A BEDROOM IN THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING

Coming here had been a mistake, and Lottie Kilgallon didn't like to admit her mistakes.

And I won't admit this one, she thought with determination as she stared up at the ceiling that glimmered overhead

Her husband of 10 days slumbered beside hen Sleeping the sleep of the just was how some might have put it. Others, more honest, might have called it the sleep of the monumentally stupid. He was William Pillsbury of the Westchester Pillsburys, only son and heir of Harold M. Pillsbury, old and comfortable money. Publishing was what they liked to talk about because publishing was a gentleman's profession, but there was also a chain of New England textile mills, a foundry in Ohio, and extensive agricultural holdings in the South - cotton and citrus and fruit. Old money was always better than nouveau riche, but either way they had money falling out of their assholes. If she ever said that aloud to Bill, he would undoubtedly go pale and might even faint dead away No fear, Bill. Profanation of the Pillsbury family shall never cross my lips.

It had been her idea to honeymoon at the Overlook in Colorado, and there had been two reasons for this. First, although it was tremendously expensive (as the best resorts were), it was not a 'hep' place to go, and Lottie did not like to go to the hep places. Where did you go on your honeymoon. Lottie? Oh, this perfectly, wonderful resort hotel in Colorado - the Overlook. Lovely place. Quite out of the way but so romantic. And her friends - whose stupidity was exceeded in most cases only by that of William Pillsbury- himself - would look at her in dumb - literally! - wonder. Lottie had done it again.

Her second reason had been of more personal importance. She had wanted to honeymoon at the Overlook because Bill wanted to go to Rome. It was imperative to find out certain things as soon as possible. Would she be able to have her own way immediately? And if not, how long would it take to grind him down? He was stupid, and he had followed her around like a dog with its tongue hanging out since her debutante ball, but would he be as malleable after the ring was slipped on as he had been before?

Lottie smiled a little in the dark despite her lack of sleep and the bad dreams she had had since they arrived here. Arrived here, that was the key phrase. 'Here' was not the American Hotel in Rome but the Overlook in Colorado. She was going to be able to manage him just fine, and that was the important thing. She would only make him stay another four days (she had originally planned on three weeks, but the bad dreams had changed that), and then they could go back to New York. After all, that was where the action was in this August of 1929. The stock market was going crazy, the sky was the limit, and Lottie expected to be an heiress to multimillions instead of just one or two million by this time next year. Of course there were some weak sisters who claimed the market was riding for a fall, but no one had ever called Lottie Kilgallon a weak sister.

Lottie Kilgallon. Pillsbury now at least that's the way I'll have to sign my checks, of course. But inside I'll always be Lottie Kilgallon. Because he's never going to touch me Not inside where it counts.

The most tiresome thing about this first contest of her marriage was that Bill actually liked the Overlook. He was up even, day at two minutes past the crack of dawn, disturbing what ragged bits of sleep she had managed after the restless nights, staring eagerly out at the sunrise like some sort of disgusting Greek nature boy. He had been hiking two or three times, he had gone on several nature rides with other guests, and bored her almost to the point of screaming with stories about the horse he rode on these jaunts, a bay mare named Tessie. He had tried to get her to go on these outings with him, but Lottie refused. Riding meant slacks, and her posterior was just a trifle too-wide for slacks. The idiot had also suggested that she go hiking with him and some of the others - the caretaker's son doubled as a guide, Bill enthused, and he knew a hundred trails. The amount of game you saw, Bill said, would make you think it was 1829, instead of a hundred years later. Lottie had dumped cold water on this idea too.

'I believe, darling, that all hikes should be one-way, you see.'

'One-way?' His wide Anglo-Saxon brow crippled and croggled into its usual expression of befuddlement. 'How can you have a one-way hike, Lottie?'

'By hailing a taxi to take you home when your feet begin to hurt,' she replied coldly,

The barb was wasted. He went without her, and came back glowing. The stupid bastard was getting a tan.

She had not even enjoyed their evenings of bridge in the downstairs recreation room, and that was most unlike her. She was something of a barracuda at bridge, and if it had been ladylike to play for stakes in mixed company, she could have brought a cash dowry to her marriage (not that she would have, of course). Bill was a good bridge partner, too; he had both qualifications: He understood the basic rules and he allowed Lottie to dominate him. She thought it was poetic justice that her new husband spent most of their bridge evenings as the dummy.

Their partners at the Overlook were the Compsons occasionally, the Vereckers more frequently. Dr. Verecker was in his early 70s, a surgeon who had retired after a near-fatal heart attack. His wife smiled a lot, spoke softly, and had eyes like shiny nickels. They played only adequate bridge, but they kept beating Lottie and Bill. On the occasions when the men played against the women, the men ended up trouncing Lottie and Malvina Verecker. When Lottie and Dr. Verecker played Bill and Malvina, she and the doctor usually won, but there was no pleasure in it because Bill was a dullard and Malvina, could not see the game of bridge as anything but a social tool.

Two nights before, after the doctor and his wife had made a bid of four clubs that, they had absolutely no right to make, Lottie had mussed the cards in a sudden flash of pique that was very unlike her. She usually kept her feelings under much better control.

'You could have led into my spades on that third trick!' she rattled at Bill. 'That would have put a stop to it right there!'

'But dear,' said Bill, flustered , 'I thought you were thin in spades.'

'If I had been thin in spades, I shouldn't have bid two of them, should I? Why I continue to play this game with you I don't. know!'

The Vereckers blinked at them in mild surprise. Later that evening Mrs. Verecker, she of the nickel-bright eyes, would tell her husband that she had thought them such a nice couple, so loving, but when she rumpled the cards like that she had looked just like a shrew.

Bill was staring at her with jaws agape.

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