(1961) The Chapman Report

(1961) The Chapman Report by Irving Wallace Read Free Book Online

Book: (1961) The Chapman Report by Irving Wallace Read Free Book Online
Authors: Irving Wallace
the window because she wanted to remind Geoffrey that she was as progressive and intellectual as he.
    “Ah, the Marinetti,” said Geoffrey, opening the car door. “Great minds, et cetera. I was going to display it tomorrow.” He stepped out on the walk, slammed the door, and stood looking down at his wife. “What is it today? Beach?”
    “Just for an hour. It sets me up for the rest of the day.” “I won’t get out of here until six-thirty.” “I’ll be here, dear. Please don’t overwork.”
    After he had disappeared into the shop, Teresa guided the convertible around the block to Wilshire Boulevard, ignored several young college boys who honked at her at the San Vincente turn (disdaining their rudeness, she was inexplicably pleased), and continued on to Santa Monica. After twenty-five minutes of driving, she reached the Pacific Coast Highway, where the traffic was light at this hour, and drove steadily in the salty breeze until she reached her destination, a mile before Malibu.
    Her destination was a small, rocky dirt lot that jutted precariously over the wide sand beach, aiming its blunted bow directly at the white-capped breakers. For several years now, at first occasionally, then once a week, and more recently two and three times a week, Teresa had been spending her mornings in solitude on the beach below. Although the area was public, her cove was private, unpopulated by skin divers, families on picnic, or acrobatic muscle-men.
    The discovery of this refuge-Constable’s Cove, Geoffrey had christened it the first and only time he had seen it, after John Constable’s “Weymouth Bay” in the National Gallery-had been a small miracle to Teresa. Soon after she and Geoffrey had decided that certain people were not meant to have children-cannibals of life and art - she had found mornings intolerable. Afternoons were possible-there was always enough to be done at home and at The
    Village Green and with her friends-and evenings were busy and social, but mornings made the night too far away. And then, on a restless drive, she had found Constable’s Cove and never ceased returning there to stretch in the sand, bask in the blaze of sun, daydream, nap, or read to the steady beat of the blue waves.
    Having parked and carefully drawn the hand brake, she circled the convertible, opened the trunk, and extracted blanket and a slender volume of Ernest Dowson’s verse, which included an appreciative essay on the poet. Glancing behind her, Teresa saw that the sun was full, but veiled by clouds and not yet hot. She decided to forgo her umbrella.
    With the book under her arm and blanket in hand, her free hand protectively held forward lest she slip, she slowly made her way down the narrow, worn defile to the warm sand. A short distance away, there was a slight indentation in the cliff, and this was Constable’s Cove. Teresa trudged through the sand, lay down her volume, carefully spread her blanket, then dropped down upon it. For a moment, knees lifted high inside her arms, eyes closed to the sky, she reveled in the rays of the sun and the brushing sea wind. At last she opened her eyes, stretched out, leaning on an elbow, parted the Dowson book and began to read.
    She followed the first and second verses patiently, waiting for what she knew was coming, and as she began the third verse, she smiled. Mouthing the words, she read:
    I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind, Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng, Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind; But I was desolate and sick of an old passion, Yea, all the time, because the dance was long: I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
    She had read this long ago, and now, rereading it, she instinctively saw its social and conversational value (Dowson, thank heavens, was not yet stale) and began to examine it again, to file it away in memory. As she resumed reading, a voice, not a voice but more a muted foghorn, shook her back to reality.

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