Sunday, July 13, 2008


"What is a cad?" I asked. "Isn't he someone that one has to thrash within an inch of his life?"
"Not necessarily," Ford said.
"Is Ezra a gentleman?" I asked.
"Of course not," Ford said. "He's an American."
"Can't an American be a gentleman?"
"Perhaps John Quinn," Ford explained. "Certain of your ambassadors."
"Myron T. Herrick?"
"Was Henry James a gentleman?"
"Very nearly."
"Are you a gentleman?"
"Naturally. I have held His Majesty's commission."
"It's very complicated," I said. "Am I a gentleman?"
"Absolutely not," Ford said.
"Then why are you drinking with me?"
"I'm drinking with you as a promising young writer. As a fellow writer in fact."
"Good of you," I said.
"You might be considered a gentleman in Italy," Ford said magnanimously.
"But I'm not a cad?"
"Of course not, dear boy. Who ever said such a thing?"

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