18 Pages

Manuscript of Felix Leitner’s “The Versailles Treaty and Me,” Written in 1965 for Roger Cutter

ByLouis Auchincloss

Frances was one of the many American liberals who had great hopes for the Russian experiment. The Bolshevik slaughter of the upper and middle classes, including the brutal butchery of the imperial family, had given a distaste for radical solutions. Frances tended to palliate these crimes as the regrettable but unavoidable excesses of a population too long repressed. She believed that bloodshed would disappear under a stable Communist government. It was picky, frustrating work, with long hours of sessions, sometimes icily polite, sometimes merely time wasting, sometimes seething with rancor. Aunt Renata, now a widow and aging, wanted to crown her collection with an El Greco, and, as Toledo was the city for that. Idealism marred by compromise would be pitted against selfishness tempered by high-mindedness. What could the poor world do but lose in such a tussle?.