CORONET BOOKS Hodder Paperbacks Ltd., London Copyright 1970 by Erich Segal First printed in Great Britain 1970 Hodder Paperback edition 1971 Seventeenth impression 1971 Eighteenth impression 1971 Nineteenth impression 1971 Twentieth impression 1972 Twenty First impression 1972 Reproduced from the U.S. edition by arrangement With Harper Row, New York, Portions of this Book first appeared in The Ladies Home Journal. All rights reserved.
The characters and situations in this book are Entirely imaginary and bear no relation to any real person or actual happening This book is sol subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which this is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Printed and bound in Great Britain for Coronet Books, Hodder Paperbacks Ltd, St Paul's House, Warwick Lane, London EC4P 4AH By Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd, Aylesbury, Bucks ISBN 0 340 12508 X
For Sylvia Herscher and John Flaxman . . . namque . . . solebatis meas esse aliquid putare nuqas 1
What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me. Once, when she specifically lumped me with those musical types, I asked her what the order was, and she replied, smiling, 'Alphabetical.' At the time I smiled too. But now I sit and wonder whether she was listing me by my first name - in which case I would trail Mozart - or by my last name, in which case I would edge in there between Bach and the Beatles. Either way I don't come first, which for some stupid reason bothers hell out of me, having grown up with the notion that I always had to be number one. Family heritage, don't you know? In the fall of my senior year, I got into the habit of studying at the Radcliffe library. Not just to eye the cheese, although I admit that I liked to look. The place was quiet, nobody knew me, and the reserve books were less in demand. The day before one of my history hour exams, I still hadn't gotten around to reading the first book on the list, an endemic Harvard disease. I ambled over to the reserve desk to get one of the tomes that would bail me out on the morrow. There were two girls working there. One a tall tennis-anyone type, the other a bespectacled mouse type. I opted for Minnie Four-Eyes. 'Do you have The Waning of the Middle Ages?' She shot a glance up at me. 'Do you have your own library?' she asked. 'Listen, Harvard is allowed to use the Radcliffe library.' 'I'm not talking legality, Preppie, I'm taking ethics. You guys have five million books. We have a few lousy thousand.' Christ, a superior-being type! The kind who think since the ratio of Radcliffe to Harvard is five to one, the girls must be five times as smart. I normally cut these types to ribbons, but just then I badly] needed that goddamn book. ' 'Listen, I need that goddamn book.' 'Wouldja please watch your profanity, Preppie?' 'What makes you so sure I went to prep school?' 'You look stupid and rich,' she said, removing her glasses. 'You're wrong,'' I protested. 'I'm actually smart and poor.' 'Oh, no, Preppie. I'm smart and poor.' She was staring straight at me. Her eyes were brown. Okay, maybe I look rich, but I wouldn't let some 'Cliffie - even one with pretty eyes - call me dumb. 'What the hell makes you so smart?' I asked. 'I wouldn't go for coffee with you,' she answered. 'Listen - I wouldn't ask you.' 'That,' she replied, 'is what makes you stupid.' Let me explain why I took her for coffee. By shrewdly capitulating at the crucial moment - i.e., by pretending that I suddenly wanted to - I got my book. And since she couldn't leave until the library closed, I had plenty of time to absorb some pithy phrases about the shift of royal...