The smoking-room was furnished with writing tables, some luxurious arm chairs, and a comfortable lounge, and every spare nook was filled with book shelves. The contents of these shelves were extremely varied. A cursory glance showed me Meyer’s Neues Konversations-Lexicon, The Yacht Register, Whitaker’s Almanack, Who’s Who, Burke’s Peerage, The Almanack de Gotha, the British and the Continental Bradshaw, a number of Baedeker’s “Guides,” fifty or sixty volumes of the Tauchnitz edition, a large collection of files of reviews and magazines—The Nineteenth Century, Quarterly, Edinburgh, Fortnightly, Contemporary, National, Atlantic, North American, Revue de Deux Mondes—and a scattering of volumes by Kipling, Shaw, Hosebery, Pater, Ida Tarbell, Bryce, Ferrero, Macaulay, Anatole France, Maupassant, “Dooley,” and a large number of French and German plays. I was struck by the entire absence of books of travel and scientific works.
I spent part of the afternoon in the drawing-room playing a large instrument of the gramophone type. There were several hundred records— from grand opera, violin solos by Kreisler, and the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, to rag-time and the latest comic songs.
Before the time came to dress for dinner I had met the captain and some of the officers of the yacht. They were all very civil; and my own experience as a sailor enabled me to see that they were highly efficient men. I was a good deal puzzled, however, by something peculiar but very elusive in their attitude toward me, something which I had at once detected in the manner of my cabin-steward.
With their courtesy was mingled a certain flavor of curiosity tinged with amusement, which, so far from being offensive, was distinctly friendly, but which, nevertheless, gave me a vague sense of uneasiness. In fact the whole atmosphere of the yacht was one of restlessness and suspense; and the effect was heightened because each person who spoke to me appeared to be on the point of divulging some secret or delivering some advice, which discretion checked at his lips.
I felt myself very much under observation, a feeling as though I was a new boy in a boarding school or a new animal at the zoo—interesting to my companions not only on account of my novelty, but because my personal peculiarities would affect the comfort of the community of which I was to become a member.
At seven o’clock my cabin-steward announced the arrival of the automobile, and after a swift run along the plage and up the winding roads on the hillsides of Cap Martin I found myself at the door of Mr. Pulitzer’s villa. I was received by the major-domo, ushered into the drawing-room, and informed that Mr. Pulitzer would be down in a few minutes.
MEETING JOSEPH PULITZER