“Have you ever read Zane Grey?”
“No, I can’t say…”
“Then you don’t know what you are talking about.”
One of the young men tried to come to Crabbin’s rescue. “And James Joyce, where would you put James Joyce, Mr. Dexter?”
“What do you mean put? I don’t want to put anybody anywhere,” Martins said. It had been a very full day: he had drunk too much with Cooler: he had fallen in love: a man had been murdered — and now he had the quite unjust feeling that he was being got at. Zane Grey was one of his heroes: he was damned if he was going to stand any nonsense.
“I mean would you put him among the really great?”
“If you want to know, I’ve never heard of him. What did he write?”
He didn’t realise it, but he was making an enormous impression. Only a great writer could have taken so arrogant, so original a line: several people wrote Zane Grey’s name on the backs of envelopes and the Gräfin whispered hoarsely to Crabbin, “How do you spell Zane?”