“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.——”
“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.”