The Congressman Who Loved Flaubert
Author: Ward Just
Setting Decade: 1970s
Main Themes: MarriageExcerpt: From the story "Noone" -- The emotions of it were fairly straightforward, and I don't want to make too much of them in any case, either way. She was crying on the bed, or it sounded like crying, and I was in my rage at the doorway. I had said the words so many times in my head that when I said them out loud, they sounded false. I told her we were finished, and I was leaving. She told me to get out then, and I did. After I slammed the door, I couldn't hear her anymore. I stood for a moment in the street, then began to walk down Dent Place to Wisconsin Avenue. I was walking very quickly, head down, looking for a taxi. The regular Yellow would arrive at eight, but I didn't feel like waiting for half an hour. My knees were shaky and I kept to the inside of the sidewalk. Then I collected myself and slowed up. My briefcase swung in rhythm, my footsteps even on the sidewalk. Click click click click click.
Excerpt Page Number: 120
Address: Dent Place NW 20007
Setting Decade: 1970s
Main Themes: MarriageExcerpt: From story "Honor, Power, Riches, Fame, and the Love of Women" -- The street was empty again but I continued to look into it, diverted by the long line of spare, monotonous, Federal facades. This was a very old and formal part of Georgetown. Two-hundred-year-old eagles crouched fiercely in horseshoe arches above lacquered doors, the eagles wrapped in Old Glory. I thought it an odd district for an artist to live in.... I left the congressman's office that night of the ultimatum and drove slowly down Pennsylvania Avenue to M Street and then up to Prospect, where she lived. I was thinking of her, not what I would have to say to her, but of her. Jo laughing with her mouth turned down and her head cocked, a lock of auburn hair curling over one eye, her fingers describing arcs in the air; Jo in her shapeless sculptor's smock and black tights.... We almost never talked politics at her house, though from time to time she'd ask me to explain something she'd read in the newspapers. She would listen to my explanation and shake her head, bemused. Occasionally her indifference would irritate me. But of course that was part of the attraction. Sometimes I talked about one of my current projects whether she wanted to hear about it or not. She was always polite but I knew her mind was elsewhere.... I drove to Prospect Street, parked in the alley, and let myself in through the back door. She was upstairs and called down: she was on the telephone, she'd be a minute. My mother, she whispered hoarsely. I made a drink and leaned wearily against the sideboard. I had avoided thinking about the congressman, but all that came back now with a rush. I could hear his careful voice and perfect sentences, and his cigar smoke still clung to my suit. Then the memory ebbed. I stood very still, sipping my drink, staring into the blackness of her back yard garden. I could barely make out the crowded rosebush, the blossoms hanging like bells from a jester's costume. I switched off the kitchen light and the entire garden came alive in the moon. A night bird hammered noisily nearby, competing with the roar of a cocktail party two houses away. ---------- Attorney John Thompson Mason constructed this house c. 1798 and sold it to Dr. Charles Worthington in 1810 who dubbed it “Quality Hill” (a name that has stuck). 150 year and half a dozen owners later the house was purchased by Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI) and his wife Nuala, who lived in it for nearly four decades during the Senator’s tenure. A center of political and social life for over 200 years, the historic landmark can be yours for $11 million.
Excerpt Page Number: 34-37
Address: 3425 Prospect St NW 20007
Setting Decade: 1970s
Main Themes: MarriageExcerpt: From the story "A Guide to the Architecture of Washington, D.C." -- The day after the election he took five of them through the Oval Office and all of the rooms in the West Wing. They were polite and attentive, but a little cold. Candler understood and didn't mind. He thought they looked very young and would improve with age; give them four years in the West Wing and they'd age quickly enough. Candler showed them everything, from the location of the coat closets to the safes and special communications equipment. He explained that many of the pictures on the wall were personal and would leave with the men who owned them. All of this was carefully taken down by the one with the notebook.... He showed them to the door and watched them walk away down the asphalt drive. They looked like college boys in their tweed coats and careful manners.... The five men had walked down the asphalt and were now standing on the sidewalk in Pennsylvania Avenue, looking back at the White House. Measuring it for size, Candler thought; thinking about the offices. The offices in the basement, the ones on the second floor, and the real ones. The ones next to the Oval Office.
Excerpt Page Number: 144-145
Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW 20500