same rite of passage to make conversation necessary.
    They parked by the gate closest to Massachusetts Hall (some of whose earlier occupants had been George Washington’s soldiers). Andrew ran into the Yard and rushed up to Wig G-21 to enlist the aid of his former prep school buddies in hauling his gear. Then, as they were toting barge and lifting bale, he found himself momentarily standing alone with his father. Mr.
    Eliot took the occasion to impart a bit of worldly advice.
    “Son,” he began, “I would be very grateful if you did your best not to flunk out of here. For though there are innumerable secondary schools in this great land of ours, there is only one Harvard.”
    Andrew gratefully acknowledged this astute paternal counsel, shook his father’s hand, and raced off to the dorm. His two roommates had already begun to help him unpack. Unpack his liquor, that is. They were toasting their reunion after a summer of self-styled debauchery in Europe.
    “Hey, you guys,” he protested, “you could at least have asked me. Besides, we’ve got to go register.”
    “Come off it, Eliot,” said Dickie Newall as he took another swig. “We walked past there just a while ago and there’s a line around the goddamn block.”
    “Yeah,” Michael Wigglesworth — affirmed, “all the weenies want to get there first. The race, as we well know, is not always to the swift.”
    “I think it is at Harvard,” Andrew politely suggested. “But in any case, it isn’t to the smashed. I’m going over.”
    “I knew it.” Newall sniggered. “Old Eliot, my man, you’ve got the makings of a first-class wonk.”
    Andrew persisted, undaunted by this preppie persiflage. “I’m going, guys.”
    “Go on,” Newall said, dismissing him with a haughty wave. “If you hurry back we’ll save you some of your Haig & Haig. By the way, where’s the rest of it?”
    And so Andrew Eliot marched through Harvard Yard to join the long, winding thread of humanity — and ultimately to be woven into the multicolored fabric called The Class of ’58.

    By now The Class was all in Cambridge, though it would take several hours more for the last of them to be officially enrolled.
    Inside the cavernous hail, beneath a giant stained-glass window, stood the future leaders of the world. Nobel Prize winners, tycoons of industry, brain surgeons, and a few dozen insurance salesmen.
    First they were handed large manila envelopes with all the forms to be signed (in quadruplicate for the Financial Office, quintuplicate for the Registrar, and, inexplicably, sextuplicate for the Health Department). For all this paperwork they sat side by side at narrow tables that stretched forever and seemed to meet only in infinity.
    Among the questionnaires to be completed was one for Phillips Brooks House, part of which asked for religious affiliation (response was optional).
    Though none of them was particularly pious, Andrew Eliot, Danny Rossi, and Ted Lambros marked the boxes next to Episcopal, Catholic, and Greek Orthodox, respectively. Jason Gilbert, on the other hand, indicated that he had no religious affiliation whatsoever.
    After the official registration, they had to run an endless gauntlet — of wild, paper-waving proselytizers, all vociferously urging Harvard’s now — official freshmen to join the Young Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives, mountain  climbers, scuba divers, and so on.
    Countless irrepressible student hucksters noisily cajoled them to subscribe to the Crimson (“Cambridge’s only breakfast-table daily”), the Advocate (“so you can say you read these guys before they got their Pulitzers”), and the Lampoon (“if you work it out, it comes to about a penny a laugh”). In short, none but the most determined misers or abject paupers emerged with wallets unscathed.
    Ted Lambros could sign up for nothing as his schedule was already fully committed to courses academic — by day and culinary by night.
    Danny Rossi put his name down for the Catholic Club, assuming that religious girls would be a little shyer and therefore easier to meet. Maybe they would even be as inexperienced as he.
    Andrew Eliot made his way through all this welter like a seasoned explorer routinely hacking through dense foliage. The kind of social clubs that he’d be joining did their recruitment in a more sedate and far less public fashion.
    And Jason Gilbert, except for buying a quick subscription to the Crimson (so he could send the chronicles of his achievements home to Dad and Mom), strode calmly through the phalanx of barkers, much like his ancestors had traversed the Red Sea, and returned to Straus.
    Miracle of miracles, the mysterious D. D. was actually awake. Or at least his bedroom door was open and someone was lying on the bed, face enveloped by a physics text.
    Jason hazarded direct discourse. “Hi there, are you D. D.?” A pair of thick, horn-rimmed spectacles cautiously peeked above the book.
    “Are you my roommate?” a nervous voice responded.
    “Well, I’ve been assigned to Straus A thirty-two,” Jason answered.
    “Then you’re my roommate,” the young man logically concluded. And after carefully marking with a paper clip the line where he had left off reading, he put down his book, rose and offered a somewhat cold and clammy hand.
    “I’m David Davidson,” he said.
    “Jason Gilbert.”
    D. D. then eyed his roommate suspiciously and asked, “You don’t smoke, do you?”
    “No, it’s bad for the wind. Why do you ask, Dave?”
    “Please, I prefer to be called David,” he replied. “I ask because I specifically requested a nonsmoking roommate. Actually I wanted a single, but they don’t allow freshmen to live alone.”
    “Where are you from?” Jason inquired.
    “New York. Bronx High School of Science. I was a finalist in the Westinghouse Competition. And you?”
    “Long Island. Syosset. All I’ve been is finalist in a couple of tennis tournaments. Do you play any sport, David?”
    “No,” the young scholar replied. “They’re all a waste of time. Besides, I’m premed. I have to take things like Chem Twenty. What’s your chosen career, Jason?”
    God, thought Jason, do I have to be interviewed just to be this wonk’s cellmate?
    “To tell the truth, I haven’t decided yet. But while I’m thinking about it, shouldn’t we go out and buy some basic furniture for the living room?”
    “What for?” D. D. asked warily. “We each have a bed, a desk, and a chair. What else do we need?”
    Well, said Jason, “a couch might be nice. You know, to relax and study in during the week. We could also use an icebox. So we’d have something cold to serve people on the weekends.”
    “People?” D. D. inquired, somewhat agitated. “Do you intend to have parties here?”
    Jason was running out of patience.
    “Tell me, David, did you specifically request an introverted monk as your roommate?”
    “Well, you didn’t get one. Now, are you going to chip in for a second-hand couch or not?”
    “I don’t need a couch,” he replied sanctimoniously.
    “Okay,” said Jason, “then I’ll pay for it myself. But if I ever — see you sitting on it, I’ll charge you rent.”
    Andrew Eliot, Mike Wigglesworth, and Dickie Newall spent all that afternoon scouring the furniture emporia in and around the Square and procured the finest leatherette pieces available. After expending three hours and $195, they stood at the ground floor of G-entry with all their treasures.
    “God,” Newall exclaimed, “I shudder to think how many lovelies will succumb on this incredible chaise longue. I mean they’ll just take one look at it, disrobe, and hop right on.
    “In that case, Dickie,” Andrew interrupted his old buddy’s reverie, “we’d better lug it up the stairs. If a Cliffie passes while we’re standing here you might just have to perform in public.”
    “Don’t think I couldn’t,” Newall answered with bravado, quickly adding, “come on let’s get this paraphernalia up the stairs. Andy and I’ll take the couch.” And then, turning to the largest member of their trio, he called out, “Can you manage that chair by yourself, Wigglesworth?”
    “No sweat,” the tall athlete replied laconically. And with that he lifted the huge armchair, placed it on his head as if it were a large padded football helmet, and started up the stairwell.
    “That’s our mighty Mike,” Newall quipped. “Fair Harvard’s future crew immortal and the first man from this college who’ll play Tarzan in the movies.”
    “Just three more steps. Please, you guys,” Danny Rossi implored.
    “Hey, listen, kid, the deal was we’d deliver it. You didn’t say there would be stairs. We always take pianos in an elevator.”
    “Come on,” Danny protested, “you guys knew that they don’t have any in Harvard dorms. What’s it going to take for you to deliver this up just three more steps into my room?
    “Another twenty bucks,” replied one of the burly delivery men.
    “Hey, look, the damn piano only cost me thirty-five.”
    “Take it or leave it, kid. Or you’ll be singin’ in the rain.”
    “I can’t afford twenty bucks,” Danny moaned.
    “Tough titty, Harvard boy,” growled the more talkative of the two movers. And they ambled off.
    Danny sat there on the steps of Holworthy for several minutes pondering his great dilemma. And then the notion came to him.
    He placed the rickety stool in position, lifted the lid of the ancient upright, and began, first tentatively and then with increasing assurance, to animate the fading ivories with “The Varsity Drag.”
    Since most of the windows in the Yard were open because of the Indian Summer weather, it was not long before a crowd surrounded him. Some spirited freshmen even began to dance. To get in shape for conquests up at Radcliffe and on other social battlefields.
    He was terrific. And his classmates were genuinely thrilled to discover what a talent they had in their midst. (“The guy’s another Peter Nero,” someone remarked.) At last Danny finished — or thought he had. But everybody clapped and shouted for more. So he started taking requests for pieces as varied as “The Saber Dance” and “Three Coins in the Fountain.”
    At last, a university policeman happened on the scene. It was just what Danny had been hoping for.
    “Listen,” the officer growled, “you can’t play a pianer outside in the Yard. You gotta move this here instrument into a dorm.”
    The freshmen booed.
    “Hey, listen,” Danny Rossi said to his enthusiastic audience. “Why don’t we all bring this piano up the stairs to my room and then I’ll play all night.”
    There were cheers of assent as half a dozen of the strongest present started carrying Danny’s upright with festive alacrity.
    “Wait a minute,” the cop warned, “remember, no playing after ten P.M. Them are the rules.”
    More hisses, boos, and grunts as Danny — Rossi politely answered, “Yes, sir, Officer. I promise I’ll only play till dinnertime.”
    Though he, of course, was not privileged to be moving from the cubicle he’d occupied throughout his high school days, Ted Lambros nonetheless spent much of that afternoon purchasing essential items in The Coop.
    First and foremost, a green bookbag, a must for every serious Harvard man — a utilitarian talisman that carried the tools of your trade and identified — you as a bona fide scholar. He also bought a large, rectangular crimson banner whose white felt letters proudly boasted “Harvard — Class of 1958,” And, while other freshmen were hanging identical chauvinistic fabrics on the walls of their dormitories in the Yard, Ted hung his over the desk in his tiny bedroom.
    For good measure, he acquired an impressive-looking pipe from Leavitt & Pierce, which he would someday learn to smoke.
    As the afternoon waned, he checked and rechecked his carefully purchased secondhand wardrobe and inwardly pronounced himself ready to meet tomorrow’s Harvard challenge.
    And then, the magic aura broken, he headed up Massachusetts Avenue to The Marathon, where he would have to don the same old hokey costume in order to serve lamb to the lions of Cambridge.
    It was a day of standing on lines. First in the morning at Memorial Hall, and then just after 6:00 P.M., when the dinner column began to form at the Freshman Union, winding outside, down its granite steps, and almost into Quincy Street. Naturally, each freshman wore a tie and jacket — although the garments varied in color and quality, depending on the means and background of the wearer. The rules explicitly proclaimed that the only civilized attire in which a Harvard man could take a meal.
    But these formally accoutred gentlemen were in for a rude surprise. There were no dishes.
    Instead, their food was scooped out into a tan plastic doggy bowl divided into unequal sections of undetermined purpose. The only rational compartment was the cavity within the hub of this contraption, which could hold a glass of milk.
    Ingenious as it was, it could not hide the fact that freshman food was absolutely wretched.
    What was that gray sliced stuff slapped at them at the first station? The serving biddies claimed it was meat. It looked like innersoles to most and tasted much that way to all. It was no consolation that they could eat all they wanted. For who would ever want more of this unchewable enigma?
    The only real salvation was the ice cream. It was plentiful and filling. And to an eighteen-year-old this can compensate for almost any culinary lapse. And did so in prodigious quantities.
    No one really bitched in earnest. Far, although not all of them admitted it, they were excited just to be there. The tasteless food gave every person in The Class an opportunity to be superior to something.
    Nearly all of them were used to being number one in some domain. The Class contained no fewer than 287 high school valedictorians, each painfully aware that only one of them was good enough to match that achievement at Harvard.
    By some uncanny instinct, the jocks had already started to discover one another.
    At one round table in the outer circle, Clancy Roberts was subtly campaigning for the freshman hockey captaincy. At yet another, football linemen, who had met an hour earlier at Dillon Field House, savored what would be among the last meals they would be obliged to take with the plebs. For, once the pads were on, they’d be dining at the training table in the V–Club, where the meat, though no less gray, would be served twice as thick.
    The huge, wood-paneled hall reverberated with the loud chatter of nervous freshmen. You could tell who had gone to high schools and who to prep schools. For the latter dressed in matching plumage — shetland jackets and rep ties — and ate in larger groups, whose conversation and laughter were homogenized. The would-be physicist from Omaha, the poet from Missouri, and the future lawyer-politician from Atlanta ate alone. Or, if after twenty-four hours they could still stand them, with their roommates.
    Harvard did not choose your living companions without much deliberation and analysis. Indeed, some keen sadistic genius must have spent innumerable hours on this strange apportionment. And what a task it was — a smorgasbord containing eleven hundred wholly different dishes. What would you serve with what? What would go well and what give interpersonal dyspepsia? Someone in the administration knew. Or at least thought he did.
    Of course, they asked you for your preferences. Nonsmoker, athlete, interested in art, et cetera. Preppies naturally requested and received accommodations with their buddies. But then, they were the few conformists in this monstrous colony of oddballs, where exceptions were the norm.
    What, for example, could they do with Danny Rossi, whose singular request had been a dormitory as near as possible to Paine Hall, the music building? Put him with another music type? No, that might risk a clash of egos. And what Harvard wanted was harmonious tranquility among its freshmen, who that week were in the process of receiving the most agonizing lesson of their lives. They were about to learn that the world did not spin uniquely around them.
    For reasons inexplicable to everyone except the college powers, Danny Rossi was assigned to share his rooms in Holworthy with Kingman Wu, a Chinese future architect from San Diego (perhaps the link was California), and Bernie Ackerman, a mathematics whiz and champion fencer from New Trier High School in a suburb of Chicago.
    As they all ate dinner at the Union that evening, it was Bernie who tried to puzzle out why they three had been thrown together by the mandarins of Harvard roommate-ism.
    “It’s the stick,” he offered as a solution. “That’s the only symbol that connects us three.”
    “Is that supposed to be profound or just obscene?” asked Kingman Wu.
    “Hell, don’t you see it?” Ackerman persisted. “Danny’s going to be a great conductor. What do those guys wave at an orchestra? Batons. Me, I’ve got the biggest stick, ’cause I’m a fencer. Get it now?”
    “And me?” asked Wu.
    “What do architects most often draw with? Pencils, pens. There’s the three sticks and the solution to the mystery of our being put together.”
    The Chinaman was not impressed. “You’ve just awarded me the smallest one.” He frowned.
    “Well, you know where to stick it, then,” Ackerman suggested with a self-congratulatory chuckle.
    And thus the first eternal enmity among The Class of ’58 was born.
    In spite of his outward self-assurance, Jason Gilbert was nervous about going to the Union on his own for that inaugural repast. So desperate was he that he actually sought out D. D. in order to propose they go together. Alas, his roommate was already back before Jason had even dressed.
    “I was the third on line,” he boasted. “I had eleven ice creams. That’ll really please my mom.”
    So Jason ventured out alone. As luck would have it, near the steps of Widener Library he ran into a guy he’d played (and beaten) in the quarter finals of the Greater Metropolitan Private Schools Tourney. The fellow proudly introduced his quondam rival to his current roommates as “the S.O. B. who’s going to knock me off for number one. Unless that guy from California beats us both.”
    Jason was happy to join them, and the talk was mostly of the tennis court. And the wretched food. And doggy bowls, of course.


    September 21, 1954
    My roommates and I celebrated our first night at Harvard by not eating there. We elected instead to go into Boston, have a quick meal at the Union Oyster House, and then move on to Scollay Square, the sole oasis of sleaze in the city’s desert of puritanical decency.
    Here we attended the edifying spectacle at the Old Howard. This venerable burlesque theater has housed the legendary strippers of the age, not least of whom was tonight’s attraction, Irma the Body.
    After the performance (if that’s the word for it), we all dared one another to go backstage and invite the leading lady to join us sophisticates for a drop of champagne. First we thought of composing an elegant epistle (“Dear Miss Body …”), but then decided a live emissary would be more effective.
    At this point there were huge piles of braggadocio being hurled back and forth. Each of us showed our tremendous latent courage by pretending to be on our way in. Yet no one took more than two steps toward that stage door.
    I then came up with a brilliant solution: “Hey, why don’t we all go?”
    We all eyed one another to see who’d be first to respond. But no one did.
    Then, in a sudden, inexplicable fit of conscientiousness, we unanimously decided that discretion bade us get some sleep to prepare us for the rigors of a Harvard education. The spirit, we reasoned, must take precedence over the flesh.
    Alas, poor Irma, you don’t know what you missed.
    Twelve freshmen stood in a straight line, stark naked. They were of varying somatotypes, ranging from corpulent to frail (Danny Rossi was among them.) Their physiques were as disparate as Mickey Mouse and Adonis (Jason Gilbert was also among the dozen). Before them stretched a wooden bench some three feet off the ground, and behind it an imperious gymnasium official who had menacingly introduced himself as “Colonel” Jackson.
    “Awright,” he barked. “You freshmen are about to take the famous Harvard Step Test. Which, as you don’t have to be a Harvard man to figger out, involves the stepping up and stepping down on this here step. Clear so far? Now, this here test was devised during the war so’s we could check our G.I.s’ fitness. And it must have worked, ’cause we beat Hitler, didn’t we?”
    He paused to await some expression of patriotic enthusiasm on the part of his charges. But, losing patience, he continued laying down the rules.
    “Okay, when I blow my whistle, you start climbing on and off the bench. We’ll be playing an L.P. and also I’ll be beating time with this here stick. Now this procedure will continue for five entire minutes. And I’m watching all of you, so don’t goof off or miss a step or you’ll be majoring in P.T. exercises the whole darn year.”
    Danny trembled inwardly as this officious ogre rambled on.
    Shit, he told himself, these other guys are so much — taller than I. For them it’s just like stepping on a curb. For me this lousy bench is like Mount Everest. It isn’t fair.
    “Awright,” Colonel Jackson snapped. “When I say go, you start stepping. And keep in time!”
    And they were off.
    As an L.P. blared stridently, the monster pounded his stick with relentless, debilitating regularity. Up-two-three-four, up-two-three-four, up-two-three-four.
    After a few dozen steps, Danny was beginning to tire. He wished the colonel’s beat would slacken even slightly, but the man was an infernal metronome. Still, at least it would soon be over — he prayed.
    “Half a minute!” Jackson called out.
    Thank God, thought Danny, just a little more and I’ll be able to stop.
    But an agonizing thirty seconds thereafter, the official bellowed, “One minute down, just four to go!”
    No, thought Danny, not another four minutes. I can barely breathe. Then he reminded himself that if he quit, he’d have to take a gym class with this sadist in addition to his other courses! And so he mustered all his inner fortitude, the courage that had once fueled him on the running track, and fought beyond the limits of his pain.
    “Come on, you puny carrot top,” the torture master bellowed. “I can see you’re skipping steps. Keep going, or I’ll make you do an extra minute.”
    Sweat was pouring down all of the dozen freshmen’s limbs. And even splashing onto their neighbors.
    “Two minutes. Just three more to go.”
    Now Danny sensed in desperation that he’d never make it. He could barely lift his legs. He was sure he’d fall and break an arm. Farewell to concertizing. All because of this ridiculously useless exercise in animality.
    Just then a quiet voice next to him said, “Take it easy, kid. Try to breathe normally. If you miss a step, I’ll do my best to block you.”
    Danny wearily looked up. It was a blond and muscular classmate who had uttered this encouragement. An athlete in such splendid shape that he had breath enough to give advice while he was stepping regularly up and down. All Dan could do was nod in gratitude. He steeled himself and persevered.
    “Four minutes,” cried the Torquemada in a sweatshirt. “Only one to go. You guys are doing pretty good — for Harvard men.”
    Danny Rossi’s legs were suddenly rigid. He couldn’t take another step.
    “Don’t quit now,” his neighbor whispered. “Come on, babe, just another lousy sixty seconds.”
    Then Danny felt a hand reach underneath his elbow and — pull him up. His limbs unlocked, and stiffly he resumed the grueling climb to nowhere.
    And then at last, deliverance. The whole nightmare was over.
    “Awright. Everybody sit down on the bench and put your hand on the neck of the guy on your right. We’re going to take pulses.”
    The freshmen, now initiated in this sweaty rite of passage, gladly collapsed and struggled to regain their breath.
    When Colonel Jackson had recorded all pertinent fitness information, the twelve exhausted freshmen were instructed to take showers and proceed, still in their birthday suits, down two flights of stairs to the pool. Because, as the overbearing instructor so aptly expressed it, “Whoever cannot swim fifty yards cannot graduate this university.”
    As they stood side by side under the showers washing off the sweat of persecution, Danny said to the classmate whose magnanimous assistance would allow him countless extra hours at the keyboard, “Hey, I can never thank you enough for saving me out there.”
    “That’s okay. It’s a stupid test to start with. And I pity anyone who’d have to listen to that ape give orders for a whole semester. What’s your name, by the way?”
    “Danny Rossi,” said the smaller man, offering a soapy hand.
    “Jason Gilbert,” the athletic type replied, and added with a grin, “can you swim okay, Dan?”
    “Yes, thanks.” Danny smiled. “I’m from California.
    “California, and you’re not a jock?”
    “My sport is the piano. Do you like the classics?”
    “Nothing heavier than Johnny Mathis. But still, I’d like to hear you play. Maybe after dinner sometime in the Union, huh?”
    “Sure,” Danny said, “but if not, I promise you a pair of tickets for my first public — performance.”
    “Gee, are you that good?”
    “Yes,” said Danny Rossi quietly, without embarrassment.
    Then they both descended to the pool and, in adjoining lanes, Jason with flamboyant speed, Danny with deliberate caution, swam the obligatory fifty yards that marked their final physical requirement for a degree at Harvard.


    September 22, 1954
    Yesterday we had the stupid Harvard Step Test. Being in reasonable shape for soccer, I passed it with no sweat. (Or to be more accurate, a lot of sweat, but very little effort.) The only trouble came when “Colonel” Jackson made us reach over to feel the neck artery of the guy next to you, my neighbor was so slippery with perspiration that I couldn’t find his pulse. So when that Fascist character came by to write it down, I just made up a number that popped into my head.
    When we got back to the dorm, the three of us reviewed this fairly degrading experience. We all agreed that the most undignified and unnecessary aspect was the damn posture picture just before the Step Test. Imagine, now Harvard has a personal file of everyone — or perhaps more accurately, every member of The Class — standing naked in front of the camera, ostensibly to test our posture. But probably so that when one of us becomes President of the — United States, the phys. ed. department can pull out his picture and see what the leader of the greatest nation in the world looks like in the raw.
    What really bugged Wigglesworth was that some thief could break into the IAB, filch our photographs, and sell them for a fortune.
    “To whom?” I asked. “Who’d pay to see the pictures of a thousand naked Harvard freshmen?”
    This gave him pause for thought. Who indeed would treasure such a portrait gallery? Some horny Wellesley girls, perhaps. Then something else occurred to me: do Cliffies have to take these pictures too?
    Newall thought they did. And I conceived this great idea of sneaking into the Radcliffe gym to steal their pictures. What a show! Then we’d know what girls to concentrate our efforts on.
    At first they really liked my plan. But then their courage sort of evanesced.
    And Newall argued that a “real man” should be able to find out empirically.
    So much for bravery. I would have liked that midnight raid.
    I think.
    Study cards were due in at 5:00 P.M. on Thursday. This gave The Class of ’58 a little time to shop around and choose a balanced program. They’d need courses for their majors, some for distribution, and some perhaps for cultural enrichment. And, most important, a gut. At least one really easy course was absolutely necessary for those who were either preppies or pre-med.
    For Ted Lambros, who was certain he’d be majoring in classics, the selection was fairly straightforward: Latin 2A, Horace and Catullus, and Nat. Sci. 4 with the pyrotechnic L. K. Nash, who regularly blew himself up several times a year.
    Both as a gut and a requirement, he took Greek A, an introduction to the classical version of the language he had used since birth. After two semesters he would be able to read Homer in the original. And in the meantime, as a fourth course, he would read the famous epics in translation with John Finley, the legendary Eliot Professor of Greek Literature. “Hum 2,” as it was affectionately known, would provide stimulation, information, and, as everyone at Harvard knew, an easy grade.
    Danny Rossi had already planned his schedule during his cross-country trek. Music 51, Analysis of Form, an unavoidable requirement for every major. But the rest would be pure joy. A survey of orchestral music from Haydn to Hindemith. Then, beginning German, to prepare him to conduct the Wagner operas. (He’d start Italian and French later.) And, of course, the college’s most popular and inspirational free ride — Hum 2.
    He had wanted to take Walter Piston’s Composition Seminar, and had assumed that the great man would admit him even though Danny was a freshman and the class had mostly graduates. But Piston turned him down “for his own good.”
    “Look,” the composer had explained, “the piece you handed in was charming. And I really didn’t have to see it. Gustave Landau’s letter was enough for me. But if I take you now, you might be in the paradoxical position of — how can I put it? — being able to sprint and not to walk. If it’s any consolation, when Leonard Bernstein was here we forced him to do his basic music ‘calisthenics’ just like you.”
    “Okay,” Danny said with polite resignation. And as he left thought, I guess that was his way of saying my piece is pretty juvenile.
    Freshmen who are preppies have a great advantage. Through their network of old graduates familiar with the Cambridge scene, they learn precisely what the courses are to take and which ones to avoid.
    The Harris Tweed underground imparts to them the secret word that is the key to making good at Harvard: bullshit. The greater the opportunity for tossing the verbiage like so much salad (unimpeded by the need for such trivia as facts), the more likely the course would be a snap.
    They also arrived at college well versed in the techniques of the essay question, and could pad their paragraphs with such useful phrases as “from a theoretical point of view,” or “upon first inspection we may seem to discern a certain attitude which may well survive even closer scrutiny,” and so forth. This sort of wind can sail you halfway through an hour test before you have to lay a single fact on paper.
    But you can’t do that in math. So for God’s sake, man, stay away from science. Even though there’s a Nat. Sci. requirement for course distribution, take it in your sophomore year. By then you’ll have perfected your prose style so that you might even be able to argue that, from a certain point of view, two and two might just possibly equal five.
    The program Andrew Eliot selected was a preppie’s dream. First, Soc. Rel. 1, because the name — Social Relations — was itself an invitation to throw bull. Then English 10, a survey from Chaucer to his cousin Tom. It was fairly rigorous but he’d read most of the stuff (at least in Hymarx outlines) in senior year at prep school.
    His choice of Fine Arts 13 also showed astuteness, Not much reading, little taking down of notes. For it meant mostly watching slides. Moreover, the noon hour of its meeting and the semidarkness of its atmosphere were most conducive if one needed a short nap before lunch. Also, Newall pointed out, “As soon as we find girlfriends at the Cliffe, that auditorium will be the perfect spot for making out.”
    There was no problem about his final course. It had to be Hum 2. In addition to its many other attractions, since the instructor held the chair endowed by Andrew’s ancestors, he looked upon Professor Finley as a sort of family retainer.
    The night they handed in their study cards, Andrew, Wig, and Newall had a gin-and-tonic party to honor their official course commitment to self-betterment.
    “So, Andy,” Dickie asked after his fourth, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
    And Andrew answered, only half in jest, “Frankly, I don’t think I really want to grow up.”


    October 5, 1954
    The occasions that we thousand-odd will meet together as a class in our entire lifetime are extremely rare.
    We gather three times while we are in college. First at the Freshman Convocation — sober, serious, and boring. Then at the notoriously gross Freshman Smoker — just the opposite. And, finally, after jumping all the necessary hurdles, one June morning four years hence when we’ll receive diplomas.
    Otherwise, we go through Harvard on our own. They say our most important meeting is a quarter-century after we all graduate. That would be 1983 — impossible to think that far away.
    They also say that when we come back for our Twenty-fifth Reunion we’ll be feeling something vaguely like fraternity and solidarity. But for now, we’re much more like the animals on Noah’s Ark. I mean, I don’t think the lions had too much to chat about with the lambs. Or with the mice. That’s just about the way me and my roommates feel about some of the creatures that are on board with us for this four-year voyage. We live in different cabins and sit on different decks.
    Anyway, we gathered all together as The Class of ’58 tonight in Sanders Theater. And it was pretty solemn.
    I know Dr. Pusey isn’t everybody’s hero nowadays, but when he talked tonight about the university’s tradition of defending academic freedom, it was kind of moving.
    He chose as an example A. Lawrence Lowell, who at the beginning of this century succeeded my greatgranddad as President of Harvard. Apparently, right after World War I, a lot of guys in Cambridge had flirtations with the Socialists and Communists — then preaching hot, new stuff. Lowell was under tremendous pressure to dismiss the lefties from the faculty.
    Now, even guys as dim as I caught Pusey’s tacit parallel with Senator McCarthy’s unrelenting war on him when he quoted Lowell’s great defense of professors in the classroom being absolutely free to teach “the truth as they see it.”
    You have to hand it to him. He’s demonstrated courage as Hemingway defined it, “grace under pressure.” And yet The Class of ’58 did not give him a standing ovation.
    But something tells me that when we’re older and have seen more of the world, we’ll feel ashamed that we didn’t acknowledge Pusey’s bravery tonight.
    “Where you going, Gilbert?”
    “Where does it look like, D. D.? To breakfast, obviously.”
    “Sure, why not?”
    “Come on, Gilbert, you should know better. Don’t you realize it’s Yom Kippur?”
    “Well, don’t you know what it is?”
    “Of course, the Day of Atonement for Jews.”
    “Gilbert, you should be fasting today,” his roommate admonished. “You talk as if you’re not Jewish.”
    “Well, D. D., as a matter of fact, I’m not.”
    “Don’t give me that. You’re as Jewish as I am.”
    “On what evidence do you base that categorical statement?” Jason said good-humoredly.
    “Well, to begin with, haven’t you noticed that Harvard always assigns Jews to the same rooms? Why else do you think they put you with me?”
    “I wish I knew,” Jason said jocularly.
    “Gilbert,” D. D persisted, “do you actually stand there and deny that you are of the Jewish faith?”
    “Look, I know my grandfather was a Jew. But as far as faith is concerned, we belong to the local Unitarian church.”
    “That doesn’t mean a thing,” D. D. retorted. “if Hitler were alive he’d still consider you a Jew.”
    “Listen, David,” Jason answered, unperturbed, “in case you haven’t heard, that bastard’s been dead for several years now. Besides, this is America. You do recall that bit in the Bill of Rights about freedom of worship. In fact, the grandchild of a Jewish man can even have breakfast on Yom Kippur.”
    But D. D. was far from conceding defeat.
    “Gilbert, you should read Jean-Paul Sartre’s essay on Jewish identity. It would wake you up to your dilemma.”
    “I didn’t realize that I had one, frankly.”
    “Sartre says that someone’s Jewish if the world regards him a Jew. And that means, Jason, you can be a blond, eat bacon on Yom Kippur, wear your preppie clothes, play squash — it doesn’t change a thing. The world will still consider you a Jew.”
    “Hey, look, so far, the only guy that’s ever given me grief on this whole business has been you, my friend.”
    And yet Jason realized inwardly that what he’d just stated was not quite the truth. For had he not experienced a little “problem” vis-à-vis the Yale Admissions Office?
    “Okay,” D. D. concluded as he buttoned up his coat, “if you want to go on living like an ostrich, it’s your privilege.
    But sooner or later you’ll learn.” And in parting, he added sarcastically, “Have a good breakfast.”
    “Thanks,” Jason called cheerily, “and don’t forget to pray for me.”

    The old man gazed at the wine-dark sea of students reverently awaiting his comments on Odysseus decision to sail homeward after ten years of breathless encounters with women, monsters, and monstrous women.
    He was standing on the stage of Sanders Theater, the only Harvard building large enough — or indeed appropriate — to house the lectures of Professor John H. Finley, Jr., chosen by Olympus to convey the glory that was Greece to the hoi polloi of Cambridge. Indeed, such was his charismatic eloquence that many of the hundreds who entered Humanities 2 in September as philistines emerged by Christmas as passionate philhellenes.
    Thus it was that on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 A.M., fully one-quarter of the entire population of Harvard College gathered to hear the great man’s lectures on the Epic from Homer to Milton. Everyone seemed to have a favorite vantage point for viewing Finley. Andrew Eliot and Jason Gilbert preferred the balcony. Danny Rossi, killing two birds with one stone, would alter his position frequently since he wanted to master the acoustics of the hall, venue for Harvard’s major concerts and even the occasional — visit by the Boston Symphony.
    Ted Lambros always sat in the first row, lest he miss a single winged word. He had come to Harvard already wanting to major in Latin and Greek, but Finley’s survey endowed the prospect with mystical grandeur that filled him with euphoria as well as ethnic pride.
    Today Finley was discussing Odysseus’ departure from the enchanted isle of the nymph Calypso, despite her passionate pleas and promises to grant him eternal life. “Imagine —” Finley breathed to his rapt auditors. He then paused while all wondered what he would ask them to conjure.
    “Imagine our hero is offered an unending idyll with a nymph who will remain forever young. Yet, he forsakes it all to return to a poor island and a woman who, Calypso explicitly reminds him, is fast approaching middle age, which no cosmetic can embellish. A rare, tempting proposition, one cannot deny. But what is Odysseus’ reaction?
    He then paced back and forth, and recited without book, clearly translating from the Greek as he went along:
    “Goddess, I know that everything you say is true and that clever Penelope is no match for your face and figure. But she is after all a mortal and you divine and ageless. Yet despite all this I yearn for home and for the day of my returning.
    He stopped pacing and walked slowly and deliberately to the edge of the stage.
    “Here,” he said, at a whisper that was nonetheless audible in the farthest corner, “is the quintessential message of the Odyssey …”
    A thousand pencils poised in readiness to transcribe the crucial words to come.
    “In, as it were, leaving an enchanted — and one must presume pleasantly tropical — isle to return to the cold winter winds of, shall we say, Brookline, Massachusetts, Odysseus forsakes immortality for — identity. In other words, the imperfections of the human state are outweighed by the glory of human love.”
    There was a brief pause while the audience waited for Finley to draw breath before daring to do so themselves.
    And then applause. Slowly the spell was broken as students marched out the various Sanders Theater exits. Ted Lambros was close to tears and felt he had to say something to the master. But it took him a few seconds to gather his courage. By this time, the nimble academic had donned his tan raincoat and fedora and had reached the tall arched gateway.
    Ted approached him diffidently. As he did he was amazed that, on terra firma, this man of such great stature was actually of normal height.
    “Sir, if you’ll permit me,” he began, “that was the most inspiring lecture I’ve ever heard. I mean, I’m just a freshman, but I’m going to major in classics, and I’ll bet you’ve made a thousand converts in there …, uh, sir.”
    He knew he was rambling gauchely, but Finley was accustomed to such reverential clumsiness. And in any case he was pleased.
    “A freshman and already decided on the classics?” he inquired.
    “Yes, sir.”
    “What is your name?”
    “Lambros, sir. Theodore Lambros, ’58.”
    “Ah,” said Finley, “‘Theo-doros,’ gift of God, and ‘lampros’ — a truly Pindaric name. One thinks of the famous verses in Phythian 8 — Lampron phengos epestin and ron, radiant light that shines on men.’ Do come and see us for Wednesday tea at Eliot House, Mr. Lambros.”
    Before Ted could even thank him, Finley turned on his — heels and marched off into the October wind, reciting Pindar all the way.
    Jason woke at the sound of someone in great distress.
    He glanced quickly at his night table. It was just after 2:00 A.M. From across the suite, he heard muffled sobbing and frightened cries of, “No, no!”
    He leapt out of bed and rushed across to D. D.’s door, the source of all those tormented noises.
    Knocking softly, Jason asked, “David, are you okay?”
    The sobbing stopped abruptly and there was only silence. Jason knocked again and rephrased his question.
    “Are you all right in there?”
    Through the closed door came the curt response, “Go away, Gilbert. Leave me alone.” But it was in a strangely anguished tone of voice.
    “Listen, D. D., if you don’t open up I’m going to break in.”
    After a second he heard the scraping of a chair. A moment later the door opened a crack. And his roommate peeked out nervously. Jason could perceive that he had been at his desk studying.
    “What do you want?” snapped D. D.
    “I heard noises,” Jason replied. “I thought you were in some kind of pain.”
    “I just fell asleep for a minute and had a sort of nightmare. It’s nothing.
    And I’d be grateful if you’d let me study.” He closed the door again.
    Jason still would not retreat.
    “Hey, listen, D. D., you don’t have to be pre-med to know that people can go nuts from not sleeping. Haven’t you studied enough for one night?”
    The door opened again.
    “Gilbert, I couldn’t possibly go to bed if I thought any of my competition were still awake studying. Chem. Twenty is the survival of the fittest.”
    “I still think a little rest would make you fitter, David,” Jason said softly.
    “What was your nightmare, by the way?
    “You wouldn’t believe me even if I told you.”
    “Try me.”
    “It’s silly,” D. D. laughed nervously, “but I dreamed that they handed out the bluebooks — and I didn’t understand the questions. Stupid, ha? Anyway, you can go to bed now, Jason. I’m perfectly okay.”
    The next morning, D. D. made no mention whatsoever of the trauma of the night before. In fact, he was exceptionally obnoxious, as if unconsciously informing Jason that what he had seen a few hours earlier was just a one-time aberration.
    Still Jason felt duty-bound to say something to the dorm proctor, who was nominally supposed to be responsible for their welfare. Besides, Dennis Linden was a medical student and might understand the whole phenomenon that Jason had witnessed.
    “Dennis,” cautioned Jason, “you’ve got to give me your word that this is strictly confidential.”
    “Absolutely,” the soon-to-be-M.D. replied. “I’m glad you called this thing to my attention.”
    “Seriously, I think D. D. will go bonkers if he doesn’t get all A’s. He’s got this wild obsession that he has to be first in The Class.”
    Linden puffed his Chesterfield, blew rings into the air, and answered casually, “But, Gilbert, we both know that’s an impossibility.”
    “What makes you so sure?” Jason inquired, puzzled.
    “Listen, let me tell you something in confidence. Your roommate wasn’t even number one in his own high school, which sent half-a-dozen guys here with much higher averages and board scores. In fact, the Admissions Office only rated him a little over 10.5.”
    “What?” Jason asked.
    “Look, as I said, this stuff is really classified. But Harvard calculates the future standing of each student they accept —.”
    “In advance?” Jason interrupted.
    The proctor nodded and continued. “And what’s more, they’re almost never wrong.”
    “You mean to tell me that you know what grades I’m going to get this January?” Jason asked with stupefaction.
    “Not only that,” the future doctor answered, “we know pretty much just where you’ll graduate.”
    “Why not tell me now, so I won’t bother studying too hard,” Jason said, only barely joking.
    “Now come on, Gilbert, what I said is absolutely off the record, And I only told you so you could be ready to support your roommate when he wakes up to discover that he isn’t Einstein.”
    Jason suddenly erupted with angry resentment.
    “Hey, listen, Dennis, I’m not fit to act as a psychiatrist. Can’t we do something to help this guy now?”
    The proctor took another puff and answered, “Jason, young Davidson — who, between the two of us, I find a little twerp —i s here at Harvard precisely to learn his limitations. That is, if I may say so, one of the things that we do best. Let this ride till midterm. If the guy’s unable to deal with the fact that he’s not on top of the mountain, then maybe we’ll arrange for him to talk to someone in the Health Department. Anyway, I’m glad that you called this to my attention. Don’t hesitate to come again if he starts acting weird.”
    “He’s always acted weird,” Jason responded with a half-smile.
    “Gilbert,” said the proctor, “you’ve got no idea what whackos they accept at Harvard. D. D. is a damn Gibraltar compared to some of the nutcases I’ve seen.”


    October 17, 1954
    I never thought I was a good student and I didn’t mind getting C’s for all my hour exams. But I did think of myself as a pretty good soccer player. And that illusion’s just been dispelled.
    The damn freshman team is so packed with all kinds of international big gunners that I could barely get a chance to put my toe in.
    Still, there is a little solace in this truly Harvard lesson in humility. As I sit there on the bench awaiting my dispensation of three or four minutes’ play during the final moments (if we’re leading by enough), I can console myself with the reminder that the guy who plays ahead of me is no ordinary jock.
    Maybe his corner kicks are so lofty because he is descended from the Almighty.
    Still, if I have to be a second stringer it might as well be to the likes of Karim Aga Khan, who is, as Professor Finley put it, “the great, great, great, great, and ad infinitum grandson of God.”
    And he’s not the only dignitary who has relegated me to being practically a spectator. Our center forward is another divinity — a genuine Persian prince. And we’ve got ringers from places as exotic as South America, the Philippines — and even public high schools. All of whom have contributed to my sedentary status.
    But at least we’re undefeated. There’s some comfort to be found in that. And if I get to play another seven minutes, I’ll have earned my freshman numerals.
    As if the flower of my confidence has not been sufficiently wilted by the heat of these guys’ talent on the field, I grit my teeth as I report that Bruce Macdonald, the best player of them all, is perhaps the greatest genius in the whole damn Class.
    He graduated number one at Exeter, was captain and high scorer of their soccer team, ditto for lacrosse in springtime. And just to keep him busy in the evenings, he’s so terrific with a violin that, as a freshman, he’s been chosen concertmaster of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra!
    Thank God I arrived here with a well-developed feeling of inferiority. Because if I had come as cocky as most guys were on the first day we were kicking soccer balls, I would have thrown myself into the Charles.
    The rabbi stood at the podium and announced:
    “After the concluding hymn, the congregation is cordially invited to the Vestry Room for wine, fruit, and honeycake. Now let us turn to page one hundred two and join in the singing of ‘Adon Olam, Lord of the Universe.’”
    In the organ loft above, Danny Rossi picked up his cue and struck the opening chords with a gusto that delighted the worshippers.
Lord of the Universe, who reigned
Ere earth and heaven’s fashioning,
When to create a world he deigned
Then was his name proclaimed King.

    After the rabbi’s benediction, they filed out as Danny played the recessional. The moment he finished, he grabbed his jacket and hurried downstairs.
    He entered the Vestry Room unobtrusively and headed for the abundantly laden tables. As he was filling a paper plate with slices of cake, he heard the rabbi’s voice.
    “How good of you to stay on, Danny. It’s certainly beyond the call of duty. I know how terribly busy you are.”
    “Oh, I enjoy being involved in everything, Rabbi,” he replied. “I mean, it’s all very interesting for me.”
    Danny was being quite sincere. Although he did not mention that what he most appreciated about the Jewish festivals was the plentiful food, which usually enabled him to skip lunch.
    This particular Saturday would be especially hectic for him, since the youth group of the Congregational church in Quincy, which he also served, was holding its Fall Hop. And he had persuaded the minister to hire “his” trio (quickly calling the Union for a young drummer and bassist). It would be tiring, but that fifty-buck fee would be a great consolation.
    It seemed pointless to go all the way back to Cambridge to pass the time between sacred and secular gigs, especially since Harvard would be caught up in Saturday football mania and it would be too noisy to work anyway. So Danny took the MTA to Copley Square and spent the afternoon studying in the Boston Public Library.
    There was a plumpish brunette sitting at the end of his table, with several notebooks emblazoned BOSTON UNIVERSITY. This gave the timid Casanova a clue of how to engage her in conversation.
    “Do you go to B.U.?”
    “I go to Harvard myself.”
    “That figures,” she said dismissively.
    With a sigh of anticipated defeat, Danny returned to Hindemith’s Craft of Musical Composition.
    When he emerged, a chilly darkness had descended upon the city. As he strolled through Boston’s version of Venice’s Piazza San Marco, he pondered a vital theological dilemma.
    Would the Congregationalists serve food?
    Better not take too big a leap of faith, he told himself. Hedge your bets. So he grabbed a quick tuna on rye before beginning the journey south to Quincy.
    The best part of the dance was that the drummer and the bass player turned out to be young college students like himself. The worst part was that he had to spend the entire evening at the piano, trying not to ogle the well-developed high school girls in their tight sweaters gyrating to the beat his hungry fingers produced on the keyboard.
    When the last couples finally straggled off the floor, an exhausted Danny looked at his watch. God, he thought, eleven-thirty and it’ll take me at least an hour to get back to Harvard. And I’ve got to be back here before nine.
    For an instant he was tempted to sleep upstairs on an isolated pew. No, don’t risk your job. Better haul yourself back home.

    When he finally entered Harvard Yard, nearly every window was dark. Yet, as he approached Holworthy, he was stunned to find his roommate, Kingman Wu, perched on the stone steps.
    “Hi, Danny.”
    “King, what the hell are you doing out here? It’s freezing.”
    “Bernie bounced me,” his friend replied forlornly. “He’s practicing his fencing and claims he’s got to be alone to concentrate.”
    “At this hour? The guy’s a maniac.”
    “I know,” said Kingman miserably. “But he’s got a sword, so what the heck could I do?”
    Perhaps the state beyond exhaustion dissipates all fear, for Danny felt strangely brave enough to deal with this emergency.
    “Come on, King, maybe the two of us can bring him to his senses.”
    As they headed in, Wu muttered, “You’re a real pal, Danny. I only wish you were six feet tall.”
    “So do I,” Danny said wistfully.
    Fortunately, the mad musketeer had gone to sleep. And a weary Danny Rossi followed almost instantly thereafter.
    “God, there’s this Jewboy going out for squash who’s unbelievable.”
    Dickie Newall was giving his roommates a detailed account of tryouts for the sport at which he’d excelled from the moment he was old enough to hold a racket.
    “Is he going to beat you out for number one?” asked Wig.
    “Are you kidding?” Newall groaned. “He could cream half the varsity. His drop shots are absolutely uncanny. And what really gets my goat is that the guy’s real neat. I mean, not just for a Jew — for a person.”
    At which point Andrew inquired, “What makes you think Jews aren’t people?”
    “Aw, come on, Eliot, you know what I mean. They’re usually these dark, brainy, aggressive guys. But this one doesn’t even wear glasses.”
    “You know,” Andrew commented, “my father always had a special admiration for the Jews. In fact, they’re the only doctors he’ll see for anything.”
    “But how many of them does he see socially?” Newall volleyed back.
    “That’s different. But I don’t think he avoids them as a policy. It’s just the circles that we move in.”
    “You mean it’s mere coincidence that none of these great physicians get put up for any of his clubs?”
    “All right,” Andrew conceded. “But I’ve never heard him make a racial slur of any sort. Even about Catholics.”
    “But he doesn’t mix with those guys either, does he? Not even our new mackerel-snapping senator from Massachusetts.”
    “Well, he has done some business deals with Old Joe Kennedy.”
    “Not over dinner at the Founders’ Club, I’ll bet,” Wig interposed.
    “Hey, look,” Andrew replied, “I didn’t say my dad’s a saint. But at least he taught me not to use the kind of language Newall enjoys so much.”
    “But, Andy, you put up with my colorful epithets for years.”
    “Yeah,” Wig agreed. “What’s suddenly made you such a Goody Two-Shoes?”
    “Listen, guys,” Andrew responded. “In prep school we had no Jews or Negroes at all. So who cared if you went on about the ‘lower orders.’ But Harvard’s full of all types, so I think we should learn to live with them.”
    His roommates glanced at one another quizzically.
    And then Newall complained, “Knock off this preaching, huh? I mean, if I’d said this guy was short or fat, you wouldn’t have given me any heat. When I refer to someone as a Hebie or a coon, it’s just a friendly way of typing him, a sort of shorthand adjective. I mean, for your information, I’ve invited this guy Jason Gilbert to our blast after the football game on Saturday.”
    Then he looked at Andrew with mischief in his eyes and added, “That’s if you don’t mind actually mixing with a Jewboy.”

    Although it was only the first week of November, the air at six o’clock was glacial and as dark as any winter evening. As Jason was dressing after squash practice, he discovered, to his annoyance, that he’d forgotten to bring a tie. He’d now have to return to Straus to get one. Otherwise, that Irish Cerberus who stood checking necks at the Union doorway would gleefully bounce him. Damn. Damn.
    He trudged back across the chilly, leafless Yard, climbed the stairs to A-32, and fumbled for his key.
    The moment that he pushed the door ajar, Jason noticed something odd. The place was dark. He glanced at D. D.’s room. No light from there either. Maybe he was sick. Jason rapped softly and inquired, “Davidson, are you okay?”
    There was no reply.
    Then, breaking the ironclad house rules, Jason opened the door. First he noticed the ceiling, where the electric wires had been torn out. Then he glanced quickly at the floor. Where he saw his roommate in a heap, motionless — a belt around his neck.
    Jason was vertiginous with fear.
    Oh God, he thought, the bastard’s killed himself. He knelt and turned D. D. over. This gesture elicited the faintest semblance of a groan. Quick, Jason, he urged himself, fighting to keep his wits, call the cops. No. They might not come in time.
    He swiftly removed the leather belt from his roommate’s lacerated throat. He then heaved him up onto his shoulders like a fireman, and rushed as quickly as he could to Harvard Square, where he commandeered a taxi, ordering the driver to tear-ass to the infirmary.

    “He’ll be all right,” the on-duty physician assured Jason. “I don’t think Harvard sockets are wired well enough for suicide. Although, God knows, there are some kids who actually succeed in their ingenious ways. Why do you think he did it?”
    “I don’t know,” said Jason, still somewhat deadened from the shock.
    “The young man had a bit too much invested in his grades,” Dennis Linden pronounced. He had arrived on the scene in time to offer a professional analysis of the young freshman’s desperate action.
    “Did his behavior give you any hints that this was coming? asked the Health Service doctor.
    Jason shot a glance at Linden, who continued to pontificate, “Not really. You can never figure out which egg is going to crack. I mean, the freshman year’s so fraught with pressure.”
    As the two doctors continued chatting, Jason fixed his gaze on his shoes.
    Ten minutes later, Jason and the proctor walked together out of the infirmary; It was only then that he realized that he had no coat. Or gloves. Or anything. Panic had inured him to the cold. Now he was shivering.
    “You need a lift, Jason?” Linden asked.
    “No, thanks,” he answered sullenly.
    “Come on, Gilbert, you’ll freeze to death walking back like that.”
    “Okay,” he relented.
    During the short ride up Mount Auburn Street, the proctor tried to justify himself.
    “Look,” he rationalized, “this is what Harvard’s all about — it’s sink or swim.”
    “Yeah,” Jason mumbled half-aloud, “but you’re supposed to be the lifeguard.”
    At the next red light he climbed out of Linden’s car and slammed the door.
    His anger again made him oblivious to the bitter cold.
    He walked on toward the Square. At Elsie’s he consumed two Roast-Beef Specials to replace the dinner he had missed, then went over to Cronin’s, cruising by the wooden booths to find a friendly face so he could sit down and get drunk.

    Jason was awakened rudely the next morning by a rapping on the door that made his headache even worse. It was only when he started groggily toward it that he noticed he was still in last night’s clothing. Anyway, his soul felt wrinkled. So they matched.
    He opened the door.
    A stocky, middle-aged woman, wearing a green floppy hat, was planted solidly outside.
    “What did you do to him?” she demanded.
    “Oh,” Jason said quietly, “you must be David’s mother.”
    “A real genius you are,” she muttered. “I’m here to get his clothes.”
    “Please,” Jason said, immediately ushering her in.
    “It’s freezing on that landing, if you didn’t notice,” she remarked while entering the suite and glancing hawk-eyed into every corner.
    “Foo, it’s a real pigsty. Who cleans up this place?”
    “A student porter vacuums once a week and swabs the john,” said Jason.
    “Well, no wonder my poor boy’s ill. Whose filthy clothes are these all over everywhere? They carry germs, you know.”
    “They’re David’s,” Jason answered softly.
    “So how come you threw my David’s clothes all over everywhere? Is that your rich boy’s idea of a little fun?”
    “Mrs. Davidson,” Jason said patiently, “he dropped them there himself.” After which he quickly added, “Would you like to sit down? You must be very tired.”
    “Tired? I’m exhausted. Do you know what that night train is like — especially for a woman my age? Anyway, I’ll stand while you explain why it’s not your fault.”
    Jason sighed. “Look, Mrs. Davidson, I don’t know what they’ve told you down at the infirmary.”
    “They said that he was very sick and has to be transferred to some god-awful … hospital,” she paused, and then she gasped, “a mental hospital.”
    “I’m really sorry,” Jason answered gently, “but the pressure here can be ferocious. To get grades, I mean.”
    “My David always got good grades. He studied day and night. Now suddenly he leaves my house and comes to live with you and he collapses like he had no yeast. Why did you disturb him?”
    “Believe me, Mrs. Davidson,” Jason insisted, “I never bothered him. He —” Jason worked up the courage to complete his sentence “— sort of brought it on himself.”
    Mrs. Davidson slowly absorbed this allegation.
    “How?” she asked.
    “For reasons that I simply cannot fathom, he just felt he had to be the best. I mean, the very best.”
    “What’s wrong with that? I brought him up that way.”
    Jason felt a surge of retrospective pity for his erstwhile roommate. Obviously his mother rode him like a racehorse in a never-ending homestretch. He wouldn’t have to be Humpty Dumpty to crack under that kind of strain.
    Then suddenly, without warning, she flopped onto their couch and began to sob.
    “What did I do? Didn’t I sacrifice my life for him? This isn’t fair.”
    Jason touched her tentatively on the shoulder. “Look, Mrs. Davidson, if David’s going to a hospital he’ll need his clothes. Why don’t I help you pack?”
    She gazed up at him with a look of helplessness. Thank you, young man. I’m sorry that I yelled, but I’m a bit upset, and I’ve been on the train all night.”
    She opened her purse, took Out a handkerchief already moist, and dabbed her eyes.
    “Hey, look,” Jason said softly. “Why don’t you rest here. I can boil some coffee. Meanwhile, I’ll pack his stuff, go get my car, and drive you to… wherever David is.”
    “A place called Massachusetts Mental Health, in Waltham, she replied, choking on nearly every syllable.
    In the bedroom, Jason grabbed a suitcase and tossed in garments he thought would be appropriate. Instinct told him that the hospital would not require ties and jackets.
    “What about his books?” his mother called out.
    “I don’t think he’ll need his school stuff right away, but I’ll hold on to it and bring him what he wants.”
    “You’re very kind,” she said again. And blew her nose.
    One suitcase packed, Jason cast a quick eye around the room to see if he’d missed anything essential. At that moment he caught sight of something lying on top of the desk. Even as he reached out, he had ominous forebodings of what it would be.
    Yes, he was right. It was the bluebook from D. D.’s Chem. 20 midterm. And his roommate’s nightmare had turned out to be prophecy. He had received a mere B-minus. As casually as possible, he folded the exam and stuffed it in his back pocket.
    “Wait here, Mrs. Davidson. My car’s a few blocks away. I’ll run and get it.”
    “I must be keeping you from your classes,” she said meekly.
    “That’s okay,” he answered. “I’m just happy I can do something for David. I mean — he’s a real nice guy.”
    Mrs. Davidson looked into Jason Gilbert’s eyes and murmured, “You know, your parents should be extremely proud.”
    “Thank you,” Jason Gilbert whispered. And ran off, a dull ache in his heart.


    November 3, 1954
    One of the great joys of living away from home and not at prep school is being able to stay up all night. Now and then it’s actually for something serious like finishing a paper that’s due the next day.
    Mike Wigglesworth is an expert at this technique. He sits down at his typewriter at around seven in the evening with a few notes and a half-dozen Budweisers. He pecks out a first draft before midnight and then spends the wee small hours mixing in an appropriate quantity of bullshit. For the latter process he stokes up with coffee. Then he goes to breakfast, eats a dozen eggs and bacon (he’s a crew star, after all), and drops off his paper. Then he goes to sleep until the afternoon, when he gets up to go down to the Boathouse.
    But last night all three of us had a respectable reason for staying up. To hear the outcome of the national elections. Not that any of us really gives a damn for politics. It’s just a nice excuse for getting gently plowed.
    Typical of that provincial rag, this morning’s Crimson focused on the quantity of Harvard men who’d been elected. No fewer than thirty-five of the new congressmen went to our humble college, not to mention four of the new senators. Now, when the nation’s problems get too heavy for them, they can join Jack Kennedy in the Senate men’s room and all sing Harvard football songs.
    As I sat at breakfast reading through the Crime, a sudden notion struck me. Maybe that unprepossessing guy at the next table eating Wheaties will someday be a senator. Or even President. The thing is that you never know who’s going to make it. Dad once told me that FDR was pretty kooky as an undergraduate. So much so, he was blackballed by the Final Club that took his cousin Teddy.
    The Harvard freshmen are still sort of formless caterpillars. It really takes some time to find out who’ll become the rarest butterfly of all.
    The only thing I’m certain of is that I’ll remain a caterpillar all my life.

    From the Harvard Crimson of January 12, 1955:

    Jason Gilbert ’58 of Straus Hall and Syosset, Long Island, has been elected Captain of the Freshman Squash Team. Gilbert, who attended Hawkins-Atwell, where he captained both the squash and tennis teams, is undefeated at the number-one slot thus far this season. He is also seeded seventh in the Eastern States Junior Tennis rankings.
    “Gilbert, you deserve a medal,” Dennis Linden remarked. “If you hadn’t thought so quickly, that little nerd D. D. might actually have killed himself.”
    The proctor had called him in not merely to commend Jason for his paramedical heroics, but to share with him a fresh dilemma. In other words, to impart some dubiously good news.
    “We’ve got another roommate for you,” Dennis announced. “I personally chose him at a meeting of the proctors — because I really feel you could be a stabilizing influence on him.”
    “Hey, this isn’t fair,” Jason protested. “Do I have to be a nursemaid again? Can’t I just have someone normal?”
    “Nobody at Harvard is normal,” Linden philosophically replied.
    “All right, Dennis,” Jason answered, with a sigh of resignation. “What’s this guy’s problem?”
    “Well,” the proctor started nonchalantly, “he’s a teeny bit … aggressive.”
    “Well, that’s okay. I’ve taken boxing lessons.”
    Linden coughed. “The problem is — he fights with swords.”
    “What is he, some foreign student from the Middle Ages?”
    “Very witty.” Linden smiled. “No, actually he’s a hotshot on the fencing team. His name’s been in the Crimson now and then — Bernie Ackerman. He’s terrific with a saber.”
    “Oh great. Who’s he tried to kill so far?”
    “Well, not exactly kill. He’s living in Holworthy with a very sensitive Chinese fellow. And every time they have the slightest argument, this Ackerman gets out his sword and waves it at the little guy. The kid is now so petrified, the Health Department had to give him pills to sleep. So, clearly, we’ve just got to separate them.”
    “Why the hell can’t you give me the Chinaman?” Jason complained. “He sounds like a sweet guy.”
    “No. He gets along okay with roommate number three — a music type. So the proctors figured we’d let well enough alone. Besides, I had the notion that a guy like you could teach that character a lesson.”
    “Dennis, I’m here to take courses, not teach manners to Ivy League hoodlums.”
    “Come on, Jason,” the proctor cajoled, “you’ll turn this guy into a pussycat. And you can count on getting something positive put on your record.”
    “Dennis,” Jason said in valediction, “you’re all heart.”


    January 16, 1955
    Jason Gilbert had us all in stitches yesterday at our pre-midyear blast. We recruited some carefully selected lovelies from the local junior colleges with the best reputation for their students’ promiscuity. (Newall claims he scored as he drove one of them back to Pine Manor, but we only have his word for it. Really clever guys can bring back evidence.)
    Old Gilbert has a way of taking charge of every party. First of all, he’s so damn handsome we have trouble keeping our own dates’ attention. And then when he starts telling stories, we’re all rolling on the floor. Apparently, he’s just gotten a new roommate (he won’t say what happened to the other one), and the guy’s a sort of maniac.
    As soon as Jason tries to go to sleep, this nut pulls out a sword and jumps around the living room like Errol Flynn.
    Anyway, by the first week the guy’d already slashed their sofa practically to shreds. What was even worse was the noise. It seems every time he scored, which was no problem since the couch could not fight back, he’d yell out, “Kill!” Which was driving Jason absolutely up the wall.
    And so last night they had a showdown. Gilbert faced this character with just a tennis racket, and as quietly as possible asked what the hell he thought he was doing. The guy responded that he needed extra practice for the Yale meet.
    Jason then said if he really needed practice, he’d be happy to provide it. Only they would have to fight until one of them was dead. Understandably, at first the guy thought Gilbert was just bluffing. But to lend his challenge credibility, Jason smashed what was left of the couch into splinters with his tennis racket. After which he turned to his opponent and explained that that was what he’d make of him if he should lose the match.
    Unbelievably, the swordsman dropped his blade and made a fast retreat into the bedroom.
    Not only did that put an end to all the mayhem, but the swashbuckler went out the next day and bought them anew couch.
    Life in Gilbert’s suite was pretty quiet after that. In fact, completely quiet. Apparently the guy’s too scared even to talk to Jason now.
    Like his famous forebear in antiquity, Socrates Lambros was uncompromising in his way of life. This meant that no excuse could absolve his son Ted from evening duties at The Marathon. Hence, Ted had not been permitted to join The Class on the September evening when President Pusey had preached so eloquently in defense of academic freedom.
    And since he remained imprisoned from the moment he left classes, Ted never got to see a football game and sit in Soldier’s Field amid his fellow freshmen simultaneously yelling themselves hoarse and drinking themselves sick.
    This was among the myriad reasons why he did not feel emotionally a full-fledged member of The Class of ’58. He longed to be assimilated with his brethren.
    Hence, when the Freshman Smoker was announced, he begged his father for a dispensation to attend this one occasion in a Harvard man’s career that is avowedly devoted to frivolity.
    Socrates was adamant, but Thalassa took her son’s side.
    “The boy, he works all the time so hard. Let him have one free evening. Parakalo, Socrates.”
    “Okay,” the patriarch at last relented.
    And Demosthenes could not have eulogized a leader with more grateful eloquence than young Ted Lambros lavished on his father.
    Thus, on the eve of February 17, Ted Lambros shaved, put on a new J. August shirt and his very best tweed jacket (secondhand, but almost new), and strode to Sanders Theater. He paid his dollar, which gave him not only entry to the show and all the beer he could consume thereafter, but also door prizes, which ranged from corncob pipes to sample packs of Pall Mall cigarettes.
    Deo Gratias, he was really one of them at last.
    At half past eight, an overly made-up master of ceremonies walked nervously on stage to start the evening’s entertainment. He was welcomed by a tidal wave of grunts and groans and unimaginable obscenities from the sophisticated Harvard men.
    The first attraction was the Wellesley Widows, a dozen prim young singers from the nearby ladies’ college.
    They had scarcely sung a note when from all corners of the theater came a hail of pennies and shouts of, “Get naked!”
    The announcer counseled the women to make a hasty retreat. Subsequent performers met similar fates.
    The stage show, such as it was, was merely grace before dinner. The real part of the Smoker was waiting, across the corridor in Memorial Hall, where three hundred kegs of beer had been trucked in to quench the freshmen’s thirst.
    The men were chaperoned, of course. Four deans were present, as were all the proctors and ten members of the university police. The cops had been astute enough to wear their raincoats. And they really needed them.
    In no time Mem Hall — scene of so many solemn university events — was ankle deep in beer. Fights broke out. The proctors who attempted to make peace were rudely punched and shoved onto the liquid floor.
    Ted Lambros stood watching this melee in total disbelief. Was this really a gathering of the future leaders of the world?
    Just then he was accosted.
    “Hey, Lambros,” someone shouted, “you’re not even drunk.”
    It was Ken O’Brien, who had gone to Cambridge Latin with him, and who was both soaked and sloshed.
    Before Ted could respond, he felt a gush of wetness on his head. A baptism of beer. As the liquid oozed slowly down onto his best tweed jacket, Ted angrily lashed out at Ken, catching him squarely on the chin. But in doing so he lost his balance and fell to the ground. Or, as it had become, a lake of beer.
    He couldn’t stand it any longer. Although O’Brien, whom he’d knocked onto his knees, kept calling almost amicably to please continue fighting, Ted splashed, sick at heart, out of Mem Hall. Never looking back.
    The Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra holds an annual concerto contest to determine the most talented soloist in the community. The competition is held in the winter so that the victor, usually a senior or grad student, can highlight the orchestra’s spring concert.
    But there are always eager beavers who try to get their names down early. And Don Lowenstein, the president, has to employ tactful diplomacy to discourage them from screwing up in public.
    But his freshman visitor this afternoon, slight, bespectacled, and red-haired, would not be dissuaded.
    “Look,” Lowenstein somewhat condescendingly explained, “our soloists mainly go on to be professionals. I’m sure you were a whiz in high school, but —”
    “I’m a professional,” interrupted Danny Rossi ’58.
    “Okay, okay, don’t get excited. It’s just this competition’s unbelievably intense.”
    “I know,” Danny answered. “If I don’t measure up, that’ll be my problem.”
    “Let’s settle this right now. Come downstairs and let me listen to you.”

    When he returned nearly an hour later, Donald Lowenstein was in a mild state of shock. Sukie Wadsworth, the vice-president, was now in the office and looked up as he walked in and flopped behind his desk. “Sukie, I’ve just heard this year’s concerto winner. And let me tell you, this freshman Rossi is a genius.”
    Just then the subject of his praise walked in.
    “Thanks for your time,” Danny said. “I hope you think I’m good enough to join the competition.”
    “Hello,” said the Radcliffe girl, taking the initiative. “I’m Sukie Wadsworth, the orchestra V.P.”
    “Uh — nice to meet you.” He hoped she didn’t notice how he was staring at her from behind his lenses.
    “I think it’s very exciting that we’ll have a freshman in the contest this year,” she added brightly.
    “Well,” Danny said shyly, “I may just end up embarrassing myself.”
    “I doubt it.” Sukie smiled, dazzling him further. “Don tells me that you’re very good.”
    “Oh. Well — uh — I hope he’s not just being polite.”
    There was a sudden awkward pause. And in that briefest of intervals, Danny resolved to make a heroic attempt at impressing this lovely creature.
    Of course he’d fail, as usual. But then he tried to tell himself that the law of averages might be on his side.
    “Uh, Sukie, would you like to hear me play?”
    “I’d love to,” she replied enthusiastically, and took Danny by the hand as they went out to find a practice room.
    He played a Bach partita and a lightning-fast Rachmaninoff. Inspired by the feminine proximity, his technique was even more impressive than before, but he didn’t glance at her for fear of losing concentration.
    And yet he sensed her presence. Oh, how he sensed her presence.
    At last he looked up. She was leaning over the piano, her low-necked blouse offering a view of great aesthetic interest.
    “Was I any good?” he asked, slightly breathless.
    A broad smile crossed her face.
    “Let me tell you something, Rossi,” she began, moving close enough to place her hands on his shoulders. “You are without doubt the most fantastic guy I’ve ever had the pleasure of being in a room with.”
    “Oh,” said Danny Rossi, looking up at her, nervous raindrops forming on his brow. “Say — uh — would you like to have a cup of coffee sometime?”
    She laughed.
    “Danny, would you like to make love right now?”
    “Right here?”
    She began to unbutton his shirt.

    Danny had always hoped that women ultimately would discover that his brilliant execution of a keyboard passage could be just as stimulating as the execution of a gridiron pass. At last it had happened.
    And football players never get to play encores.


    March 6, 1955
    What makes Harvard — and, I have to admit, Yale — different from every other university in America is its so-called college system.
    Around 1909, Cambridge was turning from a village into a real city, and though some students lived in dorms, Harvard men were scattered everywhere across town. The poorer guys rented cheap hovels along Mass. Avenue, while the overprivileged ones (like my father) lived in really posh apartments in the area then called the Gold Coast (near Mt. Auburn Street). This dispersion was symptomatic of a rigid social separation that perpetuated lots of prejudice.
    President Lowell thought that it was wrong for undergraduates to live in these hermetic cliques. So he championed the idea of copying Oxford and dividing the university into smaller colleges that would be a mixture of all types.
    The process works like this. First they admit all of us freshmen into dormitories in the Yard so that — in principle — we get to meet the different kinds of guys that make up one whole class. After a year of this enlightening experience we’re supposed to have found our new diverse and fascinating friends. At which point we’ll be ready to spend our next three years down by the river in those exciting little colleges that Harvard snobbishly calls simply “houses.”
    Actually, for some guys this arrangement has some educational value. Jocks from Alabama find themselves applying to a house along with pre-med types, philosophers, and would-be novelists. And when it does work, this setup really can enrich a person’s life as much as any academic course.
    But this is far less true where preppies are concerned. Variety is not the spice of our lives. We’re like bacteria (though slightly brighter). We flourish in our own special environment. So I’m sure the university was not surprised when Newall, Wigglesworth, and I decided to perpetuate our roommatehood for three more years.
    Originally, we had wanted to have Jason Gilbert join with us as a foursome. He’s a really good guy and would help to keep things lively. Also, Newall figured we might profit from the surplus of his feminine admirers. But that was secondary.
    Dick asked him on the bus back from the squash match against Yale (which we won). But Jason was reluctant. He had had such unbelievable bad luck with roommates that he’d made up his mind to apply to live alone next year. Though sophomores rarely get this privilege, Gilbert’s proctor promised to write a letter of support for him. And Jason suggested that we all select the same house as our first choice so that we could have our meals together and he’d be nearby for our multitudinous impromptu parties.
    Now our only problem was where to apply.
    Though there are seven houses, only three of them are really socially acceptable. For despite this bull about democracy, most of the masters want to give their house a distinctive tone, and thus try to select a preponderance of certain types, who reciprocally gravitate toward them.
    A lot of guys choose Adams House (named after good old Johnny, Class of 1755, the second U.S. President), perhaps because it had once been Gold Coast apartments. Also, not inconsequentially, it has a chef who once worked in a fancy New York restaurant (a factor not to be ignored when you consider three full years of breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
    Then there’s Lowell House, a Georgian masterpiece, convenient to the Final Clubs, whose master is more English than the queen. Withal, a very tweedy place.
    But Harvard’s undisputed preppie paradise is … Eliot House. Needless to say, both. Wig and Newall want to make it their first choice. But I’m a bit uneasy at the prospect of inhabiting this rather awesome red-brick monument to my great-grandfather (his statue’s even in the courtyard).
    Still, Wig and Newall were really hot to go where most of our friends already are ensconced. We had the makings of a real dilemma, till an unexpected visitor surprised us fairly late one evening.
    Fortunately, no one was too drunk to hear the knocking at the door.
    Newall stood up unsteadily to greet our nocturnal guest. I suddenly heard him cry out, “Jesus Christ!” and hurried to the door to hear our visitor reply, “Not quite, young man, I’m just His humble servant.”
    It was none other than Professor Finley. I mean the man himself — in our own dorm!
    He happened to be passing by on his late evening promenade, and thought he’d take the liberty of popping in to ask where we’d be applying for next year. And especially if Eliot was “privileged” to be among our choices.
    We quickly assured him that it was, although he sensed that I myself had qualms about being Andrew Eliot in Eliot House, whose master was the Eliot Professor of Greek.
    In fact, he’d come to reassure me.
    He did not expect me to translate the Bible for the Indians, or become the President of Harvard. And yet he was certain that in my own way I’d make my mark somehow.
    I don’t know if I was more stunned or just moved. I mean, this great professor thought that I might actually develop into — I don’t know — something.

    The next morning I was still not really sure that John H. Finley actually had come in person to our room.
    But, even if it was a dream, the three of us are going to go to Eliot. Because even the ghost of Finley — if it was only that — is good enough to spellbind anyone.
    When Jason Gilbert picked up the Crimson outside his door each morning, he turned his immediate attention to the sports page to see if any of his exploits had been mentioned. After that, he read the front page to learn what was happening around the college. Finally, if he had time, he checked the world news, which was always briefly outlined in a corner.
    For this reason he failed to notice a brief item reporting that, for the first time in memory, a freshman had won the annual concerto contest of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra.
    On the evening of April 12, 1955, Daniel Rossi ’58 would be playing Liszt’s E-Flat Concerto.
    Jason learned of this only three days later, when an envelope was slipped under his door.
    Dear Gilbert,
    If you hadn’t helped me with the Step Test, I probably would never have been able to practice enough to win.
    Here, as promised, are two tickets. Bring a friend.
    Jason smiled. That freshman-week experience was such a distant memory, he’d never given Danny’s words a second thought. But now he could invite Annie Russell, the most sought-after girl at Radcliffe. Jason had long been looking for a suitable occasion. And this was a great one.

    On the night of April 12, all of Harvard’s talent watchers crowded into Sanders Theater to examine what had been predicted as a new comet entering their galaxy.
    No one was more aware of the impending scrutiny than the soloist himself.
    Danny stood in the wings, watching with mounting anxiety as the hail continued to fill with intimidating personalities. Not only were his Harvard professors present, but he recognized important figures from the city’s famous conservatories. My God, even John Finley was there.
    During the exhilarating weeks of rehearsal he had looked forward with a kind of manic joy to this grand occasion — the moment to parade his pianistic talents before a thousand bigwigs. He had suddenly felt like a giant.
    That is, until last night. For on the eve of what he had been sure would be his Harvard coronation, he could not get to sleep. He tossed. He turned. He fantasized catastrophe. Arid moaned as if it were inevitable.
    I’ll be a laughingstock, he thought. I’ll faint when I walk out on stage. Or else I’ll trip. Or maybe play my entrance much too soon. Or too late. Or completely forget the music.
    They’ll be rolling in the aisles. And not just Orange County ladies, but a thousand of the world’s most knowledgeable people. What a disaster. Why did I ever go out for this goddamn contest anyway?
    He felt his forehead. It was hot and moist. Maybe I’m sick, he thought. He hoped. Maybe they’ll have to cancel my appearance. Oh please, God, make me have the flu. Or even something fairly serious.
    To his increased distress, the next morning he felt reasonably healthy. And thus resigned himself to face the evening guillotine in Sanders Theater.

    He stood backstage all alone, wishing he were somewhere else.
    Don Lowenstein, who was conducting, came back to ask him if he was ready. Danny wanted to say no. But something autonomic made him nod.
    He took a breath, said inwardly, “Oh shit,” and walked on stage, his eyes fixed on the floor. Just before sitting at the piano, he bowed slightly to the audience, acknowledging their polite applause. Mercifully, the spotlights blinded him and he could see no faces.
    Then an uncanny thing occurred.
    No sooner was he at the keyboard than his fear transformed into a new sensation. Excitement. He was burning to make music.
    He signaled readiness to Don.
    The motion of the opening baton put Danny in a strange, hypnotic trance. He dreamed that he was playing flawlessly. Far better than at any prior moment in his life.
    The sounds of “Bravo!” flew at him from every corner of the hall. And applause that seemed without diminuendo.

    The atmosphere surrounding Danny afterward reminded Jason of the finals of a tennis championship. They did everything but pick him up and carry him around the theater on their shoulders. Gray eminences of the music community were lined up like fans to shake his hand.
    Yet, the moment Danny noticed Jason, he broke free and hurried to the edge of the stage to greet him.
    “You were fantastic,” Jason warmly hailed him. “We were really glad to get the tickets. Oh, I’d like to introduce my date, Miss Annie Russell, ’57.”
    “Hi.” Danny smiled. “Are you at The Cliffe?”
    “Yes,” she answered, beaming, “And can I be the millionth person to say you were absolutely fabulous tonight.”
    “Thanks,” said Danny. And then quickly added in apologetic tones, “Hey look, I’m really sorry, but I’ve gotta go shake more professors’ hands. Let’s get together for a meal sometime, huh, Jason? It was nice to meet you, Annie.”
    He waved goodbye and sprinted off.
    The next afternoon, buoyed by her vivacious attitude all evening, Jason telephoned Annie to invite her to the football game next Saturday.
    “I’m really sorry,” she replied, “I’m going down to Connecticut.”
    “Oh, a date at Yale?”
    “No. Danny’s playing with the Hartford Symphony.”
    Shit, thought Jason as he hung up, bursting with frustration. That’s a lesson for you.
    Never help a Harvard classmate — even up a step.
    On Tuesday, April 24, 1955, winter was still very much in the Cambridge air. Yet, official administrative statistics suggest that a metaphorical ray of sunlight shone into the lives of 71.6 percent of Harvard’s 322d freshman class. For this elated majority had been accepted by the house of their first choice.
    To the trio in Wig G-21 it came as no surprise, since their admission had been heralded a month earlier by the visitation of a distinguished archangel. But they were delighted to learn that they had been assigned a suite that enjoyed a river view. Not many sophomores got such choice accommodations.
    Nor did many sophomores get the privilege of living in a single room. But Jason Gilbert, Jr., was so honored (for services rendered). His private lodgings were situated across the Eliot courtyard from his three aristocratic friends.
    He conveyed the good news to his father in their weekly phone conversation.
    “That’s terrific, son. Why, even people who’ve only barely heard of Harvard know that Eliot House has the cream of undergraduate society.”
    “But everybody here is supposed to be cream, Dad,” Jason answered good-humoredly.
    “Yes, of course. But Eliot’s the crème de Ia crème, Jason. Your mother and I are really proud of you. I mean, we always are. By the way, have you been doing those new exercises for your backhand?”
    “Yes, Dad. Absolutely.”
    “Say, I read in Tennis World that all the big guns are going heavier on the road work — just like boxers in the morning.”
    “Yeah,” said Jason, “but I really haven’t got time. My course work is incredible.”
    “Of course, son. Don’t do anything to compromise your education. Speak to you next week.”
    “So long, Dad. Love to Mom.”
    Danny Rossi, on the other hand, was outraged. His first choice had been Adams House, because so many musical and literary types lived there. You could practically knock on your left and right and have enough participants for chamber music.
    So certain had he been of acceptance into Adams that his alternate second and third selections were scribbled down without the slightest forethought. He had merely listed two other houses as they appeared in alphabetical order on the application, namely Dunster and Eliot.
    And it was his third choice, Eliot, to which he was assigned.
    How could they do this to him — someone who had already distinguished himself in the college community? Wouldn’t Adams House someday be proud to boast that Danny Rossi had once lived there?
    Moreover, he didn’t relish the prospect of being stuck for three years in Eliot with a bunch of smug preppies.
    The man to whom he chose to voice his complaint was Master Finley. Such was his respect for the great man after Hum 2 that he felt he could honestly convey his disappointment to the master of the house he didn’t want to be in.
    But even more astonishing was his reaction when Finley candidly confessed. “I wanted you very badly, Daniel. I had to trade the master of Adams two football stalwarts and a published poet just to get him to relinquish you.”
    “I guess I should be flattered, sir,” said Danny, quite off balance at the news. “It’s just that —”
    “I know,” the master said, anticipating Danny’s misgivings, “but despite our reputation, I want Eliot to be outstanding in all the disciplines. Have you visited the house before?”
    “No, sir,” Danny admitted.
    A moment later Finley was conducting Danny up a winding staircase in the courtyard tower. The young man was out of breath, but the dynamic Finley had sprinted up the steps. And now opened a door.
    The first thing Danny saw was an astonishingly beautiful view of the Charles River through a large circular window. Only seconds later did he realize that there was a grand piano placed before it.
    “What do you think?” asked Finley. “All the great minds of the past found inspiration in elevated places. Think of your own Italian genius Petrarch ascending Mont Ventoux. Amost platonic gesture.”
    “This is unbelievable,” said Danny.
    “A man could write a symphony up here, could he not, Daniel?”
    “I’ll bet.”
    “Which is why we wanted you at Eliot House. Remember, all of Harvard welcomes genius, but here we cultivate it.”
    The living legend held his hand out toward the young musician and remarked, “I look forward to your coming here next fall.”
    “Thank you,” said Danny, quite overwhelmed. “Thank you for bringing me to Eliot.”
    Yet, for certain members of The Class of ’58, April 24 was just like any other day.
    Ted Lambros was one of those unhappy few. For, being a commuter, he had not applied to any house and hence was completely unaffected by the news conveyed to all those living in the Yard.
    He went to class as usual, spent the whole afternoon grinding in Lamont Library, and at five headed for The Marathon.
    Still, he could not help being aware that the more privileged of his classmates were rejoicing at the prospect of spending the next three years along the river as members of a unique housing arrangement.
    Having garnered an A-minus and three B’s at midterms, he had been reasonably confident of obtaining a scholarship — large enough, in fact, to permit him to live at the college.
    But to his chagrin, he had received a letter from the Financial Aid Office, which took great pleasure in informing him that he had been granted a stipend of eight hundred dollars for next year.
    This would normally seem like cause for at least some modest rejoicing. But Harvard had just recently announced a rise in its basic tuition to precisely that amount.
    Ted felt frustrated as hell. Like a runner sprinting madly on a treadmill.
    He still did not really belong. Yet.
    There had not merely been members of the academic community at Danny Rossi’s Sanders Theater concert. Unknown to the soloist, Professor Piston had invited Charles Munch, the distinguished conductor of the Boston Symphony. The maestro wrote Danny an encomiastic letter, in his own hand, commending his performance and inviting him to spend the summer working for the famous Tanglewood Music Festival.
    The tasks are not exalted, but I feel that you would benefit from the proximity to all the great artists who come visit us. And I would personally welcome you to sit in on our orchestra rehearsals, since I know you aspire to a professional career.
Yours sincerely,
Charles Munch
    This invitation also solved a touchy family dilemma. For, in her weekly letters, Gisela earnestly assured her son that if he came back home that summer she was certain that his father would destigmatize him. And they could build a new relationship.
    And yet, although he longed to see his mother —and to share his great success with Dr. Landau — Danny simply could not risk another confrontation with Arthur Ross! D. D. S.
    Then suddenly, almost abruptly, freshman year was at an end.
    The month of May began with Reading Period for exams. These special days were theoretically for extra, independent study. But for a lot of Harvard men (like Andrew Eliot and company), it meant sitting down to do a whole semester’s work, beginning with the very first assignments in their courses.
    The athletic season culminated with the many confrontations against Yale. Not all the clashes went in Harvard’s favor. But Jason Gilbert led the tennis team to victory. And took particular delight in watching the Yale coach’s face as he unmercifully destroyed their number-one man, and returned with Dickie Newall in the doubles for another round of sweet revenge.
    Now even Jason had to settle down and do some heavy studying. He drastically reduced his social life, restricting it to weekends only.
    Meanwhile, in Harvard Square the sales of cigarettes and NōDōz pep pills rose dramatically. Lamont was packed around the clock. Its modern ventilation system spewed back all the scents of unchanged shirts, cold sweat, and naked fear. Yet no one noticed.
    Examinations actually were a relief. For The Class of ’58 learned to its great delight that the old proverb about Harvard was quite true: The hardest part was getting in. You had to be a genius not to graduate.
    And yet, as freshman dorms were emptied — to make room for the ancient graduates of twenty-five years previous who would be living in them once again during Commencement Week — some members of The Class were leaving, never to return.
    A tiny number had actually accomplished the impossible and flunked out. Some honestly conceded that they could not bear the prospect of more pressure from such unbelievably ambitious peers. And thus, capitulating to preserve their sanity, elected to transfer to universities near home.
    Some went down fighting. And lost their minds in doing so. David Davidson (still in the hospital) was not the last. In fact, at Easter there had been a suicide compassionately misrepresented by the Crimson as an auto accident (although Bob Rutherford of San Antonio had actually been parked in his garage when death occurred).
    And yet, as certain rugged members of The Class would argue, was this not something of a lesson to both the victims and the survivors? Would life at the very top be any easier than the self-inflicted torture chamber that was Harvard?
    But the more sensitive of them recognized that they still had another three years to survive.


    October 1, 1955
    Last August when we were all up at the family house in Maine — where I spent most of the time getting to know my new stepmother and her kids — Father and I had our annual lakeside chat. First be congratulated me for squeaking by in all my courses. Indeed, the prospect of my actually staying in one school for four entire years now seemed to him a pleasant possibility.
    Further in an educational vein, he expressed his determination that I should not suffer from the handicap of having been born rich. His message was that although he would gladly pay my tuition fees and board, he was stopping my pocket money for my own good.
    Therefore, if I wished — as he hoped I did — to join a Final Club, to go cheer Harvard at football games, to take young eligible ladies to Locke-Ober’s, etc., I would have to seek gainful employment. All of this was, of course, to teach me Emersonian self-reliance. For which I thanked him politely.
    Upon my return to Cambridge for sophomore year, I went straight to the Student Employment Center and found that the really lucrative jobs had already gone to scholarship students who needed the dough more than I. Thus, I could not have the enlightening experience of washing plates or dishing out mashed potatoes.
    Just when things looked bleakest, however, I ran into Master Finley in the courtyard. When I told him why I was back so early, he commended my father’s desire to inculcate good Yankee values. Surprisingly, as if he had nothing better to do, he marched me straight to the Eliot House library, where he persuaded Ned Devlin, the head librarian, to sign me on as one of his assistants.
    Anyway, I’ve got this really good deal. Three nights a week I get seventy-five cents an hour for just sitting at a desk from seven till midnight watching guys read books.
    Actually, Master Finley must have known what he was doing, because the job is so undemanding that, for lack of something better to do, I study.
    Once in a great while, a guy interrupts me to take out a book — so I rarely have to look up from the page — except if somebody’s talking too loud and I have to shut him up.
    But last night was different. Something actually happened in the Eliot House library.
    At about nine o’clock I lifted my eyes just to survey the scene. The place was dotted with studying preppies in their usual uniform, button-down shirts and chinos.
    But at a table in the far corner I noticed something strange on the back of a well-built guy. It was, I thought, my own jacket. Or, more accurately, my own former jacket. Normally I wouldn’t know the difference, but this was a tweed job with leather buttons that my folks had brought me from Harrods in London. There weren’t many of those around.
    Not that this in itself should be surprising. After all, I had sold it last spring to that famous used-clothes merchant, Joe Keezer. He’s a Harvard institution, and most of my friends, when in need of extra cash for such necessities as ears, liquor, and club dues, have flogged their fashionable rags to old Joe.
    But I don’t know a single guy who ever bought from him. I mean, it doesn’t work that way. So, strictly in my professional capacity as librarian, I was confronted with a problem. For possibly, indeed quite probably, there was an infiltrator in the library disguised as a preppie.
    The guy was good-looking — dark and handsome. But he was a little too kempt. I mean, although the room was kind of stuffy, not only did he keep the jacket on, but I could see he didn’t even open up his collar. Also, he seemed to be cramming like a demon. He was buried in his book, moving only now and then to check a dictionary.
    Now, all of this is not against the law. And yet it’s not the norm for anyone I knew in Eliot House. And so I figured I had better keep my eyes on this possible interloper.
    At eleven-forty-five, I usually start extinguishing lights to give the guys a hint that I am closing shop. By chance last night the library was already empty — except for this stranger in my former jacket. This gave me a chance to solve the mystery.
    I casually approached his table, pointed toward the large lamp in the middle, and asked if he minded if I shut it off. He looked up, startled, and said, kind of apologetically, that he hadn’t realized it was closing time.
    When I answered that by house rules he officially had fourteen minutes more, he got the message. He stood up and asked me how I’d guessed he wasn’t from Eliot. Was it something in his face?
    I answered candidly that it was only something in his jacket.
    This embarrassed him. As he started to examine it, I explained that it was a former possession of mine. Now I felt shitty for mentioning it, and quickly assured the guy that he could use the library anytime I was there.
    I mean, he was at Harvard, wasn’t he?
    Yeah. It turns out he’s a sophomore commuter. Named Ted Lambros.
    On October 17, there was a small riot in Eliot House. More specifically, a demonstration against classical music. Still more specifically, a demonstration against Danny Rossi. To be extremely precise, the actual aggression was not against the man but his piano.
    It all started when a couple of clubbies began an early cocktail party. Danny usually practiced at Paine Hall, except when he had exams or a paper due. Then he used the secondhand upright in his room.
    He was at it hot and heavy that afternoon when some of the jolly tipplers decided that Chopin was not suitable background music for getting smashed. It was simply a matter of taste. And, of course, in Eliot House, taste was the supreme law. It was therefore decided that Rossi had to be silenced.
    At first they tried diplomacy. Dickie Newall was dispatched to tap politely on Rossi’s portal and respectfully request that Danny “quit playing that shit.”
    The pianist replied that house rules allowed him to practice a musical instrument in the afternoon. And he would stick to his rights. To which Newall responded that he didn’t give a flying fig for rules, and that Rossi was disturbing a serious symposium. Danny then asked him to go away. Which he did.
    When Newall returned to report the failure of his mission, his co-imbibers decided that physical action was necessary.
    Four of Eliot’s staunchest and drunkest legionnaires marched resolutely across the courtyard and up to Rossi’s room. They knocked politely on the door. He opened it slightly. Without another word, the commandos entered, surrounded the offending instrument, lugged it to the open window, and — hurled it out.
    Danny’s piano fell three floors to the courtyard, smashing and disintegrating on the pavement below. Fortunately, no one was passing by at the time.
    Rossi feared he’d be the next to be defenestrated. But Dickie Newall simply remarked, “Thanks for your cooperation, Dan.” And the band of merry men departed.
    In a matter of seconds there was a crowd around the dismembered instrument. Danny was the first to arrive and reacted as though someone in his family had been murdered.
    (“Christ,” Newall reported, “I’ve never seen a guy get so upset about a piece of wood.”)
    The perpetrators of the assault were immediately convoked in the senior tutor’s office, where Dr. Porter threatened them with expulsion and ordered them to pay for a new piano as well as for the broken window. Moreover, they were commanded to march over and apologize.
    But Rossi was still in a fury. He told them they were a bunch of uncivilized animals who didn’t deserve to be at Harvard. Since Dr. Porter was right there, they grudgingly agreed with him. As they departed, the clubbies vowed revenge on the “little Italian wimp” who had caused them so much embarrassment.

    That night at dinner, Andrew Eliot (who had been warming the varsity soccer bench during that afternoon’s debacle) saw Danny sitting all by himself at a corner table, picking at his food and looking really miserable. He walked over and sat down across the table.
    “Hey, Rossi, I’m sorry to hear about your piano.”
    Danny lifted his head. “Who the hell do they think they are?” he suddenly exploded.
    “You want the truth?” Andrew asked. “They think they’re God’s gift to sophistication. But actually they’re just a bunch of empty-headed preppies who wouldn’t even be here if their parents hadn’t sent them to expensive schools. A guy like you makes them feel insecure.”
    “Yeah, Rossi. You’re what this place is all about. You’ve got one thing they can’t buy, and it galls the hell out of them. They’re jealous because you’ve got real talent.”
    Danny was quiet for a moment. Then looked at Andrew and said softly, “You know, Eliot, you’re a really good guy.”
    Ted could not concentrate on Helen of Troy. Not that Professor Whitman’s remarks about her appearance in Book Three of the Iliad were not fascinating. But Ted was distracted by something even more divine than the face that launched a thousand ships.
    For more than a year now he had been staring at this girl. They had both started Ancient Greek together the previous fall, and Ted could still remember his first sight of her, as the soft morning sun shone through the windows of Sever Hall irradiating her amber hair and delicate features. She seemed like an image carved on an ivory brooch. The tasteful, unostentatious manner of her dress made him think of the nymph in Horace’s ode — simplex munditiis — embellished in simplicity.
    He could recall the day — now thirteen months ago — when he had first noticed Sara Harrison. Professor Stewart had asked for someone to conjugate paideuo in the imperfect and first aorist, and she had volunteered. She had been sitting timidly by the window in the very last row — quite the opposite of Ted, who always sat front and center. Though she had been reciting correctly, her voice was so soft that Stewart had to ask her politely to speak louder. It was at this precise moment that Ted Lambros had turned his head and seen the girl.
    From then on, he altered his seating position to the far right of the first row so that he could both gaze at Sara and still be conspicuously placed to gain academic points. He had a copy of the Radcliffe Register in his desk at home, and like a secret drunk he periodically indulged himself by taking it out and gazing at her picture. He also studied the meager information printed with it. She was from Greenwich, Connecticut, and had attended Miss Porter’s. She lived in Cabot Hall — in the unlikely event that he should ever get the courage to call her.
    In fact, he wasn’t brave enough even to attempt small talk with her after class. He had gone through two terms like this, concentrating equally on the intricacies of the Greek verb and the delicacies of Sara’s face. But whereas he was aggressively bold when it came to answering grammatical questions, he was pathologically shy about saying anything to the angelic Sara Harrison.
    But then, something unprecedented occurred. Sara was unable to answer a question.
    “I’m sorry, Mr. Whitman, I just can’t get the hang of Homer’s hexameter.”
    “You’ll catch on with a little practice,” the professor replied kindly. “Mr. Lambros, would you scan the line please.”
    That is how it all began. For after class, Sara came up to Ted.
    “Gosh, you scan so easily. Is there some secret to it?”
    He barely had the courage to reply.
    “I’d be glad to help you if you’d like.”
    “Oh, thank you. I’d really appreciate that.”
    “How about a cup of coffee at The Bick?” 
    “Great,” said Sara.
    And they walked out of Sever Hall side by side.
    Ted found her problem at once. She had neglected to take account of the digamma, a Greek letter that existed in Homer’s alphabet but which had since been dropped and was not printed in the text.
    “You just have to imagine where a word might have an invisible w in front of it. Like oinos, which would become woinos, and would remind you more of ‘wine,’ which is what it actually means.”
    “You know, Ted, you’re a terrific teacher.”
    “It helps to be Greek,” he said with uncharacteristic shyness.
    Two days later, Professor Whitman again called on Sara Harrison to scan a Homeric hexameter. She did it perfectly, and after doing so smiled gratefully across the room at her proud tutor.
    “Thanks a million, Ted,” she whispered- as they walked from class. “How can I repay you?”
    “Well, you could join me for another cup of coffee.”
    “With pleasure,” she replied. And her smile made him slightly weak at the knees.
    From then on, their meetings after class became a ritual to which Ted looked forward like a pious monk anticipating matins. Of course the talk was general — mostly about their classes and especially Greek. Ted was too shy to make the slightest move that might change their relationship and lose this platonic ecstasy.
    Still, they were helping each other with Whitman’s course. Ted was understandably stronger on the linguistic side, but Sara knew the secondary literature. She had read Milman Parry’s “L’epithète traditionnelle dans Homère” (which did not exist in English), and could give Ted a fuller comprehension of Homer’s formulaic style.
    They both got A’s and moved triumphantly to Creek Lyric Poetry with Professor Havelock. But the subject matter only intensified Ted’s emotional state.
    It began with the passionate verses of Sappho, which they took turns reading and translating as they sat across the scratched laminated table.

    “ ‘There are those that say that the most beautiful thing on the dark earth is a multitude of horsemen’ ”
    “ ‘Others say it is an armada of ships.’ ”
    “ ‘But I say it is the one you love.’ ”

    And so on all the way through Sappho Fragment 16.
    “That’s fantastic, isn’t it, Ted?” exclaimed Sara. “I mean, the way a woman expresses her emotion by saying that it surpasses all things that are important in the world of men. It must have been pretty revolutionary stuff in those days.”
    “What amazes me is how she can display her feelings without any embarrassment. That’s tough for anybody — man or woman.” He wondered if she sensed that he was also speaking of himself.
    “More coffee?” he asked.
    She nodded and rose. “It’s my round.”
    As she started toward the counter, Ted thought fleetingly of asking her to have dinner some night. And then immediately lost heart. Besides, he was indentured to The Marathon from five till ten-thirty every day of the week. And he was certain she had a boyfriend. A girl like that could have her pick of anyone.

    To welcome the arrival of spring, Professor Levine gave Ted’s Latin class an unscheduled reading of the glorious hymn Pervigilium Veneris. Though celebrating a new springtime for all lovers, it ends on a touching elegiac note. The poet laments:
Illa cantat, nos tacemus: quando ver venit meum?
Quando fiam uti chelidon ut tacere desinam?

Songbirds sing, must I be silent? When I pray will my spring come?
When will I be like the swallow, singing forth no longer dumb?


    November 4, 1955
    Long before I came to Harvard I dreamed of being a chorus girl.
    Not only is it a lot of laughs, but it’s also a great way to meet women.
    For over a century now the Hasty Pudding Club has been producing an annual all-male musical comedy. The authors are usually the best wits in the college (that’s how Alan J. Lerner ’40 trained to write My Fair Lady).
    But the show’s legendary status is not due to the quality of the script, but rather the quantity of the chorus line. For this unique corps de ballet is peopled by brawny preppie jocks in drag, kicking up their hairy muscular legs.
    After its Cambridge run, this mindless and fairly gross extravaganza makes a brief tour of cities selected for the hospitality of their alumni and, most important, the nubility of their daughters.
    I remember years ago, when my dad first took me to one of these productions, thinking the thundering hoof beats of the can can guys would quite literally bring down the house. They made that whole wooden building on Holyoke Street tremble.
    This year’s production (the 108th) is called A Ball for Lady Godiva — which should give you some idea of the refined level of its humor.
    Anyway, the first afternoon of tryouts looked like an elephants’ convention. I mean, some of the football players made a crewman like Wigglesworth seem sylphlike by comparison. There was no question that all these mastodons were dying to be one of Lady Godiva’s chambermaids — which is how they were going to dress this year’s Rockettes.
    I knew the competition would be rough, so I worked out with weights (toe raises and squats) to beef up my leg muscles in hopes of getting them to look incongruous enough to make the grade.
    We each got about a minute to sing something, but I think the whole issue was decided in the split second when we were asked to roll up our trousers.
    They called us alphabetically, and, with knees knocking, I walked up on stage to sing a snatch of “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” in my very lowest baritone.
    I sweated for two days waiting for them to post the cast list this afternoon.
    It contained two surprises.
    Neither Wig nor I got to be chambermaids. Mike — to his eternal glory — captured the coveted role of Fifi, Lady Godiva’s debutante daughter.
    And J — O shame! — was cast as Prince Macaroni, one of the suitors for his hand.
    “Great,” Mike enthused, “I’m actually rooming with one of my costars.”
    I was not amused. I was thinking that I’d failed again.
    I wasn’t even man enough to be a girl.
    It was the usual Friday night at The Marathon. Every table was packed with chattering Harvard men and their dates. Socrates urged his staff to hurry along since there was a vast crowd of people standing outside waiting their turn. Up front near the cashier’s desk there seemed to be some argument going on. Socrates called across to his elder son in Greek, “Theo, go and help your sister.”
    Ted hastened to the rescue. As he approached, he could hear Daphne protesting, “Look, I am terribly sorry but you must have misunderstood. We never take reservations on the weekends.”
    But the tall, supercilious preppie in the Chesterfield coat seemed quite adamant that he had booked a table for 8:00 P.M. and was not about to stand outside on Mass. Avenue with (in so many words) the hoi polloi. Daphne was relieved to see her brother arrive.
    “What’s going on, sis?” Ted asked.
    “This gentleman insists he had a reservation, Teddy. And you know our policy about weekends.”
    “Yes,” Ted responded, and turned immediately to the protesting client to explain, “we would never —”
    He stopped in mid-sentence when he noticed who was standing next to the irate, distinguished-looking man.
    “Hi, Ted,” said Sara Harrison, who was manifestly embarrassed at her escort’s rudeness. “I think Alan’s made a mistake. I’m terribly sorry.”
    Her date glared at her.
    “I don’t make such errors,” he stated emphatically, and immediately turned back to Ted. “l cafled yesterday evening and spoke to some woman. Her English wasn’t very good so I was quite explicit.”
    “That must have been Mama,” Daphne offered.
    “Well, Mama should have written it down,” insisted the punctilious Alan.
    “She did,” said Ted, who now had a large reservations book in his hand. “Are you Mr. Davenport?”
    “I am,” said Alan. “Do you see my reservation for eight o’clock?”
    “Yes. It’s listed for last night, Thursday — when we do accept reservations. Look.” He offered the document.
    “How can I read that, man? It’s in Greek,” he protested.
    “Then ask Miss Harrison to read it to you.”
    “Don’t involve my date in your mess-up, waiter.”
    “Please, Alan, he’s a friend of mine. We’re both in classics. And he’s right.” Sara pointed to the approximation of “Davenport” scribbled by Mrs. Lambros for eight o’clock the previous night. “You must have forgotten to tell her it was for the next day.”
    “Sara, what on earth is the matter with you?” Alan snapped. “Are you taking some illiterate woman’s word against mine?”
    “Excuse me, sir,” said Ted, reining in his temper as best he could. “I’m sure my mother is no less literate than yours. She just happens to prefer writing in her native tongue.”
    Sara tried to end the increasingly bitter dispute.
    “Come on, Alan,” she said softly, “let’s go for a pizza. That’s all I wanted in the first place.”
    “No, Sara, there’s a matter of principle involved here.”
    “Mr. Davenport,” Ted said quietly, “if you’ll stop blustering I’ll give you the next available table. But if you persist in this obnoxious behavior, I’ll throw you the hell out.”
    “I beg your pardon, garçon,” Alan responded. “I happen to be a third-year law student, and since I am in no way inebriated, you have no right to eject me. If you try, I’ll sue the pants off you.”
    “Excuse me,” Ted replied. “You may have learned a lot of fancy concepts at Harvard Law, but I doubt if you studied the Cambridge city ordinances that allow a proprietor to kick out somebody — inebriated or not — if he’s making a disturbance.”
    By now Alan had sensed that this was turning into a jungle duel, with Sara as the prize.
    “I dare you to throw me out,” he snapped.
    For a second nobody moved. Clearly, the two antagonists were squaring off for a battle.
    Daphne sensed that her brother was about to imperil their whole livelihood and whispered, “Please, Teddie, don’t.”
    “Would you care to step outside, Alan?” said a voice.
    Alan was startled. For it was Sara who had spoken these words. He glared down at her.
    “No,” he retorted angrily. “I’m going to stay here and have dinner.”
    “Then you’ll eat it alone,” she replied, and marched out.
    As Daphne Lambros thanked God many times under her breath, Ted stormed into the kitchen, where he began to pound his fists against the wall.
    In an instant his father arrived. “Ti diabolo echeis, Theo? What’s this ridiculous behavior? The house is full, the customers are complaining. Do you want to ruin me?”
    “I want to die,” Ted shouted, continuing to attack the wall.
    “Theo, my son, my eldest, we have a living to earn. I beg you to go back and take care of tables twelve through twenty.”
    Just then Daphne stuck her head through the kitchen door.
    “The natives are getting restless,” she said. “What’s the matter with Teddie?”
    “Nothing!” Socrates growled. “Get back to the cash register, Daphne!”
    “But, Papa,” she replied timorously, “there’s a girl who wants to speak to Theo —the one who sort of refereed the fight.”
    “Omigod!” Ted gasped and took one step toward the men’s room.
    “Where the hell are you going now?” Socrates barked.
    “To comb my hair,” said Ted as he disappeared.

    Sara Harrison was standing shyly in a corner, shivering slightly in her coat, even though the place was overheated.
    Ted walked up to her. “Hi,” he said with the casual expression he had frantically rehearsed in front of the mirror.
    “I can’t tell you how sorry I am,” she began.
    “That’s okay.”
    “No, let me explain,” she insisted. “He was an insufferable bore. He was like that from the minute he picked me up.”
    “Then why do you date a guy like that?”
    “Date? That creature was a fix-up. His-mother-knows-my-mother sort of thing.”
    “Oh,” said Ted.
    “I mean filial duty has its limits. If my mother ever tries that again, I’ll say I’m taking holy vows. He was the pits, wasn’t he?”
    “Yes.” Ted Lambros smiled.
    Then there was an awkward pause.
    “Uh — I’m sorry,” Sara repeated, “I guess I’m keeping you from your work.”
    “They can all starve, for all I care. I’d rather talk to you.”
    Omigod, he thought to himself. How did that slip out?
    “Me too,” she said shyly.
    From the vortex of the busy restaurant his father called out in Greek, “Theo, get back to work or I’ll put my curse on you!”
    “I think you’d better go, Ted,” Sara murmured.
    “Can I ask just one question first?”
    “Where’s Alan now?”
    “In hell, I suppose,” Sara replied. “At least that’s where I told him to go.”
    “That means you haven’t got a date tonight,” Ted grinned.
    “Theo!” his father bellowed. “I will curse you and your children’s children.”
    Ignoring the increased paternal threat, Ted continued, “Sara, if you can wait another hour, I’d like to take you to dinner.”
    Her reply was a single syllable: “Fine.”

    The cognoscenti knew that the Newtowne Grill, beyond Porter Square, served the best pizza in Cambridge. This is where, at eleven o’clock, Ted brought Sara (in the family’s beat-up Chevy Biscayne) for their first dinner date. He had finished his chores at The Marathon with extraordinary speed, for there were wings on his heart.
    They sat at a table by the window, where a red neon sign flashed periodically on their faces, giving the whole atmosphere the feeling of a dream — which Ted still half-believed it was. While waiting for their pizza they each sipped a beer.
    “I can’t understand why a girl like you would even dream of accepting a blind date,” said Ted.
    “Well, it’s better than sitting home studying on a Saturday night, isn’t it?”
    “But you must be besieged with offers. I mean, I always imagined you were booked up through 1958.”
    “That’s one of the great Harvard myths, Ted. Half of Radcliffe sits around feeling miserable on Saturday night because everybody at Harvard just assumes somebody else has asked them out. Meanwhile, all the girls at Wellesley have roaring social lives.”
    Ted was amazed. “I wish to hell I had known. I mean, you never mentioned …”
    “Well, it’s not the sort of thing you bring up over Creek verbs and English muffins,” she replied, “although I sometimes wished I had.”
    Ted was nearly bowled over.
    “Do you know, Sara,” he confessed, “I’ve been dying to ask you out since the very first minute I saw you.”
    She looked at him with sudden brightness in her eyes.
    “Well, what the hell took you so long — am I that intimidating?” she asked.
    “Not anymore.”
    He parked the Chevy in front of Cabot Hall and walked her to the door. Then he put his hands on her shoulders and looked her straight in the eyes.
    “Sara,” he said firmly, “I’ve waded through a year of English muffins for this.”
    And he kissed her with the passion that he’d stored up in a million fantasies.
    She responded with an equal fervor.
    When at last he started home, he was so intoxicated that he barely felt his feet make contact with the ground. Then suddenly he stopped. Oh shit, he thought, I left the car in front of Cabot Hall! He dashed back to retrieve it, hoping Sara would not notice his idiotic error from her window.
    But at that moment, Sara Harrison’s eyes were not focused on anything. She was simply sitting motionless on her bed, staring into space.

    The final lyrics of Greek 2B were by an author not generally known for amorous verse — Plato.
    “It’s ironic,” Professor Havelock remarked, “but the philosopher who banished poetry from his Ideal Republic was himself the author of perhaps the most perfect lyric ever written.” And he then read out in Greek one of the famous Aster epigrams.
Star of my life, to the stars your face is turned;
Would I were the heavens, looking back at you with ten thousand eyes.

    Appropriately enough, the bells of Memorial Hall tolled the end of the class. As they walked out the door together, Ted whispered to Sara, “I wish I were the heavens.”
    “Nothing doing,” she replied. “I want you right nearby.”
    And they walked toward The Bick hand in band.
    November is the cruelest month — at least for ten percent of the sophomore class. For it is then that the Final Clubs (so called because you can belong to only one) make their definitive selections. These eleven societies exist merely on the edge of Harvard life. But it is, one may say, the gilt edge.
    A Final Club is an elite, if homogeneous, institution where rich preppies can go and have drinks with other rich preppies. These gentlemanly sodalities do not intrude on college life. Indeed, the majority of Harvard men barely know they exist.
    But, needless to say, November was a busy month for Messrs. Eliot, Newall, and Wigglesworth. Their suite was a veritable mecca for tweedy pilgrims, flocking to implore them to join their order.
    Like modern musketeers, the three decided they’d stick together. Though they got invited to punches for most of the clubs, it was pretty clear that they’d go to either the Porcellian, the AD, or the Fly.
    In fact, if all got asked, they knew they’d join the Porc. If you’re going to bother with these things, it might as well be the undisputed number one, “the oldest men’s club in America.”
    Having been included in the P.C.’s last-cut dinner, they assumed they were in.
    Back at Eliot, they were still in their penguin suits, nursing a final digestif, when there was a sudden knock at the door.
    Newall quipped that it might be some desperate emissary from another club — perhaps the AD, which took Franklin D. Roosevelt when the Porcellian blackballed him.
    It turned out to be Jason Gilbert.
    “Am I disturbing you guys?” he asked somberly.
    “No, not at all,” Andrew responded. “Come in and join us for a brandy.”
    “Thanks, but I never touch the stuff,” he replied.
    His glance made them curiously self-conscious about their attire.
    “The final dinner, huh?” he inquired. “Yeah,” Wig replied casually.
    “The Porc?” he asked.
    “Right the first time,” Newall sang out.
    But neither Mike nor Dick sensed the tinge of bitterness in Jason’s voice.
    “Was it a tough decision, guys?” he asked.
    “Not really,” said Wig. “We had a couple of other options, but the P.C. seemed the most attractive.”
    “Oh,” said Jason. “It must feel great to be wanted.”
    “You ought to know,” Newall quipped. “Every lovely at The Cliffe burns incense to your picture.”
    Jason didn’t smile. “That’s probably because they don’t realize I’m a leper.”
    “What the hell are you talking about, Gilbert?” Andrew asked.
    “I’m talking about the fact that while almost every guy I know got at least one invitation to the first punch of a club, I wasn’t even asked by the lowly BAT. I never realized I was such an asshole.”
    “Come on, Jason,” Newall said reassuringly. “Final Clubs are a bunch of crap.”
    “I’m sure they are,” he replied. “Which is why you guys are all thrilled to be joining one. I just thought that being tuned to the club mentality, you might have some notion as to what precisely they found so obnoxious about me.”
    Newall, Wig, and Andrew looked uncomfortably at one another, wondering who would have to explain to Jason what they had assumed was obvious. Andrew could see that his roommates weren’t up to it. So he made a stab at the not-so-commendable facts of Harvard life.
    “Hey, Jason,” he began. “Who are the guys that mostly get asked to the clubs?
    Preppies from St. Paul’s, Mark’s, Groton. It’s kind of a common bond. You know, birds of a feather flocking together and so forth. You can see what I mean?”
    “Sure,” Gilbert retorted ironically. “I just didn’t go to the right prep school, huh?”
    “Yeah,” Wig quickly agreed. “Right on target.”
    To which Jason replied, “Horseshit.”
    There was a deathly silence in the room. Finally Newall grew annoyed that Jason had broken their mellow mood.
    “For Christ’s sake, Gilbert, why the hell should a Final Club have to take Jews? I mean, would the Hillel Society want me?”
    “That’s a religious organization, dammit! And they wouldn’t want me. I mean, I’m not even —”
    He stopped, his sentence half-completed. For a moment, Andrew thought that Jason had been about to say he wasn’t Jewish. But that would be absurd. Could a Negro stand there and suggest he wasn’t black?
    “Hey, listen, Newall,” Wigglesworth piped up, “the guy’s our friend. Don’t piss him off more than he is.”
    “I’m not pissed off,” Jason said in a quiet fury. “Let’s just say I’m uncomfortably enlightened. Good night, birds, sorry to have interrupted your flocking together.”
    He turned and left the room.
    That called for another round of brandy and a philosophical observation from Michael Wigglesworth. “Why’s a neat guy like Jason that defensive about his background? I mean, there’s nothing so bad about being Jewish. Unless you really care about stupid things like Final Clubs.”
    “Or being President of the United States,” added Andrew Eliot.
    November 16, 1955
    Dear Dad,
    I didn’t get into a Final Club. I know in the scheme of things it’s not that important, and I really don’t care that much about having another place to go and drink.
    Still, what really bothers me is that I wasn’t even considered. And most of all the reason why.
    When I finally worked up the guts to ask some of my friends (at least I always thought they were my friends) for an explanation, they didn’t pussyfoot around. They just came straight out and told me that the Final Clubs never take Jews. Actually, they put it in such a genteel way that it hardly sounded like prejudice.
    Dad, this is the second time I’ve been rejected for something simply because people regard me as Jewish.
    How do you reconcile this with the fact that you’ve always told me we were Americans “just like everybody else”? I believed you — and I still want to. But somehow the world doesn’t seem to share your opinion.
    Perhaps being Jewish is not something you can remove like a change of clothing.
    Maybe that’s why we’re getting all of the prejudice and none of the pride.
    There are lots of really gifted people here at Harvard who think being Jewish is some kind of special honor. That confuses me as well. Because now more than ever I’m not sure exactly what a Jew is. I just know lots of people think I’m one.
    Dad, I’m terribly confused and so I’m turning for help to the person I respect most in the world. It’s important that I solve this mystery.
    Because until I find out what I am, I’ll never find out who I am.
Your loving son,
    His father did not answer this disturbing letter. Instead, he canceled a full day of business meetings and took the train straight up to Boston.
    When Jason walked out of squash practice he could hardly believe his eyes.
    “Dad, what are you doing here?”
    “Come on, son, let’s go to Durgin Park and have one of their super steaks.”
    In a sense, the choice of restaurant said everything. For the world-famous chophouse near the abattoirs of Boston had no booths or private corners. With its inverted snobbery, it placed bankers and busmen at the same long tables with red checkered cloths. A kind of forced democracy of the carnivorous.
    Perhaps the elder Gilbert was sincerely unaware that inti mate communication was impossible in such a setting. Perhaps he chose it merely out of an atavistic feeling of protectiveness. He’d feed his boy to somehow compensate for all the hurt he felt.
    In any case, amid the clatter of heavy china plates and shouting, from the open kitchen, all that Jason came away with was the fact that Dad was there to back him up. And he’d always be. Life was full of disappointments. The only way to deal with minor setbacks was to fight back harder still.
    “Someday, Jason,” he had said, “when you’re a senator, the boys who turned you down now will be mighty sorry. And believe me, son, this painful incident — and hey, I really hurt with you — won’t mean a thing.”
    Jason accompanied his father to South Station for the midnight train. Before he climbed aboard, the elder Gilbert patted Jason on the shoulder and remarked, “Son, there’s no one in the world I love more than you. Always remember that.”
    Jason walked back toward the subway feeling strangely empty.
    Sara Harrison sat bolt upright, her face flushed.
    “Come on, Ted. How many times in your life have you refused to make love to a girl?”
    “I take the Fifth Amendment,” he protested.
    “Ted, it’s dark here and you still look embarrassed as hell. I don’t care how many girls you’ve slept with before me. I just wish you’d let me join the club.”
    “No, Sara. It just doesn’t seem right in the back of a Chevrolet.”
    “I don’t mind.”
    “Well, I do, dammit. I mean, I want our first time to be somewhere a little more romantic. You know, like the banks of the Charles.”
    “Are you crazy, Ted? It’s freezing! What about the Kirkland Motel? I’ve heard their policy is pretty lax.”
    Ted sat up and shook his head. “No go,” he sighed despondently. “The guy that owns it is a family friend.”
    “Which brings us back to this lovely Chevrolet.”
    “Please, Sara, I want this to be different. Look — next Saturday we can drive to New Hampshire.”
    “New Hampshire? Have you lost your mind? You mean from now on we’ll have to drive a hundred miles every time we want to make love?”
    “No no no,” he protested. “Just till I can find a decent place. God, if ever I wished I lived in a House, it’s now. At least those guys can have women in their rooms in the afternoons.”
    “Well, you don’t, and I’m stuck in a Radcliffe dorm that only lets men visit once in a blue moon …”
    “Well, when’s the next blue moon?”
    “Not till the last Sunday of next month.”
    “Okay. We’ll wait till then.”
    “And what are we supposed to do in the meantime — take cold showers?”
    “I don’t see why you’re in such a hurry, Sara.”
    “I don’t see why you’re not.”
    In truth Ted could not explain the qualms he felt about the prospect of “going all the way” with her. He had grown up with the notion that love and sex were for two completely different kinds of women. While he and his buddies took swaggering pride in their exploits with girls who “went down,” none of them would ever have dreamed of marrying anyone who was not a virgin.
    And though he dared not admit it even to himself, something subconscious in him wondered why a “nice” girl like Sara Harrison was so eager to make bye. And so he welcomed the delay till Visitors’ Sunday at her dorm. It would give him more time to reconcile the antitheses of sensuality and love.
    Still there was a nagging question in the back of his mind and he searched for ways to broach it delicately.
    Sara sensed that he was anxious about something.
    “Hey, what’s eating you?”
    “I don’t know. It’s just — I wish I’d been the first.”
    “But you are, Ted. You’re the first man I’ve ever really loved.”
    “Andrew — are you busy tonight?” Ted asked nervously. “I mean, could you spare me five minutes after the library closes?”
    “Sure, Lambros. Want to go downstairs to the Grill for a couple of cheeseburgers?”
    “Uh? Well, actually, I’d prefer someplace a little more private.”
    “We could take the food up to my room.”
    “That would he great. I’ve got something special to drink.”
    “Ah, Lambros, that sounds really interesting.”

    At a quarter past midnight, Andrew Eliot placed two cheeseburgers on the coffee table in his suite, and Ted produced a bottle from his bookbag.
    “Have you ever tasted retsina?” he asked. “It’s the Greek national drink. I’ve brought you some as a kind of gift.”
    “What for?”
    Ted lowered his head and mumbled, “Actually, it’s sort of a bribe. I need a favor from, you, Andy, a really big favor.”
    From the embarrassed look on his friend’s face, Andrew was sure he was about to be hit for a loan.
    “I really don’t know how to say this,” Ted began, as Andrew poured the retsina.
    “But whether you say yes or no, swear you’ll never tell a soul about this.”
    “Sure sure, of course. Now spill — you’re giving me a heart attack from the tension.”
    “Andy,” Ted started shyly, “I’m in love …”
    He stopped again.
    “Uh, congratulations,” Andrew responded, uncertain of what else to say.
    “Thanks, but you see, that’s the problem.”
    “I don’t get it, Lambros. What’s the problem?”
    “Promise you won’t make any moral judgments?”
    “Frankly, I don’t think I have any morals that I know of.”
    “Listen, could I borrow your room a couple of afternoons a week?”
    “That’s it? That’s what’s giving you a brain hemorrhage? When do you need it?”
    “Well,” he replied, “house parietal rules let you have girls in the room between four and seven. Do you and your roommates need this place in the afternoons?”
    “No sweat. Wigglesworth’s got crew and then eats at the Varsity Club, Ditto for Newall with tennis. I work out in the JAB. So that leaves you a clear field for whatever you’ve got in mind.”
    Ted was suddenly beaming.
    “God, Eliot, how can I ever thank you?”
    “Well, the occasional bottle of retsina isn’t a bad idea. There’s only one thing — I’ll have to know this girl’s name so I can sign her in as my guest. It’ll be a little tricky at first, but the super’s a good guy.”
    They established a system that would enable Ted and his inamorata (“an absolute goddess” named Sara Harrison) to enjoy the hospitality of Eliot House. All he had to do was give Andrew a few hours’ warning.
    Ted was effusive with gratitude and floated out of the room as if on a cloud.
    Andrew was left wondering, as that clever Yalie Cole Porter put it, “What is this thing called love?”
    He sure as hell didn’t know.
    The spring belonged to Jason Gilbert.
    He finished his initial season of varsity squash undefeated. And Went straight on to unseat the current captain for the number-one singles slot on the tennis team. Here, too, he did not lose a match. He then crowned his sophomore achievements by winning both the IC4A and Eastern College titles.
    These ultimate exploits made him the first member of The Class to have his picture on the sports page of the more widely circulated version of the Crimson, i.e., The New York Times.
    If he had suffered any psychic damage from the unhappy experience with the Final Clubs, it was in no way apparent — at least to his athletic opponents.
    In every American college there is always a figure known as the BMOC — “Big Man on Campus.” Harvard prided itself on not recognizing this as a valid designation.
    Semantics notwithstanding, at this moment in the drama of undergraduate life, the undisputed hero — or in Shakespeare’s words “the observed of all observers” — was indisputably Jason Gilbert, Jr.
    Danny Rossi’s esteem in the tiny music community could not counteract the chagrin he felt after the humiliating destruction of his piano. He hated Eliot House, and even at times began to resent Master Finley for bringing him to this den of obnoxious pseudo-sophisticates.
    His disdain was reciprocated by most of the house members. And he ate almost every meal alone — except when Andrew Eliot would catch sight of him, sit down, and try to cheer him up.
    Ted Lambros’s growing involvement with Sara demonstrated the validity of the platonic notion that love draws the mind to higher planes. He got straight A’s in all his classics courses. Moreover, he no longer felt himself a total alien from campus life. Perhaps because he was spending so many afternoons a week at Eliot House.
    Andrew could only sit on the sidelines and marvel at how his classmates were developing. Petals were opening, blossoms emerging. Sophomore year was a glorious awakening for the entire Class.
    It had been a time of hope. Of confidence. Of boundless optimism. Almost every member of The Class left Cambridge thinking, We’ve only half-begun.
    When, in truth, it was half-over.
    Danny Rossi’s second summer at Tanglewood had been even more memorable than his first. Whereas in 1955 his most exalted task was, as he himself put it with self-deprecating humor, “polishing Maestro Munch’s baton,” in 1956 he actually got to wave it in front of the orchestra.
    The white-haired Frenchman had developed a grandfatherly affection for the eager little Californian. And, to the consternation of the other students at the Festival School, gave Danny every opportunity to make “real” music.
    When Artur Rubinstein came up to play the Emperor Concerto, for example, Munch volunteered Danny to turn the virtuoso’s pages during rehearsal.
    At the first break, Rubinstein, legendary for his prodigious musical, memory, bemusedly demanded to know why the conductor had stuck so familiar a score in front of his face. To which Munch replied with a sly grin that it was for the page turner’s benefit. So that Danny Rossi could study the master up close. “The boy is on fire,” he added.
    “Weren’t we all at that age?” Rubinstein smiled.
    Moments later he invited Danny to his dressing room, to hear his interpretation of the concerto.
    Danny began hesitantly. But by the time he had reached the allegro of the third movement, he was too involved to be diffident. His fingers were flying. In fact, he stunned himself by the uncanny ease with which he played at such a frantic tempo.
    At the end he looked up, breathless and sweating.
    “Too fast, huh?”
    The virtuoso nodded, but with admiration in his eyes. “Yes,” he acknowledged.
    “But extremely good nonetheless.”
    “Maybe I was just nervous, but this keyboard made it feel like I was rolling down a hill. It sort of sped me up.”
    “Do you know why, my boy?” Rubinstein asked. “Since I am not gifted with great size, the Steinway people kindly manufactured this piano with the keys one-eighth smaller. Look again.”
    Danny marveled at Artur Rubinstein’s personal piano. For on it he, who was also not “gifted with great size,” could stretch a full thirteenth with ease.
    Then the master generously remarked, “Listen, we all know that I don’t need any pages turned. So why not stay here and play to your heart’s content?”

    On another occasion, at an outdoor run-through of Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, Munch suddenly gave a histrionic sigh of weariness and said, “This Massachusetts weather is too hot and humid for a Frenchman. I need five minutes in the shade.”
    He then motioned to Danny. “Come here, young man,” he said, extending his baton.
    “I think you know the piece enough to wave this stick in front of these musicians. Take over for a minute and be sure they behave.”
    With this he left Danny feeling very naked and alone on the podium before the entire Boston Symphony.
    Of course the orchestra had several assistant conductors and répétiteurs precisely for occasions such as this. And they stood on the sidelines burning with a lot more than summer heat.

    He was really high that night. And as soon as he got back to his boarding house, Danny phoned Dr. Landau.
    “That’s wonderful,” the teacher commented with pride. “Your parents must be delighted.”
    “Yeah,” Danny answered half-evasively. “I — uh — would you mind calling Mom and telling her about it?”
    “Daniel,” Dr. Landau answered gravely, “this melodrama with your father has gone on too long. Look, this is a perfect opportunity to make a gesture of conciliation.”
    “Dr. Landau, please try to understand. I just can’t bring myself to …” His voice trailed off.


    September 29, 1956
    I had given it a lot of thought all summer as I sweated my guts out at the construction job my father had so considerately arranged to enhance my acquaintance with physical labor. While my roommates, Newall and Wig, were off cruising the better beaches in Europe, the only thing I got to lay all summer was a lot of bricks.
    I returned to Harvard for junior year determined to succeed where I had never failed — because I’d never even had the guts to try.
    I was going to lose my virginity.
    Mike and Dick came home with these incredible tales of trysting the nights away with nymphs of every nationality and cup size.
    And yet peer pressure prevented me from asking either of them for advice — or more specifically for a phone number. I’d become the laughingstock of the Porcellian — not to mention Eliot House, the crew and probably even the biddies who served in the dining hall.
    In desperation I thought of trying the notorious bars around Scollay Square, but I couldn’t work up the courage to go on my own. And besides, the whole idea was kind of sordid.
    Who could help me?
    The answer became apocalyptically clear the first evening I returned to my library job. For there, grinding away at his usual table, was Ted Lambros.
    This time it was Andrew who begged Ted to come to his room for an urgent conversation.
    Ted was puzzled, since he had never seen his friend so agitated.
    “What’s up, Eliot?”
    “Uh. How was your vacation, Ted?”
    “Not bad, except I only got to see Sara for a couple of weekends. Otherwise it was just business as usual at The Marathon. Anyway, what’s your problem?”
    Andrew wondered how the hell he could broach it.
    “Hey, Lambros, can you keep a secret?” he asked.
    “Who’re you talking to, Eliot? We have a sacred tenant-landlord relationship.”
    Andrew opened another beer and took a long swig.
    “Uh — you know I’ve been going to boarding schools since I was eight. The only girls we ever got to see were the ones they trucked in for tea dances and stuff. You know, prissy little ice maidens …”
    “Yeah,” Ted replied. “I know the type.”
    “Your high school was coed?”
    “Sure, that’s one advantage of not having bucks.”
    “So you must have been pretty young when you — uh — started going out with girls?”
    “Yeah, I guess so,” he replied, treating the whole subject with an insouciant levity that suggested he was unaware of Andrew’s mounting anxiety.
    “How old were you when you had your first — you know — experience?”
    “Oh, about average,” Ted replied. “Maybe a little old, actually. I was almost sixteen.”
    “Pro or amateur?”
    “Oh, come on, Eliot, you don’t pay for that sort of thing. It was a hot pants little sophomore named Gloria. What about you?
    “What about me?”
    “How old were you when you lost it?”
    “Ted,” Andrew muttered uneasily, “this may kind of shock you …”
    “Don’t tell me, Eliot — you did it at eleven with your nanny!”
    “I only wish. That’s what practically happened to Newall. No, what I wanted to tell you is — shit, this is so embarrassing — I still have it.”
    The instant he confessed, Andrew was frightened that his friend might laugh. But instead, after a moment of reflection, Ted looked at him with genuine sympathy. “Hey, you got problems or something?”
    “No — unless you call total fear a problem. I mean, I’ve had a lot of dates in the past few years, and I think some of them would have … cooperated. But I’ve been too scared to make the move. Because, frankly, Lambros, I’m not sure I have the technique. I mean, I’ve read all the books — Love Without Fear, The Ideal Marriage. But I’ve obsessed about it for so long that I’m scared of clutching at the crucial moment — if you know what I mean.”
    Ted put a paternal hand on Andrew’s shoulder. “My boy, I think you need what the football team calls a ‘practice scrimmage.’ ”
    “Yeah. But I wouldn’t want to put you to any trouble.”
    “Hey, no sweat, Andy. There are plenty of chicks from my high school still around Cambridge. They’d be tickled to go out with a Harvard man — especially a sophisticated guy from Eliot House.”
    “But, Ted,” he responded with frenzy in his voice, “they can’t be utter pigs. I mean, I’ve gotta be seen with them. You know, in the dining room, or on some kind of date.”
    “No, no. You don’t have to wine ’em and dine ’em. You just invite ’em to your room and let nature take its course. And don’t worry, the one I have in mind for you is really great-looking.”
    “Hey, not too good-looking. I want to start my career sort of at the bottom and work up. If you know what I mean.”
    Ted Lambros laughed.
    “Andy, Andy, stop being a goddamn puritan. Everything in life doesn’t have to be done the hard way. Look, why not meet me in front of Brigham’s at twelve-fifteen tomorrow? The little blonde ice-cream scooper is a real firecracker.”
    He stood up and yawned. “Listen, it’s getting real late and I’ve got a nine o’clock. See you tomorrow.”
    Andrew Eliot sat there shell-shocked. He had not expected things to move so fast. There were a million questions he still wanted to ask.

    Outside Brigham’s the next day, he greeted Ted with annoyance.
    “What the hell kept you? I’ve been waiting for hours.”
    “Hey, I’m right on time. I had a class till noon. What’s the matter with you? C’mon, let’s get the show on the road.”
    “Wait, wait, wait, Lambros. I’ve got to know what to do.”
    Ted answered softly, “Listen, Eliot, just walk inside with me, order a cone, and when no one else is around I’ll introduce you to Lorraine.”
    “Who’s Lorraine?”
    “She’s your passport to paradise, baby. She’s a really good kid and just loves Harvard guys.”
    “But, Ted, what exactly do I say?”
    “Just give her one of your charming smiles and ask if she’d like to have a drink this afternoon. And Lorraine being Lorraine, she’ll say yes.”
    “What makes you so sure?”
    “Because she’s never said ‘no’ to anything in her life.”
    She came over the moment they reached the counter. Ted had not been lying — the girl was a real looker. As they chatted amicably, she leaned forward and Andrew could not keep from gazing down her carelessly unbuttoned uniform.
    Wow, he thought, can this really be happening to me? God, I wish I’d spent more time rereading those manuals last night.
    “So, what house are you in?” Lorraine inquired. “Uh — Eliot,” he replied without elaboration. Then he felt Ted’s elbow in his ribs and added, “Uh — would you like to come over this afternoon?”
    “Sure,” she replied. “Parietals start at four, don’t they? I’ll just meet you at the gate. ’Scuse me now, I got customers getting impatient.”

    “Well?” asked Ted when they were outside again. “Are you all set now?”
    Set? He was about to pass out.
    “Lambros,” he pleaded, “couldn’t you give me just a few tips? I mean about making the first move.”
    Ted stopped as they were both in the middle of Harvard Square in a sea of noontime students.
    “Andy,” he said indulgently, “say something casual like, ‘Lorraine, why don’t we go to the bedroom and fool around?’ ”
    “Isn’t that a little crude?”
    “Jesus, Eliot, she’s not Doris Day! I mean, she really loves to make it with Harvard guys.”
    “Honestly,” he repeated. And then as a final gesture he reached into his pocket and put something into Andrew’s hand.
    “What’s that?”
    “It’s a cultural first,” he replied, smiling. “You just got a Trojan from a Greek.”


    September 30, 1956
    Had a really terrific day.
    I’ll never forget Ted Lambros for the favor he did me.
    As a matter of fact, I’ll never forget Lorraine, either.
    Danny Rossi returned to Cambridge in September with a revised view of the world — and himself. Artur Rubinstein had praised his pianistic skills. He’d conducted a real symphony — if only for a minute.
    Though he had hardly become a Casanova, his few brief encounters (two, to be precise) had led him to discover a new erogenous zone: the keyboard. He would now not be intimidated even by Brigitte Bardot — as long as there was a Steinway in the room.
    To become a triple threat musician, all that remained was for him to start composing seriously. As promised, Walter Piston took him in his seminar and Danny began to write in earnest.
    But he was growing ever more impatient to be free of all the trappings of “studenthood.” He had had enough of being known as some famous person’s pupil, protégé, or favorite. He now bridled at such distinctions. He was prepared to be a great man on his own.
    The Composition Seminar disappointed him. For it seemed to consist only of exercises in the style of various past masters. When Danny complained of his frustration at the “limiting” assignments, Professor Piston tried to clarify the logic of the method.
    “All great writers, whether they make prose or music, start by imitation. That’s what gives a man a sense of style. And only after that can he begin to forge his own. Be patient, Danny. After all, young Mozart wrote at first like pseudo-Haydn, and even Beethoven began by imitating Mozart. Don’t be so impulsive, you’re in august company.”
    Danny heard the cautionary words but really didn’t listen. Events at Tanglewood that summer had turned his head. While dutifully fulfilling all of Piston’s course demands, he started to seek outlets for expressing his own musical personality.
    And then the opportunity found him. His phone rang late one afternoon as he was finishing an essay at his desk.
    “Is this Danny Rossi?” asked a slightly nervous female voice.
    “I’m Maria Pastore, president of the Radcliffe Dance Club. And — I hope you don’t think this is presumptuous — the group would like to put on an original ballet this spring. Naturally your name was the first one we all thought of. Please tell me if this is imposing and I won’t go on …”
    “No, no,” Danny encouraged, “I’m very interested.”
    “You are?” Maria said delightedly.
    Sure,” Danny answered. “Who would be the choreographer?”
    “Uh, well,” Maria responded shyly, “sort of me. I mean, I’m not a total neophyte. I’ve studied with Martha Graham and —”
    “Please,” Danny said with exaggerated magnanimity, “we’re all just undergraduates. Why don’t we have dinner at Eliot and talk it over?”
    “Gee, that would be terrific. Should I meet you near the superintendent’s office at, say, five-thirty or so?”
    “No,” Danny answered. “Why not come around five? We can talk things over in my room before we eat.”
    And inwardly he thought, If this Maria turns out to be a dog, I just won’t take her to the dining hall.
    “Your room?” Her voice was slightly nervous once again. “Uh — yes,” he answered suavely. “I mean, I’ve got a piano here and everything. If not, we can meet sometime in Paine Hall. But I should definitely be near a keyboard.”
    “Oh no, that’s okay,” Maria Pastore quickly responded, her tone belying her words, “your room would be fine. So I’ll see you Wednesday at five. I’m really excited about this. Thanks.”
    She hung up. And Danny thought, I wonder how excited I’ll be.

    At precisely 5:00 P.M. on Wednesday, November 14, there was a knock on Danny Rossi’s door.
    “Come in,” he called out as he straightened his tie and then — took a sniff. He had somewhat overdone it with the shaving lotion. The room fairly reeked of Old Spice.
    He rushed to the window and raised it a few inches. Then he opened the door.
    “Hello,” said Maria Pastore.
    She was so tall that at first Danny did not even see her face. But what he did perceive was interesting enough for his gaze to linger before moving upward.
    She was extremely pretty, too. Long black hair framed her wide, soulful Mediterranean eyes. No question about it, they’d be eating dinner at Eliot that night. And many jaws would drop in admiration.
    “Thanks for giving me a chance to talk to you,” Maria bubbled with enthusiasm.
    “It’s my pleasure,” Danny Rossi replied gallantly. “Your idea interests me.”
    “I haven’t actually explained it to you yet,” she answered shyly.
    “Oh,” said Danny Rossi. “I mean, the notion of composing a ballet is really attractive. Uh — could I take your coat?”
    “No, thanks,” Maria responded diffidently, “it’s kind of cold in here.”
    “Oh yeah,” said Danny, hurrying to close the window. “I like fresh air. You know, it sort of keeps your head clear.
    He motioned for her to sit down. She did so, and throughout their conversation remained bundled up. Danny sensed that it was not merely because of the wintry temperature.
    She’s shy, he thought. But at least I’ll get to see what she’s been covering when we get to the dining hall.
    “Drink?” he asked.
    “No, thank you. It’s really not good for dancers.”
    “I meant just a little drop of sherry.” (He believed the undergraduate maxim, “Whisky makes them frisky, but sherry makes them merry.”)
    “I really don’t like alcohol,” Maria said in a tone that was almost apologetic.
    “Coke?” asked Danny.
    As he listened intently to her ideas for a short ballet, Danny wondered whether Maria could sense that he was taking off her clothes as he was gazing at her. But in fact she was so nervous that she barely noticed anything.
    It took her half an hour to present her concepts.
    She had gone through the Idylls of Theocritus, the Eclogues of Virgil, and made some general notes from Robert Graves’s Greek Mythology, gathering enough material for a potential ballet scenario that she would call Arcadia (“for example, Apollo and Daphne could be an exciting sequence”). The principal dancers could be shepherds and shepherdesses, and for comic relief there could be a recurring motif of grotesque little satyrs running on and off stage chasing nymphs.
    Danny thought the idea was terrific. This was going to be one hell of a stimulating project.
    The next day at lunch, some guys he didn’t know passed by his table to remark on the extraordinary pulchritude of his dinner date the previous night. Danny smiled with masculine bravado.
    Yeah, he thought, the Eliot House dining hall has never seen the likes of her. When certain cruder types came straight out and inquired, “Are you scoring with her, Rossi?’ he avoided the whole issue with genteel protectiveness of Miss Pastore’s honor.
    But the truth was as he walked her all the way back to Radcliffe he had concluded that he probably would never even get to kiss her. She was much too tall. And though the plans they made would bring her to his room on many future afternoons, he stood no chance of making progress.
    For she was five foot ten of Snow White — who, of course, was just platonic friends with all the dwarfs.


    November 12, 1956
    There is a common misconception that preppies are perpetually cool. Calm. Unruffled. Never get ulcers. Never even sweat or get their hair messed up. Well, let me put the lie to that. A preppie hath eyes. He hath hands, organs, passions. If you prick him, he will bleed. And if you hurt him, he may even cry.
    Thus it was with my longtime friend and roommate, Michael Wigglesworth, Boston Brahmin, tall and handsome, stroke on the crew and general good guy.
    None of this, not even the genuine affection of his teammates and his buddies in the Porc or the admiration of his many friends in Eliot House, could keep his mind intact. When he went home to Fairfield for the weekend, his fiancée calmly informed him that, upon reflection, she’d decided to marry some older guy — who was nearly thirty.
    Wig seemed to take all this with stoic equanimity. At least till he got back to school. Then one evening, as he was going through the dinner line, he cheerfully remarked to one of the serving biddies, “I’m going to kill the Christmas turkey.”
    Since he was giggling at the time, the matrons laughed as well, Then, from inside his baggy, well-worn J. Press jacket, Wig produced a fire ax. And, swinging wildly, he proceeded to chase a turkey — which apparently only he was able to see — around the perimeter of the dining room.
    Tables overturned, plates flew in the air. Everybody — tutors, students, Cliffie guests — scattered frantically. Someone called the campus cops, but when they arrived they too were scared shitless. The only guy who had the cool to deal with the situation was senior tutor Whitney Porter. He slowly approached Wig and with unwavering calm asked if Michael was finished with the hatchet.
    This innocent question, so ingenuously posed, made Wig stop swinging and take stock. He didn’t answer right away. I think he was gradually beginning to realize that there was a lethal weapon in his hand, for a purpose that was not entirely clear to him.
    With the same uncanny tranquility, Whitney again asked Michael for the ax.
    Wigglesworth was nothing if not polite. He immediately offered the implement (handle first) to the senior tutor, saying, “Yes, sir, Dr. Porter.”
    By then a couple of doctors from the Health Service had shown up. The medics led Mike off, and, no doubt to their eternal gratitude, Dr. Porter insisted on riding with them to the hospital.
    I went to visit him as soon as they would let me. And it really broke my heart to see our Harvard Hercules looking so helpless. And alternating between tears and laughter. The doctor said he would “need a lot of rest.” In other words, they really didn’t know when — or probably even how — he would get better.
    Ten days after Michael Wigglesworth’s precipitous departure, Master Finley called Andrew into his office for a chat. It began, as so many of their previous conversations had, with many repetitions of his surname in various tones. The Eliot declarative, the Eliot meditative, the Eliot interrogative. These prefatory invocations once pronounced, he then said, “Eliot, I regard you not only as an eponym but a true epigone.”
    (Right after the conversation, Andrew sprinted back to his dictionary to discover that he had been praised first for stemming from the family that gave the name to his house, and second for being worthy of that name.)
    “Eliot, Eliot,” Master Finley repeated, “I am sorely troubled by the fate of Wigglesworth. I have been searching my heart and wondering whether there were signs I should have noticed. But I always regarded him as a veritable Ajax.”
    Andrew was slightly lost. The only Ajax he knew was a foaming cleanser.
    “You know, Eliot,” the scholar continued, “Ajax, ‘the wall of the Achaians’ — second only to Achilles himself.”
    “Yes,” Andrew agreed, “Wig was a real ‘wall.’ ”
    “I would see him every morning,” the master continued, “as the crew stroked past my window. He looked hale.”
    “The crew is going to miss him.”
    “We all shall,” said Finley, shaking his silver mane sadly. “We all shall.”
    The great man’s next words were not unexpected.
    “Eliot, Eliot,” he said.
    “Yes, sir?”
    “Eliot, Michael’s untimely departure leaves us with a space both in our house and in our hearts. And while one cannot find a second Wigglesworth, perhaps Destiny has played a hand in all of this.”
    He stood up, as if to spread his rhetorical wings. “Eliot,” he continued, “who can be unaware of the tragic events of recent days? As, after Troy fell, countless innocent inhabitants were iactati aequore totoreliquiae Danaum atque immitis Achilli …”
    Andrew had had enough prep school Latin to realize the master was quoting the Aeneid. Was he about to say that Wig’s place was going to be filled by a Trojan student?
    Finley was frantically pacing the room, frequently gazing out onto the river where hale Mike Wigglesworth would never more be seen, when he suddenly whirled and fixed Andrew with a coruscating gaze.
    “Eliot,” he concluded, “George Keller will be arriving tomorrow evening.”


    Something sinister in the tone
    Told me my secret must be known:
    Word I was in the house alone
    Somehow must have gotten abroad,
    Word I was in my life alone,
    Word I had no one left but God.
    Budapest, October 1956
    George’s childhood had been dominated by two monsters: Joseph Stalin — and his own father. The only difference between the two was that Stalin terrorized millions, and his father merely terrorized George.
    True enough, “Istvan the Terrible,” as George often thought of him, had never actually killed or even imprisoned anybody. He was merely a minor official in the Hungarian People’s Working Party who used Marxist-Leninist jargon to castigate his son.
    “Why does he flagellate me?” George would complain to his sister, Marika. “I’m a better socialist than he is. I mean, I believe in the theory, anyway. And even though I think the party stinks, I’ve joined for his sake. Why is he so fed up?”
    Marika tried to mollify her brother. And comfort him. For, try as he did to deny it, George was genuinely upset by the old man’s disapproval.
    “Well,” she said softly, “he’d like your hair a little shorter…”
    “What? Does he want me to shave my skull? I mean, lots of my friends wear Elvis Presley ducktails.”
    “He doesn’t like your friends either, Gyuri.”
    “I don’t know why,” said George, shaking his head in consternation. “They’re all sons of party members. Some are big shots, too. And they’re a lot easier on their children than Father is.”
    “He just wants you to stay home and study, Gyuri. Be honest, you’re out almost every evening.”
    “You be honest, Marika. I graduated first in my gimnazium class. I’m studying Soviet law —”
    At that very moment Istvan Kolozsdi entered the room and, immediately taking command, finished his son’s sentence.
    “You are at the university because of my party status, yompetz, and don’t forget it. If you were merely a clever Catholic or Jew, it wouldn’t matter how high your grades were. You would be sweeping some provincial street. Be grateful you are the son of a party minister.”
    “Assistant minister,” George corrected him, “in the Farm Collectivization Office.”
    “You say it as if it were a disgrace, Gyuri.”
    “Well, it’s hardly democratic for a government to force people to farm against their will —”
    “We do not force —”
    “Please, Father,” Gyuri answered with an exasperated sigh, “you’re not talking to some naive idiot.”
    “No, I’m talking to a yompetz, a worthless hooligan. And as for that girlfriend of yours —”
    “How can you criticize Aniko, Father? The party thinks she’s good enough to study pharmacy.”
    “Still, it hurts my standing when you’re seen with her. Aniko’s a bad type. She malingers. She sits in cafés in Vaci Ucca listening to Western music.”
    What really annoys you, George thought, is that I sit right next to her. Last Sunday in the Kedves we heard Cole Porter for nearly three hours.
    “Father,” said George, hoping for reasonable debate instead of a brawl, “if socialist music is so great, why doesn’t the Stalin Cantata have any good tunes?”
    Livid, the government official turned to his daughter. “I won’t talk to this yompetz anymore. He’s a disgrace to our entire family.”
    “I’ll change my name,” George said facetiously.
    “Please,” said the old man, “the sooner the better.” He stormed out and slammed the door.
    George turned to his sister. “Now what the hell did I do?”
    Marika shrugged. She had been the referee in these father-and-son combats for as long as she could remember. There seemed to have been conflict ever since their mother died — when George was five and she only two and a half.
    The old man was never the same after that. And in his fits of bitterness he would vent his anger on his eldest child. While she tried to grow up as quickly as she could to be a mediating force — a mother to her brother and a wife to him.
    “Try and understand, George, he’s had a very hard life.”
    “That’s no excuse for giving me one. But in a way I understand. He feels trapped in his job. Yes, Marika, even socialist officials harbor ambitions. The Farm Program is an unmitigated disaster. His boss naturally blames him, so who can he let out his frustrations on? Sometimes I wish we had a dog so he could kick it instead of me.”
    Marika realized that, despite George’s angry protestations, at a certain level he genuinely sympathized with his father’s disappointment. Yet, the old man had done well for someone who had begun life as an apprentice shoemaker in Kaposvar. Istvan Kolozsdi’s greatest misfortune was that he had sired a son whose brilliance would inevitably show how mediocre he really was.
    Somewhere in their hearts, the two men knew it. And this made them afraid to love each other.

    “I have tremendous news!” called Aniko as she dashed across Muzeum Boulevard to catch George between lectures at the Law Faculty.
    “Don’t tell me,” he smiled, “the pregnancy test was negative.”
    “That I won’t know till Friday,” she replied, “but listen to this — the Polish students are striking to support Gomulka — and we’re organizing a sympathy march.”
    “Aniko, the Secret Police will never let you get away with it. Those AVO thugs will beat your brains in, Or else our friendly Russian ‘visitors’ will.”
    “Gyuri Kolozsdi, not only will you march with me, but you will carry one of the posters I’ve spent all morning painting. Now, which one would you like — ‘Hail Polish youth’? ‘Russians get out’?”
    George smiled. Wouldn’t the sight of him carrying such a placard warm his father’s heart? “I’ll take that,” he said, pointing at “New Leadership for Hungary.”
    They kissed.
    March Fifteenth Square was electric with anticipation. Thousands of demonstrators had crowded onto its grassy turf, carrying posters and flags. There were delegations from factories, schools, and universities. A young actor from the National Theater clambered up the statue of Sándor Petofi and began to declaim the poet’s “National Hymn,” which had ignited Hungary’s 1848 Revolution.
    The ever-increasing throng joined in with special vigor when they reached “Most vagy soha — now or never!”
    For the first time, George began to feel that something important was happening. And he was a part of it.

    At last the procession began, led by chanting demonstrators who carried a wreath of red carnations. They began to pour into the main city streets, blocking traffic as they passed. But there was no animosity. Many motorists simply locked their cars and joined the marchers, whose ranks had already been swelled by the shop owners and workers all along the way. Every window, every balcony was filled with families waving encouragement.
    As if by magic, Budapest was transformed into a boundless field of red, white, and green. People everywhere had fashioned tricolors of ribbons, cloth — and even paper. When the students took their final turn into Jozsef Bem Square, they could see that the statue at the center was already draped with a huge Hungarian flag, the Soviet coat of arms torn out of its center.
    Toward sunset, many students talked about going to dem onstrate in front of Parliament. Others proposed an attack on the great statue of Stalin that had for so many years stood in the center of the City Park looking down at Budapest with cast-iron mockery. George and Aniko held hands and let the mainstream carry them back across the river toward Parliament Square.
    “What do you think the government will do?” George asked.
    “Resign. They have to.”
    The immensity of the crowd in Parliament Square was almost frightening. Hundreds of thousands — it seemed like millions — were laying siege to the venerable government edifice with its embroidered Gothic pinnacles. All were shouting for the return of the only leader they trusted, Imre Nagy, who had been removed from office by the Russians the year before.
    Evening became night and the air grew bitingly cold. But many had made torches of the newspapers and pamphlets they held in their hands and continued to shout for Nagy.
    Then suddenly, unexpectedly, a slight figure appeared on a balcony. From the front rows a ripple of voices began to echo and crescendo toward the back. “It’s Nagy, it’s Nagy!” Somewhat weakly, himself overcome by the emotion of the moment, the deposed leader raised his hand to plead for silence.
    “Has he gone mad?” George wondered out loud, “He’s waving his hands like a lunatic.”
    But in an instant all became clear. He was leading the massive throng in the singing of the national anthem. It was a stroke of genius!
    After the song ended, Nagy disappeared as swiftly as he had materialized. The crowd — thrilled and elated now — began to break up. Instinctively, they knew no more would happen that night. At least not in Parliament Square.

    George and Aniko were halfway back to the university when they heard gunfire. He took her hand and they began to run down toward Muzeum Boulevard. The cobblestone streets swarmed with people, excited, curious, frightened.
    When they reached the Muzeum Garden, there were still traces of tear gas in the air. She took out a handkerchief and held it to her face. George’s eyes were beginning to burn. A hysterical young girl was shrieking that the Secret Police had massacred defenseless people.
    “We’re going to kill every one of those bastards!” she sobbed.
    “Fat chance,” George whispered to Aniko. “I’ll believe it when I see my first dead AVO man.”
    He took her hand and they began to run again.

    Less than a block later, they stopped in their tracks, horrified. Above them, strung up by his feet from a lamppost, were the bloody remains of a Secret Police officer. George felt sick.
    “Gyuri,” said Aniko with a shudder, “we know what they did to their prisoners.”
    On the next block they saw corpses of two more AVO agents.
    “God,” Aniko pleaded, “I can’t bear this anymore.”
    “Come on, I’ll take you home.”

    “Well, yompetz, I see they haven’t arrested you yet.”
    It was nearly 5:00 A.M. Istvan Kolozsdi was seated close to the radio, exhausted, smoking nervously. Marika rushed to embrace her brother.
    “Gyuri, we’ve been hearing such terrible rumors. I feared that something had happened to you.”
    “Forget rumors, Marika,” the patriarch interrupted. “The truth has just been on the news.”
    “Really?” George said softly. “And what is Radio Budapest’s version of tonight’s events?”
    “There was a small Fascist insurrection, which the police have dealt with severely,” said Istvan Kolozsdi. “And where have you been all evening?”
    George sat down in a chair opposite his father, leaned forward, and said with a smile, “Listening to Imre Nagy.”
    “You are mad. Nagy is a nonperson.”
    “Try telling that to the thousands who cheered him in Parliament Square. And we’re going to get him back as party leader.”
    “And I’m getting my hair back on my head. You’re all a bunch of crazy idiots.”
    “Spoken like a true socialist,” said George, as he headed out of the room. “I’m going to sleep. Even lunatics need rest.”

    Scarcely three hours later, his sister was prodding him. “Wake up, Gyuri. Nagy is named premier! It’s just been on the news.”
    George forced his weary body to get out of bed. He had to see his father’s face.
    Still buttoning his shirt, he shuffled into the sitting room. The old man seemed welded to the spot beside the radio, surrounded by ashtrays spilling over with cigarette butts.
    As Marika handed George a cup of black coffee, he asked his father, “Well?”
    The patriarch looked up and, without the slightest trace of irony, replied, “You have never heard me say a word against Imre Nagy. In any case, he must have the blessing of Moscow, because he has asked for help from the Soviet troops.”
    “Now I think you’re the dreamer, Father.” And then, turning to his sister, he said, “When Aniko calls, tell her I’ve left for the university.”
    He tossed a jacket over his shoulder and hurried from the house.

    In the years that followed, George looked back at this moment and wondered why he had neglected to say more of a farewell. Not to his father. For he was angered by the old man’s shameless display of hypocrisy. But why had he not been more affectionate to Marika?
    He was never able to console himself with the thought that, on that cold October morning in 1956, he could not have dreamed how far he was going.

    The university was a tornado of rumors. After every radio broadcast, people would scurry around the hall like town criers. The exhausted students cheered upon hearing that President Eisenhower had said, “The heart of America goes out to the people of Hungary.” They sang to one another, “The whole world is watching!”
    But the peak of euphoria came on Tuesday afternoon, when Premier Nagy announced that the evacuation of Soviet troops had begun. George must have knocked down six people as he dashed ecstatically across the room to embrace Aniko.

    On the morning of November first, George was rudely awakened by Geza, a fellow law student.
    “What the hell —”
    And then he noticed something very odd. Scrawny Geza today looked like a circus fat man. George rubbed his eyes in disbelief.
    “What the hell has happened to you?” he asked. “We’ve got to get out of here,”
    Geza said. “I’m wearing all my clothes — at least everything I could squeeze on — and heading for Vienna.”
    “Have you lost your mind? The Soviets are gone. Don’t you hear Radio Free Europe?”
    “Yes, but I also hear my cousin in the village of Gyor. He rang about two hours ago and said there were hundreds of Russian tanks massing at the western border. They’re just regrouping to come back.”
    “Is he sure?”
    “Do you want to wait and find out?” George hesitated, but only for a split second. “Let me get Aniko,” he said.
    “Okay, but make it snappy.”

    She was reluctant.
    “What makes you so sure the Soviets are coming back?”
    “How many reasons do you want?” George answered impatiently. “Look, if Hungary goes independent, that will give the Poles and the Czechs big ideas. Then boom, the Russian empire tumbles like a house of cards.”
    Her face grew pale. She was frightened by the magnitude of the decision being forced upon her.
    “But what about my mother — she can’t manage without me.”
    “She will have to,” George replied impassively. He put his arms around her. She was sobbing quietly.
    “Let me at least call her,” she pleaded.
    “Yes. But please be quick.”

    They started walking. George and Aniko with just the clothing on their backs, Geza wearing his entire wardrobe. As they reached the outskirts of Buda, George saw a phone booth and suddenly thought of his sister.
    “Anybody got some change?” he asked.
    Aniko pressed a coin into his hand.
    “Gyuri,” his sister said anxiously, “where are you? Even Father’s been concerned.”
    “Listen,” he replied, “I’m in a hurry —”
    Just then, Geza stuck his head into the booth and Whispered, “Tell her the Voice of America is passing code messages from refugees who make it across.”
    George nodded.
    “Please, Marika, don’t ask me any questions. Just listen to the Voice of America. If they say that —” He hesitated once again. “That ‘Karl Marx is dead’ — that’ll mean I’m all right.”
    “Gyuri, I don’t understand. You sound scared.”
    “I am,” he confessed, and then added, “so for God’s sake, pray that he does die.”
    He hung up without another word.

    “What about your father?” Aniko asked. “Won’t he get into trouble when they learn you’ve fled the country?”
    “Listen, he’s a consummate politician, with a genius for self-preservation. He’ll be just fine, I assure you.”
    And in his heart he thought, He turned his back on me during my whole childhood, why should I care what happens to him now?
    They plodded on in silence. The only traffic on the road was the occasional ancient truck — nearly always heading toward the western border. Once in a while the trio would get a lift for a few dozen kilometers. The drivers never asked where they were going or why.
    It was nearly nightfall when they reached the outskirts of Gyor.
    “What do we do now?” George asked Geza. “It’s much too cold to sleep outside, and I’ve barely got a few forints in my pocket for food.”
    “I don’t even have enough for a bowl of soup,” Aniko added.
    Geza merely smiled. “Leave it to me. Do you have the strength to walk another hour?”
    “Only if I knew we could get inside somewhere,” said George. Aniko nodded agreement.
    “Tibor Kovacs’s parents live in Enese — about ten kilometers from here. He was going to leave with us. His parents would be expecting him.”
    Aniko gasped. “Don’t they know he was shot two nights ago?”
    “No,” Geza replied, “and there’s no point in telling them.”
    And he began to lead them toward Enese.
    In half an hour, they were trudging down an icy country road lit only by moonlight. They had been walking since early morning and were almost too tired to speak.
    “Tomorrow would be a good day to try to make it across,” said Geza. “It’s All Souls’ Day. The roads will be filled. Everybody will be going to the cemeteries.”

    The Kovacs family was glad to welcome friends of their son and did not seem concerned that he was not with them. He had been instructing various groups of the newly formed militia in the use of arms, so that George’s fabrication — that Tibor was needed for another few days in Budapest — seemed perfectly plausible.
    Dinner was a dream. Unlike the capital city, the villages had plenty of food, and Mrs. Kovacs set before them a feast of chicken and vegetables. There was even a bottle of Tokay.
    “I admire you.” Mr. Kovacs smiled broadly. “If I were a few years younger, I’d be going, too. For sure as snow will fall tomorrow, the Russians will be back. Everyone I speak to has seen the tanks. They are off the main road, but they are out there in the forests, waiting like hungry bears.”
    Aniko was offered Tibor’s bed. Though inwardly horrified, she knew she had to accept. The two young men curled up by the fire in the main room.
    The next morning it was snowing heavily.
    Geza looked at George and Aniko. “In this weather, I think the best idea is to try to catch a train to Sopron. From there, we have a long and very sparse border with Austria. If we are lucky, we should be able to walk across tonight.”
    At midday they thanked the Kovacses and started off, leaving all sorts of encouraging messages for Tibor.
    At the outskirts of the village, they got their first shock. The Russian tanks were no longer hiding behind trees. Two of them were squatting right in the center of the road.
    “Well?” George asked Geza.
    “Don’t panic, Gyuri. It’s snowing like hell and they don’t seem to be paying very close attention. We’re not carrying any luggage, so why should they suspect us of anything?”
    “You, Geza, look like a walking football in all those clothes,” said George. “If you intend to try to bluff your way past those tanks, you’d better strip down.”
    A sudden look of anxiety crossed Geza’s face. He was loath to part with five-sixths of his worldly possessions.
    “Let’s go around the town and see if we can reach the railroad from the other side,” he insisted nervously.
    And so they set off.
    But there were two more tanks at the farther entrance to the village. They had hiked for more than an hour in the snow to no purpose. George and Aniko stared at Geza. Without a word, he began to unbutton his top jacket. His fingers were trembling — and not merely from the cold.
    “Who — who — who’ll do the talking?”
    “Come on, Geza,” George replied, “we’ve all had at least six years of Russian. Let’s just be sure we tell the same story.”
    “Your accent is the best, George,” Geza insisted. “It would be much better if you spoke for us. Besides, when it comes to inventing lies, you’re something of a genius.”
    “All right, comrade,” said George, “I’ll be our ambassador.” After Geza removed his penultimate suit and buried the rest of his garments in a snowdrift, they started off toward the tanks.
    “Stoi! Kto idyot?”
    A soldier asked them to identify themselves. George took a few steps forward and began to engage him in impeccable Russian.
    “We are three students from Eotvos Lorand University, visiting a friend who is ill with glandular fever. We would like to take the train back to Budapest. Do you wish to see our papers?”
    The soldier had a whispered conversation with one of his colleagues and then turned back to George.
    “That will not be necessary. Proiditye!” And he waved them on. They hurried into the village, toward the train station, their hearts pounding.
    “Damn,” said Geza, pointing to the station up ahead. “They have tanks there too.”
    “Ignore them,” George replied. “I don’t think these soldiers know what they’re supposed to do, anyway.”
    He was right. No one stopped them from getting onto the platform, where a very crowded train was about to leave. There was much noise and confusion. All three of them called desperately to various people, “Sopron? Going to Sopron?”
    There was shouting and waving from inside the train, which now began slowly to pull out. Geza leapt on board first. George helped Aniko and then clambered on himself. In an instant, they had left the station.
    There was not a single empty seat, so they stood in the corridor looking out the window. Each knew what the other two were thinking. In an hour and a half at most they’d be in Sopron. And then the border.
    There were startling new additions to the otherwise familiar Hungarian landscape. Russian tanks. Everywhere. All with their guns aimed straight at the train.
    They did not exchange a word in the next half-hour.
    Then came the shock.
    “George,” said Geza, sounding as if a noose were around his neck, “do you see where we are?”
    George looked beyond the Soviet armor. His heart nearly stopped.
    “We’re going in the wrong direction! The damn train isn’t going to Sopron — it’s going back to Budapest!” Aniko grabbed his arm in terror.
    The train suddenly halted with a jolt. Aniko fell against George, who kept his balance only because he was holding on to the window rail. The passengers glanced at one another in fear and confusion. George’s eyes were fixed on the Russian tanks outside the window.
    “You don’t think they’re going to shoot, do you?” Aniko whispered.
    “I wouldn’t bet against it,” he replied, biting his lip.
    Then, suddenly, at the far end of the car, a conductor in a faded blue-gray uniform appeared, trying to weave his way through the crowd. Questions were fired at him from every direction. He cupped his hands and announced:
    “We cannot enter Budapest. Repeat, we cannot enter Budapest. The Soviets have surrounded the city and there is fierce shelling.” And then the most startling piece of information: “We are turning back. We must go all the way to Sopron.”
    Geza, George, and Aniko looked at one another. There was jubilation in their eyes. In a few moments, the train started up slowly… away from the Soviet stranglehold on Budapest.
    The entire journey toward the border seemed to be through a corridor of tanks. When they finally arrived and stepped onto the Sopron station platform, hope permitted them to take one deep breath. So far, so good.
    It was now late afternoon.
    “Which way is the border?” George asked Geza.
    “I don’t know,” he confessed.
    “Well, what the hell do you expect us to do?” he snapped. “Ask some Russian soldier?”
    Then it occurred to Aniko. “Isn’t there a School of Forestry here? We could ask a student.”
    She didn’t have to finish her thought. In a split second, George had obtained directions from an elderly woman and they were off.

    The minute they entered the great hail, a young man in a beret asked, “Do you need ammo, comrade?”
    The atmosphere inside the school was actually festive. Dozens of patriots were arming to drive the Russian invaders from their homeland.
    They were each given a piece of bread, a cup of cocoa — and a handful of bullets scooped out from a large vat.
    “Where are the weapons?” George asked, his mouth stuffed with bread.
    “They will come, comrade, they will come.”
    The three of them went to sit down in a corner and plan their next move. One thing was certain. They had not come all this way to join a doomed rebellion.
    “These people are crazy,” said Ceza, shifting a half-dozen bullets from hand to hand as if they were mixed nuts. “The shells are all of different calibers. I don’t see two alike. What are they going to do — spit them at the Russians?”
    And then he rose and walked off to seek out geographical orientation.
    George and Aniko looked at each other. This was the first time they had been alone in days.
    “How do you feel?” he asked her.
    “Scared. I hope we can make it.”
    She clasped his hand.
    “Don’t worry,” he replied. And then after a few minutes inquired, “By the way, what did you tell your mother?”
    “I know you’ll laugh, but it’s the only thing she would’ve believed.” She smiled weakly. “I said we were going off to get married.”
    He grinned wearily and squeezed her hand.
    “Maybe it won’t be a lie, Aniko.”
    “Do you really mean it, George?”
    He hesitated for a split second and replied, “Why else did I bring you along?”
    Then they both leaned back, silent and exhausted.
    A few minutes later she said sadly, “I wonder how it’s going in Budapest.”
    “You must force yourself not to think of these things,” he replied.
    She nodded. But, unlike him, she could not so easily eradicate her memories.
    Geza reappeared. “Austria is a few kilometers’ walk through those woods back there. If we left now, we could still get there by nightfall.”
    George looked at Aniko. She stood up, saying nothing.
    It had begun to snow heavily again. Thick, silent chunks of white. All three of them were soon soaked and freezing. Their thin city shoes made it worse than walking barefoot.
    But they were not alone. Every few minutes a group or a family with children would pass. Some times they would merely nod. At others, they’d exchange what meager information they possessed. Yes, we think the frontier is in that direction. Yes, we did hear that most of the Border Patrol has deserted. No, we haven’t seen any Russian soldiers.
    Deep in the forest they would pass bunkers from which submachine guns protruded menacingly. These were Border Guard stations, apparently — hopefully — unoccupied. They just moved on, half-expecting a sudden burst of bullets in the back.
    The snow reflected an eerie light. In the distance, they heard a growling dog. They stopped in their tracks, paralyzed.
    “Is it the guards?” Geza whispered in a panic.
    “How the hell do I know?” George shot back. A second or two later, a man with a German shepherd crossed their path. But that was all he was — just a local peasant out for a stroll with his dog. They pressed forward again.
    Less than five minutes later, they were out of the woods. On a hill overlooking what had to be the Austrian border. They could see soldiers in overcoats stopping vehicles at a gate, talking, gesturing for documents, et cetera. Some cars were waved through, others turned away.
    “Well, we’re here,” Geza announced, a tinge of triumph in his exhausted voice.
    “Yeah,” George commented wryly, “now all we have to do is get past the guards. Anybody know how to fly?”
    The next words were spoken in a strange voice.
    “Halt — put your hands in the air!”
    They whirled and saw two men in uniform behind them. One was holding a machine gun.
    Damn — the Border Patrol!
    “You weren’t intending to go on a picnic in Austria, by some chance?”
    Neither George nor Geza nor Aniko answered. They were numb beyond despair. The second officer had a radio, with which he now began to contact headquarters.
    Knowing they had nothing to lose, George tried desperate diplomacy.
    “Listen, we’re all Hungarians. In a few hours, we’ll be Russian prisoners. And I mean you guys, too. Why don’t we all —”
    “Silence!” barked the man with the radio. “We have caught you illegally attempting to cross the frontier.”
    But the soldier with the gun seemed to be trying to catch George’s eye. Could he be hallucinating — or was the officer tilting his head slightly as if to say, “Run for it”?
    Actually, it didn’t matter. This was their last chance for freedom and they all instinctively knew it.
    He touched Aniko’s hand lightly. She understood. And at the same instant they both broke into a run. Geza, equally hungry for survival, dashed to the left as George and Aniko bolted to the right.
    They had taken two or three steps before the bullets began whistling through the air. Perhaps the gunner was not really aiming, but George didn’t want to find out. He tucked his head down and sprinted and sprinted and sprinted.
    George had no idea how long he had been running. He knew only that he still did not feel tired. He flailed on and on in the knee-deep snow until gradually he began to realize there was no more gunfire. In fact, there was no noise at all. Suddenly, he found himself in a vast, empty field of snow.
    He felt safe enough to slacken his pace. Only now did he sense that he was exhausted and near collapse. All he could hear was the sound of his own labored breathing. He turned to look at Aniko.
    But he saw nothing. No one. Gradually, painfully, he began to comprehend that she was no longer with him. He had been too preoccupied with his own flight to think of her.
    Had she tripped and fallen? Lost her way in that blinding snow? Had one of the many bullets struck her?
    George started to retrace his steps, wondering if he should call her name. He opened his mouth, but no voice emerged. He was afraid. Afraid to attract attention. And if he kept heading back, the police might get him. As they might already have gotten her. Was there any point to committing suicide?
    No, Aniko would want him to go on and save himself. He turned again, trying not to think of the girl who loved him and left everything to be with him.
    Moments later, in the distance, he saw — or thought he saw — the outline of a tower against the evening sky. Then he recognized it as a steeple.
    They don’t have churches like that in Hungary, he realized. This has to be Austria. He set out toward the horizon.
    Half an hour later, Gyorgy Kolozsdi staggered into the Austrian town of Neunkirchen. The villagers were celebrating some local festival. As soon as he appeared, they knew who he was. Or at least what he was. A plump, ruddy-faced man approached, pointing a finger at him.
    “Bist du ungarisch?” he asked.
    Even in his state of shock, he knew they were asking him if he was Hungarian. And, more important, they were speaking German. He was safe.
    Two men came up and helped him sit down on a bench. One had a flask of schnapps. George took a swig. Then suddenly he began to sob.
    He felt guilty to be alive.
    A small Austrian police van creaked to a halt about fifty feet from where George was sitting. A tall, slender, and totally expressionless officer came up to him.
    “Guten Abend,” he said quietly. And then gesturing toward his vehicle added, “mit mir, bitte.”
    George breathed the sigh of a defeated man, rse obediently, and slowly followed his captor. When he climbed wearily inside, his worst fears were confirmed. There were ten or twelve other passengers, all Hungarians like himself.
    “Welcome to the West,” said a short, wiry man with bushy sideburns, ensconced in a rear seat. George hastened to sit next to him.
    “What the hell is going on?” he asked anxiously.
    “The Austrians are rounding up strays like us. My name’s Sándor, Miklos, Call me Miki. And you —?”
    “Kolozsdi, Gyorgy,” George replied. And then asked quickly, “Are they taking us back?”
    “Don’t be silly. I am on my way to Chicago.”
    “How do you know?”
    “Because on this side of the border people are free to go where they want to. Isn’t that why you left?”
    George thought for a moment and then replied softly, “Yes, I suppose so. But where are we going in this bus?”
    “Well, after they pick up a few more fish that slipped through the Soviet nets, they’ll take us someplace to snooze. I know a bit of German and I’ve chatted up the captain.”
    George was almost tempted to feel relief. But there had been so many disappointments, so many unexpected turns of the screw, that he dared not let his guard down.
    As they drove through the night, many of the refugees dozed off. But George remained awake, gazing intently out the window to catch the names of towns and villages. He wanted to be absolutely certain there were no deviations from the path to freedom.
    Just before daybreak they reached Eisenstadt. The van pulled into the crowded parking area of the railroad station — which was bristling with thousands of Hungarian refugees.
    “What’s happening?” asked George as Miki trotted back from a lightning reconnaissance mission.
    “They’re organizing trains,” he puffed, “to take us to some big abandoned army camp the Russians used during the war.”
    “I don’t like the sound of that,” said George.
    “Yes,” Miki agreed with a wink. “Anything Russian — even without Russians in it — is not for me. I’m going freelance.”
    “Meaning what?”
    “Look, sooner or later they’ll have to take these people to Vienna. But I prefer to go right now. Want to join me?”
    “Sure. Do you have a map?”
    “In here,” the little man answered, pointing to his head. “I memorized everything. All we have to do is head north and watch the signs. Okay, let’s separate and stroll nonchalantly toward the far exit. When you’re sure nobody’s looking, slip away and start walking along the main road. We’ll rendezvous at the first beerhouse on the right-hand side.”
    They nodded and quickly parted company. George hurried as inconspicuously as possible to the edge of the station. Then, after whistling his way past the armed guards, he began to stride northward as quickly as he could.
    The first tavern was a mere six hundred yards away. The older man was already there, leaning casually against a fading wooden sign that identified the establishment as “Der Wiener Keller.”
    “It means the Vienna Wine Cellar,” explained Miki, pointing to the placard. “It’s a sort of weak pun on ‘Wein’ and ‘Wien.’ Not sophisticated enough for gentlemen like us. I suggest we move on.”
    Without another word they set off.
    “How’s your English?” asked Miki, as they marched briskly. “I don’t know a single word,” George replied.
    “Oh yes, you’re one of those privileged party children who get to study all those years of Russian, Not very provident of you, was it?”
    “No. But I’ll start learning English the minute I can buy a book.”
    “You’re walking with one,” his fellow refugee replied. “If you pay attention, I will have you speaking good American before We reach Vienna.”
    “Okay.” George smiled. “Start teaching.”
    “First lesson. Repeat after me, ‘I am a cool cat. You are a cool cat. He is a cool cat. She is a — ’ ”
    “What does that mean?” George asked.
    “ ‘Cool cat’ is a nice compliment meaning ‘good person.’ Trust me, George, I’m up-to-date from studying all the newspapers. Now stop the questions and start repeating.”
    After two hours, George was able to make a modicum of idiomatic small talk. He knew how to flatter his future countrymen. To tell them that life in Hungary was “a drag.” And that the United States was the hope for the future of all mankind. On the more pragmatic side, he was able to ask where the men’s room was.

    They slowed somewhat as they crossed the Danube. For they both were acutely aware that, a few hundred kilometers to the east, this same river bisected their native city.
    “Do you have family back in Budapest?” George asked. Miki hesitated. His expression seemed to alter slightly.
    “Not anymore,” he answered enigmatically. “And you?”
    Regretting that he had broached the subject, George responded with the same words: “Not anymore.”
    And he once more fought to drive the thoughts of Aniko from his mind.

    Miki explained that he was going to seek out the major American relief organizations and tell each one of them that he had a sister and brother-in-law in Illinois. He also had a profession. And besides, Charles Lancaster was willing to be his sponsor.
    “Who the hell is Charles Lancaster?” asked George.
    “My brother-in-law, of course.”
    “ ‘Lancaster?’ ”
    “Listen, Gyuri, if your name were Karoly Lukacs, wouldn’t you change it to something more familiar to the American ear?”
    George agreed. And immediately applied the lesson to his own predicament. “But, Miki, what will they make of ‘Gyuri Kolozsdi’?”
    “They will make a mess of it, my friend. An American needs an American name.”
    “Well, what would you suggest?”
    “ ‘Gyorgy’ is no problem,” answered Miki, clearly enjoying the opportunity to rebaptize an adult. “It simply becomes ‘George.’ But ‘Kolozsdi’ must be replaced by something clear and neat.”
    George searched his mind. For some strange reason, his thoughts returned to that first tavern on the road to freedom — Der Wiener Keller. “How does ‘George Keller’ sound?”
    “Very dignified. Very dignified indeed.”
    At this point they could have taken a tram, but George was loath to leave his new friend.
    “Do you think they’ll want a simple student? I mean, I have no degree or anything,”
    “Then you must find something that will make them want you.”
    “I was studying Soviet law. What good is that in America?”
    “Aha — there you have it. You have had a thorough party education. You know Russian almost as a mother tongue. Tell them you want to use this knowledge in the struggle against world communism. Tell them you want to go to university to help in this fight.”
    “Any university in particular?”
    “In America, the two best are Harvard and Yale. But you’d better say you want to go to Harvard.”
    Miki smiled. “Because for a Hungarian, ‘Yale’ is too hard to pronounce.”

    They finally parted company on the Ringstrasse.
    “Good luck, Georgie.”
    “Miki, I’ll never forget what you’ve done for me.”
    Several moments later George discovered an envelope in his pocket. It contained Miki’s future address in Highland Park, Illinois. And twenty-five U.S. dollars.

    The American Red Cross committee seemed fairly impressed with George’s academic background. But instead of receiving an air ticket, he was assigned to barracks on the outskirts of town. This wouldn’t do.
    George approached a fresh-faced official wearing a Red Cross tag that identified him as:
    “Excuse me, Mr. Redding,” George said politely. “I would like to go to Harvard.”
    “Who wouldn’t?” The young man laughed. “I got turned down flat. And I was third in my graduating class and editor of the paper. But don’t you worry, we’ve got lots of colleges. You’ll finish your studies, I’ll promise you that.”
    But George had a trump card, one of the “key American phrases” Miki had taught him on their march from Eisenstadt to Vienna.
    “Mr. Redding,” he said with a slight quaver in his voice, “I — I want to be in America… for Christmas.”
    It worked! George could see from the expression on Redding’s face that he was moved by this lonely refugee’s yearning.
    “You’re a good fella, you know that?” he said with genuine affection. “Look — give me your name and I’ll see what I can do.”
    Gyorgy Kolozsdi spoke his freshly minted appellation for the first time. “It’s Keller. George Keller.”
    “Well, George,” said Albert, “I can’t promise anything, but come back and see me tomorrow morning, okay?”
    “And if there’s anything you need in the meantime —”
    “There is,” George interrupted this gentle attempt to brush him off. “I understand it is possible to get messages on the Voice of America, yes?”
    “Uh, sure. That’s not my department, but I could pass it on.” He withdrew a pad and pencil from his jacket pocket and George dictated.
    “I would simply like it said please that… ‘Mr. Karl Marx has died.’”
    “That’s it?”
    “Yes, please.”
    The young man looked up at George and inquired diffidently, “Say, don’t they know this behind the Iron Curtain?”
    “It may shock some people,” George replied. “Anyway, thank you, mister. I will return tomorrow early.”

    At seven-thirty the next morning, Albert Redding was in a state of shock.
    “I dunno,” he muttered to George, waving a telegram in his left hand. “Maybe I should have been born Hungarian.”
    “What is it?”
    “I just do not believe this luck,” the young man repeated in dismay. “Listen to this: ‘To the Field Director, American Red Cross, Vienna — Harvard University has set up a committee to seek out and subsidize one or two qualified refugee students from Hungarian universities. We would appreciate complete details on any potential candidates. Please reply to me with fullest particulars. Signed, Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, Assistant Professor of Government.’ ”
    Redding looked wide-eyed at George. “Do you believe that?”
    “Who knows? But let us anyway quickly send this person a report about me.”

    The response came within twenty-four hours. This young refugee was just the sort of candidate they were looking for. The rest was merely bureaucratic detail.
    Eight days afterward, George Keller boarded a bus for Munich, where he was placed on an aircraft; twenty-six hours later, he alighted at Newark Airport, USA. He was not at all tired by the long journey. It had allowed him time to memorize more of his newest acquisition, a book called Thirty Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary.
    Customs at the airport was perfunctory. It had to be. All George possessed were two books, three newspapers, and some clean underwear the Red Cross had given him. As he walked tentatively out of the Immigration area, a pale angular man with a crewcut held out his hand.
    “George Keller?”
    He nodded, still slightly unfamiliar with his new name.
    “I’m Professor Brzezinski. Welcome to America. We’ve arranged for you to sleep tonight at the New York Harvard Club.”
    Andrew first met George Keller after lunch in Master Finley’s office. Professor Brzezinski had just brought the young refugee over from South Station and made the introductions. He then gave Andrew two hundred dollars and asked him to take George around the Square and fit him out with all the basic clothes he’d need. They would have to be thorough, since the Hungarian didn’t even have pajamas. Lest Andrew get the wrong idea, Brzezinski cautioned, “We are on a tight budget, Mr. Eliot. So I think it wise you do most of your shopping at The Coop.”
    As soon as they reached the Square, George began to read the billboards out loud, and then he eagerly asked, “Do I pronounce these words correctly, Andrew?”
    He recited everything from slogans such as “Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco” to “Eight Minutes to Park Street” (on the electric sign over the subway). And then he would immediately try to use this, verbiage in a sentence like, “What do you think, Andrew? Shall we buy some Lucky Strike? I’m told that it is fine tobacco and it is very good to smoke.” Or, “I hear the journey into Park Street, which is known to be the center of Boston city, is eight minutes only from this Harvard Square. Am I correct?”
    He then listened with frenetic intensity to whatever nonsense Andrew replied, immediately asking for definitions of words he had not understood.
    “Please, George,” Andrew begged at last, “I feel like a walking dictionary.”
    Not that George wasn’t grateful. He kept effusively repeating things like, “Andrew, you’re a really cool cat.”
    The preppie wondered where the refugee had picked up slang like that. But then concluded that it must be a translation from Hungarian.
    Inside The Coop, George acted like a child in Santa’s storehouse. He had never seen such an array of merchandise in his whole life. What struck him most was the amazing brightness of the colors.
    “Back in my home — my former home, I mean to say — all things were gray,” he commented. “Also a great big drag.”
    Despite a gleam in his eyes that made Andrew think he wanted to buy everything in the place, when it came down to selecting the most trivial of items, George was enormously fastidious. They stood in the underwear department and engaged in a long dialectic as to whether the majority of Harvard men wore boxer shorts or “the most cool of them” preferred the jockey type (Every part of him had to be fashionably American.)
    They ran the same investigative gamut when it came to socks and ties. Andrew steered him toward the reps, of course.
    With notebooks and similar supplies, it was a good deal easier. George simply picked everything that had the college emblem on it (even the ballpoint pens, strictly a tourist item).
    And yet he was a little leery when Andrew explained that Harvard types carried their stuff around in a green bookbag.
    “Why green? Is not the official university color this winelike crimson?”
    “Yeah,” Andrew sputtered, at a loss for words, “but —”
    “Then what is the reason you make me buy green?”
    “Hey, George, I honestly don’t know. It’s just an old tradition. I mean, all the cool people —”
    “Oh, truthfully?”
    “Even Dr. Pusey,” Andrew answered, hoping that the President of Harvard would not mind his invoking him in vain.

    They spent an aeon in the textbook section. On the train, Brzezinski had helped George work out a schedule of courses that would suit someone with perfect Russian. Still, in addition to his class texts, he bought all sorts of English grammar books and dictionaries. Anything that would advance his crusade to conquer the language.
    As they were lugging all their purchases back home to Eliot, George suddenly asked in an incongruous whisper, “We are alone now, Andrew, are we not?”
    Dunster Street was empty, so the answer obviously was yes.
    “Then we can speak the truth to one another?”
    Andrew was totally confused. “I don’t understand you, George.”
    “You can trust me to keep a secret, Andrew,” he continued, still half-whispering. “Are you the spy?”
    “The what?”
    “Please. I am not some naive newborn child. In every university the government has spies.”
    “Not in America,” Andrew answered, trying to sound convincing. For, like someone in a Kafka story, he felt slightly guilty.
    “George, do I look like a spy to you?”
    “Of course not,” he said knowingly. “That is the biggest reason why I suspect you. Please — you won’t report this, yes?”
    “Hey look,” Andrew protested, “I don’t report to anybody. I’m just a Harvard undergraduate.”
    “Is your name really Andrew Eliot?”
    “Of course. What do you find so strange in that?”
    “Look here,” he reasoned, “the dwelling they assign me is called Eliot. You say that is your name also. Do you not find that curious coincidence?”
    As patiently as possible, Andrew tried to explain how Harvard buildings got their names from notable alumni of a bygone age. And that his family had been pretty distinguished. Apparently that satisfied George for the moment. In fact, it seemed to lift, his mood.
    “Then you are an aristocrat?”
    “You might say so,” Andrew answered candidly. And was pleasantly surprised to find that for some unfathomable reason, this seemed to make George happy.
    Then came the horror show.

    They had left Eliot at about half past one. It was close to five when they returned.
    Fortunately, Andrew was the first to walk into the suite. Something made him glance toward the bedroom, where he saw in panic what they’d interrupted.
    The day’s events had made him totally forget! It took Andrew half a second to react. First he ordered George to wait in the hall, then he sprinted like a demon to the bedroom door and slammed it shut.
    At last, he turned around to see the refugee staring at him, his suspicion now inflamed to paranoia.
    “Eliot, what is happening?”
    “Nothing, nothing, nothing. Some friends of mine have just been … borrowing the place.”
    As Andrew stood there like a sentry at the bedroom door, both men could hear frantic shuffling inside.
    “I don’t believe you,” George stated angrily, a quaver in his voice. “And I wish to speak to your superiors immediately.”
    “Hey, wait a minute, Keller, let me explain this, huh?”
    He glanced at his brand-new Timex watch and, like a military officer, replied, “Okay, I give you five minutes. Then I phone Brzezinski to get me out of here.” He sat down and folded his arms.
    Andrew didn’t know how to begin. “Look, George, there are these two friends of mine who —” At a loss for words, he stood there making futile gestures in the air.
    “So far, no good,” Keller said disapprovingly. Then he glanced at his watch again. “Four minutes twenty and I call Brzezinski.”
    Suddenly he looked up and his expression changed completely. He jumped to his feet and, with a broad smile, said, “Greetings, honey, I am George. What’s your name?”
    Andrew whirled around and saw that Sara had emerged, a little red-faced.
    “I’m Sara Harrison,” she said with as much friendly composure as she could muster under the circumstances. “Welcome to Harvard.”
    George held out his hand. They shook. Then Ted appeared and introduced himself. George was miraculously transformed.
    “And so we all are living here?” he asked with newfound optimism.
    “Uh — not really,” Andrew stammered. “It’s just that Ted and Sara have no place to, you know —”
    “Please,” George said gallantly, “there is no need to explain. We have these housing problems also in Hungary.”
    “Hey,” Ted whispered to Andrew apologetically, “I’m sorry for this little mess-up. But you didn’t give us any warning.”
    “No, no, you guys. It’s all my fault. I should have called you when I learned what train he would be coming on.”
    “No sweat,” Ted reassured him. “But look, it’s getting late. I’ve got to walk Sara back and go to work. Thanks, Eliot, it was great while it lasted.”
    As Sara kissed Andrew on the cheek and started out, he called, “Hey, you know nothing has to change. I mean, you’re welcome to continue … visiting.”
    Sara stuck her head back in. “We’ll see.” She smiled. “But I think you’ve got your hands full.”
    The Eliot House dining hall was the one selected to stay open through the Christmas holidays. To offer nourishment — a flattering term for Central Kitchen fare — to the poor souls who had to stay in Cambridge during the vacation.
    These were not the usual men of the house, but rather a potpourri of undergraduates from all over the campus. Many were seniors (of the Class of ’57) feverishly working on their honors dissertations. Some were freshmen who lived too far from home and didn’t have the wherewithal even for bus fare.
    Still, a few were genuine Eliot men, each of whom had a special reason for remaining in arctic Cambridge over Christmas.
    Danny Rossi was one of them. He welcomed the liberation from his classwork to plunge fully into composing Arcadia. The place was quiet. Not a single raucous shout rose from the snowy courtyard to destroy his concentration. For, wanting to impress Maria, he’d rashly promised that he’d have the whole score done by New Year’s Eve.
    He worked demonically from dawn to late at night. One theme came magically — the plaintive love song of the shepherds. It was a melody born of his longing for Maria. The rest took sweat to write but gradually the staves were filled.
    It was, he thought, the best stuff he had ever done.
    This dedication was convenient for another reason. His mother’s recent letters had been urging him to come home for the holidays and make peace. Yet, his important first commission gave him a legitimate excuse to continue to avoid facing his father.
    Danny spent his Yuletide locked up, psychologically as well as physically. For his obsession with this new ballet helped him to shut out all emotion: the natural desire to spend Christmas with his family, especially his mother. And those feelings for Maria. So lovely. So desirable, So completely unattainable.
    Hell, he tried to rationalize, I’ll put the pain down on the music paper. Passion can inspire art. But, in this case, his attempt to sublimate passion merely inspired more passion.
    George Keller had also chosen to remain in Cambridge. Though Andrew Eliot had kindly invited him to his home, George preferred to stay on monastically and make his rapidly improving English even better.
    On Christmas Eve, the dining hail came up with something tasting almost like roast turkey. George Keller did not notice. He sat at the far end of a rectangular table, devouring a vocabulary book. At the other end, his classmate Danny Rossi was intently reading over what he had composed that day.
    They were too engrossed to notice each other. Or the fact that each of them was lonely.
    Close to midnight, the subconscious child in Danny Rossi reemerged. He put away his score and for some atavistic reason began to improvise Christmas carols on the keyboard.
    Since his window had been slightly open, the music floated gently out across the darkened courtyard where it could be heard by George Keller, who was, of course, still madly studying.
    The refugee leaned back and closed his eyes. Even in Hungary, he had always been affected by the melody of “Silent Night.” Now, a million miles away, he harkened to it echoing faintly in the icy Cambridge air.
    And for a moment he remembered things that he had hoped had been suppressed forever.


    January 18, 1957
    This George Keller is driving me insane. Maybe it’s the immigrant mentality. In fact, I’m working up a theory that Americans are driven by ambition in direct proportion to how recently they’ve set foot on these shores.
    I mean, I once thought Lambros had a bullet up his ass. But he was born here. It was his father’s generation that came over on the boat. But nothing, absolutely nothing, tops the frenzied drive of this Hungarian, barely two months in America. I mean, if he were a locomotive he’d explode, he’s stoking his fire so hot.
    When I wake up at what for me is the ungodly hour of 8:00 A.M., he’s already hard at work, having long since eaten breakfast. Almost every day he tells me with a kind of gleeful pride that he was first man in the dining hail. (Compare this to Newall, who revels in the distinction of never once having gotten up for breakfast in his entire Harvard career.)
    George borrowed fifty bucks from me (which he’ll pay back as soon as his scholarship money comes through), and bought a portable recorder he takes to every class.
    Now in the afternoons he plays back the lectures — and sometimes not just once — till he practically knows them by heart. Lots are in Russian. Which may be great for him, but makes me feel like I’m suddenly living in the Kremlin. Needless to say, George has the suite pretty much to himself during the days.
    We did have a little problem about Ted and Sara. While George was very understanding of their need for a place to be alone, he insisted that he wouldn’t mind if they used my bedroom as long as he could keep studying in the living room.
    I had to explain to him very tactfully that they would mind very much. George finally agreed to go and sit in the house library from four to six-thirty on the days Ted and Sara are in temporary residence.
    Now here’s a shocker. I have no idea what time he goes to bed. In fact, I have the sneaking suspicion that the guy doesn’t sleep at all! And I had this really weird experience late the other night.
    After a hard session of drinking at the Pore, nature obliged me to get up at around 2:00 A.M. As I was standing in the john taking care of my needs, I suddenly heard this ghostly voice emanating from the shower, saying things like, “begin-began-begun, bite-bit-bitten, sing-sang-sung.”
    I called out to George, but, instead Of answering me directly, he simply went on rehearsing his verbs in that tile echo chamber.
    Then I pulled back the shower curtain. There he was, naked except for his new a la mode jockey shorts, holding an English grammar. He barely noticed me as he droned on, hammering new words into his head.
    I warned him that he’d drive himself to death. To which he replied, “Drive-drove-driven.”
    I went to the sink, picked up a glass of cold water, and poured it over his head. He shivered and looked at me with comatose astonishment, then ripped the curtain from my hand, slammed it closed, and continued his verbal gymnastics.
    “Show-showed-shown, speak-spoke-spoken.”
    Shit, I thought. He can kill himself for all I care.
    I shut the bathroom door behind me so that at least Newall could have some peace, staggered back to my bed, and went to sleep.
    Or, as George would have put it, sleep-slept-slept.
    “Hello, Dad. It’s Jason. I’ve got some great news.”
    “I can’t hear you, son. There’s a terrific racket going on behind you. Where are you calling from?”
    “Racket’s a good word for it. The whole squash team’s in my room. They just voted for next year’s varsity captain and for some stupid reason they chose me.”
    “Son,” the elder Gilbert said elatedly, “that’s just terrific news. I can’t wait to tell your mother. And you know what? I bet you’ll be tennis captain, too.”
    As Jason hung up, he felt a kind of vague, inexplicable sadness. For his dad’s last remark had unsettled him. After all, he had been calling to announce a great success. And though his father was obviously delighted, he had concluded with the pretty unsubtle expectation that his son would bring him still more glory. Where would it end?
    “Hey, Captain,” Newall interrupted giddily, “are you still sober?”
    “Yeah.” Jason laughed. “Couldn’t let my dad think we were all a bunch of drunken bums, which naturally we are.”
    His teammates roared appreciatively. There were a dozen of them crowded in his little room, plus several hangers-on including Ted and Sara. Andrew Eliot had brought them along to get a glimpse of the more athletic creatures in the Harvard bestiary.
    Originally Newall had intended these festivities to be a surprise. But then George Keller had refused to let them use their own room to hold the party. Newall had no alternative but to tell Jason in advance, so they could use his suite.
    “How is that dingbat?” Jason asked, while pouring out a Bud. “I bet he’s out memorizing the Encyclopedia Britannica by now.”
    “Don’t laugh,” cautioned Andrew. “Besides studying like a maniac for all his courses, he also reads every inch of The New York Times — including real estate and recipes — and writes down every word he doesn’t know.”
    “And that includes the Sunday edition,” Newall added, “when the goddamn paper’s practically as long as War and Peace.”
    “Well,” said Jason, “you gotta admire a guy like that.”
    “I’ll be happy to admire him,” Newall retorted, “if only someone else would room with him.”
    Suddenly the members of the squash team started clinking glasses and calling boozily for silence. It was time to toast their newly chosen captain. The most eloquent of them was Tod Anderson, former Andover captain, now number three on the varsity.
    Tod raised his glass and spoke a tribute appropriate for such a gathering of jocks. “To our beloved new leader, Jason Gilbert, ace racket-man and incomparable ass-man. May his shots in court drop as often as his shorts in bed.”

    Just after seven, the final partyers began to disperse, and the squash team, as prearranged, started strolling through the streets of Cambridge toward the Hasty Pudding Club. Thursday was steak night, the best buy in Cambridge for $1.75.
    As they trooped down Mount Auburn toward Holyoke Street, the knights of the Harvard Squash Varsity broke into a euphoric variant of the college’s most popular fight song:
With Gilbert in triumph flashing
Mid the strains of victory
Poor Eli’s brains we are smashing
Into blue obscurity…

    They grew only slightly more sedate as they shuffled up the wooden steps of the clubhouse, at number 12, and mounted the stairs, past two centuries of theatrical posters, to the dining room where Newall had reserved a large table for the entire group.
    Naturally they put Jason at the head, which cheered him immensely, because his prominent position drew the attention of every other Pudding member’s date. To these ordinary mortals’ discomfiture, their female guests kept smiling at the man of the hour. And he smiled disarmingly back at them.
    At about ten o’clock Jason, Andrew, and Dickie Newall were weaving their way back to Eliot House when something occurred to the captain-elect.
    “Hey,” he remarked, “I didn’t see Anderson at dinner. Did he duck the party or something?”
    “C’mon, Jason,” Newall responded with liquid lightheartedness, “you know Tod’s not a member of the Pudding.”
    “How come?” asked Jason, surprised that such a popular athlete should not be in the eating society that took almost a third of all upperclassmen.
    “Haven’t you noticed that Anderson’s a Negro?” Newall chided.
    “So what?” said Jason.
    “Come on, Gilbert,” Dickie continued, “the Pudding’s not that liberal. I mean, we’ve still got to keep somebody out.”
    Thus, even on the night of such personal triumph, Jason Gilbert was once again reminded that although all Harvard undergraduates are equal, some are more equal than others.
    Professor Samuel Eliot Morison was among the most eminent members of the Harvard faculty, and by far the most prolific. Renowned for his many volumes of naval history and his chronicles of Harvard, this distinguished gentleman was also, as his middle name suggests, vaguely related to the Eliot in The Class of ’58.
    Andrew had been gliding along for almost three years now, flitting like a bee from major to major (English, American studies, even Ec. for a few silly weeks). But now his senior tutor sent him an ultimatum: he had to choose a subject and stick to it. Knowing that he had to graduate from Harvard with a degree in something, he was panicked into seeking professional advice.
    Gathering his courage, he wrote Professor Morison a note. And was agreeably surprised to receive an immediate invitation to visit the great man in his map-lined office deep in the stacks of Widener.
    “What a real pleasure,” he remarked as they shook hands. “I see before me living proof that old John Eliot’s line is vibrant still. I knew your father when he was an undergraduate and tried to get him to help me a bit with my colonial history. But I guess the banking branch seduced him.”
    “Yes,” Andrew averred politely, “Dad is sort of fond of money.”
    “Nothing wrong with that,” said Morison, “especially since so much Eliot philanthropy has helped to build this college. My own namesake, Samuel Eliot, endowed the first professorship of Greek back in 1814. Tell me, Andrew, what’s your major?”
    “That’s just it, sir. I’m a junior and I still haven’t made up my mind.”
    “What do you think you’ll be doing after college?”
    “Well, naturally, I’ll have to do some military service —”
    “The Eliots have long served with honor in the navy,” he commented.
    “Yes, sir, Admiral Morison,” Andrew replied. But did not tell him that that was why he was thinking of the army.
    “And after that?”
    “I guess Dad expects me to be some sort of banker.” After all, he thought, I’m coming into so much dough in four years I’ll at least have to visit where the bonds are kept. That’s sort of banking, isn’t it?
    “Well, then,” said Morison, “you’ll have a fine vocation. Now you ought to choose a major that will give you some enriching avocation. Have you ever thought about the history of your own family?”
    “Dad never lets me forget it,” Andrew responded with honesty and some discomfort. “I mean, while I was still in diapers he was already lecturing me about our noble heritage. To be frank sir, it’s a bit off-putting. I mean, over pablum I was hearing about John Eliot, the Apostle to the Indians, and greatgranddad Charles, the famous Harvard President. I was practically smothered by the foliage on our family tree.”
    “But you’ve just leapfrogged several centuries,” the admiral remarked. “What about the Revolutionary War? Do you know where all the Eliots were during ‘the times that tried men’s souls’?”
    “No, sir. I just assumed they were shooting off their muskets around Bunker Hill.”
    Now the professor smiled. “Then I think I have some enlightenment for you. The eighteenth century Eliots were splendid diarists. And we have records in their very words of what they saw and did during the Revolution.
    “Andrew, I can think of nothing more exciting, especially for an Eliot, than studying what Harvard graduates were up to at that time. It could be a splendid topic for a senior thesis.”
    At this point Andrew had to confess. “Sir, I think I should tell you that my grades are not exactly at the honors level. They’d never let me write a dissertation.”
    The great historian smiled.
    “Then you can have the essence of true education, Andrew. I’ll arrange for you to have tutorial with me, and we’ll go through the Eliot diaries together. Grades won’t enter into it. Just reading them will be their own reward.”
    Andrew left Morison’s office almost breathless with elation. Now there was a chance that in addition to receiving a diploma, he might even get an education.
    Danny Rossi was torn.
    At times he desperately wanted the rehearsals of Arcadia to end, so the damn ballet would be performed and close. Then he would never have to see Maria again.
    At other times he wished the preparations would go on forever. Six afternoons a week in February and March he had to sit for several hours at the keyboard as Maria put the ballet on its feet. Drilling the dancers, demonstrating the movements, and often coming over to lean on the piano and ask the composer’s advice.
    It was that damn blue leotard of hers. No, how could he blame the garment when what was driving him crazy was the body it so tantalizingly accentuated.
    Perhaps the worst part of all was when they would go out for a bite afterward to discuss how the ballet was going. She was so warm and friendly, and their conversations would go on for hours. Agonizingly, these evenings grew more and more to seem like dates. Yet Danny knew they weren’t.
    Once, when she had Asian flu, he went to visit her in the Infirmary and brought a flower. He sat down by her bed and tried to cheer her up with silly anecdotes. She laughed a lot and, when he rose to leave, said, “Thanks for coming, Danny. You’re a pal.”
    That’s all he was, goddammit, just a lousy pal. And yet how could it be otherwise? She was beautiful and confident — and tall. And he was none of these.
    And worst of all, what pretext could he possibly invent to see her once the performances had ended?
    Opening night finally arrived. All the self-styled Harvard cognoscenti assembled in Radcliffe’s Agassiz Theater to sit in judgment on Maria Pastore’s choreography and Daniel Rossi’s score.
    Danny was too involved conducting to notice how it was going, although at several points the audience burst into applause. Was it for the music or the dance?
    Since most of the performers were abstemious, the party was held in an adjacent rehearsal room, where brackish KoolAid punch was served and a few daring souls drank beer.
    Harvard theatrical premieres are just like those on Broadway in one respect. The performers all sit up waiting for the reviews. The only difference is that in Cambridge they merely keep vigil for the verdict of the Crimson.
    At about eleven, someone sprinted in with Sonya Levin’s comments for tomorrow’s Crime. For a journal by implicit policy supercilious, the review began with some pretty enthusiastic remarks about Maria’s choreography, which was deemed “dynamic and imaginative, with touches of lighthearted invention.”
    Then Miss Levin turned her attention to Danny Rossi. Or rather her guns. In her opinion,
    the music, though ambitious and energetic, was, to
    say the least, derivative. Imitation may be the sin-
    cerest form of flattery, but Stravinsky and Aaron
    Copland could justifiably ask Rossi to pay royalties.
    To Danny’s consternation, this was all being read aloud by the stage manager, who was growing steadily uneasier as he recited.
    Danny was stung. Why was this sarcastic Crimson smart-ass trying to make herself look good at his expense? Did she have any idea how this would hurt?
    He felt a sudden urge to run out of the room. Just as he stood, there was a hand on his shoulder. It was Maria.
    “Hey, Danny —”
    “Don’t bother,” he muttered bitterly. He could not turn around and face her. And forgetting he had left his parka folded on a backstage chair, he started slowly out of the room.
    As soon as he reached the stairway he quickened his pace. He had to get the hell out of there. To escape all those pitying glances.
    When he reached the ground floor he noticed the sign pointing toward the public telephone and remembered his promise to call Dr. Landau as soon as the performance was over.
    Oh, shit, no. How can I repeat those crushing things that bitch reviewer said? In fact, how could he ever call his teacher now? He was a failure. A conspicuous and public failure. Like that long-ago day on the high school track.
    He pushed open the glass door and walked out into the cold March night, insensitive to the harsh wind hitting his face. He was too preoccupied with the thought that this unexpected turn of events would deprive him of his beloved teacher’s respect.
    Danny always knew he would be Landau’s last pupil. And he wanted to be his best.
    He could go no farther. He sat down on the stone steps and put his head in his hands.
    “Hey, Rossi, what are you doing there? You’ll catch pneumonia.”
    Maria was standing above him, just outside the door.
    “Go away, Pastore. You shouldn’t hang around with second-raters.”
    Ignoring his words, she came down and sat a step below him.
    “Listen, Danny, I don’t care what Sonya says. I think your music’s brilliant.”
    “Everybody in the college’s gonna read that tomorrow morning. That’ll give those bastards in Eliot House a few laughs.”
    “Don’t be silly,” she replied. “Most of those preppies can’t read anyway.” And then added gently, “I only wish you’d believe that I hurt just as much as you.”
    “Why? You got good reviews,”
    “Because I love you.”
    “You can’t,” he answered as an unwilling reflex. “You’re much too tall.”
    She could not help laughing at this absurd reaction.
    Then he began to laugh as well. And reached down and drew her toward him. They kissed.
    After a moment Maria gazed at him and smiled. “Now it’s your turn.”
    “I mean, is this a one-way thing or not?”
    “No,” he answered softly. “I love you too, Maria.”
    They did not feel the chill wind blow as they continued to embrace.
    Harvard spring vacations can mean many things to many people.
    Seniors stay in place to finish off their dissertations, which are due the day that classes recommence. The more affluent undergraduates fly off to Bermuda for that fabled rite known as College Week. The program includes sunning, sailing, waterskiing, calypso dancing, and — at least hypothetically — seducing the girls who flock there for most of the same reasons.
    Spring normally visits Cambridge in name only. And athletic muscles need the vernal warmth to tone them for the crucial competitions yet to come.
    The track team gets to fly to Puerto Rico. Which sounds more exotic than it is. Because, unlike the tourists on the beaches of Bermuda, the harriers get up at 5:00 A.M., go ten miles before breakfast, and then sleep all day until it’s time to run again that afternoon. Few have the energy, or even the desire, to seek out señoritas in the evening.
    Tennis, golf, and baseball tour the southern states to limber up, competing against some of the local universities. These teams live less ascetically than the runners, and thus have reservoirs of energy for nighttime entertainment. After dinner they strut through the richly landscaped campuses wearing an irresistible lodestone for the lovely southern coeds: sweaters with that noble H.
    After a hard-earned victory against the University of North Carolina, Jason Gilbert and his teammates were preparing to go out and captivate the female population of Chapel Hill. As they dressed and showered, Dam Oliver, the coach, was offering constructive criticism to his men — including Jason, who, although he’d won, had looked a little sluggish on the court.
    “Because I’m tired, coach,” he was protesting. “All this traveling and practicing and playing matches isn’t really what you’d call a picnic.”
    “Come on, Gilbert,” Dam reprimanded with good humor, “you’ve been putting too much effort into postgame partying. May I remind you this is not supposed to be a holiday?”
    “Hey, coach, you do remember that I won today, don’t you?”
    “Yeah, but you were sleeping on your feet. So shape up, or I’ll slap a curfew on you. Do you read me, Gilbert?”
    “Yessir. Sorry, mother dear.”
    As laughter echoed even from the shower room, a graying academic type in suit and tie appeared and asked to have a few words with the coach.
    “Who is that guy?” Jason whispered to Newall, who was drying himself at an adjacent locker.
    “Probably an FBI man after you, Gilbert,” he quipped. “I think you’ve violated the Mann Act four or five times so far this week.”
    Before Jason could reply, the coach was calling for the team’s attention.
    A dozen players in varying states of undress obediently assembled.
    Coach Oliver addressed them. “Guys, this gentleman is Rabbi Yavetz, the director of the U.N. C. Hillel Society. He tells me that this evening is the first night of the Passover holiday. And all Jewish players on the team are welcome to attend his service.”
    “It will be short and festive,” the rabbi added in a southern accent. “Just a simple seder with some pretty good food and the songs I hope your granddads taught you.”
    “Any takers?” asked the coach.
    “I’ll be glad to come,” said sophomore Larry Wexler, new to the team at number seven. “That’ll smooth things over with my parents, who were sort of disappointed that I won’t be home.”
    “Anybody else?” Oliver inquired, glancing at Jason Gilbert.
    He looked back blandly and replied, “Thanks a lot, but I’m not really … interested.”
    “You’re always welcome if you change your mind,” the rabbi said. And then turned to Larry Wexler. “I’ll send one of our members to the dorm where y’all are staying about half past six.”
    When the clergyman departed, Newall asked with casual curiosity, “Say, Wexler, what’s this holiday for, anyway?”
    “It’s kind of neat,” replied the sophomore. “It celebrates the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. You know, when Moses said, ‘Let my people go.’ ”
    “Sounds like a colored folks’ jamboree,” Newall commented.
    “Listen,” Wexler retorted, “as Disraeli once told an English bigot, ‘When my ancestors were reading the Bible yours were still swinging from trees.’ ”

    An hour later, as he was carefully adjusting the knot in his Varsity Club tie, Larry Wexler noticed a reflection in the mirror.
    It was Jason — dressed, with uncharacteristic formality, in a sedate blue blazer.
    “Hey, Wexler,” he said uneasily, “if I go to this thing, will I look like a total asshole? I mean, I don’t know what to do.”
    “No sweat, Gilbert. All you’ve got to do is sit, listen, and then eat. I’ll even turn the pages for you.”

    They were about four dozen, seated at long tables in a private dining room of the Student Union.
    Rabbi Yavetz made some brief introductory remarks.
    “In a real sense, Passover is the cardinal holiday on the Jewish calendar. For it fulfills the central commandment of our faith, as put forth in Exodus, Chapter Thirteen — that of reminding our children in every generation that the Lord delivered us from oppression in Egypt.”
    Jason listened mutely as the celebrants took turns reading from the biblical account and singing psalms of praise. At one point he whispered to Larry, “How come you all know the same tunes?”
    “They’re from the Top Ten of 5000 B.C. Your ancestors must have been on a very slow camel.”
    Jason was relieved when the dinner was served. For then the conversation became very much twentieth-century collegiate and he did not feel like an odd man out.
    During the meal Larry whispered, “Did any of it mean anything to you — you know, culturally?”
    “Sort of,” Jason replied, with politeness if not much conviction. For in truth he had not really understood what this ritual had to do with him in 1957.
    And yet, before the evening ended, he did.
    When the service continued, the rabbi bade everyone rise to pray for the coming of the Messiah. At this point he added a note of more recent history:
    “We are all, of course, aware that the ancient Egyptians were far from the last to try to destroy our people. As recently as Passover 1943, the brave Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, starved and almost without arms, began their last heroic stand against the Nazis who were besieging them.
    “This did not happen to our forefathers, it happened to our very own relatives. Uncles, aunts, grandparents — and for some of us, brothers and sisters. It is of them — and the six million others murdered by Hitler — that we think at this moment.”
    There was a sudden hush.
    Jason saw a young man at the first table lower his head and begin to weep silently.
    “Did you lose any relatives — over there?” Jason whispered.
    Larry Wexler looked at his teammate and answered somberly, “Didn’t we all?”
    A moment later they were again seated, singing festive songs.
    The formalities concluded not long after. They were followed by some unofficial socializing with the attractive coeds, who, enjoined by a double code of hospitality, flocked to welcome the two visitors from Harvard.

    At a little before eleven, Larry and Jason were walking through the darkened campus back to their dorm.
    “I don’t know about you, Gilbert,” Larry commented, “but I’m really glad I went.
    I mean, don’t you think it’s good to know about our roots?”
    “I guess so,” Jason Gilbert answered half-aloud. And thought, My own roots seem just to go back to a courthouse twenty years ago. When some accommodating judge gave my father a new, non-Jewish name.
    And to secure our future, he mortgaged all our past.
    As they walked on, he mused further. I wonder why Dad had to do it. I mean, this guy Wexler’s no worse off than I. In fact, he’s better. He’s got an identity.

    Jason returned from the spring tour changed in one official way. After their match against a group of former college all-stars now serving with the Marines in Quantico, Virginia, he had succumbed to the blandishments of a persuasive recruiting officer and signed up for the Platoon Leaders Class.
    He had decided that this would be a great way to discharge his military obligation since, unlike the ROTC program, it would meet only during the next two summers. Then, after graduation, he’d go straight into the Marines and serve a two-year stint as an officer. There were even heavy hints that after basic training he might be transferred to Special Services and could spend his tour of duty hitting tennis balls.
    But first another battle lay before him. There was Yale to face in May. And the New Haven hordes were out to get revenge.

    Maria Pastore sat bolt upright, her face flushed.
    “Please, Danny, for God’s sake, do we have to go through this all the time?”
    “Maria, you’re being unreasonable.”
    “No, Danny, you’re being cruel and insensitive, Can’t you understand I have my principles?”
    Danny Rossi could get nowhere with Maria.
    Though for the first few weeks they had lived in a kind of paradise for two, alone amid the crowds of Cambridge, they soon encountered serious ethical differences.
    Maria was the nicest, kindest, brightest, and most beautiful young woman he had ever met. And she adored him. But the problem was — for reasons he refused to understand, or at any rate accept — she would not sleep with him. In fact, she would permit considerably less than that.
    They would embrace and kiss each other passionately while lying on his couch, but whenever he so much as slipped his hand beneath her sweater, all her ardor suddenly turned to rigid panic.
    “Please, Danny. Please don’t.”
    “Maria,” he reasoned with her patiently, “this is not a fly-by-night affair. We really care for each other. I only want to touch you because I love you.”
    She stood up, and pulling down her sweater pleaded with him to appreciate her feelings.
    “Danny, we’re both Catholic. Can’t you understand it’s wrong to do this sort of thing before you’re married?”
    “What sort of thing?” he said exasperatedly. “Where is it written in the Bible that a man can’t touch a woman’s breasts? In fact, the Song of Songs —”
    “Please, Danny,” she said quietly, but with obvious inward agony, “you know it isn’t that, It would never stop there.”
    “But I swear to you I won’t ask for more.”
    Maria looked at him, her cheeks red, and said candidly, “Hey look, maybe you think you could break off right in the middle. But I know myself. I know that once we reached that point, I couldn’t stop.”
    For a moment this confession elated Danny. “Then in your heart you do want to go all the way?”
    She nodded, with a look of shame.
    “Danny, I’m a woman. I’m in love with you. And I’ve got a lot of passion bottled up inside me. But I’m also a religious Catholic. The sisters taught us that to do this is a mortal sin.”
    “Hey look,” he now persisted as if in a university debate. “Can you, an enlightened Radcliffe girl in 1957, tell me you really think you’ll burn in hell if you go to bed with someone you love?”
    “Before I’m married, yes,” she answered without hesitation.
    “God, I don’t believe this,” he responded, running out of patience. And of arguments.
    Overcome with dizzying desire to convince this sensual conservative, he said impetuously, “Look, Maria, we’ll be married someday. Isn’t that enough for you?”
    Perhaps she was too upset to notice that he had actually mentioned matrimony. In any case she answered, “Danny, please believe, by everything that’s holy, I simply can’t forget the way I’ve been brought up. My priest, my parents, no — I won’t evade responsibility and put the blame on them — it’s my belief. I want to give my husband my virginity.”
    “Jesus, that’s so antiquated. Haven’t you read Kinsey? Maybe ten percent of women do that nowadays.”
    “Danny, I don’t care if I’m the last girl on this earth. I’m going to be chaste until my wedding night.”
    To which, having reached the end of his rhetorical tether, Danny could but answer with a near-involuntary, “Shit.”
    Then, trying to rein in his own passion, he said, “Okay, okay, let’s forget this whole thing and have some dinner.”
    As he started to put on his tie, he was surprised to hear her answer, “No.”
    He whirled and barked, “Now what?”
    “Danny, let’s be honest. Neither of us can go on like this. Because we’re starting to get angry with each other. And that means all our tender feelings will inevitably dissipate.”
    She stood up. As if to put him at a physical as well as moral disadvantage.
    “Danny, I really care for you a lot,” she said. “But I don’t want to see you —”
    “I don’t know,” she replied, “but for a while anyway. Look, you’ve got Tanglewood this summer. I’ll be working back in Cleveland. Maybe the separation will do us good. We’ll both have time to think.”
    “But didn’t you hear me say I want to marry you?”
    She nodded. And then answered softly, “Yes. But I’m not sure you know if you really mean it. That’s why we need time apart.”
    “At least can we write to each other?” Danny asked.
    “Please, let’s.” 
    Maria then walked to the door and turned. She looked at him silently for a moment and then murmured, “You’ll never know how much this hurts me, Danny.”
    Then she left.
    By the spring of 1957 George Keller was as intellectually prepared as anyone in The Class to take courses in the normal language of instruction at Harvard College.
    Not unexpectedly, he had chosen to major in government. For Brzezinski had explained how, with his fluent Russian and firsthand knowledge of Iron Curtain politics, he’d be indispensable in Washington.
    Among the courses he selected for the spring was Government 180, Principles of International Politics, even though the name of the professor had evoked in him some of his original feelings of paranoia. For the instructor was one William Palmer Eliot — yet another (alleged) relative of his roommate, Andrew.
    Still, it was a fateful choice. For Eliot’s assistant was a chubby young instructor who spoke English with a foreign accent heavier than George’s. His name was Henry Kissinger. And by some uncanny mutual telepathy they gravitated toward each other.
    Kissinger, a refugee like George, albeit from wartime Germany, had also been a Harvard undergraduate (and likewise anglicized his first name). He had acquired an uncanny grasp of politics — both in theory and practice. Dr. K. (as he was affectionately known) already directed something called the Harvard International Seminar. And was on the board of what was probably the world’s most important political journal, Foreign Affairs.
    George thought his own cleverness had gotten him Kissinger as section man, only to discover that the teacher had made all the necessary efforts to win him for his discussion group. Neither man was disappointed.
    Among other things, Kissinger was impressed by George’s command of the Russian language. But it was his own burning ambition to be number one at Harvard (and, by extension, in the world) that most made him want to enlist the young Hungarian for his team. For he knew how much his archrival Zbig Brzezinski desperately desired to keep George in his own sphere of influence.
    After a section meeting early in the term, he stopped George and said, “Mr. Keller, may I see you for a moment? I would like to add a word or two about your recent essay.”
    “Certainly,” George said politely, suddenly afraid his paper had been less than the original and perceptive analysis he himself considered it.
    “Was it all right, Professor?” George asked when the last student had departed. Keen academic strategist, he had astutely bestowed on Kissinger the title of Professor when he knew full well he was a mere instructor. The honoree was clearly flattered. Or at least he smiled broadly.
    “Your paper, Mr. Keller, was not just ‘all right.’ It was absolutely first rate. I’ve never seen an essay that so perceptively distinguished all the subtleties of the various East European philosophies.”
    “Thank you, Professor,” George replied elatedly.
    “I know you are one of our new imports from Hungary. What were you studying in Budapest?”
    “Law. Soviet law, of course. Pretty useless, eh?”
    “Depends to whom. Personally, for my researches I would welcome someone who was expert in this area and could read Russian easily.”
    “Well, sir, to be quite above the boards,” George replied, “I didn’t finish my degree. So you could hardly say I was an expert.”
    Kissinger’s eyes twinkled behind his thick, black-rimmed glasses.
    “Perhaps in Hungary you would not qualify as such, but in Cambridge people even with your experience are as rare as hen’s teeth —”
    “Or snowflakes in July perhaps?” suggested George, to demonstrate his range of English idioms.
    “Indeed,” Dr. K. replied. “So if you have time, I would like to hire you as a research assistant. The European Study Center pays two dollars an hour, which is pretty good. And there would be the additional incentive of our possibly finding a senior-thesis topic in the work you will be doing.”
    “Are you intimating that you might personally direct my dissertation?”
    “Young man, I’d be insulted if you didn’t ask me,” Kissinger responded with seductive affability. “So do I take it then that you accept my offer, George? Or do you want to think about it? Maybe talk it over with your faculty adviser? Who is it, that young Polish fellow Brzezinski?”
    “It’s all right, I’ll explain things to Zbig. When shall I start working, Dr. Kissinger?”
    “Come to my office after lunch today. And, George, from now on, when we’re not in class, please call me Henry.”
    And thus Junior Year concluded.
    While in the outside world, Eisenhower had been reelected President by his loving U.S. family, one of The Class had been chosen as the minister of millions to the Lord himself For when the reigning Aga Khan was dying, he unexpectedly chose his grandson, Prince Karim ’58, to succeed him as spiritual leader of the millions of Ismaili Moslems.
    Many members of The Class saw this as an augury that they too would be blessed by heaven.
    George Keller had traveled farthest — both geographically and mentally. After barely seven months, he had truly conquered the English language. Sentence structure bent to his will. Words had become mere pawns in a power play to breach the walls of argument and capture minds.
    He now was free to climb the academic mountain. And here he had a magisterial mentor. For if Harvard served him no other purpose, it had brought him close to Henry Kissinger, with whom his mind worked in uncanny synchronicity.
    Thus, he was rewarded with the enviable summer job of acting as Dr. K.’s special assistant in organizing the International Seminar and editing its journal, Confluence.
    The program had gathered several dozen government officials and important intellectuals from both sides of the Iron Curtain for a series of colloquia and public lectures, to make them more sensitive to the new postwar configurations of the global family.
    Part of George’s duties was to fraternize among the representatives from the Eastern bloc countries and find out what they really thought of Harvard, the seminar — and even Kissinger himself.
    Despite their initial wariness, they all ultimately succumbed to George’s European charm and, at one point or another, spoke far more candidly than they had ever imagined they would in the alien confines of a Western capitalist university.
    Of course, nothing in Henry’s brief to George suggested that he need go as far as to become physically intimate with any of the participants. This he did on his own initiative.
    Perhaps it was something about the sultry Cambridge weather, the sudden stimulation of seeing bevies of non-Radcliffe girls stroll through the Yard in the shortest of shorts and the tightest of T-shirts.
    Or perhaps the guilt that had inspired George’s self-induced chastity — a kind of subliminal penance — had been absolved by time.
    In early August he went to bed with one of Poland’s leading journalists. She was nearly forty and a woman of the world. Her comments on George’s amorous technique, therefore, carried substantial weight.
    “Young man,” she whispered, “you are the most expert lover I have ever known —”
    George smiled.
    “ — And the coldest,” she quickly added. “You do everything as if you have learned it from a textbook.”
    “Do you doubt my sincerity?” he asked good-humoredly.
    “Of course not,” she replied with a sly smile. “I never for a minute believed that you had any. You are their spy, yes?”
    “Of course.” George grinned. “The director wants me to find out which delegate is the best in bed.”
    “And?” she inquired saucily.
    “If they ever give a Lenin Prize for sex, you would win hands down.”.
    “Ah, George,” she cooed, “you talk as elegantly as you screw. You have a great future ahead of you.”
    “In what field do you think?” he asked, genuinely eager to learn how such a woman of the world viewed him.
    “It’s obvious,” she replied. “There is one profession which needs an equal quantity of your two best talents. I mean, of course, politics.”
    And she pulled him to her to engage once again in the dialectic of Eros.
    Jason Gilbert’s march to sporting glory went on unimpeded. He had won the IC4A Tennis Title for the second straight year. And, as if that were not sufficient kudos, his teammates demonstrated the exceptional esteem in which they held him by voting him their captain — as they already had for squash.
    Though normally not vindictive, he could not keep himself from sending to his Old Blue headmaster, Mr. Trumbull, the lengthy Crimson article that assessed his extraordinary number of sporting achievements to date. And, as the encomium concluded, “Who can dare to speculate what further heights Gilbert will reach with yet another year to go?”
    Ted and Sara’s love had grown to such intensity that the mere notion of having to spend two months apart became an intolerable prospect. She therefore persuaded her parents to allow her to attend Harvard Summer School and sublet a flat in North Cambridge. Sara’s mother was more than slightly dubious about her daughter’s sudden passion to take on yet more academic work. But her father, to whom she could confide the fact that mother’s suspicions were in fact correct, was generous in his support and helped her win the day.
    It was a long and passionate summer (during which they even made love one starry night in Harvard Yard itself, in the quadrangle behind Sever Hall). Parting on Labor Day was a painful wrench. Sara cried the entire week before they had to give up the apartment.
    For Danny Rossi, the summer of ’57 was a kind of overture to the highest point yet in his musical career.
    Munch had booked him to perform with the Boston Symphony on October 12, when he would play Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto. Those trills in the opening movement would have reverberations around the musical world. When he jubilantly called Dr. Landau to tell him the news, he was thrilled to hear that his teacher had been saving money for the plane fare and intended to be present at the concert.
    Still, Danny’s imminent debut offered far less joy than he had always dreamed it would. For his junior year had taken from him more than it had bestowed. The humiliation of the Crimson’s pan for his ballet still haunted him. And then there was the tortured relationship with Maria.
    He had hoped their separation through the summer would allow him time to clarify his thoughts and possibly to seduce a few girls at Tanglewood to fortify his masculine self-image. But a sudden tragedy cast a huge pall on everything.
    The very night he arrived at Tanglewood, his mother called to tell him that Dr. Landau had suffered a fatal heart attack. In a haze of grief, Danny packed and flew out for his teacher’s funeral. At the graveside he cried unashamedly.
    When, after the brief service the mourners started to disperse, his mother, whom he had not seen in three long years, implored him to come home. She told Danny it was Dr. Landau’s final wish that he be reconciled with his father.
    And so the prodigal son returned at last to the house where he had spent such a miserable adolescence.
    Arthur Rossi seemed to have changed both inwardly and outwardly. He was subdued now. There were furrows in his face, and he was completely gray at the temples.
    For a fugitive instant, Danny felt a pang of remorse. As if his father’s outward signs of physical decline had somehow been his fault.
    But as they stood there facing each other wordlessly for those first awkward moments, Danny forced himself to remember how callously this man had treated him. But he could no longer find it in himself to hate his father. Still, he could not love him, either.
    “You’re looking well, son.”
    “You too, Dad.”
    “It — it’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”
    That was the full extent of what he could say. Danny’s long-cherished fantasy of a paternal apology was just that — a figment of his own childish desires.
    Thus, with a quiet magnanimity born of grief and newly found indifference, Danny offered his hand to signal that their quarrel was finally at an end. The two even embraced.
    “I’m really glad, son,” Arthur Rossi murmured. “Now we can all let bygones be bygones.”
    Yeah, thought Danny, what the hell. It’s so unimportant now. The only man who ever acted like a real father to me is dead.


    August 8, 1957
    All summer I had one foot in the future and the other in the past (don’t ask me which I like better).
    Since — with any luck — I’ll be graduating next June, Father thought it best that I forgo the usual physical labor this year. And instead begin to get acquainted with the family banking business.
    Naturally he was in Maine, running things by phone. So he put me into the charge of “good old Johnny Winthrop,” an officer quite accurately described by both those adjectives.
    “Just keep your eyes and ears open, lad,” he explained at the beginning of my very first day. “Watch when I buy, watch when I sell, watch when I hold. You’ll quickly get the knack of it. Now why don’t you get us both a nice cup of tea?”
    Our offices in downtown Boston are just a short walk across the Common from the Historical Society. This is where I did my real learning, as I delved into the diaries of the Reverend Andrew Eliot, Class of 1737, and his son, John, 1772.
    They gave me a real sense of our country’s (and my family’s) history. And also that, give or take a few improvements in the plumbing, Harvard life seems to have been the same since the beginning.
    I photostated some juicy tidbits from John Eliot’s freshman diary.
    Item. September 2, 1768. John leaves for college. Packs his vital gear. Required blue coat, three-cornered hat, and gown. Also fork, spoon, and chamberpot (freshmen had to bring their own).
    Item. Dad insists he take Charlestown ferry. Cheapest way. And — most important — Harvard gets the proceeds.
    Item. Tuition can be paid in kind, e.g., potatoes or firewood. One guy brought a sheep.
    Item. College punch called “flip.” Two-thirds beer, molasses, spiked with rum. Served in huge, tall mugs (called “bumpers”).
    Item. September 6, 1768. Describes wretched food in Commons.
    “Each undergraduate receives one pound of meat a day,” John wrote. “But since it has no taste at all, one cannot tell what animal it comes from. Now and then there are some greens. On great occasions, dandelions. The butter is unspeakable and several times has been the cause of violent student demonstrations.
    “At least we shall not die of thirst. For the supply of cider is unlimited. Each table has large pewter cans which we pass from mouth to mouth, just like the English wassail-bowl.”
    Except for the presence of cider, this could well have been the description of an Eliot House dinner. Especially their table talk. There’s a certain eternal quality to undergraduate bullshit.
    Not all was fun and games. As the situation with Britain deteriorated, the campus atmosphere grew tense. There were bloody fights between rebel and loyalist students. And then the war broke out.
    In late 1773, just after the Boston Tea Party, there was a violent riot in the dining hall between patriots and Tories. No simple food fight, but a deadly battle. Tutors struggled to halt bloodshed.

    One afternoon, I discovered something fascinating. I learned that the British army once intended to wipe Harvard College off the map.
    “On the eighteenth of April in seventy-five,” as Professor Longfellow’s famous poem goes, Paul Revere galloped through the night to alert the citizens of Lexington and Concord that the redcoats were coming.
    But another part of their forces was heading toward Cambridge. John Eliot’s diary of April 19 tells of the panic at Harvard. For it was well known that the English considered the college “a hotbed of sedition.”
    Fearing that the enemy might arrive via the great bridge over the Charles River, a group of undergraduates dismantled it so that the British would be unable to cross. They then hid in the bushes to see what would happen.
    Just after noon, a horde of troops appeared on the western bank led by Lord Percy himself, splendidly attired, mounted on a beautiful white horse.
    When he saw what we — I mean the Harvard guys — had done to thwart him, he was pretty ticked off. But the canny British bastard had brought along some carpenters, who repaired the bridge in less than an hour.
    They then marched straight through the center of the town, whose windows all were shuttered tight.
    Percy was en route to reinforce the troops already out in Lexington. But he did not know the way. And so he headed for the most likely source of information-Harvard College. He led some of his men right into the center of the Yard and shouted at the seemingly deserted buildings for someone to come out immediately and give him directions.
    No one ventured forth. Those undergraduates had guts.
    John Eliot and his roommates were peering anxiously through the slats of his shutters, fearing Percy might order his troops to start shooting. And well he might, but first he tried a different ploy. He asked again — in Latin.
    Then Tutor Isaac Smith suddenly appeared from Hollis Hall and approached the Englishman.
    The students couldn’t hear them speak, but saw Smith motion toward Lexington. Percy waved, and all then galloped off.
    Almost instantly the tutor was bombarded by shouts of, “grubstreet lobster-loving idiot.”
    The man was quite bewildered. He was of that breed who can quote all of Cicero and Plato without book, yet can’t recall a student’s name.
    He stuttered that the information had been requested in the king’s name. So how could he, as a loyal subject, have refused? He added that Lord Percy planned to honor Harvard with another visit.
    The students were outraged. It seems the general had told Tutor Smith they’d have “a glass of good Madeira by the fire” later that night. The idiot didn’t realize that by “fire” the redcoat had meant conflagration. Some wanted to tar and feather this overeducated simpleton. But, typical of Harvard, everyone proposed a different course of action.
    And while they were haranguing one another, Tutor Smith slipped quietly away. He was never seen again.
    That evening Paul Revere rode into Cambridge with the awesome news of Lexington and Concord.
    Some of the students joined the minutemen who had hastily built barricades on Cambridge Common, preparing for the British to attack.
    They never came.
    The Brookline militia, led by Isaac Gardner ’47, ambushed the approaching redcoats at Watson’s Corner. Though Isaac fell, his brave charge made the British scatter, thinking that the route to Cambridge teemed with patriots as fierce as he.
    Thanks to men like him, there was no battle fought in Harvard Yard.

    That steamy afternoon when I first read John Eliot’s words, I couldn’t help but wonder how we modern undergraduates would have responded if the university was under siege of arms. What would we do — hurl Frisbees at the enemy?
    It was nearly five when I got back from “lunch.” I went straight to Mr. Winthrop to apologize. He looked up from his desk and said he hadn’t even noticed I was gone.
    That is the story of my life.
    When The Class of ’58 returned to Cambridge for their final year, they all were painfully aware that very little sand remained in the hourglass of their college lives. For in precisely nine months, they would be cast from the comfortable womb of Harvard into the cold, harsh world.
    Everything seems to speed up at a frighteningly rapid pace. The seniors are like downhill skiers, some of whom are frightened by the gathering momentum and, although the end is manifestly near, still cannot keep their balance.
    The Class had thus far had three suicides, all more or less precipitated by the pressures of trying to remain at Harvard. Now in this final year, two more of them would take their lives. But this time out of fear of leaving.
    The final act is sad in other ways as well. The cynicism that is so endemic in the first three years turns slowly and surprisingly into nostalgia. Which by June creates an embryonic feeling of regret. Of wasted time. Of chances lost. Of carefree feelings none of them will ever know again.
    There are exceptions. Those who can survive this senior crucible are usually the ones most likely to bring glory to The Class.
    Not the least of them made his debut as piano soloist with the Boston Symphony on October 12, 1957.
    Yet, the Danny Rossi who walked nervously to the keyboard in the crowded, venerable auditorium was different physically from the bespectacled young man who had left Eliot House the previous spring.
    He was no longer wearing glasses.
    Not that his vision had improved — although his appearance most dramatically had.
    He owed his metamorphosis to the suggestion of an amorous admirer from last summer’s Tanglewood Festival staff. Seeing his face under circumstances when he did not need glasses to function, she remarked on the appeal of his piercing gray-green eyes — and what a pity it was that his spectacles hid them from the audience’s view, The next day he went out and was fitted for contact lenses.
    The minute he appeared on stage of Symphony Hal! Danny could sense how right his inamorata’s advice had been. Amid the polite, friendly applause, he could perceive remarks like, “Oh, he’s cute.”
    His performance was almost flawless. He was always passionate. And in the final movement some of his front locks fell across his forehead.
    A standing ovation.
    He had no notion of how long the public adoration lasted. In fact, Danny was swept up in its tidal wave and had lost all sense of time. He would have stayed on stage forever had not Munch, a friendly arm around his shoulder, led him to the wings.
    Shortly after he got to his dressing room, his parents appeared. And, hard upon their heels, new planets that began to spin around the sun of Danny Rossi — journalists.
    First the flashbulbs popping at him shaking hands with Munch. Then several with his mom and dad. And then a series with dignitaries of the music world, many of whom had come up from New York.
    Finally, even Danny had had enough.
    “Hey, guys,” he pleaded, “I’ve just started to feel very tired. As you can imagine, I didn’t get too much sleep last night. So can I ask you to pack up and go? I mean, if you’ve got all you want.”
    Most of the press was satisfied and started to retreat. But one of the photographers realized that a single commercial picture yet remained untaken.
    “Danny,” he cried out, “how about one with you kissing your girlfriend?”
    Danny glanced toward the corner where Maria, dressed sedately, had been all but hiding. (It had taken weeks of persuasion to get her to go to the concert just as a “friend.”) He motioned to her to come forward. But she shook her head.
    “No, Danny, please. I don’t want to be photographed. Besides, this is your night. I’m just here as a member of the audience.”
    Doubly disappointed, for he would have liked the world to see him with a really sexy girl, Danny acquiesced and told the journalists, “She isn’t used to this.
    Another time, okay?”
    Reluctantly, the Fourth Estate departed. And the Rossis and Maria headed toward the limousine to drive down to The Ritz, where a suite had been reserved by the Symphony management.
    Danny rode to the hotel half in a dream. Cocooned within the leather plushness of the chauffeured car, he inwardly repeated to himself, I can’t believe it, I’m a star. A goddamn star.
    Never having imagined he would be feeling such euphoria, Danny had deliberately requested that his parents keep the party small. For he thought that after the performance he would be consumed with sadness at the absence of the man who was responsible for bringing him so far. But the night’s ovation had been so intoxicating that for the moment he could think of no one but himself.
    Munch and the concertmaster dropped by for a single glass of champagne and quickly left. They had a matinee the next afternoon and needed to get home to rest. The managing director of the B.S.O. had brought along a most distinguished gentleman who absolutely would not wait even a day to talk to Danny.
    The unexpected guest was none other than S. Hurok, the world’s most famous concert manager. He told the young pianist not only how much he admired his performance, but that he hoped Danny would consider allowing his office to represent him. He went as far as to promise Danny the chance to play with major orchestras as early as next year.
    “But, Mr. Hurok, I’m a total unknown.”
    “Ah,” the old man smiled, “but I am not. And most of all, the symphony directors I will contact trust their ears.”
    “You mean there were some in the audience tonight?”
    “No,” Hurok smiled, “but Maître Munch thought it might be useful if he had this evening’s concert taped. With your permission, I could make very good use of those reels.”
    “Gosh —”
    “Hi, Mr. Hurok,” Arthur Rossi interposed. “I’m Danny’s dad. If you would like, we could have breakfast in the morning.”
    Danny shot a withering glance at his father, and then turned back to the impresario. “I’m very flattered, sir. If we could talk some other time —”
    “Of course, of course,” Hurok said with enthusiastic understanding. “We’ll chat again when you’re less busy.”
    He then politely said good night and left with the director. Now there were only four of them. Danny, his parents, and Maria.
    “Well,” Arthur Rossi jested, smiling at Maria, “here we are, just us Italians.”
    He was avoiding Danny’s gaze. For he knew that just a moment earlier he had overstepped the newly redrawn boundaries of their father-son relationship. And he was afraid of Danny’s anger.
    “With everyone’s permission,” said Gisela Rossi, “I would like very much to drink a toast to someone who was here tonight only in spirit.”
    Danny nodded and they raised their glasses.
    “To Frank Rossi —” his father began.
    And then suddenly stopped himself as he heard his younger son whisper, with supreme self-control, “No, Dad, not tonight.”
    There was a silence. Then Mrs. Rossi murmured, “To the memory of Gustave Landau. Let us pray that God let Danny’s music go to heaven tonight so such a fine man could take pride.”
    They drank somberly.
    “That was Danny’s teacher,” she told Maria.
    “I know,” she answered softly. “Danny’s told me all about how much he — loved him.”
    There was a sudden pause as no one knew what to say next.
    At last Maria spoke again. “I don’t want to spoil the party, but it’s kind of late. I think I’d better take a taxi home to Radcliffe.”
    “If you can wait a minute,” Danny offered, “I’ll be glad to take you and then have the driver drop me back at Eliot.”
    “No, no,” she protested. “I mean, the orchestra’s given you this terrific suite. It will be a lot more fun than just a metal bed in a Harvard house,”
    Maria suddenly felt a tinge of embarrassment at the way she had put her last remark. Would that give the elder Rossis the impression that she’d been in Danny’s bedroom?
    In any case, before she knew it, Arthur and Gisela had said good night and headed for their own room farther down the corridor.
    Danny and Maria stood side by side in the descending elevator, looking straight ahead.
    As they were heading for the door, Danny stopped her gently. “Hey, Maria,” he whispered, “let’s not separate tonight. I want to be with you. I mean, I want to share this special night with someone I really love.”
    “I’m tired, Danny, honestly I am,” she answered softly.
    “Maria, listen,” Danny pleaded, “come upstairs with me. Let’s share that room — and be a couple.”
    “Danny,” she responded tenderly, “I know what all this meant to you. But We’really don’t belong together. Especially after tonight.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “I saw you change up there. I’m happy for your big success, but you’ve just entered a whole new world where I don’t feel comfortable at all.”
    He tried not to be angry, but he couldn’t help it.
    “Is that just another excuse for saying you won’t come to bed with me?”
    “No,” Maria whispered with emotion in her voice, “I saw tonight that there’s no room for anybody in your life. The spotlight isn’t big enough.”
    She turned and started walking through the darkened lobby toward the exit.
    “Maria, wait!” he called. His voice echoed slightly in the marble hall.
    She stopped and said, “Please, Danny, don’t say any more. I’ll always have the fondest memories of you.”
    Then she said barely audibly, “Goodbye.” And disappeared through the revolving door.
    Danny Rossi stood in the deserted lobby on the night of his greatest triumph, rent by feelings of elation and a sense of loss. But finally, there in the darkness, he convinced himself that this was the price he had to pay.
    For fame.
    Ted and Sara were now totally inseparable. They took almost all the same courses, and their conversations — except when making love — were mainly about the classics.
    They even chose congenial topics for their senior theses. Sara got Professor Whitman to direct her essay on Hellenistic Portrayals of Eros — focusing on Apollonius of Rhodes. And Ted got Finley himself to supervise his dissertation, which compared Homer’s two great antithetical female characterizations, Helen and Penelope.
    Every afternoon they sat opposite each other in Widener Library grinding away, punctuating their assiduity by passing silly notes to each other in Latin or Greek.
    At about four o’clock they would join the exodus of jocks who were on their way to practice. Only their field of play was in Andrew’s new room.

    And yet, since they had returned to Harvard for their senior year, they were both increasingly aware that their entire idyll, like the halcyon days of college, had eventually to reach its conclusion. Or perhaps some sort of consummation.
    Ted had applied to Harvard Graduate School in Classics, and Sara was toying with doing the same, although her parents had indicated that they might be willing to subsidize a year of European study.
    This was by no means an expression of disapproval of her relationship with Ted. For they had never met him and knew little, if anything, about him.
    Sara, on the other hand, had become a regular weekly guest at the Lambros’s Sunday dinners and felt almost a part of the family — which was what Mama Lambros prayed each week she would become.
    They were not ambivalent about the future, these passionate lovers of the classics and each other. They never discussed marriage. Not because either of them doubted the other’s will to wed, but simply because they both took it for granted that their commitment to each other was for life. The ceremony would be just a formality.
    They both knew that the Greek words for man and woman also meant husband and wife. And thus semantically, as well as spiritually, they were already married.
    George returned to Eliot House for his senior year feeling as much or more American and Harvardian than his classmates.
    Since his need for study was so great, he had amicably separated from his preppie roommates and moved into a single.
    “Now you can keep yourself up all night,” Newall had jested.
    George felt like an artillery officer. He had spent his junior year at Harvard getting his bearings. He had passed the summer taking aim — selecting an ideal senior thesis. After all, who was better suited to write on “The Hungarian Revolution as Portrayed by the Soviet Press”? As Dr. K. strongly hinted, it could be publishable.
    He was now ready to use his newly acquired ammunition to eliminate all barriers in his path to political triumph.
    But what, in fact, was he after? This was the question Kissinger asked him the afternoon the seminar ended, as they sat in his air-conditioned office sharing congratulatory glasses of iced tea.
    “You could be a professor at Harvard,” Henry assured him.
    “I know.” George smiled. “But is that where your ambitions stop, Henry?”
    With the tables turned, his mentor laughed uneasily and tried to answer with deflecting jocularity.
    “Well,” he laughed, “I of course would not mind becoming the emperor. Would you?”
    “I would not even mind being President,” George smiled, “but even you are ineligible for that. There, Henry, we must share similar disappointments. We are fated both of us never to reach the top.” 
    “I beg your pardon, Mr. Keller,” Kissinger said, his index finger raised. “You seem to be under the mistaken illusion that the men in the White House actually run the country. Let me quickly disabuse you. They are mostly quarterbacks who rely heavily on their coach’s advice. You and I, George, are both in a position to become indispensable advisers. That would be exciting, don’t you think?”
    “You mean what attracts you is sort of the power behind the throne?”
    “Not exactly. What interests me is what one can achieve with power. Splendid things, believe me.”
    George nodded, with a grin. He raised his glass and toasted, “More power to you, Henry.”
    Jason Gilbert returned to Cambridge from a summer of Marine Corps training tanned and fit. More muscular than ever.
    As soon as he arrived, he headed over to see Eliot and Newall in their new double, free from the mad Hungarian. There was ice-cold beer and tales of love and war to tell. Newall, in the naval ROTC program, had spent the summer touring the Pacific on an aircraft carrier. Before returning home he went, as he put it, “totally berserk” for a week in Honolulu. Which he gleefully recounted in minute detail.
    Jason’s summer in the blazing southern sun bad been a little different. First there was the drill sergeant who really had it in for all the Ivy League boys.
    At one point, for some petty infraction, the guy had made him jog around the base in combat boots and full pack for a whole hour in the blazing sun.
    “That must have killed you,” Eliot remarked while opening a second beer.
    “It wasn’t all that bad,” Jason said casually. “I was in shape, remember. But, of course, I acted like I was about to have a heart attack.”
    “Good ploy,” said Newall. “I hear those Marine types can be sadists anyway.”
    “I actually felt sorry for the guy,” Jason said unexpectedly.
    “How come?” Newall asked.
    “I kind of understand why he was riding us so hard in camp,” he explained, somewhat subdued, “ ’cause off the base, life in Virginia isn’t all that great if you’re not white.
    “One Saturday when we were off, the guys went into town to gorge ourselves on ice cream. We were sitting there in Howard Johnson’s when this sergeant happened to pass by. And, asshole that I am, I waved to him to come and join us.”
    “What’s wrong with that?” asked Andrew.
    “You won’t believe this, but he just stood out there and gave us all the finger. And on Monday we were doing so damn many push-ups we were almost living on the ground.”
    “I don’t get it,” Andrew said. “I mean, you guys were only being friendly, weren’t you?”
    “Of course, but naive Jason Gilbert hadn’t clicked that off the base, the town of Quantico is segregated like before the Civil War. Can you believe this member of the U.S. military was not allowed to have an ice cream in that place with us? That’s why he was so pissed off. He thought that we were mocking him.”
    “No shit,” said Newall. “That’s amazing in this day and age. Christ, Gilbert, bet that made you happy that you’re only Jewish.”
    Jason, staring at his teammate and supposed friend, deflected the unwitting insult like a skillful boxer. “Newall, I’ll forgive that last remark because I know you’re congenitally stupid.”
    The eternal mediator, Andrew Eliot, deftly changed the subject. “Hey, listen, guys, I’ve got the latest Freshman Register. Why don’t we check out the new crop and get our bids in early, huh?”
    “Sounds good to me,” said Newall, happy to move back to neutral ground. “What do you say, old Gilbert? Shall we cast our eyes upon the lovelies of the Class of ’61?”
    Jason smiled. “At least you’re consistent, Newall,” he jibed, “always last man off the mark. I did my homework yesterday. The pick of the new talent is Maureen McCabe. And I’m taking her to Norumbega Park tonight.”


    November 24, 1957
    We start our college lives, symbolically as well as literally, in the ignominy of the End Zone. But our progress brings us to the happy culmination. In senior year, we get to sit right on the fifty-yard line near the President and the most distinguished alumni, whom the college honors with this pride of place.
    Ironically of course, as first-year grads we’ll be back in the End Zone come next fall. So a gang of us decided to make this year’s Harvard-Yale game into a gigantic farewell blast.
    Newall and I contacted some of our old prep school buddies down in New Haven and arranged for floors and couches for us all to sack out on.
    We even got a place for Gilbert, who reciprocated by having his sister Julie fix us up with some of her more desirable (and we hoped pliable) girlfriends from Briarcliff.
    Julie’s Cliff, unlike the one in Cambridge, Mass., is a much more pragmatic ladies’ college that puts the emphasis where it belongs — on pulchritude and charm. I mean, brains are okay for a girl in moderation, but the Radcliffe types are so goddamn intellectual — and competitive — that they sometimes make you forget why the Lord created women.
    Not that I have anything against Radcliffe. If I ever had a daughter, I’d want her to go there. It’s just that when it comes to marriage, I think I’m much better off in the Briar patch.
    Julie Gilbert came through with real dishes for Newall and myself. And we fixed her up with our Yale host, Charlie Cushing, a really sweet fellow. Which is a polite way of saying he’s got perfect manners but not a brain in his head (I mean, he makes me look like Einstein).

    Our seats in Yale Bowl were indeed sensational. We sat on the fifty-yard line with luminaries of the world scattered around us like confetti at a birthday party.
    Four rows down from me were President Pusey and the deans, politely clapping when our boys did something good (which was not very often).
    Ten yards to my left was our Massachusetts senator, Jack Kennedy, and his neat wife, Jackie. They were less sedate than most of the old grads in that distinguished section, shouting their lungs out for Harvard to score against the wild, hypertrophied, and, alas, all-too-competent Yalies.
    Unfortunately, not even the strenuous vociferations of a U.S. senator could help our boys that day. Yale steamrolled over us 54-0. 
    Oh what the hell, I thought, during the postgame festivities back at Branford College, these Yalies have so little to be proud of, let them at least win the goddamn game.
    One afternoon in early December, Sara gazed across the pillow and smiled. “Ted, isn’t it about time you asked my parents for my hand?”
    “And what if they say no?”
    “Then we’ll just set two fewer places at the wedding party,” she replied.
    “I don’t get it. Do you care what they think or don’t you?”
    “Oh, nothing will keep me from staying this close to you forever,” she answered. And then added with shy sincerity, “But it would make me happy if my father liked you. And I’m sure he will. Mummy wouldn’t approve of anybody I brought home.”

    Ted was understandably nervous. For he wanted very much to please Sara by finding favor with her father. Hence, he spent the days prior to their visit trying to learn as much as he could about the man she so admired.
    Who’s Who informed him that Philip Harrison was St. Paul’s, Harvard ’33, a decorated naval officer, and one of the most successful merchant bankers in the country.
    Moreover, his name appeared at frequent intervals in The New York Times as having paid a visit to advise the current White House resident on some particularly thorny economic issue.
    He had sired three sons. But his daughter was the apple of his eye. And to hear Sara tell it, he was the incarnation of every possible virtue.
    Boy, thought Ted, if there’s anything to this Oedipal business, I haven’t got a prayer!
    “I think the blue would be great for Christmas dinner, Ted.”
    “How about the gray flannel for dinner and saving the blue for church?”
    They were scouring Andrew’s wardrobe for fashionable holiday regalia to help Ted make the best possible impression.
    “Look, Lambros, it doesn’t really matter, Old Man Harrison’s not gonna judge you by your clothes.”
    “You mean your clothes.” Ted smiled. And then asked nervously, “But what about her mother — or don’t you think I have a chance with her?”
    As a friend, Andrew thought it best to free Ted from all illusions. “No, Lambros, she’d probably like you at her daughter’s wedding as a waiter, but definitely not as the groom. I mean, take all my clothes — even my damn club tie, if it’ll make you feel any better. But I’m afraid you couldn’t impress Daisy Harrison unless you had a crown on your head. And that I can’t lend you.”
    “You’re doing wonders for my confidence,” Ted grumbled.
    Andrew leaned over and grabbed his friend by the shoulders. “Hey, hasn’t three and a half years of Harvard taught you that it’s not who you are, it’s what you are?”
    “You can talk, Eliot. You’ve probably still got all the labels from the Mayflower on your suitcase.”
    “Come on, Ted, I’d trade places with you any day. What good is it that my ancestors came over if I can’t even get a date for New Year’s Eve. Am I getting through to you?”
    “Yeah, I guess …”
    “Good. Now pick up your preppie costumes and go snow her parents.”

    They took the Merchants Limited on the 23rd of December. Though the overheated train was packed with students chattering gaily or bellowing carols and other spiritual ditties like “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” Ted and Sara sat reading quietly, barely exchanging a word.
    “Who’s meeting us at Greenwich?” Ted finally asked as they pulled out of Stamford.
    “Probably one of my brothers. Daddy usually works late before a holiday.”
    “What are the odds of any of them actually liking me?”
    “That’s a little too close to call,” Sara answered. “I mean, Phippie and Evan are bound to feel a little jealous of the fact that you’re at Harvard and they both got shot down.”
    “No kidding — not even with all your father’s influence?”
    “Daddy’s not an alchemist,” Sara smiled, “and their board scores were far from golden. No, Lambros, you and he will be the only Harvard men at table. Does that make you feel a little better?”
    “Yeah,” Ted conceded, “it actually does.”

    Just after eight, when they clambered down onto the dimly lit platform, Sara scanned the crowd of people waiting for the passengers, trying to find one of her brothers. Then suddenly she emitted a squeal of joy.
    Ted stood motionless as she sprinted into the arms of a tall gentleman in a sheepskin coat, his silver hair illuminated by the headlights from the parking lot behind. After what seemed like several minutes, they approached him arm in arm.
    Philip Harrison held out his hand.
    “Good to meet you, Ted. Sara’s told me a lot about you.”
    “I hope some of it was good,” Ted replied, trying his best to smile. “I’m very grateful to be invited.”

    They drove along the Merritt Parkway, then down narrow wooded lanes, and turned into the drive of what seemed — compared to Ted’s fantasies — a modest white colonial house with green shutters.
    Daisy Harrison was at the door to greet them, looking impeccably informal. She kissed her daughter and then turned to their visitor. “You must be Theodore,” she said as they shook hands. “We’ve so looked forward to meeting you.” She was unable, despite herself, to play the script of conventional politeness with any real conviction.
    A few moments later Ted found himself holding a hot toddy in front of a fashionably roaring fire, surrounded by the Harrison clan. It was almost like a New Yorker cartoon. They all were wearing countryish Abercrombie & Fitch-style garb, making Ted feel slightly overdressed in his tab collar and Andrew Eliot’s three-piece suit.
    The two elder brothers seemed friendly enough, although Phippie’s “Hi there” and Evan’s “Nice to meet you” were hardly effusive.
    Fourteen-year-old Ned’s greeting was a good deal warmer. “Gosh, Ted,” he chirped, “isn’t it awful the way Yale creamed Harvard in football this year!”
    This was just the type of dialogue that Ted had mastered by osmosis from his proximity to Eliot House.
    “You’ve got to understand, Neddy,” he responded, “we have a kind of social obligation to lose to Yale every so often. I mean, it bolsters their inferiority complex.”
    This flagrant Harvardian bullshit completely captivated the youngest Harrison.
    “Wow,” Ned exclaimed, “but isn’t losing fifty-four to nothing going a little far?”
    “Not at all,” Sara interposed. “The boys in New Haven were feeling really insecure this year. I mean, Harvard killed them in the Rhodes Scholarship department.”
    “Which is a little more important than football,” added an amused Philip Harrison ’33.
    “Actually, Ted,” remarked Mrs. Harrison with a sweetness that would put a diabetic into shock, “all my family is Yale. Is yours all Harvard?”
    “Absolutely,” replied the well-prepared Ted Lambros.
    Sara smiled inwardly and thought, The Greeks lead the WASPs one to nothing.
    The first night set the pattern for the week that ensued. Mr. Harrison seemed interested and friendly. When they weren’t out chasing local debs, the older boys were offhandedly cordial. Young Ned, whose fondest dream was to be admitted to Harvard, was enchanted by his sister’s guest. And when Ted actually spent an entire hour helping him work on some Virgil, he would gladly have traded his two elder brothers just to have him in the family.
    But then there was Daisy…

    One night Ted was awakened by the voices of Mr. and Mrs. Harrison from the adjacent room. The conversation was heated and a few decibels above normal. To his discomfort, he was the subject of the argument — though never once referred to by name.
    “But, Philip, his family owns a restaurant.”
    “Daisy, your grandfather drove a milk wagon.”
    “But he put my father through Yale.”
    “And he is putting himself through Harvard. I don’t see what’s bothering you. The young man is perfectly —”
    “He’s common, Philip. Common, common, common. Don’t you care at all for your daughter’s future?”
    “Yes, Daisy,” said Mr. Harrison, lowering his voice, “I care very much.”
    Their conversation then became inaudible, leaving Ted Lambros bewildered in the darkness of his bedroom.

    On New Year’s morning, which would be their very last before returning to Cambridge, Philip Harrison asked Ted to join him for a walk in the woods.
    “I think we should be frank with each other,” he began.
    “Yes, sir,” Ted replied apprehensively.
    “I’m not unaware of how my daughter feels about you. But I’m sure you’ve sensed that Mrs. Harrison is —”
    “Dead against it,” Ted said quietly.
    “Well, that’s putting it a bit strongly. Let’s say Daisy’s a bit reluctant to see Sara commit herself so soon.”
    “Uh — that’s understandable,” Ted replied, careful not to say anything disloyal.
    They walked a few paces in silence as Ted worked up the courage to ask, “How do you feel, sir?”
    “Personally, Ted, I think you’re a bright, decent, and mature young man. But my opinion should have no bearing on the matter. Sara’s told me she loves you and wants to marry you. That’s good enough for me.”
    He paused, then continued slowly, his voice shaking slightly, “My daughter is the most precious thing I have in the world. All I want in life is for her to be happy….”
    “I’ll do my very best, sir.”
    “Ted,” Mr. Harrison persisted, “I want you to swear that you’ll never hurt my little girl.”
    Ted nodded, almost unable to speak.
    “Yes, sir,” he said softly, “I promise.”
    The two stood facing each other. And then, though neither moved, both men embraced in their imagination.


    February 2, 1958
    Maybe I do have a future as something after all. I could be a matchmaker. At least the one fix-up I have engineered in my life has resulted in marriage.
    The ceremony took place this past Saturday at the First Unitarian Church of Syosset, Long Island. The bride — looking lovely — was none other than my buddy Jason Gilbert’s sister, Julie. The lucky guy was my old classmate Charlie Gushing, whom I had heretofore regarded as totally useless.
    Obviously I was wrong about that, because he had succeeded in getting Julie pregnant the very first time they went to bed together.
    Happily, the impending maternity was discovered at a very early stage so that things could be done comme il faut. She got her picture in The New York Times and Mrs. Gilbert arranged a lavish celebration with such grace — and speed — that her grandchild would be able to arrive “prematurely” without too many local tongues wagging.
    Actually, invisible shotgun or not, I think the two of them suit each other. Julie is cute, but she’s not exactly Madame Curie. She was probably majoring in husband catching at Briarcliff anyway. And one may say she’s graduating with highest honors.
    After all, “the Cush,” as we affectionately referred to him in prep school, is a real Boston Brahmin, with a pedigree extending back to colonial times. And the Gilberts make up in dynamism what they lack in patina. Jason’s dad is a real pioneer in the television industry and flies to Washington almost as often as the Eastern shuttle.
    Moreover, if there was any tension on the part of either family because of the circumstances surrounding the nuptials, it was certainly not apparent. They made a handsome couple, and to their delight, old man Gilbert set them up in a very comfortable house in Woodbridge, so the Cush could finish his Yale studies in style.
    What totally surprised me was that I kind of choked up at the wedding. I mean, Gush was the first one of our gang to go. Which made me think that maybe someday I might even take the plunge. Although what sensible girl would want to marry me?
    Newall and Andrew were squeezed into Jason’s Corvette during the swift postnuptial ride back to Cambridge. Gradually, Andrew began to notice that Jason seemed gloomy. In fact, he had not smiled much during the whole affair.
    “Hey, Gilbert,” Andrew said as they neared the Hartford Bridge, “you seemed pissed off.”
    “I am,” Jason replied laconically, and accelerated.
    “From that I understand you disapprove of the match.”
    “You might say so,” he commented, gritting his teeth.
    “On what grounds?” Newall inquired.
    “On the grounds that Cushing is the closest thing to a total asshole that I’ve ever encountered.”
    “Hey, Jace,” Newall remonstrated, “aren’t you being a bit severe?”
    “Hell no,” he answered. “My sister’s barely eighteen. Couldn’t that dingbat have been a little more careful?”
    “Maybe they love each other,” Andrew offered, his role in life being to discover silver linings in the cloudiest situations.
    “Ah, come on,” Jason exploded, punching the dashboard with one hand, “they hardly know each other.”
    “I think both parents were pleased,” Newall suggested.
    “Sure,” Jason responded. “The one thing they have in common is an allergy to scandal.”
    “Unless my eyes deceived me,” Newall said, “your dad really likes the Gush.”
    “Yeah,” Jason answered sarcastically, “but mostly because his ancestors fought at Bunker Hill.”
    “So did mine,” Newall added. “Is that why you like me, Gilbert?”
    “No,” he replied, only half-joking. “I don’t like you at all, actually.”
    “Danny, I think you’re making a very big mistake.”
    Professor Piston had asked his prize pupil to come by the office to discuss his plans for next year.
    “I’m sorry, Professor, but I just can’t see going through another year of studying.”
    “But with Nadia Boulanger, Danny, that is hardly what you call drudgery. One might even say that woman is modern music. Remember, most of the major composers of our time have studied at the ‘Boulangerie.’ ”
    “But what if I just put it off for, say, a year or so? I mean, Mr. Hurok has got all these fantastic offers for me from major orchestras —”
    “Aha, so you’re hungry for the sound of applause, Danny,” Piston answered knowingly. “I wish you wouldn’t be so impetuous. Once you start traveling on that circuit, you’ll be caught up in the whirlwind and never slow down again to study.”
    “But that’s a chance I’m willing to take. Anyway, even if this sounds a little arrogant, I think I could start writing on my own.”
    The music chairman hesitated. But Danny sensed that he was holding back, and forced the issue.
    “Do I take it, sir, that you don’t think I’m ready as a composer?”
    “Well,” Piston said slowly, searching for the words that would put it most delicately, “most of the people who went to Nadia, Copland for instance, were already full-blown artists. Yet she brought out something more in them, enriching everything they wrote thereafter …”
    “I don’t think you quite answered my question,” Danny said politely.
    “Well,” Piston replied, lowering his gaze, “I think a teacher’s obligation is to tell the truth. That is an imperative of education.”
    He paused and then pronounced his verdict.
    “Danny, that you are a great pianist everybody knows. And that with the years you’ll grow into a fine conductor I have not the slightest doubt. But at this stage, your compositions are still — how can I put it? — raw material. I mean, fine ideas, but without sufficient discipline. That’s why I feel so strongly that you spend a year with Nadia.”
    Danny’s ego was jolted. The professor was talking almost like that Crimson reviewer.
    He looked at Walter Piston and thought inwardly, What good did Boulanger do you?
    Your symphonies aren’t that great. And when’s the last time that an orchestra asked you to be their soloist? No, Walter, I think you’re just a little jealous.
    I’m going to give the Boulangerie a miss.
    “I’m sure I’ve hurt your feelings,” Piston said solicitously.
    “No, no. Not at all. You told me what you thought, and I appreciate your being honest with me.”
    “Then will you think about it once again?” the chairman asked.
    “Of course,” Danny said diplomatically. Then rose and walked from the office.
    He could not even wait to get back to his room and so he called New York from a booth in Harvard Square.
    “Mr. Hurok, you can book me anyplace on earth as long as the piano’s tuned.”
    “Bravo,” the impresario exulted. “I’ll fix you one exciting year.”
    And thus, whether courageous or foolhardy, Danny Rossi had chosen to lead The Class. To be the first to dive from the cozy, amniotic safety of Harvard into the icy, shark-infested waters of the Real World.
    Like the stretto in a fugue, spring term accelerated the tempo of a melody already racing to its conclusion. May seemed to enter even before April ended. Those who had just completed senior theses barely had time to catch their breaths before taking General Examinations.
    Some of The Class availed themselves of this, their final opportunity to have a nervous breakdown.
    On the afternoon of his General Exams in History and Lit., Norman Gordon of Seattle, Washington, was found wandering on the banks of the Charles — providentially by his own tutor.
    “Hey, Norm, did you finish writing this early?”
    “No,” replied the senior who had kept a straight-A average till now, a manic glow in his eyes. “I’ve decided that I don’t like my major at all, In fact, I’m planning not to graduate. I’m going out west to start a cattle ranch.”
    “Oh,” said the tutor, then gently led him to the Health Department.
    And psychiatry picked up where education had left off.
    But in a sense young Gordon had succeeded in his unconscious aspiration: he had managed to avoid having to leave the four-walled shelter of a paternal institution.

    “It was a brilliant piece of work,” said Cedric Whitman, as he met with Sara in Boylston Hall for their last tutorial. “I don’t think I’m being indiscreet if I tell you that my view is shared by everyone in the department who read it. Actually, I’d go as far as to say it’s got the makings of a doctoral dissertation.”
    “Thank you.” Sara smiled shyly. “But, as you know, I’m not going to graduate school.”
    “That’s a pity,” Whitman replied. “You’ve got a really original mind.”
    “I think one classicist in the family is enough.”
    “What do you intend to do then, Sara?”
    “Be a wife — and a mother, eventually.”
    “Does that exclude everything else?”
    “Well, I feel I should be helping Ted as much as I can. And it would be easier if I had some kind of nondemanding job. I’ll — be studying shorthand at Katie Gibbs this summer.”
    Whitman could not fully mask his disappointment.
    Sara sensed this and was slightly defensive.
    “It isn’t that Ted would mind,” she offered. “It’s just that —”
    “Please, Sara,” the professor responded, “you don’t have to explain. I understand completely.” And inwardly he thought, It’s obvious that Ted would mind.
    He rose to shake hands and wish her well.
    “It’s a nice thing to know that you and Ted will still be around Cambridge.
    Perhaps we will have a chance to have you over to the house. In any case, I’ll venture a sibylline prediction. I’d say you’ll both soon be wearing a Phi Beta Kappa key.”

    Whitman’s prediction proved accurate. For on May 28, when America’s oldest academic-honor society announced its annually elected senior members, Ted and Sara were among the chosen.
    So was Danny Rossi (no surprise, for he would be graduating summa), and George Keller, for whom certain of the normal criteria had been waived. But then his senior thesis had won the Eliot (sic) Prize as best essay of the year in social sciences. And Dr. K. had composed a most persuasive letter emphasizing George’s staggering achievements in so short a time.
    Jason Gilbert won no academic kudos. But he continued his distinguished career on the tennis court. He inspired his charges to trample Yale for the third year in a row. And, as an index of the relative significance of sport and intellectual achievement, Jason was elected by a landslide to be senior-class marshal. As such he would lead their procession on Commencement Day.
    He also won the Bingham Prize as the most courageous athlete.
    But the notion of a surfeit when it comes to honors is unthinkable for Harvard men. And thus to no one’s great surprise Jason won a Sheldon Fellowship as well, an award given to students for specialized achievements. It subsidizes a year of travel — with the proviso that the recipient do no formal studying. Mr. Sheldon knew how to fulfill an undergraduate’s fantasy.
    Even the Marine Corps was impressed with all the decorations Jason had received and willingly postponed his tour of duty so he could enjoy the Sheldon first.
    (“Actually, it’s a pretty convenient time,” his commanding officer jested. “We seem to be between wars at the moment.”)
    All this heightened prominence brought Jason’s name to the attention of some undergraduates who normally would never read the Crimson sports page. It even caused an unexpected visitor to knock on his door early one evening.
    “Yeah, can I help you?”
    “Hey, what brings the Human Dictionary to my room? Run out of words?”
    “Don’t be derisive,” George Keller retorted. “I have come to make a small request of you.”
    “Me? But, George, I’m just a dumb old jock.”
    “I know,” said Keller with the tiniest of smiles. “That’s exactly how you can assist me.”
    “How?” asked Jason.
    “Could you teach me tennis, Gilbert? I’d be most appreciative.”
    Jason looked somewhat baftled. “Why tennis? And why me?
    “It’s obvious,” said George. “Last summer proved to me that it is the most — how shall I put it? — socially advantageous sport. And you, of course, are the most skilled practitioner of it at Harvard.”
    “I’m deeply flattered, Keller. But, unfortunately, I’m committed to beating the shit out of all the guys who’ll be gunning for me in the NCAAs next week. I really haven’t got the time.”
    George Keller’s look of expectation turned to one of disappointment. “I’d be glad to pay you, Jason. Anything you say.”
    “It isn’t the money. I’d teach you free —”
    “When?” George quickly asked.
    “Hell, I don’t know,” said Jason, feeling cornered, “maybe sometime during Graduation Week.”
    “Sunday the eighth — at five o’clock? I know there is nothing planned for then.” The guy knew the entire schedule by heart!
    “Okay,” Jason capitulated with a sigh. “Do you have a racket?”
    “Of course,” said George, “and I have balls.”
    “I knew that without asking,” Jason murmured as he shut his door.
    George Keller stood there beaming with satisfaction. The sarcasm had escaped even the magniloquent new master of the English language.
    Andrew Eliot was already waiting outside the History Department when the General-Exam grades were posted. For one of the rare times of his life off the athletic field, he was perspiring.
    A swarm of students rushed forward as the department secretary came out of the chairman’s office to pin the results on the bulletin board.
    Fortunately, Andrew was tall enough to see over the heads of the mob. What he read astonished him. He walked numbly back to Eliot House and phoned his father.
    “What in blazes is the matter, son? It’s still expensive-calling hours.”
    “Dad,” Andrew mumbled in a haze, “Dad, I just wanted you to be the first to know …”
    The young man hesitated.
    “Come on, my boy, speak up. This is costing you a fortune.”
    “Dad, you won’t believe this but — I passed my Generals. I’m going to graduate.”
    The announcement at first struck Andrew’s father speechless.
    Finally he said, “Son, that is good news. I frankly never thought you’d do it.”


    June 10, 1958
    As a kind of anodyne for the trauma of our symbolic rebirth, Harvard arranges a series of assorted ceremonies for Senior Week, culminating in Thursday morning’s sacred laying on of hands.
    The Baccalaureate Service on Sunday in Memorial Church was a pretty desultory affair. At least, that’s what I heard from one of the guys who actually went. It wasn’t exactly a big draw.
    Monday’s formal dance — for some reason called the Senior Spread — was much better attended. About half The Class filled the Lowell House courtyard, clad in rented white dinner jackets, dancing into the wee hours to the mellow saxophone sounds of Les and Larry Elgart’s orchestra.
    I guess if it had an educational purpose, which I assume everything at Harvard does, it was to give us a preview of what it would be like to be middle-aged.
    The band gave an occasional nod to musical modernity with one or two cha-cha-chas — the current terpsichorean vogue — and also some Elvis tunes. But it was soft and gentle stuff like “Love Me Tender.”

    Oh yes, we did have dates. I blush to say that Newall and I had a social arrangement with Jason, somewhat analogous to my sartorial-exchange policy with Ted Lambros. We got his hand-me-downs.
    But, of course, when you get an ex from Gilbert, they are still in exceptionally fine condition. As Joe Keezer might put it, “hardly worn.” The only problem is they still have this vestigial attachment to Jason.
    The result being that while he was dancing with this incredible blonde (a tennis journalist he’d picked up at some tournament), Lucy, my so-called date, and Melissa, who was supposed to be with Newall, kept angling to stay in his line of vision in hopes they could scrounge a single dance with our Class Leader.
    Needless to say, even with our own considerable charm, Dickie and I didn’t get to first base with either of our girls. But at least we had a lovely on our arms, which I suspect was the motivation for a lot of the pairings that evening. I think that Ted and Sara were among the maybe dozen or so couples who were actually involved romantically.
    Tomorrow night we have yet another jolly event — for which Gilbert has already obtained me an escort — a moonlight cruise in Boston Harbor. Newall is going to pass on that one since, for some irrational reason, he’s afraid he might get seasick. And how would that look the next morning, when he’s due to be commissioned as a naval officer?
    But as this artificial carnival continues, I keep wondering more and more why no one really seems to be enjoying it.
    And I’ve come to what I think is a profound conclusion. The Class is really not a class. I mean, we’re not a brotherhood — or anything at all cohesive for that matter.
    In fact, the time we spent here was a kind of truce. A cease-fire in the war for fame and power. And in two more days the guns come out again.
    Though it had rained intermittently throughout the earlier part of Commencement Week, Harvard’s apparent connections in Very High Places succeeded in making Thursday, June 12, 1958, a hot and sunny day, perfect for the university’s 322d Commencement Ceremony.
    Everyone seemed to be in costume. From the rented black caps and gowns of the undergraduates to the electric pink of the doctoral candidates. Or the eighteenth-century garb of the sheriff of Middlesex County, who rode in on horseback to open the proceedings.
    Led by Jason Gilbert and the two other marshals, The Class of ’58 marched through the Yard, around University Hall, and into the vast area between Memorial Church and Widener Library. For a few hours every year, rows of wooden seats spring up and this sylvan space is magically transformed into “Tercentenary Theater.”
    As had been the practice for three centuries, the solemnities began with an oration in Latin — which perhaps sixteen people understood and everybody else pretended to.
    This year’s speaker, selected two weeks earlier by the Classics Department, was Theodore Lambros of Cambridge, Massachusetts. His speech was entitled “De optimo genere felicitatis” — on the noblest form of happiness.
    The Latin salutatorian’s task is, as the word suggests, to greet the dignitaries present in hierarchical order. First President Pusey, then the governor of Massachusetts, deans, pastors, and so forth.
    But the crowd is really waiting for the traditional greetings to the Radcliffe girls (who, of course, come at the very end).
Nec vos ommittamus, puellae pulcherrimae
Radcliffianae, quas socias studemus vivendi,
ridendi, bibendi …

Nor shall we overlook you, Most exquisite Radcliffe maidens, Whom we zealously pursue as companions for Living, laughing, and quaffing …

    Twenty thousand pairs of hands applauded. But none more vigorously than those of the proud Lambros family.
    After all the salutations, the orator is supposed to pronounce a small homily. And Ted had chosen as his message the fact that the highest form of happiness was to be found in truly unselfish friendship toward one’s fellow man.
    It was not long thereafter that President Pusey bade The Class of ’58 rise to its feet and its representatives mount the steps of Memorial Church to join “the fellowship of educated men.”
    First Marshal Jason Gilbert walked to the podium to accept the symbolic diploma for all of them.
    Sitting near the stage in a section reserved for relatives of the participants, Jason’s father overheard a female voice exclaim, “He looks just like something out of Scott Fitzgerald.”
    Mr. Gilbert turned to caution his wife not to speak so loudly. But in doing so, he realized that Betsy was crying and the compliment had been articulated by another woman sitting in their row. And he smiled and thought, There’s no prouder father in this whole damn place.
    He was not correct, of course. There were nearly a thousand fathers of The Glass of ’58 among those present, all of whom were sharing what they thought was the zenith of euphoria and pride.

    Four years earlier, 1,162 young men had entered Harvard with The Class of ’58. Today, 1,031 of them received diplomas. Just over ten percent had failed to stay the course. In ancient Roman terms, they had been decimated.
    Some who had flunked out along the way might perhaps come back in a later year and finish their degrees. Still others had surrendered their ambition to be Harvard men either by giving up their sanity or taking their own lives. But no one thought of them today, for this was a time for congratulation, not compassion.
    Not even Jason gave a thought to David Davidson, his freshman roommate, who was still resident in Massachusetts Mental Hospital, undaunted by his temporary setback, still dreaming of future scientific glory.
    Half an hour later, The Class broke into smaller groups to have luncheon in their houses.
    Back at Eliot, Art and Gisela Rossi’s meal with Danny would be simultaneously a farewell. For he’d be leaving the next morning to return to Tanglewood — as soloist this summer. And after that to Europe to begin the concert tour that Hurok had arranged.
    His mother couldn’t keep from asking why Maria was not there. For she had really liked the girl.
    Art Rossi was more understanding. “Come on, honey,” he whispered, “she was probably just a passing fancy. Dan’s too young and clever to let himself get hooked so soon.”
    Danny kept up the charade and smiled. Though inwardly he was aggrieved that when he’d asked her to be his date “just for old times’ sake,” Maria had declined.
    George Keller had resigned himself to eating lunch alone on a courtyard step. Clearly, no one near and dear to him was that day present. Then Andrew Eliot approached him. “Hey, George,” he said good-naturedly, “do me a favor, huh? Come on over to our table and talk to some of my stepsisters. I mean, I can’t remember half their names but some of them are cute.”
    “Thank you, Andrew, that is most cordial. I’d be ravished to join you.”
    As George rose to walk to the Eliot family table in the courtyard of the house called Eliot, with his classmate Andrew of that same name, the latter whispered to him, “George, your English is terrific. But don’t say ‘ravished.’ Say my sister — any one of them — is ravishing.”
    Later in the afternoon, the separation was complete. They now divided into a thousand atoms, going off at varied speeds in differing directions.
    Would they ever come together as a unity again?
    Had they ever been one?


    Human kind
    Cannot bear very much reality.
T.S. ELIOT ’10


    June 14, 1958
    Ted and Sara got married today. I was best man — probably on the grounds that I had been their landlord for so long. (“If this were the Middle Ages, you’d be entitled to droit du seigneur,” Sara joked.)
    It was a simple affair for complex reasons. To begin with, Sara was Episcopal and Ted, of course, Greek Orthodox. Not that the Lambros family was making any sacramental demands, mind you. But Daisy Harrison seemed to have thought it best to have the ceremony on more or less neutral grounds: in Appleton Chapel, at the back of Mem. Church, under the aegis of the distinguished George Lyman Buttrick, Preacher to the University.
    This, as I interpreted Daisy’s strategy, solved a multitude of problems while preserving at least a shimmer of class.
    Naturally she had always dreamed of marrying off her only daughter in Christ Church, Greenwich, that extraordinarily imposing sanctuary built to the glory of God — with considerable help from some local worshippers of Mammon.
    But two things had precluded this pomp and ceremony. For one, she was not all that eager to parade her in-laws before le tout Greenwich. For another, Sara said she would get married there only over her dead body (which would take some of the joy out of the occasion).
    Thus, it boiled down to the intimacy — but unmistakable patina — of Harvard’s chapel, the exquisite singing of the University Choir, and, perhaps most important, a short guest list, almost exclusively students.
    Let posterity record that I did not forget the ring. In fact I guarded it with my life during the twenty-four hours it was in my possession, since it was a Lambros family heirloom from the Old Country.
    I stood in a unique position, able to watch both participants and audience, and thus could note the more intense pockets of emotion. It came as no surprise that Mrs. Lambros did most of the crying. And of Sara’s entire family, only one person had difficulty holding back the tears. Phil Harrison himself.
    I guess I shouldn’t have expected Sara’s mother to be sentimental. And she wasn’t. In fact, she sort of acted as if Ted’s family were merely poor relatives one simply had to invite. I heard her remark to Mrs. Lambros, “I hope you appreciate that your son is marrying into one of the oldest families in America.”
    Daphne translated this to her mother and then gave Mrs. Harrison the response, “Mama says you carry your age very well.”
    Something may have been lost in translation, but it certainly wasn’t love.
    For the reception Daisy hired an opulent suite at The Ritz. To add to the ecumenical nature of the occasion, the sparkle she chose was Dom Perignon, a sort of homage to the Catholic inventor of champagne. Anyway, the blessed bubbles from Dom’s discovery filled every glass, and quite soon every head.
    I think Mrs. Harrison was surprised by several things that afternoon. The first was that the whole Lambros family came attired in recognizably Western garb (a great deal of it Brooks Brothers via Joe Keezer). According to Sara, she had expected them to show in babushkas, or whatever Greek peasants wear.
    Secondly, the grossest behavior of the occasion was, hands down, that of her own elder sons. For Phippie and Ev rather recklessly thought they would take on the mighty imbibers of Eliot House in a sport of which we are clearly the masters.
    They found, to their chagrin (and no doubt subsequent headaches), that there is not enough champagne in France, much less Boston, to bring a hollow-legged drinker like Newall to his knees. Even Jason Gilbert, who is always in training, is a veritable sponge when it comes to champers.
    Anyway, feeling that my obligations as best man superseded even the rare opportunity of unlimited vintage quaffing, I remained (relatively) sober so I could dislodge my duties to the very end.
    This gave me a chance to chat with Old Man Harrison, who, by happy coincidence, was celebrating his Twenty-fifth Harvard Reunion concurrent with our commencement. He said he’d found the whole occasion deeply moving.
    I mean, I personally found it impossible even to think of where I might be twenty-five years from now. I’m still confused from one day to the next about what I want to do with my life.
    No one knew where they were honeymooning. Except me, of course. For, despite their protestations, I had insisted that the newlyweds take advantage of our family’s empty summer house up in Maine. It gave me pleasure to know the place would be used for such a worthwhile purpose.
    It would be misleading to assume that I’m always on the giving end with Lambros.
    In fact, when Sara’s bouquet was caught by her cousin Kit from Chicago, she called out to me to take care of her.
    I got the message, and happily entertained her for the next few days. And nights.
    Weddings do that sort of thing to you.
    Danny Rossi could never have imagined that his childhood bouts of asthma would ultimately serve a useful purpose in his musical career.
    For while most of his Harvard classmates who did not have student deferments were marching and saluting in fulfillment of their military obligations, he had been declared 4-F. And was therefore free to roam the world and be saluted as a rising star.
    At a first glance it might have appeared that Hurok had merely booked his young discovery indiscriminately — one might almost say promiscuously — with any orchestra he could. But the veteran concert manager had a very well-thought-out master plan.
    He wanted to expose Danny to demanding conductors, sophisticated audiences. To become inured to harsh, critical scrutiny. In short, polish his musical techniques while hardening his psyche.
    What the old man didn’t realize was that Danny was also a virtuoso with reporters. His press was uniformly favorable.
    He captured London playing Brahms with Beecham and the Royal Philharmonic, then flew on to Amsterdam for Mozart with Haitink and the Concertgebouw.
    Paris was next, with a solo concert at the Salle Pleyel (Bach, Chopin, plus Couperin and Debussy to please the locals). In Le Figaro’s opinion Rossi was “Un nouveau Liszt en miniature”; Le Monde had a similar opinion if a different metaphor: “pas seulement un géant pour son âge mais an gêant de son âge.”
    On the evening after Danny’s last appearance in Berlin, von Karajan arranged a midnight supper at the Kempinski with the director-general of Deutsche Grammophon Records. The next morning Danny had a five-album contract.

    “Well,” said the young pianist as he sat proudly in Hurok’s portrait-laden office, observing the impresario leaf through his folder of reviews. “What do you think?”
    The old man raised his glance and smiled. “What I think, my boy, is that you have just done New Haven.”
    “I beg your pardon?”
    “Are you not familiar with the theatrical expression? Whenever a producer wants to open a show in New York, he always tries it out first in a small place like New Haven.”
    “Are you suggesting that London, Amsterdam, and Paris are ‘try-out towns’?”
    “I am indeed,” Hurok said without blinking. “For New York, every other city on earth is New Haven. When you make it here you’ve really made it.”
    When do you think I’ll finally be ready for the ‘Big Time’?”
    “I’ll be glad to let you know exactly,” the concert manager answered, casually reaching for a document that lay upon his antique desk. “February 15, 1961, with Lenny and the Philharmonic. He suggests you play one of the Beethovens.”
    “That’s another whole year. What do I do till then — besides bite all my nails oft?”
    “Danny,” the impresario said paternally, “am I a booking agent or a nursemaid? You will go out and do more New Havens.”

    Such was the success of the pre-concert propaganda campaign that the audience filling Carnegie Hall on the night of Danny’s New York debut was more predisposed to worship than to judge.
    During the lengthy standing ovation at the end of the concert, Bernstein pulled Danny onto the podium and held his hand aloft like a victorious boxer’s. Danny was indeed a new world champion. He had won where it counted most.
    The reception was held in the sumptuous penthouse of one of the Philharmonic’s trustees. Although Danny was now indisputably a major star, by no stretch of his own imagination (or ego) was he the greatest luminary present.
    There were famous actors who, just a few years earlier, he would have shyly asked for an autograph. There were other world-renowned musicians, as well as important political figures. Cover girls were as abundant as the uniformed waitresses serving caviar.
    And yet, incredibly, they all were flocking around wanting to meet him.
    Not unexpectedly, he was asked to play. A Steinway grand was wheeled into the center of the living room and its lid propped open.
    Danny had anticipated that at this hour of the night, after so arduous an effort, he would not be at his best in some classical piece. He had therefore prepared a little jeu d’esprit.
    Before sitting down, he made a short speech.
    “Ladies and gentlemen,” he began, “my thank yous could go on forever. So forgive me if I mention just two people in particular. First Mr. Hurok for having such faith and supporting me all this time —”
    “Excuse me, my dear boy,” the impresario joked, “it’s you who have been supporting me.”
    “And if Lenny doesn’t mind, I’d like to express my gratitude to him at the keyboard.”
    Danny began with a fortissimo rendition of the piano entrance to the concerto he had played that night. He then quickly switched to a jazz medley of the tunes from Bernstein’s West Side Story.
    The audience was enchanted and would not let him leave the piano.
    “What now?” Danny asked ingenuously. “I’m running out of material.”
    Bernstein smiled and suggested, “Why not do unto others what you just did unto me?”
    Danny nodded, sat down again and for nearly half an hour poured forth jazz versions of My Fair Lady as well as standards by Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, and Irving Berlin. Finally he pleaded exhaustion.
    Later in the evening, a dapper executive type waved a business card in front of him and murmured something about doing an album along the lines of that night’s improvisations.
    Just as the man retreated, an extremely elegant brunette approached Danny and said in dulcet tones, “Mr. Rossi, I very much enjoyed your performance this evening. I hope Jack and I can entice you to come and play for a small group at the White House sometime.”
    Battle weary and a little high, Danny had at first merely nodded politely and said, “That’s very nice. Thanks a lot.”
    Only after she had gracefully turned and walked off did he realize that he had been talking to the wife of the President of the United States.


    March 10, 1959
    After graduating I expected to find myself metaphorically, but not literally, at sea.
    Yet here I am crossing the Atlantic on a ship of the U.S. Navy. Knowing of my family’s distinguished record in this branch of the services, I had been determined not to follow where I might stumble in their footsteps.
    But when the ninety-day notice suddenly came from the army, I panicked and thought, I don’t want to spend the next two years of my life marching around some bog. So I signed up for the navy. I mean, how bad can things be on a ship?
    At least there’s nowhere to hike.
    I found out otherwise, however. A sailor’s existence can be hell. While my old roomie Newall is an ensign stationed out in San-Francisco waiting for a ship full of guys to whom he can bark orders as they cruise the tropics, I thought I’d give myself a real dose of what life without privilege is like. So I’m seeing the navy as a simple white-hat, an enlisted man.
    Anyway, after basic I was assigned to the destroyer tender St. Clare as an ordinary swabbie. Our task is to escort the USS Hamilton as a kind of oceangoing nanny. My initial duties were twofold. First, keeping the St. Clare shipshape. In other words, scrubbing decks. And second, acting as a football for our chief petty officer, who somehow took an instant dislike to me. I couldn’t figure out why. I never said I was from Harvard or even went to college. (Someone later told me that he thought I was “obnoxiously polite” — whatever that means.)
    But the guy was fixated on giving me grief. And when I wasn’t doing the many extra tasks he set for me, or standing watch, he would storm into our bunkroom and confiscate as “trash” whatever the hell I was reading.
    Once I thought I’d try to get my own back at him.
    I indicated at evening mess that I felt like turning in early to read, and hurried back to settle in with… the Holy Bible. Sure enough, he barged in a few minutes later and, without even looking, ripped the book from my hands, bellowing, “Sailor, you are polluting your mind!”
    And it was then that I indicated, in front of two other guys, that I had been merely enriching my soul with the Scriptures.
    All he could manage was, “Oh,” replaced the book on my bunk, and marched out.
    I had won that battle all right. But unfortunately I lost the war.
    After that, the guy rode me day and night. At one point I was so desperate that I thought of going AWOL. But then, of course, we were a thousand miles from the nearest landfall. There are, after all, some advantages to being in the army.
    If this was real life, I’d had enough of it. And if I was to survive the navy, I had to get my hands and knees off the deck.
    When I was certain that this guy was on another part of the ship, I went to see the first lieutenant to plead for a transfer of duty. I didn’t give the real reason, I just said that I felt I might have some other talents that could better serve the navy.
    Like what? he inquired.
    Like what, indeed? I thought to myself. But off the top of my head I suggested that I had a kind of yen to write. And that seemed to impress him. So, much to my chief petty officer’s disappointment at not being able to drive me into leaping off the ship, I’ve been transferred to our information office.
    Here I’m kind of an editor and journalist, writing for the various internal navy newspapers, as well as forwarding the more interesting stories to Washington for wider dissemination.
    This has turned out to be a pretty neat job. Except my one chance for a wire-service break was censored by the captain. I thought it was a good story. I mean, it had excitement, thrills, surprise, and so forth — even a touch of humor. But somehow the upper echelons didn’t see it that way.
    Last week when we were just entering the Mediterranean, it was a terribly dark foggy night. (Dramatic start, huh?) And in the perilous obscurity we collided with another ship. No hands were lost, though some repairs would have to be done at the next port of call.
    What I found so fascinating was that we had actually collided with our own destroyer. I mean, I thought the story had a certain human interest value.
    But the captain felt otherwise. He argued that American ships never did that sort of thing.
    Assuming it was a journalist’s task to report the truth, I pointed out that we bad in fact just done so.
    At this he blew his top and hurled at me a veritable thesaurus of synonyms for lack of intelligence. His essential message was that the U.S. Navy may make an occasional error, but they sure as hell don’t send out a press release.

    I will be discharged in one year, three months, eleven days. With any luck it will be honorably.
    In any case, it cannot be too soon.
    Sara had finished at the top of her class.
    Actually, nothing in her previous educational experience gave any hint that she would excel her fellow Radcliffe graduates in the arts of shorthand and typing. But sure enough, at the end of that first summer, she could take down dictation at an admirable 110 words per minute and could type an amazing 75.
    “I don’t think any further courses could possibly improve your chances in the job market, Sara,” counseled Mrs. Holmes, head of the summer course. “With your speeds and educational background, you’re more than ready for an executive secretarial position. I suggest you start following up the want ads.”
    Buoyed by this encouragement, Sara and Ted set about checking the newspapers. There seemed to be so many open ings in Cambridge that she could probably find something within walking distance of their apartment on Huron Avenue.
    Her first two interviews resulted in firm offers and a real dilemma. The job with the vice-president of the Harvard Trust paid a lavish seventy-eight bucks a week, whereas the University Press had an opening with longer hours offering a mere fifty-five. Yet, it was clear which attracted both husband and wife.
    First of all, the Press was closer (you could even slide there in a snowstorm). Secondly, it offered the possibility of advancement (“With your languages, you might move into copy editing fairly soon,” Mrs. Norton, the personnel director, had remarked when she saw Sara’s initial reaction to the proposed salary).
    Perhaps the most attractive dimension, as they both realized, was that it could be a rich source of top-level information about the Classics world. They would be among the first to know who was writing a book on what, and whether it was going to be accepted or rejected. This sort of intelligence might prove invaluable at Ted’s job-seeking time.
    Graduate school was much more rigorous than he had ever anticipated. To earn a Ph.D., you had to take some brutally difficult seminars in Linguistics, Comparative Grammar, Metrics, Greek and Latin Stylistics, and so forth. Fortunately, he was blessed with a nightly dinner partner with whom he could discuss such esoterica.
    From as early as the summer they first lived together, Ted had always insisted on cooking the evening meals. But now, since he believed the chef should have his classical studying finished before entering the kitchen, Sara had the uncomfortable prospect of having to wait till nearly ten o’clock before her husband would begin to prepare their deipno (dinner).
    This posed some delicate problems of diplomacy. For what sane woman could object to a delicious meal accompanied by choice Greek wine, served with music and soft candlelight by a highly professional waiter — who would then sit down and tell you how much he loved you. And after dinner would join you in bed.
    How could a woman tell such a husband that, though the evenings were enchanted, the mornings after she could barely stay awake at her typewriter? Sara therefore concluded that the only way to solve this predicament was to learn the secrets of Lambros cuisine from Mama herself. This way, while Ted was still struggling with Indo-European etymologies, she could be starting dinner.
    Thalassa Lambros was flattered by her daughter-in-law’s interest and did everything she could to accelerate her culinary education. This included detailed memos, which Sara diligently studied.
    By January she was confident enough to arrogate the task of cooking dinner. And none too soon. For Ted would be facing a battery of language exams at the end of the spring semester.
    The German requirement was killing him. Dammit, he had often thought, why does so much important classical scholarship have to be written in this preposterously difficult language? Here again, Sara, who had taken three years of German in school, was able to help him acquire a feeling for its periodic sentence structure. And by plowing through several articles with him, showed how he could intuit the general meaning of a passage from the classical citations in the text.
    After one of these mini-tutorials, he looked at her with unadulterated affection and said, “Sara, where the hell would I be without you?”
    “Oh, probably out seducing some attractive graduate student.”
    “Don’t you even joke like that,” Ted whispered, reaching over to caress her.
    With Sara’s help and encouragement, Ted successfully jumped all the examination hurdles and began a thesis on Sophocles. As a reward he was made a teaching fellow in Finley’s Humanities course.

    He tossed and turned but still could not get back to sleep.
    “Darling, what’s the matter?” Sara asked, placing her hand gently on his shoulder.
    “I can’t help it, honey. I’m so damned scared about tomorrow.”
    “Hey,” she said soothingly, “it’s understandable — the first class you’ve ever taught in your life. It would be unnatural if you weren’t nervous.”
    “I’m not nervous,” he replied, “I’m absolutely catatonic.” He sat up on the side of the bed.
    “But, darling,” she reasoned, “it’s only a Hum Two discussion. The kids will be more frightened than you. Can’t you remember your first freshman section?”
    “Yeah, I guess. I was a scared little townie. But they say the damn undergraduates are getting smarter and smarter. And I keep having this ridiculous fantasy that some world-famous professor is going to decide to drop in unannounced tomorrow.”
    Sara glanced at the alarm clock. It was nearly 5:00 A.M., and there was no point in trying to talk Ted into going back to sleep.
    “Hey, why don’t I make some coffee and listen to what you plan to say? It could be a kind of dress rehearsal.”
    “Okay,” he sighed, relieved to be liberated from the prison of his bed.
    She quickly made two large mugs of Nescafé and they sat down at the kitchen table.
    At seven-thirty she began to laugh.
    “What the hell’s the matter? What did I do wrong?” Ted asked anxiously.
    “You crazy Greek.” She smiled. “You’ve just talked brilliantly about Homer for nearly two hours. Now, since all you’ve got to do is kill fifty minutes, don’t you think you’re adequately prepared to confront your first freshmen?”
    “Hey,” he smiled, “you’re some good psychologist.”
    “Not really. I just happen to know my husband better than he knows himself.”

    The date, the time, and the place of Ted’s first class are indelibly engraved in his memory. On Friday, September 28, 1959, at 10:01 A.M., he entered a discussion room in the Alston Burr Science Building. He unpacked a ridiculous number of books, all with carefully marked passages he could read aloud should he run out of ideas. At 10:05 he wrote his name and office hours on the blackboard and then turned to confront the students.
    There were fourteen of them. Ten boys and four girls, their spiral notebooks open and pencils ready to transcribe his every syllable. Jesus, he suddenly thought, they’re going to write down what I say! Suppose I make some incredible mistake and one of the kids shows it to Finley? Worse still, suppose one of them with a million years of prep-school Classics catches me right here? Anyway, Lambros, it’s time to start.
    He opened his yellow notepad to his meticulously outlined remarks, took a breath, and looked up. His heart was beating so loud that he half-wondered if they could hear it.
    “Uh — just in case somebody thinks he’s in a physics class, let me start by saying that this is a Hum Two section and I’m your discussion leader. While I’m taking your names down, you can learn mine. I’ve written it on the board. It happens to be the Greek word for ‘brilliance,’ but I’ll leave you guys to make up your minds about that after a few weeks.”
    There was a ripple of laughter. They seemed to like him. He began to warm to the task.
    “This course deals with nothing less than the roots of all Western culture, and the two epics ascribed to Homer constitute the first masterpieces of Western literature. As we’ll see in the weeks to come, the Iliad is the first tragedy, the Odyssey our first comedy…”
    After that moment he never once looked down at his prepared text, He simply rhapsodized about the greatness of Homer, his style, the oral tradition and early Greek concepts of heroism.
    Before he knew it, the class was nearly over.
    “Hey,” he said with a smile, “I guess I got a little carried away. I should stop here and ask if you have any questions.”
    A hand shot up in the back row.
    “Have you read Homer in Greek, Mr. Lambros?” asked a young, bespectacled Cliffie.
    “Yes,” Ted answered proudly.
    “Could you possibly recite a bit of it in the original, just so we could get a feel of how it sounded?”
    Ted smiled. “I’ll do my best.”
    Now, though he had the Oxford texts on the table, he found himself passionately reciting the beginning of the iliad from memory, putting special stress on words they might possibly comprehend — like heroon for “heroes” in line four. He reached the crescendo at line seven, emphasizing dios Achilleus, “godlike Achilles.” Then he paused.
    To his utter amazement, the tiny class applauded. The bell rang. Ted felt a sudden surge of relief, elation, and fatigue. He had no idea how it had gone until assorted comments filtered to him as the students left the room.
    “God, we lucked out,” he heard one say.
    “Yeah, this guy is dynamite,” said another.
    The last thing Ted heard — or thought he did — was a female voice offering the opinion, “He’s even better than Finley.”
    But surely that was the figment of a tired imagination. For John H. Finley, Jr., was one of the greatest teachers in Harvard history.
    Jason Gilbert made the first months of his Sheldon Fellowship for traveling a balanced combination of culture and sport. He took part in as many European tournaments as he could, but gave almost as much time to museum going as he did to tennis playing.
    Though forbidden by the terms of his award from doing formal academic work, he spent the winter researching a Comparative Study of International Skiing — with special emphasis on the slopes of Austria, France, and Switzerland.
    When his enthusiasm for the sport began to defrost, he headed for Paris, city of a million sensuous attractions. He knew no French but was fluent in the international language of charm, and never had to look very far to find a female guide.
    Almost within hours he befriended an art student named Martine Pelletier, while she was admiring a Monet in the Jeu de Paume, and he was admiring her legs.
    As they strolled the boulevards together, Jason marveled at the Parisian way of life, and stopped to examine the multitude of posters plastered all over the street kiosks advertising cultural offerings. He was struck by one announcement in particular:
    Salle Pleyel.
    Pour la premiere fois en France (a jeune sensation américaine
    “Hey,” he said proudly to Martine, “I know that guy. Shall we go and hear him?”
    “I would adore it.”
    And so by a harmonious cadence of fate, Jason Gilbert was present in the auditorium when Danny Rossi made his triumphant Paris debut.
    Backstage, Jason and Martine had to push their way through a stampede of reporters and assorted sycophants to get close enough to attract Danny’s attention. The star of the evening was delighted to see a classmate, and welcomed Jason’s attractive companion in swift, fluent, and courtly French.
    Jason proposed that they all go out for dinner, but Danny was committed to a private party to which, unfortunately, he was unable to invite them.

    Later that evening, as they were sharing thick onion soup in Les Halles, Martine asked Jason, “I thought this Danny Rossi was your friend.”
    “What makes you think he isn’t?”
    “Because he asked me to go to Castels tonight — without you.”
    “That cocky little runt, he thinks he’s God’s gift to women.”
    “No, Jason,” she smiled, “you are that. He is only Cod’s gift to music.”

    By late April 1959, Jason had had his fill of the memorabilia of things past and was burning to get back to the tennis courts. Regarding it as a kind of farewell tour, he had booked himself in as many international competitions as he could wangle.
    And yet even this aspect of his journey turned out to be educational. For he was learning how very far he was from being the best tennis player in the world. He could never get past a quarter final, and he began to reckon it a minor triumph if he won so much as a single set against a seeded player.
    At the Gstaad International Tennis Tournament in mid-July, he had the dubious honor of drawing as his first opponent Australia’s Rod Layer. Jason succumbed to the indomitable left-hander in straight sets, but was graceful in defeat.
    “Rod,” he commented as they shook hands afterward, “it was a real honor to be creamed by you.”
    “Thanks, Yank. Good on you.”
    Jason walked slowly off court shaking his head and wondering why he had been so slow that afternoon — or the ball so fast. A tall young woman with a chestnut ponytail approached him to offer friendly consolation.
    “You weren’t very lucky today, were you?” Her English had a strange, charming accent.
    “I wasn’t until now,” he replied, “Are you here to play?”
    “Yes, I am in the ladies’ singles tomorrow afternoon. I was just going to ask if you wanted to join up for the mixed doubles on Friday.”
    “Why? You’ve just seen how badly I play.”
    “I’m not that good either,” she answered candidly.
    “That means we’ll probably both be killed.”
    “But we could still have fun. Isn’t that what really counts?”
    “I was brought up to think that winning was all that mattered,” Jason said with lighthearted honesty. “But I’m revising my theories. So why not? It would be a pleasure to be defeated in your company. By the way, what’s your name?”
    “Fanny van der Post,” she replied, offering her hand. “I’m a university player from Holland.”
    “I’m Jason Gilbert, who, as you saw, is barely good enough to be a ball boy for Rod Layer. Can we discuss our court strategy over dinner tonight?”
    “Yes,” she answered. “I’m staying at the Boo Hotel in Saanen.”
    “What a coincidence,” Jason remarked. “So am I.”
    “I know. I saw you in the pub last night.”

    That evening, they drove in Jason’s rented VW Beetle to a three-hundred-year-old inn in Chloesterli.
    “My God,” said Jason, as they sat down, “this place is older than America.”
    “Jason,” Fanny smiled, “almost everything in the world is older than America. Haven’t you noticed that?”
    “Yeah,” he acknowledged, “this whole trip has been kind of a steamroller for my ego. I feel born yesterday and two feet tall.”
    “I tell you, Jason,” she said with a twinkle, “if you really want to learn what it’s like to be small, come to Holland. Once upon a time we were a big world power — we even owned Central Park. Now our only claim to fame is that we gave the world Rembrandt and the English word for ‘cookie.’ ”
    “Are all the Dutch so self-deprecating?”
    “Yes. It’s our sly way of being arrogant.”
    They talked nonstop for hours well into the early morning. By the time they said good night, he knew that this girl was very special.
    Fanny had been born on a farm near Croningen during the early years of the Second World War, and had lived through the terrible hunger that devastated her country as the conflict drew to a close. Despite the hardships of her childhood, she had a buoyant good humor and optimism that delighted him.
    And although Fanny had ambitions, they were not all-consuming. She was a medical student at Leiden, studying just enough to become a good doctor, and practicing just enough tennis to remain a decent player.
    Jason concluded on the basis of this single evening’s conversation that Fanny was the most balanced person he had ever met. She was neither an overly cerebral Radcliffe girl battling for a Med School professorship, nor a bubble-headed Long Island deb whose only goal in life was an engagement ring.
    Fanny had a talent he had not encountered in all the girls he’d dated in America. She was happy just being herself.
    As he sat in the grandstand watching her play that next afternoon, his admiration grew. Not only had she stayed up late the night before a match, but they had shared quite a bit of wine. He was certain that the Florida girl she was facing had been in bed by nine, after drinking a glass of warm milk.
    But Fanny was still good enough to make her opponent work for the victory. Her service was strong and accurate and was never broken until the second set, when the gritty American teenager began to wear her down. Fanny lost 5–7, 6–3, 6–1. Jason met her at the gate to the court with a towel and a glass of orange juice.
    “Thanks,” Fanny puffed, “but I’d really like a nice cold beer. Aggressive little devil, wasn’t she?”
    “Yeah,” replied Jason, “I bet her father would have spanked her if she lost. God, didn’t his shouting drive you crazy?”
    “No, I never hear anything when I’m playing. Anyway, I enjoyed myself.”
    They began to walk toward the changing rooms.
    “Hey,” said Jason, “you could be really great if you worked at it.”
    “Don’t be silly, tennis is a game. If I actually worked at it, it would become a job. Now, where would you like to have dinner tonight?”
    “I don’t know. Any suggestions?”
    “How about going to Rougemont for a fondue? It’s my turn to invite you anyway.”

    That evening they briefly discussed strategy for their doubles game. Since Fanny was shorter (though not by much), she would play net.
    “I’m counting on you to keep all the balls from even reaching me in the back court,” Jason joked.
    “Please don’t get your hopes up. I think somewhere in that competitive American brain of yours you imagine we actually have a chance of winning tomorrow.”
    “Well,” Jason conceded, “I confess it was on my mind. The two turkeys we’re playing may be worse than we are.”
    “Nobody in this tournament is worse than we are.”
    “Gosh, what a partner you are. You’re destroying my confidence.”
    “Nothing could destroy your confidence, Jason.” She smiled meaningfully.

    They almost won.
    Neither of the Spanish couple they were facing was a power hitter, and they actually took the first set with ease. Then gradually their opponents began placing their long, slow shots with greater accuracy, getting them past Fanny and making Jason run himself into exhaustion.
    After a marathon battle, he was sweaty and breathless from the sun and the thin Swiss air.
    Too tired even to go change, he simply sat on a bench and contemplated his fatigue. Fanny arrived with two paper cups of mineral water and sat down beside him.
    “Thank Cod we lost,” she said, wiping his face with a towel. “I don’t fancy the idea of another long afternoon like this. But I’ll tell you something, Jason. I think we played pretty well together for the first time. Next year we might even lose by a closer score.”
    “Yeah, but I can’t make it next year. I’ve got another engagement.”
    “Engagement?” she asked, misunderstanding. “You are engaged to someone?”
    “Yeah,” he replied, protracting the ambiguity. “My fiancée’s name is the United States Marines. I owe them my body for two years starting in September.”
    “What a waste of a nice body.” She smiled. “When are you going back?”
    “Oh, I’ve got another three weeks or so yet,” he answered. And then looked her in the eye. “Which I’d like to spend with you — and I don’t mean playing tennis.”
    “I think that could be arranged,” she replied.
    “I’ve got my VW,” he said. “Where would you like to go?”
    “Well, I’ve always wanted to see Venice.”
    “Why?” Jason asked.
    “Because it’s got canals like Amsterdam.”
    “I can’t think of a better reason,” he replied.

    They took their time, driving first through the mountain roads of Switzerland. Then down into Italy, spending a few days on the banks of Lake Como. And all the time they talked.
    Jason soon felt that he knew all her friends intimately and could practically list them by name. And Fanny discovered that her new boyfriend was a lot more complex than the handsome blond tennis player she had first admired across a crowded lobby.
    “What kind of American are you?” she asked, as they were picnicking by the lakeside.
    “What do you mean?”
    “I mean, unless you are a red Indian, your family must have come from somewhere. Is Gilbert an English name?”
    “No, it’s just made up. When my grandparents came to Ellis Island, they were called Gruenwald.”
    “No. Russian. Russian Jewish, actually.”
    “Ah, then you are Jewish,” she said with apparent interest.
    “Well, only vaguely.”
    “How can one be only vaguely Jewish? It would be like being only vaguely pregnant, wouldn’t it?”
    “Well, America’s a free country. And my father decided that since the religion didn’t mean anything to him, he might as well, as he put it, join the mainstream.”
    “But that’s impossible. A Jew cannot be anything but a Jew.”
    “Why not? You’re a Protestant, but couldn’t you become Catholic if you wanted to?”
    A look of incredulity crossed her face.
    “For an intelligent person you make such a naive argument, Jason. Do you think Hitler would have spared you and your family because you denied your faith?”
    He began to grow irritated. What was she driving at?
    “Why does everybody invoke Hitler in trying to convince me that I’m Jewish?” he asked.
    “My God, Jason,” she replied, “don’t you realize what the Atlantic Ocean spared you in your childhood? I grew up in the shadow of the Nazis. I saw them take our neighbors away. My family even hid a Jewish girl during the whole war.”
    She nodded. “Eva Goudsmit. We grew up like sisters. Her parents owned a china factory and were — so they thought — pillars of the Dutch community. But that didn’t impress the soldiers who took them off.”
    “What happened to them?” Jason asked quietly.
    “The same thing that happened to millions of Jews all over Europe. After the war, Eva searched and searched. She went to all kinds of agencies, but they could find nothing. All they traced was a distant cousin living in Palestine. So when she finished school she went off to join him. We still keep in touch. In fact, every few summers I go and visit her kibbutz in the Galilee.”
    That conversation and several others like it in the weeks they spent together crystallized in Jason’s mind a firm desire to learn about his heritage. And ironically, he owed this resolution not to another Jew but to a Christian Dutch girl of whom he was growing fonder each day.
    He had wanted to drive her all the way back to Amsterdam and take the plane from there. But they both fell so in love with Venice that they lingered till it was nearly time for Jason to report for duty.
    Their parting at the airport disconcerted him. After they’d kissed and embraced dozens of times, Jason swore fervently that he would write her at least once a week.
    “Please don’t feel you have to say these things, Jason. It’s been very lovely and I’ll always think of you with affection. But we’d both be very silly to think that we’ll sit pining for each other for two years.”
    “Speak for yourself, Fanny,” he protested. “I mean, if you felt as strongly for me as I do for you —”
    “Jason, you’re the nicest man I’ve ever met. And I ye never felt as close to anyone. Why don’t we just see what happens — as long as we have no false illusions.”
    “Have you read the Odyssey, Fanny?”
    “Yes, of course. The couple were separated for twenty years.”
    “So what’s twenty-four months compared to that?”
    “The Odyssey, my love, is a fairy tale.”
    “Okay, my cynical little Dutch girl,” Jason replied, affecting a John Wayne posture to impress her, “you just promise to answer every letter I write and we’ll see what happens.”
    “I promise.”
    They embraced a final time. He walked off toward his flight. As he reached the door of the plane he looked at the observation gate and saw her standing there.
    Even at that distance he could see tears streaming down her cheeks.
    Danny Rossi woke up slightly confused at finding himself in a strange, if lavish, hotel room. Because of his packed concert schedule he was used to changing bedrooms as often as pajamas. But he had always been sure of exactly where he was. What country. What city. What orchestra. What hotel.
    As he tried to clear the cobwebs from his mind, he perceived five glittering gold statuettes on the dresser just beyond the bed. Then it slowly began to come back to him.
    Last night had been the annual Grammy Awards ceremony, honoring the best achievements in the record industry. It had been held at a festive gala in the grand ballroom of the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. He had flown in just in time to register at the Beverly Wilshire, change into a tux, and hurry down to the limo where two PR toadies were waiting to escort him to the ceremony.
    Danny’s victory as best classical soloist was not unexpected. After all, the awards are as much for playing the media as playing an instrument. And he had become a master of both.
    While it was arguable that his interpretation of the complete Beethoven piano concerti was the best thing put on disk during the previous twelve months, it was indisputable that his publicity campaign was nonpareil.
    But what had created the stir last evening was the fact that he had won a second Grammy for best solo jazz album. This was the culmination of a pleasant little irony that had begun the night of his debut with the New York Philharmonic, when he had improvised all those show tunes at the party.
    The gentleman who had requested an audience did indeed contact him the following day. He turned out to be Edward Kaiser, president of Columbia Records, and he was absolutely certain that there was a vast “crossover audience” that would lap up Danny’s musical trifles like cotton candy.
    At first Rossi on Broadway had a slow but steady sale based mainly on Danny’s gradually growing popularity. But his appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show launched him higher than astronaut John Glenn. It accelerated sales from three thousand to seventy-five thousand “units” per week.
    The Sullivan broadcast also came at an especially fortuitous time. For the evening it was aired, the Grammy ballots were in the mail to the voters. Earlier, smart money would have picked Count Basie as a surefire winner. But after Ed’s monotonal but hyperbolic introduction (“America’s great new musical genius”), it was a totally different ball game.
    Thus it was that Danny wrote another page of musical history — winning Grammies in both the classical and jazz categories in a single day. Indeed, as Count Basie himself was overheard to remark, he was “a lucky little pécker.”
    Who knows how many units per week they’d be selling after this!
    As Danny put the mosaic of his mind into place, he still could not account for the presence of all the gold statuettes glittering there in dawn’s early light.
    Where the hell had the others come from?
    But that, of course, might be explained once the mystery of why he was in this strange hotel room had been solved.
    He heard the sound of water running in the bathroom. Someone was performing morning ablutions. He had clearly shared the room and — from the look of it — the bed with someone the night before. Why was his normally razor-sharp memory in such a haze?
    Just then the crystal tones of a female voice sang out, “Good morning, honey.”
    And making an impeccably coiffed and diaphanously clad entrance from the bathroom, triple Grammy Award winner Carla Atkins appeared.
    “Hey, Carla,” Danny enthused, “you certainly were a hit last night.”
    “You weren’t too bad yourself, baby,” she cooed, creeping under the covers next to him.
    “I take it you’re not talking about the Grammies?” Danny asked with a smile.
    “Hell,” Carla laughed in her lower register, “those little statues aren’t any good in bed. I think the two of us deserve a special award, don’t you?”
    “I’m glad you think so,” Danny answered candidly. “I just wish I could remember more about my evening with America’s greatest vocalist. Did we drink anything?”
    “Oh, a little bubbly downstairs. Then when we got up here I broke open a few amies,”
    “Yeah, honey. Amyl nitrite. You know, those little pills with the invigorating smell. Don’t tell me that was your first time?”
    “It was,” Danny confessed. “Why can’t I remember if I enjoyed it or not?”
    “Because, baby, you were higher than a rocket ship. I had to stuff you with downers or you would have danced on the ceiling. Are you interested in some breakfast?”
    “Yeah, now that you mention it,” Danny replied. “What about five or six eggs and bacon and toast —?”
    Carla Atkins smiled. “I get the picture,” she said and picked up the phone to room service and ordered breakfast for “a quintet.”
    “Quintet?” Danny asked after she had hung up. “Yeah, baby — those little fellahs over there.” And she pointed at the five Grammies shining in a row.

    The stewardess offered him champagne.
    “No, thank you,” Danny said politely.
    “But, Mr. Rossi, you should be celebrating your victories,” the flight attendant said, smiling invitingly. She was very pretty. “Well, call me if you change your mind — and congratulations.”
    After lingering for yet another awkward second in the hopes that Danny would ask for her phone number, she went reluctantly off to attend to some of the other stars who were also flying that afternoon in the first-class cabin from Los Angeles to New York.
    But Danny was deep in thought. He was racking his brain to reconstruct what had occurred after he had walked into Carla Atkins’s hotel room.
    Little by little it was coming back to him. First, the thrill of being with the undisputed star of the evening. Then the thrill of being intimate with her. And then the sensation of those pills she had brought out.
    Yes, he remembered he had felt a kind of wild exhilaration. His heart beat faster merely in retrospect. They had certainly made him feel … vigorous. But then the stuff she used to bring him “down” had really fogged his brain.
    And he had forgotten to ask her what they were.


    December 20, 1960
    I’m getting married tomorrow. It should be very interesting.
    Newall’s stuck in Hawaii with the navy and can’t make it. But otherwise all my buddies will be there — including Ted and Sara Lambros, and even that nutcase, George Keller.
    Kind of because I admire him so, I’ve asked Jason Gilbert to be my best man. He agreed, but refused to wear his marine uniform, even though it would add flash to the occasion.
    Our church ceremony will be followed by a cham pagne reception at the Beacon Hill Club. After which we’ll fly to Barbados for our honeymoon, and then return to New York, where I’ll be starting as a trainee with Downs, Winship, Investment Bankers.
    I’m sure it will be a joyous experience — especially if I can figure out how this all happened to me so quickly.
    From one standpoint, I could say it was parental pressure. Although in our family that doesn’t exist. My father merely suggests things.
    When I was mustered from the navy last summer in time to join everybody up in Maine, he casually remarked that he supposed I’d be getting married one of these days.
    To which I dutifully replied that I supposed so. And that sort of concluded the conversation, except for his observation that, “After all, a man shouldn’t wait until he’s over the hill.”
    Seeing as there were no more decks to swab or naval reports to file, I was, to tell the truth, at a loss for things to do. Also, spending so much time at sea had only sharpened my desire to get more involved with the female sex. And I suppose marriage is as involved as you can get.
    Up until this year I had the romantic notion that getting married had something to do with love. But then, of course, having been isolated — first by Harvard and then by the vast ocean — I had no real idea what life was all about.
    Matter of fact, love is one of the few subjects on which my father had such strong feelings that he actually expressed them in a four-letter word. We were out fishing on the lake a few days later and I mentioned how touched I had been at Ted and Sara’s wedding. And how they were my ideal of what a loving couple should be.
    Dad looked at me with eyebrow raised and said, “Andrew, don’t you know love is … bosh?”
    I can’t pretend that I didn’t hear stronger language in the navy, but never from my father’s lips. He then patiently explained that when he was a boy the best marriages were not made in heaven, but over lunch at the club. Pity that sort of thing was going out of style.
    For example, his classmate, Lyman Pierce, chairman of Boston Metropolitan, had “an absolutely smashing daughter,” to whom, in the good old days, he would have arranged a splendid betrothal for me.
    I allowed that I was in no way averse to meeting smashing women and would be glad to call this lady up as long as it was on a friendly basis — and without obligation.
    To which my father replied that I wouldn’t regret it. And returned to his fishing.
    I had no great expectations when I dialed Faith Pierce at the Wildlife Preservation Fund, where she was a full-time volunteer. I assumed she would be a vapid, overprivileged, snobbish Brahmin. Well, she may have been a lot of those things, but she wasn’t vapid. And what absolutely amazed me when we met was that she was so good-looking.
    I mean, she was one of — the prettiest girls I’d ever seen. I thought she gave Marilyn Monroe a fair run for her money (except that she had more money).
    What’s more, I liked her. She was that rare creature among the so-called bluebloods — a real enthusiast. Every activity to her was “a fun thing.” Whether it was tossing a football on the banks of the Charles, having a gourmet meal at Maître Jacques, or sex before marriage. Moreover, all her previous life could be subsumed under that same description.
    Her mummy and daddy hadn’t gotten along too well. But when they divorced and she was sent to boarding school at the age of six, it turned out to be “a fun thing.” Likewise the finishing school in Switzerland, where she picked up a terrific French accent — and one or two words to say with it.
    Skiing, sailing, riding, and sex (previously mentioned, I guess) also came under that category.
    And she’s a terrific gardener.
    I would describe our courtship as whirlwind — and I have no doubt how she would term it. In any case, we seemed to know so many people in common that I feared the only thing that would keep us from marrying would be some kind of incest by association.
    For the record, I’m not marrying Faith simply because our mutual fathers and mothers are fairly berserk about the whole idea.
    Knowing his deeply held views, I would never admit it to my dad, but secretly — I’m still a romantic.
    And I’m marrying Faith Pierce because she said something that no one has ever said to me in my entire life.
    Just before I proposed, she whispered, “I think I love you, Andrew.”
    One morning in late spring of ’62, Danny Rossi woke up alone. Not merely alone in bed, but feeling a pervasive emptiness in his entire life.
    How could this be? he asked himself. Here I am in my new Fifth Avenue duplex overlooking Central Park. In a minute a butler is going to walk through that door with my breakfast on a silver tray. He’ll also be bringing this morning’s mail, which will contain invitations to at least a dozen parties all over the world. And I suddenly feel unhappy.
    Unhappy? What a ridiculous thought. I’m the critics’ darling. I think if I sneezed during a concert they’d write it up as an exciting new interpretation of whatever I was playing. I can’t even walk from here to Hurok’s office without people calling out friendly greetings or asking for autographs.
    Unhappy? There isn’t an orchestra in the world that wouldn’t die to have me as a soloist. And now the commissions for symphonic compositions are starting to come in. Everybody seems to want me for my talent, as well as my personality — not to mention the innumerable lovelies who want me for my body.
    So why, with the platinum winter sun streaming brightly through the windows of my fantastic apartment, do I feel worse than I ever did when I was stuck in that lousy little practice room in my parents’ cellar?
    This was not, in fact, the first time he had had such thoughts. But now they seemed to be coming more frequently.
    What made matters worse, he had no official engagements for the day. No concerts, no rehearsals, not even an appointment with his hair stylist.
    This, of course, had been on his own insistence. Because he wanted to devote the day to composing the orchestral suite commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony. And yet now the prospect of being alone with sheafs of empty music paper depressed him.
    What could possibly be causing this melancholy?
    After breakfast he put on jeans and a Beethoven sweatshirt (the gift of an adoring fan) and climbed to his studio on the upper floor. There on his piano, where he had left it late the previous night, was his unfinished composition. And on an easy chair nearby, a magazine he had leafed through to relax and let his sleeping pill take effect.
    Perhaps just to avoid sitting down to work, he ambled over and picked it up again. It was the Harvard Alumni Bulletin that he had left open the previous evening at the Class Notes section.
    Why is it, he asked himself, only the boring guys write in their “achievements”? And what the hell makes them think that their marriages or even the birth of a kid would be of any possible interest to anybody else?
    Yet, despite his indifference, he sank once again into the chair and reread the list of new matrimonies and parenthoods that had been so somniferous the night before.
    Then, alone in his magnificent penthouse studio, almost involuntarily he made a confession to himself. This isn’t boring, really. It’s an account of all the joys in life that I’ve been missing. I mean, applause is heady stuff. But how long does it last? Five, ten minutes at the most. When everything is over I still come home and no one’s here except the staff. Sure it’s fun when I bring a woman back. But after all the physical excitement we don’t talk. I mean, it sometimes makes me feel more lonely.
    I want a wife, I think.
    I know I want a wife. But someone genuine I can share my life with — and my thoughts. And most of all — if this is possible — a woman who might like me for myself and not that phony PR image my publicity machine has manufactured.
    Come to think of it, who in my life has ever loved me for myself?
    Only… Maria.
    God, he had been stupid, letting his one real chance for a relationship slip through his fingers. And for the worst possible reason: because Maria did not act like every other woman and offer her body to the altar of his ego.
    How long had it been since he’d last seen her? Two years? Three years? By now she’d graduated from Radcliffe, probably married some nice Catholic guy, and was raising kids. Yeah, someone that fantastic doesn’t sit around and wait for Danny Rossi to call back. No, she’s got too much sense.
    Now he knew exactly why he was depressed. And also that there was nothing he could do about it.
    Or was there?
    Maria would be, say, twenty-three or twenty-four at most. Not every woman’s married by that age. Maybe she went to graduate school. Who the hell knows — maybe she even became a nun.
    Funny, he had always kept her Cleveland phone number. A semiconscious reminder that he had never surrendered hope.
    He took a deep breath and dialed. Her mother answered.
    “May I speak to Maria Pastore, please~” he asked nervously.
    “Oh, she doesn’t live at home anymore —”
    Danny’s heart sank. He was, as he had feared, too late.
    “— But I could give you the number of her apartment. May I ask who’s calling?”
    “Uh — it’s, uh —it’s Daniel Rossi.”
    “Oh my,” she responded. “I knew the voice was familiar. We’ve been following your career with enormous admiration.”
    “Thanks. Uh — is Maria well?”
    “Yes. She’s teaching dance at a girls’ school and enjoys it very much. She’s there now.”
    “Could you give me the address?” Danny interrupted.
    “Certainly,” Mrs. Pastore replied, “but I’d be glad to pass on a message.”
    “No, please. In fact, I’d be grateful if you didn’t say I called. I’d sort of like to … surprise her.”
    “One-two-three-plié. Now fourth position, girls. Tuck in at the back, please.”
    Maria was leading a ballet class of a dozen or so ten-year-olds at the Sherwood School for Girls. She was so involved that she barely perceived the studio door opening behind her. Yet something made her gaze into the mirror and see the reflection of a once-familiar figure.
    She was astonished. Incredulous. But before turning around she had, enough presence to tell her charges, “Keep repeating those movements, girls. Laurie, you count the beats.”
    She then about-faced and walked to greet her visitor.
    “Hello, Danny.”
    “Hello, Maria.”
    They were both distinctly uneasy.
    “Uh — are you in town for a concert? I must have missed it in the papers.”
    “No, Maria, I flew out especially to see you.”
    That stopped the conversation cold.
    For several moments they stared at each other mutely while behind them ten-year-old Laurie counted cadence for the little dancers.
    “Did you hear me, Maria?” Danny said softly.
    “Yes. It’s just that I don’t know what to think. I mean, why after all this time — ?”
    Rather than answer her question, Danny asked the more urgent one that had been burning in his brain during the entire flight to Cleveland.
    “Has some lucky guy nabbed you yet, Maria?”
    “Well, I’ve been sort of going with this architect …”
    “Is it serious?”
    “Well, he wants to marry me.”
    “Do you ever think about me anymore?”
    She paused and then replied, “Yes.”
    “Well, that makes two of us. You’ve been on my mind.”
    “When do you have the time, Danny?” she asked with gentle sarcasm. “Your love affairs are so public I can read about them at supermarket checkout counters without even buying the paper.”
    “That’s somebody else. The real Danny Rossi is still in love with you. All he wants is a wife named Maria and lots of kids. Maybe half-a-dozen cute little dancers like those girls over there.”
    She looked at him quizzically.
    “Why me?”
    “Maria, it would take a hell of a long time to explain.”
    “Could you give me a brief outline in twenty-five words or less?”
    Danny knew that if he could not sway her now, he would never have another chance.
    “Maria,” he said earnestly, “I know the last time you saw me I was drunk with applause. I won’t lie to you and say that I don’t like it anymore. But I’ve realized it isn’t enough. My concerts may be packed, but my life is incredibly empty. Am I making any Sense?”
    “You still haven’t answered my original question. Why me?”
    “This is kind of hard to explain, but since I’ve become — I guess famous is the word — everybody I meet says they love me. And I don’t believe a goddamn word of it. The only person I ever came close to trusting was you. I know you understand that I put on my cocky little show because deep down I don’t think that anybody could really care.”
    He paused and looked at her.
    “That’s slightly more than twenty-five words,” she replied softly.
    “How much do you believe?”
    Her answer was barely audible because she was on the verge of tears.
    “Everything,” she said.
    Though he never told a soul, it was the only educational experience that Jason ever enjoyed more than Harvard. The twenty-one-week course at the Marine Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, offered instruction in such unacademic subjects as leadership, techniques of military instruction, map reading, infantry tactics, and weapons, as well as the history and traditions of the corps. In addition, there was first aid, combat intelligence, vertical development operations, tank and amphibious operations, and, his favorite of all, physical training and conditioning.
    While the majority of the other college graduates were either fainting or groaning, or praying for it to end, Jason grew more elated with every pull-up, push-up, sit-up — and every mile he ran. He actually loved the obstacle course and spent some of his rare free moments trying to perfect his technique in negotiating it. His rifle became even more familiar to him than a tennis racket.
    Though he had been far from an outstanding student in college, he was determined to finish number one in this class.
    In the final week they took written examinations in military knowledge and skills, as well as practical tests in land navigation and techniques of military instruction. While Jason scored well in these, he was counting on the more sportslike contests to win him a gold medal.
    He qualified with extremely high scores in rifle and pistol marksmanship, but was still outshot by half-a-dozen country boys who’d used firearms all their lives. Still, he led everyone in the physical-fitness tests. And that was some consolation for his overall finish in fifth place.
    Second Lieutenant Jason Gilbert, USMC, took advantage of his first leave to write a long letter to Fanny explaining the reason for his silence. She answered briefly but warmly.
    I was really surprised to hear from you. Maybe the Odyssey is not such a fairy tale after all.
    Now it’s my turn to plead for your patience as I have my qualifying exams to study for. Afterward, when I’m working in a clinic, I’ll have time to write.
Love, F.
    p.s. Did I mention that I miss you?
    At Christmastime he deliberately wore his dress uniform (blue jacket, gold buttons rising to the neck, white hat) to make the maximum impression on his mom and dad.
    Unfortunately, his impressively costumedarrival was upset by a more somber event.
    When Jason made his grand entrance, he found his father, mother, and sister all sitting at the dining-room table. Julie was leaning forward, her head in her hands. The cries of baby Samantha were audible from another room.
    The elegant marine officer was, to say the least, disappointed when his father greeted him with a desultory glance and a “Hi, son, you’re just in time.”
    He kissed his mother and as he sat down at the table asked, “Hey, what’s going on?”
    “Charles and Julie are having a bit of trouble,” she replied.
    “Trouble?” his father suddenly bellowed. “The son of a bitch has left her! He just upped and walked out. Abandoning your wife and one-year-old child is hardly what I call adult behavior.”
    “Well, I never thought Charlie was much of an adult,” Jason commented. “What was his reason?”
    “He said he doesn’t like being married,” Julie wailed. “He said he never wanted to get married.”
    “I could have told you that and saved you a lot of grief,” Jason remarked. “You were both too young.”
    “Stop being so holier-than-thou, Jason,” his father bristled. “Okay, I’m sorry,” he answered softly. And added, “Hey, Julie, I’m really sorry that you got involved with that preppie idiot.”
    She reacted to her brother’s expression of condolence with a fresh burst of tears.
    “Well, I can see it’s hardly going to be a very merry Christmas,” Jason commented, getting up and starting to pace the floor.
    Just then, Jenny the housekeeper entered the room and, spying the younger Gilbert, exclaimed, “Why, Mr. Jason, don’t you look snazzy!”

    The holiday dinner was a pretty grim affair. By now the elder Gilbert had gotten over the initial shock of his daughter’s failure to live up to parental expectations, and had begun to concentrate on the traditional source of his pride.
    “You mean to tell me you thought basic training was fun, Jason?” he marveled.
    “In a way, but I’m afraid I overdid it. My C.O. wants me to stay on and be in charge of one of the fitness programs.”
    “What’s wrong with that?”
    “Well, I really don’t relish the prospect of another year and a half in Quantico. But still there’s a chance they’ll let me go to a few tennis tournaments. Anyway I’m a lot better off than Andrew who I hear is swabbing decks on a destroyer.”
    “I’ll never understand why he didn’t become an officer,” Mr. Gilbert remarked.
    “I can. The Eliots have always been big shots in the navy — admirals and stuff. He probably felt he had too much to live up to. That’s why, compared to him, I’m sort of at an advantage when it comes to my career.”
    “How so?” inquired his father, who was now president of the second largest electronics corporation in the world.
    “Because, unlike Andrew, who’s hanging from a precarious limb of the great family tree, we’re all just one generation out of the ghetto.”
    “That’s a rather unattractive way of putting it,” his father remarked. To the best of Jason Gilbert, Sr.’s knowledge, this was the first time the word ghetto had ever been pronounced in their home. It made him uncomfortable and it seemed especially inappropriate at Christmas dinner.
    He shifted to a more festive topic. “Have you heard from that Dutch girlfriend of yours recently?”
    “Not as recently as I’d like,” Jason answered. “In fact, with your permission, Dad, I’d like to call her up after dinner.”
    “By all means,” replied Jason Gilbert, Sr., relieved to be looking forward again, away from the not-sufficiently-distant past.

    Jason was mustered early from the Marine Corps in August 1961 so that he could get up north in time to enter Harvard Law School.
    He had spent his tour of duty first as an instructor in the Basic School, then, primarily because he looked so perfect in his uniform, as an O.S.O. (officer selection officer). His assignment had been to tour campuses and induce undergraduates to follow his own path to military glory by joining the Platoon Leaders Class — or, failing that, at least the marines.
    Jason inwardly likened these recruitment expeditions to a fishing contest. And, competitive as always, he was determined to come home with the biggest catch. He was pleased, if not surprised, to learn from his commanding officer that he had won this challenge as well.
    Still, he was relieved to be out of the military and eager to tackle the law.
    He was also eager to see Fanny. For their correspondence had continued unabated throughout the nearly twenty-four months that they had not seen each other.
    But the marines would not grant him a few extra weeks so he could visit the woman he was certain he wanted to marry. That reunion would have to stand the test of yet another academic year.
    More letters. More phone calls. But a lot less patience.

    There is an old saying about the experience of Harvard Law School: in the first year they scare you to death. In the second they work you to death. And in the third they bore you to death.
    The two years of military service that separated Jason from most of his classmates helped him when it came to confronting the terrifying Law School professors. They were nowhere near as frightening as many drill sergeants. And if he was unable to give a magnificent answer in, say, contracts class, the teacher’s sneer was a lot more benign than having to do a hundred push-ups.
    He also benefited from the fact that some of The Class of ’58 who had gotten student deferments were now seniors and more than willing to help their undergraduate hero.
    “You should go in for trial law,” advised Gary McVeagh. “With your looks, you could snow the female jurors without opening your mouth. And they’d take care of the men. You’d never lose.”
    “Nah,” contradicted Seymour Herscher, “he should go in for divorce law. They’ll all come flocking to him hoping to get Jason as part of the settlement.”
    But Jason already had a game plan. He and his dad had discussed it for years.
    First, if he could manage to keep up with these superbrains in the Law School, he would try to get a clerkship. From there it would be a few years of general practice with a prestigious New York or Washington firm. All of which would serve as a springboard for his ultimate ambition — politics.
    “Jason,” the elder Gilbert had once jested, “I’m so sure you’ll succeed, I’d be willing to invest in a house in Washington right now.”

    But these juvenile career fantasies were supplanted by a newer and better dream that sustained Jason through the grim series of practice exams in January, and the spring tension when the real finals were approaching.
    It was the thought that, pass or fail, he would at last be reunited with that lovely Dutch girl whose picture smiled at him from his desk.
    He had not lived like a total monk in the two-and-a-half-year interval since he had last seen Fanny. But the girls with whom he had casual dates only reminded him of how different his relationship with her was.
    And though she never said anything in her letters, he somehow sensed that she too was merely marking time till they could be together again.
    For this reason Jason welcomed the advent of exams with enthusiasm. While most of his classmates grew sicker and more panicked with every test, he regarded the filling of each bluebook as another leaf in the passport that would take him through the gates of the Law School. And into the arms of his beloved.

    During the long flight to Amsterdam, Jason was nervous about seeing her again. It had been so long. Had he just embellished the wonder of their relationship in the desperate boredom of military routine? Would their meeting at Schiphol Airport be an anticlimax?
    He knew when he saw her just beyond the customs gate that it was not. When they kissed, he felt the same stirring.
    They spent the first few days at her parents’ farm, where he savored the warmth and closeness of the van der Post family. Her brother, who was studying in The Hague, and her married sister — not to mention assorted cousins and aunts — came by to meet Fanny’s American friend.
    The night before they left, he was standing in front of the fireplace in the main room of the farmhouse looking at the photographs on the mantelpiece.
    “It’s amazing,” he exclaimed, “I’ve met all of these people in less than a week.”
    And then he stopped in front of the snapshot of a dark-haired girl.
    “Except her.”
    “That’s Eva,” said Mrs. van der Post. “I suppose Fanny has told you about her.”
    “Yes,” Jason replied.
    “She’s a wonderful girl,” added Fanny’s father. “Always a little sad, but that’s understandable.”

    Fanny took Jason to visit the Anne Frank house at Prinsengracht 263, in the shadow of the Westerkerk. To give him a graphic demonstration of what his co-religionists had experienced during the Second World War.
    He stood there silently, glancing at the cramped garret where the young Dutch girl and her family hid from the occupying troops for more than a year before being dragged off to their deaths.
    “All through this, she never lost her humanity,” Fanny remarked. “You should read her diary. Despite everything, she believed people were really basically good at heart. And they took such a person — an innocent little girl — to the gas chambers just because she was Jewish.”
    The story was not totally new to Jason. For Anne Frank’s diary had been dramatized into a successful Broadway play, which he knew his parents had seen.
    In retrospect, he wondered why they had not discussed it at any length with him and his sister. Could they have possibly believed that it had nothing to do with them?

    And then they drove to Venice to resume their love affair where it had left off three years earlier.
    “Fanny, do you think we’re the first couple to make love in a gondola?”
    “No, my darling, we’re about a thousand years late.”
    “Well, we’re the first to make great love.”
    Their joy and passion had not changed. Fanny had the unique gift of making Jason see the laughter in the world. But now there was something more to their relationship.
    Jason had known many women and had at times been captivated, even infatuated. But what he felt for Fanny was completely different. Never before had he wanted to give so much of himself. Not only sensuality but tenderness. He longed to shelter her, to take care of her.
    And she, the strong independent doctor, could let herself become a child again and revel in the warmth of his protectiveness.
    But when the amorous initiative was hers, she made him feel he could be vulnerable. And for the first time he experienced a woman’s love not merely fired by his strength.
    Thus they were parent, child, lover, and friend to each other. A completeness too miraculous to lose.

    Their holiday was all too brief and once again they were about to part.
    “I’ll fly back as soon as my last exam is over in June,” he promised.
    “What’ll I do until then?” she asked forlornly.
    “Come on, it’s not that long. Our last separation was nearly three years.”
    “Yes,” she replied wistfully. “But then I had no idea how much I loved you.”
    Jason looked at her. “Fanny, I have a confession to make.”
    “What?” she asked, slightly off balance.
    “Yesterday afternoon when I wanted to go off by myself, there was a reason.” He reached into his pocket and withdrew a small velvet box. “If it fits any one of your fingers, then I think we should get married.”
    “Jason,” she smiled, “if it fits one of my toes we will get married.”
    The future bride and groom embraced.
    Andrew met George Keller at the Trailways Bus Station in Bangor. They used the drive back to the Eliot retreat in Seal Harbor to get up to date.
    “You look pale, George. Haven’t you been outside all summer?”
    “I’m a graduate student, not a lifeguard, Andrew. And I must finish my dissertation by next spring.”
    “What’s the urgeucy?”
    “Because I want to get my degree next June.”
    “What’ll you do after that?”
    “I don’t know yet.”
    “So what’s the rush?”
    “You wouldn’t understand. But I must keep to my schedule. Anyway, I’m grateful for your enticing me up for the weekend.”
    “Weekend? I thought you were staying the whole week.”
    “No no no. I must get back to my writing.”
    “Okay,” Andrew capitulated. “But if I see you scribble so much as a postcard in the next two days, I’ll punch you out. Agreed?”
    “Under protest.” The scholar smiled. “Anyway, old boy, how’s marriage?”
    “Oh, let me tell you, Keller, it’s a fun thing. You ought to try it.”
    “All in due time, Andrew. But first I must —”
    “Don’t even say it,” his classmate interrupted. “I forbid you to mention your thesis all weekend. And — uh — if you could manage to keep the conversation general, it’d be nice for Faith. I mean, she’s a great kid, but academics is not her strong point.”

    The lovely Mrs. Andrew Eliot waved to them from the edge of the dock as they approached. Even the otherwise preoccupied George Keller could not help noticing how good she looked in a bikini. And how it felt when she gave him a welcoming hug.
    Faith then led both men to the terrace where a large pitcher of martinis awaited.
    “I’ve been looking forward to having a real talk with you ever since we met at the wedding,” Faith remarked as she handed George a glass. “Andrew says you have a brilliant mind.”
    “Andrew flatters me.”
    “I know.” She giggled. “He flatters me, too. But I like it.”
    George then presented her with a gift-wrapped package.
    “Oh, you shouldn’t have,” she exclaimed as she tore it open. And then with slightly forced gaiety added, “Oh — a book. Look, Andrew, George brought me a book.”
    “That’s great,” her husband remarked. And turning to their guest added, “Faith really likes books. What is it, dear?”
    “It looks exciting,” she replied and held up the cover.
    It was The Necessity of Choice, by Henry Kissinger.
    “What’s it about, George?” she asked.
    “The U.S-Soviet ‘missile gap.’ It is unquestionably the most important work on the subject to date.”
    “It’s by one of George’s professors,” Andrew explained.
    “A very great man,” George quickly added. “He’s my thesis adviser and, from the moment I arrived in America, he’s acted in loco parentis.”
    “You mean kind of crazy?” Faith inquired.
    The reply seemed like a non sequitur to George. And so he added, “He mentions me in the preface. May I read it to you?”
    “Oh, this is exciting,” Faith gushed, as she handed him the tome. “I’ve never known anyone who was in a book before.”
    George quickly found the page and read aloud, “ ‘Gratitude for the advice and insight of my student and friend George Keller cannot be adequately expressed.’ ”
    “Gosh,” Andrew commented, “he actually calls you his friend. That’s terrific.”
    “Yes. And he’s not only made me his head section man in Coy. 180, but he’s even arranged for me to have a piece in Foreign Affairs.”
    “Oh, George.” Faith smiled. “That sounds very naughty.”
    George was charmed by her delightful sense of humor.
    “Eliot,” he smiled, “you’re a really lucky man.”

    “Well, Faith,” Andrew asked when he returned from driving George to his bus, “what do you think of old George? A mad genius, huh?”
    “He’s quite attractive,” she replied thoughtfully. “But something about him worries me. I mean, I can’t exactly put my finger on it. But I think it’s the way he talks. Have you noticed that he has no foreign accent at all?”
    “Sure. That’s what’s so fantastic about him.”
    “Andrew, don’t be naive. If a foreign person doesn’t have a foreign accent that means he’s trying to hide something. I think your ex-roommate just might be a spy.”
    “A spy? Who the heck could he be spying for?”
    “I don’t know. The enemy. Maybe even the Democrats.”
    From the “Milestones” section of Time magazine, January 12, 1963:
    Daniel Rossi, 27, keyboard Wunderkind, and Maria Pastore, 25, his college sweetheart; both for the first time; in Cleveland, Ohio.
    After a European honeymoon (during which Rossi will fulfill some of his long-standing concert engagements), the couple plans to settle in Philadelphia, where Rossi has just been appointed Associate Conductor of that city’s symphony orchestra.

    The only prenuptial promise Maria had extracted from Danny was that he would drastically cut down his frenetic touring so that they could take roots somewhere and build a domestic existence.
    Though at first he was reluctant to give up the polyglot murmurs of adulation that gave him such pleasure, the offer from Philadelphia had come as a kind of miraculous solution.
    They bought a spacious Tudor home on an acre and a half in Bryn Mawr. It was large enough to transform the entire top floor into a studio for Danny. And a light airy room for Maria, where he insisted on installing a barre, but which she wanted to become a nursery as soon as possible.
    They spent their wedding night in the downtown Cleveland Sheraton, where Gene Pastore had thrown a lavish reception.
    Throughout the celebration, Danny was strangely subdued — although he tried not to show it. For he was preoccupied with the fact that, having earned the reputation of being an international Don Juan, he might not live up to it on the one occasion that really mattered.
    Not unexpectedly, he was coerced by the wedding guests into playing the piano. To his mind, it proved an ominous harbinger. For though he delighted them with a complete rendition of Rossi on Broadway, he was perhaps the only person in the room who noticed he was not performing as well as usual.
    Perhaps it was the champagne. He had been sipping a little all evening to calm his nerves, even though he knew it was not a good idea. As an ironclad rule, he never drank anything stronger than Coke before a concert. He might take a Miltown or a phenobarb if he was especially nervous. But it was too late for that.
    Now that he was slightly boozy, he wondered if he hadn’t been sabotaging himself. For he would soon have to enter the bedroom of the sexiest girl he had ever known, who had waited all her life for this moment.
    There were “his” and “hers” bathrooms in the bridal suite. As Danny brushed his teeth (long and slowly), he looked in the mirror and saw the face of a frightened adolescent.
    Could he go through with it? Of course, he told himself. Come on, don’t make a big deal out of all this. Besides, she’s a virgin. Even if you’re not at your very best, how could she know?
    Danny looked at himself again. And his own expression told him that he couldn’t walk into the bedroom and face Maria.
    Not alone, anyway.
    He unzipped a pocket in his toilet kit and stood half-a-dozen small bottles of pills on the shelf above the sink. They ranged in effect, as he’d often joked to himself, from largo e pianissimo (tranquilizers) to allegro e presto (stimulants for when he was tired from a long flight).
    Thank God for medical science, he thought, reaching for a jar marked “Meth.” He poured one into his sweaty left palm, closed the cap, and returned the pharmacopoeia to its hiding place.
    A playful voice called from the bedroom, “Danny, are you still here, or have I been abandoned on my wedding night?”
    “I’ll be right with you, darling,” he replied, hoping his tone had not betrayed any nervousness.
    He crushed the tablet in his palm in hopes of speeding its effectiveness, and swallowed it with a glass of water.
    Almost instantly his mood lightened. Though his heart beat faster, it was no longer with fear. He put on his robe and started slowly toward the bedroom.
    She was waiting for him, her face beaming.
    “Oh, Danny,” she said tenderly, “I know we’re going to be so happy together.”
    “I know it too, darling,” he replied, and climbed in beside her.
    Until that moment, Danny Rossi had never given a performance, either musical or otherwise, that was not impassioned and flawless. That night was no exception.
    But it had been very, very close.
    Fanny and Jason were now too excited to rely on letters. Their feelings were so intense that they had to express them through the more dynamic medium of the telephone. What started as a weekly ritual soon became almost a daily one. The bills were astronomical.
    “It would be cheaper if one of us flew over to be with the other,” he remarked.
    “I agree, Jason. But you can’t take your exams here and I can’t take mine there. So if you can control yourself for another few months, we’ll be together so long you’ll get tired of me.”
    “I’ll never get tired of you.”
    “That’s what they all say,” she joked. “I sometimes wish we were just living together and not having to go through all this ceremony business.”
    “Fanny, you’re going to live in Boston. This is still a puritan town. Besides, I want to sign you to a lifetime contract so there’s no possible chance of your getting away.”
    “I like the sound of that,” she replied.
    The wedding would be in July at her family’s church in Groningen. Since Fanny had planned to visit Eva again that summer, it was decided that she would go in late spring — as soon as she had qualified.
    On May 15 she called Jason to say, “Goodbye for three weeks.” Since her “sister” Eva’s kibbutz in the Galilee was a pretty spartan establishment, communication would be all but impossible.
    “I think they’ve got about three phones in the whole place,” Fanny remarked. “So I don’t think they’d appreciate our babbling all the time. Do you think you can bear not speaking for twenty-one days?”
    “No,” said Jason.
    “Then think about meeting me in Israel as soon as your last exam is over. It’s about time you saw the land of your forefathers, anyway.”
    “I just may, if I grow desperate enough,” he replied. “Hey — I almost forgot to ask you, how did your orals go?”
    “Fine,” she replied modestly.
    “Then you’re a real doctor, Congratulations! Why aren’t you excited?”
    “Because,” she replied with affection, “I’m about to become something a lot more important — your wife.”

    Those words were burned in fire in the memory of Jason Gilbert. For they were the last he ever heard spoken by Fanny van der Post.
    Ten days later, he was awakened at 6:00 A.M. by a phone call from Amsterdam. It was her brother, Anton.
    “Jason,” he said, his voice quavering, “I’m afraid I’ve some terrible news about Fanny.”
    “Has she been in an accident?”
    “Yes. Well, not exactly. She’s been killed.”
    Jason sat up, his heart pounding frantically.
    “How? What happened?”
    “I don’t know all the details,” he stammered. “Eva just called and said that there was a terrorist attack. Their kibbutz is very close to the border. Apparently some Arabs crossed over in the night and threw hand grenades into the children’s dormitory. Fanny was seeing to a sick little girl and —” He broke down and sobbed.
    At first Jason was numb. “I can’t believe it,” he murmured to himself. “I just can’t believe this is really happening.”
    In the twenty-six sheltered years of his life he had never known anything remotely resembling tragedy. And now it had struck him like a bullet in the soul.
    “Eva says she was very brave, Jason. She threw herself on one of the grenades to protect the children.”
    Jason did not know what to say. Or think. Or do. He sensed that at any time the tears would come. And the rage explode within him. Now he was simply frozen with shock. Then he realized that he had to say something to her brother.
    “Anton,” he whispered, “I can’t tell you how sorry I am.”
    “We are sorry for you, too, Jason,” he replied. “You and Fanny loved each other so much.”
    He then added in a voice that was barely audible, “We thought you might like to come to the funeral.”
    The funeral. Oh God, the thought of it brought a dull ache. Yet another harsh fact to make him understand that Fanny was really dead. That he would never hear her voice again. Never see her alive.
    But he had been asked a question. Did he wish to attend the ceremony in which the body of his beloved would be lowered into the ground and covered with earth?
    “Yes, Anton. Yes, of course,” he replied, his voice as weak as a reed in the wind. “When’s the service?”
    “Well, it was to be as soon as we could all get there, But, of course, if you’re coming we’ll wait for you.”
    “I don’t understand,” said Jason. “Isn’t the funeral in Holland?”
    “No,” Anton replied. “The family has had other thoughts. You know we’re quite religious and have very strong ties with the Bible and the Holy Land. Since Fanny died … where she did … we thought she should be buried in the Protestant cemetery in Jerusalem.”
    “Maybe that’s too long a journey for you,” Anton said gently.
    “Don’t be silly,” Jason answered quietly. “I’m going to call the airlines as soon as they open and get the first plane out. I’ll call you back and let you know when I’ll be arriving.”
    Ever since he had first met Fanny, he had kept his passport near him should the need to see her become unbearable. So all he had to do was pack a suitcase, find a flight, and go.
    He had an exam that morning for which he had done weeks of preparation, and since his flight to Israel left Idlewild that evening, he could have taken it.
    But nothing mattered anymore. He didn’t give a damn about anything.
    He went to a travel agent in the Square, got his ticket, and spent the rest of the day wandering aimlessly around Cambridge. The sun was shining, and students, laughing happily, were heading toward the riverside to picnic.
    Their laughter put him in a silent rage. How can they smile and walk the streets as if life is just the same as it was yesterday? How can the goddamn sun dare shine so brightly? The whole damn world should stop and weep.

    At four he flew from Boston, transferred to Idlewild, and walked across the parkways to where El Al Airlines had their check-in. His parents met him there.
    “Jason,” his mother cried, “this is so horrible.”
    “Is there anything we can do?” his father asked.
    “I don’t think so,” Jason answered distractedly.
    A lithe young man with black curly hair, wearing a half-open shirt and carrying a walkie-talkie, came up to them and in a slightly accented voice asked, “Are you all three passengers?”
    “No,” said Jason, “only me.”
    “Then I’m afraid those other people have to go,” he said politely. “Only passengers allowed here. For security reasons.”
    This upset the elder Gilbert. “Look at this terminal,” he complained, as he reluctantly began to leave. “There are policemen everywhere, and at least a dozen types like that fellow. This must be the most dangerous airline in the world.”
    Before Jason could respond, the security agent turned and addressed them. “Excuse me, but I think we are the safest airline in the world because we take the most precautions.”
    “Do you always eavesdrop on other people’s conversations?” Jason’s father snapped.
    “Only when I’m at work, sir. It’s part of the job.”
    Unchastened, Mr. Gilbert turned to his son and said, “Promise me you’ll take an American airline back.”
    “Dad, please, I’d be grateful if I could just be left alone.”
    “Yes, son,” he said quietly. “Of course.”
    They embraced their son and quickly left.

    Jason sighed as he watched the two female security officials carefully empty the contents of his little overnight bag — three shirts, some underwear, two ties, a toilet kit — onto the bench and meticulously examine them. One even checked his tubes of toothpaste and shaving cream.
    Finally they repacked it, far more neatly than he himself had done.
    “Can I go now?” he asked, trying to suppress his impatience.
    “Yes, sir,” replied the young woman, “right to that booth. For the body search.”

    The flight was long and crowded. Children chased one another up and down the aisles. Old bearded men — and a few young bearded men — paced up and back as well, no doubt meditating on some vital point of the Talmud or a passage in the Prophets.
    Inexplicably, Jason got up and walked with them. He wondered at the various faces that he saw among the passengers. Besides the stereotyped patriarchs straight from the pages of the Old Testament, there were tanned and muscular young men. He sensed that many of those open-shirted athletic types were security guards. There were also faces black as any Negro he had ever seen. (He learned later they were Yemenites.)
    But what struck him most was that he also recognized himself. For here and there were blond and blue-eyed passengers conversing rapidly in Hebrew.
    They were all different. Yet they were all Jews. And he was among them.

    Fourteen hours later, when the pilot announced they were beginning their final approach to Tel Aviv airport, Jason perceived sobs among the people sitting near him. In fact, they were audible from many corners of the plane. And when they disembarked, walking across the tarmac past rows of heavily armed soldiers, he saw an old man bend and kiss the earth.
    Jason noticed that the passengers felt such emotion at having arrived in this hot and muggy place that they could express it only by one of two extremes. Tears or laughter. He himself was too stunned to feel anything.
    The customs officer who stamped his passport smiled and said, “Welcome home.”
    Instinctively Jason replied, “I’m just a tourist, sir.”
    “Yes,” said the officer, “but you’re a Jew. And you have come home.”
    Having no baggage to pick up, he walked directly past customs to the sliding doors. They opened into an ecstatic mob of shouting people, greeting their arriving relatives in a babel of languages.
    He stood on tiptoe and caught sight of Anton van der Post waiting off to the side with a fat, balding, middle-aged man. He hurried over to them.
    The only conversation they could manage without crying was an exchange of platitudes.
    “How was the flight?”
    “Fine, Anton. How are your parents taking it?”
    “All right, considering. Oh, this gentleman is Yossi Ron, the secretary of the kibbutz.”
    Jason and the elder man shook hands.
    “Shalom, Mr. Gilbert,” he said. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am …”
    He, too, was at a loss for words. They climbed silently into an old kibbutz truck and began to drive.

    About an hour later they ascended a steep hill as the road bent to the right. Jerusalem came into view, its peach-white stone shimmering in the early morning sun.
    Then Anton spoke for the first time in the entire journey. “We thought she would want to be buried with your ring, Jason. Is that all right?”
    He nodded. And in a sudden rush of grief, his thoughts collided with the awful truth of what had brought him to this so-called holy place.

    She was buried in a simple ceremony behind the towering trees of the Protestant cemetery on Emek Refaim.
    A delegation had driven down from the kibbutz during the night and now were gathered at the graveside. They all were tanned and open-shirted. Jason felt slightly out-of-place in his dark suit and tie. Standing in the first row with his parents were Anton, his arm around his mother, and a short, darkhaired Israeli girl clinging to Mr. van der Post’s hand. Clearly, this must be Eva Goudsmit.
    The faces of the Dutch visitors were etched with pain. The kibbutzniks wept openly at the loss of a friend.
    But she was only that to them. They could never dream what Fanny had meant to Jason Gilbert. When they lowered the coffin into the grave, something inside him was buried with her.
    His grief was too deep for tears.
    As the service ended and the mourners began to leave, he and Eva were drawn instinctively to each other. No introductions were necessary.
    “Fanny spoke of you often,” she said in a hoarse voice. “If anyone deserved a happy life it was she. I should have been the one to die in that explosion.”
    “That’s the way I feel too,” Jason murmured. They continued walking, passed through the cemetery gate, and turned right. When they reached the Bethlehem Road he said, “I’d like to see where it happened.”
    “You mean the kibbutz?” she asked.
    He nodded.
    “You can come back on the bus with us this afternoon.”
    “No,” he replied, “I want to be with her family until they leave in the morning. I’ll rent a car and drive up to the Galilee on my own.”
    “I’ll tell Yossi to make some arrangements for you. How long will you be staying?”
    Jason Gilbert looked up as the rooftops of the Old City came into view, and answered, “I don’t know.”

    At 5:00 A.M. the next day, Jason drove the three people who would have been his in-laws to their flight home.
    Though they exchanged promises to keep in touch, both parties understood that there would be little, if any, contact. Because they had lost the person who linked their lives.
    With a map spread out on the empty seat beside him, Jason proceeded northward. First along the Mediterranean coast, the blue sea on his left. Then east after Caesarea, through Nazareth, and across the Galilee until he reached the sea where two millennia ago Christ had walked upon the water. He then turned north again, the Jordan River on his right, through Kiryat Shmona.
    By noon he reached the gates of Vered Ha-Galil, drove in, and parked his car.
    Except for the lush greenery and flowers, the place reminded him of a small army installation. For it was ringed with barbed wire, Only when he looked out over the Jordan did he feel a sense of its tranquility.
    The kibbutz seemed deserted. He glanced at his watch and understood why. It was lunchtime. The dining room had to be in the single large structure standing at the edge of the bungalows.
    Inside, there was a din of animated conversation. He scanned the tables and soon found Eva, dressed like everyone else, in a T-shirt and shorts.
    “Hello, Jason,” she said softly. “Are you hungry?”
    It was only then he realized that he hadn’t had anything since a cup of coffee in Jerusalem six hours earlier. The food was simple — home-grown vegetables, cheese, and leben, a kind of yoghurt.
    Eva introduced him to the kibbutzniks sitting nearby, all of whom expressed a welcome tempered with condolences.
    “I’d like to see where it happened,” Jason said. “It’s siesta time now,” said Ruthie, one of the children’s counselors. “Can you wait till four?”
    “I suppose so.”
    After lunch Eva walked with him along rows of identical wooden huts toward the srif where he would be staying.
    “You’ll be sleeping in Dov Levi’s bunk,” she remarked.
    “Where’s he going to sleep?”
    “Dov’s away on miluim — army-reserve duty. He’ll be gone another three weeks.”
    “Oh, I don’t think I’ll be staying that long.”
    Eva looked up at him and asked, “Are you in a hurry to get back to something?”
    “No,” he conceded, “not really.”

    Jason kicked off his shoes, lay back on top of the creaky metal bed, and pondered the events of the past seventy-two hours.
    Earlier that week he had been strolling the Harvard Law School campus in the company of his friends, his thoughts preoccupied with marriage, exams, his future political career. Now here he was alone in the so-called land of his forefathers with absolutely no meaning to his life.
    At last he dozed off into a troubled sleep. The next thing he knew he was being prodded gently by Yossi. He was with a broad-shouldered man of about forty, whom he introduced as Aryeh, the kibbutz security officer.
    Jason quickly shook the sleep from his head and joined them to walk across toward the children’s quarters.
    “It seems kind of strange to me,” he said as they neared the dormitory. “Why do you have all the kids sleep in one place? Wouldn’t they be safer with their parents?”
    “It’s part of kibbutz philosophy,” Yossi explained. “The young children are brought up together to give them a feeling of comradeship. They don’t lack for love. They see their parents every day.”
    The long rectangular nursery had two rows of beds, and walls decorated with some of the youngsters’ artwork. There were no visible signs of any destruction. The damage obviously had been quickly repaired.
    “So it was here?” Jason asked quietly.
    “Yes,” Aryeh acknowledged, pain in his voice, puffing at a cheap cigarette. “A little girl had tonsillitis and Fanny was taking care of her when …”
    “Don’t you have guards here? I mean, you’re so damn close to the border.”
    “Everyone in the kibbutz does a night a month walking the perimeter of the land. But there’s so much area to cover that if the Fedayeen are patient, as these fellows obviously were, they can wait for the patrol to go by, cut the wires, do their nasty business, and escape.”
    “You mean you didn’t catch any of them?”
    “No,” Aryeh answered wearily. “The explosions made so much confusion — they also set off flares by the water tower. And we first bad to think of our wounded. Besides Fanny, there were three children injured. By the time I organized a search party, they had gotten too big a lead on us and gone back across the border.”
    “Why didn’t you keep chasing them?”
    “The army took over. We just have to be sure we stop them next time.”
    “You mean, you know they’ll be back?”
    “Either them or their cousins. They’ll keep trying to drive us away until we convince them that this is our home.”
    Jason asked to be left alone. The two men nodded.
    He relived the scene of the terrorists smashing through the screen door and lobbing their grenades at the sleeping children. Reflexively he reached for the pistol he had once worn on his hip to shoot at the attackers. Rage exploded inside him. Anger with himself.
    I should have been here to protect them, he thought. To protect her. If I had, she would still be alive.

    Something was keeping Jason in Vered Ha-Galil. Superficially, he told himself, the hard physical labor was the only anodyne for his all-pervasive grief. And the evening discussions with the kibbutzniks were a catharsis for his troubled soul.
    A week after his arrival, he managed to get through to the United States on the telephone in the main hall. The connection was weak and he had to shout. His father reported that he had spoken to the Harvard Law School dean and explained the circumstances. Jason would be allowed to make up the exams he had missed during the following spring.
    “When are you coming home, Jason?”
    “I’m not sure, Dad. I’m not sure about a lot of things.”

    The kibbutz was one of the oldest in the country. It had been established by visionary Jews who had left Europe before the deluge, believing that they, like every other people, should have a homeland. In fact, they believed Palestine had always been their homeland. And their idealism inspired them to lead what they hoped would be a mass return.
    “If you think these buildings are primitive,” Yossi remarked one evening after dinner, “imagine how it was when the older folks came. Living in tents all year round, plowing fields without a tractor.”
    “It must have been intolerable,” Jason commented.
    “Uncomfortable yes, but not intolerable. Most relished every minute of it, even the freezing rain. Because, like the land it was falling on, this rain was for them.
    “World War Two brought us more. First, those who got out ahead of the murder squads. And later, the survivors of the camps. Some of them are still around here working a full day in the fields next to youngsters like you.”
    Jason had already noticed the blue numbers tattooed on their forearms, which they made no attempt to hide.
    Eva’s cousin, Jan Goudsmit, had escaped the gas chamber and reached Palestine on one of the many illegal boats. But he was caught and interned by the British as an alien.
    “Can you imagine them trying to tell a man he doesn’t belong in his own country?” Yossi laughed. “Anyway, they locked Goudsmit in another camp. Not as bad as the Germans, mind you. The British didn’t mistreat them. But the barbed wire was the same. He escaped in time to fight in the War of Independence. That’s where be and I met up. We were sharing the same rifle.”
    “You what?” asked Jason.
    “You hear me, my American friend. We had one rifle for two people. And, believe me, we didn’t have very many bullets, so the second man always kept an accurate count. Anyway, when it was over I brought Jan home with me,”
    “That’s how I found him,” Eva joined in. “Once he had a fixed address, he gave his name to HIAS, which was trying to unite survivors. Their Netherlands committee got us in contact.”
    “It must have been tough to leave the country you grew up in,” Jason offered. “I mean, learning a new language and all that stuff.”
    “Yes,” Eva acknowledged, “it wasn’t an easy decision. I was so fond of the van der Posts. But curiously, it was they who convinced me.”
    “Don’t you ever get homesick?” Jason asked, instantly regretting his poor choice of adjective.
    “I do get nostalgic for Amsterdam,” Eva acknowledged. “It’s one of the loveliest cities in the world. I went back a few times to see Fanny. But by the time Jan died he had convinced me there was only one place a Jew could ever be at home.”
    “As a patriotic American,” Jason said, “I take exception to that.”
    “You mean as an ostrich,” Yossi interposed. “Tell me, Jason, how many years have Jews lived in America?”
    “If I can recall my grade-school history, Peter Stuyvesant let a few into New Amsterdam in the early 1600s.”
    “Well, don’t be so quick to draw conclusions, my boy,” Yossi responded. “Jews lived in Germany for more than twice as long as that. And they were just as successful —”
    “— And just as integrated,” Eva quickly added.
    “— That is, until that mad housepainter decided they were infecting Aryan society and should be exterminated, Then suddenly the fact that Heine was a Jew and Einstein was a Jew and most of their orchestras playing Mendelssohn were Jews meant nothing. They had to destroy us. And they almost did.”
    Jason sat quietly for a moment and tried to tell himself that this was merely the propaganda that every visitor to Israel received.
    Besides, he’d been brought up to think that there was another way the Jews could save themselves from the pogroms and persecutions of their long and painful history. His father’s way. Assimilation.
    And yet, after the first week of orange picking by day and debates throughout the night, he still felt no desire to leave. In fact, it was only when reminded that Dov Levi would be returning from reserve duty and would want his bed back that Jason realized he had to make some sort of plans.
    “Listen,” Yossi reasoned, “I’m not asking you to spend your lifetime here, But if you want to stay the summer, I can put you in a bungalow with six or seven other volunteers. What do you say?”
    “I think that’s fine,” said Jason.

    He sat down and wrote his parents:
    Dear Mom and Dad,
    I’m sorry I’ve been so uncommunicative since our phone call, but my whole world has suddenly fallen apart.
    Next month was supposed to be the wedding. I feel such aching sadness that the only solace I can find is staying near the place she died.
    Also, I need time to think about what I want to do with the rest of my life. Losing Fanny has changed me a great deal. I seem somehow to feel less of the ambition I once had to go out and become a big “success” — whatever that means.
    The attitude on this kibbutz is catching. Sure, some of the young men want to be doctors or professors. But when most of them have finished their studies they’ll come back and share what they’ve learned with the community.
    It’s curious that among all the people I’ve met here, there’s not one whose aim in life is to be famous. They just want to live in peace and quiet and take pleasure from the real joys of life. Like hard work. And kids. And friendship.
    I wish I could say that my mind is tranquil, but it isn’t. Grief is not the only thing I feel. There’s something primitive in me still crying out for vengeance. I know that’s wrong, but I can’t exorcise these feelings yet.
    So I’ve decided to spend the summer as a volunteer working side by side with the rest of the kibbutzniks.
    Since I can handle firearms I’ll also take a regular turn at guard duty. And if a terrorist is crazy enough to try to attack this place again, he’ll sorely regret it.
    Anyway, thanks for letting me work all this out for myself.
Your loving son,
    From the Harvard Alumni Bulletin of June 1963:

    Theodore Lambros received his Ph.D. in Classics at mid-year’s. The Harvard University Press will publish his revised dissertation, under the title of Tlemosyne: The Tragic Hero in Sophocles. This fall he will join the Classics Faculty as an instructor.


    June 25, 1963
    I called up Lambros to congratulate him on fulfilling his dream — making it to the faculty of Harvard. This in addition to getting a book accepted for publication. The guy’s an absolute rocket.
    He kind of downplayed it, telling me that an instructorship is not that big a thing, and that the real challenge is whether or not they give you tenure. But the guy’s in such a hurry. I know he’s going to make it all the way. I just wish he wouldn’t be so overanxious.
    Then Sara took the phone to congratulate me.
    I protested that credit ought to go to Faith. I mean, all I did was get home on time from the office one evening to sort of start things going. She carried little Andy for nine months.
    Sara was keen to discuss diapers and breast-feeding and all kinds of maternal stuff. Which leads me to believe that she and Ted have got procreative inclinations. It makes sense. He’s reached the point in his life where he can be proud of what he’s accomplished. And that’s the time to start a family.
    When Faith was preg, we splurged and bought a big house outside Stamford. It’s an easy commute for me. Indeed, since I’m now involved in IPO’s — otherwise known as underwriting — at Downs, Winship, I can sometimes use the commuting time to arm-twist an old school or college buddy from another institution on the Street into joining us in financing a new issue.
    I’ve learned a good deal about banking in the past few years. There is some technical stuff but a lot depends on getting along with other preppies over lunch at their Wall Street clubs.
    There’s nothing difficult for me in that, and so I’ve not been kicked out yet. In fact, just the other day, one of the vice-presidents told me to “keep up the good work.”
    I don’t know how I can possibly improve, unless I have two lunches a day.
    I like marriage. It’s not only enjoyable, it’s efficient from the point of view of time and motion. All the bachelors in my office are preoccupied with where their next date is coming from. While I know that after a hard day of being likable, when I get off the train and drive eleven minutes, there’ll be a great-looking blonde waiting to greet me with the driest martini in Conneticut. I mean, you can’t get any closer to bliss than that, can you?
    Naturally, we go to all the Harvard football games, following the whole ritual from tailgate picnics before to cocktail parties after. Sometimes I even stay in New York after work and watch films of the previous Saturday’s game at the Harvard Club. And then sit around with the guys discussing what we did wrong.
    Faith doesn’t mind. She’s a great kid that way.
    Actually, I dream of taking my son along to the game someday. He’ll be the Harvard Class of ’84.
    I know that the most interesting thing that’s happened to me in my whole life is becoming a father.
    Of course, there’s not much for me to do yet. In fact, we’ve got this great English nanny, so there’s not much for Faith to do, either. But I really look forward to talking to Andy, teaching him how to swim and play ball, and having him — for a while at least, I hope — look up to me with respect.
    And I’ll try to spare him all the pressures of the “Eliot tradition.”
    I talk to him already. Sometimes I sneak into his room when the nanny’s not around and say stupid things like, “Hey, old buddy, why don’t we two slip down to Cronin’s for a few beers?”
    I think he smiles at this, so maybe he understands more than I imagine.
    All in all, my life seems to be “a fun thing.”
    I’m bullish on the future.
    On the first Sunday in July, the kibbutz volunteers arrived at Vered Ha-Gaul, and Jason moved into the small barracks that had been set aside for them. They were from Scandinavia, France, and England, as well as the United States and Canada. Almost all were younger than he. And surprisingly, many were Christian.
    They rose at 5:00 A.M. and, with few complaints, worked in the orange groves till 8:00. Then after breakfast when the others returned to the fields, they went to the classroom for elementary language instruction. Even though he felt like their grandfather, Jason tagged along.
    But in the evenings while the others partied, he would work alone in the kibbutz garage repairing and tuning their vehicles. What had once been a pleasant hobby was now a necessary activity. To keep him from thinking.
    Since the kibbutz was not a religious one, on the Sabbath they piled the volunteers into their ramshackle bus and bounced them over the countryside on endless excursions.
    As one of the English teachers, Eva was in charge of the descriptive aspects of these expeditions. One was to the mountain fortress of Masada, overlooking the Dead Sea. Here, in the first century AD., a small band of Jewish Zealots withstood a two-year siege by the Roman legions. And when they were finally on the verge of defeat, chose to take their own lives rather than become slaves.
    Eva gave her little explanatory briefing, while all about them archaeologists — including hundreds of summer volunteers — continued to excavate the site.
    “This remnant of old Israel,” she began, “has become a rallying symbol for us. It shows our determination never again to surrender to an oppressor.”
    Jason looked over the stone walls at the plain below and imagined what it must have been like for the outnumbered Zealots to see the heavily armed enemy swarming below them. God, they had courage, he thought.
    But then, they had nowhere to go.
    If Masada had been uplifting, their next tour was devastating.
    They visited Yad Va-Shem, the memorial in Jerusalem dedicated to the six million victims of the Holocaust.
    On the floor of the darkened building were plaques naming the many concentration camps in which the victims had perished. The magnitude of the catastrophe was almost too monstrous to contemplate.
    The flame burning in eternal commemoration of those wretched martyrs seemed pitifully small. Yet indestructibly bright.
    Eva dwelt on this theme during the solemn bus ride home.
    “Compared to the many who died, there are few of us here to keep that flame alive,” she said. “I don’t think anyone can understand what this country means until they have seen what we saw today.”

    The Sea of Galilee glowed with the rays of the setting sun as the bus journey neared its conclusion. For nearly an hour all had ridden in total silence. Then Jonathan, an American volunteer, spoke out.
    “Eva, something’s always bothered me. Whenever I try to discuss the Holocaust with my gentile friends back home, they always ask the same question— Why did they go so passively to the gas chambers? Why didn’t they fight back?”
    There was a slight stirring among the passengers in the bus as they strained forward to hear how Eva would reply.
    “There were some who fought, Jonathan. Like the brave resisters in the Warsaw ghetto who gave the Nazis a battle to the very end. But it is true that not enough were like that. And there is an explanation.
    “When the world found out — and believe me, everyone, including your own President Roosevelt, knew — that Hitler meant to destroy all the Jews of Europe, countries did not throw open their gates and offer them sanctuary. On the contrary, I could tell you terrible stories about shiploads of escapees being turned away and sent back to Germany.
    “And when the Jews realized that there was nowhere in the world they could go, a great many despaired. They had no will to fight because they had nothing to fight for.”
    There was silence for a moment. Then a young Danish girl raised her hand and asked, “Do you think it is possible such a thing could happen again?”
    “No,” Eva replied. “Never. And what makes me so sure is what you see outside the window. The Jews at last have a country of their own.”

    “That was quite a speech you gave,” Jason remarked to Eva as they were strolling after dinner. It was a late-summer evening, the air heavy with the scent of flowers.
    “Did it make sense to you?” she asked.
    “Yes,” he replied. “In fact, it was very upsetting.”
    “Which part?” she asked.
    “Well, your intimation that a Jew will never be fully accepted anywhere but here. That’s not what I’ve been brought up to believe.”
    “Forgive me,” she replied, “but my family was as Dutch as yours is American. Still when the war came, it was amazing how quickly we became Jews and aliens.”
    “My father thinks otherwise.”
    She looked up at him and said with quiet fervor, “Then your father has learned nothing from the history of his people.” And she quickly added, “I’m sorry if that sounded impolite.”
    “That’s okay,” he answered sincerely. “But I grew up believing that America is special. A place where everyone really is equal-like it says in our Constitution.”
    “Do you still believe that?”
    “Sort of,” he said, temporarily forgetting some of the minor setbacks he’d experienced because of his heritage.
    “May I ask you something?”
    “Could you ever be elected President of the United States?”
    He hesitated and then replied, “No.”
    She smiled. “The difference is — you could be elected President of Israel.”

    By the middle of August, Jason had a rudimentary knowledge of the Hebrew language. He also had a collection of increasingly urgent letters from his parents inquiring when exactly he intended to return. He could not reply because he was still unable to decipher his own emotions.
    Did he, in fact, want to go back to law school at all? Did he want to leave Israel?

    Finally, he came to a decision. He waited up past midnight, when there was a better chance of getting a clear connection to the States, and phoned his parents.
    “Look,” he explained, trying to sound both cheerful and rational, “I think I’d like to hold off going back to school for a while.”
    “Son,” his father pleaded, “you’ve never let me down before. Can’t you pull yourself together and get over this? You’ve got a brilliant life ahead of you.”
    “Look, Dad,” he answered patiently, “I’m a grown-up now. I’m making decisions for myself.”
    “Jason, this isn’t fair. I gave you the best of everything.”
    “Dad, you did give me the best. But I’m not sure you gave me everything.”
    When he hung up and walked out of the secretary’s office, he saw Eva seated at one of the long tables in the empty dining hall. He went over and sat down next to her.
    “Want a lemonade?” she asked.
    “I’d prefer a beer.”
    She got him a bottle from the kitchen and sat down again. “So who won?”
    “It was a split decision,” Jason replied. “Let’s just say we both lost.”
    “Are you staying?”
    “For the next year, anyway. I mean, I might as well finish learning the language, right? Maybe I’ll become the George Keller of Israel.”
    “I don’t understand,” she said. “What is a George Keller?”
    “A crazy Hungarian and my Harvard classmate.”
    “From what you’ve told me so far, all your Harvard classmates are crazy.”
    “That’s true,” he smiled back, “and the proof of it is that here I am, First Marshal of my class, potential U. S. senator, picking oranges in the north of a little Middle Eastern country.”
    “On the contrary,” said Eva lightheartedly, “that proves you’re the only sane one.”

    For the first time in his life Jason Gilbert became an academic grind.
    With Eva’s help he found the most intensive Hebrew-teaching Ulpan in the country. It was at Tel Aviv University, intended for high-powered professionals who needed to master the language quickly.
    There were four hours of instruction in the morning, a lunch break, and then another four in the afternoon. After which he would run on the university track, then go back to his room in Beit Brodetsky and study until he could keep awake no longer. The only rest he took was from nine to nine-thirty to watch Mabat, the news broadcast on television.
    After a month and a half of this self-inflicted torture, he was heartened to find that he could actually understand what was happening in the outside world.
    Sarà Lambros was awakened by muffled sounds from the other room. She squinted sleepily at the bedside clock. It was just after 6:00 A.M.
    “Ted, what the hell are you doing?”
    “Getting dressed, honey. Sorry I disturbed you.”
    “Do you know what the time is?”
    “Yeah, I’d better hurry.”
    “But where are you going at this hour?”
    “The Square. Gotta get to the newsstand before any of the students are up.”
    “What on earth for?”
    Ted came back into the bedroom. He was unshaven, dressed sloppily in a grungy army-surplus jacket with a woolen cap.
    “Are you going out like that? You look like a bum.”
    “Great, Sara. That’s the whole point. It’s absolutely crucial that nobody recognizes me buying the Confy Guide.”
    Sara sat up laughing.
    “Is that it? Come on, Ted. You know everybody on the faculty reads it.”
    “I know, I know. But have you ever actually seen one in a professor’s hands?”
    “No. And I’ll be damned if I can figure out how they get a hold of it. I’ve a strong suspicion they might send their wives, And I’ll gladly shill for you during my lunch hour.”
    “God, no, I can’t wait that long. I’ve gotta know the verdict. I’m going now.”
    He kissed her quickly on the cheek and headed out. As he strode rapidly toward Harvard Square he began to sweat, After all, this was September, the first day of the new term. And he was dressed for the middle of winter.
    Out of the corner of his eye he could see the huge pile of shiny black-covered magazines. They had probably just been delivered. First he glanced left and right to make sure the coast was clear. Then he casually picked up a New York Times and swiftly snatched a copy of The Harvard Crimson Confidential Guide to Student Courses, immediately burying it in the paper. Having carried the exact change in his hand, he quickly paid and was off.
    Unable to bear the tension of the journey home, he hastened around the kiosk into one of the telephone booths. He pulled out the magazine, his fingers nervously groping for the classics evaluations.
    First he looked at Greek A. It was an auspicious start: “Dr. Lambros is a marvelous guide through the intricacies of this difficult language. He makes what could be a boring task an absolute delight.”
    Then Latin 2A: “Students taking this course will be well advised to opt for Dr. Lambros’s section. He is arguably the liveliest teacher in the department.”
    He closed the book, shoved it back into the Times, and let out an inner whoop of joy. By that afternoon everybody at Harvard would have — just as clandestinely — read those student critiques.
    He was made in the shade. If there had been any doubt of his being promoted to assistant professor that spring, this would dispel it. All those hours he’d spent in preparation had not been in vain.
    Wait till Sara sees this.
    He left the phone booth and began a homeward sprint. Suddenly a familiar voice hailed him.
    He skidded to a stop and whirled to see that it was John Finley, who — what rotten luck — was probably taking his early-morning constitutional.
    “Uh-hello, Professor Finley. I-uh-was just jogging on the river to get fit for the new term.”
    “Splendid, splendid,” the great man replied. “Don’t let me interrupt you.”
    “Thanks, sir,” Ted blurted and whirled again to escape.
    “Oh, and, Ted,” Finley called after him, “congratulations on your marvelous reviews.”


    November 23, 1963
    I don’t think I’ll ever be the same after yesterday. The newspapers are calling what happened in Dallas a “Greek tragedy,” but to me it’s an American tragedy. In fact, it’s something I feel so closely that I would almost call it a death in the family.
    I think everybody — rich and poor, black and white, but especially those of us who had so identified with him because he was young and a Harvard man — is stunned by Jack Kennedy’s assassination.
    Here we were just getting set for the upcoming Harvard-Yale game, half-expecting the President himself to show up at the last minute in an army helicopter, and the next thing we know he’s dead.
    I’m not alone in looking up to him as some kind of gallant knight. He had a kind of aura that changed the atmosphere of the whole country. He made us feel proud. Dynamic. Full of hope. It looked like the beginning of a new and glorious chapter in our history.
    But what really shakes me is that he was killed for no apparent reason. Here was a guy whose ship had been torpedoed in the war and who not only survived but saved one of his crewmen as well. If he had died defending some principle, it might have at least made some sense.
    I think from today my whole generation will change its outlook on life. I doubt if success can mean the same to any of them.
    Look — Kennedy won every prize. The sweet fruition of an earthly crown. And yet they’ll bury him with fully half a life still left unlived.
    Danny Rossi was in Tanglewood when he learned that Maria had given birth to a girl.
    He was, of course, planning to be at her bedside and had merely flown off for twenty-four hours to conduct a single concert. But little Sylvie (they had discussed names in advance) decided to arrive early.
    Mr. and Mrs. Pastore were already with Maria when Danny entered the hospital room bearing armfuls of flowers.
    He exchanged hugs with them, kissed the glowing mother, whispered a few affectionate words in her ear, and hurried to the neonatal ward to peer through the large glass pane at his new daughter.
    At first he could not find her. By an unconscious reflex his eyes kept glancing at the cots with blue blankets. At last a helpful nurse picked Sylvie up and brought her to the window. Now he could see traces of Maria — and of himself — in her features.
    “Even better than creating a symphony, eh, Mr. Rossi?”
    It was their obstetrician, who happened to be passing by on his rounds.
    “Oh yes,” Danny quickly agreed as he shook the doctor’s hand. “Thanks for everything. Maria says you were great.”
    “My pleasure. And don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.”
    “Having a daughter. Most men secretly want boys — at least the first time. But I know Sylvie, will bring you a great deal of happiness.”
    Danny thought about the doctor’s words and felt relieved. During the flight home he had been unable to suppress the tinges of disappointment that Maria had not produced a son. He had hoped for an heir to continue the musical tradition he was establishing. After all, there were so few world-class women pianists. And the only time a female got to lead musicians was when twirling a baton. He had not considered that a girl might become a prima ballerina.
    Sylvie was christened three weeks later and the Rossis had two hundred guests to their home for a champagne brunch. The Philadelphia papers published large photographs of their orchestra’s popular associate director with his lovely wife and new child. Danny was exhilarated. Being a father seemed to elevate him to a new status.
    Yet, something puzzled him. Maria didn’t want a nanny. The most she would agree to was a nurse for the first few weeks. After that, she wanted to raise Sylvie on her own.
    “Danny, I’ve spent the last nine months reading books about child care. I don’t want some starched-apron biddy telling me I don’t know how to be a mother.”
    “But you’ll be exhausted,”
    “Not if you help a little.”
    “Sure,” he smiled, “but I’ve got a helluva concert schedule.”
    “You act as if you’re a slave to your own fate, I mean, you don’t have to make so many guest appearances all over the place, do you?”
    How could he make her understand?
    “Maria, darling, you know that old chestnut about music being an international language? Well, nowadays it’s an international business. I have to do a certain amount of traveling — just to keep up my contacts.”
    Maria looked at him. Her face grew flushed.
    “Danny, I thought marriage would change you. And then when it didn’t, I thought at least being a father would. Why the hell can’t you grow up?”
    “What are you talking about?”
    “Why do you keep buzzing around the world like a bee from flower to flower? Do you still need that much adulation? if I’m not enough, there are plenty of local women to worship you.”
    Danny did not feel compelled to justify the lifestyle of an artist.
    “Maria, I assume this whole outburst is just the product of postpartum depression.”
    Then, realizing he had wounded her, Danny came over and knelt by her side.
    “Hey, that was shitty of me to say. Please forgive me. I really love you, Maria. Don’t you believe that?”
    She nodded. “I just wish it were only me.”

    Scarcely five months later, Maria was pregnant again. And the following year gave birth to a second daughter.
    This time, Danny was in New York when she went into labor and made it to the hospital before the child arrived.
    By January 1964 Jason had completed his six months of language training in the Ulpan. Having exercised the utmost discipline, using English only to write weekly letters to his parents, he found himself reasonably fluent in Hebrew.
    The elder Gilberts had exerted frequent epistolary pressure on him to come home for Christmas. Jason had demurred, arguing that his course did not break for anything but the Jewish holidays in September. Now he once again avoided the possibility of returning to the States, even for a short visit, by saying that he was about to undertake “a very important job.”
    He discussed it with Eva and Yossi — in Hebrew —on his first visit to the kibbutz since the summer.
    “I’m going to join the army,” he announced.
    “Good,” the kibbutz secretary exclaimed. “They can use an experienced man like you.”
    Eva said nothing.
    Yossi noticed the stern expression on her face and asked, “What’s the matter, aren’t you pleased with his decision?”
    “I’m glad he’s staying,” she replied. “But I’ve a feeling he’s doing it for the wrong reason.”
    “And what may that be?” Jason inquired.
    “As a personal vendetta — to revenge Fanny’s death.”
    “I don’t care what his reasons are,” Yossi retorted defensively. “Besides, doesn’t the Bible allow us an eye for an eye?”
    “That’s primitive and you know it,” Eva countered. “It’s a metaphor, not to be taken literally.”
    “The Arabs take it literally,” Yossi interposed.
    “Hey, let’s cut the polemics. Do I have your blessings to enlist or not?” Jason asked.
    “Not mine,” Eva stated adamantly.
    “Well, you have mine,” Yossi countered, “and that of your whole kibbutz.”
    “But I’m not a member of the kibbutz,” Jason replied.
    “You will be after this week’s meeting,” the secretary responded. “That is, if you want to.”
    “Yes. I want very much to belong.”

    Though it was winter, Jason spent the next weeks in punishing, self-imposed, pre-basic training: getting up early to run in the freezing rain, lifting weights in the primitive kibbutz exercise room, and then running again before dinner.
    He spent a lot of time talking to Eva, trying to convince her that his dedication was sincere. And pleading with her to make him less ignorant about the country’s history. Sometimes, at night, their conversation tentatively approached the personal.
    He asked about her childhood. How it had been during the war with Fanny’s family. How she had been able to recover from the trauma of the Holocaust and the discovery that her parents had been slaughtered.
    She told him how shattered she had been by the news of her parents’ fate. Still, she now felt she had been luckier than most. During the war, she had been blessed with the loving protection of the van der Post family. And afterward the establishment of Israel meant that her children would never suffer as she had.
    Her talk of children led Jason to ask hesitantly why she was not married. At first she told him that like so many others, she had emerged from the Holocaust with her emotions deadened. But Jason sensed she was hiding something. And one night Eva told him the truth.
    When she was in the army she had known a young officer named Mordechai. They had become very close. He was killed during his last month of active duty. And not by enemy fire, but during a training exercise with live ammunition.
    “I’m going to come back,” Jason assured her, assuaging a fear she had not even dared articulate.
    “Oh, I know you will,” she said, unconvincingly. “Nobody gets killed working in a clothing depot.”
    “What makes you think I’m joining the Quartermaster Corps?” he asked.
    “I told you,” she replied. “I’ve been in the army. Most recruits go in at eighteen. A man like you is considered practically senile. You’ll be lucky if they don’t make you check handbags at the cinemas.”
    “I was a U.S. Marine,” he said, smiling. “I finished training with the fifth highest grade in my battalion. Want to make a bet?”
    “You’d lose,” she smiled, “because you’re about to encounter the best thing in Israel — its army. And the very worst — its bureaucracy.”

    On a raw February day, Jason Gilbert stepped off the bus at the Kelet, the army induction center just outside Tel Aviv. The camp was large and sprawling, consisting of corrugated-roofed huts, occasional eucalyptus trees, and a series of tents.
    Up north at the local army office, he had enlisted for the mid-winter induction and passed a series of preliminary mental and medical tests.
    Now he stood on line with another member of the kibbutz, eighteen-year-old Tuvia Ben-Ami, who was manifestly nervous. Not about the army as much as being away from home for the first time.
    “Keep calm, Tuvi,” said Jason, pointing at the long line of adolescents waiting to be processed. “You’re going to find a lot of new friends in this kindergarten.”
    When the recruits were assigned to small groups, the young kibbutznik practically held on to Jason’s belt to ensure they would not be separated.
    Then they all went to the “butcher’s shop” to have their hair mercilessly sheared. For some of the urban Casanovas, it was the trauma of their lives, Jason had to laugh as he watched them suppress tears as their Elvis-like plumage dropped to the floor.
    He in turn simply sat down and let the army lawnmower relandscape his locks.
    Then it was time for the dog tags. The dispensing officer suggested that Jason consider changing his name to something more biblical and more patriotic.
    “In Hellenistic times, when the Jews all aspired to be sophisticated Greeks, every Jacob changed his name to Jason. Think about that, soldier.”
    After donning their khakis, they were led by their supervising corporal to the tents where they would be staying for the next three days.
    Tuvia whispered to Jason, “You can tell who are kibbutzniks, and who are soft boys from the cities, just by the way they look at the sleeping bags. I think some of them expected feather beds.”
    After dinner they strolled through the camp to look at the recruiting huts where they would be interviewed for special units. Over one shack a sign boasted THE BRAVE TO THE PARATROOPS.
    “That’s where I’ll be at dawn tomorrow,” said Jason.
    “You and a thousand others,” replied Tuvia, “including me. Everybody wants to earn his red beret. And stupid as it sounds, I’ve got a better chance than you.”
    “Oh yes? What was your grade at the medical exam last month?”
    “Ninety-one,” Tuvia answered proudly.
    “Well, I got ninety-seven,” Jason retorted confidently. “That’s the highest they give. And when I asked them about the other three points, they said that Superman isn’t Jewish.”
    “Listen,” Tuvia smiled, “even if he were, he couldn’t get into the Israeli Paratroops. Because he’s too old.”

    By seven the next morning there were already long lines outside the huts of the elite brigades.
    Jason passed his time by doing stretching exercises. At last he was admitted to the tent of the paratroop recruiting officer, a wiry, dark-haired man in his middle thirties.
    His first words were hardly encouraging: “Beat it, Yankee. I admire your initiative, but you’re over the hill.”
    “I’m only twenty-seven and I’ve got two years’ military experience.”
    “Twenty-seven means ten years of you that I’ve already lost. Send in the next candidate.”
    Jason folded his arms. “With due respect, I’m not leaving until I get a physical test.”
    The interviewer stood and leaned his hands on the desk. “Listen, you’d drop dead if you even looked at our training course. Now do I have to throw you out myself?”
    “I’m afraid so, sir.”
    “Fine,” he replied, quickly reaching over and grasping Jason’s collar with a cross-armed grip.
    Instinctively the ex-marine broke the hold with an upward motion of his clasped hands and then proceeded to pin the officer down onto his desk.
    “Please sir,” said Jason with extreme politeness. “I beg you to reconsider.”
    “All right,” he gasped, “you’ll get a try.”
    After Jason had left, the interviewer sat rubbing his bruises and wondering whether he should call the Military Police.
    No, he thought, let the arrogant bastard collapse on the hills.
    “Next!” he shouted hoarsely.

    Jason was walking slowly toward the test course when he heard footsteps behind him. He turned and saw that it was Tuvia.
    “Well,” Jason smiled, “I see you made it, too. Was he rough on you?”
    “Not at all. He took one look at my papers, saw we were from the same kibbutz and signed me on. What was all that noise I heard in there?”
    “Just two Jews settling a difference of opinion.” Jason grinned modestly.

    It was only two kilometers but it was all uphill. The candidates had to run in groups of four — carrying telephone poles.
    Tuvia contrived to be in the same quartet as Jason. But, as they were ascending the final incline, one of their number collapsed and fell to his knees. The other three men stopped dead in their tracks, barely able to hold the huge pole aloft.
    “Come on,” Jason encouraged, “you can do it. Just four hundred meters to go.”
    “I can’t,” gasped the recruit.
    “You’ve got to,” Jason barked. “You’ll mess it up for the rest of us. On your goddamn feet!” His tone — more like that of a commanding officer — shocked the young boy into getting up again.
    They completed the course and dropped their gigantic burden to the ground, where it sank a few inches into the mid-winter mud.
    Jason and Tuvia, who had done most of the lifting for the other two, struggled for breath and massaged their arms.
    One of the recruiting officers approached them. “Not bad, he said. And then he pointed to the boy who’d fallen. “You’d better go back to the infantry, son. The others can stay on for further testing.”
    He looked at Jason. “Okay, grandpa,” he grinned, “are you ready to go again?”
    “Right away?” Jason asked, quickly masking his incredulity. “Uh, sure, as soon as you like. The same course?”
    “Yes, the same course. The same log. But this time with me on top.”

    At the end of two hours they were, like Gideon’s army, a small but select group.
    “All right,” the officer barked. “If you thought today was difficult, I suggest you try another brigade. This was child’s play compared to what’s coming. So think it over. You may save yourself a nervous breakdown. Dismissed.”
    Jason and Tuvia staggered back to their tent and flopped down onto their mattresses.
    “You were the gutsiest one out there,” Tuvia said. “I saw the officers watching you. They were smiling like hell. You were so great that I’m going to share my most precious possession with you.”
    Jason felt something being forced into his hand. He looked. It was half a bar of Swiss chocolate.

    Twenty-four hours later, candidates for the Paratroop Brigade were loaded into a bus to be taken to the base at Tel Noff. During the journey, a man moved down the aisle and stopped in front of Jason. It was the paratroop recruiting officer.
    “Hello, grandpa,” he said. “I’m surprised to see you’re still with us. But I warn you, you won’t stop running for the next six months.”
    “That’s okay, sir,” Jason replied.
    “And another thing, don’t call me ‘sir.’ My name is Zvi.”
    All Jason remembered of the next six months was that he even ran in his dreams.

    On his first twenty-four-hour leave, he hitched a ride to Vered Ha-Gaul. He was happy to see Eva, who understood that what he needed most was sleep.
    When he finally awoke she had some news for him.
    “Your father’s been phoning. I told him where you were, and he sounded distraught. He made me promise to have you call the moment I saw you.”
    Jason got up, went to the kibbutz phone, and called his father collect.
    “Look, son,” the elder Gilbert remonstrated, “I’ve been pretty patient with you, but this army business is going a bit too far. I want you to get back where you belong. That’s an order.”
    “Father, I only take orders from my commanding officer. As far as being where I belong, that’s a personal matter.”
    “What about your career? What about everything you trained for at Harvard?”
    “Father, if Harvard taught me one thing, it was to find my own set of values. I feel needed here. I feel useful. I feel good. What the hell else is there in life?”
    “Jason, I want you to promise me to see a psychiatrist.”
    “I’ll tell you what, Dad. I’ll visit a shrink if you’ll visit Israel. Then we’ll all sit down and decide which of us is crazy.”
    “All right, Jason, I don’t want to argue anymore. Just promise you’ll call whenever you can.”
    “Sure, Dad. I promise. Love to Mom.”
    “We miss you, son. We really miss you.”
    “Me too, Dad,” he answered softly.

    Jason was among the fifty percent who survived the ordeal and received their wings and red berets.
    He immediately entered the advanced course, mastering techniques of helicopter assaults and learning every inch of the country’s topography. Not from a map. During the next six months, he covered every inch of the Holy Land on foot. He began to enjoy sleeping in the open air.
    After that he spent a week at the kibbutz, taking long walks with Eva, and writing a lengthy letter to his parents. Then he entered the Officers’ Candidate School near Petach Tikva. There, the only thing he learned that he did not already know was the Israeli principle of leadership, which could be summed up in two words: “Follow me.” Officers lead all missions from the front.
    Eva and Yossi came to the graduation ceremony and saw Jason parade by the chief of staff and salute. Standing right next to the commander was Zvi, his original recruiting officer. As Jason passed, he was whispering something into the general’s ear.
    “I guess the nickname’s going to stick,” Jason said when he joined them later. “Now everybody calls me saba — ‘grandpa.’ ”

    As they were driving back to the kibbutz, Yossi asked Jason how he intended to spend his ten days of freedom before active duty.
    “I want to go back and look at every inch of ground I marched over,” he replied. “Only this time I want to do it with a car … and a guide.”
    “The Bible is the best thing for that,” Yossi offered.
    “I know,” said Jason. And then added shyly, “but I was hoping Eva would be my tour leader.”
    In the days that followed, they covered four thousand years of history. From King Solomon’s mines deep in the Negev, up through the stark desert to Beersheba, home of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
    As they drove out of Sodom — where the infamous profligacies described in Genesis were now replaced by massive fertilizer works, Jason quipped, “Don’t look back, Eva. Remember Lot’s wife.”
    “I never look back,” she answered with a tiny smile.
    From there it was north to Em Gedi, the lowest point on earth, where they swam — or rather floated — in the buoyant salty Dead Sea.
    And finally, Jerusalem, the city conquered by King David ten centuries before Christ, and still the spiritual capital of the world.
    Its very stones exuded a kind of holiness that even Jason could somehow feel. They were not able to visit the remains of the holy Temple of Solomon as it was on the Jordanian side of the divided city.
    “We’ll get to see it some day,” Eva said, “when there’s peace.”
    “Will we live that long?” asked Jason.
    “I intend to,” Eva replied. And then added, “And even if! don’t, my children will.”
    During the entire journey, Jason and Eva had slept within a few feet of each other. First outdoors in the Negev, now in a cheap hostel. Yet, their only physical contact was when he helped her climb a rock or a monument.
    Spending days and nights in such spiritual proximity had created a bond between them. And yet their friendship remained platonic.
    Toward the end of their first day in Jerusalem, Jason told Eva he was going to the YMCA on King George Street to try to pick up a game of tennis. She said she would take a walk and meet him later for dinner.
    It did not occur to her that he had not brought a racket along. She herself was too preoccupied with wanting to make a personal visit.
    The afternoon shadows were lengthening as she entered the cemetery on Emek Refaim and walked slowly toward the area where her childhood friend was buried, A hundred yards from the grave she stopped short.
    Jason was already there, standing motionless, his head bowed. Even from a distance she could see he was crying.
    She turned and walked silently off, deferring her grief to his.
    From the “Class Notes” section of the Harvard Alumni Bulletin of October 1965:
    Born: to Theodore Lambros and Sara Harrison Lambros (Radcliffe ’58), a son, Theodore Junior, on September 6, 1965. Lambros has recently been promoted to Assistant Professor of Classics at Harvard.


    October 12, 1965
    Ironic, isn’t it? Just as Ted and Sarah, my Ideal Couple, are reaching new heights of marital bliss with the birth of their first child, I am becoming a statistic.
    Much to the delight and profit of the legal profession, Faith and I are divorcing.
    Although it isn’t in anger, it is with what you might call a lot of deeply held indifference. It seems that she never really thought that being married to me was “a fun thing.” Our lawyers are citing “irreconcilable differences,” but that’s because the fact that Faith finds being out here “an utter bore” is not sufficient grounds for divorce.
    Actually, I can’t see how she could say her life in the country was dull. She was having so many affairs that her schedule must have bordered on the hectic.
    When I first started to suspect that she was branching out into the realm of extramarital dalliance, I was worried what my friends would think. I shouldn’t have. She was having flings with almost all of them.
    In some ways I wish I had never found any of this out. Because frankly, I didn’t realize anything was really wrong. I mean, our weekends were pleasant enough. And she seemed to be enjoying herself. But, unfortunately, one of my buddies at The Lunch Club thought it his duty as a fellow Harvardman to let me know, in so many words, that I was the laughing stock of southern Connecticut.
    On that all-too-short train ride home, I tried to figure out a way to broach the whole thing with Faith. But when she met me at the door, I didn’t have the guts to confront her.
    Hell, I kept telling myself, maybe it isn’t true. And so I went through the motions of drinks and dinner and going to bed. Still, I was awake all night, my heart pounding, wondering what to do.
    Finally I understood what was behind my Hamlet-like hesitation. It was not really any doubt of her infidelity. I noticed in retrospect how cozy she had been with so many of the guys at the club during those weekend dances.
    What was shaking me to the core was the fact that I knew I’d be losing the children.
    I mean, no matter how promiscuous you prove the woman to be, the court inevitably gives her custody. And I can’t bear the thought of not being able to come back at night and hear little Andy shout, “Daddy’s home” as if I were king of the universe. Or to be there when Lizzie speaks her first sentence.
    Not only have they given meaning to my life, but I’ve discovered that being a father is actually something I do pretty well.
    I grew so desperate thinking about all this, that at around 4:00 A.M. I had the wild notion of grabbing both kids and rushing off in the car somewhere. But, of course, that wouldn’t have solved anything.
    The next morning I called in sick (which was not a total lie), so I could have it all out with Faith. She didn’t deny anything. I actually think she wanted me to know. She certainly said a very quick “yes” when I asked her whether she wanted a divorce.
    I inquired when it was exactly that she had discovered she didn’t love me anymore. She replied that she never actually had been in love with me but had, at one time, merely thought she was.
    Now, having discovered that she was wrong, she deemed it best that we separate. I told her it was pretty irresponsible to have two kids with a guy she didn’t really like.
    To which she retorted, “That’s what I can’t stand about you, Andrew. You’re such a sentimental drip.”
    She asked if I wouldn’t mind packing a bag and moving out that morning, as she had a very busy day. I retorted that I damn well did mind, and I would stay until Andy got home from nursery school so I could talk to him. She told me to suit myself as long as I was out of the house by dinnertime.
    As I mindlessly threw some shirts and ties together in a suitcase, I wondered how the hell you explain to a four-year-old why Daddy is going away. I know you’re not supposed to lie to kids, But saying, “Mummy doesn’t love me,” seemed hardly conducive to the health of his psyche.
    By the time the nanny brought him home, I had cooked up a story about having to live in New York to be nearer my work. That he shouldn’t worry, I would be out to see him and Lizzie every weekend. And I was sure we could still spend the summer together in Maine. Or at least part of it.
    I watched the expression on his little face when I recounted this fiction. And I could see that he understood the truth. It broke my heart. Even at four, my son was disappointed that I couldn’t be totally honest with him.
    “Can I come with you, Daddy?” he pleaded.
    My entire soul ached to steal him. But I told him he’d miss school. And his friends. And now he had to be a good boy and take care of his baby sister.
    He promised and — I suspect, to make it easier on me — didn’t cry as he watched me toss my bag into the car to drive to New York. He just stood at the doorway and quietly waved.
    Kids are smarter than we think. Which is why we end up hurting them so much.
    When the Pulitzer Prizes for 1967 were announced, there was particular joy in the Harvard University news office. While it was hardly novel that two Harvard men won awards in the same year, it was rare — if not a first — that two members of the same class were simultaneously honored.
    This was a nice little tidbit they could get out over the wires. For the year’s prizewinner for poetry was Stuart Kingsley ’58, and the recipient for music the already much-honored Danny Rossi of the same rich vintage.
    In fact, the two classmates had not known each other at college. Stuart Kingsley spent his years at Harvard as an almost-invisible figure in Adams House. His powerful verse in the Advocate occasionally elicited praise from the reviewers of the Crimson.
    Indeed, until the morning he received the phone call from the Pulitzer Committee, Stuart had continued to live in relative obscurity. He and his wife, Nina (Bryn Mawr ’61), and their two kids lived in a high-ceilinged, slightly seedy apartment on Riverside Drive near Columbia, where he taught creative writing.
    What excited Stu almost as much as the prize itself was the prospect of finally meeting his illustrious classmate at the award ceremony.
    “Think of it, Nina,” he enthused, “I might actually get my picture taken with Danny Rossi.”
    But then to his chagrin, Stuart learned that there was no Pulitzer award ceremony. That phone call and your picture in The New York Times was it.
    “What the hell,” Nina said to dispel her husband’s disappointment. “I’ll throw you the biggest damn party you’ve ever seen. Taylor’s New York State champagne will flow like seltzer.”
    He hugged her. “Thanks, I’d like that. I don’t think I’ve ever really been the subject of a party.”
    “Listen honey, if you want to meet Danny Rossi so badly, I’ll gladly invite him.”
    “Yeah,” he replied with a sardonic smile, “I’m sure he’d love to come.”
    Nina grabbed him by the shoulders. “Now you listen to me, kid. I haven’t seen this Savanarola ballet Rossi’s won for, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt that it was choreographed by George Balanchine. Anyway, it would have to be damn good to be on a level with your Collected Poems. So if you don’t mind my saying it, the honor would be his.”
    “It doesn’t matter, Nina. In New York it isn’t so much talent that matters as image. And Danny’s got so much charisma …”
    “Oh, for God’s sake, Stu, that’s just hype from a press agent’s office. Frankly, the only thing Rossi’s got over you is a few locks of flashy red hair.”
    “Yeah,” Stu smiled, “and a few million bucks. I’m telling you the guy’s a real star.”
    Nina looked at him with indulgent affection. “You know why I love you so much, Stu? Because you’re the only genius I know who suffers from the opposite of megalomania.”
    “Thanks, honey,” he replied, gathering up his notes and stuffing them into his briefcase. “But you’d better cut this ego-boosting short, or I’ll be late for my four-o’clock seminar. See you around seven. We can throw a party just for us.”

    When he returned, she had a surprise for him.
    “Really, Nina? Are you serious?”
    “Yes, my dearest, You are actually having lunch with your ‘charismatic’ classmate at one tomorrow in the Russian Tea Room. By the way, you may be stunned to learn he’s looking forward to meeting you.”
    “How did you reach him?”
    “Oh, I just had an apocalyptic notion. I left a message with the Hurok office and about ten minutes later he called back.”
    “Nina, you’re terrific. It will be some occasion.”
    “Yes, Stuart,” she said lovingly. “For him.”

    The Russian Tea Room, on Fifty-seventh Street, scarcely an octave’s distance from Carnegie Hall, is a favorite New York haunt of the international music and literary set. Until this afternoon, Stuart Kingsley had known it only by reputation. Now he stood nervously at the entrance, scanning the tables to catch sight of Danny Rossi.
    At one point he nodded to what he thought was an old friend. The balding, bespectacled chap gave him the most tenuous of acknowledgments and then turned away. It took another second for Stuart to realize that he had mistakenly greeted Woody Allen.
    He did not commit the same gaffe when he perceived Rudolf Nureyev holding forth to a table of worshipful balletomanes. He merely smiled inwardly at the prospect of being so close to such living legends.
    At last he spied his classmate. When their glances met, Danny waved him over to a corner booth, its table covered with yards of music paper.
    “I see you don’t like to waste even a second,” Stuart remarked jovially as they shook hands.
    “No, you’re right. I have an unfortunate tendency to overcommit myself. And you can’t deliver a ‘July Fourth Suite’ on Christmas Eve, can you?”
    After Danny ordered blinis for them both, they ran the gamut of do-you-know, and discovered they had many friends in common among the artistic community of The Class.
    “Do you get up from Philadelphia very often?” Stuart asked.
    “At least once a week, unfortunately. It’s gotten so that I’ve had to rent a studio in the Carnegie Hall Apartments.”
    “Must be kind of hard on your wife,” Stuart offered, unable to imagine having to spend a single day away from his beloved Nina.
    “Yeah,” Danny replied, “but Maria’s pretty involved with the kids.” He then quickly changed the subject. “You know, I was almost as happy for your prize as I was for mine. I’ve always admired your stuff.”
    “You’ve read my poetry?”
    “Stuart,” Danny answered with a smile, “you publish regularly in the New Yorker. That’s my favorite airplane reading. So I don’t think I’ve ever missed a poem you’ve had in there.”
    “My wife’s not going to believe this,” Stuart murmured half under his breath. And then aloud, “What are you writing at the moment, Danny? I mean besides what we’re using for a tablecloth.”
    “That’s just it, Stuart. I’m starting to feel somewhat hemmed in on the composition front. That’s why this whole meeting with you is a kind of kismet. Have you ever thought of writing lyrics for a musical?”
    “Do you want to know something?” Stuart confessed. “It’s not only been my secret dream, I’ve actually been playing around with a specific idea for a couple of years. It’s based on a kind of highbrow book, though.”
    “Nothing wrong with that,” Danny responded warmly. “I wouldn’t be interested in doing another Hello, Dolly! What masterpiece of world literature do you have in mind?”
    “Would you believe James Joyce’s Ulysses?”
    “Wow, that’s a sensational idea. But do you think it’s really do-able?”
    “Listen,” Stu answered, his creative juices now really flowing, “I’m so steeped in that damn book that if you had the time I could lay the libretto right out on this table. But I suppose you’ve got a fiendishly busy schedule.”
    Danny stood up in the middle of Stu’s apology and said casually, “Order us some more coffee while I go reorchestrate my agenda.”

    All afternoon Danny listened spellbound as his classmate cascaded with ideas. Naturally, they couldn’t cram Joyce’s whole epic novel into two hours of stage time. But they could concentrate on the “Nighttown” episode, when the protagonist, Leopold Bloom, wanders through various exotic parts of the city.
    There were infinite possibilities for musical invention. Only one significant change was needed. In Stuart’s words, “Our only concession to commercialism.”
    All they would have to do was translate the locale from Joyce’s Dublin to New York. Stuart even had exciting ideas for specific scenes and songs. But it was growing late and they’d have to put this off for a second meeting.
    “I think we’re already a little pregnant, Stuart,” he commented. “If you’re free tomorrow, I’ll be glad to stay over in New York so we can keep going.”
    “I’ve got no classes. What time do you want to start?” Stuart responded eagerly.
    “Well, if you can make it to my studio as early as, say, eight, I’ll provide lots of cups of disgusting but strong Nescafé.”
    “You’re on,” said Stu as he stood up. He glanced at his watch. “Gosh, it’s nearly five o’clock. Nina’ll think I’ve been hit by a bus. I’d better call and tell her I’m okay.”
    “Is it really that late?” asked Danny. “I’d better scramble, or I’ll have one hell of an angry guest waiting outside my apartment.”

    After their second meeting the two were ecstatic.
    They had worked through the day, even chatting as they munched the sandwiches Danny ordered from the Carnegie Deli.
    After eight hours of feverish symbiotic creativity, they had not only a broad outline of both acts, but at least half-a-dozen song suggestions and a place pinpointed for a ballet sequence.
    Most of all, they shared the common euphoria that when the curtain fell on Bloom parting with young Stephen Dedalus, there would not be a dry eye in the house. Or a single prize they wouldn’t win.
    Danny suggested that if they spent a lot of concentrated time together, they could finish the whole thing very quickly. He proposed they rent adjacent houses on Martha’s Vineyard for the summer. Then they could bring their families along and — if they could snare a producer — have the show ready to go into rehearsal just after Christmas.
    There was only one difficulty. And Stuart approached it with some diffidence.
    “Uh, Dan, a house on the Vineyard is — uh — a little out of my budget.”
    “No sweat. With what we’ve got already, I’m sure we can find a producer willing to give us a healthy advance. But first we’ve got to get somebody to represent the property. Do you have an agent?”
    “Poets don’t have agents, Danny. I’m just lucky to have a wife who’s not afraid to talk on the phone.”
    “Then why don’t I ask around and see who’s supposed to be the best for Broadway. That okay with you?”
    “Good. Hey — I’ve got to really sprint. As the Mad Hatter put it, ‘I’m late for a very important date.’ ”
    It was the White Rabbit, thought Stuart Kingsley. But he didn’t dare contradict his senior partner.

    The next evening, as Stuart and Nina were conscientiously studying an LP of Danny’s Savanarola ballet, the phone rang. It was the composer himself.
    “Hey, Stuart,” he said, slightly out of breath, “I’m rushing to catch a plane, so I’ve got to talk quickly. Ever heard of Harvey Madison?”
    “No. Who’s he?”
    “My informants tell me he’s the best theatrical agent in New York I mean, a guy in Hurok’s office said he isn’t even ten percent of a human being.”
    “That’s good?” Stu responded with astonishment.
    “Good? It’s incredible. What you need to negotiate for you is an absolutely heartless shit. And this guy Madison makes Attila the Hun look like Saint Francis of Assisi. What do you think?”
    “Well,” the poet confessed, “I’ve always had a soft spot for Saint Francis. But you’re the guy that knows the business.”
    “Great,” Danny said, quickly signing off. “I’ll call Harvey at his house right now so he can start beating the drums. See you, Stu.”

    Summer on Martha’s Vineyard is always glorious. But if you are the author of a show in progress that is destined for Broadway, it becomes the Island of the Blessed.
    Stuart and Nina were invited to numerous star-studded barbecues, celebrity clambakes, and glittering soirées.
    Of course, had he been merely a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, he might not have merited inclusion on the “A-List.” But he was also living in one of the most luxurious houses in Vineyard Haven, a sure sign that his balance sheet scanned as well as his verses.
    Actually, he had Harvey Madison to thank for his good fortune. For it was their new agent who had set up the fateful meeting with Edgar Waldorf, undisputed king of Broadway producers. It had taken place at the only possible venue for such an encounter — over lunch at ‘21’.
    Stuart, Harvey, and Danny had been waiting for twenty minutes when the rotund, flamboyantly clad producer made his grand entrance. Before he even sat down, he looked at the composer and lyricist and stated emphatically, “I love it.”
    Stuart was somewhat confused. “But, Mr. Waldorf, we haven’t said a word yet. I mean —”
    His polite response was strangled in mid-sentence by the strong under-the-table grip of Harvey Madison, who then interposed, “What Edgar means is he adores the concept.”
    “No, what I adore is the chemistry of the authors. When Harvey called me about this, I literally frissoned right there in my office. The thought of two Harvard Pulitzer Prize winners writing for Broadway is absolutely fab-u-lous, By the way, have you thought of a title yet?”
    Edgar had diplomatically used the plural but was really directing his question to Danny, whom he knew to be worth a lot of candle power on the marquee.
    “Well,” the composer replied, “as you know, we’ve based it on Joyce’s Ulysses, just changing the locale to New York —”
    “I love it. I love it,” Edgar murmured like a countermelody.
    “Now, the novel is, in turn, based on Homer’s Odyssey,” Danny continued. “And since the essence of our piece is the hero’s trip around the city, we thought we’d call it Manhattan Odyssey.”
    Edgar pondered for a moment, and popped a shrimp into his mouth before replying.
    “It’s good, it’s good. My only question is — is it too good?”
    “How can anything possibly be too good?” Stuart naively inquired.
    “I mean relatively speaking,” Edgar responded, deftly backtracking. “After all, your average Broadway audience didn’t go to Harvard. I don’t think I could fill the theater with enough people who know what the word Odyssey means.”
    “Please, Mr. Waldorf,” Danny disagreed, “it’s a common term in the English language.”
    At which point Harvey Madison felt it opportune to refocus the conversation.
    “Hey, guys, Edgar’s got a sensational idea for a title. Just wait till you hear it.”
    The spherical producer waited until the spotlights of all gazes shone upon him. And then uttered, “Rejoice!”
    “What?” asked Danny Rossi.
    “Don’t you get it? The author’s name is James Joyce. We are bringing his property back. So it’s re-Joyce. Of course, we’ll add an exclamation point after it. And that’s it. Fab-ubus, huh?”
    Danny and Stuart exchanged incredulous glances.
    “I think it’s absolutely brilliant,” offered Harvey Madison, instinctively accustomed to praising anything uttered by a potential source of income. “What do you boys think?”
    “You might as well call it Hello, Molly!” Danny Rossi commented sardonically.
    “I like Manhattan Odyssey,” Stuart said quietly.
    “But you just heard Edgar Waldorf —” Harvey Madison interrupted.
    “I like Manhattan Odyssey, too,” Danny echoed.
    Then, from an unexpected quarter, came the rather surprising panegyric, “I think Manhattan Odyssey is absolutely fabulous. And I, Edgar Waldorf, will be honored to present it.”
    The producer then proceeded to elicit schedules from the authors, so that he could plan rehearsals, arrange a tour, and book a theater. Hearing that the boys could complete the work this summer if they could be isolated on Martha’s Vineyard, he magnanimously offered Stuart the use of his own unhumble abode on that island.
    “Oh, I couldn’t, Mr. Waldorf.”
    “Please, Mr. Kingsley, I insist. Besides, that will help me write the place off for taxes.”
    Then, without having read a word or heard a note, he went straight to the heart of the matter.
    “Who’re we going to get to star?”
    “I think Zero Mostel would be great as Bloom,” Danny offered.
    “Not great,” replied Waldorf. “Fab-u-bous. His agent’s a ballbreaker, but I’ll get to work on that monster this afternoon. Oh God, will Zero bring in the theater parties!”
    In the midst of his own self-induced rapture, he suddenly chastised himself, “But —”
    “But what?” Harvey Madison asked anxiously.
    “Zero is great for the party crowd. But we need another name that will draw the out-of-towners. Someone with broader appeal. Is there a woman’s part in this thing?”
    “Haven’t you read it, Mr. Waldorf?” Stuart Kingsley inquired.
    “Yeah, sure. I mean, a college girl in my office did me a kind of summary.”
    “Then you might remember that Bloom’s wife, Molly, is a rather important role,” said Danny Rossi, muzzling his impatience.
    “Of course, of course, a great role,” the producer agreed enthusiastically. “So what about Theora Hamilton?”
    “Unbelievable,” Harvey ejaculated. “That’s a genius idea, Edgar. But do you think she’d share the marquee with Zero?”
    “You leave that to me,” boasted the producer, snapping his fingers. “The First Lady of the American musical theater owes Edgar Waldorf a favor or two, and I’m going to call in my marker.”
    “Isn’t that great, boys?” Harvey bubbled to the authors. “Mostel and Hamilton. Or maybe it’ll have to be Hamilton and Mostel. Anyway, they’ll be lining up for tickets from here to Hoboken.”
    “To be honest,” Stuart confessed shyly, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her.”
    “You’d remember if you had,” Danny remarked. “She’s got tits like the Goodyear zeppelin. Unfortunately, her talent does not extend as far as her mammaries.”
    Edgar Waldorf turned ingenuously to Danny Rossi and inquired, “Am I to infer that you do not respect the vocal gifts of Miss Theora Hamilton?”
    “I couldn’t possibly,” Danny replied quietly. “She doesn’t have any. Look, Mr. Waldorf, Stuart and I want to write a good show, a classy show, and, yes, a commercial show. But if you have so little faith in our ability to attract an audience without giving them — please excuse my pun — gross titillation, then I think we’d better find another producer.”
    Harvey Madison coughed uneasily.
    But Edgar Waldorf shifted gears as smoothly as a Rolls-Royce.
    “Please, Mr. Rossi, let us forget the female lead for the moment and concentrate on what really matters in this enterprise — your two genius talents.”
    And then he raised his hand in benediction.
    “Go, boys. Go off to Martha’s Vineyard and create exquisiteness that will dazzle Broadway and that limey bastard from The New York Times. Write your masterpiece. Mr. Madison and I will work out the vulgar details.”
    As he backed off from the table, Edgar bent in what almost seemed like a curtsy and said, “You boys are giving me the honor of my life.”
    He then turned and exited to the flourish of invisible trumpets.

    Soon thereafter, Harvey Madison departed, leaving the two authors to revel in their success.
    “Hey,” said Stu, “I’ve gotta call Nina. Can you wait and we’ll walk uptown together?”
    “Sorry,” Danny replied. “I’ve got an important matinee in twenty minutes.”
    “I didn’t know you were performing today.”
    Danny grinned.
    “Strictly chamber music, Stu. See the cover of this month’s Vogue?”
    “Not my style of magazine,” he replied, still not tuned in to his partner’s wavelength.
    “Well, check it out at your local newsstand, my friend. She’s the guest of honor at my studio this afternoon.”
    “Oh,” said Stuart Kingsley.
    Except for the occasional cocktail parties, the junior and senior members of the Harvard Classics Department almost never socialized. It was not merely a question of age differences, but the almost Calvinistic distinction between those who had tenure and those who did not.
    Assistant Professor Ted Lambros was therefore surprised when Cedric Whitman invited him to lunch at the Faculty Club, even though, as both he and Sara agreed, he was the most humane humanist they had ever known.
    After they ordered, the senior professor cleared his throat and said, “Ted, I got a phone call from Bill Foster, the new chairman at Berkeley. His department very much admires your book and wonders if you’d be interested in their tenure opening in Greek literature?”
    Ted did not know how to respond. For he could not sense precisely what lay behind the question. Was it an intimation that he was not going to be granted tenure at Harvard?
    “I — uh — I guess I should be very flattered.”
    “I should say,” Whitman replied. “Berkeley’s got one of the best departments in the world. They’ve certainly got some very distinguished scholars. Pragmatically speaking, their salaries are extremely generous. I took the liberty of telling Bill to write you directly. That’ll mean at least a nice invitation to go to California and lecture.”
    Ted felt like Aeschylus’ famous description of Agamemnon “struck deep with a mortal blow.” But he summoned the courage to ask.
    “Cedric, is this Harvard’s way of saying they won’t renew my contract? Please be frank, I can take it.”
    “Ted,” said Whitman without hesitation, “I can’t speak for the whole department. You know that John and I admire you enormously. And naturally, we’d like to keep you here. But this will ultimately come down to a vote, and heaven knows how the historians and archaeologists and people who are less familiar with your work might stand. If you got a formal offer from Berkeley, it might stimulate the uncommitted into feeling more possessive.”
    “So you think I should at least go out there?”
    “Take it from a veteran,” his mentor smiled, “an academic never gives up a free trip to anywhere halfway decent. And to California, well, res ipsa loquitur.”

    Sara was delighted to see him.
    “What a nice surprise,” she said as she skipped down the stone steps of the University Press and saw her husband. He kissed her perfunctorily but could suppress his fears no longer.
    “Cedric had some pretty gloomy words at lunch.”
    “They’re not renewing you?”
    “That’s the bitch of it,” he answered with frustration. “He evaded the whole Harvard issue. All he said was that Berkeley wants me for a tenure job.”
    “Berkeley’s got a fantastic classics department,” she replied. Ted’s heart stopped. This was not what he had hoped to hear.
    “So you think it’s the ax, huh?” he asked mournfully. When she did not reply, he added, “I really thought I had a shot at tenure here.”
    “Hell, so did I,” she answered honestly. “But you know how their system works. They almost never bring up someone through the ranks. They sort of send them off and see what kind of a reputation they build up. And if they grow, they pluck them back.”
    “But it’s in California,” Ted complained.
    “So what? Can’t we survive three thousand miles away from Harvard?”

    Two nights later, Bill Foster called and formally tendered the invitation to lecture. They agreed on a date close to Harvard’s Easter vacation.
    “We don’t usually do this,” he added, “but we’d like to include your wife as well. The folks at U.C. Press would like to meet her.”
    “Uh — that’s great,” said Ted, while inwardly he thought, They know all about me. I’m like a baseball player being traded. They’ve gone over my hitting and fielding — and probably even my team spirit. It intensified the feeling that, in some way, he had failed.

    On the last Sunday in March, Ted and Sara, having left their son in the care of his doting grandparents, boarded the late-afternoon flight to San Francisco.
    “Isn’t this exciting?” Sara bubbled as they fastened their seat belts. “Our first free trip, courtesy of your brain,”
    Ted looked at his watch three hours later. They had barely crossed half the continent.
    “This is ridiculous,” he said. “I mean, where the hell is this place? It’s incredibly far from civilization.”
    “Ted,” she chided affectionately, “stay loose. You may just discover something wonderful about the world.”
    “Like what?”
    “Like the life of the mind does not cease at the borders of Massachusetts.”

    As they disembarked in San Francisco, they were met by a middle-aged academic and a younger colleague holding, as a sign of identification, a copy of Lambros on Sophocles. Ted’s mood, which had changed from glum to numb during the last few hours of the journey, lifted at this gesture of respect.
    Bill Foster greeted them warmly and introduced Joachim Meyer, a papyrologist, recently transplanted from Heidelberg to California. They were both enormously cordial and in the baggage area insisted on carrying the suitcases out to their car.
    Though it was early evening Berkeley’s main street was swarming with activity.
    “I seem to see a lot of hippies,” Ted observed with a tinge of disapproval.
    “I can hear some nice music,” said Sara.
    Bill Foster picked up on Ted’s remark.
    “Don’t get the wrong impression, Ted. These students may walk around in jeans instead of tweeds, but they’re the brightest kids you’ll ever meet. They drive you crazy with their penetrating questions. Keeps you intellectually on your toes. We’ll visit some classes if you like.”
    “Yes,” Ted replied, “I’d like that.”
    “I’d enjoy that too,” Sara chimed in.
    “Ach ja,” Meyer said cordially. “I know you are an enthusiast for Hellenistic poetry, Sara.”
    Just then they reached the end of the avenue and Bill Foster announced, “Meyer and I will drop you at the new Faculty Club. I suggest, if you aren’t too tired, that you stroll down Telegraph Avenue and have a beer at some place like Larry Blake’s. Just sort of get a feel of the place at night.”

    “They’re super people, don’t you think?” asked Sara as they were unpacking a few moments later. “I mean so easygoing and friendly. You’d never guess from the way he talks that Meyer was a full professor at thirty-one. And for a German he seems very un-Teutonic. Maybe they’ve California’d him up.”
    “Come on,” said Ted, “they’re just romancing us. You notice that they even knew about your undergraduate thesis.”
    “I noticed and I liked it,” Sara answered. “Don’t you enjoy being seduced?”
    “Well, I’m not seduced yet,” Ted replied dourly.
    “Well, keep an open mind, and let’s check out Telegraph Avenue.”
    At first it appeared that nothing was going to please him. Not the lively streets, the bookshops, or the colorful minstrels with their guitars. But after merely one block, Sara perceived that one aspect of this vibrant place had finally caught her husband’s interest.
    “Aha,” she smiled, “at least you dig some of the scenery.”
    “What are you talking about?”
    “We’ve just passed six girls without bras and you enjoyed half-a-dozen healthy gawks, Dr. Lambros. And don’t tell me I’m wrong, because I’ve been watching your face.”
    “You are wrong,” said Ted, tight-lipped. “There were at least seven.” And he smiled, at last.

    Because of the three-hour time difference, they awoke extremely early and assumed they would be first in the Faculty Club dining room. They were mistaken.
    For there was already someone seated at a corner table spooning some species of breakfast flakes with one hand, and with the other holding an Oxford Classical text.
    “Do you see what I see?” Sara whispered. “We are sharing this entire dining room with the Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford.”
    “Jesus, you’re right. It’s Cameron Wylie. What the hell is he doing here?”
    “Same as we,” Sara smiled, “eating breakfast. Also, isn’t he giving this year’s Sather lectures?”
    “Hey, that’s right. Something on Homer and Aeschylus. Do you think we’ll get a chance to hear him?”
    “Why don’t you go over, introduce yourself, and ask?”
    “I can’t,” Ted protested, suddenly timid. “I mean, he’s such a great man.”
    “Come on, you blustering Greek. What’s happened to your usual bravado? Or would you prefer I went as your emissary?”
    “No, no, no, I’ll be all right. I just don’t know how to begin,” Ted answered, rising reluctantly.
    “Try ‘hello.’ That’s a time-honored opener.”
    “Yeah,” Ted countered laconically, his sense of humor completely dampened by his sudden social insecurity.
    He listened nervously to the sound of his own steps as they traversed the floor of the empty dining room.
    “Excuse me, Professor Wylie, I hope I’m not disturbing you, but I just wanted to say how much I admire your work. I thought your article on the Oresteia in last year’s JHS was the best thing ever written on Aeschylus.”
    “Thank you,” said the Englishman with undisguised pleasure. “Won’t you join me?”
    “Actually, my wife and I were wondering if you wouldn’t join us. She’s over there.”
    “Ah yes, I couldn’t help but notice her when you walked in. Thank you, I’d be delighted.” He stood, picked up his bowl and his Oxford text, and followed Ted to their table.
    “Professor Wylie, this is my wife, Sara. Oh, and I forgot to mention I’m Theodore Lambros.”
    “Hello,” said the Englishman as he shook Sara’s hand and sat down. Then he turned to Ted. “I say, you’re not the Sophocles man, are you?”
    “Actually, yes,” Ted answered, near vertiginous at the recognition. “I’m out here to give a lecture.”
    “I thought your book was first-rate,” Wylie continued. “Blew a lot of dust off Sophoclean scholarship. I’ve put it on the Oxford Mods list already. Actually, I was delighted to see someone with your surname write a book on Sophocles. It seemed so appropriate.”
    Ted could not understand the connection but was loath to appear obtuse before so august a scholar. Sara leapt into the breach and sacrificed herself on the altar of naïveté.
    “I’m afraid I don’t follow you, sir,” she said respectfully.
    The don was happy to expound. “Why, as your husband knows, a chap called Lampros was Sophocles’ dance and music teacher.”
    “What a coincidence,” replied Sara, genuinely charmed by this amusing tidbit. Then she posed the question she knew Ted burned to ask: “Could you tell me the source for that?”
    “Oh, a veritable cornucopia,” replied the Regius Professor. “Athenaeus 1.20, references in the vita and a few other bits and pieces. Must have been a good man, this Lampros. Aristoxenus ranks him with Pindar. Of course, there’s that fragment of Phrynichus which is too silly to take seriously. Are you a Hellenist as well, Mrs. Lambros?”
    “Not professionally,” Sara answered shyly.
    “My wife’s a bit modest. She’s got a magna in classics from Harvard.”
    “Splendid.” And then he asked Ted, “What will you be speaking on?”
    “Oh, I’m just trying out a few random ideas I’ve been germinating about Euripides’ influence on Lampros’s prize pupil.”
    “I very much look forward to hearing it. When’s your talk?”
    For a split second Ted hesitated. He was not sure he wanted so great a scholar to sit in judgment on his inchoate new theories.
    Sara, on the other hand, had no such qualms. “It’s tomorrow at five in Dwinelle Hall,” she said.
    The Englishman withdrew a fountain pen and a little Oxford diary to note the particulars.
    Just then Bill Foster appeared. “Well, I see our two visiting classicists have met each other already,” he said breezily.
    “Three,” the Englishman corrected him with an admonitory finger. “The Lambroses are both lamproi.”
    After which the elder statesman rose, took his book (which happened to be his own edition of Thucydides), and wandered off toward the library.

    As Bill Foster gave them a comprehensive walking tour of the campus, Ted had to admit to himself that it was beautiful. But still, the campanile and the late-nineteenth-century Spanish-style buildings somehow did not seem what a university should be like. He had always associated the pursuit of higher learning with Georgian architecture-like the grand towers of Lowell or Eliot House.
    The library was undeniably impressive (and boasted shuttle-bus service  colloquially known as the Gutenberg Express — direct to the Stanford University library). And all these quiet, solid structures stood in vivid contrast to the frenetic kaleidoscope of student activities concentrated — like the ancient Athenian agora — at a single, tumultuous spot in Sproul Plaza, between the Administration building and the Student Union.
    After visiting an animated Latin class, the trio squeezed into a tiny health-food restaurant for a whole-earth lunch.
    But something was obsessing Ted.
    “What kind of a guy is Cameron Wylie?” he asked Bill, trying to act nonchalant.
    “A tiger and a pussycat. He’s been absolutely terrific with our undergraduates. But when it comes to professors, he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Last week, for example, when Hans-Peter Ziemssen came to lecture, Wylie made absolute mincemeat of him in the question period.”
    “Oh Jesus,” muttered Ted.

    He spent the next few hours in a blur of fear. Sara made him run through his entire lecture just for her. After which she said in all sincerity, “You’re ready, champ, you really are.”
    “So was Daniel when he went into the lions’ den.”
    “Read your Bible, honey. They didn’t eat him, if you recall.”

    By the time he entered the lecture hail, Ted had resigned himself to what the Fates would bring.
    There were about a hundred people scattered in the auditorium. To him they all seemed faceless, with three exceptions. Cameron Wylie and — two collie dogs. Dogs?
    “Are you all set?” Bill Foster whispered.
    “I think so. But, Bill, those uh — canine visitors? Is that —?”
    “Oh, it’s usual at Berkeley.” Foster smiled. “Don’t worry. In fact, they’re some of my most attentive students,”
    He then mounted the podium and introduced today’s guest speaker.
    The applause was polite.
    All alone now, Ted began by conjuring a striking picture.
    “Imagine Sophocles — an established playwright already in his forties, who had even defeated the great Aeschylus in dramatic competition — sitting in the theater of Dionysus, watching the maiden production of a new young author named Euripides …”
    The audience was in his hands. For his words had transported them back to fifth-century B.C. Athens. They felt as if they were going to hear about living playwrights. And indeed, when Ted Lambros spoke of them, the Greek tragedians were very much alive.
    As he concluded, he glanced at the clock on the far wall. He had lectured for exactly forty-nine minutes. Perfect timing. The applause was universal — and palpably genuine. Even the two dogs seemed to approve.
    Bill Foster went up to shake his hand and whispered, “Absolutely brilliant, Ted. Do you think you have the strength for a question or two?”
    Ted was trapped, knowing that if he refused, it would reveal a kind of academic pusillanimity.
    Like a nightmare coming true, the first hand raised was that of Cameron Wylie. Well, thought Ted, it can’t be any worse than all the questions I’ve dreamed up myself.
    The Englishman stood up. “Professor Lambros, your remarks are most stimulating. But I was wondering if you saw any significant Euripidean influence in the Antigone?”
    Blood began to flow again in Ted’s veins. Wylie had actually thrown a compliment and not a javelin.
    “Of course, chronologically it’s possible. But I don’t share any of the nineteenth-century Jebbsean romanticized views of Antigone.”
    “Quite right, quite right,” Wylie concurred. “The romantic interpretations are all silly nonsense — and have no basis in the text.”
    As Wylie sat down with an approving smile, Ted recognized a frizzy-haired girl in the back row, frantically waving her hand.
    She rose and began to declaim. “I think we’re all missing the point here. Like I mean, bow are the guys you’ve been discussing relevant to now? I mean, I haven’t heard the word politics mentioned once. I mean like, what was these Greeks’ position on free speech?”
    The audience groaned. Ted heard an “Oh shit” from somewhere in the crowd.
    Bill Foster motioned to him that he could ignore the question if he wished. But Ted was high on approbation, and chose to address himself to the student’s query.
    “To begin with,” he observed, “since every Greek drama was performed for the entire population of the polls, it was inherently political. The relevant issues of the day were so important to them that their comic poets spoke of nothing else. And there were no restrictions on what Aristophanes and company could say — that’s the Greek notion of parrhesia. In a sense, their theater is an abiding testimony to the democracy they helped invent,”
    The questioner was stunned. First by the fact that Ted had taken her seriously — for she had intended to stir up a little intellectual anarchy — and second by the quality of his answer.
    “You’re cool, Professor,” she mumbled and sat down.
    Bill Foster stood, glowing with pleasure.
    “On that stirring note,” he announced, “I’d like to thank Professor Lambros for a marvelous talk which was both logical and philological.”
    Ted felt triumphant.

    The reception in their honor was held at the Fosters’ house in the Berkeley Hills. Everyone who was anyone in academia in the Bay Area seemed to be there, not to mention a certain distinguished professor from Oxford.
    The mood was festive and the talk was all of Ted.
    “I hear your lecture was even more exciting than our last student riot,” Sally Foster joked. “I’m sorry I had to miss it. But somebody had to stay here and prepare the goodies. And Bill insisted that my tacos would entice you to come to Berkeley.”
    “I’m already enticed,” said Sara Lambros, smiling happily.
    Sensing that her casual remark had made Ted slightly uneasy, Sally quickly added, “Of course, I’m not supposed to say that sort of thing, am I? I always put my foot in my mouth. Anyway, Ted, I’m under strict orders to see that you keep circulating among the various literary lights.”
    And there was indeed a high-voltage group of San Francisco intellectuals. Ted noticed Sara in animated conversation with a character who looked amazingly like the beat poet Allen Ginsberg. And on second glance, it was Ginsberg.
    Ted had to meet the author of Howl, the radical ululation in verse that had generated so much literary controversy in his undergraduate days. As he approached, he heard Ginsberg describing some personal apocalyptic experience.
    “Looking through the window at the sky, suddenly it seemed that I saw into the depths of the universe. The sky suddenly seemed very ancient. And this was the very ancient place that Blake was talking about, the sweet golden clime. I suddenly realized that this existence was it! Do you dig me, Sara?”
    “Hi, honey,” Ted smiled, “hope I’m not interrupting.”
    “Not at all,” she answered and then introduced her husband to the bearded bard.
    “Say, I hear you guys may be moving west,” said Ginsberg, “I hope you do — the sense of prana’s real strong out here.”
    Just then they were interrupted by Bill Foster.
    “Sorry to break in, Allen, but Dean Rothschmidt is desperate to have a few words with Ted before he goes.”
    “That’s cool. I’ll be glad to continue fascinating Ted’s old lady.”
    The Dean of Humanities wanted to express his admiration of Ted’s lecture and ask if he could drop by his office at ten the next morning.
    As Ted was returning to Sara, Cameron Wylie cornered him.
    “I must say, Professor Lambros, your lecture was absolutely first-rate. I look forward to reading it in print. And I do hope we’ll have the pleasure of hearing you at Oxford sometime.”
    “That would be a great honor,” Ted replied.
    “Well, when you get your next sabbatical I’ll be happy to make some arrangements. In any case, I do hope we’ll stay in touch.”
    A bolt suddenly struck the lightning rod of Ted’s ambition.
    Two days earlier, Cameron Wylie had spoken highly of his Sophocles book. This evening he was admiring the talk he had just delivered. Might not a letter from the Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford, repeating those same sentiments, tip the precarious balance at Harvard in Ted’s favor?
    In any case, he could lose nothing by seizing this most propitious moment.
    “Professor Wylie, I — uh — I was wondering if I could ask you a rather special favor….”
    “Certainly,” the don answered amiably.
    “I — uh — I’ll be coming up for tenure at Harvard next year, and I was wondering if you’d be willing to write on my behalf.”
    “Well, I’ve already composed rather a panegyric for the Berkeley people. I wouldn’t mind saying the same sort of thing to Harvard. I won’t ask why you would choose to endure the cold Cambridge winters. In any case, it’s past my bedtime and I must be off. Please say good night to Sara for me. She’s chatting with a rather hirsute character and I wouldn’t want to catch his fleas.”
    He turned and marched off.
    Ted smiled with elation. Within his chest the fires of aspiration burned brightly.

    “You were fantastic, Ted. This was the proudest day of my life. You snowed everybody.”
    As they headed toward their room at the Faculty Club, Ted could hardly wait to tell her his good news. “Even old Cameron Wylie seemed pretty impressed,” he remarked casually.
    “I know. I overheard him telling two or three people.”
    He closed the door behind them and leaned against it. “Hey, Mrs. Lambros, what if I told you that we might not have to leave Cambridge?”
    “I don’t get it,” Sara answered, a little off balance.
    “Listen,” Ted confided with intensity, “Wylie’s going to write to Harvard for me. Don’t you think a letter from him would boost me up into tenure heaven?”
    Sara hesitated. She had been so elated this evening, so enchanted by the whole Berkeley experience, that this “good” news actually came as a disappointment. A double disappointment, in fact. Because in her heart she sensed that Harvard had already made up its mind and nothing could change it.
    “Ted,” she replied with difficulty, “I don’t know how to say this without hurting your feelings. But all Wylie’s letter can do is say you’re a good scholar and a great teacher.”
    “Well, Jesus, isn’t that all there is to it? I mean, I don’t also have to run a four-minute mile, do I?”
    Sara sighed. “Hey look, they don’t need a letter from Oxford to tell them what they already know. Face it, they’re not just judging you as a scholar. They’re voting to let you into their club for the next thirty-five years.”
    “Are you trying to suggest they don’t like me?”
    “Oh, they like you all right. The question is, do they like you enough?”
    “Shit,” Ted said, half to himself, his euphoria suddenly tumbling into an abyss of desperation. “Now I don’t know what the hell to do.”
    Sara put her arms around him. “Ted, if it’ll help any in this existential dilemma, I want you to know that you’ve always got tenure with me.”
    They kissed.

    “Ted,” Dean Rothschmidt began the next morning, “Berkeley’s got a tenured slot in Greek Lit. and you’re our unanimous first choice. We’d be willing to start you at ten thousand a year.”
    Ted wondered if Rothschmidt knew that he was offering him nearly three thousand more than he was currently earning at Harvard. On second thought, of course he did. And that was enough to buy a hell of a nice new car.
    “And naturally we’d pay all your moving costs from the East,” Bill Foster quickly added.
    “I — I’m very flattered,” Ted replied.
    The pitch was not over. Rothschmidt had further blandishment. “I don’t know if Sara will recall, with all that madness at Bill’s last night, but the gray-haired gentleman she spoke with briefly was Jed Roper, head of the U.C. Press. He’s prepared to offer her a junior editorship — salary to be negotiated.”
    “Gosh,” Ted remarked, “she’ll be thrilled.” And then he added as casually as possible, “I assume I’ll be getting a formal offer in writing.”
    “Naturally,” the dean replied, “but it’s just a bureaucratic formality. I can promise you this is a firm offer.”

    This time he took Whitman to lunch at the Faculty Club.
    “Cedric, if there still is any enthusiasm for my being kept at Harvard, I think I’ve got some new ammunition.”
    His mentor seemed pleased at what Ted reported. “Well, I think this strengthens your case considerably. I’ll ask the chairman to call Wylie for his letter so we can bring up your tenure at the next departmental meeting.”
    My tenure, thought Ted. I actually heard him say my tenure.

    The formal vote took place twenty-four days later. The department had for their consideration Ted’s bibliography (four articles, five reviews), his book on Sophocles (and the critiques of it, which ranged from “solid” to “monumental”), and various letters of recommendation, some from experts in the field whose names Ted would never know. But one certainly from the Regius Professor at Oxford.
    Ted and Sara waited nervously in the Huron Avenue apartment. It was nail-biting time. They knew the meeting had begun at four, and yet by five-thirty there was still no word.
    “What do you think?” Ted asked. “Is it a good sign or a bad sign?”
    “For the last time, Lambros,” Sara said firmly, “I don’t know what the hell is going on. But you have my fervent conviction both as wife and classicist that you truly deserve tenure at Harvard.”
    “If the gods are just,” he quickly added.
    “Right.” She nodded. “But remember, in academia there are no gods — just professors. Quirky, flawed, capricious human beings.”
    The phone rang.
    Ted grabbed it.
    It was Whitman. His voice betrayed nothing.
    “Cedric, please, put me out of my misery. How did they vote?”
    “I can’t go into details, Ted, but I can tell you it was very, very close. I’m sorry, you didn’t make it.”
    Ted Lambros lost the carefully polished Harvard veneer he had worked a decade to acquire, and repeated aloud what he had said ten years earlier when the college had denied him a full scholarship.
    Sara was immediately at her husband’s side, her arms around him consolingly.
    He would not hang up till he asked one final burning question.
    “Cedric,” he said as calmly as possible, “may I just know the pretext — uh — I mean the grounds — I mean, in general terms, what lost it for me?”
    “It’s hard to pinpoint, but there was some talk about ‘waiting for a second Big Book.’ ”
    “Oh,” Ted responded, thinking bitterly, there are one or two tenured guys who still haven’t written their first big book. But he said nothing more.
    “Ted,” Whitman continued with compassion in his voice, “Anne and I want you to come to dinner tonight. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not the end of anything, really. So will you come?”
    “Dinner tonight?” Ted repeated distractedly.
    Sara was strenuously nodding her head.
    “Uh, thanks Cedric. What time would you like us?”

    It was a warm spring night and Sara insisted that they walk the mile or so to the Whitmans’ house. She knew Ted needed time to gain some equilibrium.
    “Ted,” Sara said as he shuffled dejectedly, “I know there are at least a dozen four-letter words going around in your head, and I think for the sake of sanity you ought to shout them right out here in the street. God knows, I want to scream too. I mean, you got screwed.”
    “No. I got royally screwed. I mean, a bunch of uptight bastards just played lions and Christians with my career. I feel like kicking in their goddamn mahogany doors and beating the shit out of all of them.”
    Sara smiled. “Not their wives too, I hope.”
    “No, of course not,” he snapped.
    And then, realizing the childishness of his outburst, he began to laugh.
    They both giggled for a block until suddenly Ted’s laughter turned into sobs. He buried his head on Sara’s shoulder as she tried to comfort him.
    “Oh God, Sara,” he wept, “I feel so stupid. But I wanted it so bad. So goddamn bad.”
    “I know,” she whispered tenderly. “I know.”
    For Stuart and Nina it was the greatest summer of their lives.
    Every morning he would get on his bike and pedal over to the Rossi house, often passing Maria and her two girls in the station wagon on their way to enjoy Edgar Waldorf’s stretch of private beach with Nina and the boys.
    Stu would return in the early evening, at once exhausted and overstimulated, grab Nina by the hand, and take her for a long walk by the sea.
    “How’s the great classical composer at writing show tunes?” she asked during one of their promenades.
    “Oh, the guy’s so fantastically versatile he could write a rondo with his left hand and ragtime with his right. But he doesn’t pander.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “I mean he doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of his audience. Some of his melodies are — you know — pretty complex.”
    “I thought the secret of success on Broadway was simplicity,” Nina remarked.
    “Don’t worry, hon, he isn’t writing Wozzeck.”
    “This is exciting. I mean, I know your words are terrific. But I’d really like to hear what Danny’s done with them. Apparently, Maria tells me, he hasn’t even played anything for her.”
    “Well, every artist’s temperament is different, I guess,” said Stuart, picking up a bit of driftwood and hurling it out across the water.
    “And every marriage, too,” Nina added. “Do you think they’re happy?”
    “Hey, honey,” Stuart cautioned, “I’m his lyricist, not his shrink. I just know he’s a good working partner.”

    On Labor Day weekend, Edgar Waldorf flew in with Harvey Madison to hear the fruits of his young geniuses’ summer toil.
    Ever munificent, he arrived laden with presents for the Kingsley sons, the Rossi daughters, and the authors’ wives. As far as “the boys” were concerned, they would have to have something for him.
    After a huge Italian dinner, the two visitors, the artists, and their wives repaired to the living room for the first hearing of the score to Manhattan Odyssey.
    As Danny sat at the piano, Stuart narrated, here and there injecting a bit of dialogue to show how deftly he had made Joyce theatrically viable. And then he would introduce the songs. His lyrics were ingeniously set. The music was muscular, the rhythms bold.
    After the lively octet in Bella Cohen’s fabled brothel, the privileged little audience broke into applause. Then Danny proudly commented, “You don’t hear many Broadway scores with songs written in five.”
    “What’s five?” asked Edgar Waldorf.
    “It’s a kind of tricky rhythm, five-four. Never mind what it is — as long as you like what you hear.”
    “Like it?” Edgar exclaimed. “I love it, I love it. Maybe five symbolizes the number of years we’re going to run SRO.”
    “Why stop at five? Why not six or seven?” interposed Harvey Madison, unable to resist the agent’s impulse to up the ante.
    The authors together sang the final duet between Bloom and Stephen, his surrogate son. Then they looked to their families and arbiters for judgment.
    At first there was reverential silence.
    “Well, Nina?” Stuart asked his wife impatiently. “Would you buy a ticket to this thing?”
    “I think I’d go every night,” she responded, exultant at the ingenuity of her husband’s work.
    “Did it get my wife’s approval?” Danny asked.
    “Not that I’m a professional critic,” Maria began shyly, “but I honestly think that’s the best musical score I’ve ever heard — by anybody.”
    Edgar Waldorf rose to his feet to make an announcement.
    “Ladies and gentlemen — and geniuses — it has been my humble honor to listen to the first playing of what is undoubtedly the most fabulous musical ever to sweep Broadway off its feet.”
    He then turned to the authors. “My only question is — what are you guys going to do with the ten million bucks this is going to earn you?”
    “Nine,” Harvey Madison quickly corrected, professional even in jest.

    Now it was the men’s turn to walk the beach.
    Edgar had to complete the financing. He hoped the tape he was bringing back to New York would do the trick. But they still needed to discuss the director and the stars.
    Having so admired Jerome Robbins’s work on West Side Story, Danny wanted him to direct and choreograph their show.
    Stuart enthusiastically agreed.
    But Edgar, obsessed with the British origins of the Times critic, plumped for Sir John Chalcott, whose recent work at the Old Vic had been so well received.
    “After all,” the producer reasoned, “we are dealing with one of the great classics of the English language. Why not put it in the hands of someone who is accustomed to dealing with the immortals?”
    “ ‘Immortal’ can be a synonym for ‘dead,’ ” Danny Rossi commented.
    “Please, Daniel,” Edgar retorted, “I’ve got a gut feeling on this. I think Sir John’s name would add even more class value.”
    After another quarter of a mile, he succeeded in twisting their arms.
    Then the talk got around to principals. They started with passionate unanimity. Not only did they all agree on Zero Mostel, but the star himself had already consented merely on the basis of the novel.
    Casting the female lead proved more difficult. Danny had what he thought was a sensational idea. He had written the role of Molly — who is a professional singer even in Joyce’s book — for someone with real vocal ability. So he proposed what was to his mind the supreme voice of their time: Joan Sutherland.
    “An opera singer in a Broadway show?” Edgar Waldorf cringed. “Besides, she’d never do it.”
    “First of all,” said Danny, “I got to know her when I conducted Lucia at La Scala. She’s a terrific lady. And she’s got the courage to take on new challenges.”
    “Look,” reasoned the ever-reasonable Edgar Waldorf, “I would be the last person to knock Miss Sutherland’s talent, but opera and Broadway don’t seem to mix.”
    “What about Ezio Pinza in South Pacific?” asked Stuart.
    “A fluke, a fluke,” said Waldorf. “Besides, what made that show was Mary Martin. And anyway we can’t afford Sutherland. No, I say we’ve got to go with someone used to doing eight shows a week. Someone who’s a proven draw — magnetic, vibrant, exciting —”
    “And also big tits, maybe?” Danny asked facetiously.
    “That wouldn’t hurt either,” said the producer, trying to act ingenuous.
    Danny Rossi stopped walking, put his hands on his hips, and stood like a small colossus in the sand of Martha’s Vineyard.
    “Listen, Edgar, I would rather die than have Theora Hamilton in a show of mine. I have my principles.”
    “That goes for me as welt,” Stuart added.
    “Easy, boys, easy. Nobody’s going to compromise anybody’s principles here,” mediated Harvey Madison. “There are a million talented ladies in the American theater and I’m sure we can come up with someone who meets everyone’s specifications. Now, why don’t we all start back? It’s already a half-hour past cocktail time.”

    When the quartet returned, Maria Rossi, busy lighting a charcoal fire with Nina Kingsley, looked up and asked, “Well, gentlemen, did you settle all your problems?”
    “Absolutely,” said Harvey Madison. “The great minds are all in sync.”
    And there in the growing twilight on that lonely beach, Edgar Waldorf proclaimed, “It gives me great pleasure to tell you that Manhattan Odyssey, under the direction of Sir John Chalcott, will begin rehearsals on December twenty-sixth. And commence its pre-Broadway engagement at the Schubert Theater in Boston on February seventh.
    “By the time it opens in New York on March twenty-fourth, it will undoubtedly be sold out for a year. Since not only is it geniusly written, but it will also have the incredible one-two punch of Mr. Zero Mostel —” He paused for effect.
    “And Miss Theora Hamilton.”
    The authors’ wives shot startled glances at their husbands, whose expressions were strangely resigned.
    Chitchat continued during the barbecue. Then they all left the beach quickly to sit silently in front of the television. And admire the pitching virtuosity of Sandy Koufax keeping the ball away from every single batter of the San Francisco Giants.

    “How did he convince you?” Maria asked as they were driving home.
    “I’m not sure myself,” Danny confessed. “I mean, he used so much sophistry that my head is still spinning. I felt like General Custer. Every time I fended off one of Edgar’s attacks, he was behind me with another tomahawk.”
    “But, Danny,” Maria insisted, “you’re the artists. Surely you and Stuart should have the last word.”
    “I did have the last word.” He smiled sardonically. “It’s just that Edgar had a few thousand arguments after my last word. All of a sudden Zero wasn’t enough to sell tickets to anybody. He was a ham. The audience had enough of him after Fiddler. His arguments were endless.
    “According to Edgar, the only thing that could possibly save us would be the mammiferous presence of the untalented Theora Hamilton. Look, I’ll just cut down her role so she won’t be an utter embarrassment to us.”
    “But couldn’t you have agreed on anybody else?”
    Danny looked at her sheepishly and confessed, “Edgar seems to be finding resistance to James Joyce among his investors. And it would be hard to find another female star whose husband is willing to put up half a million bucks if we give his wife the role.”
    “Aha,” said Maria, with a mixture of surprise and disappointment. “Well, they say that Broadway plays always rise like Venus from a sea of compromises.”
    “Yeah,” said Danny, now unable to hide his frustration, “but this is the last compromise. The very last.”
    Within mere hours of Ted Lambros’s rejection for tenure at Harvard, communications began to pour in from every important university center of the United States.
    Some were simply to express condolences. Others to inquire if it were really true. The subtext being that if Lambros had been shot down, there might be a possibility for them at Harvard. But perhaps the most astounding calls were from those who presumed to know the secrets of that fateful afternoon’s proceedings.
    When Ted and Sara returned from the Whitmans’, he had passed beyond depression into a kind of postmortem euphoria. A paradoxical feeling of being “high” on disappointment.
    Walt Hewlett from the University of Texas called to convey the inside dope. “Teddie, I know the guys who screwed you were the ‘garbologists.’ ” This was Walt’s term for archaeologists, whom he viewed as mere rummagers in the trash cans of ancient civilizations.
    “What makes you so sure, Walt?”
    “Listen, those guys have an incredible animosity for anything written in a book. They only trust pornographic graffiti scrawled on Roman urinals. So I guess you’ll be going to Berkeley, huh?”
    Ted was stupefied. He had no idea that everybody in the world of classics knew everything.
    “I’m not sure,” he answered cagily. For today’s experience had taught him a great lesson in the laws of the academic jungle. “Hey, Walter old friend, I’m really touched that you called. But it’s past midnight. And just because I don’t have tenure doesn’t mean I can skip my nine-o’clock class tomorrow.”
    He hung up and looked at Sara, who, by now, was also giggly. “This is a farce, Ted. We should take the receiver off the hook and go to bed.”
    That instant the telephone rang yet again.
    It was Bill Foster from Berkeley.
    This was not a voice Ted had hoped to hear after midnight, when he was tired and semi-sloshed. But mercifully Bill did all the talking.
    “Listen, Ted, I know it’s late back there, so I’ll make it short. We really want you here and look forward to getting your written acceptance so we can list you on our prospectus.”
    “Thanks, Bill,” Ted answered, trying to sound both sober and sincere. And having difficulty doing either.

    The next day was the most painful of Ted’s life. Not only because he had a terrible hangover. But because somehow he had to muster the courage to walk into Boylston Hall. To go to the Classics office. To say good morning to the secretary, as if nothing were different.
    And, still worse, to have to confront the senior professors and exchange bland cordialities, suppressing all the curiosity — and violent anger — he felt inside.
    As he entered the Yard and passed John Harvard’s statue, he was even anxious about running into John Finley, fearing that his idol might resent him now that he was a “failure.”
    But he realized that he had to go through the motions of normalcy. He could not sulk like Achilles in his tent. Certainly not, especially since he was no longer a great hero — at least in Harvard’s eyes. He had been blackballed. Rejected from the club.
    From nine to ten he walked like a somnambulist through Elementary Greek. And then deliberately tried to preserve the numbness he felt as he went to pick up his mail in the department office.
    Mercifully, no one else was there, so all he had to do was exchange perfunctory salutations with the secretary. Ted could not help but marvel at her ability to camouflage her awareness — for she really did know everything — of yesterday’s events. It was, he joked inwardly, a quality that departmental secretaries probably shared with undertakers. They had to keep an affable demeanor in the midst of catastrophe.
    But on the way to his eleven-o’clock lecture, the adrenaline began to flow in him again. What the hell, he thought, I’m not going to give these kids a bum deal just because those bastards kicked me where it hurts.
    Fortunately, he had a subject he could dig into — Euripides’ tragedy Hippolytus. He could speak about the injustice of the gods.
    Ted took the podium and gave one of the most stirring lectures of his life.
    The students applauded — a rare occurrence in the middle of a semester.
    Screw the garbologists. I’d like to see those fogies set a class on fire like that. No, dammit, they may have crumpled my career like a paper cup, but they won’t crush me.

    His son greeted him at the door. Here, Ted thought, is at least one guy who still thinks I’m terrific.
    He kissed Sara, and while she prepared dinner, went through the ritual of putting his son to bed. The high point was Ted’s off-key rendition of “Nani to moro mou, nani,” a Greek lullaby.
    Then he sat down at the kitchen table with Sara and gradually removed the mental armor he had worn all day.
    “Do you feel wretchedly terrible, or just terribly wretched?” she asked gently.
    “Well, I got through the first day of being a nonperson without punching anybody or throwing myself into the Charles.”
    “That’s good,” she said, smiling.
    The telephone rang.
    “I’m sorry, Ted, I forgot to take it off the hook when we sat down. Let me get rid of whoever it is.”
    But Sara did not hang up immediately. “It’s Robbie Walton,” she called out. “I think you should speak to him. He’s really upset for you.”
    Ted nodded and went to the phone. When Rob, the first graduate student whose thesis he had directed, had left Harvard to begin an instructorship at Canterbury College, he had vowed eternal gratitude.
    “How could Harvard do this to you?” Rob said with anguish.
    “Listen, it’s the breaks of the game. Let this be a lesson to all of us.”
    “Anyway, I’ll bet you’ve got a million alternatives. At least you deserve to.”
    “I’ve got a couple,” Ted answered noncommittally. “How are things at Canterbury, Rob?”
    “Not bad. Some of the kids are really bright — and the place is unbelievably gorgeous. The Classics Department is a little quiet, though. I mean, they haven’t got anybody like Ted Lambros.”
    “Maybe that’s because they haven’t asked,” Ted replied, only half in jest.
    “You mean you’d actually consider coming up here?”
    “Frankly, at this point, I’m not really sure what I want. I’m gonna just play it by ear for a while.”
    Suddenly Bobbie grew excited.
    “Hey, listen, if you’re at all serious about Canterbury, I’ll tell the dean first thing in the morning. My God, he’ll go bananas!”
    “Well,” Ted answered casually, “it might be interesting to see what would happen if you mentioned it. Thanks, Rob.”
    “What kind of Machiavellian mischief are you up to now?” Sara asked when he sat down again.
    “Honey, that little maneuver is called keeping your options open.”
    “I’d call it dirty pool.”
    “Sara, haven’t you learned by now? ‘Dirty’ is the only way to play the academic game.”

    Robbie called two days later. He was exultant. “I knew it,” he effused. “I gave your book to Tony Thatcher — he’s Dean of Humanities — and it really turned him on. He told me to arrange a date with you for a guest lecture. How’s Wednesday the fourteenth?”
    “Fine,” Ted replied, trying to underplay his satisfaction, “that sounds fine.”

    In the next few days Ted devoured all the information he could obtain about Canterbury College. Founded in 1772, it was one of the oldest colleges in America. And unlike Harvard and Yale, which acquired their names from mere commoners, it had a noble cachet. The college was established on the order of Frederick Comwallis, Archbishop of Canterbury under King George III, to train ministers for the colonies.
    But to Sara, Canterbury had always been merely a football rival from the wilds of Vermont. Though she had heard how pretty its campus was, she had never heard particular praise for its classics department.
    If she had dared to speak with total candor, Sara would have confessed that she actually liked Berkeley even better than Harvard. But the idea of going to Canterbury seemed to lift Ted’s spirit so. After all, here he would be the undisputed king of the mountain. Sara’s only misgivings — unspoken, of course — were about having to live on that mountain.

    After a leisurely afternoon drive, they checked in at the rustic but elegant Windsor Arms and went immediately to sit on its front porch to gaze at the fairyland spread out before them, Directly ahead, across the lush town green, stood Hillier Library, its white Georgian tower stretching proudly toward a cloudless sky.
    “Gosh, Sara, it’s even more imposing than Eliot House, isn’t it?”
    “No,” she replied, “but it is beautiful.”
    Just then Robbie arrived and greeted them effusively. He was wearing an orange blazer, white button-down shirt, and rep tie.
    “I’ve been designated your official guide,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of time for a thorough tour and a cup of tea before your lecture.”
    Rob was an ardent convert to the Canterbury way of life.
    “Breathe that air,” he urged. “It’s the purest stuff you’ve ever had in your lungs. No city pollution out here.”
    “No city, either,” Sara added matter-of-factly.

    Later, as they neared Canterbury Hall, Robbie grew uneasy. “Uh — Ted, I — uh — I hope you don’t mind if there isn’t a huge crowd.”
    “That’s okay. I’d be happy to talk just to you and Sara.”
    “You may well,” Rob mumbled, now patently embarrassed. “I mean, I announced your talk to my own classes, but they didn’t get the posters up till kinda late.”
    “How late?” Ted inquired.
    “Uh — this morning, I’m afraid,” Bobbie replied as they reached the main entrance of the building.
    Sara Lambros began to think dark thoughts.
    The large lecture room was sprinkled with fewer than two dozen people. Ted had difficulty masking his disappointment.
    “Don’t worry,” Rob whispered, “the dean and provost are out there — and that’s what really counts.”
    “What about members of the department?”
    “Oh sure,” Rob answered quickly, “a couple of them are here too.”
    Both Ted and Sara knew what this meant. Some of the professors — who needed no poster to inform them of this occasion — had chosen to boycott his talk.
    Though his former student was warmly eloquent in introducing Ted, Sara could not help but wonder why the department hadn’t chosen someone senior to present him. He was, after all, the author of what the American Journal of Philology had praised as the most important Sophoclean book of the decade.
    Ignoring the emptiness of the auditorium, Ted gave his lecture with quiet confidence.
    At the end, the happy few clapped energetically.
    An elegant gentleman with graying temples was the first to offer his hand.
    “I’m Tony Thatcher, Dean of Humanities,” he said, “and I very much enjoyed your presentation. Could we have breakfast at, say, eight tomorrow?”
    “Fine,” Ted replied.
    He then turned to answer a few student questions, after which Robbie introduced a youngish academic with horn-rimmed glasses and Clark Gable mustache.
    “Ted, this is our Latinist and chairman, Henry Dunster. He’ll be taking you to dinner.”
    “How do you do, Professor Lambros,” said Dunster in a deep baritone that sounded like it had its own echo chamber. “I suppose you could use a nice dry martini about now.”
    “Thanks,” said Ted, trying to ignore the fact that the chairman had not offered even the most perfunctory compliment about his lecture. “I’ll get Rob and Sara.”
    “No, Rob won’t be joining us,” Dunster intoned. “I thought an intimate dinner would be best for you to meet the senior colleagues. Incidentally, Ken Bunting had a conflicting commitment and couldn’t make it. But I know he’ll want to chat with you.”
    As he ushered the two guests of honor out of the auditorium, Sara could not help feeling a twinge of pity for Robbie.
    They entered the candlelit restaurant of the Windsor Arms, where, at a corner table, the rest of the Classics Department’s senior faculty were waiting.
    “Ah, Professor Lambros,” murmured Dunster, “you’ve brought the department out in force.”
    The three other full professors stood as they approached. Dunster made the introductions.
    “Professor and Mrs. Lambros, this is Graham Foley, our archaeologist….”
    A balding spheroid rose and shook hands wordlessly.
    “And Digby Hendrickson, our historian.”
    A lithe little man cracked the first smile of the evening. “Hi there, call me Digby. May I call you Ted and Jane?”
    “If you’d like,” Ted smiled back diplomatically, “but my wife’s name is actually Sara.”
    “And this,” quoth Dunster in conclusion, pointing to a tall, middle-aged preppie with straight flaxen hair combed down across his forehead, “is our missing Hellenist, Ken Bunting.”
    “Sorry I couldn’t make your lecture, Lambros,” he apologized. “But, of course, I’ll probably read it when it’s published, won’t I?”
    “I don’t know,” said Sara, who had quickly analyzed the situation. “It was just a few ideas that Ted put together. It would need a lot of working up.”
    At first Ted was astonished at his wife’s downplaying of his scholarship. This feeling quickly changed to gratitude when he beheld the warm response her understatement had evoked in Canterbury’s Hellenist.
    “Indeed,” said Bunting. “All this precipitance to get things in print — that’s rather rife at Harvard, isn’t it?”
    “Uh — I suppose so.”
    “Shall we order, then?” said Chairman Dunster, “Do I hear martinis all around?”
    His colleagues were unanimously in favor, although the archaeologist merely nodded his assent.

    By seven-thirty all that had been served were large cocktails and small talk. Sara tried to keep herself and Ted sober by buttering bread sticks, thickly spreading the cheese dip on Ritz crackers, and dropping unsubtle hints like, “I hear the salmon’s very good here. What would you recommend we eat, Professor Dunster?”
    Ted’s mind was working feverishly, trying to determine where the power base lay in this group. In preparation for his visit, he had read every article the Canterbury department members had produced. It hadn’t taken that long. He decided to address their Greek scholar on his most important article, “The Symbolism of Homer’s Catalogue of Ships.”
    “Professor Bunting, I was intrigued by your piece in TAPA on the end of Iliad Two. Your theory about the Attic contingent was —”
    At this point the mellifluous voice of Chairman Dunster interrupted with the welcome announcement, “Mademoiselle is here to transcribe our dinner selections.”
    Sara Lambros inwardly sang hallelujah.
    Suddenly, the silent archaeologist rose and totally dumbfounded Ted and Sara by articulating several syllables.
    “It’s past my bedtime,” he announced to no one in particular. “ ’Night, all. Thanks for the free booze.” Then immediately reverting to his prior muteness, he nodded at the guests of honor and departed.
    “He’s lying.” Dunster sneered. “He’s just going home to watch the tube. Can you imagine,” he inquired of Sara Lambros, “that man watches television?”
    “Many people do,” she answered noncommittally.
    “Does your husband have a predilection for that medium?” he probed.
    “Oh, we don’t own a set,” she answered blandly. Thinking, Let him call it poverty or snobbery as long as he approves.

    Two further hours passed without a single reference to a Greek or Latin author. Ted was trying desperately to comprehend it all. But he remembered Sara’s words: “It’s a club, you’re being judged to join a club.”
    “Do you play tennis, Lambros?” Bunting of the thousand ships inquired.
    “Oh,” Ted lied, “a bit. Actually, I’m trying to improve my game.” And made a mental note that if he ever got this job, he’d have one of Sara’s brothers give him lessons.
    “Old Bunting here’s the glory of our whole department,” piped Digby the historian. “He was IC4A runner-up in fifty-six. In fact, he had a big match today — against a new instructor from the Government Department.” And then turning to his semichampion colleague he inquired, “Didya whip him, Ken?”
    Professor Bunting nodded modestly. “Six-four, five-seven, six-three, six-one. It took so long it almost made me late for dinner.”
    “Whoopee,” Digby trumpeted, “we’ll drink to that.”
    But as they toasted Kenneth Bunting for this minor tennis triumph, Sara brooded, You pompous jock. Couldn’t you have put your match off to come hear my husband’s lecture?

    Later when they were alone, Ted finally allowed himself to say what they had both been thinking all through dinner.
    “Christ, what shits they are.”
    “Hey, look, Ted,” Sara answered, slightly giddy from the whole experience, “there are shits at Harvard too. But these were such a bunch of little shits.”

    She woke at dawn to find her husband staring out the window.
    “What’s the matter, honey?” Sara asked solicitously. “Did it all get to you?”
    “No,” he answered quietly, still staring at the town green, “it’s just the opposite.”
    “You mean you’re pleased at how they mauled you yesterday?”
    “No, it’s this place. It takes my breath away. I think we could be really happy here.”
    “Who are we going to talk to?” she asked plaintively. “The trees? The babbling brooks say more than that autistic archaeologist!”
    He lowered his head. “Those student questions yesterday were pretty good.”
    She did not react.
    “The library’s fantastic.…”
    She still did not respond.
    “This place has got some really fine departments. French, for instance. And that Lipton guy in Physics worked on the atomic bomb —”
    “Hey, Ted,” she interrupted gently, “you don’t have to use sophistry with me. This place does have a sense of history. And I know something in you still can’t face the world without the epaulets of ‘Ivy League’ on your shoulders. It’s something I can’t understand, but I’ll have to accept.”
    “It’s a nice location, Sara.”
    “Yeah, just a three-hour drive from Harvard.…”
    “Two and a half,” he said softly.

    The breakfast room looked like an orange grove. At every table, couples varying from middle-age to old sat monochromatically garbed. The gentlemen wore orange blazers, their ladies all had Canterbury scarves.
    “Is this some kind of reunion?” Ted asked Tony Thatcher as he sat down to breakfast with the dean.
    “No,” Thatcher answered, “it’s like this all year ’round. The old grads don’t just come up for the football games — they’re always making ‘sentimental journeys.’ ”
    “I can appreciate their feelings,” Ted remarked.
    “I’m glad,” the dean replied, “because I’d like to see you here at Canterbury.”
    “I take it from your use of the first-person singular that there isn’t unanimity in the department.”
    “I don’t think they’d even vote unanimously on a raise in salary. Frankly, what we need is a cohesive force — a solid academic who has both feet on the ground. I want Canterbury to be the number-one small college in the country. Even better than Dartmouth or Amherst. And we can’t accomplish that without attracting men of your caliber. So I have the provost’s authority to offer you an associate professorship on tenure-track.”
    “What’s tenure-track?”
    “It means after a year the job is permanent. How does that sound to you?”
    “To be honest, the thought of a probationary period is a bit unsettling.”
    “It’s really a formality,” the dean replied in reassuring tones. “Besides, the men who count up here know what we’ve got in you.”

    “Ted, I’ll make the best of it. I really will.”
    As they were driving home Sara reiterated in so many words that she had married him for better or worse. And having said for the last time that Berkeley was better and Canterbury worse, she would learn to love the great outdoors.
    “Sara,” Ted replied, to reassure himself as much as her, “we’re going to return in triumph someday. I’m going to use the peace and quiet to write a Euripides book that’s so damn good that Harvard’ll come begging on its knees to ask me back. Remember how the Romans groveled to Coriolanus after kicking him out.”
    “Yeah,” she retorted. “But the guy still ended up with a knife in his back.”
    “Touché.” Ted smiled. “Why did I marry such a clever woman?
    “Because you wanted clever children,” she said, smiling back.
    But inwardly she brooded, If you really respected my intelligence, you’d be taking my advice.
    Jason Gilbert made two important decisions that were to effect the rest of his life. He had come to realize that everything he had done in the previous two and a half years signified a commitment to defend the land of his forefathers. This meant he would stay there and grow roots.
    And yet his loneliness weighed heavily on him. Watching the young kibbutz children playing made him long to be a father. But he was not sure that he had a whole heart to offer. He was still angry. And still mourning.
    Nonetheless, whenever he was back on leave, he and Eva would sit in the huge, empty dining hail and talk until the early hours of the morning. These were the times when Jason felt most human.
    Late one evening he confessed to her, “I don’t know what I’ll do when you get married. Who’ll stay up and listen to me bitch about the world?”
    “I’ve been thinking the same thing,” she answered shyly. “Since you’ve been here, I’ve had, as you might say, a shoulder to cry on.”
    “But you never actually cry.”
    “It was just a manner of speaking.”
    “Sure. Like my saying, ‘You’re the one person in this place who holds my hand.’ Just a metaphor.”
    “Yes. We are both… metaphors.”
    Their glances met.
    “I’d like to really hold your hand,” he said.
    “And I would like really to cry on your shoulder.”
    They put their arms around each other.
    “Eva, I really care for you. I want to say I love you. But I honestly don’t know if I’m still capable of love.”
    “I feel the same, Jason. But we could try.”
    Then they kissed.

    The ceremony took place at Vered Ha-Gaul at the beginning of a one-month leave granted Jason upon his reenlistment. The kibbutzniks rejoiced that the couple had chosen to remain among them, even though for long periods of time Jason would be involved in army duty at various — mostly secret — areas of the country.
    For Jason the kibbutz had replaced his family. His estrangement from his parents was now almost complete. Eva asked him to invite them to their wedding. But he refused. Instead, the night before, he sat up in their new quarters — a two-room srif with the added luxuries of a small fridge, hot plate, and black-and-white television — and wrote his parents a letter.
    Dear Mom and Dad,
    I am getting married tomorrow. To Eva Goudsmit, the girl hidden by Fanny’s family during the Holocaust. It’s to her I owe my understanding of what Israel means.
    Under normal circumstances I would have invited you. But I know how deeply you disapprove of the direction my life has taken, and tomorrow’s vows only sanctify what I suppose you regard as a rebellion.
    I followed your game plan for the first twenty-four years of my life, barely noticing the little compromises I had to make along the way, as I’m sure you barely notice yours. I know you meant well. You wanted your children not to suffer from the stigma of being Jewish.
    And that’s exactly what I want for my children.
    Here, being a Jew is an honor and not a handicap. My children may grow up in some danger, but they will never grow up in shame.
    I will always appreciate everything you gave me while I was growing up. Now that I have grown up, even if you don’t agree with my beliefs, please respect my right to live by them.
Your loving son,
    Their honeymoon, subsidized by the kibbutz, was spent in Eilat, the southernmost point of Israel, at the tip of the Negev. The Red Sea port was founded by King Solomon to ship out the ore from his mines. And was where he welcomed the Queen of Sheba.
    Jason taught Eva how to skin-dive. And they spent the mornings among the multicolored underwater coral.
    At night they walked hand in hand from the cheap (but expensive) shish kebab joints to the tinsel (and even more expensive) discotheques.
    But they were both happy.
    “This must be what the French Riviera is like,” Eva said one night as they were walking on the shore.
    “More or less,” Jason replied, not wanting to shatter his bride’s illusions. “The only difference is here, if you go for too long a swim you can end up in Saudi Arabia.”
    “Yes,” she acknowledged, “the Arabs are kind of close, aren’t they?”
    “They must think the same about us, But their children and ours will probably play together.”
    “I hope so,” Eva said tenderly. “I mean, I hope we have a lot of children.”

    It would be a good marriage and a strong one. Because it was without any illusions. They cared about the same things. About the same people. About each other. Their love was anointed with tears of abiding grief. And, at the same time, strengthened by a common loss.

    During the following year, the Arab guns on the mountains of the Golan Heights incessantly shelled the kibbutzim in northern Israel. From the Jordanian and Lebanese borders, terrorist infiltrators were increasingly successful in crossing over, striking at non-military targets, and murdering civilians. Women in a crowded marketplace on Friday morning. Children in a school playground.
    The outraged Israeli population was demanding action, not merely reaction. If they couldn’t keep the Fedayeen out, let them do something to stop them before they got in. Orders came down for an elite group of paratroopers to begin acts of reprisal.
    Jason Gilbert was part of an operation that spent weeks rehearsing for the strike across the border.
    The night before, they slept in a field a few hundred yards from the Jordanian frontier. At first light they jumped into their vehicles and sped toward the hilltop village of Samua, which Intelligence informed them was a base for El-Fatah commandos. A quarter of a mile from the village, they dismounted and continued the rest of the climb on foot, rifles in hand.
    Israeli aircraft appeared overhead. They flew beyond Samua to bomb and distract the Jordanian regulars and keep them away from the operation.
    When they were less than a hundred yards from the village, Jason broke into a run and signaled his men to begin shooting to create confusion. As they worked their way up the steep slope, guns appeared at the windows and began returning the fire.
    The soldier at Jason’s immediate right was struck in the chest and fell backward. For a moment Jason was frozen, watching the red blood stain the shirt of the man he knew merely as Avi.
    It was the first time he had ever seen someone wounded in battle. He continued to stare. It was only when the medical officer rushing toward them waved him on that Jason turned and started up the hill again, his anger inflamed.
    As he charged, he pulled a grenade from his belt, withdrew the pin, and hurled it toward the center of the village. It exploded on a rooftop.
    By the time the paratroops entered Samua, the terrorists had fled, leaving behind them a few aged and confused inhabitants. The Israelis quickly searched the houses and herded the frightened villagers down the slopes.
    A flare was set off to signal that Samua was now empty. With lightning speed, Jason and the explosives experts began to set charges to the houses. Ten minutes later, the Israeli raiding party had regrouped 250 yards below. One of the engineers detonated the first charge. In quick succession the stone houses were blown into the air.

    Seventeen minutes later, they were all back across the border. Jason was riding in a half-track with Yoram Zahavi, their chief in command.
    “Well,” said Yoram, “Operation Samua is a total success.”
    Jason turned to him and said bitterly, “Try telling that to Avi’s parents.”
    The officer nodded, shook his head, and answered Jason softly, “Listen, saba, war isn’t like a football match. You can never win by a shutout.”

    There were more operations like Samua, but the Israelis still could not stem the rising tide of terrorist infiltrations.
    In fact, from early 1967 onward, the guerrilla strikes became bolder and more savage. The shelling from the Golan Heights of the kibbutzim in the Huleh Valley grew more intense than ever.
    On the southern front, Cairo Radio was broadcasting the voice of Egyptian leader Nasser shrieking, “A hundred million Arabs are living for the day when the imperialist Israelis will be driven into the sea.”

    At the end of May 1967, Captain Jason Gilbert was home with Eva celebrating the birth of their first child — a son they named Joshua in memory of her father — when the radio announced a general mobilization, All reserve troops were being called up.
    During the next twenty-four hours, the Voice of Israel poured forth an endless flow of seeming nonsense, like, “Chocolate ice cream must go on the birthday cake,” “Giraffes like watermelon,” “Mickey Mouse can’t swim.” These were the code signals telling the citizen-soldiers where to report with their weapons.
    Nasser had massed a hundred thousand men armed with Soviet equipment, as well as a thousand tanks, in the Sinai Peninsula on Israel’s southern border.
    War was inevitable. The only question was whether Israel could survive it.
    Since 1956, Egypt and Israel had been separated by small token units of the United Nations Emergency Force, scattered along the frontier. Nasser ordered the UNEF units out of his way. When they withdrew, nothing but sand stood between the two countries.
    The King of Jordan put his own army under the Egyptian high command and contingents arrived from other Arab countries.
    Israel was now confronted by over a quarter of a million troops, two thousand tanks, and seven hundred aircraft. The country was menaced on three borders. Its fourth frontier was the sea. And that was where the Arabs intended to drive them.
    With the odds so heavily stacked against them and all the nations of the world preaching restraint but doing nothing to enforce it, they were totally on their own.
    Jason Gilbert’s platoon of the 54th Paratroop Battalion had been mobilized for over a week, camping in an olive grove near Tel Shahar.
    On the order of Battalion Command, they did endless stretcher training to practice the rapid evacuation of the wounded. This was hardly an encouraging exercise. Nor was the fact that so many of his men had portable radios and could keep abreast of the worsening situation. The British and American Embassies advised their staffs to leave Israel.
    As darkness fell each evening, Jason would try to lift the morale of his soldiers. But as the days drew on and the tension mounted, he was less and less convincing. Especially since he himself knew so little of what was happening.
    Finally, on the evening of June 4, he received a communiqué: Prepare to move men tomorrow at 0600. It did not say where.
    When he told this to his platoon, they were actually heartened. At last they would be doing something other than waiting to be bombed out of existence.
    “Try and get some sleep, guys,” Jason said. “We’re going to have a job to do tomorrow.”
    As the men disbanded and started toward their sleeping bags, a young reservist in a skullcap approached Jason and, withdrawing a small blue leather book from his breast pocket, asked politely, “Saba, would it be all right if I prayed instead of sleeping?”
    “Okay, Baruch,” Jason said. “Maybe God is listening tonight. But what prayers can you say the night before — before an attack?”
    “The Psalms are always appropriate, saba. You know, ‘Out of the depths I cried unto Thee, Thou answered me with great deliverance.’ ”
    “Yeah,” Jason smiled wanly, “just be sure you ask for a three-pronged deliverance.”
    The young soldier nodded and walked off to a quiet corner where he would not disturb his sleeping comrades, And began to chant the Psalms very softly. Over and over.
    Jason lay down in his sleeping bag and wondered if he would ever see his wife and son again.
    At dawn on Monday, June 5, the buses arrived. They were the same rickety vehicles on which some of these men rode to work in Tel Aviv. Today they were taking them down toward the Sinai. To an air base deep in the Negev where a fleet of Sikorsky helicopters was waiting.
    As they left the buses, the soldiers glanced nervously toward the sky, instinctively sensing that hostilities had begun. And, being so close to the border, fearing an attack by the Egyptian Air Force.
    Jason was in the midst of reassembling his men and dividing them into groups of eight for each chopper, when a senior officer called him over for a moment. He came sprinting back, his face beaming.
    “I’ve got a pretty interesting announcement, guys,” he called out. “It appears that at 0745 hours this morning, our planes undertook a preemptive strike against enemy airfields. There is no longer such a thing as the Egyptian Air Force. The skies belong to Israel. Now it’s up to us to take the ground.”
    Before the men could cheer, a young soldier raised his hand. It was Baruch. Pointing to his little prayer book, he shouted exultantly, “You see, saba, God was listening!”
    There were no agnostics in the Israeli Army that morning.
    “Okay,” Jason said, “here’s our agenda. We’re all moving out. The tanks, the infantry, everybody. We’re going right across the Canal to visit the pyramids. There’s only one little job we have to do first. The Egyptians are really dug in at Um Katef — the front door of Sinai. The tanks can’t get close enough, so it’s our job to clear them the hell out. Now — there’s not enough room for everybody, so I’ll take volunteers.”
    Every hand shot up. And even when he had picked his troops, extra men pushed themselves onto the helicopters.
    As soon as it was fully dark, they began to land in the dunes north of the Egyptian stronghold. The choppers went back and forth ferrying troops like businessmen in a subway rush-hour. The last few landings were under heavy fire from the fortress.
    By prearrangement, the men split into an attack force and a cover group. Jason led his soldiers toward the Egyptian guns, firing rifles, Uzis, and bazookas as they advanced.
    Suddenly one of their own rockets hit an ammunition convoy. It exploded, causing devastation on both sides. By the light of the flaming tower, Jason counted five motionless bodies and dozens of wounded comrades. He ordered his men to stop their advance and wait for the stretchers to come up. Then they performed in earnest the exercises they had done so many times in practice.
    At last he picked up his gun and went back to the inhuman job of killing. For the sake of peace.

    By the end of the first day the threat of annihilation no longer existed. For the Jordanian and Syrian air forces had suffered the same fate as the Egyptian. The Southern Command was on its way toward the Suez Canal almost unimpeded.
    Though Israel was fighting a war on three fronts, it did not have three armies. Its single fighting force had to fire to the north as well as to the south. Thus, as soon as the exhausted 54th Paratroop Battalion had cleared the way for the capture of the Sinai, they drove northward where the battle for the Golan Heights was raging.
    And all the while they were traveling, a fierce hand-to-hand battle was under way for the ultimate prize — Jerusalem.
    When they reached the Golan on Wednesday morning they were greeted by news that paratroops had recaptured the Old City. And were at the holiest of Jewish shrines — the Temple Wall.
    Meanwhile, Jason’s battalion captured the Syrian position east of Dar Bashiya. The big guns that had for years been pounding the northern kibbutzim were finally silenced.
    Six days after it started, the war was over. And the face of Israel had changed. In the south it had the entire Sinai Desert as a protective buffer. It controlled all the territory to the east down to the River Jordan, giving it a defensible frontier. And in the north, Israelis were now on the Golan Heights, threatening Syria instead of vice versa.
    It was a success in every way but one. It did not bring peace.
    On September 1, the Arab Summit Conference at Khartoum passed three resolutions: no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no peace with Israel.
    Jason Gilbert, rocking his son in his arms, remarked to his wife, “They could have added no rest for Israel, either.”
    Even as he spoke, the shellshocked and defeated Arabs were planning a new kind of war against their enemy. A campaign of terror and sabotage. They created the PLO, whose stated aim was the “national liberation” of the people who had never been a nation.

    No measures seemed to prevent these new terrorists from entering Israeli territory. They could slip across the Jordan River, hide in caves, do their mischief, and either return or travel north and vanish across the Lebanese border. At first the Israeli Army tried the retaliatory raids that had proven moderately effective before the war. Now they were of no avail.
    They sealed off the Jordan with a fence of minefields. They even raked the paths so that early-morning patrols could tell if anyone had passed through during the night. But like the hydra serpent of Greek mythology, every time one head was cut off, the invaders seemed to grow two more.
    To deal with this problem the best commandos of every unit were recruited for a supreme counterterrorist force known as Sayaret Matkal, the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit.
    Jason was determined to be part of this group. He drove to headquarters prepared to fight the same “you’re too old” battle he had fought five years earlier.
    But when he met the interviewing officer he realized it was not necessary. For it was none other than Zvi Doron, whom he had so persuasively “convinced” in the paratroop-recruitment shack. This time the two men laughed for a few minutes until Zvi voiced his single qualm about Jason’s desire to join.
    “Listen, saba, I know you can do this job physically. But you’re a father and a husband now. And this is not really the kind of job that makes for happy marriages. To begin with, you’ll be away a lot. For another thing, you won’t be able to talk to your wife about any of our operations. Believe me, I saw enough divorces in para reconnaissance.”
    “Look,” Jason answered, “I’m not in Israel to pick oranges. I stayed here to do a job. And as long as I can still be useful, I’ll run any risk that’s necessary. Now will you take me?”
    “Only if you promise to talk it over with your wife.”
    “That’s a deal.”

    Eva understood him too well even to argue. She knew she had married a man with fire in his soul. And in a sense, it was that fire which warmed their marriage. She would not stand in his way. She merely extracted from him the futile promise that he wouldn’t take any unnecessary chances.
    After all, he was a family man with a wife and son. And a second child due in four months.
    George Keller could, almost have been working in the Museum of Modern Art. Every morning for the past four years, since Labor Day 1963 to be precise, he had been going to 30 Rockefeller Plaza, in New York City, passing various security procedures and ultimately taking an elevator to the fifty-sixth floor. There he would enter portals marked simply “Room 5600.”
    On the way to his luxurious office, he would walk down corridors lined with Renoirs, Picassos, Cézannes, and van Goghs. Not to mention equally priceless statuary. For he was in the midst of one of the finest private art collections in the world.
    It was at this rarefied height that Governor Nelson Rockefeller and his brothers had their base of operations, each maintaining a wing devoted to his various interests, patronage, philanthropy, politics, and combinations thereof.
    On Henry Kissinger’s recommendation, George had been hired to join the staff writing memoranda on international affairs for the governor. As Henry put it, “You would be laying the groundwork for the foreign policy of the Rockefeller presidency.”
    If he had any doubts about leaving Harvard, they were dispelled by the knowledge that scarcely a year out of graduate school he was already earning the equivalent of a full professor’s salary.
    He had not lacked for attractive offers. With each summer he spent helping to organize the Harvard International Seminar, his responsibilities had grown in proportion to his rise in Kissinger’s esteem. By the time he received his Ph.D. in government, he was the co-editor of Confluence, the seminar’s flagship publication.
    Henry was fiercely loyal to his protégés and never hesitated to include George in the strategy for his own advancement. This was not out of uncritical affection. George was clearly an asset, for both his academic brilliance and his innate feeling for diplomacy. It was, if not an alliance of equals, at least a genuine partnership.
    Naturally Harvard had wanted George to stay on. The department chairman even called in Kissinger to discuss how they could persuade the young scholar to remain in the academic ranks. His adviser countered that George was a strong-willed man.
    “I sense his aspirations lie in Washington and not in Cambridge,” Henry offered. “But I will do my best.”
    Kissinger did not exert undue pressure on George to remain at Harvard. For he himself had more use for soldiers to man the advance guard of his own career. Hence, by placing George with his long-time patrons, the Rockefellers, he had an ally he could count on in the “real world.”
    In June 1963, George Keller not only received his doctorate but — and perhaps of greater importance — took the oath of fealty to the U.S. Constitution. Thus officially becoming a proud and patriotic American.
    The granting of his citizenship was to him a kind of late-arriving birth certificate. By this time he had not only secured his future, he had all but suppressed his past.
    It was almost as if he had never been Hungarian. Or had never had a father or a mother. Or a sister. Or a fiancée named Aniko. Only once in a great while did he have a nightmare about being lost in a blinding snow storm, not being able to find his way home. He had even conscientiously avoided reading the Hungarian press, except when it was absolutely necessary for his course work. He was like Athena in Greek mythology, sprung full-grown from the forehead of Zeus. Only in George’s case his creator was Henry Kissinger.

    And so George Keller set out for New York — in some eyes the greatest city in the world. But, in his view, merely a suburb of Washington.
    His philosophy in acquiring a new wardrobe was based on the personal theory that if a garment was tailor-made it had to be better. He found out who had been the late President Kennedy’s tailor and ordered several new suits in every “distinguished” color.
    In fact, he became something of a sartorial proselytizer. He would even chide Andrew, whom he occasionally met at the New York Harvard Club either for lunch or squash, “Eliot, I can’t for the life of me fathom why you still buy off the rack. After all, you’re an up-and-coming banker.”
    “I’m only just a trainee,” his classmate would counter affably. “Besides, we New England Yankees are indoctrinated to be thrifty.”
    He did not mention, nor did George with his impeccable sense of tact, that two years before, upon turning twenty-five, Andrew had come into a trust fund of several million dollars.

    There were other advantages to working for the Rockefeller organization. For example, access to unobtainable concert and theater tickets. Not to mention bright, pulchritudinous young women who also worked in Room 5600.
    George enthusiastically took advantage of all these opportunities. He reveled in the glittering first nights at the opera and important theatrical events. He had house seats when Fonteyn and Nureyev first danced the young Russian’s version of Swan Lake in America. Indeed, when Danny Rossi played the Bartok Second Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, George was sitting in the Rockefeller family box with Sally Bates, the governor’s charming and beautiful assistant for urban affairs.
    As Danny strode on stage, George could not keep himself from whispering to Sally, “This is like old home week for me. Bartok is Hungarian. And Rossi is a Harvardman. He and I were classmates.”
    “Do you know him personally?” she inquired, most impressed.
    “We were both in Eliot House,” George replied evasively.
    “Oh, that’s exciting. Can we go backstage and meet him afterward?”
    “Uh — I don’t think we should,” he backtracked as suavely as possible. “I mean, Danny’s always exhausted after he performs. Some other time.”

    The normally staid atmosphere of Room 5600 seemed electrified during those days in 1964 when Nelson Rockefeller was making his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Kissinger was there so often that George wondered how he managed to teach his classes.
    Nominally, Henry was on the Rockefeller staff as foreign policy adviser. But he delegated to George the drafting of the position papers, while he himself huddled in the inner sanctuary with Rocky to discuss the strategy of the campaign.
    George went along with the entourage to the Republican Convention in San Francisco. And even after their patron lost the nomination to Barry Goldwater, he stayed on to assist Kissinger in writing the foreign-policy planks of the party platform.
    On Election Night, George and Henry stood in a corner of the subdued hotel ballroom watching each return increase the magnitude of their candidate’s crushing defeat at the hands of Lyndon Johnson.
    “Well, Henry, I guess that’s the end of the ball game.”
    “Not at all, George, not at all.”
    “What do you mean? They’re swamping us nearly two to one.”
    “Not us,” Kissinger replied. “Only Senator Goldwater. Just remember the Democrats will also need expert advice.”
    Inwardly George thought his old teacher was merely putting up a brave front. Kissinger would be relegated to the classroom just as he would be to Room 5600.
    And yet, three years later, while Lyndon Johnson stood helplessly mired in the pernicious swamps of the Vietnam war, a chubby, bespectacled Harvard government professor presented himself in the office of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. The academic offered to relay secret messages via certain French contacts to Ho Chi Minh, the North Vietnamese leader.
    The Pentagon was impressed. And, to the surprise of many, but certainly not to the professor, they agreed to make Henry Kissinger their secret envoy.
    Of course, George ultimately guessed what games the master strategist was playing by interpreting the “slips” that Kissinger would make in their conversations.
    Once when they were chatting about food, Henry said, “I had the most superb coquilles at Prunier the other night.”
    “Where’s that?” inquired George.
    “Oh, Paris,” he answered quite offhandedly. “I was over for a few hours to… give a paper.”
    George sifted for the nuggets of truth. Clearly, Kissinger was now involved in some kind of covert negotiations on behalf of the U.S. government.
    But he still could not grasp why a Democratic administration should choose a relatively unknown professor who had actually worked against them in the previous campaign. Didn’t they have contacts of their own? Why Henry?
    When Kissinger’s role finally became public knowledge, George dared to ask what made him think his audacious offer would even be taken seriously.
    “Well,” Henry replied, “I could fob you off with a quote from Clausewitz On War. But if you want the unvarnished truth, I just thought I’d give it a shot. There were only two possible answers, so I had a fifty-fifty chance.”
    “Oh,” said George Keller in monosyllabic awe. And thought, This man is a genius.

    In direct contrast to the sophisticated Realpolitik of George’s mentor was the naive sentimentality of his first Harvard roommate. Often, at lunch, Andrew would seek George’s diagnosis of the malady that was infecting the nation. In early June 1968, he was absolutely distraught.
    “George, what’s happening to this country? I mean, has the war drained off all our sanity? Why are we killing each other? It’s barely two months since they shot Martin Luther King — and now Bobby Kennedy. Can you explain any of this madness?”
    George replied with cool academic detachment, “I think these are all signs that the Republicans will win iii November.”

    But whatever Kissinger was doing on those secret Paris journeys, it was clearly not enough. The Vietnam conflict grew worse. Among its casualties was Lyndon Johnson himself, who, worn-down by the onslaught of protests, chose not to seek reelection. Thus leaving the bombing to an unscarred and less-heartsick leader.
    In a sense, LBJ was handing the presidency to Richard Nixon. For this canny politician did not need the advice of brilliant strategists like Kissinger and his young assistant Keller. Common sense told him that a simple promise to end the war would sweep him into office.
    And it did.
    It also swept George out of Rockefeller Center. His disappointment at the thought of not being able to see those Renoirs and van Goghs every morning was somewhat mitigated by the fact that, although his new working quarters would be cramped and airless, they were at least well located.
    In the White House basement, fifty yards from the National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger.
    Broadway musicals are never better than on the first day of rehearsal. This is the moment when the authors themselves read through the play, singing the lyrics in their fresh, unadulterated form.
    When Stu and Danny finished their two-man show, the cast clapped enthusiastically. Sir John Chalcott, the director, rose to make some inaugural remarks.
    “I think all of us here recognize what a superbly written piece of theater we’ve just heard. It is our duty as professionals to live up to the authors’ intentions. All our efforts in the next six weeks will be bent in that direction.”
    Polite applause.
    Zero Mostel now stood up. “This is not your ordinary Broadway dreck. I honestly think James Joyce would have respected what Stu and Danny have done. And, guys — we’re going to knock our kishkes out for you.”
    More applause.
    Sir John turned to the leading lady and inquired, “Miss Hamilton, would you care to say a word or two?”
    She did.
    Honoring her director by affecting what she thought was an English accent, she remarked, “Can either Mr. Kingsley or the celebrated Mr. Rossi explain to me why Mr. Mostel gets to sing the final number?”
    This was hardly what Sir John had expected. But his cast did not seem at all surprised. They merely turned to hear the authors’ explanation.
    Danny got up from the piano and took a few steps toward the table around which the cast was gathered.
    “Look, Miss Hamilton, this is our concept. Stu and I want to emphasize Joyce’s theme of Stephen looking for his lost father and Bloom for his dead son. We feel the real emotional pull is between the two of them.”
    “But surely, Mr. Rossi, the novel itself ends with Molly’s soliloquy. Why are you mutilating a classic for what I assume is the sake of Mr. Mostel’s ego?”
    Before Danny could reply, the male lead offered a laconic comment.
    In an accent now more aristocratic than ever, Theora Hamilton turned to her costar and said sternly, “Mr. Mostel, such vulgarity is unworthy of the professional you aspire to be.”
    To which Zero simply replied, “Bullshit.”
    Sir John Chalcott rose again.
    “Miss Hamilton, ladies and gentlemen, I’m sure none of us here is unfamiliar with Joyce’s masterpiece. And for that very reason we can appreciate how ingeniously our authors have captured its spirit. You do, after all, have a musical version of the soliloquy when you sing ‘Roses and Fire and Sunset’ in the penultimate scene. I think the slight modification of putting Zero’s duet last works better for the stage. Call it justifiable artistic license.”
    “I still think I should sing a reprise just before the curtain,” she replied. “After all, who are the public flocking to see if not Theora Hamilton?”
    To which Zero Mostel answered, “Zero Mostel.”
    The First Lady of the American musical theater turned again to her costar and said, in an accent by no means English, “Bullshit.”
    Rehearsals had begun.

    Six weeks later, prior to leaving for Boston they did a run-through in New York. Afterward Edgar Waldorf reported that the group of invited professionals had all been laudatory about the project. Some indeed had confessed to being moved to tears by the lovely duet that concluded the play.
    Danny and Stuart embraced warmly.
    “Just think,” the poet enthused, “we’ll be starting our triumphal march in the shadow of Harvard Yard. Doesn’t that give it an extra kick?”
    “Yeah, it really does.”
    “Hey,” Stuart suggested, “do you and Maria want to take the train up with me and Nina? We could all hold each other’s hands.”
    “Thanks, but Maria’s going to stay in Philly. She gets sort of nervous at these things. I’m going home over the weekend to conduct two concerts and I’ll fly up Sunday night. We can meet for a drink in my suite at The Ritz.”
    “Great. But listen, Danny. I know I’ve told you before but, as Hamlet says, I want to engrave this on the tablets of your memory. I’ll always be grateful that you chose me to collaborate with you —”
    “Stu, you’re enormously talented —”
    “Please, Danny, you could have had any lyricist you wanted, but you gave a shot to a guy with no track record. Don’t think I’ll ever forget your generosity.”
    “Hey, Stuart, now it’s my turn. This whole thing has been a joy. We’re not just partners anymore. We’re almost brothers.”

    It is an invariable rule in the theater that musicals are never written. They are rewritten.
    “That’s what tryout towns like New Haven and Boston are for,” Edgar explained to Danny and Stu. “Bostonians are as sophisticated as New Yorkers  but more tolerant. They appreciate the fact that we’re there to cut and trim and polish. Even the critics can give you a useful tip or two.”
    “Suppose a show is perfect?” Stuart asked tongue-in-cheek.
    “Then we just make it more perfect. Even My Fair Lady polished all its diamonds on the road. And, boys, let me tell you, this show is a thousand times better.”
    Manhattan Odyssey opened its Boston run on February 12, 1968. The initial reviews were not quite as enthusiastic as Edgar Waldorf had predicted. Indeed, they were not very good. To be more precise, they were scathing.
    The only “useful tip” the Boston Globe could offer was that “this unmitigated disaster should fold its tents as quickly as possible and creep away in the night.” The critic found the words pretentious and the score incongruous. The other papers were even more disparaging.
    Danny was in shock. These were the first hostile reviews he’d received since the Harvard Crimson panned Arcadia.
    When she heard of the catastrophic reception, Maria offered to fly up and give him support.
    “No,” he told her on the phone, “I have a feeling we’re going to be working night and day. You’d be better off out of the line of fire.”
    “Danny,” she said reassuringly, “this has happened to a lot of out-of-town shows before. You’ve got plenty of time to fix whatever is wrong.”
    “Yeah. Besides, I think the Boston critics are being a little bit snobbish. I’ll wait and see what Variety has to say. That’s the only opinion I really trust.”

    Variety, the respected publication of the show-business world speaks unvarnished truths in its own unique idiom. And, from its opening headline, “No Cause to Rejoyce,” it was an unmitigated pan.
    Danny quickly skipped over the unfavorable comments about Stuart’s words, Sir John’s staging, the stars’ heroic efforts to overcome the feeble material, and shot right to the paragraph that addressed itself specifically to his work.
    On the cleffing side, Rossi is clearly out of his element. He seems to write noise, not tunes. His material is distinctly unhummable. He seems allergic to melody, which may be chic in his longhair circles, but It’s not likely to send the average playgoer stampeding to the wickets.
    In short, Manhattan Odyssey is going to need mucho work to make it on the Main Stem.
    As he sat there in the quiet splendor of his suite at The Ritz, Danny read the review several times, still unable to dispel his incredulity.
    Why were the critics so vicious? That music was the best he had ever written. He was sure of it. At least, until this moment.
    There was a knock at his door. He glanced quickly at his watch. It was twenty minutes past midnight. But, as his New York friends had often reminded him, when a show is out of town it’s like an obstetrics ward. There is no night and no day.
    His nocturnal visitor was Edgar Waldorf, their no-longer-ebullient producer.
    “Did I wake you, Dan?”
    “No, I was just about to jump out the window.”
    “Then you’ve seen Variety?”
    Edgar flopped onto a couch and breathed a histrionic sigh.
    “You know, Dan, we’ve got trouble.”
    “Edgar, I’m aware we have problems. But isn’t that what out-of-town tryouts are for?”
    “Stu has got to be replaced,” he replied quickly. “I mean, he has big talent, a huge talent. But he’s too inexperienced. He’s never worked under the gun like this.”
    Danny did not know how to react. His friend and college classmate — a fine and intelligent writer — was going to be summarily fired.
    He brooded silently for a moment, and then said softly, “He’s a sensitive guy, this’ll kill him.…”
    “No,” the producer replied. “He’s a big boy. He’ll live to write another day. And when we save the show he’ll have royalties to live very well. But right now we need to play doctor — somebody who writes great, funny, and fast.”
    “Uh, who’d you have in mind?” said Danny, dreading what might now become of Stuart’s elegant dialogue.
    “My wife is calling New York to see who’s available.”
    “But Stu’ll still stay on as lyricist….”
    “God knows, we still need work there, too,” Edgar commented, a perceptible tinge of uneasiness in his voice. And then quickly added, “Stu’s back in New York. I don’t want him on the lyrics, either.”
    “Dammit, Edgar, the least you could have done is let me tell him! Aren’t you being a bit brutal?”
    “It’s not me who’s brutal, Dan, it’s the business. Broadway is strictly sink or swim, either one night or ten years! It’s a goddamn war between the artists and The New York Times!”
    “Okay, okay, I’m getting the idea,” Danny acquiesced. “But who’m I gonna work with on the lyrics?”
    Edgar now took a prodigiously deep breath. It was as if the entire hotel suite had suddenly become an oxygen tent. He squirmed, clutched his heart, and in his most mellifluous lower register said, “Daniel, we have to talk about the music, too.”
    “What about it?”
    “It’s terrific, sensational, brilliant. It’s just maybe a little too brilliant.”
    “Meaning what?”
    “Well, not everybody can appreciate such quality. I mean — you’ve read the reviews.”
    No, thought Danny Rossi, this can’t be happening. He doesn’t want to fire me!
    “We need some songs,” Edgar explained. “You know, tunes.”
    “I’ve read Variety, Edgar. I’ll simplify the stuff. I’ll write catchy melodies.” Panic had gripped him, and his tone of voice had involuntarily become a plea, a supplication.
    “Danny, you’re a classical composer. God knows, you may be a modern Mozart!”
    He seized the feeble compliment to use as a weapon for his own survival. “That’s just the point, Edgar. Mozart could write in any style — from Requiem Mass to ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’ ”
    “Yeah,” replied the producer. “But he’s not available. And listen, baby, you need help.”
    There was a frightening pause. What was this ignoramus going to propose?
    “You’ve gotta understand there’s nothing personal about this, Dan. It’s for the show. We’ve gotta do this to save the show. Ever hear of Leon Tashkenian?”
    Indeed, to his ineffable distress, Danny had. Tashkenian was known among his serious musical friends as “Trash-canian.” A two-bit, Tin Pan Alley hack!
    “He writes shit, Edgar, pure unadulterated shit!”
    I don’t give a damn what you call it,” Edgar retorted. Leon’s got it and we need it. Do you hear me? Does reality ever pierce your magnificent ego? Like the fields need manure, this show needs some shit!”
    Daniel Rossi was choking with rage and humiliation.
    “Edgar, I know my rights under the Dramatists Guild contract. You can’t bring in a new composer without my consent. And I hereby refuse to consent.”
    “Okay, Mr. Rossi,” Waldorf said calmly, “I know my rights, too. This show sucks. Your music is putrid. The people hate it. So if you don’t want the helping hand of Mr. Leon Tashkenian, you have a simple alternative. You can die in Boston and be buried in your beloved Harvard Yard, Because if you say ‘no Leon,’ I’ll go right over to the theater and post the notice.”
    He stormed out in a melodramatic huff, knowing Danny was already vanquished.
    In fact, Edgar went straight to the downstairs telephone to call Leon Tashkenian, who had already been working in a suite at the Statler since early that morning.

    Danny swallowed a tranquilizer, which seemed to have no effect. Then he began to seek consolation from every possible source. First, his agent, Harvey Madison, who had been expecting a call and who was quick to reassure his distinguished client that during a long battle with Edgar Waldorf earlier that evening, he had preserved Danny’s integrity in every way. Leon Tashkenian would receive no billing whatsoever.
    “Listen, Dan,” Harvey philosophized, “this is how every Broadway show gets on. It’s patched together with a dozen different shmatas from a dozen different people. And if you’re exceptionally lucky, the critics decide it’s silk and not the same old toilet paper.”
    Danny was seething with betrayal.
    “Harv, you haven’t got a shred of integrity,” he shouted.
    “Danny, wake up. In the theater, ‘integrity’ is what closes on Saturday night. Stop playing Goody Two-Shoes and be grateful Tashkenian was willing to ghost for you. Look, we’ll talk, babe. As soon as the new stuff is in, I’ll fly up to Beantown and we’ll have a quiet meal and a good heart-to-heart. Stay loose.”
    As he slammed down the phone, Danny thought of getting drunk. But then suddenly realized that, for all his moral indignation, he had forgotten the devoted Stuart Kingsley, now so brutally banished.
    He dialed New York. Nina said her husband could not come to the phone.
    “Danny, you’re a ruthless, cold-hearted bastard,” she hissed. “Is there anything or anyone you won’t sell out? He thought you were his friend. God knows he would have protected you —”
    “Nina —”
    “I hope this show goes down the sewer and you with it. That’s where you all belong!”
    “Please, Nina, let me speak to Stuart. Please.”
    There was a slight pause. She then replied with subdued fury, “He’s in Hartford, Danny.”
    “What the hell’s he doing in —?” But it dawned on him before he had finished his sentence. “You mean the sanitarium?”
    “What happened?”
    “He got knifed in the back by his friend.”
    “I mean, what did he do?”
    “Washed down a few dozen pills with a bottle of scotch. Luckily, I came home early —”
    “Thank God. Nina, I —”
    “Oh, console yourself, Daniel. The doctors understand his case completely —”
    “Good,” said Danny, genuinely relieved.
    “— They think he’ll probably succeed next time.”

    Mercifully, Danny had to be away from Boston for the next few days. First he conducted a pair of concerts in Los Angeles, then took the Red Eye straight to New York. He arrived at 6:00 A.M., caught some sleep in the dressing room, swallowed two “allegro vivaces” for stimulation and went out to rehearse for three hours.
    That evening he performed Schoenberg’s complex piano concerto to such rapturous applause that he had to play an encore.
    Danny’s choice — a complete musical contrast — revealed that Boston was very much on his mind. He played Mozart’s Variations in C (K 265). Otherwise known as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

    He finally got back to Boston at twenty-five to one. As he entered his suite at the Ritz, the phone was ringing.
    “Yes?” he said, sighing wearily.
    “Welcome home, Danny, are you free?” It was Edgar.
    “Hey, I’m dog tired. Can’t we speak in the morning?”
    “No, we’ve got a rehearsal call for eleven and I want to get the parts copied.”
    “What parts?”
    “Leon’s new material. Can we come up?”
    Oh no, did he actually have to meet his nemesis?
    “Edgar, you don’t need my approval. I’ve already capitulated. I know it’s terrible without even having to hear it….”
    “Then let Leon play it and maybe you’ll change your mind. You might even have a suggestion or two.”
    Daniel Rossi was a quick study. He now, as it were, knew the score. Although he had waived his right to veto additional music by Leon Tashkenian, he had retained one privilege, empty gesture though it might be.
    Contractually, he could still remove his name from the whole enterprise. And, what the hell, wasn’t that something? Didn’t his name lend class to the marquee? Didn’t his reputation as a serious musician ensure some kind of respect on the part of the reviewers? Edgar still had to stroke him.
    “All right. But this has got to be as brief as possible.”
    “It’ll be the Minute Waltz,” Edgar blurted. And immediately hung up.
    Danny barely had the time to swallow an “Allegro” when he heard a knock. He opened the door with trepidation. There stood a bizarre couple. Elegant, melon-shaped Edgar Waldorf and a youngish, swarthy man with Brillo hair. The latter was garbed in black corduroy, save for a white shirt open amply enough to allow an unobstructed view of a gold medallion nestling in a field of fleecy muscularity.
    “Hi.” Leon Tashkenian smiled, offering his hand.
    “Bollinger,” said Edgar Waldorf, offering a magnum of champagne.
    Danny said nothing. Never squander ammunition in a siege. As the two men entered the room, a waiter suddenly appeared behind them, bearing a tray of three chilled glasses. He retrieved the bottle and proceeded to open and disgorge its contents.
    “You played really great tonight,” Tashkenian remarked.
    “Thanks,” Danny muttered sarcastically, taking it as typical showbiz bullshit. “Were you in New York today?”
    “No. But you were live on WGBH.”
    “Let’s all drink up,” Edgar interposed, foisting champagne glasses into the two composers’ hands. He then raised his own goblet in an emotional toast: “To the Show.”
    Leon lifted his glass but did not drink. Danny merely gulped it and sat down.
    “Okay, let’s see what you’ve done,” he said, reaching out toward Tashkenian’s sheaf of papers.
    “Let him play it,” Edgar insisted.
    “I can read music,” Danny snapped.
    “I would expect no less of a Harvard graduate, Daniel,” Edgar replied. “But, unfortunately, I am educationally deprived. Besides, I like Leon’s delivery. C’mon, Lee, give out with the material.” And then turning to Danny, he editorialized, “It’s fabulous! Fab-u-lous!”
    Boom-barn, boom-boom-bam! Leon played like a mad woodman trying mightily to fell a Steinway.
    Danny raised his hand. “Okay. I’ve heard enough.”
    “Wait, wait,” Edgar protested, “he’s just warming up.”
    Danny capitulated with a sigh and turned to refill his glass.
    Gradually through the din a few sounds became intelligible. The tonic, the relative minor, the second, the dominant seventh. Could he have expected anything better than the most hackneyed, overused chord sequence in pop music?
    There had been moments in Danny’s life when he had dreamed of becoming Beethoven. Now he merely longed to be deaf. For, among his many virtues, Leon Tashkenian had the voice of a ruptured hyena.
    Now and then, Danny could discern a word or two of text. There was something about “Mars,” suggesting that the rhyme “stars” could not be far behind, And it arrived, just as surely as “crying” followed “flying.” At last, on the very brink of a vocal orgasm, Leon screeched “above,” harmonized by an E major seventh.
    The end was near — and so damn predictable — that Danny had all he could do to keep from groaning the inevitable concluding wordlet, “love.”
    By this point, Edgar was pirouetting around the room. He rushed over to Tashkenian, kissed him on the cheek, and announced, “He loves it, Danny loves it!”
    Sweating and gasping for breath, Leon looked up at the Renaissance man of modern music.
    “What do you think, Mr. Rossi?” he asked like a nervous neophyte.
    “Leon, it gives the word crap a new dimension.”
    “He’s kidding, he’s kidding.” Edgar laughed nervously.
    “He’s not,” said the young man at the piano, quietly but with less diffidence. And then, turning to Danny, he inquired, “Could I have some more specific criticism?”
    “Specifically, Leon, I object to the clichéd use of ‘one-six-four-five-one.’ ”
    “A cliché is what you make of it, Mr. Rossi,” Leon replied. “Richard Rodgers used it beautifully in ‘Blue Moon.’ ”
    “You’re not Richard Rodgers — and that mindless sequence of notes isn’t music.”
    Tashkenian was young, but he was aware of his own worth, especially at this moment. After this latest barrage of insults, he owed the maestro no more deference.
    “Look, Rossi, I’ve got better things to do than sit here and be abused by a pretentious, overrated asshole like you. I know damn well my chord progressions are familiar. But that’s the name of the game. The clichés make ’em think it’s something they’ve heard before. They’re half-remembering it even before they hear it. And that means they can hum it at intermission. And that, in the musical theater, spells success, You don’t have anything against success, do you?”
    At this point, however, Edgar Waldorf felt impelled to defend the star who was providing his show with light if not heat.
    “Mr. Rossi is one of the great composers of our time,” he said.
    But Tashkenian had gone too far to back down.
    “Of what?” he sneered. And then turned to Danny. “You’re not even that good at classical. I mean, at Juilliard we studied the last movement of your pseudo-Stravinsky Savanarola ballet — as an example of heavy-handed orchestration, You’re nothing but an Ivy League con man.”
    As suddenly as he started, Leon stopped, gripped with fear at what he’d allowed himself to say.
    Danny could say nothing. Because some pellets of truth in Leon’s wild shotgun rage had hit home.
    They simply stood there, glaring at each other, both frightened at who might explode next.
    Curiously, it was Leon Tashkenian. He began to cry. He reached into his pocket for a handkerchief, wiped his cheeks, and then said quietly, “I’m sorry, Mr. Rossi. I spoke out of turn.”
    Danny did not know how to respond.
    “Come on,” Edgar pleaded, “he said he was sorry.”
    “I really didn’t mean what I said,” Tashkenian added meekly.
    Danny concluded that magnanimity would be his only way of saving face. “Forget it, Leon, we’ve got a show to think about.”
    Edgar Waldorf rose like a phoenix from his sofa of despair.
    “Oh God, I love you both. You are two beautiful human beings.”
    By some miracle, both men avoided his passionate lunges. He then took Leon’s lead sheets and handed them to Danny.
    “Here, schmaltz ’em up with your classical virtuosity.”
    “You gotta play these tunes to the cast tomorrow morning.”
    What new humiliation was this? Was he to “schmaltz” up Leon’s musical guano as this cheap hack looked on gloating?
    “Why do I have to play it?”
    “Because it’s supposed to be your stuff, Dan.”
    “They don’t know about Leon?”
    Edgar shook his head emphatically. “And they never will.”
    Danny was speechless. He turned to the young man, whose eyes were still red with tears, and asked, “You really don’t want any credit?”
    Leon smiled shyly. “It’s part of the business, Mr. Rossi. I’m sure you’d do the same for me.”

    “They’re humming! Do you hear me, Danny? They’re humming!”
    Edgar Waldorf was phoning from the manager’s office of the Shubert Theatre. It was the first intermission after Leon’s numbers had gone into the show. They had even added a reprise of “The Stars Are Not Enough,” which Theora Hamilton would now sing just before the curtain fell (Sir John Chalcott, who had threatened to resign if this change were effected, was at that moment on a flight back to London).
    Danny had not been able to bring himself to go to the theater for fear of — he knew not what. Hearing the new songs fail? Or, worse perhaps, hearing them succeed?
    “And, Danny,” Edgar continued to enthuse, “I smell success. We’ve got a winner! Trust Edgar Waldorf, we’ve got a smasheroo!”

    Toward the midnight hour, there was a sensuous tap-tap-tapping at his hotel door.
    It was the distinguished — and heretofore coolly distant — leading lady. Miss Theora Hamilton was carrying a bottle of showbiz soda water, otherwise known as champagne.
    “Mr. Rossi,” she cooed, “I’ve come to toast a genius. That new ballad you wrote for me is a classic. I could see tears in their eyes as the curtain fell.”
    Danny had never taken much heed of her opinions, but he had always entertained some interest in her breasts. He was pleased to see that she had not neglected to bring them along.
    “Well, may I enter, or do we have to drink this in the hallway?”
    “Madame,” said Danny with a gallant bow, “je vous en prie.”
    And so the legendary Theora wafted in. First bottle, then breasts, then the heart that lay passionately within, They all were his that night.
    Yes, music hath charms. Even if it is by Leon Tashkenian.

    On the night of the New York opening, Danny had his driver bring Maria from Philadelphia directly to the theater. While she went in to watch the performance, Danny and Edgar paced nervously in the empty lobby. Every time they perceived laughter or applause they exchanged glances and mumbled something like, “Do you think they liked it?”
    During the ride to the party, Danny anxiously asked Maria what she thought.
    “Well, frankly, the original version was a little more to my taste, But the audience seemed to like it and I guess that’s what’s important.”
    “No, it’s only what the critics think that counts.”
    “I looked everywhere,” she said, “but I didn’t see Stuart and Nina.”
    “They were both too nervous,” Danny improvised. “In fact, I don’t think they’ll even come to the reception. They’ll probably just sit at home and watch the television critics.”
    By eleven-thirty, almost all the important reviews were in. The networks had been unanimously favorable. All complimented Stuart Kingsley’s literate book (Edgar’s wife, who had stepped in when Neil Simon declined the rewriting task, went graciously unbilled). And all remarked on Danny Rossi’s “sinewy, melodic score” (CBS-TV). It now seemed a foregone conclusion that the Times would come through with a rave.
    And it did. In fact, Edgar was on the bandstand at that very moment, tearfully reading the words that would make them all rich and famous forever.
    “It’s a Valentine!” he shrieked, waving a yellow sheet of paper above his head, “an unadulterated Valentine! Listen to his goddamn headline — ‘Melody Makes a Mighty Return to Broadway.’ ”
    The crowd of actors, investors, and Beautiful People broke into cheers, Edgar raised his hand to plead for silence. At last, they quieted down to hear more. Only the tinkle of glasses was audible, occasionally punctuated by melodramatic female sighs and appreciative whispers.
    Meanwhile, Edgar read on from the sacred document.
    “Tonight, at the Shubert Theatre, Daniel Rossi confirmed beyond doubt that he is master of every musical form. What better demonstration of the enormous range of a composer than the comparison of his complex, powerful, nearly atonal Savanarola ballet with the dulcet and unabashedly simple melodies from Manhattan Odyssey. Certain to become standards are gems like, ‘This Evening, Like All the Other Evenings,’ and, especially, ‘The Stars Are Not Enough.’
    “Poet Stuart Kingsley has also shown that he has a magical gift for the theater.…”
    Immediately after the definitive critic’s closing salvo (“I hope it runs forever”), the band broke into “The Stars Are Not Enough.” And everyone, young and old, drunk and sober, began to vocalize. Except Danny Rossi.
    As the guests sang chorus after chorus, Maria leaned over and whispered in her husband’s ear.
    “It’s really lovely, Danny.”
    He kissed her on the cheek. Not to acknowledge what she had naively intended as a compliment, but because there were photographers watching.

    The following March, at the Tony Award ceremonies, Manhattan Odyssey was chosen as Best Musical of the year. Not unexpectedly, Danny Rossi won for Best Score. Accepting the prize on behalf of Stuart Kingsley, who had won for Best Book, Edgar Waldorf gave a touching little speech about Stu’s teaching commitments making it impossible for him to attend.
    In a frantic round of bidding, MGM carried away the screen rights for a record sum of nearly seven million dollars.
    Not long thereafter, Danny Rossi’s picture appeared on the cover of Time.

    For a long while Danny felt ashamed about the secret Manhattan Odyssey humiliation. Though only two other people in the world knew, he harbored an inner sense of failure.
    Yet, the soul has remarkable powers of regeneration. As years passed, and the number of different recorded versions neared two hundred, Danny gradually began to believe that he actually had composed “The Stars Are Not Enough.”
    And, what the hell, given half a chance, he probably could have.


    May 15, 1968
    Practically living as I do at the New York Harvard Club, I was probably the first guy outside of Cambridge to see a copy of the Decennial Report, which chronicles our class’s progress in the first ten years since graduation.
    I note a tendency of the less successful guys to write longer histories than their more shining counterparts.
    I mean, one character goes on for paragraphs in tedious detail about his uneventful army service, his choice of wife, what his kids both weighed at birth, and so forth. Also how challenging life is in Daddy’s shoe-manufacturing business (“We’ve had to move our operations from New England to Puerto Rico and are now exploring the possibility of relocating in the Far East”).
    The only thing he doesn’t talk about at length is his divorce. That’s where I might have found something to empathize with. Anyway, it’s clear to see through the thick clouds of his verbosity that he’s trying to disguise a life of quiet desperation. He concludes with the philosophical observation, “If the shoe fits, you’ve got to wear it.”
    In other words, he’s taken four whole pages to inform us that he’s on his way to being a successful failure.
    On the other hand, Danny Rossi merely lists the dates of his marriage and his daughters’ births, the things he’s written, and the prizes he’s won. That’s all. He didn’t even offer a pithy conclusion like “I’ve been very lucky,” or “I owe it all to eating Wheaties,” or some such.
    And yet who hasn’t seen his face in all the papers and read at least a half dozen stories that all but deify him?
    I bet a lot of guys who thought he was a weenie are now boasting to their wives and kids that they were buddies with him in the college days. I confess that I even exaggerate my passing friendship with him, too.
    Ted Lambros’s entry was also brief and to the point. He and Sara had enjoyed the decade at Harvard. He was gratified that his Sophocles book had received favorable reviews, and he and his family were looking forward to the new challenge of living and teaching at Canterbury.
    Neither Jason Gilbert nor George Keller sent in a response, both for reasons I well understood. Jason, with whom I’m still in touch by letter, has been through a hell of a lot.
    And George is just the same old paranoid, suspicious nut. He didn’t even vouchsafe any of the meager information he gives me when we have lunch.
    Unlike a lot of my classmates, I thought I’d try to be honest in my capsule history.
    My two years in the navy got a sentence, and I didn’t glorify them. Then I simply noted that after seven years at Downs, Winship, I’d been elected a vice-president.
    Then I said that the greatest joy I’ve had is watching my children grow. And the greatest disappointment that my marriage didn’t work.
    I don’t think many people bothered reading my entry, but I didn’t give much away.
    I didn’t mention that I’m really not that much of a success in investment banking. I owe my promotion to the fact that a couple of buddies and I helped float Kintex, which grew to be the world’s largest producer of The Pill. And hence took off like a wild rocket. (Sheer luck — or was it a subconscious way of regretting that I had allowed myself to have children with such an unfit mother?)
    I didn’t say that though there are thousands of new singles’ bars sprouting all over First Avenue for so-called successful guys like me to meet fairly neat women, my life is desperately lonely.
    I spend every weekend trying to reconnect with my kids (Andy now seven, Lizzie four), to little avail. Faith seems to have given up sex in favor of booze — and her face shows it. Apparently the only time she sobers up is when she’s telling the kids what a bastard I am. And I only have a couple of hours on Saturdays to try to counter this calumny.
    My one solace still seems to come from Harvard. Though I’ve bought a fancy pad in a new high-rise on East Sixty-first Street, I spend most of my time playing squash at the H-Club and socializing with the guys. I help the Schools Committee recruit good men for “the age that is waiting before.” I’m even thinking of running for the Alumni Council — which would give me a nice pretext to go up and walk in the Yard again.
    In short, I’m no happier than the garrulous shoe salesman. On the other hand, I think I hide it a little better.
    Ted Lambros prepared himself for his new life at Canterbury with typical enthusiasm. He spent the summer of ’68 packing books and notes, improving his old lectures, and — most important — taking tennis lessons at Soldier’s Field.
    As they were settling into the ramshackle house they had rented from the college on North Windsor Street, Sara cautioned him, “You know, honey, if you actually beat Bunting, he’ll never vote for you.”
    “Hey,” he replied jocularly, “you’re speaking to the great tactician. I’ve got to be just good enough for him to want to keep me as a sparring partner — or whatever they call it.”
    But there was more than the tennis vote to worry them. The department had three other senior classicists — and also influential wives.
    Naturally, there had to be a separate dinner with each couple. Henry Dunster made the first move and invited them. The present Mrs. D. was Henry’s third, and there was every indication that she might not be the last. Predictably, he made a sort-of-pass at Sara. Which did not flatter her at all.
    “I mean, he wasn’t vulgar,” she complained to Ted as they drove home, “it’s that he was so ludicrously tentative. He wasn’t even man enough to be an honest flirt. God, what a creep.”
    Ted reached over and took Sara’s hand.
    “One down,” he whispered, “three to go.”
    The next hurdle on this steeplechase to tenure was a dinner with the Hendricksons — Digby, the historian, and his loving wife, Amelia. Theirs was indeed a marriage of true minds, for they thought as one. They shared a love of hiking, mountaineering, and a fervid paranoia that everyone in the department was out to steal Digby’s history courses.
    “I think it’s awful,” Sara commented, “but in a way their jealousy is understandable, History, after all, is the foundation of the classics.”
    Digby took her point and ran with it a little further.
    “Not just the foundation, Sara, it’s the whole shebang. Literature is nice, but what the heck, when all is said and done it’s only words. History is facts.”
    “I’ll buy that,” said Ted Lambros, specialist in literature, clouding his mind and swallowing his pride.

    Sara had already started action on the distaff front. In fact, her “friendship” with Ken Bunting’s wife had blossomed into weekly soup-and-sandwich luncheon dates at The Huntsman.
    Dotty was a self-styled social arbiter who neatly pigeon-holed the Canterbury wives into one of two categories: “real class” or “no class.” And Sara Lambros of the New York banking Harrisons was certainly genuine cream, not ReddiWhip. And since Dotty was, as she put it, a blueblood from Seattle, she regarded Sara as a soulmate.
    The only difference was their marriages.
    “Tell me,” Dotty asked in furtive tones, “what’s it like being married to, you know, a Latin type?”
    Trying mightily to keep a straight face, Sara patiently explained that Greeks, though dark and — to some eyes, perhaps — a little swarthy, weren’t quite the same as “Latins.” Still, she understood the interrogatory innuendo and replied that she assumed all men were basically alike.
    “You mean, you’ve known a lot?” asked Dotty Bunting, titillated and intrigued.
    “No,” Sara answered calmly, “I just mean — you know — they have the same equipment.”
    Dotty Bunting turned a vivid crimson.
    Sara quickly changed the subject and sought Dotty’s counsel on the “real class” children’s dentists in the area.
    One thing was clear. If Mrs. Bunting had a vote, Sara certainly would have it. It remained to be seen what influence she had on her husband. And that could be determined only when the two couples actually met for dinner. Again, consistent with traditional collegiality, the Buntings asked the new arrivals to their home.
    The conversation, as anticipated, was tennis-oriented. Bunting jocularly accused Ted of dodging his innumerable invitations to “come and hit a few.” Ted volleyed back that he’d been so involved in setting up the house and starting courses that his game was far too rusty to give Bunting even token competition.
    “Oh, I’m sure he’s only being modest, Sara,” Dotty Bunting gushed. “I bet he even played for the varsity.”
    “No, no, no,” Ted protested, “I wasn’t nearly good enough. Tennis is one of the few sports Harvard actually is not bad in.
    “Yes,” Ken allowed, “it was a Harvard guy who beat me for the IC4A title back in fifty-six.”
    Unwittingly, Ted had reopened the most painful wound in Bunting’s sporting memories. Ken now began to hemorrhage verbally.
    “I really should have won it. But that Jason Gilbert was such a crafty New York type. He had all sorts of sneaky little shots.”
    “I never thought of New York people as particularly ‘crafty,’ ” Sara said ingenuously. “I mean, I’m from Manhattan too.”
    “Of course, Sara,” Bunting quickly said apologetically. “But Gilbert — which was probably not his name for very long — was one of those, you know, Jewy characters.”
    There was an awkward pause. Sara held back to let her husband speak up in defense of their Harvard classmate.
    Then, seeing that Ted was having trouble finding an appropriate response, Sara mentioned casually, “Jason was The Class of ’58, with Ted and me.”
    “Oh,” said Dotty Bunting. “Did you know him?”
    “Not very well,” Sara replied, “but he dated a few girls from my dorm. He was very good-looking.”
    “Oh,” said Dotty, wanting to hear more.
    “Say,” Ken interrupted, “whatever happened to old Jason? His name seems to have disappeared from the pages of Tennis World.”
    “The last I heard, he’d gone to live in Israel,” Ted answered.
    “Indeed?” Bunting smiled. “He should be very happy there.”
    Ted looked at Sara, his glance imploring her advice on what to say. This time, she too was at a loss. The best she could come up with was, “This dessert is marvelous. You must give me the recipe.”

    Left for last because they seemed the toughest nuts to crack were Foley, the stone-faced archaeologist, and his equally impenetrable wife. Sara made countless attempts to fix a time with them. But they always seemed to have some previous engagement. At last, she verbally threw up her hands and said, “Please, name any night you’re free. It’s fine with us.”
    “I’m sorry, dear,” Mrs. Foley said cheerfully, “we’re busy then.”
    Sara hung up politely and turned to Ted. “What the hell, we’ve got three out of four. That ought to do it.”

    Collegiality aside, Ted grew more and more to love the Canterbury way of life. He was pleased that Sara seemed to be adapting to rusticity as well as coming to appreciate the rich classics section of Hillier Library. She read all the latest journals from cover to cover and would even brief him over dinner on what was new in the ancient world.
    The students were enthusiastic, and he felt the same toward them. And, of course, it didn’t hurt Ted’s ego that his course in Greek drama drew the largest crowd in the department.
    Raves for his teaching soon reached the office of the dean. And Tony Thatcher thought it now opportune to sound out all the classicists about Ted’s tenure. He elicited affirmative responses from the Hellenist, the Latinist, and the historian. And from the archaeologist he even got a nod.
    All would have come off without the slightest hitch had it not been for the affair with young Chris Jastrow.

    In certain circumstances it might have been a touching sight — a muscular Adonis in an orange crew-necked sweater emblazoned with a C, sleeping like a mighty lion in the sun.
    Unfortunately, this was in the middle of Ted’s Latin class. And he was anything but touched.
    “Wake up, Jastrow!” he snapped.
    Christopher Jastrow slowly raised his handsome head and looked at Ted with half-open lids.
    “Yes, sir, Professor,” he mumbled with exaggerated deference. And removed his feet from the desk in front of him.
    “I’m sorry to interrupt your siesta. But would you be kind enough to conjugate voco in the present passive?”
    “Yes, voco,” Ted repeated. “As you may recall, it’s first conjugation. And I’d like to hear you go through it in the present passive.”
    There was a slight pause.
    “I’m afraid I didn’t get today’s assignment, sir.”
    “What you’re saying is that you weren’t here last time and didn’t bother to ask anybody what to prepare.”
    “Well —”
    “Mr. Jastrow, I want to see you in my office this afternoon between four and five.”
    “I’m sorry, I can’t make it, sir,” he answered courteously. “I’ve got practice.”
    “Listen,” Ted warned sternly, “I don’t care if you’ve got a meeting with the President of the United States. You show up between four and five today — or else.”
    And even though there was some ten minutes remaining, he could not continue teaching.
    “Class dismissed,” he said, fuming.
    As the students filed slowly toward the front and out the door, sophomore Tom Herman stopped at Ted’s desk and spoke sympathetically.
    “Excuse me, Professor Lambros, would you be offended if I said something?”
    “Tom,” Ted answered, “nothing you could say could possibly offend me any more than Jastrow’s attitude.”
    “Well, that’s just it, sir,” Herman said diffidently. “Maybe you don’t know who he is.”
    “I read the college paper,” Ted replied. “I know Jastrow’s our first-string quarterback. But I’m still going to bounce him from the class if he doesn’t start working.”
    “Sir, with due respect, you can’t do that. I mean, without him we can’t win the Ivy title.”
    Having spoken out bravely, he turned and quickly left the classroom.

    Ted sat in his Canterbury office from four till half-past five that afternoon. Several students dropped by, some to question points that genuinely puzzled them. Some merely to gain points with him.
    But Chris Jastrow was not one of them.
    Ted threw on his (Harvard) scarf and coat and started down the hallway. He noticed that the Classics Department was still open and Leona, the secretary, was typing. He stuck his head inside.
    “Hi, Lee, have you got time to do a short note for me?”
    “Sure.” She smiled, then quickly rolled a fresh sheet of stationery into the typewriter and said, “Fire away.”
    “To Anthony Thatcher, Dean of Humanities: Christopher Jastrow ’69 is currently failing intermediate Latin. His attitude is insouciant bordering on the arrogant. Barring some unforeseen miracle, there is no possibility of his being kept in the course past midterm. Yours truly, et cetera.”
    Ted dictated this in one cathartic burst, his head in his hands. When he glanced up he noticed that Leona looked uneasy.
    “Yes, I know who he is. But this is the Ivy League, we’ve got standards to maintain.” And as she typed the envelope he added, as if to absolve her of complicity, “I’ll put it under the dean’s door myself.”
    He had no classes the next day, and so took full advantage of the rich facilities of the Canterbury Library to further his research.
    He emerged after spending nearly eight hours abstracting the entire Fondation Hardt volume on Euripides, his green bookbag heavy with valuable copies of European journals that he — and Sara — would devour over the weekend.
    Something made him glance up the hill at Canterbury Hall. There was no light on in the department office. What the hell, he thought, I might as well pick up my mail.
    In addition to the routine correspondence there was a hand-addressed letter from the Department of Athletics.
    Dear Ted:
    I’d be grateful if you could drop by as soon as possible. I’m usually in my office till at least 7:30
Your friend,
Chet Bigelow
(Head Football Coach)
    He had half-expected this. Glancing at his watch he saw there was still time to put this presumptuous bastard in his place tonight. He marched off toward the gym.

    Chet Bigelow’s rugged features looked like they had been the model for the phalanx of trophies lined up on the desk that separated the two men.
    “Well then, Professor,” he began, “I understand our boy Jastrow’s having difficulty with your Latin course. Perhaps you don’t realize the pressure our men are under during the season.”
    “Frankly, Mr. Bigelow, that’s none of my concern. In fact, what puzzles me is why Jastrow’s taking Latin in the first place.”
    “Why, Prof, you surely know the college rules as well as I. A guy’s gotta fill a foreign-language requirement to graduate. Right?”
    “But why Latin? Why in the world did you have your precious quarterback take an ancient language that is probably twice as difficult as any modern one?”
    “It’s not hard if you’ve got the right teacher,” Bigelow explained.
    “Most of your classics boys have been terrific to us over the years,” Chet reminisced. “I mean, Henry Dunster’s absolutely fantastic. And, of course, we’ve played ball with him, too.”
    “Coach Bigelow, I’m afraid you’re losing me.”
    “All right, Teddie, lemme put it another way. If you suddenly got a lot more students taking Latin, you’d have to hire a lot more teachers. Am I right?”
    “I don’t like your insinuation,” Ted said with disgust.
    “Just what do you imagine I’m insinuating, Prof.?”
    “Naturally, I’m just a dimwit from Harvard. But it seems to me you’re suggesting that if the football team increases our enrollments by sending us warm bodies, we should be so grateful that we should let them sail through without doing any work.”
    There was a pause. The coach stared silently at Ted. And then he smiled.
    “You clearly know the game, Professor. Now I suggest you go out and play by the rules. For, from what I gather, you do not yet have tenure at this place. And just like we need a good season, you need a good season.”
    Ted stood up.
    “If you want a war, Coach,” he whispered, “you’re gonna get one. Tomorrow’s the midterm exam. And if Jastrow flunks, he’ll be out on his ass.”
    “Have it your way, Teddie. Just remember you’re dealing with a man who’s undefeated in six seasons.”
    At the exam next morning, Jastrow did not appear at all. As soon as it was over, Ted Lambros stormed over to Barnes Hall and requested an audience with the Dean of Humanities.
    “Tony, I’m sorry to barge in on you like this.”
    “That’s all right,” the dean replied. “In fact, you might say your visit has been heralded.”
    “Coach Bigelow?”
    He nodded. “Yes, Chet’s a bit overprotective of his boys. Anyway, sit down and tell me about it.”
    Thatcher listened as Ted went on like a prosecuting attorney. A frown gradually appeared on his face. There was a moment of silence before he commented, “Look, Ted, I don’t think flunking Jastrow’s the most prudent way of handling this.”
    “Do you see any alternative?”
    The dean turned his chair ninety degrees and gazed out over Windsor Green. “Well,” he mused, “as John Milton so eloquently put it, ‘They also serve who only stand and wait.’ ” He then swiveled back and looked at Ted.
    “Milton was blind when he wrote that. But I’m not.”
    Dean Thatcher gave this response careful thought, then smiled benignly.
    “Ted, I want to talk to you for a moment off the record. You know how highly I regard you. And I feel you’re at the start of an extremely promising academic career.”
    “What could this possibly have to do with my professional future?”
    The administrator replied, unblinking, “Everything.”
    “Can you explain that, please?”
    “Listen,” the dean replied patiently, “you don’t seem to understand. If Jastrow can’t play, my head’s right there on the block with yours.”
    “Why? You’re a full professor. You’ve got tenure.”
    “I’ve also got three kids and a mortgage. They could freeze my salary forever. You’ve got to realize that Canterbury alumni are a very powerful group. And they feel pretty strongly about this place.”
    “And its football team,” Ted added sarcastically.
    “Yes, dammit, and its football team!” the dean shot back with exasperation. “Can’t you fathom that every time we beat Yale or Dartmouth, our grads interpret it as a sign that we’re superior in other ways as well? And let me tell you, the Monday after one of those victories, checks pour in like manna from heaven. An undefeated season can literally mean millions of dollars. And I’m not going to sit by and let a sanctimonious punk like you mess up the system. I mean, you don’t seem particularly grateful to be here.”
    “Why should I be grateful, dammit?” Ted retorted. “I’ve already published more than the rest of the department put together.”
    The dean shook his head. “You amaze me. You still have no idea what it takes to get ahead in the academic world.”
    “I’m a good teacher and I’ve written an important book. I should think that would suffice.”
    Tony Thatcher grinned. “It didn’t suffice for Harvard, did it? I mean, they didn’t seem to want to make a professor out of a Cambridge townie. And, frankly, neither do some of our boys.”
    Ted had been in street fights. He had been kicked and punched and bruised. But now he felt inwardly lacerated. While he had already seen that a provincial place like Canterbury judged him on social grounds, he never would permit himself to think that his rejection at Harvard had been on anything other than academic criteria.
    But he was suddenly uncertain about everything. He didn’t know whether to stay or leave. And so he remained frozen in his chair awaiting — fearing — what Thatcher would say next.
    Finally, the dean addressed him in soft, paternal tones. “Ted, let me tell you what’s going to happen. You’re going to pass Chris Jastrow. And he, in turn, is going to pass for innumerable touchdowns — to the delight of our generous alumni. Now, of course, you and I are aware that the boy doesn’t know the first thing about Latin. But we also know that in the scheme of things, it isn’t all that important. What matters is that nobody rocks the boat. That way, everybody’s future is brighter — including yours.”
    He rose and held out his hand in amical valediction.
    “I’m sorry,” Ted said quietly, “but you still haven’t convinced me.”
    “Professor Lambros,” the dean responded cordially, “let me leave you with one little thought. If we should deny you tenure at the end of this year, you might not find another teaching job anywhere.…”
    “That’s a crock.”
    “No, that’s a fact. Because no matter how much you’ve published, the dean of wherever you apply is going to check with us for a character reference. You know, to find out if you’re ‘collegial.’ ” He paused and then added almost in a whisper, “Need I say more?”
    “No,” Ted answered, barely able to hear his own voice.

    Sara was livid.
    “They can’t do this to you. It’s cruel, it’s barbaric — and it’s totally unethical.”
    “You’re right. But it’s also frighteningly possible.”
    He was sitting on their dilapidated couch utterly bereft of confidence. Sara had never seen him so shaken.
    She sat down and put her arms around him. “Ted, Canterbury’s not the end of the world. There are other schools that would kill to get you, even if these guys here say you’re a total shit.”
    He lowered his head for several minutes.
    At last he spoke. “Suppose they’re not bluffing? Suppose Tony Thatcher does have the power to blacklist me? What then?”
    Sara Lambros thought for a moment and carefully weighed every syllable of her reply.
    “Ted, I love you because you’re brave and good and honest. And I’ll stick by you no matter what happens. Isn’t that enough?”
    He raised his head and looked at her. “I can’t lie to you, Sara. I’ve never been so scared in all my life.”
    Before either of them could say another word, their little son burst joyfully into the room. “Daddy, Daddy,” he chirped and ran to his father’s arms. “Jarnie Emerson tried to beat me up again.”
    “Again?” Ted asked bemusedly, as he continued to embrace his son.
    “Yeah,” said the boy, “but this time I did what you told me. I punched him right back in the belly. It made him cry.”
    Ted smiled and thought to himself, At least there’s one fighter in the family.

    They barely spoke at dinner. Sara assumed her husband was just emotionally spent and was thankful for the respite. She was somewhat surprised when he stood up and reached for his parka.
    “Where’re you going?” she asked.
    “I don’t know, I thought I’d walk to Canterbury Hall. It’s such a nice place when nobody’s around. I want to grade those exams tonight — so I can exorcise this whole business.”
    “Good idea,” she answered, sensing that he had regained some confidence. “I can sit here and abstract one or two pieces from Wege zu Euripides.”
    He kissed her on the forehead. “Sara, you are the Tenth Muse.”
    “Thanks, sport, but I’m happy just being plain Mrs. Lambros. Now go off, do your homework, and come back to my loving arms.”

    He sat in his tiny office and looked out over Windsor Green. A preview of snows to come had powdered its broad surface, which glowed softly in the moonlight. Now and then students passed, and the air was so still he could hear their laughter from afar.
    The bell tolling ten o’clock admonished him to complete his task. He turned back to the pile of bluebooks on his desk and set about transcribing the results for submission to the dean’s office. They hadn’t been bad. A handful of A’s, two C’s, and the rest varying shades of B. All in all, something a language teacher could take pride in.
    Of course, there was the no-show of a certain football player. But that was quite another matter.
    It took him less than two minutes to enter the grades. Now only the space following Christopher Jastrow ’69 remained — like the new snow outside — fresh, clean, and unsullied. Blank.
    What should it be — F, Incomplete, or ABX (meaning absent from the exam)? Any of these would put the quietus on the little bastard’s football career.
    He sat there, staring at the paper, writing nothing.
    At first he had no notion of what he was going to do. But then gradually it dawned on him that he had left the house and gone to his lonely, underheated cubicle for a definite reason. To get away from Sara. To elude the beacon of her conscience.
    Sara was unable to understand the kind of fear that gripped him. Her family had status, substance, and security. He still felt like an immigrant, desperately needing roots in his new country. Perhaps her forebears had made compromises in generations past. But they were buried deeply now in the unshakable foundation of her respectability.
    It was such a little thing to do. In years to come he would resent acting out of false bravado. This was not ancient Athens. He was not Socrates. So why the hell should he drink hemlock for some small-time football star? What lofty principle would be served by failing Jastrow?
    No, he told himself. Our whole future’s at stake. This is for self-preservation.
    He took his pen and in the space by Jastrow’s name hastily scribbled — “C.”
    And en route home he dropped the grades in Barnes Hall.

    As he entered, he could hear Sara in the bedroom speaking to someone on the telephone. At this hour?
    He walked to the open door. She was so engrossed in conversation that she didn’t notice his arrival.
    “I just don’t know what else to do,” she was saying plaintively. “This is such a blow for Ted, and I can’t seem to help him.…”
    She paused to listen. He still did not signal his presence.
    “Oh would you?” she then said eagerly. “I think that might really help.”
    Who is she talking to? With whom is she sharing our most intimate secrets?
    “I’m home, Sara,” he said quietly.
    She looked up, smiled, and then immediately ended her phone call. “Oh, the man of the house just entered. Thanks for everything. I’ll call you in the morning.” And she quickly hung up and hurried over to kiss him. “How do you feel, darling? Can I get you a bite of something?”
    “I wouldn’t mind a beer,” Ted answered tersely.
    As they headed for the kitchen, he asked calmly but with an unmistakable edge of disapproval, “With what member of the community were you sharing our little moral crisis?”
    “Oh, Ted, I’m so glad I don’t have to wait to tell you. I’ve just had a long talk with Daddy.
    She opened the fridge, took out two beers, and handed one to him.
    “Why did he have to know about this?” Ted asked.
    “Because I thought he could help, and he can. He knows Whitney Vanderbilt — who’s as heavy a Canterbury alumnus as there is. Daddy’s sure he can get him to step in and help us out. Isn’t that great?”
    Ted felt his anger mounting.
    “So you went running to Daddy with our problem. My problem, to be precise. I find that slightly disloyal, to say the least.”
    She was stunned.
    “Disloyal? For God’s sake, Ted, you were suicidal when you left here. I would have done anything to help you — even strangle Tony Thatcher with my bare hands. I don’t see why you’re not overjoyed that my father actually has the power to help us….”
    Her voice trailed off as she began to realize how furious he was.
    “Sara, you shouldn’t have done this without asking me. I mean, am I or am I not the man in the family?”
    “What the hell does this have to do with gender? Do you want to go down in flames just to preserve your masculine ego?”
    Ted exploded. “Goddamn you, Sara!” And slammed his beer bottle so violently on the kitchen counter that it shattered.
    Before either of them could speak, frightened sobs and shouts of “Mommy!” began to emanate from little Ted’s bedroom.
    For another moment they just glared at each other. Finally she whispered, “I’d better go to him.”
    It took Sara nearly twenty minutes to lull her fearful six-year-old back to sleep. When she returned to the kitchen she saw that Ted had cleaned up and disposed of the broken glass. She walked into the living room. He was seated, facing the fire, a glass of scotch in his hand. He did not turn when he heard her approach.
    “Do you want to talk?” she asked calmly.
    Still with his back to her, he said tersely, “I gave Jastrow a C.”
    By now she had guessed as much. And knew she had to suppress — or at least postpone — her anger.
    “Ted,” she began softly, “it was for you to decide. I just wish you’d trusted me enough to share the pain of compromise.”
    He sat like a statue, unresponsive.
    “Look, I said I’d stick by you. And if staying at Canterbury means that much to you, we’ll pay the price. We can be happy anywhere as long as we keep together.”
    “You think I was a coward, don’t you?” he murmured.
    “No, Ted,” she answered. “I was just as scared as you. I shouldn’t have tried to make you into some Sophoclean hero. I mean, life is full of compromises, and what you did is pretty minuscule in the scheme of things.”
    He still did not turn. She walked up behind him and placed her hands gently at the base of his neck. Her touch brought a surge of comfort.
    “Sara,” he whispered, “I sat there all evening wondering what the hell to do about it. And then something said to me that bucking the system would be like King Lear raging against the winds. It would have meant risking everything we worked for, everything we want to do.…”
    “It’s over now, Ted,” she said softly, “so just forget it.”
    “You know I can’t. I never will.” He paused, then added, “And you won’t either.”
    Inwardly she knew that he was right.
    The National Security Council had existed, at least in name, since 1947. But it was only after 1969 — when Richard Nixon named Henry A. Kissinger to lead this advisory group — that it began to impinge upon and gradually usurp some of the powers of the Department of State.
    Most of this was attributable to Kissinger’s brilliance and resourcefulness. But he also benefited from what, in geopolitical terms, might be called first-strike capability at access to the President.
    The Secretary of State has his headquarters in an imposing building on Twenty-first Street and Virginia Avenue, but the head of the NSC works out of a windowless warren in the bowels of the White House itself. Thus, though William Rogers may have had the cabinet post and trappings of office, Henry Kissinger had the President’s ear.
    To assist in building a power base in the National Security Council, Henry had brought along several of his Harvard students, many of whom he had long been grooming. Of these, George Keller was by far the most gifted. And, paradoxically, had the hardest time being cleared for security.
    No Kafka victim was ever grilled as relentlessly as George was questioned by the FBI. It was all polite, of course. But, as the agents kept emphasizing, when you are checking someone for the highest security level, the fate of the nation lies in your thoroughness.
    First he had filled out an exhaustive written questionnaire asking his name, any former names, and all the addresses he had ever lived at since he was born. Also the sources of all the income he had ever earned. Moreover, they demanded as many names as possible of Americans who could testify to his loyalty. George offered Kissinger, Professor Finley, and Andrew Eliot. All of whom, he later learned, were personally visited by the Bureau.
    But during his oral interview, when questions were repeated again and again by the two agents, he began to grow upset.
    “Gentlemen, I must have told you a dozen times. I can’t be sure that I didn’t live in one place or another when I was two years old. I hope you can appreciate that.”
    “We do, sir,” the senior FBI man said tonelessly. “But I hope you appreciate the sensitive position you’re in. When a candidate still has relatives back there the possibility for blackmail can’t be ignored. And you still have — what, Dr. Keller, — a father —?”
    “And a sister,” George quickly repeated for the millionth time. “And as I told you gentlemen, I haven’t seen them since October 1956.”
    “Still, you are aware that your father is a high official in the Hungarian People’s Government, are you not?”
    “I only know what I read in the papers,” George replied. “And that, gentlemen, is part of my duties as an East European area expert. Yes, it’s true that Istvan Kolozsdi” (he was unable to pronounce the words my father) “has been kicked upstairs, as you might put it. But the jobs he has held are absolutely insignificant.”
    “And yet he is, after all, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Party,” countered the senior agent.
    George laughed derisively. “You could be too, sir. In Hungary they hand that title around like candy.”
    “Then what you’re saying is that your father is not that important. Is that so, Dr. Keller?”
    “Precisely. He’s what you might call a successful failure.”

    Some of the queries were not unexpected.
    “What do you think of communism?” gave George the opportunity for an eloquent tirade against the various Marxist regimes of Eastern Europe. A speech that, he sensed, considerably impressed his interviewers.
    And yet, even after an entire day of talking, one question startled him.
    “Do you love your father, Dr. Keller?”
    George suddenly grew tense. Inexplicably, he was at a loss for words.
    “Do you love your father?” the agent repeated.
    George groped for a suitable response: “He stands for a repressive political system, one which I have dedicated my life to opposing. I cannot but loathe such an individual.”
    The FBI men shifted impatiently in their chairs. The senior officer then commented, “Dr. Keller, we asked you a personal question and you gave us a political answer. Now I know it’s getting late and we’ve been here a long time. But if you don’t mind, sir, I’d like to hear you address yourself to that question again. Do you love your father?”
    Why was he having such trouble giving them a simple “no”?
    “Look,” he said in a confidential tone, “can I say something off the record?”
    “Please feel free, sir.”
    “The truth is, I hate that man. He treated me like a dog from the day I was born. I detest Istvan Kolozsdi as a human being. Now, if I can answer on the record — please. I have no affection whatsoever for my father. Is that clear enough for you, gentlemen?”
    “Yes, Dr. Keller. I think that about wraps it up. Thank you for your patience.”

    Alter they left, George fell into a sudden depression. Not really worrying about his security clearance. Kissinger had forewarned him that the FBI was pretty severe with foreign-born candidates.
    No, it was that last question. He had thought that he no longer had any feelings at all for his father. But never had he been obliged to testify on record, “I swear I do not love my father.”
    Was it totally true?
    A long-forgotten childhood memory suddenly surfaced from his psyche, catching him completely unaware.
    “Why are you crying, Father — is it for Mama?”
    “Yes, boy. To love someone is terrible, it brings such pain.”
    “But, Father, I love you.”
    “Then you’re a little fool. Get out and let me be.”
    Most of the staff of the National Security Council was headquartered in large, airy, colonial-style rooms on the second floor of the Executive Office Building, an historic structure within the White House compound, (“It’s like being on campus again,” George remarked to an assistant.)
    The little rooms along the NSC corridor contained bright young specialists in diplomacy, defense, and various geographical areas of the world. They toiled long hours in the service of their country and their own advancement.
    But George was singled out from the very beginning. He was given office space — though little of it — right in the White House basement, where his boss could hale him into conference at all times of the day. And even well into the night.
    He was also only steps away from the two most vital scenes of governmental deliberations, the Oval Office and the Situation Room, that airless cubicle sometimes referred to as “a sauna for world crises.”
    Though George’s twenty-five-thousand-dollar salary was somewhat less than he had received in New York, he was still able to rent a small apartment in Town Square Towers, a few minutes drive from the White House — especially at 7:00 A.M., when he usually arrived.
    Even Kissinger’s influence did not extend to getting parking places. Therefore, as a junior aide, George had to leave his car in the government lot beneath the Washington Monument, then walk north and cross Constitution Avenue to reach the White House gate.
    Actually, it was a rare occasion in his long and busy day that he got to see some of the other NSC staffers who worked across the way in the EOB. For Henry made enormous demands of his team. His insatiable appetite for information of all sorts was such that they rarely had the chance to leave their desks, even to go downstairs to the cafeteria for lunch.
    No one worked later than Kissinger himself. And George made sure that he never left his office until Henry passed by and wished him good night.
    George had no social life at all. Indeed, the entire staff in the EOB worked themselves to such exhaustion that they barely had the strength to drive home. There were many burnouts even among the whiz kids in their middle twenties.

    One of George’s tasks was assisting Kissinger to recruit bright, new faces — which would very shortly become pale, tired faces — for the National Security Council staff.
    Early that first spring, he interviewed a young graduate of Georgetown for a job in the Latin American section. She had excellent qualifications: an honors degree in Spanish and Portuguese, as well as several letters from Republican party officials reminding the White House boys how important a Washington lawyer her father was.
    George was nonetheless determined to grill her severely. He felt too strong a loyalty to Kissinger to allow party politics to impinge upon the important work they were doing. If this girl turned out to be some flighty social type, they would farm her out to some senator’s office.
    The fact that Catherine Fitzgerald was blond and attractive confirmed his prejudgment that an empty-headed debutante was being foisted on them. But then she genuinely confounded him. Not merely with her credentials and obvious intelligence, but with her experience as well. She had spent two years with the Peace Corps in Latin America, and had worked three summers during college for a bank in São Paulo to perfect her Portuguese.
    George’s evaluation was positive, and Catherine Fitzgerald was hired to work for the National Security Council.
    After that, he passed her occasionally in the corridors while following up something for Hen