Chapter 1

"Tuesday: 17th February

I had dinner with Jerry at the Mayflower and took a cab to the station. The night was drizzly and warm. I'd had a week of it and I wanted to get back. The town was all lighted up, whirling with cars, and from Lafayette Square the White House looked clean as calimine in the floodlights. Clean and lonely behind the February elms. The Old Man was working late again.

I mentioned the weather to the driver and he said he didn't like it. The jacket hung in pleats from his shoulder blades. He came from Vermont -- most of them were Southerners -- and up there they had a saying that green winters make fat churchyards.

'Been this way all up and down the coast for a week now.'

'We'll get a blizzard to top it off,' I said.

Some of the rest of the week is blurred, but I remember everything about that night. Everything before I found Niobe's note and everything afterwards. It had to be a note. The theatrical touch. I felt that later in the whole city, New York, running wild like an idiot girl with some dream of lilacs in her little canine skull. Not quite, of course. For me, it was more like being the sober host at a terrific party where everyone else has a fine glittering edge. That is, until I got it too."

Vincent McHugh, the opening page of I Am Thinking of My Darling, 1943.