The Night Travellers
Publication Year: 2012
Elizabeth Spencer is "a master storyteller" (San Francisco Chronicle), her work called "dazzling" by Walker Percy. Whether she's writing short stories or novels, Spencer is acclaimed for holding her worlds up to light and turning them to see what they reflect. The Night Travellers, set in North Carolina and Montreal during the Vietnam War years, is her most revealing work yet.Mary Kerr Harbison is a promising teenaged dancer when she meets Jefferson Blaise, an intellectual radical-in-the-making. He becomes a part of her life and over the objections of Mary's wealthy, abusive mother, her husband.
But although Jeff's heart is devoted to Mary, his life is devoted to protesting the Vietnam War--at first through the public rallies, later through guerilla tactics. As Jeff is drawn deeper and deeper into the movement, he and Mary are forced to go underground and eventually move to Canada. Jeff's activities keep him on the move, and Mary, living in Montreal, struggles to raise her daughter and make a life for herself.
An exploration of a dramatic period in our history, The Night Travellers is a powerful depiction of lives forever changed by political beliefs and fervidly held convictions.
Published by: University Press of Mississippi
Series: Banner Books Series
Title Page, Copyright Page
PART I: The Home Scene
1. Kitten on the Roof
They had taken her kitten, whose name was Mopsy. She was white and had been last seen in the large pocket of her mother's lab coat, the one she wore for work. When Mary Kerr asked about Mopsy, they were vague. Mopsy had clawed the chairs, and that was bad. At night Mary Kerr woke and was sure she heard the kitten, mewing on the roof. There was a way out her window, high up on...
2. A Start in Something
She was a slight girl, not quite thin, with soft brown hair and hazel eyes. She seemed not to weigh anything, to be an essence with nothing solid about her. Since she was good at hopping around to music, jumping and whirling at one and the same time, skipping rope, and hanging by her feet from a certain low limb in the yard, they sent her to dance school early on. ...
3. Into Time: The Sixties: The Farm
Kingsbury, where Mary Kerr was born, was a North Carolina city named for royalty and built on gold. There was gold ore to the east, in the hills and streams. All during the early years, people dug for gold and found it, until 1849 brought news of more elsewhere. These people were Presbyterians largely, Scotch-Irish, they called themselves. ...
4. Into Time: The Sixties: The Town
When Mary Kerr came in from the country, she found that Kate had sold the house and moved. She had found a duplex, the half of an old house on a street not far away from their old place. It was two stories and Kate had known how to fix it up, but Mary Kerr, finding her private things uprooted and placed in a new room by hands that weren't hers, was crazy mad. ...
5. Ethan Marbell
In the early March evening, winter fading, they were talking quietly, on into the darkness, the way they had been doing for some weeks now. They were Mary Harbison, Jeff Blaise, and Ethan Marbell. Jeff had wanted her there, more and more positively, until she finally went with him. "His importance to me—well, I can't exaggerate it," Jeff had said. "Except for him, I wouldn't even be here." ...
6. Kate Waits
"So, going where?" Jeff asked her, driving his smelly old car. She'd told him before. "It's just that birthday party for Mother's friend Annie Gibbs. At the club. You could have gone if you'd let me know." "I don't go to clubs, I told you." She jumped out at the gate, active and bouncy in air that was now even warm. ...
7. Jeff Abandoned
Then came the time she left him; no more Jeff Blaise. Kate had finally invited him to dinner, and that's what finished Mary Kerr with him. Though it didn't start out that way. It started out, in fact, with Mary Kerr more pleased than she'd been ever before, thinking her mother was ready to call a truce. Jeff, too, had been amenable. "So the sacred doors will open wide. Do I bow and kiss the lady's hand?" ...
So she let him back into the night he'd come out of, a fish slipping into bayou-dark water, a night bird careening off into the shadows. Yet he did have his own history, like anyone else. Jefferson Blaise. He had been born north of New Orleans, south of Baton Rouge, a little to the west of both. His mother's father had inherited an old indigo plantation, but the market for the dye had dried up long ago...
9. The Reverend Ashley
Nearly a year later, Mary Kerr, on a spring afternoon, was working in the garden at Grace Episcopal Church. It was a student group project, but she had come much too late to join the others, because of her dance class. There was still a lot to do, and she was down on her knees with a trowel, working the soil, turning the mulch for the roses. Getting hotter. Working alone. ...
"Perhaps I did what I shouldn't have," said Ethan Marbell. He was harking back to two days earlier at the churchyard, to how Jeff had homed in there on Mary. "I had learned by coincidence that you, Mary Kerr, were up there . . . gardening, of all things. Was that right?" She nodded. "We're saying Mary now," said Jeff, his voice proud. ...
11. The Triangle
So that, calm, cordial, and peaceful, was how it was. Again at the table, Kate, Mary, and Jeff. Not in the dining room by candlelight but in the breakfast room, a glassed-in alcove off the kitchen, plants within and without, a long, draping tendril of wisteria, now pale green in the early light, the blooms beginning to shimmer with lavender as the light increased. Cups set out on the thick lemon-colored...
Kate got the call a week later. "Get down to the lab." It was Dr. Fletcher. "I'm starting now. We'll meet there." "But what is it? Why?" "Some of those damn demonstrators. I'm calling the police." Before she could ask any more, he had hung up. She drove rapidly, noting, as she reached the lab building, a helterskelter parking arrangement of a pickup truck and two dusty old oversized cars with gigantic fins and headlights, blocking the street. ...
"I've got to have the money to send her/' said Kate. "Especially right now. I can't have her here with that Jeff person getting her mixed up in heaven knows what. Now it's begun to strike close to me personally. The break-in, I mean. I've just come from my third visit to the police. They're taking down everything." "From what I read in the papers, you were the only person down there." ...
14. Kate on Kate
It was as Kate was leaving that Sally asked her that question: "Does he love her?" "Love?" Kate echoed. "Oh, Sally, what an old-fashioned word. Not to me, I mean. But to them." She floundered. "Well," said Sally, "it may be, but I just thought I'd ask." Whenever Kate got too close to Jeff Blaise, even in speaking, she remembered that day with him alone. Just across the table. Talking. ...
Ed Tomkins, who lived east of Kingsbury in an ancient house he had inherited, had a lot of money, but no one would guess it to see the way he lived. He went around in scuffed, laced-up, tan leather boots, generally muddy, and kept bird dogs, black and white setters, who ran in and out of the house at will, had burrs in their coats and fleas to spare. ...
There was in fact a man, and his name was Fred Davis. He had come to a conference in Atlanta from Philadelphia, where he lived, to serve the interests of a small pharmaceutical firm, having inherited a controlling interest in it, along with other concerns, from his father. Certain medications and cosmetics marketed by the firm had first to undergo lab testing, and contracts were let to labs able to carry these out. Social life went on at such conferences, as well...
Small was all she felt like, outside the green door, and going through it, too, when her name was called and she stepped away from the other applicants there in the corridor, who were giggling in a muted way, chatting with one another. She had not said anything. The smiling assistant, blond and thin in her leotard, let her slip through the door. ...
18. More Fred
Following his wonderful encounter in Atlanta with the shimmering lady from North Carolina, Fred Davis had frequent recourse to the long-distance telephone. Finally, he visited Kingsbury. Kate took him to the club and invited Jane to dinner along with a bachelor librarian, Jane's routine escort, and two other friends, chosen with care. Everyone said that Fred was an attractive man and...
19. Homeward Bound
It was in the dark car driving smoothly back to Kingsbury that Kate began talking, nonstop, out of control. She had loved Mary Kerr so much when she was a baby, she recalled nothing but good dreams, everything entirely wrapped up in her, even with Don showing first signs of health problems, everything was all right because of her baby...
20. On Her Doorstep
Kingsbury looked no different when they returned except that there was a man sitting in front of the gray duplex on the steps. He was rumpled, shaggy-haired, listing sleepily, and, even from a distance, florid. Not quite a bum, though it crossed Kate's mind that she might owe somebody an overdue bill or that Mary Kerr had gotten into...
21. Dancer's Return
She was standing in Sally's hallway, rolled-up jeans, leather sandals, hair in strings. Her arms looked overbrown and broken out—bitten, maybe. She was favoring one foot, like a pony that had picked up a nail. Those poor feet, thought Sally. So much demanded of them. What she said was, "Why, child, come on in/' "Mother's not at home," said Mary Kerr, limping into the living room. ...
22. Ethan's Turn
"Of course, I like Aunt Sally. If I died, she would sew me into the most beautiful dress for burying. She would cry on every stitch." "But that's not enough," said Ethan. "No, not enough." He smiled encouragement, as to a learner in his classes, trying new ground. "You mean, basically, all these relatives of yours are alike? Good and bad, they come to the same thing in the end. Live as we live, think as we think—the same as not thinking at all. ...
23. The Sand Runs Through
"I'm coming back, darling. We've got to sit down and talk. You've just never known what you mean to me." 'They haven't finished repairing the house yet," Mary Kerr warned her. "It's still boarded up." "Then I'll have to come, to see about getting it done." Phone calls had kept coming for Mary Kerr during her stay with Aunt Jane, not only from afar but from closer to home. ...
PART II: Voices from Afar
1. Gerda Stewart: A Journal
From the mountain in winter, you can see the northern lights. They come pulsing up the sky from the distant pole, as alive as the sea, awesome, towering, but with something, too, like playfulness, saying some phrase, such as, "I'm coming close! Watch me!" Bright and brighter, then retreating. Gigantic waves. ...
2. Gerda's Journal (continued)
Last week, they took the child away. Previously, before the suicide attempt, someone had let her parents know where she was. They had come here, we learned later from the lawyer the court appointed. Had found her. It wasn't her real father, but a stepfather, her mother's second husband, the first having died. What resulted from this visit? Money, a little. ...
3. Mary's Tape
When I was dancing, then I was happy. When I first began studying with Madame Delida, I would hold my hands up, arms curved ("so to frame the face," she said). I lowered my eyes, but couldn't see my feet past the tutu. During practice I could see them, see how the ankles swelled forward, out of the natural line. How slow and painful to master, making this way of moving...
4. Mary's Tape (continued): Bennington
"Following, following," Jeff said. "I'm always following. My feet keep walking back to you." That was a song. What happened, actually, was that he was not so much following as circling. What he was following was the Movement, covering teach-ins at a lot of the Eastern colleges, checking into Harvard and Columbia, Dartmouth and Burlington. He would come and go, talk to people, see them at their demonstrations...
5. Mary's Tape (continued): Montreal
At times during the winter after Kathy was born it would seem we were doing nothing so much as hurting other people. Jeff had his calling, but suppose I didn't? That was always the trouble. Before she was born, he went down to Chicago to the convention the Democrats had. There were riots from the first day on. The police were awful to them, was their story. There were riot squads...
6. Mary's Tape (continued): Return of People
Soon I found myself on trial in another way, literally. They arrest you in Canada when you try to kill yourself. It's as if you broke into a store or ran over a child. It was Gordon Stewart who came down to help me. I think that must have been the nurse upstairs who told him, just as she got the police who cut me down. ...
7. Mary and the Lady Psychiatrist
8. Mary's Tape (continued)
Yesterday I ran into Madeleine Spivak. She and her husband, George, had property just around the corner from Seymour Street. Jeff and I had an apartment there when we stopped living with the Hungarians. By then I was six months along with Kathy and big as a cow. Madeleine worked in her husband's rental office on McKay Street and so found the property for us, a listing of theirs. She used to...
9. Minutes of a Distant Meeting
10. Conversation at a Main Line Dinner Table
11. With Dr. Skoletsky
12. Mary's Tape (continued)
Dr. Skoletsky's march of logic is like spiked boots trampling over my spread-out feelings, which now seem mangled beyond recognition. I didn't tell her much. The truth was I was getting some money from Jeff, though no one knew it. Some was filtering through. I knew he was sending me much more than I got; some was leaking out along the way. Maybe it was...
13. Mary's Tape (continued): The Heist
Try it, sometime, a heist of your own child. From Vermont, go and get her back across the border into Quebec. At least it wasn't so far away as Pennsylvania. Fred's summer house there had been bought the way his family bought everything, as an investment. He shared it regularly with his brother, who had used it when the children were young. Now it was standing empty. He had decided to take Mother and Kathy there...
14. Mary's Tape: The Heist (continued)
"Have you thought out what to do when we get there?" Leonard Abel asked. "No, but then, if we didn't know how to go I might just have found it anyway." "Is your emotional radar as good as that?" Over winding roads through the Green Mountain foothills, we had seen farmhouses painted red or pale yellow in large meadowlands, rolling peacefully, sunlit. It was a fair day with large free-floating...
15. Mary's Tape: The Heist (conclusion)
Fred and I agreed to meet at a place near town down at a lake where people came to swim and picnic in the summer. There was a pavilion there with a screened area above, where they sold sandwiches and steaks. The downstairs was a boat dock, a place to change for swimming, and perhaps a dry dock in winter. But Fred and I met outside and sat at a picnic table. He was wearing the blue shirt, the tan slacks...
16. Mary's Message
Fred Davis had driven them both into the town and let them out beside Leonard Abel's little red car, which was waiting as faithfully before the one restaurant as a tethered pony cart. Now he was back and found Kate still sitting much as she had been, in the same chair, her legs crossed, her face still strained. ...
17. The Northway
Encased in the small red car like something put up in a tin, Mary held Kathy, who slept nearly all the way in her lap. Mary's own arms went to sleep and grew numb, dead-feeling, but she did not want to wake her. "Did you ever nearly die?" she asked Leonard. She thought of the flat road before and behind as she visualized it on a map, climbing northward, out of the below they had descended to for bringing up...
18. An Afternoon Message
It came at four—Mary was on her way home from seeing Estes Drover, having left Kathy with a friend of Hilda Abel. A voice called and a young man in a blue windbreaker, the only soul in sight on Seymour Street, jogged past without stopping or turning his head. But she knew. ...
19. The Torch Song of Madeleine Spivak (Love Does Not Grow Old.)
When alone there, coming there alone, I sometimes stop and rub my hand across the wood on the outside banister. I lean down and smell the wood. The banister is painted gray, weatherworn, uneven. Near the door, I note, with a proprietor's eye, the bushes are growing up taller, are hanging over onto the steps, also lifting up against the...
PART III: Scatterings
1. A Box of Crumbs
"Priorities?" He gave her an envelope and held out his hand for some crumbs. On the park bench, shivering only partly from cold, she tilted the box into his hand and watched him cast them. The pigeons were making pigeon talk. "Is he well?" "Fine. Except for the strain. Anybody would feel the strain. Then not hearing anything from you." ...
2. Up the Gatineau
"They are coming soon," said Madame Pelletier. "On vient bientot. ll faut changer la chambre. You must move. Downstairs." Mary had just come in with Kathy. They had been walking, up to the ferry and back. It was going to snow. "Who are they?" She spoke each word slowly, fully, repeating in French, "Qui sont-ils?" Anyone who came might be carrying some message from Jeff stuffed in a back pocket or buried in a gun case. A hurried telephone...
3. King of the North
A day or so later Mary and Kathy crossed the river with Gerard. By now she could hobble around on a crutch the nurse had pulled out of a closet. Her broken arm was in a sling. It was Madame Pelletier who took Kathy for her walks, sat with her nestled by her at night to watch TV until both of them fell asleep. Hunters came and went. They did not always want dinner or to rent...
Every morning since she had come, she took a walk with Kathy. The morning after Monsieur Pelletier's arrival from the north, she took Kathy by the hand as usual and could be seen descending the lodge steps and heading off up the road. Hunters had come in the early morning hours. The snow, heavy during the night, had stopped. Her...
5. A Patch of Blue
"They probably weren't after you at all," said Ethan. "I think you had been alone too long. That and the accident, those hunters. You began imagining things." "I think he was after whatever money I had. I think he thought I was a walking gold mine from the U.S. He meant to dig out what he could." "It's hard to know," said Ethan, and lit his pipe. "These are foreign people." ...
Like everyone else his age, Jeff Blaise knew how to blow things up. "Where do these children learn what they know?" Ethan Marbell had once exclaimed. "How to break locks, jimmy windows, set off plastic explosives. It seems a nation of subversives were trained and graduated out of family basements meant for Ping-Pong and gin rummy/' Jeff seldom went into the details about his own education. ...
"In my mind," Ethan said to Mary, at last extending to her the russet file envelope he had brought her, "I see you as lost children. Wandering apart, or wandering together. I have had a hand in this/' Her hands closed on the packet, but first she looked up at him. For a while, as though the packet contained a living presence, she simply held it, breathed differently with it in her lap. With the significant...
8. Letters Opened
Somewhere near SF, thinking of you on this 9th day of October Why, that was the day I took the train to Ottawa, Mary thought. The very day. Mary: Always Mary: It's no better for you than thinking you're married to some guy in jail to think of me, I know, but you know how we've talked and that I'm just one of thousands. Concentrate on it and know that I can't, cannot surface for a while. Not after what we just...
9. A Castle by the Sea
December, rain and cool or cooler Try being on the run and there's bound to be a stop like this one if you get lucky at all. I'm elected to be in it anyway, even if I don't deserve it. It must be that somebody has the right connections as they say in that other world, the one we left. The woman up here in this fantastic house has turned out to be a beauty, a real old beauty, it's true, but if you could just see...
10. Gerda Stewart's Journal
I'm convinced the phone is tapped but Gordon says we aren't to inquire about it. He thinks that Mary is back; he thought he saw her over on St. Laurent when he got out, absentminded, at the wrong Metro stop. He usually takes a cab home when the weather's like it's been recently, pouring out snow without any end to it, but cabs are hard to find some days, so he took the Metro and went the wrong...
11. A Return to Montreal
"It was all such a bad idea," she told Ethan on the road back. "I never wanted to do it. That boy that brought my orders made it sound like I was murdering Jeff if I didn't take them." "I thought of Montreal as a baited trap. I lay awake and saw both of you falling into it." "Every place may be a trap. I know how to hide in Montreal. Not even a rabbit can hide in a field of snow." ...
12. Letters Missing Forever (A Former Mystery Explored)
The letters Jeff Blaise had written to Mary after he left Montreal were for some time hidden in a carved wooden box in Kate Davis's room in the house near Philadelphia. She sometimes sat alone near a window overlooking the clipped lawn, watching the progressive march of shadows from the handsome trees. She would hold the box on her lap. Don Harbison had bought it for her, hand-carved and...
13. Train Heading East
Picture a land half again as wide as the United States. A massive land like something in a trick mirror, broad at the base, its head narrowing, snow coming in to blind its distant northern brow. Snow blowing southward, shifting and slanting out of the jetty, dark beyond the windows of the Trans-Canada Express. Jeff Blaise sits close to the windows, hearing the muffled passage of the wheels, glimpsing at...
PART IV: Reunion
1. The Purple Window
In those days everybody went to the Purple Window. It was where they came to be together and sing. Mary went, too, because she knew that if Jeff came back he would come there. She did not like the music, but she sang along like the rest and clung to strange hands extended out of the dusk. The mellow vocalists, the throbbing guitar...
2. Estes in Moonlight
Sometimes when he is there alone in the house he is buying now (with the loan his ex-lover Ahmed coaxed out of an uncle), Estes Drover gets to stay with Kathy and she gets to stay with him. He reads to her and laughs with her and talks to her and teaches her little miniature dance steps, around and around his room. She falls...
3. A Sigh from Madeleine Spivak (Whose Heart Does Not Grow Old)
She thought she saw Jeff Blaise. She did not think it, she knew it. She saw a sturdily built young man walking away from her down a length of street, St. Catherine, just where it takes a slant down from the center to join the streets in the east that run up from the river. There was an outline, a cutout like a child's cardboard image, in her heart, and he (and only he) can...
4. Gerda Stewart's Journal
It was sometime after the boys left us, married, and on to better things ("Montreal's a dead city," they said. "The French are out to ruin it."), that I had a serious talk with Gordon. "If we don't watch out," I said, "we will start choosing the best retirement home, where we can go mark time till the grave. We have got to save our lives." "How?" he asked. "We will do it," I said, "by our enthusiasms." ...
5. The Halcyon Summer
The spring when Mary performed at the Passez-a-Droit Theatre on rue du Senat opened the best period of their lives. She and Estes had choreographed the entire program and the six dancers they had practiced with brought new ideas in every day, as if they had been sent out to scavenge them. Were they gypsies, had they sprung up out of the ground when the final snows had melted? ...
6. The Main Line
Fred Davis stood before the green even spread of his lawn, so lately mowed and rolled by the same gardeners his father had dealt with before him. Like God on the Sunday of Creation Week, he saw that it was good. He circled, careful to step on flagstones. He checked the slates on the slope of roof above the library. He wandered to...
7. Gerda;s Journal
It is curious to report that the day I heard about the Satterfields' cottage burning down in the Laurentians, I was preparing to have a meeting of a writers' group in my house. Writing in my journal, to begin with, was what started me thinking I might take up writing seriously, and that connection was what led me once again to wonder about Mary Blaise. Perhaps I could write something...
8. Gerda's Journal: Great Drama!
Great Drama! Last evening we all went over there, over to east Montreal at their request, not only hers, Mary's, but her husband's, too. It was almost formal, like a formal engraved invitation, if you consider the dignified, commanding way it was put. First him on the phone, then her. I thought we would be the only ones. However, a number of people were there, climbing up a stair in one of those rickety old...
9. Mary's Tape—Parting
The reason Jeff called that curious meeting was that it had come to the surface right away—too quickly not to be suspicious, according to Jeff—that his name was not Geoffrey Blaylock and that he was wanted in the States for blowing up a munitions plant. It was all a plot, was what he thought, but then he'd seen a lot of plots, some...
10. Mary's Tape: The Courier
Soon after that Aunt Jane found us. It was really odd how she came strolling along one of the leafy streets in east Montreal, side by side with Miss Mcllwraith, the retired nurse who wouldn't let me kill myself. Miss Mcllwraith is one of those nonpeople Jeff calls the messengers of the gods. This is their purpose. Miss Mcllwraith was bringing Aunt Jane along, and while I did...
11. The Ritz
So they came, mother and child, to the door of the famous hotel on Sherbrooke Street, the block that spoke of beauty and money. The revolving glass doors framed in black iron gave before them when they pushed and they stepped inside. Mary wore a simple, black, peasant dress from India, bought in an import shop on one of the...
12. Fred's Mission
That same fateful summer, early on, had brought Fred Davis to sit in a corner booth of a downtown Philadelphia bar and talk things over. "Why not hire somebody?" He thoughtfully repeated the question his woman friend had asked. She had been his mistress for years and he still liked to see her from time to time. "Once I thought the scheme out, I became very anxious to see it through. Certain matters...
13. The Parks
Mary, Jane, and Kathy must have strolled through a dozen of them, up paths that wound mysteriously or ran formally straight between beds of verbena and salvia, or skirted little lakes, or broke into steps to climb past rock gardens that soared and tumbled, rich in clinging plants. So did the days pass. Back in the east of the city, Ahmed and Estes Drover were latched...
14. Jeff's Message
Since we talked I've tried a dozen times to get you but it's only that Ahmed character who answers. He's promised to say I'm calling but every number I can give is temporary. I don't think he ever gave you any message. That's misery—but not like before, when I thought you'd split. Now I know you won't. I told you I would have to give up and sign up, shed this whole trial mess. Hayden came here and we talked, a good visit. ...
PART V: Decisions
"I still can't get over it," said Estes Drover. "Why'd you do it, Mary?" They were sitting on the steps of the rickety house. Mary was wearing one of the new skirts Aunt Jane had bought for her and getting it dirty on the steps. The place still smelled funny in that way she hadn't noticed before her long detour through the expensive world. "Mother's feeling she was such a flop with me, and still wanting...
He was in what was supposed to be a line of advance, though the line had gotten ragged crossing a river, sluggish with mud, the bottom slippery, the fallen logs and vines impeding, clutching as if with hands. Then it gained firm ground again and straightened, moved a few yards forward, fended around trees. Flashes, sound of firing, cries. Hitting the earth, feeling to see if any at first nonfeeling was spreading...
It was the faithful servant in the white jacket, he who had been with the family for years, from the time Fred Davis was a boy, who had returned to serve the meal that night. He had done it as a special favor, not usually being needed in the evening. Kate sat at one end of the dark table with the high-backed chairs, made much lighter in appearance than was usual by the use of white...
Fred's problems at last caused him to be sitting waiting in a Sansom Street restaurant, a rathskeller, just out of and near the main business section of Philadelphia, down toward an area where secondhand jewelry shops flourished, one after the other, and little bent men squinted through eyepieces to judge the quality of gemstones. The restaurant had settled itself in this spot long ago, and set about...
5. Question without Answer
"So you did it," Kate said to him. "She's gone." "Yes, I did it." "I could feel it in the house the minute I woke up." "I felt it was right. She left early to spare you pain." Still in her satin robe, she sat down on the stairs, awkwardly, not her usual self, knees spread out peasant-fashion. She leaned her cheek into the wood. When he angled to glimpse her face, he saw...
Fall in Montreal and not a snowflake as yet. Winter holding off, holding in, thinking it over, like a snow leopard of the north, bracing to leap. But as yet, days of brittle sunlight, skies of hurting blue, clouds white as laundered sheets. River flowing steadily, ships going unhurried toward the sea. Out on the islands, the fairgrounds were closing. Marie Carree...
. . . There across the fence the unexpected girl was standing, quiet and curious, natural, like something grown up out of the woods back of her, looking, expecting nothing, but ready to know what was there. He was moving toward her. The line was breaking apart. At the head, Lieutenant DeSalvo had turned to signal them to either side of the path and down, go forward...