"'No!' I cried out, 'no, I am not. I have never been too young to know this, I have always known it. It came into my mind, in words, the night my father died. But even before then, I knew. You see, I have had this conviction. . . .'
    "There must have been something strange to my mother in hearing me use the word 'conviction'. She understood so well what I meant, how it was with me. For she, too, had been belabored by a conviction which never had wavered since I was born.

 "But she was a very firm woman. She could not relinquish so easily her heart's desire. No, not even to give me mine. And I think she must have felt, subconsciously, for she was wiser than she knew, that what I wanted I would have -- if I wanted it deeply enough. She knew that, if my purpose were sincere and passionate enough, opposition would but strengthen that purpose, delay but intensify it.
    "And so she commanded me to continue with my studies, as we had planned, to enter the Sorbonne and
to obtain my License of Philosophy. Then she said, and only then, would I be free to answer any calling I might choose. If the theatre still seemed to me to be my 'life' she would offer no further opposition. By the slight smile playing about her mouth, I gathered that she still saw me in her mind's eye as frock-coated and covered with scholastic dignities. She could not easily replace that image with a grease-painted actor from an alien world.
    "And so we made the pact between us. I returned to school -- and to romance -- again.
    "For at just about this time I had my first really memorable romance. At least, memorable in so far as I remembered the face, the form, the name if the young lady who captured my heart. She was, I think, my first love worthy of the name. She was a young woman who had come from Paris to teach our class in philosophy. She was tall, blonde and very beautiful. And she was deliciously dignified. If ever she was conscious of my burning glances, of the impassioned tone of voice in which I managed to deliver the cold, abstract theses of philosophy, she gave not the slightest indication.
    "I became desperate. How to reach her cool heart? How to make her know?

 Above: Boyer in a scene from "Garden of Allah."
The dog, Bous-Bous, and he became
fast friends during the picture's shooting.

At last I devised the brilliant scheme of writing my love for her into the themes I had to compose and she to correct. I realized that I might be accounted a failure in my course if I did not stick to my subject matter. No matter. I felt, feverishly, that to fail for love would be a glorious defeat.

And so, instead of the erudite and dispassionate analyses of the subject
matter allotted me, I wrote fiery panegyrics to her eyes, her hair, her lips, her hands, even, I think, her feet -- odes to love, to love tinged with fatality, to unrequited love.
  "One day, as class was about to be dismissed, she called my name. She asked me to remain after the others had gone. To remain - alone with her. She wanted, she said, to talk to me. I can see her still, as I saw her then, golden and seeming to swim before my widened eyes in a radiant haze. I am afraid that I can see myself, too, casting a slightly oblique glance of triumph upon my fellow classmen, who were all, like myself, in love with her but who had not conceived my ingenious scheme of declaring their love. I assumed, I am afraid, the nonchalant swagger of conquest.
    "And then I was alone with her -- standing there by her desk, my hands and feet slightly chilled, my heart hammering as I considered the now somewhat terrifying prospect of clasping her to my adolescent breast. I began to feel a little sick.
    "She said, in her grave sweet voice, just tinged with a gentle amusement, 'Charles, one day you will be a very charming man, possibly you even may be a very great lover. But that day has not yet come. Why don't you wait for it?'


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