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 flavor 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 to-day, 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.
“I’ll call you up,” I said finally.