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20 THE ROAD I KNOW




and still holds—to the high code of the sportsman. "I swallowed hard and 

asked her what she meant," continued Jim. " 'I'll tell you,' said she. 'You 


like to put people into classifications, and then you get mad at them when 

they do the perfectly natural things that prove you were right!'




"That," said Jim, "opened my eyes. Do you know," he went on 

somewhat hesitatingly, "there had always been a word that somehow I had 

never found the meaning for. I knew what the dictionary said, and how 


people used it, and all that, of course; but what I mean is it didn't hold a 

satisfying idea somehow. Didn't click—" he floundered.




"I get you," said I. I use 'em in my business—words."



"Yeah. And then I knew Betty, and when I saw her sitting so small and 


straight at the head of her table and the little proud poise of her head, and 

her gaiety and wit, and saw her so gracious to all sorts of people, always, 

everywhere—no, gracious means condescending somehow, it wasn't 


that—Well, I got the meaning of my word."



"What was the word?" I asked.




"Aristocrat," said Jim.




I remember Austin Strong sitting silent at a gay dinner party, his elbow 

on the table, his chin in his hand, watching Betty with the playwright's 


look of speculation and analysis, and finally giving it up with a sigh.




























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