"I'm having a rest." I said.
"You've got in with a pretty unsound set, I must say," she said. "They don't even sleep with their windows open. You've got to cut out the drink, go to bed early and do breathing exercises."
I was cowed by all those imperatives. I went back to the slopes. Now the glide and dizzy dip down the powdered snow was a sudden brilliant new gift, but with it came knowledge. I couldn't stop and I couldn't turn. The skis were not married to my huge boots or my personality. I was an earthbound slug who had, momentarily, entered the heart of an eagle.
The next evening I was back at Tenne, and the shrill primeval saxophones of the twist orchestra thrilled my nerves. I noticed an extremely pretty girl on the floor, dressed in ski clothes of such daring and remarkable chic that I left the bar and asked her for a dance.
"You do the twist?" she said with amazement.
"Like nobody's business," I said. "And ski."
"Me too," said the girl. "I just adore skiing."
I didn't believe her, but it didn't matter. It didn't even matter when she told me she was a baroness. Who am I to say who's a baroness and who isn't? I asked her to dinner at my hotel.
The next morning the baroness and I took a cable railway up the mountain, very high up. It seemed to be above the clouds, and only a few steps from the station exit there was a luxurious buffet. In we went, sat down and ordered gluhwein. "I really like more elderly men, like yourself," said the baroness, lighting a cigarette in a long jeweled holder. It wasn't much of a compliment, but I made the most of it. When she said elderly what she meant was mature—world-weary, perhaps, but dangerously vital.
Skiers entered the buffet, shaking off snow. Then, suddenly, I saw Myrtle. She, too, was covered with snow, and I watched her expression as she neared our table. Of all the people in the world, I could see, she disapproved of this woman, the baroness, alien, serpentine, the antithesis of sharp good health and comradeship. Myrtle sat down. "I'll have one gluhwein," she said, "and then start down." Then she turned to me. "And where do you go next?" she asked. I looked out of the window and watched the groups of snow-proved skiers double back, like dragonflies, an inch from the precipice, then descend, miles down, to the valley below.