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Dexter sat beside Judy Jones and she explained how her boat. Then she was in the water, swimming to the floating surf-board with exquisite crawl. Watching her was without effort to the eye watching a branch waving or a sea-gull flying. Her arms, burned to butternut, moved sinuously among the dull platinum ripples, elbow appearing first, easting the forearm back with a cadence of falling water, then reaching out and down stabbing a path ahead.
They moved out into the lake and turning, Dexter saw that she was kneeling on the low rear of the now up-tilted surfboard. When he looked around again the girl was standing up on the rushing board, her arms spread ecstatically, her eyes lifted toward the moon.
Come to dinner to-morrow night. He kept thinking how glad he was that he had never caddied for this girl. The damp gingham clinging made her like a statue and turned her intense mobility to immobility at last. HAD he been as calm inwardly as he was in appearance, Dexter would have had plenty of time to examine his surroundings in detail. He received, however, an enduring impression that the house was the most elaborate he had ever seen.
He had known for a long time that it was the finest on Lake Erminie, with a Pompeiian swimming pool and twelve acres of lawn and garden. But what gave it an air of breathless intensity was the sense that it was inhabited by Judy Jones—that it was as casual a thing to her as the little house in the village had once been to Dexter.
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They were more real because he could feel them all about him, pervading the air with the shades and echoes of still vibrant emotion. And so while he waited for her to appear he peopled the soft deep summer room and the sun porch that opened from it with the men who had already loved Judy Jones. He knew the sort of men they were—the men who when he first went to college had entered from the great prepschools with graceful clothes and the deep tan of healthy summer, who did nothing or anything with the same debonaire ease.
Dexter had seen that, in one sense, he was better than these men. He was newer and stronger. Yet in acknowledging to himself that he wished his children to be like them he was admitting that he was but the rough, strong stuff from which this graceful aristocracy eternally sprang. When, a year before, the time had come when he could wear good clothes, he had known who were the best tailors in America, and the best tailor in America had made him the suit he wore this evening. He had acquired that particular reserve peculiar to his university, that set it off from other universities.
He recognized the value to him of such a mannerism and he had adopted it; he knew that to be careless in dress and manner required more confidence than to be careful. But carelessness was for his children. She was a Bohemian of the peasant class and she had talked broken English to the end of her days. Her son must keep to the set patterns. He waited for Judy Jones in her house, and he saw these other young men around him.
Winter Dreams Summary
It excited him that many men had loved her. It increased her value in his. At a little after seven Judy Jones came downstairs. She wore a blue silk afternoon dress. He was disappointed at first that she had not put on something more elaborate, and this feeling was accentuated when, after a brief greeting, she went. And mother looks about thirty. He remembered the last time he had seen her father, and found he was glad the parents were not to be here to-night.
Winter Dreams Summary & Study Guide Description
They would wonder who he was. He had been born in Keeble, a''Minnesota village fifty miles farther north, and he always gave Keeble as his home instead of Dillard. Before dinner he found the conversation unsatisfactory. The beautiful Judy seemed faintly irritable—as much so as it was possible to be with a comparative stranger. They discussed Lake Erminie and its golf course, the surf-board riding of the night before and the cold she had caught, which made her voice more husky and charming than ever.
They talked of his university which she had visitqd frequently during the past two years, and of the nearby city which supplied Lake Erminie with its patrons and whither Dexter would return next day to his prospering laundries. During dinner she slipped into a moody depression which gave Dexter a feeling of guilt.
Whatever petulance she uttered in her throaty voice worried him. Whatever she smiled at—at him, at a silver fork, at nothing—, it disturbed him that her smile could have no root in mirth, or even in amusement. When the red corners of her lips curved down, it was less a smile than an invitation to a kiss.
Then, after dinner, she led him out into the dark garden and deliberately changed the atmosphere. I like you. There was a—man I cared about. He told me out of a clear sky that he was poor as a church-mouse. Does it sound horribly mundane? As if a girl calmly informed her fiancee that she was a widow. For a moment Dexter hesitated.
There were two versions of his life that he could tell. There was Dillard and his caddying. Suddenly she turned her dark eyes directly upon him and the corners of her mouth drooped until her face seemed to open like a flower. He dared scarcely to breathe, he had the sense that she was exerting some force upon him; making him overwhelmingly conscious of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, the freshness of many clothes, of cool rooms and gleaming things safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor.
He kissed her curious and lovely mouth and committed himself to the following of a grail. Dexter surrendered a part of himself to the most direct and unprincipled personality with which he had ever come in contact. Whatever the beautiful Judy Jones desired, she went after with the full pressure of her charm.
There was no divergence of method, no jockeying for position or premeditation of effects— there was very little mental quality in any of her affairs. She simply made men conscious to the highest degree of her physical loveliness. Dexter had no desire to change her. Her deficiencies were knit up with a passionate energy that transcended and justified them.
It was the exquisite excitability that for the moment he controlled and owned. But a week later he was compelled to view this same quality in a different light. She took him in her roadster to a picnic supper and after supper she disappeared, likewise in her roadster, with another man. Dexter became enormously upset and was scarcely able to be decently civil to the other people present.
When she assured him that she had not kissed the other man he knew she was lying—yet he was glad that she had taken the trouble to lie to. He was, as he found before the summer ended, one of a dozen, a varying dozen, who circulated about her, Each of them had at one time been favored above all others—about half of them still basked in the solace of occasional sentimental revivals. Whenever one showed signs of dropping out through long neglect she granted him a brief honeyed hour which encouraged him to tag along for a year or so longer.
Judy made these forays upon the helpless and defeated without malice, indeed half unconscious that there was anything mischievous in what she did.
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The helpless part of trying to do anything about it was that she did it all herself. She was entertained only by the gratification of her desires and by the direct exercise of her own charm.
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Perhaps from so much youthful love, so many youthful lovers, she had come, in self defense, to nourish herself wholly from within. The helpless ecstasy of losing himself in her charm was a powerful opiate rather than a tonic. It was fortunate for his work during the winter that those moments of ecstasy came infrequently.
Early in their acquaintance it had seemed for a while that there was a deep and spontaneous mutual attraction—that first August for example—three days of long evenings on her dusky verandah, of strange wan kisses through the late afternoon, in shadowy alcoves or behind the protecting trellises of the garden arbors, of mornings when she was fresh as a dream and almost shy at meeting him in the clarity of the rising day.
There was all the ecstasy of an engagement about it, sharpened by his realization that there was no engagement.
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It was during those three days that, for the first time, he had asked her to marry him. To Dexter's agony, rumor engaged them. The man was the son of the president of a. But at the end of a I month it was reported that Judy was yawning. At a dance one night she sat all evening in a motor boat with an old beau, while the New Yorker searched the club for her frantically. She told the old beau that she was bored with her visitor and two days later he left.
She was seen with him at the station and it was reported that he looked very mournful indeed. On this note the summer ended. Dexter was twenty-four and he found himself increasingly in a position to do as he wished. He joined two clubs in the city and lived at one of them.