|• Main||• Contacts|
your breakfast brought up."
"I am feeling very old to-day, Amory," she would sigh, her face a rare
cameo of pathos, her voice exquisitely modulated, her hands as facile
as Bernhardt's. "My nerves are on edge--on edge. We must leave this
terrifying place to-morrow and go searching for sunshine."
Amory's penetrating green eyes would look out through tangled hair at
his mother. Even at this age he had no illusions about her.
"I want you to take a red-hot bath as hot as you can bear it, and just
relax your nerves. You can read in the tub if you wish."
She fed him sections of the "Fetes Galantes" before he was ten; at
eleven he could talk glibly, if rather reminiscently, of Brahms and
Mozart and Beethoven. One afternoon, when left alone in the hotel at
Hot Springs, he sampled his mother's apricot cordial, and as the taste
pleased him, he became quite tipsy. This was fun for a while, but
he essayed a cigarette in his exaltation, and succumbed to a vulgar,
plebeian reaction. Though this incident horrified Beatrice, it also
secretly amused her and became part of what in a later generation would
have been termed her "line."
"This son of mine," he heard her tell a room full of awestruck, admiring
women one day, "is entirely sophisticated and quite charming--but
delicate--we're all delicate; _here_, you know." Her hand was radiantly
outlined against her beautiful bosom; then sinking her voice to a
whisper, she told them of the apricot cordial. They rejoiced, for she
was a brave raconteuse, but many were the keys turned in sideboard locks
that night against the possible defection of little Bobby or Barbara....
These domestic pilgrimages were invariably in state; two maids, the
private car, or Mr. Blaine when available, and very often a physician.
When Amory had the whooping-cough four disgusted specialists glared at
each other hunched around his bed; when he took scarlet fever the number
of attendants, including physicians and nurses, totalled fourteen.
Page 3 from 30: Back 1 2  4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Forward