The Great Gatsby Project Gutenberg eBook by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Title: The Great Gatsby
Autor: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Release date: January 17, 2021 [eBook no. 64317]
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: Alex Cabal for the Standard Ebooks project, based on a transcript made for Project Gutenberg Australia.
*** START DES PROJEKTS GUTENBERG EBOOK EL GRAN GATSBY ***
table of Contents
One more time
Then wear the golden hat if it moves her;
If you can jump high, jump for it too
Until she cries: "Lover, lover of gold hops,
I have to have you!"
Thomas Parke d'Invilliers
When I was younger and more vulnerable, my father gave me advice that I have pondered ever since.
"Whenever you feel like criticizing someone," he told me, "just remember that not everyone in this world has had the benefits that you have."
He didn't say more, but we were always unusually forthcoming and reserved, and I understood that he wanted to say much more. As a result, I tend to be reserved in all judgments, a habit that has opened up many inquisitive minds and also made me a victim of no less veteran boredom. The abnormal mind is quick to recognize and adhere to this trait when it occurs in a normal person, and so it was that I was wrongly accused of being a politician in college because I was privy to the secret sufferings of unknown wild men. . Most of the intimacy was involuntary: I often feigned sleepiness, apprehension, or hostile recklessness when I recognized by a sure sign that an intimate revelation was trembling on the horizon; because the intimate revelations of young people, or at least the terms in which they express them, tend to be plagiarized and obscured by an apparent repression. Withholding judgment is a matter of infinite hope. I'm still a little afraid of missing out if I forget that, as my father snobbishly implied and snobbishly repeat, the sense of basic decency at birth is unevenly distributed.
And after bragging about this kind of tolerance, I come to admit that it has a limit. The behavior may be based on hard rocks or wet swamps, but at a certain point I don't care what it's based on. Coming back from the East last fall, I felt like I wanted the world to be in uniform and some sort of moral care forever; He wanted no more wild excursions with privileged glimpses of the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man after whom this book was named, was exempt from my reaction; Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have complete contempt. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something magnificent about him, a heightened sensitivity to life's promises, as if he were related to one of those complicated machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This receptivity had nothing to do with that flaccid suggestibility that goes under the name of "creative temperament": it was an extraordinary gift of hope, a romantic disposition that I have not found in any other human being and never hope to find. again. No, Gatsby turned out pretty good in the end; It is what Gatsby was after, the putrid dust that floated in the wake of his dreams, that momentarily killed my interest in the futile worries and ephemeral euphoria of men.
My family has been a wealthy and prominent person in this Midwestern city for three generations. The Carraways are kind of a clan and we have a tradition that we are descendants of the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the true founder of my line was my grandfather's brother who came here in '51 and sent a replacement for the civil war. and founded the wholesale hardware business that my father continues to run today.
I've never seen this great-uncle, but I'm supposed to look like him, with particular reference to the rather harsh painting that hangs in my father's office. I graduated from New Haven in 1915, barely a quarter century after my father, and soon afterward took part in the late German migration known as the Great War. I enjoyed the counterattack so much that I came back restless. Instead of being the hot center of the world, the Midwest now seemed like the rugged edge of the universe, so I decided to head east and learn about the bond business. Everyone I knew was in the bond business, so I thought I might support one more single man. All my uncles and aunts talked about it as if they were choosing a high school for me and finally with very serious and hesitant faces they said, "Why yes." My father agreed to finance me for a year, and after several delays I came East for good in the spring of '22, I thought.
The practical thing was to find rooms in the city, but it was a warm season and I had just left a country of wide meadows and kindly trees when a young man in the office suggested that we rent a house together to travel to the city, it sounded. like a great idea. He found the house, a weather-beaten cardboard bungalow, for eighty dollars a month, but at the last minute the company sent him to Washington and I went out into the country alone. I had a dog, at least I had for a few days until he ran away, and an old Dodge and a Finnish woman who made my bed and cooked me breakfast and whispered Finnish wisdom over the electric stove.
I was alone for a day or so until one morning a man younger than me stopped me on the street.
"How did you get to the town of West Egg?" she asked helplessly.
I told. And while he walked, he was no longer alone. I was a guide, an explorer, an original settler. He had casually granted me the freedom of the neighborhood.
And so, with the sunlight and the big leaves growing on the trees the way things grow in fast-moving movies, I had the familiar belief that life began anew with summer.
On the one hand, there was much to read, and much health to be gained from the young and dazzling air. I bought a dozen volumes on bank, credit, and investment paper, and they sat on my shelf in red and gold like fresh coins, promising to reveal the brilliant secrets known only to Midas, Morgan, and Maecenas. And I had the great intention of reading many other books on the side. I was quite literary in college - in one year I wrote a series of very serious and obvious editorials for the Yale News - and now I would bring all that stuff back into my life and go back to being the narrowest of specialists, the "multiform" . man." This is not just an epigram; after all, life looks so much better from just one window.
It was by accident that I rented a house in one of the strangest communities in North America. It was on this slender, bustling island that lies east of New York and where, among other natural oddities, there are two unusual land formations. Twenty miles from the city, two giant eggs identical in outline and separated only by a courtesy bay plop into the most tame body of saltwater in the Western Hemisphere, the great wet pen of Long Island Sound. They are not perfect ovals, like the egg in the Columbus story, both are flattened at the end of contact, but their physical resemblance must be a source of perpetual amazement to the gulls flying overhead. One more interesting phenomenon for the wingless is their difference in all details except for shape and size.
I lived in West Egg, the... well, the less elegant of the two, though that's a very superficial label to express the strange and not a little sinister contrast between them. My house was on the very tip of the ice, just fifty meters from the strait, wedged between two enormous houses that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season. The one on my right was a colossal affair in every way: it was a virtual imitation of a Normandy Hôtel de Ville, with a tower on one side, new under a fine beard of raw ivy, and a marble pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby's mansion. Or rather, without knowing Mr. Gatsby, it was a mansion occupied by a gentleman of that name. My own house was an eyesore, but it was a minor eyesore, and it had been overlooked, so I had a water view, a partial view of my neighbor's lawn, and the comforting proximity of millionaires, all for eighty dollars a month.
Across Courtesy Bay, the white palaces of elegant East Egg gleamed on the waterfront, and the story of summer really begins the night I drove there to dine with the Tom Buchanans. Daisy was my second cousin after I took her away and she knew Tom from college. And just after the war I spent two days with them in Chicago.
Her husband had been, among many other physical accomplishments, one of the most powerful players to ever play football in New Haven, a national figure in some ways, one of those men who achieve such acute and limited excellence at twenty-one. that everything after that tastes like an anticlimax. His family was filthy rich, even in college, his freedom with money was a reproach, but now he had left Chicago and moved East in impressive ways: he had several, say, Lake Forest polo ponies. It was hard to imagine a man of my own generation being rich enough to do such a thing.
Why they came to the east, I do not know. They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then wandered restlessly back and forth where people played polo and got rich together. It was a permanent change, Daisy said on the phone, but I didn't believe it: I didn't look into Daisy's heart, but I had a feeling Tom would wander forever, a little wistful, in search of the dramatic. confusion of something unrecoverable football game.
And so it was that on a warm and windy afternoon I drove to East Egg to visit two old friends I barely knew. His house was even more luxurious than he expected, a cheery red-and-white Georgian colonial overlooking the bay. The grass started at the beach and ran a quarter-mile to the front door, leaping over sundials, brick paths, and burning gardens; finally, when he got to the house, he climbed up the side in luminous tendrils as if he had come on impulse. of his cum. The front was broken by a row of French windows, now gilt and wide open to the hot, breezy afternoon, and Tom Buchanan in riding clothes stood spread-legged on the front porch.
He had changed since his years in New Haven. He was now a stocky, straw-haired man in his thirties with a rather hard mouth and haughty demeanor. Two bright, arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face, giving it the appearance that he was always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the feminine ostentation of her riding clothes could hide the enormous strength of that body, it seemed to fill those shining boots until the upper laces were taut, and a great mass of muscle could be seen moving as her shoulder moved under her thin coat. . moved . It was a body capable of tremendous strength, a cruel body.
His voice, a gruff, hoarse tenor, added to the impression of stubbornness he conveyed. There was a touch of fatherly disdain about him, even for the people he liked, and there were men in New Haven who had hated him to death.
"Don't think my opinion on these things is final," he seemed to say, "just because I'm stronger and more of a man than you are." We belonged to the same high society, and although we were never intimate, I always had the impression that he liked me and wanted me to like him, with a hard and defiant melancholy of his own.
We chatted for a few minutes on the sunny porch.
"I have a good place here," he said, his eyes moving around uneasily.
He spun me around on one arm and waved a broad, flat hand across the front view, which arched a half-acre-deep sunken Italian garden, sharp roses, and a flat-nosed motorboat crashing against the tide on the high seas.
“It belonged to Demaine the tanker.” Politely and abruptly he turned me around. "We will enter".
We walked down a tall corridor into a pale pink room, flimsily connected to the house by French windows at each end. The windows were ajar, and they gleamed white against the fresh grass outside, which seemed to be growing a little into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blowing curtains from one end to the other like pale flags, twirling them toward the frozen wedding cake on the ceiling, and then billowing across the wine-colored carpet, casting a shadow like the wind does on the sea.
The only completely stationary object in the room was a huge sofa on which two young women were being levitated as if they were in a tethered balloon. They were both dressed in white, and their dresses billowed and billowed as if they had just returned from a brief flight around the house. I should have stood there for a few moments, listening to the lash and creak of the curtains and the groan of a painting on the wall. Then there was a crash as Tom Buchanan closed the rear windows and the trapped wind died in the room and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women were thrown slowly to the floor.
The younger of the two was a stranger to me. She was lying full-length on his end of the couch, completely still and her chin raised slightly as if she were balancing something that might fall. If she saw me out of the corner of her eye, she gave no sign; she almost surprised me as she mumbled an apology for disturbing her on her way in.
The other girl, Daisy, tried to get up--she leaned forward a little, her expression conscientious--then she laughed, a silly, lovely laugh, and I laughed too and walked into the room.
"I'm f-paralyzed with happiness."
He laughed again as if I had said something very funny and took my hand for a moment, looking into my face and promising me that there was no one in the world that I wanted to see so much. That was a way she had. She muttered the tightrope walker girl's last name as Baker. (I heard Daisy's muttering was just to get people to bow down to her; an irrelevant criticism that didn't make it any less charming.)
Still, Miss Baker's lips fluttered, she nodded almost imperceptibly, and then jerked her head back: the object she was swinging had evidently wobbled a little and given her a start. Again a kind of apology came to my lips. Almost every display of complete self-sufficiency draws a stunned homage from me.
I looked at my cousin again, who was asking me questions in a low, excited voice. It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech were an arrangement of notes never to be played again. Her face was sad and beautiful, with light things, clear eyes, and a light, passionate mouth, but there was an emotion in her voice that the men who had cared for her found hard to forget: a compulsion to sing, a whisper. 'Listen'. a promise that she has been doing happy and exciting things lately and that happy and exciting things await her in the next hour.
I told him how I had stopped in Chicago for a day on my way east and how a dozen people had sent their love through me.
"Do you miss me?" he exclaimed exultantly.
"The whole city is devastated. Every car has the left rear wheel painted black like a mourning wreath, and there is a sustained howl all night on the north bank."
"How beautiful! Let's go back, Tom. Good morning!" Then he casually added, "You should see the baby."
"I would like to."
"She's sleeping. She's three years old. Haven't you seen her?"
"Well, you should see her. She's…"
Tom Buchanan, who had been restlessly floating around the room, stopped and put his hand on my shoulder.
"What are you doing Nick?"
"I'm a Bond man."
"I've never heard of it," he remarked firmly.
That bothers me.
"You will," I replied dryly. "You will if you stay in the East."
"Oh, I'll stay in the east, don't worry," he said, looking at Daisy and then at me like he was looking for something else. "I'd be a fucking fool to live anywhere else."
At which point Miss Baker said, "Indeed!" so suddenly that I jumped: it was the first word she had uttered since I came into the room. She was apparently as surprised as I was because she yawned and rose to her feet in a series of quick, deft movements around the room.
"I'm stiff," she complained, "I've been lying on this couch for as long as I can remember."
"Don't look at me," Daisy replied, "I've been trying to get you to New York all afternoon."
"No thanks," Miss Baker said to the four cocktails that had just emerged from the pantry. "I am absolutely in training."
Her host looked at her in disbelief.
"Are you!" She downed her drink like it was a drop in the bottom of a glass. "How you can do anything is beyond me."
I looked at Miss Baker and wondered what she had "done." I enjoyed looking at her. She was a slender, small-chested girl with an upright posture, which she emphasized by throwing her body back over her shoulders like a young cadet. Her sun-worn gray eyes regarded me with polite mutual curiosity, a sallow face, lovely, dissatisfied. Now it occurred to me that he had seen her, or a picture of her, somewhere before her.
"You live in West Egg," he remarked dismissively. "I know someone there."
"I don't know a single one..."
"You must know Gatsby."
"Gatsby?" Daisy asked. "Which Gatsby?"
Before I could answer that it was my neighbor, dinner was announced; Tom Buchanan imperiously placed his taut arm under mine, forcing me out of the room as if he were moving a stone to another square.
Slender, lazy, hands lightly resting on hips, the two young women walked ahead of us toward a pink porch open to the setting sun, where four candles flickered on the table in the dying wind.
"Becausecandles?” Daisy objected, frowning. She snatched them away with her fingers. “In two weeks it is the longest day of the year.” She smiled at all of us. "Do you always look forward to the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always look forward to the longest day of the year and then miss it."
"We should plan something," Miss Baker yawned and sat down at the table as if going to bed.
"Okay," Daisy said. "What are we doing?" She turned to me helplessly: "What are people planning?"
Before I could reply, his eyes locked on her little finger with a shocked expression.
"See!" She complained; "I hurt myself".
We all looked: the ankle was black and blue.
"You did, Tom," he said reproachfully. I know you didn't want this, but you did.tatDo it. That's what I get for marrying a brutish man, a big, big, hulking specimen of..."
"I hate that word 'giant,'" Tom objected angrily, "even jokingly."
"Huge," Daisy insisted.
Sometimes she and Miss Baker talked together, discreetly and with a jocular irrelevance that never came to gossip, as cold as their white dresses and their impersonal eyes in the absence of any desire. They were here, and they accepted Tom and me with only nice polite efforts to entertain or be entertained. They knew that dinner would end now and soon after the night would end and be put away casually. It was very different from the west, where, phase by phase, a night rushed to its end, in constant disappointed anticipation or even in sheer nervous dread of the moment itself.
"You make me feel uncivilized, Daisy," I admitted with my second glass of corked but rather impressive red wine. "Can't you talk about crops or something?"
I didn't mean anything in particular with that comment, but it was taken in an unexpected way.
"Civilization is dying," Tom burst out violently. "I've become a terrible pessimist about things. You readThe rise of empires of colorWhy is Goddard so tall?
"Why not," I replied, rather surprised by his tone.
"Well, it's a beautiful book and everyone should read it. The idea is that if we're not careful, the white race will be completely submerged. It's all scientific stuff; it's proven."
"Tom is getting very deep," Daisy said with an expression of helpless sadness. “He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word, we…?
"Well, these books are all scientific," Tom insisted, looking at her impatiently. “This guy solved everything. It's up to us, the dominant race, to be careful, otherwise these other races will be in control of things.”
"We have to beat them," Daisy whispered, blinking frantically in the hot sun.
"You should live in California..." Miss Baker began, but Tom interrupted her by fidgeting in his chair.
“This idea is that we are Scandinavia. I am, and you are, and you are, and… After a little hesitation, she included Daisy with a slight nod, and she winked at me again. "-And we've produced all the things that make up a civilization-oh, science and art and all that. See?"
There was something pathetic about his concentration, as if his smugness, stronger than it used to be, wasn't enough anymore. When the phone rang inside almost immediately and the butler came off the porch, Daisy took advantage of the brief pause and leaned toward me.
"I'll tell you a family secret," she whispered excitedly. "It's about the butler's nose. Do you want to hear about the butler's nose?
"That's why I came here tonight."
“Well, he wasn't always a butler; He used to be the silver cleaner for some people in New York who had a silver service for two hundred people. He had to polish it from morning to night, until it finally started to affect his nose..."
"Things kept getting worse," suggested Miss Baker.
"Yes. It got worse and worse until he finally had to resign his position."
For a moment the last rays of the sun fell on her face glowing with romantic affection; Her voice drew me breathlessly forward as she listened, then the glow from her faded, each light leaving her with a lingering regret, like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.
The butler returned and murmured something in Tom's ear, at which Tom frowned, pushed back his chair, and entered without a word. As if her absence quickened something within her, Daisy leaned forward again, her voice bright and singing.
"Glad to see you at my table, Nick. You remind me of a rose, an absolute rose. Isn't that so?" She turned to Miss Baker for confirmation. "An absolute rose?"
That was not true. I'm not even close to being a rose. She just improvised, but a soulful warmth emanated from her, as if her heart was reaching out to you, hidden in one of those exciting, breathless words. Then suddenly she threw her napkin on the table, excused herself, and went into the house.
Miss Baker and I deliberately exchange a meaningless glance. She was about to say something when she cautiously sat up and said, "Sch!' with a warning voice. A muffled, passionate murmur could be heard from the next room, and Miss Baker leaned cheekily forward, trying to understand. The murmur wavered on the brink of coherence, dipped, rose with excitement, then stopped completely.
"That Mr. Gatsby you talked about is my neighbor…" I started.
"Don't talk. I want to hear what's going on."
"Is something wrong?" I ask innocently.
"You mean you don't know?" said Miss Baker, genuinely surprised. "I thought everyone knew that".
"Why…" he said hesitantly. "Tom has a wife in New York."
"Do you have a wife?" I repeated flatly.
Miss Baker nodded.
Perhaps you will have the decency not to call him at dinner. You do not think?"
As soon as I understood what he meant, a dress fluttered and leather boots creaked, and Tom and Daisy were back at the table.
"It couldn't be helped!" Daisy exclaimed with tense joy.
He sat down, looked scrutinizingly at Miss Baker and then at me, and continued: 'I have looked outside for a moment, and it is very romantic outside. There's a bird on the lawn that I think must be a mockingbird that came in on the Cunard or White Star Line. He's singing to himself...' her voice sang, 'It's romantic, isn't it, Tom?'
"Very romantic," he said, and then sadly said to me, "If it's light enough after dinner, I'd like to take you to the stables."
Inside, the phone rang alarmingly, and when Daisy Tom shook her head firmly, the subject of the stables, all subjects, really, evaporated. Among the snippets of the last five minutes at the table, I remember the candles being lit again, to no avail, and I was aware that I wanted to look directly at everyone, but avoiding all eyes. I couldn't guess what Daisy and Tom were thinking, but I doubt that even Miss Baker, who seemed to have mastered a certain stubborn skepticism, was able to completely banish the shrill, metallic urgency of this fifth guest from her mind. The situation may have seemed intriguing to a certain temperament; my own instinct was to call the police immediately.
Horses, of course, were no longer mentioned. Tom and Miss Baker paced with each other several yards into the library in the twilight, as if keeping vigil over a perfectly tangible body, while I tried to appear agreeably interested and a little deaf, and Daisy followed me through. a chain link to the screened in front porch. In the deep darkness of it we sat side by side on a wicker sofa.
Daisy took her face in her hands as if sensing her lovely form, her eyes gradually wandering into the velvety darkness. I could see that she was in the grip of turbulent emotions, so I thought I'd ask her some reassuring questions about her little girl.
"We don't know each other very well, Nick," she said suddenly. “Even if we are cousins. You didn't come to my wedding."
He had not returned from the war.
"That's how it is." she hesitated. "Well, I've been through a lot, Nick, and I'm pretty cynical about it all."
Apparently, he had reason to do so. I waited, but she said nothing more, and after a moment I returned to the subject of her daughter rather weakly.
I guess he talks and... eats and everything.
"Oh yeah." She looked at me absently. “Listen, Nick; Let me tell you what I said when she was born. Do you want to hear?
“It will show you how I feel about things. Well, I had less than an hour and Tom was God knows where. I woke up from the waves with a feeling of complete abandonment and immediately asked the nurse if he was a boy or a girl. She told me that she was a girl, so I turned my head and cried. "Okay," I said, "I'm glad she's a girl. And I hope she becomes a fool, that's the best a girl can be in this world, a beautiful fool."
"You see, I find everything terrible anyway," he continued confidently. “Everyone thinks like that, the most advanced people. Me tooknowledge. I've been everywhere and seen it all and done it all. Her eyes darted around her in a defiant way, not unlike Tom's, and he laughed with exciting scorn. "Highly evolved - gosh, I'm highly evolved!"
The moment her voice trailed off and she stopped forcing my attention, my belief, I felt the fundamental insincerity of her words. She annoyed me like the whole night was just a ploy to squeeze some emotion out of me. I waited, and sure enough, in a moment she was looking at me with an absolute smile on her beautiful face, as if she had claimed to be a member of a rather respected secret society of which she and Tom were part.
Inside, the crimson room was ablaze with light. Tom and Miss Baker sat at the ends of the long sofa and she read aloud to him.Samstagabendpost– the words, muttered and without intonation, converging in a relaxing melody. The lamplight, bright on her boots and dull on the autumn-leaf yellow of her hair, shone on the paper as she turned a page, lean muscles flapping in her arms.
As we entered, she held us for a moment, holding up her hand to silence us.
"It will continue," he said, tossing the magazine on the table, "in our next issue."
His body braced with an unsteady movement of his knee and he rose to his feet.
"Ten o'clock," he commented, apparently finding the time on the ceiling. "Time for that good girl to go to bed."
"Jordan will play in the tournament tomorrow," Daisy explained, "in Westchester."
"oh you areJorand bakers".
Now I knew why his face was familiar: his pleasant, contemptuous expression had stared at me from many a photo-etch of Asheville, Hot Springs, and Palm Beach sports life. He'd heard a story about her, too, a critical and nasty story, but he'd long since forgotten what it was about her.
"Good night," he said softly. Wake me up at eight, will you?
"When you get up."
"I will. Good evening, Mr. Carraway. See you soon."
"Of course you will," Daisy confirmed. "Actually, I think I'll arrange a marriage. Come around often, Nick, and I'll…oh…crush you. You know, accidentally locking you in linen closets and floating out to sea on a boat and all that kind of stuff." things...
"Good evening," said Miss Baker from the stairs. "I didn't hear a word."
"She's a good girl," Tom said after a while. "You shouldn't let them run across the country like that."
"Who shouldn't?" Daisy asked coldly.
“His family is an aunt of about a thousand years. Besides, Nick will take care of her, right, Nick? You will be spending many weekends here this summer. I think the influence of home will do him very well."
Daisy and Tom looked at each other in silence for a moment.
"Is she from New York?" I asked quickly.
"From Louisville. There our white childhood was shared. Our beautiful white…"
"Did you have a heart-to-heart with Nick on the porch?" Tom asked suddenly.
"Have?" she looked at me “I don't think I remember, but I think we talked about Nordic racing. Yes, I'm sure we did. Somehow it slipped in, and the first thing you know..."
"Don't believe everything you hear, Nick," he advised.
I told him lightly that I hadn't heard anything at all, and a few minutes later got up to go home. They reached the door with me and stood side by side in a happy square of light. As I started my engine, Daisy called out imperiously, "Wait!"
"I forgot to ask you something and it's important. We heard that you are engaged to a western girl.
"That's right," Tom confirmed helpfully. "We hear you're engaged."
"It is a slander. I am too poor."
"But we heard it," Daisy insisted, surprising me by opening up like a flower again. "We heard it from three people, so it must be true."
Of course he knew what they meant, but he wasn't remotely involved. The fact that the gossips had published the list was one of the reasons he came East. You can't stop dating an old friend because of rumors, and on the other hand, I had no intention of being talked into getting married.
Her interest moved me more and made her less rich; I was still confused and a little upset as she pulled me away. It seemed to me that Daisy would have to run out of the house with the child in her arms, but apparently there were no such intentions in her head. As for Tom, the fact that he "had a wife in New York" was actually less surprising than the fact that a book had depressed him. Something made him nibble on the edge of stale ideas, as if his rugged physical selfishness no longer fueled his determined heart.
It was already midsummer on the roadhouse roofs and in front of the roadside garages where the new red gas pumps stood out in cones of light, and when I reached my property in West Egg I drove my car under the sheds and sat for a while by an abandoned lawn roller in the court. The wind had gone, leaving a bright and noisy night, with wings beating in the trees and a sustained organ sound as the roar of the earth filled the frogs with life. The silhouette of a moving cat swayed in the moonlight, and when I turned my head to look at it, I saw that I was not alone: fifty feet away, a figure had emerged from the shadows of my neighbor's mansion, spreading hands. the silver pepper of the stars. Something about his leisurely movements and the sureness of his feet on the grass suggested that Gatsby himself had been out to see what was his part of our local paradise.
I decided to call him. Miss Baker had mentioned it at dinner, and that would be enough for an introduction. But I didn't call out to him, because he suddenly signaled to me that he was glad to be alone: he stretched out his arms in a strange way toward the dark water, and from how far away I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Instinctively I looked out to sea and saw nothing but a single, tiny, distant green light that might have been the end of a pier. When I went back to look for Gatsby, he was gone and I was alone again in the restless darkness.
About halfway between West Egg and New York, the highway hastily joins the railroad and skirts it for a quarter of a mile to give way to some desolate terrain. This is a valley of ashes: a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat on ridges, mounds and grotesque gardens; where the ash takes the form of houses and chimneys and smoke rising and finally with a transcendent effort of ashen men moving indistinctly and already crumbling through the dusty air. From time to time, a line of gray cars will creep along an invisible track, emit an eerie creak and stop, and immediately the Ashen Men will burst in with leaden shovels, raising an impenetrable cloud that will shield their arcane operations from your very eyes.
But over the gray earth and the desolate clouds of dust that drift endlessly overhead, after a moment you see the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg are blue and huge, his retinas are three feet tall. They do not look through a face, but through huge yellow glasses that go over a non-existent nose. Apparently some crazy ophthalmologist put her there to fatten up her practice in the borough of Queens, and then he either plunged into perpetual blindness himself or forgot about it and moved on. But his eyes, a little dull from so many faded days of sun and rain, continued to brood over the solemn dump.
The Valley of Ash is bordered on one side by a small putrid river, and when the drawbridge is raised to let the barges pass, passengers on the waiting trains can gaze at the grim scene for half an hour. There's always at least a minute's break there, and that's why I first met Tom Buchanan's mistress.
Wherever he was known, it was insisted that he had one. Her acquaintances were upset that he would show up with her in fashionable cafes and leave her at a table, walking and chatting with her acquaintances. Although he was curious to see her, he had no desire to meet her, but I did. One afternoon she was on the train to New York with Tom, and when we stopped at the ash piles, he jumped to his feet, grabbed my elbow, and literally forced me out of the car.
"We're leaving," he insisted. "I want you to meet my girl."
I think he had been drinking heavily at lunch, and his determination to have my company bordered on the violent. The haughty assumption was that he had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon.
I followed him over a low, whitewashed rail fence and we went back a hundred yards down the road under the steady gaze of Dr. Eckleburg. The only building in sight was a small block of yellow brick that stood at the edge of the vacant lot, a kind of compact main street that served and bordered on absolutely nothing. One of the three shops it contained was for rent, and another was an all-night restaurant reached by a trail of ash; the third was a garage -fix. George B.Wilson. he bought and sold cars.—and followed Tom inside.
The interior was poor and bare; the only car visible was the dusty wreckage of a Ford crouched in a dark corner. It had occurred to me that that shadow of a garage must be a blind, and that magnificent and romantic apartments were lurking above me, when the owner himself appeared at the door of an office, wiping his hands on a piece of garbage. He was a downcast, anemic, slightly handsome blond man. When he saw us, a wet ray of hope jumped into his pale blue eyes.
"Hello, old Wilson," said Tom, patting him cheerfully on the shoulder. "How's business?"
"I have nothing to complain about," Wilson replied unconvincingly. "When are you going to sell me the car?"
"Next week; I have my husband working on it now."
"It works pretty slow, doesn't it?"
"No, it doesn't," Tom said coldly. "And if that's how you feel about it, maybe I'd better sell it somewhere else."
"That's not what I mean," Wilson quickly explained. "I just meant..."
His voice trailed off and Tom looked around the garage impatiently. Then I heard footsteps on a flight of stairs, and at one point the stout figure of a woman blocked the light from the office door. She was in her late thirties and she was a bit heavyset, but she wore her skin as sensually as some women can. Her face in a dark blue crêpe-de-chine-stained dress had no facet or luster of beauty, but she had an immediately perceptible vitality, as if the nerves of her body were perpetually on fire. She smiled slowly and walked past her husband as if he were a ghost, shaking Tom's hand and looking into his red eyes. She then licked her lips and, without turning around, she spoke to her husband in a soft and hoarse voice:
"Get some chairs, why don't you do that for someone to sit down?"
"Oh, sure," Wilson agreed hastily, walking into the small office that immediately blended in with the concrete color of the walls. Welding powder covered his dark suit and light hair as he covered everything near him except his wife, who was approaching Tom.
"I want to see you," Tom said urgently. "Get on the next train."
I'll see you at the kiosk in the basement.
She nodded and walked away from him just as George Wilson came out of his office door with two chairs.
We wait for her down the street and out of sight. It was a few days before the Fourth of July and a scrawny, gray-haired Italian boy was lining up torpedoes along the railroad tracks.
"Terrible place, isn't it?" Tom said, exchanging a frown with Dr. Eckleburg.
"It's good that she ran away."
"Does your husband not care?"
"Wilson? He thinks he's visiting his sister in New York. He's so stupid he doesn't know he's alive."
So Tom Buchanan and his girl and I went to New York together, or not quite together, because Mrs. Wilson was discreetly driving another car. Tom put off the sensitivity of the East Eggers so much that they could have been on the train.
She had changed from her dress to a patterned brown muslin that hugged her wide hips when Tom helped her onto the New York platform. She bought an issue at the newsstandtown gossipand a film magazine, and some cream and a bottle of perfume in the station pharmacy. Upstairs, in the solemnly ringing driveway, he ordered four cabs to drive away before selecting a new one, lavender with gray upholstery, and in it we slipped out of the station crowd into the scorching sun. But he immediately jerked away from the window, leaned forward and knocked on the front window.
"I want to have one of these dogs," he said seriously. "I want one for the apartment. It's good to have her, a dog."
We came back to a gray old man who bore an absurd resemblance to John D. Rockefeller. A dozen very young cubs of an unidentified breed were nestled in a basket that hung from her neck.
"What kind are they?" Mrs. Wilson asked anxiously as she approached the cab window.
"All kinds. What kind do you want, ma'am?"
“I would like one of those police dogs; I take it you don't have any of that kind?"
The man looked doubtfully into the basket, then reached in and yanked one by the back of the neck, squirming.
"He's not a police dog," Tom said.
"No, it's not exactly a police dog," the man said with disappointment in his voice. "He's more like an Airedale." He ran his hand over the brown washcloth on one back. "Look at this coat. Some coat. That's one dog that will never bother you with a cold."
"I think it's cute," Mrs. Wilson said enthusiastically. "How much does it cost?"
"This dog?" She looked at him with admiration. "This dog will cost you ten dollars."
The Airedale (there was no doubt an Airedale somewhere, though its paws were startlingly white) changed hands and landed in Mrs. Wilson's lap, where it happily stroked the raincoat.
"Is it a boy or a girl?" she asked herself cautiously.
"This dog? This dog is a boy."
"That's a bitch," Tom said firmly. "Here's your money. Go buy ten more dogs with it.
We drove to Fifth Avenue one summer Sunday afternoon, warm and mild, almost pastoral. I wouldn't have been surprised to see a large herd of white sheep turning the corner.
"Wait," I said, "I have to leave you here."
"No, you won't," Tom quickly chimed in. "Myrtle will get hurt if you don't come to the apartment. Isn't that right, Myrtle?"
"Come on," she urged. "I will call my sister Catherine. People who should know say that she is very beautiful."
"Well, I would like to, but..."
We continue and cross the park towards West Hundreds. At 158th Street, the cab stopped in one piece in a long white cake of apartment buildings. Mrs. Wilson cast a regal homecoming look around the neighborhood, collected her dog and other purchases, and haughtily entered.
"I'll get the McKees up," he announced as we got into the elevator. "And of course I also have to call my sister."
The apartment was on the top floor: a small living room, a small dining room, a small bedroom and a bathroom. The living room was crammed to the doors with an array of upholstered furniture that was too large for him, so that when you walked you couldn't help but stumble upon scenes of ladies swinging in the gardens of Versailles. The only image was a large photo of what appeared to be a chicken perched on a blurry rock. Seen from a distance, however, the chicken dissolved into a hat, and the face of a fat old woman appeared in the room. Several old copies oftown gossipput on the table with a copySimon called Peter, and some of the little scandalous revues on Broadway. Mrs. Wilson took care of the dog first. A reluctant elevator operator fetched a box full of straw and some milk, to which he himself added a tin of large hard dog biscuits, one of which rotted listlessly in the bowl of milk all afternoon. Meanwhile, Tom took a bottle of whiskey out of a locked office door.
I've only gotten drunk twice in my life and the second time was that same afternoon; therefore, everything that happened lies in a cloudy haze, although the apartment was filled with bright sun until after eight. Mrs. Wilson sat on Tom's lap and called various people on the phone; then the cigarettes ran out and I went to the corner drugstore to buy some. When I got back they were both gone, so I quietly sat in the living room and read a chapter fromSimon called Peter– either they were horrible things or the whiskey was distorting things because it didn't make sense to me.
Just as Tom and Myrtle reappeared (Mrs. Wilson and I addressed each other by first name after the first drink), guests began to arrive at the front door.
The sister, Catherine, was a slender, educated girl of about thirty, with a thick, sticky head of red hair and a milky-white, powdered complexion. Her eyebrows had been plucked and then redrawn at a steeper angle, but nature's efforts to restore her alignment left her face with a blurry appearance. When she moved, there was an incessant clicking sound as myriads of ceramic bracelets jingled up and down her arms. She rushed in and looked around the furniture so possessively that I wondered if she lived here. But when I asked her, she laughed out loud, she repeated my question out loud, and she told me that she was staying at a hotel with a friend.
Mr. McKee was a pale, feminine man from the apartment below. He had just shaved because he had a speck of white foam on his cheekbone and he greeted everyone in the room with the utmost respect. He informed me that he was in the "art game" and I later learned that he was a photographer and had taken the low level enlargement of Mrs. Wilson's mother floating on the wall as ectoplasm. His wife was loud, lazy, beautiful, and terrible. She proudly told me that her husband had photographed her one hundred and twenty-seven times since they were married.
Mrs. Wilson had changed her suit some time ago and was now dressed in an elaborate cream chiffon afternoon gown that made a constant rustle as she crossed the room. With the influence of her dress, her personality had also changed. The intense vitality that was so noticeable in the garage was transformed into an impressive hauteur. Her laughter, her gestures, her calls grew more violent from moment to moment, and as she stretched out, the space around her grew smaller until she seemed to spin in the smoky air. on a noisy and creaking axis.
"Honey," she said to her sister with a high, breathy cry, "most of these guys will cheat you every time. All you think about is money. I had a woman here last week who looked at my feet and when she gave me the account you thought that I had removed the appendicitis ”.
"What was the woman's name?" asked Mrs. McKee.
“Mrs. Eberhardt. She goes around looking at people's feet in their own houses.
'I like your dress,' commented Mrs McKee, 'I think it's lovely.'
Mrs. Wilson dismissed the compliment with a dismissive eyebrow.
"It's just a crazy old thing," he said. "I just wear it sometimes if I don't care how I look."
"But it looks beautiful on you, if you know what I mean," Mrs. McKee continued. "If Chester could put you in that pose, I think he could do something with it."
We all watched in silence as Mrs. Wilson brushed a lock of hair out of her eyes and gave us a bright smile. Mr. McKee stared at her, cocked his head, then slowly waved her hand in front of her face.
"I should change the light," he said after a moment. “I want to emphasize the modeling of the features. And I would try to have all my hair on my back."
"I wouldn't think of changing the light," exclaimed Mrs. McKee. "I think it is-"
Her husband said: "Sch!' and we all looked back at the subject, whereupon Tom Buchanan yawned audibly and rose to his feet.
"You McKees, have a drink," he said. "Get some more ice and mineral water, Myrtle, before everyone goes to bed."
"I told the boy about the ice" Myrtle raised her eyebrows in despair at the inertia of the lower orders. "Those people! You have to be behind them all the time."
She looked at me and giggled. She then jumped on the dog, kissed it ecstatically, and ran into the kitchen, indicating that there were a dozen cooks waiting for her order.
"I did some good things on Long Island," Mr. McKee said.
Tom looked at him blankly.
"We've boxed in two of them below."
"Two that?" Tom asked.
"Two studios. I'll call one of themMontauk Point - Las gaviotas, and I will call the otherPunta Montauk – Das Meer.“
Nurse Catherine sat next to me on the couch.
"Do you also live on Long Island?" he asked.
"Vivo a West Egg".
"Really? I was at a party there a month ago. At the place of a guy named Gatsby's. Do you know him?"
"I live next door to him."
"Well, they say he's a cousin or nephew of Kaiser Wilhelm. All his money comes from there."
"I'm scared of him. I'd hate for him to do anything to me."
This fascinating information about my neighbor was interrupted by Mrs. McKee's sudden nod to Catherine:
Chester, I think you could do something with that.are' he burst out, but Mr. McKee just nodded in boredom and turned his attention to Tom.
“I would love to work more on Long Island if I could get the ticket. All I ask is that you give me a push.
"Ask Myrtle," Tom said, and burst out with a little laugh as Mrs. Wilson came in with a tray. "She'll give you a letter of recommendation, won't she Myrtle?"
"That I have to do?" she asked surprised.
"Give McKee your husband a letter of introduction so he can do some studies on him," her lips moved silently for a moment as she made up "'George B. Wilson at the gas pump' or something."
Catherine leaned into me and whispered in my ear:
"None of them can stand the person they are married to."
"You can not?"
"ChickensStopthem." He looked at Myrtle and then at Tom. "What I'm saying is why continue to live with them if they hate them? If I were them, I would divorce and marry each other immediately."
"She doesn't like Wilson either?"
The answer to that was unexpected. She came from Myrtle hearing the question, and it was violent and obscene.
"See," Catherine exclaimed triumphantly. She lowered her voice again. "It's really her wife that's keeping them apart. She's Catholic and they don't believe in divorce."
Daisy was not a Catholic and I was a bit surprised by the extent of the lie.
"When they get married," Catherine continued, "they move west to live for a while until it's over."
"It would be more discreet to go to Europe."
"Oh, do you like Europe?" she exclaimed in surprise. "I just got back from Monte Carlo."
"Just last year. I went there with another girl.
“No, we just drive to Monte Carlo and back. We drove via Marseille. When we started we had over $1200, but in the private rooms we ran out of it in two days. We had a terrible time coming back, I can tell you. God, how he hated this city!
The evening sky bloomed at the window like the honey blue of the Mediterranean for a moment, then Mrs. McKee's high-pitched voice called me back into the room.
"I almost made a mistake too," he stated forcefully. “I almost married a little Kike who had been chasing me for years. I knew he was below me. Everybody told me: 'Lucille, that man is so below you!' But if I hadn't met Chester, I would have been convinced."
"Yeah, but listen," Myrtle Wilson said, nodding, "at least you didn't marry him."
"I know I didn't."
"Well, I married him," Myrtle said ambiguously. "And that's the difference between your case and mine."
"Why did you do that, Myrtle?" Katharina asked. "No one forced you to do this."
"I married him because I thought he was a gentleman," she finally said. "I thought he knew about parenting, but he couldn't lick my shoe."
"You were crazy about him for a while," Catherine said.
"Crazy about him!" Myrtle exclaimed in disbelief. "Who said she was crazy about him? I've never been more crazy about him than that man over there."
Suddenly he pointed at me and everyone looked at me accusingly. I tried to show with my facial expression that I didn't expect affection.
"SololocoI was when I married him. I knew immediately that he had made a mistake. He borrowed someone's best suit to get married and didn't even tell me about it, and the man chased him one day while he was out, 'Oh, is that your suit?' I said. "This is the first time I've heard of it." But I gave it to him and then I lay down and cried all afternoon to beat the band."
"She really should get away from him," Catherine continued. "They've lived above this garage for eleven years. And Tom is the first love she's ever had."
The bottle of whiskey - a second - was now a constant request from everyone present, except for Catherine, who "didn't feel so good about anything". Tom called the caretaker and sent him for some famous sandwiches that were a complete dinner in themselves. I wanted to get out and walk east through the soft twilight to the park, but every time I tried, I would get involved in a wild, sharp argument that pulled me back in my chair like ropes. High above the city, however, our row of yellow windows must have added its share of human secrecy to the casual observer in the darkened streets, and I saw it too, looking up in wonder. He was inside and out, both delighted and repelled by the inexhaustible diversity of life.
Myrtle pulled her chair closer to mine and suddenly her warm breath washed over me, the story of her first meeting with Tom.
“The last ones left on the train were always on the two opposite banks. I wanted to go to New York to visit my sister and spend the night there. She was wearing a tailcoat and patent leather shoes and I couldn't take my eyes off her, but every time she looked at me I had to pretend to see the commercial over her head. When we got to the station, he was next to me and his white shirt was pressing on my arm, so I told him I had to call a policeman, but he knew he was lying. I was so excited that I barely realized I wasn't getting on the subway when I got into a taxi with him. All he thought over and over again was: “You can't live forever; you cannot live forever.’ ”
He turned to Mrs. McKee and the room filled with his artificial laughter.
"Honey," he cried, "I'll give you this dress as soon as I'm done with it. I have to get another one tomorrow. I make a list of everything I need to get. A massage and a wave and a dog collar and one of those ashtrays." so cute where you touch a feather and a crown with a black silk bow for mom's grave that will last all summer. I have to make a list so I don't forget all the things I have to do."
It was nine o'clock, almost immediately after that I looked at my watch and saw that it was ten o'clock. Mr. McKee slept in a chair, his fists clenched in his lap like the photograph of a man of action. I took my handkerchief and wiped the dried foam smudge from his cheek that had been bothering me all afternoon.
The little dog sat on the table and peered blind-eyed through the smoke, whimpering softly from time to time. People disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then got lost, found, found a few feet away. Sometime around midnight, Tom Buchanan and Mrs Wilson came face to face and passionately debated whether Mrs Wilson had the right to mention Daisy's name.
"Daisies! Daisies! Daisies!" exclaimed Mrs. Wilson. "I'll say it whenever I want! Daisy! Dai..."
Tom Buchanan made a short, deft move and broke her nose with an open hand.
Then bloody towels lay on the bathroom floor, women's voices cursing, and high above the confusion, a long, ragged howl of pain. Mr. McKee woke up from his dream and headed for the door in a daze. When he was halfway there, he turned and stared at the scene: his wife and Catherine scolding and consoling as they stumbled for help among the cluttered furniture, and the distraught figure on the sofa looking completely bleeding and trying to distribute a copy oftown gossipin the scenes of the Versailles tapestries. Then Mr. McKee turned and continued walking towards the door. I took my hat from the chandelier and followed him.
"Come over for lunch one day," he suggested as we groaned in the elevator.
"Get your hands off the lever," the elevator man hissed.
"I beg your pardon," said Mr. McKee with dignity, "I didn't know you were touching it."
"Okay," I agreed, "I'll be happy to do that."
… I stood next to his bed and he sat between the sheets, dressed in his underwear, with a large briefcase in his hands.
"Beauty and the Beast... Loneliness... The Old Horse from the Grocery Store... Brook'n Bridge..."
Then I fell asleep in the cold basement of Pennsylvania Station, looking out at the morning.tribune, and wait for the four o'clock train.
On summer nights, music played from my neighbor's house. In its blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whispers and the champagne and the stars. At high afternoon tide, he would watch his guests jump off the tower of their raft or sunbathe on the warm sands of his beach as his two motorboats plowed through the Sound and seaplanes towed over foaming waterfalls. On weekends, his Rolls-Royce became the bus, bringing parties to and from town between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. m. and well past midnight, while his truck hopped like an animated yellow bug to meet all the trains. And on Mondays, eight servants, including an extra gardener, worked all day with mops, scrubbers, hammers, and pruning shears to repair the ravages of the night before.
Every Friday, five boxes of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruit vendor in New York; every Monday the same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of sterile halves. There was a machine in the kitchen that could extract the juice from two hundred oranges in half an hour by pressing a small button two hundred times with a butler's thumb.
At least every two weeks, a catering crew would arrive with several hundred feet of canvas and enough fairy lights to turn Gatsby's vast garden into a Christmas tree. At buffet tables, festooned with gleaming hors d'oeuvres, seasoned baked hams are jostled against harlequin-patterned salads, and pork and turkey pie enchanted with dark gold. In the main hall was a bar fitted with a real brass railing and stocked with gins, liqueurs and liqueurs so long forgotten that most of its patrons were too young to distinguish one from the other.
At seven the orchestra has arrived, not a skinny quintet, but a bunch of oboes and trombones and saxophones and violas and bugles and piccolos and high and low drums. The last swimmers have already left the beach and are getting dressed; New York cars are fifteen feet deep in the driveway, and the lobbies, parlors, and porches are already garish in primary colors, with hair done in strange new ways and shawls beyond Castile dreams. The bar is in full swing and floating shots of cocktails permeate the garden outside until the air is filled with chatter and laughter, with casual advances and instantly forgotten introductions, and enthusiastic encounters between women who never knew each other's names.
The lights grow brighter as the earth recedes from the sun and now the orchestra plays yellow cocktail music and the voice opera plays a higher key. Laughter lightens by moments, poured out with waste, bowing at a cheerful word. Groups change faster, fill up with newcomers, disband and form at the same time; already there are globetrotters, self-assured girls zigzagging here and there between the strongest and the most stable, becoming the center of attention of a group for a sharp and joyous moment and then, thrilled with triumph, gliding through the alternating faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light.
Suddenly, one of these gypsies in quivering opal snatches a cocktail out of the air, drinks it cheekily, and, waving her hands like Frisco, dances alone on the canvas platform. A momentary silence; the director varies her pace to please her, and there is a burst of chatter when the wrong word gets out that she is Gilda Gray's understudy in the Follies. The party has started.
I think the first night I went to Gatsby's house I was one of the few guests who was actually invited. People were not invited, they went there. They got into cars that took them to Long Island and somehow ended up on Gatsby's doorstep. Once there, they were introduced by someone who knew Gatsby, and after that they behaved according to amusement park etiquette. Sometimes they came and went without ever having met Gatsby, arriving at the party with a sobriety of heart that was his own ticket.
In fact, they invited me. A chauffeur in a robin's-egg blue uniform walked across my lawn early Saturday morning with a surprisingly formal note from his employer: All of Gatsby would be honored, they said, if I attended his "little party" that evening. He had seen me several times and he had intended to look for me for a long time, but a strange combination of circumstances prevented it – Jay Gatsby signed with a majestic handwriting.
Dressed in white flannel shirts, I walked into his garden just after seven, wandering rather restlessly through whorls and whirlwinds of people I didn't know, though there was a face here and there that had caught my eye on the ferry. I was immediately struck by the number of young Englishmen scattered about; all well dressed, all looking a little hungry and all speaking in deep, serious voices to solid, wealthy Americans. He was sure they were selling something: bonds, insurance, or cars. They were at least persistently aware of the easy money nearby, convinced that it was theirs by a few words in the right code.
As soon as I arrived, I tried to locate my host, but the two or three people I asked about his whereabouts looked at me with such astonishment and so vehemently denied any knowledge of his movements that I slipped over to the cocktail table, the only place in the garden where a single man could stare aimlessly and alone.
I was about to die of drinking embarrassment when Jordan Baker came out of the house and stood at the top of the marble steps, leaning back a little and looking out into the garden with disdainful interest.
Welcome or not, I found it necessary to bond with someone before I could start making warm remarks to passersby.
"Hello!" I yelled and walked towards her. My voice sounded unnaturally loud across the garden.
"I thought you might be here," she replied absently as I approached her. "I remembered you lived next door..."
He took my hand impersonally as a promise that he would take care of me in a minute and heard two girls in two yellow dresses stop at the bottom of the stairs.
"Hello!" they cried together. "I'm sorry you didn't win."
That was for the golf tournament. He had lost in the final the week before.
"You don't know who we are," said one of the girls in yellow, "but we met you here about a month ago."
"You've been dying your hair ever since," Jordan commented, and I started, but the girls had nonchalantly moved on, her comment to the untimely moon, no doubt prepared like dinner in a vendor's basket. With Jordan's slender golden arm resting in mine, we headed down the steps and strolled through the garden. A tray of cocktails floated towards us through the darkness and we sat down at a table with the two girls in yellow and three men, all introduced as Mr. Mumble.
"Do you come to these parties often?" Jordan asked the girl next to him.
"The last one was where I met you," the girl replied, her voice alert and confident. She turned to her companion, "Wasn't it for you, Lucille?"
It was also for Lucille.
"I'd love to go," Lucille said. "I don't care what I do so I always have a good time. Last time I was here I tore my dress on a chair and he asked my name and address and within a week I got a package from Croirier's with a new dress from evening".
"Did you save it?" Jordan asked.
"Of course I did. I was going to wear it tonight, but it was too big on the bust and I had to modify it. It was gas blue with lavender pearls. Two hundred and sixty-five dollars.
"There's something funny about a guy doing that," the other girl said excitedly. "He doesn't want any trouble with you.anyBody."
"Who doesn't?" I asked.
"Gatsby. Someone told me-"
The two girls and Jordan supported each other intimately.
"Someone told me that he thought he had killed a man once."
An emotion seized us all. The three Mr. Mumbles leaned forward and listened intently.
"I don't think it's that much.HeLucille argued skeptically; "It's more like he was a German spy during the war."
One of the men nodded in confirmation.
"I heard that from a man who knew everything about him, who grew up with him in Germany," he assured us positively.
"Oh no," said the first girl, "that can't be because he was in the US Army during the war." When our credulity came back to her, she leaned forward excitedly. "You look at him sometimes when he thinks no one is looking. I bet he killed a man.
She narrowed her eyes and trembled. Lucille was shaking. We all turn and look for Gatsby. It was a testament to the romantic speculation that inspired whispering by those who had found little to whisper about in this world.
The first dinner was being served (there would be another after midnight) and Jordan invited me to join his own group, gathered around a table on the other side of the garden. There were three married couples and the escort of Jordan, a headstrong student, prone to violent insults and obviously under the impression that sooner or later Jordan would more or less reveal himself to him. Rather than wander, this group had maintained a dignified homogeneity and taken on the role of representing the serious nobility of the land: East Egg, condescending to West Egg and wary of his spectroscopic hilarity.
"Let's go," Jordan whispered after a somewhat useless and inappropriate half hour; "That's too polite for me."
We got up and she explained that we would look for the innkeeper: I had never seen him, she said, and that made me uneasy. The student nodded cynically and melancholy.
The bar we first saw was full but Gatsby was not there. He couldn't find him at the top of the stairs and he wasn't on the porch. On one occasion we tried an important-looking door and entered a Gothic library paneled in carved English oak and probably transported abroad in its entirety from a ruin.
A stocky middle-aged man with enormous owl-eyed glasses sat slightly drunk on the edge of a large table, looking at the shelves with wavering concentration. As we walked in, he turned excitedly and looked Jordan up and down.
"What do you think?" she asked herself impetuously.
He gestured toward the bookshelves.
"About that. In fact, you don't need to bother establishing this. I have established it. You are real."
“Absolutely real, pages and all. I thought these would make a nice durable box. The fact is that they are absolutely real. Pages and – Here! Let me teach you."
Taking our skepticism for granted, he hurried to the shelves and returned with Volume One.Stoddard Lectures.
"See!" she yelled triumphantly. "It's a real print. He tricked me. This guy is a normal Belasco. It's a triumph. What thoroughness! How realistic! He also knew when to stop: he didn't cut the sides. But what do you want? What do you expect?"
He snatched the book from me and hastily replaced it on its shelf, muttering that if one brick was removed, the entire library would collapse.
"Who brought you here?" he asked. “Or did you just come? I was brought in. Most of the people were brought in.”
Jordan stared at him cheerfully without answering.
"He brought me a woman named Roosevelt," he continued. "Mrs. Claud Roosevelt. Do you know her? I met her somewhere last night. I've been drunk for about a week and I thought sitting in a library might help me sober up from her."
"A little, I think. I can't say yet. I've only been here an hour. Did I tell you about the books? You're real. They are-"
"You told us."
We shook his hand gravely and went out again.
Now there was dancing on the garden screen; old men pushing young ones back in perpetual and ruthless circles, superior couples keeping devious, fashionable, and in the corners, and a great number of single girls dancing singly, or the orchestra momentarily liberated from the burden of the banjo or the snares free from the banjos. By midnight the hilarity had increased. A celebrated tenor had sung in Italian and a notorious contralto had sung jazz, and between numbers people were doing "acrobatics" all over the garden while happy, empty laughter rose up into the summer sky. A pair of stage twins, who turned out to be the girls in yellow, performed a costumed baby act and champagne was served in glasses larger than finger bowls. The moon had risen higher, and a triangle of silver scales floated in the Sound, shivering a little to the stiff, metallic drip of banjos on the turf.
I was still at Jordan Baker. We sat at a table with a man my age and a rowdy girl who would burst out laughing at the slightest provocation. I had fun now. I had had two glasses of champagne and the scene had transformed into something significant, elemental and profound before my eyes.
At a pause in the conversation, the man looked at me and smiled.
"Your face looks familiar," he said politely. "Weren't you in the First Division during the war?"
-Well yes. I was in the Twenty-eighth Infantry.
“I was sixteen years old until June 19. I knew I'd seen you somewhere before."
We talked for a moment about some damp and gray little towns in France. He apparently lived nearby because he told me that he had just bought a seaplane and would test drive it in the morning.
"Would you like to go with me, old man? Right on the shore along the Sound."
"What time is it?"
"At the time that suits you best."
It was on the tip of my tongue to ask her name when Jordan looked around and smiled.
"Are you having a gay moment now?" she asked.
"Better." I turned to my new acquaintance. "This is an unusual party for me. I haven't even seen the host. I live around there."
He looked at me for a moment as if he didn't understand.
"I'm Gatsby," he said suddenly.
"That!" I exclaimed. "Oh, I beg your pardon."
"I thought you knew that, old man. I'm afraid I'm not a very good host.
He smiled understandingly, much more than understanding. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal security that appears four or five times in a lifetime. For a moment she looked-or seemed-to the face of the entire eternal world, and then she focused on him.Ofwith an irresistible bias in his favor. He understood you as much as you wanted to be understood, he believed in you as much as you wanted to believe in yourself, and he assured you that he had exactly the impression you hope to give of yourself when you are at your best. It was at that moment that he vanished, and I was looking at a rugged handsome young man, a year or two in his thirties, whose polished formality of language bordered on the absurd. For some time before he introduced himself, I had the strong impression that he was choosing his words carefully.
Almost as Mr. Gatsby identified himself, a butler rushed to tell him that Chicago was calling him on the line. He excused himself with a small bow that included us in turn.
"If you want something, just ask, man," he urged. "Sorry. I'll call you later."
When he left, I immediately turned to Jordan, forced to assure him of my surprise. I expected Mr. Gatsby to be a stout, blossoming person in his middle age.
"Who is he?" I demanded. "Did you know?"
"It's just a man named Gatsby."
"Where does it come from, I mean? And what does it do?"
"NowOfWe started the topic”, she replied with a slight smile. "Well, he once told me that he was an Oxford man."
A shadowy background took shape behind him, but it faded with his next comment.
"But I do not think so".
"I don't know," he insisted, "I just don't think he went there."
Something in her tone reminded me of the other girl's "I think she killed a man" and piqued my curiosity. I would have readily accepted the information that Gatsby was from the Louisiana swamps or New York's Lower East Side. That was understandable. But young people don't get cold feet and buy a palace on Long Island Sound, or so I thought in my provincial inexperience.
"He throws big parties anyway," Jordan said, changing the subject with an urban dislike of concrete. “And I like big parties. You are so intimate. There is no privacy at small parties.”
A bass drum boomed, and suddenly the conductor's voice rang out above the echo of the garden.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he yelled. “At Mr. Gatsby's request, we will show you the latest work by Mr. Vladmir Tostoff, which attracted so much attention at Carnegie Hall last May. If you read the newspapers, you know there was a great sensation." He smiled with jovial condescension and added: "A sensation!" To which they all laughed.
"The piece is known," he concluded gleefully, "as 'Vladimir Tostoff's World Jazz History!'"
The nature of Mr. Tostoff's composition escaped me, for just as it began my eyes fell on Gatsby, standing alone on the marble steps, looking appreciatively from one group to another. His tanned skin was taut and taut over his face and his short hair looked like it was cut every day. I couldn't see anything wrong with him. I wondered if his not drinking set him apart from his guests, because it seemed to me that as his brotherly hilarity increased, he became more and more correct. When The Jazz History of the World ended, the girls put their heads on the men's shoulders in a sociable way, like puppies, the girls playfully falling back into the men's arms, even in groups, knowing that someone would stop their falls, but no one fainted back. about Gatsby, and no French bob touched Gatsby's shoulder, and no vocal quartets were formed with Gatsby's head as a member.
Gatsby's butler suddenly stood next to us.
"Miss Baker?" he asked. "Excuse me, but Mr. Gatsby wishes to speak with you alone."
"With me?" she exclaimed in surprise.
She rose slowly, raising her eyebrows in astonishment, and followed the butler into the house. I noticed that she was wearing her evening dress, all his clothes, like gym clothes: his movements were as easy as if he had first learned to walk on the golf courses on clean mornings. fresh.
He was alone and it was almost two o'clock. For some time now, disturbing and intriguing sounds were being heard coming from an elongated room with many windows facing the terrace. I dodged around the Jordan student, who was having an obstetrical conversation with two choir girls and begged me to join him, and went inside.
The great room was full of people. One of the girls in yellow was playing the piano, and next to her was a tall, red-haired young woman from a famous choir, busy singing. She had drunk a lot of champagne, and during her song she had awkwardly realized that everything was very, very sad, she was not only singing, she was also crying. Every time there was a pause in the song, she would fill it with ragged, gasping sobs and then she would resume the lyrics in a quavering soprano voice. Tears rolled down her cheeks, but not without hindrance, for when they made contact with her lashes, they turned inky black and ran the rest of their way in slow black rivulets. She was made a humorous suggestion that she sing her notes to her face, whereupon she raised her hands, sank into a chair, and fell into a deep, tearful sleep.
"She had an argument with a man who claims to be her husband," explained a girl next to me.
I looked around. Most of the remaining wives now quarreled with men who were said to be her husbands. Even Jordan's faction, the East Egg quartet, was divided in discord. One of the men was conversing with a young actress with strange intensity, and his wife, after trying to laugh off the situation in a dignified and nonchalant manner, completely broke down and resorted to flanking attacks, suddenly appearing as if she were by his side. an angry diamond, and hissed, "You promised!" in her ear.
The reluctance to return home was not limited to wayward men. The room was currently occupied by two pitifully sober men and their extremely indignant wives. The wives pitied each other in slightly raised voices.
"Every time he sees me having a good time, he wants to go home."
"I have never heard anything so selfish in my life."
"We are always the first to go."
"Well, we're almost the last ones tonight," one of the men said, embarrassed. The orchestra left half an hour ago.
Despite the wives' agreement that such malevolence was not credible, the argument ended in a brief fight and both wives were kicked out into the night.
While I was waiting for my hat in the hallway, the library door opened and Jordan Baker and Gatsby walked out together. He said one last word to her, but the enthusiasm in his demeanor abruptly turned into a formality as several people approached him to say goodbye.
Jordan's group called impatiently to her from the porch, but she stopped to shake his hand.
"I just heard the most amazing thing," he whispered. "How long were we there?"
"Well, about an hour."
"It was…just amazing," she repeated absently. "But I swore I wouldn't tell, and here I am tormenting you." She yawned gracefully in my face. "Please come closer to me... Telephone directory... Under the name of Mrs. Sigourney Howard... My aunt..." She walked away quickly as she spoke, her brown hand waving happily as she merged with her group at the door.
A little embarrassed at staying so long at my first performance, I joined the last of Gatsby's guests who had gathered around him. I wanted to explain that I had looked for him earlier in the evening and apologize for not having met him in the garden.
"Don't mention it," he ordered me anxiously. "Don't think about it, old man." The familiar expression was no more familiar than the hand that brushed my shoulder reassuringly. "And don't forget we're taking the seaplane tomorrow at nine in the morning."
Then the butler behind his shoulder:
"Philadelphia wants you on the phone, sir."
"Okay, in a minute. Tell them I'll be there right away… good night."
"Good night." He smiled, and suddenly being one of the last to go seemed to have a nice meaning, just like he'd wanted all along. "Good night, old man... good night."
But as I went downstairs, I saw that the night was not over yet. Fifty feet from the gate, a dozen searchlights illuminated a strange and tumultuous scene. Lying in the ditch by the side of the road, right side up but with one wheel torn off violently, was a new coupe that had pulled out of Gatsby's driveway less than two minutes before. A sharp ledge in a wall was responsible for the detachment of the wheel, which now attracted the attention of half a dozen curious drivers. However, as their cars blocked the road, a harsh, dissonant noise could be heard from those in the background for some time, adding to the already intense confusion of the scene.
A man in a long overall had dismounted from the accident and was now standing in the middle of the road, looking from the car to the tire and from the tire to the viewer with kindness and wonder.
"See!" He explained. "He slipped in the ditch."
The fact was infinitely astonishing to him, and I recognized first the unusual quality of the wonder, and then the man: he was the late patron of Gatsby's library.
"How did this happen?"
"I don't know anything about mechanics at all," he said firmly.
"But how did that happen? Did you hit the wall?"
"Don't ask me," Owl Eyes said, washing his hands of the whole thing. “I know very little about driving, almost nothing. It happened and that's all I know."
"Well, if you're a bad driver, you shouldn't try to drive at night."
"But I didn't even try," he declared indignantly, "I didn't even try."
A stunned silence fell over the passers-by.
"Do you want to commit suicide?"
"You're lucky it was just a wheel! A bad driver and not evenattemptIn g!"
"You don't understand," the criminal explained. "I wasn't driving. There's another man in the car.
The shock that followed this statement was expressed in a sustained "Ah-h-h!" as the door of the coupe slowly opened. The crowd, now a crowd, involuntarily took a step back, and when the door was flung open there was an eerie pause. Then, very gradually, piece by piece, a pale, dangling individual emerged from the rubble, stamping gingerly at the ground with a large wobbly dancing shoe.
Blinded by the glare of the headlights and confused by the incessant wailing of the horns, the apparition staggered for a moment before it saw the man in the smock.
"What's going on?" he asked calmly. "Have we run out of gas?"
Half a dozen fingers pointed to the amputated wheel; he looked at her for a moment and then looked up, as if she suspected that she had fallen from the sky.
"He got loose," someone explained.
"At first I didn't realize we stopped."
A break. Then she took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and said in a determined voice:
"Would you like to tell me where there is a gas station?"
At least a dozen men, some slightly better than him, told him that the bike and the car were no longer physically connected.
"Go away," he suggested after a moment. "Put it in reverse."
"There's nothing wrong with trying," he said.
The howling of the caterpillars had reached a crescendo and I turned and walked home across the lawn. I looked back once. A disk of the moon shone down on Gatsby's house, making the night as beautiful as ever and outliving the laughter and noise in his still-bright yard. A sudden emptiness now seemed to well up from the windows and the great doors, infusing the figure of the host, who stood on the porch, hand raised in formal farewell, with utter loneliness.
Reading what I have written so far, I see that I gave the impression that the events of three nights several weeks apart were all that concerned me. On the contrary, they were just occasional occurrences in a crowded summer, and they concerned me infinitely less than my personal affairs until much later.
I worked most of the time. The early morning sun cast my shadow west as I ran through the white canyons of Lower New York toward the Probity Trust. I knew the other employees and young bond salesmen by their first names, and ate lunch with them over pork sausages, mashed potatoes, and coffee in crowded, dark restaurants. I even had a brief fling with a girl who lived in Jersey City and worked in accounting, but her brother started giving me dirty looks, and when she went on vacation in July, I let it slide.
Usually, I'd have dinner at the Yale Club (for some reason, it was the darkest part of my day) and then I'd go upstairs to the library and spend a conscientious hour studying stocks and investments. There were a few troublemakers in general, but they never went into the library, so it was a good place to work. After that, if the night was mild, he would walk down Madison Avenue, past the old Murray Hill Hotel, and across 33rd Street to Pennsylvania Station.
I was beginning to like New York, the lively, adventurous feel of the night, and the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men, women, and machines brings to the restless eye. I loved walking down Fifth Avenue, picking out romantic women from the crowd and imagining that in a few minutes I would walk into his life and no one would know or frown. Sometimes I would follow them in my mind to their apartments on hidden street corners, and they would turn and smile at me before disappearing through a door into the warm darkness. In the enchanted metropolitan twilight, I felt an eerie loneliness at times, and felt it at others too: poor young employees loitering outside the windows, waiting until it was time for a lonely dinner in the restaurant, young employees at sunset, the moments more touching. wasted night and life.
At eight o'clock again, when the dark alleys of the forties were fifteen feet deep lined with buzzing taxis heading to the theater district, I felt a pang at my heart. In the taxis, shapes leaned together as they waited, and voices sang, and there was laughter at unheard-of jokes, and lighted cigarettes made incomprehensible circles inside. I imagined running to join the happiness and share their intimate emotion and I wished them well.
I lost sight of Jordan Baker for a while, and then, in the middle of summer, I found her again. At first I was flattered to go with her because she was a golf champion and everyone knew her name. Then it was something else. He wasn't really in love, but he felt a kind of tender curiosity. The haughty, bored face with which I looked at the world was hiding something (most affections end up hiding something, even if they didn't at first), and one day I found out what it was. When we were at a house party together in Warwick, she left a borrowed car in the rain with the top down and then lied about it, and I suddenly remembered the story about her missing that night at Daisy's. At her first big golf tournament, there was an argument that almost made the papers, an indication that she had moved her ball from a bad position in the semifinal round. The thing grew to scandalous proportions, then she died. A caddy recanted her testimony and the only other witness admitted that she may have been wrong. I remembered the incident and her name.
Jordan Baker instinctively avoided smart, smart men, and now I realized she felt safer on a plane where any deviation from a code was considered impossible. She was terminally dishonest. She couldn't bear to be at a disadvantage, and in the face of that reluctance, she had probably, from a young age, begun dabbling in subterfuge to shine her fresh, cheeky smile on the world and still measure up to her stronger, more attractive body. .
It didn't make any difference to me. Dishonesty in a woman is something that can never be seriously blamed. I casually regretted it and then forgot about it. At the same house party, we had a strange conversation about driving. It started with him passing so close to some workers that our fender pressed a button on a man's coat.
"You're a bad driver," I protested. "Either you should be more careful, or you shouldn't drive at all."
"I am careful".
"No, you are not."
"Well, other people do," he said lightly.
"What does that have to do with it?"
"You will avoid me," she insisted. "It takes two to have an accident."
"Suppose you meet someone as carefree as you."
"I hope I never do," she replied. "I hate careless people. That's why I like you."
Her sun-battered gray eyes stared straight ahead, but she had deliberately put off our acquaintance, and for a moment I thought I loved her. But I'm slow thinking and full of internal rules that curb my desires, and I knew I had to finally get rid of this clutter once I got home. She wrote letters once a week and signed them, "Love, Nick," and all she could think of was that every time this particular girl played tennis, a faint sweaty mustache appeared on her upper lip. Still, there was a vague understanding that had to be tactfully broken before I was free.
Everyone is suspicious of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people I have ever met.
On Sunday morning, as church bells tolled in coastal towns, the world and its lover returned to Gatsby's house and shone gaily on his lawn.
"He's a smuggler," the girls said, moving among their cocktails and flowers. "He once killed a man who found out he was von Hindenburg's nephew and second cousin to the devil. Pass me a rose, darling, and pour me one last drop in that crystal glass.
I once wrote in the blank spaces of a schedule the names of those who came to Gatsby's house that summer. It is now an old schedule, unraveling in its folds, and is titled "This Schedule Effective July 5, 1922." But I can still read the gray names, and they give you a better idea than my general accounts of those who accepted Gatsby's hospitality and paid the subtle tribute of knowing nothing about him.
Then out of East Egg came the Chester Beckers and the Leeches and a man I knew at Yale named Bunsen and Dr. Webster Civet who drowned in Maine last summer. And the Hornbeams and the Willies Voltaires and a whole clan called Blackbucks, who always huddled in a corner and wrinkled their noses like goats at anyone who came near them. And the Ismays and the Chrysties (or rather Hubert Auerbach and Mr. Chrystie's wife) and Edgar Beaver, whose hair, they say, turned cottony white for no reason one winter afternoon.
From what I remember, Clarence Endive was from East Egg. He only came in once, in white panties, and got into a fight in the backyard with a homeless man named Etty. From further up the island came the Cheadles and the ORP Schraeders and the Georgia Stonewall Jackson Abrams and the Fishguards and the Ripley Snells. Snell was there three days before going to jail, so drunk on the dirt road that Mrs. Ulysses Swett's car ran over his right hand. The Danties came too, and S. B. Whitebait, who was over sixty, and Maurice A. Flink, and the Hammerheads, and Beluga, the tobacco importer, and the Beluga girls.
From West Egg came the Poles and the Mulreadys and Cecil Roebuck and Cecil Schoen and Gulick the state senator and Newton Orchid who controlled Films par Excellence and Eckhaust and Clyde Cohen and Don S. Schwartz (the Jr.) and Arthur McCarty, all with ties to the movies one way or another. And the Catlips and the Bembergs and G. Earl Muldoon, brother of that Muldoon who later strangled his wife. Da Fontano, the promoter, came there, Ed Legros and James B. ("Red Gut") Ferret, the De Jongs and Ernest Lilly, came to play and when Ferret entered the outfield it meant he was clear and the associated traction was on him. would do. they have to fluctuate profitably the next day.
A man named Klipspringer was there so often that he became known as "the pensioner." I doubt he had another home. From the theater people there was Gus Waize and Horace O'Donavan and Lester Myer and George Duckweed and Francis Bull. Also from New York were the Chromes and the Backhyssons and the Dennickers and Russell Betty and the Corrigans and the Kellehers and the Dewars and the Scullys and S. W. Belcher and the Smirkes and the young Quinns, who are now divorced, and Henry L. Palmetto, who committed suicide by jumping in front of a subway train in Times Square.
Benny McClenahan always came with four girls. They were never exactly the same physically, but they were so identical that it inevitably seemed like they had been there before. I have forgotten their names: Jaqueline, I think, or Consuela, or Gloria, Judy, or June, and their surnames were either the euphonious names of flowers and months, or the more severe names of the great American capitalists, whose cousins, when pressed, they would profess to be such.
Also, I can remember that Faustina O'Brien was there at least once and the Baedeker girls and young Brewer who was shot in the nose in the war and Mr. Albrucksburger and Miss Haag his fiancée and Ardita Fitz-Peters and Mr. P. Jewett, once chief of the American Legion, and Miss Claudia Hip, with a man said to be their chauffeur, and a prince of something whom we called Duke, and whose name, if ever I knew him, I have forgotten him.
All these people used to come to Gatsby's house in the summer.
At nine o'clock one morning in late July, Gatsby's handsome car bumped up the rocky driveway to my doorstep, blasting a tune on its three-part horn.
It was the first time he had visited me, although I had gone to two of his parties in his seaplane and frequented his beach at his urgent invitation.
"Good morning, old man. You're having lunch with me today and I thought I'd drive together."
He balanced on the dashboard of his car with that typically American ingenuity of movement, which, I suppose, has to do with the lack of lift in youth, and still more with the formless grace of our sporadic nervous games. This quality always broke through his meticulous manner in the form of restlessness: he was never quite still; there was always a foot tapping somewhere, or the impatient blink of a hand.
He saw me looking at his car with admiration.
"It's pretty, isn't it, old man?" She jumped up to give me a better view. "Haven't you seen that before?"
I had seen it. Everyone had seen it. It was a rich cream color, gleaming with nickel, swollen here and there to its monstrous length with triumphant hatboxes, soup boxes, and toolboxes, and backed by a maze of windshields reflecting a dozen suns. We sat behind many layers of glass in a kind of green leather greenhouse and made our way towards the city.
I spoke to him perhaps half a dozen times in the last month and found, to my disappointment, that he had little to say. So my first impression that he was a person of vague importance had gradually faded and he had simply become the owner of an elaborate rest stop next door.
And then came this haunting trip. We hadn't yet reached the town of West Egg when Gatsby began trailing off his elegant sentences and hesitantly patting the knee of his caramel suit.
"Listen, old man," he burst out surprisingly, "what do you think of me, anyway?"
Somewhat overwhelmed, I began the general evasion that this question deserves.
"Well, I'll tell you something about my life," he interrupted her. "I don't want all these stories you're hearing to give you the wrong idea about me."
So he was aware of the bizarre accusations that peppered the conversations in his hallways.
“I will tell you the truth of God.” His right hand suddenly commanded divine vengeance to show up. "I'm the son of some rich people in the Midwest, all dead now. I grew up in America but got my education at Oxford because all my ancestors studied there for many years. It's a family tradition."
He looked at me sideways and I knew why Jordan Baker had thought he was lying. He urged the phrase 'Oxford polite' or swallowed it or choked on it as if he had bothered her before. And with that doubt, his entire statement shattered, and I wondered if there wasn't something sinister about him after all.
"Where in the Midwest?" I asked casually.
"All my family died and I made a lot of money."
His voice was serious, as if the memory of the sudden extinction of a clan still haunted him. For a moment I suspected that he was going to tease me, but one look convinced me otherwise.
“After that, I lived as a young rajah in all the capitals of Europe: Paris, Venice, Rome, collecting jewelry, mainly rubies, hunting large animals, painting a little just for myself and trying to forget something very sad that happened to me. a long time ago."
I barely managed to contain my incredulous laughter. Even the phrases were so worn that they evoked no image other than that of a turbaned "figure" spilling sawdust from every pore as it chased a tiger through the Bois de Boulogne.
"Then came the war, old man. It was a great relief and I tried very hard to die, but I seemed to be living a charmed life. I took a commission as a first lieutenant when it started. In the Argonne forest I advanced the remnants of my machine-gun battalion so far that there was a space of half a mile on each side where the infantry could not advance. We stayed there two days and two nights, one hundred and thirty men with sixteen Lewis guns, and when the infantry finally came they found the insignia of three German divisions among them. the piles of dead. I was promoted to major and decorated by all the allied governments, even Montenegro, little Montenegro in the Adriatic!
Little Montenegro! He picked up the words and nodded, his smile. The smile understood the turbulent history of Montenegro and sympathized with the brave struggles of the Montenegrin people. She fully appreciated the concatenation of national circumstances that brought this honor from the small and warm heart of Montenegro. My disbelief was now fading into fascination; it was like flipping through a dozen magazines in a hurry.
He reached into his pocket and a piece of metal dangling from a ribbon fell into my palm.
"That's the one from Montenegro."
To my astonishment, the thing looked authentic. "Orderi di Danilo," the circular said, "Montenegro, Nicolas Rex."
"It was playing."
"Major Jay Gatsby," I read, "for exceptional bravery."
"Here's something else I always carry with me. A memento from Oxford days. It was taken in Trinity Quad; the man to my left is now the Earl of Doncaster."
It was a photo of half a dozen young men in blazers lounging in an archway through which a multitude of towers could be seen. There was Gatsby, looking a little, not much, younger, cricket bat in hand.
So everything was true. I saw tiger skins burning in his palace on the Grand Canal; I saw him open a chest of rubies to soothe the gnawing of his broken heart with its depths ablaze with crimson.
"I'm going to make a big request for you today," he said, happily pocketing his souvenirs, "so I thought you should know something about me. I didn't want you to think I was just a nobody. See, I usually hang around strangers because I drift here and there, trying to forget the sad things that have happened to me.” She hesitated, "You'll find out about that this afternoon."
"No, this afternoon. I found out by chance that you are inviting Miss Baker to tea.
"Do you think you are in love with Miss Baker?"
"No, old man, I am not. But Miss Baker has kindly agreed to speak to you on the matter.
He had no idea what "this matter" was, but he was more annoyed than interested. He hadn't invited Jordan to tea to talk about Mr. Jay Gatsby. I was sure the petition would be something absolutely amazing, and for a moment I regretted ever stepping foot on his crowded lawn.
I wouldn't say another word. His decorum grew on him as we approached the city. We passed Port Roosevelt, where red-belted ocean-going ships could be glimpsed, and sped through a cobblestone slum flanked by dark halls and deserts of faded gilt 900s. Then the valley of ash opened up on either side of us, and I caught a glimpse of Mrs. Wilson working on the pump in the garage as we passed, panting with vitality.
Fenders spread like wings, we spread the light across half of Astoria, just half, for as we meandered between the tower pillars I heard the familiar "Krug-Krug-spat!” of a motorcycle and a frantic policeman stopped.
"Okay, old man," said Gatsby. We slowed down. He took out a white card from his wallet and waved it at the man.
"You're right," agreed the policeman, touching his cap. Until next time, Mr. Gatsby. ExcuseMichigan!”
"What was that?" I asked. "The Oxford photo?"
"I was able to do the commissioner a favor once, he sends me a Christmas card every year."
On the great bridge, with sunlight filtering through the girders, the moving cars blinking constantly, with the city rising out of the river in white mounds and sugar cubes, all built with a non-olfactory desire for money. The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and beauty in the world.
A dead man passed us in a hearse laden with flowers, followed by two carriages with the shutters drawn and more jolly carriages for friends. Friends looked at us with tragic eyes and short southeastern European upper lips, and I was glad that the sight of Gatsby's magnificent car was included in his gloomy vacation. As we were passing through Blackwell's Island, a limousine passed us, driven by a white chauffeur, and in it were three elegant Negroes, two goats, and a girl. I laughed out loud as the tips of his eyeballs rolled towards us in haughty rivalry.
"Now that we've slipped over that bridge, anything can happen," I thought; "nothing at all..."
Even Gatsby could happen without any particular miracle.
Roaring noon. In a airy basement on 42nd Street, I met Gatsby for lunch. I squinted against the glare from the street and my eyes vaguely located him in the antechamber, talking to another man.
"Mr. Carraway, this is my friend, Mr. Wolfshiem."
A little snub-nosed Jew raised his big head and looked at me with two fine strands of hair sticking out of both nostrils. After a moment I saw his tiny eyes in the dim light.
"- So I only looked at it once," said Mr. Wolfshiem, shaking my hand seriously, "and what do you think I've done?"
"That?" I asked politely.
But he obviously wasn't addressing me because he released my hand and covered Gatsby with his expressive nose.
"I gave Katspaugh the money and said, 'Okay, Katspaugh, don't pay him a penny until he shuts up.' He shut it then."
Gatsby took each of our arms and entered the restaurant, whereupon Mr. Wolfshiem swallowed a new sentence he was beginning and fell into a somnambulistic abstraction.
"Highballs?" the headwaiter asked.
"This is a fine restaurant," said Mr. Wolfshiem, looking at the Presbyterian nymphs on the roof. "But I like it better across the street!"
"Yes, Highballs," Gatsby agreed, and then turned to Mr. Wolfshiem: "It's too hot in there."
"Hot and small, yes," said Herr Wolfshiem, "but full of memories."
What place is this? I asked.
"The old metropolis".
"The old metropolis," reflected Mr. Wolfshiem sadly. “Full of dead and missing faces. Full of friends who are now gone forever. I can't forget the night Rosy Rosenthal was shot as long as she lives. There were six of us at the table and Rosy had eaten and drunk a lot all night. When it was almost morning, the waiter approached her with an amused look and told her that someone wanted to see her outside of her. "Okay," Rosy says, about to get up, and she settles him into her chair.
"'Let the bastards in here if they want you, Rosy, but don't help me out of this room."
"It was four in the morning at the time and if we had pulled up the blinds we would have seen daylight."
"He went away?" I asked innocently.
"Of course he's gone," Mr. Wolfshiem's nose looked at me indignantly. "He turned around at the door and said, 'Don't let that waiter drink my coffee!' Then he went out onto the sidewalk and was shot three times in the stomach and left."
"Four of them got electrocuted," I said when I remembered.
"Five, with Becker." Her nostrils turned to me with interest. "I understand that she is looking for a business contact."
The juxtaposition of these two comments was striking. Gatsby replied:
"Oh no," he exclaimed, "that's not the man."
"NO?" Herr Wolfsheim looked disappointed.
"He's just a friend. I told you, we'll talk about it another time."
"I beg your pardon," said Herr Wolfshiem, "I was the wrong man."
Juicy hash arrived and Mr. Wolfshiem forgot about the rather sentimental atmosphere of the old metropolis and began to feast on wild delicacies. His eyes wandered very slowly around the room; he completed the arc by turning to inspect the people directly behind. I think without my presence he would have peeked out from under our own table.
"Listen, old man," said Gatsby, leaning toward me, "I'm afraid I made you a little angry in the car this morning."
There was the smile again, but this time I resisted.
"I don't like secrets," I replied, "and I don't understand why you can't come out and tell me what you want. Why does all this have to go through Miss Baker?"
"Oh, that's not clever," he assured me. "Miss Baker is a great athlete, you know, and she would never do anything wrong."
Suddenly looking at his watch, he jumped up and ran out of the room, leaving me at the table with Mr. Wolfshiem.
"You have to make a call," Mr. Wolfshiem said, following him with his gaze. "Good boy, isn't he? Handsome to look at and a perfect gentleman.
He's a man from Oggsford.
“He went to Oggsford College in England. Do you know Oggsford University?
"I've heard of that."
"It is one of the most famous universities in the world."
"How long have you known Gatsby?" I asked.
"Several years," he answered happily. “I had the pleasure of meeting him just after the war. But I knew that I had seen a man of good race after talking to him for an hour. I said to myself, 'There is a man you would like to take home and meet your mother and sister.' He paused. I see you're looking at my cufflinks.
I hadn't looked at her, but now I did. They were made of strangely familiar pieces of ivory.
"The best specimens of human molars," he informed me.
"So!" I have inspected them. "That's a very interesting idea."
"Yeah." She rolled up her sleeves under her coat. Yes, Gatsby is very careful with women. He wouldn't even look at a friend's wife.
When the object of that instinctive trust returned to the table and sat down, Mr. Wolfshiem drank his coffee and stood up.
"I enjoyed my lunch," he said, "and I'll run from you two young men before I exceed my allowance."
"Don't be in a hurry, Meyer," Gatsby said without enthusiasm. Mr. Wolfshiem raised his hand in a sort of benediction.
"You are very polite, but I belong to a different generation," he announced solemnly. "Sit here and talk about your sport and your ladies and your..." She added an imaginary noun with another wave of her hand. "As for me, I am fifty years old and I am not going to impose myself any more."
When he shook hands and turned around, his tragic nose twitched. I wondered if I said something to offend him.
"Sometimes he gets very sentimental," Gatsby explained. “This is one of her sentimental days. He's quite a figure in New York, a resident of Broadway."
"Who is he anyway, an actor?"
"Meyer Wolfsheim? No, he's a player." Gatsby hesitated, then coolly added, "He's the man who fixed the 1919 World Series."
"Fixed the World Series?" I repeated it.
The idea blew me away. I remembered, of course, that the World Series was set in 1919, but if I had thought about it, I would have seen it as one thing.happens, the end of an inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that a man could begin to play with the beliefs of fifty million people with the determination of a thief breaking into a safe.
"How could he do that?" I asked after a minute.
"He just saw the opportunity."
"Why isn't he in jail?"
"You can't catch him, old man. He's a smart man.
I insisted on paying the bill. As the waiter brought my change, I saw Tom Buchanan across the crowded room.
"Come with me for a moment," I said; "I have to say hello to someone."
When he saw us, Tom jumped up and took half a dozen steps in our direction.
"Where have you been?" she eagerly demanded. "Daisy is mad that she didn't call."
"This is Mr. Gatsby, Mr. Buchanan."
They shook hands briefly, and a tense, unfamiliar expression of embarrassment crossed Gatsby's face.
"How are you?" Tom asked me. "How did you get so far to eat?"
"I had lunch with Mr. Gatsby."
I turned to Mr. Gatsby but he was gone.
One day in October 1977 –
(said Jordan Baker that afternoon, sitting upright in an upright chair in the tea garden of the Plaza Hotel).
- I walked from one place to another, half on the sidewalks and half on the grass. She was happiest on the grass because he wore England shoes with rubber nubs on the soles that bit into the soft ground. He was also wearing a new checkered skirt that billowed a bit in the wind and whenever this happened, the red, white and blue flags in front of all the houses would rise stiffly and saydo-do-do-do, in a negative way.
The largest banner and lawn belonged to Daisy Fay's house. She was only eighteen, two years older than me, and by far the most popular of all the young women in Louisville. She was dressed in white and had a little white roadster, and all day the phone rang at her house and excited young officers from Camp Taylor demanded the privilege of monopolizing her that night. "Anyway, for an hour!"
When I drove past her house that morning, her white roadster was parked at the curb and she was sitting in it with a lieutenant I'd never seen before. They were so absorbed in each other that she didn't see me until I was five feet away.
"Hello, Jordan," she called unexpectedly. "Please come here."
I was flattered that she wanted to talk to me because of all the older girls, I admired her the most. She asked me if she would go to the Red Cross to make bandages. Was. Would she tell them then that she couldn't come that day? The officer looked at Daisy as she spoke in a way that every girl would like to be looked at at some point, and because I found it romantic, I have remembered the incident ever since. His name was Jay Gatsby and I haven't seen him in over four years, even after meeting him on Long Island, I didn't realize he was the same man.
It was seven seventeen. The following year I had some Beauxes of my own and started playing tournaments, so I didn't see Daisy very often. She dated a slightly older audience, if she did date anyone. Wild rumors circulated about her: how her mother had caught her one winter night packing her suitcase to go to New York to say goodbye to a soldier who was going abroad. She effectively stopped him, but she did not speak to her family for several weeks. After that, she stopped playing with the soldiers, she just played with some short-sighted and flat-footed youth in the city who couldn't even get into the army.
The following autumn was gay again, gay as ever. She made her debut after the armistice, in February she was probably engaged to a man from New Orleans. In June, she married Tom Buchanan of Chicago, with more pomp and circumstance than she had ever seen before Louisville. She arrived with a hundred people in four private cars and rented an entire floor of the Hotel Muhlbach, and the day before the wedding she gave him a pearl necklace worth three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
I was a bridesmaid. I walked into her room half an hour before the wedding dinner and found her lying on her bed in her flowery dress, as beautiful as a June night and as drunk as a monkey. She held a bottle of Sauterne in one hand and a letter in the other.
"Congratulations," she murmured. "I've never had a drink, but oh how I enjoy it."
"What's up, Marguerite?"
I was scared, I can tell you; I had never seen a girl like that before.
"Here, dear." She reached into a trash can she kept on her bed and pulled out the pearl necklace. “Take them down and return them to whoever owns them. Tell everyone that Daisy changes face. She said: 'Daisy has changed mine!' "
He began to cry, and cried, and cried. I ran out and found her mother's maid and we locked the door and put her in a cold bath. She did not drop the letter. She put it in the tub and kneaded it into a wet ball and she wouldn't let me put it in the soap dish until she saw it crumble like snow.
But she didn't say another word. We gave her ammonia spirit and iced her forehead and re-hooked it on her dress and half an hour later when we left the room the beads were around her neck and the incident was over. At five o'clock the next day she married Tom Buchanan without trembling and set off on a three-month voyage to the South Seas.
I saw them in Santa Barbara when they got back and I thought I've never seen a girl so angry with her husband. If he left the room for a minute, she would look around her uncomfortably and say, "Where did Tom go?" and she would put on the most distant expression until she saw him walk through the door. She would sit for hours on the sand with his head in her lap, rubbing her fingers at her eyes and gazing at him with unfathomable delight. It was touching to see them together, she made you laugh in a faint, intrigued way. That was in August. A week after I left Santa Barbara, Tom hit a car one night on Ventura Road and ripped off a front wheel. The girl who was with him also did the paperwork because she broke her arm, she was one of the maids at the Hotel Santa Bárbara.
The next April, Daisy had her baby and they went to France for a year. I saw them once in Cannes in the spring and then in Deauville, and then they went back to Chicago to settle. As you know, Daisy was popular in Chicago. They moved in with a fast-paced crowd, all young, rich, and wild, but she came out with an absolutely perfect reputation. Maybe because she doesn't drink. It is a great benefit not to drink around heavy drinkers. You can keep your mouth shut, plus you can time every little anomaly yourself so that everyone else is so blinded they can't see or care. Maybe Daisy never fell in love and yet there is something in her voice...
Well, about six weeks ago, he heard the name Gatsby for the first time in years. When I asked you, do you remember? – if you know Gatsby in West Egg. After you went home, she came into my room and woke me up and said, "What Gatsby?" and while she was describing him, he was half asleep, she said in the strangest voice that he must be the man she wanted to meet before. Only then did I associate this Gatsby with the policewoman in her white car.
By the time Jordan Baker told all this, we had been out of the square for half an hour and were driving through Central Park in a Victoria. The sun had set behind the high-ceilinged flats of movie stars in the Western fifties, and the clear voices of children, already gathered like crickets in the grass, rose through the warm twilight:
"I am the sheikh of Arabia.
your love is Mine
at night when you sleep
I'll crawl to your tent..."
"It was a strange coincidence," I told him.
"But that was not a coincidence at all."
"Gatsby bought the house so Daisy would be across the bay."
So it wasn't just the stars he'd been fighting for that June night. He came alive for me, suddenly released from the womb of his purposeless glory.
"He wants to know," Jordan continued, "if you invite Daisy over to your house one afternoon and then let him come over."
The modesty of the request struck me. She waited five years and bought a mansion where she gave starlight to the occasional moth, so she could "pass" into a stranger's garden one afternoon.
"Did I have to know all that before I could ask something so small?"
"He's scared, he's waited so long. He thought you might be offended. You see, he's regularly tough underneath it all."
Something worried me.
"Why didn't he ask you to set up a meeting?"
"He wants her to see his house," he explained. "And your house is right next door."
"I think he almost expected her to go to one of his parties one night," Jordan continued, "but she never did. Then he started casually asking people if they knew her, and I was the first one he found. It was that night that he took me to his dance and you should have heard how he arranged himself. Of course, I immediately suggested lunch in New York, thinking he would go crazy:
"'I don't want to do anything awkward!' she kept saying. "I want to see her right next to it."
"When I told him you were a special friend of Tom's, he started to dismiss the whole idea. He doesn't know much about Tom, although he says he read a Chicago newspaper for years just to catch a glimpse of Daisy's name."
It was dark now, and as we crouched under a small bridge, I put my arm around Jordan's golden shoulder and pulled her to me and invited her to dinner. Suddenly I wasn't thinking about Daisy and Gatsby, but about this clean, tough, limited person who acted with general skepticism and leaned happily into my arm. A phrase began to beat in my ears with a kind of heady excitement: "There are only the hunted, the hunted, the busy and the tired."
"And Daisy should have something in her life," Jordan murmured to me.
"Do you want to see Gatsby?"
"You mustn't know anything about it. Gatsby doesn't want her to know. You just have to invite her to tea.
We passed a barrier of dark trees, and then the Fifty-ninth Street frontage glowed into the park, a pale, dim block of light. Unlike Gatsby and Tom Buchanan, I didn't have a girl whose disembodied face loomed over the dark ledges and blinding signs, so I pulled the girl to my side and steadied my arms. Her pale, teasing mouth smiled, so I pulled her closer, this time to my face.
When I got back to West Egg that night, I was afraid for a moment that my house was on fire. It was two o'clock and the whole corner of the peninsula was illuminated by a light that fell unreal on the bushes and left thin, long sparkles on the cables of the road. As I turned a corner, I saw that it was Gatsby's house, lit from tower to basement.
At first I thought it was another party, a wild escape that had turned into a "hideout" or "sardines in the box" where the whole house was open to play. But there was no sound. Just wind in the trees, snapping the wires and turning the lights on and off as if the house had flickered in the dark. As my cab whimpered away, I saw Gatsby coming toward me across his lawn.
"Your house seems to be at the World's Fair," I told him.
"Does it?" Absently, she fixed her eyes on him. “I looked at some of the rooms. Let's go to Coney Island, man. In my car."
"It's too late."
"Well, suppose we jump in the pool? I haven't used it all summer.
"I have to go to the bed."
He waited and looked at me with suppressed excitement.
"I spoke to Miss Baker," I said after a moment. I'll call Daisy tomorrow and invite her to tea.
"Oh, okay," he said carelessly. "I don't want to get you in trouble."
"What day suits you?"
"What day would fitOf?” he quickly corrected me. "I don't want to get you in trouble, you know?"
"How about the day after tomorrow?"
He thought for a moment. Then reluctantly, "I want to mow the lawn," he said.
We both looked at the grass: there was a sharp line where my rough grass ended and the darker, manicured area of it began. I assumed he meant my weed.
"There's one more thing," he said uncertainly, hesitating.
"Would you rather put it off for a few days?" I asked.
"Oh, that's not the point. At least…" He played with a series of starts. "Why, I thought – look, man, you don't make much money, do you?"
This seemed to calm him down and he continued with more confidence.
'That's what I thought, excuse me, see, I run a little business on the side, kind of a sideline, you know? And I thought, if you don't make a lot of money, you sell bonds, right, mate?
"Well, that would interest you. It wouldn't take you long and you could get a fair amount of money. It just so happens to be quite a confidential matter.
I now realize that, under different circumstances, this conversation could have been one of the crises of my life. But since the offer was obviously and tactlessly aimed at providing a service, I had no choice but to cut it off there.
"I have my hands full," I told him. "I am very grateful to you, but I couldn't take the job anymore."
"You wouldn't need to do business with Wolfshiem." He apparently thought I resisted the "gonneal" mentioned over lunch, but I assured him he was wrong. He waited a moment longer, hoping he'd strike up a conversation, but I was too engrossed to reply, so he reluctantly went home.
The night had left me dazed and happy; I think I fell into a deep sleep as soon as I walked through the front door. So I don't know if Gatsby went to Coney Island or not, or how many hours he "gazed around the room" while his house burned brightly. The next morning I called Daisy from her office and invited her to tea.
"Don't bring Tom," I warned him.
"Don't bring Tom with you."
"Who is Tom'?" she asked innocently.
It was raining heavily on the agreed day. At eleven o'clock a man in a raincoat, pulling a lawnmower behind him, knocked on my door and said that Mr. Gatsby had sent him to mow the lawn. This reminded me that I forgot to tell my Finn to come back, so I drove to West Egg Village to look for her on the damp, whitewashed streets and bought some mugs, lemons, and flowers.
The flowers were unnecessary, for at two in the afternoon a greenhouse from Gatsby's arrived with innumerable containers to contain it. An hour later, the front door flung open and Gatsby ran in wearing a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold tie. He was pale and there were dark signs of insomnia under his eyes.
"Everything is alright?" he asked her immediately.
"The grass looks good, if that's what you mean."
"What grass?" he asked blankly. "Oh, the grass in the yard." She was looking out the window, but judging by the expression on her face, I don't think she saw anything.
"It looks great," he commented vaguely. "One of the newspapers said that they thought the rain would stop raining around four. I think it wasThe newspaper. Do you have everything you need in the form of... tea?
I took him to the pantry, where he looked at the Finn a little reproachfully. Together we take a close look at the twelve lemon cakes in the deli.
"Will they?" I asked.
"Of course, of course! You're fine!" and he added in a hollow voice: "...boy."
Around two-thirty the rain cooled to a wet mist through which fine dew-like drops occasionally floated. Gatsby was staring at a copy of Clay'sBusiness, starting with the Finnish step that shook the kitchen floor, and peeking out from time to time through the dim windows as if a series of invisible but alarming events were taking place outside. She finally got up and informed me in an uncertain voice that she was going home.
"Why is this?"
"No one is coming for tea. It's too late!" He glanced at his watch as if his time was urgently taken elsewhere. "I can't wait all day."
“Don't be absurd; It's only two minutes to four."
He sat down sadly, as if I had pushed him, and at the same time there was the sound of a car pulling into my lane. We both jumped up and I went out into the yard, feeling a little distraught.
A large open carriage pulled up the driveway under the bare, water-soaked lilacs. He stopped. Daisy's face, tilted to one side under a lavender triangular hat, looked up at me with a bright, ecstatic smile.
"Do you really live here, my love?"
The heady ripple in his voice was a wild exhilaration in the rain. I had to follow the sound for a moment, up and down, with just my ear, before the words came. A damp lock of hair was a smudge of blue paint on her cheek, and her hand was wet with glittering drops as I grabbed her to help her out of the car.
"Are you in love with me," he said softly in my ear, "or why did I have to come alone?"
That is the secret of Castle Rackrent. Tell your driver to drive away and stay an hour."
"Come back in an hour, Ferdie." Then, in a serious murmur, "His name is Ferdie."
"Is the gas affecting your nose?"
"I don't think so," he said innocently. "Because?"
We enter. To my overwhelming surprise, the living room was deserted.
"That's fun," I exclaimed.
She turned her head when there was a soft, dignified knock at the front door. I went out and opened it. Gatsby, pale as death, his hands sunk into his coat pockets like weights, stood in a pool of water and stared tragically into my eyes.
Hands still in the pockets of her coat, she brushed past me into the hallway, turned sharply as if she were walking a tightrope, and disappeared into the living room. It wasn't fun at all. Conscious of my own pounding heart, I closed the door against the gathering rain.
There was no sound for half a minute. Then I heard a kind of muffled murmur and some laughter in the room, followed by Daisy's voice in a light, artificial tone:
"I am very happy to see you again."
A break; she endured terribly. I had nothing to do in the hallway, so I went into the room.
Gatsby, hands still in his pockets, leaned against the mantelpiece in a forced imitation of utter calm, even boredom. His head was tilted back so far that it rested on the face of a broken mantel clock, and from this position her worried eyes gazed at Daisy, who sat frightened but graceful on the edge of a stiff chair.
"We've met before," Gatsby murmured. His eyes met mine briefly and his lips parted in a futile attempt to laugh. Luckily, the watch took advantage of that moment to tip dangerously under the pressure of his head, at which point he spun, catching it with trembling fingers and placing it back in his place. He then he sat up stiffly, his elbows on the arm of the sofa and his chin in his hand.
"Sorry about the clock," he said.
My own face had now acquired a deep tropical burn. I couldn't find a single commonplace among thousands in my head.
"It's an old watch," I said like an idiot.
I think we all thought for a moment that it had crashed to the ground.
"We haven't seen each other in years," Daisy said, her voice as real as it could be.
"Five years next November."
The automatic quality of Gatsby's response set us all back for at least another minute. I lifted them both up with the desperate suggestion that they help me make tea in the kitchen when the demonic Finn brought it over on a tray.
Amidst the welcome jumble of cups and cakes, a certain physical decency settled. Gatsby hid in the shadows and looked carefully from one to the other with strained, unhappy eyes as Daisy and I talked. But since rest was not an end in itself, I excused myself at the first available moment and got up.
"Where are you going?" demanded Gatsby immediately in alarm.
"I'll be right back."
"I need to talk to you about something before you go."
She followed me wildly into the kitchen, closed the door, and whispered, "Oh, God!" in a pathetic way.
"That's a terrible mistake," he said, shaking his head from side to side, "a terrible, terrible mistake."
"You're embarrassed, that's all," and thankfully I added, "Daisy's embarrassed too."
"Are you embarrassed?" she repeated in disbelief.
"Don't talk so loud."
"You're acting like a little kid," I snapped impatiently. "Not only that, you're being rude. Daisy is sitting there by herself."
She raised her hand to stop my words, looked at me with unforgettable reproach, carefully opened the door, and went back into the other room.
I went out the back door, just as Gatsby had done when he'd been making his nervous rounds of the house half an hour ago, and ran toward a huge gnarled black tree whose enormous leaves formed a shelter from the rain. It was pouring rain again, and my patchy lawn, shaved clean by Gatsby's gardener, was littered with little muddy bogs and prehistoric bogs. There was nothing to see under the tree except Gatsby's huge house, so I looked at it for half an hour like Kant did at his steeple. A brewer had built it at the start of the 'Periods' craze, a decade earlier, and he was said to have agreed to pay taxes on all neighboring cottages for five years if the owners would thatch. Perhaps his refusal derailed her plan to start a family: she immediately fell into decline. His sons sold their house with the black crown on the door. Americans, while willing, even willing, to be serfs, have always been adamant about being peasants.
Half an hour later the sun came up again and the grocer's carriage pulled up in front of Gatsby's driveway with the raw materials for his servants' dinner; he was sure he wouldn't eat a spoonful. A maid began to open the windows on the upper floor of her house, appearing briefly in each one, and leaning against the large central window, she spat thoughtfully into the garden. It was time for her to come back. As the rain continued, she seemed like the murmur of her voices, growing a little louder and rising from time to time with bursts of emotion. But in the new silence, I felt that the house had also become silent.
I went in, after making as many noises as possible in the kitchen without moving the stove, but I don't think they heard any noise. They sat on either end of the sofa and looked at each other as if someone had asked a question or was on the air and all traces of embarrassment were gone. Daisy's face was streaked with tears and when she walked in she jumped up and began to wipe it with her handkerchief in front of a mirror. But there was a change in Gatsby that was disconcerting. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of joy, a new sense of well-being radiated from him and filled the small room.
"Oh hi, old man," he said, like he hadn't seen me in years. For a moment I thought he was going to shake my hand.
"It stopped raining."
"Did?" Realizing what he was talking about, the sundrops shining in space, he smiled like a meteorologist, like an exultant patron of returning light, and told Daisy the news. "What do you think of that? He has stopped raining."
"I'm glad, Jay." Her throat, full of painful and mournful beauty, only spoke of her unexpected joy.
"I want you and Daisy to come to my house," he said, "I'd like to show you around."
"Are you sure you want me to go?"
"Absolutely, old man."
Daisy went upstairs to wash her face—too late, I thought to the humiliation of my towels—while Gatsby and I waited on the lawn.
"My house looks good, doesn't it?" he demanded. "Look how the whole front catches the light."
I agreed that it was great.
"Yeah." His eyes swept over it, over every arched doorway and square tower. "It only took me three years to make the money I bought it with."
"I thought you had inherited your money."
"I did, friend," he said automatically, "but I lost most of it in the great panic, the panic of war."
I don't think he knew what he was saying because when I asked what industry he was in, he replied, "That's my business," before realizing that wasn't an appropriate response.
"Oh, I've been to various things," he corrected himself. “I was in the drug business and then in the oil business. But now I'm not in either one. He looked at me more carefully. "You mean you've thought about what I suggested the other night?"
Before she could reply, Daisy came out of the house, two rows of brass buttons on her dress gleaming in the sunlight.
“This huge placeThere?” she called and pointed.
"Do you like it?"
"I love it, but I don't understand how you live there alone."
“I always keep it full of interesting people, day and night. people doing interesting things. famous people
Instead of taking the shortcut along the Sound, we went down to the road and entered the big gate. With enchanting murmurs Daisy admired this or that aspect of the feudal silhouette against the sky, admired the gardens, the sparkling scent of jonquils and the sparkling scent of hawthorn and plum blossoms and the pale golden scent of kisses on the door. It was strange coming to the marble steps and not finding a sound of light colored clothes going in and out of the door and hearing nothing but birdsong in the trees.
And inside, as we wandered through the music rooms and catering rooms of Marie Antoinette, I got the feeling that guests were lurking behind every sofa and table, ordered to stand in breathless silence until we had passed. As Gatsby closed the door of the Merton College library, he could have sworn he heard the owl-eyed man burst into a hideous laugh.
We climbed the stairs, past historic rooms draped in pink and lavender silks and festooned with new flowers, past dressing rooms, billiard rooms, and bathrooms with sunken tubs, and into a chamber where a scruffy man in pajamas lay on the floor doing exercises. for the liver. It was Herr Klipspringer, the "guest." He had seen him running hungry on the beach that morning. Finally we reached Gatsby's apartment, a bedroom and a bathroom, and Adam's study, where we sat and drank a glass of Chartreuse, which he took from a cabinet on the wall.
He hadn't taken his eyes off Daisy once, and I think he was reassessing everything in his house based on the reaction it evoked in his beloved eyes. Sometimes, too, he gazed dazedly at her possessions, as if none of them were real in her awesome, real presence. One time he almost fell down a flight of stairs.
Her bedroom was the simplest room of all, except that the dresser was adorned with a bath set of pure matte gold. Daisy happily took the brush and smoothed down her hair, whereupon Gatsby sat up, covered his eyes, and laughed.
"That's the funniest thing, man," he said hilariously. "I can't - if I try -"
He had visibly passed through two states and entered a third. After his shame and unreasonable delight, he was consumed with wonder at his presence. He had been obsessed with the idea for so long, he had dreamed it to the end, waited through gritted teeth, as it were, with an intensity unimaginable. Now, in reaction, he ticked like an overloaded clock.
When he had recovered in a minute, he opened for us two huge patent-leather closets, in which were his suits, coats and ties, and his shirts, stacked like bricks by the dozen.
"I have a man in England who buys me clothes. He sends a selection of things at the start of each season, spring and autumn."
He pulled out a stack of shirts and began to toss them before us one by one, shirts of pure linen and thick silk and fine flannel that lost their folds as they fell and littered the table in a motley mess. As we admired it, she brought more, and the soft, lush pile rose higher: striped and vine shirts and checks in coral and apple green and lavender and subdued orange, with Indian blue monograms. Suddenly, with a forced noise, Daisy lowered her head into her shirt and began to cry profusely.
"These shirts are so beautiful," she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. "It makes me sad because I've never seen shirts so, so beautiful."
After the house, we were supposed to see the grounds, the pool, the seaplane, and the summer flowers, but outside Gatsby's window it began to rain again, so we stood in line and gazed out at the undulating surface of the sound.
"If it weren't for the fog, we could see your house across the bay," Gatsby said. "At the end of your pier you always have a green light that stays on all night."
Daisy abruptly slipped her arm under his, but he seemed concerned by what he had just said. Perhaps it had occurred to her that the colossal significance of that light was gone forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy, he seemed very close to her, almost touching her. It seemed as close to the moon as a star. Now it was again a green light at a pier. The number of enchanted items on him had decreased by one.
I started pacing the room, examining various vague objects in the dim light. On the wall above his desk was a large photo of an old man in a sailor suit, which appealed to me.
"Who is it?"
"That? That's Mr. Dan Cody, boy."
The name was somehow familiar to me.
"He's dead now. He was my best friend years ago."
Above the dresser hung a small photograph of Gatsby, also in a sailor suit, Gatsby with his head thrown back in defiance, apparently taken when he was about eighteen.
"I love it," Daisy exclaimed. "The pompadour! You never told me you had a pompadour or a yacht.
"Look at this," Gatsby said quickly. "There are a lot of newspaper clippings here, about you."
They stood next to each other and looked at him. He was about to ask about the rubies when the phone rang and Gatsby answered it.
"Yeah... Well, I can't talk right now... I can't talk right now, old man... I said akleinTown… You must know what a small town is… Well, it's no use to us if Detroit is your idea of a small town…”
"Come herefast!” Daisy called to the window.
It was still raining, but darkness had opened to the west, and a pink and gold wave of foaming clouds lay over the sea.
"Look at that," he whispered, and then after a moment, "I'd like to take one of those pink clouds and get you in it and push you off."
I tried to leave at that moment, but they didn't find out; maybe my presence made them feel alone.
"I know what we're going to do," said Gatsby, "we're going to let Klipspringer play the piano."
He left the room and yelled "Ewing!". and he returned a few minutes later, accompanied by an embarrassed, somewhat exhausted young man with horn-rimmed glasses and sparse blond hair. He was now decently dressed in an open-necked "sports shirt," sneakers, and tarnished pants.
"Did we interrupt your practice?" Daisy asked politely.
"I was asleep," exclaimed Mr. Klipspringer, in a fit of embarrassment. "That means Istateasleep. So I got up..."
"Klipspringer plays the piano," Gatsby said, interrupting him. "Isn't that right, Ewing old man?"
"I don't play well. I don't play at all, hardly ever. I'm out of practice..."
"Come on downstairs," interrupted Gatsby. He flipped a switch. The gray windows disappeared as the house was filled with light.
In the music room, Gatsby turned on a single lamp next to the piano. He lit Daisy's cigarette with a flickering match and sat with her on a sofa at the back of the room where there was no light except what fell from the shiny hall floor.
When Klipspringer finished playing The Love Nest, he turned on the bench and searched sadly in the dark for Gatsby.
"I'm out of practice, you know? I told you I can't play. I'm out of practice…"
"Don't talk so much, old man," Gatsby ordered. "Play!"
"In the morning,
In the afternoon,
Aren't we having fun...?
A strong wind was blowing outside, and weak thunder was blowing along the sound. Now all the lights were on in West Egg; electric trains, loaded men, headed home from New York in the rain. It was time for profound human change and excitement was in the air.
"One thing is true and nothing is true
The rich get richer and the poor become - children.
In between -"
As I went over to say goodbye, I saw that the look of confusion had returned to Gatsby's face, as if a slight doubt had taken hold of the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! Even that afternoon, there must have been times when Daisy didn't fulfill her dreams, not because of her fault, but because of the colossal vitality of her illusion. He was beyond her, beyond everything. She had plunged into it with a creative passion, adding more and more and adorning it with every luminous feather she found in her path. No amount of fire or coolness can challenge what a man can store in his ghostly heart.
As I watched him, he visibly adjusted a bit. Her hand gripped his, and when she whispered something in her ear, he turned to her with a burst of emotion. I think it was that voice of hers that captivated him the most, with her feverish and hesitant warmth, because she couldn't dream of it, that voice was an immortal song.
They had forgotten about me, but Daisy looked up and held out her hand; Gatsby didn't know me at all now. I looked at them again and they looked at me distantly, obsessed with living intensely. Then I left the room and walked down the marble steps into the rain, leaving them there together.
It was around this time that an ambitious young reporter from New York showed up at Gatsby's door one morning and asked if he had anything to say.
"What's there to say?" Gatsby asked politely.
"Why - to give any statement."
After a confusing five minutes, it emerged that the man had heard Gatsby's name in his office in a context he either didn't want to reveal or didn't fully understand. It was his day off, and with commendable initiative he had rushed out to "see."
It was an accidental shot, and yet the reporter's instincts were right. Gatsby's notoriety, spread by the hundreds who had accepted his hospitality and thus become authorities on his past, had grown throughout the summer to the point of barely being the order of the day. Contemporary legends such as the "underground pipeline to Canada" revolved around him, and there was a persistent story that he did not live in a house at all, but in a boat that looked like a house and moved surreptitiously up and down the water. Long Island shoreline. It is not easy to say why these inventions were a source of satisfaction for James Gatz of North Dakota.
James Gatz: That was really, or at least legally, his name. He had changed it at the age of seventeen and at the very moment when his career was taking off, when he saw Dan Cody's yacht anchored on the most treacherous plain of Lake Superior. It was James Gatz who had strolled on the beach that afternoon in a torn green jumper and canvas pants, but it was already Jay Gatsby who had rented a rowboat and driven to the beach.bring honey, and informed Cody that a wind could catch it and break it in half an hour.
I guess I had the name ready for a long time, even then. His parents were lazy and unsuccessful peasants; his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents. The truth is that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island grew out of his platonic self. He was a son of God - a term that, if it means anything, means precisely that - and he has to attend to his father's business, at the service of an enormous, vulgar and lucrative beauty. So he invented exactly the kind of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old would probably invent, and he stuck to that idea to the very end.
For over a year he had worked his way along the southern shore of Lake Superior as a shellfish hunter and salmon fisherman, or in some other capacity that provided him with food and bedding. His brown, hardened body naturally survived the half-hard, half-lazy work of exhausting days. He knew women from an early age, and since they pampered him, he despised them, the young virgins for being ignorant, others for being hysterical about things that he, in his overwhelming selfishness, took for granted.
But her heart was in constant tumultuous turmoil. The most grotesque and fantastic imaginations assailed him at night in his bed. A universe of indescribable splendor unfolded in his brain as the clock ticked on the dressing table and the moon bathed his ruffled clothing on the floor in moist light. Each night he amplified the pattern of his fantasies until drowsiness overtook a vivid scene with an unconscious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfying hint at the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was surely founded on the wings of a fairy.
An instinct for future fame had drawn him to the small Lutheran college of St. Olaf in southern Minnesota a few months earlier. He stayed there for two weeks, appalled by his callous indifference to the drums of his fate, to fate itself, and despised the caretaker's work that was supposed to barely sustain him. He then returned to Lake Superior, still looking for something to do for the day Dan Cody's yacht anchored in the shallows along the shoreline.
Cody was fifty then, a product of the Nevada silver fields, the Yukon, all the metal rushes since '75. The Montana copper deals that made him a millionaire often found him physically robust but bordering on soft, and countless women, suspecting this, tried to part with his money. The not very pleasant ramifications with which Ella Kaye, the journalist, played Madame de Maintenon to his weakness and sent him out to sea on a yacht, were commonplaces of bloated journalism in 1902. Five years old, when he was in Little Girl Bay as The fate of James Gatz appeared.
To young Gatz, who leaned on his oars and gazed out the deck rail, this yacht represented all the beauty and splendor in the world. I guess he was smiling at Cody; he probably had discovered that people liked him when he smiled. Anyway, Cody asked him a few questions (one of which brought up the new name) and discovered that he was fast and overly ambitious. A few days later he took him to Duluth and bought him a blue coat, six white duck pants, and a sailor's cap. what about if Hebring honeyhe went to the West Indies and the Berber coast, Gatsby also went.
He was employed in a vaguely personal capacity: while he stayed with Cody, he was in turn butler, officer, patron, secretary, and even jailer, for Dan Cody knew full well what lavish acts Dan Cody was about to drunkenly commit, and he arranged such things. Contingencies for trusting Gatsby more and more. The arrangement lasted for five years, during which the ship circumnavigated the continent three times. It could have gone on forever if Ella Kaye didn't come aboard in Boston one night and Dan Cody died an inhospitable death a week later.
I remember the portrait of him upstairs in Gatsby's bedroom, a gray, flushed man with a hard, expressionless face: the pioneer of the libertines who, at one stage in American life, brought back the savage violence of brothels and taverns. borders to the East. Coast. The fact that Gatsby drank so little was indirectly due to Cody. Sometimes women rubbed champagne into his hair at gay parties; he himself got used to leaving alcohol alone.
And from Cody he inherited money, a legacy of twenty-five thousand dollars. He didn't get it. He never understood what legal recourse was used against him, but what was left of the millions went to Ella Kaye unharmed. She stayed with her exceptionally appropriate upbringing of hers; the vague outline of Jay Gatsby had condensed into the substance of a man.
He didn't tell me all this until much later, but I put it here to disprove the first wild rumors about his ancestors that weren't even remotely true. Besides, he told me at a moment of confusion when I had come to believe everything and nothing. So I take this short break while Gatsby catches his breath, so to speak, to clear up these misunderstandings.
There was also a deadlock in my connection to his affairs. I didn't see him or hear his voice on the phone for several weeks, most of the time he was in New York, goofing off with Jordan and trying to curry favor with his senile aunt, but I finally made it to his house one Sunday afternoon. He hadn't been there two minutes when someone brought Tom Buchanan in for a drink. I was scared of course, but what was really amazing was that it had never happened before.
There were three of them on horseback: Tom and a man named Sloane and a pretty woman in a brown riding habit who had been there before.
"Nice to see you," Gatsby said, standing on his porch. "I'm glad you stopped by."
As if he cared!
"Sit down right now. Have a cigarette or cigar." He walked briskly across the room, jingling the bells. "I'll have something to drink for you in a moment."
He was deeply affected by the fact that Tom was there. But he would feel uncomfortable until he gave them something anyway, and he would dimly realize that that was all they had come for. Mr. Sloane didn't want anything. A lemonade? No, thanks. Some champagne? Nothing at all, thanks... I'm sorry -
"Did you have a good trip?"
"Very good roads around here."
"I guess the cars..."
Moved by an irresistible impulse, Gatsby turned to Tom, who had accepted the idea like a stranger.
"I think we've met before, Mr. Buchanan."
'Oh yes,' said Tom, abruptly polite, but obviously not remembering. "We did it. I remember it very well.
"About two weeks ago."
"That's right. You were here with Nick."
"I know your wife," Gatsby continued, almost aggressively.
Tom turned to me.
"Do you live around here, Nick?"
Mr. Sloane did not join in the conversation, but leaned back haughtily in his chair; The woman didn't say anything either, until she, after two tall drinks, felt an unexpected warmth.
"We'll all go to your next party, Mr. Gatsby," he suggested. "What are you saying?"
"Certainly, I would be delighted to have you."
"Be very kind," said Mr. Sloane without gratitude. "Well, I think I should go home."
"Please don't rush it," Gatsby urged. He was now in control and wanted to see more of Tom. "Why don't you stay? Why don't you stay for dinner? I wouldn't be surprised if a few more people from New York stopped by."
"Are you going to come and eat dinnerMichigan- said the lady enthusiastically. "Both."
I was one of them Mr. Sloane rose.
"Come with me," he said, but only to her.
"I'm serious," she insisted. "I would like to have you. Plenty of space."
Gatsby looked at me questioningly. He wanted to leave and didn't see that Mr. Sloane had decided that he shouldn't.
"I'm afraid I can't," I told him.
"Well, come on," he urged, zeroing in on Gatsby.
Mr. Sloane murmured something in her ear.
"We won't be late if we start now," he insisted aloud.
"I don't have a horse," said Gatsby. “I used to ride horses in the army, but I never bought a horse. I have to follow you in my car. Excuse me for a minute.
The rest of us went out onto the porch, where Sloane and the lady to one side struck up an impassioned conversation.
"My God, I think the man is coming," said Tom. "He doesn't know that she doesn't love him?"
"She says she wants it."
"She has a big dinner and he won't meet anyone there." He frowned. "I wonder where the hell he met Daisy. Jeez, I may be old-fashioned in my ideas, but women are running around too much these days to suit me. You run into all kinds of crazy fish."
Suddenly Mr. Sloane and the lady came down the steps and mounted their horses.
"Come on," Mr. Sloane said to Tom, "we're late. We have to go." And then to me: "Tell him we can't wait, okay?"
Tom and I shook hands, the rest of us nodded icily, and they trotted briskly down the lane and disappeared under the August leaves just as Gatsby came out the front door, hat and light coat in hand.
Tom was obviously worried about Daisy being alone because he took her to Gatsby's party the following Saturday night. Perhaps her presence gave the evening its peculiar restlessness of hers, which, to my recollection, stands out from the other Gatsby parties that summer. It was the same people, or at least the same people, the same champagne in abundance, the same tumult of many shades and many voices, but I felt an uneasiness in the air, a pervasive harshness that had not been there before. Or maybe I was just getting used to it, accepting West Egg as a world unto itself, with its own standards and its own great characters, second to none because I wasn't aware of it, and now I was looking through Daisy's eyes again. . It is invariably sad to see things with new eyes on which you have spent your own adaptability.
They arrived at dusk, and as we walked through the glittering hundreds, Daisy's voice played murmuring tricks in her throat.
"These things excite meSoshe whispered. "If you want to kiss me later tonight, Nick, just let me know and I'll be happy to arrange it for you." Just say my name. Or present a green card. I will issue green..."
"Look around you," Gatsby suggested.
"I look around me. I have a wonderful…"
"You must see the faces of many people you have heard of."
Tom's arrogant eyes scanned the crowd.
"We don't go around a lot," he said; "In fact, I thought I didn't know anyone here."
"Perhaps you know this lady." Gatsby pointed to a beautiful orchid, barely human, of a woman sitting under a white plum tree. Tom and Daisy looked at her with that strangely unreal feeling that accompanies recognition of the hitherto ghostly celebrity of a movie.
"She's lovely," said Daisy.
"The man leaning over her is her director."
He led them solemnly from group to group:
"Mrs. Buchanan... and Mr. Buchanan..." After a moment's hesitation, he added, "the polo player."
"Oh no," Tom quickly objected, "I don't."
But Gatsby obviously liked the sound, as Tom remained "the polo player" for the rest of the night.
"I've never met so many celebrities," Daisy said. "I liked that man, what was his name?-With the guy with the blue nose."
Gatsby identified him, adding that he was a small producer.
"Well, I liked him anyway."
"I'd rather not be the polo player," Tom said helpfully, "I'd rather see all these famous people forgotten."
Daisy and Gatsby danced. I remember being struck by his elegant and conservative foxtrot: I had never seen him dance before. Then they went to my house and sat on the steps for half an hour while I stood watch in the garden at their request. "If there's a fire or a flood," he explained, "or any act of God."
Tom emerged from his oblivion as we sat down to dinner together. “Do you mind if I eat here with some people?” he said. "A guy takes off weird clothes."
"Go ahead," Daisy replied helpfully, "and if you want to write any addresses, here's my gold pen"... She looked around after a moment and told me that the girl was "ordinary but pretty" and that she knew she wasn't. it had been fun except for the half hour alone with Gatsby.
We sat at a particularly drunk table. That was my fault - Gatsby had been called on the phone and I had only enjoyed these people two weeks before. But what had amused me then turned septic in the air now.
"How are you feeling, Mrs. Baedeker?"
The girl he addressed tried unsuccessfully to lean on my shoulder. At this question, she sat up and opened her eyes.
A stout, lethargic woman who had been urging Daisy to play golf with her at the local club tomorrow spoke in defense of Miss Baedeker:
"Oh, she's fine now. After five or six cocktails, she always starts yelling like that. I'll tell her not to."
"I'll leave him alone," the defendant protested hollowly.
"We heard him yell, so I said to Doc Civet here, 'There's someone who needs your help, doc.'"
"She's very close to you, I'm sure," said another friend without thanks, "but you got her dress wet when you put your head in the pool."
"All I hate is sticking my head in a pond," Miss Baedeker murmured. "Back in New Jersey they almost drowned me."
"Then you should leave him alone," replied Doctor Civet.
"Speak for yourself!" exclaimed Miss Baedeker vehemently. "Your hand is shaking. I wouldn't let you operate on me!"
It was like this. Almost the last thing I remember was standing with Daisy and seeing the movie director and his star. They were still under the white plum tree, their faces touching except for a thin, pale shaft of moonlight between them. It occurred to me that he had been leaning into her very slowly all night to get that close to her and even as I watched I saw him lean in one last degree and kiss her on the cheek.
"I like her," said Daisy, "I find her charming."
But the rest offended her, undeniably, because it wasn't a gesture, it was an emotion. I was horrified by West Egg, this unprecedented "place" that Broadway had created in a Long Island fishing village, horrified by its irritated brute force under the old euphemisms, and by the all-too-intrusive fate its inhabitants met in a shortcut from nothing to nothing led to nothing. She saw something terrible in the simplicity that she didn't understand.
I sat with them on the front steps while they waited for their car. Here it was dark; the bright door alone sent ten square feet of light into the soft black morning. Sometimes a shadow would move against the blind of an overhead cabinet and give way to another shadow, an indefinite succession of shadows made up and sprayed in an invisible bottle.
"Who is this Gatsby anyway?" Tom asked suddenly. "A big smuggler?"
"Where did you hear that from?" I asked.
"I didn't hear it. I figured it. A lot of these nouveau riche are just big bootleggers, you know."
"No Gatsby," I said dryly.
He was silent for a moment. The cobblestones of the driveway crunched under her feet.
"Well, you must have worked very hard to bring this collection together."
A breeze stirred the gray mist on Daisy's fur collar.
"At least they're more interesting than the people we know," she said with an effort.
"You didn't seem that interested."
"Well, that was me."
Tom laughed and turned to me.
"Did you notice Daisy's face when the girl asked her to put her under a cold shower?"
Daisy began to sing along with the music in a hoarse, rhythmic whisper, bringing out in every word a meaning it had never had before and would never have again. As the melody rose, her voice dissolved softly, following it as tall ones do, each turn bringing a bit of her warm human magic to the air.
"There are a lot of people who weren't invited," he said suddenly. "The girl wasn't invited. They just barge in and he's too polite to object."
"I'd like to know who he is and what he does," Tom insisted. "And I think I'm going to make it my mission to find out."
"I can tell you right away," she replied. “He owned a few pharmacies, a lot of pharmacies. He built it himself."
The hesitant sedan rolled down the driveway.
"Good night, Nick," Daisy said.
His gaze left me, searching for the lighted top of the stairs, where "Three A.M.", a beautiful sad little waltz from that year, floated through the open door. After all, there were romantic possibilities in the nonchalance of Gatsby's party that were completely absent in her world. What was it in the song that seemed to be calling her back inside? What would happen now in the dark and unpredictable hours? Perhaps an incredible guest would arrive, an infinitely rare and admirable person, a truly radiant young woman who, with one fresh look at Gatsby, one magical meeting moment, would erase those five years of unwavering devotion.
I stayed up late that night. Gatsby asked me to wait until he was free, and I stayed in the garden until the inevitable company of bathers arrived fresh and excited from the black beach, until the lights in the guest rooms went out. When he finally came down the steps, the tanned skin on his face was unusually taut and his eyes were bright and tired.
"She didn't like it," he said immediately.
"Of course he has."
"She didn't like it," he insisted. "She wasn't having a good time."
He said nothing, and I felt his indescribable depression.
"I feel far from her," he said. "It's hard to make them understand."
"You mean for the dance?"
"The dance?" She finished all the dances she had given with a snap of her fingers. "Old sport, dancing is not important."
All he wanted from Daisy was for her to go up to Tom and say, "I never loved you." One of them was that when they were released, they would return to Louisville and get married from home, as if it had been five years ago.
"And she doesn't understand," he said. "She used to be able to understand. We would sit for hours..."
She broke off and began pacing up and down a desolate path of fruit peels, discarded favors, and crushed flowers.
"I wouldn't ask much of her," I ventured. "You can't repeat the past."
"Can't you repeat the past?" he yelled in disbelief. "Of course he can!"
He looked around as if the past lurked in the shadow of his home, just out of reach.
"I'll fix everything the way it was before," he said, nodding decisively. "She'll see."
He talked a lot about the past, and I came to the conclusion that he wanted something back, perhaps an idea of himself that had crept into his love for Daisy. His life has been tangled and tangled ever since, but if he could go back to a certain starting point and slowly go through everything, he might find out what that thing was...
…Five years ago they had been walking down the street on an autumn night when the leaves were falling and they came to a place where there were no trees and the sidewalk was white with moonlight. Here they stopped and looked at each other. Now it was a cool night, with that mysterious excitement that comes at the turn of the year. Silent house lights hummed in the dark, and there was a commotion and bustle among the stars. Out of the corner of his eye, Gatsby saw that the sidewalk blocks actually formed a stairway leading up to a secret place above the trees; he could go up there if he went alone, and once there he could suck the pulp of life, swallow it. those incomparable miraculous milks.
Her heart was beating faster as Daisy's white face came closer to hers. He knew that if he kissed that girl and linked forever the ineffable visions of her to her fleeting breath, her spirit would never again rage as the Spirit of God. So she waited and listened a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck into a star. Then he kissed her. At her touch she blossomed like a flower to him and the incarnation was complete.
Everything he said, even his horrible sentimentality, reminded me of something: an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words I had heard somewhere long ago. For a moment a sentence tried to form in my mouth, and my lips parted like a mute's, as if something more than a startled breath of air were fighting against them. But they made no sound, and what he had almost remembered was forever and ever told.
When curiosity about Gatsby was at its height, the lights in his house didn't come on one Saturday night, and his career as Trimalchio, dark as it had begun, was over. It was only gradually that I noticed that the cars waiting expectantly in her driveway only stopped for a minute and then morosely drove off. I wondered if he was sick and went over to find out: a mischievous-faced unknown butler blinked at me suspiciously from the doorway.
"Is Mr. Gatsby ill?"
"No." After a pause, she added "sir" hesitantly and reluctantly.
“I had not seen it and was quite worried. Tell him Mr. Carraway has come.
"WHO?" she asked abruptly.
"Caraway seeds. Okay, I'll tell him."
He closed the door abruptly.
My Finn informed me that a week ago Gatsby had dismissed all the servants in his house and replaced them with half a dozen more who never went to the village of West Egg to take bribes from the merchants, instead ordering modest supplies over the phone. The shopkeeper reported that the kitchen looked like a pigsty and that the general feeling in the village was that the new ones were not servants.
Gatsby called me the next day.
"Leave?" I asked.
"I understand that you fired all your servants."
"I wanted someone who wouldn't gossip. Daisy comes over quite often, in the evenings.
So the entire caravanserai had collapsed like a house of cards at the disapproval in his eyes.
“These are people Wolfshiem wanted to do something for. They are all brothers and sisters. They ran a small hotel.
He called at Daisy's request: would I join her for lunch tomorrow? Miss Baker would be there. Half an hour later, Daisy called to herself and seemed relieved that she was coming. Something was wrong. And yet she couldn't believe they chose this occasion for a scene, especially the rather harrowing scene that Gatsby drew in the garden.
The next day was unsettling, almost the last, certainly the hottest of the summer. As my train emerged from the tunnel into the sunlight, only the warm whistles of the National Biscuit Company broke the boiling silence of midday. The straw wagon seats floated on the brink of burning; The woman next to me sweated delicately up to the waist of her white shirt for a while, and then, when her newspaper became damp under her fingers, she fell into a deep heat with a cry of despair. Her purse fell to the ground.
"Oh my!" she gasped.
I picked it up with a tired curve and handed it back to her, holding it at arm's length and at the far corners of the corners to indicate that I had no intention of using it, but everyone nearby, including the woman, suspected I was the one. same.
"Hot!" the driver said to familiar faces. “Weather!...Hot!...Hot!...Hot!...Is it hot enough for you? It's hot? It is… ?"
My time trial ticket came back to me with a dark stain on its hand. Who cared in this heat whose flushed lips he kissed, whose head wept the pajama bag over his heart!
… A light breeze blew down the hall of the Buchanan house, bringing the telephone ring to Gatsby and me as we waited by the door.
"The master's body?" the butler yelled into the earpiece. "I'm sorry ma'am but we can't fix it, it's too hot to play this lunch time!"
What he actually said was, "Yeah...yes...I'll see."
She hung up the phone and shimmered at us to remove our stiff straw hats.
"Madame is waiting for you in the salon!" he shouted, indicating the direction unnecessarily. In this heat, any further gesture was an affront to the shared pool of life.
The room, well shaded by awnings, was dark and cool. Daisy and Jordan lay on a giant sofa like silver idols, weighing their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans.
"We can't move," they said together.
Jordan's fingers, powdered white on his tan, rested on mine for a moment.
"And Mr. Thomas Buchanan, the athlete?" I asked.
At the same time I heard his voice, rough, muffled, hoarse, on the lobby phone.
Gatsby stood in the center of the purple carpet and looked around with fascinated eyes. Daisy looked at him and laughed, her sweet, exciting laugh; a small jet of dust rose from her chest into the air.
"Rumour is," Jordan whispered, "that's Tom's girl on the phone."
We stay silent. The voice in the hallway rose in anger, "Well then, I'm not going to sell you the car…I have no obligation to you…and as for your bullying at lunchtime, I can't stand it!"
"Hold down the phone," Daisy said cynically.
"No, it's not," I assured him. "It's a serious deal. I happen to know.
Tom jerked the door open, blocked the room with his fat body for a moment, and ran into the room.
"Mr. Gatsby!" He held out his broad, flat hand in well-concealed displeasure. "Good to see you, Mr...Nick..."
"Make us a cold drink," Daisy called.
When he left the room, she got up and walked towards Gatsby, lowered her face and kissed him on the mouth.
"You know I love you," he murmured.
"You forget there's a lady present," Jordan said.
Daisy looked around doubtfully.
"You kiss Nick too."
"What a short and vulgar girl!"
"I don't mind!" Daisy exclaimed, and began to cover up the brick fireplace. She then remembered the heat and sat guiltily on the sofa as a freshly scrubbed nurse came into the room with a little girl.
"Blessed, darling," she hummed, spreading her arms. "Come to your own mother who loves you."
The child, abandoned by the nurse, burst into the room and shyly slipped into his mother's dress.
"Blessed darling! Did Mother put powder in your old yellow hair? Now get up and say: how is it done?
Gatsby and I, in turn, leaned down and reluctantly took the little hand. After that she kept looking at the boy in surprise. I don't think he's really believed in his existence before.
"I got dressed before lunch," said the girl, turning anxiously to Daisy.
"That's because your mother wanted to show you off." Her face leaned into the single fold of her little white neck. "You dream, you. Your absolute little dream."
"Yes," the boy admitted calmly. "Aunt Jordan is also wearing a white dress."
"Do you like mom's friends?" Daisy turned to look at Gatsby. "Do you think she's pretty?"
"Where is dad?"
"She doesn't look like her father," Daisy explained. "She looks like me. She has my hair and my face shape."
Daisy leaned back on the sofa. The nurse stepped forward and held out her hand.
With a reluctant look back, the disciplined girl grabbed her nanny's hand and was dragged out the door just as Tom reappeared, preceded by four clinking gin rickeys filled with ice.
Gatsby took his drink.
"You sure look great," he said with visible tension.
We drank in long, greedy gulps.
"I read somewhere that the sun gets hotter every year," Tom said kindly. "It looks like the earth is going to fall into the sun very soon, or wait a minute, it's the opposite, the sun gets colder every year.
"Come out," he suggested to Gatsby, "I want you to look at the house."
I took them out on the porch. In the green sound, stagnant from the heat, a small sail slowly slid into the cooler sea. Gatsby's eyes followed him briefly; He raised his hand and pointed across the bay.
"I'm in front of you".
"Then you are."
Our eyes lifted over the rose bushes and the hot grass and the rubbish from the dog days on the shore. Slowly the white wings of the boat moved against the cool blue edge of the sky. Before us stretched the scalloped ocean and the many blessed islands.
"There's exercise for you," said Tom, nodding. "I'd like to be outside with him for an hour."
We ate lunch in the dining room, which was also dark against the heat, and drank the cold beer with nervous joy.
"What are we going to do with ourselves this afternoon?" Daisy exclaimed, "and the day after, and the next thirty years."
"Don't be morbid," Jordan said. "When it gets cool in the fall, life begins anew."
"But it's so hot," Daisy insisted, close to tears, "and everything's a mess. Let's all go to town!"
Her voice continued to fight the heat, pounding against it, shaping its futility.
"I've heard of turning a barn into a garage," Tom told Gatsby, "but I'm the first man to turn a garage into a barn."
"Who wants to go to town?" Daisy demanded urgently. Gatsby's eyes fell on her. "Ah," he exclaimed, "you look so great."
Their eyes met and they looked at each other, alone in the room. With an effort she looked towards the table.
"You always look so cool," she repeated.
She had told him that she loved him and Tom Buchanan saw it. He was amazed. He opened his mouth a little and looked from Gatsby to Daisy as if he had just recognized her as someone he had known for a long time.
"You look like courting man," she continued innocently. "You know the commercial for the man..."
"Okay," Tom chimed in quickly, "I'm happy to be going to town. Come on, let's all go to town."
He stood up, his eyes still going back and forth between Gatsby and his wife. Nobody moved.
"Light!" Her temper collapsed a bit. "What's going on anyway? When we go to town, we'll start.
His hand, trembling with self-control, brought the rest of his glass of beer to his lips. Daisy's voice pulled us to our feet and we stepped out onto the gleaming gravel drive.
"We should go?" she disagreed. "So what? Don't we let someone have a cigarette first?"
"Everyone smoked at lunch."
"Oh, let's have some fun," she begged. "It's too hot to make a fuss."
He did not answer.
"Have it your way," she said. "Come on Jordan."
They went upstairs to get ready as the three of us stood and shuffled over the hot pebbles. A silvery curve of the moon was already hovering in the western sky. Gatsby started to speak, changing his mind, but not before Tom turned and looked at him expectantly.
"Do you have your stables here?" Gatsby asked tensely.
"About a quarter mile down the road."
"I don't see the idea of going to town," Tom snapped angrily. "Women have these ideas in their heads..."
"Shall we have something to drink?" Daisy called from an upstairs window.
"I'll get some whiskey," Tom replied. He came in.
Gatsby turned to me stiffly:
"I can't say anything at home, old man."
"She has an indiscreet voice," I commented. "He's full…" I hesitated.
"Your voice is full of money," he said suddenly.
That was it. She had never understood it before. He was full of money, that was the inexhaustible magic that went up and down in him, the metallic sound of him, his cymbals singing... On top of a white palace, the king's daughter, the golden girl...
Tom left the house wrapping a quart bottle in a towel, followed by Daisy and Jordan, who wore tight-fitting metallic cloth hats and light capes over their arms.
"Shall we all get in my car?" Gatsby suggested. He felt the warm green leather of the seat. He should have left it in the shade.
"Is it the standard shift?" Tom asked.
"Well, take my coupe and let me drive into town in your car."
Gatsby hated the suggestion.
"I don't think there is much gasoline," he objected.
"Lots of fuel," Tom said briskly. He looked at the screen. "And if it runs out, I can go through a pharmacy. Today you can buy everything in a pharmacy."
A pause followed this seemingly meaningless comment. Daisy frowned at Tom and an indefinable expression, definitely unfamiliar and vaguely recognizable as if she had only heard it described in words, crossed Gatsby's face.
"Come on, Daisy," Tom said, nudging her toward Gatsby's car. "I'll take you in this circus wagon."
He opened the door, but she stepped out of the circle of his arm.
“Take Nick and Jordan away. We'll follow you in the coupe.
He walked close to Gatsby and touched his hand to his coat. Jordan, Tom and I sat in the front seat of Gatsby's car, Tom hesitantly shifted into the unknown speeds and we shot off into the sweltering heat, leaving them out of sight.
"Did you see that?" Tom asked.
He stared at me, realizing that Jordan and I must have known all along.
"You think I'm pretty stupid, don't you?" he suggested. “Maybe I am, but I almost get second sight at times, telling me what to do. You may not believe it, but science..."
He stopped. The immediate contingency overcame him, pulled him from the brink of the theoretical abyss.
"I did a little examination of this type," he continued. “I could have gone deeper if I had known…”
"You mean you were with a medium?" Jordan asked humorously.
"That?" Confused, he stared at us as we laughed. "A half of?"
"About Gatsby! No, I haven't. I said I did a little research on his past."
"And you found out he's from Oxford," Jordan said helpfully.
"A man from Oxford!" He was incredulous. "Damn it! He's wearing a pink outfit.
However, he is a man from Oxford.
"Oxford, New Mexico," Tom sneered, "or something like that."
"Listen Tom. If you're so snobbish, why did you invite him to lunch?" Jordan asked angrily.
“Daisy invited him; she met him before we were married... God knows where!
We were all irritated by the dwindling beer now, and aware of that, we drove in silence for a while. So when the dull eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg appeared down the street, I remembered Gatsby's warning about gasoline.
"We have enough to get to the city," said Tom.
"But here's a garage," Jordan disagreed. "I don't want to falter in this sweltering heat."
Tom slammed on both brakes impatiently and we skidded to an abrupt, dusty stop under Wilson's shield. After a moment, the owner came out of his place and looked at the car with hollow eyes.
"Let's speed up!" Tom snapped. "What do you think we stopped for, to admire the view?"
"I'm sick," Wilson said, not moving. "I've been sick all day."
"I'm at the end."
"Well, can I help myself?" Tom asked. "You spoke well enough on the phone."
With an effort, Wilson left the shadow and support of the door and, panting heavily, unscrewed the lid of the tank. His face was green in the sunlight.
"I didn't mean to interrupt your lunch," he said. "But I need a lot of money and I was wondering what you would do with your old car."
"How about this?" Tom asked. "I bought it last week".
"It's a nice yellow," Wilson said, wrestling with the handle.
"Would you like to buy it?"
"Great opportunity," Wilson smiled weakly. "No, but I could make some money on the other side."
"What do you want money for all of a sudden?"
"I've been here too long. I want to go away. My wife and I want to go west."
"Your wife does," Tom exclaimed, startled.
"She's been talking about it for ten years." She leaned against the bomb for a moment, shielding her eyes from it. "And now she's leaving, whether she likes it or not. I'll take her."
With a cloud of dust and the flash of a waving hand, the coupe sped past us.
"What do I owe you?" Tom demanded sharply.
"I came up with a fun thing in the last two days," Wilson said. "That's why I want to go. That's why I bothered you with the car.
"What do I owe you?"
The unrelenting heat began to confuse me and I had a hard time realizing that his suspicions hadn't fallen on Tom until now. He had discovered that Myrtle had some sort of life separate from him on another world, and the shock had left him physically ill. I looked at him and then at Tom, who had made a parallel discovery less than an hour ago, and it occurred to me that there was not so much difference between men, neither in intelligence nor in race, as between sick and sick. the healthy Wilson was so ill that he looked guilty, unforgivably guilty, as if he had just impregnated some poor girl.
"I'll let you drive," said Tom. "I'll send it to you tomorrow afternoon."
This place was always a bit eerie, even in the bright light of late afternoon, and now I turned my head as if warned of something beyond. The huge eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg were watching the ash heap, but after a moment I became aware that other eyes were studying us with special intensity from less than twenty feet away.
In one of the windows over the garage, the curtains were drawn a little and Myrtle Wilson was looking at the car. She was so absorbed that she didn't realize she was being watched, and one emotion after another slipped across her face like objects in a slowly evolving picture. The expression on her face was strangely familiar: it was a look I had often seen on women's faces, but on Myrtle Wilson's it seemed useless and inexplicable, until I noticed that her eyes, wide with jealous terror, they were not in Tom. but they were addressed to Jordan Baker, whom he mistook for his wife.
There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind, and as we walked away Tom felt the hot lash of panic. His wife and his lover, safe and secure until an hour ago, hastened out of his control. Instinctively he put his foot down on the accelerator, with the dual goal of passing Daisy and leaving Wilson behind, and we sped toward Astoria at fifty miles an hour until we caught sight of the carefree blue coupe between the spider girders of the elevated train.
"Those great Fiftieth Street movies are great," Jordan suggested. “I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone is gone. There's something very sensual about it: overripe, like all kinds of strange fruits that fall into your hands."
The word 'sexy' kept bothering Tom, but before he could fabricate a protest, the coupe stopped and Daisy waved us over.
"Where we go?" She cried.
"How about the movies?"
"It's too hot," he complained. "You go. We'll take a walk and meet up later. With an effort, her wits rose faintly. "We'll meet around a corner somewhere. I'll be the man who smokes two cigarettes."
"We can't argue about that here," Tom said impatiently as a truck behind us let out a cursing hiss. "Follow me to the south side of Central Park, across from the Plaza."
He turned his head several times to look back at his car, and as traffic slowed them down, he slowed until they were out of sight. I think he was afraid they were going to run down a side street and be out of his life forever.
But they didn't. And we all took the less explicable step of occupying the living room of a suite at the Plaza Hotel.
The protracted and turbulent discussion that ended with us being ushered into this room escapes me, though I can vividly remember my underwear crawling up my legs like a wet snake and beads of sweat running down my back. The idea originated with Daisy's suggestion to rent five bathrooms and take cold baths, and later took a more tangible form as "a place to have a mint julep." Every one of us kept saying it was a "crazy idea" - we were all talking to a stunned employee at the same time and thought, or pretended to think, that we were hilarious...
The room was large and stuffy, and even though it was already four o'clock, opening the windows let in only a wisp of warm bushes from the park. Daisy walked over to the mirror and stood with her back to us, fixing her hair.
"It's a great suite," Jordan whispered respectfully, and they all laughed.
"Open another window," Daisy ordered without turning around.
"There are none left."
"Well, we'd better ask for an axe..."
"The most important thing is to forget about the heat," Tom said impatiently. "You're doing ten times worse if you get mad about it."
He unrolled the whiskey bottle from the towel and placed it on the table.
"Why don't you leave her alone, old man?" Gatsby commented. "You're the one who wanted to come to town."
There was a moment of silence. The phone book slipped from his fingernail and splashed onto the floor, after which Jordan whispered, "I'm sorry," but no one laughed this time.
"I'll pick it up," I offered.
"I have it." Gatsby examined the broken rope and muttered "Hum!" with interest and tossed the book onto a chair.
"That's a great expression of yours, isn't it?" Tom snapped.
"What is it?"
"All that 'old sport' stuff. Where did you get that from?"
"Now look, Tom," said Daisy, turning away from the mirror, "if you want to make a personal statement, I won't stay a minute. Call and order ice for the mint julep."
As Tom picked up the phone, the compressed heat exploded into sound and we heard the ominous strains of Mendelssohn's Wedding March from the ballroom below.
"Imagine marrying someone in this heat!" Jordan exclaimed sadly.
"However, I got married in the middle of June," Daisy recalled. "Louisville in June! Someone passed out. Who passed out, Tom?
"Biloxi," he responded briefly.
"A man named Biloxi. 'Blocks' Biloxi, and he made boxes, that's a fact, and he was from Biloxi, Tennessee."
“They took him to my house,” Jordan added, “because we lived two doors down from the church. And she stayed for three weeks until daddy told her he had to go out. The day after she left, dad died,” she added after a moment. "There was no connection."
"I knew a Bill Biloxi from Memphis," I commented.
"That was his cousin. I knew all his family history before he left. He gave me an aluminum putter that I use today."
The music had stopped when the ceremony began, and now a long standing ovation was pouring in through the window, followed by intermittent shouts of "Yeah, ya, ya!" and finally by a burst of jazz as the dance began.
"We're getting old," said Daisy. "If we were young, we would get up and dance."
"Remember Biloxi," Jordan warned her. "How do you know him, Tom?"
"Biloxi?" She concentrated a lot. "I didn't know him. He was a friend of Daisy's."
"I wasn't," she denied. "She had never seen him before. He came by private car.
"Well, he said he knew you." She said that she grew up in Louisville. Asa Bird brought him in at the last minute and asked if we had room for him."
"He's probably on his way home. He told me he was class president at Yale.
Tom and I looked at each other blankly.
"First, we didn't have a president..."
Gatsby's foot made a brief, restless tattoo, and Tom looked up at him suddenly.
"By the way, Mr. Gatsby, as far as I know, you are an Oxford man."
"Oh yes, I heard you went to Oxford."
"Yes I was there."
A break. Then Tom's voice, incredulous and insulting:
You must have gone there around the time Biloxi went to New Haven.
Another break. A waiter knocked on the door and entered with crushed mint and ice cream, but the silence was not broken by his "thank you" and the soft closing of the door. This tremendous detail must finally be cleared up.
"I told you I went there," Gatsby said.
"I heard you, but I would like to know when."
“It was 1999, I was only there for five months. So I can't really call myself an Oxford man."
Tom looked around to see if we reflected his disbelief. But we all look at Gatsby.
“It was an opportunity given to some officers after the armistice,” he continued. "We could go to any of the universities in England or France."
I wanted to get up and pat him on the back. I had one of those renewals of complete trust in him that I had experienced before.
Daisy got up with a slight smile and walked over to the table.
"Open the whiskey, Tom," he ordered, "and I'll make you a mint julep." Then you won't feel so stupid... Look at the mint!"
"Wait a minute," Tom snapped, "I want to ask Mr. Gatsby one more question."
"Go ahead," said Gatsby politely.
"What kind of noise are you trying to make in my house?"
They finally got out and Gatsby was satisfied.
"He doesn't make any noise," Daisy looked from one to the other desperately. "You're making a noise. Please have some self-control."
"Self control!" Tom repeated incredulously. "I guess the last thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere sleep with his wife. Well, if that's the idea, you can exclude me... Nowadays, people first make fun of family life and family institutions, and then they throw it all away and engage in intermarriage between blacks and whites."
Flushed by his passionate gibberish, he saw himself standing alone at the last barrier of civilization.
"We're all white here," Jordan muttered.
"I know I'm not very popular. I don't throw big parties. I guess you have to turn your house into a pigsty to have friends, in the modern world."
Angry as he was, like all of us, he was tempted to laugh every time he opened his mouth. The transition from rake to prude was so complete.
"I have something to sayOf, man...' Gatsby began. But Daisy guessed her intention.
"Please, no!" he interrupted helplessly. "Let's all go home please. Why don't we all go home?"
"That's a good idea," I stood up. "Come on Tom. Nobody wants a drink.
"I want to know what Mr. Gatsby has to tell me."
"Your wife doesn't love you," Gatsby said. "She never loved you. She loves me."
"You are completely crazy!" Tom exclaimed automatically.
Gatsby jumped up, full of excitement.
"She never loved you, do you hear?" she yelled. "She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me. It was a terrible mistake, but she in her heart never loved anyone but me."
At that point, Jordan and I tried to leave, but Tom and Gatsby, with competing determination, insisted we stay, as if neither of us had anything to hide and it was our privilege to share their feelings vicariously.
"Sit down, Daisy," Tom's voice fumbled unsuccessfully for the paternal tone. "What happened? I want to know everything."
"I told you what's up," Gatsby said. "Five years of doing this, and you didn't know it."
Tom turned sharply to Daisy.
"Have you been dating this guy for five years?"
"I don't see," said Gatsby. "No, we couldn't meet. But we both loved each other all the time, friend, and you didn't know it. Sometimes I'd laugh—but there was no laughter in his eyes—thinking you didn't know.
"Oh, that's all." Tom smacked his fat fingers like a minister and leaned back in his chair.
"You're crazy!" exploded. "I can't talk about what happened five years ago because I didn't know Daisy then, and I'll be damned if I see you coming within a mile of her if you didn't take your groceries out the back door. But everything else is a fucking lie. Daisy loved me when she married me and she loves me now."
"No," Gatsby said, shaking his head.
"But she does. The problem is that sometimes she has stupid ideas and doesn't know what she's doing." He nodded sagely. "And besides, I love Daisy, too. Every once in a while I go out on the Spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back and in my heart I love her all the time."
"You are disgusting," Daisy said. She turned to me, and her voice, dropping an octave, filled the room with thrilling disdain: "Do you know why we left Chicago? I'm surprised they didn't tell you the story of that little walk.
Gatsby walked over to her and stood next to her.
"Daisy, it's all over now," he said seriously. "It doesn't matter anymore. Just tell him the truth, that you never loved him, and it will all be erased forever."
She looked at him blindly. "Why, how could she possibly love him?"
"You never loved him."
she hesitated. Her eyes flicked to Jordan and me with a kind of appeal, as if she had finally realized what she was doing and had never intended to do anything all along. But now it was done. It was too late.
"I never loved him," she said with remarkable reluctance.
"Not with Kapiolani?" Tom asked suddenly.
From the ballroom below, muffled, suffocating chords rose on waves of hot air.
"Not the day I took you out of the punch bowl to keep your shoes dry?" There was a husky tenderness in her tone... "Daisies?"
"Please do not do it." Her voice was cold, but the resentment was gone. She looked at Gatsby. "That's it, Jay," he said, but his hand trembled as he tried to light a cigarette. He suddenly dropped the cigarette and the lit match on the carpet.
"Oh, you want too much!" he yelled at Gatsby. "I love you now, isn't that enough? It's not my fault what happened. He started sobbing helplessly. "I loved him once, but I loved you too."
Gatsby's eyes opened and closed.
"You loved Mea?” he repeated.
"That's a lie too," Tom said angrily. "She didn't know you were alive. Boy, there are things between Daisy and me that you'll never know, things neither of us can forget.
The words seemed to physically bite Gatsby.
"I want to talk to Daisy alone," she insisted. “She is very excited now…”
"Even I alone can't say that I never loved Tom," she admitted pathetically. "That wouldn't be true."
"Of course not," Tom agreed.
She turned to her husband.
"Like you care," she said.
“Of course it matters. I'll take better care of you from now on."
"You don't understand," Gatsby said with a touch of panic. "You won't worry about her anymore."
"I am not?" Tom's eyes widened and he laughed. He now he could afford to control himself. "Why is this?"
"Daisy leaves you."
"But I am," he said with visible effort.
"She won't leave me!" Tom's words suddenly slanted to Gatsby. "Certainly not for a common con man who would have to steal the ring she put on his finger."
"I can't take it!" Daisy yelled. "Oh please let us out."
"Who are you anyway?" Tom snapped. "You're one of the group that hangs out with Meyer Wolfshiem, I know a lot about that. I've made some inquiries about his affairs, and I'll continue them tomorrow.
"Your choice is yours, old man," Gatsby said firmly.
“I found out what their 'drugstores' were.” She turned to us and spoke quickly. “Him and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of street pharmacies here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol without a prescription. It's one of his little stunts. When I first saw him, I thought he was a smuggler and he wasn't so wrong."
"What's up with that?" Gatsby said politely. "I guess your friend Walter Chase wasn't too proud to go into it."
"And you let him down, didn't you? They let him go to jail in New Jersey for a month. God! You should hear Walter on the subject.Of.“
“He came to us completely ruined. He was very happy to collect some money, friend.
"Don't call me 'old'!" Tom exclaimed. Gatsby said nothing. "Walter could also fill you in on gambling laws, but Wolfshiem scared him into silence."
That unfamiliar but recognizable expression was back on Gatsby's face.
"That pharmacy was just loose change," Tom continued slowly, "but now you have something Walter is afraid to tell me about."
I looked at Daisy, who was looking terrified between Gatsby and her husband, and at Jordan, who had begun to balance an invisible but conspicuous object on the tip of her chin. Then I turned to Gatsby, and the look on his face startled me. He looked—and it is said with all contempt for the mumbled smears of his garden—as if he had "killed a man." For a moment, the pose on his face could be described as just as fantastic.
He passed by and began talking emotionally to Daisy, denying everything and defending his name against accusations that had not been made. But with each word she withdrew more and more into himself, so he left him, and only the dead dream fought on as the afternoon passed, trying to touch what was no longer tangible, struggling unhappily, undeterred against these voices. leaks across the room.
The voice asked to leave again.
„Please, Thomas! I can not stand it anymore."
His frightened eyes said that whatever intention, whatever courage he had, was definitely gone.
"You two go home, Daisy," Tom said. "In Mr. Gatsby's car."
Now she looked at Tom in alarm, but he persisted with magnanimous scorn.
"Go on. He won't tease you. I think he realizes his cocky little flirtation is over."
They left without a word, carried away, haphazard, cut off, like ghosts, even from our pity.
After a moment, Tom got up and began to wrap the unopened bottle of whiskey in the towel.
"You want some of that? Jordan?…Nick?"
Do not answer.
"Will you nod?" she asked again.
"Do you want some?"
"No… I just remembered that today is my birthday."
I was thirty. Before me stretched the ominous and threatening path of a new decade.
It was seven o'clock when we got into the coupe with him and left for Long Island. Tom talked on and on, cheering and laughing, but his voice was as far from Jordan and me as the strange noise on the sidewalk or the tumult of high-rise buildings. Human compassion has its limits with him, and we're content to put all his tragic arguments with the city lights behind us. Thirty: the promise of a decade of solitude, a dwindling list of single men to meet, a dwindling briefcase of enthusiasm, dwindling hair. But next to me was Jordan, who, unlike Daisy, was too smart to carry forgotten dreams from one age to another. As we crossed the dark bridge, his pale face fell lazily onto the shoulder of my coat, and the impressive stroke of thirty died with the comforting pressure of his hand.
So we drove through the cool twilight to death.
The main witness in the investigation was the young Greek Michaelis, who ran the cafeteria next to the ash heaps. He had slept in the heat until after five, when he went to the garage and found George Wilson in his office sick of him, very sick, pale as his own blond hair and shaking all over. Michaelis advised him to go to bed, but Wilson refused, saying that he would lose a lot of business if he did. As his neighbor tried to persuade him, a violent noise erupted above him.
"I locked my wife in there," Wilson explained calmly. "She'll stay there until the day after tomorrow, and then we'll move on."
Michaelis was amazed; they had been neighbors for four years, and Wilson never seemed remotely capable of such a statement. In general, he was one of those worn-out men: when he wasn't working, he would sit in a chair at the door and watch the people and cars go by on the street. Whenever someone spoke to him, he would always laugh in a pleasant, colorless way. He was his wife's husband and not his own.
So, of course, Michaelis tried to find out what happened, but Wilson didn't say a word; instead, he cast curious and suspicious glances at his visitor and asked what he was doing at certain times on certain days. Just as the latter was getting restless, some workmen came through the door on their way to his restaurant and Michaelis took the opportunity to escape, only to return later. But he did not. He's probably forgotten, that's all. When he got back outside shortly after seven, he remembered the conversation because he heard Mrs. Wilson's loud, scolding voice in the garage.
"Defeat me!" he heard her cry. "Throw me and hit me, you dirty coward!"
A moment later, she stormed out into the darkness, waving her hands and shouting: Before he could move from the door, it was all done.
The "car of death", as the newspapers called it, did not stop; it emerged from the gathering darkness, swayed tragically for a moment, and then disappeared around the next bend. Mavro Michaelis wasn't even sure of its color: he told the first officer that it was light green. The other car headed for New York stopped a hundred yards behind and her driver hurried back to where Myrtle Wilson, whose life had been violently taken, was kneeling in the street, her blood thick and dark. mixed with the powder.
Michaelis and this man got to her first, but when they opened the waistband of her shirt, still sweaty, they saw that her left breast hung like a flap, and there was no need to listen to the heart underneath. Her mouth was wide open and a little cracked at the corners, as if she had choked a little on giving up the tremendous vitality she had accumulated over so long.
We saw the three or four cars and the crowd while we were still some distance away.
"Shipwreck!" Tom said. "That's good. Wilson will finally have something to do."
He slowed down, but still had no intention of stopping, until, as we got closer, the dull, intent faces of the people at the garage door automatically slowed him down.
"We'll check," he said doubtfully, "we're just checking."
She was now aware of a hollow, whining sound emanating incessantly from the garage, a sound that resolved itself into the words "Oh my God!" as we got out of the coupe and walked towards the door. she let out over and over again in a gasping moan.
"There are serious problems here," Tom said excitedly.
Rising on her toes, she looked past a circle of heads toward the garage, lit only by a yellow light in a metal basket balanced overhead. She then let out a harsh sound in her throat and, with a violent push from her powerful arms, she forced her way through.
The circle closed again with a continuous murmur of objection; It was a minute before she could see anything. Then the newcomers messed up the line, and suddenly Jordan and I were pushed inside.
Myrtle Wilson's body, wrapped in blanket and then blanket as if it had caught a cold in the hot night, lay on a worktable against the wall, Tom leaning over it, motionless, with his back to us. Next to him was a policeman on a motorcycle who, with a lot of sweat and corrections, wrote down names in a little book. At first I couldn't locate the source of the high-pitched, whining words that echoed loudly through the bare garage; then I saw Wilson standing in the raised doorway of her office, staggering, holding on to her jambs with both hands. A man was speaking to him in a low voice, trying from time to time to put his hand on his shoulder, but Wilson neither heard nor saw him. Her eyes lowered slowly from the flickering light to the table leaning against the wall, and then back to the light again, and she continued to utter her shrill, terrible cry:
"¡Oh, wir Ga-od! ¡Oh, wir Ga-od! ¡Oh Dios! ¡Oh, por Dios!
Suddenly Tom raised his head and, after glancing glassy-eyed around the garage, muttered an incoherent comment to the policeman.
„METRO-A-v- said the policeman -o—“
"NO,R—" corrected the man, "METRO-A-v-R-o—“
"Listen to me!" Tom muttered fiercely.
„Rsaid the policemano—“
„GRAMS"" He looked up as Tom's broad hand fell sharply on his shoulder. "What do you want, boy?"
"What happened? - I want to know that."
“The car hit her. Killed instantly.
"Killed instantly," Tom repeated, staring at him.
He ran away down a street. The son of a bitch didn't even stop our car."
"There were two cars," Michaelis said, "one comes, one goes, see?"
"Where?" the policeman asked sharply.
"One goes each way. Well, she"—his hand reached for the covers, but stopped halfway and fell beside her—"she ran out of there, and the one from N'York is crashing into her, at a speed of thirty or forty miles per hour."
"What is the name of this place?" the officer asked.
"It has no name."
A pale, well-dressed Negro approached.
"It was a yellow car," he said, "a big yellow car. New."
"Do you see the accident?" asked the policeman.
“No, but the car passed me on the street, passing more than forty. I'll be fifty, sixty."
"Come here and leave us your name. Be careful now. I want to know your name.
Some words of that conversation must have reached Wilson, who was swaying in the office doorway, for suddenly a new topic arose amid his passionate shouts:
"You don't have to tell me what kind of car that was! I know what kind of car it was!"
As I watched Tom, I saw the set of muscles behind his shoulder tense under his coat. She quickly walked up to Wilson and, standing in front of him, she grabbed him hard by the arms.
"You have to pull yourself together," he said with reassuring harshness.
Wilson's eyes fell on Tom; He jumped up on his toes and would have fallen to his knees if Tom hadn't held him upright.
"Listen," Tom said, shaking him a little. "I just got here a minute ago from New York. I brought you the coupe we were talking about. The yellow car I was driving this afternoon wasn't mine, you hear? I haven't seen it all afternoon."
Only the black man and I were close enough to hear what he was saying, but the policeman caught something in the tone and looked at him defiantly.
"What is all this?" she requested her.
"I'm a friend of yours." Tom turned his head but kept his hands clenched on Wilson's body. "He says he knows the car he made it... It was a yellow car."
A faint impulse made the policeman look at Tom suspiciously.
"And what color is your car?"
It's a blue car, a coupe.
"We're straight from New York," I told him.
Someone driving right behind us confirmed it and the cop turned around.
"Now, if you give me my real name again..."
Tom picked Wilson up like a doll, carried him into the office, put him in a chair, and came back.
"If someone came and sat with him," he snapped with authority. She watched as the two men closest to him looked at each other and reluctantly entered the room. Then Tom closed the door behind them and went down the single step, his eyes avoiding the table. Passing close to me, he whispered, "Let's go out."
Embarrassed, pushing our way with his imperious arms, we pushed our way through the still-gathering crowd, past a rushing doctor, briefcase in hand, who had been summoned in wild hope half an hour ago.
Tom drove slowly until we turned the corner; then his foot landed hard and the coupe sped off into the night. After a while I heard a soft, hoarse sob and saw tears running down his face.
"Damned coward!" he wailed. "He didn't even stop his car."
Suddenly, Buchanan's house floated toward us through the dark, whispering trees. Tom stopped on the porch and looked up to the second story, where two windows glittered among the vines.
"Daisy is home," he said. When we got out of the car, she looked at me and frowned slightly.
"I should have dropped you off at West Egg, Nick. There's nothing we can do tonight."
A change had come over him, and he spoke gravely and resolutely. As we walked across the moonlit gravel to the porch, he resolved the situation in a few quick sentences.
"I'll call a cab to take you home, and while you're waiting, you and Jordan better go to the kitchen and have dinner, if you want," she opens the door. "Forward."
"No thanks. But I'd appreciate it if you could call me a cab. I'll wait outside."
Jordan put his hand on my arm.
"Don't you want to come in, Nick?"
I felt a little sick and wanted to be alone. But Jordan stayed a moment longer.
"It's only half past eight," he said.
Damned if I go in; She'd had enough of everyone for one day, and suddenly Jordan was there, too. He must have seen something of that in the look on my face because he turned abruptly and ran up the porch steps toward the house. I sat with my head in my hands for a few minutes until I heard the phone answered inside and the butler's voice calling a taxi. Then I walked slowly up the driveway, away from the house, intending to wait at the gate.
I hadn't gone twenty yards when I heard my name and Gatsby stepped onto the path between two bushes. I must have been feeling pretty weird right now because all I could think about was how luminous his pink suit was in the moonlight.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"I'm just standing here, old man."
Somehow this seemed like a despicable occupation. For all she knew, she was about to rob the house; I would not have been surprised to see grim faces, the faces of "the people of Wolfsheim," behind him in the dark bushes.
"Did you see any trouble on the way?" she asked herself after a minute.
"They killed her?"
"I thought too; I told Daisy I believed that. It's better if the shock comes at once. She took it pretty well."
He spoke as if only Daisy's reaction mattered.
“I came to West Egg by a back road,” he continued, “and left the car in my garage. I don't think anyone saw us, but of course I'm not sure."
I didn't like him so much at this point that I didn't feel the need to tell him he was wrong.
"Who was the woman?" he asked.
"Her name was Wilson. The garage belongs to her husband. How the hell did that happen?"
"Well, I was trying to turn the wheel…" He stopped, and suddenly I felt the truth.
"Did Daisy drive?"
"Yeah," she said after a moment, "but of course I'll say it was me. You see, when we left New York, she was really nervous and thought I'd calm her down while she was driving, and this woman ran up to us just as we were passing a car. It all happened in a minute, but it seemed like she wanted to talk to us, she thought we were someone she knew. Well, Daisy first walked away from the woman and turned to the other car, and then she lost her temper and ran away. she spun around. As my hand reached for the steering wheel, I felt the impact; it must have killed her instantly."
"He tore her..."
"Don't tell me, old man." He shuddered. “Anyway, Daisy stepped on it. I tried to get it to stop but it couldn't so I put the emergency brake on. Then she fell into my lap and I kept driving.
"She'll be fine tomorrow," he finally said. I'll wait here and see if she tries to bother you with this inconvenience this afternoon. She's locked herself in her room and if he tries to be brutal, she'll turn the light off and on again."
"He won't touch her," I told him. "He doesn't think about her."
"I don't trust him, old man."
"How long are you going to wait?"
"If necessary, all night. At least until everyone goes to bed.
I have a new perspective. Suppose Tom finds out that Daisy was driving. He could think that he saw a connection, he could think of anything. I looked at the house; below were two or three bright windows and the pink glow of Daisy's room on the ground floor.
"Wait here," I told him. I'll see if there's any sign of excitement.
I walked back around the edge of the lawn, walked softly across the gravel, and tiptoed up the porch steps. The curtains in the living room were open, and I saw that the room was empty. Walking across the porch where we had dinner that June night three months ago, I came across a small rectangle of light that I assumed was the pantry window. The blinds were drawn, but I found a crack in the mantel.
Daisy and Tom sat across from each other at the kitchen table, a plate of cold fried chicken and two bottles of beer between them. He was speaking to her intently across the table, and in her fervor her hand had fallen over hers, covering it. From time to time she would look at him and nod.
They weren't happy, and neither of them had touched the chicken or the beer, but they weren't sad either. The image had an unmistakable air of natural intimacy, and anyone would have thought they were conspiring together.
As I tiptoed off the porch, I heard my cab feel its way down the dark street toward the house. Gatsby was waiting where I dropped him off in the driveway.
"Is everything quiet up there?" he asked anxiously.
"Yes, everything is calm." I hesitated. You better come home and get some sleep.
He shook his head.
"I want to wait here until Daisy goes to bed. Good night, old man."
She shoved her hands into her coat pockets and anxiously returned to her inspection of the house, as if my presence would mar the sanctity of the vigil. So I went and left him standing in the moonlight and not watching anything.
I couldn't sleep all night; a foghorn wailed incessantly at the sound, and I wavered half sickly between grotesque reality and wild, terrifying dreams. Towards morning I heard a taxi pulling up Gatsby's driveway and immediately jumped out of bed and started to get dressed; I felt that I had something to tell him, something to warn him about, and that it would be too late in the morning.
As I walked across his lawn, I saw that the front door was still open and that he was leaning against a table in the hall, overcome with depression or sleep.
"Nothing happened," he said wearily. "She was waiting and around four o'clock she went to the window and stood there for a minute and then turned off the light."
His house had never seemed so big to me as it did that night when we searched the big rooms for cigarettes. We parted curtains that looked like gazebos and searched countless meters of dark walls for electric light switches; once, with a kind of splash, I landed on the keys of a creepy piano. There was an inexplicable amount of dust everywhere and the rooms were moldy like they hadn't been aired out in days. I found the humidor on an unfamiliar table with two stale, dried-out cigarettes inside. We open the French windows in the living room and sit in the dark smoking.
"You should go," I told him. It's pretty sure they'll chase your car.
"LeaveNow, alter Sport?"
"Go to Atlantic City for a week or go up to Montreal."
He wouldn't consider it. There was no way he could leave Daisy until he knew what she was going to do. He was clinging to one last hope and she couldn't bear to shake him.
That night he told me the strange story of his youth with Dan Cody, he told it to me because "Jay Gatsby" had been shattered like glass by Tom's harsh malice and the big secret show took place. I think he would have admitted to anything by now, but he wanted to talk about Daisy.
She was the first "good" girl he had ever met. She had come into contact with these people in various undisclosed capacities, but always with unrecognizable barbed wire between them. He found her excitingly desirable. She went to her house, first with other Camp Taylor officers, then alone. She astonished him: she had never been in such a beautiful house before. But what took her breath away was the fact that Daisy lived there; it was as casual to her as her tent in her camp was to him. It was a ripe mystery, an air of upstairs rooms prettier and cooler than other rooms, of bright, gay activities going on in the halls, and of romances not musty and already lavender-tinged, but fresh and breathing with the smell of cars. shiny. of that year and of dances whose flowers barely withered. He was also aroused that many men had already loved Daisy: in her eyes, she increased her worth. He felt her presence throughout the house, filling the air with shadows and echoes of even more vivid emotions.
But he found out that he was at Daisy's house because of a colossal accident. As glorious as his future as Jay Gatsby might be, he was currently a penniless youth with no past, and the invisibility cloak of his uniform could slip off his shoulders at any moment. So he made the most of his time. He took what he could, greedily and ruthlessly; he finally he took Daisy on a quiet October night, he took her because he had no real right to touch her hand.
He might have despised himself, for he had certainly taken her under false pretenses. I don't want to say that he traded the million ghosts on her, but he did consciously give Daisy a sense of security; He made her believe that he was a person of the same class as her, that he was fully capable of taking care of her. In fact, she had no such institutions: she had no comfortable family behind her, and she was subject to the whim of an impersonal government to be blown up anywhere in the world.
But he did not despise himself and it did not turn out as he had imagined. He probably had intended to take what he could and leave, but now he found himself committed to following a Grail. He knew that Daisy was extraordinary, but he didn't know how extraordinary a "good" girl she could be. He disappeared into his rich house, into his rich and full life, leaving Gatsby, nothing. He felt married to her, that was all.
When they met again two days later, it was the breathless Gatsby who was somehow betrayed. His porch glowed with the purchased luxury of starlight; the wicker sofa creaked fashionably as she turned to him and he kissed her curious, enchanting mouth. She had caught a cold, which made her voice hoarse and more charming than ever, and Gatsby was overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many dresses, and of the daisies that shone like silver. , safe and proud of the heat. struggles of the poor
"I can't tell you how surprised I was to find out that I loved her, man. I even waited for a while for her to knock me out, but she didn't because she had a crush on me too. She thought I knew a lot because I knew other things about her.. Well, there I was, far from my ambitions, falling more in love by the minute, and suddenly I didn't care anymore.What was the point of doing great things if I could tell him better what I would do?
On the last evening before going abroad, he sat quietly with Daisy in his arms for a long time. It was a cold autumn day, with a fire in the room and her cheeks flushed. From time to time she moved and he shifted her arm a little, and once he kissed her shiny dark hair. The afternoon he had calmed them for a while, as if to give them a deep memory of the long goodbye of the next promised day. They had never been closer in her month of love, or communicated more deeply, than when she brushed her lips silently over her coat's shoulder, or when he gently touched her fingertips like if she was asleep
He did exceptionally well in the war. He was a captain before going to the front and after the fighting in the Argonne he came of age and commanded the divisional machine guns. After the armistice, he desperately tried to return home, but some complication or misunderstanding sent him to Oxford. He now he was worried; there was a kind of nervous despair in Daisy's letters. She didn't understand why he couldn't come. He felt the pressure from the outside world, and he wanted to see it and feel her presence next to him and know that he was doing the right thing after all.
Because Daisy was young, and her artificial world smelt of orchids and pleasant, happy snobbery and orchestras that set the rhythm of the year and summed up life's sadness and lust in new melodies. All night the saxophones howled the hopeless commentary of "Beale Street Blues" while a hundred pairs of gold and silver slippers shuffled the glittering dust. At the gray hour of tea there were always rooms throbbing ceaselessly with that low sweet fever, while fresh faces blew here and there like rose-petals cast upon the floor by sad horns.
Through this twilight universe Daisy moved again with the seasons; she would suddenly go back to having half a dozen dates a day with half a dozen men and falling asleep at dawn with the pearls and chiffon of an evening gown tangled among wilted orchids on the floor beside her bed. And all the while something inside her was screaming for a decision. She wanted her life to take shape now and immediately, and the decision had to be made by a force—of love, of money, of undeniable practicality—that she was close to.
That power took shape in mid-spring with the arrival of Tom Buchanan. There was a healthy bulge in her person and position, and Daisy was flattered. No doubt there was some struggle and some relief. The letter reached Gatsby while he was still at Oxford.
It was dawn on Long Island now, and we proceeded to open the remaining windows downstairs, filling the house with a golden-gray light. The shadow of a tree fell sharply on the dew, and ghostly birds began to sing among the blue leaves. It was a nice slow movement in the air, just a wind that promised a cool, beautiful day.
"I don't think she ever loved him." Gatsby turned from a window and gave me a challenging look. "You have to remember, old man, she was very excited this afternoon. He said these things to her in a way that scared her, made it sound like I was some kind of cheap wit. And the result was that she hardly knew what she was saying." .
He sat grimly.
"Of course, she could have loved him for just a minute when they first got married, and she loved me even more, you know?"
He suddenly came out with a strange comment.
"Anyway," he said, "it was just personal."
What could you do with that other than suspect an intensity in his perception of the matter that couldn't be measured?
She returned from France while Tom and Daisy were still on their honeymoon, and made a miserable but irresistible trip to Louisville on her last salary. She stayed there for a week, walking the streets where his footsteps had met on the November night and visiting the out-of-the-way places where his white car had been driven. Just as Daisy's house had always seemed more mysterious and gay to her than other houses, so her vision of the city of herself—she, though she had left it—was imbued with a melancholy beauty.
He left feeling that if he had searched harder he might have found her, that he would leave her behind. The day car, now penniless, was hot. She went out into the open hall and sat in a folding chair and the station receded and the backs of unfamiliar buildings passed. She then she went out into the spring fields where a yellow streetcar took her speeding for a minute with people who perhaps once saw the sallow magic of her face along the lazy road.
The road curved and now led away from the sun which, as it sank, spread benevolently over the fading city where it had taken its breath. Desperate, he reached out as if he wanted to take a breath to save a fragment of the place where she had made love to him. But now it was all happening too fast for her blurry eyes, and she knew that she had lost that part, the freshest and best, forever.
It was nine o'clock when we finished breakfast and went out on the porch. The night had changed the weather a lot and there was a taste of autumn in the air. The gardener, the last of Gatsby's former servants, climbed to the bottom of the stairs.
“I'm going to empty the basin today, Mr. Gatsby. The leaves start to fall very early and then there are always problems with the pipes.”
"Don't do it today," Gatsby replied. He turned to me apologetically. "You know, man, haven't I used that pool all summer?"
I looked at my watch and got up.
Twelve minutes for my train.
I didn't want to go to the city. It wasn't worth a decent job, but it was more than that: he didn't want to leave Gatsby. I missed that train and then another before I could pull myself away.
"I'll call you," I finally said.
"Do it, old man."
"I'll call you around noon."
We slowly descend the steps.
"I suppose Daisy will call too." She looked at me anxiously, as if waiting for confirmation.
"I guess so."
"OK then goodbye".
We shook hands and I went on my way. Just before I reached the hedge, something occurred to me and I turned around.
"They're a lousy bunch," I yelled from across the lawn. "You're worth the whole damn lot."
I was always glad I said that. It was the only compliment I paid him because I disapproved of him from start to finish. He nodded politely at first, and then his face twisted into that bright, understanding smile, as if we'd been caught up in ecstasy over that fact all along. His rich pink rag suit made a brilliant splash of color against the white steps, and I thought of the night he first came to his ancestral home three months ago. The lawn and driveway were littered with the faces of those who suspected his depravity, and he had stood on those steps, hiding his incorruptible sleep as he bid them farewell.
I thanked him for his hospitality. We always thanked him for that, me and the others.
"Bye," I called. "I enjoyed breakfast, Gatsby."
Uptown, I spent a while trying to list the prices of an endless stream of stocks, then fell asleep in my swivel chair. Just before noon the phone woke me up and sweat broke out on my forehead. It was Jordan Baker; she often called me at this hour because the uncertainty of his own movements between hotels and clubs and private homes made it difficult to find her any other way. Normally his voice sounded crisp and cool over the line, as if a chop had come through an office window from a green golf course, but this morning it was harsh and dry.
"I left Daisy's house," he said. "I'm in Hempstead, going to Southampton this afternoon."
Leaving Daisy's house was probably tactful, but the act infuriated me, and her next comment made me stiff.
"You weren't so nice to me last night."
"So how could it have mattered?"
silence for a moment. So:
"But I want to see you."
"I want to see you too."
What if I don't go to Southampton and come into town this afternoon?
"No, I don't think so this afternoon."
"It's impossible this afternoon. Different-"
We talked like that for a while, and then suddenly we stopped talking. I don't know which one of us she hung up on with a loud click, but I know I didn't care. He couldn't have spoken to her at a tea table that day if she hadn't spoken to him again in this world.
A few minutes later I called Gatsby's house but the line was busy. I have tried it four times; finally, a disgruntled operator informed me that the line would remain open long distances from Detroit. I pulled out my timetable and drew a small circle around the three-fifty train. Then I leaned back in my chair and tried to think. It was only noon.
When I passed the ash piles on the train that morning, I had deliberately walked to the other side of the car. I guessed there would be an inquisitive crowd there all day, with small children looking for dark spots in the dust and a talkative man recounting what had happened over and over again until he stopped, even to him it became less real and he couldn't say it anymore. . , and the tragic performance of Myrtle Wilson was forgotten. Now I want to go back a bit and share what happened in the garage after we drove there the night before.
They had trouble locating Sister Catherine. She must have broken her drinking ban that night because when she arrived she was drunk and she couldn't understand that the ambulance had already left for Flushing. When she was convinced of this, she immediately fainted, as if that was the unbearable part of her. Someone, friendly or curious, led her to her car and led her after the body of her sister.
Until well after midnight, a moody crowd splashed against the front of the garage as George Wilson rocked back and forth on the sofa inside. For a while the office door stood open, and everyone who entered the garage stared through it irresistibly. Finally someone said it was a pity and closed the door. Michaelis and several other men were with him; first four or five men, then two or three men. Even later, Michaelis had to ask the last stranger to wait there another quarter of an hour while he went back to his seat and made himself a cup of coffee. After that, he was left alone with Wilson until dawn.
Around three, the quality of Wilson's incoherent mutterings changed: he calmed down and started talking about the yellow car. He announced that he could somehow find out who owned the yellow car, and then blurted out that her wife had left town a few months ago with bruises on her face and a swollen nose.
But when he heard himself say that, he flinched and started screaming, "Oh my God!" again with his whining voice. Michaelis made a clumsy attempt to distract him.
"How long have you been married, Jorge? Come on, try to sit still for a minute and answer my question. How long have you been married?"
"Have you ever had children? Come on George, hold still, I asked you a question. Have you ever had children?"
The tough brown bugs were still drumming against the dim light, and when Michaelis heard a car speeding down the street, it sounded to him like the car that hadn't stopped a few hours ago. He didn't like going to the garage because the workbench was stained where the body had been, so he moved around the office uncomfortably (he knew all the items before morning) and sat next to Wilson from time to time to try to keep him calm.
"Do you have a church that you go to sometimes, George? Maybe even if you haven't been there for a long time? Maybe I could call the church and ask a priest to come over and talk to you, see?"
"Do not belong to anyone."
“You should have a church for times like this, George. You must have been to church once. Didn't you get married in a church? Listen, Jorge, listen to me. Didn't you get married in a church?
"It has been a long time."
The effort to respond broke the rhythm of her swinging - she was silent for a moment. Then the same half-conscious, half-confused expression returned to her dull eyes.
"Check that drawer over there," he said, pointing to the desk.
"This drawer, this."
Michaelis opened the drawer closest to him. Inside was nothing but a small, expensive dog leash made of leather and braided silver. It was apparently new.
"He?" she inquired, holding him up.
Wilson looked and nodded.
"I found him yesterday afternoon. He tried to tell me about it, but I knew it was funny."
"You mean your wife bought it?"
"She had it wrapped in tissue paper on her dresser."
Michaelis found nothing unusual in this and gave Wilson a dozen reasons why his wife might have bought the dog leash. But it's conceivable that Wilson heard some of those explanations from Myrtle before, because she started going, "Oh my gosh!" whispering again: the Consolador of him left several explanations in the air.
"So he killed her," Wilson said. Suddenly, her mouth fell open.
"I have a way of finding out."
"You're kinky, George," said his friend. "It was a burden on you and you don't know what you're saying. You'd better try to stay put until morning."
"He murdered her."
"It was an accident, Jorge."
Wilson shook his head. His eyes narrowed and his mouth opened slightly in the hint of a "Hm!" superior.
"I know," he said firmly. "I'm one of those confident guys and I don't think it could hurtNObody, but when I experience something, I know it. He was the man in that car. She ran out to talk to him and he didn't stop."
Michaelis had seen it, too, but it hadn't occurred to him that it had any special significance. She believed that Mrs. Wilson had run away from her husband instead of trying to stop a particular car.
"How can she be like this?"
"It's deep," Wilson said, as if that answered the question. "Uhh-"
It started to swing again and Michaelis just stood there twisting the leash in his hand.
"Maybe you have a friend I could call George?"
It was a lost hope: he was almost certain Wilson didn't have a boyfriend: there wasn't enough of him for his wife. He was glad when, a little later, he noticed a change in the room, a blue glow in the window, and he realized that dawn was not far off. At five o'clock it was blue enough outside to turn off the lights.
Wilson's glassy eyes turned to the ash-heaps, where little gray clouds took fantastic shapes, tossing to and fro in the weak morning breeze.
"I talked to her," he murmured after a long silence. “I told her that maybe she could fool me, but she couldn't fool God. I took her to the window "-with an effort of hers she got up and walked to the back window and leaned her face against it-" and I said, 'God knows what you've done, everything you've done. You can fool me, but you can't fool God!' "
Michaelis, standing behind him, was startled to find himself looking into the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, who had just emerged pale and huge from the dissolving night.
"God sees all," Wilson repeated.
"It's publicity," Michaelis assured him. Something made him turn away from the window and look into the room. But Wilson stood there for a long time, his face close to the window pane, nodding in the dark.
At six o'clock, Michaelis was exhausted and grateful for the sound of a car pulling up outside. He was one of the guards from the night before who had promised to return, so he made breakfast for three, which he and the other man ate together. Wilson was calmer now and Michaelis went home to sleep; When he woke up four hours later and ran back to the garage, Wilson was gone.
His movements (he was on foot the entire time) were later traced to Port Roosevelt and then to Gad's Hill, where he bought a sandwich, which he did not eat, and a cup of coffee. He must have been tired and walking slowly, because he didn't get to Gad's Hill until noon. So far, counting his time hasn't been a problem: there were kids who had seen a man "acting crazy" and motorists he gave strange looks to from the side of the road. He then disappeared from sight for three hours. Police assumed he spent that time going from garage to garage asking about a yellow car, based on what he told Michaelis that he had "a way of finding out." On the other hand, no mechanic had ever come forward and seen it, and perhaps he had an easier and safer way to find out what he wanted to know. At half past one he was in West Egg asking someone how to get to Gatsby's house. So at this point, he knew Gatsby's name.
At two o'clock, Gatsby changed into his bathing suit and told the butler that if someone called, he should call them at the pool. He stopped at the garage to buy an air mattress that he had been entertaining his guests over the summer, and the driver helped him inflate it. He then gave instructions not to open the car under any circumstances, and that was strange, because the right front fender needed repair.
Gatsby shouldered the mattress and headed for the pool. He once stopped and moved it a bit, and the driver asked him if he needed help, but he shook his head and in a moment disappeared among the yellowed trees.
There was no phone message, but the butler didn't go to sleep and waited until four; for a long time there was no one to give it to if she came. I have a feeling Gatsby himself didn't think he was coming and maybe he didn't care. If that was true, he must have felt that he had lost the warm old world, paid a heavy price for living on one dream for too long. He must have looked through terrifying leaves at an unknown sky and shivered as he realized how grotesque a rose is and how harsh the sunlight was on the newly created grass. A new world, material without being real, where the poor spirits, breathing dreams like air, floated... like this ashen and fantastic figure that glided toward him among the amorphous trees.
The driver - he was one of Wolfshiem's protégés - heard the shots - later he could only say that he had not thought much about it. I drove directly from the train station to Gatsby's house, and my frantic dash up the front steps was the first thing that alarmed anyone. But they knew it then, I'm sure of that. As soon as we uttered a word, the four of us, the driver, the butler, the gardener and myself, rushed towards the pool.
There was a faint, barely perceptible movement of the water as the cool stream surged from one end to the drain at the other. With little ripples that were barely wave shadows, the loaded mattress moved erratically across the pool. A small gust of wind, barely rippling the surface, was enough to disturb its haphazard run with its haphazard load. The touch of a clump of leaves caused it to spin slowly, drawing a thin red circle in the water like a transit route.
After we went to the house with Gatsby, the gardener saw Wilson's body a little way off on the grass and the holocaust was complete.
Two years later, I remember the rest of that day, that night, and the next day as nothing more than a never-ending exercise of cops, photographers, and journalists going in and out of Gatsby's front door. A rope tied to the front door and a policeman standing by it kept onlookers out, but the little kids soon found they could get in through my yard and there were always a few of them huddled around the pool, gaping. Someone of a positive nature, perhaps a detective, used the term "lunatic" when he bent over Wilson's body that afternoon, and the incidental authority of his voice provided the clue to the newspaper's reports the next morning.
Most of these reports were a nightmare: grotesque, circumstantial, eager, and false. When Michaelis's inquest testimony exposed Wilson's suspicions about his wife, I thought the whole story would soon be told in one racy lampoon, but Catherine, who could have said anything, didn't say a word. She showed a surprising amount of character in the process: she looked at the coroner with determined eyes from under her corrected brow and swore that her sister had never seen Gatsby, that her sister was perfectly happy with her husband, that she her sister had been awake. to no mischief. She made sure of it and cried into her handkerchief as if her mere suggestion was more than she could bear. So Wilson was reduced to a "man disturbed by grief" so that the case could remain in its simplest form. And there he rested.
But all that part seemed distant and insignificant. I found myself on Gatsby's side and alone. From the moment I called West Egg Village about the disaster, all the guesswork and practical questions were referred to me. At first I was surprised and confused; then, as he lay in his house not moving, not breathing, not speaking, hour after hour, I realized that I was responsible for it, because no one else was interested, interested, I mean, with that intense personal interest that each of us it's a little vague at the end.
Half an hour after we found it I called Daisy, calling her instinctively and without hesitation. But she and Tom had left in the early afternoon, taking their luggage with them.
"No address left?"
"Tell me when are they coming back?"
"Do you have any idea where they are? How could I get to her?"
"I don't know. I can't say."
He wanted to find someone for himself. He wanted to go into the room he was lying in and reassure him, "I'll get someone for you, Gatsby. Don't worry. Just trust me and I'll get you someone…"
Meyer Wolfshiem's name was not in the phone book. The butler gave me the address of his Broadway office and I called information, but when I got the number it was after five and no one answered the phone.
"Are you going to call again?"
I rang the bell three times.
"It's very important."
"Sorry. I'm afraid there's no one there."
I went back to the room and thought for a moment that they were random visitors, all these officials, who suddenly filled it up. But though they pulled back the sheet and looked at Gatsby with astonished eyes, his protest continued in my mind:
"Listen man, I need you to find someone for me. You have to make an effort. I can't go through this alone."
Someone started asking me questions, but I disengaged and went upstairs to quickly check the open parts of his desk; she had never told me definitively that her parents had died. But there was nothing, just the image of Dan Cody, a sign of forgotten violence, watching from the wall.
The next morning I sent the butler to New York with a letter to Wolfshiem asking for information and urging him to catch the next train. This petition seemed superfluous to me when I wrote it. He was sure that he would be startled when he saw the papers, just as he was sure that he would receive a telegram from Daisy before noon, but neither the telegram nor Mr. Wolfshiem arrived; No one came except more policemen, photographers, and journalists. When the butler brought Wolfshiem's reply, I was overcome with a feeling of defiance, a mockery of the solidarity between me and Gatsby against all of them.
Dear Mr. Carraway. That was one of the most terrible blows of my life for me. I can't believe it's true. An act as crazy as this man's should make us all think. I can't go down now because I'm involved in a very important business and I can't get involved in this right now. If there is anything I can do, please let me know in a letter from Edgar a little later. I hardly know where I am when I hear stuff like this and I'm blown away.
and then hasty additions below:
Tell me about the funeral etc. I don't know his family at all.
When the phone rang that afternoon and Long Distance said Chicago was calling, I thought it was finally Daisy. But the connection came as a man's voice, very thin and distant.
"Yeah?" The name was unknown.
"What a note, isn't it? Getting my telegram?
"There were no wires."
"Young Parke is in trouble," he said quickly. She was stopped when she was giving out the vouchers over the counter. They got a memo from New York five minutes ago giving them the numbers. What do you know about that, hey? You can never tell in these backtowns..."
"Hello!" I interrupted breathlessly. “Look, that's not Mr. Gatsby. Mr. Gatsby is dead."
There was a long silence on the other end of the line, followed by an exclamation…then a quick chirp as the connection was lost.
I believe it was on the third day that a telegram signed by Henry C. Gatz arrived from a town in Minnesota. He was just saying that the sender should leave immediately and postpone the funeral until he arrived.
It was Gatsby's father, a grave old man, very helpless and distraught, wrapped in a cheap long coat against the hot September day. His eyes were constantly dripping with excitement, and when I grabbed his bag and umbrella, he started tugging at his wispy gray beard so incessantly that I had trouble getting his coat off. He was about to collapse so I took him to the music room and made him sit down while he sent him something to eat. But he would not eat, and the glass of milk flowed from his trembling hand.
"I saw it in the Chicago newspaper," he said. It was all in the Chicago newspaper. I started right away."
"I didn't know how to contact you."
His eyes, seeing nothing, wandered incessantly around the room.
"He was a maniac," he said. "He must have been crazy."
"Don't you feel like some coffee?" I urged.
"I don't want anything. I'm fine now, sir..."
"Well, I'm fine now. Where did you get Jimmy?"
I took him to the room where his son lay and left him there. A few children had come up the steps and were looking down the hall; When I told them who had arrived, they reluctantly walked away.
After a while, Mr. Gatz opened the door and came out with his mouth open, his face slightly flushed and sporadic and untimely tears welling up in his eyes. He had reached an age when death no longer had the quality of a dreadful surprise, and now, for the first time, he looked around him and saw the height and splendor of the hall and the great halls opening onto other halls. , his pain was beginning to mix with cowering pride. I helped him into a bedroom upstairs; while he was taking off his jacket and waistcoat, I told him that all the arrangements had been postponed until his arrival.
"I didn't know what I wanted, Mr. Gatsby..."
"Gatz is my name."
"-Mr. Gatz. I thought you might want to take the body west."
He shook his head.
“Jimmy always liked the East better. He ascended to his position in the east. Were you a friend of my son, sir...?
"We were close friends"
“He had a great future, you know. He was still a young man, but he had a lot of intelligence here.
He touched his head impressively and I nodded.
"Had he lived, he would have been a great man. A man like James J. Hill. He had helped build the country."
"That's right," I said awkwardly.
He fumbled for the embroidered blanket, tried to remove it from the bed and lay down stiffly, falling asleep instantly.
That night, an obviously scared person called and wanted to know who I was before giving his name.
"This is Mr. Carraway," I said.
"Oh!" He sounded relieved. "This is Klipspringer."
I was also relieved that another friend at Gatsby's grave seemed to be promising me just that. I didn't want it to be in the papers and attract a lot of tourists, so I called a few people myself. They were hard to find.
"The funeral is tomorrow," I told him. "Three o'clock here at the house. I'd like you to tell anyone who might be interested."
"Oh, I will," he burst out hastily. "Of course I probably won't see anyone, but I do."
His tone made me suspicious.
"Of course you are there yourself."
"Well, I'll definitely try. What I called is…"
"Wait a minute," I interrupted her. "How about you say you're coming?"
"Well, the fact is, I'm actually staying with some people here in Greenwich and they're more likely to expect me to be with them tomorrow. There's actually some kind of picnic or something. Of course I'll do my best." to escape".
I let out an uninhibited "Huh!" and he must have heard me, because he nervously continued:
“What I called was a pair of shoes that I left there. I wonder if it would be too much trouble for the butler to send them over. You see, they're tennis shoes, and I'm a little helpless without them. My address is for the attention of B.F...."
I didn't catch the rest of the name because I hung up the phone.
After that, I felt some embarrassment for Gatsby: a gentleman I called suggested he got what he deserved. That was my fault though, as he was one of the most bitterly mocked of Gatsby for Gatsby's booze bravado and I should have thought better of calling him.
The morning of the funeral I drove to New York to see Meyer Wolfshiem; It seemed that she could not contact him in any other way. The door, which I opened on the advice of an elevator operator, was signed "The Swastika Holding Company," and at first there appeared to be no one inside. But when I called "Hello" several times to no avail, an argument broke out behind a partition, and soon a beautiful Jewish woman appeared at an inner door and looked at me with hostile black eyes.
"There's nobody there," he said. Mr. Wolfshiem has gone to Chicago.
The first part was obviously wrong because someone had started melodiously whistling "El Rosario" inside.
Please tell him that Mr. Carraway wants to see him.
"I can't bring him back from Chicago, right?"
At that moment a voice, unmistakably Wolfshiem's, called out "Stella!" from the other side of the door.
"Leave your name on the desk," he said quickly. "I'll give it to him when he gets back."
"But I know he's there."
He took a step towards me and began to slide his hands down his hips in disgust.
"You young men think you can walk in here at any time," he scolded them. "We get tired of it. When I say it's in Chicago, it's in ChiCaliforniaand."
I mentioned Gatsby.
"Oh!" She looked at me again. "You just want - what was your name?"
She disappeared. The next moment, Meyer Wolfsheim was solemnly standing at the door and stretching out both hands. He took me to his office, he remarked in amazement that this was a sad time for all of us, and he offered me a cigarette.
"My memory goes back to when I met him," she said. "An older young man just out of the army covered in medals he received in the war. He was so exhausted that he had to keep wearing his uniform because he couldn't afford normal clothes. I first saw him when he walked into Winebrenner's pool room on the 43rd Street and asked for a job. He hadn't eaten for several days. "Come have lunch with me," I told him. He ate more than four dollars worth of food in half an hour."
"Have you opened a store for him?" I asked.
"Catch it! I did it."
"I raised him out of thin air, straight out of the gutter. I saw immediately what a handsome and noble young man he was and when he told me he was at Oggsford I knew I could put him to good use. I got him to join the American Legion and he always stood up for himself." "I stood there. He immediately worked for one of my clients as far away as Albany. We were so great at everything" - he held up two bulbous fingers - "always together."
I was wondering if that association had included the 1919 World Series transaction.
"Now he's dead," I said after a moment. "You were his closest friend to him, so I know you want to go to his funeral this afternoon."
"I'd love to go."
"Well, let's go then."
The hairs on her nostrils trembled slightly and tears filled her eyes as she shook her head.
"I can't, I'm not allowed to interfere," he said.
"There is nothing more to confuse. It is all over now."
"When a man is killed, I never like to get involved in any way. I'll stay out of this. It was different when I was young: if a friend of mine died, no matter what, I stayed with him until the end. You might find this sentimental But I mean it, to the bitter end."
I saw that for some reason he was determined not to come, so I got up.
"Are you a university student?" he asked suddenly.
For a moment I thought he was going to suggest a gonnegtion, but he just nodded and shook my hand.
"Let's learn to show our friendship to a man when he is alive and not after he is dead," he suggested. "After that, it's my own rule to leave everything alone."
When I left his office the sky had darkened and I returned to West Egg in the drizzle. After changing, I went next door and saw Mr. Gatz pacing excitedly down the hall. His pride in his son and his possessions grew and now he had something to show me.
"Jimmy sent me this photo." With trembling fingers, he pulled out his wallet. "Look over there."
It was a photograph of the house, cracked at the corners and soiled by many hands. He eagerly pointed out every detail for me. "Look over there!" and then I sought the admiration of my eyes. He had shown it so many times that I think it was more real to him now than the house itself.
Jimmy sent it to me. I think it is a very beautiful image. It shows well."
"Very good. Have you seen him lately?"
“He came to me two years ago and bought me the house in which I live now. Of course we broke up when she ran away from home, but now I see there was a reason. He knew he had a great future ahead of him. And ever since he's been successful, he's been very generous to me."
He seemed reluctant to put the photo down, holding it in front of my eyes for another minute. Then he returned his wallet and took from his pocket an old tattered copy of a book calledHopalong Cassidy.
"Look, this is a book I had when I was a kid. It only shows you.
He opened the back and turned it around for me to see. The word was printed on the last cover.Time, and the date September 12, 1906. And below:
|get out of bed||6:00||Compartment.|
|Dumbbell exercise and wall climbing||6:15–6:30||„|
|Study electricity etc.||7:15–8:15||„|
|baseball and sports||4:30–5:00||„|
|Practice speaking, balance and how to achieve it||5:00–6:00||„|
|Study necessary inventions||7:00–9:00||„|
No time wasted on Shafters or [an indecipherable name]
Stop smoking or chewing.
bathe every two days
Read one improvement book or magazine per week.
Save $5.00 [crossed out] $3.00 per week
be better with parents
"I found this book by accident," said the old man. "It just shows you, doesn't it?"
"It just shows you."
“Jimmy really needed to get through. He always had resolutions like that or something. Do you see what he gets by improving his mind? He was always great at it. He once told me that he was like a pig and I beat him up for it."
Reluctant to close the book, he read each point aloud, then stared at me. I think he was more expecting me to copy the list for my own use.
Just before three the Lutheran minister from Flushing arrived and I found myself looking out the windows for other cars. Gatsby's father too. And as time passed and the servants entered and waited in the hall, his eyes began to flicker fearfully and he spoke anxiously and uncertainly of the rain. The minister checked his watch several times, so I took him aside and asked him to wait half an hour. But it was useless. Nobody came.
About five o'clock our three-car train arrived at the churchyard and stopped in the thick drizzle by the gate: first a hearse, terribly black and wet, then Herr Gatz, the vicar, and myself in the limousine, and a little later four or four. five servants and he the postman from West Egg in Gatsby's van, all drenched to the skin. As we walked through the cemetery gate, I heard a car approaching and then the sound of someone splashing on the wet ground behind us. I looked around. It was the man with the owl glasses she had met in the library one night three months ago, admiring the Gatsby books.
I hadn't seen him since. I don't know how she knew about the funeral or even his name. The rain poured down on her thick glasses, and she took them off and wiped them to watch the protective canvas of Gatsby's grave unroll.
I tried to think of Gatsby for a moment, but he was too far away and all I could remember without resentment was that Daisy hadn't sent a message or a flower. I heard someone faintly murmur, "Blessed are the dead upon whom the rain falls," and then the owl-eyed man said bravely, "Amen to that."
We walked briskly through the rain to the cars. Owl eyes spoke to me at the door.
"I couldn't get home," he commented.
"Neither did anyone else."
"Continue!" He started. "Why, my God! They used to go there by the hundreds."
He took off his glasses and cleaned them again, inside and out.
"Poor son of a bitch," he said.
One of my most vivid memories is coming back West from high school and then college for Christmas. Those going beyond Chicago would gather at 6 PM on a December evening in dreary old Union Station with some friends from Chicago, already lost in their own Christmas parties, for a hasty sendoff. I remember the fur coats of the girls returning from Miss This-or-That's and the chatter of frozen breath and the waving of hands over our heads as we saw old acquaintances and the invitations to match, 'Are you going to the Ordways? ? the Herseys? the Schultzes?” and the long green tickets clenched tightly in our gloved hands. And lastly, the dreary yellow carriages of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, sitting on the tracks by the door, looking merry as Christmas itself.
As we drove into the winter night and the real snow, our snow, began to spread beside us and glisten against the windows, and the dim lights of the little Wisconsin stations passed by, all of a sudden there was a strong, wild pincer in the air. . . We breathed it in deeply as we walked back from dinner through the cold halls, inexpressibly aware of our identity with this land for a strange hour before indistinguishably merging with it again.
This is my Midwest: not the wheat, the prairies, or the lost Swedish cities, but the exciting returning trains of my youth and the streetlights and jingle bells in the freezing dark and the shadows of holly wreaths falling from the windows. illuminated on the snow. to be thrown I am part of it, a little solemn about the long winters, a little complacent because I grew up in Carraway House, in a town where houses will still be known by last names for decades to come. I see now that this was a Western story, after all: Tom and Gatsby, Daisy, Jordan, and I were all Westerners, and perhaps shared a common flaw that made us subtly unsuited to Eastern life.
Even when the East thrilled me most, even when I was most acutely aware of its superiority over the dull, sprawling, bloated cities all over Ohio, with its endless inquisitions that spared only children and old people, even then it was always for me. my. a distorting quality. West Egg, in particular, still appears in my most elegant dreams. I see it as a night scene from El Greco: a hundred houses, at once conventional and grotesque, huddled under a gloomy, hanging sky and an opaque moon. In the foreground, four solemn men in tailcoats walk along the sidewalk with a stretcher on which lies a drunken woman in a white evening dress. Her hand, hanging from her side, glitters coldly with jewels. Seriously, men stray into a house, the wrong house. But no one knows the woman's name, and no one cares.
For me, after Gatsby's death, the Orient was so haunted, distorted that I couldn't correct it with my eyes. So, with blue smoke from brittle leaves in the air and the wind blowing the wet clothes stiff on the clothesline, I decided to head home.
Before I left, there was one more thing to do, one cumbersome and awkward thing that could have been left alone. But I wanted to put things in order and not just trust the complacent and indifferent sea to wash my trash away. I saw Jordan Baker and kept talking about what happened to us together and what happened to me after that and she went perfectly still and listened in a big chair.
She was dressed to play golf and I remember she looked like a good illustration, her chin a little up, her hair the color of an autumn leaf, her face the same shade of brown as the fingerless glove on her knee. When she finished she told me without comment that she was engaged to another man. She doubted it, though there were several she could have married with a nod, but I pretended to be surprised. I wondered for a moment if she had made a mistake, then thought quickly and stood up to say goodbye.
"Yet you knocked me down," Jordan said suddenly. "You hit me on the phone. I don't care about you now, but it was a new experience for me and I felt a little dizzy for a while."
We shook hands.
"Oh, and do you remember," he added, "a conversation we had once about driving?"
"Why - not exactly."
“Did you say that a bad driver is only safe until he meets another bad driver? Well, I met another bad driver, didn't I? I mean, it was reckless of me to make such a wrong assumption. I thought you were a pretty honest and straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride."
"I'm thirty," I told him. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."
She did not answer. Angry and half in love with her and infinitely sorry, I turned away.
One afternoon in late October I saw Tom Buchanan. He walked ahead of me down Fifth Avenue with his alert, aggressive demeanor, hands parted slightly as if to ward off the disturbance, head jerking to match his restless eyes. Just as I was slowing down to avoid passing him, he stopped and began to frown at a jewelry store window. He suddenly saw me and walked back with his hand outstretched.
"What's up, Nick? Would you mind shaking my hand?
"Yes. You know what I think of you."
"You're crazy, Nick," he said quickly. "Crazy as hell. I don't know what's wrong with you."
"Tom," I asked, "what did you say to Wilson that afternoon?"
He looked at me without saying a word and I knew that I had been right with the remaining hours. He wanted to turn me around, but she stepped behind me and grabbed my arm.
"I told him the truth," he said. "He came to the door as we were getting ready to leave and when I sent the message that we weren't there, he tried to force himself up the stairs. He was crazy enough to kill me if I hadn't told him who owned the car. Every minute The man who was in the house had a gun in his pocket..." He stopped defiantly. "And if I had told him? This guy came up with it. He put dust in your eyes, like Daisy's, but he was a tough guy. He ran over Myrtle like he runs over a dog and didn't even stop her car."
There was nothing he could say except the indescribable fact that it wasn't true.
"And if you're thinking I didn't have my share of suffering, look, when I was about to vacate this apartment and I saw that damn box of dog biscuits on the counter, I sat down and cried like a baby." . My God, it was horrible..."
I couldn't forgive him or love him, but I saw that what he had done was completely justified to him. It was all very sloppy and confusing. They were carefree people, Tom and Daisy: they smashed things and creatures and then hunkered down in their money or gross oversight or whatever it was that held them together and let other people clean up the mess they'd made...
I shook his hand; I felt silly for not doing it because I suddenly felt like I was talking to a child. Then I'd go to the jewelry store to buy a pearl necklace, or maybe just a pair of cufflinks, to shake off my provincial apprehensions forever.
Gatsby's house was empty when I left: his lawn was as long as mine. One of the town taxi drivers never passed the front door without stopping for a minute and pointing inside; maybe he was the one who took Daisy and Gatsby to East Egg the night of the accident, and maybe he made his own story out of it. I didn't want to hear it and avoided it as I got off the train.
I spent my Saturday nights in New York because her bright and dazzling parties were so lively with me that I could still hear the music and laughter coming from her backyard, soft and incessant, and the cars driving up and down her driveway. entrance. One night I heard a physical car there and saw its lights stop in front of the front steps. But I didn't investigate. It was probably some last guest who was at the end of the world and didn't know the party was over.
Last night, with my suitcase packed and my car sold to the grocer, I went and took another look at this huge incoherent failure of a house. On the white steps, clear in the moonlight, there was an obscene word scrawled by a child on a piece of brick, and I erased it, scraping the stone with my shoe. Then I went down to the beach and lay down on the sand.
Most of the big docks were now closed, and there was little light save for the dim, moving glow of a ferry crossing the strait. And as the moon rose, the non-essential houses began to fade, until I began to become aware of the old island that once flourished before the eyes of Dutch sailors: a fresh green bosom of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, once whispered the last and greatest of human dreams; for a moment of enchantment, man must have held his breath before this continent, forced into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor wanted, confronted for the last time in history with something equal to his capacity for wonder.
And as I sat there, meditating on the ancient and unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's astonishment when he first saw the green light at the end of Daisy's pier. He had come a long way to that blue lawn, and the dream of him must have seemed so close that he could hardly miss it. He didn't know he was already behind him, somewhere in that vast darkness beyond the city where the dark fields of the Republic rolled under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgasmic future receding before us year after year. Then he ran away from us, but it doesn't matter-tomorrow we will run faster, we will stretch our arms more ... And one good morning-
So we continue, boats against the current, incessantly transported in time.
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For the most part, Gatsby is straightforward. It's got some funny 1920s turns of phrase, like "ecstatic cahoots" (8.46), but you're not going to run into too many unfamiliar words. Hard? Not exactly.Why is it hard to read The Great Gatsby? ›
There are no reliable narrators in the story, that is to say, everyone is lying. The narrator is lying to the readers. Each character is lying to each other, and more importantly, each character is lying to themselves. The plot works only because none of the characters are capable of living in reality.How do I download a PDF from Project Gutenberg? ›
On a computer, go to Project Gutenberg and search for the book you want. Click on the title of the book you want to get a list of the downloadable file types. Click on the Kindle version (there may be a version with pictures and one without and you can choose either). Then choose to save the file.How do I download all books from Project Gutenberg? ›
Use the author/title search boxes on every page at www.gutenberg.org to find eBooks you are interested in. Download to your computer, and transfer (i.e., “side load”) to your device. This might be done with a USB cable, Bluetooth, or another method.What age do most people read The Great Gatsby? ›
This book is written for adults, yet it is often studied in high school during 11th grade.What grade level is The Great Gatsby? ›
This book's Lexile measure is 1070L and is frequently taught in the 12th grade.How many hours does it take to read The Great Gatsby? ›
How long does it take to read the Great Gatsby? You need around 6 hours to finish the Great Gatsby if you read at an average reading speed of half a page per minute. So, if you read for only an hour a day, you can finish the Great Gatsby in 6 days.Why do schools make us read The Great Gatsby? ›
It's short enough to enthrall students without them getting bored quickly, and it provides insight about idealism, social classes and wealth that still remain relevant today. Reading the novel [also] provides a great way to start conversation about the 'American Dream.What is the main problem in the book The Great Gatsby? ›
Major conflict Gatsby has amassed a vast fortune in order to win the affections of the upper-class Daisy Buchanan, but his mysterious past stands in the way of his being accepted by her.Where can I download a free PDF ebook? ›
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PDF (Format for eBooks) PRC (Format for PDA-based eBooks) PS (Format for text and graphics)What are the trigger warnings in The Great Gatsby? ›
"For instance, one trigger warning for The Great Gatsby might be: (TW: "suicide," "domestic abuse" and "graphic violence")," he wrote. "Professors can also dissect a narrative's passage, warning their students which sections or volumes of a book possess triggering material and which are safer to read.How old was Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby? ›
Nick Carraway – a Yale University alumnus from the Midwest, a World War I veteran, and a newly arrived resident of West Egg, age 29 (later 30) who serves as the first-person narrator. He is Gatsby's neighbor and a bond salesman.What age did Gatsby go to war? ›
In 1917, after the United States' entrance into World War I, Gatsby enlisted as a doughboy in the American Expeditionary Forces. During infantry training at Camp Taylor near Louisville, Kentucky, 27-year-old Gatsby met and fell deeply in love with 18-year-old debutante Daisy Fay.Is The Great Gatsby appropriate for a 13 year old? ›
Age Appropriate for: 13+.Is The Great Gatsby inappropriate? ›
The Great Gatsby is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language. Violence: A character is shot in the back (some blood is shown). A character puts a gun in his mouth and commits suicide—the actual shot is not seen.
Stereotypes Of Women In The Great Gatsby
Scott Fitzgerald's book, The Great Gatsby, there are three major different types of stereotypes of women. In this book, a man named Nick Carraway moves near a millionaire who goes by the name Gatsby.
It's a short novel, just nine chapters, each built around a party scene — though the final “party” is, of course, a funeral. “The Great Gatsby,” however, didn't sell well. Few literary critics registered that there was something special about the book.How many pages should I read a day? ›
The most effective way to read more is to start with 25 pages a day. Twenty-five pages a day is almost 10,000 pages a year. The number of pages you read is not as important as the fact that you enjoy it.Is Great Gatsby worth reading? ›
This is a book that packs a seriously heavyweight punch. But, lest you be frightened, it's also eminently readable: Gatsby is a love-story, a mystery, a rags-to-riches account of success and its unhappy fallout, and a snapshot of NYC life before the Depression kicked in.What is the most important lesson in The Great Gatsby? ›
The moral of The Great Gatsby is that the American Dream is ultimately unattainable. Jay Gatsby had attained great wealth and status as a socialite; however, Gatsby's dream was to have a future with his one true love, Daisy.
In parts, The Great Gatsby is a satire on American society of the 1920s. This paper assumes that the novel realistically portrays the American society of the 1920s. The 1920s is portrayed as an era of decayed social and moral values, evidenced in its overarching cynicism, greed and empty pursuit of pleasure.Why is The Great Gatsby still relevant today? ›
Despite being a commentary on a different age and people, Gatsby's story is as relevant today as it was when it was written. Because it explores universal themes — human follies, the hopelessness of societal constructs and man's struggle with time and fate.What is the deeper meaning of The Great Gatsby? ›
The American Dream
Every character in The Great Gatsby draws inspiration from the American Dream's promise of wealth and prosperity. At the same time, the novel itself critiques the notion of the American Dream. Readers may end the novel wondering if the American Dream is actually attainable at all.
The moral of The Great Gatsby is that the American Dream is illusory. Gatsby's dream was to be with Daisy, but even after he attained her lifestyle, he was unable to be with her. Meanwhile, the people that had money, like Daisy and Tom, could not achieve happiness either.What is irony in The Great Gatsby? ›
Tom Buchanan learns that his wife, Daisy, is having an affair, which is ironic given that he is also having an affair. Daisy is the driver of the vehicle that hits and kills Myrtle Wilson. This is ironic since Myrtle is the mistress of her husband. These are both examples of dramatic irony.
Featuring over 36 million ebooks, the Internet Archive is possibly the largest digital library ever created. In addition to free ebooks, its catalog includes over 778 billion web pages and millions of videos, concerts, audio files, and software programs. Think of the Internet Archive as a digital time machine.What is the best free eBook library? ›
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The law of copyrights is inherently opposed to shadow libraries. As a result, Z-Library is an illegal website. Though their intentions are good, they make works available that are not legally authorized.What is the difference between eBook and PDF? ›
A PDF is actually very, very different from an eBook. A PDF is the file used to design your book for print; an eBook's main purpose, on the other hand, is to be read on an eReader. eBooks have a very different internal structure, and are meant to be manipulated.Do eBook readers read PDF? ›
PDF is a popular format that almost all eReaders support. But, it is difficult to view PDF files on screens with restricted size and resolution.Is it legal to convert Kindle to PDF? ›
Luckily, you can convert these files into PDF format, so they're readable in other locations. Whether you should convert your AZW files to PDF is open to debate. Yes, if you plan on using the file for yourself. However, due to copyright, don't plan to share these PDFs with others since it's not legal.How can I read any book for free? ›
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Yes, but only if you download them from reputable websites or the store on your device. We at Norton appreciate the importance of books and the value they add to your lives.Are eBooks the full book? ›
An eBook is a non-editable, reflowable book that is converted to a digital format to be read on any digital device such as computer screens or mobile devices.
Project Gutenberg is zealously noncommercial, digitizes books in the public domain alone, and publishes an accurate rendition of the full electronic text (but not the formatting).Is the Gutenberg project legal? ›
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Project Gutenberg Blocks Access In Germany To All Its Public Domain Books Because Of Local Copyright Claim On 18 Of Them. [Glyn Moody, TechDirt, Link] Project Gutenberg, which currently offers 56,000 free ebooks, is one of the treasures of the Internet, but it is not as well known as it should be.Is Project Gutenberg a safe website? ›
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The average reader will spend 2 hours and 54 minutes reading this book at 250 WPM (words per minute).How long would it take to read The Great Gatsby? ›
The average reader will spend 3 hours and 0 minutes reading this book at 250 WPM (words per minute).How long does it take the average person to read The Great Gatsby? ›
The average reader, reading at a speed of 300 WPM, would take 2 hours and 35 minutes to read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.Why does everyone read The Great Gatsby? ›
Despite being a commentary on a different age and people, Gatsby's story is as relevant today as it was when it was written. Because it explores universal themes — human follies, the hopelessness of societal constructs and man's struggle with time and fate.Is Gatsby inappropriate? ›
The Great Gatsby is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language. Violence: A character is shot in the back (some blood is shown). A character puts a gun in his mouth and commits suicide—the actual shot is not seen.
As quoted in a New York Times retrospective of The Great Gatsby, critics at the time were rather cold, saying that Gatsby was "clever and brilliantly surfaced but not the work of a wise and mature novelist." Other reviewers felt it was "a little slack, a little soft, more than a little artificial, [falling] into the ...Is Gatsby a girl or boy? ›
|Full name||James Gatz (birth name)|
|Occupation||Doughboy Yachtsman Bootlegger|
All things considered, the most accurate adaptation of The Great Gatsby is the 2000 version. It had decent casting and acting, accurate dialogue, and little to no major plot changes from the original text.How many years did it take Gatsby to make his money? ›
In The Great Gatsby, it took Gatsby "just three years to earn the money that bought it." He tells Nick this while they examine the front of the house, before Gatsby shows the house to Daisy for the first time.Is The Great Gatsby book accurate? ›
The plot of the film is pretty much entirely faithful to the novel, but Luhrmann and his co-screenwriter Craig Pearce do cut out one of the side stories: the affair between Nick and Jordan Baker, the friend of Daisy's from Louisville who is a well-known golfer.How old was Gatsby in the book? ›
The title character of The Great Gatsby is a young man, around thirty years old, who rose from an impoverished childhood in rural North Dakota to become fabulously wealthy.What is the main message of The Great Gatsby? ›
The moral of The Great Gatsby is that the American Dream is ultimately unattainable. Jay Gatsby had attained great wealth and status as a socialite; however, Gatsby's dream was to have a future with his one true love, Daisy.Why is Gatsby faster? ›
The Gatsby framework anticipates what is likely to be wanted next, then starts to fetch and preload that content in the background before it's even requested by the browser—meaning that the user's wish is delivered almost instantaneously.