Wolfsheim’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.