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CHAPTER 2. Experiments in Convalescence
The Knickerbocker Bar, beamed upon by Maxfield Parrish's jovial,
colorful "Old King Cole," was well crowded. Amory stopped in the
entrance and looked at his wrist-watch; he wanted particularly to know
the time, for something in his mind that catalogued and classified liked
to chip things off cleanly. Later it would satisfy him in a vague way to
be able to think "that thing ended at exactly twenty minutes after eight
on Thursday, June 10, 1919." This was allowing for the walk from
her house--a walk concerning which he had afterward not the faintest
He was in rather grotesque condition: two days of worry and nervousness,
of sleepless nights, of untouched meals, culminating in the emotional
crisis and Rosalind's abrupt decision--the strain of it had drugged the
foreground of his mind into a merciful coma. As he fumbled clumsily with
the olives at the free-lunch table, a man approached and spoke to him,
and the olives dropped from his nervous hands.
It was some one he had known at Princeton; he had no idea of the name.
"Hello, old boy--" he heard himself saying.
"Name's Jim Wilson--you've forgotten."
"Sure, you bet, Jim. I remember."
"Going to reunion?"
"You know!" Simultaneously he realized that he was not going to reunion.
Amory nodded, his eyes staring oddly. Stepping back to let some one
pass, he knocked the dish of olives to a crash on the floor.
"Too bad," he muttered. "Have a drink?"
Wilson, ponderously diplomatic, reached over and slapped him on the
"You've had plenty, old boy."
Amory eyed him dumbly until Wilson grew embarrassed under the scrutiny.
"Plenty, hell!" said Amory finally. "I haven't had a drink to-day."
Wilson looked incredulous.
"Have a drink or not?" cried Amory rudely.
Together they sought the bar.
"I'll just take a Bronx."
Wilson had another; Amory had several more. They decided to sit down.
At ten o'clock Wilson was displaced by Carling, class of '15. Amory, his
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