Fire from the Sun


John Derbyshire


Chapter 54

A Rare, Illegal Delicacy Proves Disappointing

The Lotus is Broken but the Threads Still Connect

Rather to Margaret’s surprise, William was in his box for the second Sonnambula, too. She expected him in the dressing room afterwards, but instead of himself he sent a huge basket of flowers, rare fragrant orchids and exquisite ferns, and a card with an odd rhyming couplet in Chinese:

Those watching us assume our plots are deep.

They do not know we’re walking in our sleep.

He was there at the third performance, too. This was a Saturday matinée, broadcast on the radio all over the country. This time he came to her afterwards and proposed a dinner date that evening. Margaret had nothing fixed, as it happened, and had been contemplating an evening in her flat resting her voice, looking over her summer schedule and trying to finish a letter to her mother. William was diffident and charming, or as close to charming as he ever got, and there had been the flowers after the previous performance, and Margaret had a terrific appetite from singing. Dinner at (she did not doubt) a very expensive restaurant easily trumped rice and vegetables in Rego Park, and a couple of hours quiet talk would do her voice no harm.

William took her to Chinatown, to an upstairs room in an ordinary-looking Cantonese restaurant. While the main part of the restaurant—such as Margaret had been able to see as they passed the open door—was unexceptional, this section was clearly exclusive. The half-dozen tables were placed far apart and each was set off from the others with lacquered screens. The room was decorated in the Imperial style, but plainly, and the waiters wore spotless tunics and moved to and fro silently in white-soled slippers.

“Bear paw,” said William. “I knew you wanted some so I ordered it specially. But it’s illegal, of course, so don’t say anything to other people.”

“How did you know I’d accept the invitation?”

William shrugged. “If you hadn’t, someone else would have got the bear paw. They can always sell stuff like that. We’ll have some dog meat, too—also illegal, of course, but very good for you in this cold weather.”

The bear paw was disappointing, greasy and gamy, but the dog meat delicious. Margaret had always liked dog, which is eaten in winter in southwest China, but during her childhood had been considered an expensive delicacy, able to pass beneath her father’s puritan eye only when recommended for reasons of health.

“Now I am going to say you’re harassing me,” said Margaret when they had settled with the food. “You’ve been to all three performances so far.”

“I shall be at the other five, too,” said William. “It’s a lovely opera. Why shouldn’t I take in every performance? Suppose I couldn’t afford to go to the Met. Suppose I could only buy a recording of this opera. Wouldn’t I listen to the recording eight times, at least? Well, I have the time and money, I can see the real thing eight times.”

Margaret laughed at him. “Are you really an opera lover? Do you harass other singers? Or is it only me?”

“So far as opera is concerned: yes, I love it. It’s very beautiful. But your voice has the strongest effect on me. It’s had an effect on me ever since I’ve known you, even before you started training it.”

“You shouldn’t get too obsessed by one voice. There are many different styles, you know. Even for a single opera, there are many ways to sing it.”

“Yes. Before I came to the first Sonnambula I listened to the Callas recording. Quite a different approach from yours. Callas is a bit too steely when her lover has rejected her. Your singing catches the pathos and injustice of it much better. And the way you move around the stage is beautiful to watch. Easy to see you were once a dancer.”

“So much flattery! To tell the truth, I’ve never heard the Callas recording.”

“What?” William stared at her in surprise. “You’re singing this opera at the New York Met, yet you’ve never heard the most famous recording? That doesn’t make sense. Don’t you use recordings to prepare?”

“Me personally, no. I read the score, have a pianist go through it with me, and try to hear the music in my head. Then I decide how I think it should be sung. If I listened to someone else’s recording, it might influence me away from my own interpretation. I’d end up with something that wasn’t truly me. Something part me and part the other person. When I’m through with this part I may listen to Callas, out of curiosity. But not till I’ve established my Sonnambula clearly in my mind. MY Sonnambula—mine, not anybody else’s. When I’m quite sure of mine I shall compare hers to mine. Not mine to hers.”

Now William laughed. “Such a perfectionist.”

“Art is a quest for perfection. That’s all it is.”

“And such an idealist! ‘Art exists to serve the people.’ Don’t you remember Chairman Mao’s famous essay on this topic?”

“Oh, nobody believes that stuff any more.” Margaret laughed. “Chairman Mao! It seems old-fashioned just to say it. Like something from one of the dynasties. What wouldn’t we have done for Chairman Mao? And now, ten years in the grave, he’s almost forgotten.”

William was looking at his food. “I won’t forget him,” he said.

“I’m sorry. Weilin, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to allude to those things.”

Margaret reached over and covered his hand with hers. As soon as she touched him he looked up, smiling. The smile startled her with its radiance. His entire spirit, his soul, was in the smile, shining out through his eyes.

“I think that’s the first time you’ve touched me since we were children,” he said.

Margaret pulled her hand away. “For comfort, that was all.”

“You don’t have to be so cold with me, Yuezhu. We’ve set aside the past, haven’t we?”

“I guess.”

“You guess? ‘The superior person bears no resentment against Heaven, holds no grudges against his fellow men.’” [Quoting Mencius.]

“All right, Weilin, we have set aside the past.”

“Then let’s be friends in a normal way.”

“Is that what you want, Weilin? To be friends with me?”

“I have very few friends. It would be nice to have more.”

“That doesn’t answer my question.”

William set down his chopsticks again and looked across at her, serious now. “You want me to speak clearly? All right, I’ll speak clearly. I want to marry you, Yuezhu.”

Margaret laughed, more because she was shocked by his frankness and at the absurdity of what he had said than because she found anything amusing in it. “In your dreams!” she said.

“In my dreams we are already married,” he said quietly, returning to his food.

Embarrassed now by his sincerity, Margaret could think of nothing to say. William himself did not seem inclined to pursue the issue. They ate in silence for a moment.

“Perhaps we should change the subject,” she said at last.

“All right. Your subject.”

“We were talking very pleasantly about opera.”

“Yes. Tell me about this Bellini. You said he is your guiren.”

“Maybe. I love to sing his music. It seems to come naturally to me, though most singers think it very difficult.”

“Yes. The music suits your voice. Especially this one, this Sonnambula. Is this his masterpiece?”

“No. His masterpiece is called Norma.”

“Have you sung that?”

“No. It’s not often performed.”

“Why not, if it’s a masterpiece?”

“Singers don’t want to do it. It’s supposed to be fearsomely difficult. Among singers the saying is that we’re lucky to get one good Norma per generation.”

“Who is the Norma for this generation?”

“I don’t think there is one. Barbara Bacon did it at La Scala—but that was twenty years ago.”

“There we are, then. You will be the Norma for this generation.”

“First I’d have to persuade a house to put it on. I’m not a very important singer. Nobody would do a Norma just for me.”

“Why not? What if I paid them to?”

Margaret laughed. “You know, Weilin, you’re a terrible materialist. You think money can just buy anything.”

“No. But I bet it can buy an opera. If I went to the management of the Met and offered to finance a Norma—sets, costumes, singers’ fees, the whole thing from beginning to end—would they really refuse?”

“I don’t know. Are you serious?”

“Perfectly serious. I’m going to call tomorrow and ask them.”

“Oh, Weilin. Is this a play for my favor?”

“Of course it is. Will you marry me?”

“No, never.”

“I don’t care. I’ll raise a Norma for you anyway.”


This year’s WCB Christmas party was a subdued affair. There had been a major market correction (the newspapers said “crash”) in October. Its real effects had been small, and the market was recovering nicely; but with the arrests of Jeffrey Duggan and Lenny Goldfarb, WCB’s two leading arbitrageurs, soon afterwards, people felt nervous and depressed. This year there was no ice sculpture, no China and France, only a generalized buffet table and waiters circulating with glasses of wine and trays of canapés.

The waiters were kept moving briskly. In the universal air of despondency and apprehension, a quite surprising number of people were taking refuge in drink. William himself was constitutionally unable to drink much, and so was consigned to the unhappy condition of standing sober while all around him voices rose and faces flushed. He was thinking of leaving when Sal Albergo came over. Sal ran the government desk—trading US Treasury securities, that is—and was a great fount of Street gossip.

“Saw your pal Theo the other day,” said Sal, who was just starting to glow.

“What, Theo Falconer? I lost track of him after he took himself off to Maine.”

“Well, he’s back. Met him at the newsstand in Rock Center. He looks good. Put on some weight.”

“Is he working?”

“No. Living at the house out on Long Island. Asked to be remembered to you.”

“That’s nice, but why doesn’t he call me? What was that all about, anyway, his resigning like that?”

Sal laughed. “Very cautious man, old Theo. Smelled something in the wind. Wanted to get out before the solids hit the air conditioning.”

Sal Albergo proceeded to retail the latest rumors about what Jeffrey and Lenny had told the Feds. William listened impatiently.

“It’s all nonsense,” he said. “WCB hasn’t done anything wrong.”

Sal laughed. “The feds wants to get us, they’ll get us. See you in jail.” (A common valediction among WCB people at that time.)

Left to himself and his glass of tonic water, William brooded on the arrests. Jeffrey and Lenny had been charged with offenses which seemed to him petty and technical: stock parking, insider trading. Things everybody did, which no-one thought wrong. They were decent men, he knew them both well from his early days in New York. Where was the sense in it?

These thoughts were interrupted by the awareness of a girl standing a few feet away. Clearly one of those who had consoled themselves for the firm’s woes with drink, the girl was looking at him slightly cross-eyed, and swaying perceptibly from side to side. William thought she would probably fall over before the evening was through. He recognized the girl. She rejoiced in the very mellifluous name of Mindy Gallone, and she was a trading assistant on the Mortgage desk. Twenty-two or -three, Mindy was pretty, in a domestic rather than glamorous way. Her skin was creamy and unmarked, her features regular under a tumble of blonde hair. She had a trim body and long slender legs that she showed to advantage by wearing miniskirts all the time. William had never heard anything bad of her, and had the impression, from occasional encounters, that she was demure and respectable. But now, seeing him take notice of her, she giggled and blushed.

“Hello. Mr Leung.”

“Hello, Mindy. You look as if you’ve drunk too much.”

“Yes. I probably have. It’s all right.” Mindy giggled again.

“Would you like me to call a car so you can go home?”

“No. It’s all right.”

William had for some days been nursing an idea, without coming to any definite resolution about it. He felt certain that matters would come to a head soon with Margaret, and wanted to feel quite sure of himself. He had thought of enlisting the services of a high-class call-girl agency for the purpose; but the sight of Mindy—pretty, drunk, and obviously thrilled to be talking to a Managing Director with a net worth approaching that of Africa—reminded him how easy things were for him.

“You really don’t look too steady on your feet,” he said. “Would you like to go to my office and sit down a while?”

The top floor was quite empty. By the time they got to William’s office the girl really did need support. He lifted her bodily and set her on the couch.

“You’re very strong,” she murmured.

William took the wineglass from her hand, then kissed her on the lips. She made no complaint. He kissed her bare shoulders, looking down at the cleft of her breasts.

“Oh, Mr Leung,” sighed the girl, letting her head fall back.

He raised her with one arm and unzipped her dress at the back with the other. Then he unfastened her bra and pulled down the dress to expose her breasts. They were very acceptable, neat and firm, the same creamy skin. He kissed them several times, sucked at the nipples and felt his jiba stiffening. The girl had her arms around him now, but began slithering off the couch, mumbling dreamily as she went.

William turned her over and got her more or less stable, kneeling across the couch with her rear end in the air. He lifted her dress and pulled down her tights and panties. Her bottom was as smooth and firm as the rest of her. Very much to William’s surprise, her private parts were shaven quite hairless. Was she an amateur gymnast? Or was it some whim of her boyfriend’s? He pushed down his own pants and saw with satisfaction that his jiba was very hard. Mindy’s head was turned on one side, resting on the sofa cushion, eyes closed and mouth open in anticipated ecstasy, or the simulation thereof. The pink pucker of her bottom hole was looking right at him; but William was intent on proving himself to himself in precise particulars.

When the deed was done and the proof accomplished, William washed up in his private bathroom. By the time he got back the girl was asleep, lying on her side on the floor in a fetal position, snoring faintly. He cleaned her up with hand towels from the bathroom and got her clothes back in position. Settling her pretty white breasts back into the bra, William noted with satisfaction a mild retumescence. Everything fine. I havnae made a bugger out of ye. I wouldnae want that on my conscience. There seemed no question of her walking unaided, so he called his car service, who were very efficient and very discreet, and explained the situation. They came with two extra guys, square grave Slavs in black turtleneck sweaters and suits, who carried her down in the elevator, got her bag and coat somehow, and took her to the Westchester address William had looked up on his employee database. The following Monday Mindy called him on his private line, which one of the mortgage traders knew.

“Mr Leung, did that really happen?” asked Mindy.

“I’m afraid so,” said William. “I’m really sorry.”

The girl laughed. “No need to be sorry. I guess I let myself in for it. But flowers would have been nice.”

William went over to Tiffany’s at lunch time and bought an exquisite threaded-gold necklace with diamonds at intervals on it and a diamond pendant, twenty-eight thousand dollars, and sent it to her by inter-office mail. “I don’t believe it,” the girl breathed, calling him back. “Don’t believe it. Thank you, thank you, oh thank you.”


On an impulse William had himself driven over to Lloyds Neck that Saturday morning. There had been snow—people were talking of a white Christmas—and Theo was loading up skis on the roof rack of his car, watched by two small children bundled in winter jackets and boots.

“Taking the kids over to Caumsett for some cross-country skiing,” Theo explained, tightening a strap, his back to William. “Caumsett’s great for cross-country.”

“I need to talk to you, Theo,” said William, standing there in the cold, to Theo’s back. The children watched him with frank suspicion. “I thought you might give me some insight into what’s going on. Since you seem to have seen it coming. The arrests, I mean.”

Theo turned from his straps and spiders. “I’m sorry, William,” he said. “I’d really like to ask you in, but I don’t think I can afford it.”

“Afford it? I’m not an expensive house guest, Theo.”

Theo smiled, then made a little laugh, his breath puffing out in a cloud. He looked down at the black surface of his driveway, cleared of snow, then back up. “Do you know what’s going to happen, William?”

“No. What’s going to happen?”

“They’re going to destroy Wechsel Cassidy Bruno. It’s a big operation, but they’ll do it.”

“They? Who’s ‘they’?”

“The government, of course. With a little help from their friends—the white-shoe firms, the tenured blowhards who write pompous op-ed pieces for the Journal, the labor racketeers, the academic lefties and the media dimwits. But mainly the politicians. Politicians hate commerce, William, don’t you know that? They hate it, all of them, and they’ll destroy it any chance they get. They’ll destroy Wechsel, they’ll destroy you, they’d destroy me if I hadn’t got out. They’ll still waste a great deal of my time and money if they know I’m standing here talking to you. Which is why I’d like you to go away. Sorry, William, it’s nothing personal, as they say—just business.” Theo turned back to his roof rack.

“Destroy me? Why would anybody want to destroy me? I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“The hell you say. This is nothing to do with right and wrong. It’s politics.”

Theo turned back to him. He contemplated him for a moment, then addressed the kids: “Go play.” They scampered off across the snow-covered lawn. Then to William: “Let’s take a walk.”

The only place to walk was down the driveway, everything else being inches deep in snow. They walked in silence to the gate. There was a stone pillar on each side of the gate with a stone ball on top. “Infangthief and Outfangthief,” said Theo.


“The names of the stone balls. In the old Saxon law, a petty lord had the right to execute his own people if they committed crimes. A major lord could not only execute his own people, he could execute your people, too, if they committed crimes on his property. The lesser right was called Infangthief, the greater one Outfangthief. A lord who had both rights would advertise the fact by displaying the heads of two executed felons at the gate of his manor. Then rotting heads went out of fashion for some reason and they substituted stone balls.”

“Fascinating. Why did we have to take a walk, Theo?”

“Because walls have ears, and so does your driver. Look, William, I’m sorry to be so callous about it. I just don’t want involvement at any level in what’s going to happen. For my wife and kids’ sake.”

“But this is terrible. ‘Walls have ears’? You sound like somebody in China. This is America, isn’t it? Doesn’t everything have to proceed according to the law?”

“Oh, it will, it will. The charges against Jeff and Lenny, for example—there’s no way the government could make them stick. But they don’t have to, you see? They are the government. You’ve got a lawyer? They’ve got ten lawyers. You’ve got ten? They’ve got a hundred. So what if their case all comes to nothing? They can still drag it out for years. Jeff and Lenny will go bankrupt paying their lawyers. Nobody on the Street will give them a job ever again. They’ll be forty years old, broke and unemployable, and there’ll be no place they can go to get their reputations back. The government doesn’t have a department for that. When they understand these things, they’ll cave. They’ll plead guilty to some chickenshit offense, do three months in jail, implicate a couple of other people, and thank their lucky stars they got through it all with their gonads still attached.”

“But what’s the point? Why would the government do that?”

“Politics, dear William, politics. Quantity becomes quality. You know the old saying: owe your bank a thousand dollars, you’ve got a problem. Owe your bank a million dollars, they’ve got a problem. Same thing. Make a million dollars on the Street, you’re a financial wizard. Make a hundred million, you’re a criminal.”

“But we’re not breaking any laws.”

“I’ve already explained that.”

“But don’t they need some evidence of crime before they can arrest you?”

“Oh, they can always make something up. Look at what they hit Jeff and Lenny with. Insider trading. Stock parking. Stock parking!” Theo laughed.

“We all know that’s bullshit.”

“Sure. Of course it’s bullshit. Stock parking? Hey. You’re known as a big player in the market. If you’re seen to be buying up a slab of some company’s shares, that’s an event in itself. People will assume you’re setting up a deal. So you ask your pal at WCB, a guy nobody ever heard of, to buy them and hold them for you for later exchange and payment. He’s your cover. No different from what happens in the auction houses. Big buyers don’t show themselves at an art auction, they send agents, for exactly the same reasons. But when we do it the government says it’s stock parking, a regulatory offense. Of course it’s bullshit. Same with insider trading. Trading on the basis of ‘material information,’ according to ITSA. What a pile of dogshit! Without material information, who’d bother to trade? What, we’re supposed to wait for a firm’s quarterly report, that’s the only information we’re allowed? Whose numbers are cooked nine ways to Sunday anyway? And what about not trading on material information? I learn something that tells me to stay clear of a stock—don’t buy, don’t sell, too unpredictable, too much volatility. This saves me a ton of money. Is that an offense? Insider not-trading?” Theo laughed again. “We’re not talking about reason, here, Willy. We’re not talking about legality, or equity, or justice, or sense. We’re talking about politics.”

“But who’s hurt by what we do? Where are the victims?”

“Oh, come on, Willy. You can figure that out. All those restructuring deals we’ve put together. What does a company do once it’s been restructured? Lay off workers, that’s what.”

“They’ll get new jobs.”

“Of course they will. And the firm would have gone bust from inefficiency and uncompetitiveness if we hadn’t restructured it. You know that, I know that, and all those overpaid company execs we let go know that, as they float away on their golden parachutes. But being fired and going looking for a new job, that’s a major inconvenience in a person’s life. He may have to move to another town, take his kids out of school, put his wife to work, cash in his life insurance. I mean, it’s disruptive. People don’t like disruption. They like security and continuity. Politicians know that. They say to those people: Hey, you had a good job. You lost it because these Wall Street hyenas bought out your firm and saddled it with a bagload of debt dressed up in fancy bonds some bean curd Asiatic computer geek thought up. Your job? Forget it. It’s gone to Mexico, some flat-nose greaser’s doing it for a dollar a day. That’s how politicians make a living. Stoke up resentment. Race resentment, class resentment, those are their meat and drink—the fuel of politics, the very goddam fuel.”

“That’s terrible. I thought this was a free country.”

“So it is, comparatively. In China, Jeff and Lenny would have been shot by now, and WCB would have been looted by the nephews and nieces of some Party boss. You know that. In this country there are things the government dare not do, which is not true where you come from. Civilization advances, slowly, and it’s more advanced here than elsewhere. But that’s a philosophical consolation, William—not much comfort when the elephant has decided it’s your flower patch he wants to crap in.”

“So what should I do? Run for cover?”

“I’d advise it. But it’s probably too late.”

William contemplated the two stone balls. Infangthief and Outfangthief. Rights and privileges, law and justice, handed down from Saxon times, what? a thousand, fifteen hundred years ago. That didn’t count for nothing, surely. It couldn’t. Theo was exaggerating, he had to be.

“No,” he said at last. “I won’t run. I’ll fight. If I don’t fight, I might as well have stayed in China.”


The night before the penultimate performance of Sonnambula, William took Margaret to a very small, very discreet Italian restaurant in a basement on West 46th Street. He was full of his negotiations with the Met over Norma.

“They have someone under contract to design the sets already. It won’t be next season but the season after, they tell me, the 89-90 season. They’ll have some exact dates soon. Then they’ll book you. I told them I’ll only do it if they book you. They’re going to try to get Mr Cinelli, too. He’s booked three years ahead, they told me, but depending on his schedules it may be possible.”

“How much have you spent so far?”

“It’s not really a question of ‘spent.’ I gave them an even million to show good faith and get them started. I don’t suppose they’ve used more than a few thousand, but the money’s theirs anyway. They’re embarrassingly grateful. Keep calling me up—would I like to meet with the designer? The conductor? This one, that one? Do I have any suggestions? Would I like to be more closely involved in the production? I told them no, they should just get on with it, I don’t know anything about opera production, I only want to see the thing performed, with Margaret Han singing lead soprano.”

Margaret laughed. “Opera companies are always short of money, even the grandest ones. Especially the grandest ones, I think. Yes, I don’t doubt they’re grateful.”

“I think it’s a great way to spend money. I wouldn’t mind making a habit of it. Not to be pushy, but … perhaps one opera every three or four years.”

“It’s a marvelous thing to do. Gives a good example to other people with more money than they know how to spend.”

Her words pleased William, she could see. He was gazing at her very tenderly. Now she could see clearly her childhood companion. This was how he had looked at her when listening to her family stories in the bamboo grove, when watching her dancing, when seeing her waiting for him outside the barracks. His eyes so clear and watchful, his mouth seeming always about to smile but rarely going all the way.

“Yuezhu, have I made up for sending you into exile?”

“Oh … Let’s not talk about those things.”

“You were so mad that time in Pamplemousse. I can still see your face. And your language—oh, dear!”

“So far as wrecking each other’s lives is concerned, I think we’re about equal. It just took me by surprise that time.”

“To tell the truth, I’m not sure you weren’t justified. My cruelty was adult cruelty; yours was the cruelty of a child.”

Margaret reached across the table and covered his hand with her own. “It’s all right, Weilin. Let’s forget it all.”

William held her eyes with his. “When you’ve been very close in childhood, you can never really be estranged.”

Margaret could think of no reply. There was a moment’s silence, just long enough to be uncomfortable. Then: “Oh!” William lowered his face in embarrassment. “You know what I want to ask you.”

“Weilin …”

“It’s not a condition, the opera I mean. Truly it’s not. I’m going to do it anyway.” Now he looked at her eyes again. “But I do so want to marry you.”

“I don’t know, Weilin.”

“Because of the past?”

“No, I meant what I said about that.”

“You’d be wealthy beyond your dreams. Perfect freedom. You could sing what you wanted, and waive your fees.”

Margaret giggled. “The other singers would kill me if I did that.”

“You could have a house in every country of the world.”

“Think of the heating bills!”

They both fell to giggling. William reached out now and took her hand.

“Really, Yuezhu, why not? Is it just me?”

“Yes, it’s you. Your personality. You are a little strange, Weilin, you must admit. Living alone in a hotel with all those computers. Millions of dollars in the bank you have no idea how to spend.”

“I’m strange just exactly because I’ve lived alone too long. Marriage will normalize me.”

“Will it? ‘Rivers and mountains change more easily than a man’s nature.’”

“You won’t find that with me. You know my nature. I’m not fundamentally bad, am I, Yuezhu? It’s the circumstances of my life, that’s all. I’m doing my best to improve myself. I’m sponsoring an opera, you see. Coming out of my shell.”

“Such a very thick shell.”

“There is a way out. I need a little help, that’s all.”

Margaret sat silent. It was true what he had said—whether generally true or not, certainly true in their case—that that original childhood intimacy had made them known to each other in some way that defied all attempts at severance. Ou duan si lian—you could snap a lotus root, but a myriad silk-like threads still connected the two parts. And Weilin was handsome and fantastically rich. Odd, certainly—but who didn’t have some perversities and eccentricities when you got to know them?

“Should we have to sign one of those pre-nuptial agreements they talk about in the American newspapers?”

“If you want to do that, I have no objection. You can choose your own lawyers and I’ll even pay for them.”

He saw her surrender before she spoke it, cracked a beautiful broad smile and squeezed her hand, which he was still holding.

“You will, won’t you, Yuezhu?”

“Yes, Weilin.” Margaret laughed, looking at his eyes, without reserve now. “Yes, I guess I will.”