Great Gatsby Character Report Activity 1

Table of Contents

Gatsby Character Report

Today you will take a look at 3 of the characters introduced in the first three chapters of the novel. Using text evidence, complete a report card (Links to an external site.) on three characters of choice (Nick, Daisy, Jordan, Tom, Myrtle, Gatsby). Remember you can only use the first three chapters to pull your textual support. Follow MLA format.

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30pts for report cards and 10pts for two mini CER responses = 40pts

U3L5B – Character Report Card

The Great Gatsby Chapter 1-3: Character Report Cards

Gatsby Character Report

Directions: Select three characters from the first three chapters of the novel and you complete their individual report card.

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You will score them in each of the traits and add comments about them in each box. The comment section should contain

textual details and evidence to support your given score. 10 points for each chart and 5 points per question response (40)


Trait Grade Comments






Trait Grade Comments





U3L5B – Character Report Card


Trait Grade Comments





Which character is most likable? Why? Explain using at least three sentences with specific examples from the text. Follow

the ​Claim​ (answer the prompt or question), ​Evidence​ (properly embed textual evidence using MLA citations), and Reasoning​ (How and why does this evidence show this character as most likable?)

Which character is least likable? Why? Explain using at least three sentences with specific examples from the text. Follow

the ​Claim​ (answer the prompt or question), ​Evidence​ (properly embed textual evidence using MLA citations), and Reasoning​ (How and why does this evidence show this character as least likable?)

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The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgeraldhttp://blog.planetebook.comhttp://www.planetebook.comrjcSticky NoteThis book was published in Australia and is out of copyright there. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading, reading or sharing this file.

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Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, Till she cry ‘Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!’


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Chapter 1

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’

He didn’t say any more but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence I’m in- clined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the con- fidences were unsought—frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quiver- ing on the horizon—for the intimate revelations of young men or at least the terms in which they express them are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my fa-

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ther snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.

And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit. Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes but after a certain point I don’t care what it’s founded on. When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I want- ed no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby who represented everything for which I have an unaffect- ed scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the ‘creative temperament’— it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No—Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short- winded elations of men.

My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this middle-western city for three generations. The Car-

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raways are something of a clan and we have a tradition that we’re descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the ac- tual founder of my line was my grandfather’s brother who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War and started the wholesale hardware business that my father car- ries on today.

I never saw this great-uncle but I’m supposed to look like him—with special reference to the rather hard-boiled painting that hangs in Father’s office. I graduated from New Haven in 1915, just a quarter of a century after my father, and a little later I participated in that delayed Teutonic mi- gration known as the Great War. I enjoyed the counter-raid so thoroughly that I came back restless. Instead of being the warm center of the world the middle-west now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe—so I decided to go east and learn the bond business. Everybody I knew was in the bond business so I supposed it could support one more single man. All my aunts and uncles talked it over as if they were choosing a prep-school for me and finally said, ‘Why—ye- es’ with very grave, hesitant faces. Father agreed to finance me for a year and after various delays I came east, perma- nently, I thought, in the spring of twenty-two.

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 lawns and friendly trees, so when a young man at the office sug- gested that we take a house together in a commuting town it sounded like a great idea. He found the house, a weather beaten cardboard bungalow at eighty a month, but at the last minute the firm ordered him to Washington and I went

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out to the country alone. I had a dog, at least I had him for a few days until he ran away, and an old Dodge and a Finnish woman who made my bed and cooked breakfast and mut- tered Finnish wisdom to herself over the electric stove.

It was lonely for a day or so until one morning some man, more recently arrived than I, stopped me on the road.

‘How do you get to West Egg village?’ he asked helpless- ly.

I told him. And as I walked on I was lonely no longer. I was a guide, a pathfinder, an original settler. He had casu- ally conferred on me the freedom of the neighborhood.

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees—just as things grow in fast movies—I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

There was so much to read for one thing and so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giv- ing air. I bought a dozen volumes on banking and credit and investment securities and they stood on my shelf in red and gold like new money from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Mae- cenas knew. And I had the high intention of reading many other books besides. I was rather literary in college—one year I wrote a series of very solemn and obvious editorials for the ‘Yale News’—and now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the ‘well-rounded man.’ This isn’t just an epigram—life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all.

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It was a matter of chance that I should have rented a house in one of the strangest communities in North Ameri- ca. It was on that slender riotous island which extends itself due east of New York and where there are, among other natural curiosities, two unusual formations of land. Twenty miles from the city a pair of enormous eggs, identical in contour and separated only by a courtesy bay, jut out into the most domesticated body of salt water in the Western Hemisphere, the great wet barnyard of Long Island Sound. They are not perfect ovals—like the egg in the Columbus story they are both crushed flat at the contact end—but their physical resemblance must be a source of perpetual confusion to the gulls that fly overhead. To the wingless a more arresting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size.

I lived at West Egg, the—well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bi- zarre and not a little sinister contrast between them. My house was at the very tip of the egg, only fifty yards from the Sound, and squeezed between two huge places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season. The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard—it was a factual imi- tation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby’s mansion. Or rather, as I didn’t know Mr. Gatsby it was a mansion inhabited by a gentle- man of that name. My own house was an eye-sore, but it was a small eye-sore, and it had been overlooked, so I had a

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view of the water, a partial view of my neighbor’s lawn, and the consoling proximity of millionaires—all for eighty dol- lars a month.

Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water, and the history of the summer really begins on the evening I drove over there to have dinner with the Tom Buchanans. Daisy was my second cousin once removed and I’d known Tom in college. And just after the war I spent two days with them in Chicago.

Her husband, among various physical accomplishments, had been one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven—a national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anti-cli- max. His family were enormously wealthy—even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach—but now he’d left Chicago and come east in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for instance he’d brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest. It was hard to real- ize that a man in my own generation was wealthy enough to do that.

Why they came east I don’t know. They had spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together. This was a permanent move, said Daisy over the telephone, but I didn’t believe it—I had no sight into Daisy’s heart but I felt that Tom would drift on forever seek- ing a little wistfully for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.

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And so it happened that on a warm windy evening I drove over to East Egg to see two old friends whom I scarce- ly knew at all. Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red and white Georgian Colonial man- sion overlooking the bay. The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walks and burning gardens—final- ly when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as though from the momentum of its run. The front was broken by a line of French windows, glowing now with reflected gold, and wide open to the warm windy afternoon, and Tom Buchanan in riding clothes was standing with his legs apart on the front porch.

He had changed since his New Haven years. Now he was a sturdy, straw haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining, arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body—he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enor- mous leverage—a cruel body.

His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the im- pression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked—and there were men at New Haven who had hated his guts.

‘Now, don’t think my opinion on these matters is final,’

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he seemed to say, ‘just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you are.’ We were in the same Senior Society, and while we were never intimate I always had the impression that he approved of me and wanted me to like him with some harsh, defiant wistfulness of his own.

We talked for a few minutes on the sunny porch. ‘I’ve got a nice place here,’ he said, his eyes flashing about

restlessly. Turning me around by one arm he moved a broad flat

hand along the front vista, including in its sweep a sunken Italian garden, a half acre of deep pungent roses and a snub- nosed motor boat that bumped the tide off shore.

‘It belonged to Demaine the oil man.’ He turned me around again, politely and abruptly. ‘We’ll go inside.’

We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosy- colored space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows at either end. The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding cake of the ceiling—and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, mak- ing a shadow on it as wind does on the sea.

The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house. I must have stood for a few moments listening to

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the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a pic- ture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor.

The younger of the two was a stranger to me. She was extended full length at her end of the divan, completely motionless and with her chin raised a little as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall. If she saw me out of the corner of her eyes she gave no hint of it—indeed, I was almost surprised into murmuring an apol- ogy for having disturbed her by coming in.

The other girl, Daisy, made an attempt to rise—she leaned slightly forward with a conscientious expression— then she laughed, an absurd, charming little laugh, and I laughed too and came forward into the room.

‘I’m p-paralyzed with happiness.’ She laughed again, as if she said something very witty,

and held my hand for a moment, looking up into my face, promising that there was no one in the world she so much wanted to see. That was a way she had. She hinted in a mur- mur that the surname of the balancing girl was Baker. (I’ve heard it said that Daisy’s murmur was only to make people lean toward her; an irrelevant criticism that made it no less charming.)

At any rate Miss Baker’s lips fluttered, she nodded at me almost imperceptibly and then quickly tipped her head back again—the object she was balancing had obviously tottered a little and given her something of a fright. Again a sort of

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apology arose to my lips. Almost any exhibition of complete self sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from me.

I looked back at my cousin who began to ask me ques- tions in her low, thrilling voice. It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down as if each speech is an arrange- ment of notes that will never be played again. Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth—but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered ‘Listen,’ a prom- ise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour.

I told her how I had stopped off in Chicago for a day on my way east and how a dozen people had sent their love through me.

‘Do they miss me?’ she cried ecstatically. ‘The whole town is desolate. All the cars have the left rear

wheel painted black as a mourning wreath and there’s a per- sistent wail all night along the North Shore.’

‘How gorgeous! Let’s go back, Tom. Tomorrow!’ Then she added irrelevantly, ‘You ought to see the baby.’

‘I’d like to.’ ‘She’s asleep. She’s two years old. Haven’t you ever seen

her?’ ‘Never.’ ‘Well, you ought to see her. She’s——‘ Tom Buchanan who had been hovering restlessly about

the room stopped and rested his hand on my shoulder.

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‘What you doing, Nick?’ ‘I’m a bond man.’ ‘Who with?’ I told him. ‘Never heard of them,’ he remarked decisively. This annoyed me. ‘You will,’ I answered shortly. ‘You will if you stay in the

East.’ ‘Oh, I’ll stay in the East, don’t you worry,’ he said, glanc-

ing at Daisy and then back at me, as if he were alert for something more. ‘I’d be a God Damned fool to live any- where else.’

At this point Miss Baker said ‘Absolutely!’ with such suddenness that I started—it was the first word she uttered since I came into the room. Evidently it surprised her as much as it did me, for she yawned and with a series of rapid, deft movements stood up into the room.

‘I’m stiff,’ she complained, ‘I’ve been lying on that sofa for as long as I can remember.’

‘Don’t look at me,’ Daisy retorted. ‘I’ve been trying to get you to New York all afternoon.’

‘No, thanks,’ said Miss Baker to the four cocktails just in from the pantry, ‘I’m absolutely in training.’

Her host looked at her incredulously. ‘You are!’ He took down his drink as if it were a drop in

the bottom of a glass. ‘How you ever get anything done is beyond me.’

I looked at Miss Baker wondering what it was she ‘got done.’ I enjoyed looking at her. She was a slender, small-

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breasted girl, with an erect carriage which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet. Her grey sun-strained eyes looked back at me with polite reciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming discon- tented face. It occurred to me now that I had seen her, or a picture of her, somewhere before.

‘You live in West Egg,’ she remarked contemptuously. ‘I know somebody there.’

‘I don’t know a single——‘ ‘You must know Gatsby.’ ‘Gatsby?’ demanded Daisy. ‘What Gatsby?’ Before I could reply that he was my neighbor dinner

was announced; wedging his tense arm imperatively un- der mine Tom Buchanan compelled me from the room as though he were moving a checker to another square.

Slenderly, languidly, their hands set lightly on their hips the two young women preceded us out onto a rosy-colored porch open toward the sunset where four candles flickered on the table in the diminished wind.

‘Why CANDLES?’ objected Daisy, frowning. She snapped them out with her fingers. ‘In two weeks it’ll be the longest day in the year.’ She looked at us all radiantly. ‘Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it.’

‘We ought to plan something,’ yawned Miss Baker, sit- ting down at the table as if she were getting into bed.

‘All right,’ said Daisy. ‘What’ll we plan?’ She turned to me helplessly. ‘What do people plan?’

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Before I could answer her eyes fastened with an awed ex- pression on her little finger.

‘Look!’ she complained. ‘I hurt it.’ We all looked—the knuckle was black and blue. ‘You did it, Tom,’ she said accusingly. ‘I know you didn’t

mean to but you DID do it. That’s what I get for marrying a brute of a man, a great big hulking physical specimen of a——‘

‘I hate that word hulking,’ objected Tom crossly, ‘even in kidding.’

‘Hulking,’ insisted Daisy. Sometimes she and Miss Baker talked at once, unobtru-

sively and with a bantering inconsequence that was never quite chatter, that was as cool as their white dresses and their impersonal eyes in the absence of all desire. They were here—and they accepted Tom and me, making only a po- lite pleasant effort to entertain or to be entertained. They knew that presently dinner would be over and a little later the evening too would be over and casually put away. It was sharply different from the West where an evening was hur- ried from phase to phase toward its close in a continually disappointed anticipation or else in sheer nervous dread of the moment itself.

‘You make me feel uncivilized, Daisy,’ I confessed on my second glass of corky but rather impressive claret. ‘Can’t you talk about crops or something?’

I meant nothing in particular by this remark but it was taken up in an unexpected way.

‘Civilization’s going to pieces,’ broke out Tom violently.

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‘I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read ‘The Rise of the Coloured Empires’ by this man God- dard?’

‘Why, no,’ I answered, rather surprised by his tone. ‘Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The

idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be—will be ut- terly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.’

‘Tom’s getting very profound,’ said Daisy with an expres- sion of unthoughtful sadness. ‘He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word we——‘

‘Well, these books are all scientific,’ insisted Tom, glanc- ing at her impatiently. ‘This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It’s up to us who are the dominant race to watch out or these other races will have control of things.’

‘We’ve got to beat them down,’ whispered Daisy, wink- ing ferociously toward the fervent sun.

‘You ought to live in California—’ began Miss Baker but Tom interrupted her by shifting heavily in his chair.

‘This idea is that we’re Nordics. I am, and you are and you are and——’ After an infinitesimal hesitation he in- cluded Daisy with a slight nod and she winked at me again. ‘—and we’ve produced all the things that go to make civili- zation—oh, science and art and all that. Do you see?’

There was something pathetic in his concentration as if his complacency, more acute than of old, was not enough to him any more. When, almost immediately, the telephone rang inside and the butler left the porch Daisy seized upon the momentary interruption and leaned toward me.

‘I’ll tell you a family secret,’ she whispered enthusiasti-

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cally. ‘It’s about the butler’s nose. Do you want to hear about the butler’s nose?’

‘That’s why I came over tonight.’ ‘Well, he wasn’t always a butler; he used to be the sil-

ver polisher for some people in New York that had a silver service for two hundred people. He had to polish it from morning till night until finally it began to affect his nose— —‘

‘Things went from bad to worse,’ suggested Miss Baker. ‘Yes. Things went from bad to worse until finally he had

to give up his position.’ For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affec-

tion upon her glowing face; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened—then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.

The butler came back and murmured something close to Tom’s ear whereupon Tom frowned, pushed back his chair and without a word went inside. As if his absence quickened something within her Daisy leaned forward again, her voice glowing and singing.

‘I love to see you at my table, Nick. You remind me of a— of a rose, an absolute rose. Doesn’t he?’ She turned to Miss Baker for confirmation. ‘An absolute rose?’

This was untrue. I am not even faintly like a rose. She was only extemporizing but a stirring warmth flowed from her as if her heart was trying to come out to you concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words. Then suddenly she threw her napkin on the table and excused herself and

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went into the house. Miss Baker and I exchanged a short glance conscious-

ly devoid of meaning. I was about to speak when she sat up alertly and said ‘Sh!’ in a warning voice. A subdued im- passioned murmur was audible in the room beyond and Miss Baker leaned forward, unashamed, trying to hear. The murmur trembled on the verge of coherence, sank down, mounted excitedly, and then ceased altogether.

‘This Mr. Gatsby you spoke of is my neighbor——’ I said.

‘Don’t talk. I want to hear what happens.’ ‘Is something happening?’ I inquired innocently. ‘You mean to say you don’t know?’ said Miss Baker, hon-

estly surprised. ‘I thought everybody knew.’ ‘I don’t.’ ‘Why——’ she said hesitantly, ‘Tom’s got some woman

in New York.’ ‘Got some woman?’ I repeated blankly. Miss Baker nodded. ‘She might have the decency not to telephone him at din-

ner-time. Don’t you think?’ Almost before I had grasped her meaning there was the

flutter of a dress and the crunch of leather boots and Tom and Daisy were back at the table.

‘It couldn’t be helped!’ cried Daisy with tense gayety. She sat down, glanced searchingly at Miss Baker and

then at me and continued: ‘I looked outdoors for a minute and it’s very romantic outdoors. There’s a bird on the lawn that I think must be a nightingale come over on the Cunard

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or White Star Line. He’s singing away——’ her voice sang ‘——It’s romantic, isn’t it, Tom?’

‘Very romantic,’ he said, and then miserably to me: ‘If it’s light enough after dinner I want to take you down to the stables.’

The telephone rang inside, startlingly, and as Daisy shook her head decisively at Tom the subject of the stables, in fact all subjects, vanished into air. Among the broken fragments of the last five minutes at table I remember the candles being lit again, pointlessly, and I was conscious of wanting to look squarely at every one and yet to avoid all eyes. I couldn’t guess what Daisy and Tom were thinking but I doubt if even Miss Baker who seemed to have mastered a certain hardy skepticism was able utterly to put this fifth guest’s shrill me- tallic urgency out of mind. To a certain temperament the situation might have seemed intriguing—my own instinct was to telephone immediately for the police.

The horses, needless to say, were not mentioned again. Tom and Miss Baker, with several feet of twilight between them strolled back into the library, as if to a vigil beside a perfectly tangible body, while trying to look pleasantly in- terested and a little deaf I followed Daisy around a chain of connecting verandas to the porch in front. In its deep gloom we sat down side by side on a wicker settee.

Daisy took her face in her hands, as if feeling its love- ly shape, and her eyes moved gradually out into the velvet dusk. I saw that turbulent emotions possessed her, so I asked what I thought would be some sedative questions about her little girl.

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‘We don’t know each other very well, Nick,’ she said suddenly. ‘Even if we are cousins. You didn’t come to my wedding.’

‘I wasn’t back from the war.’ ‘That’s true.’ She hesitated. ‘Well, I’ve had a very bad

time, Nick, and I’m pretty cynical about everything.’ Evidently she had reason to be. I waited but she didn’t say

any more, and after a moment I returned rather feebly to the subject of her daughter.

‘I suppose she talks, and—eats, and everything.’ ‘Oh, yes.’ She looked at me absently. ‘Listen, Nick; let me

tell you what I said when she was born. Would you like to hear?’

‘Very much.’ ‘It’ll show you how I’ve gotten to feel about—things.

Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.’

‘You see I think everything’s terrible anyhow,’ she went on in a convinced way. ‘Everybody thinks so—the most ad- vanced people. And I KNOW. I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.’ Her eyes flashed around her in a defiant way, rather like Tom’s, and she laughed with thrilling scorn. ‘Sophisticated—God, I’m sophisticated!’

The instant her voice broke off, ceasing to compel my

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attention, my belief, I felt the basic insincerity of what she had said. It made me uneasy, as though the whole evening had been a trick of some sort to exact a contributory emo- tion from me. I waited, and sure enough, in a moment she looked at me with an absolute smirk on her lovely face as if she had asserted her membership in a rather distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belonged.

Inside, the crimson room bloomed with light. Tom and Miss Baker sat at either end of the long couch and she read aloud to him from the ‘Saturday Evening Post’—the words, murmurous and uninflected, running together in a sooth- ing tune. The lamp-light, bright on his boots and dull on the autumn-leaf yellow of her hair, glinted along the paper as she turned a page with a flutter of slender muscles in her arms.

When we came in she held us silent for a moment with a lifted hand.

‘To be continued,’ she said, tossing the magazine on the table, ‘in our very next issue.’

Her body asserted itself with a restless movement of her knee, and she stood up.

‘Ten o’clock,’ she remarked, apparently finding the time on the ceiling. ‘Time for this good girl to go to bed.’

‘Jordan’s going to play in the tournament tomorrow,’ ex- plained Daisy, ‘over at Westchester.’

‘Oh,—you’re JORdan Baker.’ I knew now why her face was familiar—its pleasing con-

temptuous expression had looked out at me from many rotogravure pictures of the sporting life at Asheville and

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Hot Springs and Palm Beach. I had heard some story of her too, a critical, unpleasant story, but what it was I had forgot- ten long ago.

‘Good night,’ she said softly. ‘Wake me at eight, won’t you.’

‘If you’ll get up.’ ‘I will. Good night, Mr. Carraway. See you anon.’ ‘Of course you will,’ confirmed Daisy. ‘In fact I think

I’ll arrange a marriage. Come over often, Nick, and I’ll sort of—oh—fling you together. You know—lock you up acci- dentally in linen closets and push you out to sea in a boat, and all that sort of thing——‘

‘Good night,’ called Miss Baker from the stairs. ‘I haven’t heard a word.’

‘She’s a nice girl,’ said Tom after a moment. ‘They oughtn’t to let her run around the country this way.’

‘Who oughtn’t to?’ inquired Daisy coldly. ‘Her family.’ ‘Her family is one aunt about a thousand years old. Be-

sides, Nick’s going to look after her, aren’t you, Nick? She’s going to spend lots of week-ends out here this summer. I think the home influence will be very good for her.’

Daisy and Tom looked at each other for a moment in si- lence.

‘Is she from New York?’ I asked quickly. ‘From Louisville. Our white girlhood was passed togeth-

er there. Our beautiful white——‘ ‘Did you give Nick a little heart to heart talk on the ve-

randa?’ demanded Tom suddenly.

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‘Did I?’ She looked at me. ‘I can’t seem to remember, but I think we talked about the Nordic race. Yes, I’m sure we did. It sort of crept up on us and first thing you know——‘

‘Don’t believe everything you hear, Nick,’ he advised me.

I said lightly that I had heard nothing at all, and a few minutes later I got up to go home. They came to the door with me and stood side by side in a cheerful square of light. As I started my motor Daisy peremptorily called ‘Wait!

‘I forgot to ask you something, and it’s important. We heard you were engaged to a girl out West.’

‘That’s right,’ corroborated Tom kindly. ‘We heard that you were engaged.’

‘It’s libel. I’m too poor.’ ‘But we heard it,’ insisted Daisy, surprising me by open-

ing up again in a flower-like way. ‘We heard it from three people so it must be true.’

Of course I knew what they were referring to, but I wasn’t even vaguely engaged. The fact that gossip had published the banns was one of the reasons I had come east. You can’t stop going with an old friend on account of rumors and on the other hand I had no intention of being rumored into marriage.

Their interest rather touched me and made them less remotely rich—nevertheless, I was confused and a little dis- gusted as I drove away. It seemed to me that the thing for Daisy to do was to rush out of the house, child in arms—but apparently there were no such intentions in her head. As for Tom, the fact that he ‘had some woman in New York’ was

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really less surprising than that he had been depressed by a book. Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished his peremptory heart.

Already it was deep summer on roadhouse roofs and in front of wayside garages, where new red gas-pumps sat out in pools of light, and when I reached my estate at West Egg I ran the car under its shed and sat for a while on an abandoned grass roller in the yard. The wind had blown off, leaving a loud bright night with wings beating in the trees and a persistent organ sound as the full bellows of the earth blew the frogs full of life. The silhouette of a moving cat wa- vered across the moonlight and turning my head to watch it I saw that I was not alone—fifty feet away a figure had emerged from the shadow of my neighbor’s mansion and was standing with his hands in his pockets regarding the silver pepper of the stars. Something in his leisurely move- ments and the secure position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that it was Mr. Gatsby himself, come out to deter- mine what share was his of our local heavens.

I decided to call to him. Miss Baker had mentioned him at dinner, and that would do for an introduction. But I didn’t call to him for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone—he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had van-

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ished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness.

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Chapter 2

About half way between West Egg and New York the motor-road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and finally, with a transcen- dent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of grey cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud which screens their obscure operations from your sight.

But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic—their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the sol-

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emn dumping ground. The valley of ashes is bounded on one side by a small foul

river, and when the drawbridge is up to let barges through, the passengers on waiting trains can stare at the dismal scene for as long as half an hour. There is always a halt there of at least a minute and it was because of this that I first met Tom Buchanan’s mistress.

The fact that he had one was insisted upon wherever he was known. His acquaintances resented the fact that he turned up in popular restaurants with her and, leaving her at a table, sauntered about, chatting with whomsoever he knew. Though I was curious to see her I had no desire to meet her—but I did. I went up to New York with Tom on the train one afternoon and when we stopped by the ashheaps he jumped to his feet and taking hold of my elbow literally forced me from the car.

‘We’re getting off!’ he insisted. ‘I want you to meet my girl.’

I think he’d tanked up a good deal at luncheon and his determination to have my company bordered on violence. The supercilious assumption was that on Sunday afternoon I had nothing better to do.

I followed him over a low white-washed railroad fence and we walked back a hundred yards along the road un- der Doctor Eckleburg’s persistent stare. The only building in sight was a small block of yellow brick sitting on the edge of the waste land, a sort of compact Main Street ministering to it and contiguous to absolutely nothing. One of the three shops it contained was for rent and another was an all-night

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restaurant approached by a trail of ashes; the third was a garage—Repairs. GEORGE B. WILSON. Cars Bought and Sold—and I followed Tom inside.

The interior was unprosperous and bare; the only car vis- ible was the dust-covered wreck of a Ford which crouched in a dim corner. It had occurred to me that this shadow of a garage must be a blind and that sumptuous and romantic apartments were concealed overhead when the proprietor himself appeared in the door of an office, wiping his hands on a piece of waste. He was a blonde, spiritless man, anae- mic, and faintly handsome. When he saw us a damp gleam of hope sprang into his light blue eyes.

‘Hello, Wilson, old man,’ said Tom, slapping him jovially on the shoulder. ‘How’s business?’

‘I can’t complain,’ answered Wilson unconvincingly. ‘When are you going to sell me that car?’

‘Next week; I’ve got my man working on it now.’ ‘Works pretty slow, don’t he?’ ‘No, he doesn’t,’ said Tom coldly. ‘And if you feel that way

about it, maybe I’d better sell it somewhere else after all.’ ‘I don’t mean that,’ explained Wilson quickly. ‘I just

meant——‘ His voice faded off and Tom glanced impatiently around

the garage. Then I heard footsteps on a stairs and in a mo- ment the thickish figure of a woman blocked out the light from the office door. She was in the middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuously as some women can. Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crepe-de-chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty

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but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering. She smiled slowly and walking through her husband as if he were a ghost shook hands with Tom, looking him flush in the eye. Then she wet her lips and without turning around spoke to her husband in a soft, coarse voice:

‘Get some chairs, why don’t you, so somebody can sit down.’

‘Oh, sure,’ agreed Wilson hurriedly and went toward the little office, mingling immediately with the cement color of the walls. A white ashen dust veiled his dark suit and his pale hair as it veiled everything in the vicinity—except his wife, who moved close to Tom.

‘I want to see you,’ said Tom intently. ‘Get on the next train.’

‘All right.’ ‘I’ll meet you by the news-stand on the lower level.’ She nodded and moved away from him just as George

Wilson emerged with two chairs from his office door. We waited for her down the road and out of sight. It was

a few days before the Fourth of July, and a grey, scrawny Italian child was setting torpedoes in a row along the rail- road track.

‘Terrible place, isn’t it,’ said Tom, exchanging a frown with Doctor Eckleburg.

‘Awful.’ ‘It does her good to get away.’ ‘Doesn’t her husband object?’ ‘Wilson? He thinks she goes to see her sister in New

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York. He’s so dumb he doesn’t know he’s alive.’ So Tom Buchanan and his girl and I went up togeth-

er to New York—or not quite together, for Mrs. Wilson sat discreetly in another car. Tom deferred that much to the sensibilities of those East Eggers who might be on the train.

She had changed her dress to a brown figured mus- lin which stretched tight over her rather wide hips as Tom helped her to the platform in New York. At the news-stand she bought a copy of ‘Town Tattle’ and a moving-picture magazine and, in the station drug store, some cold cream and a small flask of perfume. Upstairs, in the solemn echo- ing drive she let four taxi cabs drive away before she selected a new one, lavender-colored with grey upholstery, and in this we slid out from the mass of the station into the glow- ing sunshine. But immediately she turned sharply from the window and leaning forward tapped on the front glass.

‘I want to get one of those dogs,’ she said earnestly. ‘I want to get one for the apartment. They’re nice to have—a dog.’

We backed up to a grey old man who bore an absurd re- semblance to John D. Rockefeller. In a basket, swung from his neck, cowered a dozen very recent puppies of an inde- terminate breed.

‘What kind are they?’ asked Mrs. Wilson eagerly as he came to the taxi-window.

‘All kinds. What kind do you want, lady?’ ‘I’d like to get one of those police dogs; I don’t suppose

you got that kind?’

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The man peered doubtfully into the basket, plunged in his hand and drew one up, wriggling, by the back of the neck.

‘That’s no police dog,’ said Tom. ‘No, it’s not exactly a polICE dog,’ said the man with

disappointment in his voice. ‘It’s more of an airedale.’ He passed his hand over the brown wash-rag of a back. ‘Look at that coat. Some coat. That’s a dog that’ll never bother you with catching cold.’

‘I think it’s cute,’ said Mrs. Wilson enthusiastically. ‘How much is it?’

‘That dog?’ He looked at it admiringly. ‘That dog will cost you ten dollars.’

The airedale—undoubtedly there was an airedale con- cerned in it somewhere though its feet were startlingly white—changed hands and settled down into Mrs. Wilson’s lap, where she fondled the weather-proof coat with rapture.

‘Is it a boy or a girl?’ she asked delicately. ‘That dog? That dog’s a boy.’ ‘It’s a bitch,’ said Tom decisively. ‘Here’s your money. Go

and buy ten more dogs with it.’ We drove over to Fifth Avenue, so warm and soft, almost

pastoral, on the summer Sunday afternoon that I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a great flock of white sheep turn the corner.

‘Hold on,’ I said, ‘I have to leave you here.’ ‘No, you don’t,’ interposed Tom quickly. ‘Myrtle’ll be

hurt if you don’t come up to the apartment. Won’t you, Myrtle?’

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‘Come on,’ she urged. ‘I’ll telephone my sister Cathe- rine. She’s said to be very beautiful by people who ought to know.’

‘Well, I’d like to, but——‘ We went on, cutting back again over the Park toward the

West Hundreds. At 158th Street the cab stopped at one slice in a long white cake of apartment houses. Throwing a regal homecoming glance around the neighborhood, Mrs. Wil- son gathered up her dog and her other purchases and went haughtily in.

‘I’m going to have the McKees come up,’ she announced as we rose in the elevator. ‘And of course I got to call up my sister, too.’

The apartment was on the top floor—a small living room, a small dining room, a small bedroom and a bath. The living room was crowded to the doors with a set of tap- estried furniture entirely too large for it so that to move about was to stumble continually over scenes of ladies swinging in the gardens of Versailles. The only picture was an over-enlarged photograph, apparently a hen sitting on a blurred rock. Looked at from a distance however the hen resolved itself into a bonnet and the countenance of a stout old lady beamed down into the room. Several old copies of ‘Town Tattle ‘lay on the table together with a copy of ‘Simon Called Peter’ and some of the small scandal magazines of Broadway. Mrs. Wilson was first concerned with the dog. A reluctant elevator boy went for a box full of straw and some milk to which he added on his own initiative a tin of large hard dog biscuits—one of which decomposed apathetically

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in the saucer of milk all afternoon. Meanwhile Tom brought out a bottle of whiskey from a locked bureau door.

I have been drunk just twice in my life and the second time was that afternoon so everything that happened has a dim hazy cast over it although until after eight o’clock the apartment was full of cheerful sun. Sitting on Tom’s lap Mrs. Wilson called up several people on the telephone; then there were no cigarettes and I went out to buy some at the drug store on the corner. When I came back they had disap- peared so I sat down discreetly in the living room and read a chapter of ‘Simon Called Peter’—either it was terrible stuff or the whiskey distorted things because it didn’t make any sense to me.

Just as Tom and Myrtle—after the first drink Mrs. Wil- son and I called each other by our first names—reappeared, company commenced to arrive at the apartment door.

The sister, Catherine, was a slender, worldly girl of about thirty with a solid sticky bob of red hair and a complexion powdered milky white. Her eyebrows had been plucked and then drawn on again at a more rakish angle but the efforts of nature toward the restoration of the old alignment gave a blurred air to her face. When she moved about there was an incessant clicking as innumerable pottery bracelets jin- gled up and down upon her arms. She came in with such a proprietary haste and looked around so possessively at the furniture that I wondered if she lived here. But when I asked her she laughed immoderately, repeated my question aloud and told me she lived with a girl friend at a hotel.

Mr. McKee was a pale feminine man from the flat below.

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He had just shaved for there was a white spot of lather on his cheekbone and he was most respectful in his greeting to everyone in the room. He informed me that he was in the ‘artistic game’ and I gathered later that he was a photogra- pher and had made the dim enlargement of Mrs. Wilson’s mother which hovered like an ectoplasm on the wall. His wife was shrill, languid, handsome and horrible. She told me with pride that her husband had photographed her a hundred and twenty-seven times since they had been mar- ried.

Mrs. Wilson had changed her costume some time be- fore and was now attired in an elaborate afternoon dress of cream colored chiffon, which gave out a continual rustle as she swept about the room. With the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change. The intense vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was con- verted into impressive hauteur. Her laughter, her gestures, her assertions became more violently affected moment by moment and as she expanded the room grew smaller around her until she seemed to be revolving on a noisy, creaking pivot through the smoky air.

‘My dear,’ she told her sister in a high mincing shout, ‘most of these fellas will cheat you every time. All they think of is money. I had a woman up here last week to look at my feet and when she gave me the bill you’d of thought she had my appendicitus out.’

‘What was the name of the woman?’ asked Mrs. McKee. ‘Mrs. Eberhardt. She goes around looking at people’s feet

in their own homes.’

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‘I like your dress,’ remarked Mrs. McKee, ‘I think it’s adorable.’

Mrs. Wilson rejected the compliment by raising her eye- brow in disdain.

‘It’s just a crazy old thing,’ she said. ‘I just slip it on some- times when I don’t care what I look like.’

‘But it looks wonderful on you, if you know what I mean,’ pursued Mrs. McKee. ‘If Chester could only get you in that pose I think he could make something of it.’

We all looked in silence at Mrs. Wilson who removed a strand of hair from over her eyes and looked back at us with a brilliant smile. Mr. McKee regarded her intently with his head on one side and then moved his hand back and forth slowly in front of his face.

‘I should change the light,’ he said after a moment. ‘I’d like to bring out the modelling of the features. And I’d try to get hold of all the back hair.’

‘I wouldn’t think of changing the light,’ cried Mrs. McK- ee. ‘I think it’s——‘

Her husband said ‘SH!’ and we all looked at the subject again whereupon Tom Buchanan yawned audibly and got to his feet.

‘You McKees have something to drink,’ he said. ‘Get some more ice and mineral water, Myrtle, before everybody goes to sleep.’

‘I told that boy about the ice.’ Myrtle raised her eyebrows in despair at the shiftlessness of the lower orders. ‘These people! You have to keep after them all the time.’

She looked at me and laughed pointlessly. Then she

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flounced over to the dog, kissed it with ecstasy and swept into the kitchen, implying that a dozen chefs awaited her orders there.

‘I’ve done some nice things out on Long Island,’ asserted Mr. McKee.

Tom looked at him blankly. ‘Two of them we have framed downstairs.’ ‘Two what?’ demanded Tom. ‘Two studies. One of them I call ‘Montauk Point—the

Gulls,’ and the other I call ‘Montauk Point—the Sea.’ ‘ The sister Catherine sat down beside me on the couch. ‘Do you live down on Long Island, too?’ she inquired. ‘I live at West Egg.’ ‘Really? I was down there at a party about a month ago.

At a man named Gatsby’s. Do you know him?’ ‘I live next door to him.’ ‘Well, they say he’s a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wil-

helm’s. That’s where all his money comes from.’ ‘Really?’ She nodded. ‘I’m scared of him. I’d hate to have him get anything on

me.’ This absorbing information about my neighbor was in-

terrupted by Mrs. McKee’s pointing suddenly at Catherine: ‘Chester, I think you could do something with HER,’ she

broke out, but Mr. McKee only nodded in a bored way and turned his attention to Tom.

‘I’d like to do more work on Long Island if I could get the entry. All I ask is that they should give me a start.’

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‘Ask Myrtle,’ said Tom, breaking into a short shout of laughter as Mrs. Wilson entered with a tray. ‘She’ll give you a letter of introduction, won’t you, Myrtle?’

‘Do what?’ she asked, startled. ‘You’ll give McKee a letter of introduction to your hus-

band, so he can do some studies of him.’ His lips moved silently for a moment as he invented. ‘ ‘George B. Wilson at the Gasoline Pump,’ or something like that.’

Catherine leaned close to me and whispered in my ear: ‘Neither of them can stand the person they’re married to.’

‘Can’t they?’ ‘Can’t STAND them.’ She looked at Myrtle and then at

Tom. ‘What I say is, why go on living with them if they can’t stand them? If I was them I’d get a divorce and get married to each other right away.’

‘Doesn’t she like Wilson either?’ The answer to this was unexpected. It came from Myrtle

who had overheard the question and it was violent and ob- scene.

‘You see?’ cried Catherine triumphantly. She lowered her voice again. ‘It’s really his wife that’s keeping them apart. She’s a Catholic and they don’t believe in divorce.’

Daisy was not a Catholic and I was a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie.

‘When they do get married,’ continued Catherine, ‘they’re going west to live for a while until it blows over.’

‘It’d be more discreet to go to Europe.’ ‘Oh, do you like Europe?’ she exclaimed surprisingly. ‘I

just got back from Monte Carlo.’

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‘Really.’ ‘Just last year. I went over there with another girl.’ ‘Stay long?’ ‘No, we just went to Monte Carlo and back. We went

by way of Marseilles. We had over twelve hundred dollars when we started but we got gypped out of it all in two days in the private rooms. We had an awful time getting back, I can tell you. God, how I hated that town!’

The late afternoon sky bloomed in the window for a mo- ment like the blue honey of the Mediterranean—then the shrill voice of Mrs. McKee called me back into the room.

‘I almost made a mistake, too,’ she declared vigorously. ‘I almost married a little kyke who’d been after me for years. I knew he was below me. Everybody kept saying to me: ‘Lu- cille, that man’s way below you!’ But if I hadn’t met Chester, he’d of got me sure.’

‘Yes, but listen,’ said Myrtle Wilson, nodding her head up and down, ‘at least you didn’t marry him.’

‘I know I didn’t.’ ‘Well, I married him,’ said Myrtle, ambiguously. ‘And

that’s the difference between your case and mine.’ ‘Why did you, Myrtle?’ demanded Catherine. ‘Nobody

forced you to.’ Myrtle considered. ‘I married him because I thought he was a gentleman,’

she said finally. ‘I thought he knew something about breed- ing, but he wasn’t fit to lick my shoe.’

‘You were crazy about him for a while,’ said Catherine. ‘Crazy about him!’ cried Myrtle incredulously. ‘Who said

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I was crazy about him? I never was any more crazy about him than I was about that man there.’

She pointed suddenly at me, and every one looked at me accusingly. I tried to show by my expression that I had played no part in her past.

‘The only CRAZY I was was when I married him. I knew right away I made a mistake. He borrowed somebody’s best suit to get married in and never even told me about it, and the man came after it one day when he was out. She looked around to see who was listening: ‘ ‘Oh, is that your suit?’ I said. ‘This is the first I ever heard about it.’ But I gave it to him and then I lay down and cried to beat the band all af- ternoon.’

‘She really ought to get away from him,’ resumed Cath- erine to me. ‘They’ve been living over that garage for eleven years. And Tom’s the first sweetie she ever had.’

The bottle of whiskey—a second one—was now in con- stant demand by all present, excepting Catherine who ‘felt just as good on nothing at all.’ Tom rang for the janitor and sent him for some celebrated sandwiches, which were a complete supper in themselves. I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the park through the soft twilight but each time I tried to go I became entangled in some wild stri- dent argument which pulled me back, as if with ropes, into my chair. Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, si- multaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible

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variety of life. Myrtle pulled her chair close to mine, and suddenly her

warm breath poured over me the story of her first meeting with Tom.

‘It was on the two little seats facing each other that are always the last ones left on the train. I was going up to New York to see my sister and spend the night. He had on a dress suit and patent leather shoes and I couldn’t keep my eyes off him but every time he looked at me I had to pretend to be looking at the advertisement over his head. When we came into the station he was next to me and his white shirt-front pressed against my arm—and so I told him I’d have to call a policeman, but he knew I lied. I was so excited that when I got into a taxi with him I didn’t hardly know I wasn’t get- ting into a subway train. All I kept thinking about, over and over, was ‘You can’t live forever, you can’t live forever.’ ‘

She turned to Mrs. McKee and the room rang full of her artificial laughter.

‘My dear,’ she cried, ‘I’m going to give you this dress as soon as I’m through with it. I’ve got to get another one to- morrow. I’m going to make a list of all the things I’ve got to get. A massage and a wave and a collar for the dog and one of those cute little ash-trays where you touch a spring, and a wreath with a black silk bow for mother’s grave that’ll last all summer. I got to write down a list so I won’t forget all the things I got to do.’

It was nine o’clock—almost immediately afterward I looked at my watch and found it was ten. Mr. McKee was asleep on a chair with his fists clenched in his lap, like a

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photograph of a man of action. Taking out my handkerchief I wiped from his cheek the remains of the spot of dried lath- er that had worried me all the afternoon.

The little dog was sitting on the table looking with blind eyes through the smoke and from time to time groaning faintly. People disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away. Some time toward midnight Tom Buchanan and Mrs. Wilson stood face to face discussing in impassioned voices whether Mrs. Wilson had any right to mention Daisy’s name.

‘Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!’ shouted Mrs. Wilson. ‘I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai——‘

Making a short deft movement Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.

Then there were bloody towels upon the bathroom floor, and women’s voices scolding, and high over the confusion a long broken wail of pain. Mr. McKee awoke from his doze and started in a daze toward the door. When he had gone half way he turned around and stared at the scene—his wife and Catherine scolding and consoling as they stumbled here and there among the crowded furniture with articles of aid, and the despairing figure on the couch bleeding flu- ently and trying to spread a copy of ‘Town Tattle’ over the tapestry scenes of Versailles. Then Mr. McKee turned and continued on out the door. Taking my hat from the chan- delier I followed.

‘Come to lunch some day,’ he suggested, as we groaned down in the elevator.

The Great Gatsby��

‘Where?’ ‘Anywhere.’ ‘Keep your hands off the lever,’ snapped the elevator

boy. ‘I beg your pardon,’ said Mr. McKee with dignity, ‘I didn’t

know I was touching it.’ ‘All right,’ I agreed, ‘I’ll be glad to.’ … I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up

between the sheets, clad in his underwear, with a great portfolio in his hands.

‘Beauty and the Beast … Loneliness … Old Grocery Horse … Brook’n Bridge ….’

Then I was lying half asleep in the cold lower level of the Pennsylvania Station, staring at the morning ‘Tribune’ and waiting for the four o’clock train.

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Chapter 3

There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the cham- pagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cat- aracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city, between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his sta- tion wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. And on Mondays eight servants including an extra gardener toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before.

Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York—every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulp- less halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour, if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb.

At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored

The Great Gatsby��

lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors- d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another.

By seven o’clock the orchestra has arrived—no thin five- piece affair but a whole pitful of oboes and trombones and saxophones and viols and cornets and piccolos and low and high drums. The last swimmers have come in from the beach now and are dressing upstairs; the cars from New York are parked five deep in the drive, and already the halls and sa- lons and verandas are gaudy with primary colors and hair shorn in strange new ways and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile. The bar is in full swing and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside until the air is alive with chatter and laughter and casual innuendo and intro- ductions forgotten on the spot and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.

The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier, minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swift- ly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath—already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable,

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become for a sharp, joyous moment the center of a group and then excited with triumph glide on through the sea- change of faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light.

Suddenly one of these gypsies in trembling opal, seizes a cocktail out of the air, dumps it down for courage and mov- ing her hands like Frisco dances out alone on the canvas platform. A momentary hush; the orchestra leader varies his rhythm obligingly for her and there is a burst of chatter as the erroneous news goes around that she is Gilda Gray’s understudy from the ‘Follies.’ The party has begun.

I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invit- ed. People were not invited—they went there. They got into automobiles which bore them out to Long Island and some- how they ended up at Gatsby’s door. Once there they were introduced by somebody who knew Gatsby and after that they conducted themselves according to the rules of be- havior associated with amusement parks. Sometimes they came and went without having met Gatsby at all, came for the party with a simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of admission.

I had been actually invited. A chauffeur in a uniform of robin’s egg blue crossed my lawn early that Saturday morn- ing with a surprisingly formal note from his employer—the honor would be entirely Gatsby’s, it said, if I would attend his ‘little party’ that night. He had seen me several times and had intended to call on me long before but a peculiar combination of circumstances had prevented it—signed Jay

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Gatsby in a majestic hand. Dressed up in white flannels I went over to his lawn a

little after seven and wandered around rather ill-at-ease among swirls and eddies of people I didn’t know—though here and there was a face I had noticed on the commut- ing train. I was immediately struck by the number of young Englishmen dotted about; all well dressed, all looking a lit- tle hungry and all talking in low earnest voices to solid and prosperous Americans. I was sure that they were selling something: bonds or insurance or automobiles. They were, at least, agonizingly aware of the easy money in the vicin- ity and convinced that it was theirs for a few words in the right key.

As soon as I arrived I made an attempt to find my host but the two or three people of whom I asked his where- abouts stared at me in such an amazed way and denied so vehemently any knowledge of his movements that I slunk off in the direction of the cocktail table—the only place in the garden where a single man could linger without looking purposeless and alone.

I was on my way to get roaring drunk from sheer em- barrassment when Jordan Baker came out of the house and stood at the head of the marble steps, leaning a little back- ward and looking with contemptuous interest down into the garden.

Welcome or not, I found it necessary to attach myself to someone before I should begin to address cordial remarks to the passers-by.

‘Hello!’ I roared, advancing toward her. My voice seemed

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unnaturally loud across the garden. ‘I thought you might be here,’ she responded absently as I

came up. ‘I remembered you lived next door to——‘ She held my hand impersonally, as a promise that she’d

take care of me in a minute, and gave ear to two girls in twin yellow dresses who stopped at the foot of the steps.

‘Hello!’ they cried together. ‘Sorry you didn’t win.’ That was for the golf tournament. She had lost in the fi-

nals the week before. ‘You don’t know who we are,’ said one of the girls in yel-

low, ‘but we met you here about a month ago.’ ‘You’ve dyed your hair since then,’ remarked Jordan, and

I started but the girls had moved casually on and her re- mark was addressed to the premature moon, produced like the supper, no doubt, out of a caterer’s basket. With Jordan’s slender golden arm resting in mine we descended the steps and sauntered about the garden. A tray of cocktails floated at us through the twilight and we sat down at a table with the two girls in yellow and three men, each one introduced to us as Mr. Mumble.

‘Do you come to these parties often?’ inquired Jordan of the girl beside her.

‘The last one was the one I met you at,’ answered the girl, in an alert, confident voice. She turned to her companion: ‘Wasn’t it for you, Lucille?’

It was for Lucille, too. ‘I like to come,’ Lucille said. ‘I never care what I do, so

I always have a good time. When I was here last I tore my gown on a chair, and he asked me my name and address—

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inside of a week I got a package from Croirier’s with a new evening gown in it.’

‘Did you keep it?’ asked Jordan. ‘Sure I did. I was going to wear it tonight, but it was too

big in the bust and had to be altered. It was gas blue with lavender beads. Two hundred and sixty-five dollars.’

‘There’s something funny about a fellow that’ll do a thing like that,’ said the other girl eagerly. ‘He doesn’t want any trouble with ANYbody.’

‘Who doesn’t?’ I inquired. ‘Gatsby. Somebody told me——‘ The two girls and Jordan leaned together confidentially. ‘Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once.’ A thrill passed over all of us. The three Mr. Mumbles

bent forward and listened eagerly. ‘I don’t think it’s so much THAT,’ argued Lucille skepti-

cally; ‘it’s more that he was a German spy during the war.’ One of the men nodded in confirmation. ‘I heard that from a man who knew all about him, grew

up with him in Germany,’ he assured us positively. ‘Oh, no,’ said the first girl, ‘it couldn’t be that, because he

was in the American army during the war.’ As our credulity switched back to her she leaned forward with enthusiasm. ‘You look at him sometimes when he thinks nobody’s look- ing at him. I’ll bet he killed a man.’

She narrowed her eyes and shivered. Lucille shivered. We all turned and looked around for Gatsby. It was testimo- ny to the romantic speculation he inspired that there were whispers about him from those who found little that it was

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necessary to whisper about in this world. The first supper—there would be another one after mid-

night—was now being served, and Jordan invited me to join her own party who were spread around a table on the other side of the garden. There were three married couples and Jordan’s escort, a persistent undergraduate given to violent innuendo and obviously under the impression that sooner or later Jordan was going to yield him up her person to a greater or lesser degree. Instead of rambling this party had preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself the function of representing the staid nobility of the country- side—East Egg condescending to West Egg, and carefully on guard against its spectroscopic gayety.

‘Let’s get out,’ whispered Jordan, after a somehow waste- ful and inappropriate half hour. ‘This is much too polite for me.’

We got up, and she explained that we were going to find the host—I had never met him, she said, and it was making me uneasy. The undergraduate nodded in a cynical, melan- choly way.

The bar, where we glanced first, was crowded but Gatsby was not there. She couldn’t find him from the top of the steps, and he wasn’t on the veranda. On a chance we tried an important-looking door, and walked into a high Goth- ic library, panelled with carved English oak, and probably transported complete from some ruin overseas.

A stout, middle-aged man with enormous owl-eyed spec- tacles was sitting somewhat drunk on the edge of a great table, staring with unsteady concentration at the shelves of

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books. As we entered he wheeled excitedly around and ex- amined Jordan from head to foot.

‘What do you think?’ he demanded impetuously. ‘About what?’ He waved his hand toward the book-shelves. ‘About that. As a matter of fact you needn’t bother to as-

certain. I ascertained. They’re real.’ ‘The books?’ He nodded. ‘Absolutely real—have pages and everything. I thought

they’d be a nice durable cardboard. Matter of fact, they’re absolutely real. Pages and—Here! Lemme show you.’

Taking our skepticism for granted, he rushed to the bookcases and returned with Volume One of the ‘Stoddard Lectures.’

‘See!’ he cried triumphantly. ‘It’s a bona fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me. This fella’s a regular Belasco. It’s a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop too—didn’t cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?’

He snatched the book from me and replaced it hastily on its shelf muttering that if one brick was removed the whole library was liable to collapse.

‘Who brought you?’ he demanded. ‘Or did you just come? I was brought. Most people were brought.’

Jordan looked at him alertly, cheerfully without answer- ing.

‘I was brought by a woman named Roosevelt,’ he con- tinued. ‘Mrs. Claud Roosevelt. Do you know her? I met her

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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.’

‘Has it?’ ‘A little bit, I think. I can’t tell yet. I’ve only been here an

hour. Did I tell you about the books? They’re real. They’re— —‘

‘You told us.’ We shook hands with him gravely and went back out-

doors. There was dancing now on the canvas in the garden,

old men pushing young girls backward in eternal grace- less circles, superior couples holding each other tortuously, fashionably and keeping in the corners—and a great num- ber 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 cos- tume 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 laugh- ter. I was enjoying myself now. I had taken two finger bowls

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of champagne and the scene had changed before my eyes into something significant, elemental and profound.

At a lull in the entertainment the man looked at me and smiled.

‘Your face is familiar,’ he said, politely. ‘Weren’t you in the Third Division during the war?’

‘Why, yes. I was in the Ninth Machine-Gun Battalion.’ ‘I was in the Seventh Infantry until June nineteen-eigh-

teen. I knew I’d seen you somewhere before.’ We talked for a moment about some wet, grey little vil-

lages 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.

‘Want to go with me, old sport? Just near the shore along the Sound.’

‘What time?’ ‘Any time that suits you best.’ It was on the tip of my tongue to ask his name when Jor-

dan looked around and smiled. ‘Having a gay time now?’ she inquired. ‘Much better.’ I turned again to my new acquaintance.

‘This is an unusual party for me. 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.’

For a moment he looked at me as if he failed to under- stand.

‘I’m Gatsby,’ he said suddenly. ‘What!’ I exclaimed. ‘Oh, I beg your pardon.’

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‘I thought you knew, old sport. I’m afraid I’m not a very good host.’

He smiled understandingly—much more than under- standingly. 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 ex- ternal 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 van- ished—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 him- self 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.

‘If you want anything just ask for it, old sport,’ he urged me. ‘Excuse me. 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.

‘Who is he?’ I demanded. ‘Do you know?’ ‘He’s just a man named Gatsby.’

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‘Where is he from, I mean? And what does he do?’ ‘Now YOU’re started on the subject,’ she answered with

a wan smile. ‘Well,—he told me once he was an Oxford man.’

A dim background started to take shape behind him but at her next remark it faded away.

‘However, I don’t believe it.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘I don’t know,’ she insisted, ‘I just don’t think he went

there.’ 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 infor- mation that Gatsby sprang from the swamps of Louisiana or from the lower East Side of New York. That was compre- hensible. But young men didn’t—at least in my provincial inexperience I believed they didn’t—drift coolly out of no- where and buy a palace on Long Island Sound.

‘Anyhow he gives large parties,’ said Jordan, changing the subject with an urbane distaste for the concrete. ‘And I like large parties. 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.

‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ he cried. ‘At the request of Mr. 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

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a big sensation.’ He smiled with jovial condescension and added ‘Some sensation!’ whereupon everybody laughed.

‘The piece is known,’ he concluded lustily, ‘as ‘Vladimir Tostoff’s Jazz History of the World.’ ‘

The nature of Mr. Tostoff’s composition eluded me, be- cause 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 attractive- ly 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 ar- rest their falls—but no one swooned backward on Gatsby and no French bob touched Gatsby’s shoulder and no sing- ing quartets were formed with Gatsby’s head for one link.

‘I beg your pardon.’ Gatsby’s butler was suddenly standing beside us. ‘Miss Baker?’ he inquired. ‘I beg your pardon but Mr.

Gatsby would like to speak to you alone.’ ‘With me?’ she exclaimed in surprise. ‘Yes, madame.’ She got up slowly, raising her eyebrows at me in aston-

ishment, and followed the butler toward the house. I noticed that she wore her evening dress, all her dresses, like sports

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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-win- dowed room which overhung the terrace. Eluding Jordan’s undergraduate who was now engaged in an obstetrical con- versation 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 every- thing 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 lyr- ic 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.

‘She had a fight with a man who says he’s her husband,’ explained a girl at my elbow.

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 asun-

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der by dissension. One of the men was talking with curious intensity to a young actress, and his wife after attempt- ing 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!’ into his ear.

The reluctance to go home was not confined to wayward men. The hall was at present occupied by two deplorably so- ber men and their highly indignant wives. The wives were sympathizing with each other in slightly raised voices.

‘Whenever he sees I’m having a good time he wants to go home.’

‘Never heard anything so selfish in my life.’ ‘We’re always the first ones to leave.’ ‘So are we.’ ‘Well, we’re almost the last tonight,’ said one of the men

sheepishly. ‘The orchestra left half an hour ago.’ In spite of the wives’ agreement that such malevolence

was beyond credibility, the dispute ended in a short strug- gle, 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.

‘I’ve just heard the most amazing thing,’ she whispered. ‘How long were we in there?’

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‘Why,—about an hour.’ ‘It was—simply amazing,’ she repeated abstractedly. ‘But

I swore I wouldn’t tell it and here I am tantalizing you.’ She yawned gracefully in my face. ‘Please come and see me…. Phone book…. Under the name of Mrs. Sigourney How- ard…. My aunt….’ She was hurrying off as she talked—her brown hand waved a jaunty salute as she melted into her party at the door.

Rather ashamed that on my first appearance I had stayed so late, I joined the last of Gatsby’s guests who were clus- tered 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.

‘Don’t mention it,’ he enjoined me eagerly. ‘Don’t give it another thought, old sport.’ The familiar expression held no more familiarity than the hand which reassuringly brushed my shoulder. ‘And don’t forget we’re going up in the hydro- plane tomorrow morning at nine o’clock.’

Then the butler, behind his shoulder: ‘Philadelphia wants you on the phone, sir.’ ‘All right, in a minute. Tell them I’ll be right there….

good night.’ ‘Good night.’ ‘Good night.’ He smiled—and suddenly there seemed

to be a pleasant significance in having been among the last to go, as if he had desired it all the time. ‘Good night, old sport…. 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

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illuminated a bizarre and tumultuous scene. In the ditch be- side the road, right side up but violently shorn of one wheel, rested a new coupé which had left Gatsby’s drive not two minutes before. The sharp jut of a wall accounted for the de- tachment 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 pleas- ant, puzzled way.

‘See!’ he explained. ‘It went in the ditch.’ The fact was infinitely astonishing to him—and I rec-

ognized first the unusual quality of wonder and then the man—it was the late patron of Gatsby’s library.

‘How’d it happen?’ He shrugged his shoulders. ‘I know nothing whatever about mechanics,’ he said de-

cisively. ‘But how did it happen? Did you run into the wall?’ ‘Don’t ask me,’ said Owl Eyes, washing his hands of the

whole matter. ‘I know very little about driving—next to nothing. It happened, and that’s all I know.’

‘Well, if you’re a poor driver you oughtn’t to try driving at night.’

‘But I wasn’t even trying,’ he explained indignantly, ‘I wasn’t even trying.’

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An awed hush fell upon the bystanders. ‘Do you want to commit suicide?’ ‘You’re lucky it was just a wheel! A bad driver and not

even TRYing!’ ‘You don’t understand,’ explained the criminal. ‘I wasn’t

driving. There’s another man in the car.’ The shock that followed this declaration found voice in

a sustained ‘Ah-h-h!’ as the door of the coupé swung slowly open. The crowd—it was now a crowd—stepped back in- voluntarily 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 tenta- tively 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.

‘Wha’s matter?’ he inquired calmly. ‘Did we run outa gas?’

‘Look!’ 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.

‘It came off,’ some one explained. He nodded. ‘At first I din’ notice we’d stopped.’ A pause. Then, taking a long breath and straightening

his shoulders he remarked in a determined voice: ‘Wonder’ff tell me where there’s a gas’line station?’

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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.

‘Back out,’ he suggested after a moment. ‘Put her in re- verse.’

‘But the WHEEL’S off!’ He hesitated. ‘No harm in trying,’ he said. 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 sud- den emptiness seemed to flow now from the windows and the great doors, endowing with complete isolation the fig- ure 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 af- fairs.

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

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had a short affair with a girl who lived in Jersey City and worked in the accounting department, but her brother be- gan 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 up- stairs 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. After that, if the night was mellow I strolled down Madison Avenue past the old Murray Hill Hotel and over Thirty-third Street to the Pennsylvania Station.

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 wom- en 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 metropoli- tan 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 poi- gnant moments of night and life.

Again at eight o’clock, when the dark lanes of the For- ties were five deep with throbbing taxi cabs, bound for the

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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 ciga- rettes 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 mid- summer I found her again. At first I was flattered to go places with her because she was a golf champion and ev- ery 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 con- cealed 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 sug- gestion 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 impos-

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sible. She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage, and given this unwillingness I sup- pose 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.

‘You’re a rotten driver,’ I protested. ‘Either you ought to be more careful or you oughtn’t to drive at all.’

‘I am careful.’ ‘No, you’re not.’ ‘Well, other people are,’ she said lightly. ‘What’s that got to do with it?’ ‘They’ll keep out of my way,’ she insisted. ‘It takes two to

make an accident.’ ‘Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself.’ ‘I hope I never will,’ she answered. ‘I hate careless people.

That’s why I like you.’ 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

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them: ‘Love, Nick,’ and all I could think of was how, when that certain girl played tennis, a faint mustache of perspi- ration appeared on her upper lip. Nevertheless there was a vague understanding that had to be tactfully broken off be- fore 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.

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Chapter 4

On Sunday morning while church bells rang in the vil-lages along shore the world and its mistress returned to Gatsby’s house and twinkled hilariously on his lawn.

‘He’s a bootlegger,’ said the young ladies, moving some- where between his cocktails and his flowers. ‘One time he killed a man who had found out that he was nephew to von Hindenburg and second cousin to the devil. Reach me a rose, honey, and pour me a last drop into that there crys- tal glass.’

Once I wrote down on the empty spaces of a time-table the names of those who came to Gatsby’s house that sum- mer. It is an old time-table now, disintegrating at its folds and headed ‘This schedule in effect July 5th, 1922.’ But I can still read the grey names and they will give you a bet- ter impression than my generalities of those who accepted Gatsby’s hospitality and paid him the subtle tribute of knowing nothing whatever about him.

From East Egg, then, came the Chester Beckers and the Leeches and a man named Bunsen whom I knew at Yale and Doctor Webster Civet who was drowned last summer up in Maine. And the Hornbeams and the Willie Voltaires and a whole clan named Blackbuck who always gathered in a cor- ner and flipped up their noses like goats at whosoever came near. And the Ismays and the Chrysties (or rather Hubert

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Auerbach and Mr. 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. R. P. Schraed- ers and the Stonewall Jackson Abrams of Georgia and the Fishguards and the Ripley Snells. Snell was there three days before he went to the penitentiary, so drunk out on the grav- el drive that Mrs. Ulysses Swett’s automobile ran over his right hand. The Dancies came too and S. B. Whitebait, who was well over sixty, and Maurice A. Flink and the Hammer- heads and Beluga the tobacco importer and Beluga’s girls.

From West Egg came the Poles and the Mulreadys and Cecil Roebuck and Cecil Schoen and Gulick the state sena- tor and Newton Orchid who controlled Films Par Excellence and Eckhaust and Clyde Cohen and Don S. 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. Da Fontano the promoter came there, and Ed Legros and James B. (“Rot-Gut’) Ferret and the De Jongs and Ernest Lilly—they came to gamble and when Fer- ret wandered into the garden it meant he was cleaned out and Associated Traction would have to fluctuate profitably next day.

A man named Klipspringer was there so often and so long that he became known as ‘the boarder’—I doubt if

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he had any other home. Of theatrical people there were Gus Waize and Horace O’Donavan and Lester Meyer and George Duckweed and Francis Bull. Also from New York were the Chromes and the Backhyssons and the Dennick- ers and Russel Betty and the Corrigans and the Kellehers and the Dewars and the Scullys and S. W. Belcher and the Smirkes and the young Quinns, divorced now, and Henry L. Palmetto who killed himself by jumping in front of a sub- way 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 melodi- ous 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. Albrucksburger and Miss Haag, his fiancée, and Ardita Fitz-Peters, and Mr. P. 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.

All these people came to Gatsby’s house in the summer. At nine o’clock, one morning late in July Gatsby’s gor-

geous car lurched up the rocky drive to my door and gave

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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.

‘Good morning, old sport. 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 lift- ing 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 open- ing and closing of a hand.

He saw me looking with admiration at his car. ‘It’s pretty, isn’t it, old sport.’ He jumped off to give me a

better view. ‘Haven’t you ever seen it before?’ I’d seen it. Everybody had seen it. It was a rich cream

color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its mon- strous 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 lay- ers 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

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he had become simply the proprietor of an elaborate road- house 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 indeci- sively on the knee of his caramel-colored suit.

‘Look here, old sport,’ he broke out surprisingly. ‘What’s your opinion of me, anyhow?’

A little overwhelmed, I began the generalized evasions which that question deserves.

‘Well, I’m going to tell you something about my life,’ he interrupted. ‘I don’t want you to get a wrong idea of me from all these stories you hear.’

So he was aware of the bizarre accusations that flavored conversation in his halls.

‘I’ll tell you God’s truth.’ His right hand suddenly or- dered divine retribution to stand by. ‘I am the son of some wealthy people in the middle-west—all dead now. 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 state- ment fell to pieces and I wondered if there wasn’t something a little sinister about him after all.

‘What part of the middle-west?’ I inquired casually. ‘San Francisco.’

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‘I see.’ ‘My family all died and I came into a good deal of mon-

ey.’ His voice was solemn as if the memory of that sud-

den 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.

‘After that I lived like a young rajah in all the capitals of Europe—Paris, Venice, Rome—collecting jewels, chiefly rubies, hunting big game, painting a little, things for myself only, and trying to forget something very sad that had hap- pened to me long ago.’

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.

‘Then came the war, old sport. It was a great relief and I tried very hard to die but I seemed to bear an enchant- ed life. I accepted a commission as first lieutenant when it began. In the Argonne Forest I took two machine-gun de- tachments 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 Mon- tenegro, little Montenegro down on the Adriatic Sea!’

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Little Montenegro! He lifted up the words and nodded at them—with his smile. The smile comprehended Monte- negro’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. My increduli- ty was submerged in fascination now; it was like skimming hastily through a dozen magazines.

He reached in his pocket and a piece of metal, slung on a ribbon, fell into my palm.

‘That’s the one from Montenegro.’ To my astonishment, the thing had an authentic look. Orderi di Danilo, ran the circular legend, Montenegro,

Nicolas Rex. ‘Turn it.’ Major Jay Gatsby, I read, For Valour Extraordinary. ‘Here’s another thing I always carry. A souvenir of Ox-

ford 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, young- er—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 gnaw- ings of his broken heart.

‘I’m going to make a big request of you today,’ he said, pocketing his souvenirs with satisfaction, ‘so I thought you

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ought to know something about me. I didn’t want you to think I was just some nobody. You see, I usually find my- self among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad thing that happened to me.’ He hesitated. ‘You’ll hear about it this afternoon.’

‘At lunch?’ ‘No, this afternoon. I happened to find out that you’re

taking Miss Baker to tea.’ ‘Do you mean you’re in love with Miss Baker?’ ‘No, old sport, I’m not. But Miss Baker has kindly con-

sented 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!’ of a motor cycle, and a frantic policeman rode alongside.

‘All right, old sport,’ called Gatsby. We slowed down.

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Taking a white card from his wallet he waved it before the man’s eyes.

‘Right you are,’ agreed the policeman, tipping his cap. ‘Know you next time, Mr. Gatsby. Excuse ME!’

‘What was that?’ I inquired. ‘The picture of Oxford?’ ‘I was able to do the commissioner a favor once, and he

sends me a Christmas card every year.’ 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 mon- ey. 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.

‘Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge,’ I thought; ‘anything at all….’

Even Gatsby could happen, without any particular won- der.

Roaring noon. In a well-fanned Forty-second Street cel-

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lar 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.

‘Mr. Carraway this is my friend Mr. Wolfshiem.’ A small, flat-nosed Jew raised his large head and regard-

ed me with two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril. After a moment I discovered his tiny eyes in the half darkness.

‘—so I took one look at him—’ said Mr. Wolfshiem, shak- ing my hand earnestly, ‘—and what do you think I did?’

‘What?’ I inquired politely. But evidently he was not addressing me for he dropped

my hand and covered Gatsby with his expressive nose. ‘I handed the money to Katspaugh and I sid, ‘All right,

Katspaugh, don’t pay him a penny till he shuts his mouth.’ He shut it then and there.’

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 somnambu- latory abstraction.

‘Highballs?’ asked the head waiter. ‘This is a nice restaurant here,’ said Mr. Wolfshiem look-

ing at the Presbyterian nymphs on the ceiling. ‘But I like across the street better!’

‘Yes, highballs,’ agreed Gatsby, and then to Mr. Wolf- shiem: ‘It’s too hot over there.’

‘Hot and small—yes,’ said Mr. Wolfshiem, ‘but full of memories.’

‘What place is that?’ I asked.

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‘The old Metropole. ‘The old Metropole,’ brooded Mr. Wolfshiem gloomily.

‘Filled with faces dead and gone. 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 al- most morning the waiter came up to him with a funny look and says somebody wants to speak to him outside. ‘All right,’ says Rosy and begins to get up and I pulled him down in his chair.

’ ‘Let the bastards come in here if they want you, Rosy, but don’t you, so help me, move outside this room.’

‘It was four o’clock in the morning then, and if we’d of raised the blinds we’d of seen daylight.’

‘Did he go?’ I asked innocently. ‘Sure he went,’—Mr. Wolfshiem’s nose flashed at me in-

dignantly—‘He turned around in the door and says, ‘Don’t let that waiter take away my coffee!’ Then he went out on the sidewalk and they shot him three times in his full belly and drove away.’

‘Four of them were electrocuted,’ I said, remembering. ‘Five with Becker.’ His nostrils turned to me in an in-

terested way. ‘I understand you’re looking for a business gonnegtion.’

The juxtaposition of these two remarks was startling. Gatsby answered for me:

‘Oh, no,’ he exclaimed, ‘this isn’t the man!’ ‘No?’ Mr. Wolfshiem seemed disappointed. ‘This is just a friend. I told you we’d talk about that some

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other time.’ ‘I beg your pardon,’ said Mr. Wolfshiem, ‘I had a wrong

man.’ A succulent hash arrived, and Mr. Wolfshiem, forget-

ting 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.

‘Look here, old sport,’ said Gatsby, leaning toward me, ‘I’m afraid I made you a little angry this morning in the car.’

There was the smile again, but this time I held out against it.

‘I don’t like mysteries,’ I answered. ‘And I don’t under- stand why you won’t come out frankly and tell me what you want. Why has it all got to come through Miss Baker?’

‘Oh, it’s nothing underhand,’ he assured me. ‘Miss Bak- er’s a great sportswoman, you know, and she’d never do anything that wasn’t all right.’

Suddenly he looked at his watch, jumped up and hurried from the room leaving me with Mr. Wolfshiem at the table.

‘He has to telephone,’ said Mr. Wolfshiem, following him with his eyes. ‘Fine fellow, isn’t he? Handsome to look at and a perfect gentleman.’

‘Yes.’ ‘He’s an Oggsford man.’ ‘Oh!’

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‘He went to Oggsford College in England. You know Oggsford College?’

‘I’ve heard of it.’ ‘It’s one of the most famous colleges in the world.’ ‘Have you known Gatsby for a long time?’ I inquired. ‘Several years,’ he answered in a gratified way. ‘I made

the pleasure of his acquaintance just after the war. But I knew I had discovered a man of fine breeding after I talked with him an hour. I said to myself: ‘There’s the kind of man you’d like to take home and introduce to your mother and sister.’ ‘ He paused. ‘I see you’re looking at my cuff buttons.’

I hadn’t been looking at them, but I did now. They were composed of oddly familiar pieces of ivory.

‘Finest specimens of human molars,’ he informed me. ‘Well!’ I inspected them. ‘That’s a very interesting idea.’ ‘Yeah.’ He flipped his sleeves up under his coat. ‘Yeah,

Gatsby’s very careful about women. 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.

‘I have enjoyed my lunch,’ he said, ‘and I’m going to run off from you two young men before I outstay my welcome.’

‘Don’t hurry, Meyer,’ said Gatsby, without enthusiasm. Mr. Wolfshiem raised his hand in a sort of benediction.

‘You’re very polite but I belong to another generation,’ he announced solemnly. ‘You sit here and discuss your sports and your young ladies and your——’ He supplied an imagi- nary noun with another wave of his hand—‘As for me, I am

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fifty years old, and I won’t impose myself on you any lon- ger.’

As he shook hands and turned away his tragic nose was trembling. I wondered if I had said anything to offend him.

‘He becomes very sentimental sometimes,’ explained Gatsby. ‘This is one of his sentimental days. He’s quite a character around New York—a denizen of Broadway.’

‘Who is he anyhow—an actor?’ ‘No.’ ‘A dentist?’ ‘Meyer Wolfshiem? No, he’s a gambler.’ Gatsby hesitated,

then added coolly: ‘He’s the man who fixed the World’s Se- ries back in 1919.’

‘Fixed the World’s Series?’ I repeated. The idea staggered me. I remembered of course that the

World’s Series had been fixed in 1919 but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as a thing that mere- ly 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.

‘How did he happen to do that?’ I asked after a minute. ‘He just saw the opportunity.’ ‘Why isn’t he in jail?’ ‘They can’t get him, old sport. He’s a smart man.’ I insisted on paying the check. As the waiter brought my

change I caught sight of Tom Buchanan across the crowded room.

‘Come along with me for a minute,’ I said. ‘I’ve got to say

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hello to someone.’ When he saw us Tom jumped up and took half a dozen

steps in our direction. ‘Where’ve you been?’ he demanded eagerly. ‘Daisy’s furi-

ous because you haven’t called up.’ ‘This is Mr. Gatsby, Mr. Buchanan.’ They shook hands briefly and a strained, unfamiliar look

of embarrassment came over Gatsby’s face. ‘How’ve you been, anyhow?’ demanded Tom of me.

‘How’d you happen to come up this far to eat?’ ‘I’ve been having lunch with Mr. Gatsby.’ I turned toward Mr. Gatsby, but he was no longer there. 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 walk- ing 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 disap- proving 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 Tay-

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lor 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.

‘Hello Jordan,’ she called unexpectedly. ‘Please come here.’

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 old- er 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 effec- tually 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,

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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 be- fore 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.

’ ‘Gratulate me,’ she muttered. ‘Never had a drink before but oh, how I do enjoy it.’

‘What’s the matter, Daisy?’ I was scared, I can tell you; I’d never seen a girl like that

before. ‘Here, dearis.’ She groped around in a waste-basket she

had with her on the bed and pulled out the string of pearls. ‘Take ‘em downstairs and give ‘em back to whoever they belong to. 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

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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 Buchan- an 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?’ and wear the most abstract- ed expression until she saw him coming in the door. 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 togeth- er—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 pa- pers 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

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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 irregulari- ty 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 re- member?—if you knew Gatsby in West Egg. After you had gone home she came into my room and woke me up, and said ‘What Gatsby?’ and when I described him—I was half asleep—she said in the strangest voice that it must be the man she used to know. 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 are asleep, Into your tent I’ ll creep——’

‘It was a strange coincidence,’ I said. ‘But it wasn’t a coincidence at all.’

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‘Why not?’ ‘Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just

across the bay.’ 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.

‘He wants to know—’ continued Jordan ‘—if you’ll in- vite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over.’

The modesty of the demand shook me. He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he dispensed star- light to casual moths so that he could ‘come over’ some afternoon to a stranger’s garden.

‘Did I have to know all this before he could ask such a little thing?’

‘He’s afraid. He’s waited so long. He thought you might be offended. You see he’s a regular tough underneath it all.’

Something worried me. ‘Why didn’t he ask you to arrange a meeting?’ ‘He wants her to see his house,’ she explained. ‘And your

house is right next door.’ ‘Oh!’ ‘I think he half expected her to wander into one of his

parties, some night,’ went on Jordan, ‘but she never did. 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:

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’ ‘I don’t want to do anything out of the way!’ he kept say- ing. ‘I want to see her right next door.’

‘When I said you were a particular friend of Tom’s he started to abandon the whole idea. 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 excite- ment: ‘There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.’

‘And Daisy ought to have something in her life,’ mur- mured Jordan to me.

‘Does she want to see Gatsby?’ ‘She’s not to know about it. 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.

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Chapter 5

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 elongat- ing 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.

‘Your place looks like the world’s fair,’ I said. ‘Does it?’ He turned his eyes toward it absently. ‘I have

been glancing into some of the rooms. Let’s go to Coney Is- land, old sport. In my car.’

‘It’s too late.’ ‘Well, suppose we take a plunge in the swimming pool? I

haven’t made use of it all summer.’ ‘I’ve got to go to bed.’ ‘All right.’ He waited, looking at me with suppressed eagerness. ‘I talked with Miss Baker,’ I said after a moment. ‘I’m go-

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ing to call up Daisy tomorrow and invite her over here to tea.’

‘Oh, that’s all right,’ he said carelessly. ‘I don’t want to put you to any trouble.’

‘What day would suit you?’ ‘What day would suit YOU?’ he corrected me quickly. ‘I

don’t want to put you to any trouble, you see.’ ‘How about the day after tomorrow?’ He considered for a

moment. Then, with reluctance: ‘I want to get the grass cut,’ he said. We both looked at the grass—there was a sharp line

where my ragged lawn ended and the darker, well-kept ex- panse of his began. I suspected that he meant my grass.

‘There’s another little thing,’ he said uncertainly, and hesitated.

‘Would you rather put it off for a few days?’ I asked. ‘Oh, it isn’t about that. At least——’ He fumbled with a

series of beginnings. ‘Why, I thought—why, look here, old sport, you don’t make much money, do you?’

‘Not very much.’ This seemed to reassure him and he continued more

confidently. ‘I thought you didn’t, if you’ll pardon my—you see,

I carry on a little business on the side, a sort of sideline, you understand. And I thought that if you don’t make very much—You’re selling bonds, aren’t you, old sport?’

‘Trying to.’ ‘Well, this would interest you. It wouldn’t take up much

of your time and you might pick up a nice bit of money. It

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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 ser- vice to be rendered, I had no choice except to cut him off there.

‘I’ve got my hands full,’ I said. ‘I’m much obliged but I couldn’t take on any more work.’

‘You wouldn’t have to do any business with Wolfshiem.’ Evidently he thought that I was shying away from the ‘gon- negtion’ mentioned at lunch, but I assured him he was wrong. He waited a moment longer, hoping I’d begin a con- versation, 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 Is- land or for how many hours he ‘glanced into rooms’ while his house blazed gaudily on. I called up Daisy from the of- fice next morning and invited her to come to tea.

‘Don’t bring Tom,’ I warned her. ‘What?’ ‘Don’t bring Tom.’ ‘Who is ‘Tom’?’ she asked innocently. 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

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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 green- house 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-col- ored tie hurried in. He was pale and there were dark signs of sleeplessness beneath his eyes.

‘Is everything all right?’ he asked immediately. ‘The grass looks fine, if that’s what you mean.’ ‘What grass?’ he inquired blankly. ‘Oh, the grass in the

yard.’ He looked out the window at it, but judging from his expression I don’t believe he saw a thing.

‘Looks very good,’ he remarked vaguely. ‘One of the papers said they thought the rain would stop about four. I think it was ‘The Journal.’ Have you got everything you need in the shape of—of tea?’

I took him into the pantry where he looked a little re- proachfully at the Finn. Together we scrutinized the twelve lemon cakes from the delicatessen shop.

‘Will they do?’ I asked. ‘Of course, of course! They’re fine!’ and he added hol-

lowly, ‘…old sport.’ 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 ‘Econom- ics,’ 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

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taking place outside. Finally he got up and informed me in an uncertain voice that he was going home.

‘Why’s that?’ ‘Nobody’s coming to tea. It’s too late!’ He looked at his

watch as if there was some pressing demand on his time elsewhere. ‘I can’t wait all day.’

‘Don’t be silly; it’s just two minutes to four.’ He sat down, miserably, as if I had pushed him, and si-

multaneously 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 side- ways beneath a three-cornered lavender hat, looked out at me with a bright ecstatic smile.

‘Is this absolutely where you live, my dearest one?’ 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.

‘Are you in love with me,’ she said low in my ear. ‘Or why did I have to come alone?’

‘That’s the secret of Castle Rackrent. Tell your chauffeur to go far away and spend an hour.’

‘Come back in an hour, Ferdie.’ Then in a grave murmur, ‘His name is Ferdie.’

‘Does the gasoline affect his nose?’

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‘I don’t think so,’ she said innocently. ‘Why?’ We went in. To my overwhelming surprise the living

room was deserted. ‘Well, that’s funny!’ I exclaimed. ‘What’s funny?’ She turned her head as there was a light, dignified knock-

ing 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 tragi- cally 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 dis- appeared 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.

‘I certainly am awfully glad to see you again.’ A pause; it endured horribly. I had nothing to do in the

hall so I went into the room. 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.

‘We’ve met before,’ muttered Gatsby. His eyes glanced

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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.

‘I’m sorry about the clock,’ he said. My own face had now assumed a deep tropical burn. I

couldn’t muster up a single commonplace out of the thou- sand in my head.

‘It’s an old clock,’ I told them idiotically. I think we all believed for a moment that it had smashed

in pieces on the floor. ‘We haven’t met for many years,’ said Daisy, her voice as

matter-of-fact as it could ever be. ‘Five years next November.’ 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 cer- tain physical decency established itself. Gatsby got himself into a shadow and while Daisy and I talked looked consci- entiously 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.

‘Where are you going?’ demanded Gatsby in immediate alarm.

‘I’ll be back.’

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‘I’ve got to speak to you about something before you go.’ He followed me wildly into the kitchen, closed the door

and whispered: ‘Oh, God!’ in a miserable way. ‘What’s the matter?’ ‘This is a terrible mistake,’ he said, shaking his head from

side to side, ‘a terrible, terrible mistake.’ ‘You’re just embarrassed, that’s all,’ and luckily I added:

‘Daisy’s embarrassed too.’ ‘She’s embarrassed?’ he repeated incredulously. ‘Just as much as you are.’ ‘Don’t talk so loud.’ ‘You’re acting like a little boy,’ I broke out impatiently.

‘Not only that but you’re rude. 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 be- fore—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 prehis- toric 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

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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 occasion- ally 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 spoon- ful. 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 the, 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 kitch- en 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 hand- kerchief 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.

‘Oh, hello, old sport,’ he said, as if he hadn’t seen me for years. I thought for a moment he was going to shake

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hands. ‘It’s stopped raining.’ ‘Has it?’ When he realized what I was talking about, that

there were twinkle-bells of sunshine in the room, he smiled like a weather man, like an ecstatic patron of recurrent light, and repeated the news to Daisy. ‘What do you think of that? It’s stopped raining.’

‘I’m glad, Jay.’ Her throat, full of aching, grieving beauty, told only of her unexpected joy.

‘I want you and Daisy to come over to my house,’ he said, ‘I’d like to show her around.’

‘You’re sure you want me to come?’ ‘Absolutely, old sport.’ Daisy went upstairs to wash her face—too late I thought

with humiliation of my towels—while Gatsby and I waited on the lawn.

‘My house looks well, doesn’t it?’ he demanded. ‘See how the whole front of it catches the light.’

I agreed that it was splendid. ‘Yes.’ His eyes went over it, every arched door and square

tower. ‘It took me just three years to earn the money that bought it.’

‘I thought you inherited your money.’ ‘I did, old sport,’ he said automatically, ‘but I lost most of

it in the big panic—the panic of the war.’ 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 re- ply.

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‘Oh, I’ve been in several things,’ he corrected himself. ‘I was in the drug business and then I was in the oil business. But I’m not in either one now.’ He looked at me with more attention. ‘Do you mean you’ve been thinking over what I proposed the other night?’

Before I could answer, Daisy came out of the house and two rows of brass buttons on her dress gleamed in the sun- light.

‘That huge place THERE?’ she cried pointing. ‘Do you like it?’ ‘I love it, but I don’t see how you live there all alone.’ ‘I keep it always full of interesting people, night and day.

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 en- chanting 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 or- ders 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.

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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 sunk- en baths—intruding into one chamber where a dishevelled man in pajamas was doing liver exercises on the floor. It was Mr. Klipspringer, the ‘boarder.’ I had seen him wander- ing hungrily about the beach that morning. 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.

‘It’s the funniest thing, old sport,’ he said hilariously. ‘I can’t—when I try to——‘

He had passed visibly through two states and was en- tering upon a third. After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy he was consumed with wonder at her pres- ence. 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

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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.

‘I’ve got a man in England who buys me clothes. 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 ta- ble 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.

‘They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muf- fled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.’

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.

‘If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,’ said Gatsby. ‘You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.’

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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. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.

I began to walk about the room, examining various in- definite objects in the half darkness. A large photograph of an elderly man in yachting costume attracted me, hung on the wall over his desk.

‘Who’s this?’ ‘That? That’s Mr. Dan Cody, old sport.’ The name sounded faintly familiar. ‘He’s dead now. He used to be my best friend years ago.’ There was a small picture of Gatsby, also in yachting cos-

tume, on the bureau—Gatsby with his head thrown back defiantly—taken apparently when he was about eighteen.

‘I adore it!’ exclaimed Daisy. ‘The pompadour! You never told me you had a pompadour—or a yacht.’

‘Look at this,’ said Gatsby quickly. ‘Here’s a lot of clip- pings—about you.’

They stood side by side examining it. I was going to ask to see the rubies when the phone rang and Gatsby took up the receiver.

‘Yes…. Well, I can’t talk now…. I can’t talk now, old sport…. I said a SMALL town…. He must know what a small town is…. Well, he’s no use to us if Detroit is his idea

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of a small town….’ He rang off. ‘Come here QUICK!’ cried Daisy at the window. The rain was still falling, but the darkness had parted in

the west, and there was a pink and golden billow of foamy clouds above the sea.

‘Look at that,’ she whispered, and then after a moment: ‘I’d like to just get one of those pink clouds and put you in it and push you around.’

I tried to go then, but they wouldn’t hear of it; perhaps my presence made them feel more satisfactorily alone.

‘I know what we’ll do,’ said Gatsby, ‘we’ll have Klip- springer play the piano.’

He went out of the room calling ‘Ewing!’ and returned in a few minutes accompanied by an embarrassed, slight- ly worn young man with shell-rimmed glasses and scanty blonde hair. He was now decently clothed in a ‘sport shirt’ open at the neck, sneakers and duck trousers of a nebulous hue.

‘Did we interrupt your exercises?’ inquired Daisy polite- ly.

‘I was asleep,’ cried Mr. Klipspringer, in a spasm of em- barrassment. ‘That is, I’d BEEN asleep. Then I got up….’

‘Klipspringer plays the piano,’ said Gatsby, cutting him off. ‘Don’t you, Ewing, old sport?’

‘I don’t play well. I don’t—I hardly play at all. I’m all out of prac——‘

‘We’ll go downstairs,’ interrupted Gatsby. He flipped a switch. The grey windows disappeared as the house glowed

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full of light. In the music room Gatsby turned on a solitary lamp

beside the piano. He lit Daisy’s cigarette from a trembling match, and sat down with her on a couch far across the room where there was no light save what the gleaming floor bounced in from the hall.

When Klipspringer had played ‘The Love Nest’ he turned around on the bench and searched unhappily for Gatsby in the gloom.

‘I’m all out of practice, you see. I told you I couldn’t play. I’m all out of prac——‘

‘Don’t talk so much, old sport,’ commanded Gatsby. ‘Play!’


Outside the wind was loud and there was a faint flow of thunder along the Sound. All the lights were going on in West Egg now; the electric trains, men-carrying, were plunging home through the rain from New York. It was the hour of a profound human change, and excitement was gen- erating on the air.


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As I went over to say goodbye I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams—not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.

As I watched him he adjusted himself a little, visibly. His hand took hold of hers and as she said something low in his ear he turned toward her with a rush of emotion. I think that voice held him most with its fluctuating, feverish warmth because it couldn’t be over-dreamed—that voice was a deathless song.

They had forgotten me, but Daisy glanced up and held out her hand; Gatsby didn’t know me now at all. I looked once more at them and they looked back at me, remotely, possessed by intense life. Then I went out of the room and down the marble steps into the rain, leaving them there to- gether.

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Chapter 6

About this time an ambitious young reporter from New York arrived one morning at Gatsby’s door and asked him if he had anything to say.

‘Anything to say about what?’ inquired Gatsby politely. ‘Why,—any statement to give out.’ It transpired after a confused five minutes that the man

had heard Gatsby’s name around his office in a connection which he either wouldn’t reveal or didn’t fully understand. This was his day off and with laudable initiative he had hur- ried out ‘to see.’

It was a random shot, and yet the reporter’s instinct was right. Gatsby’s notoriety, spread about by the hundreds who had accepted his hospitality and so become authorities on his past, had increased all summer until he fell just short of being news. Contemporary legends such as the ‘under- ground pipe-line to Canada’ attached themselves to him, and there was one persistent story that he didn’t live in a house at all, but in a boat that looked like a house and was moved secretly up and down the Long Island shore. Just why these inventions were a source of satisfaction to James Gatz of North Dakota, isn’t easy to say.

James Gatz—that was really, or at least legally, his name. He had changed it at the age of seventeen and at the specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career—when

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he saw Dan Cody’s yacht drop anchor over the most insidi- ous flat on Lake Superior. It was James Gatz who had been loafing along the beach that afternoon in a torn green jer- sey and a pair of canvas pants, but it was already Jay Gatsby who borrowed a row-boat, pulled out to the TUOLOMEE and informed Cody that a wind might catch him and break him up in half an hour.

I suppose he’d had the name ready for a long time, even then. His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm peo- ple—his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s Business, the service of a vast, vulgar and meretri- cious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.

For over a year he had been beating his way along the south shore of Lake Superior as a clam digger and a salmon fisher or in any other capacity that brought him food and bed. His brown, hardening body lived naturally through the half fierce, half lazy work of the bracing days. He knew women early and since they spoiled him he became con- temptuous of them, of young virgins because they were ignorant, of the others because they were hysterical about things which in his overwhelming self-absorption he took for granted.

But his heart was in a constant, turbulent riot. The most

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grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the wash-stand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor. Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies un- til drowsiness closed down upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing.

An instinct toward his future glory had led him, some months before, to the small Lutheran college of St. Olaf in southern Minnesota. He stayed there two weeks, dismayed at its ferocious indifference to the drums of his destiny, to destiny itself, and despising the janitor’s work with which he was to pay his way through. Then he drifted back to Lake Superior, and he was still searching for something to do on the day that Dan Cody’s yacht dropped anchor in the shal- lows along shore.

Cody was fifty years old then, a product of the Nevada silver fields, of the Yukon, of every rush for metal since Sev- enty-five. The transactions in Montana copper that made him many times a millionaire found him physically robust but on the verge of soft-mindedness, and, suspecting this an infinite number of women tried to separate him from his money. The none too savory ramifications by which Ella Kaye, the newspaper woman, played Madame de Main- tenon to his weakness and sent him to sea in a yacht, were common knowledge to the turgid journalism of 1902. He

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had been coasting along all too hospitable shores for five years when he turned up as James Gatz’s destiny at Little Girl Bay.

To the young Gatz, resting on his oars and looking up at the railed deck, the yacht represented all the beauty and glamor in the world. I suppose he smiled at Cody—he had probably discovered that people liked him when he smiled. At any rate Cody asked him a few questions (one of them elicited the brand new name) and found that he was quick, and extravagantly ambitious. A few days later he took him to Duluth and bought him a blue coat, six pair of white duck trousers and a yachting cap. And when the TUOLOMEE left for the West Indies and the Barbary Coast Gatsby left too.

He was employed in a vague personal capacity—while he remained with Cody he was in turn steward, mate, skip- per, secretary, and even jailor, for Dan Cody sober knew what lavish doings Dan Cody drunk might soon be about and he provided for such contingencies by reposing more and more trust in Gatsby. The arrangement lasted five years during which the boat went three times around the con- tinent. It might have lasted indefinitely except for the fact that Ella Kaye came on board one night in Boston and a week later Dan Cody inhospitably died.

I remember the portrait of him up in Gatsby’s bedroom, a grey, florid man with a hard empty face—the pioneer de- bauchee who during one phase of American life brought back to the eastern seaboard the savage violence of the fron- tier brothel and saloon. It was indirectly due to Cody that

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Gatsby drank so little. Sometimes in the course of gay par- ties women used to rub champagne into his hair; for himself he formed the habit of letting liquor alone.

And it was from Cody that he inherited money—a legacy of twenty-five thousand dollars. He didn’t get it. He nev- er understood the legal device that was used against him but what remained of the millions went intact to Ella Kaye. He was left with his singularly appropriate education; the vague contour of Jay Gatsby had filled out to the substanti- ality of a man.

He told me all this very much later, but I’ve put it down here with the idea of exploding those first wild rumors about his antecedents, which weren’t even faintly true. Moreover he told it to me at a time of confusion, when I had reached the point of believing everything and nothing about him. So I take advantage of this short halt, while Gatsby, so to speak, caught his breath, to clear this set of misconceptions away.

It was a halt, too, in my association with his affairs. For several weeks I didn’t see him or hear his voice on the phone—mostly I was in New York, trotting around with Jordan and trying to ingratiate myself with her senile aunt— but finally I went over to his house one Sunday afternoon. I hadn’t been there two minutes when somebody brought Tom Buchanan in for a drink. I was startled, naturally, but the really surprising thing was that it hadn’t happened be- fore.

They were a party of three on horseback—Tom and a man named Sloane and a pretty woman in a brown riding

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habit who had been there previously. ‘I’m delighted to see you,’ said Gatsby standing on his

porch. ‘I’m delighted that you dropped in.’ As though they cared! ‘Sit right down. Have a cigarette or a cigar.’ He walked

around the room quickly, ringing bells. ‘I’ll have something to drink for you in just a minute.’

He was profoundly affected by the fact that Tom was there. But he would be uneasy anyhow until he had given them something, realizing in a vague way that that was all they came for. Mr. Sloane wanted nothing. A lemonade? No, thanks. A little champagne? Nothing at all, thanks…. I’m sorry——

‘Did you have a nice ride?’ ‘Very good roads around here.’ ‘I suppose the automobiles——‘ ‘Yeah.’ Moved by an irresistible impulse, Gatsby turned to Tom

who had accepted the introduction as a stranger. ‘I believe we’ve met somewhere before, Mr. Buchanan.’ ‘Oh, yes,’ said Tom, gruffly polite but obviously not re-

membering. ‘So we did. I remember very well.’ ‘About two weeks ago.’ ‘That’s right. You were with Nick here.’ ‘I know your wife,’ continued Gatsby, almost aggressive-

ly. ‘That so?’ Tom turned to me. ‘You live near here, Nick?’

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‘Next door.’ ‘That so?’ Mr. Sloane didn’t enter into the conversation but lounged

back haughtily in his chair; the woman said nothing ei- ther—until unexpectedly, after two highballs, she became cordial.

‘We’ll all come over to your next party, Mr. Gatsby,’ she suggested. ‘What do you say?’

‘Certainly. I’d be delighted to have you.’ ‘Be ver’ nice,’ said Mr. Sloane, without gratitude. ‘Well—

think ought to be starting home.’ ‘Please don’t hurry,’ Gatsby urged them. He had control

of himself now and he wanted to see more of Tom. ‘Why don’t you—why don’t you stay for supper? I wouldn’t be sur- prised if some other people dropped in from New York.’

‘You come to supper with ME,’ said the lady enthusiasti- cally. ‘Both of you.’

This included me. Mr. Sloane got to his feet. ‘Come along,’ he said—but to her only. ‘I mean it,’ she insisted. ‘I’d love to have you. Lots of

room.’ Gatsby looked at me questioningly. He wanted to go and

he didn’t see that Mr. Sloane had determined he shouldn’t. ‘I’m afraid I won’t be able to,’ I said. ‘Well, you come,’ she urged, concentrating on Gatsby. Mr. Sloane murmured something close to her ear. ‘We won’t be late if we start now,’ she insisted aloud. ‘I haven’t got a horse,’ said Gatsby. ‘I used to ride in the

army but I’ve never bought a horse. I’ll have to follow you in

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my car. Excuse me for just a minute.’ The rest of us walked out on the porch, where Sloane and

the lady began an impassioned conversation aside. ‘My God, I believe the man’s coming,’ said Tom. ‘Doesn’t

he know she doesn’t want him?’ ‘She says she does want him.’ ‘She has a big dinner party and he won’t know a soul

there.’ He frowned. ‘I wonder where in the devil he met Dai- sy. By God, I may be old-fashioned in my ideas, but women run around too much these days to suit me. They meet all kinds of crazy fish.’

Suddenly Mr. Sloane and the lady walked down the steps and mounted their horses.

‘Come on,’ said Mr. Sloane to Tom, ‘we’re late. We’ve got to go.’ And then to me: ‘Tell him we couldn’t wait, will you?’

Tom and I shook hands, the rest of us exchanged a cool nod and they trotted quickly down the drive, disappearing under the August foliage just as Gatsby with hat and light overcoat in hand came out the front door.

Tom was evidently perturbed at Daisy’s running around alone, for on the following Saturday night he came with her to Gatsby’s party. Perhaps his presence gave the evening its peculiar quality of oppressiveness—it stands out in my memory from Gatsby’s other parties that summer. There were the same people, or at least the same sort of people, the same profusion of champagne, the same many-colored, many-keyed commotion, but I felt an unpleasantness in the air, a pervading harshness that hadn’t been there before.

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Or perhaps I had merely grown used to it, grown to accept West Egg as a world complete in itself, with its own stan- dards and its own great figures, second to nothing because it had no consciousness of being so, and now I was looking at it again, through Daisy’s eyes. It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have ex- pended your own powers of adjustment.

They arrived at twilight and as we strolled out among the sparkling hundreds Daisy’s voice was playing murmurous tricks in her throat.

‘These things excite me SO,’ she whispered. ‘If you want to kiss me any time during the evening, Nick, just let me know and I’ll be glad to arrange it for you. Just mention my name. Or present a green card. I’m giving out green——‘

‘Look around,’ suggested Gatsby. ‘I’m looking around. I’m having a marvelous——‘ ‘You must see the faces of many people you’ve heard

about.’ Tom’s arrogant eyes roamed the crowd. ‘We don’t go around very much,’ he said. ‘In fact I was

just thinking I don’t know a soul here.’ ‘Perhaps you know that lady.’ Gatsby indicated a gor-

geous, scarcely human orchid of a woman who sat in state under a white plum tree. Tom and Daisy stared, with that peculiarly unreal feeling that accompanies the recognition of a hitherto ghostly celebrity of the movies.

‘She’s lovely,’ said Daisy. ‘The man bending over her is her director.’ He took them ceremoniously from group to group:

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‘Mrs. Buchanan … and Mr. Buchanan——’ After an in- stant’s hesitation he added: ‘the polo player.’

‘Oh no,’ objected Tom quickly, ‘Not me.’ But evidently the sound of it pleased Gatsby for Tom re-

mained ‘the polo player’ for the rest of the evening. ‘I’ve never met so many celebrities!’ Daisy exclaimed. ‘I

liked that man—what was his name?—with the sort of blue nose.’

Gatsby identified him, adding that he was a small pro- ducer.

‘Well, I liked him anyhow.’ ‘I’d a little rather not be the polo player,’ said Tom pleas-

antly, ‘I’d rather look at all these famous people in—in oblivion.’

Daisy and Gatsby danced. I remember being surprised by his graceful, conservative fox-trot—I had never seen him dance before. Then they sauntered over to my house and sat on the steps for half an hour while at her request I remained watchfully in the garden: ‘In case there’s a fire or a flood,’ she explained, ‘or any act of God.’

Tom appeared from his oblivion as we were sitting down to supper together. ‘Do you mind if I eat with some people over here?’ he said. ‘A fellow’s getting off some funny stuff.’

‘Go ahead,’ answered Daisy genially, ‘And if you want to take down any addresses here’s my little gold pencil….’ She looked around after a moment and told me the girl was ‘common but pretty,’ and I knew that except for the half hour she’d been alone with Gatsby she wasn’t having a good time.

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We were at a particularly tipsy table. That was my fault— Gatsby had been called to the phone and I’d enjoyed these same people only two weeks before. But what had amused me then turned septic on the air now.

‘How do you feel, Miss Baedeker?’ The girl addressed was trying, unsuccessfully, to slump

against my shoulder. At this inquiry she sat up and opened her eyes.

‘Wha?’ A massive and lethargic woman, who had been urging

Daisy to play golf with her at the local club tomorrow, spoke in Miss Baedeker’s defence:

‘Oh, she’s all right now. When she’s had five or six cock- tails she always starts screaming like that. I tell her she ought to leave it alone.’

‘I do leave it alone,’ affirmed the accused hollowly. ‘We heard you yelling, so I said to Doc Civet here: ‘There’s

somebody that needs your help, Doc.’ ‘ ‘She’s much obliged, I’m sure,’ said another friend, with-

out gratitude. ‘But you got her dress all wet when you stuck her head in the pool.’

‘Anything I hate is to get my head stuck in a pool,’ mum- bled Miss Baedeker. ‘They almost drowned me once over in New Jersey.’

‘Then you ought to leave it alone,’ countered Doctor Civ- et.

‘Speak for yourself!’ cried Miss Baedeker violently. ‘Your hand shakes. I wouldn’t let you operate on me!’

It was like that. Almost the last thing I remember was

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standing with Daisy and watching the moving picture di- rector and his Star. They were still under the white plum tree and their faces were touching except for a pale thin ray of moonlight between. It occurred to me that he had been very slowly bending toward her all evening to attain this proximity, and even while I watched I saw him stoop one ultimate degree and kiss at her cheek.

‘I like her,’ said Daisy, ‘I think she’s lovely.’ But the rest offended her—and inarguably, because it

wasn’t a gesture but an emotion. She was appalled by West Egg, this unprecedented ‘place’ that Broadway had begot- ten upon a Long Island fishing village—appalled by its raw vigor that chafed under the old euphemisms and by the too obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short cut from nothing to nothing. She saw something awful in the very simplicity she failed to understand.

I sat on the front steps with them while they waited for their car. It was dark here in front: only the bright door sent ten square feet of light volleying out into the soft black morning. Sometimes a shadow moved against a dressing- room blind above, gave way to another shadow, an indefinite procession of shadows, who rouged and powdered in an in- visible glass.

‘Who is this Gatsby anyhow?’ demanded Tom suddenly. ‘Some big bootlegger?’

‘Where’d you hear that?’ I inquired. ‘I didn’t hear it. I imagined it. A lot of these newly rich

people are just big bootleggers, you know.’ ‘Not Gatsby,’ I said shortly.

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He was silent for a moment. The pebbles of the drive crunched under his feet.

‘Well, he certainly must have strained himself to get this menagerie together.’

A breeze stirred the grey haze of Daisy’s fur collar. ‘At least they’re more interesting than the people we

know,’ she said with an effort. ‘You didn’t look so interested.’ ‘Well, I was.’ Tom laughed and turned to me. ‘Did you notice Daisy’s face when that girl asked her to

put her under a cold shower?’ Daisy began to sing with the music in a husky, rhyth-

mic whisper, bringing out a meaning in each word that it had never had before and would never have again. When the melody rose, her voice broke up sweetly, following it, in a way contralto voices have, and each change tipped out a little of her warm human magic upon the air.

‘Lots of people come who haven’t been invited,’ she said suddenly. ‘That girl hadn’t been invited. They simply force their way in and he’s too polite to object.’

‘I’d like to know who he is and what he does,’ insisted Tom. ‘And I think I’ll make a point of finding out.’

‘I can tell you right now,’ she answered. ‘He owned some drug stores, a lot of drug stores. He built them up himself.’

The dilatory limousine came rolling up the drive. ‘Good night, Nick,’ said Daisy. Her glance left me and sought the lighted top of the steps

where ‘Three o’Clock in the Morning,’ a neat, sad little waltz

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of that year, was drifting out the open door. After all, in the very casualness of Gatsby’s party there were romantic pos- sibilities totally absent from her world. What was it up there in the song that seemed to be calling her back inside? What would happen now in the dim incalculable hours? Perhaps some unbelievable guest would arrive, a person infinite- ly rare and to be marvelled at, some authentically radiant young girl who with one fresh glance at Gatsby, one mo- ment of magical encounter, would blot out those five years of unwavering devotion.

I stayed late that night. Gatsby asked me to wait until he was free and I lingered in the garden until the inevitable swimming party had run up, chilled and exalted, from the black beach, until the lights were extinguished in the guest rooms overhead. When he came down the steps at last the tanned skin was drawn unusually tight on his face, and his eyes were bright and tired.

‘She didn’t like it,’ he said immediately. ‘Of course she did.’ ‘She didn’t like it,’ he insisted. ‘She didn’t have a good

time.’ He was silent and I guessed at his unutterable depres-

sion. ‘I feel far away from her,’ he said. ‘It’s hard to make her

understand.’ ‘You mean about the dance?’ ‘The dance?’ He dismissed all the dances he had given

with a snap of his fingers. ‘Old sport, the dance is unim- portant.’

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He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: ‘I never loved you.’ After she had obliter- ated three years with that sentence they could decide upon the more practical measures to be taken. One of them was that, after she was free, they were to go back to Louisville and be married from her house—just as if it were five years ago.

‘And she doesn’t understand,’ he said. ‘She used to be able to understand. We’d sit for hours——‘

He broke off and began to walk up and down a desolate path of fruit rinds and discarded favors and crushed flow- ers.

‘I wouldn’t ask too much of her,’ I ventured. ‘You can’t repeat the past.’

‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!’

He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurk- ing here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.

‘I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,’ he said, nodding determinedly. ‘She’ll see.’

He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was….

… One autumn night, five years before, they had been walking down the street when the leaves were falling, and

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they came to a place where there were no trees and the side- walk was white with moonlight. They stopped here and turned toward each other. Now it was a cool night with that mysterious excitement in it which comes at the two changes of the year. The quiet lights in the houses were humming out into the darkness and there was a stir and bustle among the stars. Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalk really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees—he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder.

His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the in- carnation was complete.

Through all he said, even through his appalling sen- timentality, I was reminded of something—an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words, that I had heard some- where a long time ago. For a moment a phrase tried to take shape in my mouth and my lips parted like a dumb man’s, as though there was more struggling upon them than a wisp of startled air. But they made no sound and what I had almost remembered was uncommunicable forever.

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Chapter 7

It was when curiosity about Gatsby was at its highest that the lights in his house failed to go on one Saturday night—and, as obscurely as it had begun, his career as Tri- malchio was over.

Only gradually did I become aware that the automobiles which turned expectantly into his drive stayed for just a minute and then drove sulkily away. Wondering if he were sick I went over to find out—an unfamiliar butler with a vil- lainous face squinted at me suspiciously from the door.

‘Is Mr. Gatsby sick?’ ‘Nope.’ After a pause he added ‘sir’ in a dilatory, grudg-

ing way. ‘I hadn’t seen him around, and I was rather worried. Tell

him Mr. Carraway came over.’ ‘Who?’ he demanded rudely. ‘Carraway.’ ‘Carraway. All right, I’ll tell him.’ Abruptly he slammed

the door. My Finn informed me that Gatsby had dismissed every

servant in his house a week ago and replaced them with half a dozen others, who never went into West Egg Village to be bribed by the tradesmen, but ordered moderate sup- plies over the telephone. The grocery boy reported that the kitchen looked like a pigsty, and the general opinion in the

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village was that the new people weren’t servants at all. Next day Gatsby called me on the phone. ‘Going away?’ I inquired. ‘No, old sport.’ ‘I hear you fired all your servants.’ ‘I wanted somebody who wouldn’t gossip. Daisy comes

over quite often—in the afternoons.’ So the whole caravansary had fallen in like a card house

at the disapproval in her eyes. ‘They’re some people Wolfshiem wanted to do some-

thing for. They’re all brothers and sisters. They used to run a small hotel.’

‘I see.’ He was calling up at Daisy’s request—would I come to

lunch at her house tomorrow? Miss Baker would be there. Half an hour later Daisy herself telephoned and seemed re- lieved to find that I was coming. Something was up. And yet I couldn’t believe that they would choose this occasion for a scene—especially for the rather harrowing scene that Gatsby had outlined in the garden.

The next day was broiling, almost the last, certainly the warmest, of the summer. As my train emerged from the tunnel into sunlight, only the hot whistles of the National Biscuit Company broke the simmering hush at noon. The straw seats of the car hovered on the edge of combustion; the woman next to me perspired delicately for a while into her white shirtwaist, and then, as her newspaper dampened under her fingers, lapsed despairingly into deep heat with a desolate cry. Her pocket-book slapped to the floor.

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‘Oh, my!’ she gasped. I picked it up with a weary bend and handed it back to

her, holding it at arm’s length and by the extreme tip of the corners to indicate that I had no designs upon it—but ev- ery one near by, including the woman, suspected me just the same.

‘Hot!’ said the conductor to familiar faces. ‘Some weath- er! Hot! Hot! Hot! Is it hot enough for you? Is it hot? Is it … ?’

My commutation ticket came back to me with a dark stain from his hand. That any one should care in this heat whose flushed lips he kissed, whose head made damp the pajama pocket over his heart!

… Through the hall of the Buchanans’ house blew a faint wind, carrying the sound of the telephone bell out to Gatsby and me as we waited at the door.

‘The master’s body!’ roared the butler into the mouth- piece. ‘I’m sorry, madame, but we can’t furnish it—it’s far too hot to touch this noon!’

What he really said was: ‘Yes … yes … I’ll see.’ He set down the receiver and came toward us, glistening

slightly, to take our stiff straw hats. ‘Madame expects you in the salon!’ he cried, needless-

ly indicating the direction. In this heat every extra gesture was an affront to the common store of life.

The room, shadowed well with awnings, was dark and cool. Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch, like silver idols, weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans.

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‘We can’t move,’ they said together. Jordan’s fingers, powdered white over their tan, rested

for a moment in mine. ‘And Mr. Thomas Buchanan, the athlete?’ I inquired. Simultaneously I heard his voice, gruff, muffled, husky,

at the hall telephone. Gatsby stood in the center of the crimson carpet and

gazed around with fascinated eyes. Daisy watched him and laughed, her sweet, exciting laugh; a tiny gust of powder rose from her bosom into the air.

‘The rumor is,’ whispered Jordan, ‘that that’s Tom’s girl on the telephone.’

We were silent. The voice in the hall rose high with an- noyance. ‘Very well, then, I won’t sell you the car at all…. I’m under no obligations to you at all…. And as for your bothering me about it at lunch time I won’t stand that at all!’

‘Holding down the receiver,’ said Daisy cynically. ‘No, he’s not,’ I assured her. ‘It’s a bona fide deal. I happen

to know about it.’ Tom flung open the door, blocked out its space for a mo-

ment with his thick body, and hurried into the room. ‘Mr. Gatsby!’ He put out his broad, flat hand with well-

concealed dislike. ‘I’m glad to see you, sir…. Nick….’ ‘Make us a cold drink,’ cried Daisy. As he left the room again she got up and went over

to Gatsby and pulled his face down kissing him on the mouth.

‘You know I love you,’ she murmured.

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‘You forget there’s a lady present,’ said Jordan. Daisy looked around doubtfully. ‘You kiss Nick too.’ ‘What a low, vulgar girl!’ ‘I don’t care!’ cried Daisy and began to clog on the brick

fireplace. Then she remembered the heat and sat down guilt- ily on the couch just as a freshly laundered nurse leading a little girl came into the room.

‘Bles-sed pre-cious,’ she crooned, holding out her arms. ‘Come to your own mother that loves you.’

The child, relinquished by the nurse, rushed across the room and rooted shyly into her mother’s dress.

‘The Bles-sed pre-cious! Did mother get powder on your old yellowy hair? Stand up now, and say How-de-do.’

Gatsby and I in turn leaned down and took the small re- luctant hand. Afterward he kept looking at the child with surprise. I don’t think he had ever really believed in its ex- istence before.

‘I got dressed before luncheon,’ said the child, turning eagerly to Daisy.

‘That’s because your mother wanted to show you off.’ Her face bent into the single wrinkle of the small white neck. ‘You dream, you. You absolute little dream.’

‘Yes,’ admitted the child calmly. ‘Aunt Jordan’s got on a white dress too.’

‘How do you like mother’s friends?’ Daisy turned her around so that she faced Gatsby. ‘Do you think they’re pret- ty?’

‘Where’s Daddy?’

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‘She doesn’t look like her father,’ explained Daisy. ‘She looks like me. She’s got my hair and shape of the face.’

Daisy sat back upon the couch. The nurse took a step for- ward and held out her hand.

‘Come, Pammy.’ ‘Goodbye, sweetheart!’ With a reluctant backward glance the well-disciplined

child held to her nurse’s hand and was pulled out the door, just as Tom came back, preceding four gin rickeys that clicked full of ice.

Gatsby took up his drink. ‘They certainly look cool,’ he said, with visible tension. We drank in long greedy swallows. ‘I read somewhere that the sun’s getting hotter ev-

ery year,’ said Tom genially. ‘It seems that pretty soon the earth’s going to fall into the sun—or wait a minute—it’s just the opposite—the sun’s getting colder every year.

‘Come outside,’ he suggested to Gatsby, ‘I’d like you to have a look at the place.’

I went with them out to the veranda. On the green Sound, stagnant in the heat, one small sail crawled slowly toward the fresher sea. Gatsby’s eyes followed it momentarily; he raised his hand and pointed across the bay.

‘I’m right across from you.’ ‘So you are.’ Our eyes lifted over the rosebeds and the hot lawn and

the weedy refuse of the dog days along shore. Slowly the white wings of the boat moved against the blue cool limit of the sky. Ahead lay the scalloped ocean and the abounding

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blessed isles. ‘There’s sport for you,’ said Tom, nodding. ‘I’d like to be

out there with him for about an hour.’ We had luncheon in the dining-room, darkened, too,

against the heat, and drank down nervous gayety with the cold ale.

‘What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon,’ cried Dai- sy, ‘and the day after that, and the next thirty years?’

‘Don’t be morbid,’ Jordan said. ‘Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.’

‘But it’s so hot,’ insisted Daisy, on the verge of tears, ‘And everything’s so confused. Let’s all go to town!’

Her voice struggled on through the heat, beating against it, moulding its senselessness into forms.

‘I’ve heard of making a garage out of a stable,’ Tom was saying to Gatsby, ‘but I’m the first man who ever made a stable out of a garage.’

‘Who wants to go to town?’ demanded Daisy insistently. Gatsby’s eyes floated toward her. ‘Ah,’ she cried, ‘you look so cool.’

Their eyes met, and they stared together at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the ta- ble.

‘You always look so cool,’ she repeated. She had told him that she loved him, and Tom Buchanan

saw. He was astounded. His mouth opened a little and he looked at Gatsby and then back at Daisy as if he had just rec- ognized her as some one he knew a long time ago.

‘You resemble the advertisement of the man,’ she went on

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innocently. ‘You know the advertisement of the man——‘ ‘All right,’ broke in Tom quickly, ‘I’m perfectly willing to

go to town. Come on—we’re all going to town.’ He got up, his eyes still flashing between Gatsby and his

wife. No one moved. ‘Come on!’ His temper cracked a little. ‘What’s the mat-

ter, anyhow? If we’re going to town let’s start.’ His hand, trembling with his effort at self control, bore

to his lips the last of his glass of ale. Daisy’s voice got us to our feet and out on to the blazing gravel drive.

‘Are we just going to go?’ she objected. ‘Like this? Aren’t we going to let any one smoke a cigarette first?’

‘Everybody smoked all through lunch.’ ‘Oh, let’s have fun,’ she begged him. ‘It’s too hot to fuss.’ He didn’t answer. ‘Have it your own way,’ she said. ‘Come on, Jordan.’ They went upstairs to get ready while we three men stood

there shuffling the hot pebbles with our feet. A silver curve of the moon hovered already in the western sky. Gatsby started to speak, changed his mind, but not before Tom wheeled and faced him expectantly.

‘Have you got your stables here?’ asked Gatsby with an effort.

‘About a quarter of a mile down the road.’ ‘Oh.’ A pause. ‘I don’t see the idea of going to town,’ broke out Tom sav-

agely. ‘Women get these notions in their heads——‘ ‘Shall we take anything to drink?’ called Daisy from an

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upper window. ‘I’ll get some whiskey,’ answered Tom. He went inside. Gatsby turned to me rigidly: ‘I can’t say anything in his house, old sport.’ ‘She’s got an indiscreet voice,’ I remarked. ‘It’s full of—

—‘ I hesitated. ‘Her voice is full of money,’ he said suddenly. That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of

money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it…. High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl….

Tom came out of the house wrapping a quart bottle in a towel, followed by Daisy and Jordan wearing small tight hats of metallic cloth and carrying light capes over their arms.

‘Shall we all go in my car?’ suggested Gatsby. He felt the hot, green leather of the seat. ‘I ought to have left it in the shade.’

‘Is it standard shift?’ demanded Tom. ‘Yes.’ ‘Well, you take my coupé and let me drive your car to

town.’ The suggestion was distasteful to Gatsby. ‘I don’t think there’s much gas,’ he objected. ‘Plenty of gas,’ said Tom boisterously. He looked at the

gauge. ‘And if it runs out I can stop at a drug store. You can buy anything at a drug store nowadays.’

A pause followed this apparently pointless remark. Dai-

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sy looked at Tom frowning and an indefinable expression, at once definitely unfamiliar and vaguely recognizable, as if I had only heard it described in words, passed over Gatsby’s face.

‘Come on, Daisy,’ said Tom, pressing her with his hand toward Gatsby’s car. ‘I’ll take you in this circus wagon.’

He opened the door but she moved out from the circle of his arm.

‘You take Nick and Jordan. We’ll follow you in the cou- pé.’

She walked close to Gatsby, touching his coat with her hand. Jordan and Tom and I got into the front seat of Gats- by’s car, Tom pushed the unfamiliar gears tentatively and we shot off into the oppressive heat leaving them out of sight behind.

‘Did you see that?’ demanded Tom. ‘See what?’ He looked at me keenly, realizing that Jordan and I must

have known all along. ‘You think I’m pretty dumb, don’t you?’ he suggested.

‘Perhaps I am, but I have a—almost a second sight, some- times, that tells me what to do. Maybe you don’t believe that, but science——‘

He paused. The immediate contingency overtook him, pulled him back from the edge of the theoretical abyss.

‘I’ve made a small investigation of this fellow,’ he contin- ued. ‘I could have gone deeper if I’d known——‘

‘Do you mean you’ve been to a medium?’ inquired Jor- dan humorously.

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‘What?’ Confused, he stared at us as we laughed. ‘A me- dium?’

‘About Gatsby.’ ‘About Gatsby! No, I haven’t. I said I’d been making a

small investigation of his past.’ ‘And you found he was an Oxford man,’ said Jordan

helpfully. ‘An Oxford man!’ He was incredulous. ‘Like hell he is!

He wears a pink suit.’ ‘Nevertheless he’s an Oxford man.’ ‘Oxford, New Mexico,’ snorted Tom contemptuously, ‘or

something like that.’ ‘Listen, Tom. If you’re such a snob, why did you invite

him to lunch?’ demanded Jordan crossly. ‘Daisy invited him; she knew him before we were mar-

ried—God knows where!’ We were all irritable now with the fading ale and, aware

of it, we drove for a while in silence. Then as Doctor T. J. Eckleburg’s faded eyes came into sight down the road, I re- membered Gatsby’s caution about gasoline.

‘We’ve got enough to get us to town,’ said Tom. ‘But there’s a garage right here,’ objected Jordan. ‘I don’t

want to get stalled in this baking heat.’ Tom threw on both brakes impatiently and we slid to an

abrupt dusty stop under Wilson’s sign. After a moment the proprietor emerged from the interior of his establishment and gazed hollow-eyed at the car.

‘Let’s have some gas!’ cried Tom roughly. ‘What do you think we stopped for—to admire the view?’

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‘I’m sick,’ said Wilson without moving. ‘I been sick all day.’

‘What’s the matter?’ ‘I’m all run down.’ ‘Well, shall I help myself?’ Tom demanded. ‘You sound-

ed well enough on the phone.’ With an effort Wilson left the shade and support of the

doorway and, breathing hard, unscrewed the cap of the tank. In the sunlight his face was green.

‘I didn’t mean to interrupt your lunch,’ he said. ‘But I need money pretty bad and I was wondering what you were going to do with your old car.’

‘How do you like this one?’ inquired Tom. ‘I bought it last week.’

‘It’s a nice yellow one,’ said Wilson, as he strained at the handle.

‘Like to buy it?’ ‘Big chance,’ Wilson smiled faintly. ‘No, but I could make

some money on the other.’ ‘What do you want money for, all of a sudden?’ ‘I’ve been here too long. I want to get away. My wife and

I want to go west.’ ‘Your wife does!’ exclaimed Tom, startled. ‘She’s been talking about it for ten years.’ He rested for

a moment against the pump, shading his eyes. ‘And now she’s going whether she wants to or not. I’m going to get her away.’

The coupé flashed by us with a flurry of dust and the flash of a waving hand.

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‘What do I owe you?’ demanded Tom harshly. ‘I just got wised up to something funny the last two days,’

remarked Wilson. ‘That’s why I want to get away. That’s why I been bothering you about the car.’

‘What do I owe you?’ ‘Dollar twenty.’ The relentless beating heat was beginning to confuse

me and I had a bad moment there before I realized that so far his suspicions hadn’t alighted on Tom. He had discov- ered that Myrtle had some sort of life apart from him in another world and the shock had made him physically sick. I stared at him and then at Tom, who had made a parallel discovery less than an hour before—and it occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well. Wilson was so sick that he looked guilty, unforgivably guilty—as if he had just got some poor girl with child.

‘I’ll let you have that car,’ said Tom. ‘I’ll send it over to- morrow afternoon.’

That locality was always vaguely disquieting, even in the broad glare of afternoon, and now I turned my head as though I had been warned of something behind. Over the ashheaps the giant eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg kept their vigil but I perceived, after a moment, that other eyes were regarding us with peculiar intensity from less than twenty feet away.

In one of the windows over the garage the curtains had been moved aside a little and Myrtle Wilson was peering down at the car.

U3L5B – Character Report Card

The Great Gatsby Chapter 1-3: Character Report Cards

Directions: Select three characters from the first three chapters of the novel and you complete their individual report card.

You will score them in each of the traits and add comments about them in each box. The comment section should contain

textual details and evidence to support your given score. 10 points for each chart and 5 points per question response (40)


Trait Grade Comments






Trait Grade Comments





U3L5B – Character Report Card


Trait Grade Comments





Which character is most likable? Why? Explain using at least three sentences with specific examples from the text. Follow

the ​Claim​ (answer the prompt or question), ​Evidence​ (properly embed textual evidence using MLA citations), and Reasoning​ (How and why does this evidence show this character as most likable?)

Which character is least likable? Why? Explain using at least three sentences with specific examples from the text. Follow

the ​Claim​ (answer the prompt or question), ​Evidence​ (properly embed textual evidence using MLA citations), and Reasoning​ (How and why does this evidence show this character as least likable?)

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