Sample G67 from Mark Schorer, Sinclair Lewis: An American Life. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1961. Pp. 468-472. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,085 words 231 (11.1%) quotes 1 symbolG67

Copyright 1961 by Mark Schorer. Used by permission. 0010-1770

Mark Schorer, Sinclair Lewis: An American Life. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1961. Pp. 468-472.

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He looked at her as she spoke , then got up as she was speaking still , and , simply and wordlessly , walked out . And that was the end . Or nearly .

He went to the Hotel Mayflower and telegraphed Mencken . Would he meet him in Baltimore in Drawing Room A , Car Three on the train leaving Washington at nine o'clock next morning ? ? They would go to New York together , where parties would be piled on weariness and on misery . But not for long . Both Alfred Harcourt and Donald Brace had written him enthusiastic praise of Elmer Gantry ( any changes could be made in proof , which was already coming from the printer ) and they had ordered 140,000 copies -- the largest first printing of any book in history . But none of this could soothe the exacerbated nerves . On New Year's Eve , Alfred Harcourt drove him up the Hudson to Bill Brown's Training Camp , a well-known establishment for the speedy if temporary rehabilitation of drunkards who could no longer help themselves . But , in departing , Lewis begged Breasted that there be no liquor in the apartment at the Grosvenor on his return , and he took with him the first thirty galleys of Elmer Gantry .

On January 4 , with the boys back at school and college , Mrs. Lewis wrote Harcourt to say that she was `` through , quite through '' . `` This whole Washington venture was my last gesture , and it has failed . Physically as well as mentally I have reached the limit of my endurance . My last gift to him is complete silence until the book is out and the first heated discussion dies down . For him to divorce God and wife simultaneously would be bad publicity . I am really ill at the present moment , and I will go to some sort of a sanitarium to normalize myself '' . And she withdrew then to Cromwell Hall , in Cromwell , Connecticut .

Harcourt replied : `` I do really hope you can achieve serenity in the course of time . Of course I hope Hal can also , but those hopes are much more faint '' .

8 on January 8 , 1927 , he returned to the Grosvenor in high spirits , and looking fit . He had been , he wrote Mencken at once , `` in the country '' , a euphemism for an experience that had not greatly changed him . Charles Breasted remembers that , before unpacking his bag , he telephoned his bootlegger with a generous order , and almost at once `` the familiar procession of people began milling through our living room at any hour between two P.M. and three A.M. '' . They were strays of every kind -- university students and journalists , Village hangers-on and barflies , taxi drivers and editors and unknown poets , as well as friends like Elinor Wylie and William Rose Benet , the Van Dorens and Nathan , Rebecca West and Hugh Walpole and Osbert Sitwell , Laurence Stallings , Lewis Browne , William Seabrook , Arthur Hopkins , the Woodwards . When he came home from his office at the end of the afternoon , Breasted never knew what gathering he should expect to find , but there almost always was one .

He did not neglect his wife in Cromwell Hall , but telephoned her and wrote her with assurances of his continuing interest and of his wish to `` stand behind '' her in their separation and of his hope that there would be no bitterness between them . She was occupying herself in an attempt to write an article about the variety of houses that they had rented abroad . He was of unsettled mind as to whether he should go abroad when the Gantry galleys were finished . For a time , urging Breasted to give up his public relations work and take up writing instead , he hoped to persuade him to become his assistant in research for the labor novel ; ; if Breasted agreed , they would get a car and tour the country , visiting every kind of industrial center . When Breasted insisted that this was impossible for him , Lewis decided to go abroad .

He telephoned L. M. Birkhead and asked him and his wife to come to Europe as his guests , but Birkhead declined on the grounds that one of them must be in the United States when Elmer Gantry was published . Lewis was spending his mornings , with the help of two secretaries , on the galleys of that long novel , making considerable revisions , and the combination of hard work and hard frivolity exhausted him once more , so that he was compelled to spend three days in the Harbor Sanatorium in the last week of January . Before he made that retreat , he telephoned Earl Blackman in Kansas City and asked him to come to Europe with him . Blackman was to be in New York by February 2 , because they were sailing at 12:01 next morning . Lewis told him what clothes he should bring along , and enjoined him not to buy anything that he did not already own , they would do that in New York . Blackman arrived a day or two early , and Lewis took him to a department store immediately and outfitted him , luggage and all , and then he took him to a party at the Woodwards that went on until four in the morning .

On the evening that they were to sail , Lewis himself gave a party , but he was too indisposed to appear at it . Woodward took occasion to warn Blackman about Lewis's drinking and urged him to `` try to keep him sober '' . After a dinner party for which she had come down to New York , Mrs. Lewis and Casanova arrived to see them off , and Elinor Wylie made tart observations that indicated that Lewis had been less discreet than he had promised to be about the real nature of their separation . Nevertheless , Mrs. Lewis was still solicitous of his condition : let him do as he wished , let him sleep with chambermaids if he must , but , she begged Blackman , try to keep him from drinking a great deal and bring him back in good health . As they stood at the first-class rail , waving down to his wife and Casanova below , Lewis said , `` Earl , there is Gracie's future husband '' . And when questioned by ship's reporters about the separation , she said , `` I adore him , and he adores me '' .

Blackman had brought news from Kansas City . Before his departure , a group of his friends , the Reverend Stidger among them , had given him a luncheon , and Stidger had seen advance sheets of Elmer Gantry . He was outraged by the book and announced that he had discovered fifty technical errors in its account of church practices . L. M. Birkhead challenged him to name one and he was silent . But his rancor did not cease , and presently , on March 13 , when he preached a sermon on the text , `` And Ben-hadad Was Drunk '' , he told his congregation how disappointed he was in Mr. Lewis , how he regretted having had him in his house , and how he should have been warned by the fact that the novelist was drunk all the time that he was working on the book . But that sermon , like those of hundreds of other ministers , was yet to be delivered .

In London Lewis took the usual suite in Bury Street . To the newspapers he talked about his unquiet life , about his wish to be a newspaperman once more , about the prevalence of American slang in British speech , about the loquacity of the English and the impossibility of finding quiet in a railway carriage , about his plans to wander for two years `` unless stopped and made to write another book '' . The Manchester Guardian wondered how anyone in a railway carriage would have an opportunity to talk to Mr. Lewis , since it was well known that Mr. Lewis always did all of the talking . His English friends , it said , had gone into training to keep up with him vocally and with his `` allegro movements around the luncheon table '' . The New York Times editorialist wondered just who would stop Mr. Lewis and make him write a book .

Lewis's remarks about his marriage were suggestive enough to induce American reporters to invade the offices of Harcourt , Brace & Company for information , to pursue Mrs. Lewis to Cromwell Hall , and , after she had returned to New York , to ferret her out at the Stanhope on upper Fifth Avenue where she had taken an apartment . There , to the Evening Post , she emphatically denied the divorce rumors and explained that she had stayed behind because of the schooling of their son , which henceforth would be strictly American . These rumors of permanent separation started up a whole crop of stories about her . One had it that a friend , protesting her snobbery , said , `` But , Gracie , you are an American , aren't you '' ? ? And she replied , `` I was born in America , but I was conceived in Vienna '' . Lewis himself furthered these tales . He is said to have reported that once , when she went to a hospital to call on a friend after a serious operation , and the friend protested that it had been `` nothing '' , she replied , `` Well , it was your healthy American peasant blood that pulled you through '' . With these and similar tales he was entertaining his English friends , all of whom he was seeing when he was not showing Blackman the sights of London and its environs .

At once upon his arrival , he telephoned Lady Sybil Colefax who invited them to tea , and then Lewis decided to give a party as a quick way of rounding up his friends . He invited Lady Sybil , Lord Thomson , Bechhofer Roberts , and a half dozen others . It was a dinner party , Lewis had been drinking during the afternoon , and long before the party really got under way , he was quite drunk , with the result that the party broke up even before dinner was over . Lewis , at the head of the table , would leap up and move around behind the chairs of his guests making remarks that , when not highly offensive , were at least highly inappropriate , and then presently he collapsed and was put to bed .

When Blackman emerged from the bedroom , everyone was gone except the tolerant Lord Thomson , who stayed and chatted with him for half an hour , and then Blackman lay awake most of that night , despairing of what he must expect on the Continent . Finally , at dawn , he fell asleep , and when he awoke and came into the living room , he found Lewis in his pajamas before the fire , smoking a cigarette . Blackman said that he wanted to apologize for not having prevented Lewis from making that horrible spectacle of himself , that he should have seized him by the neck at once and forcibly hauled him into his bedroom . Lewis warned him never to lay a hand on him , and then Blackman asked for his fare back to the United States . Lewis looked at him and began to cry , and then , saying that he was going to make a promise , he asked Blackman to call the porter and to tell him to take out all the liquor that he did not want . `` And from now on , for the rest of this trip , I will only drink what you agree that I should drink '' . Blackman called the porter and had him remove everything but one bottle of brandy , and after that they would have a cocktail or two before dinner , or , on one of their walking trips , beer , or , in France and Italy , wine in moderation .

Lewis gave him a guidebook tour of London and , motoring and walking , took him to Stratford , but the London stay was for only ten days , and on the twentieth they took the train for Southampton , where they spent the night for an early morning Channel crossing . Near Southampton , in a considerable establishment , lived Homer Vachell , a well-known pulp writer , and his brother , Horace -- both friends of Lewis's . He suggested that they call on these brothers , who received them pleasantly . Then they returned to their hotel and got ready for bed . It was late , and Blackman was ready to go to sleep , but Lewis was not . He said , `` We had a good time tonight , didn't we , Earl '' ? ? Earl agreed , and Lewis said that it would have been very different if his wife had been with him . Then he kept Blackman awake for more than an hour while he did an imaginary dialogue between his wife and himself in which , discussing the evening , he was continually berated . He began the dialogue by having his wife announce that one does not invade people's homes without warning them that one is coming , and went on from that with the entire catalogue of his social gaucheries .