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The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

Francis Scott Fitzgerald

Update: 2020-04-22

Chapter 1

  • In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice tha_’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
  • “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember tha_ll 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 _eserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. I_onsequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened u_any curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few vetera_ores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this qualit_hen it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I wa_njustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secre_riefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought — frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when _ealized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quiverin_n the horizon; for the intimate revelations of young men, or at least th_erms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marred b_bvious suppressions. Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I a_till a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my fathe_nobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamenta_ecencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.
  • And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that i_as a limit. Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes, bu_fter a certain point I don’t care what it’s founded on. When I came back fro_he East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at _ort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions wit_rivileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives hi_ame to this book, was exempt from my reaction — Gatsby, who represente_verything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroke_eries of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related t_ne of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand mile_way. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionabilit_hich is dignified under the name of the “creative temperament.”— it was a_xtraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never foun_n 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 fou_ust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interes_n the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
  • My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this Middle Western cit_or three generations. The Carraways are something of a clan, and we have _radition that we’re descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actua_ounder 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 hardwar_usiness that my father carries on to-day.
  • I never saw this great-uncle, but I’m supposed to look like him — with specia_eference to the rather hard-boiled painting that hangs in father’s office _raduated 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 a_he Great War. I enjoyed the counter-raid so thoroughly that I came bac_estless. Instead of being the warm centre of the world, the Middle West no_eemed like the ragged edge of the universe — so I decided to go East an_earn the bond business. Everybody I knew was in the bond business, so _upposed it could support one more single man. All my aunts and uncles talke_t 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 _ear, and after various delays I came East, permanently, I thought, in th_pring 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 _oung man at the office suggested that we take a house together in a commutin_own, it sounded like a great idea. He found the house, a weather-beate_ardboard bungalow at eighty a month, but at the last minute the firm ordere_im to Washington, and I went out to the country alone. I had a dog — at leas_ had him for a few days until he ran away — and an old Dodge and a Finnis_oman, who made my bed and cooked breakfast and muttered Finnish wisdom t_erself over the electric stove.
  • It was lonely for a day or so until one morning some man, more recentl_rrived 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, _athfinder, an original settler. He had casually conferred on me the freedo_f 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 lif_as beginning over again with the summer.
  • There was so much to read, for one thing, and so much fine health to be pulle_own out of the young breath-giving air. I bought a dozen volumes on bankin_nd credit and investment securities, and they stood on my shelf in red an_old like new money from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secret_hat only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew. And I had the high intention o_eading many other books besides. I was rather literary in college — one yea_ 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 becom_gain that most limited of all specialists, the “well-rounded man.” This isn’_ust an epigram — life is much more successfully looked at from a singl_indow, after all.
  • It was a matter of chance that I should have rented a house in one of th_trangest communities in North America. It was on that slender riotous islan_hich extends itself due east of New York — and where there are, among othe_atural curiosities, two unusual formations of land. Twenty miles from th_ity a pair of enormous eggs, identical in contour and separated only by _ourtesy bay, jut out into the most domesticated body of salt water in th_estern hemisphere, the great wet barnyard of Long Island Sound. they are no_erfect ovals — like the egg in the Columbus story, they are both crushed fla_t the contact end — but their physical resemblance must be a source o_erpetual confusion to the gulls that fly overhead. to the wingless a mor_rresting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shap_nd size.
  • I lived at West Egg, the — well, the less fashionable of the two, though thi_s a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little siniste_ontrast between them. my house was at the very tip of the egg, only fift_ards from the Sound, and squeezed between two huge places that rented fo_welve or fifteen thousand a season. the one on my right was a colossal affai_y any standard — it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville i_ormandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of ra_vy, 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 _ansion 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 th_ater, a partial view of my neighbor’s lawn, and the consoling proximity o_illionaires — all for eighty dollars a month.
  • Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittere_long the water, and the history of the summer really begins on the evening _rove over there to have dinner with the Tom Buchanans. Daisy was my secon_ousin once removed, and I’d known Tom in college. And just after the war _pent two days with them in Chicago.
  • Her husband, among various physical accomplishments, had been one of the mos_owerful ends that ever played football at New Haven — a national figure in _ay, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-on_hat everything afterward savors of anti-climax. His family were enormousl_ealthy — 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 you_reath away: for instance, he’d brought down a string of polo ponies from Lak_orest. it was hard to realize that a man in my own generation was wealth_nough to do that.
  • Why they came East I don’t know. They had spent a year in France for n_articular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever peopl_layed polo and were rich together. This was a permanent move, said Daisy ove_he 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, fo_he dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.
  • And so it happened that on a warm windy evening I drove over to East Egg t_ee two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all. Their house was even mor_laborate than I expected, a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay. The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the fron_oor for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walks an_urning gardens — finally when it reached the house drifting up the side i_right vines as though from the momentum of its run. The front was broken by _ine of French windows, glowing now with reflected gold and wide open to th_arm windy afternoon, and Tom Buchanan in riding clothes was standing with hi_egs apart on the front porch.
  • He had changed since his New Haven years. Now he was a sturdy straw-haired ma_f thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shinin_rrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him th_ppearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminat_wank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body — h_eemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing, an_ou could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved unde_is thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage — a cruel body.
  • His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression o_ractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, eve_oward people he liked — and there were men at New Haven who had hated hi_uts.
  • “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 th_ame senior society, and while we were never intimate I always had th_mpression 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 fron_ista, 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 an_bruptly. “We’ll go inside.”
  • We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosy-colored space, fragilel_ound into the house by French windows at either end. The windows were aja_nd gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow _ittle way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in a_ne end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the froste_edding-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 o_hich two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. The_ere both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if the_ad just been blown back in after a short flight around the house. I must hav_tood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and th_roan of a picture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut th_ear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains an_he 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 a_er end of the divan, completely motionless, and with her chin raised _ittle, as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely t_all. 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 disturbe_er by coming in.
  • The other girl, Daisy, made an attempt to rise — she leaned slightly forwar_ith a conscientious expression — then she laughed, an absurd, charming littl_augh, and I laughed too and came forward into the room.
  • “I’m p-paralyzed with happiness.” She laughed again, as if she said somethin_ery witty, and held my hand for a moment, looking up into my face, promisin_hat there was no one in the world she so much wanted to see. That was a wa_he had. She hinted in a murmur that the surname of the balancing girl wa_aker. (I’ve heard it said that Daisy’s murmur was only to make people lea_oward her; an irrelevant criticism that made it no less charming.)
  • At any rate, Miss Baker’s lips fluttered, she nodded at me almos_mperceptibly, and then quickly tipped her head back again — the object sh_as balancing had obviously tottered a little and given her something of _right. Again a sort of apology arose to my lips. Almost any exhibition o_omplete 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, a_f each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again. He_ace was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a brigh_assionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who ha_ared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered “Listen,” a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while sinc_nd 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 ho_ 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 painte_lack as a mourning wreath, and there’s a persistent wail all night along th_orth 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 an_ested 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 an_hen back at me, as if he were alert for something more. “I’d be a God damne_ool to live anywhere else.”
  • At this point Miss Baker said: “Absolutely!” with such suddenness that _tarted — 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 _eries 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 _an remember.”
  • “Don’t look at me,” Daisy retorted, “I’ve been trying to get you to New Yor_ll 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 _lass. “How you ever get anything done is beyond me.”
  • I looked at Miss Baker, wondering what it was she “got done.” I enjoye_ooking at her. She was a slender, small-breasted girl, with an erec_arriage, which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulder_ike a young cadet. Her gray sun-strained eyes looked back at me with polit_eciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming, discontented face. It occurred t_e 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 hi_ense arm imperatively under mine, Tom Buchanan compelled me from the room a_hough he were moving a checker to another square.
  • Slenderly, languidly, their hands set lightly on their hips, the two youn_omen preceded us out onto a rosy-colored porch, open toward the sunset, wher_our candles flickered on the table in the diminished wind.
  • “Why CANDLES?” objected Daisy, frowning. She snapped them out with he_ingers. “In two weeks it’ll be the longest day in the year.” She looked at u_ll radiantly. “Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and the_iss 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 a_f she were getting into bed.
  • “All right,” said Daisy. “What’ll we plan?” She turned to me helplessly: “Wha_o people plan?”
  • Before I could answer her eyes fastened with an awed expression on her littl_inger.
  • “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 yo_ID 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 _antering inconsequence that was never quite chatter, that was as cool a_heir 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 pleasan_ffort to entertain or to be entertained. They knew that presently dinne_ould be over and a little later the evening too would be over and casuall_ut away. It was sharply different from the West, where an evening was hurrie_rom phase to phase toward its close, in a continually disappointe_nticipation or else in sheer nervous dread of the moment itself.
  • “You make me feel uncivilized, Daisy,” I confessed on my second glass of cork_ut 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 a_nexpected way.
  • “Civilization’s going to pieces,” broke out Tom violently. “I’ve gotten to b_ terrible pessimist about things. Have you read ‘The Rise of the Colore_mpires’ 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 w_on’t look out the white race will be — will be utterly submerged. It’s al_cientific stuff; it’s been proved.”
  • “Tom’s getting very profound,” said Daisy, with an expression of unthoughtfu_adness. “He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word we ——”
  • “Well, these books are all scientific,” insisted Tom, glancing at he_mpatiently. “This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It’s up to us, wh_re the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control o_hings.”
  • “We’ve got to beat them down,” whispered Daisy, winking ferociously toward th_ervent sun.
  • “You ought to live in California —” began Miss Baker, but Tom interrupted he_y 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 sh_inked at me again. “— And we’ve produced all the things that go to mak_ivilization — oh, science and art, and all that. Do you see?”
  • There was something pathetic in his concentration, as if his complacency, mor_cute 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 th_omentary interruption and leaned toward me.
  • “I’ll tell you a family secret,” she whispered enthusiastically. “It’s abou_he 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 som_eople in New York that had a silver service for two hundred people. He had t_olish 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 hi_osition.”
  • For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowin_ace; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened — then th_low faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret, like childre_eaving a pleasant street at dusk.
  • The butler came back and murmured something close to Tom’s ear, whereupon To_rowned, pushed back his chair, and without a word went inside. As if hi_bsence quickened something within her, Daisy leaned forward again, her voic_lowing and singing.
  • “I love to see you at my table, Nick. You remind me of a — of a rose, a_bsolute rose. Doesn’t he?” She turned to Miss Baker for confirmation: “A_bsolute rose?”
  • This was untrue. I am not even faintly like a rose. She was onl_xtemporizing, but a stirring warmth flowed from her, as if her heart wa_rying to come out to you concealed in one of those breathless, thrillin_ords. Then suddenly she threw her napkin on the table and excused herself an_ent into the house.
  • Miss Baker and I exchanged a short glance consciously devoid of meaning. I wa_bout to speak when she sat up alertly and said “Sh!” in a warning voice. _ubdued impassioned murmur was audible in the room beyond, and Miss Bake_eaned forward unashamed, trying to hear. The murmur trembled on the verge o_oherence, 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. “_hought 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 yo_hink?”
  • Almost before I had grasped her meaning there was the flutter of a dress an_he 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 _ird on the lawn that I think must be a nightingale come over on the Cunard o_hite Star Line. He’s singing away ——” Her voice sang: “It’s romantic, isn’_t, Tom?”
  • “Very romantic,” he said, and then miserably to me: “If it’s light enoug_fter dinner, I want to take you down to the stables.”
  • The telephone rang inside, startlingly, and as Daisy shook her head decisivel_t 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 th_andles being lit again, pointlessly, and I was conscious of wanting to loo_quarely at every one, and yet to avoid all eyes. I couldn’t guess what Dais_nd Tom were thinking, but I doubt if even Miss Baker, who seemed to hav_astered a certain hardy scepticism, was able utterly to put this fift_uest’s shrill metallic urgency out of mind. To a certain temperament th_ituation might have seemed intriguing — my own instinct was to telephon_mmediately 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, a_f to a vigil beside a perfectly tangible body, while, trying to loo_leasantly interested and a little deaf, I followed Daisy around a chain o_onnecting verandas to the porch in front. In its deep gloom we sat down sid_y side on a wicker settee.
  • Daisy took her face in her hands as if feeling its lovely shape, and her eye_oved gradually out into the velvet dusk. I saw that turbulent emotion_ossessed her, so I asked what I thought would be some sedative question_bout her little girl.
  • “We don’t know each other very well, Nick,” she said suddenly. “Even if we ar_ousins. 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’_retty cynical about everything.”
  • Evidently she had reason to be. I waited but she didn’t say any more, an_fter 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 _aid 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 les_han an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether wit_n utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a bo_r 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 convince_ay. “Everybody thinks so — the most advanced people. And I KNOW. I’ve bee_verywhere and seen everything and done everything.” Her eyes flashed aroun_er 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, _elt the basic insincerity of what she had said. It made me uneasy, as thoug_he whole evening had been a trick of some sort to exact a contributor_motion from me. I waited, and sure enough, in a moment she looked at me wit_n absolute smirk on her lovely face, as if she had asserted her membership i_ 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 t_im from the SATURDAY EVENING POST.— the words, murmurous and uninflected, running together in a soothing tune. The lamp-light, bright on his boots an_ull on the autumn-leaf yellow of her hair, glinted along the paper as sh_urned 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 ver_ext issue.”
  • Her body asserted itself with a restless movement of her knee, and she stoo_p.
  • “Ten o’clock,” she remarked, apparently finding the time on the ceiling. “Tim_or this good girl to go to bed.”
  • “Jordan’s going to play in the tournament to-morrow,” explained Daisy, “ove_t Westchester.”
  • “Oh — you’re Jordan BAKER.”
  • I knew now why her face was familiar — its pleasing contemptuous expressio_ad looked out at me from many rotogravure pictures of the sporting life a_sheville and Hot Springs and Palm Beach. I had heard some story of her too, _ritical, 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 _arriage. 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 se_n 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 ru_round 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 t_ook after her, aren’t you, Nick? She’s going to spend lots of week-ends ou_ere 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 beautifu_hite ——”
  • “Did you give Nick a little heart to heart talk on the veranda?” demanded To_uddenly.
  • “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 go_p to go home. They came to the door with me and stood side by side in _heerful 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 engage_o 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 _lower-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 vaguel_ngaged. The fact that gossip had published the banns was one of the reasons _ad 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 seeme_o me that the thing for Daisy to do was to rush out of the house, child i_rms — 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 tha_hat he had been depressed by a book. Something was making him nibble at th_dge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished hi_eremptory 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 m_state at West Egg I ran the car under its shed and sat for a while on a_bandoned 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 a_he full bellows of the earth blew the frogs full of life. The silhouette of _oving cat wavered across the moonlight, and turning my head to watch it, _aw that I was not alone — fifty feet away a figure had emerged from th_hadow of my neighbor’s mansion and was standing with his hands in his pocket_egarding the silver pepper of the stars. Something in his leisurely movement_nd 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 tha_ould do for an introduction. But I didn’t call to him, for he gave a sudde_ntimation that he was content to be alone — he stretched out his arms towar_he dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could hav_worn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward — and distinguishe_othing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have bee_he end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and _as alone again in the unquiet darkness.