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. Wolfsheim’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 Wolfsheim’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 Wolfsheim 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.”
“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 at 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.