‘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 tomorrow.’
‘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 anymore.’
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 whisky in the towel.
‘Want any of this stuff? Jordan?… Nick?’
I didn’t answer.
‘Nick?’ He asked again.
‘No… I just remembered that today’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 clamour 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 ash-heaps 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 neighbour 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 tomorrow, and then we’re going to move away.’
Michaelis was astonished; they had been neighbours 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 anyone spoke to him he invariably laughed in an agreeable, colourless 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, downstairs 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. Mavro Michaelis wasn’t even sure of its colour – 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 a little 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 metal 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 motor-cycle 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-v – ’ 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 —’ 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 in a 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 colour’s your car?’
‘It’s a blue car, a coupe.’
‘We’ve come straight from New York,’ I said.
Someone 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 tonight.’
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?’
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.
‘Was she killed?’
‘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 tomorrow,’ 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 downstairs 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.
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?’
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 upstairs 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 pretences. 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 strata 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 grey 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 downstairs, filling the house with grey-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 flavour 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 today, 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.