And Two Shall Meet

Another proto-Sayonara romance

By William Wetherall

First posted 1 September 2006
Last updated 1 June 2010

Front and back covers of And Two Shall Meet, 1955

Raymond Mason
And Two Shall Meet
(A Gold Medal Original)
New York: Gold Medal Books, 1954
204 pages, paperback (GM395)
Cover painting by James Meese

Maybe Nagoya would be different

This novel, published only as "An Original Gold Medal Novel" -- meaning it was thought to be suitable only for paperback racks at drugstores and Greyhound stations -- starts as many time-killers do -- with a view of the world through the eyes of a protagonist who is looking for something to brighten his life (pages 7-8).

A liberty ship is almost always dirty. It is either a little dirty or very dirty. The S.S. Edna K. Glutz was only a little dirty and it was a fine ship. There was a good crew aboard her.

We lay at anchor in Nagoya harbor. The was was over and the Japanese home islands were ours and we had conquered them and some of us were still lonely in conquest.

It was early November and the air was cold.

I walked along the rail on the port side and tried to look out across the water. There was nothing but there might have been something. It was damp and dark and no one was interested in Japan except that there were women there and you could sleep with them if you had money, and everyone had money. We had been in Yokohama for a week before we had come to Nagoya and I didn't think it would be any different. It had rained all the time we were in Yokohama and it ahd been bombed out and all the big men of the Army were there. The streets had been full of holes and the people were hungry and there had been nothing to do. I hoped Nagoya would be different. Maybe the people wouldn't be so hungry and maybe there would be fewer holes in the street.

He returns to his quarters and regards some letters on the desk in his room. One of them is from Maggie, who he hasn't seen since college in Missouri in the fall of 1941 when she told him she'd be going to a big dance with another guy. After Pearl Harbor, he packed his Model A for home in Kansas City and joined the Navy.

The Navy released him because he had had a heart attack so he joined the Merchant Marine. Now he was in Japan, "twenty-nine and still alive, bad heart and all" (page 12). And in his heart were also thoughts of Carolyn, a high school friend he was still in touch with (page 15).

He meets a wheeler-dealer civilian named George Torgerson, a husky man with a paunch and ruddy face who looked about forty. Torgerson introduces him to the beer halls and whore houses of the occupied city.

At a beer hall for enlisted men are "taxi dancers" who sit and drink, and dance, but don't do "pom-pom". A girl in a party dress comes over. She doesn't sit down but just talks to Torgerson, who she seems to like, in Japanese. He seems to speak the langauge well "for an American who couldn't have been there very long."

The girl leaves. "Nice girl," Torgerson says. "She's a pretty little thing," Dick, the protagonist agrees. Torgerson explains (page 17).

She doesn't pom-pom. She's worked here ever since the place opened but she doesn't pom-pom. Got a couple of kids. Thinks her husband was killed in the islands somewhere. Most of the girls here don't go in for pom-pom. The dogfaces never learn that.

The men had hit a whore house the night before but Dick was too drunk to remember if it had been good. While he is still fairly sober they hit another one, and this time he says the girl was good. Upon which Torgerson urges him to "quit the sea and get a Civil Service job" in Japan.

Torgerson knows an opening his boss is holding open for a good man like Dick, who could speak Japanese. Dick just smiles and says he can't speak Japanese. He's going to back to Kansas City.

During the two weeks it takes for Dick's ship to offload its cargo, he spends a lot of time ashore, some of it with Torgerson, who has gotten him a cot in his own dormitory, and some of it just walking around observing everything.

He spots a girl sitting on a box painting a design on a vase with a brush (pages 22-24).

She looked up. Her eyes were dark with long lashes and curved eyebrows and they were slanted a little bit.

"Hello," I said.

She didn't speak. She looked at me for a few seconds and went back to her work. I kept watching her but she worked on as though I wasn't there.

"That's a nice piece of work."

She didn't answer me.

"It is nice," I said desperately.

I stood there not wanting to leave but knowing I couldn't stay. She probably couldn't speak English. I stumbled over some Japanese but she didn't answer.

"Why won't you talk to me? Even if you can't speak English you could talk to me in Japanese. I understand a little."

She didn't pay any attention to me.

I looked at her. "Your face is almost perfect." I was talking to myself because she wasn't listening. "If I had a girl like you I'd never go home again."

But she wouldn't pay any attention at all and it was foolish to stand there. It was getting dark and I didn't know my way back.

I was watching the sun go down when I noticed she was looking at me. I saw her and she went back to her work. She was probably wondering what someone crazy looked like

I walked around the yard watching her but she only watched her work. I couldn't stay any longer. I'd go up to the club and have fun with one of the taxi dancers on Torgerson's money. They would talk to me even if I couldn't understand them most of the time.

"I'm going now. Maybe I'll see you again. Anyway, you're the prettiest girl I've seen for a long time. But I guess you've got a lot of dogface boy friends to keep you busy."

I walked out of the yard into the road.

"Soldier." I turned around and she was standing up now. "What does dogface mean?"

I walked slowly back to the edge of the yard. I felt even sillier now that I knew she could speak English.

"Dogface means soldier. I'm not a soldier."

"Oh." She seemed to study this. "If you're not a soldier, what are you?" Her English was only a little stilted.

"Merchant Marine. I'm a purser, ship's buisness."

"Oh." She was very serious. Maybe I sounded like a big shot.

"Why did you stop to talk to me?"

"I was inerested in what you were doing. You're a pretty girl."

"You are looking for a girl?"

I shook my head. "No. Just out for a walk."

"All other soldier looking for girl."

"I'm not a soldier."

"Oh. You are interested in art of Nagoya?"

"Yes, very much. Would you like to teach me?"

"Maybe. I don't know. You are not like soldiers but I don't know. Maybe soldiers not as smart as you."

I smiled and I knew she liked me.

"What's you're name? I am Lillian."

"Dick. Dick Corvin. Richard Corvin."

"That nice name. I am Lillian."

"That's a nice name too."

Well, all romances have to start -- and why not this way? Lillian tells Richard she has to help her mother, maybe she'll see him again, maybe not, goodbye, he has nice manners, better than soldiers.

As Dick began walking he knew, he knows he will take the job with Torgerson and going home will have to wait.

Dick takes the job, marries Iilly, finishes a novel, collects royalties, and returns for a while to the United States. His stay in the US drags on and letters he writes to Lilly never get mailed.

One day Dick gets a letter from Torgerson (pages180-181). A briefer version of the letter is also featured in an image of a letter with an enveloope on the back cover.

Pages 180-181 Back cover

Richard Corvin:

    You've been away nine months and I've never heard from you. You haven't written to Lillian at all that I know of. You have a wife who waits to hear from you, but letters never come. People tell her that you're not coming back but she fights them and says they're liars. She says you will come back, that you are busy.
    She believes.
    But this isn't the worst. Every day I see her she is thinner and more pale. She doesn't stand straight any more when she walks and she looks at the ground most of the time. I think the life is going out of her but she won't admit it. She won't give up. I have. What I thought was in you isn't.
    If I ever see you again, I'll kill you.



Richard Corwin,

    You have a wife who waits to hear from you, but letters never come.
    People tell her that you're not coming back to her because she is Japanese and you are American.
    But she believes you will.
    Every day she is thinner and more pale, and when she walks she looks at the ground. I think the life is going out of her.
    She won't give up. I have.
    If I ever see you again, I'll kill you.


Cover blurbs often misrepresent the stories they promote. Here the book-rack browser is led to think that the story is about an American man and a Japanese woman -- which is true but only in the most superficial way that many people are inclined to think about the human condition. Richard's letter more accurately reflects the true colors of the story as one about Richard's character as a man and Lilly's character as a woman.

The first-person narration is on the whole well done. Raymond Mason lays the foundation for Richard Corvin's complex character as an ordinary guy with a heart that is as at once emotionally confused, romanitcally sensitive, and physically weak.

Lilly, in contrast, is a pillar of pure love and unwavering faith. After their reunion, she encourages Richard to keep writing despite the rejection slips, and it is through her efforts as a translator that he gains a foothold in the serialized fiction magazine market in Japan.

Many scenes in this male-adventure romance ring both credible and authentic. The first-person voice is that of a writer who has possibly been there, done some of the things he writes about, and witnessed the others.

The narrative is lean and literary in ways that mark the writing of many authors whose aspirations inspired Avon's Original Gold Medal paperback series. It provides sufficient foundation for the physically tragic yet romantically happy ending, in which first Lilly dies, then Richard hastens his own death to be with her.

The Wind Cannot Read

Lilly hides her illness from Richard much like Hanako hides her illness from Quinn in Richard Mason's The Wind Cannot Read (1947), which is also related in first-person. Raymond Mason takes the tragedy an ironic step further by hiding Richard's disease from Lilly, though one suspects she knows.


Raymond Mason on back cover of Forever Is Today, 1955
Forever Is Today, 1955
Love After Five, 1956
Someone and Felicia Warwick
1962 US Gold Medal edition
Someone and Felicia Warwick
1963 UK Gold Medal edition

Raymond Mason

It is not yet clear to me who Raymond Mason was or still may be. Judging from his publishers, settings, themes, and diction, he was almost certainly an American.

Fawcett published a total of four titles by him in its Gold Medal Original series.

1954 And Two Shall Meet (395)
1955 Forever Is Today (468)
1956 Love After Five (589)
1962 Someone and Felicia Warwick (1248)

Hillman published another title, set in California, in the gap between his last two Fawcett titles.

1960 Bedeviled (175)

Forever Is Today

Raymond Mason
Forever Is Today
New York: Gold Medal Books, 1955
London: Gold Medal Books, 1958
173 pages, paperback (US 468, UK 237)
Cover painting by James Meese

Love After Five

Raymond Mason
Love After Five
New York: Fawcett Gold Medal Books, 1956
160 pages, paperback (Gold Medal 589)
Cover art by Charles Binger

Someone and Felicia Warwick

Raymond Mason
Someone and Felicia Warwick
New York: Gold Medal, 1962
176 pages, paperback (S1248))
London: Frederick Muller Limited, 1963
169 pages, paperback (634)
Cover by McGinnis

Front cover blurb

She was the kind of girl who begged for trouble,
and he was the kind of trouble who begged for her

Back cover blurb

She was a voluptuary in schoolgirl's clothing
Her game was to tease with a smile that was greedy with promise and a touch that was exquisite ecstasy. She was a dangerous girl at a dangerous age, and she needed a man -- any man except the one who hated her enough to end her wild games of love, who followed her with his hungry eyes, waiting for the right moment to kill Felicia Warwick.