Two weeks later Wilson invited her to dinner. Her colleagues on the Review were afraid she might disgrace them by not being sufficiently modern in her literary tastes; in a briefing that afternoon, one of them pressed daiquiris upon her to prepare her for what he said would be a "dry" dinner. Instead, it began with several rounds of Manhattans, and although McCarthy later recalled trying to be scintillating, she also passed out.
An unpromising beginning - but all writers imbibed wildly in those days. Wilson was charmed by McCarthy's bright intelligence, her impulsiveness, her wooing of him. "Apparently I liked him much more than I remember," she said later.
Enough to marry him, and then question why for the rest of her life. It was his prose style, she once said; another time, his classical education, or because he was upper-class and Protestant - that quarter of her own heritage which she preferred. Or it was what he could do for her as a writer, and did, pushing her into creativity? Or perhaps (her Catholic side) it was as punishment for having gone to bed with him - marriage as absolution for sin. As in all failed unions, there are the given reasons and the real reasons Next week: JP Morgan and Kaiser Wilhelm IIReuse content