WALKER PERCY WEDNESDAY – 35

He sized them up as Yankee sort of Southerners, the cheerful, prosperous go-getters one comes across in the upper South, in Knoxville maybe, or Bristol.

“Where’re you from,” cried Mrs. Vaught in a mock-accusatory tone he recognized and knew how to respond to.

“Ithaca,” he said, smiling. “Over in the Delta.” He felt himself molt. In the space of seconds he changed from a Southerner in the North, an amiable person who wears the badge of his origin in a faint burlesque of itself, to a Southerner in the South, a skillful player of an old play who knows his cues and waits smiling in the wings. You stand in the posture of waiting on ladies and when one of them speaks to you so, with mock-boldness and mock-anger (and a bit of steel in it too), you knew how to take it. They were onto the same game. Mrs. Vaught feasted her eyes on him. He was nice. (She, he saw at once, belonged to an older clan than Mr. Vaught; she knew ancient cues he never heard of.) She could have married him on the spot and known what she was getting.