Scripps going slowly to work in the pump-factory in the mornings. Mrs. Scripps looking out of the window and watching him go up the street. Not much time for reading The Guardian now. Not much time for reading about English politics. Not much time for worrying about the cabinet crises over there in France. The French were a strange people. Joan of Arc. Eva le Gallienne. Clemenceau. George Carpentier. Sacha Guitry. Yvonne Printemps. Grock. Les Fratellinis. Gilbert Seldes. The Dial. The Dial Prize. Marianne Moore. E. E. Cummings. The Enormous Room. Vanity Fair. Frank Crowinshield. What was it all about? Where was it taking her?
She had a man now. A man of her own. For her own. Could she keep him? Could she hold him for her own? She wondered.
Mrs. Scripps, formerly an elderly waitress, now the wife of Scripps O'Neil, with a good job in the pump-factory. Diana Scripps. Diana was her own name. It had been her mother's, too. Diana Scripps looking into the mirror and wondering could she hold him. It was getting to be a question. Why had he ever met Mandy? Would she have the courage to break off going to the restaurant with Scripps to eat? She couldn't do that. He would go alone. She knew that. It was no use trying to pull wool over her own eyes. He would go alone and he would talk with Mandy. Diana looked into the mirror. Could she hold him? Could she hold him? That thought never left her now.
Every night at the restaurant, she couldn't call it a beanery now—that made a lump come in her throat and made her throat feel hard and choky. Every night at the restaurant now Scripps and Mandy talked together. The girl was trying to take him away. Him, her Scripps. Trying to take him away. Take him away. Could she, Diana, hold him?
She was no better than a slut, that Mandy. Was that the way to do? Was that the thing to do? Go after another woman's man? Come between man and wife? Break up a home? And all with these interminable literary reminiscences. These endless anecdotes. Scripps was fascinated by Mandy. Diana admitted that to herself. But she might hold him. That was all that mattered now. To hold him. To hold him. Not to let him go. Make him stay. She looked into the mirror.
Diana subscribing for The Forum. Diana reading The Mentor. Diana reading William Lyon Phelps in Scribner's. Diana walking through the frozen streets of the silent Northern town to the Public Library, to read The Literary Digest "Book Review." Diana waiting for the postman to come, bringing The Bookman. Diana, in the snow, waiting for the postman to bring The Saturday Review of Literature. Diana, bareheaded now, standing in the mounting snow-drifts, waiting for the postman to bring her the New York Times "Literary Section." Was it doing any good? Was it holding him?
At first it seemed to be. Diana learned editorials by John Farrar by heart. Scripps brightened. A little of the old light shining in Scripps's eyes now. Then it died. Some little mistake in the wording, some slip in her understanding of a phrase, some divergence in her attitude, made it all ring false. She would go on. She was not beaten. He was her man and she would hold him. She looked away from the window and slit open the covering of the magazine that lay on her table. It was Harper's Magazine. Harper's Magazine in a new format. Harper's Magazine completely changed and revised. Perhaps that would do the trick. She wondered.