‘And, of course, I don’t know,’ she mumbled looking away, ‘I don’t know but perhaps if you’d have nothing against it, I might visit New York — I mean, just for a week or two, and not this year but the next.’
He complimented her on her silver-spangled jacket. She persevered: ‘Well?’ ‘And your hairdo is most becoming’, ‘Oh, what does it matter,’ she wailed ‘what on earth does anything matter!’ ‘I must be on my way,’ he whispered with a smile and got up ‘Kiss me,’ she said, and was like a limp, shivering ragdoll in his arms for a moment.
He walked to the gate. At the turn of the path he glanced back and saw in the distance her white figure with the listless grace of ineffable grief bending over the garden table, and suddenly a fragile bridge was suspended between waking indifference and dream-love. But she moved, and he saw it was not she at all but only poor Fleur de Fyler collecting the documents left among the tea things.
When in the course of an evening stroll in May or June, 1959, I offered Shade all this marvelous material he looked at me quizzically and said ‘That’s all very well, Charles. But there are just two questions. How can you know that all this intimate stuff about your rather appalling king is true? And if true, how can one hope to print such personal things about people who, presumably, are still alive?’
‘My dear John,’ I replied gently and urgently, ‘do not worry about trifles. Once transmuted by you into poetry, the stuff will be true, and the people will come alive. A poet’s purist truth can cause no pain no offense. True art is above false honor.’
‘Sure, sure,’ said Shade. ‘One can harness words like performing fleas and make them drive other fleas. Oh, sure.’