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 inclined 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  confidences were
unsought--frequently  I have  feigned  sleep,  preoccupation,  or a  hostile
levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation
was  quivering 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  father 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 wanted 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 unaffected 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 Carraways are something of a
clan,  and  we have  a tradition  that  we're  descended from  the  Dukes of
Buccleuch, but the actual 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 carries on to-day. 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 migration
known as the Great War. I enjoyed the counter-raid so thoroughly that I came
back restless. Instead  of  being the warm centre 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, permanently, 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 suggested 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 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 muttered 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  helplessly. I told him. And as I walked on I was  lonely no longer. I
was a guide, a pathfinder, an original settler. He had casually 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-giving 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 Maecenas 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. It was a matter  of
chance that I should have rented a house in one of the strangest communities
in North America. 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 bizarre 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 imitation of some Hotel
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 gentleman of that name. My own house
was an eyesore, but it was a small eyesore, and it had been overlooked, so I
had a view  of the water, a  partial view of  my  neighbor's lawn,  and  the
consoling proximity of  millionaires--all for eighty dollars 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-climax. 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 realize  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 seeking, a little
wistfully, for the dramatic  turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.
And so it happened that on a warm  windy evening I drove over to East Egg to
see two old friends  whom I scarcely knew at all.  Their house was even more
elaborate  than  I  expected,  a  cheerful red-and-white  Georgian  Colonial
mansion,  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--finally 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  enormous leverage--a  cruel body.  His speaking voice, a
gruff husky tenor,  added to the impression  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," 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 offshore.
"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, making 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 the whip
and snap of the curtains and the  groan of a picture 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
apology  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  murmur 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 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  questions in her low, thrilling  voice. It was
the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if  each speech is an
arrangement 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
promise 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 persistent wail all night along
the north  shore."  "How gorgeous! Let's go back,  Tom. To-morrow!" Then she
added  irrelevantly:  "You  ought to  see the baby." "I'd like  to."  "She's
asleep.  She's three  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. "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, glancing  at Daisy and then back at me, as if  he
were  alert for something  more. "I'd be  a God damned fool to live anywhere
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-breasted girl,  with  an erect
carriage, which  she  accentuated  by  throwing her  body  backward  at  the
shoulders like a young cadet. Her gray  sun-strained eyes  looked back at me
with polite reciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming, discontented  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  under
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, sitting
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?"
Before I  could answer  her eyes fastened  with  an  awed expression 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, unobtrusively
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 polite
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  hurried  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. "I've gotten to  be a terrible pessimist about  things. Have  you
read  'The Rise of the Colored Empires'  by this man Goddard?" "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  utterly  submerged. It's all scientific stuff; it's  been
proved." "Tom's  getting very  profound,"  said Daisy, with an expression 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,
glancing 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,  winking  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 included  Daisy  with a
slight nod, and she winked at me again. "--And we've produced all the things
that go  to make civilization--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 enthusiastically. "It's  about the
butler's nose. Do you want to hear about the butler's  nose?" "That's  why I
came over to-night." "Well, he wasn't  always  a  butler; he used to  be the
silver  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  affection 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 went into the  house. Miss Baker  and I exchanged a
short  glance consciously devoid of meaning. I was  about to speak  when she
sat up alertly  and said  "Sh!" in a warning  voice.  A subdued  impassioned
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, honestly 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 dinner  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 gaiety. 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 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 scepticism, was able utterly to put this fifth
guest's shrill metallic 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 interested  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 lovely 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. "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
advanced  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
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 emotion 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 soothing 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
to-morrow,"  explained Daisy,  "over  at  Westchester."  "Oh--you're  Jordan
BAKER."  I  knew now  why her face  was familiar--its  pleasing contemptuous
expression had  looked  out  at me from  many rotogravure  pictures  of  the
sporting life at Asheville and Hot Springs and Palm Beach. I  had heard some
story of  her too,  a critical, unpleasant  story, but  what it  was  I  had
forgotten 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 accidentally 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. Besides, 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 silence. "Is she from  New  York?"  I
asked quickly. "From  Louisville. Our white  girlhood  was  passed  together
there. Our beautiful white----" "Did  you give Nick a  little heart to heart
talk  on the veranda?" demanded Tom suddenly. "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 opening 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 disgusted 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 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 wavered 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
movements  and the secure  position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that
it was Mr. Gatsby himself,  come out to  determine 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 vanished, and I was alone again in  the unquiet darkness.
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 transcendent effort, of men who move dimly
and already crumbling through  the powdery air. Occasionally a  line of gray
cars crawls along an invisible  track, gives out  a ghastly creak, and comes
to  rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up  with  leaden spades and
stir up  an impenetrable cloud, which  screens their obscure operations from
your sight. But above the gray 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
irises 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 solemn 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 whitewashed
railroad  fence, and we walked  back a  hundred yards along  the road  under
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  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 visible 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 blond, spiritless man, anaemic, 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 moment 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,  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  gray,  scrawny
Italian  child was setting  torpedoes in  a  row  along the  railroad 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 York. He's so
dumb he doesn't know he's alive." So Tom Buchanan and his girl and I went up
together  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 muslin, 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. Up-stairs,  in the solemn
echoing drive she let  four taxicabs  drive  away before she selected  a new
one, lavender-colored with gray upholstery, and in this we slid out from the
mass of the station into  the  glowing 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 gray old man
who bore an  absurd resemblance to John D. Rockefeller.  In  a  basket swung
from his neck cowered a dozen very recent puppies of an indeterminate 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?" 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 concerned 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?" "Come on," she urged.  "I'll  telephone  my  sister Catherine.
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. Wilson 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 tapestried 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 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
drugstore  on the corner. When I came back  they had disappeared,  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. Wilson  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  eye-brows 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 jingled 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.  He had just  shaved,  for  there was a white spot of lather  on  his
cheekbone, and  he was most respectful in his greeting  to every  one in the
room. He informed  me  that  he was in  the  "artistic game," and I gathered
later  that he was a  photographer 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 married. Mrs. Wilson had changed her costume some time  before, 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  converted  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 appendicitis 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." "I like your
dress," remarked  Mrs. McKee, "I think it's  adorable." Mrs. Wilson rejected
the  compliment by raising her  eyebrow in  disdain. "It's just  a crazy old
thing," she said. "I just slip it on sometimes 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. McKee. "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 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 down-stairs." "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 Wilhelm'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 interrupted 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." "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 husband,  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 obscene. "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."
"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 moment 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: 'Lucille, 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 breeding, 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  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. '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 afternoon."  "She really ought to get away
from  him," resumed  Catherine 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 constant 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 southward toward the park
through the soft twilight, but each time I tried to go I became entangled in
some wild, strident 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,  simultaneously enchanted  and  repelled  by  the inexhaustible
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 getting
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 photograph  of  a man of action. Taking out my  handkerchief  I wiped
from his cheek the  remains  of the spot of dried lather 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
bath-room 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 fluently, 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 chandelier, I
followed. "Come to lunch some day,"  he suggested, as we groaned down in the
elevator. "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.
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 champagne 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  cataracts  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 station  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 pulpless 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  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 up-stairs;
the cars from New  York are parked  five deep in the drive,  and already the
halls and salons 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
introductions 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 swiftly, 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, become for a sharp, joyous
moment the centre 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 the gypsies,  in  trembling opal, seizes a
cocktail  out of the air, dumps it down  for courage  and,  moving 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 invited. People  were  not  invited--they went there. They got
into automobiles which bore them out  to Long Island, and somehow 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
behavior  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  morning  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 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 commuting train. I was  immediately
struck by the number of young Englishmen dotted about; all well dressed, all
looking a little 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 vicinity 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 whereabouts 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  embarrassment when
Jordan Baker came  out  of the  house  and stood at  the head of  the marble
steps, leaning a little backward and looking with contemptuous interest down
into  the garden. Welcome  or not, I found it necessary to attach  myself to
some one before I should begin to address cordial remarks to the passers-by.
"Hello!"  I roared,  advancing  toward her. My voice seemed 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 finals the week before. "You don't
know who we are,"  said  one of  the girls  in yellow, "but we  met you here
about a month ago." "You've dyed your hair since then," remarked Jordan, and
I started, but the girls  had moved casually on and her remark 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--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 to-night, 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 sceptically; "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 looking 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 testimony to the romantic speculation  he inspired that there
were whispers about him from those who found little that it was necessary to
whisper about in this  world. The  first supper--there would  be another one
after midnight--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 wasteful  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, melancholy 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 Gothic
library, panelled with carved English oak, and probably transported complete
from some  ruin overseas. A stout, middle-aged man,  with enormous  owl-eyed
spectacles, was sitting somewhat drunk on the edge of a great table, staring
with  unsteady concentration  at  the  shelves  of books.  As  we entered he
wheeled excitedly around and examined 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
ascertain. 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 scepticism 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 answering. "I was brought by a woman  named Roosevelt,"
he  continued. "Mrs. Claud Roosevelt. Do you know  her? I  met her somewhere
last night. I've been drunk for  about a week  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  outdoors. There was dancing now on the canvas in the garden;
old men pushing young girls backward  in eternal graceless circles, superior
couples  holding  each other  tortuously,  fashionably, and  keeping in  the
corners--and a great number of single  girls dancing  individualistically or
relieving the  orchestra for  a moment of  the  burden of the  banjo or  the
traps. By midnight  the hilarity had increased. A celebrated tenor had  sung
in  Italian,  and  a notorious contralto had sung in jazz,  and between  the
numbers people  were  doing  "stunts."  all  over the garden,  while  happy,
vacuous bursts  of  laughter  rose  toward  the summer sky.  A pair of stage
twins, who turned out  to be the girls in yellow, did a baby act in costume,
and champagne was served in glasses bigger than  finger-bowls. The moon  had
risen higher, and  floating in  the Sound was a  triangle  of silver scales,
trembling  a little  to the stiff, tinny  drip of the banjoes on the lawn. I
was still with Jordan Baker. We were sitting at a  table with a man of about
my age  and a rowdy little girl, who gave way upon the slightest provocation
to uncontrollable  laughter. I was  enjoying  myself  now.  I had  taken two
finger-bowls of champagne, and  the scene  had changed  before my  eyes into
something  significant,  elemental,  and   profound.  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-eighteen.  I  knew  I'd  seen  you somewhere
before." We  talked for  a moment about  some wet,  gray little  villages in
France. Evidently he lived in this vicinity, for he told me that he had just
bought a hydroplane, and was going to try it out in the morning. "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 Jordan 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  understand.  "I'm  Gatsby,"  he  said  suddenly.  "What!"  I
exclaimed. "Oh, I beg your  pardon." "I  thought you  knew, old  sport.  I'm
afraid I'm not a very good  host." He smiled understandingly--much more than
understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles  with  a quality of eternal
reassurance in it, that you may come across four  or five times in life.  It
faced--or seemed to face--the whole  external world for an instant, and then
concentrated  on  you  with  an irresistible prejudice  in  your  favor.  It
understood you just  so far as you wanted to be understood, believed  in you
as  you would  like to believe  in yourself, and  assured you  that  it  had
precisely the impression  of you  that, at your  best, you hoped to  convey.
Precisely  at that point it vanished--and I was looking  at an elegant young
rough-neck, a year  or  two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech
just  missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced  himself I'd got a
strong impression  that he was picking his words with care.  Almost  at  the
moment when Mr. Gatsby identified  himself, a butler hurried toward him with
the information that Chicago was calling him on the wire. He excused himself
with  a small bow that  included each of us in turn.  "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." "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 information that
Gatsby sprang  from the swamps of  Louisiana  or from the lower East Side of
New York.  That was  comprehensible. But young  men  didn't--at  least in my
provincial  inexperience I believed they didn't--drift coolly out of nowhere
and buy  a palace  on Long  Island Sound. "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 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, because just as it  began my eyes fell
on Gatsby, standing alone on the marble steps and looking from  one group to
another with approving eyes. His tanned skin was drawn attractively tight on
his face and his short hair looked as  though it  were  trimmed every day. I
could see nothing sinister about him. I wondered if the fact that he was not
drinking helped to set him off from his guests, for it seemed to me  that he
grew more correct as the fraternal hilarity increased. When the JAZZ HISTORY
OF THE WORLD was over, girls were putting their heads on  men's shoulders in
a puppyish, convivial way, girls were swooning backward playfully into men's
arms, even into groups, knowing that some one would arrest  their falls--but
no  one  swooned backward  on Gatsby,  and  no  French bob  touched Gatsby's
shoulder,  and  no singing quartets  were formed with Gatsby's  head for one
link. "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 astonishment, and followed
the butler toward the house. I noticed that she wore  her evening-dress, all
her dresses, like sports clothes--there was a jauntiness about her movements
as  if she  had  first learned  to walk  upon  golf courses  on clean, crisp
mornings. I was  alone  and it  was almost two. For  some time  confused and
intriguing sounds had issued  from a long, many-windowed room which overhung
the  terrace. Eluding  Jordan's  undergraduate, who  was now engaged  in  an
obstetrical conversation with two chorus girls, and who implored  me to join
him, I went inside. The large room was full  of people. One of the  girls in
yellow was playing the piano, and beside her  stood a tall, red-haired young
lady from  a  famous chorus, engaged in  song. She had drunk  a quantity  of
champagne, and during the course  of her song she had decided, ineptly, that
everything was very, very sad--she  was not  only singing, she  was  weeping
too.  Whenever  there was  a pause in the song  she filled it  with gasping,
broken sobs, and  then took up the lyric again in a quavering  soprano.  The
tears coursed down her cheeks--not freely, however, for when they came  into
contact with her  heavily beaded eyelashes  they assumed an inky color,  and
pursued the rest of  their way in slow black rivulets. A humorous suggestion
was made  that she sing  the notes on her face, whereupon  she threw up  her
hands, sank into a chair, and went off into a deep  vinous sleep. "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 asunder by dissension. One of the  men was  talking  with  curious
intensity to a young actress, and his wife, after attempting to laugh at the
situation  in a  dignified and  indifferent  way, broke  down  entirely  and
resorted  to  flank attacks--at intervals she  appeared suddenly at his side
like an angry  diamond,  and  hissed:  "You  promised!"  into  his ear.  The
reluctance  to go  home was  not confined to wayward men. The  hall  was  at
present occupied by two  deplorably  sober men  and  their  highly indignant
wives.  The  wives were  sympathizing  with  each  other in slightly  raised
voices.  "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 to-night," 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 struggle,  and both  wives  were  lifted, kicking, into the
night. As I waited for my hat in the hall the door of the library opened and
Jordan Baker and Gatsby came  out together. He was saying  some last word to
her, but the eagerness in  his manner  tightened abruptly into formality  as
several people approached him to say good-bye. 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?"  "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 Howard . . . 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 clustered around him.  I wanted to explain that  I'd hunted for him
early  in  the  evening and  to apologize for not  having known  him  in the
garden. "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 hydroplane to-morrow 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 illuminated a bizarre and tumultuous scene.
In  the  ditch beside  the road,  right  side up, but violently shorn of one
wheel, rested a  new coupe which  had  left Gatsby's  drive not two  minutes
before. The sharp jut of a wall accounted for the detachment  of the  wheel,
which  was now  getting  considerable  attention  from half a dozen  curious
chauffeurs. However, as they had left their cars blocking the road, a harsh,
discordant  din  from those  in the rear had been audible for some time, and
added to the already violent confusion of  the scene. A man in a long duster
had dismounted  from the wreck  and now stood in  the  middle  of  the road,
looking  from the car to  the tire and from the tire to  the observers in  a
pleasant, puzzled way. "See!" he explained. "It went in the ditch." The fact
was infinitely  astonishing  to  him, and  I  recognized  first  the unusual
quality of  wonder,  and then the man--it was  the late  patron of  Gatsby's
library. "How'd  it  happen?" He  shrugged his  shoulders.  "I  know nothing
whatever  about mechanics," he said decisively. "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." 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
coupe  swung  slowly  open.  The  crowd--it  was now a  crowd--stepped  back
involuntarily,  and when the door had opened wide there was a ghostly pause.
Then, very gradually, part by part, a pale,  dangling individual stepped out
of  the wreck, pawing  tentatively  at  the ground  with a  large  uncertain
dancing shoe.  Blinded by  the glare  of the  headlights and confused by the
incessant groaning of the  horns, the apparition stood swaying for a  moment
before  he  perceived the  man  in the  duster. "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?" 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 reverse." "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 sudden emptiness seemed to flow now from the windows
and the  great  doors,  endowing with complete isolation  the  figure of the
host, who stood on the porch, his  hand up in a formal gesture  of farewell.
Reading over what I have written so far, I  see I  have given the impression
that the events of three  nights several  weeks apart were all that absorbed
me. On  the  contrary, they were merely casual  events in  a crowded summer,
and, until much later,  they  absorbed me  infinitely less  than my personal
affairs. Most of the time  I worked.  In the early morning the sun  threw my
shadow westward as I hurried  down the white chasms of lower New York to the
Probity Trust. I  knew  the  other clerks  and young bond-salesmen by  their
first names, and lunched with them in dark,  crowded  restaurants on  little
pig  sausages and mashed potatoes and coffee. I even had a short affair with
a girl who lived in Jersey City and worked in the accounting department, but
her brother began throwing mean looks in my  direction,  so when she went on
her vacation in  July I let it  blow  quietly away. I took dinner usually at
the  Yale Club--for  some  reason it was  the gloomiest event of my day--and
then  I went 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 33rd 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
women from the crowd and imagine that in a few minutes I was going  to enter
into their lives, and no one would ever know or disapprove. Sometimes, in my
mind, I followed them  to their apartments on the corners of hidden streets,
and they turned and smiled back at  me before they faded through a door into
warm  darkness.  At the enchanted metropolitan twilight I  felt  a  haunting
loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others--poor young clerks  who loitered
in  front  of windows waiting until it was time  for a  solitary  restaurant
dinner--young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night
and life. Again at eight  o'clock, when the dark  lanes of the Forties  were
five deep with throbbing taxi-cabs, bound for the theatre district, I felt a
sinking in  my heart. Forms leaned together in the taxis as they waited, and
voices  sang,  and  there  was laughter  from  unheard  jokes,  and  lighted
cigarettes  outlined unintelligible 70  gestures  inside. Imagining that  I,
too, was  hurrying toward  gayety and sharing their intimate  excitement,  I
wished  them well. For a  while I lost sight  of  Jordan  Baker, and then in
midsummer I found her again. At first I was flattered to go places with her,
because she  was a golf champion, and every  one knew her name.  Then it was
something  more.  I wasn't actually  in  love, but  I felt a sort  of tender
curiosity. The  bored  haughty face that she turned  to the world  concealed
something--most affectations  conceal something eventually, even though they
don't in the beginning--and one day I found what it was. When  we were on  a
house-party  together up in Warwick, she left a borrowed car out in the rain
with  the  top down, and then lied about it--and suddenly  I  remembered the
story about her that had eluded me that night  at  Daisy's. At her first big
golf  tournament  there was  a  row  that nearly  reached the  newspapers--a
suggestion  that she  had moved her ball from a bad  lie  in  the semi-final
round. The thing approached  the proportions of a scandal--then died away. A
caddy retracted his  statement, and  the only other witness admitted that he
might have been mistaken. The incident and the name had remained together in
my mind. Jordan Baker instinctively avoided  clever,  shrewd men,  and now I
saw that  this was because  she felt safer on  a  plane where any divergence
from  a code would be  thought  impossible. She was incurably dishonest. She
wasn't able to endure being at a disadvantage and, given this unwillingness,
I suppose  she had begun dealing in subterfuges when  she was very young  in
order to keep that cool, insolent  smile turned to the world and yet satisfy
the  demands  of  her hard,  jaunty  body. It  made  no  difference  to  me.
Dishonesty in a woman  is a  thing you never  blame  deeply--I was  casually
sorry, and  then I forgot.  It  was on that same house party that  we  had a
curious conversation  about driving a car.  It started because she passed so
close to  some workmen that our fender flicked a button on one  man's  coat.
"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  gray,  sun-strained  eyes  stared  straight ahead, but  she  had
deliberately shifted our relations, and for  a moment I thought I loved her.
But I am slow-thinking and full  of  interior rules that act as brakes on my
desires,  and I  knew that first I  had to get myself definitely out of that
tangle  back  home. I'd been writing  letters once a week  and signing them:
"Love,  Nick," and all I  could  think of was how, when  that  certain  girl
played tennis, a faint mustache of  perspiration appeared on her  upper lip.
Nevertheless there was a vague understanding that had to be tactfully broken
off before I was  free. Every one  suspects himself of at least  one  of the
cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I
have ever known. Chapter 4 On Sunday morning while church bells  rang in the
villages alongshore,  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 somewhere 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 crystal glass." Once I wrote down on the empty  spaces  of a
time-table  the names of those who came to Gatsby's house that summer. It is
an old  time-table  now,  disintegrating  at its  folds,  and  headed  "This
schedule in effect July 5th, 1922." But I can still read the gray names, and
they will  give you a better 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 corner and flipped up their noses like goats at whosoever came
near. And the Ismays and the  Chrysties (or rather Hubert  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. Schraeders, 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 gravel 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 Hammerheads, 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  senator
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
Ferret 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 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 Dennickers 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 subway train in Times  Square. Benny McClenahan arrived always
with four girls. They were never quite the same ones in physical person, but
they  were  so identical one with another that it inevitably seemed they had
been there before. I have forgotten their names--Jaqueline, I think, or else
Consuela,  or  Gloria or Judy or June, and their last names were  either the
melodious  names  of  flowers and months or  the  sterner ones of  the great
American  capitalists  whose  cousins,   if   pressed,  they  would  confess
themselves  to be. In addition to all  these  I  can  remember that Faustina
O'brien  came there at least once and the Baedeker girls  and  young Brewer,
who had his nose  shot off in the war, and Mr. Albrucksburger and Miss Haag,
his fiancee,  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 gorgeous
car lurched up the  rocky  drive  to  my door and gave out a burst of melody
from its three-noted horn. It was the first time he had called on me, though
I had gone to two of  his  parties,  mounted in his hydroplane, and,  at his
urgent invitation, made frequent use of his beach. "Good morning, old sport.
You're having lunch with me to-day and  I thought we'd ride up together." He
was balancing himself on the  dashboard of his car with that resourcefulness
of movement that is so  peculiarly American--that comes, I suppose, with the
absence  of lifting work or rigid  sitting in youth and, even more, with the
formless grace of our nervous, sporadic games. This quality was  continually
breaking through his punctilious manner in the shape of restlessness. He was
never  quite  still;  there  was  always a  tapping  foot  somewhere  or the
impatient opening and closing  of a hand. 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 monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and
tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of  wind-shields that  mirrored  a
dozen  suns. Sitting down behind many  layers of  glass  in  a sort of green
leather conservatory, we started to town. I had talked with him perhaps half
a dozen times in the past month and found, to my disappointment, that he had
little  to  say: So  my  first  impression, that he  was a  person  of  some
undefined  consequence, had gradually  faded and he  had  become simply  the
proprietor  of  an elaborate  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 indecisively
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  ordered 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 statement 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." "I see." "My family all
died and I came into a good deal of  money." His voice was solemn, as if the
memory of that sudden extinction of a clan still haunted him. For a moment I
suspected  that he  was pulling my leg, but  a glance at  him  convinced  me
otherwise. "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 happened 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  enchanted life. I accepted a
commission as first lieutenant when it  began. In the Argonne Forest I  took
two machine-gun detachments so far forward that there was a half mile gap on
either side of us  where the  infantry couldn't advance. We stayed there two
days and two nights, a hundred and thirty  men  with sixteen Lewis guns, and
when the  infantry came  up at  last they found the insignia of three German
divisions among the piles of dead. I was promoted  to be a major,  and every
Allied government gave me  a decoration--even  Montenegro, little Montenegro
down  on the Adriatic Sea!" Little  Montenegro!  He lifted  up the words and
nodded at them--with his smile. The smile comprehended Montenegro's troubled
history and sympathized with the brave  struggles of the Montenegrin people.
It appreciated fully the chain of national circumstances which  had elicited
this  tribute  from  Montenegro's  warm  little  heart.  My incredulity  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 Oxford days. It was taken in Trinity Quad--the man on my left is
now the Earl of Dorcaster." It was a photograph of half a dozen young men in
blazers loafing in an archway  through  which were visible a host of spires.
There was Gatsby, looking a little, not much, younger--with a cricket bat in
his hand. Then it was all  true. I saw the  skins of tigers  flaming in  his
palace on the Grand Canal; I saw him opening a chest of rubies to ease, with
their  crimson-lighted depths,  the gnawings of his broken heart. "I'm going
to make a big request of  you to-day," he said, pocketing his souvenirs with
satisfaction, "so I thought you  ought to know something  about me. I didn't
want you  to think  I was just some nobody. You see, I  usually  find myself
among  strangers because  I drift here  and  there trying to  forget the sad
thing  that  happened to  me."  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 consented  to
speak  to  you about  this matter."  I  hadn't the faintest idea what  "this
matter." was, but I was more annoyed than  interested. I hadn't asked Jordan
to tea in order to discuss Mr. Jay Gatsby. I was sure  the request  would be
something utterly fantastic, and for a moment I was sorry I'd  ever set foot
upon his overpopulated lawn. He wouldn't say another  word. His  correctness
grew on him as we neared the city. We passed Port Roosevelt, where there was
a glimpse  of red-belted  ocean-going ships, and  sped along  a cobbled slum
lined with the dark, undeserted saloons of the faded-gilt nineteen-hundreds.
Then the valley of ashes opened out on both sides of us, and I had a glimpse
of Mrs. Wilson straining at the garage pump with panting vitality as we went
by.  With fenders  spread like  wings we  scattered light through half  Long
Island City--only half, for as we  twisted among the pillars of the elevated
I  heard  the familiar  "jug--jug--SPAT!" of a  motorcycle,  and  a  frantic
policeman rode alongside. "All right, old sport," called  Gatsby. We  slowed
down.  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 money. The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is
always the city seen  for the first time, in  its first wild  promise of all
the mystery  and  the  beauty in the world. A dead man passed us in a hearse
heaped with blooms, followed by two carriages with drawn blinds, and by more
cheerful carriages for friends. The friends looked out at us with the tragic
eyes and short  upper lips of southeastern  Europe, and I was glad that  the
sight of  Gatsby's splendid car was included  in their sombre 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  wonder.  Roaring  noon.  In a  well--fanned  Forty-second Street
cellar  I met Gatsby for lunch.  Blinking away the  brightness of the street
outside, my  eyes  picked him  out obscurely  in  the  anteroom, talking  to
another man.  "Mr.  Carraway,  this is  my friend Mr. Wolfshiem."  A  small,
flat-nosed Jew raised his large head  and regarded me with  two fine growths
of hair which  luxuriated in either nostril. After a moment I discovered his
tiny eyes in the  half-darkness.  "--So I  took one  look  at him," said Mr.
Wolfshiem, shaking 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 somnambulatory abstraction.
"Highballs?" asked  the head waiter.  "This is a nice restaurant here," said
Mr.  Wolfshiem,  looking at the Presbyterian nymphs  on the ceiling.  "But I
like across the street better!" "Yes, highballs," agreed Gatsby, and then to
Mr. Wolfshiem: "It's  too hot  over there." "Hot and  small--yes,"  said Mr.
Wolfshiem, "but  full  of memories." "What place is that?" I asked. "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 almost
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  indignantly.  "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 interested 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 other time." "I beg your pardon," said
Mr. Wolfshiem, "I  had  a  wrong  man."  A succulent hash arrived,  and  Mr.
Wolfshiem, forgetting  the more sentimental atmosphere of the old Metropole,
began to eat with ferocious delicacy. His eyes, meanwhile, roved very slowly
all around the room--he completed  the arc  by turning to inspect the people
directly  behind. I think that, except for my presence, he  would have taken
one short glance beneath our own table. "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  understand  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
Baker'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!" "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
imaginary noun with another wave of  his hand. "As for me, I  am fifty years
old, and I won't impose myself on  you any  longer."  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  Series 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 merely
HAPPENED, the end of some inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that one
man  could  start to play with the  faith of fifty million  people--with the
single-mindedness  of a burglar  blowing a  safe. "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 hello to some one." When  he saw us Tom jumped up and took
half  a  dozen  steps  in  our  direction. "Where've you been?" he  demamded
eagerly.  "Daisy's  furious  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 walking  along  from  one place to
another,  half on the sidewalks and half on the lawns. I was happier  on the
lawns because I had on shoes from England with rubber nobs on the soles that
bit into the soft ground. I had on a new plaid skirt also that blew a little
in the wind, and whenever this happened the red, white,  and blue banners in
front of  all the houses  stretched out stiff and said TUT-TUT-TUT-TUT, in a
disapproving  way. The  largest of the banners and  the largest of the lawns
belonged to Daisy Fay's house. She  was just eighteen, two  years older than
me, and by  far  the most popular of all the  young girls in Louisville. She
dressed  in  white, and  had a  little white roadster, and all  day long the
telephone  rang in  her  house and  excited  young officers from Camp Taylor
demanded  the privilege  of monopolizing  her  that  night. "Anyways, for an
hour!" When I  came opposite her house that morning her  white roadster  was
beside  the  curb, and she  was sitting in it with a  lieutenant I had never
seen before. They  were so engrossed in  each other that she  didn't  see me
until I  was  five  feet away.  "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 older  crowd--when she went  with  anyone at
all. Wild rumors  were circulating about  her--how her  mother had found her
packing her bag one winter night to  go  to New York and  say good-by  to  a
soldier who  was going  overseas.  She  was effectually  prevented, but  she
wasn't on speaking terms with  her family for several weeks.  After that she
didn't  play  around  with  the  soldiers  any  more,  but only  with  a few
flat-footed, short-sighted young men in town, who couldn't get into the army
at all. By the next autumn she was gay again, gay as  ever. She had a  debut
after the Armistice, and in February she  was  presumably engaged  to a  man
from  New  Orleans. In June she married  Tom Buchanan of Chicago, with  more
pomp  and circumstance than Louisville ever knew before. He came down with a
hundred people in four private cars, and hired a whole floor of the Seelbach
Hotel, and the day  before the wedding he gave her a string of pearls valued
at  three hundred and fifty  thousand dollars. I was bridesmaid. I came into
her room half an hour before  the bridal dinner, and found  her lying on her
bed as lovely as the  June night  in her  flowered dress--and  as drunk as a
monkey. she had  a bottle of Sauterne in one hand and a letter in the other.
"'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, deares'."  She groped around in a
waste-basket  she  had  with her  on  the bed  and pulled out the string  of
pearls. "Take 'em down-stairs 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 took it into the tub with her and squeezed  it up into
a wet ball, and only let me leave it in the soap-dish  when she saw  that it
was coming to pieces like snow. But she didn't say another word. We gave her
spirits of ammonia and  put ice on her forehead and hooked her back into her
dress, and half  an hour later, when we walked out  of the room,  the pearls
were around her neck and the incident was over. Next day at five o'clock she
married Tom Buchanan without so much as a shiver, and started off on a three
months' trip to the  South  Seas. I saw them in Santa Barbara when they came
back, and  I thought I'd  never seen a girl so mad about her husband. If  he
left the room for a minute she'd look around uneasily, and say: "Where's Tom
gone?" and wear the most abstracted 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 together--it  made  you  laugh  in a
hushed,  fascinated  way.  That  was in  August. A week after  I left  Santa
Barbara Tom  ran  into a wagon on the Ventura road one  night, and  ripped a
front wheel off his car. The girl who was with him got into the papers, too,
because her  arm was broken--she  was one of the  chambermaids  in the Santa
Barbara  Hotel. The next April Daisy had her little girl,  and  they went to
France for a year. I saw them one spring in Cannes, and later in  Deauville,
and then  they came  back to Chicago to settle  down. Daisy was  popular  in
Chicago,  as you know. They moved with a fast crowd,  all  of them young and
rich and wild,  but  she came out  with an  absolutely  perfect  reputation.
Perhaps because she doesn't drink. It's a great advantage not to drink among
hard-drinking people. You can hold your tongue, and, moreover,  you can time
any little irregularity  of your own so that everybody else is so blind that
they don't  see or care.  Perhaps Daisy  never went in for amour at all--and
yet there's something in  that voice of hers. . .  .  Well,  about six weeks
ago, she heard the name  Gatsby for the first time in years.  It was when  I
asked you--do  you remember?--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."  "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
invite 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 starlight 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:  "'I don't want to  do
anything out  of  the way!' he kept saying. '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 scepticism, and
who leaned back jauntily just within the circle of my arm. A phrase began to
beat  in my  ears  with  a  sort of  heady excitement: "There are  only  the
pursued, the  pursuing,  the busy  and the tired." "And  Daisy ought to have
something  in  her life,"  murmured 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. 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 elongating glints upon the roadside wires. Turning a corner, I saw
that it was Gatsby's house,  lit from tower to cellar. At first I thought it
was  another   party,   a  wild   rout  that   had   resolved  itself   into
"hide-and-go-seek." or "sardines-in-the-box." with all the house thrown open
to the game. But there  wasn't a sound. Only wind in the  trees, which  blew
the wires and made the lights go off and on again as if the house had winked
into the  darkness.  As my  taxi groaned away I saw Gatsby walking toward me
across  his lawn. "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 Island,  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  going to call up  Daisy to-morrow  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 to-morrow?" 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 expanse 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 side line, 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 happens  to  be a rather confidential sort  of
thing."  I realize now that  under different circumstances that conversation
might have been  one of  the crises  of my life. But,  because the offer was
obviously  and tactlessly for a  service to be  rendered, I  had  no  choice
except to cut him  off there.  "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  "gonnegtion."  mentioned at  lunch, but I assured him he was wrong.  He
waited a  moment  longer, hoping I'd  begin  a  conversation, but I was  too
absorbed to be responsive, so he went unwillingly home. The evening had made
me light-headed and happy; I think I walked into a deep  sleep as  I entered
my front door.  So I didn't know whether or not Gatsby went to Coney Island,
or for how  many  hours  he "glanced into  rooms."  while  his  house blazed
gaudily on. I called up Daisy from the  office next morning, and invited her
to come to tea. "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 search for her among soggy,  whitewashed alleys and
to buy some cups  and lemons and flowers. The flowers were unnecessary,  for
at  two  o'clock  a  greenhouse  arrived  from  Gatsby's,  with  innumerable
receptacles to contain it. An hour  later the  front  door opened nervously,
and Gatsby, in a  white flannel  suit, silver  shirt, and  gold-colored tie,
hurried in. He  was pale, and there were dark signs of sleeplessness beneath
his eyes. "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
reproachfully  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 hollowly, ". . .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
ECONOMICS,  starting at the Finnish tread that shook the kitchen  floor, and
peering toward  the bleared  windows from  time to time  as if  a  series of
invisible but alarming happenings were taking place outside.  Finally he got
up  and  informed me,  in an uncertain voice, that he was going home. "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 simultaneously there was the sound of
a motor  turning into  my lane. We both jumped  up, and,  a  little harrowed
myself,  I  went out  into the yard.  Under the  dripping bare lilac-trees a
large open  car was coming up the  drive.  It stopped. Daisy's  face, tipped
sideways beneath  a three-cornered lavender hat, looked  out  at  me  with a
bright ecstatic smile.  "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?" "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 knocking at the front  door. I  went out  and opened it.
Gatsby,  pale  as  death, with his hands  plunged  like weights in his  coat
pockets, was standing in a puddle of  water glaring tragically into my eyes.
With his hands  still in his coat pockets  he stalked  by  me into the hall,
turned  sharply  as  if  he  were  on  a  wire,  and  disappeared  into  the
living-room. It  wasn't  a bit funny. Aware  of the  loud beating of  my own
heart  I pulled the door to against the increasing  rain. For  half a minute
there  wasn't a sound. Then from  the living-room I heard  a sort of choking
murmur and part of a laugh, followed by Daisy's  voice on a clear artificial
note:  "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  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 thousand
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 certain physical  decency established itself. Gatsby got
himself into a shadow and, while Daisy and I talked,  looked conscientiously
from one to the other of us with tense, unhappy eyes.  However,  as calmness
wasn't an end in itself, I made  an excuse at the first possible moment, and
got to  my feet. "Where are you going?" demanded  Gatsby in immediate alarm.
"I'll be back." "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 before--and ran for a  huge
black knotted tree, whose massed leaves made a fabric against the rain. Once
more  it  was  pouring,  and  my  irregular  lawn, well-shaved  by  Gatsby's
gardener, abounded in small, muddy swamps and prehistoric marshes. There was
nothing to look at from under the tree except  Gatsby's enormous house, so I
stared at it, like Kant  at  his church steeple, for  half an hour. A brewer
had built  it early in the "period." craze, a decade before, and there was a
story that he'd  agreed  to  pay  five years'  taxes on all the  neighboring
cottages if the  owners would have their roofs thatched with straw.  Perhaps
their refusal took the heart out of his plan to Found a Family--he went into
an  immediate  decline. His children  sold  his house  with the black wreath
still on the door. Americans,  while  occasionally willing to be serfs, have
always been  obstinate about being  peasantry.  After  half an hour, the sun
shone again, and the grocer's automobile rounded Gatsby's drive with the raw
material for his servants' dinner--I felt sure he wouldn't eat a spoonful. A
maid began opening  the upper windows of  his house, appeared momentarily in
each, and, leaning from  a  large  central bay, spat meditatively  into  the
garden. It was time I went back. While the rain continued it had seemed like
the murmur of  their voices, rising and swelling a little now and then  with
gusts  of  emotion. But in the new silence I  felt that  silence  had fallen
within the house too. I went in--after making  every possible  noise  in the
kitchen, short of pushing  over the stove--but I don't believe they  heard a
sound. They were sitting at either end of the couch, looking  at each  other
as if some question had been  asked, or was in the air, and every vestige of
embarrassment was gone. Daisy's face was smeared with tears, and when I came
in  she jumped up and  began  wiping at it  with  her handkerchief  before a
mirror.  But there  was a change  in Gatsby that was simply  confounding. He
literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being
radiated  from him and filled  the little room.  "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 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 up-stairs 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 reply. "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
sunlight.  "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 enchanting murmurs Daisy
admired  this aspect  or that  of  the feudal  silhouette against  the  sky,
admired the gardens, the  sparkling odor of jonquils and the  frothy odor of
hawthorn and plum blossoms and the pale gold odor of kiss-me-at-the-gate. It
was strange to reach the marble steps and find no stir of  bright dresses in
and out  the  door, and hear no sound but  bird  voices  in  the  trees. And
inside, as we wandered through  Marie Antoinette music-rooms and Restoration
salons,  I  felt that  there  were guests  concealed behind  every couch and
table,  under orders to be  breathlessly silent until we had passed through.
As Gatsby closed the  door of "the Merton  College  Library."  I could  have
sworn  I  heard  the  owl-eyed  man break  into  ghostly  laughter.  We went
up-stairs, through period bedrooms swathed  in rose  and  lavender  silk and
vivid with new  flowers, through dressing-rooms and poolrooms, and bathrooms
with sunken  baths--intruding into one chamber  where a dishevelled  man  in
pajamas was doing liver exercises on the floor. It was Mr. Klipspringer, the
"boarder." I  had seen him wandering 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  entering upon  a  third. After his  embarrassment  and  his
unreasoning joy he  was  consumed with wonder at  her presence.  He had been
full of  the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end,  waited with
his teeth set, so to  speak, at an inconceivable pitch of intensity. Now, in
the  reaction, he  was  running down  like  an  overwound clock.  Recovering
himself in a minute  he opened for us two hulking patent cabinets which held
his massed  suits  and dressing-gowns and  ties,  and his shirts, piled like
bricks  in stacks a dozen  high. "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 table  in
many-colored disarray. While  we  admired  he brought more and the soft rich
heap mounted higher--shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and
apple-green and  lavender  and faint orange, and  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 muffled  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  mid-summer
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." 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 indefinite 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  costume,  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
clippings--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 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 Klipspringer play the  piano."
He  went out of  the  room  calling "Ewing!" and  returned  in a few minutes
accompanied  by an embarrassed, slightly  worn young  man, with shell-rimmed
glasses  and  scanty blond  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 politely. "I was asleep,"
cried Mr.  Klipspringer, in a  spasm  of  embarrassment. "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
down-stairs," interrupted  Gatsby.  He  flipped  a switch.  The gray windows
disappeared  as the house  glowed  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!" "IN THE MORNING, IN THE EVENING,
AIN'T WE GOT FUN----" 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
generating on the  air. "ONE THING'S  SURE AND NOTHING'S  SURER THE RICH GET
RICHER AND THE  POOR GET--CHILDREN. IN THE MEANTIME, IN BETWEEN TIME----" As
I went over to say good-by 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 whe  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  together.
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  hurried 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 "underground 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 he saw  Dan  Cody's yacht drop anchor over the
most insidious flat on Lake Superior. It was James Gatz who had been loafing
along the beach that afternoon in a torn  green jersey and a pair of  canvas
pants, but it was already Jay Gatsby who borrowed  a  rowboat, 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  people--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 meretricious 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 contemptuous of them, of young virgins because they were ignorant, of
the  others   because  they  were  hysterical  about  things  which  in  his
overwhelming  self-absorbtion  he  took for granted. But his  heart was in a
constant,  turbulent riot. The most 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 until  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 shallows alongshore. Cody was fifty years old
then, a product of the Nevada silver fields, of the Yukon, of every rush for
metal since seventy-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 Maintenon to  his  weakness and
sent  him  to   sea  in  a  yacht,  were  common  knowledge  to  the  turgid
sub-journalism of 1902. He had been coasting along all too hospitable shores
for five  years  when he turned up as James  Gatz's destiny at Little  Girls
Point. To the young Gatz, resting on  his oars and looking up at  the railed
deck, the yacht represented all  the beauty  and glamour  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, skipper, 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 Continent. 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
gray, florid man with a hard, empty  face--the pioneer debauchee, who during
one phase of American life brought back  to the Eastern  seaboard the savage
violence  of the frontier brothel and saloon. It was indirectly  due to Cody
that  Gatsby drank so little.  Sometimes in the  course of gay parties 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  never 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
substantiality 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  before. They  were  a party of three  on horseback--Tom and  a man
named Sloane and a  pretty woman in a brown riding-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  remembering. "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  aggressively.  "That  so?" Tom turned to me. "You live near
here,  Nick?" "Next  door."  "That  so?"  Mr.  Sloane didn't  enter into the
conversation,  but  lounged back  haughtily  in his  chair;  the  woman said
nothing either--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 surprised if some other people dropped in from New York." "You
come to supper with ME," said the lady enthusiastically. "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 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 Daisy. 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. Or perhaps I had merely grown used to it, grown to accept
West Egg as a world complete  in itself, with its own standards 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
expended 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 gorgeous,
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:  "Mrs. Buchanan .  .  . and  Mr.
Buchanan----" After an instant's hesitation he added: "the polo player." "Oh
no," objected  Tom  quickly, "not me." But evidently the sound of it pleased
Gatsby, for Tom  remained  "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  producer. "Well,  I liked him anyhow."  "I'd a
little rather not be the polo player," said Tom pleasantly, "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. 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 to-morrow,
spoke in Miss  Baedeker's defence: "Oh, she's all right now. When  she's had
five  or six cocktails 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, without 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,"  mumbled  Miss Baedeker.  "They almost  drowned me once  over in  New
Jersey." "Then you  ought to leave it alone," countered Doctor Civet. "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 standing with  Daisy and watching  the moving-picture  director 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  begotten 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 invisible 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.  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 gray 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, rhythmic 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  of
that year, was drifting out the open door. After all, in the very casualness
of Gatsby's party there were romantic possibilities  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  infinitely  rare  and  to  be
marvelled  at,  some  authentically  radiant young  girl who with one  fresh
glance at Gatsby, one moment 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 depression. "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 unimportant." He wanted
nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: "I never loved
you."  After she had obliterated four 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  flowers. "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 lurking 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 they came to  a place where there were no trees
and the  sidewalk  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 sidewalks 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 incarnation was  complete. Through
all he  said, even through  his appalling sentimentality, I  was reminded of
something--an  elusive  rhythm,  a  fragment of lost words, that I had heard
somewhere  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.  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 Trimalchio 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  villainous  face squinted  at  me
suspiciously from the  door. "Is Mr. Gatsby  sick?" "Nope." After a pause he
added "sir." in  a dilatory, grudging 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 supplies over the telephone. The  grocery boy reported that
the kitchen looked like a pigsty, and the general opinion in the 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  something 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  to-morrow?  Miss Baker would be there. Half  an
hour later Daisy  herself  telephoned and seemed relieved 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. "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 every one near by, including  the woman, suspected me just the same.
"Hot!" said the conductor  to familiar faces.  "Some weather! 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
mouthpiece. "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,
needlessly 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. "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  centre 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 annoyance:
"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 moment 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. "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 guiltily  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, reluctant hand. Afterward  he kept  looking  at the
child  with  surprise.  I don't think he  had ever  really believed  in  its
existence 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 pretty?" "Where's
Daddy?" "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  forward  and  held  out her hand.  "Come,  Pammy."
"Good-by, 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  every 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 rose-beds 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 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 Daisy,  "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, molding 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  table.  "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 recognized her as some  one he  knew a long time
ago. "You resemble  the advertisement  of the man," she  went on 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 matter,
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 up-stairs 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 savagely. "Women get  these notions in
their  heads----"  "Shall we take anything to drink?" called  Daisy from  an
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 coupe  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.  Daisy  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
coupe." She walked close  to Gatsby, touching his coat with her hand. Jordan
and Tom  and I  got  into  the  front seat of  Gatsby'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, sometimes, 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 continued. "I
could  have gone  deeper  if I'd  known----" "Do you  mean  you've been to a
medium?" inquired Jordan humorously. "What?" Confused, he stared at us as we
laughed.  "A medium?" "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
married--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 remembered  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?" "I'm sick," said Wilson without moving. "Been sick
all  day."  "What's the matter?" "I'm all run  down."  "Well,  shall  I help
myself?" Tom  demanded.  "You  sounded  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 coupe flashed by us with a
flurry of dust and the flash of a waving hand. "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
discovered 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.  So engrossed was she that she had no consciousness of being  observed,
and one emotion after another crept into her face like objects into a slowly
developing  picture.  Her  expression  was  curiously  familiar--it  was  an
expression I had often seen on women's faces, but on Myrtle Wilson's face it
seemed purposeless and  inexplicable until  I realized that her  eyes,  wide
with jealous terror,  were fixed not on Tom, but on Jordan  Baker,  whom she
took to be his wife.  There is no confusion like the  confusion of a  simple
mind, and as we drove away Tom was feeling the hot whips  of panic. His wife
and  his  mistress, until an  hour ago secure  and  inviolate, were slipping
precipitately from his control.  Instinct  made  him step on the accelerator
with the double purpose of overtaking Daisy and leaving  Wilson  behind, and
we sped  along toward  Astoria at  fifty  miles  an  hour, until,  among the
spidery  girders of the elevated, we came  in sight  of the easy-going  blue
coupe. "Those big movies around Fiftieth Street are cool," suggested Jordan.
"I  love  New  York  on  summer  afternoons when  every one's away.  There's
something very sensuous about it--overripe,  as if all sorts of funny fruits
were going  to fall into your hands." The word "sensuous" had  the effect of
further disquieting Tom, but before he could invent a protest the coupe came
to a stop, and Daisy signaled us to draw up alongside. "Where are we going?"
she cried. "How about the movies?" "It's so  hot," she complained.  "You go.
We'll ride around and meet you after." With an effort her wit  rose faintly,
"We'll meet you on some corner. I'll be the man smoking two cigarettes." "We
can't argue about it here,"  Tom  said impatiently, as  a  truck  gave out a
cursing whistle behind us. "You follow me to the south side of Central Park,
in front of the Plaza." Several times he turned his head and looked back for
their car, and if the traffic delayed them he slowed up until they came into
sight. I think he was afraid they would dart  down a side  street and out of
his life forever. But they didn't. And we all  took the less explicable step
of  engaging the  parlor of a suite  in the Plaza Hotel.  The prolonged  and
tumultuous  argument that  ended by herding  us  into  that room eludes  me,
though  I have a  sharp physical  memory  that,  in the  course  of  it,  my
underwear kept climbing  like a damp  snake around  my legs and intermittent
beads of sweat raced cool across my back. The notion originated with Daisy's
suggestion  that  we  hire five bath-rooms  and  take  cold  baths, and then
assumed more  tangible form as "a  place  to  have a mint julep." Each of us
said over and  over that it was a "crazy  idea."--we all talked at once to a
baffled clerk and thought, or pretended  to think,  that  we were being very
funny.  . . . The  room was large and stifling,  and, though it  was already
four o'clock, opening the windows admitted Only a gust of hot shrubbery from
the Park. Daisy went to the mirror and stood with her back to us, fixing her
hair. "It's  a  swell suite," whispered  Jordan respectfully,  and every one
laughed. "Open  another  window,"  commanded Daisy, without turning  around.
"There aren't  any more." "Well, we'd  better telephone for an axe----" "The
thing to do is to forget about the heat," said Tom impatiently. "You make it
ten times worse  by  crabbing about  it." He  unrolled the bottle of whiskey
from the towel and put it on the table.  "Why not let her alone, old sport?"
remarked Gatsby. "You're the  one that  wanted to come to town." There was a
moment  of silence. The telephone book slipped from its nail and splashed to
the floor, whereupon Jordan whispered, "Excuse me."--but  this time  no  one
laughed. "I'll pick it  up," I offered. "I've got it."  Gatsby examined  the
parted string, muttered "Hum!" in an interested way, and tossed the book  on
a  chair. "That's a great expression of yours, isn't  it?" said Tom sharply.
"What is?" "All  this 'old  sport' business. Where'd you pick that up?" "Now
see here, Tom," said Daisy, turning around from the mirror, "if you're going
to make personal remarks I won't stay here a minute. Call  up and order some
ice for the mint julep."  As Tom  took  up  the receiver the compressed heat
exploded  into sound  and we  were  listening to  the  portentous chords  of
Mendelssohn's Wedding  March  from  the  ballroom  below.  "Imagine marrying
anybody  in this heat!" cried  Jordan dismally. "Still--I was married in the
middle  of June,"  Daisy remembered, "Louisville  in June! Somebody fainted.
Who was  it  fainted,  Tom?"  "Biloxi,"  he answered  shortly. "A man  named
Biloxi. 'blocks' Biloxi, and he  made boxes--that's a  fact--and he was from
Biloxi,  Tennessee." "They  carried  him into  my  house,"  appended Jordan,
"because we lived just two doors from the church. And he stayed three weeks,
until Daddy told him he had  to get out. The day  after he left Daddy died."
After a moment she  added  as if she might have  sounded  irreverent, "There
wasn't  any  connection."  "I used to  know a Bill Biloxi  from  Memphis," I
remarked. "That was  his cousin.  I knew  his whole family history before he
left. He gave me an aluminum putter  that I use to-day."  The music had died
down as the ceremony began and now a  long  cheer floated  in at the window,
followed by intermittent cries of  "Yea-ea-ea!" and  finally  by a  burst of
jazz as the dancing began. "We're  getting  old,"  said  Daisy. "If we  were
young we'd rise and dance."  "Remember Biloxi," Jordan  warned her. "Where'd
you know him, Tom?" "Biloxi?" He concentrated with an effort. "I didn't know
him. He was a friend of Daisy's." "He was not," she denied. "I'd never  seen
him before. He came down in the private car." "Well, he said he knew you. He
said he was raised in  Louisville. Asa Bird brought him  around at  the last
minute and asked if we  had room for  him."  Jordan smiled. "He was probably
bumming his way  home. He told me he was  president of your class  at Yale."
Tom and  I looked at each other blankly.  "Biloxi?" "First  place, we didn't
have any president----" Gatsby's foot beat  a short, restless tattoo and Tom
eyed him  suddenly. "By the  way, Mr.  Gatsby, I understand you're an Oxford
man." "Not  exactly." "Oh,  yes,  I understand you went to  Oxford." "Yes--I
went there." A pause. Then Tom's voice, incredulous and insulting: "You must
have gone there about the time Biloxi went to  New  Haven." Another pause. A
waiter knocked and came in with crushed mint  and  ice  but, the silence was
unbroken  by  his  "thank you." and  the  soft  closing  of the  door.  This
tremendous  detail was to be cleared up at last. "I  told you I went there,"
said  Gatsby.  "I  heard  you,  but  I'd like  to  know when."  "It  was  in
nineteen-nineteen, I only stayed five months. That's why I can't really call
myself  an  Oxford  man." Tom  glanced  around to  see  if  we mirrored  his
unbelief. But we were all  looking at Gatsby. "It was  an  opportunity  they
gave to some of the officers after the  Armistice," he continued.  "We could
go to any of the universities in England or France." I wanted to  get up and
slap him on the back.  I had  one of those renewals of complete faith in him
that  I'd experienced before. Daisy rose,  smiling faintly, and  went to the
table.  "Open  the whiskey, Tom," she ordered,  "and  I'll  make you  a mint
julep. Then you won't seem so stupid  to yourself. . . . Look at  the mint!"
"Wait a minute,"  snapped Tom, "I want to ask Mr. Gatsby one more question."
"Go on," Gatsby said politely. "What kind of a row  are you trying  to cause
in my house  anyhow?"  They  were out in  the  open at  last and  Gatsby was
content.  "He isn't causing a row." Daisy looked desperately from one to the
other.  "You're   causing  a  row.  Please  have  a  little   self-control."
"Self-control!" Repeated Tom incredulously.  "I  suppose the latest thing is
to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. Well, if
that's  the  idea you  can  count me  out. . .  .  Nowadays  people begin by
sneering at  family  life and  family  institutions, and next  they'll throw
everything  overboard  and  have  intermarriage  between  black and  white."
Flushed with his impassioned gibberish, he saw himself standing alone on the
last  barrier of civilization.  "We're all white here,"  murmured Jordan. "I
know I'm not very popular. I don't give big parties. I suppose you've got to
make  your house into a  pigsty in order  to have any friends--in the modern
world." Angry as I was, as we all were, I was tempted to laugh  whenever  he
opened his mouth. The  transition  from libertine to  prig was so  complete.
"I've  got something to  tell YOU,  old  sport----" began  Gatsby. But Daisy
guessed  at  his  intention. "Please  don't!"  she  interrupted  helplessly.
"Please let's all go home. Why don't  we all go home?" "That's a good idea."
I got up. "Come on, Tom.  Nobody  wants  a drink." "I want to know  what Mr.
Gatsby has to tell me." "Your wife  doesn't  love  you," said Gatsby. "She's
never  loved  you.  She loves  me."  "You  must  be  crazy!"  exclaimed  Tom
automatically. Gatsby sprang to  his feet, vivid with excitement. "She never
loved you,  do you hear?" he cried. "She only married you because I was poor
and she was tired of waiting  for  me. It was a terrible mistake, but in her
heart she never loved  any one except me!"  At this point Jordan and I tried
to  go, but  Tom  and  Gatsby  insisted  with competitive firmness  that  we
remain--as though neither of them had anything  to conceal and it would be a
privilege to partake vicariously of their emotions. "Sit down, Daisy," Tom's
voice groped unsuccessfully for the paternal note. "What's been going on?  I
want to hear all about it." "I told you what's been  going on," said Gatsby.
"Going on for five years--and you didn't know." Tom turned to Daisy sharply.
"You've been seeing this fellow for five years?"  "Not seeing," said Gatsby.
"No, we couldn't  meet. But both of us loved each other all  that time,  old
sport,  and  you didn't know. I  used to laugh sometimes."--but there was no
laughter in his eyes----"  to think that you didn't know." "Oh--that's all."
Tom tapped his  thick fingers together  like  a clergyman and leaned back in
his chair. "You're crazy!"  he exploded. "I  can't speak about what happened
five  years ago, because I didn't know  Daisy then--and  I'll be damned if I
see how you got within a mile of her unless you brought the groceries to the
back door.  But all the rest of that's a God damned lie. Daisy loved me when
she married  me and she loves me now." "No,"  said Gatsby, shaking his head.
"She does, though. The trouble is  that sometimes she gets foolish ideas  in
her  head and doesn't know what she's  doing." He nodded sagely. "And what's
more, I love Daisy too. Once in a while I go  off on a spree and make a fool
of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time."
"You're revolting," said Daisy. She turned to me, and her voice, dropping an
octave lower, filled the room with thrilling scorn: "Do you know why we left
Chicago? I'm surprised  that  they  didn't  treat  you to the  story of that
little spree." Gatsby walked over and stood  beside her. "Daisy,  that's all
over now," he said earnestly. "It doesn't matter any more. Just tell him the
truth--that you never loved him--and it's all wiped out forever." She looked
at  him blindly. "Why--how could I  love  him--possibly?" "You  never  loved
him." She  hesitated. Her eyes fell on Jordan and me with a  sort of appeal,
as  though she realized at  last what  she  was doing--and as though she had
never,  all along, intended doing anything at all. But  it  was done now. It
was  too late. "I never  loved him," she said,  with perceptible reluctance.
"Not  at Kapiolani?" demanded Tom suddenly. "No." From the ballroom beneath,
muffled and  suffocating chords were  drifting up on hot waves of air.  "Not
that day I carried you  down  from the Punch Bowl to keep your  shoes  dry?"
There was a husky tenderness in his tone. . . . "Daisy?" "Please don't." Her
voice was  cold,  but the rancor was gone  from it.  She looked  at  Gatsby.
"There, Jay," she said--but her hand as she  tried to light a  cigarette was
trembling.  Suddenly she  threw the  cigarette  and the burning match on the
carpet. "Oh, you want too much!" she cried to Gatsby. "I love you now--isn't
that enough? I can't help what's past." She began to sob helplessly.  "I did
love  him once--but I loved you too." Gatsby's eyes  opened and closed. "You
loved  me  TOO?"  he repeated. "Even that's a lie," said Tom savagely.  "She
didn't know you were alive. Why--there're things  between Daisy and  me that
you'll never  know, things that neither  of us can ever  forget." The  words
seemed to bite physically into Gatsby.  "I want to speak to Daisy alone," he
insisted. "She's all excited now----" "Even alone I can't say  I never loved
Tom," she admitted in a pitiful voice. "It wouldn't  be true." "Of course it
wouldn't," agreed Tom. She  turned to  her husband. "As if  it  mattered  to
you," she  said. "Of course it matters. I'm going to take better care of you
from now on."  "You don't understand,"  said Gatsby,  with a touch of panic.
"You're  not going to take care of her  any more." "I'm not?" Tom opened his
eyes wide and laughed. He could afford to control himself now. "Why's that?"
"Daisy's leaving  you." "Nonsense." "I am, though," she  said with a visible
effort. "She's not  leaving  me!"  Tom's words  suddenly  leaned  down  over
Gatsby. "Certainly not for a common swindler who'd have to steal the ring he
put on her finger." "I won't stand this!" cried Daisy. "Oh, please let's get
out." "Who are you,  anyhow?" broke out Tom. "You're one  of that bunch that
hangs  around with Meyer Wolfshiem--that  much I happen to know. I've made a
little   investigation   into  your  affairs--and   I'll  carry  it  further
to-morrow." "You  can  suit  yourself about that,  old  sport."  said Gatsby
steadily. "I  found out  what your  'drug-stores' were." He turned to us and
spoke  rapidly.  "He and  this  Wolfshiem  bought up  a  lot  of side-street
drug-stores here  and in Chicago and  sold  grain alcohol over  the counter.
That's one  of his little  stunts.  I picked  him for a bootlegger the first
time I  saw  him,  and I  wasn't  far wrong."  "What about it?"  said Gatsby
politely. "I guess your friend Walter Chase wasn't too  proud to come in  on
it." "And you left him in the lurch, didn't  you? You let him go to jail for
a month over in New Jersey. God! You ought to hear  Walter on the subject of
YOU." "He came to us dead broke. He was very glad to pick up some money, old
sport."  "Don't you  call me 'old sport'!" cried Tom.  Gatsby  said nothing.
"Walter could have you up on the  betting laws too, but Wolfshiem scared him
into  shutting his  mouth." That  unfamiliar yet  recognizable look was back
again  in  Gatsby's face. "That drug-store business was just  small change,"
continued Tom  slowly, "but you've got something on now that Walter's afraid
to  tell  me about." I glanced  at  Daisy, who was staring terrified between
Gatsby and her husband, and at Jordan, who had begun to balance an invisible
but absorbing  object  on  the  tip of  her  chin.  Then  I  turned back  to
Gatsby--and was  startled at  his expression. He looked--and this is said in
all contempt for  the babbled  slander of his garden--as if he had "killed a
man." For  a  moment the  set  of his face  could be described in just  that
fantastic way. It  passed, and he began to talk excitedly to Daisy,  denying
everything, defending  his name against  accusations that had not been made.
But  with every word she was drawing further and further into herself, so he
gave  that up,  and only the  dead dream fought on as the  afternoon slipped
away, trying to  touch  what was no longer tangible,  struggling  unhappily,
undespairingly,  toward that  lost voice across  the room.  The voice begged
again to go. "PLEASE, Tom! I can't stand this any more." Her frightened eyes
told   that  whatever  intentions,  whatever  courage,  she  had  had,  were
definitely  gone. "You two start on home, Daisy," said Tom. "In Mr. Gatsby's
car."  She  looked  at  Tom, alarmed  now, but he  insisted with magnanimous
scorn. "Go on. He won't annoy you. I think he realizes that his presumptuous
little  flirtation  is over." They were gone, without  a word,  snapped out,
made accidental, isolated, like ghosts, even from our pity. After  a  moment
Tom got up and began  wrapping the  unopened bottle of whiskey in the towel.
"Want any  of this stuff? Jordan? . . . Nick?" I didn't  answer. "Nick?"  He
asked again. "What?" "Want any?"  "No  . . . I just remembered that to-day's
my birthday."  I was thirty. Before  me  stretched the  portentous, menacing
road of a new decade. It was  seven o'clock when we  got into the coupe with
him  and  started  for Long Island. Tom  talked  incessantly,  exulting  and
laughing,  but his  voice was as  remote from  Jordan and me as  the foreign
clamor  on  the sidewalk or  the  tumult  of  the elevated  overhead.  Human
sympathy has  its  limits,  and  we were  content  to  let  all their tragic
arguments fade with the city lights behind. Thirty--the  promise of a decade
of loneliness, a thinning list of  single men to know, a thinning brief-case
of enthusiasm,  thinning hair.  But there was Jordan beside me,  who, unlike
Daisy, was too wise ever to carry well-forgotten dreams from age to age.  As
we passed over  the dark bridge her wan  face fell  lazily against my coat's
shoulder  and the formidable stroke of thirty died away  with the reassuring
pressure of  her  hand. So we drove  on  toward  death through  the  cooling
twilight. The young Greek,  Michaelis,  who  ran the coffee joint beside the
ashheaps was the principal witness at the inquest. He  had slept through the
heat until after five, when he strolled over to the garage, and found George
Wilson sick  in his  office--really  sick, pale  as  his  own pale  hair and
shaking all over. Michaelis advised him to  go to  bed, but Wilson  refused,
saying that he'd miss a lot  of business if  he did. While his neighbor  was
trying  to persuade him a  violent racket  broke out overhead. "I've  got my
wife  locked in  up there," explained  Wilson  calmly. "She's going to  stay
there  till  the day after  to-morrow, and then  we're going  to move away."
Michaelis was astonished; they had been neighbors for four years, and Wilson
had never seemed  faintly capable of such  a statement. Generally he was one
of these  worn-out men: when  he wasn't  working,  he sat  on a chair in the
doorway and stared at the people and  the cars that passed  along the  road.
When  any one spoke  to him he invariably laughed in an agreeable, colorless
way.  He was his wife's man and not his own. So naturally Michaelis tried to
find out what had happened, but Wilson wouldn't say a word--instead he began
to throw curious, suspicious glances at his  visitor and ask  him  what he'd
been doing at certain  times on certain days. Just as the latter was getting
uneasy, some  workmen  came  past  the door  bound  for his restaurant,  and
Michaelis took  the opportunity  to get away, intending to come back  later.
But  he  didn't. He supposed  he forgot to, that's all. When he came outside
again, a little after seven, he was reminded of the conversation because  he
heard Mrs. Wilson's  voice,  loud and scolding, down-stairs  in  the garage.
"Beat me!" he heard her cry. "Throw me  down and beat me,  you  dirty little
coward!" A moment  later she rushed  out into the dusk, waving her hands and
shouting--before  he  could move from  his door  the  business was over. The
"death  car." as the newspapers called it,  didn't stop;  it came out of the
gathering darkness, wavered tragically  for a moment,  and then  disappeared
around the next bend. Michaelis wasn't even sure of its  color--he  told the
first policeman that it was light green. The other car, the one going toward
New York, came to rest a hundred yards beyond, and  its  driver hurried back
to  where Myrtle Wilson, her life violently extinguished, knelt in the  road
and  mingled  her thick  dark  blood with  the  dust. Michaelis and this man
reached her first, but when  they had torn  open her shirtwaist, still  damp
with  perspiration, they saw that  her left breast was swinging loose like a
flap, and there was no need to  listen for the  heart beneath. The mouth was
wide open and ripped at the  corners,  as though she had choked  a little in
giving up  the  tremendous vitality she had stored so long. We saw the three
or four  automobiles and the crowd when we  were  still  some distance away.
"Wreck!" said Tom. "That's good.  Wilson'll have a little business at last."
He slowed down, but still  without any  intention of  stopping, until, as we
came nearer, the hushed, intent faces of the people at the garage door  made
him  automatically  put  on  the  brakes.  "We'll  take  a  look,"  he  said
doubtfully, "just a  look."  I  became aware now of a hollow,  wailing sound
which issued incessantly from the garage, a sound which as we got out of the
coupe and walked  toward the  door  resolved itself  into  the words "Oh, my
God!" uttered  over and over in a gasping  moan.  "There's some bad  trouble
here," said Tom excitedly. He reached up on tiptoes and peered over a circle
of heads into the garage, which was lit only by a yellow light in a swinging
wire basket overhead.  Then he made a harsh  sound in his throat, and with a
violent  thrusting movement of his powerful arms pushed his way through. The
circle  closed up again  with a running murmur  of  expostulation;  it was a
minute before I could see anything  at all.  Then new  arrivals deranged the
line, and Jordan  and I  were pushed suddenly inside. Myrtle Wilson's  body,
wrapped in a blanket, and then  in another blanket,  as though she  suffered
from a chill  in the hot  night, lay  on a work-table by the  wall, and Tom,
with his back to us, was  bending over  it, motionless. Next to him  stood a
motorcycle policeman taking  down names with  much sweat and correction in a
little book. At first I couldn't find the source of the high, groaning words
that echoed  clamorously through the bare garage--then I saw Wilson standing
on the raised threshold of his office, swaying back and forth and holding to
the doorposts  with both hands. Some  man was talking to him in  a low voice
and attempting, from time to time, to lay a hand on his shoulder, but Wilson
neither heard nor saw. His eyes would drop slowly from the swinging light to
the laden table  by the wall, and then jerk back to the light again, and  he
gave out incessantly his  high,  horrible call: "Oh, my Ga-od! Oh, my Ga-od!
oh, Ga-od!  oh, my Ga-od!" Presently Tom  lifted his head with  a jerk  and,
after  staring around  the garage  with  glazed  eyes,  addressed  a mumbled
incoherent remark  to the policeman.  "M-a-y-."  the  policeman was  saying,
"-o----" "No,  r-."  corrected  the  man,  "M-a-v-r-o----"  "Listen  to me!"
muttered Tom fiercely.  "r"  said the policeman, "o----" "g----"  "g----" He
looked up as Tom's broad hand fell sharply on his shoulder. "What you  want,
fella?"  "What  happened?--that's  what I  want  to  know."  "Auto  hit her.
Ins'antly  killed." "Instantly killed," repeated Tom, staring. "She  ran out
ina road. Son-of-a-bitch didn't even stopus car." "There was two cars," said
Michaelis, "one comin', one goin', see?" "Going where?" asked the  policeman
keenly.  "One goin' each way. Well, she."--his hand rose toward the blankets
but stopped half way and fell to his side----" she ran out there an' the one
comin' from N'york knock right  into her, goin'  thirty  or forty  miles  an
hour." "What's the name of this  place here?" demanded  the officer. "Hasn't
got any name."  A  pale well-dressed negro stepped  near. "It  was a  yellow
car,"  he  said,  "big  yellow  car. New." "See  the  accident?"  asked  the
policeman. "No, but the car passed me down  the road, going faster'n  forty.
Going fifty,  sixty." "Come  here and let's have your  name. Look out now. I
want to get his  name." Some words of this  conversation must  have  reached
Wilson,  swaying in the  office door,  for suddenly a  new theme found voice
among his gasping cries: "You don't have to tell me what kind of car it was!
I  know what kind of car it was!" Watching Tom, I saw the wad of muscle back
of his shoulder tighten under his  coat.  He  walked  quickly over to Wilson
and, standing in front of him, seized him firmly by the upper arms.  "You've
got  to  pull yourself together,"  he said with soothing gruffness. Wilson's
eyes fell upon  Tom;  he  started  up  on  his tiptoes and  then would  have
collapsed  to  his knees had not  Tom  held him upright. "Listen," said Tom,
shaking  him  a little. "I just  got here a minute ago, from New York. I was
bringing  you that coupe  we've been  talking about.  That yellow car I  was
driving  this  afternoon  wasn't  mine--do you hear? I haven't seen  it  all
afternoon." Only  the negro and I were near enough to hear what he said, but
the  policeman caught something  in the tone and looked over  with truculent
eyes. "What's all that?" he demanded. "I'm a friend of his." Tom  turned his
head but kept his hands firm on Wilson's  body. "He says  he  knows  the car
that did it . . . it was a yellow car." Some dim impulse moved the policeman
to look suspiciously at Tom. "And what color's your car?" "It's a blue  car,
a coupe." "We've come straight from New York," I said. Some one who had been
driving a little behind  us  confirmed  this, and the policeman turned away.
"Now, if you'll let me have that name again  correct----" Picking  up Wilson
like a doll, Tom carried him into the office, set him  down in a chair,  and
came  back.  "If  somebody'll  come here  and  sit  with  him,"  he  snapped
authoritatively. He  watched while the two  men standing closest  glanced at
each other and  went unwillingly into  the  room.  Then Tom shut the door on
them  and came  down the single step, his eyes  avoiding the  table.  As  he
passed close to me he whispered: "Let's get out." Self-consciously, with his
authoritative arms breaking  the way,  we pushed through the still gathering
crowd, passing a hurried doctor, case in hand, who had been sent for in wild
hope  half an hour ago. Tom drove slowly until we were beyond the bend--then
his foot came down hard, and the coupe raced  along through the  night. In a
little  while  I  heard  a  low husky  sob,  and  saw that  the  tears  were
overflowing down his face. "The God damned coward!" he whimpered. "He didn't
even stop his car." The Buchanans' house floated suddenly toward  us through
the dark  rustling trees. Tom  stopped beside the porch and looked up at the
second floor, where two windows bloomed with light among the vines. "Daisy's
home," he  said. As we got  out of  the car  he  glanced  at me  and frowned
slightly. "I ought to have dropped you in West Egg, Nick. There's nothing we
can do to-night." A change had come over him, and he spoke gravely, and with
decision. As we walked across the moonlight gravel to the  porch he disposed
of the situation in a few brisk phrases.  "I'll telephone for a taxi to take
you home, and while you're waiting  you and Jordan better go  in the kitchen
and have them get  you  some supper--if  you want any." He  opened the door.
"Come in." "No,  thanks. But  I'd  be glad if you'd order me the  taxi. I'll
wait  outside." Jordan put her  hand on  my arm. "Won't you come  in, Nick?"
"No,  thanks."  I was feeling a little sick and I wanted  to be  alone.  But
Jordan lingered for a moment more. "It's only half-past nine," she said. I'd
be  damned if I'd go  in; I'd had  enough  of  all  of them for one day, and
suddenly that included Jordan too. She  must have  seen something of this in
my expression, for she turned abruptly away and  ran up the porch steps into
the house. I sat down  for a few minutes with my head  in my hands,  until I
heard the phone taken up inside and the butler's voice calling  a taxi. Then
I walked slowly down the drive away from the house, intending to wait by the
gate.  I hadn't  gone  twenty yards when I heard my name and  Gatsby stepped
from between two bushes into the path. I must have felt pretty weird by that
time, because  I could think of nothing  except  the luminosity  of his pink
suit under the moon. "What are you doing?" I inquired. "Just  standing here,
old sport." Somehow, that seemed a despicable occupation. For  all I knew he
was  going  to rob the house  in a moment; I wouldn't have been surprised to
see sinister faces,  the  faces of 'Wolfshiem's people,'  behind  him in the
dark shrubbery. "Did you  see any  trouble  on the  road?"  he asked after a
minute. "Yes." He hesitated. "Was she killed?" "Yes." "I  thought so; I told
Daisy I thought so.  It's better that the shock should all come at once. She
stood it pretty well." He spoke as if  Daisy's reaction was  the only  thing
that mattered. "I got to West Egg by a side road," he went on, "and left the
car in  my  garage. I don't think anybody saw  us,  but of course I can't be
sure." I disliked him  so much by this time that I  didn't find it necessary
to tell him he was wrong.  "Who was  the woman?" he inquired. "Her name  was
Wilson. Her husband owns the garage. How the devil did it happen?" "Well,  I
tried to swing the wheel----" He  broke  off, and  suddenly I guessed at the
truth. "Was Daisy  driving?"  "Yes," he said after a moment, "but  of course
I'll say I was. You see, when we left New York she was  very nervous and she
thought it would steady her  to drive--and this woman  rushed out at us just
as we were passing a car coming  the other way. It all happened in a minute,
but it seemed to me that she wanted to speak to us, thought we were somebody
she knew. Well, first Daisy turned away from the woman toward the other car,
and then she lost her nerve and turned back. The second  my hand reached the
wheel I felt the shock--it must have killed her  instantly." "It ripped  her
open----" "Don't tell me, old sport." He  winced. "Anyhow--Daisy  stepped on
it. I tried to make her stop, but she couldn't, so I pulled on the emergency
brake. Then she fell over into my lap and I drove  on. "She'll  be all right
to-morrow,"  he said presently. "I'm just going  to wait here and see  if he
tries to bother her about that  unpleasantness this afternoon. She's  locked
herself into her room, and if he tries any brutality she's going to turn the
light out and on again."  "He won't touch her,' I  said.  "He's not thinking
about her." "I don't  trust  him, old sport."  "How long are  you  going  to
wait?"  "All night, if necessary.  Anyhow, till they  all go to bed."  A new
point of  view  occurred to  me. Suppose Tom found  out that Daisy had  been
driving. He might think he saw a connection in it--he might  think anything.
I looked  at the  house; there were two or  three bright windows down-stairs
and the pink glow from Daisy's room on the second  floor. "You wait here," I
said. "I'll see if there's any sign of a commotion." I walked back along the
border of the  lawn, traversed the gravel softly, and tiptoed up the veranda
steps.  The  drawing-room curtains  were open, and I saw that  the room  was
empty. Crossing  the  porch where we had dined that  June night three months
before,  I came to a small rectangle of light which I guessed was the pantry
window. The blind was  drawn, but I found a rift at the  sill. Daisy and Tom
were sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table,  with a plate of cold
fried chicken  between them, and two bottles of ale. He was talking intently
across the table at her, and in his earnestness his hand had fallen upon and
covered her  own.  Once in  a  while  she  looked  up  at him and  nodded in
agreement.  They weren't happy, and neither of them had  touched the chicken
or the ale--and yet  they weren't unhappy  either. There was an unmistakable
air of natural intimacy about the  picture, and anybody would have said that
they were  conspiring together. As I tiptoed  from the porch I heard my taxi
feeling its way  along the dark road toward the  house.  Gatsby was  waiting
where  I had left him in  the drive. "Is  it  all quiet up there?"  he asked
anxiously.  "Yes, it's all quiet." I hesitated. "You'd better come  home and
get some  sleep." He shook his head. "I want to wait here till Daisy goes to
bed. Good night, old sport." He put his hands in his coat pockets and turned
back eagerly to his scrutiny of  the house, as though my presence marred the
sacredness of the vigil. So I walked away and left him standing there in the
moonlight--watching over nothing. Chapter 8  I  couldn't  sleep all night; a
fog-horn was  groaning incessantly  on  the  Sound, and I  tossed  half-sick
between  grotesque  reality  and savage, frightening dreams.  Toward  dawn I
heard a taxi go up Gatsby's drive, and immediately I  jumped out of bed  and
began to dress--I felt that  I  had something to tell him, something to warn
him about, and morning would be too late. Crossing his lawn,  I saw that his
front door was  still open and he was leaning  against a table in the  hall,
heavy with dejection or sleep. "Nothing happened," he said wanly. "I waited,
and  about four o'clock she came to the window and stood there for a  minute
and then turned out the light." His house had never seemed so enormous to me
as it did that night when we  hunted through the great rooms for cigarettes.
We pushed aside curtains that were like pavilions, and felt over innumerable
feet of dark wall for electric light switches--once I tumbled with a sort of
splash upon the keys of a ghostly piano. There was an inexplicable amount of
dust everywhere, and the rooms were musty, as  though they hadn't been aired
for many days. I found  the humidor on an unfamiliar table,  with two stale,
dry cigarettes inside. Throwing open the French windows of the drawing-room,
we sat  smoking out into the darkness. "You ought to go away," I said. "It's
pretty certain they'll trace your car." "Go  away  NOW, old  sport?"  "Go to
Atlantic  City for a week, or up to Montreal." He wouldn't  consider  it. He
couldn't possibly leave Daisy until he knew what she was going to do. He was
clutching  at some last hope  and I couldn't bear to shake him  free. It was
this  night  that  he told  me the  strange  story  of  his  youth  with Dan
Cody--told it to me  because "Jay Gatsby." had broken  up like glass against
Tom's hard malice, and the long secret extravaganza was played  out. I think
that he would have acknowledged anything now, without reserve, but he wanted
to talk  about  Daisy. She was the first "nice"  girl he had  ever known. In
various  unrevealed capacities he had come  in contact with such people, but
always  with  indiscernible barbed  wire between. He  found  her  excitingly
desirable. He  went to  her  house, at first with other  officers  from Camp
Taylor, then alone. It  amazed  him--he  had never  been in such a beautiful
house  before. but what  gave it an air of  breathless  intensity, was  that
Daisy lived there--it was as casual a thing to her  as his tent  out at camp
was to him. There was a ripe mystery about it, a  hint of bedrooms up-stairs
more beautiful and  cool than other bedrooms, of gay and radiant  activities
taking place through its corridors, and of romances that  were not musty and
laid away already in lavender  but  fresh and breathing and redolent of this
year's  shining  motor-cars  and  of  dances  whose  flowers  were  scarcely
withered. It  excited  him, too, that many men had  already loved  Daisy--it
increased her value in his eyes. He felt their presence all about the house,
pervading the air with the shades and echoes of still vibrant  emotions. But
he  knew  that  he  was  in Daisy's  house by  a  colossal accident. However
glorious might be his  future  as Jay Gatsby, he was at  present a penniless
young  man without a  past, and at any  moment  the  invisible  cloak of his
uniform might slip from his  shoulders. So he made the most of his time.  He
took  what he could get,  ravenously and unscrupulously-- eventually he took
Daisy  one  still  October night, took her  because he  had no real right to
touch her hand.  He might have despised himself, for he  had certainly taken
her under  false pretenses. I don't mean  that he  had traded on his phantom
millions, but  he had deliberately given  Daisy a sense of security;  he let
her believe that he was a person from much the same stratum as herself--that
he was fully able  to take care of her. As a matter of fact, he had  no such
facilities--he  had  no  comfortable family standing behind him, and  he was
liable  at the  whim of an impersonal  government to be blown anywhere about
the world. But he didn't despise  himself and it didn't turn  out  as he had
imagined. He  had intended, probably, to take what he could  and go--but now
he found that he had committed himself to the following of  a grail. He knew
that Daisy was extraordinary, but he didn't realize just how extraordinary a
"nice" girl could be. She vanished into her  rich house, into her rich, full
life, leaving Gatsby--nothing. He felt  married to  her, that was  all. When
they met again, two  days  later, it was Gatsby who was breathless, who was,
somehow,  betrayed.  Her  porch  was  bright  with  the   bought  luxury  of
star-shine; the wicker of  the  settee  squeaked fashionably  as she  turned
toward him and  he  kissed  her curious and lovely  mouth. She  had caught a
cold, and it made her voice huskier  and more charming than ever, and Gatsby
was overwhelmingly  aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and
preserves, of the freshness of many clothes,  and  of  Daisy, gleaming  like
silver,  safe  and proud above  the  hot  struggles  of  the poor. "I  can't
describe to  you how surprised  I was to find out  I loved her, old sport. I
even hoped for a while that she'd throw me over, but she didn't, because she
was in love with me too. She thought  I knew a lot because I  knew different
things from her. . .  . Well, there I was,  'way  off my  ambitions, getting
deeper in love every minute, and all of a sudden I didn't care. What was the
use  of doing great things if I could have a  better time telling her what I
was going to do?"  On the last afternoon before he went abroad,  he sat with
Daisy in his arms for a long, silent time. It was a cold fall day, with fire
in the  room and her cheeks  flushed.  Now and then she moved and he changed
his  arm a little,  and once he kissed her  dark shining hair. The afternoon
had made them tranquil for a while, as if to give them a deep memory for the
long  parting the next  day promised.  They had  never been closer  in their
month of love, nor communicated  more profoundly one with another, than when
she brushed silent lips  against his coat's shoulder or when he  touched the
end  of  her   fingers,  gently,   as  though   she  were  asleep.  He   did
extraordinarily  well in the war.  He  was a captain before he went  to  the
front, and following the Argonne battles he got his majority and the command
of the divisional machine-guns. After the Armistice he tried  frantically to
get  home, but  some  complication or misunderstanding sent  him  to  Oxford
instead.  He  was worried now--there  was  a  quality  of nervous despair in
Daisy's letters. She didn't  see why he couldn't  come. She was  feeling the
pressure  of  the  world  outside,  and she wanted to see him  and feel  his
presence beside  her  and be reassured that  she was doing  the right  thing
after all.  For Daisy  was young and her  artificial  world was redolent  of
orchids  and pleasant, cheerful snobbery and orchestras which set the rhythm
of the year, summing up the sadness and suggestiveness of life in new tunes.
All  night the saxophones  wailed the  hopeless comment of  the BEALE STREET
BLUES. while  a hundred pairs  of  golden and silver  slippers shuffled  the
shining dust.  At  the gray tea hour there were always  rooms  that throbbed
incessantly with this low, sweet  fever, while fresh faces  drifted here and
there like rose petals blown by the sad horns around the floor. Through this
twilight universe Daisy began  to move again with the  season;  suddenly she
was  again keeping  half  a dozen  dates a day with half  a  dozen  men, and
drowsing asleep at dawn with  the  beads  and  chiffon  of  an evening dress
tangled among  dying orchids on the floor beside  her bed. And all  the time
something  within her  was crying for a decision. She wanted her life shaped
now, immediately--and the decision must be made  by  some force--of love, of
money,  of unquestionable practicality--that was close  at  hand. That force
took shape in  the middle of spring with the arrival of Tom Buchanan.  There
was a wholesome bulkiness about  his person  and his position, and Daisy was
flattered. Doubtless there  was a certain struggle and a certain relief. The
letter  reached Gatsby while he was still at Oxford. It was dawn now on Long
Island and  we  went about  opening  the  rest of the  windows  down-stairs,
filling the  house  with gray-turning, gold-turning  light. The shadow of  a
tree fell abruptly across the dew and ghostly birds began to sing  among the
blue leaves. There  was  a slow, pleasant  movement  in  the air, scarcely a
wind, promising a  cool, lovely  day. "I don't  think  she  ever loved him."
Gatsby turned around from a window and looked at me challengingly. "You must
remember, old sport, she was very excited this  afternoon. He told her those
things in a way that frightened her--that made it look as if I was some kind
of cheap sharper. And  the result was she hardly knew what she  was saying."
He sat down gloomily. "Of course she might have loved him just for a minute,
when they  were  first married--and loved me  more  even then,  do you see?"
Suddenly he came out with a curious remark.  "In any case," he said, "it was
just  personal." What  could  you  make  of  that,  except  to  suspect some
intensity in his conception of the affair that couldn't be measured? He came
back from France  when Tom and Daisy were still on  their wedding  trip, and
made a  miserable but irresistible  journey to Louisville on the last of his
army pay. He stayed there a  week, walking the streets where their footsteps
had  clicked  together  through  the  November  night   and  revisiting  the
out-of-the-way places  to  which they had driven  in  her white car. Just as
Daisy's house  had  always  seemed to him more mysterious and gay than other
houses,  so his  idea of the city itself, even though she was  gone from it,
was  pervaded  with  a  melancholy  beauty. He left  feeling that  if he had
searched harder, he might have found her--that he  was  leaving  her behind.
The  day-coach--he  was penniless  now--was hot.  He went out  to  the  open
vestibule and sat down on a folding-chair, and the station slid away and the
backs  of unfamiliar buildings  moved  by.  Then out into the spring fields,
where a yellow trolley raced them for a  minute with people in it who  might
once have seen the pale magic of her face along the casual street. The track
curved  and now it  was  going away from the sun,  which as  it sank  lower,
seemed to spread itself in benediction over the vanishing city where she had
drawn her breath. He stretched out his hand desperately as if to snatch only
a wisp of air, to save a  fragment of the spot  that she had made lovely for
him. But it was all  going by too fast now for his blurred eyes and  he knew
that he had lost that part of it, the freshest and the best, forever. It was
nine o'clock when we finished breakfast and went out on the porch. The night
had made a sharp difference in the weather and there was an autumn flavor in
the air. The gardener, the last one of Gatsby's former servants, came to the
foot of  the  steps. "I'm  going to  drain  the  pool  to-day,  Mr.  Gatsby.
Leaves'll start falling pretty  soon, and then  there's always trouble  with
the  pipes."  "Don't  do  it  to-day,"  Gatsby  answered.  He  turned to  me
apologetically. "You know, old sport, I've never used that pool all summer?"
I looked at my  watch and stood up.  "Twelve minutes to my train."  I didn't
want to go  to the city. I wasn't worth a decent stroke of work, but it  was
more than that--I didn't want to leave Gatsby. I missed that train, and then
another, before I could get myself away. "I'll call you up," I said finally.
"Do,  old sport."  "I'll  call you about noon."  We walked  slowly down  the
steps. "I  suppose Daisy'll call too."  He looked at me anxiously, as  if he
hoped I'd corroborate this. "I suppose so." "Well,  good-by." We shook hands
and I started away. Just before I reached the hedge I  remembered  something
and turned around.  "They're  a  rotten crowd," I  shouted across  the lawn.
"You're worth the whole damn  bunch put  together." I've  always been glad I
said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved
of him from beginning to  end. First he  nodded politely, and then  his face
broke into that radiant and understanding smile, as if we'd been in ecstatic
cahoots on  that  fact all the time. His gorgeous pink rag of a  suit made a
bright spot of color  against the white steps,  and I  thought of the  night
when  I first came to his ancestral home, three  months before. The lawn and
drive  had  been  crowded  with  the  faces  of those  who  guessed  at  his
corruption--and  he had stood on  those  steps, concealing his incorruptible
dream, as he waved them good-by. I  thanked him for his hospitality. We were
always thanking him  for  that--I  and  the others.  "Good-by," I called. "I
enjoyed breakfast, Gatsby." Up in the city, I tried for a while to  list the
quotations  on  an  interminable  amount of stock, then  I fell asleep in my
swivel-chair. Just before noon the  phone  woke  me, and  I  started up with
sweat breaking out on my forehead. It  was Jordan Baker; she often called me
up  at this hour because the uncertainty of her own movements between hotels
and clubs and private houses made her hard to find in any other way. Usually
her voice came over the wire as something fresh and cool, as if a divot from
a  green  golf-links  had  come  sailing in at the  office window, but  this
morning it seemed harsh and dry. "I've left Daisy's house,"  she said.  "I'm
at Hempstead, and I'm going down to Southampton this afternoon." Probably it
had been  tactful to  leave  Daisy's house,  but the act annoyed me, and her
next  remark  made  me  rigid. "You weren't so nice to  me last night." "How
could it have  mattered then?" Silence for  a moment. Then: "However--I want
to see you." "I want to see you, too." "Suppose  I don't go  to Southampton,
and come  into  town this afternoon?"  "No--I don't  think this  afternoon."
"Very well." "It's  impossible this afternoon. Various----"  We talked  like
that for a  while, and then abruptly we weren't talking any longer. I  don't
know which  of us hung up with  a sharp click,  but I  know I didn't care. I
couldn't have talked to her across a tea-table that day if I never talked to
her again  in this world.  I called Gatsby's house a  few minutes later, but
the line was  busy. I  tried four times; finally an exasperated central told
me the  wire was being kept open for  long distance from Detroit. Taking out
my  time-table, I drew a small circle around  the  three-fifty train. Then I
leaned back in my chair and  tried to think. It was just noon. When I passed
the ashheaps on  the train that morning I  had crossed  deliberately  to the
other side of the car. I suppose there'd be a curious crowd around there all
day  with  little  boys searching  for  dark  spots in  the dust,  and  some
garrulous man telling over and over what  had happened, until it became less
and less  real  even  to  him and he  could  tell it  no  longer, and Myrtle
Wilson's  tragic  achievement was forgotten. Now I  want to go back a little
and tell what happened  at the garage after we  left there the night before.
They had difficulty in locating the sister, Catherine. She must have  broken
her rule  against drinking that  night, for  when she arrived she was stupid
with liquor and unable to understand  that the ambulance had already gone to
Flushing. When they convinced her  of this,  she  immediately fainted, as if
that was the intolerable part of the affair. Some one, kind or curious, took
her in his car and drove her in the wake of  her  sister's body. Until  long
after midnight a changing  crowd lapped up  against the front of the garage,
while George Wilson rocked himself back and forth on the couch inside. For a
while the door of the office  was open,  and every  one  who  came into  the
garage glanced irresistibly through it. Finally someone said it was a shame,
and closed the door. Michaelis and several other  men were with him;  first,
four or five  men, later two  or three men. Still later Michaelis had to ask
the last stranger  to wait there fifteen minutes longer, while he  went back
to his own place and made a pot of coffee. After that, he stayed there alone
with  Wilson  until  dawn. About  three  o'clock  the  quality  of  Wilson's
incoherent muttering  changed--he grew quieter and began to  talk  about the
yellow  car. He announced  that he had a way of finding out  whom the yellow
car belonged to, and then  he  blurted out that a  couple of months  ago his
wife had come from the city with her face bruised and her nose  swollen. But
when he heard himself say this, he flinched and  began to cry "Oh, my  God!"
again in his groaning  voice. Michaelis  made a clumsy attempt  to  distract
him.  "How  long have you been married, George? Come on there,  try and  sit
still a  minute and answer  my question.  How long  have  you been married?"
"Twelve years." "Ever had any children? Come  on, George, sit still--I asked
you a question. Did you ever have any children?" The hard brown beetles kept
thudding  against  the dull light,  and whenever Michaelis  heard  a car  go
tearing along the road outside  it sounded to him like the car  that  hadn't
stopped a few hours before.  He didn't like  to go into the garage,  because
the work  bench was stained where  the  body  had  been  lying, so  he moved
uncomfortably  around  the  office--he   knew  every  object  in  it  before
morning--and from  time to time  sat down beside  Wilson  trying to keep him
more quiet. "Have you got a church  you go to sometimes, George?  Maybe even
if you haven't been there for a long time? Maybe  I could call up the church
and get a priest to come over and he could talk to you,  see?" "Don't belong
to any." "You ought to have a church, George, for  times like this. You must
have  gone to  church  once.  Didn't you  get married in  a church?  Listen,
George, listen  to me. Didn't you get married in a church?" "That was a long
time ago." The effort of  answering  broke  the rhythm of his rocking--for a
moment he  was silent. Then the same half-knowing, half-bewildered look came
back  into his faded  eyes. "Look in the drawer there," he said, pointing at
the desk.  "Which  drawer?" "That  drawer--that one." Michaelis  opened  the
drawer nearest  his hand.  There  was  nothing  in it but a small, expensive
dog-leash,  made of  leather  and braided  silver.  It  was  apparently new.
"This?" he inquired,  holding it up. Wilson stared and  nodded.  "I found it
yesterday afternoon. She  tried  to tell  me about  it,  but I knew  it  was
something funny." "You mean your wife bought  it?" "She had  it  wrapped  in
tissue paper on her bureau." Michaelis didn't see anything odd in  that, and
he gave Wilson a dozen reasons why his wife might have bought the dog-leash.
But  conceivably Wilson had heard  some of  these same  explanations before,
from Myrtle, because he began saying "Oh, my God!" again  in a  whisper--his
comforter left several explanations in the  air. "Then he killed  her," said
Wilson. His mouth dropped open suddenly. "Who did?" "I have a way of finding
out." "You're morbid, George," said  his friend. "This has  been a strain to
you and you  don't know what you're saying. You'd  better try and sit  quiet
till morning." "He murdered her." "It was an accident, George." Wilson shook
his head. His eyes narrowed and his mouth widened slightly with the ghost of
a superior  "Hm!" "I  know," he said definitely,  "I'm one of these trusting
fellas and  I don't think any harm to nobody, but when I get to know a thing
I  know it. It was the man in that car. She  ran out to  speak to him and he
wouldn't stop." Michaelis had seen this too, but  it  hadn't occurred to him
that there was any  special significance in it. He believed that Mrs. Wilson
had been  running away from her  husband, rather  than trying  to  stop  any
particular car. "How could she of been like that?"  "She's a deep one," said
Wilson, as if  that  answered the question.  "Ah-h-h----" He began  to  rock
again, and  Michaelis stood twisting the leash in his  hand.  "Maybe you got
some friend that I could telephone for, George?" This was a forlorn hope--he
was almost sure that Wilson had no friend:  there  was not enough of him for
his wife. He was glad a little later when he noticed a change in the room, a
blue quickening by  the window, and realized that dawn wasn't far off. About
five o'clock it  was blue enough  outside  to  snap off the  light. Wilson's
glazed  eyes  turned  out to the ashheaps,  where small gray clouds  took on
fantastic shape and scurried here and there in the faint dawn wind. "I spoke
to her," he  muttered, after a long silence. "I  told her she might  fool me
but she couldn't fool God. I took her to the window."--with an effort he got
up  and  walked to the rear window and leaned with his face  pressed against
it----" and I said 'God knows what you've been doing, everything you've been
doing. You  may  fool  me, but you  can't fool God!'"  Standing behind  him,
Michaelis saw with a shock that  he was looking  at the eyes of Doctor T. J.
Eckleburg, which had just  emerged, pale  and  enormous, from the dissolving
night. "God  sees everything,"  repeated Wilson.  "That's an advertisement,"
Michaelis assured him. Something made him turn away from the window and look
back into the  room. But  Wilson stood  there a long time, his face close to
the window pane, nodding into the twilight.  By six  o'clock  Michaelis  was
worn  out,  and grateful for the sound of a car stopping outside. It was one
of  the  watchers of the night before who had  promised to come back,  so he
cooked breakfast for three, which he and the  other man ate together. Wilson
was quieter now,  and Michaelis went home to sleep; when he awoke four hours
later and hurried back to the garage, Wilson was gone. His movements--he was
on foot  all  the time--were  afterward traced to Port Roosevelt and then to
Gad's  Hill, where  he bought  a sandwich that  he didn't eat,  and a cup of
coffee.  He  must have  been  tired and walking slowly,  for he didn't reach
Gad's  Hill until  noon.  Thus far there was no difficulty in accounting for
his time--there were boys who had seen a  man  "acting  sort of  crazy," and
motorists at whom he stared oddly from  the side of the road. Then for three
hours he disappeared from view. The  police, on the strength of what he said
to Michaelis, that he "had a  way of finding  out," supposed  that he  spent
that  time going from garage  to garage thereabout, inquiring  for  a yellow
car. On the other  hand, no  garage man who had  seen him ever came forward,
and  perhaps he  had an  easier, surer way of finding  out what he wanted to
know. By half-past two he was in West Egg, where he asked someone the way to
Gatsby's house. So by that time he knew Gatsby's name. At two o'clock Gatsby
put on his bathing-suit and left word with the butler that if any one phoned
word was to be brought to  him  at the pool. He stopped at the  garage for a
pneumatic mattress that had  amused his guests during the  summer,  and  the
chauffeur helped him pump it up. Then he gave instructions that the open car
wasn't  to be  taken  out  under  any circumstances--and  this  was strange,
because the front right fender needed repair. Gatsby shouldered the mattress
and started for the pool. Once he stopped and  shifted  it a little, and the
chauffeur asked him if he needed help, but he shook his head and in a moment
disappeared among the yellowing trees. No telephone message arrived, but the
butler went  without his sleep and waited  for it until four  o'clock--until
long after there was any one to give  it to if it came. I have  an idea that
Gatsby himself didn't believe it would come, and perhaps he no longer cared.
If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid
a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up
at an unfamiliar sky  through  frightening  leaves and shivered as he  found
what  a grotesque thing  a  rose is and  how raw the  sunlight  was upon the
scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor
ghosts,  breathing  dreams like air, drifted  fortuitously  about . . . like
that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.
The   chauffeur--he    was   one   of   Wolfshiem's    proteges--heard   the
shots--afterward  he  could only say  that  he hadn't thought  anything much
about  them.  I  drove from  the station directly to Gatsby's  house  and my
rushing  anxiously up  the front steps was the  first thing that alarmed any
one. But they knew then, I  firmly believe. With  scarcely a word said, four
of  us, the  chauffeur, butler, gardener,  and I, hurried  down to the pool.
There  was a  faint, barely perceptible  movement of the water  as the fresh
flow from one  end urged its way toward the drain  at the other. with little
ripples that  were hardly the  shadows of waves,  the laden  mattress  moved
irregularly down the pool. A small gust of wind that scarcely corrugated the
surface  was enough to  disturb  its  accidental course with its  accidental
burden. The  touch of a cluster of leaves revolved it slowly, tracing,  like
the leg of  compass, a thin red circle in the water. It was after we started
with Gatsby  toward the house that the  gardener saw Wilson's  body a little
way  off in  the grass, and the holocaust  was complete. Chapter 9 After two
years I remember the rest of that day, and that night and the next day, only
as an endless drill of police and photographers and newspaper men in and out
of Gatsby's front  door.  A  rope  stretched  across  the  main  gate and  a
policeman by it kept  out  the curious, but little boys soon discovered that
they  could  enter  through my yard, and there  were  always  a  few of them
clustered  open-mouthed  about  the pool.  Someone with  a positive  manner,
perhaps a detective, used the expression "madman." as  he bent over Wilson's
body that afternoon, and the adventitious authority of his voice set the key
for  the  newspaper  reports  next morning.  Most of  those  reports  were a
nightmare--grotesque, circumstantial, eager, and  untrue.  When  Michaelis's
testimony at the inquest brought to light Wilson's  suspicions of his wife I
thought  the whole tale would shortly  be served up in racy  pasquinade--but
Catherine,  who might have said  anything,  didn't say a word. She showed  a
surprising  amount  of character  about it too--looked  at the coroner  with
determined eyes under that corrected brow of hers, and swore that her sister
had  never seen  Gatsby, that  her  sister  was  completely  happy with  her
husband, that her sister had been into  no mischief whatever. She  convinced
herself of it, and  cried  into  her handkerchief, as if the very suggestion
was more than she could endure.  So Wilson was reduced to a man "deranged by
grief."  in order that the case might  remain in its simplist  form.  And it
rested there. But all this part of it seemed remote and unessential. I found
myself on Gatsby's side, and alone. From the moment I telephoned news of the
catastrophe  to  West  Egg village,  every  surmise  about  him,  and  every
practical  question,  was  referred  to  me. At  first  I  was surprised and
confused;  then, as he lay in his house and didn't move or breathe or speak,
hour upon hour, it grew  upon me that I was responsible, because no one else
was interested--interested, I mean,  with that intense personal interest  to
which every  one has some vague right at the end. I called  up Daisy half an
hour after we  found him,  called  her instinctively and without hesitation.
But  she and Tom had gone away early that afternoon,  and taken baggage with
them. "Left no  address?" "No."  "Say when they'd be back?" "No." "Any  idea
where they are? How I could reach them?" "I don't know. Can't say." I wanted
to get somebody for him.  I wanted  to  go  into the  room where  he lay and
reassure him: "I'll get somebody for you, Gatsby. Don't worry. Just trust me
and  I'll get somebody  for  you----"  Meyer Wolfshiem's name wasn't  in the
phone book. The butler gave me his  office address on Broadway, and I called
Information, but by the time I had the number it was long after five, and no
one answered the phone. "Will you ring again?" "I've rung them three times."
"It's very important." "Sorry. I'm  afraid no one's there."  I went back  to
the drawing-room and thought for an  instant that they were chance visitors,
all these official people who suddenly filled it. But, as they drew back the
sheet  and looked  at Gatsby with unmoved eyes, his  protest continued in my
brain: "Look here, old sport, you've got to get somebody for me. You've  got
to  try hard.  I can't  go through this alone." Some  one started  to ask me
questions, but I broke away and  going up-stairs  looked hastily through the
unlocked parts of his desk--he'd never  told me definitely that his  parents
were dead. But there was nothing--only  the picture  of Dan Cody, a token of
forgotten  violence,  staring down from  the  wall. Next  morning I sent the
butler  to New York  with a letter to Wolfshiem, which asked for information
and urged him to come out on the next train. That request seemed superfluous
when I wrote it. I was sure he'd start when he saw the newspapers, just as I
was sure there'd be a wire from Daisy  before  noon--but neither a  wire nor
Mr. Wolfshiem arrived;  no one  arrived except more police and photographers
and newspaper men. When the butler brought  back Wolfshiem's answer I  began
to have  a feeling of defiance, of scornful solidarity between Gatsby and me
against them all. DEAR MR. CARRAWAY. This has been one of  the most terrible
shocks of my life to me I hardly can believe it that it is true at all. Such
a mad act as that man  did should make us all think. I  cannot come down now
as I  am tied up in some very important business and  cannot get mixed up in
this thing now. If  there is anything I can do a little later let me know in
a letter by Edgar. I hardly know where  I am when I hear  about a thing like
this and am completely knocked down and out. Yours truly MEYER WOLFSHIEM and
then hasty addenda  beneath: Let me know about the funeral  etc. do not know
his family at all. When the phone rang that afternoon and Long Distance said
Chicago  was  calling  I  thought  this  would  be  Daisy at  last. But  the
connection came through as a man's voice, very thin  and far away.  "This is
Slagle speaking  . . ." "Yes?" The  name was  unfamiliar. "Hell  of a  note,
isn't it? Get  my  wire?"  "There haven't been any wires." "Young Parke's in
trouble," he said rapidly. "They picked him up when he handed the bonds over
the counter.  They got  a circular from New York giving 'em the numbers just
five minutes  before. What d'you know about that, hey? You never can tell in
these hick towns----" "Hello!"  I interrupted breathlessly. "Look here--this
isn't Mr. Gatsby. Mr. Gatsby's dead." There was a  long silence on the other
end of the wire, followed by an exclamation . . . then a quick squawk as the
connection was broken.  I  think it  was  on  the third day  that a telegram
signed Henry C. Gatz arrived from a town in Minnesota. It said only that the
sender was leaving immediately and to postpone the funeral until he came. It
was Gatsby's father, a solemn old man,  very  helpless and dismayed, bundled
up in  a long cheap  ulster against the warm September  day. His eyes leaked
continuously with excitement, and when I took the bag and  umbrella from his
hands he began  to pull so incessantly at his  sparse gray beard  that I had
difficulty  in getting off his coat. He was on the point  of  collapse, so I
took  him  into  the music room and  made him  sit down  while  I  sent  for
something to eat.  But he  wouldn't  eat, and the glass of milk spilled from
his  trembling hand. "I saw it in the Chicago  newspaper," he  said. "It was
all in the Chicago newspaper. I started right away."  "I didn't know how  to
reach you." His eyes, seeing nothing, moved ceaselessly about the room.  "It
was a madman,"  he said. "He  must have been mad." "Wouldn't you  like  some
coffee?" I urged him.  "I  don't want anything.  I'm all right now, Mr.----"
"Carraway." "Well, I'm all right now. Where have they got Jimmy?" I took him
into the drawing-room,  where his  son lay, and  left him there. Some little
boys  had come up on the steps  and were  looking into the hall; when I told
them who had arrived,  they went reluctantly  away. After a little while Mr.
Gatz  opened  the  door and came  out,  his  mouth  ajar,  his face  flushed
slightly, his eyes leaking isolated and unpunctual tears. He had reached  an
age where death no  longer has the quality  of ghastly surprise, and when he
looked around him now for the first time  and saw the height and splendor of
the hall and the great rooms opening out from it into other rooms, his grief
began to be mixed with  an awed pride. I helped him to  a bedroom up-stairs;
while  he  took off his coat and vest I told him  that all arrangements  had
been deferred until he came. "I didn't know what you'd want, Mr. Gatsby----"
"Gatz is my name."  "--Mr.  Gatz. I  thought you might want to take the body
West." He  shook his head.  "Jimmy always liked it better down East. He rose
up to his  position in the East. Were you a  friend of my boy's, Mr.--?" "We
were close friends." "He had a big  future before him, you know. He was only
a young  man, but he had a lot  of brain  power here." He touched  his  head
impressively, and I nodded. "If  he'd  of lived, he'd of been a great man. A
man like James J. Hill. He'd of helped build up the country." "That's true,"
I  said, uncomfortably.  He fumbled  at the embroidered coverlet,  trying to
take it from the bed, and lay down stiffly--was instantly asleep. That night
an  obviously frightened person  called up,  and demanded to  know who I was
before he  would give  his  name. "This  is Mr. Carraway," I said.  "Oh!" He
sounded relieved. "This  is  Klipspringer." I  was  relieved  too, for  that
seemed to promise another friend  at  Gatsby's grave. I didn't want it to be
in  the papers and draw a sightseeing crowd, so I'd  been  calling  up a few
people myself. They  were  hard to find.  "The funeral's to-morrow," I said.
"Three  o'clock, here  at  the house.  I wish you'd  tell  anybody who'd  be
interested." "Oh, I will,"  he broke out  hastily. "Of course I'm not likely
to see anybody, but if I do." His tone made me suspicious. "Of course you'll
be  there  yourself."  "Well, I'll  certainly  try.  What I  called up about
is----" "Wait a  minute," I interrupted.  "How  about  saying you'll  come?"
"Well, the fact is--the truth of the matter  is that I'm  staying  with some
people up  here  in Greenwich, and they rather  expect  me  to be  with them
to-morrow. In fact, there's a sort of picnic or something. Of course I'll do
my very best to get away."  I ejaculated an  unrestrained "Huh!" and he must
have heard me, for he went on nervously: "What I called up  about was a pair
of  shoes I left  there. Iwonder  if it'd  be too much trouble  to  have the
butler send them on. You see, they're tennis shoes, and I'm sort of helpless
without them. My address is care of B. F.----" I didn't hear the rest of the
name, because I hung  up the receiver. After that I felt a certain shame for
Gatsby--one gentleman  to whom I telephoned implied that  he had got what he
deserved. However, that was my fault, for he was  one of  those who used  to
sneer most  bitterly at Gatsby on  the courage  of  Gatsby's liquor,  and  I
should have known better than to call him. The morning of the funeral I went
up  to New York  to see Meyer Wolfshiem;  I couldn't  seem  to reach him any
other  way. The door that I pushed open, on the  advice  of an elevator boy,
was marked "The Swastika Holding Company," and at first there didn't seem to
be any one  inside. But when I'd shouted "hello." several times in vain,  an
argument  broke out  behind a  partition,  and  presently  a  lovely  Jewess
appeared  at an interior  door  and scrutinized  me with black hostile eyes.
"Nobody's in,"  she said. "Mr. Wolfshiem's gone to  Chicago." The first part
of this was obviously untrue, for someone had begun to whistle "The Rosary,"
tunelessly, inside. "Please  say  that Mr. Carraway  wants to see  him."  "I
can't  get  him  back  from  Chicago,  can  I?"  At  this  moment  a  voice,
unmistakably Wolfshiem's, called "Stella!"  from the other side of the door.
"Leave  your name on the desk," she said quickly. "I'll give it to him  when
he gets back." "But I know he's there." She  took a step toward me and began
to slide  her  hands indignantly up and down her hips. "You  young men think
you  can  force your  way in  here any time,"  she  scolded.  "We're getting
sickantired of it. When I say he's in Chicago, he's in Chicago." I mentioned
Gatsby. "Oh--h!" She looked at me over again. "Will you  just--What was your
name?"  She  vanished. In  a  moment  Meyer Wolfshiem stood solemnly  in the
doorway, holding out both hands. He  drew me into his office, remarking in a
reverent voice that it was a sad time for all of us, and offered me a cigar.
"My memory goes back to when I first met him," he said. "A  young major just
out  of the  army and covered over with medals he got in the war. He  was so
hard up he had to keep  on wearing  his uniform because he couldn't buy some
regular clothes. First time  I saw him  was when  he come into Winebrenner's
poolroom at Forty-third  Street and asked for a job. He  hadn't eat anything
for a couple of days. 'come on have some lunch with me,' I  sid. He ate more
than  four dollars' worth  of food in half an hour." "Did you start  him  in
business?" I inquired.  "Start him! I made him." "Oh." "I raised him up  out
of  nothing,   right  out  of  the  gutter.  I  saw  right  away  he  was  a
fine-appearing, gentlemanly  young man,  and  when  he  told  me  he  was an
Oggsford I knew I could use him good.  I got him to join up in the  American
Legion and  he used  to stand high there.  Right off he did  some work for a
client of mine up to  Albany. We were so thick like that in everything."--he
held  up  two bulbous fingers----"  always  together." I  wondered  if  this
partnership  had included  the World's Series transaction in 1919. "Now he's
dead," I said after a moment. "You were his closest friend, so I know you'll
want to come to his funeral this afternoon." "I'd like to come." "Well, come
then." The hair in his nostrils quivered  slightly, and as he shook his head
his eyes filled with  tears. "I can't do it--I can't get mixed up in it," he
said. "There's nothing to  get mixed up in.  It's all over now." "When a man
gets killed I never like  to get mixed up in it in any way. I keep out. When
I was a young man it was different--if a friend of mine died, no matter how,
I stuck  with them to the end. You may think that's sentimental, but  I mean
it--to the  bitter  end." I  saw  that  for some reason  of  his own he  was
determined not to come, so I  stood up. "Are you a college man?" he inquired
suddenly. For a moment I thought he was going to suggest a "gonnegtion," but
he only nodded and shook my hand. "Let us learn to show our friendship for a
man when he is alive and not after he is dead," he suggested. "After that my
own  rule  is to let everything alone." When I left his  office  the sky had
turned dark and  I got back to  West  Egg  in a  drizzle. After  changing my
clothes I went next door and found Mr. Gatz walking up and down excitedly in
the hall. His pride in his son and in  his son's possessions was continually
increasing and  now  he  had  something  to  show  me. "Jimmy  sent  me this
picture." He took  out his  wallet with trembling fingers. "Look  there." It
was a photograph of the  house, cracked in the corners and dirty  with  many
hands. He pointed  out every  detail to me  eagerly. "Look there!"  and then
sought admiration from my eyes. He had shown it so often that I think it was
more real to him now than  the house  itself. "Jimmy sent it  to me. I think
it's a very pretty picture. It shows up  well." "Very well. Had you seen him
lately?" "He come out to see me two years ago and bought me the house I live
in now.  Of  course we was broke up when he run off from home, but I see now
there was a reason for it. He knew  he had a big future in front of him. And
ever  since he  made a  success  he was very generous  with  me."  He seemed
reluctant to put away the picture, held  it for another minute, lingeringly,
before  my eyes. Then  he returned the wallet and  pulled from  his pocket a
ragged old copy of a book  called HOPALONG  CASSIDY. "Look  here, this is  a
book he had when he was a boy. It just shows you." He opened it at  the back
cover and turned it around for  me to  see. On the last fly-leaf was printed
the  word  SCHEDULE, and  the date September 12, 1906. and  underneath: Rise
from  bed . . . . . .  . . .  . .  . . . . . 6.00 A.M. Dumbbell exercise and
wall-scaling . . . . . . 6.15-6.30 " Study electricity, etc . . . . . . .  .
. . . . 7.15-8.15 " Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.30-4.30
P.M.  Baseball and sports .  . . . . . .  . .  .  . . . 4.30-5.00 " Practice
elocution, poise and how to attain it 5.00-6.00  " Study needed inventions .
. . . . . . . . . . 7.00-9.00 " GENERAL RESOLVES No wasting time at Shafters
or [a name, indecipherable] No more smokeing or chewing Bath every other day
Read one improving book  or magazine per week Save $5.00 {crossed out} $3.00
per  week Be better to parents "I  come across this book  by accident," said
the old man.  "It just shows you, don't it?" "It just shows you." "Jimmy was
bound to get ahead. He always  had some resolves like this or  something. Do
you notice  what he's got about improving his mind? He was always  great for
that.  He told me I  et like  a hog  once,  and  I beat him for it."  He was
reluctant  to  close  the  book,  reading  each item aloud and then  looking
eagerly at me. I think he rather expected me  to copy down the  list for  my
own use. A little before three  the Lutheran minister arrived from Flushing,
and  I began to look involuntarily out the  windows for other  cars.  So did
Gatsby's  father. And as the time passed and the servants came in and  stood
waiting in the hall, his eyes began to blink anxiously,  and he spoke of the
rain in a worried,  uncertain way. The minister glanced several times at his
watch, so I took him aside and asked  him to wait for half  an hour. But  it
wasn't any use. Nobody came. About five o'clock our procession of three cars
reached the cemetery and stopped in a thick drizzle beside the gate--first a
motor hearse, horribly  black and wet, then Mr. Gatz and the minister  and I
in the limousine, and a little  later four or five servants  and the postman
from West Egg in Gatsby's station  wagon, all wet to the skin. As we started
through the gate into the cemetery I heard a  car stop and then the sound of
someone  splashing after  us over the soggy ground. I looked around.  It was
the man  with  owl-eyed glasses  whom I had  found  marvelling over Gatsby's
books in the library one night three months before. I'd never seen him since
then. I don't know how he knew about the funeral, or even his name. The rain
poured down his thick  glasses, and he took them  off and wiped them  to see
the protecting canvas unrolled from Gatsby's  grave.  I tried to think about
Gatsby then for a moment, but he was already too far away, and I could  only
remember, without  resentment, that Daisy hadn't sent a message or a flower.
Dimly I heard someone murmur, "Blessed are the dead that the rain falls on,"
and  then  the  owl-eyed  man said "Amen  to  that," in  a  brave voice.  We
straggled down quickly through the rain to the cars. Owl-eyes spoke to me by
the gate. "I couldn't get to the house," he remarked. "Neither could anybody
else."  "Go  on!" He  started. "Why, my God! they  used to go  there by  the
hundreds." He took off his  glasses and wiped  them  again,  outside and in.
"The  poor son-of-a-bitch,"  he said. One of  my  most  vivid memories is of
coming  back West from prep school and later from college at Christmas time.
Those who went  farther  than  Chicago  would  gather  in  the old dim Union
Station  at six o'clock of a  December evening, with  a few Chicago friends,
already  caught  up into their own holiday gayeties, to  bid  them  a  hasty
good-by.  I  remember  the  fur coats  of  the  girls  returning  from  Miss
This-or-that's  and the  chatter  of  frozen  breath  and  the  hands waving
overhead  as we caught  sight  of  old acquaintances, and  the  matchings of
invitations: "Are you going to the Ordways'? the  Herseys'? the Schultzes'?"
and the long green tickets clasped tight in our gloved  hands. And last  the
murky yellow cars of the Chicago,  Milwaukee and St.  Paul railroad  looking
cheerful as  Christmas itself on the tracks beside  the gate. When we pulled
out into the winter night and the real snow, our snow, began to  stretch out
beside  us  and  twinkle  against the  windows, and the dim lights  of small
Wisconsin stations moved by, a sharp wild brace came suddenly into the  air.
We drew in deep breaths of it as we walked back from dinner through the cold
vestibules,  unutterably aware  of our identity  with  this  country for one
strange hour, before we  melted indistinguishably into it  again. That's  my
Middle West--not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns,  but the
thrilling  returning trains  of my youth, and the street  lamps  and  sleigh
bells in the frosty dark and  the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted
windows on  the  snow. I  am part of that, a little  solemn with the feel of
those  long winters, a little  complacent from  growing up in  the  Carraway
house in a city  where  dwellings  are still  called  through  decades  by a
family's name.  I  see  now that  this has been a story of  the West,  after
all--Tom  and Gatsby,  Daisy  and Jordan and I,  were  all  Westerners,  and
perhaps  we  possessed  some  deficiency in  common  which  made  us  subtly
unadaptable to Eastern life. Even when the East excited me most, even when I
was  most keenly aware of its  superiority to the  bored, sprawling, swollen
towns  beyond the Ohio, with their  interminable  inquisitions  which spared
only the children and the very old--even then it had always for me a quality
of  distortion.  West  Egg,  especially, still figures in my  more fantastic
dreams. I see it as a night scene by El  Greco:  a hundred houses,  at  once
conventional and grotesque, crouching under a sullen, overhanging sky  and a
lustreless moon. In  the foreground four  solemn  men  in  dress  suits  are
walking along the sidewalk with a stretcher on which lies a drunken woman in
a white evening dress. Her  hand, which dangles over the side, sparkles cold
with jewels. Gravely the men turn in at a house--the wrong house. But no one
knows the woman's name, and no one cares.  After Gatsby's death the East was
haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eyes' power  of correction. So
when the blue smoke of brittle  leaves was in the air  and the wind blew the
wet laundry  stiff on the line  I decided to  come back home. There  was one
thing to  be done  before I left, an  awkward, unpleasant thing that perhaps
had better  have been let alone. But I  wanted to leave things in  order and
not just trust that obliging and indifferent sea to sweep my refuse  away. I
saw  Jordan  Baker  and  talked over  and around  what  had happened  to  us
together,  and  what  had happened afterward to me,  and she  lay  perfectly
still,  listening,  in a big chair.  She was  dressed  to play  golf, and  I
remember thinking she  looked  like a good illustration,  her  chin raised a
little jauntily, her  hair the color  of  an autumn  leaf, her face the same
brown tint as the fingerless glove on her knee. When I had finished she told
me without  comment that she  was  engaged to another man. I  doubted  that,
though there were several she could have married at a nod of her head, but I
pretended to be surprised. For just a minute I wondered if I wasn't making a
mistake,  then  I  thought  it  all over  again quickly  and got  up to  say
good-bye. "Nevertheless you did throw me over,"  said  Jordan suddenly. "You
threw me  over  on the telephone. I don't  give a damn about you now, but it
was a new  experience for  me, and  I felt a little  dizzy for  a while." We
shook hands.  "Oh, and do you  remember."--she added----" a  conversation we
had  once about driving  a car?"  "Why--not exactly." "You said a bad driver
was only safe until she  met another bad driver? Well,  I  met  another  bad
driver, didn't I? I mean it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess. I
thought you  were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was
your secret pride."  "I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to
myself and call it honor."  She didn't answer. Angry, and half in  love with
her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away. One afternoon late in October  I
saw  Tom  Buchanan.  He was  walking ahead of me along  Fifth Avenue  in his
alert, aggressive way, his hands out  a  little from his body as if to fight
off interference, his head moving sharply here and there, adapting itself to
his restless eyes. Just as I  slowed  up  to avoid overtaking him he stopped
and began frowning into  the windows of a jewelry store.  Suddenly he saw me
and walked back,  holding  out  his hand. "What's  the matter,  Nick? Do you
object to  shaking  hands  with me?"  "Yes. You know what I think  of  you."
"You're crazy, Nick," he  said quickly. "Crazy as hell.  I don't know what's
the matter with you." "Tom,"  I  inquired, "what  did you say to Wilson that
afternoon?" He  stared at me without a word, and I knew I had guessed  right
about  those missing hours. I started to turn away, but he took a step after
me and grabbed my arm. "I told him the truth," he said. "He came to the door
while  we were getting ready to leave,  and when I  sent  down  word that we
weren't in he tried to force his  way up-stairs. He was crazy enough to kill
me if I hadn't told him who owned the car. His hand was on a revolver in his
pocket every minute  he was in the house----" He broke  off defiantly. "What
if I did tell him? That fellow had it coming to him. He threw dust into your
eyes just like he did in Daisy's, but he was a tough one. He ran over Myrtle
like you'd run over a dog and never even stopped his car." There was nothing
I could say,  except the  one  unutterable fact that it wasn't true. "And if
you  think I didn't have my  share  of suffering--look here, when  I went to
give up that flat and saw that damn box of dog biscuits sitting there on the
sideboard,  I  sat down  and cried like a  baby. By God it  was awful----" I
couldn't forgive him or like him, but I  saw  that what  he had done was, to
him,  entirely  justified. It was all very  careless and confused. They were
careless people, Tom  and  Daisy--they  smashed up things and  creatures and
then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever
it was that kept them together, and  let other people clean up the mess they
had made. . . .  I shook hands with him;  it seemed silly not to, for I felt
suddenly as though I were talking to a child.  Then he went into the jewelry
store  to  buy a pearl necklace--or perhaps only a pair of cuff buttons--rid
of my provincial  squeamishness forever. Gatsby's house was still empty when
I  left--the grass  on his lawn had grown  as long as mine.  One of the taxi
drivers in the  village  never took a fare past  the  entrance  gate without
stopping for a minute and pointing inside; perhaps it was he who drove Daisy
and  Gatsby over  to East Egg the night of the accident, and  perhaps he had
made a story about  it all his  own. I didn't want to hear it and  I avoided
him when I got off the train. I spent my Saturday nights in New York because
those gleaming, dazzling parties of his were with me so vividly that I could
still hear the music and the laughter, faint and incessant, from his garden,
and the cars going  up and down his drive.  One night I  did hear a material
car  there,  and  saw  its lights  stop  at  his  front  steps. But I didn't
investigate. Probably it was some final guest who had been  away at the ends
of  the earth  and didn't know that  the party was over. On the  last night,
with my trunk packed and my car sold to the  grocer, I  went over and looked
at that huge incoherent failure of a house once  more. On the white steps an
obscene  word, scrawled by some boy with a piece of brick, stood out clearly
in  the moonlight,  and  I erased  it, drawing my shoe  raspingly  along the
stone. Then I wandered down to the beach and sprawled out  on the sand. Most
of the big shore places were  closed  now  and there were hardly any  lights
except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the  Sound. And as the
moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I
became aware of  the old island  here that  flowered once for Dutch sailors'
eyes--a fresh, green breast of the new world.  Its vanished trees, the trees
that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once  pandered in whispers  to the
last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man
must have held his breath in  the presence of this continent, compelled into
an aesthetic contemplation he neither  understood nor desired, face  to face
for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for
wonder. And as I sat there brooding  on the old, unknown world, I thought of
Gatsby's  wonder  when  he first picked out the  green light at  the  end of
Daisy's dock.  He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and  his dream must
have seemed so close that he could  hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know
that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond
the city,  where the dark  fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future  that  year  by year
recedes before us.  It  eluded us then, but  that's no matter--to-morrow  we
will  run  faster,  stretch  out  our  arms farther.  .  .  .  And one  fine
morning---- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly
into the past.


: 94, Last-modified: Sat, 01 Feb 2003 07:33:16 GMT