THE GREAT GATSBY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD PDF
The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald. This web edition published by [email protected] Adelaide. Last updated Wednesday, December 17, at To the best of . epub, PDF, kindle ebook. The Great Gatsby is a novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fiction. Title: The Great Gatsby Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: txt Language: English Date first posted.
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Great Gatsby. By F. Scott Fitzgerald name to this book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby . Hemisphere, the great wet barnyard of Long Island Sound. There are advantages in having a wife smarter than you. I could 'Oh that Chetan Bhagat,' he said, like he knew a milli Motivational Quotes for Success. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald cittadelmonte.info fitzgerald/f_scott/gatsby/cittadelmonte.info Last updated Sunday, March 27, at.
The Great Gatsby: Intermediate Level. I was bom in a big city in the Middle West1. My family has been well-known there for seventy years. I graduated2 in and then went to fight in the Great War. When I came back from the War, life in the Middle West was dull.
Nobody's coming. As I opened the front door, Daisy stopped her car and got out. Gatsby stood there, very pale, his hands in his pockets. For half a minute there was silence.
Then Daisy gave a little laugh and said, 'I'm so very glad to see you again, Jay. It's been a long time. I went into the kitchen to get the tea. After a few minutes, Gatsby came after me and closed the door. Go back and talk to her. You're both shy42, that's all. I went to the window. The rain had stopped now and the sun was shining. When I took in the tea, I made a lot of noise.
But I don't think they heard a sound. Daisy and Gatsby were both sitting on the couch. There 36 37 Daisy Comes to Tea t was nearly two o'clock in the morning when I got home. For a moment, I thought my house was on fire. Then I saw that all the lights were on in Gatsby's house. But everything was silent. There was no music and no happy laughter.
As I stood there, Gatsby walked across the lawn towards me. Why not come for a drive in my car? I haven't used the pool all summer. I knew what he wanted to ask me. What day would be best? We must have everything right, old sport. Gatsby's face was shining with joy. Their happiness filled the room. It's so big! We wandered through the gardens. Daisy admired every flower, every tree, everything she saw. We came at last to the white steps in front of the house. It was strange to see them quiet and empty.
Inside the house, we wandered through room after room. We admired the books in the library. All the beautiful rooms were empty and silent. We went upstairs and looked at bedrooms and bathrooms, painted in pale, rich colours. Finally, we came to Gatsby's own rooms, where we sat down to have a drink. Gatsby had never stopped looking at Daisy.
Once, he nearly fell downstairs. He was trying to see everything in his house through her eyes. He was like a man walking in his sleep. I can't. He began to take out shirts, suits, ties. Silk, wool, cotton - the pile grew higher and higher. Suddenly, Daisy hid her face in the shirts and began to cry. I've never seen such beautiful shirts before in all my life!
Daisy and Gatsby stood together, looking out of the window. I began to walk round the room in the half darkness. On Gatsby's desk was a photograph of a tough-looking old man. The man was dressed in sailing clothes. He used to be my best friend, years ago.
He's dead now. Dan Cody had a big yacht43 and we sailed around together for nearly five years. He was like a father to me. But I did not know that then. He was a young man who lived in the house.
In the music room, Gatsby turned on a lamp beside the piano. He lit Daisy's cigarette with a shaking hand. They sat down together on a couch, away from the light. Klingspringer sat down at the piano and began to play.
When I went over to say goodbye to Gatsby, he had a look of surprise on his face. Gatsby had dreamed of Daisy for almost five years. Now his dream was beside him. He could not believe it.
They had almost forgotten I was there. Daisy looked up as I spoke and held out her hand. Gatsby looked up too, but he didn't seem to know me. I went out of the room quietly, leaving them together. I was working hard and spending my free time with Jordan. But this was the time when everyone was talking about Gatsby. More and more strangers went to his parties. More and more strange and crazy stories were told about him.
Everyone 'I've never seen such beautiful shirts before in all my life! Then, one Saturday, I was invited to another of Gatsby's parties. Daisy was there too, and Tom had decided to come with her. Perhaps it was because Tom was there, but the party seemed different. There was an unpleasant, uneasy feeling about it. But all the same people were there. They were drinking champagne as usual, dancing and laughing as before. Tom and Daisy arrived as darkness was falling.
Gatsby went over to them at once. Then he took them slowly round the gardens, pointing out his most famous guests proudly. Daisy and Gatsby danced together - I had never seen Gatsby dance before. Then they walked over to my house and sat there together for about half an hour. Tom didn't seem to care. He found a girl he wanted to talk to and the evening passed as usual.
I could see that Daisy was not happy at the party. She hated all these laughing, shouting strangers. They didn't seem to care for anybody or about anything. By the time the Buchanans were ready to leave, Tom was in a bad temper.
A crook? He knows a funny lot of people! Where does he find them? Where does he get his money from? Gatsby was nowhere to be seen. I stayed late that night because Gatsby wanted me to. When everyone had gone, we sat on the steps together. I couldn't talk to her. I felt farther away from her than ever. It's hard to make her understand. He wanted Daisy to ask Tom for a divorce. He wanted her to tell Tom that she didn't love him - that she had never loved him. That she loved only Gatsby. Gatsby wanted to take Daisy back to Louisville, where they had first met.
Gatsby and Daisy would be married. Gatsby wanted the last five years to be completely forgotten. Gatsby didn't seem to understand how much he was asking. Everything's going to be the way it was before. She'll see! He told me about the first time he had kissed her.
That was when Gatsby's dream had begun. And he had spent his life trying to make that dream come true. But no woman can be turned into a dream. I could see this, but Gatsby could not. He could see no reason why he and Daisy should not be happy forever. One Saturday, there were no lights in Gatsby's house or in his garden.
A few cars drove up to the house, but almost immediately drove away. I wondered what was the matter. I decided to go over and find out. A new servant opened the door. OK,' and he shut the door in my face. Next day, Gatsby phoned me. I've sent all my old servants away. Daisy comes over in the afternoons. I didn't want them to talk about her in the village. Some friends of Wolfsheim are looking after me now. She wanted me to have lunch at her house the following day. Jordan would be there and, of course, Gatsby too.
Daisy phoned me half an hour later. She seemed glad that I had accepted the invitation. But her voice was nervous and excited.
The next day was the hottest day of the summer. The smallest movement made you hot and tired. Its green leather seats were too hot to touch. The room where Daisy and Jordan were sitting was dark and cool. The two girls, both dressed in white, raised their hands lazily. Gatsby stood in the middle of the room in his elegant44, pink suit. He could not believe that he was in Daisy's own house.
Daisy watched him and gave her sweet, exciting laugh. At that moment, Tom opened the door noisily and hurried into the room. Hallo, Nick,' he said, holding out his hand to me. As Tom left the room again, Daisy went over to Gatsby and kissed him on the mouth. When Tom brought in the drinks, we all drank greedily. We had lunch in the darkened dining-room and drank a lot of cold beer.
Suddenly, Tom Buchanan understood. His wife, Daisy, 46 'You know I love you,' she said softly. Tom's mouth opened a little. He looked first at Gatsby and then at Daisy. Tom stood up. Let's go! We went out onto the porch. Gatsby turned to me and said, 'I can't say anything to him in his house, old sport.
That was it. Daisy's charm was the charm of the rich and spoilt Tom came out of the house with the whisky wrapped in a towel. Daisy and Jordan followed him, looking cool and charming in their white dresses.
But Daisy moved away from her husband. You take Nick and Jordan. We'll follow you. Jordan, Tom and I got into the front seat of Gatsby's car. He wears a pink suit! And it's not very pleasant. When Tom reached Wilson's garage, he had to stop for gas. Wilson came out slowly and stood in the hot sun. He looked very ill.
When can you sell me your old car? I got it last week. Why are you going away? I've found out something What do I owe you? As Tom was giving Wilson the money, Gatsby and Daisy drove by in the blue car.
At the same moment, I saw Myrtle Wilson looking down at Jordan from an upstairs window. There was a look of terrible jealousy on Myrtle Wilson's face. She thought Jordan was Tom's wife. Tom did not see Myrtle. He was thinking about what Wilson had said. In one afternoon, Tom seemed to be losing his wife and his mistress too.
He drove on, much too fast, until he was beside the blue car. Gatsby stopped and Daisy called out, 'Where are you going? It's so hot. We'll drive around and meet you later. After some 48 49 argument, we all drove to the Plaza Hotel.
We took a room there so that we could have a drink. It was a crazy idea. The room was large, but it was very hot. We opened all the windows, but it made no difference.
You make it worse! I went there. When he had gone, Tom said, 'When were you there, exactly? American officers were able to go to an English university after the War. I was glad. Daisy got up with a smile. It's too hot to argue. She loves me. And I love Daisy too. I always have. She knows that. Tell him you never loved him,' he said. Daisy looked at each one of us unhappily.
Then Daisy turned to Gatsby with a frightened, unhappy look in her eyes. Isn't that enough? It wouldn't be true,' Daisy said sadly. He's a friend of Meyer Wolfsheim. I've been hearing all about you, Mr Gatsby! You and your friends ought to be in jail!
His face was hard, with a terrible expression. I could believe then that he had killed a man. He started to talk to Daisy, quickly, excitedly. Daisy did not seem to be listening. On that hot afternoon, Gatsby's dream was slipping farther and farther away from him. You must stop all this, please. He knew that he had won.
He won't trouble you again. It was seven o'clock when Jordan and I left the hotel with Tom. As we drove back over the bridge, I remembered that it was my thirtieth birthday. I felt sad and tired. Death in the Evening W e saw the quiet crowd of people outside Wilson's garage from some distance away. When he saw the looks on the people's faces, he stopped the car. Inside the garage, someone was crying, 'Oh, my God, oh, my God,' over and over again. We got out of the car and Tom pushed through the crowd into the garage.
Myrtle Wilson's body, wrapped in a blanket, lay on a table by the wall. Her mouth was open and a little blood was coming from it. Tom stood there, looking down at her. Tom looked round the garage slowly.
He went up to a policeman who was writing in a notebook. The car didn't stop. I know it was a yellow car all right! That yellow car I was driving this afternoon wasn't mine, do you hear? Tom drove on slowly at first, then faster. When I looked at him, I saw that he was crying.
He killed her and he didn't stop his car! Wilson had at last found out that Myrtle had a lover. She refused to tell Wilson the man's name. So Wilson had locked her in her bedroom for several hours. Just before seven, someone had heard Myrtle cry out, 'Beat me, hit me, you dirty little coward!
She had been shouting and waving her arms. Had she wanted the yellow car to stop? Myrtle Wilson was killed instantly and her blood ran onto the dusty road. Tom stopped his car outside his house and looked up at a lighted window. I'll phone for a taxi to take you home. Come in and have some supper. It's only half past nine,' she said.
Inside the garage, someone was crying, 'Oh, my God, oh, my Cod,' over and over again. I was feeling tired and sick. I had had enough of the Buchanans for one day. Jordan looked at me for a moment.
The Great Gatsby
Then she followed Tom quickly into the house. That was the last time I saw her.
I walked slowly down the drive to wait for the taxi by the gate. Gatsby stepped out onto the path in front of me. His pink suit shone in the moonlight. That's what I told Daisy. I suddenly guessed the truth. Daisy was very upset when we left New York. I thought driving would calm her down. That woman rushed into the road just as a car was coming the other way. I think she wanted us to stop. Daisy turned towards the other car and then turned back.
She was very frightened. I'm waiting here now in case Tom makes any trouble. Then I thought for a moment. What would Tom do if he found out that Daisy had been driving? Would he believe that Myrtle's death had been an accident? Daisy and Tom were sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table. Tom was talking and holding Daisy's hand. Daisy looked up at Tom and nodded her head.
They looked as though they belonged to each other. They looked as though they were planning something. I went back to Gatsby, who was standing where I had left him. I could hear the sound of my taxi. Daisy may need me. Goodnight, old sport. I left him standing there, in the moonlight.
The front door was open. Gatsby was sitting in the hall, still wearing his pink suit. Then she turned out the light. There was dust everywhere. We sat smoking in the darkness. Of course I can't, old sport. I must find out what Daisy wants to do.
He told me how he had first been excited by her beauty and by her money. Gatsby had been a young man without money.
And he had no hope of getting any. One October night, he and Daisy had become lovers. Then he had fallen in love with Daisy. And Daisy, a girl who had everything she wanted, fell in love with him. Life, for Gatsby, became more and more unreal. He spent hours telling Daisy about his dreams for the future. And, of course, she listened to him.
Then Gatsby had to go to the War. When he came back, Tom and Daisy were on their honeymoon. I had terrible, frightening dreams.
Just before dawn, I heard a taxi driving up to Gatsby's house. I dressed and went over there at once. The house began to fill with the pale light of dawn. Birds began to sing in Gatsby's garden. She was excited and Tom frightened her. The air was cooler. Summer was nearly over. The gardener came up to us and said, 'I'm going to take the water out of the swimming pool, Mr Gatsby.
The leaves will be falling soon. But I didn't want to work and I didn't want to leave Gatsby alone. I suppose Daisy will phone, too. Then I stopped and shouted back across the lawn, 'They're no good, Gatsby! You're better than all of them! But I've always been glad I said it. Gatsby gave me a big smile and raised his hand. His pink suit was bright against the white steps. Thank you, Gatsby. He asked the way to Gatsby's house.
At two o'clock, Gatsby had gone down to his swimming pool with an airbed He told his servants to call him if anyone phoned. No one phoned. His dream was over. I couldn't do much work that day. I got back to West Egg by about half past four. Gatsby wasn't in the house.
One of the servants told me he had not come back from the swimming pool. We hurried down to the pool. The airbed was moving slowly round and round. There was a little blood in the water and Gatsby lay on the airbed - dead.
As we carried Gatsby's body up to the house, we saw Wilson lying on the grass. Wilson had shot Gatsby and had then shot himself. At the inquest51, Myrtle's sister swore that Myrtle had never known Gatsby. She said, too, that Wilson and his wife had been completely happy. So Wilson was called 'a man made mad with grief52' and the case was closed. Wilson had cried for Myrtle all night.
Then he began to talk to his neighbours. Two months ago, Myrtle had come back from New York with a bruised face. Later, Wilson had found an expensive dog collar in Myrtle's desk. He murdered her, the man in the yellow car! She ran out to speak to him and he wouldn't stop! At half past two on the day after Myrtle had been killed, Wilson About half an hour after we had found Gatsby, I phoned Daisy.
I'm very sorry. I thought of Meyer Wolfsheim. I phoned him, but he had already left his office. The following morning, I sent a servant to New York with a letter. Wolfsheim sent back a very short answer. Dear Mr Carraway, This has been a great shock to me.
I cannot go to the funeral53, as I am very busy. I would rather not visit the house. I'll remember him as he was. Yours truly, Meyer Wolfsheim All that day and the next, I had to answer the questions of the police and the reporters. The news of Gatsby's death was in all the papers.
But Daisy didn't phone. Then a telegram arrived from Henry Gatz. He had read the news of his son's death in a Chicago newspaper.
He was coming to the funeral. The truth was that Jay Gatsby had started life as James Gatz. He was the son of a poor farmer in the Middle West. He had left home when he was sixteen. For a year, James Gatz had lived near Lake Superior, working as a fisherman. Gatz had become a good-looking young man, popular with women. He had gone to college, but had only stayed there for two weeks. James Gatz was already ambitious - he was dreaming of success.
One morning, Gatz saw Dan Cody's big white yacht near the shore. Gatz found a boat and sailed over to the yacht to ask for a job. Dan Cody asked a few questions. Gatz told Dan Cody that There was a little blood in the water and Gatsby lay on the airbed - dead. Cody saw that the young man with the pleasant smile was quick and ambitious. When the yacht sailed, Jay Gatsby went with it.
Gatsby stayed with Cody for five years, until the old man died. Gatsby didn't get any of the old man's money. But Gatsby had learnt how the rich live. Gatsby now knew what he wanted. Mr Henry Gatz was already in tears when he arrived for the funeral.
He was an old man and was so upset that he could hardly stand. But when he had looked round the house, he became more cheerful.
He was a good boy and he had a great future. He could have done something really good for his country. I was proud of my boy, Mr Carraway. This has been a terrible shock to me. At three o'clock, the minister arrived. Gatsby's father and I waited for the other mourners. After half an hour, the minister began to look at his watch. We waited a little longer, but nobody came. It was raining hard when we reached the cemetery.
As we walked towards the grave, I heard someone following us. It was the fat man with glasses I had seen in Gatsby's library three months before. As we stood by the grave, I saw that Daisy hadn't sent a flower or a message.
After the funeral, the fat man said, 'I'm sorry I couldn't get to the house. What friends! Tom had done what he wanted to do - got rid of Gatsby. Tom and Daisy were rich, careless people. They took what they wanted and destroyed54 what they didn't need.
Then they went away, leaving others to clear up the mess After Gatsby's death, I couldn't live on Long Island any longer. I wanted to go back to the West.
I wanted to go back to where we all came from. I wanted to return to the place where I felt happiest. When he stopped and held out his hand, I put my hands behind my back. Tom took hold of my arm. He came into our house with a gun. He would have killed one of us if I hadn't told him who owned the yellow car. But he was tough and he killed Myrtle like a dog!
On my last night, I stood in the garden, thinking about Gatsby and his dream. Gatsby had believed in his dream. He had followed it and nearly made it come true. Everybody has a dream. And, like Gatsby, we must all follow our dream wherever it takes us. Some unpleasant people became part of Gatsby's dream. But he cannot be blamed for that. Gatsby was a success, in the end, wasn't he? There was nothing I could say. When he came back from the War, he decided to go East.
Where did Nick find a house? Who lived in the house on the right of Nick Carraway's house? Who did Miss Baker think was phoning Tom Buchanan? Daisy told Nick that she hoped her daughter would be a beautiful little fool. Why was Miss Jordan Baker well known? When Nick Carraway got back home, he stood for a while on the lawn outside the house. Someone was standing on the lawn outside Gatsby's house.
When the train stopped at the river, Tom Buchanan got off with Nick. Myrtle's sister, Catherine, had been at a party at Gatsby's house. What did she tell Nick about Gatsby? Nick Carraway was invited to one of Gatsby's parties. At the party, he heard people speaking about Gatsby. The butler came up to Nick's table and spoke to Jordan. What did the butler say to her? What kind of things did they say about Gatsby? What colour was it? Gatsby drove Nick to New York in his car.
Gatsby showed Nick a photograph of himself. How did Nick always feel as he came into New York? Nick and Gatsby had lunch with Meyer Wolfsheim. What did Gatsby tell Nick about this man? Tom came over and spoke to Nick. Nick introduced Tom to Gatsby. How did Gatsby behave? Jordan told Nick about something that had happened to Daisy when she was eighteen. On the day before Daisy's wedding, her family gave a big dinner party.
What was Jordan's reply? What was it Gatsby wanted Nick to do? How did Gatsby feel when he was showing Daisy round his house? What did Gatsby tell Nick about Dan Cody? Was Gatsby telling the truth? What was Tom going to do to get the answers to his questions?
What did Gatsby want her to do? What was the weather like when Nick drove over with Gatsby to the Buchanan's house for lunch? How did Tom come to realise that Daisy was in love with Gatsby? On the way to New York, Tom stopped at Wilson's garage. What was the truth about Gatsby being a student at Oxford University? Gatsby asked Daisy to tell Tom that she had always loved Gatsby and had never loved Tom. What was Daisy's reply?
Who drove back to West Egg in Gatsby's car? That day was Nick Carraway's birthday.
Myrtle Wilson ran out onto the road and was knocked down by the yellow car and killed. Did Gatsby believe what Daisy had said in the hotel room in New York?
But what had Gatsby learned from Cody? What is your answer to Nick's question? They also wanted plenty of money. Clothes, music and ideas were all new and different. A law was passed at this time which said that people could not buy or sell alcohol.
But many people broke this law. A great number of people got rich very quickly. They often broke laws to make their money. People enjoyed themselves at parties by dancing to the new jazz tunes.
At this time, New York was the most modern and fashionable city of America. People went there from all over the United States. They did what they wanted to and did not care what other people thought. Chicago is one of the big industrial cities in the Middle West.
People in the Middle West worked hard and did not like modem ideas. A track for trains to run on. People who broke this law were called bootleggers. A crook is someone who makes money dishonestly. A gambler is someone who plays games for money.
It is given for bravery. A machine to take people from one floor to another in large buildings. She stands behind the bride in church. Some rich people put only the covers of many books in their bookshelves, to show they were well-educated. But Gatsby's books were real, they could be read.
Gatsby had become rich when he moved East. Before this time, he had been a poor man from a small town in the Middle West. Tom thinks Gatsby is a coward. When this is decided, nothing more can be said - the case is closed.
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
People are asked questions and agree, or swear, to tell the truth. People in the Story Write the correct name from the box next to each picture below. Then read the sentences and write T True or F False. He said he was an officer during the First World War. He said he studied at Oxford. He had a degree from Harvard University. He was married to Daisy.
He drove a yellow car. His cousin Daisy married Gatsby. Use each word in the box once. The man 1 at me in surprise. I'm not a very good Gatsby smiled. He had a pleasant His smile made me I looked at Gatsby with 5 17 She and her husband were happy together. He was a tough-looking young man, but he had beautiful clothes and beautiful She often went to New York At that moment, the Gatsby stood up and Her sister lived in New York 'Chicago's on the phone, you must I will She had a lover.
He first met Myrtle in a He told me once he was But I restaurant. But who l? Do you know her? I met her somewhere last night. I've been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library. I can't tell yet. I've only been here an hour. Did I tell you about the books? They're real. There was dancing now on the canvas in the garden, old men pushing young girls backward in eternal graceless circles, superior couples holding each other tortuously, fashionably and keeping in the corners--and a great number of single girls dancing individualistically or relieving the orchestra for a moment of the burden of the banjo or the traps.
By midnight the hilarity had increased. A celebrated tenor had sung in Italian and a notorious contralto had sung in jazz and between the numbers people were doing "stunts" all over the garden, while happy vacuous bursts of laughter rose toward the summer sky. A pair of stage "twins"--who turned out to be the girls in yellow--did a baby act in costume and champagne was served in glasses bigger than finger bowls.
The moon had risen higher, and floating in the Sound was a triangle of silver scales, trembling a little to the stiff, tinny drip of the banjoes on the lawn. I was still with Jordan Baker. We were sitting at a table with a man of about my age and a rowdy little girl who gave way upon the slightest provocation to uncontrollable laughter.
I was enjoying myself now. I had taken two finger bowls of champagne and the scene had changed before my eyes into something significant, elemental and profound. I knew I'd seen you somewhere before. We talked for a moment about some wet, grey little villages in France. Evidently he lived in this vicinity for he told me that he had just bought a hydroplane and was going to try it out in the morning. I haven't even seen the host. I live over there" I waved my hand at the invisible hedge in the distance, "and this man Gatsby sent over his chauffeur with an invitation.
He smiled understandingly--much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
Precisely at that point it vanished--and I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I'd got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care. Almost at the moment when Mr. Gatsby identified himself a butler hurried toward him with the information that Chicago was calling him on the wire.
He excused himself with a small bow that included each of us in turn. I will rejoin you later. When he was gone I turned immediately to Jordan--constrained to assure her of my surprise.
I had expected that Mr. Gatsby would be a florid and corpulent person in his middle years. Something in her tone reminded me of the other girl's "I think he killed a man," and had the effect of stimulating my curiosity. I would have accepted without question the information that Gatsby sprang from the swamps of Louisiana or from the lower East Side of New York.
That was comprehensible. But young men didn't--at least in my provincial inexperience I believed they didn't--drift coolly out of nowhere and buy a palace on Long Island Sound.
They're so intimate. At small parties there isn't any privacy. There was the boom of a bass drum, and the voice of the orchestra leader rang out suddenly above the echolalia of the garden. Gatsby we are going to play for you Mr. Vladimir Tostoff's latest work which attracted so much attention at Carnegie Hall last May. If you read the papers you know there was a big sensation.
The nature of Mr. Tostoff's composition eluded me, because just as it began my eyes fell on Gatsby, standing alone on the marble steps and looking from one group to another with approving eyes. His tanned skin was drawn attractively tight on his face and his short hair looked as though it were trimmed every day. I could see nothing sinister about him. I wondered if the fact that he was not drinking helped to set him off from his guests, for it seemed to me that he grew more correct as the fraternal hilarity increased.
When the "Jazz History of the World" was over girls were putting their heads on men's shoulders in a puppyish, convivial way, girls were swooning backward playfully into men's arms, even into groups knowing that some one would arrest their falls--but no one swooned backward on Gatsby and no French bob touched Gatsby's shoulder and no singing quartets were formed with Gatsby's head for one link.
She got up slowly, raising her eyebrows at me in astonishment, and followed the butler toward the house. I noticed that she wore her evening dress, all her dresses, like sports clothes--there was a jauntiness about her movements as if she had first learned to walk upon golf courses on clean, crisp mornings.
I was alone and it was almost two. For some time confused and intriguing sounds had issued from a long many-windowed room which overhung the terrace. Eluding Jordan's undergraduate who was now engaged in an obstetrical conversation with two chorus girls, and who implored me to join him, I went inside. The large room was full of people.
One of the girls in yellow was playing the piano and beside her stood a tall, red haired young lady from a famous chorus, engaged in song. She had drunk a quantity of champagne and during the course of her song she had decided ineptly that everything was very very sad--she was not only singing, she was weeping too. Whenever there was a pause in the song she filled it with gasping broken sobs and then took up the lyric again in a quavering soprano.
The tears coursed down her cheeks--not freely, however, for when they came into contact with her heavily beaded eyelashes they assumed an inky color, and pursued the rest of their way in slow black rivulets. A humorous suggestion was made that she sing the notes on her face whereupon she threw up her hands, sank into a chair and went off into a deep vinous sleep.
I looked around. Most of the remaining women were now having fights with men said to be their husbands. Even Jordan's party, the quartet from East Egg, were rent asunder by dissension. One of the men was talking with curious intensity to a young actress, and his wife after attempting to laugh at the situation in a dignified and indifferent way broke down entirely and resorted to flank attacks--at intervals she appeared suddenly at his side like an angry diamond, and hissed "You promised!
The reluctance to go home was not confined to wayward men. The hall was at present occupied by two deplorably sober men and their highly indignant wives. The wives were sympathizing with each other in slightly raised voices. In spite of the wives' agreement that such malevolence was beyond credibility, the dispute ended in a short struggle, and both wives were lifted kicking into the night.
As I waited for my hat in the hall the door of the library opened and Jordan Baker and Gatsby came out together. He was saying some last word to her but the eagerness in his manner tightened abruptly into formality as several people approached him to say goodbye.
Jordan's party were calling impatiently to her from the porch but she lingered for a moment to shake hands.
Phone book. Under the name of Mrs. Sigourney Howard. My aunt. Rather ashamed that on my first appearance I had stayed so late, I joined the last of Gatsby's guests who were clustered around him.
I wanted to explain that I'd hunted for him early in the evening and to apologize for not having known him in the garden. Good night. But as I walked down the steps I saw that the evening was not quite over. Fifty feet from the door a dozen headlights illuminated a bizarre and tumultuous scene. The sharp jut of a wall accounted for the detachment of the wheel which was now getting considerable attention from half a dozen curious chauffeurs. However, as they had left their cars blocking the road a harsh discordant din from those in the rear had been audible for some time and added to the already violent confusion of the scene.
A man in a long duster had dismounted from the wreck and now stood in the middle of the road, looking from the car to the tire and from the tire to the observers in a pleasant, puzzled way. The fact was infinitely astonishing to him--and I recognized first the unusual quality of wonder and then the man--it was the late patron of Gatsby's library.
It happened, and that's all I know. A bad driver and not even try ing! There's another man in the car. The shock that followed this declaration found voice in a sustained "Ah-h-h!
The crowd--it was now a crowd--stepped back involuntarily and when the door had opened wide there was a ghostly pause. Then, very gradually, part by part, a pale dangling individual stepped out of the wreck, pawing tentatively at the ground with a large uncertain dancing shoe. Blinded by the glare of the headlights and confused by the incessant groaning of the horns the apparition stood swaying for a moment before he perceived the man in the duster. Half a dozen fingers pointed at the amputated wheel--he stared at it for a moment and then looked upward as though he suspected that it had dropped from the sky.
A pause. Then, taking a long breath and straightening his shoulders he remarked in a determined voice:. At least a dozen men, some of them little better off than he was, explained to him that wheel and car were no longer joined by any physical bond. The caterwauling horns had reached a crescendo and I turned away and cut across the lawn toward home.
I glanced back once. A wafer of a moon was shining over Gatsby's house, making the night fine as before and surviving the laughter and the sound of his still glowing garden. A sudden emptiness seemed to flow now from the windows and the great doors, endowing with complete isolation the figure of the host who stood on the porch, his hand up in a formal gesture of farewell.
Reading over what I have written so far I see I have given the impression that the events of three nights several weeks apart were all that absorbed me. On the contrary they were merely casual events in a crowded summer and, until much later, they absorbed me infinitely less than my personal affairs.
Most of the time I worked. In the early morning the sun threw my shadow westward as I hurried down the white chasms of lower New York to the Probity Trust. I knew the other clerks and young bond-salesmen by their first names and lunched with them in dark crowded restaurants on little pig sausages and mashed potatoes and coffee. I even had a short affair with a girl who lived in Jersey City and worked in the accounting department, but her brother began throwing mean looks in my direction so when she went on her vacation in July I let it blow quietly away.
I took dinner usually at the Yale Club--for some reason it was the gloomiest event of my day--and then I went upstairs to the library and studied investments and securities for a conscientious hour. There were generally a few rioters around but they never came into the library so it was a good place to work. I began to like New York, the racy, adventurous feel of it at night and the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye.
I liked to walk up Fifth Avenue and pick out romantic women from the crowd and imagine that in a few minutes I was going to enter into their lives, and no one would ever know or disapprove. Sometimes, in my mind, I followed them to their apartments on the corners of hidden streets, and they turned and smiled back at me before they faded through a door into warm darkness.
At the enchanted metropolitan twilight I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others--poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner--young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.
Again at eight o'clock, when the dark lanes of the Forties were five deep with throbbing taxi cabs, bound for the theatre district, I felt a sinking in my heart. Forms leaned together in the taxis as they waited, and voices sang, and there was laughter from unheard jokes, and lighted cigarettes outlined unintelligible gestures inside. Imagining that I, too, was hurrying toward gayety and sharing their intimate excitement, I wished them well.
For a while I lost sight of Jordan Baker, and then in midsummer I found her again. At first I was flattered to go places with her because she was a golf champion and every one knew her name. Then it was something more. I wasn't actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity. The bored haughty face that she turned to the world concealed something--most affectations conceal something eventually, even though they don't in the beginning--and one day I found what it was.
When we were on a house-party together up in Warwick, she left a borrowed car out in the rain with the top down, and then lied about it--and suddenly I remembered the story about her that had eluded me that night at Daisy's.
At her first big golf tournament there was a row that nearly reached the newspapers--a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round. The thing approached the proportions of a scandal--then died away. A caddy retracted his statement and the only other witness admitted that he might have been mistaken.
The incident and the name had remained together in my mind. Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever, shrewd men, and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible.
She was incurably dishonest. She wasn't able to endure being at a disadvantage, and given this unwillingness, I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard jaunty body.
It made no difference to me. Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply--I was casually sorry, and then I forgot. It was on that same house party that we had a curious conversation about driving a car. It started because she passed so close to some workmen that our fender flicked a button on one man's coat. Her grey, sun-strained eyes stared straight ahead, but she had deliberately shifted our relations, and for a moment I thought I loved her.
But I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires, and I knew that first I had to get myself definitely out of that tangle back home. I'd been writing letters once a week and signing them: Nevertheless there was a vague understanding that had to be tactfully broken off before I was free.
Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known. On Sunday morning while church bells rang in the villages along shore the world and its mistress returned to Gatsby's house and twinkled hilariously on his lawn.
Reach me a rose, honey, and pour me a last drop into that there crystal glass. Once I wrote down on the empty spaces of a time-table the names of those who came to Gatsby's house that summer. It is an old time-table now, disintegrating at its folds and headed "This schedule in effect July 5th, And the Hornbeams and the Willie Voltaires and a whole clan named Blackbuck who always gathered in a corner and flipped up their noses like goats at whosoever came near.
Chrystie's wife and Edgar Beaver, whose hair they say turned cotton-white one winter afternoon for no good reason at all. Clarence Endive was from East Egg, as I remember. He came only once, in white knickerbockers, and had a fight with a bum named Etty in the garden. From farther out on the Island came the Cheadles and the O. Snell was there three days before he went to the penitentiary, so drunk out on the gravel drive that Mrs.
Ulysses Swett's automobile ran over his right hand. The Dancies came too and S. Whitebait, who was well over sixty, and Maurice A. Flink and the Hammerheads and Beluga the tobacco importer and Beluga's girls. Schwartze the son and Arthur McCarty, all connected with the movies in one way or another. And the Catlips and the Bembergs and G. Earl Muldoon, brother to that Muldoon who afterward strangled his wife.
A man named Klipspringer was there so often and so long that he became known as "the boarder"--I doubt if he had any other home. Belcher and the Smirkes and the young Quinns, divorced now, and Henry L.
Palmetto who killed himself by jumping in front of a subway train in Times Square. Benny McClenahan arrived always with four girls. They were never quite the same ones in physical person but they were so identical one with another that it inevitably seemed they had been there before.
I have forgotten their names--Jaqueline, I think, or else Consuela or Gloria or Judy or June, and their last names were either the melodious names of flowers and months or the sterner ones of the great American capitalists whose cousins, if pressed, they would confess themselves to be. In addition to all these I can remember that Faustina O'Brien came there at least once and the Baedeker girls and young Brewer who had his nose shot off in the war and Mr. Jewett, once head of the American Legion, and Miss Claudia Hip with a man reputed to be her chauffeur, and a prince of something whom we called Duke and whose name, if I ever knew it, I have forgotten.
At nine o'clock, one morning late in July Gatsby's gorgeous car lurched up the rocky drive to my door and gave out a burst of melody from its three noted horn. It was the first time he had called on me though I had gone to two of his parties, mounted in his hydroplane, and, at his urgent invitation, made frequent use of his beach. You're having lunch with me today and I thought we'd ride up together.
He was balancing himself on the dashboard of his car with that resourcefulness of movement that is so peculiarly American--that comes, I suppose, with the absence of lifting work or rigid sitting in youth and, even more, with the formless grace of our nervous, sporadic games. This quality was continually breaking through his punctilious manner in the shape of restlessness.
He was never quite still; there was always a tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a hand. I'd seen it. Everybody had seen it.
It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hatboxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns. Sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green leather conservatory we started to town. I had talked with him perhaps half a dozen times in the past month and found, to my disappointment, that he had little to say. So my first impression, that he was a person of some undefined consequence, had gradually faded and he had become simply the proprietor of an elaborate roadhouse next door.
And then came that disconcerting ride. We hadn't reached West Egg village before Gatsby began leaving his elegant sentences unfinished and slapping himself indecisively on the knee of his caramel-colored suit. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition. He looked at me sideways--and I knew why Jordan Baker had believed he was lying.
He hurried the phrase "educated at Oxford," or swallowed it or choked on it as though it had bothered him before. And with this doubt his whole statement fell to pieces and I wondered if there wasn't something a little sinister about him after all.
His voice was solemn as if the memory of that sudden extinction of a clan still haunted him. For a moment I suspected that he was pulling my leg but a glance at him convinced me otherwise. With an effort I managed to restrain my incredulous laughter. The very phrases were worn so threadbare that they evoked no image except that of a turbaned "character" leaking sawdust at every pore as he pursued a tiger through the Bois de Boulogne.
It was a great relief and I tried very hard to die but I seemed to bear an enchanted life. I accepted a commission as first lieutenant when it began. In the Argonne Forest I took two machine-gun detachments so far forward that there was a half mile gap on either side of us where the infantry couldn't advance.
We stayed there two days and two nights, a hundred and thirty men with sixteen Lewis guns, and when the infantry came up at last they found the insignia of three German divisions among the piles of dead. I was promoted to be a major and every Allied government gave me a decoration--even Montenegro, little Montenegro down on the Adriatic Sea!
Little Montenegro! He lifted up the words and nodded at them--with his smile. The smile comprehended Montenegro's troubled history and sympathized with the brave struggles of the Montenegrin people.
It appreciated fully the chain of national circumstances which had elicited this tribute from Montenegro's warm little heart.
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My incredulity was submerged in fascination now; it was like skimming hastily through a dozen magazines. A souvenir of Oxford days. It was taken in Trinity Quad--the man on my left is now the Earl of Dorcaster. It was a photograph of half a dozen young men in blazers loafing in an archway through which were visible a host of spires. There was Gatsby, looking a little, not much, younger--with a cricket bat in his hand. Then it was all true. I saw the skins of tigers flaming in his palace on the Grand Canal; I saw him opening a chest of rubies to ease, with their crimson-lighted depths, the gnawings of his broken heart.
I didn't want you to think I was just some nobody. You see, I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad thing that happened to me. But Miss Baker has kindly consented to speak to you about this matter. I hadn't the faintest idea what "this matter" was, but I was more annoyed than interested.
I hadn't asked Jordan to tea in order to discuss Mr. Jay Gatsby. I was sure the request would be something utterly fantastic and for a moment I was sorry I'd ever set foot upon his overpopulated lawn.
He wouldn't say another word. His correctness grew on him as we neared the city. We passed Port Roosevelt, where there was a glimpse of red-belted ocean-going ships, and sped along a cobbled slum lined with the dark, undeserted saloons of the faded gilt nineteen-hundreds. Then the valley of ashes opened out on both sides of us, and I had a glimpse of Mrs. Wilson straining at the garage pump with panting vitality as we went by. With fenders spread like wings we scattered light through half Astoria--only half, for as we twisted among the pillars of the elevated I heard the familiar "jug--jug-- spat!
We slowed down. Taking a white card from his wallet he waved it before the man's eyes. Excuse me! Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory 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 the beauty in the world.
A dead man passed us in a hearse heaped with blooms, followed by two carriages with drawn blinds and by more cheerful carriages for friends. The friends looked out at us with the tragic eyes and short upper lips of south-eastern Europe, and I was glad that the sight of Gatsby's splendid car was included in their somber holiday.
As we crossed Blackwell's Island a limousine passed us, driven by a white chauffeur, in which sat three modish Negroes, two bucks and a girl. I laughed aloud as the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry.
Roaring noon. In a well-fanned Forty-second Street cellar I met Gatsby for lunch. Blinking away the brightness of the street outside my eyes picked him out obscurely in the anteroom, talking to another man. A small, flat-nosed Jew raised his large head and regarded me with two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril.
After a moment I discovered his tiny eyes in the half darkness. Wolfshiem, shaking my hand earnestly, "--and what do you think I did? But evidently he was not addressing me for he dropped my hand and covered Gatsby with his expressive nose. Gatsby took an arm of each of us and moved forward into the restaurant whereupon Mr.
Wolfshiem swallowed a new sentence he was starting and lapsed into a somnambulatory abstraction. Wolfshiem looking at the Presbyterian nymphs on the ceiling. Wolfshiem gloomily. Filled with friends gone now forever. I can't forget so long as I live the night they shot Rosy Rosenthal there. It was six of us at the table and Rosy had eat and drunk a lot all evening.
When it was almost morning the waiter came up to him with a funny look and says somebody wants to speak to him outside. Wolfshiem's nose flashed at me indignantly--"He turned around in the door and says, 'Don't let that waiter take away my coffee!
A succulent hash arrived, and Mr. Wolfshiem, forgetting the more sentimental atmosphere of the old Metropole, began to eat with ferocious delicacy.
His eyes, meanwhile, roved very slowly all around the room--he completed the arc by turning to inspect the people directly behind. I think that, except for my presence, he would have taken one short glance beneath our own table.
Why has it all got to come through Miss Baker? Suddenly he looked at his watch, jumped up and hurried from the room leaving me with Mr.
Wolfshiem at the table. Wolfshiem, following him with his eyes. Handsome to look at and a perfect gentleman. But I knew I had discovered a man of fine breeding after I talked with him an hour. I said to myself: I hadn't been looking at them, but I did now. They were composed of oddly familiar pieces of ivory. He would never so much as look at a friend's wife. When the subject of this instinctive trust returned to the table and sat down Mr. Wolfshiem drank his coffee with a jerk and got to his feet.
Wolfshiem raised his hand in a sort of benediction.
As he shook hands and turned away his tragic nose was trembling. I wondered if I had said anything to offend him. He's quite a character around New York--a denizen of Broadway. No, he's a gambler. The idea staggered me. I remembered of course that the World's Series had been fixed in but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as a thing that merely happened , the end of some inevitable chain.
It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people--with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe. I insisted on paying the check. As the waiter brought my change I caught sight of Tom Buchanan across the crowded room. They shook hands briefly and a strained, unfamiliar look of embarrassment came over Gatsby's face. One October day in nineteen-seventeen said Jordan Baker that afternoon, sitting up very straight on a straight chair in the tea-garden at the Plaza Hotel --I was walking along from one place to another half on the sidewalks and half on the lawns.
I was happier on the lawns because I had on shoes from England with rubber nobs on the soles that bit into the soft ground. I had on a new plaid skirt also that blew a little in the wind and whenever this happened the red, white and blue banners in front of all the houses stretched out stiff and said tut-tut-tut-tut in a disapproving way.
The largest of the banners and the largest of the lawns belonged to Daisy Fay's house. She was just eighteen, two years older than me, and by far the most popular of all the young girls in Louisville. She dressed in white, and had a little white roadster and all day long the telephone rang in her house and excited young officers from Camp Taylor demanded the privilege of monopolizing her that night, "anyways, for an hour!
When I came opposite her house that morning her white roadster was beside the curb, and she was sitting in it with a lieutenant I had never seen before. They were so engrossed in each other that she didn't see me until I was five feet away. I was flattered that she wanted to speak to me, because of all the older girls I admired her most. She asked me if I was going to the Red Cross and make bandages. I was. Well, then, would I tell them that she couldn't come that day? The officer looked at Daisy while she was speaking, in a way that every young girl wants to be looked at sometime, and because it seemed romantic to me I have remembered the incident ever since.
His name was Jay Gatsby and I didn't lay eyes on him again for over four years--even after I'd met him on Long Island I didn't realize it was the same man. That was nineteen-seventeen. By the next year I had a few beaux myself, and I began to play in tournaments, so I didn't see Daisy very often. She went with a slightly older crowd--when she went with anyone at all. Wild rumors were circulating about her--how her mother had found her packing her bag one winter night to go to New York and say goodbye to a soldier who was going overseas.
She was effectually prevented, but she wasn't on speaking terms with her family for several weeks. After that she didn't play around with the soldiers any more but only with a few flat-footed, short-sighted young men in town who couldn't get into the army at all. By the next autumn she was gay again, gay as ever. She had a debut after the Armistice, and in February she was presumably engaged to a man from New Orleans.
In June she married Tom Buchanan of Chicago with more pomp and circumstance than Louisville ever knew before. He came down with a hundred people in four private cars and hired a whole floor of the Seelbach Hotel, and the day before the wedding he gave her a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. I was bridesmaid. I came into her room half an hour before the bridal dinner, and found her lying on her bed as lovely as the June night in her flowered dress--and as drunk as a monkey.
She had a bottle of sauterne in one hand and a letter in the other. Tell 'em all Daisy's change' her mine. Say 'Daisy's change' her mine! She began to cry--she cried and cried. I rushed out and found her mother ' s maid and we locked the door and got her into a cold bath. She wouldn't let go of the letter. She took it into the tub with her and squeezed it up into a wet ball, and only let me leave it in the soap dish when she saw that it was coming to pieces like snow.
But she didn't say another word. We gave her spirits of ammonia and put ice on her forehead and hooked her back into her dress and half an hour later when we walked out of the room the pearls were around her neck and the incident was over. Next day at five o'clock she married Tom Buchanan without so much as a shiver and started off on a three months' trip to the South Seas. I saw them in Santa Barbara when they came back and I thought I'd never seen a girl so mad about her husband.
If he left the room for a minute she'd look around uneasily and say "Where's Tom gone? She used to sit on the sand with his head in her lap by the hour rubbing her fingers over his eyes and looking at him with unfathomable delight. It was touching to see them together--it made you laugh in a hushed, fascinated way. That was in August. A week after I left Santa Barbara Tom ran into a wagon on the Ventura road one night and ripped a front wheel off his car.
The girl who was with him got into the papers too because her arm was broken--she was one of the chambermaids in the Santa Barbara Hotel. The next April Daisy had her little girl and they went to France for a year. I saw them one spring in Cannes and later in Deauville and then they came back to Chicago to settle down. Daisy was popular in Chicago, as you know.
They moved with a fast crowd, all of them young and rich and wild, but she came out with an absolutely perfect reputation. Perhaps because she doesn't drink.
It's a great advantage not to drink among hard-drinking people. You can hold your tongue and, moreover, you can time any little irregularity of your own so that everybody else is so blind that they don't see or care.
Perhaps Daisy never went in for amour at all--and yet there's something in that voice of hers. Well, about six weeks ago, she heard the name Gatsby for the first time in years. It was when I asked you--do you remember?
After you had gone home she came into my room and woke me up, and said "What Gatsby? It wasn't until then that I connected this Gatsby with the officer in her white car. When Jordan Baker had finished telling all this we had left the Plaza for half an hour and were driving in a Victoria through Central Park. The sun had gone down behind the tall apartments of the movie stars in the West Fifties and the clear voices of girls, already gathered like crickets on the grass, rose through the hot twilight:.
I'm the Sheik of Araby, Your love belongs to me. At night when you're asleep, Into your tent I'll creep Then it had not been merely the stars to which he had aspired on that June night. He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor. The modesty of the demand shook me.
He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he dispensed starlight to casual moths so that he could "come over" some afternoon to a stranger's garden. He's waited so long. He thought you might be offended. You see he's a regular tough underneath it all. Then he began asking people casually if they knew her, and I was the first one he found. It was that night he sent for me at his dance, and you should have heard the elaborate way he worked up to it. Of course, I immediately suggested a luncheon in New York--and I thought he'd go mad:.
He doesn't know very much about Tom, though he says he's read a Chicago paper for years just on the chance of catching a glimpse of Daisy's name. It was dark now, and as we dipped under a little bridge I put my arm around Jordan's golden shoulder and drew her toward me and asked her to dinner.
Suddenly I wasn't thinking of Daisy and Gatsby any more but of this clean, hard, limited person who dealt in universal skepticism and who leaned back jauntily just within the circle of my arm. A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: Gatsby doesn't want her to know.
You're just supposed to invite her to tea. We passed a barrier of dark trees, and then the facade of Fifty-ninth Street, a block of delicate pale light, beamed down into the park.
Unlike Gatsby and Tom Buchanan I had no girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs and so I drew up the girl beside me, tightening my arms. Her wan, scornful mouth smiled and so I drew her up again, closer, this time to my face. When I came home to West Egg that night I was afraid for a moment that my house was on fire.
Two o'clock and the whole corner of the peninsula was blazing with light which fell unreal on the shrubbery and made thin elongating glints upon the roadside wires. Turning a corner I saw that it was Gatsby's house, lit from tower to cellar. At first I thought it was another party, a wild rout that had resolved itself into "hide-and-go-seek" or "sardines-in-the-box" with all the house thrown open to the game.
But there wasn't a sound. Only wind in the trees which blew the wires and made the lights go off and on again as if the house had winked into the darkness. As my taxi groaned away I saw Gatsby walking toward me across his lawn.
Let's go to Coney Island, old sport. In my car. We both looked at the grass--there was a sharp line where my ragged lawn ended and the darker, well-kept expanse of his began. I suspected that he meant my grass. At least" He fumbled with a series of beginnings. And I thought that if you don't make very much--You're selling bonds, aren't you, old sport?
It wouldn't take up much of your time and you might pick up a nice bit of money. It happens to be a rather confidential sort of thing. I realize now that under different circumstances that conversation might have been one of the crises of my life. But, because the offer was obviously and tactlessly for a service to be rendered, I had no choice except to cut him off there. He waited a moment longer, hoping I'd begin a conversation, but I was too absorbed to be responsive, so he went unwillingly home.
The evening had made me light-headed and happy; I think I walked into a deep sleep as I entered my front door. So I didn't know whether or not Gatsby went to Coney Island or for how many hours he "glanced into rooms" while his house blazed gaudily on. I called up Daisy from the office next morning and invited her to come to tea. The day agreed upon was pouring rain.
At eleven o'clock a man in a raincoat dragging a lawn-mower tapped at my front door and said that Mr. Gatsby had sent him over to cut my grass. This reminded me that I had forgotten to tell my Finn to come back so I drove into West Egg Village to search for her among soggy white-washed alleys and to buy some cups and lemons and flowers.
The flowers were unnecessary, for at two o'clock a greenhouse arrived from Gatsby's, with innumerable receptacles to contain it. An hour later the front door opened nervously, and Gatsby in a white flannel suit, silver shirt and gold-colored tie hurried in.
He was pale and there were dark signs of sleeplessness beneath his eyes. I think it was 'The Journal. I took him into the pantry where he looked a little reproachfully at the Finn. Together we scrutinized the twelve lemon cakes from the delicatessen shop. The rain cooled about half-past three to a damp mist through which occasional thin drops swam like dew.
Gatsby looked with vacant eyes through a copy of Clay's "Economics," starting at the Finnish tread that shook the kitchen floor and peering toward the bleared windows from time to time as if a series of invisible but alarming happenings were taking place outside. Finally he got up and informed me in an uncertain voice that he was going home. It's too late! He sat down, miserably, as if I had pushed him, and simultaneously there was the sound of a motor turning into my lane.
We both jumped up and, a little harrowed myself, I went out into the yard. Under the dripping bare lilac trees a large open car was coming up the drive. It stopped. Daisy's face, tipped sideways beneath a three-cornered lavender hat, looked out at me with a bright ecstatic smile. The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain. I had to follow the sound of it for a moment, up and down, with my ear alone before any words came through.
A damp streak of hair lay like a dash of blue paint across her cheek and her hand was wet with glistening drops as I took it to help her from the car. She turned her head as there was a light, dignified knocking at the front door. I went out and opened it. Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically into my eyes. With his hands still in his coat pockets he stalked by me into the hall, turned sharply as if he were on a wire and disappeared into the living room.
It wasn't a bit funny. Aware of the loud beating of my own heart I pulled the door to against the increasing rain. For half a minute there wasn't a sound. Then from the living room I heard a sort of choking murmur and part of a laugh followed by Daisy's voice on a clear artificial note.
Gatsby, his hands still in his pockets, was reclining against the mantelpiece in a strained counterfeit of perfect ease, even of boredom.
His head leaned back so far that it rested against the face of a defunct mantelpiece clock and from this position his distraught eyes stared down at Daisy who was sitting frightened but graceful on the edge of a stiff chair. His eyes glanced momentarily at me and his lips parted with an abortive attempt at a laugh.
Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set it back in place. Then he sat down, rigidly, his elbow on the arm of the sofa and his chin in his hand.
My own face had now assumed a deep tropical burn. I couldn't muster up a single commonplace out of the thousand in my head. The automatic quality of Gatsby's answer set us all back at least another minute. I had them both on their feet with the desperate suggestion that they help me make tea in the kitchen when the demoniac Finn brought it in on a tray.
Amid the welcome confusion of cups and cakes a certain physical decency established itself. Gatsby got himself into a shadow and while Daisy and I talked looked conscientiously from one to the other of us with tense unhappy eyes.
However, as calmness wasn't an end in itself I made an excuse at the first possible moment and got to my feet. He followed me wildly into the kitchen, closed the door and whispered: Daisy's sitting in there all alone.
He raised his hand to stop my words, looked at me with unforgettable reproach and opening the door cautiously went back into the other room. I walked out the back way--just as Gatsby had when he had made his nervous circuit of the house half an hour before--and ran for a huge black knotted tree whose massed leaves made a fabric against the rain. Once more it was pouring and my irregular lawn, well-shaved by Gatsby's gardener, abounded in small muddy swamps and prehistoric marshes.
There was nothing to look at from under the tree except Gatsby's enormous house, so I stared at it, like Kant at his church steeple, for half an hour. A brewer had built it early in the "period" craze, a decade before, and there was a story that he'd agreed to pay five years' taxes on all the neighboring cottages if the owners would have their roofs thatched with straw.
Perhaps their refusal took the heart out of his plan to Found a Family--he went into an immediate decline. His children sold his house with the black wreath still on the door. Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry.
After half an hour the sun shone again and the grocer's automobile rounded Gatsby's drive with the raw material for his servants' dinner--I felt sure he wouldn't eat a spoonful. A maid began opening the upper windows of his house, appeared momentarily in each, and, leaning from a large central bay, spat meditatively into the garden. It was time I went back. While the rain continued it had seemed like the murmur of their voices, rising and swelling a little, now and then, with gusts of emotion.
But in the new silence I felt that silence had fallen within the house too. I went in--after making every possible noise in the kitchen short of pushing over the stove--but I don't believe they heard a sound. They were sitting at either end of the couch looking at each other as if some question had been asked or was in the air, and every vestige of embarrassment was gone.
Daisy's face was smeared with tears and when I came in she jumped up and began wiping at it with her handkerchief before a mirror. But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room. I thought for a moment he was going to shake hands.
It's stopped raining. Daisy went upstairs to wash her face--too late I thought with humiliation of my towels--while Gatsby and I waited on the lawn. I think he hardly knew what he was saying, for when I asked him what business he was in he answered "That's my affair," before he realized that it wasn't the appropriate reply.
But I'm not in either one now. Before I could answer, Daisy came out of the house and two rows of brass buttons on her dress gleamed in the sunlight. People who do interesting things. Celebrated people.
Instead of taking the short cut along the Sound we went down the road and entered by the big postern. With enchanting murmurs Daisy admired this aspect or that of the feudal silhouette against the sky, admired the gardens, the sparkling odor of jonquils and the frothy odor of hawthorn and plum blossoms and the pale gold odor of kiss-me-at-the-gate.
It was strange to reach the marble steps and find no stir of bright dresses in and out the door, and hear no sound but bird voices in the trees. And inside as we wandered through Marie Antoinette music rooms and Restoration salons I felt that there were guests concealed behind every couch and table, under orders to be breathlessly silent until we had passed through. As Gatsby closed the door of "the Merton College Library" I could have sworn I heard the owl-eyed man break into ghostly laughter.
We went upstairs, through period bedrooms swathed in rose and lavender silk and vivid with new flowers, through dressing rooms and poolrooms, and bathrooms with sunken baths--intruding into one chamber where a dishevelled man in pajamas was doing liver exercises on the floor. It was Mr. Klipspringer, the "boarder. Finally we came to Gatsby's own apartment, a bedroom and a bath and an Adam study, where we sat down and drank a glass of some Chartreuse he took from a cupboard in the wall.
He hadn't once ceased looking at Daisy and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes. Sometimes, too, he stared around at his possessions in a dazed way as though in her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer real.
Once he nearly toppled down a flight of stairs. His bedroom was the simplest room of all--except where the dresser was garnished with a toilet set of pure dull gold. Daisy took the brush with delight and smoothed her hair, whereupon Gatsby sat down and shaded his eyes and began to laugh. He had passed visibly through two states and was entering upon a third. After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy he was consumed with wonder at her presence.
He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an inconceivable pitch of intensity. Now, in the reaction, he was running down like an overwound clock. Recovering himself in a minute he opened for us two hulking patent cabinets which held his massed suits and dressing-gowns and ties, and his shirts, piled like bricks in stacks a dozen high.
He sends over a selection of things at the beginning of each season, spring and fall. He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher--shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange with monograms of Indian blue.
Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily. After the house, we were to see the grounds and the swimming pool, and the hydroplane and the midsummer flowers--but outside Gatsby's window it began to rain again so we stood in a row looking at the corrugated surface of the Sound.
Daisy put her arm through his abruptly but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever.