This is a novel about a lady. Her name is Lady Ashley and when the story begins she is living in Paris and it is Spring. That should be a good setting for a romantic but highly moral story. As every one knows Paris is a very romantic place. Spring in Paris is a very happy and romantic time. Autumn in Paris, although very beautiful, might give a note of sadness or melancholy that we shall try to keep out of this story.
Lady Ashley was born Elizabeth Brett Murray. Her title came from her second husband. She had divorced one husband for something or other, mutual consent; not until after he had put one of those notices in the papers stating that after this date he would not be responsible for any debt, etc. He was a Scotchman and found Brett much too expensive, especially as she had only married him to get rid of him and to get away from home. At present she had a legal separation from her second husband, who had the title, because he was a dipsomaniac, he having learned it in the North Sea commanding a mine-sweeper, Brett said. When he had gotten to be a proper thorough going dipsomaniac and found that Brett did not love him he
They had a son and Ashley would not divorce and would not give grounds for divorce, but there was a separation and Brett went off with Mike Campbell to the Continent one afternoon, she having offered to at lunch because Mike was lonely and sick and very companionable[INSERTED ,] and[INSERTED ,] as she said, "obviously one of us". They arranged the whole business before the Folkestone-Boulogne train left London at 9:30 that night. Brett was always very proud of that. The speed with which they got passports and raised funds. They came to Paris on their way to the Riviera and stayed the night in a hotel which had only one room free and that with a double bed. "We'd no idea of anything of that sort," Brett said, "Mike said we should go on and look up another hotel but I said no, to stop where we were. What's the odds." That was how they happened to be living together.3.
Mike at that time was ill. It was all he had brought back with him from the two years he had spent in business in Spain after he had left the army except the beautifully engraved shares of the company which had absorbed all of the fifteen thousand pounds that had come to him from his father's estate. He was also an undischarged bankrupt, which is quite a serious thing in England, and had various habits that Brett felt sorry for, did not think a man should have, and cured by constant watchfulness and the exercise of her then very strong will.
Mike was a charming companion, one of the most charming. He was nice and he was weak and he had a certain very hard gentleness in him that could not be touched and that never disappeared until the liquor had dissolved him entirely. Mike sober was nice, Mike a little drunk was even nicer, Mike quite drunk began to be objectionable, and Mike very drunk was embarrassing.
It was the boredom and the uncertainty of their position that made Brett drink as she did. There was nothing of the alcoholic about her. Not, at least, for a long time. They spent their time sleeping as late as possible and then drinking. That is a simple way of stating a very complicated process, and waiting for Mike's weekly allowance which was always late and therefore always spent and borrowed into a week or more in advance. There was
If Michael had behaved well it was probably a good party and Michael had a strong tendency to behave well. In fact you could always count on him to behave absolutely as he should until the alcoholic process had taken place which always seemed rather like that old grammar school experiment in which a bone is dissolved in vinegar to prove it has something or other in it. Anyway the vinegar quite changed the bone and made it very unlike its-self and you could bend it back and forth, and if it were a long enough bone and you had used enough vinegar, you could even tie it into a knot.
Brett was very different from Mike about drinking[.]
Brett drank much more than Mike but it never dissolved her in any way. She was always clear run, generous, and her lines were always as clear. But when she had been drunk she always spoke of it as having been blind. "Weren't we blind last night though?" It was short for blind drunk and the curious part was that she really became, in a way, blind. Drinking, and this does not mean the odd drink, or two or three cocktails before dinner and wine at the meal, but real drinking of that sort that kills off the good drinkers because they are the only ones who can do it, affected Brett in three successive stages. Drinking, say, whiskey and sodas from four o'clock in the afternoon until two
In sleeping and in drinking, playing bridge in the afternoon, usually having her portrait painted by some socially climbing artist who knew the value of a title on a portrait, a party somewhere every night, Brett and Mike passed the time in Paris. They were rather happy. Brett was a very happy person. Then Mike had to go to England, to London to see a lawyer about something connected with the divorce Brett was trying to get and then to Scotland to visit his people and prove by residence that he was a dutiful son, in order that[INSERTED ,] among other things[INSERTED ,] they should not stop his allowance. Brett was left alone in Paris. She had never been very good at being alone.
Chapter Two[CANCELLED .-]
I did not want to tell this story in the first person but I find that I must. I wanted to stay well outside of the story so that I would not be touched by it in any way and handle all the people in it with that irony and pity that are so essential to good writing. I even thought I might be amused by all the things that are going to happen to Lady Brett Ashley and Mr.Robert Cohn and Michael Campbell Esq. and Mr.Jake Barnes. But I made the unfortunate mistake, for a writer, of first having been Mr.Jake Barnes. So it is not going to be splendid and cool and detached after all. "What a pity"! as Brett used to say.
"What a pity"! was a little joke we all had. Brett was having her portrait painted by a very rich American from Philadelphia who sent his motor car around each afternoon to bring her from her hotel in Montparnasse up to his Montmarte studio. Along about the third sitting Brett stopped posing for a little while to have tea and the portrait painter asked her "And when you get your divorce, Lady Ashley, what will you do then"? [INSERTED ¶] "Marry Mike Cambell", Brett answered.
"And what will your name be then?"
"Mrs. Campbell, of course!"
"What a pity" the portrait painter said. "What
So my name is Jacob Barnes and I am writing the story, not as I believe is usual in these cases, from a desire for confession, because being a Roman Catholic I am spared that protestant urge to literary production, [INSERTED n]or to set things all out the way they happened for the good of some future generation, [INSERTED n]or any other of the usual highly moral urges, but because I believe it is a good story.
I am a newspaper man living in Paris. I used to think Paris was the most wonderful place in the world. I have lived in it now for six years, or however long it is since 19[CANCELLED 19 & INSERTED 20], and I still see its good points. Anyway it is the only city I want to live in. They say New York is very fine but I do not care for night life. I want to live quietly and with a certain measure of luxury and a job that I do not want to worry about. Paris provides all these things. Paris is also a lovely town to live in once you get an apartment and give up various American fetiches [CANCELLED like & INSERTED such as] all the year round B.V.D.s and [INSERTED too much] exercise.
In 1916 I was invalided home from a British hospital and got a job on the Mail in New York. I quit to start the Continental Press Association with Robert Graham who was then just getting his reputation as Washington correspondent. We started the Continental in one room
I never hung about the Quarter much in Paris until Brett and Mike showed up. I always felt about the Quarter that I could sort of take it or leave it alone.
The Quarter is sort of more a state of mind than a geographical area. Perfectly good Quarterites live outside the actual boundaries of Montparnasse. They can live anywhere, I suppose, as long as they come to the Quarter to think. Or whatever you call it. To have the Quarter state of mind is probably the best way of putting it. This state of mind is principally contempt. Those who work have the greatest contempt for those who don't. The loafers are leading their own lives and it is bad form to mention work. Young painters have contempt for old painters and that works both ways too. There are contemptuous critics and contemptuous writers. Everybody seems to dislike everybody else. The only happy people are the drunk[INSERTED s] and they, after flaming for a period of days or weeks, eventually become depressed. The Germans too seem happy, but perhaps that is because they can only get two weeks visas to visit Paris and so they make a party of it. The frail young men who go about together and seem to be always present, but who really leave in periodical flights for Brussels, Berlin or the Basque coast, to return again
During these two years Robert Cohn had lived with a lady who lived on gossip and so he had lived in an atmosphere of [CANCELLED (]abortions and rumours of abortions[CANCELLED )], doubts and speculations as to past and prospective infidelities of friends, dirty rumours, dirtier reports and dirtier suspicions, and a constant fear and dread by his lady companion that he was seeing other women and was on the point of leaving her. Somehow during this time Robert Cohn wrote a novel, a first and last novel. He was the hero of it, but it was not too badly done and it was accepted by a New York publisher.
At that time Robert Cohn had only two friends, an English writer named Braddocks, and myself, with whom he played tennis. He beat me regularly at tennis and was very nice about it. Cohn gave the novel to Braddocks to read and Braddocks, who was very busy on something of his own and who, as the years went on, found it increasingly difficult to read the works of writers other than himself, did not read the novel but returned it to Cohn with the remark that this was excellent stuff, some excellent stuff, but there was a part, just a small part[INSERTED ,] he wanted to talk over with Cohn some time. Cohn asked Braddocks what the part was and Braddocks replied that it was a matter of organization, a very slight but important matter of organization. Cohn, eager to learn and with an un-Nordic willingness to accept useful[CANCELLED l] criticism pressed to know what it was.
"I'm much too busy now to go into it, Cohn. Come around to tea some time next week and we'll talk it over." Cohn insisted Braddocks keep the manuscript until they should have a chance to discuss it.
That night after dinner Braddocks called at my flat. He drank a brandy. "I say, Barnes" he said "Do me a favour. That's a good chap. Read this thing of Cohn's and tell me if it's any good. Mind you I don't think it can be any good. But be a good chap and run through it and let me know what it's all about."
The next evening I was sitting on the terrace of the Closerie des Lilas watching it get dark. There was a waiter at the Lilas named Anton who used to give two whiskeys for the price of one whiskey owing to a dislike he had for his boss. This waiter raised potatoes in a garden outside of Paris, beyond Montrouge, and as I sat at the table with some one else, Alec Muhr I think it was, we watched the people going by in the dusk on the sidewalk and the great slow horses going by in the dusk on the Boulevard and the people going home from work and the girls starting their evening's work and the light coming out of the bistro next door where the chauffeurs from the taxi line were drinking and we asked the waiter about his potato crop, and the waiter asked about the franc, and we read the Paris-Soir and l'Intransigeant [, CHANGED TO]. [i CHANGED TO]It was very nice, and then along came Braddocks. Braddocks came along, breathing heavily and wearing a wide black hat.
"Who's that?" Alec asked.
"Braddocks",said I, "the writer"
"Good God", said Alec who thereafter took no further part in the conversation and does not again appear in the story.
"Hullo", said Braddocks, "May I join you?" So he joined us.
"Did you have a look at that thing of Cohn's?["]
"Yes", I said, "It's a fantasy. Lot of dreams
"Just as I thought", Braddocks said. "Thanks awfully."
We looked out on the Boulevard. Two girls went by.
"Pretty good looking girls" I said.
"Do you think so[CANCELLED " & INSERTED ?"] asked Braddocks. "My word"
We looked at the Boulevard again. The waiter came and went. Braddocks was haughty with him, speaking literary French through his mustache. Along the sidewalk came a tall, gray, lantern-jawed man, walking with a tall woman wearing a blue Italian infantry cape. They looked at our tableas they passed, saw no one they knew, and went on. They seemed to be looking for someone. Braddocks clapped me on the knee.
"I say did you see me cut him? Did you see me cut him? Can't I cut people though!"
"Who is he?"
"Belloc. Hasn't a friend in the world. I say. Did you see me cut him?"
"Belloc. Of course. He's absolutely done for. Absolutely through."
"What did you row with him about?"
"There was no row. Simply a matter of religious
I was very impressed by this. I can see Braddock's face, his mustache, his face in the light from the Lilas window. I did not know that literary life could become so intense. Also I had a valuable piece of information and gossip.
The next afternoon I was sitting with several people at the Café de la Paix having coffee after lunch. Along the Boulevard des Capucines came the tall, gray looking man and the woman wearing the blue Italian infantry cape.
"There's Hillaire Belloc", I said to the people as the table. "He hasn't a friend in the world".
"Where?" asked several people eagerly.
"There", I nodded, "standing with the woman in the blue cape."
"You mean that man in the grey suit?"
"Yes" I said. ["]There's not a review in England who will publish him."
"Hell. That's not Belloc", the man on my right said. "That's Allister Crowley."
So I have never felt quite the same about Braddocks since and I should avoid as far as possible putting him into this story except that he was a great friend of Robert Cohn and Cohn is the hero.
Robert Cohn was middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. . . .