“At five o'clock on Sunday, the elevator door opened, and out stepped a tall, blazered, gray-trousered man whom I instantly recognized, and a white-haired woman in a handsome Rodier suit. It was the Nabokovs. They came to the table. I was a little nervous. I was not an accomplished journalist; I knew Nabokov did not ad-lib; I was unable to bring a tape recorder because of that, and I would be unable to take notes, I knew, for the same reason. I had as my only source of strength the–I am certain–fabrication of Truman Capote that he had spent a night drinking and talking with Marlon Brando in Tokyo and the next day had written down the entire conversation exactly. It appeared in the New Yorker. I thought if Capote could do it for an entire night while drinking, I could certainly do thirty abstemious minutes with Nabokov. I summoned all my powers and said, I'm going to concentrate on everything he says, listen, and not think of being clever or what I should say; I simply want to listen to him. It turn out to be forty-five minutes. We were getting along quite well, and finally he said, Shall we have another Julep? He was referring whimsically to scotch and soda. But I was afraid that one more drink might begin to obliterate the text. So I excused myself. I had the distinct impression we could have gone on and had dinner, but I was afraid to. I apologized for having taken up so much time and immediately went to the railroad station where I wrote down everything I remember. It wasn't in order, of course, but it was four or five pages, and from it I constructed an interview. It was all fairly exact, I must say. I missed the train, but I cherish the memory.”
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